Shall I speak
of the manifold and various loveliness
of sky, and earth, and sea;
of the plentiful supply
and wonderful qualities of the light;
of sun, moon, and stars;
of the shade of trees;
of the colors and perfume of flowers;
of the multitude of birds,
all differing in plumage and in song;
of the variety of animals,
of which the smallest in size are often the most wonderful—
the works of ants and bees astonishing us more
than the huge bodies of whales?
Shall I speak of the sea,
which itself is so grand a spectacle,
when it arrays itself
as it were
in vestures of various colors,
now running through every shade of green,
and again becoming purple or blue?
Is it not delightful to look at it in storm,
and experience the soothing complacency which it inspires,
by suggesting that we ourselves
are not tossed and shipwrecked?
What shall I say
of the numberless kinds of food
to alleviate hunger,
and the variety of seasonings
to stimulate appetite
which are scattered everywhere by nature,
and for which we are not indebted to the art of cookery?
How many natural appliances are there
for preserving and restoring health!
How grateful is the alternation of day and night!
How pleasant the breezes that cool the air!
How abundant the supply of clothing
furnished us by trees and animals!
Who can enumerate all the blessings we enjoy?
If I were to attempt to detail and unfold only these few which I have indicated in the mass, such an enumeration would fill a volume. And all these are but the solace of the wretched and condemned, not the rewards of the blessed. What then shall these rewards be, if such be the blessings of a condemned state? What will He give to those whom He has predestined to life, who has given such things even to those whom He has predestined to death? What blessings will He in the blessed life shower upon those for whom, even in this state of misery, He has been willing that His only-begotten Son should endure such sufferings even to death? Thus the apostle reasons concerning those who are predestined to that kingdom: He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also give us all things?
Augustine City of God xxii.24