Last week I decided to take the plunge...I am finally reading through Augustine's City of God. At 1,085 pages, this is a bit of an endeavor, because Augustine is not the easiest person to read. But I'm hoping to be done by March of 2010.
Anyway, I was struck by this quote early on in the book, dealing with how both the righteous and the wicked suffer in this world:
When the good and the wicked suffer alike, the identity of their sufferings does not mean that there is no difference between them. Though the sufferings are the same, the sufferers remain different...The fire which makes gold shine makes chaff smoke...In the same way, the violence which assails good men to test them, to cleanse and purify them, effects in the wicked their condemnation, ruin and annihilation. Thus the wicked, under affliction, execrate God and blaspheme; the good, in the same affliction, offer up prayers and praises. This shows that what matters is the nature of the sufferer, not the nature of the sufferings. Stir a cesspit, and a foul stench arises; stir a perfume, and a delightful fragrance ascends. But the movement is identical.
See why it's going to take a year to read through?