St. Augustine on Calling Men Father

Blessed Augustine of Hippo ca. 354-430

And they forgat His benefits, and the wonderful works of Him which He showed to them; before their fathers the wonderful things which He did Ps. 77:11… For why should they not have been called fathers? It is not in the same manner as God is the One Father, who does regenerate with His Spirit those whom He does make sons for an everlasting inheritance; but it is for the sake of honour, because of their age and kindly carefulness: just as Paul the elder says, Not to confound you I am writing these things, but as my dearly beloved sons I am admonishing you: 1 Cor. 4:14 though he knew of a truth that it had been said by the Lord, Call ye no man your father on earth, for One is your Father, even God. Mat. 23:9 And this was not said in order that this term of human honour should be erased from our usual way of speaking: but lest the grace of God whereby we are regenerated unto eternal life, should be ascribed either to the power or even sanctity of any man. Therefore when he said, I have begotten you; he first said, in Christ, and through the Gospel; lest that might be thought to be of him, which is of God… (Exposition on the Psalms, Ps. 78 Chap.10)