AUGUSTINE: CONFESSIONS

 

















 

 

 

 

 





   Newly translated and edited by ALBERT C. OUTLER, Ph.D., D.D.
   Updated by Ted Hildebrandt, 2010 Gordon College, Wenham, MA

   Professor of Theology   Perkins School of Theology

   Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

   First published MCMLV; Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 55-5021

   Printed in the United States of America

 

  Creator(s): Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo (345-430)

             Outler, Albert C. (Translator and Editor)

     Print Basis: Philadelphia: Westminster Press [1955] (Library of Christian Classics, v. 7)

          Rights: Public Domain vid. www.ccel.org

 

 


 

                          TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   11

I. The Retractations, II, 6 (A.D. 427) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Book One . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   24
            Chapter 1:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
            Chapter II:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
            Chapter III:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  25
            Chapter IV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26
            Chapter V:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  27
            Chapter VI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  28
            Chapter VII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  31
            Chapter VIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  33
            Chapter IX:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  34
            Chapter X:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  36
            Chapter XI:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  37
            Chapter XII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  39
            Chapter XIII:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  39
            Chapter XIV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   41
            Chapter XV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  42
            Chapter XVI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  42
            Chapter XVII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  44
            Chapter XVIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  45
            Chapter XIX:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  47
            Notes for Book I:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  48

Book Two . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
            Chapter 1: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  50
            Chapter II: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  50
            Chapter III: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  52
            Chapter IV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  55
            Chapter V:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  56
            Chapter VI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  57
            Chapter VII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  59
            Chapter VIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  60
            Chapter IX: . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  61
            Chapter X: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  62
            Notes for Book II: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  63

Book Three . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
            Chapter 1: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  64
            Chapter II: . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  65
            Chapter III: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  67
            Chapter IV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  68
            Chapter V:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  69
            Chapter VI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  70
            Chapter VII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  72
            Chapter VIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  74
            Chapter IX: . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  76
            Chapter X: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  77
            Chapter XI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  78
            Chapter XII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  80
            Notes for Book III: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81

Book Four . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   83
            Chapter 1: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  83
            Chapter II: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  84
            Chapter III:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  85
            Chapter IV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  87
            Chapter V:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
            Chapter VI: . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  90
            Chapter VII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  91
            Chapter VIII: . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  92
            Chapter IX: . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   93
            Chapter X: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   94
            Chapter XI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   95
            Chapter XII: . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   96
            Chapter XIII:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   98
            Chapter XIV: . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    99
            Chapter XV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   101
            Notes for Book IV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    105

 

Book Five . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   107
            Chapter 1:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  107
            Chapter II: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   108
            Chapter III: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    109
            Chapter IV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  111
            Chapter V:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  112
            Chapter VI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  114
            Chapter VII:  .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  116
            Chapter VIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  118
            Chapter IX: . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  120
            Chapter X: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  122
            Chapter XI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  124
            Chapter XII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  125
            Chapter XIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   126
            Chapter XIV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   127
            Notes for Book V: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  128

Book Six . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   130
            Chapter 1: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  130
            Chapter II: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  132
            Chapter III:   . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  134
            Chapter IV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  136
            Chapter V: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  138
            Chapter VI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  140
            Chapter VII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  142
            Chapter VIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  144
            Chapter IX: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  145
            Chapter X:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  147
            Chapter XI:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  149
            Chapter XII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  151
            Chapter XIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   153
            Chapter XIV:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  154
            Chapter XV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  155
            Chapter XVI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  156
            Notes for Book VI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  157

Book Seven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   158
            Chapter 1:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  158
            Chapter II:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  160
            Chapter III: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  161
            Chapter IV:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  162
            Chapter V:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  163
            Chapter VI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  165
            Chapter VII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  168
            Chapter VIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  169
            Chapter IX: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  170
            Chapter X:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  172
            Chapter XI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  173
            Chapter XII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  173
            Chapter XIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   174
            Chapter XIV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   175
            Chapter XV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  175
            Chapter XVI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  176
            Chapter XVII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  177
            Chapter XVIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  178
            Chapter XIX: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  179
            Chapter XX: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  181
            Chapter XXI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  182
            Notes for Book VII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  184


Book Eight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   187               Chapter 1:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  187
            Chapter II:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  189
            Chapter III: .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  192
            Chapter IV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  194
            Chapter V:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   195
            Chapter VI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  197
            Chapter VII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  200
            Chapter VIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  202
            Chapter IX: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  204
            Chapter X:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  205
            Chapter XI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   207
            Chapter XII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  209
            Notes for Book VIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  211

Book Nine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   213
            Chapter 1: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  213
            Chapter II:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  214
            Chapter III: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  216
            Chapter IV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  218
            Chapter V:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  222
            Chapter VI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  223
            Chapter VII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  224
            Chapter VIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  226
            Chapter IX:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  229
            Chapter X: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  231
            Chapter XI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  233
            Chapter XII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  235
            Chapter XIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  238
            Notes for Book IX: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  240

Book Ten . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   242                 Chapter 1: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  242
            Chapter II:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  243
            Chapter III: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  244
            Chapter IV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  245
            Chapter V:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  247
            Chapter VI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  248
            Chapter VII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   250
            Chapter VIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  251
            Chapter IX: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  254
            Chapter X:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  255
            Chapter XI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  256
            Chapter XII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  257
            Chapter XIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   257
            Chapter XIV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   258
            Chapter XV:  , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  260
            Chapter XVI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   261
            Chapter XVII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  263
            Chapter XVIII:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  264
            Chapter XIX:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  265
            Chapter XX: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  266
            Chapter XXI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  267
            Chapter XXII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  269
            Chapter XXIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  269
            Chapter XXIV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  271
            Chapter XXV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  271
            Chapter XXVI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  272
            Chapter XXVII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  272
            Chapter XXVIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  273
            Chapter XXIX:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  273
            Chapter XXX:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  274
            Chapter XXXI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  276
            Chapter XXXII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   279
            Chapter XXXIII:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   279
            Chapter XXXIV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  281
            Chapter XXXV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  283
            Chapter XXXVI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  286
            Chapter XXXVII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  288
            Chapter XXXVIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  290
            Chapter XXXIX:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  290
            Chapter XL:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  291
            Chapter XLI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  292
            Chapter XLI:  . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  292
            Chapter XLII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  293
            Notes for Book X: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  295

Book Eleven. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   298                 Chapter 1: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  298
            Chapter II:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  299
            Chapter III: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  301
            Chapter IV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  302
            Chapter V:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  303
            Chapter VI:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  304
            Chapter VII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  305
            Chapter VIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  306
            Chapter IX:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  307
            Chapter X: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  308
            Chapter XI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   308
            Chapter XII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  309
            Chapter XIII:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  310
            Chapter XIV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  311
            Chapter XV:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  312
            Chapter XVI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  314
            Chapter XVII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  314
            Chapter XVIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  315
            Chapter XIX:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  317
            Chapter XX:    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  317
            Chapter XXI:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  318
            Chapter XXII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  319
            Chapter XXIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  320
            Chapter XXIV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  322
            Chapter XXV:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  322
            Chapter XXVI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  323
            Chapter XXVII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  324
            Chapter XXVIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  326
            Chapter XXIX:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  327
            Chapter XXX:    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  327
            Chapter XXXI:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  328
            Notes for Book V: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 329    

Book Twelve. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   332    Chapter 1:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  332
            Chapter II: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  333
            Chapter III: . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  333
            Chapter IV: . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  334
            Chapter V:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  334
            Chapter VI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  335
            Chapter VII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  337
            Chapter VIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   338
            Chapter IX:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  339
            Chapter X: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  339
            Chapter XI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  340
            Chapter XII: . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  342
            Chapter XIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   343
            Chapter XIV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  343
            Chapter XV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  344
            Chapter XVI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   347
            Chapter XVII: . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  347
            Chapter XVIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  350
            Chapter XIX:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  351
            Chapter XX: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  351
            Chapter XXI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  352
            Chapter XXII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  353
            Chapter XXIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  355
            Chapter XXIV: .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  356
            Chapter XXV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  357
            Chapter XXVI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  359
            Chapter XXVII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  360
            Chapter XXVIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  361
            Chapter XXIX: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  363
            Chapter XXX:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  365
            Chapter XXXI: .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  366
            Chapter XXXII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   367

Book Thirteen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   368            Chapter 1:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  368
            Chapter II: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  369
            Chapter III:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  371
            Chapter IV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  371
            Chapter V:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  372
            Chapter VI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  372
            Chapter VII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  373
            Chapter VIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  374
            Chapter IX:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  375
            Chapter X: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  376
            Chapter XI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  377
            Chapter XII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  378
            Chapter XIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   379
            Chapter XIV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   380
            Chapter XV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  381
            Chapter XVI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  383
            Chapter XVII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  384
            Chapter XVIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   385
            Chapter XIX: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  387
            Chapter XX:    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  389
            Chapter XXI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  391
            Chapter XXII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  393
            Chapter XXIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  394
            Chapter XXIV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   396
            Chapter XXV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  399
            Chapter XXVI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  400
            Chapter XXVII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  402
            Chapter XXVIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  402
            Chapter XXIX:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  403
            Chapter XXX:   . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  403
            Chapter XXXI:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  404
            Chapter XXXII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   405
            Chapter XXXIII: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   406
            Chapter XXXIV:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  407
            Chapter XXXV: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  408
            Chapter XXXVI: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  408
            Chapter XXXVII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  408
            Chapter XXXVIII:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  409

Notes  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410
Indexes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 418

         


                          Introduction

 

   Like a colossus bestriding two worlds, Augustine stands as the last

   patristic and the first medieval father of Western Christianity. He

   gathered together and conserved all the main motifs of Latin

   Christianity from Tertullian to Ambrose; he appropriated the heritage

   of Nicene orthodoxy; he was a Chalcedonian before Chalcedon--and he

   drew all this into an unsystematic synthesis which is still our best

   mirror of the heart and mind of the Christian community in the Roman

   Empire. More than this, he freely received and deliberately

   reconsecrated the religious philosophy of the Greco-Roman world to a

   new apologetic use in maintaining the intelligibility of the Christian

   proclamation. Yet, even in his role as summator of tradition, he was no

   mere eclectic. The center of his "system" is in the Holy Scriptures, as

   they ordered and moved his heart and mind. It was in Scripture that,

   first and last, Augustine found the focus of his religious authority.

 

   At the same time, it was this essentially conservative genius who

   recast the patristic tradition into the new pattern by which European

   Christianity would be largely shaped and who, with relatively little

   interest in historical detail, wrought out the first comprehensive

   "philosophy of history." Augustine regarded himself as much less an

   innovator than a summator. He was less a reformer of the Church than

   the defender of the Church's faith. His own self-chosen project was to

   save Christianity from the disruption of heresy and the calumnies of

   the pagans, and, above everything else, to renew and exalt the faithful

   hearing of the gospel of man's utter need and God's abundant grace. But

   the unforeseen result of this enterprise was to furnish the motifs of

   the Church's piety and doctrine for the next yousand years and more.

   Wherever one touches the Middle Ages, he finds the marks of Augustine's

   influence, powerful and pervasive--even Aquinas is more of an

   Augustinian at heart than a "proper" Aristotelian. In the Protestant

   Reformation, the evangelical elements in Augustine's thought were

   appealed to in condemnation of the corruptions of popular

   Catholicism--yet even those corruptions had a certain right of appeal

   to some of the non-evangelical aspects of Augustine's thought and life.

   And, still today, in the important theological revival of our own time,

   the influence of Augustine is obviously one of the most potent and

   productive impulses at work.

 

   A succinct characterization of Augustine is impossible, not only

   because his thought is so extraordinarily complex and his expository

   method so incurably digressive, but also because throughout his entire

   career there were lively tensions and massive prejudices in his heart

   and head. His doctrine of God holds the Plotinian notions of divine

   unity and remotion in tension with the Biblical emphasis upon the

   sovereign God's active involvement in creation and redemption. For all

   his devotion to Jesus Christ, this theology was never adequately

   Christocentric, and this reflects itself in many ways in his practical

   conception of the Christian life. He did not invent the doctrines of

   original sin and seminal transmission of guilt but he did set them as

   cornerstones in his "system," matching them with a doctrine of infant

   baptism which cancels, ex opere operato, birth sin and hereditary

   guilt. He never wearied of celebrating God's abundant mercy and

   grace--but he was also fully persuaded that the vast majority of

   mankind are condemned to a wholly just and appalling damnation. He

   never denied the reality of human freedom and never allowed the excuse

   of human irresponsibility before God--but against all detractors of the

   primacy of God's grace, he vigorously insisted on both double

   predestination and irresistible grace.

 

   For all this the Catholic Church was fully justified in giving

   Augustine his aptest title, Doctor Gratiae. The central theme in all

   Augustine's writings is the sovereign God of grace and the sovereign

   grace of God. Grace, for Augustine, is God's freedom to act without any

   external necessity whatsoever--to act in love beyond human

   understanding or control; to act in creation, judgment, and redemption;

   to give his Son freely as Mediator and Redeemer; to endue the Church

   with the indwelling power and guidance of the Holy Spirit; to shape the

   destinies of all creation and the ends of the two human societies, the

   "city of earth" and the "city of God." Grace is God's unmerited love

   and favor, prevenient and occurrent. It touches man's inmost heart and

   will. It guides and impels the pilgrimage of those called to be

   faithful. It draws and raises the soul to repentance, faith, and

   praise. It transforms the human will so that it is capable of doing

   good. It relieves man's religious anxiety by forgiveness and the gift

   of hope. It establishes the ground of Christian humility by abolishing

   the ground of human pride. God's grace became incarnate in Jesus

   Christ, and it remains immanent in the Holy Spirit in the Church.

 

   Augustine had no system--but he did have a stable and coherent

   Christian outlook. Moreover, he had an unwearied, ardent concern: man's

   salvation from his hopeless plight, through the gracious action of

   God's redeeming love. To understand and interpret this was his one

   endeavor, and to this task he devoted his entire genius.

 

   He was, of course, by conscious intent and profession, a Christian

   theologian, a pastor and teacher in the Christian community. And yet it

   has come about that his contributions to the larger heritage of Western

   civilization are hardly less important than his services to the

   Christian Church. He was far and away the best--if not the very

   first--psychologist in the ancient world. His observations and

   descriptions of human motives and emotions, his depth analyses of will

   and thought in their interaction, and his exploration of the inner

   nature of the human self--these have established one of the main

   traditions in European conceptions of human nature, even down to our

   own time. Augustine is an essential source for both contemporary depth

   psychology and existentialist philosophy. His view of the shape and

   process of human history has been more influential than any other

   single source in the development of the Western tradition which regards

   political order as inextricably involved in moral order. His conception

   of a societasas a community identified and held together by its

   loyalties and love has become an integral part of the general tradition

   of Christian social teaching and the Christian vision of "Christendom."

   His metaphysical explorations of the problems of being, the character

   of evil, the relation of faith and knowledge, of will and reason, of

   time and eternity, of creation and cosmic order, have not ceased to

   animate and enrich various philosophic reflections throughout the

   succeeding centuries. At the same time the hallmark of the Augustinian

   philosophy is its insistent demand that reflective thought issue in

   practical consequence; no contemplation of the end of life suffices

   unless it discovers the means by which men are brought to their proper

   goals. In sum, Augustine is one of the very few men who simply cannot

   be ignored or depreciated in any estimate of Western civilization

   without serious distortion and impoverishment of one's historical and

   religious understanding.

 

   In the space of some forty-four years, from his conversion in Milan

   (A.D. 386) to his death in Hippo Regius (A.D. 430), Augustine

   wrote--mostly at dictation--a vast sprawling library of books, sermons,

   and letters, the remains of which (in the Benedictine edition of St.

   Maur) fill fourteen volumes as they are reprinted in Migne, Patrologiae

   cursus completus, Series Latina (Vols. 32-45). In his old age,

   Augustine reviewed his authorship (in the Retractations) and has left

   us a critical review of ninety-three of his works he judged most

   important. Even a cursory glance at them shows how enormous was his

   range of interest. Yet almost everything he wrote was in response to a

   specific problem or an actual crisis in the immediate situation. One

   may mark off significant developments in his thought over this twoscore

   years, but one can hardly miss the fundamental consistency in his

   entire life's work. He was never interested in writing a systematic

   summa theologica, and would have been incapable of producing a balanced

   digest of his multifaceted teaching. Thus, if he is to be read wisely,

   he must be read widely--and always in context, with due attention to

   the specific aim in view in each particular treatise.

 

   For the general reader who wishes to approach Augustine as directly as

   possible, however, it is a useful and fortunate thing that at the very

   beginning of his Christian ministry and then again at the very climax

   of it, Augustine set himself to focus his experience and thought into

   what were, for him, summings up. The result of the first effort is the

   Confessions, which is his most familiar and widely read work. The

   second is in the Enchiridion, written more than twenty years later. In

   the Confessions, he stands on the threshold of his career in the

   Church. In the Enchiridion, he stands forth as triumphant champion of

   orthodox Christianity. In these two works--the nearest equivalent to

   summation in the whole of the Augustinian corpus--we can find all his

   essential themes and can sample the characteristic flavor of his

   thought.

 

   Augustine was baptized by Ambrose at Milan during Eastertide, A.D. 387.

   A short time later his mother, Monica, died at Ostia on the journey

   back to Africa. A year later, Augustine was back in Roman Africa living

   in a monastery at Tagaste, his native town. In 391, he was ordained

   presbyter in the church of Hippo Regius (a small coastal town nearby).

   Here in 395--with grave misgivings on his own part (cf. Sermon CCCLV,

   2) and in actual violation of the eighth canon of Nicea (cf. Mansi,

   Sacrorum conciliorum, II, 671, and IV, 1167)--he was consecrated

   assistant bishop to the aged Valerius, whom he succeeded the following

   year. Shortly after he entered into his episcopal duties he began his

   Confessions, completing them probably in 398 (cf. De Labriolle, I, vi

   (see Bibliography), and di Capua, Miscellanea Agostiniana, II, 678).

 

   Augustine had a complex motive for undertaking such a self-analysis.

   [1] His pilgrimage of grace had led him to a most unexpected outcome.

   Now he felt a compelling need to retrace the crucial turnings of the

   way by which he had come. And since he was sure that it was God's grace

   that had been his prime mover on that way, it was a spontaneous

   expression of his heart that cast his self-recollection into the form

   of a sustained prayer to God.

 

   The Confessions are not Augustine's autobiography. They are, instead, a

   deliberate effort, in the permissive atmosphere of God's felt presence,

   to recall those crucial episodes and events in which he can now see and

   celebrate the mysterious actions of God's prevenient and provident

   grace. Thus he follows the windings of his memory as it re-presents the

   upheavals of his youth and the stages of his disorderly quest for

   wisdom. He omits very much indeed. Yet he builds his successive

   climaxes so skillfully that the denouement in Book VIII is a vivid and

   believable convergence of influences, reconstructed and "placed" with

   consummate dramatic skill. We see how Cicero's Hortensius first

   awakened his thirst for wisdom, how the Manicheans deluded him with

   their promise of true wisdom, and how the Academics upset his

   confidence in certain knowledge--how they loosed him from the dogmatism

   of the Manicheans only to confront him with the opposite threat that

   all knowledge is uncertain. He shows us (Bk. V, Ch. X, 19) that almost

   the sole cause of his intellectual perplexity in religion was his

   stubborn, materialistic prejudice that if God existed he had to exist

   in a body, and thus had to have extension, shape, and finite relation.

   He remembers how the "Platonists" rescued him from this "materialism"

   and taught him how to think of spiritual and immaterial reality--and so

   to become able to conceive of God in non-dualistic categories. We can

   follow him in his extraordinarily candid and plain report of his

   Plotinian ecstasy, and his momentary communion with the One (Book VII).

   The "Platonists" liberated him from error, but they could not loose him

   from the fetters of incontinence. Thus, with a divided will, he

   continues to seek a stable peace in the Christian faith while he

   stubbornly clings to his pride and appetence.

 

   In Book VIII, Augustine piles up a series of remembered incidents that

   inflamed his desire to imitate those who already seemed to have gained

   what he had so long been seeking. First of all, there had been Ambrose,

   who embodied for Augustine the dignity of Christian learning and the

   majesty of the authority of the Christian Scriptures. Then Simplicianus

   tells him the moving story of Victorinus (a more famous scholar than

   Augustine ever hoped to be), who finally came to the baptismal font in

   Milan as humbly as any other catechumen. Then, from Ponticianus he

   hears the story of Antony and about the increasing influence of the

   monastic calling. The story that stirs him most, perhaps, relates the

   dramatic conversion of the two "special agents of the imperial police"

   in the garden at Treves--two unlikely prospects snatched abruptly from

   their worldly ways to the monastic life.

 

   He makes it plain that these examples forced his own feelings to an

   intolerable tension. His intellectual perplexities had become resolved;

   the virtue of continence had been consciously preferred; there was a

   strong desire for the storms of his breast to be calmed; he longed to

   imitate these men who had done what he could not and who were enjoying

   the peace he longed for.

 

   But the old habits were still strong and he could not muster a full act

   of the whole will to strike them down. Then comes the scene in the

   Milanese garden which is an interesting parallel to Ponticianus' story

   about the garden at Treves. The long struggle is recapitulated in a

   brief moment; his will struggles against and within itself. The trivial

   distraction of a child's voice, chanting, "Tolle, lege," precipitates

   the resolution of the conflict. There is a radical shift in mood and

   will, he turns eagerly to the chance text in Rom. 13:13--and a new

   spirit rises in his heart.

 

   After this radical change, there was only one more past event that had

   to be relived before his personal history could be seen in its right

   perspective. This was the death of his mother and the severance of his

   strongest earthly tie. Book IX tells us this story. The climactic

   moment in it is, of course, the vision at Ostia where mother and son

   are uplifted in an ecstasy that parallels--but also differs

   significantly from--the Plotinian vision of Book VII. After this, the

   mother dies and the son who had loved her almost too much goes on

   alone, now upheld and led by a greater and a wiser love.

 

   We can observe two separate stages in Augustine's "conversion." The

   first was the dramatic striking off of the slavery of incontinence and

   pride which had so long held him from decisive commitment to the

   Christian faith. The second was the development of an adequate

   understanding of the Christian faith itself and his baptismal

   confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The former was achieved

   in the Milanese garden. The latter came more slowly and had no

   "dramatic moment." The dialogues that Augustine wrote at Cassiciacum

   the year following his conversion show few substantial signs of a

   theological understanding, decisively or distinctively Christian. But

   by the time of his ordination to the presbyterate we can see the basic

   lines of a comprehensive and orthodox theology firmly laid out.

   Augustine neglects to tell us (in 398) what had happened in his thought

   between 385 and 391. He had other questions, more interesting to him,

   with which to wrestle.

 

   One does not read far in the Confessions before he recognizes that the

   term "confess" has a double range of meaning. On the one hand, it

   obviously refers to the free acknowledgment, before God, of the truth

   one knows about oneself--and this obviously meant, for Augustine, the

   "confession of sins." But, at the same time, and more importantly,

   confiteri means to acknowledge, to God, the truth one knows about God.

   To confess, then, is to praise and glorify God; it is an exercise in

   self-knowledge and true humility in the atmosphere of grace and

   reconciliation.

 

   Thus the Confessions are by no means complete when the personal history

   is concluded at the end of Book IX. There are two more closely related

   problems to be explored: First, how does the finite self find the

   infinite God (or, how is it found of him?)? And, secondly, how may we

   interpret God's action in producing this created world in which such

   personal histories and revelations do occur? Book X, therefore, is an

   exploration of man's way to God, a way which begins in sense experience

   but swiftly passes beyond it, through and beyond the awesome mystery of

   memory, to the ineffable encounter between God and the soul in man's

   inmost subject-self. But such a journey is not complete until the

   process is reversed and man has looked as deeply as may be into the

   mystery of creation, on which all our history and experience depend. In

   Book XI, therefore, we discover why time is such a problem and how "In

   the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" is the basic

   formula of a massive Christian metaphysical world view. In Books XII

   and XIII, Augustine elaborates, in loving patience and with

   considerable allegorical license, the mysteries of creation--exegeting

   the first chapter of Genesis, verse by verse, until he is able to

   relate the whole round of creation to the point where we can view the

   drama of God's enterprise in human history on the vast stage of the

   cosmos itself. The Creator is the Redeemer! Man's end and the beginning

   meet at a single point!

 

   The Enchiridion is a briefer treatise on the grace of God and

   represents Augustine's fully matured theological perspective--after the

   magnificent achievements of the De Trinitate and the greater part of

   the De civitate Dei, and after the tremendous turmoil of the Pelagian

   controversy in which the doctrine of grace was the exact epicenter.

   Sometime in 421, Augustine received a request from one Laurentius, a

   Christian layman who was the brother of the tribune Dulcitius (for whom

   Augustine wrote the De octo dulcitii quaestionibus in 423-425). This

   Laurentius wanted a handbook (enchiridion) that would sum up the

   essential Christian teaching in the briefest possible form. Augustine

   dryly comments that the shortest complete summary of the Christian

   faith is that God is to be served by man in faith, hope, and love.

   Then, acknowledging that this answer might indeed be too brief, he

   proceeds to expand it in an essay in which he tries unsuccessfully to

   subdue his natural digressive manner by imposing on it a patently

   artificial schematism. Despite its awkward form, however, the

   Enchiridion is one of the most important of all of Augustine's

   writings, for it is a conscious effort of the theological magistrate of

   the Western Church to stand on final ground of testimony to the

   Christian truth.

 

   For his framework, Augustine chooses the Apostles' Creed and the Lord's

   Prayer. The treatise begins, naturally enough, with a discussion of

   God's work in creation. Augustine makes a firm distinction between the

   comparatively unimportant knowledge of nature and the supremely

   important acknowledgment of the Creator of nature. But creation lies

   under the shadow of sin and evil and Augustine reviews his famous (and

   borrowed!) doctrine of the privative character of evil. From this he

   digresses into an extended comment on error and lying as special

   instances of evil. He then returns to the hopeless case of fallen man,

   to which God's wholly unmerited grace has responded in the incarnation

   of the Mediator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The questions about the

   appropriation of God's grace lead naturally to a discussion of baptism

   and justification, and beyond these, to the Holy Spirit and the Church.

   Augustine then sets forth the benefits of redeeming grace and weighs

   the balance between faith and good works in the forgiven sinner. But

   redemption looks forward toward resurrection, and Augustine feels he

   must devote a good deal of energy and subtle speculation to the

   questions about the manner and mode of the life everlasting. From this

   he moves on to the problem of the destiny of the wicked and the mystery

   of predestination. Nor does he shrink from these grim topics; indeed,

   he actually expands some of his most rigid ideas of God's ruthless

   justice toward the damned. Having thus treated the Christian faith and

   Christian hope, he turns in a too-brief concluding section to the

   virtue of Christian love as the heart of the Christian life. This,

   then, is the "handbook" on faith, hope, and love which he hopes

   Laurence will put to use and not leave as "baggage on his bookshelf."

 

   Taken together, the Confessions and the Enchiridion give us two very

   important vantage points from which to view the Augustinian perspective

   as a whole, since they represent both his early and his mature

   formulation. From them, we can gain a competent--though by no means

   complete--introduction to the heart and mind of this great Christian

   saint and sage. There are important differences between the two works,

   and these ought to be noted by the careful reader. But all the main

   themes of Augustinian Christianity appear in them, and through them we

   can penetrate to its inner dynamic core.

 

   There is no need to justify a new English translation of these books,

   even though many good ones already exist. Every translation is, at

   best, only an approximation--and an interpretation too. There is small

   hope for a translation to end all translations. Augustine's Latin is,

   for the most part, comparatively easy to read. One feels directly the

   force of his constant wordplay, the artful balancing of his clauses,

   his laconic use of parataxis, and his deliberate involutions of thought

   and word order. He was always a Latin rhetor; artifice of style had

   come to be second nature with him--even though the Latin scriptures

   were powerful modifiers of his classical literary patterns. But it is a

   very tricky business to convey such a Latin style into anything like

   modern English without considerable violence one way or the other. A

   literal rendering of the text is simply not readable English. And this

   falsifies the text in another way, for Augustine's Latin is eminently

   readable! On the other side, when one resorts to the unavoidable

   paraphrase there is always the open question as to the point beyond

   which the thought itself is being recast. It has been my aim and hope

   that these translations will give the reader an accurate medium of

   contact with Augustine's temper and mode of argumentation. There has

   been no thought of trying to contrive an English equivalent for his

   style. If Augustine's ideas come through this translation with positive

   force and clarity, there can be no serious reproach if it is neither as

   eloquent nor as elegant as Augustine in his own language. In any case,

   those who will compare this translation with the others will get at

   least a faint notion of how complex and truly brilliant the original

   is!

 

   The sensitive reader soon recognizes that Augustine will not willingly

   be inspected from a distance or by a neutral observer. In all his

   writings there is a strong concern and moving power to involve his

   reader in his own process of inquiry and perplexity. There is a

   manifest eagerness to have him share in his own flashes of insight and

   his sudden glimpses of God's glory. Augustine's style is deeply

   personal; it is therefore idiomatic, and often colloquial. Even in his

   knottiest arguments, or in the labyrinyours mazes of his allegorizing

   (e.g., Confessions, Bk. XIII, or Enchiridion, XVIII), he seeks to

   maintain contact with his reader in genuine respect and openness. He is

   never content to seek and find the truth in solitude. He must enlist

   his fellows in seeing and applying the truth as given. He is never the

   blind fideist; even in the face of mystery, there is a constant

   reliance on the limited but real powers of human reason, and a constant

   striving for clarity and intelligibility. In this sense, he was a

   consistent follower of his own principle of "Christian Socratism,"

   developed in the De Magistro and the De catechezandis rudibus.

 

   Even the best of Augustine's writing bears the marks of his own time

   and there is much in these old books that is of little interest to any

   but the specialist. There are many stones of stumbling in them for the

   modern secularist--and even for the modern Christian! Despite all this,

   it is impossible to read him with any attention at all without

   recognizing how his genius and his piety burst through the limitations

   of his times and his language--and even his English translations! He

   grips our hearts and minds and enlists us in the great enterprise to

   which his whole life was devoted: the search for and the celebration of

   God's grace and glory by which his faithful children are sustained and

   guided in their pilgrimage toward the true Light of us all.

 

   The most useful critical text of the Confessions is that of Pierre de

   Labriolle (fifth edition, Paris, 1950). I have collated this with the

   other major critical editions: Martin Skutella, S. Aureli Augustini

   Confessionum Libri Tredecim (Leipzig, 1934)--itself a recension of the

   Corpus Scriptorum ecclesiasticorum Latinorum XXXIII text of Pius Knoll

   (Vienna, 1896)--and the second edition of John Gibb and William

   Montgomery (Cambridge, 1927).

 

   There are two good critical texts of the Enchiridion and I have

   collated them: Otto Scheel, Augustins Enchiridion (zweite Auflage,

   Tubingen, 1930), and Jean Riviere, Enchiridion in the Bibliothoque

   Augustinienne, OEuvres de S. Augustin, premiere serie: Opuscules, IX:

   Exposis ganaraux de la foi (Paris, 1947).

   It remains for me to express my appreciation to the General Editors of

   this Library for their constructive help; to Professor Hollis W.

   Huston, who read the entire manuscript and made many valuable

   suggestions; and to Professor William A. Irwin, who greatly aided with

   parts of the Enchiridion. These men share the credit for preventing

   many flaws, but naturally no responsibility for those remaining.

   Professors Raymond P. Morris, of the Yale Divinity School Library;

   Robert Beach, of the Union Theological Seminary Library; and Decherd

   Turner, of our Bridwell Library here at Southern Methodist University,

   were especially generous in their bibliographical assistance. Last, but

   not least, Mrs. Hollis W. Huston and my wife, between them, managed the

   difficult task of putting the results of this project into fair copy.

   To them all I am most grateful.

     __________________________________________________________________

 

   [1] He had no models before him, for such earlier writings as the

   Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and the autobiographical sections in

   Hilary of Poitiers and Cyprian of Carthage have only to be compared

   with the Confessions to see how different they are.

     __________________________________________________________________

 

  


 

       AUGUSTINE'S TESTIMONY CONCERNING

 

 

                           THE CONFESSIONS

 

 

 

   I. The Retractations, II, 6 (A.D. 427)

 

   1. My Confessions, in thirteen books, praise the righteous and good God

   as they speak either of my evil or good, and they are meant to excite

   men's minds and affections toward him. At least as far as I am

   concerned, this is what they did for me when they were being written

   and they still do this when read. What some people think of them is

   their own affair [ipse viderint]; but I do know that they have given

   pleasure to many of my brethren and still do so. The first through the

   tenth books were written about myself; the other three about Holy

   Scripture, from what is written there, In the beginning God created the

   heaven and the earth, [2] even as far as the reference to the Sabbath

   rest. [3]

 

   2. In Book IV, when I confessed my soul's misery over the death of a

   friend and said that our soul had somehow been made one out of two

   souls, "But it may have been that I was afraid to die, lest he should

   then die wholly whom I had so greatly loved" (Ch. VI, 11)--this now

   seems to be more a trivial declamation than a serious confession,

   although this inept expression may be tempered somewhat by the "may

   have been" [forte] Which I added. And in Book XIII what I said--"The

   firmament was made between the higher waters (and superior) and the

   lower (and inferior) waters"--was said without sufficient thought. In

   any case, the matter is very obscure.

 

   This work begins thus: "Great are you, O Lord."

 

   II. De Dono Perseverantiae, XX, 53 (A.D. 428)

 

   Which of my shorter works has been more widely known or given greater

   pleasure than the [thirteen] books of my Confessions? And, although I

   published them long before the Pelagian heresy had even begun to be, it

   is plain that in them I said to my God, again and again, "Give what

   you command and command what you will." When these words of mine

   were repeated in Pelagius' presence at Rome by a certain brother of

   mine (an episcopal colleague), he could not bear them and contradicted

   him so excitedly that they nearly came to a quarrel. Now what, indeed,

   does God command, first and foremost, except that we believe in him?

   This faith, therefore, he himself gives; so that it is well said to

   him, "Give what you command." Moreover, in those same books,

   concerning my account of my conversion when God turned me to that faith

   I was laying waste with a very wretched and wild verbal assault, [4] do

   you not remember how the narration shows that I was given as a gift to

   the faithful and daily tears of my mother, who had been promised that I

   should not perish? I certainly declared there that God by his grace

   turns men's wills to the true faith when they are not only averse to

   it, but actually adverse. As for the other ways in which I sought God's

   aid in my growth in perseverance, you either know or can review them as

   you wish (PL, 45, c. 1025).

 

   III. Letter to Darius (A.D. 429)

 

   Thus, my son, take the books of my Confessions and use them as a good

   man should--not superficially, but as a Christian in Christian charity.

   Here see me as I am and do not praise me for more than I am. Here

   believe nothing else about me than my own testimony. Here observe what

   I have been in myself and through myself. And if something in me

   pleases you, here praise Him with me--Him whom I desire to be praised

   on my account and not myself. "For it is he that has made us and not

   we ourselves." [5] Indeed, we were ourselves quite lost; but He who

   made us, remade us [sed qui fecit, refecit]. As, then, you find me in

   these pages, pray for me that I shall not fail but that I may go on to

   be perfected. Pray for me, my son, pray for me! (Epist. CCXXXI, PL, 33,

   c. 1025).

     __________________________________________________________________

Notes on The Retractations

   [2] Gen. 1:1.

   [3] Gen. 2:2.

   [4] Notice the echo here of Acts 9:1.

   [5] Ps. 100:3.    __________________________________________________________________

 

 

  


 

  The Confessions of Saint Augustine

 

 

                             BOOK ONE

 

   In God's searching presence, Augustine undertakes to plumb the depths

   of his memory to trace the mysterious pilgrimage of grace which his

   life has been--and to praise God for his constant and omnipotent grace.

   In a mood of sustained prayer, he recalls what he can of his infancy,

   his learning to speak, and his childhood experiences in school. He

   concludes with a paean of grateful praise to God.

 

  CHAPTER I

 

   1. "Great art you, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is your

   power, and infinite is your wisdom." [6] And man desires to praise you,

   for he is a part of your creation; he bears his mortality about with him

   and carries the evidence of his sin and the proof that you do resist

   the proud. Still he desires to praise you, this man who is only a

   small part of your creation. You have prompted him, that he should

   delight to praise you, for you have made us for yourself and restless

   is our heart until it comes to rest in you. Grant me, O Lord, to know

   and understand whether first to invoke you or to praise you; whether

   first to know you or call upon you. But who can invoke you, knowing

   you not? For he who knows you not may invoke you as another than

   you art. It may be that we should invoke you in order that we may

   come to know you. But "how shall they call on him in whom they have

   not believed? Or how shall they believe without a preacher?" [7] Now,

   "they shall praise the Lord who seek him," [8] for "those who seek

   shall find him," [9] and, finding him, shall praise him. I will seek

   you, O Lord, and call upon you. I call upon you, O Lord, in my faith

   which you have given me, which you have inspired in me through the

   humanity of your Son, and through the ministry of your preacher. [10]

 

   


 

CHAPTER II

 

   2. And how shall I call upon my God--my God and my Lord? For when I

   call on him I ask him to come into me. And what place is there in me

   into which my God can come? How could God, the God who made both heaven

   and earth, come into me? Is there anything in me, O Lord my God, that

   can contain you? Do even the heaven and the earth, which you have

   made, and in which you didst make me, contain you? Is it possible

   that, since without you nothing would be which does exist, you didst

   make it so that whatever exists has some capacity to receive you? Why,

   then, do I ask you to come into me, since I also am and could not be

   if you wert not in me? For I am not, after all, in hell--and yet you

   art there too, for "if I go down into hell, you art there." [11]

   Therefore I would not exist--I would simply not be at all--unless I

   exist in you, from whom and by whom and in whom all things are. Even

   so, Lord; even so. Where do I call you to, when I am already in you?

   Or from whence wouldst you come into me? Where, beyond heaven and

   earth, could I go that there my God might come to me--he who hath said,

   "I fill heaven and earth"? [12]

 

   CHAPTER III

 

   3. Since, then, you dost fill the heaven and earth, do they contain

   you? Or, dost you fill and overflow them, because they cannot contain

   you? And where dost you pour out what remains of you after heaven

   and earth are full? Or, indeed, is there no need that you, who dost

   contain all things, should be contained by any, since those things

   which you dost fill you fill by containing them? For the vessels

   which you dost fill do not confine you, since even if they were

   broken, you wouldst not be poured out. And, when you art poured out

   on us, you art not thereby brought down; rather, we are uplifted. You

   art not scattered; rather, you dost gather us together. But when you

   dost fill all things, dost you fill them with your whole being? Or,

   since not even all things together could contain you altogether, does

   any one thing contain a single part, and do all things contain that

   same part at the same time? Do singulars contain you singly? Do

   greater things contain more of you, and smaller things less? Or, is it

   not rather that you art wholly present everywhere, yet in such a way

   that nothing contains you wholly?

 

 


 

CHAPTER IV

 

   4. What, therefore, is my God? What, I ask, but the Lord God? "For who

   is Lord but the Lord himself, or who is God besides our God?" [13] Most

   high, most excellent, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful and

   most just; most secret and most truly present; most beautiful and most

   strong; stable, yet not supported; unchangeable, yet changing all

   things; never new, never old; making all things new, yet bringing old

   age upon the proud, and they know it not; always working, ever at rest;

   gathering, yet needing nothing; sustaining, pervading, and protecting;

   creating, nourishing, and developing; seeking, and yet possessing all

   things. You dost love, but without passion; art jealous, yet free from

   care; dost repent without remorse; art angry, yet remain serene.

   You change your ways, leaving your plans unchanged; you recover

   what you have never really lost. You art never in need but still you

   dost rejoice at your gains; art never greedy, yet demand dividends.

   Men pay more than is required so that you dost become a debtor; yet

   who can possess anything at all which is not already yours? You owe

   men nothing, yet pay out to them as if in debt to your creature, and

   when you dost cancel debts you loose nothing thereby. Yet, O my God,

   my life, my holy Joy, what is this that I have said? What can any man

   say when he speaks of you? But woe to them that keep silence--since

   even those who say most are dumb.

 

 


 

CHAPTER V

 

   5. Who shall bring me to rest in you? Who will send you into my heart

   so to overwhelm it that my sins shall be blotted out and I may embrace

   you, my only good? What are you to me? Have mercy that I may speak.

   What am I to you that you should command me to love you, and if I

   do it not, art angry and threaten vast misery? Is it, then, a

   trifling sorrow not to love you? It is not so to me. Tell me, by your

   mercy, O Lord, my God, what you art to me. "Say to my soul, I am your

   salvation." [14] So speak that I may hear. Behold, the ears of my heart

   are before you, O Lord; open them and "say to my soul, I am your

   salvation." I will have after that voice, and I will lay hold upon

   you. Hide not your face from me. Even if I die, let me see your face

   lest I die.

 

   6. The house of my soul is too narrow for you to come in to me; let it

   be enlarged by you. It is in ruins; do you restore it. There is much

   about it which must offend your eyes; I confess and know it. But who

   will cleanse it? Or, to whom shall I cry but to you? "Cleanse you me

   from my secret faults," O Lord, "and keep back your servant from strange

   sins." [15] "I believe, and therefore do I speak." [16] But you, O

   Lord, you know. Have I not confessed my transgressions unto you, O

   my God; and have you not put away the iniquity of my heart? [17] I do

   not contend in judgment with you, [18] who art truth itself; and I

   would not deceive myself, lest my iniquity lie even to itself. I do

   not, therefore, contend in judgment with you, for "if you, Lord,

   should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" [19]

 


 

CHAPTER VI

 

   7. Still, dust and ashes as I am, allow me to speak before your mercy.

   Allow me to speak, for, behold, it is to your mercy that I speak and not

   to a man who scorns me. Yet perhaps even you might scorn me; but

   when you dost turn and attend to me, you will have mercy upon me. For

   what do I wish to say, O Lord my God, but that I know not whence I came

   hither into this life-in-death. Or should I call it death-in-life? I do

   not know. And yet the consolations of your mercy have sustained me from

   the very beginning, as I have heard from my fleshly parents, from whom

   and in whom you didst form me in time--for I cannot myself remember.

   Thus even though they sustained me by the consolation of woman's milk,

   neither my mother nor my nurses filled their own breasts but you,

   through them, didst give me the food of infancy according to your

   ordinance and your bounty which underlie all things. For it was you who

   didst cause me not to want more than you gave and it was you who

   gave to those who nourished me the will to give me what you didst

   give them. And they, by an instinctive affection, were willing to give

   me what you had supplied abundantly. It was, indeed, good for them

   that my good should come through them, though, in truth, it was not

   from them but by them. For it is from you, O God, that all good things

   come--and from my God is all my health. This is what I have since

   learned, as you have made it abundantly clear by all that I have seen

   you give, both to me and to those around me. For even at the very

   first I knew how to suck, to lie quiet when I was full, and to cry when

   in pain--nothing more.

 

   8. Afterward I began to laugh--at first in my sleep, then when waking.

   For this I have been told about myself and I believe it--though I

   cannot remember it--for I see the same things in other infants. Then,

   little by little, I realized where I was and wished to tell my wishes

   to those who might satisfy them, but I could not! For my wants were

   inside me, and they were outside, and they could not by any power of

   theirs come into my soul. And so I would fling my arms and legs about

   and cry, making the few and feeble gestures that I could, though indeed

   the signs were not much like what I inwardly desired and when I was not

   satisfied--either from not being understood or because what I got was

   not good for me--I grew indignant that my elders were not subject to me

   and that those on whom I actually had no claim did not wait on me as

   slaves--and I avenged myself on them by crying. That infants are like

   this, I have myself been able to learn by watching them; and they,

   though they knew me not, have shown me better what I was like than my

   own nurses who knew me.

 

   9. And, behold, my infancy died long ago, but I am still living. But

   you, O Lord, whose life is forever and in whom nothing dies--since

   before the world was, indeed, before all that can be called "before,"

   you were, and you art the God and Lord of all your creatures; and with

   you abide all the stable causes of all unstable things, the unchanging

   sources of all changeable things, and the eternal reasons of all

   non-rational and temporal things--tell me, your suppliant, O God, tell

   me, O merciful One, in pity tell a pitiful creature whether my infancy

   followed yet an earlier age of my life that had already passed away

   before it. Was it such another age which I spent in my mother's womb?

   For something of that sort has been suggested to me, and I have myself

   seen pregnant women. But what, O God, my Joy, preceded that period of

   life? Was I, indeed, anywhere, or anybody? No one can explain these

   things to me, neither father nor mother, nor the experience of others,

   nor my own memory. Dost you laugh at me for asking such things? Or

   dost you command me to praise and confess unto you only what I know?

 

   10. I give thanks to you, O Lord of heaven and earth, giving praise to

   you for that first being and my infancy of which I have no memory. For

   you have granted to man that he should come to self-knowledge through

   the knowledge of others, and that he should believe many things about

   himself on the authority of the womenfolk. Now, clearly, I had life and

   being; and, as my infancy closed, I was already learning signs by which

   my feelings could be communicated to others.

 

   Whence could such a creature come but from you, O Lord? Is any man

   skillful enough to have fashioned himself? Or is there any other source

   from which being and life could flow into us, save this, that you, O

   Lord, have made us--you with whom being and life are one, since you

   yourself art supreme being and supreme life both together. For you art

   infinite and in you there is no change, nor an end to this present

   day--although there is a sense in which it ends in you since all

   things are in you and there would be no such thing as days passing

   away unless you didst sustain them. And since "your years shall have no

   end," [20] your years are an ever-present day. And how many of ours and

   our fathers' days have passed through this your day and have received

   from it what measure and fashion of being they had? And all the days to

   come shall so receive and so pass away. "But you art the same"! [21]

   And all the things of tomorrow and the days yet to come, and all of

   yesterday and the days that are past, you will gather into this your

   day. What is it to me if someone does not understand this? Let him

   still rejoice and continue to ask, "What is this?" Let him also rejoice

   and prefer to seek you, even if he fails to find an answer, rather

   than to seek an answer and not find you!

 

 


 

CHAPTER VII

 

   11. "Hear me, O God! Woe to the sins of men!" When a man cries thus,

   you show him mercy, for you didst create the man but not the sin

   in him. Who brings to remembrance the sins of my infancy? For in your

   sight there is none free from sin, not even the infant who has lived

   but a day upon this earth. Who brings this to my remembrance? Does not

   each little one, in whom I now observe what I no longer remember of

   myself? In what ways, in that time, did I sin? Was it that I cried for

   the breast? If I should now so cry--not indeed for the breast, but for

   food suitable to my condition--I should be most justly laughed at and

   rebuked. What I did then deserved rebuke but, since I could not

   understand those who rebuked me, neither custom nor common sense

   permitted me to be rebuked. As we grow we root out and cast away from

   us such childish habits. Yet I have not seen anyone who is wise who

   cast away the good when trying to purge the bad. Nor was it good, even

   in that time, to strive to get by crying what, if it had been given me,

   would have been hurtful; or to be bitterly indignant at those who,

   because they were older--not slaves, either, but free--and wiser than

   I, would not indulge my capricious desires. Was it a good thing for me

   to try, by struggling as hard as I could, to harm them for not obeying

   me, even when it would have done me harm to have been obeyed? Thus, the

   infant's innocence lies in the weakness of his body and not in the

   infant mind. I have myself observed a baby to be jealous, though it

   could not speak; it was livid as it watched another infant at the

   breast.

 

   Who is ignorant of this? Mothers and nurses tell us that they cure

   these things by I know not what remedies. But is this innocence, when

   the fountain of milk is flowing fresh and abundant, that another who

   needs it should not be allowed to share it, even though he requires

   such nourishment to sustain his life? Yet we look leniently on such

   things, not because they are not faults, or even small faults, but

   because they will vanish as the years pass. For, although we allow for

   such things in an infant, the same things could not be tolerated

   patiently in an adult.

 

   12. Therefore, O Lord my God, you who gave life to the infant, and a

   body which, as we see, you have furnished with senses, shaped with

   limbs, beautified with form, and endowed with all vital energies for

   its well-being and health--you dost command me to praise you for

   these things, to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praise unto his

   name, O Most High. [22] For you art God, omnipotent and good, even if

   you had done no more than these things, which no other but you

   canst do--you alone who made all things fair and didst order

   everything according to your law.

 

   I am loath to dwell on this part of my life of which, O Lord, I have no

   remembrance, about which I must trust the word of others and what I can

   surmise from observing other infants, even if such guesses are

   trustworthy. For it lies in the deep murk of my forgetfulness and thus

   is like the period which I passed in my mother's womb. But if "I was

   conceived in iniquity, and in sin my mother nourished me in her womb,"

   [23] where, I pray you, O my God, where, O Lord, or when was I, your

   servant, ever innocent? But see now, I pass over that period, for what

   have I to do with a time from which I can recall no memories?

 

 


 

CHAPTER VIII

 

   13. Did I not, then, as I grew out of infancy, come next to boyhood, or

   rather did it not come to me and succeed my infancy? My infancy did not

   go away (for where would it go?). It was simply no longer present; and

   I was no longer an infant who could not speak, but now a chattering

   boy. I remember this, and I have since observed how I learned to speak.

   My elders did not teach me words by rote, as they taught me my letters

   afterward. But I myself, when I was unable to communicate all I wished

   to say to whomever I wished by means of whimperings and grunts and

   various gestures of my limbs (which I used to reinforce my demands), I

   myself repeated the sounds already stored in my memory by the mind

   which you, O my God, had given me. When they called something by

   name and pointed it out while they spoke, I saw it and realized that

   the thing they wished to indicate was called by the name they then

   uttered. And what they meant was made plain by the gestures of their

   bodies, by a kind of natural language, common to all nations, which

   expresses itself through changes of countenance, glances of the eye,

   gestures and intonations which indicate a disposition and

   attitude--either to seek or to possess, to reject or to avoid. So it

   was that by frequently hearing words, in different phrases, I gradually

   identified the objects which the words stood for and, having formed my

   mouth to repeat these signs, I was thereby able to express my will.

   Thus I exchanged with those about me the verbal signs by which we

   express our wishes and advanced deeper into the stormy fellowship of

   human life, depending all the while upon the authority of my parents

   and the behest of my elders.

 

  


 

CHAPTER IX

 

   14. O my God! What miseries and mockeries did I then experience when it

   was impressed on me that obedience to my teachers was proper to my

   boyhood estate if I was to flourish in this world and distinguish

   myself in those tricks of speech which would gain honor for me among

   men, and deceitful riches! To this end I was sent to school to get

   learning, the value of which I knew not--wretch that I was. Yet if I

   was slow to learn, I was flogged. For this was deemed praiseworthy by

   our forefathers and many had passed before us in the same course, and

   thus had built up the precedent for the sorrowful road on which we too

   were compelled to travel, multiplying labor and sorrow upon the sons of

   Adam. About this time, O Lord, I observed men praying to you, and I

   learned from them to conceive you--after my capacity for understanding

   as it was then--to be some great Being, who, though not visible to our

   senses, was able to hear and help us. Thus as a boy I began to pray to

   you, my Help and my Refuge, and, in calling on you, broke the bands

   of my tongue. Small as I was, I prayed with no slight earnestness that

   I might not be beaten at school. And when you didst not heed me--for

   that would have been giving me over to my folly--my elders and even my

   parents too, who wished me no ill, treated my stripes as a joke, though

   they were then a great and grievous ill to me.

 

   15. Is there anyone, O Lord, with a spirit so great, who cleaves to

   you with such steadfast affection (or is there even a kind of

   obtuseness that has the same effect)--is there any man who, by cleaving

   devoutly to you, is endowed with so great a courage that he can regard

   indifferently those racks and hooks and other torture weapons from

   which men throughout the world pray so fervently to be spared; and can

   they scorn those who so greatly fear these torments, just as my parents

   were amused at the torments with which our teachers punished us boys?

   For we were no less afraid of our pains, nor did we beseech you less

   to escape them. Yet, even so, we were sinning by writing or reading or

   studying less than our assigned lessons.

 

   For I did not, O Lord, lack memory or capacity, for, by your will, I

   possessed enough for my age. However, my mind was absorbed only in

   play, and I was punished for this by those who were doing the same

   things themselves. But the idling of our elders is called business; the

   idling of boys, though quite like it, is punished by those same elders,

   and no one pities either the boys or the men. For will any common sense

   observer agree that I was rightly punished as a boy for playing

   ball--just because this hindered me from learning more quickly those

   lessons by means of which, as a man, I could play at more shameful

   games? And did he by whom I was beaten do anything different? When he

   was worsted in some small controversy with a fellow teacher, he was

   more tormented by anger and envy than I was when beaten by a playmate

   in the ball game.

 

  


 

CHAPTER X

 

   16. And yet I sinned, O Lord my God, you ruler and creator of all

   natural things--but of sins only the ruler--I sinned, O Lord my God, in

   acting against the precepts of my parents and of those teachers. For

   this learning which they wished me to acquire--no matter what their

   motives were--I might have put to good account afterward. I disobeyed

   them, not because I had chosen a better way, but from a sheer love of

   play. I loved the vanity of victory, and I loved to have my ears

   tickled with lying fables, which made them itch even more ardently, and

   a similar curiosity glowed more and more in my eyes for the shows and

   sports of my elders. Yet those who put on such shows are held in such

   high repute that almost all desire the same for their children. They

   are therefore willing to have them beaten, if their childhood games

   keep them from the studies by which their parents desire them to grow

   up to be able to give such shows. Look down on these things with mercy,

   O Lord, and deliver us who now call upon you; deliver those also who

   do not call upon you, that they may call upon you, and you may

   deliver them.

 

  


 

CHAPTER XI

 

   17. Even as a boy I had heard of eternal life promised to us through

   the humility of the Lord our God, who came down to visit us in our

   pride, and I was signed with the sign of his cross, and was seasoned

   with his salt even from the womb of my mother, who greatly trusted in

   you. You didst see, O Lord, how, once, while I was still a child, I

   was suddenly seized with stomach pains and was at the point of

   death--you didst see, O my God, for even then you were my keeper,

   with what agitation and with what faith I solicited from the piety of

   my mother and from your Church (which is the mother of us all) the

   baptism of your Christ, my Lord and my God. The mother of my flesh was

   much perplexed, for, with a heart pure in your faith, she was always in

   deep travail for my eternal salvation. If I had not quickly recovered,

   she would have provided forthwith for my initiation and washing by your

   life-giving sacraments, confessing you, O Lord Jesus, for the

   forgiveness of sins. So my cleansing was deferred, as if it were

   inevitable that, if I should live, I would be further polluted; and,

   further, because the guilt contracted by sin after baptism would be

   still greater and more perilous.

 

   Thus, at that time, I "believed" along with my mother and the whole

   household, except my father. But he did not overcome the influence of

   my mother's piety in me, nor did he prevent my believing in Christ,

   although he had not yet believed in him. For it was her desire, O my

   God, that I should acknowledge you as my Father rather than him. In

   this you didst aid her to overcome her husband, to whom, though his

   superior, she yielded obedience. In this way she also yielded obedience

   to you, who dost so command.

 

   18. I ask you, O my God, for I would gladly know if it be your will, to

   what good end my baptism was deferred at that time? Was it indeed for

   my good that the reins were slackened, as it were, to encourage me in

   sin? Or, were they not slackened? If not, then why is it still dinned

   into our ears on all sides, "Let him alone, let him do as he pleases,

   for he is not yet baptized"? In the matter of bodily health, no one

   says, "Let him alone; let him be worse wounded; for he is not yet

   cured"! How much better, then, would it have been for me to have been

   cured at once--and if thereafter, through the diligent care of friends

   and myself, my soul's restored health had been kept safe in your

   keeping, who gave it in the first place! This would have been far

   better, in truth. But how many and great the waves of temptation which

   appeared to hang over me as I grew out of childhood! These were

   foreseen by my mother, and she preferred that the unformed clay should

   be risked to them rather than the clay molded after Christ's image.

   [24]

 

  


 

CHAPTER XII

 

   19. But in this time of childhood--which was far less dreaded for me

   than my adolescence--I had no love of learning, and hated to be driven

   to it. Yet I was driven to it just the same, and good was done for me,

   even though I did not do it well, for I would not have learned if I had

   not been forced to it. For no man does well against his will, even if

   what he does is a good thing. Neither did they who forced me do well,

   but the good that was done me came from you, my God. For they did not

   care about the way in which I would use what they forced me to learn,

   and took it for granted that it was to satisfy the inordinate desires

   of a rich beggary and a shameful glory. But you, Lord, by whom the

   hairs of our head are numbered, didst use for my good the error of all

   who pushed me on to study: but my error in not being willing to learn

   you didst use for my punishment. And I--though so small a boy yet so

   great a sinner--was not punished without warrant. Thus by the

   instrumentality of those who did not do well, you didst well for me;

   and by my own sin you didst justly punish me. For it is even as you

   have ordained: that every inordinate affection brings on its own

   punishment.

 

   CHAPTER XIII

 

   20. But what were the causes for my strong dislike of Greek literature,

   which I studied from my boyhood? Even to this day I have not fully

   understood them. For Latin I loved exceedingly--not just the rudiments,

   but what the grammarians teach. For those beginner's lessons in

   reading, writing, and reckoning, I considered no less a burden and pain

   than Greek. Yet whence came this, unless from the sin and vanity of

   this life? For I was "but flesh, a wind that passes away and cometh

   not again." [25] Those first lessons were better, assuredly, because

   they were more certain, and through them I acquired, and still retain,

   the power of reading what I find written and of writing for myself what

   I will. In the other subjects, however, I was compelled to learn about

   the wanderings of a certain Aeneas, oblivious of my own wanderings, and

   to weep for Dido dead, who slew herself for love. And all this while I

   bore with dry eyes my own wretched self-dying to you, O God, my life,

   in the midst of these things.

 

   21. For what can be more wretched than the wretch who has no pity upon

   himself, who sheds tears over Dido, dead for the love of Aeneas, but

   who sheds no tears for his own death in not loving you, O God, light

   of my heart, and bread of the inner mouth of my soul, O power that

   links together my mind with my inmost thoughts? I did not love you,

   and thus committed fornication against you. [26] Those around me, also

   sinning, thus cried out: "Well done! Well done!" The friendship of this

   world is fornication against you; and "Well done! Well done!" is cried

   until one feels ashamed not to show himself a man in this way. For my

   own condition I shed no tears, though I wept for Dido, who "sought

   death at the sword's point," [27] while I myself was seeking the lowest

   rung of your creation, having forsaken you; earth sinking back to earth

   again. And, if I had been forbidden to read these poems, I would have

   grieved that I was not allowed to read what grieved me. This sort of

   madness is considered more honorable and more fruitful learning than

   the beginner's course in which I learned to read and write.

 

   22. But now, O my God, cry unto my soul, and let your truth say to me:

   "Not so, not so! That first learning was far better." For, obviously, I

   would rather forget the wanderings of Aeneas, and all such things, than

   forget how to write and read. Still, over the entrance of the grammar

   school there hangs a veil. This is not so much the sign of a covering

   for a mystery as a curtain for error. Let them exclaim against

   me--those I no longer fear--while I confess to you, my God, what my

   soul desires, and let me find some rest, for in blaming my own evil

   ways I may come to love your holy ways. Neither let those cry out

   against me who buy and sell the baubles of literature. For if I ask

   them if it is true, as the poet says, that Aeneas once came to

   Carthage, the unlearned will reply that they do not know and the

   learned will deny that it is true. But if I ask with what letters the

   name Aeneas is written, all who have ever learned this will answer

   correctly, in accordance with the conventional understanding men have

   agreed upon as to these signs. Again, if I should ask which would cause

   the greatest inconvenience in our life, if it were forgotten: reading

   and writing, or these poetical fictions, who does not see what everyone

   would answer who had not entirely lost his own memory? I erred, then,

   when as a boy I preferred those vain studies to these more profitable

   ones, or rather loved the one and hated the other. "One and one are

   two, two and two are four": this was then a truly hateful song to me.

   But the wooden horse full of its armed soldiers, and the holocaust of

   Troy, and the spectral image of Creusa were all a most delightful--and

   vain--show! [28]

 


 

CHAPTER XIV

 

   23. But why, then, did I dislike Greek learning, which was full of such

   tales? For Homer was skillful in inventing such poetic fictions and is

   most sweetly wanton; yet when I was a boy, he was most disagreeable to

   me. I believe that Virgil would have the same effect on Greek boys as

   Homer did on me if they were forced to learn him. For the tedium of

   learning a foreign language mingled gall into the sweetness of those

   Grecian myths. For I did not understand a word of the language, and yet

   I was driven with threats and cruel punishments to learn it. There was

   also a time when, as an infant, I knew no Latin; but this I acquired

   without any fear or tormenting, but merely by being alert to the

   blandishments of my nurses, the jests of those who smiled on me, and

   the sportiveness of those who toyed with me. I learned all this,

   indeed, without being urged by any pressure of punishment, for my own

   heart urged me to bring forth its own fashioning, which I could not do

   except by learning words: not from those who taught me but those who

   talked to me, into whose ears I could pour forth whatever I could

   fashion. From this it is sufficiently clear that a free curiosity is

   more effective in learning than a discipline based on fear. Yet, by your

   ordinance, O God, discipline is given to restrain the excesses of

   freedom; this ranges from the ferule of the schoolmaster to the trials

   of the martyr and has the effect of mingling for us a wholesome

   bitterness, which calls us back to you from the poisonous pleasures

   that first drew us from you.

 

  


 

CHAPTER XV

 

   24. Hear my prayer, O Lord; let not my soul faint under your discipline,

   nor let me faint in confessing unto you your mercies, whereby you have

   saved me from all my most wicked ways till you should become sweet

   to me beyond all the allurements that I used to follow. Let me come to

   love you wholly, and grasp your hand with my whole heart that you

   may deliver me from every temptation, even unto the last. And thus,

   O Lord, my King and my God, may all things useful that I learned as a

   boy now be offered in your service--let it be that for your service I now

   speak and write and reckon. For when I was learning vain things, you

   didst impose your discipline upon me: and you have forgiven me my sin

   of delighting in those vanities. In those studies I learned many a

   useful word, but these might have been learned in matters not so vain;

   and surely that is the safe way for youths to walk in.

 

   CHAPTER XVI

 

   25. But woe unto you, O torrent of human custom! Who shall stay your

   course? When will you ever run dry? How long will you carry down the

   sons of Eve into that vast and hideous ocean, which even those who have

   the Tree (for an ark) [29] can scarcely pass over? Do I not read in you

   the stories of Jove the thunderer--and the adulterer? [30] How could he

   be both? But so it says, and the sham thunder served as a cloak for him

   to play at real adultery. Yet which of our gowned masters will give a

   tempered hearing to a man trained in their own schools who cries out

   and says: "These were Homer's fictions; he transfers things human to

   the gods. I could have wished that he would transfer divine things to

   us." [31] But it would have been more true if he said, "These are,

   indeed, his fictions, but he attributed divine attributes to sinful

   men, that crimes might not be accounted crimes, and that whoever

   committed such crimes might appear to imitate the celestial gods and

   not abandoned men."

 

   26. And yet, O torrent of hell, the sons of men are still cast into

   you, and they pay fees for learning all these things. And much is made

   of it when this goes on in the forum under the auspices of laws which

   give a salary over and above the fees. And you beat against your rocky

   shore and roar: "Here words may be learned; here you can attain the

   eloquence which is so necessary to persuade people to your way of

   thinking; so helpful in unfolding your opinions." Verily, they seem to

   argue that we should never have understood these words, "golden

   shower," "bosom," "intrigue," "highest heavens," and other such words,

   if Terence had not introduced a good-for-nothing youth upon the stage,

   setting up a picture of Jove as his example of lewdness and telling the

   tale

 

   "Of Jove's descending in a golden shower

   Into Danae's bosom...

   With a woman to intrigue."

   See how he excites himself to lust, as if by a heavenly authority, when

   he says:

 

   "Great Jove,

   Who shakes the highest heavens with his thunder;

   Shall I, poor mortal man, not do the same?

   I've done it, and with all my heart, I'm glad." [32]

 

   These words are not learned one whit more easily because of this

   vileness, but through them the vileness is more boldly perpetrated. I

   do not blame the words, for they are, as it were, choice and precious

   vessels, but I do deplore the wine of error which was poured out to us

   by teachers already drunk. And, unless we also drank we were beaten,

   without liberty of appeal to a sober judge. And yet, O my God, in whose

   presence I can now with security recall this, I learned these things

   willingly and with delight, and for it I was called a boy of good

   promise.

 

  


 

CHAPTER XVII

 

   27. Bear with me, O my God, while I speak a little of those talents,

   your gifts, and of the follies on which I wasted them. For a lesson was

   given me that sufficiently disturbed my soul, for in it there was both

   hope of praise and fear of shame or stripes. The assignment was that I

   should declaim the words of Juno, as she raged and sorrowed that she

   could not

 

   "Bar off Italy

   From all the approaches of the Teucrian king." [33]

 

   I had learned that Juno had never uttered these words. Yet we were

   compelled to stray in the footsteps of these poetic fictions, and to

   turn into prose what the poet had said in verse. In the declamation,

   the boy won most applause who most strikingly reproduced the passions

   of anger and sorrow according to the "character" of the persons

   presented and who clothed it all in the most suitable language. What is

   it now to me, O my true Life, my God, that my declaiming was applauded

   above that of many of my classmates and fellow students? Actually, was

   not all that smoke and wind? Besides, was there nothing else on which I

   could have exercised my wit and tongue? Your praise, O Lord, your praises

   might have propped up the tendrils of my heart by your Scriptures; and

   it would not have been dragged away by these empty trifles, a shameful

   prey to the spirits of the air. For there is more than one way in which

   men sacrifice to the fallen angels.

 


 

CHAPTER XVIII

 

   28. But it was no wonder that I was thus carried toward vanity and was

   estranged from you, O my God, when men were held up as models to me

   who, when relating a deed of theirs--not in itself evil--were covered

   with confusion if found guilty of a barbarism or a solecism; but who

   could tell of their own licentiousness and be applauded for it, so long

   as they did it in a full and ornate oration of well-chosen words. You

   see all this, O Lord, and dost keep silence--"long-suffering, and

   plenteous in mercy and truth" [34] as you art. Will you keep silence

   forever? Even now you draw from that vast deep the soul that seeks

   you and thirsts after your delight, whose "heart said unto you, I have

   sought your face; your face, Lord, will I seek.'" [35] For I was far from

   your face in the dark shadows of passion. For it is not by our feet, nor

   by change of place, that we either turn from you or return to you.

   That younger son did not charter horses or chariots, or ships, or fly

   away on visible wings, or journey by walking so that in the far country

   he might prodigally waste all that you didst give him when he set out.

   [36] A kind Father when you gave; and kinder still when he returned

   destitute! To be wanton, that is to say, to be darkened in heart--this

   is to be far from your face.

 

   29. Look down, O Lord God, and see patiently, as you art wont to do,

   how diligently the sons of men observe the conventional rules of

   letters and syllables, taught them by those who learned their letters

   beforehand, while they neglect the eternal rules of everlasting

   salvation taught by you. They carry it so far that if he who practices

   or teaches the established rules of pronunciation should speak

   (contrary to grammatical usage) without aspirating the first syllable

   of "hominem" ["hominem," and thus make it "a human being"], he will

   offend men more than if he, a human being, were to hate another human

   being contrary to your commandments. It is as if he should feel that

   there is an enemy who could be more destructive to himself than that

   hatred which excites him against his fellow man; or that he could

   destroy him whom he hates more completely than he destroys his own soul

   by this same hatred. Now, obviously, there is no knowledge of letters

   more innate than the writing of conscience--against doing unto another

   what one would not have done to himself.

 

   How mysterious you art, who "dwell on high" [37] in silence. O

   you, the only great God, who by an unwearied law hurl down the

   penalty of blindness to unlawful desire! When a man seeking the

   reputation of eloquence stands before a human judge, while a thronging

   multitude surrounds him, and inveighs against his enemy with the most

   fierce hatred, he takes most vigilant heed that his tongue does not

   slip in a grammatical error, for example, and say inter hominibus

   [instead of inter homines], but he takes no heed lest, in the fury of

   his spirit, he cut off a man from his fellow men [ex hominibus].

 

   30. These were the customs in the midst of which I was cast, an unhappy

   boy. This was the wrestling arena in which I was more fearful of

   perpetrating a barbarism than, having done so, of envying those who had

   not. These things I declare and confess to you, my God. I was

   applauded by those whom I then thought it my whole duty to please, for

   I did not perceive the gulf of infamy wherein I was cast away from your

   eyes.

 

   For in your eyes, what was more infamous than I was already, since I

   displeased even my own kind and deceived, with endless lies, my tutor,

   my masters and parents--all from a love of play, a craving for

   frivolous spectacles, a stage-struck restlessness to imitate what I saw

   in these shows? I pilfered from my parents' cellar and table, sometimes

   driven by gluttony, sometimes just to have something to give to other

   boys in exchange for their baubles, which they were prepared to sell

   even though they liked them as well as I. Moreover, in this kind of

   play, I often sought dishonest victories, being myself conquered by the

   vain desire for pre-eminence. And what was I so unwilling to endure,

   and what was it that I censured so violently when I caught anyone,

   except the very things I did to others? And, when I was myself detected

   and censured, I preferred to quarrel rather than to yield. Is this the

   innocence of childhood? It is not, O Lord, it is not. I entreat your

   mercy, O my God, for these same sins as we grow older are transferred

   from tutors and masters; they pass from nuts and balls and sparrows, to

   magistrates and kings, to gold and lands and slaves, just as the rod is

   succeeded by more severe chaveisements. It was, then, the fact of

   humility in childhood that you, O our King, didst approve as a symbol

   of humility when you said, "Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven." [38]

 

  


 

CHAPTER XIX

 

   31. However, O Lord, to you most excellent and most good, you

   Architect and Governor of the universe, thanks would be due you, O our

   God, even if you had not willed that I should survive my boyhood.

   For I existed even then; I lived and felt and was solicitous about my

   own well-being--a trace of that most mysterious unity from whence I had

   my being. [39] I kept watch, by my inner sense, over the integrity of

   my outer senses, and even in these trifles and also in my thoughts

   about trifles, I learned to take pleasure in truth. I was averse to

   being deceived; I had a vigorous memory; I was gifted with the power of

   speech, was softened by friendship, shunned sorrow, meanness,

   ignorance. Is not such an animated creature as this wonderful and

   praiseworthy? But all these are gifts of my God; I did not give them to

   myself. Moreover, they are good, and they all together constitute

   myself. Good, then, is he that made me, and he is my God; and before

   him will I rejoice exceedingly for every good gift which, even as a

   boy, I had. But herein lay my sin, that it was not in him, but in his

   creatures--myself and the rest--that I sought for pleasures, honors,

   and truths. And I fell thereby into sorrows, troubles, and errors.

   Thanks be to you, my joy, my pride, my confidence, my God--thanks be

   to you for your gifts; but do you preserve them in me. For thus will

   you preserve me; and those things which you have given me shall be

   developed and perfected, and I myself shall be with you, for from you

   is my being.

    


 

__________________________________________________________________

Notes for Book 1:

   [6] Cf. Ps. 145:3 and Ps. 147:5.

   [7] Rom. 10:14.

   [8] Ps. 22:26.

   [9] Matt. 7:7.

   [10] A reference to Bishop Ambrose of Milan; see Bk. V, Ch. XIII; Bk.

   VIII, Ch. 11, 3.

   [11] Ps. 139:8.

   [12] Jer. 23:24.

   [13] Cf. Ps. 18:31.

   [14] Ps. 35:3.

   [15] Cf. Ps. 19:12, 13.

   [16] Ps. 116:10.

   [17] Cf. Ps. 32:5.

   [18] Cf. Job 9:2.

 

   [19] Ps. 130:3.

   [20] Ps. 102:27.

   [21] Ps. 102:27.

   [22] Cf. Ps. 92:1.

   [23] Cf. Ps. 51:5.

   [24] In baptism which, Augustine believed, established the effigiem

   Christi in the human soul.

   [25] Cf. Ps. 78:39.

   [26] Cf. Ps. 72:27.

   [27] Aeneid, VI, 457

   [28] Cf. Aeneid, II.

   [29] Lignum is a common metaphor for the cross; and it was often joined

   to the figure of Noah's ark, as the means of safe transport from earth

   to heaven.

   [30] This apostrophe to "the torrent of human custom" now switches its

   focus to the poets who celebrated the philanderings of the gods; see De

   civ. Dei, II, vii-xi; IV, xxvi-xxviii.

   [31] Probably a contemporary disciple of Cicero (or the Academics) whom

   Augustine had heard levy a rather common philosopher's complaint

   against Olympian religion and the poetic myths about it. Cf. De

   Labriolle, I, 21 (see Bibl.).

   [32] Terence, Eunuch., 584-591; quoted again in De civ. Dei, II, vii.

   [33] Aeneid, I, 38.

   [34] Cf. Ps. 103:8 and Ps. 86:15.

   [35] Ps. 27:8.

   [36] An interesting mixed reminiscence of Enneads, I, 5:8 and Luke

   15:13-24.

   [37] Ps. 123:1.

   [38] Matt. 19:14.

   [39] Another Plotinian echo; cf. Enneads, III, 8:10.

     __________________________________________________________________

 


 

                               BOOK TWO

 

   He concentrates here on his sixteenth year, a year of idleness, lust,

   and adolescent mischief. The memory of stealing some pears prompts a

   deep probing of the motives and aims of sinful acts. "I became to

   myself a wasteland."

 

   CHAPTER I

 

   1. I wish now to review in memory my past wickedness and the carnal

   corruptions of my soul--not because I still love them, but that I may

   love you, O my God. For love of your love I do this, recalling in the

   bitterness of self-examination my wicked ways, that you may grow

   sweet to me, you sweetness without deception! You sweetness happy and

   assured! Thus you may gather me up out of those fragments in which

   I was torn to pieces, while I turned away from you, O Unity, and lost

   myself among "the many." [40] For as I became a youth, I longed to be

   satisfied with worldly things, and I dared to grow wild in a succession

   of various and shadowy loves. My form wasted away, and I became corrupt

   in your eyes, yet I was still pleasing to my own eyes--and eager to

   please the eyes of men.

 

   CHAPTER II

 

   2. But what was it that delighted me save to love and to be loved?

   Still I did not keep the moderate way of the love of mind to mind--the

   bright path of friendship. Instead, the mists of passion steamed up out

   of the puddly concupiscence of the flesh, and the hot imagination of

   puberty, and they so obscured and overcast my heart that I was unable

   to distinguish pure affection from unholy desire. Both boiled

   confusedly within me, and dragged my unstable youth down over the

   cliffs of unchavee desires and plunged me into a gulf of infamy. Your

   anger had come upon me, and I knew it not. I had been deafened by the

   clanking of the chains of my mortality, the punishment for my soul's

   pride, and I wandered farther from you, and you didst permit me to do

   so. I was tossed to and fro, and wasted, and poured out, and I boiled

   over in my fornications--and yet you didst hold your peace, O my tardy

   Joy! You didst still hold your peace, and I wandered still farther from

   you into more and yet more barren fields of sorrow, in proud dejection

   and restless lassitude.

 

   3. If only there had been someone to regulate my disorder and turn to

   my profit the fleeting beauties of the things around me, and to fix a

   bound to their sweetness, so that the tides of my youth might have

   spent themselves upon the shore of marriage! Then they might have been

   tranquilized and satisfied with having children, as your law prescribes,

   O Lord--O you who dost form the offspring of our death and art able

   also with a tender hand to blunt the thorns which were excluded from

   your paradise! [41] For your omnipotence is not far from us even when we

   are far from you. Now, on the other hand, I might have given more

   vigilant heed to the voice from the clouds: "Nevertheless, such shall

   have trouble in the flesh, but I spare you," [42] and, "It is good for

   a man not to touch a woman," [43] and, "He that is unmarried cares for

   the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but he

   that is married cares for the things that are of the world, how he may

   please his wife." [44] I should have listened more attentively to these

   words, and, thus having been "made a eunuch for the Kingdom of Heaven's

   sake," [45] I would have with greater happiness expected your embraces.

 

   4. But, fool that I was, I foamed in my wickedness as the sea and,

   forsaking you, followed the rushing of my own tide, and burst out of

   all your bounds. But I did not escape your scourges. For what mortal can

   do so? You were always by me, mercifully angry and flavoring all my

   unlawful pleasures with bitter discontent, in order that I might seek

   pleasures free from discontent. But where could I find such pleasure

   save in you, O Lord--save in you, who dost teach us by sorrow, who

   wound us to heal us, and dost kill us that we may not die apart from

   you. Where was I, and how far was I exiled from the delights of your

   house, in that sixteenth year of the age of my flesh, when the madness

   of lust held full sway in me--that madness which grants indulgence to

   human shamelessness, even though it is forbidden by your laws--and I

   gave myself entirely to it? Meanwhile, my family took no care to save

   me from ruin by marriage, for their sole care was that I should learn

   how to make a powerful speech and become a persuasive orator.

 


 

CHAPTER III

 

   5. Now, in that year my studies were interrupted. I had come back from

   Madaura, a neighboring city [46] where I had gone to study grammar and

   rhetoric; and the money for a further term at Carthage was being got

   together for me. This project was more a matter of my father's ambition

   than of his means, for he was only a poor citizen of Tagaste.

 

   To whom am I narrating all this? Not to you, O my God, but to my own

   kind in your presence--to that small part of the human race who may

   chance to come upon these writings. And to what end? That I and all who

   read them may understand what depths there are from which we are to cry

   unto you. [47] For what is more surely heard in your ear than a

   confessing heart and a faithful life?

 

   Who did not extol and praise my father, because he went quite beyond

   his means to supply his son with the necessary expenses for a far

   journey in the interest of his education? For many far richer citizens

   did not do so much for their children. Still, this same father troubled

   himself not at all as to how I was progressing toward you nor how

   chavee I was, just so long as I was skillful in speaking--no matter how

   barren I was to your tillage, O God, who art the one true and good Lord

   of my heart, which is your field. [48]

 

   6. During that sixteenth year of my age, I lived with my parents,

   having a holiday from school for a time--this idleness imposed upon me

   by my parents' straitened finances. The thorn bushes of lust grew rank

   about my head, and there was no hand to root them out. Indeed, when my

   father saw me one day at the baths and perceived that I was becoming a

   man, and was showing the signs of adolescence, he joyfully told my

   mother about it as if already looking forward to grandchildren,

   rejoicing in that sort of inebriation in which the world so often

   forgets you, its Creator, and falls in love with your creature instead

   of you--the inebriation of that invisible wine of a perverted will

   which turns and bows down to infamy. But in my mother's breast you

   had already begun to build your temple and the foundation of your holy

   habitation--whereas my father was only a catechumen, and that but

   recently. She was, therefore, startled with a holy fear and trembling:

   for though I had not yet been baptized, she feared those crooked ways

   in which they walk who turn their backs to you and not their faces.

 

   7. Woe is me! Do I dare affirm that you didst hold your peace, O my

   God, while I wandered farther away from you? Didst you really then

   hold your peace? Then whose words were they but yours which by my

   mother, your faithful handmaid, you didst pour into my ears? None of

   them, however, sank into my heart to make me do anything. She deplored

   and, as I remember, warned me privately with great solicitude, "not to

   commit fornication; but above all things never to defile another man's

   wife." These appeared to me but womanish counsels, which I would have

   blushed to obey. Yet they were from you, and I knew it not. I thought

   that you were silent and that it was only she who spoke. Yet it was

   through her that you didst not keep silence toward me; and in

   rejecting her counsel I was rejecting you--I, her son, "the son of your

   handmaid, your servant." [49] But I did not realize this, and rushed on

   headlong with such blindness that, among my friends, I was ashamed to

   be less shameless than they, when I heard them boasting of their

   disgraceful exploits--yes, and glorying all the more the worse their

   baseness was. What is worse, I took pleasure in such exploits, not for

   the pleasure's sake only but mostly for praise. What is worthy of

   vituperation except vice itself? Yet I made myself out worse than I

   was, in order that I might not go lacking for praise. And when in

   anything I had not sinned as the worst ones in the group, I would still

   say that I had done what I had not done, in order not to appear

   contemptible because I was more innocent than they; and not to drop in

   their esteem because I was more chavee.

 

   8. Behold with what companions I walked the streets of Babylon! I

   rolled in its mire and lolled about on it, as if on a bed of spices and

   precious ointments. And, drawing me more closely to the very center of

   that city, my invisible enemy trod me down and seduced me, for I was

   easy to seduce. My mother had already fled out of the midst of Babylon

   [50] and was progressing, albeit slowly, toward its outskirts. For in

   counseling me to charity, she did not bear in mind what her husband

   had told her about me. And although she knew that my passions were

   destructive even then and dangerous for the future, she did not think

   they should be restrained by the bonds of conjugal affection--if,

   indeed, they could not be cut away to the quick. She took no heed of

   this, for she was afraid lest a wife should prove a hindrance and a

   burden to my hopes. These were not her hopes of the world to come,

   which my mother had in you, but the hope of learning, which both my

   parents were too anxious that I should acquire--my father, because he

   had little or no thought of you, and only vain thoughts for me; my

   mother, because she thought that the usual course of study would not

   only be no hindrance but actually a furtherance toward my eventual

   return to you. This much I conjecture, recalling as well as I can the

   temperaments of my parents. Meantime, the reins of discipline were

   slackened on me, so that without the restraint of due severity, I might

   play at whatsoever I fancied, even to the point of dissoluteness. And

   in all this there was that mist which shut out from my sight the

   brightness of your truth, O my God; and my iniquity bulged out, as it

   were, with fatness! [51]


 

CHAPTER IV

 

   9. Theft is punished by your law, O Lord, and by the law written in

   men's hearts, which not even ingrained wickedness can erase. For what

   thief will tolerate another thief stealing from him? Even a rich thief

   will not tolerate a poor thief who is driven to theft by want. Yet I

   had a desire to commit robbery, and did so, compelled to it by neither

   hunger nor poverty, but through a contempt for well-doing and a strong

   impulse to iniquity. For I pilfered something which I already had in

   sufficient measure, and of much better quality. I did not desire to

   enjoy what I stole, but only the theft and the sin itself.

 

   There was a pear tree close to our own vineyard, heavily laden with

   fruit, which was not tempting either for its color or for its flavor.

   Late one night--having prolonged our games in the streets until then,

   as our bad habit was--a group of young scoundrels, and I among them,

   went to shake and rob this tree. We carried off a huge load of pears,

   not to eat ourselves, but to dump out to the hogs, after barely tasting

   some of them ourselves. Doing this pleased us all the more because it

   was forbidden. Such was my heart, O God, such was my heart--which you

   didst pity even in that bottomless pit. Behold, now let my heart

   confess to you what it was seeking there, when I was being

   gratuitously wanton, having no inducement to evil but the evil itself.

   It was foul, and I loved it. I loved my own undoing. I loved my

   error--not that for which I erred but the error itself. A depraved

   soul, falling away from security in you to destruction in itself,

   seeking nothing from the shameful deed but shame itself.

 

  


 

CHAPTER V

 

   10. Now there is a comeliness in all beautiful bodies, and in gold and

   silver and all things. The sense of touch has its own power to please

   and the other senses find their proper objects in physical sensation.

   Worldly honor also has its own glory, and so do the powers to command

   and to overcome: and from these there springs up the desire for

   revenge. Yet, in seeking these pleasures, we must not depart from you,

   O Lord, nor deviate from your law. The life which we live here has its

   own peculiar attractiveness because it has a certain measure of

   comeliness of its own and a harmony with all these inferior values. The

   bond of human friendship has a sweetness of its own, binding many souls

   together as one. Yet because of these values, sin is committed, because

   we have an inordinate preference for these goods of a lower order and

   neglect the better and the higher good--neglecting you, O our Lord

   God, and your truth and your law. For these inferior values have their

   delights, but not at all equal to my God, who hath made them all. For

   in him do the righteous delight and he is the sweetness of the upright

   in heart.

 

   11. When, therefore, we inquire why a crime was committed, we do not

   accept the explanation unless it appears that there was the desire to

   obtain some of those values which we designate inferior, or else a fear

   of losing them. For truly they are beautiful and comely, though in

   comparison with the superior and celestial goods they are abject and

   contemptible. A man has murdered another man--what was his motive?

   Either he desired his wife or his property or else he would steal to

   support himself; or else he was afraid of losing something to him; or

   else, having been injured, he was burning to be revenged. Would a man

   commit murder without a motive, taking delight simply in the act of

   murder? Who would believe such a thing? Even for that savage and brutal

   man [Catiline], of whom it was said that he was gratuitously wicked and

   cruel, there is still a motive assigned to his deeds. "Lest through

   idleness," he says, "hand or heart should grow inactive." [52] And to

   what purpose? Why, even this: that, having once got possession of the

   city through his practice of his wicked ways, he might gain honors,

   empire, and wealth, and thus be exempt from the fear of the laws and

   from financial difficulties in supplying the needs of his family--and

   from the consciousness of his own wickedness. So it seems that even

   Catiline himself loved not his own villainies, but something else, and

   it was this that gave him the motive for his crimes.

 


 

CHAPTER VI

 

   12. What was it in you, O theft of mine, that I, poor wretch, doted

   on--you deed of darkness--in that sixteenth year of my age? Beautiful

   you were not, for you were a theft. But are you anything at all, so

   that I could analyze the case with you? Those pears that we stole were

   fair to the sight because they were your creation, O Beauty beyond

   compare, O Creator of all, O you good God--God the highest good and my

   true good. [53] Those pears were truly pleasant to the sight, but it

   was not for them that my miserable soul lusted, for I had an abundance

   of better pears. I stole those simply that I might steal, for, having

   stolen them, I threw them away. My sole gratification in them was my

   own sin, which I was pleased to enjoy; for, if any one of these pears

   entered my mouth, the only good flavor it had was my sin in eating it.

   And now, O Lord my God, I ask what it was in that theft of mine that

   caused me such delight; for behold it had no beauty of its

   own--certainly not the sort of beauty that exists in justice and

   wisdom, nor such as is in the mind, memory senses, and the animal life

   of man; nor yet the kind that is the glory and beauty of the stars in

   their courses; nor the beauty of the earth, or the sea--teeming with

   spawning life, replacing in birth that which dies and decays. Indeed,

   it did not have that false and shadowy beauty which attends the

   deceptions of vice.

 

   13. For thus we see pride wearing the mask of high-spiritedness,

   although only you, O God, art high above all. Ambition seeks honor and

   glory, whereas only you shouldst be honored above all, and glorified

   forever. The powerful man seeks to be feared, because of his cruelty;

   but who ought really to be feared but God only? What can be forced away

   or withdrawn out of his power--when or where or whither or by whom? The

   enticements of the wanton claim the name of love; and yet nothing is

   more enticing than your love, nor is anything loved more healthfully

   than your truth, bright and beautiful above all. Curiosity prompts a

   desire for knowledge, whereas it is only you who knowest all things

   supremely. Indeed, ignorance and foolishness themselves go masked under

   the names of simplicity and innocence; yet there is no being that has

   true simplicity like yours, and none is innocent as you art. Thus it

   is that by a sinner's own deeds he is himself harmed. Human sloth

   pretends to long for rest, but what sure rest is there save in the

   Lord? Luxury would fain be called plenty and abundance; but you art

   the fullness and unfailing abundance of unfading joy. Prodigality

   presents a show of liberality; but you art the most lavish giver of

   all good things. Covetousness desires to possess much; but you art

   already the possessor of all things. Envy contends that its aim is for

   excellence; but what is so excellent as you? Anger seeks revenge; but

   who avenges more justly than you? Fear recoils at the unfamiliar and

   the sudden changes which threaten things beloved, and is wary for its

   own security; but what can happen that is unfamiliar or sudden to you?

   Or who can deprive you of what you lovest? Where, really, is there

   unshaken security save with you? Grief languishes for things lost in

   which desire had taken delight, because it wills to have nothing taken

   from it, just as nothing can be taken from you.

 

   14. Thus the soul commits fornication when she is turned from you,

   [54] and seeks apart from you what she cannot find pure and untainted

   until she returns to you. All things thus imitate you--but

   pervertedly--when they separate themselves far from you and raise

   themselves up against you. But, even in this act of perverse

   imitation, they acknowledge you to be the Creator of all nature, and

   recognize that there is no place whither they can altogether separate

   themselves from you. What was it, then, that I loved in that theft?

   And wherein was I imitating my Lord, even in a corrupted and perverted

   way? Did I wish, if only by gesture, to rebel against your law, even

   though I had no power to do so actually--so that, even as a captive, I

   might produce a sort of counterfeit liberty, by doing with impunity

   deeds that were forbidden, in a deluded sense of omnipotence? Behold

   this servant of yours, fleeing from his Lord and following a shadow! O

   rottenness! O monstrousness of life and abyss of death! Could I find

   pleasure only in what was unlawful, and only because it was unlawful?

 


 

CHAPTER VII

 

   15. "What shall I render unto the Lord" [55] for the fact that while my

   memory recalls these things my soul no longer fears them? I will love

   you, O Lord, and thank you, and confess to your name, because you

   have put away from me such wicked and evil deeds. To your grace I

   attribute it and to your mercy, that you have melted away my sin as if

   it were ice. To your grace also I attribute whatsoever of evil I did not

   commit--for what might I not have done, loving sin as I did, just for

   the sake of sinning? Yea, all the sins that I confess now to have been

   forgiven me, both those which I committed willfully and those which, by

   your providence, I did not commit. What man is there who, when

   reflecting upon his own infirmity, dares to ascribe his chaveity and

   innocence to his own powers, so that he should love you less--as if he

   were in less need of your mercy in which you forgivest the

   transgressions of those that return to you? As for that man who, when

   called by you, obeyed your voice and shunned those things which he here

   reads of me as I recall and confess them of myself, let him not despise

   me--for I, who was sick, have been healed by the same Physician by

   whose aid it was that he did not fall sick, or rather was less sick

   than I. And for this let him love you just as much--indeed, all the

   more--since he sees me restored from such a great weakness of sin by

   the selfsame Saviour by whom he sees himself preserved from such a

   weakness.