Writings of Augustine. The Confessions of St. Augustin
3. Are sorrows, then, also loved? Surely all men desire to rejoice?
Or, as man wishes to be miserable, is he, nevertheless, glad to be
merciful, which, because it cannot exist without passion, for this
cause alone are passions loved? This also is from that vein of
friendship. But whither does it go? Whither does it flow? Wherefore
runs it into that torrent of pitch,  seething forth those huge
tides of loathsome lusts into which it is changed and transformed,
being of its own will cast away and corrupted from its celestial
clearness? Shall, then, mercy be repudiated? By no means. Let us,
therefore, love sorrows sometimes. But beware of uncleanness, O my
soul, under the protection of my God, the God of our fathers, who is
to be praised and exalted above all for ever,  beware of
uncleanness. For I have not now ceased to have compassion; but then in
the theatres I sympathized with lovers when they sinfully enjoyed one
another, although this was done fictitiously in the play. And when
they lost one another, I grieved with them, as if pitying them, and
yet had delight in both. But now-a-days I feel much more pity for him
that delighteth in his wickedness, than for him who is counted as
enduring hardships by failing to obtain some pernicious pleasure, and
the loss of some miserable felicity. This, surely, is the truer mercy,
but grief hath no delight in it. For though he that condoles with the
unhappy be approved for his office of charity, yet would he who had
real compassion rather there were nothing for him to grieve about. For
if goodwill be ill-willed (which it cannot), then can he who is truly
and sincerely commiserating wish that there should be some unhappy
ones, that he might commiserate them. Some grief may then be
justified, none loved. For thus dost Thou, O Lord God, who lovest
souls far more purely than do we, and art more incorruptibly
compassionate, although Thou art wounded by no sorrow. "And who is
sufficient for these things?" 
The Confessions of St. Augustin
St. Aurelius Augustin, Bishop of Hippo
In Thirteen Books
Translated and Annotated by J.G. Pilkington, M.A.,
Vicar of St. Mark's, West Hackney; And Sometime
Clerical Secretary of the Bishop of London's Fund.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff,
New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
Of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth years of his age,
passed at Carthage, when, having completed his course of studies, he
is caught in the snares of a licentious passion, and falls into the
errors of the Manichæans.
Chapter I.--Deluded by an Insane Love, He, Though Foul and
Dishonourable, Desires to Be Thought Elegant and Urbane.
1. To Carthage I came, where a cauldron of unholy loves bubbled up all
around me. I loved not as yet, yet I loved to love; and with a hidden
want, I abhorred myself that I wanted not. I searched about for
something to love, in love with loving, and hating security, and a way
not beset with snares. For within me I had a dearth of that inward
food, Thyself, my God, though that dearth caused me no hunger; but I
remained without all desire for incorruptible food, not because I was
already filled thereby, but the more empty I was the more I loathed
it. For this reason my soul was far from well, and, full of ulcers, it
miserably cast itself forth, craving to be excited by contact with
objects of sense. Yet, had these no soul, they would not surely
inspire love. To love and to be loved was sweet to me, and all the
more when I succeeded in enjoying the person I loved. I befouled,
therefore, the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence,
and I dimmed its lustre with the hell of lustfulness; and yet, foul
and dishonourable as I was, I craved, through an excess of vanity, to
be thought elegant and urbane. I fell precipitately, then, into the
love in which I longed to be ensnared. My God, my mercy, with how much
bitterness didst Thou, out of Thy infinite goodness, besprinkle for me
that sweetness! For I was both beloved, and secretly arrived at the
bond of enjoying; and was joyfully bound with troublesome ties, that I
might be scourged with the burning iron rods of jealousy, suspicion,
fear, anger, and strife.
Chapter II.--In Public Spectacles He is Moved by an Empty Compassion.
He is Attacked by a Troublesome Spiritual Disease.
2. Stage-plays also drew me away, full of representations of my
miseries and of fuel to my fire.  Why does man like to be made
sad when viewing doleful and tragical scenes, which yet he himself
would by no means suffer? And yet he wishes, as a spectator, to
experience from them a sense of grief, and in this very grief his
pleasure consists. What is this but wretched insanity? For a man is
more affected with these actions, the less free he is from such
affections. Howsoever, when he suffers in his own person, it is the
custom to style it "misery" but when he compassionates others, then it
is styled "mercy."  But what kind of mercy is it that arises from
fictitious and scenic passions? The hearer is not expected to relieve,
but merely invited to grieve; and the more he grieves, the more he
applauds the actor of these fictions. And if the misfortunes of the
characters (whether of olden times or merely imaginary) be so
represented as not to touch the feelings of the spectator, he goes
away disgusted and censorious; but if his feelings be touched, he sits
it out attentively, and sheds tears of joy.
4. But I, wretched one, then loved to grieve, and sought out what to
grieve at, as when, in another man's misery, though reigned and
counterfeited, that delivery of the actor best pleased me, and
attracted me the most powerfully, which moved me to tears. What marvel
was it that an unhappy sheep, straying from Thy flock, and impatient
of Thy care, I became infected with a foul disease? And hence came my
love of griefs--not such as should probe me too deeply, for I loved
not to suffer such things as I loved to look upon, but such as, when
hearing their fictions, should lightly affect the surface; upon which,
like as with empoisoned nails, followed burning, swelling,
putrefaction, and horrible corruption. Such was my life! But was it
life, O my God?
 The early Fathers strongly reprobated stage-plays, and those who
went to them were excluded from baptism. This is not to be wondered
at, when we learn that "even the laws of Rome prohibited actors from
being enrolled as citizens" (De Civ. Dei, ii. 14), and that they were
accounted infamous (Tertullian, De Spectac. sec. xxii.). See also
Tertullian, De Pudicitia, c. vii.
 See i. 9, note, above.
 An allusion, probably, as Watts suggests, to the sea of Sodom,
which, according to Tacitus (Hist. book v.), throws up bitumen "at
stated seasons of the year." Tacitus likewise alludes to its
pestiferous odour, and to its being deadly to birds and fish. See also
Gen. xiv. 3, 10.
 Song of the Three Holy Children, verse 3.
 2 Cor. ii. 16.
Chapter III.--Not Even When at Church Does He Suppress His Desires. In
the School of Rhetoric He Abhors the Acts of the Subverters.
5. And Thy faithful mercy hovered over me afar. Upon what unseemly
iniquities did I wear myself out, following a sacrilegious curiosity,
that, having deserted Thee, it might drag me into the treacherous
abyss, and to the beguiling obedience of devils, unto whom I immolated
my wicked deeds, and in all which Thou didst scourge me! I dared, even
while Thy solemn rites were being celebrated within the walls of Thy
church, to desire, and to plan a business sufficient to procure me the
fruits of death; for which Thou chastisedst me with grievous
punishments, but nothing in comparison with my fault, O Thou my
greatest mercy, my God, my refuge from those terrible hurts, among
which I wandered with presumptuous neck, receding farther from Thee,
loving my own ways, and not Thine--loving a vagrant liberty.
6. Those studies, also, which were accounted honourable, were directed
towards the courts of law; to excel in which, the more crafty I was,
the more I should be praised. Such is the blindness of men, that they
even glory in their blindness. And now I was head in the School of
Rhetoric, whereat I rejoiced proudly, and became inflated with
arrogance, though more sedate, O Lord, as Thou knowest, and altogether
removed from the subvertings of those "subverters"  (for this
stupid and diabolical name was held to be the very brand of gallantry)
amongst whom I lived, with an impudent shamefacedness that I was not
even as they were. And with them I was, and at times I was delighted
with their friendship whose acts I ever abhorred, that is, their
"subverting," wherewith they insolently attacked the modesty of
strangers, which they disturbed by uncalled for jeers, gratifying
thereby their mischievous mirth. Nothing can more nearly resemble the
actions of devils than these. By what name, therefore, could they be
more truly called than "subverters"?--being themselves subverted
first, and altogether perverted--being secretly mocked at and seduced
by the deceiving spirits, in what they themselves delight to jeer at
and deceive others.
 Eversores. "These for their boldness were like our `Roarers,'
and for their jeering like the worser sort of those that would be
called `The Wits.'"--W. W. "This appears to have been a name which a
pestilent and savage set of persons gave themselves, licentious alike
in speech and action. Augustin names them again, De Vera Relig. c. 40;
Ep. 185 ad Bonifac. c. 4; and below, v. c. 12; whence they seemed to
have consisted mainly of Carthaginian students, whose savage life is
mentioned again, ib. c. 8."--E. B. P.
Chapter IV.--In the Nineteenth Year of His Age (His Father Having Died
Two Years Before) He is Led by the "Hortensius" Of Cicero to
"Philosophy," To God, and a Better Mode of Thinking.
7. Among such as these, at that unstable period of my life, I studied
books of eloquence, wherein I was eager to be eminent from a damnable
and inflated purpose, even a delight in human vanity. In the ordinary
course of study, I lighted upon a certain book of Cicero, whose
language, though not his heart, almost all admire. This book of his
contains an exhortation to philosophy, and is called Hortensius. This
book, in truth, changed my affections, and turned my prayers to
Thyself, O Lord, and made me have other hopes and desires. Worthless
suddenly became every vain hope to me; and, with an incredible warmth
of heart, I yearned for an immortality of wisdom,  and began now
to arise  that I might return to Thee. Not, then, to improve my
language--which I appeared to be purchasing with my mother's means, in
that my nineteenth year, my father having died two years before--not
to improve my language did I have recourse to that book; nor did it
persuade me by its style, but its matter.
8. How ardent was I then, my God, how ardent to fly from earthly
things to Thee! Nor did I know how Thou wouldst deal with me. For with
Thee is wisdom. In Greek the love of wisdom is called "philosophy,"
 with which that book inflamed me. There be some who seduce
through philosophy, under a great, and alluring, and honourable name
colouring and adorning their own errors. And almost all who in that
and former times were such, are in that book censured and pointed out.
There is also disclosed that most salutary admonition of Thy Spirit,
by Thy good and pious servant: "Beware lest any man spoil you through
philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the
rudiments of the world, and not after Christ: for in Him dwelleth all
the fulness of the Godhead bodily."  And since at that time (as
Thou, O Light of my heart, knowest) the words of the apostle were
unknown to me, I was delighted with that exhortation, in so far only
as I was thereby stimulated, and enkindled, and inflamed to love,
seek, obtain, hold, and embrace, not this or that sect, but wisdom
itself, whatever it were; and this alone checked me thus ardent, that
the name of Christ was not in it. For this name, according to Thy
mercy, O Lord, this name of my Saviour Thy Son, had my tender heart
piously drunk in, deeply treasured even with my mother's milk; and
whatsoever was without that name, though never so erudite, polished,
and truthful, took not complete hold of me.
 Up to the time of Cicero the Romans employed the term sapientia
for philosophia (Monboddo's Ancient Metaphys. i. 5). It is interesting
to watch the effect of the philosophy in which they had been trained
on the writings of some of the Fathers. Even Justin Martyr, the first
after the "Apostolic," has traces of this influence. See the account
of his search for "wisdom," and conversion, in his Dialogue with
Trypho, ii. and iii.
 Luke xv. 18.
 See above, note 1.
 Col. ii. 8, 9.
Chapter V.--He Rejects the Sacred Scriptures as Too Simple, and as Not
to Be Compared with the Dignity of Tully.
9. I resolved, therefore, to direct my mind to the Holy Scriptures,
that I might see what they were. And behold, I perceive something not
comprehended by the proud, not disclosed to children, but lowly as you
approach, sublime as you advance, and veiled in mysteries; and I was
not of the number of those who could enter into it, or bend my neck to
follow its steps. For not as when now I speak did I feel when I tuned
towards those Scriptures,  but they appeared to me to be unworthy
to be compared with the dignity of Tully; for my inflated pride
shunned their style, nor could the sharpness of my wit pierce their
inner meaning.  Yet, truly, were they such as would develope in
little ones; but I scorned to be a little one, and, swollen with
pride, I looked upon myself as a great one.
 In connection with the opinion Augustin formed of the Scriptures
before and after his conversion, it is interesting to recall Fenelon's
glowing description of the literary merit of the Bible. The whole
passage might well be quoted did space permit:--"L'Ecriture surpasse
en naivete, en vivacite, en grandeur, tous les ecrivains de Rome et de
la Grece. Jamais Homere meme n'a approche de la sublimite de Moise
dans ses cantiques....Jamais nulle ode Grecque ou Latine n'a pu
atteindre a la hauteur des Psaumes....Jamais Homere ni aucun autre
poete n'a egale Isaïe peignant la majeste de Dieu....Tantot ce
prophète a toute la douceur et toute la tendresse d'une eglogue, dans
les riantes peintures qu'il fait de la paix, tantot il s'elove jusqu'
a laisser tout au-dessous de lui. Mais qu'y a-t-il, dans l'antiquite
profane, de comparable au tendre Jeremie, deplorant les maux de son
peuple; ou a Nahum, voyant de loin, en esprit, tomber la superbe
Ninive sous les efforts d'une armee innombrable? On croit voir cette
armee, ou croit entendre le bruit des armes et des chariots; tout est
depeint d'une manière vive qui saisit l'imagination; il laisse Homère
loin derrière lui....Enfin, il y a autant de difference entre les
poëtes profanes et les prophetes, qu'il y en a entre le veritable
enthousiasme et le faux."--Sur l' Eloq. de la Chaire, Dial. iii.
 That is probably the "spiritual" meaning on which Ambrose (vi.
6, below) laid so much emphasis. How different is the attitude of mind
indicated in xi. 3 from the spiritual pride which beset him at this
period of his life! When converted he became as a little child, and
ever looked to God as a Father, from whom he must receive both light
and strength. He speaks, on Ps. cxlvi., of the Scriptures, which were
plain to "the little ones," being obscured to the mocking spirit of
the Manichæans. See also below, iii. 14, note.
Chapter VI.--Deceived by His Own Fault, He Falls into the Errors of
the Manichæans, Who Gloried in the True Knowledge of God and in a
Thorough Examination of Things.
10. Therefore I fell among men proudly raving, very carnal, and
voluble, in whose mouths were the snares of the devil--the birdlime
being composed of a mixture of the syllables of Thy name, and of our
Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, the
Comforter.  These names departed not out of their mouths, but so
far forth as the sound only and the clatter of the tongue, for the
heart was empty of truth. Still they cried, "Truth, Truth," and spoke
much about it to me, "yet was it not in them;"  but they spake
falsely not of Thee only--who, verily, art the Truth--but also of
these elements of this world, Thy creatures. And I, in truth, should
have passed by philosophers, even when speaking truth concerning them,
for love of Thee, my Father, supremely good, beauty of all things
beautiful. O Truth, Truth! how inwardly even then did the marrow of my
soul pant after Thee, when they frequently, and in a multiplicity of
ways, and in numerous and huge books, sounded out Thy name to me,
though it was but a voice!  And these were the dishes in which to
me, hungering for Thee, they, instead of Thee, served up the sun and
moon, Thy beauteous works--but yet Thy works, not Thyself, nay, nor
Thy first works. For before these corporeal works are Thy spiritual
ones, celestial and shining though they be. But I hungered and
thirsted not even after those first works of Thine, but after Thee
Thyself, the Truth, "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of
turning;"  yet they still served up to me in those dishes glowing
phantasies, than which better were it to love this very sun (which, at
least, is true to our sight), than those illusions which deceive the
mind through the eye. And yet, because I supposed them to be Thee, I
fed upon them; not with avidity, for Thou didst not taste to my mouth
as Thou art, for Thou wast not these empty fictions; neither was I
nourished by them, but the rather exhausted. Food in our sleep appears
like our food awake; yet the sleepers are not nourished by it, for
they are asleep. But those things were not in any way like unto Thee
as Thou hast now spoken unto me, in that those were corporeal
phantasies, false bodies, than which these true bodies, whether
celestial or terrestrial, which we perceive with our fleshly sight,
are much more certain. These things the very beasts and birds perceive
as well as we, and they are more certain than when we imagine them.
And again, we do with more certainty imagine them, than by them
conceive of other greater and infinite bodies which have no existence.
With such empty husks was I then fed, and was not fed. But Thou, my
Love, in looking for whom I fail  that I may be strong, art
neither those bodies that we see, although in heaven, nor art Thou
those which we see not there; for Thou hast created them, nor dost
Thou reckon them amongst Thy greatest works. How far, then, art Thou
from those phantasies of mine, phantasies of bodies which are not at
all, than which the images of those bodies which are, are more
certain, and still more certain the bodies themselves, which yet Thou
art not; nay, nor yet the soul, which is the life of the bodies.
Better, then, and more certain is the life of bodies than the bodies
themselves. But Thou art the life of souls, the life of lives, having
life in Thyself; and Thou changest not, O Life of my soul.
11. Where, then, wert Thou then to me, and how far from me? Far,
indeed, was I wandering away from Thee, being even shut out from the
very husks of the swine, whom with husks I fed.  For how much
better, then, are the fables of the grammarians and poets than these
snares! For verses, and poems, and Medea flying, are more profitable
truly than these men's five elements, variously painted, to answer to
the five caves of darkness,  none of which exist, and which slay
the believer. For verses and poems I can turn into  true food,
but the "Medea flying," though I sang, I maintained it not; though I
heard it sung, I believed it not; but those things I did believe. Woe,
woe, by what steps was I dragged down "to the depths of hell!" 
--toiling and turmoiling through want of Truth, when I sought after
Thee, my God,--to Thee I confess it, who hadst mercy on me when I had
not yet confessed,--sought after Thee not according to the
understanding of the mind, in which Thou desiredst that I should excel
the beasts, but according to the sense of the flesh! Thou wert more
inward to me than my most inward part; and higher than my highest. I
came upon that bold woman, who "is simple, and knoweth nothing," 
the enigma of Solomon, sitting "at the door of the house on a seat,"
and saying, "Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is
pleasant."  This woman seduced me, because she found my soul
beyond its portals, dwelling in the eye of my flesh, and thinking on
such food as through it I had devoured.
 So, in Book xxii. sec. 13 of his reply to Faustus, he charges
them with "professing to believe the New Testament in order to entrap
the unwary;" and again, in sec. 15, he says: " They claim the impious
liberty of holding and teaching, that whatever they deem favourable to
their heresy was said by Christ and the apostles; while they have the
profane boldness to say, that whatever in the same writings is
unfavourable to them is a spurious interpolation." They professed to
believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, but affirmed (ibid. xx. 6)
"that the Father dwells in a secret light, the power of the Son in the
sun, and His wisdom in the moon, and the Holy Spirit in the air." It
was this employment of the phraseology of Scripture to convey
doctrines utterly unscriptural that rendered their teaching such a
snare to the unwary. See also below, v. 12, note.
 1 John ii. 4.
 There was something peculiarly enthralling to an ardent mind
like Augustin's in the Manichæan system. That system was kindred in
many ways to modern Rationalism. Reason was exalted at the expense of
faith. Nothing was received on mere authority, and the disciple's
inner consciousness was the touchstone of truth. The result of this is
well pointed out by Augustin (Con. Faust, xxxii. sec. 19): "Your
design, clearly, is to deprive Scripture of all authority, and to make
every man's mind the judge what passage of Scripture he is to approve
of, and what to disapprove of. This is not to be subject to Scripture
in matters of faith, but to make Scripture subject to you. Instead of
making the high authority of Scripture the reason of approval, every
man makes his approval the reason for thinking a passage correct."
Compare also Con. Faust, xi. sec. 2, and xxxii. sec. 16.
 Jas. i. 17.
 Ps. lxix. 3.
 Luke xv. 16; and see below, vi. sec. 3, note.
 See below, xii. sec. 6, note.
 "Of this passage St. Augustin is probably speaking when he says,
`Praises bestowed on bread in simplicity of heart, let him (Petilian)
defame, if he will, by the ludicrous title of poisoning and corrupting
frenzy.' Augustin meant in mockery, that by verses he could get his
bread; his calumniator seems to have twisted the word to signify a
love-potion.--Con. Lit. Petiliani, iii. 16."--E. B. P.
 Prov. ix. 18.
 Prov. ix. 13.
 Prov. ix. 14, 17.
Chapter VII.--He Attacks the Doctrine of the Manichæans Concerning
Evil, God, and the Righteousness of the Patriarchs.
12. For I was ignorant as to that which really is, and was, as it
were, violently moved to give my support to foolish deceivers, when
they asked me, "Whence is evil?"  --and, "Is God limited by a
bodily shape, and has He hairs and nails?"--and, "Are they to be
esteemed righteous who had many wives at once and did kill men, and
sacrificed living creatures?"  At which things I, in my
ignorance, was much disturbed, and, retreating from the truth, I
appeared to myself to be going towards it; because as yet I knew not
that evil was naught but a privation of good, until in the end it
ceases altogether to be; which how should I see, the sight of whose
eyes saw no further than bodies, and of my mind no further than a
phantasm? And I knew not God to be a Spirit,  not one who hath
parts extended in length and breadth, nor whose being was bulk; for
every bulk is less in a part than in the whole, and, if it be
infinite, it must be less in such part as is limited by a certain
space than in its infinity; and cannot be wholly everywhere, as
Spirit, as God is. And what that should be in us, by which we were
like unto God, and might rightly in Scripture be said to be after "the
image of God,"  I was entirely ignorant.
13. Nor had I knowledge of that true inner righteousness, which doth
not judge according to custom, but out of the most perfect law of God
Almighty, by which the manners of places and times were adapted to
those places and times--being itself the while the same always and
everywhere, not one thing in one place, and another in another;
according to which Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses, and
David, and all those commended by the mouth of God were righteous,
 but were judged unrighteous by foolish men, judging out of man's
judgment,  and gauging by the petty standard of their own manners
the manners of the whole human race. Like as if in an armoury, one
knowing not what were adapted to the several members should put
greaves on his head, or boot himself with a helmet, and then complain
because they would not fit. Or as if, on some day when in the
afternoon business was forbidden, one were to fume at not being
allowed to sell as it was lawful to him in the forenoon. Or when in
some house he sees a servant take something in his hand which the
butler is not permitted to touch, or something done behind a stable
which would be prohibited in the dining-room, and should be indignant
that in one house, and one family, the same thing is not distributed
everywhere to all. Such are they who cannot endure to hear something
to have been lawful for righteous men in former times which is not so
now; or that God, for certain temporal reasons, commanded them one
thing, and these another, but both obeying the same righteousness;
though they see, in one man, one day, and one house, different things
to be fit for different members, and a thing which was formerly lawful
after a time unlawful--that permitted or commanded in one corner,
which done in another is justly prohibited and punished. Is justice,
then, various and changeable? Nay, but the times over which she
presides are not all alike, because they are times.  But men,
whose days upon the earth are few,  because by their own
perception they cannot harmonize the causes of former ages and other
nations, of which they had no experience, with these of which they
have experience, though in one and the same body, day, or family, they
can readily see what is suitable for each member, season, part, and
person--to the one they take exception, to the other they submit.
14. These things I then knew not, nor observed. They met my eyes on
every side, and I saw them not. I composed poems, in which it was not
permitted me to place every foot everywhere, but in one metre one way,
and in another, nor even in any one verse the same foot in all places.
Yet the art itself by which I composed had not different principles
for these different cases, but comprised all in one. Still I saw not
how that righteousness, which good and holy men submitted to, far more
excellently and sublimely comprehended in one all those things which
God commanded, and in no part varied, though in varying times it did
not prescribe all things at once, but distributed and enjoined what
was proper for each. And I, being blind, blamed those pious fathers,
not only for making use of present things as God commanded and
inspired them to do, but also for foreshowing things to come as God
was revealing them. 
 The strange mixture of the pensive philosophy of Persia with
Gnosticism and Christianity, propounded by Manichæus, attempted to
solve this question, which was "the great object of heretical inquiry"
(Mansel's Gnostics, lec. i.). It was Augustin's desire for knowledge
concerning it that united him to this sect, and which also led him to
forsake it, when he found therein nothing but empty fables (De Lib.
Arb. i. sec. 4). Manichæus taught that evil and good were primeval,
and had independent existences. Augustin, on the other hand, maintains
that it was not possible for evil so to exist (De Civ. Dei, xi. sec.
22) but, as he here states, evil is "a privation of good." The evil
will has a causa deficiens, but not a causa efficiens (ibid. xii. 6),
as is exemplified in the fall of the angels.
 1 Kings xviii. 40.
 John iv. 24.
 Gen. i. 27; see vi. sec. 4, note.
 Heb. xi. 8-40.
 1 Cor. iv. 3.
 The law of the development of revelation implied in the above
passage is one to which Augustin frequently resorts in confutation of
objections such as those to which he refers in the previous and
following sections. It may likewise be effectively used when similar
objections are raised by modern sceptics. In the Rabbinical books
there is a tradition of the wanderings of the children of Israel, that
not only did their clothes not wax old (Deut. xxix. 5) during those
forty years, but that they grew with their growth. The written word is
as it were the swaddling-clothes of the holy child Jesus; and as the
revelation concerning Him--the Word Incarnate--grew, did the written
word grow. God spoke in sundry parts [poluemros] and in divers manners
unto the fathers by the prophets (Heb. i. 1); but when the "fulness of
the time was come" (Gal. iv. 4), He completed the revelation in His
Son. Our Lord indicates this principle when He speaks of divorce in
Matt. xix. 8. "Moses," he says, "because of the hardness of your
hearts suffered you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it
was not so." (See Con. Faust. xix. 26, 29.) When objections, then, as
to obsolete ritual usages, or the sins committed by Old Testament
worthies are urged, the answer is plain: the ritual has become
obsolete, because only intended for the infancy of revelation, and the
sins, while recorded in, are not approved by Scripture, and those who
committed them will be judged according to the measure of revelation
they received. See also De Ver. Relig. xvii.; in Ps. lxxiii. 1, liv.
22; Con. Faust. xxii. 25; Trench, Hulsean Lecs. iv., v. (1845); and
Candlish's Reason and Revelation, pp. 58-75.
 Job xiv. 1.
 Here, as at the end of sec. 17, he alludes to the typical and
allegorical character of Old Testament histories. Though he does not
with Origen go so far as to disparage the letter of Scripture (see De
Civ. Dei, xiii. 21), but upholds it, he constantly employs the
allegorical principle. He (alluding to the patriarchs) goes so far,
indeed, as to say (Con. Faust., xxii. 24), that "not only the speech
but the life of these men was prophetic; and the whole kingdom of the
Hebrews was like a great prophet;" and again: "We may discover a
prophecy of the coming of Christ and of the Church both in what they
said and what they did". This method of interpretation he first
learned from Ambrose. See note on "the letter killeth," etc. (below,
vi. sec. 6), for the danger attending it. On the general subject,
reference may also be made to his in Ps. cxxxvi. 3; Serm. 2; De
Tentat. Abr. sec. 7; and De Civ. Dei, xvii. 3.
Chapter VIII.--He Argues Against the Same as to the Reason of
15. Can it at any time or place be an unrighteous thing for a man to
love God with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his mind,
and his neighbour as himself?  Therefore those offences which be
contrary to nature are everywhere and at all times to be held in
detestation and punished; such were those of the Sodomites, which
should all nations commit, they should all be held guilty of the same
crime by the divine law, which hath not so made men that they should
in that way abuse one another. For even that fellowship which should
be between God and us is violated, when that same nature of which He
is author is polluted by the perversity of lust. But those offences
which are contrary to the customs of men are to be avoided according
to the customs severally prevailing; so that an agreement made, and
confirmed by custom or law of any city or nation, may not be violated
at the lawless pleasure of any, whether citizen or stranger. For any
part which is not consistent with its whole is unseemly. But when God
commands anything contrary to the customs or compacts of any nation to
be done, though it were never done by them before, it is to be done;
and if intermitted it is to be restored, and, if never established, to
be established. For if it be lawful for a king, in the state over
which he reigns, to command that which neither he himself nor any one
before him had commanded, and to obey him cannot be held to be
inimical to the public interest,--nay, it were so if he were not
obeyed (for obedience to princes is a general compact of human
society),--how much more, then, ought we unhesitatingly to obey God,
the Governor of all His creatures! For as among the authorities of
human society the greater authority is obeyed before the lesser, so
must God above all.
16. So also in deeds of violence, where there is a desire to harm,
whether by contumely or injury; and both of these either by reason of
revenge, as one enemy against another; or to obtain some advantage
over another, as the highwayman to the traveller; or for the avoiding
of some evil, as with him who is in fear of another; or through envy,
as the unfortunate man to one who is happy; or as he that is
prosperous in anything to him who he fears will become equal to
himself, or whose equality he grieves at; or for the mere pleasure in
another's pains, as the spectators of gladiators, or the deriders and
mockers of others. These be the chief iniquities which spring forth
from the lust of the flesh, of the eye, and of power, whether singly,
or two together, or all at once. And so do men live in opposition to
the three and seven, that psaltery "of ten strings,"  Thy ten
commandments, O God most high and most sweet. But what foul offences
can there be against Thee who canst not be defiled? Or what deeds of
violence against thee who canst not be harmed? But Thou avengest that
which men perpetrate against themselves, seeing also that when they
sin against Thee, they do wickedly against their own souls; and
iniquity gives itself the lie,  either by corrupting or
perverting their nature, which Thou hast made and ordained, or by an
immoderate use of things permitted, or in "burning" in things
forbidden to that use which is against nature;  or when
convicted, raging with heart and voice against Thee, kicking against
the pricks;  or when, breaking through the pale of human society,
they audaciously rejoice in private combinations or divisions,
according as they have been pleased or offended. And these things are
done whenever Thou art forsaken, O Fountain of Life, who art the only
and true Creator and Ruler of the universe, and by a self-willed pride
any one false thing is selected therefrom and loved. So, then, by a
humble piety we return to Thee; and thou purgest us from our evil
customs, and art merciful unto the sins of those who confess unto
Thee, and dost "hear the groaning of the prisoner,"  and dost
loosen us from those fetters which we have forged for ourselves, if we
lift not up against Thee the horns of a false liberty,--losing all
through craving more, by loving more our own private good than Thee,
the good of all.
 Deut. vi. 5, and Matt. xxii. 37-39.
 Ps. cxliv. 9. "St. Augustin (Quæst in Exod. ii. qu. 71) mentions
the two modes of dividing the ten commandments into three and seven,
or four and six, and gives what appear to have been his own private
reasons for preferring the first. Both commonly existed in his day,
but the Anglican mode appears to have been the most usual. It occurs
in Origen, Greg. Naz., Jerome, Ambrose, Chrys. St. Augustin alludes to
his division again, Serm. 8, 9, de x.Chordis, and sec. 33 on this
psalm: `To the first commandment there belong three strings because
God is trine. To the other, i.e., the love of our neighbour, seven
strings. These let us join to those three, which belong to the love of
God, if we would on the psaltery of ten strings sing a new
 Ps. xxvii. 12, Vulg.
 Rom. i. 24-29.
 Acts ix. 5.
 Ps. cii. 20.
Chapter IX.--That the Judgment of God and Men as to Human Acts of
Violence, is Different.
17. But amidst these offences of infamy and violence, and so many
iniquities, are the sins of men who are, on the whole, making
progress; which, by those who judge rightly, and after the rule of
perfection, are censured, yet commended withal, upon the hope of
bearing fruit, like as in the green blade of the growing corn. And
there are some which resemble offences of infamy or violence, and yet
are not sins, because they neither offend Thee, our Lord God, nor
social custom: when, for example, things suitable for the times are
provided for the use of life, and we are uncertain whether it be out
of a lust of having; or when acts are punished by constituted
authority for the sake of correction, and we are uncertain whether it
be out of a lust of hurting. Many a deed, then, which in the sight of
men is disapproved, is approved by Thy testimony; and many a one who
is praised by men is, Thou being witness, condemned; because
frequently the view of the deed, and the mind of the doer, and the
hidden exigency of the period, severally vary. But when Thou
unexpectedly commandest an unusual and unthought-of thing--yea, even
if Thou hast formerly forbidden it, and still for the time keepest
secret the reason of Thy command, and it even be contrary to the
ordinance of some society of men, who doubts but it is to be done,
inasmuch as that society is righteous which serves Thee?  But
blessed are they who know Thy commands! For all things were done by
them who served Thee either to exhibit something necessary at the
time, or to foreshow things to come. 
 The Manichæans, like the deistical writers of the last century,
attacked the spoiling of the Egyptians, the slaughter of the
Canaanites, and such episodes. Referring to the former, Augustin says
(Con. Faust. xxii. 71), "Then, as for Faustus' objection to the
spoiling of the Egyptians, he knows not what he says. In this Moses
not only did not sin, but it would have been sin not to do it. It was
by the command of God, who, from His knowledge both of the actions and
of the hearts of men, can decide upon what every one should be made to
suffer, and through whose agency. The people at that time were still
carnal, and engrossed with earthly affection; while the Egyptians were
in open rebellion against God, for they used the gold, God's creature,
in the service of idols, to the dishonour of the Creator, and they had
grievously oppressed strangers by making them work without pay. Thus
the Egyptians deserved the punishment, and the Israelites were
suitably employed in inflicting it." For an exhaustive vindication of
the conduct of the children of Israel as the agents of God in
punishing the Canaanites, see Graves on the Pentateuch, Part iii.
lecture I. See also De Civ. Dei, i. 26; and Quæst. in Jos. 8, 16, etc.
 See note on sec. 14, above.
Chapter X.--He Reproves the Triflings of the Manichæans as to the
Fruits of the Earth.
18. These things being ignorant of, I derided those holy servants and
prophets of Thine. And what did I gain by deriding them but to be
derided by Thee, being insensibly, and little by little, led on to
those follies, as to credit that a fig-tree wept when it was plucked,
and that the mother-tree shed milky tears? Which fig notwithstanding,
plucked not by his own but another's wickedness, had some "saint"
 eaten and mingled with his entrails, he should breathe out of it
angels; yea, in his prayers he shall assuredly groan and sigh forth
particles of God, which particles of the most high and true God should
have remained bound in that fig unless they had been set free by the
teeth and belly of some "elect saint"!  And I, miserable one,
believed that more mercy was to be shown to the fruits of the earth
than unto men, for whom they were created; for if a hungry man--who
was not a Manichæan--should beg for any, that morsel which should be
given him would appear, as it were, condemned to capital punishment.
 i.e. Manichæan saint.
 According to this extraordinary system, it was the privilege of
the "elect" to set free in eating such parts of the divine substance
as were imprisoned in the vegetable creation (Con. Faust. xxxi. 5).
They did not marry or work in the fields, and led an ascetic life, the
"hearers" or catechumens being privileged to provide them with food.
The "elect" passed immediately on dying into the realm of light,
while, as a reward for their service, the souls of the "hearers" after
death transmigrated into plants (from which they might be most readily
freed), or into the "elect," so as, in their turn, to pass away into
the realm of light. See Con. Faust. v. 10, xx. 23; and in Ps. cxl.
 Augustin frequently alludes to their conduct to the poor, in
refusing to give them bread or the fruits of the earth, lest in eating
they should defile the portion of God contained therein. But to avoid
the odium of their conduct, they would inconsequently give money
whereby food might be bought. See in Ps. cxl. sec. 12; and De Mor.
Manich. 36, 37, and 53.
Chapter XI.--He Refers to the Tears, and the Memorable Dream
Concerning Her Son, Granted by God to His Mother.
19. And Thou sendedst Thine hand from above,  and drewest my soul
out of that profound darkness, when my mother, Thy faithful one, wept
to thee on my behalf more than mothers are wont to weep the bodily
death of their children. For she saw that I was dead by that faith and
spirit which she had from Thee, and Thou heardest her, O Lord. Thou
heardest her, and despisedst not her tears, when, pouring down, they
watered the earth  under her eyes in every place where she
prayed; yea, Thou heardest her. For whence was that dream with which
Thou consoledst her, so that she permitted me to live with her, and to
have my meals at the same table in the house, which she had begun to
avoid, hating and detesting the blasphemies of my error? For she saw
herself standing on a certain wooden rule,  and a bright youth
advancing towards her, joyous and smiling upon her, whilst she was
grieving and bowed down with sorrow. But he having inquired of her the
cause of her sorrow and daily weeping (he wishing to teach, as is
their wont, and not to be taught), and she answering that it was my
perdition she was lamenting, he bade her rest contented, and told her
to behold and see "that where she was, there was I also." And when she
looked she saw me standing near her on the same rule. Whence was this,
unless that Thine ears were inclined towards her heart? O Thou Good
Omnipotent, who so carest for every one of us as if Thou caredst for
him only, and so for all as if they were but one!
20. Whence was this, also, that when she had narrated this vision to
me, and I tried to put this construction on it, "That she rather
should not despair of being some day what I was," she immediately,
without hesitation, replied, "No; for it was not told me that `where
he is, there shalt thou be,' but `where thou art, there shall he be'"?
I confess to Thee, O Lord, that, to the best of my remembrance (and I
have oft spoken of this), Thy answer through my watchful mother--that
she was not disquieted by the speciousness of my false interpretation,
and saw in a moment what was to be seen, and which I myself had not in
truth perceived before she spoke--even then moved me more than the
dream itself, by which the happiness to that pious woman, to be
realized so long after, was, for the alleviation of her present
anxiety, so long before predicted. For nearly nine years passed in
which I wallowed in the slime of that deep pit and the darkness of
falsehood, striving often to rise, but being all the more heavily
dashed down. But yet that chaste, pious, and sober widow (such as Thou
lovest), now more buoyed up with hope, though no whit less zealous in
her weeping and mourning, desisted not, at all the hours of her
supplications, to bewail my case unto Thee. And her prayers entered
into Thy presence,  and yet Thou didst still suffer me to be
involved and re-involved in that darkness.
 Ps. cxliv. 7.
 He alludes here to that devout manner of the Eastern ancients,
who used to lie flat on their faces in prayer.--W. W.
 Symbolical of the rule of faith. See viii. sec. 30, below.
 Ps. lxxxviii. 1.
Chapter XII.--The Excellent Answer of the Bishop When Referred to by
His Mother as to the Conversion of Her Son.
21. And meanwhile Thou grantedst her another answer, which I recall;
for much I pass over, hastening on to those things which the more
strongly impel me to confess unto Thee, and much I do not remember.
Thou didst grant her then another answer, by a priest of Thine, a
certain bishop, reared in Thy Church and well versed in Thy books. He,
when this woman had entreated that he would vouchsafe to have some
talk with me, refute my errors, unteach me evil things, and teach me
good (for this he was in the habit of doing when he found people
fitted to receive it), refused, very prudently, as I afterwards came
to see. For he answered that I was still unteachable, being inflated
with the novelty of that heresy, and that I had already perplexed
divers inexperienced persons with vexatious questions,  as she
had informed him. "But leave him alone for a time," saith he, "only
pray God for him; he will of himself, by reading, discover what that
error is, and how great its impiety." He disclosed to her at the same
time how he himself, when a little one, had, by his misguided mother,
been given over to the Manichæans, and had not only read, but even
written out almost all their books, and had come to see (without
argument or proof from any one) how much that sect was to be shunned,
and had shunned it. Which when he had said, and she would not be
satisfied, but repeated more earnestly her entreaties, shedding
copious tears, that he would see and discourse with me, he, a little
vexed at her importunity, exclaimed, "Go thy way, and God bless thee,
for it is not possible that the son of these tears should perish."
Which answer (as she often mentioned in her conversations with me) she
accepted as though it were a voice from heaven.
 We can easily understand that Augustin's dialectic skill would
render him a formidable opponent, while, with the zeal of a neophyte,
he urged those difficulties of Scripture (De Agon. Christ. iv ) which
the Manichæans knew so well how to employ. In an interesting passage
(De Duab. Anim. con. Manich. ix.) he tells us that his victories over
"inexperienced persons" stimulated him to fresh conquests, and thus
kept him bound longer than he would otherwise have been in the chains
of this heresy.
Then follows a period of nine years from the nineteenth year of his
age, during which having lost a friend, he followed the
Manichæans--and wrote books on the fair and fit, and published a work
on the liberal arts, and the categories of Aristotle.
Chapter I.--Concerning that Most Unhappy Time in Which He, Being
Deceived, Deceived Others; And Concerning the Mockers of His
1. During this space of nine years, then, from my nineteenth to my
eight and twentieth year, we went on seduced and seducing, deceived
and deceiving, in divers lusts; publicly, by sciences which they style
"liberal"--secretly, with a falsity called religion. Here proud, there
superstitious, everywhere vain! Here, striving after the emptiness of
popular fame, even to theatrical applauses, and poetic contests, and
strifes for grassy garlands, and the follies of shows and the
intemperance of desire. There, seeking to be purged from these our
corruptions by carrying food to those who were called "elect" and
"holy," out of which, in the laboratory of their stomachs, they should
make for us angels and gods, by whom we might be delivered. 
These things did I follow eagerly, and practise with my friends--by me
and with me deceived. Let the arrogant, and such as have not been yet
savingly cast down and stricken by Thee, O my God, laugh at me; but
notwithstanding I would confess to Thee mine own shame in Thy praise.
Bear with me, I beseech Thee, and give me grace to retrace in my
present remembrance the circlings of my past errors, and to "offer to
Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving."  For what am I to myself
without Thee, but a guide to mine own downfall? Or what am I even at
the best, but one sucking Thy milk,  and feeding upon Thee, the
meat that perisheth not?  But what kind of man is any man, seeing
that he is but a man? Let, then, the strong and the mighty laugh at
us, but let us who are "poor and needy"  confess unto Thee.
 Augustin tells us that he went not beyond the rank of a
"hearer," because he found the Manichæan teachers readier in refuting
others than in establishing their own views, and seems only to have
looked for some esoteric doctrine to have been disclosed to him under
their materialistic teaching as to God--viz. that He was an unmeasured
Light that extended all ways but one, infinitely (Serm. iv. sec
5.)--rather than to have really accepted it.--De Util. Cred. Præf. See
also iii. sec. 18, notes 1 and 2, above.
 Ps. cxvi. 17.
 1 Pet. ii. 2.
 John vi. 27.
 Ps. lxxiv. 21.
Chapter II.--He Teaches Rhetoric, the Only Thing He Loved, and Scorns
the Soothsayer, Who Promised Him Victory.
2. In those years I taught the art of rhetoric, and, overcome by
cupidity, put to sale a loquacity by which to overcome. Yet I
preferred--Lord, Thou knowest--to have honest scholars (as they are
esteemed); and these I, without artifice, taught artifices, not to be
put in practise against the life of the guiltless, though sometimes
for the life of the guilty. And Thou, O God, from afar sawest me
stumbling in that slippery path, and amid much smoke  sending out
some flashes of fidelity, which I exhibited in that my guidance of
such as loved vanity and sought after leasing,  I being their
companion. In those years I had one (whom I knew not in what is called
lawful wedlock, but whom my wayward passion, void of understanding,
had discovered), yet one only, remaining faithful even to her; in whom
I found out truly by my own experience what difference there is
between the restraints of the marriage bonds, contracted for the sake
of issue, and the compact of a lustful love, where children are born
against the parents will, although, being born, they compel love.
3. I remember, too, that when I decided to compete for a theatrical
prize, a soothsayer demanded of me what I would give him to win; but
I, detesting and abominating such foul mysteries, answered, "That if
the garland were of imperishable gold, I would not suffer a fly to be
destroyed to secure it for me." For he was to slay certain living
creatures in his sacrifices, and by those honours to invite the devils
to give me their support. But this ill thing I also refused, not out
of a pure love  for Thee, O God of my heart; for I knew not how
to love Thee, knowing not how to conceive aught beyond corporeal
brightness.  And doth not a soul, sighing after such-like
fictions, commit fornication against Thee, trust in false things,
 and nourish the wind?  But I would not, forsooth, have
sacrifices offered to devils on my behalf, though I myself was
offering sacrifices to them by that superstition. For what else is
nourishing the wind but nourishing them, that is, by our wanderings to
become their enjoyment and derision?
 Isa. xlii. 3, and Matt. xii. 20.
 Ps. iv. 2.
 "He alone is truly pure who waiteth on God, and keepeth himself
to Him alone " (Aug. De Vita Beata, sec. 18). "Whoso seeketh God is
pure, because the soul hath in God her legitimate husband. Whosoever
seeketh of God anything besides God, doth not love God purely. If a
wife loved her husband because he is rich, she is not pure, for she
loveth not her husband but the gold of her husband" (Aug. Serm. 137).
"Whoso seeks from God any other reward but God, and for it would serve
God, esteems what he wishes to receive more than Him from whom he
would receive it. What, then? hath God no reward? None, save Himself.
The reward of God is God Himself. This it loveth; if it love aught
beside, it is no pure love. You depart from the immortal flame, you
will be chilled, corrupted. Do not depart; it will be thy corruption,
will be fornication in thee" (Aug. in Ps. lxxii. sec. 32). "The pure
fear of the Lord (Ps. xix. 9) is that wherewith the Church, the more
ardently she loveth her husband, the more diligently she avoids
offending Him, and therefore love, when perfected, casteth not out
this fear, but it remaineth for ever and ever" (Aug. in loc.). "Under
the name of pure fear is signified that will whereby we must needs be
averse from sin, and avoid sin, not through the constant anxiety of
infirmity, but through the tranquillity of affection" (De Civ. Dei,
xiv. sec. 65).--E. B. P.
 See note on sec. 9, below.
 "Indisputably we must take care, lest the mind, believing that
which it does not see, feign to itself something which is not, and
hope for and love that which is false. For in that case it will not be
charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith
unfeigned, which is the end of the commandment" (De Trin. viii. sec.
6). And again (Confessions, i. 1): "For who can call on Thee, not
knowing Thee? For he that knoweth Thee not may call on Thee as other
than Thou art."
 Hosea xii. 1.
Chapter III.--Not Even the Most Experienced Men Could Persuade Him of
the Vanity of Astrology to Which He Was Devoted.
4. Those impostors, then, whom they designate Mathematicians, I
consulted without hesitation, because they used no sacrifices, and
invoked the aid of no spirit for their divinations, which art
Christian and true piety fitly rejects and condemns.  For good it
is to confess unto Thee, and to say, "Be merciful unto me, heal my
soul, for I have sinned against Thee;"  and not to abuse Thy
goodness for a license to sin, but to remember the words of the Lord,
"Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come
unto thee."  All of which salutary advice they endeavour to
destroy when they say, "The cause of thy sin is inevitably determined
in heaven;" and, "This did Venus, or Saturn, or Mars;" in order that
man, forsooth, flesh and blood, and proud corruption, may be
blameless, while the Creator and Ordainer of heaven and stars is to
bear the blame. And who is this but Thee, our God, the sweetness and
well-spring of righteousness, who renderest "to every man according to
his deeds,"  and despisest not "a broken and a contrite heart!"
5. There was in those days a wise man, very skilful in medicine, and
much renowned therein, who had with his own proconsular hand put the
Agonistic garland upon my distempered head, not, though, as a
physician;  for this disease Thou alone healest, who resistest
the proud, and givest grace to the humble.  But didst Thou fail
me even by that old man, or forbear from healing my soul? For when I
had become more familiar with him, and hung assiduously and fixedly on
his conversation (for though couched in simple language, it was
replete with vivacity, life, and earnestness), when he had perceived
from my discourse that I was given to books of the horoscope-casters,
he, in a kind and fatherly manner, advised me to throw them away, and
not vainly bestow the care and labour necessary for useful things upon
these vanities; saying that he himself in his earlier years had
studied that art with a view to gaining his living by following it as
a profession, and that, as he had understood Hippocrates, he would
soon have understood this, and yet he had given it up, and followed
medicine, for no other reason than that he discovered it to be utterly
false, and he, being a man of character, would not gain his living by
beguiling people. "But thou," saith he, "who hast rhetoric to support
thyself by, so that thou followest this of free will, not of
necessity--all the more, then, oughtest thou to give me credit herein,
who laboured to attain it so perfectly, as I wished to gain my living
by it alone." When I asked him to account for so many true things
being foretold by it, he answered me (as he could) "that the force of
chance, diffused throughout the whole order of nature, brought this
about. For if when a man by accident opens the leaves of some poet,
who sang and intended something far different, a verse oftentimes fell
out wondrously apposite to the present business, it were not to be
wondered at," he continued, "if out of the soul of man, by some higher
instinct, not knowing what goes on within itself, an answer should be
given by chance, not art, which should coincide with the business and
actions of the questioner."
6. And thus truly, either by or through him, Thou didst look after me.
And Thou didst delineate in my memory what I might afterwards search
out for myself. But at that time neither he, nor my most dear
Nebridius, a youth most good and most circumspect, who scoffed at that
whole stock of divination, could persuade me to forsake it, the
authority of the authors influencing me still more; and as yet I had
lighted upon no certain proof--such as I sought--whereby it might
without doubt appear that what had been truly foretold by those
consulted was by accident or chance, not by the art of the
 Augustin classes the votaries of both wizards and astrologers
(De Doctr. Christ. ii. 23; and De Civ. Dei, x. 9; compare also Justin
Martyr, Apol. ii. c. 5) as alike "deluded and imposed on by the false
angels, to whom the lowest part of the world has been put in
subjection by the law of God's providence;" and he says, "All arts of
this sort are either nullities, or are part of a guilty superstition
springing out of a baleful fellowship between men and devils, and are
to be utterly repudiated and avoided by the Christian, as the
covenants of a false and treacherous friendship." It is remarkable
that though these arts were strongly denounced in the Pentateuch, the
Jews--acquiring them from the surrounding Gentile nations--have
embedded them deeply in their oral law, said also to be given by Moses
(e.g. in Moed Katon 28, and Shabbath 156, prosperity comes from the
influence of the stars; in Shabbath 61 it is a question whether the
influence of the stars or a charm has been effective; and in Sanhedrin
17 magic is one of the qualifications for the Sanhedrim). It might
have been expected that the Christians, if only from that reaction
against Judaism which shows itself in Origen's disparagement of the
letter of the Old Testament Scriptures (see De Princip. iv. 15, 16),
would have shrunk from such strange arts. But the influx of pagans,
who had practiced them, into the Christian Church appears gradually to
have leavened it in no slight degree. This is not only true of the
Valentinians (see Kaye's Clement of Alex. vi.) and other heretics, but
the influence of these contacts is seen even in the writings of the
"orthodox." Those who can read between the lines will find no slight
trace of this (after separating what they would conceive to be true
from what is manifestly false) in the story told by Zonaras, in his
Annals, of the controversy between the Rabbis and Sylvester, Bishop of
Rome, before Constantine. The Jews were worsted in argument, and
evidently thought an appeal to miracles might, from the Emperor's
education, bring him over to their side. An ox is brought forth. The
Jewish wonder-worker whispers a mystic name into its ear, and it falls
dead; but Sylvester, according to the story, is quite equal to the
occasion, and restores the animal to life again by uttering the name
of the Redeemer. It may have been that the cessation of miracles may
have gradually led unstable professors of Christianity to invent
miracles; and, as Bishop Kaye observes (Tertullian, p. 95), "the
success of the first attempts naturally encouraged others to practice
similar impositions on the credulity of mankind." As to the time of
the cessation of miracles, comparison may be profitably made of the
views of Kaye, in the early part of c. ii. of his Tertullian, and of
Blunt, in his Right Use of the Early Fathers, series ii. lecture 6.
 Ps. xli. 4.
 John v. 14.
 Rom. ii. 6, and Matt. xvi. 27.
 Ps. li. 17.
 This physician was Vindicianus, the "acute old man" mentioned in
vii. sec. 8, below, and again in Ep. 138, as "the most eminent
physician of his day." Augustin's disease, however, could not be
reached by his remedies. We are irresistibly reminded of the words of
our great poet:-- "Canst thou minister to a mind diseased; Pluck from
the memory a rooted sorrow; Raze out the written troubles of the
brain; And, with some sweet oblivious antidote, Cleanse the stuff'd
bosom of that perilous stuff Which weighs upon the heart!" --Macbeth,
act. v. scene 3.
 1 Pet. v. 5, and Jas. iv. 6.
Chapter IV.--Sorely Distressed by Weeping at the Death of His Friend,
He Provides Consolation for Himself.
7. In those years, when I first began to teach rhetoric in my native
town, I had acquired a very dear friend, from association in our
studies, of mine own age, and, like myself, just rising up into the
flower of youth. He had grown up with me from childhood, and we had
been both school-fellows and play-fellows. But he was not then my
friend, nor, indeed, afterwards, as true friendship is; for true it is
not but in such as Thou bindest together, cleaving unto Thee by that
love which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is
given unto us.  But yet it was too sweet, being ripened by the
fervour of similar studies. For, from the true faith (which he, as a
youth, had not soundly and thoroughly become master of), I had turned
him aside towards those superstitious and pernicious fables which my
mother mourned in me. With me this man's mind now erred, nor could my
soul exist without him. But behold, Thou wert close behind Thy
fugitives--at once God of vengeance  and Fountain of mercies, who
turnest us to Thyself by wondrous means. Thou removedst that man from
this life when he had scarce completed one whole year of my
friendship, sweet to me above all the sweetness of that my life.
8. "Who can show forth all Thy praise"  which he hath experienced
in himself alone? What was it that Thou didst then, O my God, and how
unsearchable are the depths of Thy judgments!  For when, sore
sick of a fever, he long lay unconscious in a death-sweat, and all
despaired of his recovery, he was baptized without his knowledge;
 myself meanwhile little caring, presuming that his soul would
retain rather what it had imbibed from me, than what was done to his
unconscious body. Far different, however, was it, for he was revived
and restored. Straightway, as soon as I could talk to him (which I
could as soon as he was able, for I never left him, and we hung too
much upon each other), I attempted to jest with him, as if he also
would jest with me at that baptism which he had received when mind and
senses were in abeyance, but had now learnt that he had received. But
he shuddered at me, as if I were his enemy; and, with a remarkable and
unexpected freedom, admonished me, if I desired to continue his
friend, to desist from speaking to him in such a way. I, confounded
and confused, concealed all my emotions, till he should get well, and
his health be strong enough to allow me to deal with him as I wished.
But he was withdrawn from my frenzy, that with Thee he might be
preserved for my comfort. A few days after, during my absence, he had
a return of the fever, and died.
9. At this sorrow my heart was utterly darkened, and whatever I looked
upon was death. My native country was a torture to me, and my father's
house a wondrous unhappiness; and whatsoever I had participated in
with him, wanting him, turned into a frightful torture. Mine eyes
sought him everywhere, but he was not granted them; and I hated all
places because he was not in them; nor could they now say to me,
"Behold; he is coming," as they did when he was alive and absent. I
became a great puzzle to myself, and asked my soul why she was so sad,
and why she so exceedingly disquieted me;  but she knew not what
to answer me. And if I said, "Hope thou in God,"  she very
properly obeyed me not; because that most dear friend whom she had
lost was, being man, both truer and better than that phantasm 
she was bid to hope in. Naught but tears were sweet to me, and they
succeeded my friend in the dearest of my affections.
 Rom. v. 5.
 Ps. xciv. 1.
 Ps. cvi. 2.
 Ps. xxxvi. 6, and Rom. xi. 33.
 See i. sec. 17, note 3, above.
 Ps. xlii. 5.
 The mind may rest in theories and abstractions, but the heart
craves a being that it can love; and Archbishop Whately has shown in
one of his essays that the idol worship of every age had doubtless its
origin in the craving of mind and heart for an embodiment of the
object of worship. "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us," says
Philip (John xiv. 8), and he expresses the longing of the soul; and
when the Lord replies, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father," He
reveals to us God's satisfaction of human wants in the incarnation of
His Son. Augustin's heart was now thrown in upon itself, and his view
of God gave him no consolation. It satisfied his mind, perhaps, in a
measure, to think of God as a "corporeal brightness" (see iii. 12; iv.
3, 12, 31; v. 19, etc.) when free from trouble, but it could not
satisfy him now. He had yet to learn of Him who is the very image of
God--who by His divine power raised the dead to life again, while,
with perfect human sympathy, He could "weep with those that
wept,"--the "Son of Man" (not of a man, He being miraculously born,
but of the race of men [anthropou]), i.e. the Son of Mankind. See also
viii. sec. 27, note, below.
Chapter V.--Why Weeping is Pleasant to the Wretched.
10. And now, O Lord, these things are passed away, and time hath
healed my wound. May I learn from Thee, who art Truth, and apply the
ear of my heart unto Thy mouth, that Thou mayest tell me why weeping
should be so sweet to the unhappy.  Hast Thou--although present
everywhere--cast away far from Thee our misery? And Thou abidest in
Thyself, but we are disquieted with divers trials; and yet, unless we
wept in Thine ears, there would be no hope for us remaining. Whence,
then, is it that such sweet fruit is plucked from the bitterness of
life, from groans, tears, sighs, and lamentations? Is it the hope that
Thou hearest us that sweetens it? This is true of prayer, for therein
is a desire to approach unto Thee. But is it also in grief for a thing
lost, and the sorrow with which I was then overwhelmed? For I had
neither hope of his coming to life again, nor did I seek this with my
tears; but I grieved and wept only, for I was miserable, and had lost
my joy. Or is weeping a bitter thing, and for distaste of the things
which aforetime we enjoyed before, and even then, when we are loathing
them, does it cause us pleasure?
 For so it has ever been found to be:-- "Est quædam flere
voluptas; Expletur lacrymis egeriturque dolor." --Ovid, Trist. iv. 3,
Chapter VI.--His Friend Being Snatched Away by Death, He Imagines that
He Remains Only as Half.
11. But why do I speak of these things? For this is not the time to
question, but rather to confess unto Thee. Miserable I was, and
miserable is every soul fettered by the friendship of perishable
things--he is torn to pieces when he loses them, and then is sensible
of the misery which he had before ever he lost them. Thus was it at
that time with me; I wept most bitterly, and found rest in bitterness.
Thus was I miserable, and that life of misery I accounted dearer than
my friend. For though I would willingly have changed it, yet I was
even more unwilling to lose it than him; yea, I knew not whether I was
willing to lose it even for him, as is handed down to us (if not an
invention) of Pylades and Orestes, that they would gladly have died
one for another, or both together, it being worse than death to them
not to live together. But there had sprung up in me some kind of
feeling, too, contrary to this, for both exceedingly wearisome was it
to me to live, and dreadful to die, I suppose, the more I loved him,
so much the more did I hate and fear, as a most cruel enemy, that
death which had robbed me of him; and I imagined it would suddenly
annihilate all men, as it had power over him. Thus, I remember, it was
with me. Behold my heart, O my God! Behold and look into me, for I
remember it well, O my Hope! who cleansest me from the uncleanness of
such affections, directing mine eyes towards Thee, and plucking my
feet out of the net.  For I was astonished that other mortals
lived, since he whom I loved, as if he would never die, was dead; and
I wondered still more that I, who was to him a second self, could live
when he was dead. Well did one say of his friend, "Thou half of my
soul,"  for I felt that my soul and his soul were but one soul in
two bodies;  and, consequently, my life was a horror to me,
because I would not live in half. And therefore, perchance, was I
afraid to die, lest he should die wholly  whom I had so greatly
 Ps. xxv. 15.
 Horace, Carm. i. ode 3.
 Ovid, Trist. iv. eleg. iv. 72.
 Augustin's reference to this passage in his Retractations is
quoted at the beginning of the book. He might have gone further than
to describe his words here as declamatio levis, since the conclusion
is not logical.
Chapter VII.--Troubled by Restlessness and Grief, He Leaves His
Country a Second Time for Carthage.
12. O madness, which knowest not how to love men as men should be
loved! O foolish man that I then was, enduring with so much impatience
the lot of man! So I fretted, sighed, wept, tormented myself, and took
neither rest nor advice. For I bore about with me a rent and polluted
soul, impatient of being borne by me, and where to repose it I found
not. Not in pleasant groves, not in sport or song, not in fragrant
spots, nor in magnificent banquetings, nor in the pleasures of the bed
and the couch, nor, finally, in books and songs did it find repose.
All things looked terrible, even the very light itself; and whatsoever
was not what he was, was repulsive and hateful, except groans and
tears, for in those alone found I a little repose. But when my soul
was withdrawn from them, a heavy burden of misery weighed me down. To
Thee, O Lord, should it have been raised, for Thee to lighten and
avert it.  This I knew, but was neither willing nor able; all the
more since, in my thoughts of Thee, Thou wert not any solid or
substantial thing to me. For Thou wert not Thyself, but an empty
phantasm,  and my error was my god. If I attempted to discharge
my burden thereon, that it might find rest, it sank into emptiness,
and came rushing down again upon me, and I remained to myself an
unhappy spot, where I could neither stay nor depart from. For whither
could my heart fly from my heart? Whither could I fly from mine own
self? Whither not follow myself? And yet fled I from my country; for
so should my eyes look less for him where they were not accustomed to
see him. And thus I left the town of Thagaste, and came to Carthage.
 "The great and merciful Architect of His Church, whom not only
the philosophers have styled, but the Scripture itself calls technites
(an artist or artificer), employs not on us the hammer and chisel with
an intent to wound or mangle us, but only to square and fashion our
hard and stubborn hearts into such lively stones as may both grace and
strengthen His heavenly structure."--Boyle.
 See iii. 9; iv. 3, 12, 31; v. 19.
Chapter VIII.--That His Grief Ceased by Time, and the Consolation of
13. Times lose no time, nor do they idly roll through our senses. They
work strange operations on the mind.  Behold, they came and went
from day to day, and by coming and going they disseminated in my mind
other ideas and other remembrances, and by little and little patched
me up again with the former kind of delights, unto which that sorrow
of mine yielded. But yet there succeeded, not certainly other sorrows,
yet the causes of other sorrows.  For whence had that former
sorrow so easily penetrated to the quick, but that I had poured out my
soul upon the dust, in loving one who must die as if he were never to
die? But what revived and refreshed me especially was the consolations
of other friends,  with whom I did love what instead of Thee I
loved. And this was a monstrous fable and protracted lie, by whose
adulterous contact our soul, which lay itching in our ears, was being
polluted. But that fable would not die to me so oft as any of my
friends died. There were other things in them which did more lay hold
of my mind,--to discourse and jest with them; to indulge in an
interchange of kindnesses; to read together pleasant books; together
to trifle, and together to be earnest; to differ at times without
ill-humour, as a man would do with his own self; and even by the
infrequency of these differences to give zest to our more frequent
consentings; sometimes teaching, sometimes being taught; longing for
the absent with impatience, and welcoming the coming with joy. These
and similar expressions, emanating from the hearts of those who loved
and were beloved in return, by the countenance, the tongue, the eyes,
and a thousand pleasing movements, were so much fuel to melt our souls
together, and out of many to make but one.
 As Seneca has it: "Quod ratio non quit, sæpe sanabit mora"
 See iv. cc. 1, 10, 12, and vi. c. 16.
 "Friendship," says Lord Bacon, in his essay thereon,--the
sentiment being perhaps suggested by Cicero's "Secundas res
splendidiores facit amicitia et adversas partiens communicansque
leviores" (De Amicit. 6),--"redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in
halves." Augustin appears to have been eminently open to influences of
this kind. In his De Duab. Anim. con. Manich. (c. ix.) he tells us
that friendship was one of the bonds that kept him in the ranks of the
Manichæans; and here we find that, aided by time and weeping, it
restored him in his great grief. See also v. sec. 19, and vi. sec 26,
Chapter IX.--That the Love of a Human Being, However Constant in
Loving and Returning Love, Perishes; While He Who Loves God Never
Loses a Friend.
14. This is it that is loved in friends; and so loved that a man's
conscience accuses itself if he love not him by whom he is beloved, or
love not again him that loves him, expecting nothing from him but
indications of his love. Hence that mourning if one die, and gloom of
sorrow, that steeping of the heart in tears, all sweetness turned into
bitterness, and upon the loss of the life of the dying, the death of
the living. Blessed be he who loveth Thee, and his friend in Thee, and
his enemy for Thy sake. For he alone loses none dear to him to whom
all are dear in Him who cannot be lost. And who is this but our God,
the God that created heaven and earth,  and filleth them, 
because by filling them He created them?  None loseth Thee but he
who leaveth Thee. And he who leaveth Thee, whither goeth he, or
whither fleeth he, but from Thee well pleased to Thee angry? For where
doth not he find Thy law in his own punishment? "And Thy law is the
truth,"  and truth Thou. 
 Gen. i. 1.
 Jer. xxiii. 24.
 See i. 2, 3, above.
 Ps. cxix. 142, and John xvii. 17.
 John xiv. 6.
Chapter X.--That All Things Exist that They May Perish, and that We
are Not Safe Unless God Watches Over Us.
15. "Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and
we shall be saved."  For whithersoever the soul of man turns
itself, unless towards Thee, it is affixed to sorrows,  yea,
though it is affixed to beauteous things without Thee and without
itself. And yet they were not unless they were from Thee. They rise
and set; and by rising, they begin as it were to be; and they grow,
that they may become perfect; and when perfect, they wax old and
perish; and all wax not old, but all perish. Therefore when they rise
and tend to be, the more rapidly they grow that they may be, so much
the more they hasten not to be. This is the way of them.  Thus
much hast Thou given them, because they are parts of things, which
exist not all at the same time, but by departing and succeeding they
together make up the universe, of which they are parts. And even thus
is our speech accomplished by signs emitting a sound; but this, again,
is not perfected unless one word pass away when it has sounded its
part, in order that another may succeed it. Let my soul praise Thee
out of all these things, O God, the Creator of all; but let not my
soul be affixed to these things by the glue of love, through the
senses of the body. For they go whither they were to go, that they
might no longer be; and they rend her with pestilent desires, because
she longs to be, and yet loves to rest in what she loves. But in these
things no place is to be found; they stay not--they flee; and who is
he that is able to follow them with the senses of the flesh? Or who
can grasp them, even when they are near? For tardy is the sense of the
flesh, because it is the sense of the flesh, and its boundary is
itself. It sufficeth for that for which it was made, but it is not
sufficient to stay things running their course from their appointed
starting-place to the end appointed. For in Thy word, by which they
were created, they hear the fiat, "Hence and hitherto."
 Ps. lxxx. 19.
 See iv. cc. 1, 12, and vi. c. 16, below.
 It is interesting in connection with the above passages to note
what Augustin says elsewhere as to the origin of the law of death in
the sin of our first parents. In his De Gen. ad Lit. (vi. 25) he
speaks thus of their condition in the garden, and the provision made
for the maintenance of their life: "Aliud est non posse mori, sicut
quasdam naturas immortales creavit Deus; aliud est autem posse non
mori, secundum quem modum primus creatus est homo immortalis." Adam,
he goes on to say, was able to avert death, by partaking of the tree
of life. He enlarges on this doctrine in Book xiii. De Civ. Dei. He
says (sec. 20): "Our first parents decayed not with years, nor drew
nearer to death--a condition secured to them in God's marvellous grace
by the tree of life, which grew along with the forbidden tree in the
midst of Paradise." Again (sec. 19) he says: "Why do the philosophers
find that absurd which the Christian faith preaches, namely, that our
first parents were so created, that, if they had not sinned, they
would not have been dismissed from their bodies by any death, but
would have been endowed with immortality as the reward of their
obedience, and would have lived eternally with their bodies?" That
this was the doctrine of the early Church has been fully shown by
Bishop Bull in his State of Man before the Fall, vol. ii. Theophilus
of Antioch was of opinion (Ad Autolyc. c. 24) that Adam might have
gone on from strength to strength, until at last he "would have been
taken up into heaven." See also on this subject Dean Buckland's Sermon
on Death; and Delitzsch, Bibl. Psychol. vi. secs. 1 and 2.
Chapter XI.--That Portions of the World are Not to Be Loved; But that
God, Their Author, is Immutable, and His Word Eternal.
16. Be not foolish, O my soul, and deaden not the ear of thine heart
with the tumult of thy folly. Hearken thou also. The word itself
invokes thee to return; and there is the place of rest imperturbable,
where love is not abandoned if itself abandoneth not. Behold, these
things pass away, that others may succeed them, and so this lower
universe be made complete in all its parts. But do I depart anywhere,
saith the word of God? There fix thy habitation. There commit
whatsoever thou hast thence, O my soul; at all events now thou art
tired out with deceits. Commit to truth whatsoever thou hast from the
truth, and nothing shall thou lose; and thy decay shall flourish
again, and all thy diseases be healed,  and thy perishable parts
shall be reformed and renovated, and drawn together to thee; nor shall
they put thee down where themselves descend, but they shall abide with
thee, and continue for ever before God, who abideth and continueth for
17. Why, then, be perverse and follow thy flesh? Rather let it be
converted and follow thee. Whatever by her thou feelest, is but in
part; and the whole, of which these are portions, thou art ignorant
of, and yet they delight thee. But had the sense of thy flesh been
capable of comprehending the whole, and not itself also, for thy
punishment, been justly limited to a portion of the whole, thou
wouldest that whatsoever existeth at the present time should pass
away, that so the whole might please thee more.  For what we
speak, also by the same sense of the flesh thou hearest; and yet
wouldest not thou that the syllables should stay, but fly away, that
others may come, and the whole  be heard. Thus it is always, when
any single thing is composed of many, all of which exist not together,
all together would delight more than they do simply could all be
perceived at once. But far better than these is He who made all; and
He is our God, and He passeth not away, for there is nothing to
succeed Him. If bodies please thee, praise God for them, and turn back
thy love upon their Creator, lest in those things which please thee
 Ps. ciii. 3.
 1 Pet. i. 23.
 See xiii. sec. 22, below.
 A similar illustration occurs in sec. 15, above.
Chapter XII.--Love is Not Condemned, But Love in God, in Whom There is
Rest Through Jesus Christ, is to Be Preferred.
18. If souls please thee, let them be loved in God; for they also are
mutable, but in Him are they firmly established, else would they pass,
and pass away. In Him, then, let them be beloved; and draw unto Him
along with thee as many souls as thou canst, and say to them, "Him let
us love, Him let us love; He created these, nor is He far off. For He
did not create them, and then depart; but they are of Him, and in Him.
Behold, there is He wherever truth is known. He is within the very
heart, but yet hath the heart wandered from Him. Return to your heart,
 O ye transgressors,  and cleave fast unto Him that made
you. Stand with Him, and you shall stand fast. Rest in Him, and you
shall be at rest. Whither go ye in rugged paths? Whither go ye? The
good that you love is from Him; and as it has respect unto Him it is
both good and pleasant, and justly shall it be embittered, 
because whatsoever cometh from Him is unjustly loved if He be forsaken
for it. Why, then, will ye wander farther and farther in these
difficult and toilsome ways? There is no rest where ye seek it. Seek
what ye seek; but it is not there where ye seek. Ye seek a blessed
life in the land of death; it is not there. For could a blessed life
be where life itself is not?"
19. But our very Life descended hither, and bore our death, and slew
it, out of the abundance of His own life; and thundering He called
loudly to us to return hence to Him into that secret place whence He
came forth to us--first into the Virgin's womb, where the human
creature was married to Him,--our mortal flesh, that it might not be
for ever mortal,--and thence "as a bridegroom coming out of his
chamber, rejoicing as a strong man to run a race."  For He
tarried not, but ran crying out by words, deeds, death, life, descent,
ascension, crying aloud to us to return to Him. And He departed from
our sight, that we might return to our heart, and there find Him. For
He departed, and behold, He is here. He would not be long with us, yet
left us not; for He departed thither, whence He never departed,
because "the world was made by Him."  And in this world He was,
and into this world He came to save sinners,  unto whom my soul
doth confess, that He may heal it, for it hath sinned against Him.
 O ye sons of men, how long so slow of heart?  Even now,
after the Life is descended to you, will ye not ascend and live? 
But whither ascend ye, when ye are on high, and set your mouth against
the heavens?  Descend that ye may ascend,  and ascend to
God. For ye have fallen by "ascending against Him." Tell them this,
that they may weep in the valley of tears,  and so draw them with
thee to God, because it is by His Spirit that thou speakest thus unto
them, if thou speakest burning with the fire of love.
 Augustin is never weary of pointing out that there is a lex
occulta (in Ps. lvii. sec. 1), a law written on the heart, which cries
to those who have forsaken the written law, "Return to your hearts, ye
transgressors." In like manner he interprets (De Serm. Dom. in Mon.
ii. sec. 11) "Enter into thy closet," of the heart of man. The door is
the gate of the senses through which carnal thoughts enter into the
mind. We are to shut the door, because the devil (in Ps. cxli. 3) si
clausum invenerit transit. In sec. 16, above, the figure is changed,
and we are to fear lest these objects of sense render us "deaf in the
ear of our heart" with the tumult of our folly. Men will not, he says,
go back into their hearts, because the heart is full of sin, and they
fear the reproaches of conscience, just (in Ps. xxxiii. 5) "as those
are unwilling to enter their houses who have troublesome wives." These
outer things, which too often draw us away from Him, God intends
should lift us up to Him who is better than they, though they could
all be ours at once, since He made them all; and "woe," he says (De
Lib. Arb. ii. 16), "to them who love the indications of Thee rather
than Thee, and remember not what these indicated."
 Isa. lvi. 8.
 See iv. cc. 1, 10, above, and vi. c. 16, below.
 Ps. xix. 5.
 John i. 10.
 1 Tim. i. 15.
 Ps. xli. 4.
 Luke xxiv. 25.
 "The Son of God," says Augustin in another place, "became a son
of man, that the sons of men might be made sons of God." He put off
the form of God--that by which He manifested His divine glory in
heaven--and put on the "form of a servant" (Phil. ii. 6, 7), that as
the outshining [apaugasma] of the Father's glory (Heb. i. 3) He might
draw us to Himself. He descended and emptied Himself of His dignity
that we might ascend, giving an example for all time (in Ps. xxxiii.
sec. 4); for, "lest man should disdain to imitate a humble man, God
humbled Himself, so that the pride of the human race might not disdain
to walk in the footsteps of God." See also v. sec. 5, note, below.
 Ps. lxxiii. 9.
 "There is something in humility which, strangely enough, exalts
the heart, and something in pride which debases it. This seems,
indeed, to be contradictory, that loftiness should debase and
lowliness exalt. But pious humility enables us to submit to what is
above us; and nothing is more exalted above us than God; and therefore
humility, by making us subject to God, exalts us."--De Civ. Dei, xiv.
 Ps. lxxxiv. 6.
Chapter XIII.--Love Originates from Grace and Beauty Enticing Us.
20. These things I knew not at that time, and I loved these lower
beauties, and I was sinking to the very depths; and I said to my
friends, "Do we love anything but the beautiful? What, then, is the
beautiful? And what is beauty? What is it that allures and unites us
to the things we love; for unless there were a grace and beauty in
them, they could by no means attract us to them?" And I marked and
perceived that in bodies themselves there was a beauty from their
forming a kind of whole, and another from mutual fitness, as one part
of the body with its whole, or a shoe with a foot, and so on. And this
consideration sprang up in my mind out of the recesses of my heart,
and I wrote books (two or three, I think) "on the fair and fit." Thou
knowest, O Lord, for it has escaped me; for I have them not, but they
have strayed from me, I know not how.
Chapter XIV.--Concerning the Books Which He Wrote "On the Fair and
Fit," Dedicated to Hierius.
21. But what was it that prompted me, O Lord my God, to dedicate these
books to Hierius, an orator of Rome, whom I knew not by sight, but
loved the man for the fame of his learning, for which he was renowned,
and some words of his which I had heard, and which had pleased me? But
the more did he please me in that he pleased others, who highly
extolled him, astonished that a native of Syria, instructed first in
Greek eloquence, should afterwards become a wonderful Latin orator,
and one so well versed in studies pertaining unto wisdom. Thus a man
is commended and loved when absent. Doth this love enter into the
heart of the hearer from the mouth of the commender? Not so. But
through one who loveth is another inflamed. For hence he is loved who
is commended when the commender is believed to praise him with an
unfeigned heart; that is, when he that loves him praises him.
22. Thus, then, loved I men upon the judgment of men, not upon Thine,
O my God, in which no man is deceived. But yet why not as the renowned
charioteer, as the huntsman  known far and wide by a vulgar
popularity--but far otherwise, and seriously, and so as I would desire
to be myself commended? For I would not that they should commend and
love me as actors are,--although I myself did commend and love
them,--but I would prefer being unknown than so known, and even being
hated than so loved. Where now are these influences of such various
and divers kinds of loves distributed in one soul? What is it that I
am in love with in another, which, if I did not hate, I should not
detest and repel from myself, seeing we are equally men? For it does
not follow that because a good horse is loved by him who would not,
though he might, be that horse, the same should therefore be affirmed
by an actor, who partakes of our nature. Do I then love in a man that
which I, who am a man, hate to be? Man himself is a great deep, whose
very hairs Thou numberest, O Lord, and they fall not to the ground
without Thee.  And yet are the hairs of his head more readily
numbered than are his affections and the movements of his heart.
23. But that orator was of the kind that I so loved as I wished myself
to be such a one; and I erred through an inflated pride, and was
"carried about with every wind,"  but yet was piloted by Thee,
though very secretly. And whence know I, and whence confidently
confess I unto Thee that I loved him more because of the love of those
who praised him, than for the very things for which they praised him?
Because had he been upraised, and these self-same men had dispraised
him, and with dispraise and scorn told the same things of him, I
should never have been so inflamed and provoked to love him. And yet
the things had not been different, nor he himself different, but only
the affections of the narrators. See where lieth the impotent soul
that is not yet sustained by the solidity of truth! Just as the blasts
of tongues blow from the breasts of conjecturers, so is it tossed this
way and that, driven forward and backward, and the light is obscured
to it and the truth not perceived. And behold it is before us. And to
me it was a great matter that my style and studies should be known to
that man; the which if he approved, I were the more stimulated, but if
he disapproved, this vain heart of mine, void of Thy solidity, had
been offended. And yet that "fair and fit," about which I wrote to
him, I reflected on with pleasure, and contemplated it, and admired
it, though none joined me in doing so.
 See vi. sec. 13, below.
 Matt. x. 29, 30.
 Eph. iv. 14.
Chapter XV.--While Writing, Being Blinded by Corporeal Images, He
Failed to Recognise the Spiritual Nature of God.
24. But not yet did I perceive the hinge on which this impotent matter
turned in Thy wisdom, O Thou Omnipotent, "who alone doest great
wonders;"  and my mind ranged through corporeal forms, and I
defined and distinguished as "fair," that which is so in itself, and
"fit," that which is beautiful as it corresponds to some other thing;
and this I supported by corporeal examples. And I turned my attention
to the nature of the mind, but the false opinions which I entertained
of spiritual things prevented me from seeing the truth. Yet the very
power of truth forced itself on my gaze, and I turned away my
throbbing soul from incorporeal substance, to lineaments, and colours,
and bulky magnitudes. And not being able to perceive these in the
mind, I thought I could not perceive my mind. And whereas in virtue I
loved peace, and in viciousness I hated discord, in the former I
distinguished unity, but in the latter a kind of division. And in that
unity I conceived the rational soul and the nature of truth and of the
chief good  to consist. But in this division I, unfortunate one,
imagined there was I know not what substance of irrational life, and
the nature of the chief evil, which should not be a substance only,
but real life also, and yet not emanating from Thee, O my God, from
whom are all things. And yet the first I called a Monad, as if it had
been a soul without sex,  but the other a Duad,--anger in deeds
of violence, in deeds of passion, lust,--not knowing of what I talked.
For I had not known or learned that neither was evil a substance, nor
our soul that chief and unchangeable good.
25. For even as it is in the case of deeds of violence, if that
emotion of the soul from whence the stimulus comes be depraved, and
carry itself insolently and mutinously; and in acts of passion, if
that affection of the soul whereby carnal pleasures are imbibed is
unrestrained,--so do errors and false opinions contaminate the life,
if the reasonable soul itself be depraved, as it was at that time in
me, who was ignorant that it must be enlightened by another light that
it may be partaker of truth, seeing that itself is not that nature of
truth. "For Thou wilt light my candle; the Lord my God will enlighten
my darkness;  and "of His fulness have all we received," 
for "that was the true Light which lighted every man that cometh into
the world;"  for in Thee there is "no variableness, neither
shadow of turning." 
26. But I pressed towards Thee, and was repelled by Thee that I might
taste of death, for Thou "resistest the proud."  But what prouder
than for me, with a marvellous madness, to assert myself to be that by
nature which Thou art? For whereas I was mutable,--so much being clear
to me, for my very longing to become wise arose from the wish from
worse to become better,--yet chose I rather to think Thee mutable,
than myself not to be that which Thou art. Therefore was I repelled by
Thee, and Thou resistedst my changeable stiffneckedness; and I
imagined corporeal forms, and, being flesh, I accused flesh, and,
being "a wind that passeth away,"  I returned not to Thee, but
went wandering and wandering on towards those things that have no
being, neither in Thee, nor in me, nor in the body. Neither were they
created for me by Thy truth, but conceived by my vain conceit out of
corporeal things. And I used to ask Thy faithful little ones, my
fellow-citizens,--from whom I unconsciously stood exiled,--I used
flippantly and foolishly to ask, "Why, then, doth the soul which God
created err?" But I would not permit any one to ask me, "Why, then,
doth God err?" And I contended that Thy immutable substance erred of
constraint, rather than admit that my mutable substance had gone
astray of free will, and erred as a punishment. 
27. I was about six or seven and twenty years of age when I wrote
those volumes--meditating upon corporeal fictions, which clamoured in
the ears of my heart. These I directed, O sweet Truth, to Thy inward
melody, pondering on the "fair and fit," and longing to stay and
listen to Thee, and to rejoice greatly at the Bridegroom's voice,
 and I could not; for by the voices of my own errors was I driven
forth, and by the weight of my own pride was I sinking into the lowest
pit. For Thou didst not "make me to hear joy and gladness;" nor did
the bones which were not yet humbled rejoice. 
 Ps. cxxxvi. 4.
 Augustin tells us (De Civ. Dei, xix. 1) that Varro, in his lost
book De Philosophia, gives two hundred and eighty-eight different
opinions as regards the chief good, and shows us how readily they may
be reduced in number. Now, as then, philosophers ask the same
questions. We have our hedonists, whose "good" is their own pleasure
and happiness; our materialists, who would seek the common good of
all; and our intuitionists, who aim at following the dictates of
conscience. When the pretensions of these various schools are examined
without prejudice, the conclusion is forced upon us that we must have
recourse to Revelation for a reconcilement of the difficulties of the
various systems; and that the philosophers, to employ Davidson's happy
illustration (Prophecies, Introd.), forgetting that their faded taper
has been insensibly kindled by gospel light, are attempting now, as in
Augustin's time (ibid. sec. 4), "to fabricate for themselves a
happiness in this life based upon a virtue as deceitful as it is
proud." Christianity gives the golden key to the attainment of
happiness, when it declares that "godliness is profitable for all
things, having the promise of the life which now is, and of that which
is to come " (1 Tim. iv. 8). It was a saying of Bacon (Essay on
Adversity), that while "prosperity is the blessing of the old
Testament, adversity is the blessing of the New." He would have been
nearer the truth had he said that while temporal rewards were the
special promise of the Old Testament, spiritual rewards are the
special promise of the New. For though Christ's immediate followers
had to suffer "adversity" in the planting of our faith, adversity
cannot properly be said to be the result of following Christ. It has
yet to be shown that, on the whole, the greatest amount of real
happiness does not result, even in this life, from a Christian life,
for virtue is, even here, its own reward. The fulness of the reward,
however, will only be received in the life to come. Augustin's remark,
therefore, still holds good that "life eternal is the supreme good,
and death eternal the supreme evil, and that to obtain the one and
escape the other we must live rightly" (ibid. sec. 4); and again, that
even in the midst of the troubles of life, "as we are saved, so we are
made happy, by hope. And as we do not as yet possess a present, but
look for a future salvation, so it is with our happiness,...we ought
patiently to endure till we come to the ineffable enjoyment of unmixed
good." See Abbe Anselme, Sur le Souverain Bien, vol. v. serm. 1; and
the last Chapter of Professor Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics, for the
conclusions at which a mind at once lucid and dispassionate has
arrived on this question.
 "Or `an unintelligent soul;' very good mss. reading `sensu,' the
majority, it appears, `sexu.' If we read `sexu,' the absolute unity of
the first principle or Monad, may be insisted upon, and in the
inferior principle, divided into `violence' and `lust,' `violence,' as
implying strength, may be looked on as the male, `lust' was, in
mythology, represented as female; if we take `sensu,' it will express
the living but unintelligent soul of the world in the Manichæan, as a
pantheistic system."--E. B. P.
 Ps. xviii. 28. Augustin constantly urges our recognition of the
truth that God is the "Father of lights." From Him as our central sun,
all light, whether of wisdom or knowledge proceedeth, and if changing
the figure, our candle which He hath lighted be blown out, He again
must light it. Compare Enar. in Ps. xciii. 147; and Sermons, 67 and
 John i. 16.
 John i. 9.
 Jas. i. 17.
 Jas. iv. 6, and 1 Pet. v. 5.
 Ps. lxxviii. 39.
 It may assist those unacquainted with Augustin's writings to
understand the last three sections, if we set before them a brief view
of the Manichæan speculations as to the good and evil principles, and
the nature of the human soul:--(1) The Manichæans believed that there
were two principles or substances, one good and the other evil, and
that both were eternal and opposed one to the other. The good
principle they called God, and the evil, matter or Hyle (Con. Faust.
xxi. 1, 2). Faustus, in his argument with Augustin, admits that they
sometimes called the evil nature "God," but simply as a conventional
usage. Augustin says thereon (ibid. sec. 4): "Faustus glibly defends
himself by saying, `We speak not of two gods, but of God and Hyle;'
but when you ask for the meaning of Hyle, you find that it is in fact
another god. If the Manichæans gave the name of Hyle, as the ancients
did, to the unformed matter which is susceptible of bodily forms, we
should not accuse them of making two gods. But it is pure folly and
madness to give to matter the power of forming bodies, or to deny that
what has this power is God." Augustin alludes in the above passage to
the Platonic theory of matter, which, as the late Dean Mansel has
shown us (Gnostic Heresies, Basilides, etc.), resulted after his time
in Pantheism, and which was entirely opposed to the dualism of
Manichæus. It is to this "power of forming bodies" claimed for matter,
then, that Augustin alludes in our text (sec. 24) as "not only a
substance but real life also." (2) The human soul the Manichæans
declared to be of the same nature as God, though not created by
Him--it having originated in the intermingling of part of His being
with the evil principle, in the conflict between the kingdoms of light
and darkness (in Ps. cxl. sec. 10). Augustin says to Faustus: "You
generally call your soul not a temple, but a part or member of God "
(Con. Faust. xx. 15); and thus, "identifying themselves with the
nature and substance of God" (ibid. xii. 13), they did not refer their
sin to themselves, but to the race of darkness, and so did not
"prevail over their sin." That is, they denied original sin, and
asserted that it necessarily resulted from the soul's contact with the
body. To this Augustin steadily replied, that as the soul was not of
the nature of God, but created by Him and endowed with free will, man
was responsible for his transgressions. Again, referring to the
Confessions, we find Augustin speaking consistently with his then
belief, when he says that he had not then learned that the soul was
not a "chief and unchangeable good" (sec. 24), or that "it was not
that nature of truth" (sec. 25); and that when he transgressed "he
accused flesh" rather than himself; and, as a result of his Manichæan
errors (sec. 26), "contended that God's immutable substance erred of
constraint, rather than admit that his mutable substance had gone
astray of free will, and erred as a punishment."
 John iii. 29.
 Ps. li. 8, Vulg.
Chapter XVI.--He Very Easily Understood the Liberal Arts and the
Categories of Aristotle, But Without True Fruit.
28. And what did it profit me that, when scarce twenty years old, a
book of Aristotle's, entitled The Ten Predicaments, fell into my
hands,--on whose very name I hung as on something great and divine,
when my rhetoric master of Carthage, and others who were esteemed
learned, referred to it with cheeks swelling with pride,--I read it
alone and understood it? And on my conferring with others, who said
that with the assistance of very able masters--who not only explained
it orally, but drew many things in the dust  --they scarcely
understood it, and could tell me no more about it than I had acquired
in reading it by myself alone? And the book appeared to me to speak
plainly enough of substances, such as man is, and of their
qualities,--such as the figure of a man, of what kind it is; and his
stature, how many feet high; and his relationship, whose brother he
is; or where placed, or when born; or whether he stands or sits, or is
shod or armed, or does or suffers anything; and whatever innumerable
things might be classed under these nine categories,  --of which
I have given some examples,--or under that chief category of
29. What did all this profit me, seeing it even hindered me, when,
imagining that whatsoever existed was comprehended in those ten
categories, I tried so to understand, O my God, Thy wonderful and
unchangeable unity as if Thou also hadst been subjected to Thine own
greatness or beauty, so that they should exist in Thee as their
subject, like as in bodies, whereas Thou Thyself art Thy greatness and
beauty? But a body is not great or fair because it is a body, seeing
that, though it were less great or fair, it should nevertheless be a
body. But that which I had conceived of Thee was falsehood, not
truth,--fictions of my misery, not the supports of Thy blessedness.
For Thou hadst commanded, and it was done in me, that the earth should
bring forth briars and thorns to me,  and that with labour I
should get my bread. 
30. And what did it profit me that I, the base slave of vile
affections, read unaided, and understood, all the books that I could
get of the so-called liberal arts? And I took delight in them, but
knew not whence came whatever in them was true and certain. For my
back then was to the light, and my face towards the things
enlightened; whence my face, with which I discerned the things
enlightened, was not itself enlightened. Whatever was written either
on rhetoric or logic, geometry, music, or arithmetic, did I, without
any great difficulty, and without the teaching of any man, understand,
as Thou knowest, O Lord my God, because both quickness of
comprehension and acuteness of perception are Thy gifts. Yet did I not
thereupon sacrifice to Thee. So, then, it served not to my use, but
rather to my destruction, since I went about to get so good a portion
of my substance  into my own power; and I kept not my strength
for Thee,  but went away from Thee into a far country, to waste
it upon harlotries.  For what did good abilities profit me, if I
did not employ them to good uses? For I did not perceive that those
arts were acquired with great difficulty, even by the studious and
those gifted with genius, until I endeavoured to explain them to such;
and he was the most proficient in them who followed my explanations
not too slowly.
31. But what did this profit me, supposing that Thou, O Lord God, the
Truth, wert a bright and vast body,  and I a piece of that body?
Perverseness too great! But such was I. Nor do I blush, O my God, to
confess to Thee Thy mercies towards me, and to call upon Thee--I, who
blushed not then to avow before men my blasphemies, and to bark
against Thee. What profited me then my nimble wit in those sciences
and all those knotty volumes, disentangled by me without help from a
human master, seeing that I erred so odiously, and with such
sacrilegious baseness, in the doctrine of piety? Or what impediment
was it to Thy little ones to have a far slower wit, seeing that they
departed not far from Thee, that in the nest of Thy Church they might
safely become fledged, and nourish the wings of charity by the food of
a sound faith? O Lord our God, under the shadow of Thy wings let us
hope,  defend us, and carry us. Thou wilt carry us both when
little, and even to grey hairs wilt Thou carry us;  for our
firmness, when it is Thou, then is it firmness; but when it is our
own, then it is infirmity. Our good lives always with Thee, from which
when we are averted we are perverted. Let us now, O Lord, return, that
we be not overturned, because with Thee our good lives without any
eclipse, which good Thou Thyself art.  And we need not fear lest
we should find no place unto which to return because we fell away from
it; for when we were absent, our home--Thy Eternity--fell not.
 As the mathematicians did their figures, in dust or sand.
 "The categories enumerated by Aristotle are ousia, poson, poion,
prosti, pou, pote, keisthai, echein, poiein, paschein; which are
usually rendered, as adequately as perhaps they can be in our
language, substance, quantity, quality, relation, place, time,
situation, possession, action, suffering. The catalogue (which
certainly is but a very crude one) has been by some writers enlarged,
as it is evident may easily be done by subdividing some of the heads;
and by others curtailed, as it is no less evident that all may
ultimately be referred to the two heads of substance and attribute,
or, in the language of some logicians, `accident'" (Whately's Logic,
iv. 2, sec. 1, note). "These are called in Latin the prædicaments,
because they can be said or predicated in the same sense of all other
terms, as well as of all the objects denoted by them, whereas no other
term can be correctly said of them, because no other is employed to
express the full extent of their meaning" (Gillies, Analysis of
Aristotle, c. 2).
 Isa. xxxii. 13.
 Gen. iii. 19.
 Luke xv. 12.
 Ps. lix. 9, Vulg.
 Luke xv. 13.
 See iii. 12; iv. 3, 12; v. 19.
 Ps. xxxvi. 7.
 Isa. xlvi. 4.
 See xi. sec. 5, note, below.
He describes the twenty-ninth year of his age, in which, having
discovered the fallacies of the Manichæans, he professed rhetoric at
Rome and Milan. Having heard Ambrose, he begins to come to himself.
Chapter I.--That It Becomes the Soul to Praise God, and to Confess
1. Accept the sacrifice of my confessions by the agency of my tongue,
which Thou hast formed and quickened, that it may confess to Thy name;
and heal Thou all my bones, and let them say, "Lord, who is like unto
Thee?"  For neither does he who confesses to Thee teach Thee what
may be passing within him, because a closed heart doth not exclude
Thine eye, nor does man's hardness of heart repulse Thine hand, but
Thou dissolvest it when Thou wiliest, either in pity or in vengeance,
"and there is no One who can hide himself from Thy heart."  But
let my soul praise Thee, that it may love Thee; and let it confess
Thine own mercies to Thee, that it may praise Thee. Thy whole creation
ceaseth not, nor is it silent in Thy praises--neither the spirit of
man, by the voice directed unto Thee, nor animal nor corporeal things,
by the voice of those meditating thereon;  so that our souls may
from their weariness arise towards Thee, leaning on those things which
Thou hast made, and passing on to Thee, who hast made them wonderfully
and there is there refreshment and true strength.
 Ps. xxxv. 10.
 Ps. xix. 6.
 St. Paul speaks of a "minding of the flesh" and a "minding of
the spirit" (Rom. viii. 6, margin), and we are prone to be attracted
and held by the carnal surroundings of life; that is, "quæ per carnem
sentiri querunt id est per oculos, per aures, ceterosque corporis
sensus" (De Vera Relig.. xxiv.). But God would have us, as we meditate
on the things that enter by the gates of the senses, to arise towards
Him, through these His creatures. Our Father in heaven might have
ordered His creation simply in a utilitarian way, letting, for
example, hunger be satisfied without any of the pleasures of taste,
and so of the other senses. But He has not so done. To every sense He
has given its appropriate pleasure as well as its proper use. And
though this presents to us a source of temptation, still ought we for
it to praise His goodness to the full, and that corde are
opere.--Bradward, ii. c. 23. See also i. sec. 1, note 3, and iv. sec.
Chapter II.--On the Vanity of Those Who Wished to Escape the
2. Let the restless and the unjust depart and flee from Thee. Thou
both seest them and distinguishest the shadows. And lo! all things
with them are fair, yet are they themselves foul.  And how have
they injured Thee?  Or in what have they disgraced Thy
government, which is just and perfect from heaven even to the lowest
parts of the earth. For whither fled they when they fled from Thy
presence?  Or where dost Thou not find them? But they fled that
they might not see Thee seeing them, and blinded might stumble against
Thee;  since Thou forsakest nothing that Thou hast made 
--that the unjust might stumble against Thee, and justly be hurt,
 withdrawing themselves from Thy gentleness, and stumbling
against Thine uprightness, and falling upon their own roughness.
Forsooth, they know not that Thou art everywhere whom no place
encompasseth, and that Thou alone art near even to those that remove
far from Thee.  Let them, then, be converted and seek Thee;
because not as they have forsaken their Creator hast Thou forsaken Thy
creature. Let them be converted and seek Thee; and behold, Thou art
there in their hearts, in the hearts of those who confess to Thee, and
cast themselves upon Thee, and weep on Thy bosom after their obdurate
ways, even Thou gently wiping away their tears. And they weep the
more, and rejoice in weeping, since Thou, O Lord, not man, flesh and
blood, but Thou, Lord, who didst make, remakest and comfortest them.
And where was I when I was seeking Thee? And Thou wert before me, but
I had gone away even from myself; nor did I find myself, much less
 Augustin frequently recurs to the idea, that in God's overruling
Providence, the foulness and sin of man does not disturb the order and
fairness of the universe. He illustrates the idea by reference to
music, painting, and oratory. "For as the beauty of a picture is
increased by well-managed shadows, so, to the eye that has skill to
discern it, the universe is beautified even by sinners, though,
considered by themselves, their deformity is a sad blemish" (De Civ.
Dei, xi. 23). So again, he says, God would never have created angels
or men whose future wickedness he foreknew, unless He could turn them
to the use of the good, "thus embellishing the course of the ages as
it were an exquisite poem set off with antitheses" (ibid. xi. 18); and
further on, in the same section, "as the oppositions of contraries
lend beauty to language, so the beauty of the course of this world is
achieved by the opposition of contraries, arranged, as it were, by an
eloquence not of words, but of things." These reflections affected
Augustin's views as to the last things. They seemed to him to render
the idea entertained by Origen (De Princ. i. 6) and other Fathers as
to a general restoration [apokatastasis] unnecessary. See Hagenbach's
Hist. of Doct. etc. i. 383 (Clark).
 "In Scripture they are called God's enemies who oppose His rule
not by nature but by vice, having no power to hurt Him, but only
themselves. For they are His enemies not through their power to hurt,
but by their will to oppose Him. For God is unchangeable, and wholly
proof against injury" (De Civ. Dei, xii. 3).
 Ps. cxxxix. 7.
 Gen. xvi. 13, 14.
 Wisd. ii. 26. Old ver.
 He also refers to the injury man does himself by sin in ii. sec.
13, above; and elsewhere he suggests the law which underlies it: "The
vice which makes those who are called God's enemies resist Him, is an
evil not to God but to themselves. And to them it is an evil solely
because it corrupts the good of their nature." And when we suffer for
our sins we should thank God that we are not unpunished (De Civ. Dei,
xii. 3). But if, when God punishes us, we still continue in our sin,
we shall be more confirmed in habits of sin, and then, as Augustin in
another place (in Ps. vii. 15) warns us, "our facility in sinning will
be the punishment of God for our former yieldings to sin." See also
Butler's Analogy, Pt. i. ch. 5, "On a state of probation as intended
for moral discipline and improvement."
 Ps. lxxiii. 27.
Chapter III.--Having Heard Faustus, the Most Learned Bishop of the
Manichæans, He Discerns that God, the Author Both of Things Animate
and Inanimate, Chiefly Has Care for the Humble.
3. Let me lay bare before my God that twenty-ninth year of my age.
There had at this time come to Carthage a certain bishop of the
Manichæans, by name Faustus, a great snare of the devil, and in any
were entangled by him through the allurement of his smooth speech; the
which, although I did commend, yet could I separate from the truth of
those things which I was eager to learn. Nor did I esteem the small
dish of oratory so much as the science, which this their so praised
Faustus placed before me to feed upon. Fame, indeed, had before spoken
of him to me, as most skilled in all becoming learning, and
pre-eminently skilled in the liberal sciences. And as I had read and
retained in memory many injunctions of the philosophers, I used to
compare some teachings of theirs with those long fables of the
Manichæans and the former things which they declared, who could only
prevail so far as to estimate this lower world, while its lord they
could by no means find out,  seemed to me the more probable. For
Thou art great, O Lord, and hast respect unto the lowly, but the proud
Thou knowest afar off."  Nor dost Thou draw near but to the
contrite heart,  nor art Thou found by the proud,  --not
even could they number by cunning skill the stars and the sand, and
measure the starry regions, and trace the courses of the planets.
4. For with their understanding and the capacity which Thou hast
bestowed upon them they search out these things; and much have they
found out, and foretold many years before,--the eclipses of those
luminaries, the sun and moon, on what day, at what hour, and from how
many particular points they were likely to come. Nor did their
calculation fail them; and it came to pass even as they foretold. And
they wrote down the rules found out, which are read at this day; and
from these others foretell in what year and in what month of the year,
and on what day of the month, and at what hour of the day, and at what
quarter of its light, either moon or sun is to be eclipsed, and thus
it shall be even as it is foretold. And men who are ignorant of these
things marvel and are amazed, and they that know them exult and are
exalted; and by an impious pride, departing from Thee, and forsaking
Thy light, they foretell a failure of the sun's light which is likely
to occur so long before, but see not their own, which is now present.
For they seek not religiously whence they have the ability where-with
they seek out these things. And finding that Thou hast made them, they
give not themselves up to Thee, that Thou mayest preserve what Thou
hast made, nor sacrifice themselves to Thee, even such as they have
made themselves to be; nor do they slay their own pride, as fowls of
the air,  nor their own curiosities, by which (like the fishes of
the sea) they wander over the unknown paths of the abyss, nor their
own extravagance, as the "beasts of the field,"  that Thou, Lord,
"a consuming fire,"  mayest burn up their lifeless cares and
renew them immortally.
5. But the way--Thy Word,  by whom Thou didst make these things
which they number, and themselves who number, and the sense by which
they perceive what they number, and the judgment out of which they
number--they knew not, and that of Thy wisdom there is no number.
 But the Only-begotten has been "made unto us wisdom, and
righteousness, and sanctification,"  and has been numbered
amongst us, and paid tribute to Cæsar.  This way, by which they
might descend to Him from themselves, they knew not; nor that through
Him they might ascend unto Him.  This way they knew not, and they
think themselves exalted with the stars  and shining, and lo!
they fell upon the earth,  and "their foolish heart was
darkened."  They say many true things concerning the creature;
but Truth, the Artificer of the creature, they seek not with devotion,
and hence they find Him not. Or if they find Him, knowing that He is
God, they glorify Him not as God, neither are they thankful,  but
become vain in their imaginations, and say that they themselves are
wise,  attributing to themselves what is Thine; and by this, with
most perverse blindness, they desire to impute to Thee what is their
own, forging lies against Thee who art the Truth, and changing the
glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible
man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things, 
--changing Thy truth into a lie, and worshipping and serving the
creature more than the Creator. 
6. Many truths, however, concerning the creature did I retain from
these men, and the cause appeared to me from calculations, the
succession of seasons, and the visible manifestations of the stars;
and I compared them with the sayings of Manichæus, who in his frenzy
has written most extensively on these subjects, but discovered not any
account either of the solstices, or the equinoxes, the eclipses of the
luminaries, or anything of the kind I had learned in the books of
secular philosophy. But therein I was ordered to believe, and yet it
corresponded not with those rules acknowledged by calculation and my
own sight, but was far different.
 Wisd. xiii. 9.
 Ps. cxxxviii 6.
 Ps. xxxiv. 18, and cxlv. 18.
 See Book iv. sec. 19, note, above.
 He makes use of the same illustrations on Psalms viii. and xi. ,
where the birds of the air represent the proud, the fishes of the sea
those who have too great a curiosity, while the beasts of the field
are those given to carnal pleasures. It will be seen that there is a
correspondence between them and the lust of the flesh, the lust of the
eye, and the pride of life, in 1 John ii. 16. See also above, Book
iii. sec. 16; and below, Book x. sec. 41, etc.
 Ps. viii. 7, 8.
 Deut. iv. 24.
 John i. 3.
 Ps. cxlvii. 5, Vulg.
 1 Cor. i. 30.
 Matt. xvii. 27.
 In Sermon 123, sec. 3, we have: "Christ as God is the country to
which we go--Christ as man is the way by which we go." See note on
Book iv. sec. 19, above.
 Isa. xiv. 13.
 Rev. xii. 4.
 Rom. i. 21.
 Rom. i. 22.
 Rom. i. 23.
 Rom. i. 25.
Chapter IV.--That the Knowledge of Terrestrial and Celestial Things
Does Not Give Happiness, But the Knowledge of God Only.
7. Doth, then, O Lord God of truth, whosoever knoweth those things
therefore please Thee? For unhappy is the man who knoweth all those
things, but knoweth Thee not; but happy is he who knoweth Thee, though
these he may not know.  But he who knoweth both Thee and them is
not the happier on account of them, but is happy on account of Thee
only, if knowing Thee he glorify Thee as God, and gives thanks, and
becomes not vain in his thoughts.  But as he is happier who knows
how to possess a tree, and for the use thereof renders thanks to Thee,
although he may not know how many cubits high it is, or how wide it
spreads, than he that measures it and counts all its branches, and
neither owns it nor knows or loves its Creator; so a just man, whose
is the entire world of wealth,  and who, as having nothing, yet
possesseth all things  by cleaving unto Thee, to whom all things
are subservient, though he know not even the circles of the Great
Bear, yet it is foolish to doubt but that he may verily be better than
he who can measure the heavens, and number the stars, and weigh the
elements, but is forgetful of Thee, "who hast set in order all things
in number, weight, and measure." 
 What a contrast does his attitude here present to his supreme
regard for secular learning before his conversion! We have constantly
in his writings expressions of the same kind. On Psalm ciii. he
dilates lovingly on the fount of happiness the word of God is, as
compared with the writings of Cicero, Tully, and Plato; and again on
Psalm xxxviii. he shows that the word is the source of all true joy.
So likewise in De Trin. iv. 1: "That mind is more praiseworthy which
knows even its own weakness, than that which, without regard to this,
searches out and even comes to know the ways of the stars, or which
holds fast such knowledge already acquired, while ignorant of the way
by which itself to enter into its own proper health and
strength....Such a one has preferred to know his own weakness, rather
than to know the walls of the world, the foundations of the earth, and
the pinnacles of heaven." See iii. sec. 9, note, above.
 Rom. i. 21.
 Prov. xvii. 6, in the LXX.
 2 Cor. vi. 10.
 Wisd. xi. 20.
Chapter V.--Of Manichæus Pertinaciously Teaching False Doctrines, and
Proudly Arrogating to Himself the Holy Spirit.
8. But yet who was it that ordered Manichæus to write on these things
likewise, skill in which was not necessary to piety? For Thou hast
told man to behold piety and wisdom,  of which he might be in
ignorance although having a complete knowledge of these other things;
but since, knowing not these things, he yet most impudently dared to
teach them, it is clear that he had no acquaintance with piety. For
even when we have a knowledge of these worldly matters, it is folly to
make a profession of them; but confession to Thee is piety. It was
therefore with this view that this straying one spake much of these
matters, that, standing convicted by those who had in truth learned
them, the understanding that he really had in those more difficult
things might be made plain. For he wished not to be lightly esteemed,
but went about trying to persuade men "that the Holy Ghost, the
Comforter and Enricher of Thy faithful ones, was with full authority
personally resident in him."  When, therefore, it was discovered
that his teaching concerning the heavens and stars, and the motions of
sun and moon, was false, though these things do not relate to the
doctrine of religion, yet his sacrilegious arrogance would become
sufficiently evident, seeing that not only did he affirm things of
which he knew nothing, but also perverted them, and with such
egregious vanity of pride as to seek to attribute them to himself as
to a divine being.
9. For when I hear a Christian brother ignorant of these things, or in
error concerning them, I can bear with patience to see that man hold
to his opinions; nor can I apprehend that any want of knowledge as to
the situation or nature of this material creation can be injurious to
him, so long as he does not entertain belief in anything unworthy of
Thee, O Lord, the Creator of all. But if he conceives it to pertain to
the form of the doctrine of piety, and presumes to affirm with great
obstinacy that whereof he is ignorant, therein lies the injury. And
yet even a weakness such as this in the dawn of faith is borne by our
Mother Charity, till the new man may grow up "unto a perfect man," and
not be "carried about with every wind of doctrine."  But in him
who thus presumed to be at once the teacher, author, head, and leader
of all whom he could induce to believe this, so that all who followed
him believed that they were following not a simple man only, but Thy
Holy Spirit, who would not judge that such great insanity, when once
it stood convicted of false teaching, should be abhorred and utterly
cast off? But I had not yet clearly ascertained whether the changes of
longer and shorter days and nights, and day and night itself, with the
eclipses of the greater lights, and whatever of the like kind I had
read in other books, could be expounded consistently with his words.
Should I have found myself able to do so, there would still have
remained a doubt in my mind whether it were so or no, although I
might, on the strength of his reputed godliness,  rest my faith
on his authority.
 Job xxviii. 28 in LXX. reads: Idou he theosebea esti sophia.
 This claim of Manichæus was supported by referring to the Lord's
promise (John xvi. 12, 13) to send the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, to
guide the apostles into that truth which they were as yet "not able to
bear." The Manichæans used the words "Paraclete" and "Comforter," as
indeed the names of the other two persons of the blessed Trinity, in a
sense entirely different from that of the gospel. These terms were
little more than the bodily frame, the soul of which was his own
heretical belief. Whenever opposition appeared between that belief and
the teaching of Scripture, their ready answer was that the Scriptures
had been corrupted (De Mor. Ecc. Cath. xxviii. and xxix.); and in such
a case, as we find Faustus contending (Con. Faust. xxxii. 6), the
Paraclete taught them what part to receive and what to reject,
according to the promise of Jesus that He should "guide them into all
truth," and much more to the same effect. Augustin's whole argument in
reply is well worthy of attention. Amongst other things, he points out
that the Manichæan pretension to having received the promised
Paraclete was precisely the same as that of the Montanists in the
previous century. It should be observed that Beausobre (Histoire, i.
254, 264, etc.) vigorously rebuts the charge brought against Manichæus
of claiming to be the Holy Ghost. An interesting examination of the
claims of Montanus will be found in Kaye's Tertullian, pp. 13 to 33.
 Eph. iv. 13, 14.
 See vi. sec. 12, note, below.
Chapter VI.--Faustus Was Indeed an Elegant Speaker, But Knew Nothing
of the Liberal Sciences.
10. And for nearly the whole of those nine years during which, with
unstable mind, I had been their follower, I had been looking forward
with but too great eagerness for the arrival of this same Faustus. For
the other members of the sect whom I had chanced to light upon, when
unable to answer the questions I raised, always bade me look forward
to his coming, when, by discoursing with him, these, and greater
difficulties if I had them, would be most easily and amply cleared
away. When at last he did come, I found him to be a man of pleasant
speech, who spoke of the very same things as they themselves did,
although more fluently, and in better language. But of what profit to
me was the elegance of my cup-bearer, since he offered me not the more
precious draught for which I thirsted? My ears were already satiated
with similar things; neither did they appear to me more conclusive,
because better expressed; nor true, because oratorical; nor the spirit
necessarily wise, because the face was comely and the language
eloquent. But they who extolled him to me were not competent judges;
and therefore, as he was possessed of suavity of speech, he appeared
to them to be prudent and wise. Another sort of persons, however, was,
I was aware, suspicious even of truth itself, if enunciated in smooth
and flowing language. But me, O my God, Thou hadst already instructed
by wonderful and mysterious ways, and therefore I believe that Thou
instructedst me because it is truth; nor of truth is there any other
teacher--where or whencesoever it may shine upon us  --but Thee.
From Thee, therefore, I had now learned, that because a thing is
eloquently expressed, it should not of necessity seem to be true; nor,
because uttered with stammering lips, should it be false nor, again,
perforce true, because unskilfully delivered; nor consequently untrue,
because the language is fine; but that wisdom and folly are as food
both wholesome and unwholesome, and courtly or simple words as
town-made or rustic vessels,--and both kinds of food may be served in
either kind of dish.
11. That eagerness, therefore, with which I had so long waited for
this man was in truth delighted with his action and feeling when
disputing, and the fluent and apt words with which he clothed his
ideas. I was therefore filled with joy, and joined with others (and
even exceeded them) in exalting and praising him. It was, however, a
source of annoyance to me that I was not allowed at those meetings of
his auditors to introduce and impart  any of those questions that
troubled me in familiar exchange of arguments with him. When I might
speak, and began, in conjunction with my friends, to engage his
attention at such times as it was not unseeming for him to enter into
a discussion with me, and had mooted such questions as perplexed me, I
discovered him first to know nothing of the liberal sciences save
grammar, and that only in an ordinary way. Having, however, read some
of Tully's Orations, a very few books of Seneca and some of the poets,
and such few volumes of his own sect as were written coherently in
Latin, and being day by day practised in speaking, he so acquired a
sort of eloquence, which proved the more delightful and enticing in
that it was under the control of ready tact, and a sort of native
grace. Is it not even as I recall, O Lord my God, Thou judge of my
conscience? My heart and my memory are laid before Thee, who didst at
that time direct me by the inscrutable mystery of Thy Providence, and
didst set before my face those vile errors of mine, in order that I
might see and loathe them.
 Sec. vii. sec. 15, below.
 "This was the old fashion of the East, where the scholars had
liberty to ask questions of their masters, and to move doubts as the
professors were reading, or so soon as the lecture was done. Thus did
our Saviour with the doctors (Luke ii. 46). So it is still in some
European Universities."--W. W.
Chapter VII.--Clearly Seeing the Fallacies of the Manichæans, He
Retires from Them, Being Remarkably Aided by God.
12. For when it became plain to me that he was ignorant of those arts
in which I had believed him to excel, I began to despair of his
clearing up and explaining all the perplexities which harassed me:
though ignorant of these, however, he might still have held the truth
of piety, had he not been a Manichæan. For their books are full of
lengthy fables  concerning the heaven and stars, the sun and
moon, and I had ceased to think him able to decide in a satisfactory
manner what I ardently desired,--whether, on comparing these things
with the calculations I had read elsewhere, the explanations contained
in the works of Manichæus were preferable, or at any rate equally
sound? But when I proposed that these subjects should be deliberated
upon and reasoned out, he very modestly did not dare to endure the
burden. For he was aware that he had no knowledge of these things, and
was not ashamed to confess it. For he was not one of those loquacious
persons, many of whom I had been troubled with, who covenanted to
teach me these things, and said nothing; but this man possessed a
heart, which, though not right towards Thee, yet was not altogether
false towards himself. For he was not altogether ignorant of his own
ignorance, nor would he without due consideration be inveigled in a
controversy, from which he could neither draw back nor extricate
himself fairly. And for that I was even more pleased with him, for
more beautiful is the modesty of an ingenuous mind than the
acquisition of the knowledge I desired,--and such I found him to be in
all the more abstruse and subtle questions.
13. My eagerness after the writings of Manichæus having thus received
a check, and despairing even more of their other teachers,--seeing
that in sundry things which puzzled me, he, so famous amongst them,
had thus turned out,--I began to occupy myself with him in the study
of that literature which he also much affected, and which I, as
Professor of Rhetoric, was then engaged in teaching the young
Carthaginian students, and in reading with him either what he
expressed a wish to hear, or I deemed suited to his bent of mind. But
all my endeavours by which I had concluded to improve in that sect, by
acquaintance with that man, came completely to an end: not that I
separated myself altogether from them, but, as one who could find
nothing better, I determined in the meantime upon contenting myself
with what I had in any way lighted upon, unless, by chance, something
more desirable should present itself. Thus that Faustus, who had
entrapped so many to their death,--neither willing nor witting
it,--now began to loosen the snare in which I had been taken. For Thy
hands, O my God, in the hidden design of Thy Providence, did not
desert my soul; and out of the blood of my mother's heart, through the
tears that she poured out by day and by night, was a sacrifice offered
unto Thee for me; and by marvellous ways didst Thou deal with me.
 It was Thou, O my God, who didst it, for the steps of a man are
ordered by the Lord, and He shall dispose his way.  Or how can we
procure salvation but from Thy hand, remaking what it hath made?
 We have referred in the note on iii. sec. 10, above, to the way
in which the Manichæans parodied Scripture names. In these "fables"
this is remarkably evidenced. "To these filthy rags of yours," says
Augustin (Con. Faust. xx. 6), "you would unite the mystery of the
Trinity; for you say that the Father dwells in a secret light, the
power of the Son in the sun, and His wisdom in the moon, and the Holy
Spirit in the air." The Manichæan doctrine as to the mixture of the
divine nature with the substance of evil, and the way in which that
nature was released by the "elect," has already been pointed out (see
note iii. sec. 18, above). The part of sun and moon, also, in
accomplishing this release, is alluded to in his De Mor. Manich. "This
part of God," he says (c. xxxvi.), "is daily being set free in all
parts of the world, and restored to its own domain. But in its passage
upwards as vapour from earth to heaven, it enters plants, because
their roots are fixed in the earth, and so gives fertility and
strength to all herbs and shrubs." These parts of God, arrested in
their rise by the vegetable world, were released, as above stated, by
the "elect". All that escaped from them in the act of eating, as well
as what was set free by evaporation, passed into the sun and moon, as
into a kind of purgatorial state--they being purer light than the only
recently emancipated good nature. In his letter to Januarius (Ep. lv.
6), he tells us that the moon's waxing and waning were said by the
Manichæans to be caused by its receiving souls from matter as it were
into a ship, and transferring them "into the sun as into another
ship." The sun was called Christ, and was worshipped; and accordingly
we find Augustin, after alluding to these monstrous doctrines, saying
(Con. Faust. v. 11): "If your affections were set upon spiritual and
intellectual good instead of material forms, you would not pay homage
to the material sun as a divine substance and as the light of wisdom."
Many other interesting quotations might be added, but we must content
ourselves with the following. In his Reply to Faustus (xx. 6), he
says: "You call the sun a ship, so that you are not only astray worlds
off, as the saying is, but adrift. Next, while every one sees that the
sun is round, which is the form corresponding from its perfection to
his position among the heavenly bodies, you maintain that he is
triangular [perhaps in allusion to the early symbol of the Trinity];
that is, that his light shines on the earth through a triangular
window in heaven. Hence it is that you bend and bow your heads to the
sun, while you worship not this visible sun, but some imaginary ship,
which you suppose to be shining through a triangular opening."
 Joel ii. 26.
 Ps. xxxvii. 23.
Chapter VIII.--He Sets Out for Rome, His Mother in Vain Lamenting It.
14. Thou dealedst with me, therefore, that I should be persuaded to go
to Rome, and teach there rather what I was then teaching at Carthage.
And how I was persuaded to do this, I will not fail to confess unto
Thee; for in this also the profoundest workings of Thy wisdom, and Thy
ever present mercy to usward, must be pondered and avowed. It was not
my desire to go to Rome because greater advantages and dignities were
guaranteed me by the friends who persuaded me into this,--although
even at this period I was influenced by these considerations,--but my
principal and almost sole motive was, that I had been informed that
the youths studied more quietly there, and were kept under by the
control of more rigid discipline, so that they did not capriciously
and impudently rush into the school of a master not their own, into
whose presence they were forbidden to enter unless with his consent.
At Carthage, on the contrary, there was amongst the scholars a
shameful and intemperate license. They burst in rudely, and, with
almost furious gesticulations, interrupt the system which any one may
have instituted for the good of his pupils. Many outrages they
perpetrate with astounding phlegm, which would be punishable by law
were they not sustained by custom; that custom showing them to be the
more worthless, in that they now do, as according to law, what by Thy
unchangeable law will never be lawful. And they fancy they do it with
impunity, whereas the very blindness whereby they do it is their
punishment, and they suffer far greater things than they do. The
manners, then, which as a student I would not adopt,  I was
compelled as a teacher to submit to from others; and so I was too glad
to go where all who knew anything about it assured me that similar
things were not done. But Thou, "my refuge and my portion in the land
of the living,"  didst while at Carthage goad me, so that I might
thereby be withdrawn from it, and exchange my worldly habitation for
the preservation of my soul; whilst at Rome Thou didst offer me
enticements by which to attract me there, by men enchanted with this
dying life,--the one doing insane actions, and the other making
assurances of vain things; and, in order to correct my footsteps,
didst secretly employ their and my perversity. For both they who
disturbed my tranquillity were blinded by a shameful madness, and they
who allured me elsewhere smacked of the earth. And I, who hated real
misery here, sought fictitious happiness there.
15. But the cause of my going thence and going thither, Thou, O God,
knewest, yet revealedst it not, either to me or to my mother, who
grievously lamented my journey, and went with me as far as the sea.
But I deceived her, when she violently restrained me either that she
might retain me or accompany me, and I pretended that I had a friend
whom I could not quit until he had a favourable wind to set sail. And
I lied to my mother--and such a mother!--and got away. For this also
Thou hast in mercy pardoned me, saving me, thus replete with
abominable pollutions, from the waters of the sea, for the water of
Thy grace, whereby, when I was purified, the fountains of my mother's
eyes should be dried, from which for me she day by day watered the
ground under her face. And yet, refusing to go back without me, it was
with difficulty I persuaded her to remain that night in a place quite
close to our ship, where there was an oratory  in memory of the
blessed Cyprian. That night I secretly left, but she was not backward
in prayers and weeping. And what was it, O Lord, that she, with such
an abundance of tears, was asking of Thee, but that Thou wouldest not
permit me to sail? But Thou, mysteriously counselling and hearing the
real purpose of her desire, granted not what she then asked, in order
to make me what she was ever asking. The wind blew and filled our
sails, and withdrew the shore from our sight; and she, wild with
grief, was there on the morrow, and filled Thine ears with complaints
and groans, which Thou didst disregard; whilst, by the means of my
longings, Thou wert hastening me on to the cessation of all longing,
and the gross part of her love to me was whipped out by the just lash
of sorrow. But, like all mothers,--though even more than others,--she
loved to have me with her, and knew not what joy Thou wert preparing
for her by my absence. Being ignorant of this, she did weep and mourn,
and in her agony was seen the inheritance of Eve,--seeking in sorrow
what in sorrow she had brought forth. And yet, after accusing my
perfidy and cruelty, she again continued her intercessions for me with
Thee, returned to her accustomed place, and I to Rome.
 See iii. sec. 6, note, above.
 Ps. cxlii. 5.
 See vi. sec. 2, note, below.
Chapter IX.--Being Attacked by Fever, He is in Great Danger.
16. And behold, there was I received by the scourge of bodily
sickness, and I was descending into hell burdened with all the sins
that I had committed, both against Thee, myself, and others, many and
grievous, over and above that bond of original sin whereby we all die
in Adam.  For none of these things hadst Thou forgiven me in
Christ, neither had He "abolished" by His cross "the enmity" 
which, by my sins, I had incurred with Thee. For how could He, by the
crucifixion of a phantasm,  which I supposed Him to be? As true,
then, was the death of my soul, as that of His flesh appeared to me to
be untrue; and as true the death of His flesh as the life of my soul,
which believed it not, was false. The fever increasing, I was now
passing away and perishing. For had I then gone hence, whither should
I have gone but into the fiery torments meet for my misdeeds, in the
truth of Thy ordinance? She was ignorant of this, yet, while absent,
prayed for me. But Thou, everywhere present, hearkened to her where
she was, and hadst pity upon me where I was, that I should regain my
bodily health, although still frenzied in my sacrilegious heart. For
all that peril did not make me wish to be baptized, and I was better
when, as a lad, I entreated it of my mother's piety, as I have already
related and confessed.  But I had grown up to my own dishonour,
and all the purposes of Thy medicine I madly derided,  who
wouldst not suffer me, though such a one, to die a double death. Had
my mother's heart been smitten with this wound, it never could have
been cured. For I cannot sufficiently express the love she had for me,
nor how she now travailed for me in the spirit with a far keener
anguish than when she bore me in the flesh.
17. I cannot conceive, therefore, how she could have been healed if
such a death of mine had transfixed the bowels of her love. Where then
would have been her so earnest, frequent, and unintermitted prayers to
Thee alone? But couldst Thou, most merciful God, despise the "contrite
and humble heart"  of that pure and prudent widow, so constant in
alms-deeds, so gracious and attentive to Thy saints, not permitting
one day to pass without oblation at Thy altar, twice a day, at morning
and even-tide, coming to Thy church without intermission--not for vain
gossiping, nor old wives' "fables,"  but in order that she might
listen to Thee in Thy sermons, and Thou to her in her prayers? 
Couldst Thou--Thou by whose gift she was such--despise and disregard
without succouring the tears of such a one, wherewith she entreated
Thee not for gold or silver, nor for any changing or fleeting good,
but for the salvation of the soul of her son? By no means, Lord.
Assuredly Thou wert near, and wert hearing and doing in that method in
which Thou hadst predetermined that it should be done. Far be it from
Thee that Thou shouldst delude her in those visions and the answers
she had from Thee,--some of which I have spoken of,  and others
not,  --which she kept  in her faithful breast, and, always
petitioning, pressed upon Thee as Thine autograph. For Thou, "because
Thy mercy endureth for ever,"  condescendest to those whose debts
Thou hast pardoned, to become likewise a debtor by Thy promises.
 1 Cor. xv. 22.
 Eph. ii. 15, and Col. i. 20, etc.
 The Manichæan belief in regard to the unreal nature of Christ's
body may be gathered from Augustin's Reply to Faustus: "You ask,"
argues Faustus (xxvi. i.), "if Jesus was not born, how did He
die?...In return I ask you, how did Elias not die, though he was a
man? Could a mortal encroach upon the limits of immortality, and could
not Christ add to His immortality whatever experience of death was
required?...Accordingly, if it is a good argument that Jesus was a man
because He died, it is an equally good argument that Elias was not a
man because he did not die....As, from the outset of His taking the
likeness of man, He underwent in appearance all the experiences of
humanity, it was quite consistent that He should complete the system
by appearing to die." So that with him the whole life of Jesus was a
"phantasm." His birth, circumcision, crucifixion, baptism, and
temptation were (ibid. xxxii. 7) the mere result of the interpolation
of crafty men, or sprung from the ignorance of the apostles, when as
yet they had not reached perfection in knowledge. It is noticeable
that Augustin, referring to Eph. ii. 15, substitutes His cross for His
flesh, he, as a Manichæan, not believing in the real humanity of the
Son of God. See iii. sec. 9, note, above.
 See i. sec. 10, above.
 See also iv. sec. 8, above, where he derides his friend's
 Ps. li. 19.
 1 Tim. v. 10.
 Watts gives the following note here:--"Oblations were those
offerings of bread, meal, or wine, for making of the Eucharist, or of
alms besides for the poor, which the primitive Christians every time
they communicated brought to the church, where it was received by the
deacons, who presented them to the priest or bishop. Here note: (1)
They communicated daily; (2) they had service morning and evening, and
two sermons a day many times," etc. An interesting trace of an old use
in this matter of oblations is found in the Queen's Coronation
Service. After other oblations had been offered, the Queen knelt
before the Archbishop and presented to him "oblations" of bread and
wine for the Holy Communion. See also Palmer's Origines Liturgicæ, iv.
8, who demonstrates by reference to patristic writers that the custom
was universal in the primitive Church:--"But though all the churches
of the East and West agreed in this respect, they differed in
appointing the time and place at which the oblations of the people
were received." It would appear from the following account of early
Christian worship, that in the time of Justin Martyr the oblations
were collected after the reception of the Lord's Supper. In his First
Apology we read (c. lxvii.): "On the day called Sunday [tou heliou
legomene hemera] all who live in cities or in the country gather
together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings
of the prophets are read, as long as time permits them. When the
reader has ceased, the president [ho proestos] verbally instructs, and
exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise
together and pray [euchas pempomen], and, as we before said, when our
prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the
president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings according to
his ability [Kaye renders (p. 89) euchas homoios kai eucharistias,
hose dunamis auto, anapempei, "with his utmost power"], and the people
assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a
participation of that over which thanks had been given, and to those
who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are
well-to-do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is
collected [to sullegomenon] is deposited with the president, who
succours the orphans and widows, and those who, through sickness or
any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds, and the
stranger sojourning among us, and, in a word, takes care of all who
are in need." The whole passage is given, as portions of it will be
found to have a bearing on other parts of the Confessions. Bishop
Kaye's Justin Martyr, c. iv., may be referred to for his view of the
controverted points in the passage. See also Bingham's Antiquities,
ii. 2-9; and notes to vi. sec. 2, and ix. secs. 6 and 27, below.
 See above, iii. 11, 12.
 Ibid. iii. 12.
 Luke ii. 19.
 Ps. cxviii. 1.
Chapter X.--When He Had Left the Manichæans, He Retained His Depraved
Opinions Concerning Sin and the Origin of the Saviour.
18. Thou restoredst me then from that illness, and made sound the son
of Thy hand-maid meanwhile in body, that he might live for Thee, to
endow him with a higher and more enduring health. And even then at
Rome I joined those deluding and deluded "saints;" not their "hearers"
only,--of the number of whom was he in whose house I had fallen ill,
and had recovered,--but those also whom they designate "The Elect."
 For it still seemed to me "that it was not we that sin, but that
I know not what other nature sinned in us."  And it gratified my
pride to be free from blame and, after I had committed any fault, not
to acknowledge that I had done any,--"that Thou mightest heal my soul
because it had sinned against Thee;"  but I loved to excuse it,
and to accuse something else (I wot not what) which was with me, but
was not I. But assuredly it was wholly I, and my impiety had divided
me against myself; and that sin was all the more incurable in that I
did not deem myself a sinner. And execrable iniquity it was, O God
omnipotent, that I would rather have Thee to be overcome in me to my
destruction, than myself of Thee to salvation! Not yet, therefore,
hadst Thou set a watch before my mouth, and kept the door of my lips,
that my heart might not incline to wicked speeches, to make excuses of
sins, with men that work iniquity  --and, therefore, was I still
united with their "Elect."
19. But now, hopeless of making proficiency in that false doctrine,
even those things with which I had decided upon contenting myself,
providing that I could find nothing better, I now held more loosely
and negligently. For I was half inclined to believe that those
philosophers whom they call "Academics"  were more sagacious than
the rest, in that they held that we ought to doubt everything, and
ruled that man had not the power of comprehending any truth; for so,
not yet realizing their meaning, I also was fully persuaded that they
thought just as they are commonly held to do. And I did not fail
frankly to restrain in my host that assurance which I observed him to
have in those fictions of which the works of Manichæus are full.
Notwithstanding, I was on terms of more intimate friendship with them
than with others who were not of this heresy. Nor did I defend it with
my former ardour; still my familiarity with that sect (many of them
being concealed in Rome) made me slower  to seek any other
way,--particularly since I was hopeless of finding the truth, from
which in Thy Church, O Lord of heaven and earth, Creator of all things
visible and invisible, they had turned me aside,--and it seemed to me
most unbecoming to believe Thee to have the form of human flesh, and
to be bounded by the bodily lineaments of our members. And because,
when I desired to meditate on my God, I knew not what to think of but
a mass of bodies  (for what was not such did not seem to me to
be), this was the greatest and almost sole cause of my inevitable
20. For hence I also believed evil to be a similar sort of substance,
and to be possessed of its own foul and misshapen mass--whether dense,
which they denominated earth, or thin and subtle, as is the body of
the air, which they fancy some malignant spirit crawling through that
earth. And because a piety--such as it was--compelled me to believe
that the good God never created any evil nature, I conceived two
masses, the one opposed to the other, both infinite, but the evil the
more contracted, the good the more expansive. And from this
mischievous commencement the other profanities followed on me. For
when my mind tried to revert to the Catholic faith, I was cast back,
since what I had held to be the Catholic faith was not so. And it
appeared to me more devout to look upon Thee, my God,--to whom I make
confession of Thy mercies,--as infinite, at least, on other sides,
although on that side where the mass of evil was in opposition to Thee
 I was compelled to confess Thee finite, that if on every side I
should conceive Thee to be confined by the form of a human body. And
better did it seem to me to believe that no evil had been created by
Thee--which to me in my ignorance appeared not only some substance,
but a bodily one, because I had no conception of the mind excepting as
a subtle body, and that diffused in local spaces--than to believe that
anything could emanate from Thee of such a kind as I considered the
nature of evil to be. And our very Saviour Himself, also, Thine
only-begotten,  I believed to have been reached forth, as it
were, for our salvation out of the lump of Thy most effulgent mass, so
as to believe nothing of Him but what I was able to imagine in my
vanity. Such a nature, then, I thought could not be born of the Virgin
Mary without being mingled with the flesh; and how that which I had
thus figured to myself could be mingled without being contaminated, I
saw not. I was afraid, therefore, to believe Him to be born in the
flesh, lest I should be compelled to believe Him contaminated by the
flesh.  Now will Thy spiritual ones blandly and lovingly smile at
me if they shall read these my confessions; yet such was I.
 See iv. sec. 1, note, above.
 See iv. sec. 26, note 2, above.
 Ps. xli. 4.
 Ps. cxli. 3, 4, Old Vers. See also Augustin's Commentary on the
Psalms, where, using his Septuagint version, he applies this passage
to the Manichæans.
 "Amongst these philosophers," i.e. those who have founded their
systems on denial, "some are satisfied with denying certainty,
admitting at the same time probability, and these are the New
Academics; the others, who are the Pyrrhonists, have denied even this
probability, and have maintained that all things are equally certain
and uncertain" (Port. Roy. Log. iv. 1). There are, according to the
usual divisions, three Academies, the old, the middle, and the new;
and some subdivide the middle and the new each into two schools,
making five schools of thought in all. These begin with Plato, the
founder (387 B.C.), and continue to the fifth school, founded by
Antiochus (83 B.C.), who, by combining his teachings with that of
Aristotle and Zeno, prepared the way for Neo-Platonism and its
development of the dogmatic side of Plato's teaching. In the second
Academic school, founded by Arcesilas,--of whom Aristo, the Stoic,
parodying the line in the Iliad (vi. 181), Prosthe leon, opithen de
drakon, messe de chimaira, said sarcastically he was "Plato in front,
Pyrrho behind, and Diodorus in the middle,"--the "sceptical" tendency
in Platonism began to develope itself, which, under Carneades, was
expanded into the doctrine of the third Academic school. Arcesilas had
been a pupil of Polemo when he was head of the old Academy. Zeno also,
dissatisfied with the cynical philosophy of Crates, had learnt
Platonic doctrine from Polemo, and was, as Cicero tells us (De Fin.
iv. 16), greatly influenced by his teaching. Zeno, however, soon
founded his own school of Stoical philosophy, which was violently
opposed by Arcesilas (Cicero, Acad. Post. i. 12). Arcesilas, according
to Cicero (ibid.), taught his pupils that we cannot know anything, not
even that we are unable to know. It is exceedingly probable, however,
that he taught esoterically the doctrines of Plato to those of his
pupils he thought able to receive them, keeping them back from the
multitude because of the prevalence of the new doctrine. This appears
to have been Augustin's view when he had arrived at a fuller knowledge
of their doctrines than that he possessed at the time referred to in
his Confessions. In his treatises against the Academicians (iii. 17)
he maintains the wisdom of Arcesilas in this matter. He says: "As the
multitude are prone to rush into false opinions, and, from being
accustomed to bodies, readily, but to their hurt, believe everything
to be corporeal, this most acute and learned man determined rather to
unteach those who had suffered from bad teaching, than to teach those
whom he did not think teachable." Again, in the first of his Letters,
alluding to these treatises, he says: "It seems to me to be suitable
enough to the times in which they flourished, that whatever issued
pure from the fountain-head of Platonic philosophy should be rather
conducted into dark and thorny thickets for the refreshment of a very
few men, than left to flow in open meadow-land, where it would be
impossible to keep it clear and pure from the inroads of the vulgar
herd. I use the word `herd' advisedly, for what is more brutish than
the opinion that the soul is material?" and more to the same purpose.
In his De Civ. Dei, xix 18, he contrasts the uncertainty ascribed to
the doctrines of these teachers with the certainty of the Christian
faith. See Burton's Bampton Lectures, note 33, and Archer Butler's
Ancient Philosophy, ii. 313, 348, etc. See also vii. sec. 13, note,
 See iii. sec. 21, above.
 See iv. secs. 3, 12, and 31, above.
 See iv. 26, note 2, above.
 See above, sec. 12, note.
 The dualistic belief of the Manichæan ever led him to contend
that Christ only appeared in a resemblance of flesh, and did not touch
its substance so as to be defiled. Hence Faustus characteristically
speaks of the Incarnation (Con. Faust. xxxii. 7) as "the shameful
birth of Jesus from a woman," and when pressed (ibid. xi. 1) with such
passages as, Christ was "born of the seed of David according to the
flesh" (Rom. i. 3), he would fall back upon what in these days we are
familiar with as that "higher criticism," which rejects such parts of
Scripture as it is inconvenient to receive. Paul, he said, then only
"spoke as a child" (1 Cor. xiii. 11), but when he became a man in
doctrine, he put away childish things, and then declared, "Though we
have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no
more." See above, sec. 16, note 3.
Chapter XI.--Helpidius Disputed Well Against the Manichæans as to the
Authenticity of the New Testament.
21. Furthermore, whatever they had censured  in Thy Scriptures I
thought impossible to be defended; and yet sometimes, indeed, I
desired to confer on these several points with some one well learned
in those books, and to try what he thought of them. For at this time
the words of one Helpidius, speaking and disputing face to face
against the said Manichæans, had begun to move me even at Carthage, in
that he brought forth things from the Scriptures not easily withstood,
to which their answer appeared to me feeble. And this answer they did
not give forth publicly, but only to us in private,--when they said
that the writings of the New Testament had been tampered with by I
know not whom, who were desirous of ingrafting the Jewish law upon the
Christian faith;  but they themselves did not bring forward any
uncorrupted copies.  But I, thinking of corporeal things, very
much ensnared and in a measure stifled, was oppressed by those masses;
 panting under which for the breath of Thy Truth, I was not able
to breathe it pure and undefiled.
 See iii. sec. 14, above.
 On this matter reference may be made to Con. Faust. xviii. 1, 3;
xix. 5, 6; xxxiii. 1, 3.
 They might well not like to give the answer in public, for, as
Augustin remarks (De Mor. Eccles. Cath. sec. 14), every one could see
"that this is all that is left for men to say when it is proved that
they are wrong. The astonishment that he experienced now, that they
did "not bring forward any uncorrupted copies," had fast hold of him,
and after his conversion he confronted them on this very ground. "You
ought to bring forward," he says (ibid. sec. 61), "another manuscript
with the same contents, but incorrupt and more correct, with only the
passage wanting which you charge with being spurious....You say you
will not, lest you be suspected of corrupting it. This is your usual
reply, and a true one." See also De Mor. Manich. sec. 55; and Con.
Faust. xi. 2, xiii. 5, xviii. 7, xxii. 15, xxxii. 16.
 See above, sec. 19, Fin..
Chapter XII.--Professing Rhetoric at Rome, He Discovers the Fraud of
22. Then began I assiduously to practise that for which I came to
Rome--the teaching of rhetoric; and first to bring together at my home
some to whom, and through whom, I had begun to be known; when, behold,
I learnt that other offences were committed in Rome which I had not to
bear in Africa. For those subvertings by abandoned young men were not
practised here, as I had been informed; yet, suddenly, said they, to
evade paying their master's fees, many of the youths conspire
together, and remove themselves to another,--breakers of faith, who,
for the love of money, set a small value on justice. These also my
heart "hated," though not with a "perfect hatred;"  for, perhaps,
I hated them more in that I was to suffer by them, than for the
illicit acts they committed. Such of a truth are base persons, and
they are unfaithful to Thee, loving these transitory mockeries of
temporal things, and vile gain, which begrimes the hand that lays hold
on it; and embracing the fleeting world, and scorning Thee, who
abidest, and invitest to return, and pardonest the prostituted human
soul when it returneth to Thee. And now I hate such crooked and
perverse men, although I love them if they are to be corrected so as
to prefer the learning they obtain to money, and to learning Thee, O
God, the truth and fulness of certain good and most chaste peace. But
then was the wish stronger in me for my own sake not to suffer them
evil, than was the wish that they should become good for Thine.
 Ps. cxxxix. 22.
Chapter XIII.--He is Sent to Milan, that He, About to Teach Rhetoric,
May Be Known by Ambrose.
23. When, therefore, they of Milan had sent to Rome to the prefect of
the city, to provide them with a teacher of rhetoric for their city,
and to despatch him at the public expense, I made interest through
those identical persons, drunk with Manichæan vanities, to be freed
from whom I was going away,--neither of us, however, being aware of
it,--that Symmachus, the then prefect, having proved me by proposing a
subject, would send me. And to Milan I came, unto Ambrose the bishop,
known to the whole world as among the best of men, Thy devout servant;
whose eloquent discourse did at that time strenuously dispense unto
Thy people the flour of Thy wheat, the "gladness" of Thy "oil," and
the sober intoxication of Thy "wine."  To him was I unknowingly
led by Thee, that by him I might knowingly be led to Thee. That man of
God received me like a father, and looked with a benevolent and
episcopal kindliness on my change of abode. And I began to love him,
not at first, indeed, as a teacher of the truth,--which I entirely
despaired of in Thy Church,--but as a man friendly to myself. And I
studiously hearkened to him preaching to the people, not with the
motive I should, but, as it were, trying to discover whether his
eloquence came up to the fame thereof, or flowed fuller or lower than
was asserted; and I hung on his words intently, but of the matter I
was but as a careless and contemptuous spectator; and I was delighted
with the pleasantness of his speech, more erudite, yet less cheerful
and soothing in manner, than that of Faustus. Of the matter, however,
there could be no comparison; for the latter was straying amid
Manichæan deceptions, whilst the former was teaching salvation most
soundly. But "salvation is far from the wicked,"  such as I then
stood before him; and yet I was drawing nearer gradually and
 Ps. iv. 7, and civ. 15.
 Ps. cxix. 155.
Chapter XIV.--Having Heard the Bishop, He Perceives the Force of the
Catholic Faith, Yet Doubts, After the Manner of the Modern Academics.
24. For although I took no trouble to learn what he spake, but only to
hear how he spake (for that empty care alone remained to me,
despairing of a way accessible for man to Thee), yet, together with
the words which I prized, there came into my mind also the things
about which I was careless; for I could not separate them. And whilst
I opened my heart to admit "how skilfully he spake," there also
entered with it, but gradually, "and how truly he spake!" For first,
these things also had begun to appear to me to be defensible; and the
Catholic faith, for which I had fancied nothing could be said against
the attacks of the Manichæans, I now conceived might be maintained
without presumption; especially after I had heard one or two parts of
the Old Testament explained, and often allegorically--which when I
accepted literally, I was "killed" spiritually.  Many places,
then, of those books having been expounded to me, I now blamed my
despair in having believed that no reply could be made to those who
hated and derided  the Law and the Prophets. Yet I did not then
see that for that reason the Catholic way was to be held because it
had its learned advocates, who could at length, and not irrationally,
answer objections; nor that what I held ought therefore to be
condemned because both sides were equally defensible. For that way did
not appear to me to be vanquished; nor yet did it seem to me to be
25. Hereupon did I earnestly bend my mind to see if in any way I could
possibly prove the Manichæans guilty of falsehood. Could I have
realized a spiritual substance, all their strongholds would have been
beaten down, and cast utterly out of my mind; but I could not. But
yet, concerning the body of this world, and the whole of nature, which
the senses of the flesh can attain unto, I, now more and more
considering and comparing things, judged that the greater part of the
philosophers held much the more probable opinions. So, then, after the
manner of the Academics (as they are supposed),  doubting of
everything and fluctuating between all, I decided that the Manichæans
were to be abandoned; judging that, even while in that period of
doubt, I could not remain in a sect to which I preferred some of the
philosophers; to which philosophers, however, because they were
without the saving name of Christ, I utterly refused to commit the
cure of my fainting soul. I resolved, therefore, to be a catechumen
 in the Catholic Church, which my parents had commended to me,
until something settled should manifest itself to me whither I might
steer my course. 
 1 Cor. xiii. 12, and 2 Cor. iii. 6. See vi. sec. 6, note, below.
 He frequently alludes to this scoffing spirit, so characteristic
of these heretics. As an example, he says (in Ps. cxlvi. 13): "There
has sprung up a certain accursed sect of the Manichæans which derides
the Scriptures it takes and reads. It wishes to censure what it does
not understand, and by disturbing and censuring what it understands
not, has deceived many." See also sec. 16, and iv. sec. 8, above.
 See above, sec. 19, and note.
 See vi. sec. 2, note, below.
 In his Benefit of Believing, Augustin adverts to the above
experiences with a view to the conviction of his friend Honoratus, who
was then a Manichæan.
Also, see links to 600+ other Augustine Manuscripts:
E-mail to: BELIEVE
The main BELIEVE web-page (and the index to subjects) is at:
BELIEVE Religious Information Source - By Alphabet