|17. Augustine, Confessions, 3.4.8, 3.6.10, 3.12.21, 4.14.21, 4.16.30, 5.10.18, 5.10.20, 5.11, 5.14.24, 5.23.13, 6.2.2, 6.3.3-6.3.4, 6.4.5-6.4.6, 6.11.18, 6.13.23, 6.15.25, 7.1.1-7.1.2, 7.3.5, 7.5.7, 7.9.13, 7.10.16, 7.13, 7.19.25, 7.21.27, 8.2.3-8.2.5, 8.6, 8.6.15, 8.12.29, 9.4.7, 9.5.13, 9.6.14, 9.7.15, 9.8.17 (4th cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)
Tagged with subjects: • Ambrose • Ambrose of Milan • Ambrose of Milan, catechumenate • Ambrose of Milan, consecrations and • Ambrose, • Ambrose, and Augustine • Augustine , effect of Ambrose • Theodosius I, and Ambrose
Found in books: Beduhn (2013), Augustine's Manichaean Dilemma, vol. 1, 96, 166, 167, 168, 169, 181, 182, 187, 188, 195, 206, 220, 221, 233, 240, 242, 251, 270, 289, 338, 340, 341, 344, 352; Burton (2009), Dionysus and Rome: Religion and Literature, 54, 75, 144, 145, 147; Cain (2013), Jerome and the Monastic Clergy: A Commentary on Letter 52 to Nepotian, 126; Cheuk-Yin Yam (2019), Trinity and Grace in Augustine, 28; Esler (2000), The Early Christian World, 1191, 1207; Farag (2021), What Makes a Church Sacred? Legal and Ritual Perspectives from Late Antiquity, 235; Geljon and Vos (2020), Rituals in Early Christianity: New Perspectives on Tradition and Transformation, 143, 144; Glowalsky (2020), Rhetoric and Scripture in Augustine’s Homiletic Strategy: Tracing the Narrative of Christian Maturation, 102; Harrison (2006), Augustine's Way into the Will: The Theological and Philosophical Significance of De libero, 78, 108, 109; Hellholm et al. (2010), Ablution, Initiation, and Baptism: Late Antiquity, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity, 1254; Karfíková (2012), Grace and the Will According to Augustine, 8, 71, 93; Lunn-Rockliffe (2007), The Letter of Mara bar Sarapion in Context, 17; Pignot (2020), The Catechumenate in Late Antique Africa (4th–6th Centuries): Augustine of Hippo, His Contemporaries and Early Reception, 55, 64, 65, 66, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 80, 81; Pollmann and Vessey (2007), Augustine and the Disciplines: From Cassiciacum to Confessions, 146, 151; Trettel (2019), Desires in Paradise: An Interpretative Study of Augustine's City of God 14, 7; Wiebe (2021), Fallen Angels in the Theology of St Augustine, 54, 55; Wilson (2018), Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-free Free Will": A Comprehensive Methodology, 125, 128; Yates and Dupont (2020), The Bible in Christian North Africa: Part I: Commencement to the Confessiones of Augustine (ca. 180 to 400 CE), 215
|9.8 17. You, who makest men to dwell of one mind in a house, associated with us Evodius also, a young man of our city, who, when serving as an agent for Public Affairs, was converted unto You and baptized prior to us; and relinquishing his secular service, prepared himself for Yours. We were together, and together were we about to dwell with a holy purpose. We sought for some place where we might be most useful in our service to You, and were going back together to Africa. And when we were at the Tiberine Ostia my mother died. Much I omit, having much to hasten. Receive my confessions and thanksgivings, O my God, for innumerable things concerning which I am silent. But I will not omit anything that my soul has brought forth as to that Your handmaid who brought me forth - in her flesh, that I might be born to this temporal light, and in her heart, that I might be born to life eternal. I will speak not of her gifts, but Yours in her; for she neither made herself nor educated herself. You created her, nor did her father nor her mother know what a being was to proceed from them. And it was the rod of Your Christ, the discipline of Your only Son, that trained her in Your fear, in the house of one of Your faithful ones, who was a sound member of Your Church. Yet this good discipline did she not so much attribute to the diligence of her mother, as that of a certain decrepid maid-servant, who had carried about her father when an infant, as little ones are wont to be carried on the backs of elder girls. For which reason, and on account of her extreme age and very good character, was she much respected by the heads of that Christian house. Whence also was committed to her the care of her master's daughters, which she with diligence performed, and was earnest in restraining them when necessary, with a holy severity, and instructing them with a sober sagacity. For, excepting at the hours in which they were very temperately fed at their parents' table, she used not to permit them, though parched with thirst, to drink even water; thereby taking precautions against an evil custom, and adding the wholesome advice, You drink water only because you have not control of wine; but when you have come to be married, and made mistresses of storeroom and cellar, you will despise water, but the habit of drinking will remain. By this method of instruction, and power of command, she restrained the longing of their tender age, and regulated the very thirst of the girls to such a becoming limit, as that what was not seemly they did not long for. 18. And yet - as Your handmaid related to me, her son - there had stolen upon her a love of wine. For when she, as being a sober maiden, was as usual bidden by her parents to draw wine from the cask, the vessel being held under the opening, before she poured the wine into the bottle, she would wet the tips of her lips with a little, for more than that her inclination refused. For this she did not from any craving for drink, but out of the overflowing buoyancy of her time of life, which bubbles up with sportiveness, and is, in youthful spirits, wont to be repressed by the gravity of elders. And so unto that little, adding daily littles (for he that despises small things shall fall little by little), she contracted such a habit as, to drink off eagerly her little cup nearly full of wine. Where, then, was the sagacious old woman with her earnest restraint? Could anything prevail against a secret disease if Your medicine, O Lord, did not watch over us? Father, mother, and nurturers absent, Thou present, who hast created, who callest, who also by those who are set over us work some good for the salvation of our souls, what did Thou do at that time, O my God? How did You heal her? How did You make her whole? Did You not out of another woman's soul evoke a hard and bitter insult, as a surgeon's knife from Your secret store, and with one thrust remove all that putrefaction? For the maidservant who used to accompany her to the cellar, falling out, as it happens, with her little mistress, when she was alone with her, cast in her teeth this vice, with very bitter insult, calling her a wine-bibber. Stung by this taunt, she perceived her foulness, and immediately condemned and renounced it. Even as friends by their flattery pervert, so do enemies by their taunts often correct us. Yet You render not unto them what You do by them, but what was proposed by them. For she, being angry, desired to irritate her young mistress, not to cure her; and did it in secret, either because the time and place of the dispute found them thus, or perhaps lest she herself should be exposed to danger for disclosing it so late. But You, Lord, Governor of heavenly and earthly things, who convertest to Your purposes the deepest torrents, and disposest the turbulent current of the ages, healest one soul by the unsoundness of another; lest any man, when he remarks this, should attribute it unto his own power if another, whom he wishes to be reformed, is so through a word of his. "|
3.4.8 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 Yourself, 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 Luke 15:18 that I might return to You. 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 You! Nor did I know how You would deal with me. For with You 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 coloring 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 Your Spirit, by Your 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 dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Colossians 2:8-9 And since at that time (as Thou, O Light of my heart, know) 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 Your mercy, O Lord, this name of my Saviour Your 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. " "
3.6.10 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 Your 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; 1 John 2:4 but they spoke falsely not of You only - who, verily, art the Truth - but also of these elements of this world, Your creatures. And I, in truth, should have passed by philosophers, even when speaking truth concerning them, for love of You, my Father, supremely good, beauty of all things beautiful. O Truth, Truth! How inwardly even then did the marrow of my soul pant after You, when they frequently, and in a multiplicity of ways, and in numerous and huge books, sounded out Your name to me, though it was but a voice! And these were the dishes in which to me, hungering for You, they, instead of You, served up the sun and moon, Your beauteous works - but yet Your works, not Yourself, nay, nor Your first works. For before these corporeal works are Your spiritual ones, celestial and shining though they be. But I hungered and thirsted not even after those first works of Yours, but after You Yourself, the Truth, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning; James 1:17 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 You, I fed upon them; not with avidity, for You did not taste to my mouth as You are, for You were 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 You as You have 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 You, my Love, in looking for whom I fail that I may be strong, art neither those bodies that we see, although in heaven, nor are You those which we see not there; for You have created them, nor do You reckon them among Your greatest works. How far, then, are You 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 You are 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 You are the life of souls, the life of lives, having life in Yourself; and You change not, O Life of my soul. 11. Where, then, were You then to me, and how far from me? Far, indeed, was I wandering away from You, 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! Proverbs 9:18 - toiling and turmoiling through want of Truth, when I sought after You, my God - to You I confess it, who had mercy on me when I had not yet confessed, - sought after You not according to the understanding of the mind, in which You desired that I should excel the beasts, but according to the sense of the flesh! You were more inward to me than my most inward part; and higher than my highest. I came upon that bold woman, who is simple, and knows nothing, Proverbs 9:13 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. " 3.12.21 21. And meanwhile You granted 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 You, and much I do not remember. You granted her then another answer, by a priest of Yours, a certain bishop, reared in Your Church and well versed in Your 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 various inexperienced persons with vexatious questions, as she had informed him. But leave him alone for a time, says 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 Manich ans, 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 your way, and God bless you, 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. <
4.14.21 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. Does this love enter into the heart of the hearer from the mouth of the commender? Not so. But through one who loves 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 Yours, 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 various 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 You number, O Lord, and they fall not to the ground without You. Matthew 10:29-30 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, Ephesians 4:14 but yet was piloted by You, though very secretly. And whence know I, and whence confidently confess I unto You 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 lies 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 Your 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. ' "
4.16.30 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 substance. 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, Your wonderful and unchangeable unity as if Thou also had been subjected to Your own greatness or beauty, so that they should exist in You as their subject, like as in bodies, whereas You Yourself art Your 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 You was falsehood, not truth - fictions of my misery, not the supports of Your blessedness. For You had commanded, and it was done in me, that the earth should bring forth briars and thorns to me, Isaiah 32:13 and that with labour I should get my bread. Genesis 3:19 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 You know, O Lord my God, because both quickness of comprehension and acuteness of perception are Your gifts. Yet did I not thereupon sacrifice to You. 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 Luke 15:12 into my own power; and I kept not my strength for You, but went away from You into a far country, to waste it upon harlotries. Luke 15:13 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, were 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 You Your mercies towards me, and to call upon You - I, who blushed not then to avow before men my blasphemies, and to bark against You. 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 Your little ones to have a far slower wit, seeing that they departed not far from You, that in the nest of Your 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 Your wings let us hope, defend us, and carry us. You will carry us both when little, and even to grey hairs will You carry us; Isaiah 46:4 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 You, from which when we are averted we are perverted. Let us now, O Lord, return, that we be not overturned, because with You our good lives without any eclipse, which good You Yourself 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 - Your Eternity - fell not. <" 5.10.20 18. You restored me then from that illness, and made sound the son of Your hand-maid meanwhile in body, that he might live for You, 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 You might heal my soul because it had sinned against You; but I loved to excuse it, and to accuse something else (I know 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 You to be overcome in me to my destruction, than myself of You to salvation! Not yet, therefore, had 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 Manich us 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 Your 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 You 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 error. 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 maligt 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 You, my God - to whom I make confession of Your mercies - as infinite, at least, on other sides, although on that side where the mass of evil was in opposition to You I was compelled to confess You finite, that if on every side I should conceive You 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 You - 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 You of such a kind as I considered the nature of evil to be. And our very Saviour Himself, also, Your only-begotten, I believed to have been reached forth, as it were, for our salvation out of the lump of Your 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 Your spiritual ones blandly and lovingly smile at me if they shall read these my confessions; yet such was I.
5.11 21. Furthermore, whatever they had censured in Your 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 Manich ans, 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 Your Truth, I was not able to breathe it pure and undefiled.
5.14.24 24. For although I took no trouble to learn what he spoke, but only to hear how he spoke (for that empty care alone remained to me, despairing of a way accessible for man to You), 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 while I opened my heart to admit how skilfully he spoke, there also entered with it, but gradually, and how truly he spoke! 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 Manich ans, 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 victorious. 25. Hereupon did I earnestly bend my mind to see if in any way I could possibly prove the Manich ans 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 Manich ans 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. <' "
6.2.2 2. When, therefore, my mother had at one time - as was her custom in Africa - brought to the oratories built in the memory of the saints certain cakes, and bread, and wine, and was forbidden by the doorkeeper, so soon as she learned that it was the bishop who had forbidden it, she so piously and obediently acceded to it, that I myself marvelled how readily she could bring herself to accuse her own custom, rather than question his prohibition. For wine-bibbing did not take possession of her spirit, nor did the love of wine stimulate her to hatred of the truth, as it does too many, both male and female, who nauseate at a song of sobriety, as men well drunk at a draught of water. But she, when she had brought her basket with the festive meats, of which she would taste herself first and give the rest away, would never allow herself more than one little cup of wine, diluted according to her own temperate palate, which, out of courtesy, she would taste. And if there were many oratories of departed saints that ought to be honoured in the same way, she still carried round with her the selfsame cup, to be used everywhere; and this, which was not only very much watered, but was also very tepid with carrying about, she would distribute by small sips to those around; for she sought their devotion, not pleasure. As soon, therefore, as she found this custom to be forbidden by that famous preacher and most pious prelate, even to those who would use it with moderation, lest thereby an occasion of excess might be given to such as were drunken, and because these, so to say, festivals in honour of the dead were very like the superstition of the Gentiles, she most willingly abstained from it. And in lieu of a basket filled with fruits of the earth, she had learned to bring to the oratories of the martyrs a heart full of more purified petitions, and to give all that she could to the poor; that so the communion of the Lord's body might be rightly celebrated there, where, after the example of His passion, the martyrs had been sacrificed and crowned. But yet it seems to me, O Lord my God, and thus my heart thinks of it in your sight, that my mother perhaps would not so easily have given way to the relinquishment of this custom had it been forbidden by another whom she loved not as Ambrose, whom, out of regard for my salvation, she loved most dearly; and he loved her truly, on account of her most religious conversation, whereby, in good works so fervent in spirit, Romans 12:11 she frequented the church; so that he would often, when he saw me, burst forth into her praises, congratulating me that I had such a mother - little knowing what a son she had in me, who was in doubt as to all these things, and did not imagine the way of life could be found out. " "
6.3.3 3. Nor did I now groan in my prayers that You would help me; but my mind was wholly intent on knowledge, and eager to dispute. And Ambrose himself I esteemed a happy man, as the world counted happiness, in that such great personages held him in honour; only his celibacy appeared to me a painful thing. But what hope he cherished, what struggles he had against the temptations that beset his very excellences, what solace in adversities, and what savoury joys Your bread possessed for the hidden mouth of his heart when ruminating on it, I could neither conjecture, nor had I experienced. Nor did he know my embarrassments, nor the pit of my danger. For I could not request of him what I wished as I wished, in that I was debarred from hearing and speaking to him by crowds of busy people, whose infirmities he devoted himself to. With whom when he was not engaged (which was but a little time), he either was refreshing his body with necessary sustece, or his mind with reading. But while reading, his eyes glanced over the pages, and his heart searched out the sense, but his voice and tongue were silent. ofttimes, when we had come (for no one was forbidden to enter, nor was it his custom that the arrival of those who came should be announced to him), we saw him thus reading to himself, and never otherwise; and, having long sat in silence (for who dared interrupt one so intent?), we were fain to depart, inferring that in the little time he secured for the recruiting of his mind, free from the clamour of other men's business, he was unwilling to be taken off. And perchance he was fearful lest, if the author he studied should express anything vaguely, some doubtful and attentive hearer should ask him to expound it, or to discuss some of the more abstruse questions, as that, his time being thus occupied, he could not turn over as many volumes as he wished; although the preservation of his voice, which was very easily weakened, might be the truer reason for his reading to himself. But whatever was his motive in so doing, doubtless in such a man was a good one. 4. But verily no opportunity could I find of ascertaining what I desired from that Your so holy oracle, his breast, unless the thing might be entered into briefly. But those surgings in me required to find him at full leisure, that I might pour them out to him, but never were they able to find him so; and I heard him, indeed, every Lord's day, rightly dividing the word of truth 2 Timothy 2:15 among the people; and I was all the more convinced that all those knots of crafty calumnies, which those deceivers of ours had knit against the divine books, could be unravelled. But so soon as I understood, withal, that man made after the image of Him that created him was not so understood by Your spiritual sons (whom of the Catholic mother You had begotten again through grace), as though they believed and imagined You to be bounded by human form - although what was the nature of a spiritual substance I had not the faintest or dimmest suspicion - yet rejoicing, I blushed that for so many years I had barked, not against the Catholic faith, but against the fables of carnal imaginations. For I had been both impious and rash in this, that what I ought inquiring to have learned, I had pronounced on condemning. For Thou, O most high and most near, most secret, yet most present, who hast not limbs some larger some smaller, but art wholly everywhere, and nowhere in space, nor are You of such corporeal form, yet have You created man after Your own image, and, behold, from head to foot is he confined by space. " 6.4.5 5. As, then, I knew not how this image of Yours should subsist, I should have knocked and propounded the doubt how it was to be believed, and not have insultingly opposed it, as if it were believed. Anxiety, therefore, as to what to retain as certain, did all the more sharply gnaw into my soul, the more shame I felt that, having been so long deluded and deceived by the promise of certainties, I had, with puerile error and petulance, prated of so many uncertainties as if they were certainties. For that they were falsehoods became apparent to me afterwards. However, I was certain that they were uncertain, and that I had formerly held them as certain when with a blind contentiousness I accused Your Catholic Church, which though I had not yet discovered to teach truly, yet not to teach that of which I had so vehemently accused her. In this manner was I confounded and converted, and I rejoiced, O my God, that the one Church, the body of Your only Son (wherein the name of Christ had been set upon me when an infant), did not appreciate these infantile trifles, nor maintained, in her sound doctrine, any tenet that would confine You, the Creator of all, in space - though ever so great and wide, yet bounded on all sides by the restraints of a human form. 6. I rejoiced also that the old Scriptures of the law and the prophets were laid before me, to be perused, not now with that eye to which they seemed most absurd before, when I censured Your holy ones for so thinking, whereas in truth they thought not so; and with delight I heard Ambrose, in his sermons to the people, oftentimes most diligently recommend this text as a rule -The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life; while, drawing aside the mystic veil, he spiritually laid open that which, accepted according to the letter, seemed to teach perverse doctrines - teaching herein nothing that offended me, though he taught such things as I knew not as yet whether they were true. For all this time I restrained my heart from assenting to anything, fearing to fall headlong; but by hanging in suspense I was the worse killed. For my desire was to be as well assured of those things that I saw not, as I was that seven and three are ten. For I was not so insane as to believe that this could not be comprehended; but I desired to have other things as clear as this, whether corporeal things, which were not present to my senses, or spiritual, whereof I knew not how to conceive except corporeally. And by believing I might have been cured, that so the sight of my soul being cleared, it might in some way be directed towards Your truth, which abides always, and fails in naught. But as it happens that he who has tried a bad physician fears to trust himself with a good one, so was it with the health of my soul, which could not be healed but by believing, and, lest it should believe falsehoods, refused to be cured - resisting Your hands, who hast prepared for us the medicaments of faith, and hast applied them to the maladies of the whole world, and hast bestowed upon them so great authority. 6.4.6 5. As, then, I knew not how this image of Yours should subsist, I should have knocked and propounded the doubt how it was to be believed, and not have insultingly opposed it, as if it were believed. Anxiety, therefore, as to what to retain as certain, did all the more sharply gnaw into my soul, the more shame I felt that, having been so long deluded and deceived by the promise of certainties, I had, with puerile error and petulance, prated of so many uncertainties as if they were certainties. For that they were falsehoods became apparent to me afterwards. However, I was certain that they were uncertain, and that I had formerly held them as certain when with a blind contentiousness I accused Your Catholic Church, which though I had not yet discovered to teach truly, yet not to teach that of which I had so vehemently accused her. In this manner was I confounded and converted, and I rejoiced, O my God, that the one Church, the body of Your only Son (wherein the name of Christ had been set upon me when an infant), did not appreciate these infantile trifles, nor maintained, in her sound doctrine, any tenet that would confine You, the Creator of all, in space - though ever so great and wide, yet bounded on all sides by the restraints of a human form. 6. I rejoiced also that the old Scriptures of the law and the prophets were laid before me, to be perused, not now with that eye to which they seemed most absurd before, when I censured Your holy ones for so thinking, whereas in truth they thought not so; and with delight I heard Ambrose, in his sermons to the people, oftentimes most diligently recommend this text as a rule -The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life; while, drawing aside the mystic veil, he spiritually laid open that which, accepted according to the letter, seemed to teach perverse doctrines - teaching herein nothing that offended me, though he taught such things as I knew not as yet whether they were true. For all this time I restrained my heart from assenting to anything, fearing to fall headlong; but by hanging in suspense I was the worse killed. For my desire was to be as well assured of those things that I saw not, as I was that seven and three are ten. For I was not so insane as to believe that this could not be comprehended; but I desired to have other things as clear as this, whether corporeal things, which were not present to my senses, or spiritual, whereof I knew not how to conceive except corporeally. And by believing I might have been cured, that so the sight of my soul being cleared, it might in some way be directed towards Your truth, which abides always, and fails in naught. But as it happens that he who has tried a bad physician fears to trust himself with a good one, so was it with the health of my soul, which could not be healed but by believing, and, lest it should believe falsehoods, refused to be cured - resisting Your hands, who hast prepared for us the medicaments of faith, and hast applied them to the maladies of the whole world, and hast bestowed upon them so great authority. ' "
6.11.18 18. And I, puzzling over and reviewing these things, most marvelled at the length of time from that my nineteenth year, wherein I began to be inflamed with the desire of wisdom, resolving, when I had found her, to forsake all the empty hopes and lying insanities of vain desires. And behold, I was now getting on to my thirtieth year, sticking in the same mire, eager for the enjoyment of things present, which fly away and destroy me, while I say, Tomorrow I shall discover it; behold, it will appear plainly, and I shall seize it; behold, Faustus will come and explain everything! O you great men, you Academicians, it is then true that nothing certain for the ordering of life can be attained! Nay, let us search the more diligently, and let us not despair. Lo, the things in the ecclesiastical books, which appeared to us absurd aforetime, do not appear so now, and may be otherwise and honestly interpreted. I will set my feet upon that step, where, as a child, my parents placed me, until the clear truth be discovered. But where and when shall it be sought? Ambrose has no leisure - we have no leisure to read. Where are we to find the books? Whence or when procure them? From whom borrow them? Let set times be appointed, and certain hours be set apart for the health of the soul. Great hope has risen upon us, the Catholic faith does not teach what we conceived, and vainly accused it of. Her learned ones hold it as an abomination to believe that God is limited by the form of a human body. And do we doubt to 'knock,' in order that the rest may be 'opened'? Matthew 7:7 The mornings are taken up by our scholars; how do we employ the rest of the day? Why do we not set about this? But when, then, pay our respects to our great friends, of whose favours we stand in need? When prepare what our scholars buy from us? When recreate ourselves, relaxing our minds from the pressure of care? 19. Perish everything, and let us dismiss these empty vanities, and betake ourselves solely to the search after truth! Life is miserable, death uncertain. If it creeps upon us suddenly, in what state shall we depart hence, and where shall we learn what we have neglected here? Or rather shall we not suffer the punishment of this negligence? What if death itself should cut off and put an end to all care and feeling? This also, then, must be inquired into. But God forbid that it should be so. It is not without reason, it is no empty thing, that the so eminent height of the authority of the Christian faith is diffused throughout the entire world. Never would such and so great things be wrought for us, if, by the death of the body, the life of the soul were destroyed. Why, therefore, do we delay to abandon our hopes of this world, and give ourselves wholly to seek after God and the blessed life? But stay! Even those things are enjoyable; and they possess some and no little sweetness. We must not abandon them lightly, for it would be a shame to return to them again. Behold, now is it a great matter to obtain some post of honour! And what more could we desire? We have crowds of influential friends, though we have nothing else, and if we make haste a presidentship may be offered us; and a wife with some money, that she increase not our expenses; and this shall be the height of desire. Many men, who are great and worthy of imitation, have applied themselves to the study of wisdom in the marriage state. 20. Whilst I talked of these things, and these winds veered about and tossed my heart hither and there, the time passed on; but I was slow to turn to the Lord, and from day to day deferred to live in You, and deferred not daily to die in myself. Being enamoured of a happy life, I yet feared it in its own abode, and, fleeing from it, sought after it. I conceived that I should be too unhappy were I deprived of the embracements of a woman; and of Your merciful medicine to cure that infirmity I thought not, not having tried it. As regards continency, I imagined it to be under the control of our own strength (though in myself I found it not), being so foolish as not to know what is written, that none can be continent unless Thou give it; and that You would give it, if with heartfelt groaning I should knock at Your ears, and should with firm faith cast my care upon You. " 6.13.23 23. Active efforts were made to get me a wife. I wooed, I was engaged, my mother taking the greatest pains in the matter, that when I was once married, the health-giving baptism might cleanse me; for which she rejoiced that I was being daily fitted, remarking that her desires and Your promises were being fulfilled in my faith. At which time, verily, both at my request and her own desire, with strong heartfelt cries did we daily beg of You that You would by a vision disclose unto her something concerning my future marriage; but You would not. She saw indeed certain vain and fantastic things, such as the earnestness of a human spirit, bent thereon, conjured up; and these she told me of, not with her usual confidence when You had shown her anything, but slighting them. For she could, she declared, through some feeling which she could not express in words, discern the difference between Your revelations and the dreams of her own spirit. Yet the affair was pressed on, and a maiden sued who wanted two years of the marriageable age; and, as she was pleasing, she was waited for. ' "
6.15.25 25. Meanwhile my sins were being multiplied, and my mistress being torn from my side as an impediment to my marriage, my heart, which clave to her, was racked, and wounded, and bleeding. And she went back to Africa, making a vow unto You never to know another man, leaving with me my natural son by her. But I, unhappy one, who could not imitate a woman, impatient of delay, since it was not until two years' time I was to obtain her I sought - being not so much a lover of marriage as a slave to lust - procured another (not a wife, though), that so by the bondage of a lasting habit the disease of my soul might be nursed up, and kept up in its vigour, or even increased, into the kingdom of marriage. Nor was that wound of mine as yet cured which had been caused by the separation from my former mistress, but after inflammation and most acute anguish it mortified, and the pain became numbed, but more desperate. " 7.1.1 1. Dead now was that evil and abominable youth of mine, and I was passing into early manhood: as I increased in years, the fouler became I in vanity, who could not conceive of any substance but such as I saw with my own eyes. I thought not of You, O God, under the form of a human body. Since the time I began to hear something of wisdom, I always avoided this; and I rejoiced to have found the same in the faith of our spiritual mother, Your Catholic Church. But what else to imagine You I knew not. And I, a man, and such a man, sought to conceive of You, the sovereign and only true God; and I did in my inmost heart believe that You were incorruptible, and inviolable, and unchangeable; because, not knowing whence or how, yet most plainly did I see and feel sure that that which may be corrupted must be worse than that which cannot, and what cannot be violated did I without hesitation prefer before that which can, and deemed that which suffers no change to be better than that which is changeable. Violently did my heart cry out against all my phantasms, and with this one blow I endeavoured to beat away from the eye of my mind all that unclean crowd which fluttered around it. And lo, being scarce put off, they, in the twinkling of an eye, pressed in multitudes around me, dashed against my face, and beclouded it; so that, though I thought not of You under the form of a human body, yet was I constrained to image You to be something corporeal in space, either infused into the world, or infinitely diffused beyond it - even that incorruptible, inviolable, and unchangeable, which I preferred to the corruptible, and violable, and changeable; since whatsoever I conceived, deprived of this space, appeared as nothing to me, yea, altogether nothing, not even a void, as if a body were removed from its place and the place should remain empty of any body at all, whether earthy, terrestrial, watery, aerial, or celestial, but should remain a void place - a spacious nothing, as it were. 2. I therefore being thus gross-hearted, nor clear even to myself, whatsoever was not stretched over certain spaces, nor diffused, nor crowded together, nor swelled out, or which did not or could not receive some of these dimensions, I judged to be altogether nothing. For over such forms as my eyes are wont to range did my heart then range; nor did I see that this same observation, by which I formed those same images, was not of this kind, and yet it could not have formed them had not itself been something great. In like manner did I conceive of You, Life of my life, as vast through infinite spaces, on every side penetrating the whole mass of the world, and beyond it, all ways, through immeasurable and boundless spaces; so that the earth should have You, the heaven have You, all things have You, and they bounded in You, but Thou nowhere. For as the body of this air which is above the earth prevents not the light of the sun from passing through it, penetrating it, not by bursting or by cutting, but by filling it entirely, so I imagined the body, not of heaven, air, and sea only, but of the earth also, to be pervious to You, and in all its greatest parts as well as smallest penetrable to receive Your presence, by a secret inspiration, both inwardly and outwardly governing all things which You have created. So I conjectured, because I was unable to think of anything else; for it was untrue. For in this way would a greater part of the earth contain a greater portion of You, and the less a lesser; and all things should so be full of You, as that the body of an elephant should contain more of You than that of a sparrow by how much larger it is, and occupies more room; and so should Thou make the portions of Yourself present unto the several portions of the world, in pieces, great to the great, little to the little. But You are not such a one; nor had Thou as yet enlightened my darkness.
7.3.5 4. But I also, as yet, although I said and was firmly persuaded, that Thou our Lord, the true God, who made not only our souls but our bodies, and not our souls and bodies alone, but all creatures and all things, were uncontaminable and inconvertible, and in no part mutable: yet understood I not readily and clearly what was the cause of evil. And yet, whatever it was, I perceived that it must be so sought out as not to constrain me by it to believe that the immutable God was mutable, lest I myself should become the thing that I was seeking out. I sought, therefore, for it free from care, certain of the untruthfulness of what these asserted, whom I shunned with my whole heart; for I perceived that through seeking after the origin of evil, they were filled with malice, in that they liked better to think that Your Substance did suffer evil than that their own did commit it. 5. And I directed my attention to discern what I now heard, that free will was the cause of our doing evil, and Your righteous judgment of our suffering it. But I was unable clearly to discern it. So, then, trying to draw the eye of my mind from that pit, I was plunged again therein, and trying often, was as often plunged back again. But this raised me towards Your light, that I knew as well that I had a will as that I had life: when, therefore, I was willing or unwilling to do anything, I was most certain that it was none but myself that was willing and unwilling; and immediately I perceived that there was the cause of my sin. But what I did against my will I saw that I suffered rather than did, and that judged I not to be my fault, but my punishment; whereby, believing You to be most just, I quickly confessed myself to be not unjustly punished. But again I said: Who made me? Was it not my God, who is not only good, but goodness itself? Whence came I then to will to do evil, and to be unwilling to do good, that there might be cause for my just punishment? Who was it that put this in me, and implanted in me the root of bitterness, seeing I was altogether made by my most sweet God? If the devil were the author, whence is that devil? And if he also, by his own perverse will, of a good angel became a devil, whence also was the evil will in him whereby he became a devil, seeing that the angel was made altogether good by that most Good Creator? By these reflections was I again cast down and stifled; yet not plunged into that hell of error (where no man confesses unto You), to think that You allow evil, rather than that man does it.
7.5.7 7. And I sought whence is evil? And sought in an evil way; nor saw I the evil in my very search. And I set in order before the view of my spirit the whole creation, and whatever we can discern in it, such as earth, sea, air, stars, trees, living creatures; yea, and whatever in it we do not see, as the firmament of heaven, all the angels, too, and all the spiritual inhabitants thereof. But these very beings, as though they were bodies, did my fancy dispose in such and such places, and I made one huge mass of all Your creatures, distinguished according to the kinds of bodies - some of them being real bodies, some what I myself had feigned for spirits. And this mass I made huge - not as it was, which I could not know, but as large as I thought well, yet every way finite. But You, O Lord, I imagined on every part environing and penetrating it, though every way infinite; as if there were a sea everywhere, and on every side through immensity nothing but an infinite sea; and it contained within itself some sponge, huge, though finite, so that the sponge would in all its parts be filled from the immeasurable sea. So conceived I Your Creation to be itself finite, and filled by You, the Infinite. And I said, Behold God, and behold what God has created; and God is good, yea, most mightily and incomparably better than all these; but yet He, who is good, has created them good, and behold how He encircles and fills them. Where, then, is evil, and whence, and how crept it in hither? What is its root, and what its seed? Or has it no being at all? Why, then, do we fear and shun that which has no being? Or if we fear it needlessly, then surely is that fear evil whereby the heart is unnecessarily pricked and tormented - and so much a greater evil, as we have naught to fear, and yet do fear. Therefore either that is evil which we fear, or the act of fearing is in itself evil. Whence, therefore, is it, seeing that God, who is good, has made all these things good? He, indeed, the greatest and chiefest Good, has created these lesser goods; but both Creator and created are all good. Whence is evil? Or was there some evil matter of which He made and formed and ordered it, but left something in it which He did not convert into good? But why was this? Was He powerless to change the whole lump, so that no evil should remain in it, seeing that He is omnipotent? Lastly, why would He make anything at all of it, and not rather by the same omnipotency cause it not to be at all? Or could it indeed exist contrary to His will? Or if it were from eternity, why did He permit it so to be for infinite spaces of times in the past, and was pleased so long after to make something out of it? Or if He wished now all of a sudden to do something, this rather should the Omnipotent have accomplished, that this evil matter should not be at all, and that He only should be the whole, true, chief, and infinite Good. Or if it were not good that He, who was good, should not also be the framer and creator of what was good, then that matter which was evil being removed, and brought to nothing, He might form good matter, whereof He might create all things. For He would not be omnipotent were He not able to create something good without being assisted by that matter which had not been created by Himself. Such like things did I revolve in my miserable breast, overwhelmed with most gnawing cares lest I should die ere I discovered the truth; yet was the faith of Your Christ, our Lord and Saviour, as held in the Catholic Church, fixed firmly in my heart, unformed, indeed, as yet upon many points, and diverging from doctrinal rules, but yet my mind did not utterly leave it, but every day rather drank in more and more of it.
7.9.13 13. And You, willing first to show me how You resist the proud, but give grace to the humble and by how great art act of mercy You had pointed out to men the path of humility, in that Your Word was made flesh and dwelt among men - You procured for me, by the instrumentality of one inflated with most monstrous pride, certain books of the Platonists, translated from Greek into Latin. And therein I read, not indeed in the same words, but to the selfsame effect, enforced by many and various reasons, that, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. That which was made by Him is life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehends it not. John 1:1-5 And that the soul of man, though it bears witness of the light, yet itself is not that light; but the Word of God, being God, is that true light that lights every man that comes into the world. John 1:9 And that He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. But that He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in His name. This I did not read there. 14. In like manner, I read there that God the Word was born not of flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God. But that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, I read not there. For I discovered in those books that it was in many and various ways said, that the Son was in the form of the Father, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, for that naturally He was the same substance. But that He emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him from the dead, and given Him a name above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father; Philippians 2:6-11 those books have not. For that before all times, and above all times, Your only-begotten Son remains unchangeably co-eternal with You; and that of His fullness souls receive, John 1:16 that they may be blessed; and that by participation of the wisdom remaining in them they are renewed, that they may be wise, is there. But that in due time Christ died for the ungodly, Romans 5:6 and that You spared not Your only Son, but delivered Him up for us all, Romans 8:32 is not there. Because You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; Matthew 11:25 that they that labour and are heavy laden might come unto Him and He might refresh them, because He is meek and lowly in heart. The meek will He guide in judgment; and the meek will He teach His way; looking upon our humility and our distress, and forgiving all our sins. But such as are puffed up with the elation of would-be sublimer learning, do not hear Him saying, Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:29 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Romans 1:21-22 15. And therefore also did I read there, that they had changed the glory of Your incorruptible nature into idols and various forms - into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things, namely, into that Egyptian food for which Esau lost his birthright; Genesis 25:33-34 for that Your first-born people worshipped the head of a four-footed beast instead of You, turning back in heart towards Egypt, and prostrating Your image - their own soul- before the image of an ox that eats grass. These things found I there; but I fed not on them. For it pleased You, O Lord, to take away the reproach of diminution from Jacob, that the elder should serve the younger; Romans 9:12 and You have called the Gentiles into Your inheritance. And I had come unto You from among the Gentiles, and I strained after that gold which You willed Your people to take from Egypt, seeing that wheresoever it was it was Yours. And to the Athenians Thou said by Your apostle, that in You we live, and move, and have our being; as one of their own poets has said. Acts 17:28 And verily these books came from thence. But I set not my mind on the idols of Egypt, whom they ministered to with Your gold, Hosea 2:8 who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator. Romans 1:25 ' "
7.10.16 16. And being thence warned to return to myself, I entered into my inward self, Thou leading me on; and I was able to do it, for You had become my helper. And I entered, and with the eye of my soul (such as it was) saw above the same eye of my soul, above my mind, the Unchangeable Light. Not this common light, which all flesh may look upon, nor, as it were, a greater one of the same kind, as though the brightness of this should be much more resplendent, and with its greatness fill up all things. Not like this was that light, but different, yea, very different from all these. Nor was it above my mind as oil is above water, nor as heaven above earth; but above it was, because it made me, and I below it, because I was made by it. He who knows the Truth knows that Light; and he that knows it knows eternity. Love knows it. O Eternal Truth, and true Love, and loved Eternity! You are my God; to You do I sigh both night and day. When I first knew You, You lifted me up, that I might see there was that which I might see, and that yet it was not I that did see. And Thou beat back the infirmity of my sight, pouring forth upon me most strongly Your beams of light, and I trembled with love and fear; and I found myself to be far off from You, in the region of dissimilarity, as if I heard this voice of Yours from on high: I am the food of strong men; grow, and you shall feed upon me; nor shall you convert me, like the food of your flesh, into you, but you shall be converted into me. And I learned that You correct man for iniquity, and You make my soul consume away like a spider. And I said, Is Truth, therefore, nothing because it is neither diffused through space, finite, nor infinite? And You cried to me from afar, Yea, verily, 'I Am that I Am.' And I heard this, as things are heard in the heart, nor was there room for doubt; and I should more readily doubt that I live than that Truth is not, which is clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. Romans 1:20 " 7.19.25 25. But I thought differently, thinking only of my Lord Christ as of a man of excellent wisdom, to whom no man could be equalled; especially for that, being wonderfully born of a virgin, He seemed, through the divine care for us, to have attained so great authority of leadership - for an example of contemning temporal things for the obtaining of immortality. But what mystery there was in, The Word was made flesh, I could not even imagine. Only I had learned out of what is delivered to us in writing of Him, that He ate, drank, slept, walked, rejoiced in spirit, was sad, and discoursed; that flesh alone did not cleave unto Your Word, but with the human soul and body. All know thus who know the unchangeableness of Your Word, which I now knew as well as I could, nor did I at all have any doubt about it. For, now to move the limbs of the body at will, now not; now to be stirred by some affection, now not; now by signs to enunciate wise sayings, now to keep silence, are properties of a soul and mind subject to change. And should these things be falsely written of Him, all the rest would risk the imputation, nor would there remain in those books any saving faith for the human race. Since, then, they were written truthfully, I acknowledged a perfect man to be in Christ - not the body of a man only, nor with the body a sensitive soul without a rational, but a very man; whom, not only as being a form of truth, but for a certain great excellency of human nature and a more perfect participation of wisdom, I decided was to be preferred before others. But Alypius imagined the Catholics to believe that God was so clothed with flesh, that, besides God and flesh, there was no soul in Christ, and did not think that a human mind was ascribed to Him. And, because He was thoroughly persuaded that the actions which were recorded of Him could not be performed except by a vital and rational creature, he moved the more slowly towards the Christian faith. But, learning afterwards that this was the error of the Apollinarian heretics, he rejoiced in the Catholic faith, and was conformed to it. But somewhat later it was, I confess, that I learned how in the sentence, The Word was made flesh, the Catholic truth can be distinguished from the falsehood of Photinus. For the disapproval of heretics makes the tenets of Your Church and sound doctrine to stand out boldly. For there must be also heresies, that the approved may be made manifest among the weak. 1 Corinthians 11:19 ' "
7.21.27 27. Most eagerly, then, did I seize that venerable writing of Your Spirit, but more especally the Apostle Paul; and those difficulties vanished away, in which he at one time appeared to me to contradict himself, and the text of his discourse not to agree with the testimonies of the Law and the Prophets. And the face of that pure speech appeared to me one and the same; and I learned to rejoice with trembling. So I commenced, and found that whatsoever truth I had there read was declared here with the recommendation of Your grace; that he who sees may not so glory as if he had not received not only that which he sees, but also that he can see (for what has he which he has not received?); and that he may not only be admonished to see You, who art ever the same, but also may be healed, to hold You; and that he who from afar off is not able to see, may still walk on the way by which he may reach, behold, and possess You. For though a man delight in the law of God after the inward man, Romans 7:22 what shall he do with that other law in his members which wars against the law of his mind, and brings him into captivity to the law of sin, which is in his members? For You are righteous, O Lord, but we have sinned and committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and Your hand is grown heavy upon us, and we are justly delivered over unto that ancient sinner, the governor of death; for he induced our will to be like his will, whereby he remained not in Your truth. What shall wretched man do? Who shall deliver him from the body of this death, but Your grace only, through Jesus 'Christ our Lord,' Romans 7:24-25 whom You have begotten co-eternal, and created in the beginning of Your ways, in whom the Prince of this world found nothing worthy of death, John 18:38 yet killed he Him, and the handwriting which was contrary to us was blotted out? Colossians 2:14 This those writings contain not. Those pages contain not the expression of this piety - the tears of confession, Your sacrifice, a troubled spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, the salvation of the people, the espoused city, Revelation 21:2 the earnest of the Holy Ghost, 2 Corinthians 5:5 the cup of our redemption. No man sings there, Shall not my soul be subject unto God? For of Him comes my salvation, for He is my God and my salvation, my defender, I shall not be further moved. No one there hears Him calling, Come unto me all you that labour. They scorn to learn of Him, because He is meek and lowly of heart; Matthew 11:28-29 for You have hid those things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Matthew 11:25 For it is one thing, from the mountain's wooded summit to see the land of peace, Deuteronomy 32:49 and not to find the way there - in vain to attempt impassable ways, opposed and waylaid by fugitives and deserters, under their captain the lion 1 Peter 5:8 and the dragon; Revelation 12:3 and another to keep to the way that leads there, guarded by the host of the heavenly general, where they rob not who have deserted the heavenly army, which they shun as torture. These things did in a wonderful manner sink into my bowels, when I read that least of Your apostles, and had reflected upon Your works, and feared greatly. <" "
8.2.3 3. To Simplicianus then I went - the father of Ambrose (at that time a bishop) in receiving Your grace, and whom he truly loved as a father. To him I narrated the windings of my error. But when I mentioned to him that I had read certain books of the Platonists, which Victorinus, sometime Professor of Rhetoric at Rome (who died a Christian, as I had been told), had translated into Latin, he congratulated me that I had not fallen upon the writings of other philosophers, which were full of fallacies and deceit, after the rudiments of the world, Colossians 2:8 whereas they, in many ways, led to the belief in God and His word. Then, to exhort me to the humility of Christ, hidden from the wise, and revealed to little ones, Matthew 11:25 he spoke of Victorinus himself, whom, while he was at Rome, he had known very intimately; and of him he related that about which I will not be silent. For it contains great praise of Your grace, which ought to be confessed unto You, how that most learned old man, highly skilled in all the liberal sciences, who had read, criticised, and explained so many works of the philosophers; the teacher of so many noble senators; who also, as a mark of his excellent discharge of his duties, had (which men of this world esteem a great honour) both merited and obtained a statue in the Roman Forum, he - even to that age a worshipper of idols, and a participator in the sacrilegious rites to which almost all the nobility of Rome were wedded, and had inspired the people with the love of The dog Anubis, and a medley crew of monster gods who 'gainst Neptune stand in arms, 'Gainst Venus and Minerva, steel-clad Mars, whom Rome once conquered, now worshipped, all which old Victorinus had with thundering eloquence defended so many years - he now blushed not to be the child of Your Christ, and an infant at Your fountain, submitting his neck to the yoke of humility, and subduing his forehead to the reproach of the Cross. 4. O Lord, Lord, who has bowed the heavens and come down, touched the mountains and they did smoke, by what means did You convey Yourself into that bosom? He used to read, as Simplicianus said, the Holy Scripture, most studiously sought after and searched into all the Christian writings, and said to Simplicianus, - not openly, but secretly, and as a friend -Know that I am a Christian. To which he replied, I will not believe it, nor will I rank you among the Christians unless I see you in the Church of Christ. Whereupon he replied derisively, Is it then the walls that make Christians? And this he often said, that he already was a Christian; and Simplidanus making the same answer, the conceit of the walls was by the other as often renewed. For he was fearful of offending his friends, proud demon-worshippers, from the height of whose Babylonian dignity, as from cedars of Lebanon which had not yet been broken by the Lord, he thought a storm of enmity would descend upon him. But after that, from reading and inquiry, he had derived strength, and feared lest he should be denied by Christ before the holy angels if he now was afraid to confess Him before men, Luke 9:26 and appeared to himself guilty of a great fault in being ashamed of the sacraments of the humility of Your word, and not being ashamed of the sacrilegious rites of those proud demons, whose pride he had imitated and their rites adopted, he became bold-faced against vanity, and shame-faced toward the truth, and suddenly and unexpectedly said to Simplicianus, - as he himself informed me -Let us go to the church; I wish to be made a Christian. But he, not containing himself for joy, accompanied him. And having been admitted to the first sacraments of instruction, he not long after gave in his name, that he might be regenerated by baptism - Rome marvelling, and the Church rejoicing. The proud saw, and were enraged; they gnashed with their teeth, and melted away! But the Lord God was the hope of Your servant, and He regarded not vanities and lying madness. 5. Finally, when the hour arrived for him to make profession of his faith (which at Rome they who are about to approach Your grace are wont to deliver from an elevated place, in view of the faithful people, in a set form of words learned by heart), the presbyters, he said, offered Victorinus to make his profession more privately, as the custom was to do to those who were likely, through bashfulness, to be afraid; but he chose rather to profess his salvation in the presence of the holy assembly. For it was not salvation that he taught in rhetoric, and yet he had publicly professed that. How much less, therefore, ought he, when pronouncing Your word, to dread Your meek flock, who, in the delivery of his own words, had not feared the mad multitudes! So, then, when he ascended to make his profession, all, as they recognised him, whispered his name one to the other, with a voice of congratulation. And who was there among them that did not know him? And there ran a low murmur through the mouths of all the rejoicing multitude, Victorinus! Victorinus! Sudden was the burst of exultation at the sight of him; and suddenly were they hushed, that they might hear him. He pronounced the true faith with an excellent boldness, and all desired to take him to their very heart - yea, by their love and joy they took him there; such were the hands with which they took him. " "
8.6 13. And how, then, Thou delivered me out of the bonds of carnal desire, wherewith I was most firmly fettered, and out of the drudgery of worldly business, will I now declare and confess unto Your name, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. Amid increasing anxiety, I was transacting my usual affairs, and daily sighing unto You. I resorted as frequently to Your church as the business, under the burden of which I groaned, left me free to do. Alypius was with me, being after the third sitting disengaged from his legal occupation, and awaiting further opportunity of selling his counsel, as I was wont to sell the power of speaking, if it can be supplied by teaching. But Nebridius had, on account of our friendship, consented to teach under Verecundus, a citizen and a grammarian of Milan, and a very intimate friend of us all; who vehemently desired, and by the right of friendship demanded from our company, the faithful aid he greatly stood in need of. Nebridius, then, was not drawn to this by any desire of gain (for he could have made much more of his learning had he been so inclined), but, as a most sweet and kindly friend, he would not be wanting in an office of friendliness, and slight our request. But in this he acted very discreetly, taking care not to become known to those personages whom the world esteems great; thus avoiding distraction of mind, which he desired to have free and at leisure as many hours as possible, to search, or read, or hear something concerning wisdom. 14. Upon a certain day, then, Nebridius being away (why, I do not remember), lo, there came to the house to see Alypius and me, Pontitianus, a countryman of ours, in so far as he was an African, who held high office in the emperor's court. What he wanted with us I know not, but we sat down to talk together, and it fell out that upon a table before us, used for games, he noticed a book; he took it up, opened it, and, contrary to his expectation, found it to be the Apostle Paul - for he imagined it to be one of those books which I was wearing myself out in teaching. At this he looked up at me smilingly, and expressed his delight and wonder that he had so unexpectedly found this book, and this only, before my eyes. For he was both a Christian and baptized, and often prostrated himself before You our God in the church, in constant and daily prayers. When, then, I had told him that I bestowed much pains upon these writings, a conversation ensued on his speaking of Antony, the Egyptian monk, whose name was in high repute among Your servants, though up to that time not familiar to us. When he came to know this, he lingered on that topic, imparting to us a knowledge of this man so eminent, and marvelling at our ignorance. But we were amazed, hearing Your wonderful works most fully manifested in times so recent, and almost in our own, wrought in the true faith and the Catholic Church. We all wondered - we, that they were so great, and he, that we had never heard of them. 15. From this his conversation turned to the companies in the monasteries, and their manners so fragrant unto You, and of the fruitful deserts of the wilderness, of which we knew nothing. And there was a monastery at Milan full of good brethren, without the walls of the city, under the fostering care of Ambrose, and we were ignorant of it. He went on with his relation, and we listened intently and in silence. He then related to us how on a certain afternoon, at Triers, when the emperor was taken up with seeing the Circensian games, he and three others, his comrades, went out for a walk in the gardens close to the city walls, and there, as they chanced to walk two and two, one strolled away with him, while the other two went by themselves; and these, in their rambling, came upon a certain cottage inhabited by some of Your servants, poor in spirit, of whom is the kingdom of heaven, where they found a book in which was written the life of Antony. This one of them began to read, marvel at, and be inflamed by it; and in the reading, to meditate on embracing such a life, and giving up his worldly employments to serve You. And these were of the body called Agents for Public Affairs. Then, suddenly being overwhelmed with a holy love and a sober sense of shame, in anger with himself, he cast his eyes upon his friend, exclaiming, Tell me, I entreat you, what end we are striving for by all these labours of ours. What is our aim? What is our motive in doing service? Can our hopes in court rise higher than to be ministers of the emperor? And in such a position, what is there not brittle, and fraught with danger, and by how many dangers arrive we at greater danger? And when arrive we there? But if I desire to become a friend of God, behold, I am even now made it. Thus spoke he, and in the pangs of the travail of the new life, he turned his eyes again upon the page and continued reading, and was inwardly changed where Thou saw, and his mind was divested of the world, as soon became evident; for as he read, and the surging of his heart rolled along, he raged awhile, discerned and resolved on a better course, and now, having become Yours, he said to his friend, Now have I broken loose from those hopes of ours, and am determined to serve God; and this, from this hour, in this place, I enter upon. If you are reluctant to imitate me, hinder me not. The other replied that he would cleave to him, to share in so great a reward and so great a service. Thus both of them, being now Yours, were building a tower at the necessary cost, Luke 14:26-35 - of forsaking all that they had and following You. Then Pontitianus, and he that had walked with him through other parts of the garden, came in search of them to the same place, and having found them, reminded them to return as the day had declined. But they, making known to him their resolution and purpose, and how such a resolve had sprung up and become confirmed in them, entreated them not to molest them, if they refused to join themselves unto them. But the others, no whit changed from their former selves, did yet (as he said) bewail themselves, and piously congratulated them, recommending themselves to their prayers; and with their hearts inclining towards earthly things, returned to the palace. But the other two, setting their affections upon heavenly things, remained in the cottage. And both of them had affianced brides, who, when they heard of this, dedicated also their virginity unto God. " "
8.12.29 28. But when a profound reflection had, from the secret depths of my soul, drawn together and heaped up all my misery before the sight of my heart, there arose a mighty storm, accompanied by as mighty a shower of tears. Which, that I might pour forth fully, with its natural expressions, I stole away from Alypius; for it suggested itself to me that solitude was fitter for the business of weeping. So I retired to such a distance that even his presence could not be oppressive to me. Thus was it with me at that time, and he perceived it; for something, I believe, I had spoken, wherein the sound of my voice appeared choked with weeping, and in that state had I risen up. He then remained where we had been sitting, most completely astonished. I flung myself down, how, I know not, under a certain fig-tree, giving free course to my tears, and the streams of my eyes gushed out, an acceptable sacrifice unto You. 1 Peter 2:5 And, not indeed in these words, yet to this effect, spoke I much unto You -But You, O Lord, how long? How long, Lord? Will You be angry for ever? Oh, remember not against us former iniquities; for I felt that I was enthralled by them. I sent up these sorrowful cries -How long, how long? Tomorrow, and tomorrow? Why not now? Why is there not this hour an end to my uncleanness? 29. I was saying these things and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when, lo, I heard the voice as of a boy or girl, I know not which, coming from a neighbouring house, chanting, and oft repeating, Take up and read; take up and read. Immediately my countece was changed, and I began most earnestly to consider whether it was usual for children in any kind of game to sing such words; nor could I remember ever to have heard the like. So, restraining the torrent of my tears, I rose up, interpreting it no other way than as a command to me from Heaven to open the book, and to read the first chapter I should light upon. For I had heard of Antony, that, accidentally coming in while the gospel was being read, he received the admonition as if what was read were addressed to him, Go and sell that you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me. Matthew 19:2l And by such oracle was he immediately converted unto You. So quickly I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting; for there had I put down the volume of the apostles, when I rose thence. I grasped, opened, and in silence read that paragraph on which my eyes first fell -Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13:13-14 No further would I read, nor did I need; for instantly, as the sentence ended - by a light, as it were, of security infused into my heart - all the gloom of doubt vanished away. 30. Closing the book, then, and putting either my finger between, or some other mark, I now with a tranquil countece made it known to Alypius. And he thus disclosed to me what was wrought in him, which I knew not. He asked to look at what I had read. I showed him; and he looked even further than I had read, and I knew not what followed. This it was, verily, Him that is weak in the faith, receive; Romans 14:1 which he applied to himself, and discovered to me. By this admonition was he strengthened; and by a good resolution and purpose, very much in accord with his character (wherein, for the better, he was always far different from me), without any restless delay he joined me. Thence we go in to my mother. We make it known to her - she rejoices. We relate how it came to pass - she leaps for joy, and triumphs, and blesses You, who art able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think; Ephesians 3:20 for she perceived You to have given her more for me than she used to ask by her pitiful and most doleful groanings. For Thou so converted me unto Yourself, that I sought neither a wife, nor any other of this world's hopes, - standing in that rule of faith in which Thou, so many years before, had showed me unto her in a vision. And you turned her grief into a gladness, much more plentiful than she had desired, and much dearer and chaster than she used to crave, by having grandchildren of my body. <" "
9.4.7 7. And the day arrived on which, in very deed, I was to be released from the Professorship of Rhetoric, from which in intention I had been already released. And done it was; and Thou delivered my tongue whence You had already delivered my heart; and full of joy I blessed You for it, and retired with all mine to the villa. What I accomplished here in writing, which was now wholly devoted to Your service, though still, in this pause as it were, panting from the school of pride, my books testify, - those in which I disputed with my friends, and those with myself alone before You; and what with the absent Nebridius, my letters testify. And when can I find time to recount all Your great benefits which You bestowed upon us at that time, especially as I am hasting on to still greater mercies? For my memory calls upon me, and pleasant it is to me, O Lord, to confess unto You, by what inward goads You subdued me, and how Thou made me low, bringing down the mountains and hills of my imaginations, and straightened my crookedness, and smooth my rough ways; Luke 3:5 and by what means Thou also subdued that brother of my heart, Alypius, unto the name of Your only-begotten, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which he at first refused to have inserted in our writings. For he rather desired that they should savour of the cedars of the schools, which the Lord has now broken down, than of the wholesome herbs of the Church, hostile to serpents. 8. What utterances sent I up unto You, my God, when I read the Psalms of David, those faithful songs and sounds of devotion which exclude all swelling of spirit, when new to Your true love, at rest in the villa with Alypius, a catechumen like myself, my mother cleaving unto us - in woman's garb truly, but with a man's faith, with the peacefulness of age, full of motherly love and Christian piety! What utterances used I to send up unto You in those Psalms, and how was I inflamed towards You by them, and burned to rehearse them, if it were possible, throughout the whole world, against the pride of the human race! And yet they are sung throughout the whole world, and none can hide himself from Your heat. With what vehement and bitter sorrow was I indigt at the Manich ans; whom yet again I pitied, for that they were ignorant of those sacraments, those medicaments, and were mad against the antidote which might have made them sane! I wished that they had been somewhere near me then, and, without my being aware of their presence, could have beheld my face, and heard my words, when I read the fourth Psalm in that time of my leisure - how that Psalm wrought upon me. When I called upon You, Thou heard me, O God of my righteousness; You have enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. Oh that they might have heard what I uttered on these words, without my knowing whether they heard or no, lest they should think that I spoke it because of them! For, of a truth, neither should I have said the same things, nor in the way I said them, if I had perceived that I was heard and seen by them; and had I spoken them, they would not so have received them as when I spoke by and for myself before You, out of the private feelings of my soul. 9. I alternately quaked with fear, and warmed with hope, and with rejoicing in Your mercy, O Father. And all these passed forth, both by my eyes and voice, when Your good Spirit, turning unto us, said, O you sons of men, how long will you be slow of heart? How long will you love vanity, and seek after leasing? For I had loved vanity, and sought after leasing. And You, O Lord, had already magnified Your Holy One, raising Him from the dead, and setting Him at Your right hand, Ephesians 1:20 whence from on high He should send His promise, Luke 24:49 the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth. John 14:16-17 And He had already sent Him, Acts 2:1-4 but I knew it not; He had sent Him, because He was now magnified, rising again from the dead, and ascending into heaven. For till then the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:39 And the prophet cries out, How long will you be slow of heart? How long will you love vanity, and seek after leasing? Know this, that the Lord has magnified His Holy One. He cries out, How long? He cries out, Know this, and I, so long ignorant, loved vanity, and sought after leasing. And therefore I heard and trembled, because these words were spoken unto such as I remembered that I myself had been. For in those phantasms which I once held for truths was there vanity and leasing. And I spoke many things loudly and earnestly, in the sorrow of my remembrance, which, would that they who yet love vanity and seek after leasing had heard! They would perchance have been troubled, and have vomited it forth, and You would hear them when they cried unto You; for by a true death in the flesh He died for us, who now makes intercession for us Romans 8:34 with You. 10. I read further, Be angry, and sin not. Ephesians 4:26 And how was I moved, O my God, who had now learned to be angry with myself for the things past, so that in the future I might not sin! Yea, to be justly angry; for that it was not another nature of the race of darkness which sinned for me, as they affirm it to be who are not angry with themselves, and who treasure up to themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and of the revelation of Your righteous judgment. Romans 2:5 Nor were my good things now without, nor were they sought after with eyes of flesh in that sun; for they that would have joy from without easily sink into oblivion, and are wasted upon those things which are seen and temporal, and in their starving thoughts do lick their very shadows. Oh, if only they were wearied out with their fasting, and said, Who will show us any good? And we would answer, and they hear, O Lord. The light of Your countece is lifted up upon us. For we are not that Light, which lights every man, John 1:9 but we are enlightened by You, that we, who were sometimes darkness, may be light in You. Ephesians 5:8 Oh that they could behold the internal Eternal, which having tasted I gnashed my teeth that I could not show It to them, while they brought me their heart in their eyes, roaming abroad from You, and said, Who will show us any good? But there, where I was angry with myself in my chamber, where I was inwardly pricked, where I had offered my sacrifice, slaying my old man, and beginning the resolution of a new life, putting my trust in You, - there had Thou begun to grow sweet unto me, and to put gladness in my heart. And I cried out as I read this outwardly, and felt it inwardly. Nor would I be increased with worldly goods, wasting time and being wasted by time; whereas I possessed in Your eternal simplicity other grain, and wine, and oil. 11. And with a loud cry from my heart, I called out in the following verse, Oh, in peace! and the self-same! Oh, what said he, I will lay me down and sleep! For who shall hinder us, when shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory? 1 Corinthians 15:54 And You are in the highest degree the self-same, who changest not; and in You is the rest which forgets all labour, for there is no other beside You, nor ought we to seek after those many other things which are not what You are; but Thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in hope. These things I read, and was inflamed; but discovered not what to do with those deaf and dead, of whom I had been a pestilent member - a bitter and a blind declaimer against the writings be-honied with the honey of heaven and luminous with Your own light; and I was consumed on account of the enemies of this Scripture. 12. When shall I call to mind all that took place in those holidays? Yet neither have I forgotten, nor will I be silent about the severity of Your scourge, and the amazing quickness of Your mercy. Thou at that time tortured me with toothache; and when it had become so exceeding great that I was not able to speak, it came into my heart to urge all my friends who were present to pray for me to You, the God of all manner of health. And I wrote it down on wax, and gave it to them to read. Presently, as with submissive desire we bowed our knees, that pain departed. But what pain? Or how did it depart? I confess to being much afraid, my Lord my God, seeing that from my earliest years I had not experienced such pain. And Your purposes were profoundly impressed upon me; and, rejoicing in faith, I praised Your name. And that faith suffered me not to be at rest in regard to my past sins, which were not yet forgiven me by Your baptism. " 9.6.14 14. Thence, when the time had arrived at which I was to give in my name, having left the country, we returned to Milan. Alypius also was pleased to be born again with me in You, being now clothed with the humility appropriate to Your sacraments, and being so brave a tamer of the body, as with unusual fortitude to tread the frozen soil of Italy with his naked feet. We took into our company the boy Adeodatus, born of me carnally, of my sin. Well had Thou made him. He was barely fifteen years, yet in wit excelled many grave and learned men. I confess unto You Your gifts, O Lord my God, Creator of all, and of exceeding power to reform our deformities; for of me was there naught in that boy but the sin. For that we fostered him in Your discipline, You inspired us, none other - Your gifts I confess unto You. There is a book of ours, which is entitled The Master. It is a dialogue between him and me. You know that all things there put into the mouth of the person in argument with me were his thoughts in his sixteenth year. Many others more wonderful did I find in him. That talent was a source of awe to me. And who but Thou could be the worker of such marvels? Quickly did You remove his life from the earth; and now I recall him to mind with a sense of security, in that I fear nothing for his childhood or youth, or for his whole self. We took him coeval with us in Your grace, to be educated in Your discipline; and we were baptized, and solicitude about our past life left us. Nor was I satiated in those days with the wondrous sweetness of considering the depth of Your counsels concerning the salvation of the human race. How greatly did I weep in Your hymns and canticles, deeply moved by the voices of Your sweet-speaking Church! The voices flowed into mine ears, and the truth was poured forth into my heart, whence the agitation of my piety overflowed, and my tears ran over, and blessed was I therein. ' "
9.7.15 15. Not long had the Church of Milan begun to employ this kind of consolation and exhortation, the brethren singing together with great earnestness of voice and heart. For it was about a year, or not much more, since Justina, the mother of the boy-Emperor Valentinian, persecuted Your servant Ambrose in the interest of her heresy, to which she had been seduced by the Arians. The pious people kept guard in the church, prepared to die with their bishop, Your servant. There my mother, Your handmaid, bearing a chief part of those cares and watchings, lived in prayer. We, still unmelted by the heat of Your Spirit, were yet moved by the astonished and disturbed city. At this time it was instituted that, after the manner of the Eastern Church, hymns and psalms should be sung, lest the people should pine away in the tediousness of sorrow; which custom, retained from then till now, is imitated by many, yea, by almost all of Your congregations throughout the rest of the world. 16. Then Thou by a vision made known to Your renowned bishop the spot where lay the bodies of Gervasius and Protasius, the martyrs (whom You had in Your secret storehouse preserved uncorrupted for so many years), whence You might at the fitting time produce them to repress the feminine but royal fury. For when they were revealed and dug up and with due honour transferred to the Ambrosian Basilica, not only they who were troubled with unclean spirits (the devils confessing themselves) were healed, but a certain man also, who had been blind many years, a well-known citizen of that city, having asked and been told the reason of the people's tumultuous joy, rushed forth, asking his guide to lead him there. Arrived there, he begged to be permitted to touch with his handkerchief the bier of Your saints, whose death is precious in Your sight. When he had done this, and put it to his eyes, they were immediately opened. Thence did the fame spread; thence did Your praises burn - shine; thence was the mind of that enemy, though not yet enlarged to the wholeness of believing, restrained from the fury of persecuting. Thanks be to You, O my God. Whence and whither have You thus led my remembrance, that I should confess these things also unto You - great, though I, forgetful, had passed them over? And yet then, when the savour of Your ointments was so fragrant, did we not run after You. Song of Songs 1:3-4 And so I did the more abundantly weep at the singing of Your hymns, formerly panting for You, and at last breathing in You, as far as the air can play in this house of grass. " "" None