The Confessions Of St. Augustine - St. Augustine of Hippo - ebook

The Confessions Of St. Augustine ebook

St. Augustine of Hippo

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Confessions (Latin: Confessiones) is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written between AD 397 and AD 398. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published under the title The Confessions Of St. Augustine in order to distinguish the book from other books with similar titles. Its original title was "Confessions in Thirteen Books", and it was composed to be read out loud with each book being a complete unit. The work outlines Augustine's sinful youth and his conversion to Christianity. It is widely seen as the first Western autobiography ever written, and was an influential model for Christian writers throughout the following 1000 years of the Middle Ages. It is not a complete autobiography, as it was written in his early 40s, and he lived long afterwards, producing another important work (City of God); it does, nonetheless, provide an unbroken record of his development of thought and is the most complete record of any single person from the 4th and 5th centuries. (from wikipedia.com)

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The Confessions Of St. Augustine

St. Augustine of Hippo

Contents:

TRANSLATOR’S PREFACE.

THE OPINION OF ST. AUGUSTIN   CONCERNING HIS CONFESSIONS, AS EMBODIED IN HIS RETRACTATIONS,ii. 6

BOOK I.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

CHAP. XIII.—

CHAP. XIV.—

CHAP. XV.—

CHAP. XVI.—

CHAP. XVII.—

CHAP. XVIII.—

BOOK II.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

BOOK III.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

BOOK IV.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

CHAP. XIII.—

CHAP. XIV.—

CHAP. XV.—

CHAP. XVI.—

BOOK V.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

CHAP. XIII.—

CHAP. XIV.—

BOOK VI.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

CHAP. XIII.—

CHAP. XIV.—

CHAP. XV.—

CHAP. XVI.—

BOOK VII.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

CHAP. XIII.—

CHAP. XIV.—

CHAP. XV.—

CHAP. XVI.—

CHAP. XVII.—

CHAP. XVIII.—

CHAP. XIX.—

CHAP. XX.—

CHAP. XXI.—

BOOK VIII.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

BOOK IX.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

CHAP. XIII.—

BOOK X.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

CHAP. XIII.—

CHAP. XIV.—

CHAP. XV.—

CHAP. XVI.—

CHAP. XVII.—

CHAP. XVIII.—

CHAP. XIX.—

CHAP. XX.—

CHAP. XXI.—

CHAP. XXII.—

CHAP. XXIII.—

CHAP. XXIV.—

CHAP. XXV.—

CHAP. XXVI.—

CHAP. XXVII.—

CHAP. XXVIII.—

CHAP. XXIX.—

CHAP. XXX.—

CHAP. XXXI.—

CHAP. XXXII.—

CHAP. XXXIII.—

CHAP. XXXIV.—

CHAP. XXXV.—

CHAP. XXXVI.—

CHAP. XXXVII.—

CHAP. XXXVIII.—

CHAP. XXXIX.—

CHAP. XL.—

CHAP. XLI.—

CHAP. XLII.—

CHAP. XLIII.—

BOOK XI.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

CHAP. XIII.—

CHAP. XIV.—

CHAP. XV.—

CHAP. XVI.—

CHAP. XVII.—

CHAP. XVIII.—

CHAP. XIX.—

CHAP. XX.—

CHAP. XXI.—

CHAP. XXII.—

CHAP. XXIII.—

CHAP. XXIV.—

CHAP. XXV.—

CHAP. XXVI.—

CHAP. XXVII.—

CHAP. XXVIII.—

CHAP. XXIX.—

CHAP. XXX.—

CHAP. XXXI.—

BOOK XII.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

CHAP. XIII.—

CHAP. XIV.—

CHAP. XV.—

CHAP. XVI.—

CHAP. XVII.—

CHAP. XVIII.—

CHAP. XIX.—

CHAP. XX—

CHAP. XXI.—

CHAP. XXII.—

CHAP. XXIII.—

CHAP. XXIV.—

CHAP. XXV.—

CHAP. XXVI.—

CHAP. XXVII.—

CHAP. XXVIII.—

CHAP. XXIX.—

CHAP. XXX.—

CHAP. XXXI.—

CHAP. XXXII.—

BOOK XIII.

CHAP. I.—

CHAP. II.—

CHAP. III.—

CHAP. IV.—

CHAP. V.—

CHAP. VI.—

CHAP. VII.—

CHAP. VIII.—

CHAP. IX.—

CHAP. X.—

CHAP. XI.—

CHAP. XII.—

CHAP. XIII.—

CHAP. XIV.—

CHAP. XV.—

CHAP. XVI.—

CHAP. XVII.—

CHAP. XVIII.—

CHAP. XIX.—

CHAP. XX.—

CHAP. XXI.—

CHAP. XXII.—

CHAP. XXIII.—

CHAP. XXIV.—

CHAP. XXV.—

CHAP. XXVI.—

CHAP. XXVII.—

CHAP. XXVIII.—

CHAP. XXIX.—

CHAP. XXX.—

CHAP. XXXI.—

CHAP. XXXII.—

CHAP. XXXIII.—

CHAP. XXXIV.—

CHAP. XXXV.—

CHAP. XXXVI.—

CHAP. XXXVII.—

CHAP. XXXVIII.—

The Confessions of St. Augustine of Hippo

Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck

86450 Altenmünster, Germany

ISBN: 9783849623630

www.jazzybee-verlag.de

[email protected]

TRANSLATED AND ANNOTATED BY J. G. PILKINGTON, M.A.,

 “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.”

—Confessions, i. 1.

“The joy of the solemn service of Thy house constraineth to tears, when it is read of Thy younger son [Luke xv. 24] ‘that he was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ ”

—Ibid. viii. 6.

Saint Augustine – A Biography

Augustine(Aurelius Augustinus) was a Saint, a doctor of the Latin church, born at Tagaste, a small town of Numidia in Africa, not far from Carthage, Nov. 13, 354, died Aug. 28, 430. His father, Patricius, was a pagan nobleman of moderate 'fortune, while his mother, Monica, who has been canonized by the church, was an earnest Christian. Augustine was sent to the best schools of Madaura and Carthage. His own "Confessions" tell us that his conduct at this period of his life was far from exemplary. His studies, chiefly in the heathen poets, were more favorable to the development of his fancy and his style than to his Christian growth. The death of his father, which threw him upon his own resources, and the influence of some philosophical works, especially the Hortensius of Cicero, roused him to a diligent search after truth. Unable to find this in the writings of the Greek and Roman sages, and dissatisfied with what seemed to him the crude and fragmentary teachings of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, he adopted the dualism of the Manichgeans. At the age of 29 he went to Rome. There his reputation as a teacher of eloquence soon rivaled that of Symmachus, then at the height of his renown. On the recommendation of that orator, he was called to Milan as a teacher of rhetoric.

Ambrose was then bishop of Milan, and Augustine's first care was to know so famous a preacher. After repeated interviews with Ambrose, the conversion of his own illegitimate son, and the entreaties of his mother, he resolved to embrace Christianity. The history of his conversion forms the most striking chapter in his "Confessions." After eight months of seclusion, which he spent with his mother and brother and son, preparing for his confirmation in the church, and maturing his plans for the future, Augustine in the Easter week of 387 was baptized, together with his son and brother, by the hand of Ambrose. He at once set out on his return to Africa. On the way his mother died, and a small chapel among the ruins of Ostia marks the traditional spot of her burial. The death of his son, which took place soon after his return, confirmed his inclination to the monastic life. He retired to Tagaste, and passed nearly three years in studious seclusion, varied only by occasional visits to the neighboring towns. On one of these visits, when he was present at the church in Hippo, a sermon which the bishop Valerius delivered, asking for a priest to assist him in his church, turned all eyes toward this famous scholar. No refusals were allowed, and Augustine was ordained.

Preaching was soon added to his duties, an exception being made in his case to the usual rule, and the periods of the African orator, in harsh Latin or the harsher Punic tongue, were received with vehement applause. He was soon called to be assistant bishop, and then, on the death of the elder prelate, the whole charge of the church of Hippo was entrusted to his care. He retained the office until his death, a period of 35 years. The details of his episcopal life are minutely related by his friend Possidius. He preached every day and sometimes twice in the day; was frugal in his domestic arrangements, being a strict ascetic, and requiring of his attendant priests and deacons an equal simplicity of diet and dress; given to hospitality, yet without display; warmly interested in every kind of charity; courteous in his bearing, welcoming even infidels to his table; bold against all wickedness and wrong, whatever the rank of the transgressor; and untiring in his visits to widows and orphans, to the sick and the afflicted. He disputed with Manichajans, Arians, the followers of Priscillian, of Origen, and Tertullian, the Donatists, and the Pelagians, and allowed no doubtful utterance of doctrine to pass without his questioning.

To his industry in controversy must be added his vast correspondence with emperors, nobles, doctors, missionaries, bishops, in every quarter of the globe, on questions of dogma, of discipline, and of policy his solid works of commentary, criticism, morality, philosophy, and theology, and even his poetry, for to him are attributed several of the sweetest hymns of the Catholic anthology. The titles alone of the works of Augustine make a long catalogue. The single volume of "Sermons" contains nearly 700 pieces, shorter indeed and less ornate than the celebrated sermons of Basil and Chrysostom, but justifying Augustine's reputation for sacred oratory. The volume of "Commentaries on the Psalms" is more rich in practical remarks than in accurate learning. His remarks upon the "Four Gospels" are more valuable. His work on the "Care that should be taken for the Dead" contains some striking views concerning the relation of the living to disembodied souls. The volume of his "Epistles" is remarkable, as illustrating his best style and the finest traits in his character.

The name of Augustine, in the dogmatic history of the church, is best known in connection with the heresy of Pelagius; but his works which are most widely known are the "Confessions" and "The City of God." In the former, written just after his conversion, he gives a history of his life up to that time, not so much in its outward circumstance as in its inward experience and change. It has been translated into every Christian tongue, and is classed with the choicest memorials of devotion, both in Catholic and Protestant oratories. His treatise on "The City of God" (De Civitate Dei) is the monument of highest genius in the ancient church, and in its kind has never been surpassed. Its immediate purpose was to vindicate the faith of the gospel against the pagans, who had just devastated Rome. The first five books confute the heathen thesis that the worship of the ancient gods is essential to human prosperity, and that miseries have only come since the decline of this worship. The five following books refute those who maintain that the worship of pagan deities is useful for the spiritual life.

The remaining twelve books are employed in setting forth the doctrines of the Christian religion, under the somewhat fanciful form of "two cities," the city of the world and the city of God. The influence of Augustine upon his own age, and upon all succeeding ages of Christian history, cannot be exaggerated. It is believed that he was at once one of the purest, the wisest, and the holiest of men; he was equally mild and firm, prudent and fearless; at once a philosopher and a mystic, a student and a ruler. Of his singular humility manifold instances are recorded. His severe self-discipline matches the strictest instances of the hermit life. In his " Retractations," begun after the close of his 70th year, he reviews his writings, taking back whatever is doubtful or extravagant, and harmonizing discordant opinions. The aid of a coadjutor relieved Augustine in his latter years of a portion of his responsibility; yet questions of conscience were constantly presented to him. When Genseric and his Vandals showed themselves on the coasts of Africa, the question was put to him if it were lawful for a bishop at such a season to fly and leave his flock. The answer which he made was illustrated by his own course.

He calmly waited for the threatened approach, and when the fleet of the foe was in the bay of Hippo, and the army was encamped before the walls, exerted himself only to quiet the fears and sustain the faith of his brethren. He died of fever before the catastrophe. The bishop Possidius, who watched at his bedside, gives an edifying account of his last days, and of the grief of the people at his loss. His relics were transported to Italy, and mostly rest at present in the cathedral of Pavia. Within the present century the bone of his right arm has, with solemn pomp, been returned to the church of Bona in Algeria, which occupies the site of ancient Hippo. The best edition of Augustine's works is that of the Benedictines, published at Paris and at Antwerp' at the close of the 17th century, in 11 vols, folio. An edition in 11 volumes was also published in Paris in 1836-'9. An additional volume of sermons, before unpublished, found at Monte Casino and Florence, was published at Paris in 1842. An English translation by various hands has been undertaken at Edinburgh, under the editorship of the Rev. Marcus Dods, the 3rd and 4th volumes of which appeared in 1872.

THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. AUGUSTINE

TRANSLATOR’S PREFACE.

“If St. Augustin,” says Nourrisson,1“had left nothing but his Confessions and the City of God, one could readily understand the respectful sympathy that surrounds his memory. How, indeed, could one fail to admire in the City of God the flight of genius, and in the Confessions, what is better still, the effusions of a great soul?” It may be safely predicted, that while the mind of man yearns for knowledge, and his heart seeks rest, the Confessions will retain that foremost place in the world’s literature which it has secured by its sublime outpourings of devotion and profound philosophical spirit. There is in the book a wonderful combination of childlike piety and intellectual power. Desjardins’ idea,2that, while in Augustin’s other works we see the philosopher or the controversialist, here we see the man, is only to be accepted as a comparative statement of Augustin’s attitude in the Confessions; for philosophy and piety are in many of his reflections as it were molten into one homogeneous whole. In his highest intellectual flights we find the breathings of faith and love, and, amid the profoundest expressions of penitential sorrow, gleams of his metaphysical genius appear.

It may, indeed, be from the man’s showing himself so little, as distinguished from the philosopher, that some readers are a little disappointed in the book. They have expected to meet with a copiousness of biographic details, and have found, commingled with such as are given, long disquisitions on Manichæanism, Time, Creation, and Memory. To avoid such disappointment we must ascertain the author’s design. The book is emphatically not an autobiography. There is in it an outline of the author’s life up to his mother’s death; but only so much of detail is given as may subserve his main purpose. That purpose is clearly explained in the fourth section of his Tenth Book. It was that the impenitent on reading it might not say, “I cannot,” and “sleep in despair,” but rather that, looking to that God who had raised the writer from his low estate of pride and sin to be a pillar of the Church, he might take courage, and “awake in the sweetness of His grace, by which he that is weak is made strong;” and that those no longer in sin might rejoice and praise God as they heard of the past lusts of him who was now freed from them.3This, his design of encouraging penitence and stimulating praise, is referred to in his Retractations,4and in his Letter to Darius.5

These two main ideas are embodied in the very meaning of the title of the book, the word confession having, as Augustin constantly urges, two meanings. In his exposition of the Psalms we read: “Confession is understood in two senses, of our sins, and of God’s praise. Confession of our sins is well known, so well known to all the people, that whenever they hear the name of confession in the lessons, whether it is said in praise or of sin, they beat their breasts.”6Again: “Confession of sin all know, but confession of praise few attend to.”7“The former but showeth the wound to the physician, the latter giveth thanks for health.”8He would therefore have his hearers make the sacrifice of praise their ideal, since, in the City of God, even in the New Jerusalem, there will be no longer confession of sin, but there will be confession of praise.9It is not surprising, that with this view of confession he should hinge on the incidents of his life such considerations as tend to elevate the mind and heart of the reader. When, for example, he speaks of his youthful sins,10he diverges into a disquisition on the motives to sin; when his friend dies,11he moralizes on death; and—to give one example of a reverse process—his profound psychological review of memory12recalls his former sin (which at times haunts him in his dreams), and leads up to devout reflections on God’s power to cleanse from sin. This undertone of penitence and praise which pervades the Confessions in all its episodes, like the golden threads which run through the texture of an Eastern garment, presents one of its peculiar charms.

It would not be right to overlook a charge that has been brought against the book by Lord Byron. He says, “Augustin in his fine Confessions makes the reader envy his transgressions.” Nothing could be more reckless or further from the truth than this charge. There is here no dwelling on his sin, or painting it so as to satisfy a prurient imagination. As we have already remarked, Augustin’s manner is not to go into detail further than to find a position from which to “edify” the reader, and he treats this episode in his life with his characteristic delicacy and reticence. His sin was dead; and he had carried it to its burial with tears of repentance. And when, ten years after his baptism, he sets himself, at the request of some, to a consideration of what he then was at the moment of making his confessions,1he refers hardly at all to this sin of his youth; and such allusions as he does make are of the most casual kind. Instead of enlarging upon it, he treats it as past, and only speaks of temptation and sin as they are common to all men. Many of the French writers on the Confessions2institute a comparison in this matter between the confessions of Augustin and those of Rousseau. Pressensé3draws attention to the delicacy and reserve which characterise the one, and the arrogant defiance of God and man manifested in the other. The confessions of the one he speaks of as “un grand acte de repentir et d’amour;” and eloquently says, “In it he seems, like the Magdalen, to have spread his box of perfumes at the foot of the Saviour; from his stricken heart there exhales the incense most agreeable to God—the homage of true penitence.” The other he truly describes as uttering “a cry of triumph in the very midst of his sin, and robing his shame in a royal purple.” Well may Desjardins4express surprise at a book of such foulness coming from a genius so great; and perhaps his solution of the enigma is not far from the truth, when he attributes it to an overweening vanity and egotism.5

It is right to point out, in connection with this part of our subject, that in regard to some at least of Augustin’s self-accusations,6there may be a little of that pious exaggeration of his sinfulness which, as Lord Macaulay points out in his essays on Bunyan,7frequently characterises deep penitence. But however this may be, justice requires us to remember, in considering his transgression, that from his very childhood he had been surrounded by a condition of civilisation presenting manifold temptations. Carthage, where he spent a large part of his life, had become, since its restoration and colonization under Augustus Cæsar, an “exceeding great city,” in wealth and importance next to Rome.8“African Paganism,” says Pressensé,9“was half Asiatic; the ancient worship of nature, the adoration of Astarte, had full licence in the city of Carthage; Dido had become a mythological being, whom this dissolute city had made its protecting divinity, and it is easy to recognise in her the great goddess of Phœnicia under a new name.” The luxury of the period is described by Jerome and Tertullian, when they denounce the custom of painting the face and tiring the head, and the prodigality that would give 25,000 golden crowns for a veil, immense revenues for a pair of ear-rings, and the value of a forest or an island for a head-dress.10And Jerome, in one of his epistles, gives an illustration of the Church’s relation to the Pagan world at that time, when he represents an old priest of Jupiter with his grand-daughter, a catechumen, on his knee, who responds to his caresses by singing canticles.11It was a time when we can imagine one of Augustin’s parents going to the Colosseum, and enjoying the lasciviousness of its displays, and its gladiatorial shows, with their contempt of human life; while the other carefully shunned such scenes, as being under the ban of the teachers of the Church.12It was an age in which there was action and reaction between religion and philosophy; but in which the power of Christianity was so great in its influences on Paganism, that some received the Christian Scriptures only to embody in their phraseology the ideas of heathenism. Of this last point Manichæanism presents an illustration. Now all these influences left their mark on Augustin. In his youth he plunged deep into the pleasures of his day; and we know how he endeavoured to find in Manichæanism a solution of those speculations which haunted his subtle and inquiring mind. Augustin at this time, then, is not to be taken as a type of what Christianity produced. He is to a great extent the outgrowth of the Pagan influences of the time. Considerations such as these may enable us to judge of his early sin more justly than if we measured it by our own privileges and opportunities.

The style of Augustin is sometimes criticised as not having the refinement of Virgil, Horace, or Cicero. But it should be remembered that he wrote in a time of national decay; and further, as Desjardins has remarked in the introduction to his essay, he had no time “to cut his phrases.” From the period of his conversion to that of his death, he was constantly engaged in controversy with this or that heresy; and if he did not write with classical accuracy, he so inspired the language with his genius, and moulded it by his fire,13that it appears almost to pulsate with the throbbings of his brain. He seems likewise to have despised mere elegance, for in his Confessions,14when speaking of the style of Faustus, he says, “What profit to me was the elegance of my cup-bearer, since he offered me not the more precious draught for which I thirsted?” In this connection the remarks of Collenges1are worthy of note. He says, when anticipating objections that might be made to his own style: “It was the last of my study; my opinion always was what Augustin calls diligens negligentia was the best diligence as to that; while I was yet a very young man I had learned out of him that it was no solecism in a preacher to use ossum for os, for (saith he) an iron key is better than one made of gold if it will better open the door, for that is all the use of the key. I had learned out of Hierom that a gaudry of phrases and words in a pulpit is but signum insipientiæ. The words of a preacher, saith he, ought pungere, non palpare, to prick the heart, not to smooth and coax. The work of anorat or is too precarious for a minister of the gospel. Gregory observed that our Saviour had not styled us the sugar but the salt of the earth, and Augustin observeth, that through Cyprian in one epistle showed much of a florid orator, to show he could do it, yet he never would do so any more, to show he would not.”

There are several features in the Confessions deserving of remark, as being of special interest to the philosopher, the historian or the divine.

1. Chiefest amongst these is the intense desire for knowledge and the love of truth which characterised Augustin. This was noticeable before his conversion in his hungering after such knowledge as Manichæanism and the philosophy of the time could afford.2It is none the less observable in that better time, when, in his quiet retreat at Cassiciacum, he sought to strengthen the foundations of his faith, and resolved to give himself up to the acquisition of divine knowledge.3It was seen, too, in the many conflicts in which he was engaged with Donatists, Manichæans, Arians, and Pelagians, and in his earnest study of the deep things of God. This love of knowledge is perhaps conveyed in the beautiful legend quoted by Nourisson,4of the monk wrapped in spirit, who expressed astonishment at not seeing Augustin among the elect in heaven. “He is higher up,” he was answered, “he is standing before the Holy Trinity disputing thereon for all eternity.”

While from the time of his conversion we find him holding on to the fundamental doctrines of the faith with the tenacity of one who had experienced the hollowness of the teachings of philosophy,5this passion for truth led him to handle most freely subjects of speculation in things non-essential.6But whether viewed as a controversialist, a student of Scripture, or a bishop of the Church of God, he ever manifests those qualities of mind and heart that gained for him not only the affection of the Church, but the esteem of his unorthodox opponents.To quote Guizot’s discriminating words, there was in him “ce mélange de passion et de douceur, d’autorité et de sympathie, d’étendue d’esprit et de rigueur logique, qui lui donnait un si rare pouvoir.”7

2. It is to this eager desire for truth in his many-sided mind that we owe those trains of thought that read like forecasts of modern opinion. We have called attention to some such anticipations of modern thought as they recur in the notes throughout the book; but the speculations on Memory, Time, and Creation, which occupy so large a space in Books Ten and Eleven, deserve more particular notice. The French essayists have entered very fully into these questions. M. Saisset, in his admirable introduction to the De Civitate Dei,8reviews Augustin’s theories as to the mysterious problems connected with the idea of Creation. He says, that in his subtle analysis of Time, and in his attempt at reconciling “the eternity of creative action with the dependence of things created, . . . he has touched with a bold and delicate hand one of the deepest mysteries of the human mind, and that to all his glorious titles he has added another, that of an ingenious psychologist and an eminent metaphysician.” Desjardins likewise commends the depth of Augustin’s speculations as to Time,9and maintains that no one’s teaching as to Creation has shown more clearness, boldness, and vigor—avoiding the perils of dualism on the one hand, and atheism on the other.10In his remarks on Augustin’s disquisitions on the phenomena of Memory, his praise is of a more qualified character. He compares his theories with those of Malebranche, and, while recognising the practical and animated character of his descriptions, thinks him obscure in his delineation of the manner in which absent realities reproduce themselves on the memory.11

We have had occasion in the notes to refer to the Unseen Universe. The authors of this powerful “Apologia” for Christianity propose it chiefly as an antidote to the materialistic disbelief in the immortality of the soul amongst scientific men, which has resulted in this age from the recent advance in physical science; just as in the last century English deism had its rise in a similar influence. It is curious, in connection with this part of our subject, to note that in leading up to the conclusion at which he arrives, M. Saisset quotes a passage from the City of God,1which contains an adumbration of the theory of the above work in regard to the eternity of the invisible universe.2Verily, the saying of the wise man is true: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”3

3. We have already, in a previous paragraph, briefly adverted to the influence Christianity and Paganism had one on the other. The history of Christianity has been a steady advance on Paganism and Pagan philosophy; but it can hardly be denied that in this advance there has been an absorption—and in some periods in no small degree—of some of their elements. As these matters have been examined in the notes, we need not do more than refer the reader to the Index of Subjects for the evidence to be obtained in this respect from the Confessions on such matters as Baptism, False Miracles, and Prayers for the Dead.

4. There is one feature in the Confessions which we should not like to pass unnoticed. A reference to the Retractations4will show that Augustin highly appreciated the spiritual use to which the book might be put in the edification of the brethren. We believe that it will prove most useful in this way; and spiritual benefit will accrue in proportion to the steadiness of its use. We would venture to suggest that Book X., from section 37 to the end, may be profitably used as a manual of self-examination. We have pointed out in a note, that in his comment on the 8th Psalm he makes our Lord’s three temptations to be types of all the temptations to which man can be subjected; and makes them correspond in their order, as given by St. Matthew, to “the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of Life,” mentioned by St. John.5Under each of these heads we have, in this part of the Confessions, a most severe examination of conscience; and the impression is deepened by his allegorically likening the three divisions of temptation to the beasts of the field, the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air.6We have already remarked, in adverting to allegorical interpretation,7that where “the strict use of the history is not disregarded,” to use Augustin’s expression, allegorizing, by way of spiritual meditation, may be profitable. Those who employ it with this idea will find their interpretations greatly aided, and made more systematic, by realizing Augustin’s methods here and in the last two books of the Confessions,—as when he makes the sea to represent the wicked world, and the fruitful earth the Church.8

It only remains to call attention to the principles on which this translation and its annotations have been made. The text of the Benedictine edition has been followed; but the head-lines of the chapters are taken from the edition of Bruder, as being the more definite and full. After carefully translating the whole of the book, it has been compared, line by line, with the translation of Watts9(one of the most nervous translations of the seventeenth century), and that of Dr. Pusey, which is confessedly founded upon that of Watts. Reference has also been made, in the case of obscure passages, to the French translation of Du Bois, and the English translation of the first Ten Books alluded to in the note on Bk. ix. ch. 12. The references to Scripture are in the words of the Authorized Version wherever the sense will bear it; and whenever noteworthy variations from our version occur, they are indicated by references to the old Italic version, or to the Vulgate. In some cases, where Augustin has clearly referred to the LXX. in order to amend his version thereby, such variations are indicated.10The annotations are, for the most part, such as have been derived from the translator’s own reading. Two exceptions, however, must be made. Out of upwards of four hundred notes, some forty are taken from the annotations in Pusey and Watts, but in every case these have been indicated by the initials E. B. P. or W. W. Dr. Pusey’s annotations (which will be found chiefly in the earlier part of this work) consist almost entirely of quotations from other works of Augustin. These annotations are very copious, and Dr. Pusey explains that he resorted to this method “partly because this plan of illustrating St. Augustin out of himself had been already adopted by M. Du Bois in his Latin edition . . . and it seemed a pity not to use valuable materials ready collected to one’s hand. The far greater part of these illustrations are taken from that edition.” It seemed the most proper course, in using such notes of Du Bois as appeared suitable for this edition, to take them from Dr. Pusey’s edition, and, as above stated, to indicate their source by his initials. A Textual Index has been added, for the first time, to this edition, and both it and the Index of Subjects have been prepared with the greatest possible care.

J. G. P.

St. Mark’s Vicarage, West Hackney, 1876.

THE OPINION OF ST. AUGUSTIN CONCERNING HIS CONFESSIONS, AS EMBODIED IN HIS RETRACTATIONS,ii. 6

1. “The Thirteen Books of my Confessions whether they refer to my evil or good, praise the just and good God, and stimulate the heart and mind of man to approach unto Him. And, as far as pertaineth unto me, they wrought this in me when they were written, and this they work when they are read. What some think of them they may have seen, but that they have given much pleasure, and do give pleasure, to many brethren I know. From the First to the Tenth they have been written of myself; in the remaining three, of the Sacred Scriptures, from the text, ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,’ even to the rest of the Sabbath (Gen. i. 1, ii. 2).”

2. “In the Fourth Book, when I acknowledged the distress of my mind at the death of a friend, saying, that our soul, though one, had been in some manner made out of two; and therefore, I say, perchance was I afraid to die lest he should die wholly whom I had so much loved (chap. vi.);—this seems to me as if it were a light declamation rather than a grave confession, although this folly may in some sort be tempered by that ‘perchance’ which follows. And in the Thirteenth Book (chap. xxxii.) what I said, viz.: that the ‘firmament was made between the spiritual upper waters, and the corporeal lower waters,’ was said without due consideration; but the thing is very obscure.”

[In Ep. ad Darium, Ep. ccxxxi. c. 6, written 429, Augustin says: “Accept, my son, the books containing my Confessions which you desired to have. In these behold me that you may not praise me more than I deserve; there believe what is said of me, not by others, but by myself; there mark me, and see what I have been in myself, by myself; and if anything in me please you, join me in praising Him to whom, and not to myself, I desired praise to be given. For ‘He hath made us, and not we ourselves’ (Ps. l. 3). Indeed, we had destroyed ourselves, but He who made us has made us anew (qui fecit, refecit). When, however, you find me in these books, pray for me that I may not fail, but be perfected (ne deficiam, sed perficiar). Pray, my son, pray. I feel what I say; I know what I ask.”—P. S.]

[De Dono Perseverantiæ, c. 20 (53): “Which of my smaller works could be more widely known or give greater pleasure than my Confessions? And although I published them before the Pelagian heresy had come into existence, certainly in them I said to my God, and said it frequently, ‘Give what Thou commandest, and command what Thou willest’ (Conf. x. 19, 31, 37). Which words of mine, Pelagius at Rome, when they were mentioned in his presence by a certain brother and fellow-bishop of mine, could not bear. . . . Moreover in those same books . . . I showed that I was granted to the faithful and daily tears of my mother, that I should not perish. There certainly I declared that God by His grace converted the will of men to the true faith, not only when they had been turned away from it, but even when they were opposed to it.”—P. S.]

BOOK I.

COMMENCING WITH THE INVOCATION OF GOD, AUGUSTIN RELATES IN DETAIL THE BEGINNING OF HIS LIFE, HIS INFANCY AND BOYHOOD, UP TO HIS FIFTEENTH YEAR; AT WHICH AGE HE ACKNOWLEDGES THAT HE WAS MORE INCLINED TO ALL YOUTHFUL PLEASURES AND VICES THAN TO THE STUDY OF LETTERS.

CHAP. I.—

HE PROCLAIMS THE GREATNESS OF GOD, WHOM HE DESIRES TO SEEK AND INVOKE, BEING AWAKENED BY HIM.

1. Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and of Thy wisdom there is no end.1And man, being a part of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee,—man, who bears about with him his mortality, the witness of his sin, even the witness that Thou “resistest the proud,”2—yet man, this part of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee.3Thou movest us to delight in praising Thee; for Thou has formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.4Lord, teach me to know and understand which of these should be first, to call on Thee, or to praise Thee; and likewise to know Thee, or to call upon Thee. But who is there that calls upon Thee without knowing Thee? For he that knows Thee not may call upon Thee as other than Thou art. Or perhaps we call on Thee that we may know Thee. “But how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe without a preacher?”5And those who seek the Lord shall praise Him.6For those who seek shall find Him,7and those who find Him shall praise Him. Let me seek Thee, Lord, in calling on Thee, and call on Thee in believing in Thee; for Thou hast been preached unto us. O Lord, my faith calls on Thee,—that faith which Thou hast imparted to me, which Thou hast breathed into me through the incarnation of Thy Son, through the ministry of Thy preacher.8

CHAP. II.—

THAT THE GOD WHOM WE INVOKE IS IN US, AND WE IN HIM.

2. And how shall I call upon my God—my God and my Lord? For when I call on Him I ask Him to come into me. And what place is there in me into which my God can come—into which God can come, even He who made heaven and earth? Is there anything in me, O Lord my God, that can contain Thee? Do indeed the very heaven and the earth, which Thou hast made, and in which Thou hast made me, contain Thee? Or, as nothing could exist without Thee, doth whatever exists contain Thee? Why, then, do I ask Thee to come into me, since I indeed exist, and could not exist if Thou wert not in me? Because I am not yet in hell, though Thou art even there; for “if I go down into hell Thou art there.”1I could not therefore exist, could not exist at all, O my God, unless Thou wert in me. Or should I not rather say, that I could not exist unless I were in Thee from whom are all things, by whom are all things, in whom are all things?2Even so, Lord; even so. Where do I call Thee to, since Thou art in me, or whence canst Thou come into me? For where outside heaven and earth can I go that from thence my God may come into me who has said, I fill heaven and earth”?3

CHAP. III.—

EVERYWHERE GOD WHOLLY FILLETH ALL THINGS, BUT NEITHER HEAVEN NOR EARTH CONTAINETH HIM.

3. Since, then, Thou fillest heaven and earth, do they contain Thee? Or, as they contain Thee not, dost Thou fill them, and yet there remains something over? And where dost Thou pour forth that which remaineth of Thee when the heaven and earth are filled? Or, indeed, is there no need that Thou who containest all things shouldest be contained of any, since those things which Thou fillest Thou fillest by containing them? For the vessels which Thou fillest do not sustain Thee, since should they even be broken Thou wilt not be poured forth. And when Thou art poured forth on us,4Thou art not cast down, but we are uplifted; nor art Thou dissipated, but we are drawn together. But, as Thou fillest all things, dost Thou fill them with Thy whole self, or, as even all things cannot altogether contain Thee, do they contain a part, and do all at once contain the same part? Or has each its own proper part—the greater more, the smaller less? Is, then, one part of Thee greater, another less? Or is it that Thou art wholly everywhere whilst nothing altogether contains Thee?5

CHAP. IV.—

THE MAJESTY OF GOD IS SUPREME, AND HIS VIRTUES INEXPLICABLE.

4. What, then, art Thou, O my God—what, I ask, but the Lord God? For who is Lord but the Lord? or who is God save our God?6Most high, most excellent, most potent, most omnipotent; most piteous and most just; most hidden and most near; most beauteous and most strong, stable, yet contained of none; unchangeable, yet changing all things; never new, never old; making all things new, yet bringing old age upon the proud and they know it not; always working, yet ever at rest; gathering, yet needing nothing; sustaining, pervading, and protecting; creating, nourishing, and developing; seeking, and yet possessing all things. Thou lovest, and burnest not; art jealous, yet free from care; repentest, and hast no sorrow; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy ways, leaving unchanged Thy plans; recoverest what Thou findest, having yet never lost; art never in want, whilst Thou rejoicest in gain; never covetous, though requiring usury.7That Thou mayest owe, more than enough is given to Thee;8yet who hath anything that is not Thine? Thou payest debts while owing nothing; and when Thou forgivest debts, losest nothing. Yet, O my God, my life, my holy joy, what is this that I have said? And what saith any man when He speaks of Thee? Yet woe to them that keep silence, seeing that even they who say most are as the dumb.9

CHAP. V.—

HE SEEKS REST IN GOD, AND PARDON OF HIS SINS.

5. Oh! how shall I find rest in Thee? Who will send Thee into my heart to inebriate it, so that I may forget my woes, and embrace Thee, my only good? What art Thou to me? Have compassion on me, that I may speak. What am I to Thee that Thou demandest my love, and unless I give it Thee art angry, and threatenest me with great sorrows? Is it, then, a light sorrow not to love Thee? Alas! alas! tell me of Thy compassion, O Lord my God, what Thou art to me. “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.”10So speak that I may hear. Behold, Lord, the ears of my heart are before Thee; open Thou them, and “say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” When I hear, may I run and lay hold on Thee. Hide not Thy face from me. Let me die, lest I die, if only I may see Thy face.11

6. Cramped is the dwelling of my soul; do Thou expand it, that Thou mayest enter in. It is in ruins, restore Thou it. There is that about it which must offend Thine eyes; I confess and know it, but who will cleanse it? or to whom shall I cry but to Thee? Cleanse me from my secret sins,1O Lord, and keep Thy servant from those of other men. I believe, and therefore do I speak;2Lord, Thou knowest. Have I not confessed my transgressions unto Thee, O my God; and Thou hast put away the iniquity of my heart?3I do not contend in judgment with Thee,4who art the Truth; and I would not deceive myself, lest my iniquity lie against itself.5I do not, therefore, contend in judgment with Thee, for “if Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?”6

CHAP. VI.—

HE DESCRIBES HIS INFANCY, AND LAUDS THE PROTECTION AND ETERNAL PROVIDENCE OF GOD.

7. Still suffer me to speak before Thy mercy—me, “dust and ashes.”7Suffer me to speak, for, behold, it is Thy mercy I address, and not derisive man. Yet perhaps even Thou deridest me; but when Thou art turned to me Thou wilt have compassion on me.8For what do I wish to say, O Lord my God, but that I know not whence I came hither into this—shall I call it dying life or living death? Yet, as I have heard from my parents, from whose substance Thou didst form me,—for I myself cannot remember it,—Thy merciful comforts sustained me. Thus it was that the comforts of a woman’s milk entertained me; for neither my mother nor my nurses filled their own breasts, but Thou by them didst give me the nourishment of infancy according to Thy ordinance and that bounty of Thine which underlieth all things. For Thou didst cause me not to want more than Thou gavest, and those who nourished me willingly to give me what Thou gavest them. For they, by an instinctive affection, were anxious to give me what Thou hadst abundantly supplied. It was, in truth, good for them that my good should come from them, though, indeed, it was not from them, but by them; for from Thee, O God, are all good things, and from my God is all my safety.9This is what I have since discovered, as Thou hast declared Thyself to me by the blessings both within me and without me which Thou hast bestowed upon me. For at that time I knew how to suck, to be satisfied when comfortable, and to cry when in pain—nothing beyond.

8. Afterwards I began to laugh,—at first in sleep, then when waking. For this I have heard mentioned of myself, and I believe it (though I cannot remember it), for we see the same in other infants. And now little by little I realized where I was, and wished to tell my wishes to those who might satisfy them, but I could not; for my wants were within me, while they were without, and could not by any faculty of theirs enter into my soul. So I cast about limbs and voice, making the few and feeble signs I could, like, though indeed not much like, unto what I wished; and when I was not satisfied—either not being understood, or because it would have been injurious to me—I grew indignant that my elders were not subject unto me, and that those on whom I had no claim did not wait on me, and avenged myself on them by tears. That infants are such I have been able to learn by watching them; and they, though unknowing, have better shown me that I was such an one than my nurses who knew it.

9. And, behold, my infancy died long ago, and I live. But Thou, O Lord, who ever livest, and in whom nothing dies (since before the world was, and indeed before all that can be called “before,” Thou existest, and art the God and Lord of all Thy creatures; and with Thee fixedly abide the causes of all unstable things, the unchanging sources of all things changeable, and the eternal reasons of all things unreasoning and temporal), tell me, Thy suppliant, O God; tell, O merciful One, Thy miserable servant10—tell me whether my infancy succeeded another age of mine which had at that time perished. Was it that which I passed in my mother’s womb? For of that something has been made known to me, and I have myself seen women with child. And what, O God, my joy, preceded that life? Was I, indeed, anywhere, or anybody? For no one can tell me these things, neither father nor mother, nor the experience of others, nor my own memory. Dost Thou laugh at me for asking such things, and command me to praise and confess Thee for what I know?

10. I give thanks to Thee, Lord of heaven and earth, giving praise to Thee for that my first being and infancy, of which I have no memory; for Thou hast granted to man that from others he should come to conclusions as to himself, and that he should believe many things concerning himself on the authority of feeble women. Even then I had life and being; and as my infancy closed I was already seeking for signs by which my feelings might be made known to others. Whence could such a creature come but from Thee, O Lord? Or shall any man be skilful enough to fashion himself? Or is there any other vein by which being and life runs into us save this, that “Thou, O Lord, hast made us,”1with whom being and life are one, because Thou Thyself art being and life in the highest? Thou art the highest, “Thou changest not,”2neither in Thee doth this present day come to an end, though it doth end in Thee, since in Thee all such things are; for they would have no way of passing away unless Thou sustainedst them. And since “Thy years shall have no end,”3Thy years are an ever present day. And how many of ours and our fathers’ days have passed through this Thy day, and received from it their measure and fashion of being, and others yet to come shall so receive and pass away! “But Thou art the same;”4and all the things of to-morrow and the days yet to come, and all of yesterday and the days that are past, Thou wilt do to-day, Thou hast done to-day. What is it to me if any understand not? Let him still rejoice and say, “What is this?”5Let him rejoice even so, and rather love to discover in failing to discover, than in discovering not to discover Thee.

CHAP. VII.—

HE SHOWS BY EXAMPLE THAT EVEN INFANCY IS PRONE TO SIN.

11. Hearken, O God! Alas for the sins of men! Man saith this, and Thou dost compassionate him; for Thou didst create him, but didst not create the sin that is in him. Who bringeth to my remembrance the sin of my infancy? For before Thee none is free from sin, not even the infant which has lived but a day upon the earth. Who bringeth this to my remembrance? Doth not each little one, in whom I behold that which I do not remember of myself? In what, then, did I sin? Is it that I cried for the breast? If I should now so cry,—not indeed for the breast, but for the food suitable to my years,—I should be most justly laughed at and rebuked. What I then did deserved rebuke; but as I could not understand those who rebuked me, neither custom nor reason suffered me to be rebuked. For as we grow we root out and cast from us such habits. I have not seen any one who is wise, when “purging”6anything cast away the good. Or was it good, even for a time, to strive to get by crying that which, if given, would be hurtful—to be bitterly indignant that those who were free and its elders, and those to whom it owed its being, besides many others wiser than it, who would not give way to the nod of its good pleasure, were not subject unto it—to endeavour to harm, by struggling as much as it could, because those commands were not obeyed which only could have been obeyed to its hurt? Then, in the weakness of the infant’s limbs, and not in its will, lies its innocency. I myself have seen and known an infant to be jealous though it could not speak. It became pale, and cast bitter looks on its foster-brother. Who is ignorant of this? Mothers and nurses tell us that they appease these things by I know not what remedies; and may this be taken for innocence, that when the fountain of milk is flowing fresh and abundant, one who has need should not be allowed to share it, though needing that nourishment to sustain life? Yet we look leniently on these things, not because they are not faults, nor because the faults are small, but because they will vanish as age increases. For although you may allow these things now, you could not bear them with equanimity if found in an older person.

12. Thou, therefore, O Lord my God, who gavest life to the infant, and a frame which, as we see, Thou hast endowed with senses, compacted with limbs, beautified with form, and, for its general good and safety, hast introduced all vital energies—Thou commandest me to praise Thee for these things, “to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praise unto Thy name, O Most High;”7for Thou art a God omnipotent and good, though Thou hadst done nought but these things, which none other can do but Thou, who alone madest all things, O Thou most fair, who madest all things fair, and orderest all according to Thy law. This period, then, of my life, O Lord, of which I have no remembrance, which I believe on the word of others, and which I guess from other infants, it chagrins me—true though the guess be—to reckon in this life of mine which I lead in this world; inasmuch as, in the darkness of my forgetfulness, it is like to that which I passed in my mother’s womb. But if “I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me,”1where, I pray thee, O my God, where, Lord, or when was I, Thy servant, innocent? But behold, I pass by that time, for what have I to do with that, the memories of which I cannot recall?

CHAP. VIII.—

THAT WHEN A BOY HE LEARNED TO SPEAK, NOT BY ANY SET METHOD, BUT FROM THE ACTS AND WORDS OF HIS PARENTS.

13. Did I not, then, growing out of the state of infancy, come to boyhood, or rather did it not come to me, and succeed to infancy? Nor did my infancy depart (for whither went it?); and yet it did no longer abide, for I was no longer an infant that could not speak, but a chattering boy. I remember this, and I afterwards observed how I first learned to speak, for my elders did not teach me words in any set method, as they did letters afterwards; but I myself, when I was unable to say all I wished and to whomsoever I desired, by means of the whimperings and broken utterances and various motions of my limbs, which I used to enforce my wishes, repeated the sounds in my memory by the mind, O my God, which Thou gavest me. When they called anything by name, and moved the body towards it while they spoke, I saw and gathered that the thing they wished to point out was called by the name they then uttered; and that they did mean this was made plain by the motion of the body, even by the natural language of all nations expressed by the countenance, glance of the eye, movement of other members, and by the sound of the voice indicating the affections of the mind, as it seeks, possesses, rejects, or avoids. So it was that by frequently hearing words, in duly placed sentences, I gradually gathered what things they were the signs of; and having formed my mouth to the utterance of these signs, I thereby expressed my will.2Thus I exchanged with those about me the signs by which we express our wishes, and advanced deeper into the stormy fellowship of human life, depending the while on the authority of parents, and the beck of elders.

CHAP. IX.—

CONCERNING THE HATRED OF LEARNING, THE LOVE OF PLAY, AND THE FEAR OF BEING WHIPPED NOTICEABLE IN BOYS: AND OF THE FOLLY OF OUR ELDERS AND MASTERS.

14. O my God! what miseries and mockeries did I then experience, when obedience to my teachers was set before me as proper to my boyhood, that I might flourish in this world, and distinguish myself in the science of speech, which should get me honour amongst men, and deceitful riches! After that I was put to school to get learning, of which I (worthless as I was) knew not what use there was; and yet, if slow to learn, I was flogged! For this was deemed praiseworthy by our forefathers; and many before us, passing the same course, had appointed beforehand for us these troublesome ways by which we were compelled to pass, multiplying labour and sorrow upon the sons of Adam. But we found, O Lord, men praying to Thee, and we learned from them to conceive of Thee, according to our ability, to be some Great One, who was able (though not visible to our senses) to hear and help us. For as a boy I began to pray to Thee, my “help” and my “refuge,”3and in invoking Thee broke the bands of my tongue, and entreated Thee though little, with no little earnestness, that I might not be beaten at school. And when Thou heardedst me not, giving me not over to folly thereby,4my elders, yea, and my own parents too, who wished me no ill, laughed at my stripes, my then great and grievous ill.

15. Is there any one, Lord, with so high a spirit, cleaving to Thee with so strong an affection—for even a kind of obtuseness may do that much—but is there, I say, any one who, by cleaving devoutly to Thee, is endowed with so great a courage that he can esteem lightly those racks and hooks, and varied tortures of the same sort, against which, throughout the whole world, men supplicate Thee with great fear, deriding those who most bitterly fear them, just as our parents derided the torments with which our masters punished us when we were boys? For we were no less afraid of our pains, nor did we pray less to Thee to avoid them; and yet we sinned, in writing, or reading, or reflecting upon our lessons less than was required of us. For we wanted not, O Lord, memory or capacity,—of which, by Thy will, we possessed enough for our age,—but we delighted only in play; and we were punished for this by those who were doing the same things themselves. But the idleness of our elders they call business, whilst boys who do the like are punished by those same elders, and yet neither boys nor men find any pity. For will any one of good sense approve of my being whipped because, as a boy, I played ball, and so was hindered from learning quickly those lessons by means of which, as a man, I should play more unbecomingly? And did he by whom I was beaten do other than this, who, when he was overcome in any little controversy with a co-tutor, was more tormented by anger and envy than I when beaten by a playfellow in a match at ball?

CHAP. X.—

THROUGH A LOVE OF BALL-PLAYING AND SHOWS, HE NEGLECTS HIS STUDIES AND THE INJUNCTIONS OF HIS PARENTS.