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The Confessions of St. Augestine

The Confessions of St. Augestine

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Published by Amy
Translated by Edward Pusey
Translated by Edward Pusey

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Published by: Amy on Feb 22, 2013
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translated by Edward Bouverie Pusey

BOOK I: - - - - - - 3 BOOK II: - - - - - - 13 BOOK III: - - - - - 19 BOOK IV: - - - - - 27 BOOK V: - - - - - - 37 BOOK VI: - - - - - 47 BOOK VII:- - - - - 58 BOOK VIII: - - - - 70 BOOK IX: - - - - - 82 BOOK X: - - - - - - 95 BOOK XI: - - - - - 118 BOOK XII:- - - - - 131 BOOK XIII: - - - - 146



BOOK I: wherein Thou hast made me, contain Thee? or, because nothing which exists could exist without Thee, doth therefore whatever exists contain Thee? Since, then, I too exist, why do I seek that Thou shouldest enter into me, who were not, wert Thou not in me? Why? because I am not gone down in hell, and yet Thou art there also. For if I go down into hell, Thou art there. I could not be then, O my God, could not be at all, wert Thou not in me; or, rather, unless I were in Thee, of whom are all things, by whom are all things, in whom are all things? Even so, Lord, even so. Whither do I call Thee, since I am in Thee? or whence canst Thou enter into me? for whither can I go beyond heaven and earth, that thence my God should come into me, who hath said, I fill the heaven and the earth. Do the heaven and earth then contain Thee, since Thou fillest them? or dost Thou fill them and yet overflow, since they do not contain Thee? And whither, when the heaven and the earth are filled, pourest Thou forth the remainder of Thyself? or hast Thou no need that aught contain Thee, who containest all things, since what Thou fillest Thou fillest by containing it? for the vessels which Thou fillest uphold Thee not, since, though they were broken, Thou wert not poured out. And when Thou art poured out on us, Thou art not cast down, but Thou upliftest us; Thou art not dissipated, but Thou gatherest us. But Thou who fillest all things, fillest Thou them with Thy whole self? or, since all things cannot contain Thee wholly, do they contain part of Thee? and all at once the same part? or each its own part, the greater more, the smaller less? And is, then one part of Thee greater, another less? or, art Thou wholly every where, while nothing contains Thee wholly? What art Thou then, my God? what, but the Lord God? For who is Lord but the Lord? or who is God save our God? Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet

Confessions of the greatness and unsearchableness of God, of God’s mercies in infancy and boyhood, and human wilfulness; of his own sins of idleness, abuse of his studies, and of God’s gifts up to his fifteenth year. - Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and Thy wisdom infinite. And Thee would man praise; man, but a particle of Thy creation; man, that bears about him his mortality, the witness of his sin, the witness that Thou resistest the proud: yet would man praise Thee; he, but a particle of Thy creation. Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee. Grant me, Lord, to know and understand which is first, to call on Thee or to praise Thee? and, again, to know Thee or to call on Thee? for who can call on Thee, not knowing Thee? for he that knoweth Thee not, may call on Thee as other than Thou art. Or, is it rather, that 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? and they that seek the Lord shall praise Him: for they that seek shall find Him, and they that find shall praise Him. I will seek Thee, Lord, by calling on Thee; and will call on Thee, believing in Thee; for to us hast Thou been preached. My faith, Lord, shall call on Thee, which Thou hast given me, wherewith Thou hast inspired me, through the Incarnation of Thy Son, through the ministry of the Preacher. And how shall I call upon my God, my God and Lord, since, when I call for Him, I shall be calling Him to myself? and what room is there within me, whither my God can come into me? whither can God come into me, God who made heaven and earth? is there, indeed, O Lord my God, aught in me that can contain Thee? do then heaven and earth, which Thou hast made, and


nothing more. owing nothing. Say unto my soul. yet allchanging. my heart is before Thee. to repose in what pleased. After this voice let me haste. whereby Thou distributest Thy riches through the hidden springs of all things. For this my good from them. and inebriate it. Thy purpose unchanged. remittest debts. Thou knowest. I am thy salvation. seeking. Oh! that I might repose on Thee! Oh! that Thou wouldest enter into my heart. For then I knew but to suck. art jealous. Let me die. and overspreading. yet didst never lose. Therefore I contend not in judgment with Thee. filling. never new. lest mine iniquity lie unto itself. losing nothing. since I speak to Thy mercy. never in need. and say unto my soul. proclaiming Thyself unto me. my life. as I heard (for I remember it not) from the parents of my flesh. still gathering. O Lord my God. Narrow is the mansion of my soul. cleanse me from my secret faults. and to my nurses willingly to give me what Thou gavest them. through these Thy gifts. Lord. Thou too. art wroth with me. Thou also gavest me to desire no more than Thou gavest. O Lord. for if Thou. save Thee? Lord. I am thy salvation. are all good things. and take hold on Thee. indeed. without passion.only let me see Thy face. me. and not to scornful man. willingly gave me what they abounded with from Thee. art angry. my God. changest Thy works. but through them. hast forgiven the iniquity of my heart? I contend not in judgment with Thee. that I may forget my ills. despisest me. ever working. For they. and spare Thy servant from the power of the enemy. yet having all things. and bringing age upon the proud. stable. supporting. unchangeable. most hidden. who shall abide it? Yet suffer me to speak unto Thy mercy. Thou receivest over and above. and. never old. For what would I say. but that I know not whence I came into this dying life (shall I call it?) or living death. from them was it. yet most present. without anxiety. yet serene. repentest. within me and without. and therefore do I speak. yet most strong. my sole good! What art Thou to me? In Thy pity. teach me to utter it. most beautiful. Or what am I to Thee that Thou demandest my love. ever at rest. since mute are even the most eloquent. Behold. Thus there received me the comforts of woman’s milk. and embrace Thee.lest I die. Thou. Lord. that I may hear. out of whose substance Thou didst sometime fashion me. creating. yet rejoicing in gains. This I since learned. It has that within which must offend Thine eyes. Then immediately did the comforts of Thy compassion take me up. And what had I now said. but Thou didst bestow the food of my infancy through them. But who BOOK I: shall cleanse it? or to whom should I cry. according to Thine ordinance. and from my God is all my health. I believe. and who hath aught that is not Thine? Thou payest debts. that Thou mayest owe. yet grievest not. enlarge Thou it. For neither my mother nor my nurses stored their own breasts for me. Hide not Thy face from me. if I give it not. receivest again what Thou findest. 4 . I confess and know it. never covetous. and maturing. nourishing. perhaps. and Thou. tell me. and cry at what offended my flesh. Have I not confessed against myself my transgressions unto Thee. for from Thee. yet incomprehensible. O God. yet exacting usury. who art the truth. Yet suffer me to speak. repair Thou it. my God. O Lord my God. with a heaven-taught affection. So speak. shouldest mark iniquities. I fear to deceive myself. Thou lovest. dust and ashes. all-renewing. that Thou mayest enter in.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE most just. my holy joy? or what saith any man when he speaks of Thee? Yet woe to him that speaketh not. open Thou the ears thereof. Nor. Lord. It is ruinous. what Thou art unto me. was good for them. and they know it not. and threatenest me with grievous woes? Is it then a slight woe to love Thee not? Oh! for Thy mercies’ sake. yet wilt Thou return and have compassion upon me. yet nothing lacking.

Thou hast done to-day. for we see the like in other infants. to me. and have myself seen women with child? and what before that life again. first in sleep. and my infancy. and art God and Lord of all which Thou hast created: in Thee abide. Lord. though in truth very little like. O God my joy. say. Dost Thou mock me for asking this.” Thou art. Say. though any comprehend not this? Let him also rejoice and say. and that I was myself such. What thing is this? Let him rejoice even thus! and be content rather by not discovering to discover Thee. Such have I learnt infants to be from observing them. what I wished. they. and of all things changeable. Lord of heaven and earth. and praise Thee for my first rudiments of being. neither father nor mother. neither in Thee doth to-day come to a close. because all such things also are in Thee. Thy pitiable one. save from Thee. and believe much on the strength of weak females. to me. unless Thou upheldest them. O God. yet in Thee doth it come to a close. and they without. with those owing me no service. What is it to me. And when I was not presently obeyed (my wishes being hurtful or unintelligible). Lord. Who remindeth me of the sins of my infancy? for in Thy sight none is pure from sin. and all beyond. fixed for ever. for Thou hast appointed that man should from others guess much as to himself. like. Whence could such a being be. in whom essence and life are one? for Thou Thyself art supremely Essence and Life. How many of ours and our fathers’ years have flowed away through Thy “to-day. and Thou pitiest him.” and from it received the measure and the mould of such being as they had. though of myself I remember it not. all unconscious. and before all that can be called “before. Thy years are one to-day. little by little. Alas. save from thee. nor could they by any sense of theirs enter within my spirit. was I any where or any body? For this have I none to tell me. Even then I had being and life. whereof I remember nothing. and I believed it. have shown me better than my nurses who knew it. Thus. Hear. for man’s sin! So saith man. But Thou art still the same. for the wishes were within me. For Thou art most high. So I flung about at random limbs and voice. and art not changed. and all of yesterday. But Thou. and all behind it. then I was indignant with my elders for not submitting to me. and in whom nothing dies: for before the foundation of the worlds. BOOK I: and bid me praise Thee and acknowledge Thee. and to have a wish to express my wishes to those who could content them. nor mine own memory. And since Thy years fail not. and I live. for Thou madest him. say.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Afterwards I began to smile. And. nor experience of others. I became conscious where I was. O Lord. Thy suppliant. then waking: for so it was told me of myself. for not serving me. the first causes of all things unabiding. but sin in him Thou madest not. and I could not. the springs abide in Thee unchangeable: and in Thee live the eternal reasons of all things unreasoning and temporal. who for ever livest. Lord? Shall any be his own artificer? or can there elsewhere be derived any vein. and all things of tomorrow. and so receive the mould of their degree of being. and (at my infancy’s close) I could seek for signs whereby to make known to others my sensations. and avenged myself on them by tears. all-pitying. making the few signs I could. For they had no way to pass away. did my infancy succeed another age of mine that died before it? was it that which I spent within my mother’s womb? for of that I have heard somewhat. than by discovering not to discover Thee. not even the infant whose life is but a day upon the 5 . lo! my infancy died long since. which may stream essence and life into us. for that I do know? I acknowledge Thee. and still others shall flow away. and such as I could.

This I remember. yea. where. who gavest life to this my infancy. who out of Thy own fairness makest all things fair. Who remindeth me? doth not each little infant. Is that too innocence. and orderest all things by Thy law. if given.(for whither went it?). even for a while. the very authors of its birth. as it were. ornamenting its proportions. What I then did was worthy reproof. Lord. even hadst Thou done nought but only BOOK I: this. or when. not its will. yet it turned pale and looked bitterly on its foster-brother. to cry for what. of all nations. though in extremest need. possesses. And that they meant this thing and no other was plain from the motion of their body. Lord. Thou most Highest. lo! that period I pass by. It was not that my elders taught me words (as. O Lord my God. did myself. and whose very life as yet depends thereon? We bear gently with all this. though tolerated now.. indicating the affections of the mind. gavest me. true though the guess be. and its own elders. longing by cries and broken accents and various motions of my limbs to express my thoughts. because commands were not obeyed. was I Thy servant guiltless? But. Nor did that depart. of which I can recall no vestige? Passing hence from infancy. or rather it came to me. rejects. and yet unable to express all I willed. not as being no or slight evils. that persons free. gestures of the limbs. wittingly casts away what is good. wiser than it. and have since observed how I learned to speak. which had been obeyed to its hurt? The weakness then of infant limbs. I came to boyhood. soon after. as they occurred in various sentences. For Thou art God. when grown. and what have I now to do with that. Thou commandest me to praise Thee in these things. but since I could not understand reproof. when the fountain of milk is flowing in rich abundance. and guess from other infants that I have passed. I beseech Thee. O my God. Myself have seen and known even a baby envious. other learning) in any set method. served it not? that many besides. custom and reason forbade me to be reproved. compacting its limbs. or shuns. by the understanding which Thou. I saw and remembered that they called what they would point out by the name they uttered. which none could do but Thou: whose Unity is the mould of all things. For I was no longer a speechless infant. where. justly should I be laughed at and reproved. but a speaking boy. When they named any thing. whereof I have no remembrance. the natural language. for. displacing infancy. This age then. to confess unto Thee. the very same tempers are utterly intolerable when found in riper years. is it hid from me in the shadows of forgetfulness. is its innocence. for its general good and safety. would hurt? bitterly to resent. not to endure one to share it. Or was it then good. But if I was shapen in iniquity. and in sin did my mother conceive me. it could not speak. we root out and cast away.and yet it was no more. expressed by the countenance. as it pursues. in whom I see what of myself I remember not? What then was my sin? was it that I hung upon the breast and cried? for should I now so do for food suitable to my age. and as they spoke turned towards it. and. my God. For no less than that which I spent in my mother’s womb. implanting in it all vital functions. then. and having broken in my 6 . Almighty and Good. that so I might have my will. and tones of the voice. Thou. Now no man. glances of the eye. I collected gradually for what they stood. practise the sounds in my memory. though he prunes. furnishing thus with senses (as we see) the frame Thou gavest. but I.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE earth. obeyed not the nod of its good pleasure? to do its best to strike and hurt. I am yet loth to count in this life of mine which I live in this world. and sing unto Thy name. For those habits. which I take on others’ word. And thus by constantly hearing words. Who knows not this? Mothers and nurses tell you that they allay these things by I know not what remedies. but because they will disappear as years increase. or to whom I willed.

Next I was put to school to get learning. and to have my ears tickled with lying fables. Lord. But. I sinned in transgressing the commands of my parents and those of my masters. For will any of sound discretion approve of my being beaten as a boy. we found that men called upon Thee. passing the same course before us. though small. whereby they would have them attain to be the givers of them. memory or capacity. mocking at those by whom they are feared most bitterly. O Lord God. whereof Thy will gave enough for our age. who. of sin the Disposer only. O God my God. was more embittered and jealous than I when beaten at ball by a play-fellow? And yet. my aid and refuge. what miseries and mockeries did I now experience. in writing or reading or studying less than was exacted of us. couldest hear and help us. and so launched deeper into the stormy intercourse of human life. I might play more unbeseemingly? and what else did he who beat me? who. 7 . yet depending on parental authority and the beck of elders. would have me learn. nor prayed we less to Thee to escape them. Thus I exchanged with those about me these current signs of our wills. if those very games detain them from the studies. For this was judged right by our forefathers. I made less progress in studies which I was to learn. that I might not be beaten at school. any of soul so great. who yet wished me no ill. praying Thee. by playing a ball. on these things. And yet we sinned. but our sole delight was play. I was beaten. yet with no small earnestness. my elders. Is there. Lord. and we learnt from them to think of Thee (according to our powers) as of some great One.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE mouth to these signs. is punished by those elders. as proper in a boy. though hidden from our senses. my then great and grievous ill. but is there any one who. if worsted in some trifling discussion with his fellow-tutor. that of boys. I might afterwards have put to good use. which should serve to the “praise of men. from cleaving devoutly to Thee. the Creator and Disposer of all things in nature. through which we were fain to pass. with whatever motive. not from a better choice. I thereby gave utterance to my will. that almost all wish the same for their children. throughout all lands. O Lord my God. and yet are very willing that they should be beaten. in which I (poor wretch) knew not what use there was. And when Thou heardest me not (not thereby giving me over to folly). as a boy. and none commiserates either boys or men. Yet those who give these shows are in such esteem. Lord.” and to deceitful riches. and cleaving to Thee with so intense affection (for a sort of stupidity will in a way do it). to pray to Thee. when obedience to my teachers was proposed to me. For what they. if idle in learning. yea my very parents. loving the pride of victory in my contests. O Lord. as our parents mocked the BOOK I: torments which we suffered in boyhood from our masters? For we feared not our torments less. For we wanted not. and excel in tongue-science. only that. and yet. that they might itch the more. and broke the fetters of my tongue to call on Thee. framed for us weary paths. but from love of play. that he can think as lightly of the racks and hooks and other torments (against which. But elder folks’ idleness is called “business”. I sinned herein. multiplying toil and grief upon the sons of Adam. and many. For so I began. and deliver us who call upon Thee now. as a man. in order that in this world I might prosper. deliver those too who call not on Thee yet. and Thou mayest deliver them. and for this we were punished by those who yet themselves were doing the like. that they may call on Thee. mocked my stripes. Look with pity. being really the same. is endued with so great a spirit. for the shows and games of my elders. men call on Thee with extreme dread). because. the same curiosity flashing from my eyes more and more. For I disobeyed.

upon me. Thou didst well for me. but what was well came to me from Thee. as it were. whom she. and the whole household. for he is not yet healed. not what my first masters. confessing Thee. and still retain.” How much better BOOK I: then. and a breath that passeth away and cometh not again? For those first lessons were better certainly. even though what he doth. the power of reading what I find writ- 8 . And so. my cleansing was deferred. and then. my God. I beseech Thee. didst use for my good the error of all who urged me to learn. why does it still echo in our ears on all sides. that every inordinate affection should be its own punishment. Better truly. and like near to death. who would not learn. my God. but from the sin and vanity of this life. obeyed. And yet whence was this too. “Let him be worse wounded. that as he did not yet believe. shouldest be my father. because the defilements of sin would. but what the so-called grammarians taught me. I would fain know. In boyhood itself. except my father: yet did not he prevail over the power of my mother’s piety in me. except to satiate the insatiate desires of a wealthy beggary. I was sealed with the mark of His cross and salted with His salt. because more certain. from the pious care of my mother and Thy Church. for the remission of sins. if so Thou willest. But how many and great waves of temptation seemed to hang over me after my boyhood! These my mother foresaw. Thou sawest. For they were regardless how I should employ what they forced me to learn. my soul’s recovered health had been kept safe in Thy keeping who gavest it. the mother of us all. I thought as great a burden and penalty as any Greek. rather than he. being much troubled (since. Lord. had I been at once healed. I then already believed: and my mother. by them I obtained. Yet neither did they well who forced me. as if I must needs be again polluted should I live. and even from the womb of my mother. with what eagerness and what faith I sought. and preferred to expose to them the clay whence I might afterwards be moulded. unless I had suddenly recovered. But why did I so much hate the Greek. therein also obeying Thee. however (so much less dreaded for me than youth). but I did not well. because I was flesh. and by my own sin Thou didst justly punish me. than the very cast. For Thou hast commanded. For those first lessons. But no one doth well against his will. Yet I was forced. so small a boy and so great a sinner. for he is not yet baptised?” but as to bodily health.a fit penalty for one. and a shameful glory.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE As a boy. my God and Lord. for what purpose my baptism was then deferred? was it for my good that the rein was laid loose. writing and arithmetic. would in eager haste have provided for my consecration and cleansing by the health-giving sacraments. the better. being seized on a time with sudden oppression of the stomach. and in this Thou didst aid her to prevail over her husband. who hast so commanded. let him do as he will. unless forced. my God (for Thou wert my keeper). For it was her earnest care that Thou my God. which I studied as a boy? I do not yet fully know. I had already heard of an eternal life. with a heart pure in Thy faith. I loved not study. Lord Jesus. then. how while yet a boy. promised us through the humility of the Lord our God stooping to our pride. she even more lovingly travailed in birth of my salvation). by whom the very hairs of our head are numbered. Thou didst use for my punishment. who greatly hoped in Thee. by my friends’ and my own. bring greater and more perilous guilt. no one says. so neither should I. the baptism of Thy Christ. for. for me to sin? or was it not laid loose? If not. and hated to be forced to it. and so it is. “Let him alone. For the Latin I loved. Whereupon the mother my flesh. and this was well done towards me. and my own.Thou sawest. But Thou. So by those who did not well. be well. reading. after that washing. I had not learnt. when made.

by mere observation. But should I ask with what letters the name “Aeneas” is written.” and “Creusa’s shade and sad similitude. as the poet tells. and “seeking by the sword a stroke and wound extreme. and let Thy truth tell me. Let not those. and acquiesce in the condemnation of my evil ways. with gall all the sweetness of Grecian fable. then.” were the choice spectacle of my vanity. whatever my soul will. amid the caresses of my nursery and jests of friends. the less learned will reply that they know not. Far better was that first study. cry out against me. as it were. not so. O God my life. weeping the death of Dido for love to Aeneas. Thou light of my heart. Thou Power who givest vigour to my mind. earth passing into the earth. I would readily forget the wanderings of Aeneas and all the rest. as a cloak of error. because she killed herself for love. I was forced to learn the wanderings of one Aeneas. while I confess to Thee. For not one word of it did I understand. Why then did I hate the Greek classics. For what more miserable than a miserable being who commiserates not himself. that I may love Thy good ways. And if forbid to read all this. forgetful of my own. I endured my miserable self dying among these things. And so I suppose would Virgil be to Grecian children. 9 . whatever I conceived. this was to me a hateful singsong: “the wooden horse lined with armed men. I should ask which might be forgotten with least detriment to the concerns of life. the more learned that he never did. but weeping not his own death for want of love to Thee. who quickenest my thoughts. But now. I was grieved that I might not read what grieved me. Madness like this is thought a higher and a richer learning. four”. and myself writing what I will. the while. If. which I could only do by learning words not of those who taught. I committed fornication against Thee. when forced to learn him as I was Homer. the difficulty of a foreign tongue. for my heart urged me to give birth to its conceptions. I loved Thee not. every one who has learnt this will answer me aright. in truth. lo. and “Well done! well done!” echoes on till one is ashamed not to he thus a man. reading and writing or these poetic fictions? who does not foresee what all must answer who have not wholly forgotten themselves? I sinned. Difficulty. Let BOOK I: not either buyers or sellers of grammar-learning cry out against me. No doubt. again. in whose ears also I gave birth to the thoughts. but this I learned without fear or suffering. yet is this not so much an emblem of aught recondite. smiling and sportively encouraging me. then. “Not so. rather than how to read and write. far from Thee. having forsaken Thee.” myself seeking the while a worse extreme. when as a boy I preferred those empty to those more profitable studies. whereas in the others. with dry eyes. dashed. cry Thou aloud in my soul. And for all this I wept not. and is most sweetlyvain. I who wept for Dido slain. two”. but of those who talked with me. as to the signs which men have conventionally settled. the extremest and lowest of Thy creatures. But over the entrance of the Grammar School is a vail drawn! true.” For. my God. and to make me understand I was urged vehemently with cruel threats and punishments. “two and two. “One and one. and all around me thus fornicating there echoed “Well done! well done!” for the friendship of this world is fornication against Thee. and to weep for dead Dido. whom I no longer fear. O God. Thou bread of my inmost soul.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE ten. than that by which I learned to read and write. Time was also (as an infant) I knew no Latin. or rather loved the one and hated the other.” and “the burning of Troy. This I learned without any pressure of punishment to urge me on. For if I question them whether it be true that Aeneas came on a time to Carthage. my God. which have the like tales? For Homer also curiously wove the like fictions. yet was he bitter to my boyish taste.

“These are indeed his fictions.” “beguile. even unto the end. most necessary to gain your ends. and Thou mayest yet rescue me from every temptation. read. but these may as well be learned in things not vain. Of Jove’s descending in a golden shower To Danae’s lap a woman to beguile. O Lord. “Viewing a picture. from the master’s cane to the martyr’s trials. when this is going on in the forum.” As if we should have never known such words as “golden shower. “Hence words are learnt. thou hellish torrent. that I speak.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE that a free curiosity has more force in our learning these things. But woe is thee. Only this enforcement restrains the rovings of that freedom. O my God. “These were Homer’s fictions. hence eloquence. For Thou didst grant me Thy discipline. through Thy laws. but attributing a BOOK I: divine nature to wicked men. unless Terence had brought a lewd youth upon the stage. for Thy service be whatever useful thing my childhood learned. and whoso commits them might seem to imitate not abandoned men. would he had brought down things divine to us!” Yet more truly had he said. indeed. poor mortal man. For lo. than a frightful enforcement. for compassing such learning. setting up Jupiter as his example of seduction. within sight of laws appointing a salary beside the scholar’s payments. which even they scarcely overpass who climb the cross? Did not I read in thee of Jove the thunderer and the adulterer? both. thou torrent of human custom! Who shall stand against thee? how long shalt thou not be dried up? how long roll the sons of Eve into that huge and hideous ocean. but so the feigned thunder might countenance and pander to real adultery.” “lap. In them.” “temples of the heavens. being able to temper for us a wholesome bitter. nor let me faint in confessing unto Thee all Thy mercies. write. Lord. not do the same! I did it. and a great solemnity is made of it. whereby Thou hast drawn me out of all my most evil ways. and that is the safe path for the steps of youth.” - 10 . where the tale was drawn. recalling us to Thyself from that deadly pleasure which lures us from Thee. and my sin of delighting in those vanities Thou hast forgiven. And I. And now which of our gowned masters lends a sober ear to one who from their own school cries out. into thee are cast the sons of men with rich rewards. and with all my heart I did it. doubtless. I learnt many a useful word. Thy laws.” or others in that passage. or maintain opinions. Who shakes heaven’s highest temples with his thunder. that I may most entirely love Thee. and clasp Thy hand with all my affections. for Thy service. Hear.” And yet. reckon. that Thou mightest become a delight to me above all the allurements which I once pursued. and thou lashest thy rocks and roarest. transferring things human to the gods. he could not be. while I was learning vanities.” And then mark how he excites himself to lust as by celestial authority: “And what God? Great Jove. that crimes might be no longer crimes. let not my soul faint under Thy discipline. but the celestial gods. my King and my God. my prayer.

in whom the passions of rage and grief were most preeminent. who. but by their means the vileness is committed with less shame. while I say somewhat of my wit. yea. neglecting the eternal covenant of everlasting salvation received from Thee. troublesome enough to my soul. were abashed. all this unhappily I learnt willingly with great delight. and for this was pronounced a hopeful boy. they committed some barbarism or solecism. that he might in a far country waste in riotous living all Thou gavest at his departure? a loving Father. so had it not trailed away amid these empty trifles. Not that I blame the words. my God. they gloried? These things Thou seest. maintaining the dignity of the character. a defiled prey for the fowls of the air. or could wound more deeply him whom he persecutes. that my declamation was applauded above so many of my own age and class? is not all this smoke and wind? and was there nothing else whereon to exercise my wit and tongue? Thy praises. than he wounds his own soul by his enmity. whose heart saith unto Thee. to speak the words of Juno. choice and precious vessels. being. than if he.” hate a “human being” in despite of Thine. that is.” Which words I had heard that Juno never uttered. and more loving unto him. and plenteous in mercy and truth. a “human being. For in more ways than one do men sacrifice to the rebellious angels. BOOK I: But what marvel that I was thus carried away to vanities. we are beaten. as it were. And his speaking was most applauded. I have sought Thy face. drink not. and holdest Thy peace. What is it to me. or journey by the motion of his limbs. will I seek. that thirsteth for Thy pleasures. Yet. of a “uman being. but that wine of error which is drunk to us in them by intoxicated teachers. in itself not ill. Lord. For darkened affections is removal from Thee. Lord. when Thou gavest. As if any enemy could be more hurtful than the hatred with which he is incensed against him. behold patiently as Thou art wont how carefully the sons of men observe the covenanted rules of letters and syllables received from those who spake before them. Or did that Thy younger son look out for horses or chariots. as she raged and mourned that she could not “This Trojan prince from Latinum turn. Insomuch. Thy face. So then in lustful. Thy gift. or return unto Thee. O Lord God. too. O my God. being bepraised. O my true life. and went out from Thy presence. For a task was set me. Thy praises might have stayed the yet tender shoot of my heart by the prop of Thy Scriptures. but we were forced to go astray in the footsteps of these poetic fictions. that men leave Thee. when he returned empty. upon terms of praise or shame. Wilt Thou hold Thy peace for ever? and even now Thou drawest out of this horrible gulf the soul that seeketh Thee. or ships. when men were set before me as models. and on what dotages I wasted it. Lord. in darkened affections. and clothed in the most fitting language. and fear of stripes. and to say in prose much what he expressed in verse. For it is not by our feet. fly with visible wings. Behold. is the true distance from Thy face.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Not one whit more easily are the words learnt for all this vileness. O my God (in whose presence I now without hurt may remember this). but when in rich and adomed and wellordered discourse they related their own disordered life. that a teacher or learner of the hereditary laws of pronunciation will more offend men by speaking without the aspirate. and have no sober judge to whom we may appeal. being censured. my God. or change of place. and if we.” in despite of the laws of grammar. if in relating some action of theirs. long-suffering. Bear with me. Assuredly no science of letters can be so innate as the 11 .

and before Him will I exult for every good which of a boy I had. as that I was doing to others? and for which if. lest. In so small a creature. baseness. and I myself shall be with Thee. my masters. what was not wonderful. lest. these very sins are transferred from tutors and masters. my joy and my glory and my confidence. and good these are. Of such is the kingdom of heaven. O God. he murder the real human being. as riper years succeed. from love of play. I guarded by the inward sense the entireness of my senses. sublimities. This was the world at whose gate unhappy I lay in my boyhood. will take heed most watchfully. a man standing before a human judge. I chose rather to quarrel than to yield. the Creator and Governor of the universe. or. since even to be Thou hast given me. was soothed by friendship. from my parents’ cellar and table. For so wilt Thou preserve me. to magistrates and kings. avoided pain. and felt. thanks were due to Thee our God. is He that made me. for which I had praise from them. I cry Thy mercy. which all the while they liked no less than I. when I detected it. who sold me their play. through the fury of his spirit. that not in Him. wherein I was cast away from Thine eyes. I hated to be deceived. he murder the word “human being”. upbraided I so fiercely. For I saw not the abyss of vileness. whom I then thought it all virtue to please. ignorance. was gifted with speech. from nuts and balls and sparrows. eagerness to see vain shows and restlessness to imitate them! Thefts also I committed. declaiming against his enemy with fiercest hatred. For these very sins. just as severer BOOK I: punishments displace the cane. but takes no heed. by an error of the tongue. detected.I sought for pleasures. when Thou saidst. “that he is doing to another what from another he would be loth to suffer. had a vigorous memory. In this play. to envy those who had not. but in His creatures. my parents. or that I might have to give to boys. I was upbraided. and in these minute pursuits. confusions. It was the low stature then of childhood which Thou our King didst commend as an emblem of lowliness. enslaved by greediness. not so.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE record of conscience. my God. Good. Lord. errors. I learnt to delight in truth. not admirable? But all are gifts of my God: it was not I who gave them me. Before them what more foul than I was already. this the stage where I had feared more to commit a barbarism. surrounded by a human throng. conquered myself meanwhile by vain desire of preeminence. And what could I so ill endure. And is this the innocence of boyhood? Not so. but do Thou preserve them to me. For it was my sin. For even then I was. and in my thoughts on things minute. Thanks be to Thee. my God. and those things shall be enlarged and perfected which Thou hast given me. Thou only great. thanks be to Thee for Thy gifts. than having committed one. and these together are myself. too. 12 . most excellent and most good. even hadst Thou destined for me boyhood only. Yet. and He is my good. These things I speak and confess to Thee.a trace of that mysterious Unity whence I was derived. my God. and had an implanted providence over my well-being. then. to gold and manors and slaves. truths. displeasing even such as myself? with innumerable lies deceiving my tutor. to Thee.myself and others. Lord. I lived. and so fell headlong into sorrows. I often sought unfair conquests. In quest of the fame of eloquence.” How deep are Thy ways. that sittest silent on high and by an unwearied law dispensing penal blindness to lawless desires.

he that is unmarried thinketh of the things of the Lord. and I dared to grow wild again. and gathering me again out of that my dissipation. reviewing my most wicked ways in the very bitterness of my remembrance. how he may please the Lord. and killest us. and a restless weariness. Thy wrath had gathered over me. in that sixteenth year of the age of my flesh. and desirous to please in the eyes of men. poor wretch. and the bubblings of youth. and be loved? but I kept not the measure of love. as Thy law prescribes. of mind to mind. And. O Thou my tardy joy! Thou then heldest Thy peace. I lost myself among a multiplicity of things. and I wandered 13 . while turned from Thee. the extreme points of Thy creation! had put a bound to their pleasureableness. But where to find such. and being severed for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. O Lord: who this way formest the offspring of this our death. but I spare you. and I knew it not. and I boiled over in my fornications. and I strayed further from Thee. For I even burnt in my youth heretofore. To these words I should have listened more attentively. not because I love them. if they could not be calmed. and dissipated. the punishment of the pride of my soul. Oh! that some one had then attempered my disorder. and woundest us. but he that is married careth for the things of this world. but that I may love Thee. but I. that I could not discern the clear brightness of love from the fog of lustfulness. save in Thee. pleasing myself. and kept within the object of a family. even when we be far from Thee. lest we die from Thee. with these various and shadowy loves: my beauty consumed away. Evils of ill society. how he may please his wife. and Thou heldest Thy peace. had more happily awaited Thy embraces. Else ought I more watchfully to have heeded the voice from the clouds: Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh. I will now call to mind my past foulness. to heal. Where was I.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE BOOK II: further and further from Thee. I could not discover. when the madness of lust (to which human shamelessness giveth free BOOK II: Object of these Confessions. and sunk me in a gulf of flagitiousnesses. into more and more fruitless seedplots of sorrows. and I stank in Thine eyes. being able with a gentle hand to blunt the thorns which were excluded from Thy paradise? For Thy omnipotency is not far from us. forsaking Thee. with a proud dejectedness. O Lord. that so the tides of my youth might have cast themselves upon the marriage shore. and hurried my unstayed youth over the precipice of unholy desires. which betrayed him into theft. and besprinkling with most bitter alloy all my unlawful pleasures: that I might seek pleasures without alloy. yet I escaped not Thy scourges. And it is good for a man not to touch a woman. following the rushing of my own tide. Both did confusedly boil in me. Thou blissful and assured sweetness). I was grown deaf by the clanking of the chain of my mortality. O my God. and Thou lettest me alone. And what was it that I delighted in. mists fumed up which beclouded and overcast my heart. but to love. the One Good. and turned to account the fleeting beauties of these. wherein I was torn piecemeal. Further ills of idleness developed in his sixteenth year. For what mortal can? For Thou wert ever with me mercifully rigorous. foamed like a troubled sea. For love of Thy love I do it. and how far was I exiled from the delights of Thy house. and I was tossed about. that Thou mayest grow sweet unto me (Thou sweetness never failing. and the carnal corruptions of my soul. to be satiated in things below. friendship’s bright boundary: but out of the muddy concupiscence of the flesh. and exceeded all Thy limits. and wasted. who teachest by sorrow.

For that year were my studies intermitted: whilst after my return from Madaura (a neighbour city. and that but recently. And to what purpose? that whosoever reads this. whereas my father was as yet but a Catechumen. her son. their only care was that I should learn to speak excellently. and there was no hand to root them out. When that my father saw me at the baths. “not to commit fornication. and though I was not as yet baptised. the son of Thy handmaid. who art the only true and good Lord of Thy field. but in the praise. and ran headlong with such blindness. and I resigned myself wholly to it? My friends meanwhile took no care by marriage to save my fall. through the fumes of that invisible wine of its self-will. But in my mother’s breast Thou hadst already begun Thy temple. that I might not seem contemptible in proportion as I was innocent. that I might not be dispraised. but especially never to defile another man’s wife. But I knew it not. and not their face. rejoicing in that tumult of the senses wherein the world forgetteth Thee its Creator. the more they were degraded: and I took pleasure. and that rather by the resolution than the means of my father. as already hence anticipating his descendants. To whom tell I this? not to Thee. For she wished. and in her wast despised by me. O God. turning aside and bowing down to the very basest things. may think out of what depths we are to cry unto Thee. and a life of faith? Who did not extol my father. even to that small portion of mankind as may light upon these writings of mine. for that beyond the ability of his means. and becometh enamoured BOOK II: of Thy creature. feared for me those crooked ways in which they walk who turn their back to Thee.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE licence. But they were Thine. or how chaste I were. Thy servant. the briers of unclean desires grew rank over my head. But while in that my sixteenth year I lived with my parents. or of less account. my heart. that amongst my equals I was ashamed of a less shamelessness. so as to do it. by whom Thou wert not silent unto me. he. the expenses for a further journey to Carthage were being provided for me. who was but a poor freeman of Thagaste. my God. O my God. and I remember in private with great anxiety warned me. Thy faithful one. which I should blush to obey. whither I had journeyed to learn grammar and rhetoric). but before Thee to mine own kind.” These seemed to me womanish advices. not only in the pleasure of the deed. Thou sangest in my ears? Nothing whereof sunk into my heart. 14 . gladly told it to my mother. I would say that I had done what I had not done. and be a persuasive orator. She then was startled with a holy fear and trembling. instead of Thyself. But yet this same father had no concern how I grew towards Thee. so that I were but copious in speech. when I heard them boast of their flagitiousness. leaving all school for a while (a season of idleness being interposed through the narrowness of my parents’ fortunes). and when in any thing I had not sinned as the abandoned ones. Woe is me! and dare I say that Thou heldest Thy peace. now growing towards manhood. and endued with a restless youthfulness. yea. however barren I were to Thy culture. and I knew it not: and I thought Thou wert silent and that it was she who spake. the more chaste. For what is nearer to Thine ears than a confessing heart. though unlicensed by Thy laws) took the rule over me. and the foundation of Thy holy habitation. What is worthy of dispraise but vice? But I made myself worse than I was. he would furnish his son with all necessaries for a far journey for his studies’ sake? For many far abler citizens did no such thing for their children. while I wandered further from Thee? Didst Thou then indeed hold Thy peace to me? And whose but Thine were these words which by my mother. and the more boasting.

O Lord. and in bodily touch. and each other sense hath his proper object answerably tempered. for she feared lest a wife should prove a clog and hindrance to my hopes. is sin committed. behold my heart. to spend my time in sport. And that I might cleave the faster to its very centre. as to restrain within the bounds of conjugal affection (if it could not be pared away to the quick) what she felt to be pestilent at present and for the future dangerous. And in all was a mist. to obtain all these. and a pamperedness of iniquity. while through an immoderate inclination towards these goods of the lowest order. as if in a bed of spices and precious ointments. and took huge loads. the invisible enemy trod me down. Human friendship also is endeared with a sweet tie. Neither did the mother of my flesh (who had now fled out of the centre of Babylon. For what thief will abide a thief? not even a rich thief. one stealing through want. and the power of overcoming. For I stole that. and the law written in the hearts of men.. The reins. of which I had enough. we may not depart from Thee. But yet. but not like my God. and of mastery. Wordly honour hath also its grace.Thou. She heeded not this. It was foul. For thus I conjecture. but through a cloyedness of well-doing. A pear tree there was near our vineyard. but the shame itself! For there is an attractiveness in beautiful bodies. the disposition of my parents. intercepting from me. laden BOOK II: with fruit. nor decline from Thy law. I loved mine own fault. Upon occasion of all these. for that I was easy to be seduced. and all things. which my mother reposed in Thee. and mine iniquity burst out as from very fatness. Foul soul. not seeking aught through the shame. let my heart tell Thee what it sought there. the better and higher are forsaken. my mother. falling from Thy firmament to utter destruction. and of me but vain conceits. but to do what we liked only. by reason of the unity formed of many souls. For these lower things have their delights. and seduced me. To shake and rob this. The life also which here we live hath its own enchantment. recalling. were slackened to me. as well as I may. who made all things. in gold and silver. sympathy hath much influence. beyond all temper of due severity. through a certain proportion of its own. Not those hopes of the world to come. not that for which I was faulty. I loved to perish. and much better. but the hope of learning. Nor cared I to enjoy what I stole. tempting neither for colour nor taste. the brightness of Thy truth. having only tasted them. and did it. but even some furtherance towards attaining Thee. O Lord. late one night (having according to our pestilent custom prolonged our sports in the streets till then). and a correspondence with all things beautiful here below. my father. and He is the joy of the upright in heart. and Thy law. yet went more slowly in the skirts thereof as she advised me to chastity. compelled by no hunger. O my God. that I should be gratuitously evil. because she accounted that those usual courses of learning would not only be no hindrance. but to fling to the very hogs. behold. meantime. which Thou hadst pity upon in the bottom of the bottomless pit. nor poverty. our Lord God. whence springs also the thirst of revenge. so heed what she had heard of me from her husband. because he had next to no thought of Thee. and the like. but the ill itself. not for our eating. which iniquity itself effaces not. Thy truth. and I loved it. yea. having no temptation to ill. which both my parents were too desirous I should attain. for in Him doth the righteous delight. O God. Behold my heart. Now. and wallowed in the mire thereof. but my fault itself.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Behold with what companions I walked the streets of Babylon. And this. Theft is punished by Thy law. because it was misliked. but joyed in the theft and sin itself. some lewd young fellows of us went. 15 . Yet I lusted to thieve. even unto dissoluteness in whatsoever I affected.

nor even that false and shadowy beauty which belongeth to deceiving vices. as nothing can from Thee. because it would have nothing taken from it. because thou wert theft. the sovereign good and my true good. which I was pleased to enjoy. whereas Thou alone art God exalted over all. of whom it is said that he was gratuitously evil and cruel. and takes forethought for their safety. that thus I speak to thee? Fair were the pears we stole. nor is aught loved more healthfully than that Thy truth. what sweetened it was the sin. having taken the city. thou theft of mine. or where. Creator of all. and Thou possessest all things.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE When. and be freed from fear of the laws. then. we ask why a crime was done. they be abject and low. Fair were those pears. full of embryo-life. or a fear of losing them. yet is the cause assigned. or who separateth from Thee what Thou lovest? Or where but with Thee is unshaken safety? Grief pines away for things lost. or sea. thou deed of darkness. through that practice of guilt. was on fire to be revenged. but honours and glory? whereas Thou alone art to be honoured above all. And now. replacing by its birth that which decayeth. A man hath murdered another. and animal BOOK II: life of man. God. but not them did my wretched soul desire. For so doth pride imitate exaltedness. for whose sake he did them. or feared to lose some such things by him. but something else. Covetousness would possess many things. What then did wretched I so love in thee. wronged. and consciousness of villainies. for I had store of better. The cruelty of the great would fain be feared. why? he loved his wife or his estate. although compared with those higher and beatific goods. I enquire what in that theft delighted me. he might. not even Catiline himself loved his own villainies. Prodigality presents a shadow of liberality: but Thou art the most overflowing Giver of all good. and his embarrassments from domestic needs. since they are his own works which injure the sinner? Yea. and behold it hath no loveliness. out of whose power what can be wrested or withdrawn? when. or whither. my only feast therein being my own sin. sloth would fain be at rest. For if aught of those pears came within my mouth. and glorious for evermore. which endangers things beloved. nor yet as the stars are glorious and beautiful in their orbs. Ambition. For they are beautiful and comely. only that I might steal. I mean not such loveliness as in justice and wisdom. but who is to be feared but God alone. ignorance and foolishness itself is cloaked under the name of simplicity and uninjuriousness. because they were Thy creation. what seeks it. but Thou art the fulness and never-failing plenteousness of incorruptible pleasures. the delight of its desires. or by whom? The tendernesses of the wanton would fain be counted love: yet is nothing more tender than Thy charity. or. Envy disputes for excellency: what more excellent than Thou? Anger seeks revenge: who revenges more justly than Thou? Fear startles at things unwonted and sudden. nor such as is in the mind and memory.” And to what end? that. in that sixteenth year of my age? Lovely thou wert not. attain to honours. But art thou any thing. riches. Thou good God. we believe it not. or the earth. For. Curiosity makes semblance of a desire of knowledge. bright and beautiful above all. and senses. nay. Would any commit murder upon no cause. “lest” (saith he) “through idleness hand or heart should grow inactive. I flung them away. O Lord my God. delighted simply in murdering? who would believe it? for as for that furious and savage man. Thou fairest of all. unless it appear that there might have been some desire of obtaining some of those which we called lower goods. whereas Thou supremely knowest all. So then. and those I gathered. when gathered. Yea. or would rob for his own livelihood. empire. but to Thee what unwonted or sudden. because nothing is found more single than Thee: and what less injurious. but what stable rest besides the Lord? Luxury affects to be called plenty and abundance. 16 .

I loved then in it also the company of the accomplices. they imply Thee to be the Creator of all nature. Yet I had not done this alone. had the bare commission of the theft sufficed to attain my pleasure. through whose aid it was that he was BOOK II: not. sick: and for this let him love Thee as much. What then did I love in that theft? and wherein did I even corruptly and pervertedly imitate my Lord? Did I wish even by stealth to do contrary to Thy law. Thus all pervertedly imitate Thee. that.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Thus doth the soul commit fornication. which the company of fellow-sinners occasioned. by Him he sees himself to have been from the like consumption of sin preserved. with whom I did it? I did not then love nothing else but the theft. yet laughter sometimes masters men alone and singly when on one whatever is with them. Behold my God. I might have done it alone. in truth? who can teach me. as if he had less needed Thy mercy. a darkened likeness of Thy Omnipotency? Behold. To Thy grace I ascribe also whatsoever I have not done of evil. it was in the offence itself. O Lord. I remember. because by power I could not. for what might I not have done. and lift themselves up against Thee. and what by Thy guidance I committed not. called by Thee. followed Thy voice. and thank Thee. whence there is no place whither altogether to retire from Thee. who loved it. What man is he. and wished to enjoy them. both what evils I committed by my own wilfulness. seeking without Thee. O monstrousness of life. But since my pleasure was not in those pears. What then was this feeling? For of a truth it was too foul: and woe was me. and confess unto Thy name. who even loved a sin for its own sake? Yea. and to Thy mercy. which as it were tickled our hearts. when she turns from Thee. my soul is not affrighted at them? I will love Thee. But even by thus imitating Thee. because Thou hast forgiven me these so great and heinous deeds of mine. yea rather I did love nothing else. To Thy grace I ascribe it. who being sick. what she findeth not pure and untainted. Why then was my delight of such sort that I did it not alone? Because none doth ordinarily laugh alone? ordinarily no one. before Thee. alone I had never done it. who had it. O rottenness. or rather was less. let him not scorn me. till she returns to Thee. who remove far from Thee. whereby Thou remittest sins to those that turn to Thee? For whosoever. all I confess to have been forgiven me. I might mimic a maimed liberty by doing with impunity things unpermitted me. What is. for that circumstance of the company was also nothing. nor needed I have inflamed the itching of my desires by the excitement of accomplices. and obtaining a shadow. that so he should love Thee the less. and discovereth its dark corners? What is it which hath come into my mind to enquire. What fruit had I then (wretched man!) in those things. who. the 17 . Thy servant. and depth of death! could I like what I might not. that we beguiled those who little thought what we were doing. yea and more. if anything very ludicrous presents itself to their senses or mind. of the remembrance whereof I am now ashamed? Especially. weighing his own infirmity. save He that enlighteneth my heart. Yet alone I had not done it: such was I then. only because I might not? What shall I render unto the Lord. since by whom he sees me to have been recovered from such deep consumption of sin. whilst my memory recalls these things. so that being a prisoner. fleeing from his Lord. was cured by that Physician. and discuss. and avoided those things which he reads me recalling and confessing of myself. that Thou hast melted away my sins as it were ice. and much disliked it. But yet what was it? Who can understand his errors? It was the sport. and it too was nothing. and therefore the more miserable I. in that theft which I loved for the theft’s sake. and consider? For had I then loved the pears I stole. dares to ascribe his purity and innocency to his own strength. alone I had never done it.

and shall do excellently in the All-Excellent. too much astray from Thee my stay. Who can disentangle that twisted and intricate knottiness? Foul is it: I hate to think on it. in these days of my youth. and I became to myself a barren land. But Thee I long for. “Let’s go. I sank away from Thee.” we are ashamed not to be shameless. I had never committed that theft wherein what I stole pleased me not. without lust of my own gain or revenge: but when it is said. but that I stole. With Thee is rest entire. O Righteousness and Innocency. let’s do it. and I wandered. BOOK II: 18 . O my God. thou thirst of others’ loss. and life imperturbable. and of a satisfaction unsating. thou greediness to do mischief out of mirth and wantonness. beautiful and comely to all pure eyes. to look on it. enters into the joy of his Lord: and shall not fear.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE vivid remembrance of my soul. Whoso enters into Thee. nor had it alone liked me to do it. O friendship too unfriendly! thou incomprehensible inveigler of the soul. alone. nor had I done it.

and was with joy fettered with sorrow-bringing bonds. when he suffers in his own person. I defiled. beware of uncleanness. I loved not yet. Howsoever. being of its own will precipitated and corrupted from its heavenly clearness? Shall compassion then be put away? by no means. To Carthage I came. but only to grieve: and he applauds the actor of these fictions the more. he stays intent. Or whereas no man likes to be miserable. and safety I hated. this very sorrow is his pleasure. Her vision from God. Yet if these had not a soul. desiring to be scraped by the touch of objects of sense. who is to be praised and exalted above all for ever. and angers. it uses to be styled misery: when he compassionates others. was sweet to me. I would fain. I fell headlong then into the love wherein I longed to be ensnared. I BOOK III: His residence at Carthage from his seventeenth to his nineteenth year. Are griefs then too loved? Verily all desire joy. with how much gall didst Thou out of Thy great goodness besprinkle for me that sweetness? For I was both beloved. To love then. and suspicions. Advance in studies. For I have not now ceased to pity. although this was imaginary only in the play. full of images of my miseries. then it is mercy. and to be beloved. and a way without snares. Grief of his mother Monnica at his heresy. that man desires to be made sad. I hated myself for wanting not. that I might be scourged with the iron burning rods of jealousy. it miserably cast itself forth. the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence. And if the calamities of those persons (whether of old times. where there sang all around me in my ears a cauldron of unholy loves. for this reason alone are passions loved? This also springs from that vein of friendship. into which it is wilfully changed and transformed. and answer through a Bishop. Source of his disorders. and quarrels. but then in the theatres I rejoiced with lovers when they wickedly enjoyed one another. Thyself. and secretly arrived at the bond of enjoying. Love of shows. But what sort of compassion is this for feigned and scenical passions? for the auditor is not called on to relieve. the more he grieves. my Mercy. But whither goes that vein? whither flows it? wherefore runs it into that torrent of pitch bubbling forth those monstrous tides of foul lustfulness. but was without all longing for incorruptible sustenance. I sought what I might love. Distaste for Scripture. which yet himself would no means suffer? yet he desires as a spectator to feel sorrow at them. Led astray to the Manichaeans. be fine and courtly. For this cause my soul was sickly and full of sores. but the more empty. and I beclouded its brightness with the hell of lustfulness. Why is it. and love of wisdom. But beware of uncleanness. through that famine I was not hungered. and weeps for joy. my God. yet. And when they lost one another. yet I loved to love. or mere fiction) be so acted. as if very compassionate. For within me was a famine of that inward food. but more. and thus foul and unseemly. Be griefs then sometimes loved. the God of our fathers. What is this but a miserable madness? for a man is the more affected with these actions. and out of a deep-seated want. when I obtained to enjoy the person I loved. under the guardianship of my God. My God. therefore. 19 . and of fuel to my fire. the more I loathed it.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE BOOK III: Stage-plays also carried me away. that the spectator is not moved to tears. in love with loving. they would not be objects of love. not because filled therewith. and fears. but if he be moved to passion. beholding doleful and tragical things. Refutation of some of their tenets. he goes away disgusted and criticising. O my soul. and prayers for his conversion. through exceeding vanity. is he yet pleased to be merciful? which because it cannot be without passion. the less free he is from such affections.

as on envenomed nails. and hast more incorruptibly pity on them. to whom I sacrificed my evil actions. and was sometimes delighted with their friendship. to desire. O Thou my exceeding mercy. glorying even in their blindness. And who is sufficient for these things? But I. straying from Thy flock. out of a damnable and vainglorious end.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE sorrowed with them. This book of his contains an exhortation to philosophy. though (Lord. though nothing to my fault. not such as should sink deep into me. not so his heart. What then could they be more truly called than “Subverters”? themselves subverted and altogether perverted first. and impatient of Thy keeping. that having forsaken Thee. which they disturbed by a gratuitous jeering. Nothing can be liker the very actions of devils than these. O Lord God. my refuge from those terrible destroyers. Some sorrow may then be allowed. and the beguiling service of devils. whose doings I ever did abhor -i. and to compass a business deserving death for its fruits. had a view to excelling in the courts of litigation. and is called “Hortensius. And now I was chief in the rhetoric school. rather there were nothing for him to grieve for. wherein I desired to be eminent. loving a vagrant liberty. wish there might be some miserable. but such as upon hearing their fictions should lightly scratch the surface. yet had my delight in both. This certainly is the truer mercy. for which Thou scourgedst me with grievous punishments. than him who is thought to suffer hardship. but in it grief delights not. whose speech almost all admire. and I swelled with arrogancy. and sought out what to grieve at. their “subvertings. wherein themselves delight to jeer at and deceive others. Such is men’s blindness. which were accounted commendable. among whom I wandered with a stiff neck. for I loved not to suffer. the deceiving spirits secretly deriding and seducing them. learned I books of eloquence. I fell upon a certain book of Cicero. that he might commiserate. and a putrefied sore. For thus dost Thou. with a shameless shame that I was not even as they. in that unsettled age of mine.. For though he that grieves for the miserable. and not Thine. miserable. But now I much more pity him that rejoiceth in his wickedness. was it life. For if good will be ill willed (which can never be). that acting best pleased me. it might bring me to the treacherous abyss. With them I lived. then may he.e. I became infected with a foul disease? And hence the love of griefs. My life being such. none loved. Among such as these. by missing some pernicious pleasure. loving mine own ways.” wherewith they wantonly persecuted the modesty of strangers. What marvel that an unhappy sheep. my God. Those studies also. and attracted me the most vehemently. a joy in human vanity. O my God? And Thy faithful mercy hovered over me afar. who is genuinely compassionate. when in another’s and that feigned and personated misery. withdrawing further from Thee. Thou knowest) far quieter and altogether removed from the subvertings of those “Subverters” (for this ill-omened and devilish name was the very badge of gallantry) among whom I lived. the more bepraised. who lovest souls far more purely than we. and the loss of some miserable felicity. who truly and sincerely commiserates. while Thy solemnities were celebrated BOOK III: within the walls of Thy Church. the craftier. In the ordinary course of study. impostumes. yet had he. be commended for his office of charity. and in all these things Thou didst scourge me! I dared even. upon which. feeding thereon their malicious birth.” 20 . yet are wounded with no sorrowfulness. what I loved to look on. pursuing a sacrilegious curiosity. then loved to grieve. followed inflamed swelling. whereat I joyed proudly. Upon how grievous iniquities consumed I myself. which drew tears from me.

according to Thy mercy. beautiful works of Thine. and kindled. and I longed with an incredibly burning desire for an immortality of wisdom. our Comforter. For not to sharpen my tongue (which thing I seemed to be purchasing with my mother’s allowances. and veiled with mysteries. But behold. so far only. and began now to arise. by Thy good and devout servant: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit. Yet they cried out “Truth.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE But this book altered my affections. and I was not such as could enter into it. Yet were they such as would grow up in a little one. though it was but an echo? And these were the dishes wherein to me. and in many and huge books. this name of my Saviour Thy Son. are in that book censured and set forth: there also is made plain that wholesome advice of Thy Spirit. and of the Holy Ghost. and obtain. nor did it infuse into me its style. even with my mother’s milk. they. and this alone checked me thus unkindled. echoed of Thee to me. And since at that time (Thou. that I was thereby strongly roused. celestial though they be. but they seemed to me unworthy to he compared to the stateliness of Tully: for my swelling pride shrunk from their lowliness. For not as I now speak. in that my nineteenth year. supremely good. Therefore I fell among men proudly doting. I was delighted with that exhortation. but so far forth as the sound only and the noise of the tongue. and seek. But I hungered and thirsted not even after those first works of Thine. and whatsoever was without that name. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. no nor Thy first works. that the name of Christ was not in it. For Thy spiritual works are before these corporeal works. nor knew I what Thou wouldest do with me? For with Thee is wisdom. in whose mouths were the snares of the Devil. but after Thee 21 . instead of Thee. polished. after the tradition of men. under a great. my God. or stoop my neck to follow its steps. swollen with pride. O Lord. But the love of wisdom is in Greek called “philosophy. for love of Thee. and made me have other purposes and desires. though never so learned. Truth. had my tender heart. when they often and diversely. nor laid open to children. and not after Christ. that I might see what they were. did I feel when I turned to those Scriptures. limed with the mixture of the syllables of Thy name. not to sharpen my tongue did I employ that book. and honourable name colouring and disguising their own errors: and almost all who in that and former ages were such. but even of those elements of this world. took myself to be a great one. for the heart was void of truth. and smooth. knowest) Apostolic Scripture was not known to me. my father being dead two years before). but wisdom itself whatever it were. For this name. and turned my prayers to Thyself O Lord. devoutly drunk in and deeply treasured. But I disdained to be a little one. how inwardly did even then the marrow of my soul pant after Thee. Truth. not Thyself. lowly in access. nor could my sharp wit pierce the interior thereof. not of Thee only (who truly art Truth). served up the Sun and Moon. in its recesses lofty. the Paraclete. Beauty of all things beautiful. or true. my Father. O light of my heart. and hold. yet it was not in them: but they spake falsehood. and of our Lord Jesus Christ. took not entire hold of me. and embrace not this or that sect. but yet Thy works.” and spake much thereof to me. O Truth. And I indeed ought to have passed by even philosophers who spake truth concerning them. exceeding carnal and prating. after the rudiments of the world. and inflamed to love. and shining. and. These names departed not out of their mouth. hungering after Thee. but its matter. BOOK III: I resolved then to bend my mind to the holy Scriptures. How did I burn then. Every vain hope at once became worthless to me. that I might return to Thee.” with which that book inflamed me. Thy creatures. Some there be that seduce through philosophy. I see a thing not understood by the proud. how did I burn to re-mount from earthly things to Thee.

and “Medea flying. and was not fed. Where then wert Thou then to me. not according to the understanding of the mind. by what steps was I brought down to the depths of hell! toiling and turmoiling through want of Truth. But Thou wert more inward to me than my most inward part. better and more certain is the life of the bodies than the bodies. But Thou art the life of souls. Woe. and ruminating on such food as through it I had devoured. are far more certain: these things the beasts and birds discern as well as we. for they are asleep. But those were not even any way like to Thee. which is the life of the bodies. the Truth. How far then art Thou from those fantasies of mine. as Thou hast now spoken to me. since I sought after Thee. when they asked me. having life in Thyself. until at last a thing ceases altogether to be. the sight of whose eyes reached only to bodies. and has hairs and nails?” “are they to be esteemed righteous who had many wives at once. barred from the very husks of the swine. wherein Thou willedst that I should excel the beasts. Such empty husks was I then fed on. than by them conjecture other vaster and infinite bodies which have no being. and how far from me? Far verily was I straying from Thee.” though I did sing. in looking for whom I fail. in my ignorance. answering to five dens of darkness. Food in sleep shows very like our food awake. Eat ye bread of secrecies willingly. For how much better are the fables BOOK III: of poets and grammarians than these snares? For verses. in whom is no variableness. For other than this. I maintained not. and sacrifice living creatures?” At which I. who hadst mercy on me. which are. So then. for 22 . my soul’s Love. I lighted upon that bold woman. than which these true bodies. and changest not. art neither those bodies which we see. not eagerly. which how should I see. for Thou didst not in them taste to me as Thou art. because as yet I knew not that evil was nothing but a privation of good. which yet Thou art not. though I heard it sung. for Thou wast not these emptinesses. but according to the sense of the flesh. I fed thereon. variously disguised. nor yet the soul. Yet because I thought them to be Thee. I believed not: but those things I did believe. But Thou. which with our fleshly sight we behold. false bodies. my God (to Thee I confess it. no. yet are not those asleep nourished by it. but exhausted rather. as it were through sharpness of wit. than which the images of those bodies. and higher than my highest. seemed to myself to be making towards it. not as yet confessing). for Thou hast created them. fantasies of bodies which altogether are not. and they are more certain than when we fancy them. that which really is I knew not. nor those which we see not there. For verses and poems I can turn to true food. though in heaven. life of my soul. than those fantasies which by our eyes deceive our mind. because she found my soul dwelling abroad in the eye of my flesh. for those were corporeal fantasies. and poems. nor dost Thou account them among the chiefest of Thy works.” are more profitable truly than these men’s five elements. yet slay the believer. and “Medea flying. or whose being was bulk. and did kill men. and of my mind to a phantasm? And I knew not God to be a Spirit. glittering fantasies. the life of lives.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Thyself. “whence is evil?” “is God bounded by a bodily shape. simple and knoweth nothing. than which better were it to love this very sun (which is real to our sight at least). not one who hath parts extended in length and breadth. whom with husks I fed. and saying. shadowed out in Solomon. persuaded to assent to foolish deceivers. are far more certain. woe. and drink ye stolen waters which are sweet: she seduced me. celestial or terrestrial. sitting at the door. that I may become strong. and departing from the truth. was much troubled. we do with more certainty fancy them. and was. which have no being. neither shadow of turning: yet they still set before me in those dishes. nor was I nourished by them. And again. and more certain still the bodies themselves.

with all his soul. they struck my sight on all sides. were righteous. but in another rightly forbidden and punished. And what that should be in us. that in one house. such as were those of the men of Sodom: which should all nations commit. which good and holy men obeyed. flow not evenly. and one house. and might be rightly said to be after the image of God. and Moses. but out of the most rightful law of God Almighty. Even such are they who are fretted to hear something to have been lawful for righteous men formerly. censured the holy Fathers. according to which Abraham. and his neighbour as himself? Therefore are those foul offences which be against nature. and these another. or that God. did far more excellently and sublimely contain in one all those things which God commanded. and all those commended by the mouth of God. or seek to be shod with a helmet. for certain temporal respects. it must be less in such part as is defined by a certain space. which the butler is not suffered to meddle with. for that by their senses they cannot harmonise the causes of things in former ages and other nations. and measuring by their own petty habits. Still I saw not how that righteousness. by which I indited. day. but were judged unrighteous by silly men. but comprised all in one. These things I then knew not. obeying both the same righteousness: whereas they see. and Jacob. and person. which is forbidden in the dining-room. and so is not wholly every where. different things to be fit for different members. and to all. because they are times. the moral habits of the whole human race. to be every where and at all times detested and punished. and season. as God. but apportioned and enjoined what was fit for each. itself meantime being the same always and every where. Is justice therefore various or mutable? No. judging out of man’s judgment. Nor knew I that true inward righteousness which judgeth not according to custom. But men whose days are few upon the earth. and one day. as God was revealing in them. commanded them one thing. one were angered at not being allowed to keep open shop. to the one they take exceptions. nor observed. to the other they submit. had not different principles for these different cases. although in varying times it prescribed not every thing at once. which they had not experience of. nor even in any one metre the self-same foot in all places. but the times. than in its infinitude. and complain that they fitted not: or as if on a day when business is publicly stopped in the afternoon. and David. whereby the ways of places and times were disposed according to those times and places. and in no part varied. and one family. after a certain BOOK III: time not so. and with all his mind. the same thing is not allotted every where. in which I might not place every foot every where. which now is not. they easily see what is fitting for each member. I indited verses. and a thing formerly lawful. they should all stand guilty of the same crime. and Isaac. as Spirit. not only wherein they made use of things present as God commanded and inspired them. or when in one house he observeth some servant take a thing in his hand.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE every bulk is less in a part than in the whole: and if it be infinite. with these which they have experience of. but differently in different metres. And I in my blindness. not one thing in one place. whereas in one and the same body. I was altogether ignorant. and another in another. Can it at any time or place be unjust to love God with all his heart. but also wherein they were foretelling things to come. and I saw them not. because he had been in the forenoon. in one corner permitted or commanded. by the law of 23 . or something permitted out of doors. or family. part. As if in an armory. in one man. over which it presides. and should be angry. by which we were like to God. Yet the art itself. one ignorant of what were adapted to each part should cover his head with greaves.

who canst not be harmed? But Thou avengest what men commit against themselves. the greater authority is obeyed in preference to the lesser. to command that which no one before him. when that same nature. raging with heart and tongue against Thee. O God. whether native or foreigner. as one enemy against another. And there are some. by corrupting and perverting their nature. our Lord God. But those actions which are offences against the customs of men. they boldly joy in selfwilled combinations or divisions. are. Thy Ten Commandments. and loosest us from the chains which we made for ourselves. yet the persons commended. they do wickedly against their own souls. which hath not so made men that they should so abuse one another. discommended. and to obey him cannot be against the common weal of the state (nay. any one false thing is selected therefrom and loved. or for some profit belonging to another. the Ruler of all His creatures! For as among the powers in man’s society. though it were never by them done heretofore. But what foul offences can there be against Thee. as towards one who is feared. or all together. whether by reproach or injury. and so do men live ill against the three. resembling offences of foulness or violence. bursting the pale of human society. and if never ordained. or grieves at. so that a thing agreed upon. or two BOOK III: combined. or for the mere pleasure at another’s pain. for to obey princes is a general compact of human society). and art merciful to their sins who confess. if we lift not up against Thee the horns of an unreal liberty. it were against it if he were not obeyed. or through envy. the Good of all. according as they have any object to gain or subject of offence. as one less fortunate to one more so. seeing also when they sin against Thee. of which He is Author. by custom or law of any city or nation. For lawful if it he for a king. upon hope of future fruit. These be the heads of iniquity which spring from the lust of the flesh. who are on the whole making proficiency. which Thou hast created and ordained. through covetousness of more. So in acts of violence. who canst not be defiled? or what acts of violence against Thee. nor he himself heretofore. And these things are done when Thou art forsaken. are to be avoided according to the customs severally prevailing. and Thou cleansest us from our evil habits. But when God commands a thing to be done. and if intermitted. are sins of men. or when. kicking against the pricks. or by an immoderate use of things allowed. or to avoid some evil. after the rule of perfection.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE God. Amidst these offences of foulness and violence. which yet are no sins. is polluted by perversity of lust. or of rule. and so many iniquities. so must God above all. had commanded. is offensive. O Fountain of Life. it is to be done. as in the green blade of growing corn. as spectators of gladiators. of the eye. or deriders and mockers of others. So then by a humble devoutness we return to Thee. and most sweet. nor 24 . to him whose being on a par with himself he fears. in the state which he reigns over. either singly. For any part which harmoniseth not with its whole. or are found guilty. and by a self-willed pride. and seven. against the customs or compact of any people. by loving more our own private good than Thee. it is to be restored. how much more unhesitatingly ought we to obey God. may not be violated at the lawless pleasure of any. is now to be ordained. and iniquity gives itself the lie. as the robber to the traveller. who art the only and true Creator and Governor of the Universe. most high. where there is a wish to hurt. or in burning in things unallowed. that psaltery of often strings. to that use which is against nature. in all which He commands. and these either for revenge. and confirmed. which by those that judge rightly. and hearest the groaning of the prisoner. or one well thriven in any thing. suffering the loss of all. because they offend neither Thee. For even that intercourse which should be between God and us is violated.

are (Thou being witness) condemned: because the show of the action. which should be given him. at every moan or groan in his prayer. Whence was this. not his own. there shall burst forth particles of divinity. without any hesitation. and it be against the ordinance of some society of men. miserable. being insensibly and step by step drawn on to those follies. there he also’?” I confess to Thee. severally vary. but to be scoffed at by Thee. as to believe that a fig-tree wept when it was plucked. namely. ‘where he. and I would fain bend it to mean. who doubts but it is to be done. so that she allowed me to live with her. although Thou hast sometime forbidden it. when. by that faith and spirit which she had from Thee. either to show forth something needful for the present. For whence was that dream whereby Thou comfortedst her. BOOK III: should ask for any. and to eat at the same table in the house. that morsel would seem as it were condemned to capital punishment. shed milky tears? Which fig notwithstanding (plucked by some other’s. “That she rather should not despair of being one day what I was”. and overwhelmed with grief. seeing that society of men is just which serves Thee? But blessed are they who know Thy commands! For all things were done by Thy servants. yea. for whom they were created. and still for the time hidest the reason of Thy command.” And when she looked. they watered the ground under her eyes in every place where she prayed. by constituted authority punished. but that Thine ears were towards her heart? O Thou Good omnipotent. Thy faithful one. as if Thou caredst for him only. abhorring and detesting the blasphemies of my error? For she saw herself standing on a certain wooden rule. which particles of the most high and true God had remained bound in that fig.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE human society. cheerful and smiling upon her. And what gained I by scoffing at them. herself grieving. when streaming down. and the mind of the doer. that when she had told me this vision. yea. as if they were but one! Whence was this also. and we know not whether out of a lust of hurting. but ‘where thou. Many an action then which in men’s sight is disapproved. and told her to look and observe. guilt) had some Manichaean saint eaten. But he having (in order to instruct. there thou also’. and Thou heardest her. For if any one an hungered. These things I being ignorant of. as is their wont not to be instructed) enquired of her the causes of her grief and daily tears. But when Thou on a sudden commandest an unwonted and unthought of thing. more than mothers weep the bodily deaths of their children. that to the best of my remembrance (and I have oft spoken of 25 . and despisedst not her tears. yea Thou heardest her. and a shining youth coming towards her. my mother. things fitting for a given period are obtained for the service of life. for the sake of correction. she saw me standing by her in the same rule. is by Thy testimony approved. unless they had been set at liberty by the teeth or belly of some “Elect” saint! And I. she presently. And Thou sentest Thine hand from above. For she. who so carest for every one of us. O Lord. and she answering that she was bewailing my perdition. not a Manichaean. scoffed at those Thy holy servants and prophets. O Lord. “That where she was. and the unknown exigency of the period. discerned the death wherein I lay. replies: “No. he bade her rest contented. and mingled with his bowels. which she had begun to shrink from. and the tree. believed that more mercy was to be shown to the fruits of the earth than men. and we know not whether out of a lust of having. weeping to Thee for me. or when things are. there was I also. Thou heardest her. and many. by men praised. its mother. or to foreshow things to come. he should breathe out of it angels. and so for all. and drewest my soul out of that profound darkness. for it was not told me that.

Thou gavest her then another answer. and had (without any argument or proof from any one) seen how much that sect was to be avoided. and teach me good things (for this he was wont to do. for it is not possible that the son of these tears should perish. he refused. hasting to those things which more press me to confess unto Thee. and which I certainly had not perceived before she spake. and she would not be satisfied. Which when he had said. and much I do not remember. by which a joy to the holy woman.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE this). godly. 26 . how himself. being puffed up with the novelty of that heresy. that he would see me and discourse with me. “Go thy ways and God bless thee. so long before foresignified. often assaying to rise. but urged him more. as she had told him: “but let him alone a while” (saith he). when he found persons fitted to receive it). for much I pass by. All which time that chaste. had by his seduced mother been consigned over to the Manichees. in which I wallowed in the mire of that deep pit. now more cheered with hope. Thou gavest her meantime another answer. to be fulfilled so long after. was. as I afterwards perceived. -that she was not perplexed by the plausibility of my false interpretation. by a Priest of Thine. And her prayers entered into Thy presence.” Which answer she took (as she often mentioned in her conversations with me) as if it had sounded from heaven. refute my errors. and had avoided it. and well studied in Thy books. for the consolation of her present anguish. which I call to mind. and the darkness of falsehood. with entreaties and many tears. and had not only read. and how great its impiety. when a little one. Whom when this woman had entreated to vouchsafe to converse with me. yet no whit relaxing in her weeping and mourning. that Thy answer. that I was yet unteachable. saith. a little displeased at her importunity. but dashed down the more grievously. For almost nine years passed. and had already perplexed divers unskilful persons with captious questions.” At the same time he told her. but frequently copied out almost all. unteach me ill things. he will of himself by reading find what that error is. their BOOK III: books. he. ceased not at all hours of her devotions to bewail my case unto Thee. a certain Bishop brought up in Thy Church. through my waking mother. For he answered. -even then moved me more than the dream itself. and yet Thou sufferedst me to be yet involved and reinvolved in that darkness. and sober widow (such as Thou lovest). and so quickly saw what was to be seen. “only pray God for him. wisely.

But this ill also I rejected. Thou knowest) honest scholars (as they are accounted). overcome by cupidity. For what am I to myself without Thee. by carrying food to those who were called “elect” and “holy. and so even his knowledge he applied ill. In those years I taught rhetoric. they constrain love. and these I. but whom I had found out in a wayward passion. in the workhouse of their stomachs. but a guide to mine own downfall? or what am I even at the best. in divers lusts. the food that perisheth not? But what sort of man is any 27 . and the follies of shows. partial obedience amidst vanity and sin. desiring to be cleansed from these defilements. but an infant sucking the milk Thou givest. consulting astrologers. sighing after such fictions. not out of a pure love for Thee. Yet I preferred (Lord. but I would still confess to Thee mine own shame in Thy praise. but let us poor and needy confess unto Thee.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE BOOK IV: man.” yet cannot rightly. For this space of nine years (from my nineteenth year to my eightand-twentieth) we lived seduced and seducing.” out of which. though sometimes for the life of the guilty. O my God. O God of my heart. trust in things unreal. hunting after the emptiness of popular praise. O God. since he entertained wrong notions of God. writes on “the fair and fit. down even to theatrical applauses. although. himself a Manichaean. to their soul’s health. for the sake of issue. to whom I was sacrificing myself by that superstition. here proud. who is converted by being baptised when in a swoon. once born. Suffer me. remaining faithful even to her. and give me grace to go over in my present remembrance the wanderings of my forepassed time. and amid much smoke sending out some sparks of faithfulness. In those years I had one. deceived by me. without artifice. For what BOOK IV: Augustine’s life from nineteen to eight and twenty. and strifes for grassy garlands. where children are born against their parents’ will. they should forge for us Angels and Gods. and with me. in whom I in my own case experienced what difference there is betwixt the self-restraint of the marriage-covenant. by sciences which they call liberal. -not in that which is called lawful marriage. commit fornication against Thee. Let the arrogant mock me. and the bargain of a lustful love. from afar perceivedst me stumbling in that slippery course. for I knew not how to love Thee. every where vain. detesting and abhorring such foul mysteries. Here. not to be practised against the life of the guiltless. taught artifices. there superstitious. answered. which I showed in that my guidance of such as loved vanity. and feed the wind? Still I would not forsooth have sacrifices offered to devils for me. but I. And Thou. and feeding upon Thee. made sale of a loquacity to overcome by. void of understanding. These things did I follow. only partially shaken herein: loss of an early friend. seeing he is but a man? Let now the strong and the mighty laugh at us. reflections on grief. And doth not a soul. who knew not how to conceive aught beyond a material brightness. with a false-named religion. There. by whom we might be cleansed. and sought after leasing. and poetic prizes. and to offer unto Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving. “ For he was to kill some living creatures in his sacrifices. stricken and cast down by Thee. openly. “Though the garland were of imperishable gold. and love of fame. and. that when I had settled to enter the lists for a theatrical prize. some wizard asked me what I would give him to win. I remember also. on real and unreal friendship. secretly. I beseech Thee. and practise with my friends. and such as have not been. yet but one. and by those honours to invite the devils to favour me. deceived and deceiving. myself their companion. and seducing others to the same heresy. and the intemperance of desires. I would not suffer a fly to be killed to gain me it.

and hanging assiduously and fixedly on his speech (for though in simple terms.” saith he. not of necessity: the more then oughtest thou to give me credit herein. if out of the soul of man. not of the art of the star-gazers. BOOK IV: that he had in his earliest years studied that art. forsooth. who had with his own proconsular hand put the Agonistic garland upon my distempered head. But at that time neither he. however. or Mars”: that man. could persuade me to cast it aside. lest a worse thing come unto thee. “hast rhetoric to maintain thyself by. that what had been truly foretold by those consulted was the result of haphazard. For. For if when a man by haphazard opens the pages of some poet. nor my dearest Nebridius. and that. and proud corruption. and “This did Venus. And who is He but our God? the very sweetness and well-spring of righteousness. but to feed them. but to remember the Lord’s words.” And thus much. wondrously agreeable to the present business: it were not to be wondered at. saying. who renderest to every man according to his works: and a broken and contrite heart wilt Thou not despise. and givest grace to the humble. corresponding to the business and actions of the demander. flesh and blood. he kindly and fatherly advised me to cast them away. But didst Thou fail me even by that old man. I consulted without scruple. and renowned therein. a youth singularly good and of a holy fear. who sang and thought of something wholly different. so that thou followest this of free choice. for I have sinned against Thee. and he. and as yet I had found no certain proof (such as I sought) whereby it might without all doubt appear. Behold. heal my soul. Christian and true piety consistently rejects and condemns. All which wholesome advice they labour to destroy. not by art. when he had gathered by my discourse that I was given to the books of nativity-casters. nor to pray to any spirit for their divinations: which art. and not fruitlessly bestow a care and diligence. he could soon have understood such a study as this. thou art made whole. understanding Hippocrates. by hap. 28 . so as to make it the profession whereby he should live. There was in those days a wise man. Have mercy upon me. might be blameless. Thou conveyedst to me. diffused throughout the whole order of things. while the Creator and Ordainer of heaven and the stars is to bear the blame. either from or through him.” Of whom when I had demanded. “The cause of thy sin is inevitably determined in heaven”. and taken to physic. how then could many true things be foretold by it. and to say. that is by going astray to become their pleasure and derision? Those impostors then. because they seemed to use no sacrifice. what I might hereafter examine for myself. and tracedst in my memory. who derided the whole body of divination. by some higher instinct an answer should be given. saying. a verse oftentimes fell out. unconscious what takes place in it. for no other reason but that he found it utterly false. who resistest the proud.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE else is it to feed the wind. whom they style Mathematicians. he answered me (as he could) “that the force of chance. very skilful in physic. and earnest). brought this about. necessary for useful things. but not as a physician: for this disease Thou only curest. it was vivid. and yet he had given it over. it is a good thing to confess unto Thee. or Saturn. sin no more. lively. the authority of the authors swaying me yet more. and not to abuse Thy mercy for a licence to sin. or forbear to heal my soul? For having become more acquainted with him. upon these vanities. who laboured to acquire it so perfectly as to get my living by it alone. “But thou. would not get his living by deluding people. a grave man.

“he is coming. My native country was a torment to me. was. myself meanwhile little regarding. as from an enemy. unknowing. in the first opening flower of youth. and approach the ear of my heart unto Thy mouth. and we hung but too much upon each other). Yet was it but too sweet. and how unsearchable is the abyss of Thy judgments? For long. when utterly absent in mind and feeling. he was attacked again by the fever. both truer and better than that phantasm she was bid to trust in. I. he lay senseless in a death-sweat. Only tears were sweet to me. unless in such as Thou cementest together. nor could my soul be without him. we should have no hope left. Mine eyes sought him every where. not what was wrought on his unconscious body. and presuming that his soul would retain rather what it had received of me. because that most dear friend. sighs. that with Thee he might be preserved for my comfort. May I learn from Thee. and so departed. And now. With me he now erred in mind. And yet unless we mourned in Thine ears. and we had been both school-fellows and play-fellows. but too dear to me. from groaning. But he was taken away from my frenzy. for true it cannot be. and why she disquieted me sorely: but she knew not what to answer me. and my father’s house a strange unhappiness. who art Truth. tears. for they succeeded my friend. He had grown up of a child with me. forbear such language to him. cleaving unto Thee. wanting him. ripened by the warmth of kindred studies: for. as myself. But it proved far otherwise: for he was refreshed. whom she had lost. I had made one my friend. although present every where. And if I said. as true friendship is. suppressed all my emotions till he should grow well. Thou tookest that man out of this life. that Thou mayest tell me why weeping is sweet to the miserable? Hast Thou. as soon as I could speak with him (and I could. and time hath assuaged my wound. sore sick of a fever. cast away our misery far from Thee? And Thou abidest in Thyself. sweet to me above all sweetness of that my life. I essayed to jest with him. and. Whence then is sweet fruit gathered from the bitterness of life. Lord. by that love which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. for that they had not him. but had now understood that he had BOOK IV: received. so soon as he was able. which he hath felt in his one self? What diddest Thou then. and with a wonderful and sudden freedom bade me. and whatever I beheld was death. a few days after in my absence. as I would continue his friend. Who can recount all Thy praises. and whatever I had shared with him. Trust in God. and Fountain of mercies. and I asked my soul. at once God of vengeance. but we are tossed about in divers trials. But behold Thou wert close on the steps of Thy fugitives. of mine own age. But he so shrunk from me. being man. I became a great riddle to myself. from the true faith (which he as a youth had not soundly and thoroughly imbibed). but he was not granted them. she very rightly obeyed me not. Forthwith. nor could they now tell me. in the dearest of my affections.” as when he was alive and absent. But he was not yet my friend as afterwards. and his recovery being despaired of. as though he would jest with me at that baptism which he had received. became a distracting torture. I had warped him also to those superstitious and pernicious fables. and his health were strong enough for me to deal with him as I would. for I never left him. and complaints? 29 . At this grief my heart was utterly darkened. these things are passed by. and I hated all places. from a community of pursuits. why she was so sad.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE In those years when I first began to teach rhetoric in my native town. my God. which is given unto us. he was baptised. all astonished and amazed. and restored. nor even then. for which my mother bewailed me. when he had scarce filled up one whole year of my friendship. turning us to Thyself by wonderful means.

and the sorrow wherewith I was then overwhelmed? For I neither hoped he should return to life nor did I desire this with my tears. where I could neither be. I remember. impatient of being borne by me. I know not whether I would have parted with it even for him. and I had remained to myself a hapless spot. that it might rest. for Thee to lighten. If I offered to discharge my load thereon. sighed. For whither should my heart flee from my heart? Whither should I flee from myself? Whither not follow myself? And yet I fled out of my country. For though I would willingly have changed it. But is it also in grief for a thing lost. O my Hope. the more did I hate. not to live together being to them worse than death. for I felt that my soul and his soul were “one soul in two bodies”: and therefore was my life a horror to me. yea. and then he feels the wretchedness which he had ere yet he lost them. So was it then with me. For I wondered that others. and wretched is every soul bound by the friendship of perishable things. since it had power over him. and plucking my feet out of the snare. To Thee. had neither rest nor counsel. behold and see into me. when I thought of Thee. And thus from Thagaste. and came rushing down again on me. enduring impatiently the lot of man! I fretted then. Thou wert not to me any solid or substantial thing.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Doth this sweeten it. And therefore perchance I feared to die. for well I remember it. I knew it. I came to Carthage. and had lost my joy. since he whom I loved. the more I loved him. he being dead. which knowest not how to love men. O madness. and for very loathing of the things which we before enjoyed. O Lord. nor in fragrant spots. Well said one of his friend. “Thou half of my soul”. lest he whom I had much loved should die wholly. they went and 30 . Thus was it with me. was dead. nor in the pleasures of the bed and the couch. not in games and music. subject to death. where they were not wont to see him. I found not. nor in curious banquetings. like men! O foolish man that I then was. For I was miserable. Behold. but neither could nor would. too contrary to this. he is torn asunder when he loses them. wept. I wept most bitterly. But in me there had arisen some unexplained feeling. and found my repose in bitterness. Times lose no time. I suppose. but a mere phantom. and I wondered yet more that myself. For I bore about a shattered and bleeding soul. But when my soul was withdrawn from them a huge load of misery weighed me down. did live. when we shrink from them. through our senses they work strange operations on the mind. and that wretched life I held dearer than my friend. O my God. Not in calm groves. nor do they roll idly by. except groaning and tears. but I wept only and grieved. which had bereaved me of him: and I imagined it would speedily make an end of all men. could live. found it repose. who was to him a BOOK IV: second self. yea. All things looked ghastly. does it then. that we hope Thou hearest? This is true of prayer. nor be from thence. was revolting and hateful. but to confess unto Thee. and fear (as a most cruel enemy) death. since. as if he should never die. for at once I loathed exceedingly to live and feared to die. for so should mine eyes less look for him. Or is weeping indeed a bitter thing. it glided through the void. Behold my heart. was distracted. For in those alone found I a little refreshment. the very light. yet where to repose it. please us? But what speak I of these things? for now is no time to question. For Thou wert not Thyself. Wretched I was. the more. whatsoever was not what he was. as is related (if not feigned) of Pylades and Orestes. for therein is a longing to approach unto Thee. and my error was my God. who cleansest me from the impurity of such affections. nor (finally) in books or poesy. Thus was I wretched. it ought to have been raised. that they would gladly have died for each other or together. yet was I more unwilling to part with it than with him. because I would not live halved. directing mine eyes towards Thee.

as if he would never die? For what restored and refreshed me chiefly was the solaces of other friends. Hence that mourning. when they are hard by? For the sense of the flesh is slow. it is riveted upon sorrows. So then when they rise and tend to be. if one die. introduced into my mind other imaginations and other remembrances. And who is this but our God. yea though it is riveted on things beautiful. which exist not all at once. whither goeth or whither teeth he. and sometimes learn. And even thus is our speech completed by signs giving forth a sound: but this again is not perfected unless one word pass away when it hath sounded its part. the tongue. This is it that is loved in friends. and truth Thou. that steeping of the heart in tears. show us Thy countenance. was being defiled. because by filling them He created them? Thee none loseth. to talk and jest together. and a thousand pleasing gestures. the God that made heaven and earth. to Thee displeased? For where doth he not find Thy law in his own punishment? And Thy law is truth. O God. because it is the sense of the flesh. they grow. because she longs to be. out of Thee. and all grow not old. and welcome the coming with joy. whereof they are portions. looking for nothing from his person but indications of his love. and perfected. who can grasp them. because they are portions of things. to whom all are dear in Him who cannot be lost. For whence had that former grief so easily reached my very inmost soul. by whose adulterous stimulus. to dissent at times without discontent. but from Thee well-pleased. as a man might with his own self. and thereby is it bounded. There were other things which in them did more take my mind. and his friend in Thee. which lay itching in our ears. proceeding out of the hearts of those that loved and were loved again. were not. that they may be perfected. These and the like expressions. It 31 . they wax old and wither. in loving one that must die. they abide not. and little by little patched me up again with my old kind of delights. For they go whither they were to go. and by rising. that another may succeed.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE came day by day. and protracted lie. what instead of Thee I loved. and by coming and going. And who leaveth Thee. they flee. sometimes to teach. and his enemy for Thee. They rise. our soul. For he alone loses none BOOK IV: dear to him. but who leaveth. and who can follow them with the senses of the flesh? yea. by the countenance. and this was a great fable. Turn us. all sweetness turned to bitterness. For whithersoever the soul of man turns itself. Creator of all. unless they were from Thee. This is the law of them. and set. And yet there succeeded. they begin as it were to be. to play the fool or be earnest together. Thus much has Thou allotted them. to season our more frequent consentings. yet the causes of other griefs. and out of the soul. Blessed whoso loveth Thee. But that fable would not die to me. and so loved. and out of many make but one. that they might not be. to do kind offices by turns. but all wither. unto which that my sorrow gave way. O God of Hosts. with whom I did love. the more quickly they grow that they may be. And yet they. were so much fuel to melt our souls together. yet loves to repose in what she loves. if he love not him that loves him again. but that I had poured out my soul upon the dust. the eyes. so much the more they haste not to be. and even with the seldomness of these dissentings. or love not again him that loves him. Out of all these things let my soul praise Thee. and we shall be whole. through the senses of the body. and darkenings of sorrows. to read together honied books. and they rend her with pestilent longings. so oft as any of my friends died. the death of the living. not indeed other griefs. unless toward Thee. yet let not my soul be riveted unto these things with the glue of love. but by passing away and succeeding. and upon the loss of life of the dying. and filleth them. long for the absent with impatience. they together complete that universe. But in these things is no place of repose. that a man’s conscience condemns itself.

and carry unto Him along with thee what souls thou canst. and ye shall stand fast. “hence and hitherto. and He is our God. and pass away. If bodies please thee. and bound around thee: nor shall they lay thee whither themselves descend. and thy decay shall bloom again. could all be perceived collectively. all collectively would please more than they do severally. The Word itself calleth thee to return: and there is the place of rest imperturbable. and cleave fast to Him that made you. wherein He espoused the human creation. “Him let us love. yet wouldest not thou have the syllables stay. Seek what ye seek. nor become deaf in the ear of thine heart with the tumult of thy folly. and say to them. and thou hear the whole. else would they pass. and thou shalt lose nothing. trust there whatsoever thou hast thence. For how should there be a blessed life where life itself is not? “But our true Life came down hither. thou knowest not. He is within the very heart. for neither doth aught succeed Him. thou displease. praise God on occasion of them. and so depart. Who abideth and standeth fast for ever. that it 32 . and abide for ever before God. For in Thy Word. but it is good and pleasant through reference to Him. for thy punishment. but it sufficeth not to stay things running their course from their appointed starting-place to the end appointed. by which they are created. is in part. To what end then would ye still and still walk these difficult and toilsome ways? There is no rest. If souls please thee. But far better than these is He who made all. Ye seek a blessed life in the land of death. where truth is loved. if He be forsaken for it. Stand with Him. Go back into your heart. For He did not make them. Behold. but they shall stand fast with thee. And so ever. lest in these things which please thee. ye transgressors. and not itself also. Whatever by her thou hast sense of. but in Him are they firmly stablished. and bore our death. Him let us love: He made these. been justly restricted to a part of the whole. Rest in Him. these things pass away. O my soul. first into the Virgin’s womb. calling aloud to us to return hence to Him into that secret place. whatsoever thou hast from the Truth. be they loved in God: for they too are mutable.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE sufficeth for that it was made for. nor doth He pass away. thou wouldest. and ye shall be at rest. and so this lower universe be completed by all his parts. that whatsoever existeth at this present.” Be not foolish. and yet they delight thee. and the whole. In Him then be they beloved. and all thy diseases be healed. whereof these are parts. Whither go ye in rough ways? Whither go ye? The good that you love is from Him. where love is not forsaken. at least now thou art tired out with vanities. that so the whole might better please thee. whence He came forth to us. where ye seek it. See there He is. when any one thing is made up of many. and slew him. yet hath the heart strayed from Him. Entrust Truth. if itself forsaketh not. O my soul. Hearken thou too. out of the abundance of His own life: and He thundered. because unjustly is any thing loved which is from Him. But do I depart any whither? saith the Word of God. For what we speak also. But had the sense of thy flesh a capacity for comprehending the whole. that others may come. Why then be perverted and follow thy flesh? Be it converted and follow thee. they hear their decree. our mortal flesh. nor is He far off. but fly away. it is not there. There fix thy dwelling. that others may replace them. and turn back thy love upon their Maker. and justly shall it be embittered. but they are of Him. all BOOK IV: of which do not exist together. and thy mortal parts be reformed and renewed. by the same sense of the flesh thou hearest. but it is not there where ye seek. should pass away. and in Him.

and I wrote “on the fair and fit. than so loved. or fighter with beasts in the theatre. first instructed in Greek eloquence. which pleased me? But more did he please me. life. for it is BOOK IV: gone from me. and so as I would be myself commended? For I would not be commended or loved. praises him. crying aloud to us to return unto Him. but loved for the fame of his learning which was eminent in him. and set your mouth against the heavens? Descend. that is. not Thine. how long so slow of heart? Even now. and some words of his I had heard. O Lord my God.” And I marked and perceived that in bodies themselves. who am a man? Man himself is a great deep. He would not be long with us. and there find Him. O Lord. though he might. I should not spurn and cast from myself? For it holds not. by ascending against Him. upon the judgment of men. calling aloud by words. rejoicing as a giant to run his course. burning with the fire of charity. but had rather be unknown. he is loved: doth this love enter the heart of the hearer from the mouth of the commender? Not so. two or three books. and one most learned in things pertaining unto philosophy. and they 33 . they could by no means draw us unto them. and into this world He came to save sinners. in Whom no man is deceived. since we are equally men. and again. that we might return into our heart. for it hath sinned against Him. for He departed thither. and thence like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber.” Tell them this. ascension. another from apt and mutual correspondence. and the like. and to my friends I said. deeds. and even hated. For He departed. that ye may ascend. Thou knowest. and I loved these lower beauties. be that horse. or a shoe with a foot. But by one who loveth is another kindled. therefore the same may be said of an actor. known far and wide by a vulgar popularity. For He lingered not. O ye sons of men. but ran. as actors are (though I myself did commend and love them). should afterwards be formed a wonderful Latin orator. descent. an orator of Rome. as of a part of the body with its whole. and He healeth it. out of my inmost heart. And in this world He was. because out of His spirit thou speakest thus unto them. But what moved me. O my God. yet left us not. For so did I then love men. amazed that out of a Syrian. when ye are on high. who shares our nature. and. for I have them not. and ascend to God. like those of a famous charioteer. because the world was made by Him. Do I then love in a man. what I hate to be.” I think. if I did not hate.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE might not be for ever mortal. when one that loves him. than so known. but far otherwise. for that he pleased others. and to. whence He never parted. I know not how. whom I knew not by face. that as a good horse is loved by him. and I was sinking to the very depths. who would not. These things I then knew not. O Lord. and earnestly. if thou speakest. “Do we love any thing but the beautiful? What then is the beautiful? and what is beauty? What is it that attracts and wins us to the things we love? for unless there were in them a grace and beauty. do I love in another what. there was a beauty. One is commended. but they are strayed from me. when the commender is believed to extol him with an unfeigned heart. And He departed from our eyes. after the descent of Life to you. death. to dedicate these books unto Hierius. from their forming a sort of whole. unto whom my soul confesseth. who highly extolled him. will ye not ascend and live? But whither ascend ye. unseen. and so carry them up with thee unto God. But yet why not for qualities. that they may weep in the valley of tears. For hence he is loved who is commended. Where now are the impulses to such various and divers kinds of loves laid up in one soul? Why. And this consideration sprang up in my mind. whose very hairs Thou numberest. He is here. For ye have fallen.

nor he himself other. O my God. But what 34 . and admired it. as it was then in me. had been wounded. O Thou Omnipotent. and the nature of the chief evil. Yet BOOK IV: the force of truth did of itself flash into mine eyes. and whence do I confidently confess unto Thee.” whose beauty is in correspondence to some other thing: and this I supported by corporeal examples. my empty heart.” whereon I wrote to him. And in that unity I conceived the rational soul. and yet not derived from Thee. so is it carried this way and that. and the light is overclouded to it. stirring itself insolently and unrulily. And it was to me a great matter. and with dispraise and contempt told the very same things of him. had he been unpraised. I had never been so kindled and excited to love him. and was thrust from Thee. And to. and the truth unseen. and I turned away my panting soul from incorporeal substance to lineaments. but the false notion which I had of spiritual things. whereby carnal pleasures are drunk in. when that affection of the soul is ungoverned. for Thou art the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. and surveyed it. and the beatings of his heart. But that orator was of that sort whom I loved. seeing itself is not that nature of truth. I dwelt on with pleasure. I thought I could not see my mind. And yet are the hairs of his head easier to be numbered than his feelings. and bulky magnitudes. and was tossed about with every wind. and lusts. For I had not known or learned that neither was evil a substance. and colours. And not being able to see these in the mind. that it may be partaker of truth. For as deeds of violence arise. I were the more kindled. if that emotion of the soul be corrupted. And whence do I know. a sort of division. whence vehement action springs. in the first I observed a unity. who only doest wonders. but yet was steered by Thee. but if he disapproved. of whom are all things. And whereas in virtue I loved peace. than for the very things for which he was commended? Because. But I saw not yet. void of Thy solidity. and “fair. but in this division I miserably imagined there to be some unknown substance of irrational life. lust. whereon this weighty matter turned in Thy wisdom. though very secretly. driven forward and backward.” I defined and distinguished what is so in itself. And yet that first I called a Monad. for in Thee there is no variableness. as wishing to be myself such. who knew not that it must be enlightened by another light. as it had been a soul without sex. but the latter a Duad. but in the other. and in flagitiousness. that my discourse and labours should be known to that man: which should he approve. and these self-same men had dispraised him. if the reasonable soul itself be corrupted. but only the feelings of the relators. Thou shalt enlighten my darkness: and of Thy fulness have we all received. And yet the “fair and fit. but real life also. See where the impotent soul lies along. and the nature of truth and of the chief good to consist. and in viciousness I abhorred discord. and my mind ranged through corporeal forms. so do errors and false opinions defile the conversation. and I erred through a swelling pride. though none joined therein. neither shadow of change. O Lord my God. And I turned to the nature of the mind. For Thou shalt light my candle. which should not only be a substance. that is not yet stayed up by the solidity of truth! Just as the gales of tongues blow from the breast of the opinionative. and “fit. anger. not knowing whereof I spake. that I had loved him more for the love of his commenders. But I pressed towards Thee. And yet the things had not been other. in deeds of violence. let me not see the truth. it is before us. that I might taste of death: for thou resistest the proud. nor our soul that chief and unchangeable good.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE fall not to the ground without Thee.

Thy wonderful and unchangeable Unity also. for by the voices of mine own errors. but drawing many things in sand. And I was wont to ask Thy faithful little ones. as the figure of a man. in punishment. and to rejoice greatly at the Bridegroom’s voice. “Why then doth the soul err which God created?” But I would not be asked. seeing that. my very desire to become wise. whose brother he is. I was hurried abroad. buzzing in the ears of my heart. or does. I returned not to Thee. and others. and all the innumerable things which might be ranged under these nine Predicaments. and that in the sweat of my brows I should eat my bread. and. but a body is not great or fair in that it is a body. But it was falsehood which of Thee I conceived. they could tell me no more of it than I had learned. my fellow-citizens (from whom. how many feet high. I essayed in such wise to understand.” and longing to stand and hearken to Thee. I stood exiled). nor in the body. as if Thou also hadst been subjected to Thine own greatness or beauty. I was sinking into the lowest pit. or where placed. as their subject: whereas Thou Thyself art Thy greatness and beauty. imagining whatever was. or whether he stands or sits. or when born. prating and foolishly. O my God. a book of Aristotle. And the book appeared to me to speak very clearly of substances. read by myself. O sweet truth. but by my vanity devised out of things corporeal. accounted learned. the vile slave of vile affections. a wind that passeth away. I accused flesh. lay in error. of worse to become better). and. or be shod or armed. that all the books I could procure of the so-called liberal arts. and his relationship. neither in Thee. Therefore I was repelled by Thee. and through the weight of my own pride. as on something great and BOOK IV: divine. and understood? And I delighted in them. of what sort it is. and now. and myself not to be that which Thou art. but I passed on and on to things which have no being. so often as my rhetoric master of Carthage. which I turned.” and of their qualities. nor in me. falling into my hands (on whose very name I hung. reading it by myself. but knew not 35 . rather than confess that my changeable substance had gone astray voluntarily. and Thou resistedst my vain stiffneckedness. that scarce twenty years old. For Thou didst not make me to hear joy and gladness. yet chose I rather to imagine Thee subject to change. “Why then doth God err?” And I maintained that Thy unchangeable substance did err upon constraint. that the earth should bring forth briars and thorns to me. such as “man. to thy inward melody. For Thou hadst commanded. of which I have given some specimens. and it was done in me. mouthed it with cheeks bursting with pride). unknown to myself. revolving within me corporeal fictions. not truth. and I imagined corporeal forms. meditating on the “fair and fit. it should notwithstanding be a body. to ask them. than for me with a strange madness to maintain myself to be that by nature which Thou art? For whereas I was subject to change (so much being manifest to me. I was then some six or seven and twenty years old when I wrote those volumes. and stature. or under that chief Predicament of Substance. who said that they scarcely understood it with very able tutors. myself flesh. seeing it even hindered me? when. was comprehended under those often Predicaments. Neither were they created for me by Thy truth. I. not only orally explaining it. I read and understood it unaided? And on my conferring with others.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE prouder. though it were less great or fair. And what did it profit me. I was wont. fictions of my misery. but could not. so that (as in bodies) they should exist in Thee. And what did it profit me. or suffers anything. being the wish. What did all this further me. which they call the often Predicaments. not the realities of Thy blessedness. nor did the bones exult which were not yet humbled.

because both quickness of understanding. either on rhetoric. and nourish the wings of charity. O Lord God. from which when we turn away. since they departed not far from Thee. under the shadow of Thy wings let us hope. without aid from human instruction. that we may not be overturned. geometry. Thou knowest. O Lord our God.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE whence came all. the Truth. then is it firmness. For what profited me good abilities. that in the nest of Thy Church they might securely be fledged. but rather to my perdition. Nor do I blush. What profited me then my nimble wit in those sciences and all those most knotty volumes. Whatever was written. But what did this further me. which good art Thou. 36 . for our firmness. return. because we fell from it: for through our absence. and arithmetic. and to bark against Thee. Thou wilt carry us both when little. For I had my back to the light. when he most excelled in them who followed me not altogether slowly. O Lord my God. by the food of a sound faith. our mansion fell not. because with Thee our good lives without any decay. O Lord. imagining that Thou. in the doctrine of piety? Or what hindrance was a far slower wit to Thy little ones. Let us now. protect us. and even to hoar hairs wilt Thou BOOK IV: carry us. or logic. and acuteness in discerning. itself was not enlightened. that therein was true or certain. and with such sacrilegious shamefulness. wert a vast and bright body. even by the studious and talented. to spend it upon harlotries. O my God. I understood. but when our own. and carry us. and I kept not my strength for Thee.Thy eternity. we are turned aside. to confess to Thee Thy mercies towards me. it is infirmity. with which I discerned the things enlightened. by myself without much difficulty or any instructor. whence my face. until I attempted to explain them to such. music. So then it served not to my use. Our good ever lives with Thee. lest there be no place whither to return. and my face to the things enlightened. who blushed not then to profess to men my blasphemies. and I a fragment of that body? Perverseness too great! But such was I. when it is Thou. but wandered from Thee into a far country. seeing I erred so foully. is Thy gift: yet did I not thence sacrifice to Thee. nor need we fear. since I went about to get so good a portion of my substance into my own keeping. and to call upon Thee. not employed to good uses? For I felt not that those arts were attained with great difficulty. unravelied by me.

and behold. withdrawing themselves from thy gentleness. might stumble against Thee (because Thou forsakest nothing Thou hast made). leaning on those things which Thou hast created. set before me to feed upon. and dividest the darkness. Heal Thou all my bones. and joy in weeping. and passing on to Thyself. nor creation animate or inanimate. how much less Thee! I would lay open before my God that nine-and-twentieth year of mine age. Augustine gives up all thought of going further among the Manichees: is guided to Rome and Milan. Whom no place encompasseth! and Thou alone art near. that the unjust. the godless. made an instrument of deliverance to St. wherein they professed to have divine knowledge. Let the restless. and let them say. a great snare of the Devil. nor did I find myself. and becomes again a Catechumen in the Church Catholic. Let them then be turned. but -Thou. Let them be turned and seek Thee. depart and flee from Thee. I compared some things of theirs with those long fables of the Manichees. O Lord. and they weep the more. and stumbling at Thy uprightness. even although they could BOOK V: St. by the voice of those who meditate thereon: that so our souls may from their weariness arise towards Thee. -not man of flesh and blood. and. Augustine. that Thou art every where. There had then come to Carthage a certain Bishop of the Manichees. and seek Thee. yet could I separate from the truth of the things which I was earnest to learn: nor did I so much regard the service of oratory as the science which this Faustus. who is like unto Thee? For he who confesses to Thee doth not teach Thee what takes place within him. which Thou hast formed and stirred up to confess unto Thy name. and weep in Thy bosom. Ignorant. but I had gone away from Thee. and there is refreshment and true strength. hast Thou forsaken Thy creation. even for that Thou. Thou art there in their heart. Ambrose. Augustine’s twenty-ninth year. that it may love Thee. who madest them wonderfully. leaves the Manichees. by showing the ignorance of the Manichees on those things. in truth. re-makest and comfortest them. seeing a closed heart closes not out Thy eye. Lord. from the heaven to this lowest earth. and justly be hurt. and many were entangled by him through that lure of his smooth language: which though I did commend. And how have they injured Thee? or how have they disgraced Thy government. is just and perfect? For whither fled they. Thy whole creation ceaseth not. a snare of Satan to many. And behold. Faustus. which. so praised among them. blinded. because not as they have forsaken their Creator. But where was I. neither the spirit of man with voice directed unto Thee. Accept the sacrifice of my confessions from the ministry of my tongue.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE BOOK V: Thou find them? But they fled. and found the former the more probable. even to those that remove far from Thee. and exquisitely skilled in the liberal sciences. when I was seeking Thee? And Thou wert before me. nor is silent in Thy praises. Faustus by name. and nothing can hide itself from Thy heat. Fame had before bespoken him most knowing in all valuable learning. that it may praise Thee. yet Thou seest them. and let it confess Thy own mercies to Thee. Lord. that they might not see Thee seeing them. and falling upon their own ruggedness. I say. And since I had read and well remembered much of the philosophers. after all their rugged ways. nor can man’s hard-heartedness thrust back Thy hand: for Thou dissolvest it at Thy will in pity or in vengeance. the universe with them is fair. when they fled from Thy presence? or where dost not 37 . and cast themselves upon Thee. though they are foul. in the heart of those that confess to Thee. Then dost Thou gently wipe away their tears. where he hears St. who madest them. might stumble upon Thee. But let my soul praise Thee.

but the proud Thou beholdest afar off. no. marvel and are astonished. At these things men. and sanctification. eclipses of those luminaries. they give not themselves up to Thee. forging lies of Thee who art the Truth. to preserve what Thou madest. wherewith they search out this. and what hour of the day. the sun and moon. or that of Thy wisdom there is no number. they seek not piously. and track the courses of the planets. And finding that Thou madest them. the Lord of it they could by no means find out. exult. and what day of the month. and was numbered among us. Lord. but discovered not any account of the solstices. not though by curious skill they could number the stars and the sand. and saw the reason thereof from calculations. changing Thy truth into a lie. and measure the starry heavens. and paid tribute unto Caesar. and hast respect unto the humble. as beasts of the field. and changing the glory of uncorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man. but to the contrite in heart. BOOK V: But they knew not the way. that know not this art. and out of them do others foretell in what year and month of the year. and so it shall be. and profess themselves to be wise. which Thou bestowedst on them. they search out these things. -nor did their calculation fail. nor slay their own soaring imaginations. they glorify Him not as God. attributing to themselves what is Thine. and compared them with the saying of Manichaeus. knowing Him to be God. For they search not religiously whence they have the wit. and thereby with most perverse blindness. and deemed themselves exalted amongst the stars and shining. as fowls of the air. and failing of Thy light. and righteousness. and the understanding. and the visible testimonies of the stars. or the eclipses of the greater lights. many years before. neither are thankful. But I was commanded to believe. and four-footed beasts. so long before. For with their understanding and wit. and behold. nor sacrifice to Thee what they have made themselves. that Thou. and by Him ascend unto Him. and themselves who number. nor their own luxuriousness. Artificer of the creature. and therefore find Him not. as it is foreshowed. O Lord. moon or sun is to be eclipsed. by Whom Thou madest these things which they number. they foresee a failure of the sun’s light. and it came to pass as they foretold. and what part of its light. and how many digits. and creeping things. and these are read at this day. and their foolish heart was darkened. which in his frenzy he had written most largely on these subjects. and to birds. the succession of times. and by an ungodly pride departing from Thee. They discourse many things truly concerning the creature. out of which they number. and they wrote down the rules they had found out. and the sense whereby they perceive what they number. For Thou art great. but see not their own. nor their own diving curiosities (wherewith. which is. mayest burn up those dead cares of theirs. They knew not this way whereby to descend to Him from themselves. But the Only Begotten is Himself made unto us wisdom. but Truth. but become vain in their imaginations. and much have they found out. and foretold. They knew not this way. and yet it 38 . or equinoxes. like the fishes of the seal they wander over the unknown paths of the abyss).THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE only prevail so far as to make judgment of this lower world. Yet many truths concerning the creature retained I from these men. -what day and hour. and worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator. and are puffed up. nor whatever of this sort I had learned in the books of secular philosophy. nor art found by the proud. and recreate themselves immortally. they fell upon the earth. and they that know it. Thy Word. a consuming fire. Nor dost Thou draw near. which shall be. or if they find Him. study to impute to Thee what is their own.

but was quite contrary. For it is vanity to make profession of these worldly things even when known. and whatever else of the kind I had read of in other books. not a mere man. if he imagine it to pertain to the form of the doctrine of piety. whom all things serve. borne by our mother Charity. whose all this world of wealth is. nor do I see that any ignorance as to the position or character of the corporeal creation can injure him. that he sought to ascribe them to himself. with so mad a vanity of pride. yet his sacrilegious presumption would become evident enough. For when I hear any Christian brother ignorant of these things. and neither owns it. if they by any means might. so that. so long as he doth not believe any thing unworthy of Thee. and count all its boughs. but confession to Thee is piety. And whoso knoweth both Thee and them is not the happier for them. he plainly could have no knowledge of piety. might be explained consistently with his sayings. yet possesseth all things. O Lord. and of day and night itself. than he that can measure it. but Thy Holy Spirit. yet is it folly to doubt but he is in a better state than one who can measure the heavens. and number the stars. I can patiently behold such a man holding his opinion. by cleaving unto Thee. it might be manifest what understanding he had in the other abstruser things. Wherefore this wanderer to this end spake much of these things. as to a divine person. therefore please Thee? Surely unhappy is he who knoweth all these. was with plenary authority personally within him. chief of all whom he could so persuade. “That the Holy Ghost. knowing not. but went about to persuade men. though he know not these. source. nor knows or loves its Creator: so a believer. when once convicted of having taught any thing false. But yet who bade that Manichaeus write on these things also. that convicted by those who had truly learned them. But it doth injure him. till the new-born may grow up unto a perfect man. in the infancy of faith.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE corresponded not with what had been established by calculations and my own sight. if. or how wide it spreads. but for Thee only. with the eclipses of the greater lights. he most impudently dared to teach. guide. Behold piety and wisdom. on account of his reputed sanctity. since. and poise the elements. but which were falsified. and will yet affirm that too stiffly whereof he is ignorant. and who having nothing. and of the motions of the sun and moon (although these things pertain not to the doctrine of religion). but these things. 39 . and knoweth not Thee: but happy whoso knoweth Thee.” When then he was found out to have taught falsely of the heaven and stars. though he had perfect knowledge of these things. and mistaken on them. it should still remain a question to me whether it were so or no. and measure. skill in which was no element of piety? For Thou hast said to man. O Lord God of truth. rest my credence upon his authority. For he would not have himself meanly thought BOOK V: of. seeing he delivered things which not only he knew not. and is thankful. and becomes not vain in his imaginations. of which he might be ignorant. and return thanks to Thee for the use thereof. But in him who in such wise presumed to be the teacher. were to be detested and utterly rejected? But I had not as yet clearly ascertained whether the vicissitudes of longer and shorter days and nights. weight. he glorifies Thee as God. For as he is better off who knows how to possess a tree. Doth then. knowing Thee. although he know not how many cubits high it is. so as not to be carried about with every wind of doctrine. though he know not even the circles of the Great Bear. that whoso followed him thought that he followed. whoso knoweth these things. but I might. yet neglecteth Thee who hast made all things in number. the Creator of all. who would not judge that so great madness. the Comforter and Enricher of Thy faithful ones. And yet is even such an infirmity.

nor the soul therefore wise. When then he came. and with a kind of natural gracefulness. which proved the more pleasing and seductive because under the guidance of a good wit. I felt however that another sort of people were suspicious even of truth. and such few volumes of his own sect as were written in Latin and neatly. For after it was clear that he was ignorant of those arts in which I thought he excelled. But they who held him out to me were no good judges of things. some things of the poets. either kind of meats may be served up in either kind of dishes. and. and I now no longer thought him able satisfactorily to decide what I much desired. O my God. and moon. nor did they seem to me therefore better. because eloquent. because the language is rich. wherein with unsettled mind I had been their disciple. he acquired a certain eloquence. a very few books of Seneca. But because he had read some of Tully’s Orations. with many others and more than they. in familiar converse with him. but that wisdom and folly are as wholesome and unwholesome food. nor is there besides Thee any teacher of truth. But Thou. BOOK V: That greediness then. I was then delighted. that I might see and hate them. O Lord my God. where or whencesoever it may shine upon us. because better said. wherewith I had of so long time expected that man. still held out to me the coming of this Faustus. Is it not thus. Thou judge of my conscience? before Thee is my heart. For the rest of the sect. and my remembrance. Which when I proposed to he considered 40 . and was daily practised in speaking. because the utterance of the lips is inharmonious. he might have held the truths of piety. I found him a man of pleasing discourse. when unable to solve my objections about these things. on comparison of these things with the calculations I had elsewhere read. For their books are fraught with prolix fables. or at least as good. if delivered in a smooth and copious discourse. the account given in the books of Manichaeus were preferable. Who didst at that time direct me by the hidden mystery of Thy providence. as I recall it. because in words pleasing. were to be most readily and abundantly cleared. and his choice and readiness of words to clothe his ideas. and therefore to them he appeared understanding and wise. and adorned or unadorned phrases as courtly or country vessels. I began to despair of his opening and solving the difficulties which perplexed me (of which indeed however ignorant. and had brought forward such things as moved me. by conference with whom these and greater difficulties. Which when I might. because the face was comely. and with my friends began to engage his ears at such times as it was not unbecoming for him to discuss with me. had he not been a Manichee). of the heaven. and didst set those shameful errors of mine before my face. was delighted verily with his action and feeling when disputing. yet still but the self-same things which they were wont to say. Of Thyself therefore had I now learned. however. that in the assembly of his auditors. and that but in an ordinary way. nor therefore falsely. and therefore I believe that Thou taughtest me. therefore true. sun. whether. save grammar. and stars. nor. But what availed the utmost neatness of the cup-bearer to my thirst for a more precious draught? Mine ears were already cloyed with the like. I found him first utterly ignorant of liberal sciences. hadst already taught me by wonderful and secret ways. I was not allowed to put in and communicate those questions that troubled me. did I praise and extol him. because it is truth. nor therefore false. if I had them. nor therefore true. I had longed but too intensely for the coming of this Faustus. that neither ought any thing to seem to be spoken truly. It troubled me. because rudely delivered. and who could speak fluently and in better terms. again. because eloquently. and refused to assent to it. and the language graceful. whom by chance I had lighted upon.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE And for almost all those nine years.

shrunk from the burthen. my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. and He shall dispose his way. and they think they do it unpunished. I would not make my own. Thou didst it. Thus. disturb all order which any one hath established for the good of his scholars. not that I detached myself from them altogether. The manners then which. came utterly to an end. in all the more difficult and subtile questions. because higher gains and higher dignities were warranted me by my friends who persuaded me to this (though even these things had at that time an influence over my mind). in the secret purpose of Thy providence. or such as I judged fit for his genius. and Thou didst deal with me by wondrous ways. did not forsake my soul. he. For he knew that he knew not these things. Even for this I liked him the better. re-making what it made? Thou didst deal with me. and was not ashamed to confess it. at Carthage didst goad me. but from Thy hand. that Faustus. whereas they are punished with the very blindness whereby they do it. through her tears night and day poured out. whence he could neither retreat nor extricate himself fairly. at their pleasures. begun to loosen that wherein I was taken. But all my efforts whereby I had purposed to advance in that sect. had now neither willing nor witting it. nor would he rashly be entangled in a dispute. and despairing yet more of their other teachers. But this man had a heart. so far modestly. and with gestures almost frantic. petulantly rush into the school of one whose pupils they were not. O my God: for the steps of a man are ordered BOOK V: by the Lord. many of whom I had endured. and Thy most present mercy to us. 41 . than the knowledge of those things which I desired. had so turned out. but as one finding nothing better. and were kept quiet under a restraint of more regular discipline. I will not neglect to confess to Thee. and said nothing. with a wonderful stolidity. Or how shall we obtain salvation. that I might thereby be torn from it. Whereas at Carthage there reigns among the scholars a most disgraceful and unruly licence. and to read with him. when a student. seeing that in divers things which perplexed me. on which he also was much set (and which as rhetoric-reader I was at that time teaching young students at Carthage). nor were even admitted without his permission. upon knowledge of that man. For he was not one of those talking persons. that custom evincing them to be the more miserable. all that knew it. I did not wish therefore to go to Rome. I had settled to be content meanwhile with what I had in whatever way fallen upon. that I might change my earthly dwelling for the salvation of my soul. I was fain as a teacher to endure in others: and so I was well pleased to go where. They burst in audaciously. and to teach there rather. what I was teaching at Carthage. My zeal for the writings of Manichaeus being thus blunted. because herein also the deepest recesses of Thy wisdom. did not custom uphold them. to so many a snare of death. and such I found him. yet neither altogether treacherous to himself. in that they now do as lawful what by Thy eternal law shall never be lawful. And how I was persuaded to this. I began to engage with him in the study of that literature. must be considered and confessed. O my God. For Thy hands. he. Divers outrages they commit. unless by chance something more eligible should dawn upon me. that I heard that young men studied there more peacefully. and out of my mother’s heart’s blood. was a sacrifice offered for me unto Thee. assured me that the like was not done. But Thou. punishable by law. so renowned among them. who undertook to teach me these things. For he was not altogether ignorant of his own ignorance. and suffer incomparably worse than what they do. but my chief and almost only reason was. and at Rome didst proffer me allurements. so that they did not. For fairer is the modesty of a candid mind. either what himself desired to hear. though not right towards Thee.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE and discussed. that I should be persuaded to go to Rome.

For had I then parted hence. Thou wert hurrying me to end all desire. nor to my mother. But why I went hence. in the depth of Thy counsels and hearing the main point of her desire. who here detested real misery. both against Thee. And yet. but into fire and torments. to correct my steps. where was an Oratory in memory of the blessed Cyprian. regardest not what she then asked. there was I received by the scourge of bodily sickness. when I begged it of my mother’s piety. and she on the morrow was there. and I feigned that I had a friend whom I could not leave. such as my misdeeds deserved in the truth of Thy appointment? And this she knew not. O God. where I was. the streams of my mother’s eyes should be dried. and I was better as a boy. was she with so many tears asking of Thee. The wind blew and swelled our sails. For she loved my being with her. and escaped: for this also hast Thou mercifully forgiven me. which did not believe it. preserving me. and I was going down to hell. by men in love with a dying life. and others. With which wound had my mother’s heart been pierced. that Thou mightest make me what she ever asked. went to her wonted place.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE whereby I might be drawn thither. was there seeking unreal happiness. and the earthly part of her affection to me was chastened by the allot- BOOK V: ted scourge of sorrows. But Thou. and how true the death of His body. whither had I departed. was the death of my soul. yet in absence prayed for me. For how should He. For Thou hadst not forgiven me any of these things in Christ. Thou knewest. whilst through my desires. yet showedst it neither to me. the other promising vain. carrying all the sins which I had committed. and myself. That night I privily departed. and. And now the fever heightening. the one doing frantic. so false was the life of my soul. But I had grown up to my own shame. and I to Rome. and went thither. but she was not behind in weeping and prayer. And what. but that Thou wouldest not suffer me to sail? But Thou. from the waters of the sea. For I can- 42 . thus full of execrable defilements. and she knew not how great joy Thou wert about to work for her out of my absence. it could never be healed. for the water of Thy Grace. And lo. till he had a fair wind to sail. heardest her where she was. and with complaints and groans filled Thine ears. as I have before recited and confessed. over and above that bond of original sin. And I. And I lied to my mother. and I madly scoffed at the prescripts of Thy medicine. she betook herself again to intercede to Thee for me. therefore did she weep and wail. with sorrow seeking what in sorrow she had brought forth. everywhere present. whereby when I was cleansed. by the crucifixion of a phantasm. who wouldest not suffer me. and followed me as far as the sea. to die a double death. frantic with sorrow. didst secretly use their and my own perverseness. and by this agony there appeared in her the inheritance of Eve. though frenzied as yet in my sacrilegious heart. And yet refusing to return without me. O Lord. things. which I believed Him to be? So true. I scarcely persuaded her to stay that night in a place hard by our ship. that I should recover the health of my body. that either she might keep me back or go with me. hadst compassion upon me. She knew not. whereby we all die in Adam. But I deceived her. as that of His flesh seemed to me false. For both they who disturbed my quiet were blinded with a disgraceful frenzy. For I did not in all that danger desire Thy baptism. and they who invited me elsewhere savoured of earth. then. after accusing my treachery and hardheartedness. and withdrew the shore from our sight. and such a mother. nor had He abolished by His Cross the enmity which by my sins I had incurred with Thee. holding me by force. Who didst then disregard them. and. as mothers do. with which for me she daily watered the ground under her face. but much more than many. being such. who grievously bewailed my journey. I was parting and departing for ever. many and grievous.

not then understanding even their meaning. which the books of Manichaeus are full of. but which I was not. to become also a debtor by Thy promises. I also was clearly convinced that they thought. whom they call Academics. and with how much more vehement anguish she was now in labour of me in the spirit. twice a day. and it delighted my pride. for Thee to bestow upon him a better and more abiding health. Yea. not with their disciples only (of which number was he. but the salvation of her son’s soul? Thou. and ever praying. and wert hearing and doing. and Thou her in her prayers. at Rome. and a door of safe keeping around my lips. than at her childbearing in the flesh. even those things (with which if I should find no better. urged upon Thee. that I had rather have Thee. wherewith she begged of Thee not gold or silver. with men that work iniquity. that Thou mightest heal my soul because it had sinned against Thee: but I loved to excuse it. I see not then how she should have been healed. Thou recoveredst me then of that sickness. God of mercies. unintermitting to Thee alone? But wouldest Thou. which was with me. than myself of Thee to salvation. Thou wert at hand. in that order wherein Thou hadst determined before that it should be done. and execrable iniquity it was. For Thou. vouchsafest to those to whom Thou forgivest all of their debts. but that she might hear Thee in Thy discourses. some I have not mentioned. and healedst the son of Thy handmaid. Yet did I freely and openly discourage that host of mine from that over-confidence which I perceived him to have in those fables. I had resolved to rest contented) I now held more laxly and carelessly. as they are commonly reported. Not as yet then hadst Thou set a watch before my mouth. without any intermission. therefore. were wiser than the rest. Lord.” For I still thought “that it was not we that sin. no day intermitting the oblation at Thine altar. to make excuses of sins. in whose house I had fallen sick and recovered). I joined myself to those deceiving and deceived “holy ones”. and mine impiety had divided me against myself: and that sin was the more incurable. and when I had done any evil. and. to be overcome in me to my destruction. which she laid up in her faithful heart. But in truth it was wholly I. And even then. that my heart might not turn aside to wicked speeches. still my intimacy with that sect (Rome secretly harbouring many of them) made me slower to seek any other way: especially since I despaired of finding the 43 . whereby I did not judge myself a sinner. But now despairing to make proficiency in that false doctrine. some whereof I have. and to accuse I know not what other thing. for the time in body. for that they held men ought to doubt everything. Thee. by whose gift she was such? Never. so frequent in almsdeeds. so full of duty and service to Thy saints. For there half arose a thought in me that those philosophers. O God Almighty. despise the contrite and humbled heart of that chaste and sober widow. than with others who were not of this heresy. Couldest Thou despise and reject from Thy aid the tears of such an one. because Thy mercy endureth for ever. was I still united with their Elect. And where would have been those her so strong and unceasing prayers. coming to Thy church. not to confess I had done any. that he might live. to be free from blame.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE not express the affection she bore to me. had such a death of mine stricken through the bowels of her love. but that I know not what other nature sinned in us”. Nor did I maintain it with my ancient eagerness. Yet I lived in more familiar friendship with them. but also with BOOK V: those whom they call “The Elect. morning and evening. not for idle tattlings and old wives’ fables. as Thine own handwriting. and laid down that no truth can be comprehended by man: for so. nor any mutable or passing good. Far be it that Thou shouldest deceive her in Thy visions and answers.

I saw not. this was the greatest. at least on other sides. who wished to engraff the law of the Jews upon the Christian faith: yet themselves produced not any uncorrupted copies. panting under which after the breath of Thy truth. but only to us in private. both unbounded. if I believed of Thee. It was. Thy Only Begotten. conceiving of things corporeal only. and to be bounded by the bodily lineaments of our members. when I wished to think on my God. I thought could not be born of the Virgin Mary. Yet such was I. and first.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE truth. and our Saviour Himself. was mainly held down. Now will Thy spiritual ones mildly and lovingly smile upon me. such as I conceived it. than if on all sides I should imagine Thee to be bounded by the form of a human body. although on that one where the mass of evil was opposed to Thee. O Lord of heaven and earth. And from this pestilent beginning. out of the mass BOOK V: of Thy most lucid substance. I feared therefore to believe Him born in the flesh. being such. not easily withstood. since that was not the Catholic faith which I thought to be so. and through whom. lest I should be forced to believe Him defiled by the flesh. I found other offences committed in Rome. I had begun to be known. and that diffused in definite spaces). to gather some to my house. what the Manichees had criticised in Thy Scriptures. vehemently oppressed and in a manner suffocated by those “masses”. and almost only cause of my inevitable error. as he spoke and disputed face to face against the said Manichees. and to have its own foul and hideous bulk. from which they had turned me aside. Yea. contrary to one another. And because. For when my mind endeavoured to recur to the Catholic faith. And I seemed to myself more reverential. I could not breathe it pure and untainted. I believed to have been reached forth (as it were) for our salvation. I thought could not be defended. the other sacrilegious conceits followed on me. whether gross. as unbounded. when to. I began then diligently to practise that for which I came to Rome. For hence I believed Evil also to be some such kind of substance. And it seemed to me better to believe Thee to have created no evil (which to me ignorant seemed not some only. to whom. my God (to whom Thy mercies confess out of my mouth). I knew not what to think of. creeping through that earth. Creator of all things visible and invisible: and it seemed to me very unseemly to believe Thee to have the shape of human flesh. And because a piety. Furthermore. in Thy Church. and not defiled. yet at times verily I had a wish to confer upon these several points with some one very well skilled in those books. or thin and subtile (like the body of the air). but a bodily substance. But I. those “subvertings” by profligate young men were 44 . that the Scriptures of the New Testament had been corrupted by I know not whom. than to believe the nature of evil. the good more expansive. constrained me to believe that the good God never created any evil nature. but the evil narrower. the Manichees’ answer whereto seemed to me weak. which they called earth. And this answer they liked not to give publicly. but a mass of bodies (for what was not such did not seem to me to be anything). to teach rhetoric. so as to believe nothing of Him. without being mingled with the flesh: and how that which I had so figured to myself could be mingled. and to make trial what he thought thereon. I conceived two masses. such as it was. to which I was not exposed in Africa. for the words of one Helpidius. but what I could imagine in my vanity. could come from Thee. I was driven back. because I could not conceive of mind unless as a subtile body. True. if they shall read these my confessions. which they imagine to be some malignant mind. I was constrained to confess Thee bounded. His Nature then. had begun to stir me even at Carthage: in that he had produced things out of the Scriptures.

THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE not here practised. or flowed fuller or lower than was reported. open for man. the truth and fulness of assured good. when she returns to Thee. Of the matter.” there also entered “how truly he spake”. yet together with the words which I would choose. which fouls the hand that grasps it. Of a truth such are base persons. When therefore they of Milan had sent to Rome to the prefect of the city. but. to avoid paying their master’s stipend. than because they did things utterly unlawful. and remove to another. to furnish them with a rhetoric reader for their city. neither of us however knowing it) that Symmachus. For first. and yet was I drawing nearer by little and little. especially after I had heard one or two places of the Old Testament resolved. and so send me. To him was I unknowing led by Thee. who for love of money hold justice cheap. to Ambrose the Bishop. came also into my mind the things which I would refuse. not with that intent I ought. would try me by setting me some subject. a number of youths plot together. I was slain spiritually. For though I took no pains to learn what he spake. hugging the fleeting world. To Milan I came. though not with a perfect hatred: for perchance I hated them more because I was to suffer by them. as it were. Thee. These also my heart hated. I made application (through those very persons. intoxicated with Manichaean vanities. so as to prefer to money the learning which they acquire. to be freed wherefrom I was to go. for I could not separate them. Thy devout servant. at first indeed not as a teacher of the truth (which I BOOK V: utterly despaired of in Thy Church). And while I opened my heart to admit “how eloquently he spake. and unconsciously. however. and the sober inebriation of Thy wine. I now thought might be maintained without shamelessness. and ofttimes “in a figure. the gladness of Thy oil. as was told me: but on a sudden. -breakers of faith. in believing that no answer could be given to such as hated and scoffed at the Law and the Prophets. but of the matter I was as a careless and scornful looker-on. who could at large and with some show of reason answer objec- 45 . for which I had thought nothing could be said against the Manichees’ objections. than that of Faustus. for the one was wandering amid Manichaean delusions. but this by degrees. and filthy lucre. and despising Thee.” which when I understood literally. Who abidest. But salvation is far from sinners. but only to hear how he spake (for that empty care alone was left me. and showed me an Episcopal kindness on my coming. there was no comparison. such as I then stood before him. And I listened diligently to him preaching to the people. the other teaching salvation most soundly. That man of God received me as a father. than liked and wished them good for Thine. and most pure peace. And now I hate such depraved and crooked persons. yet in manner less winning and harmonious. that by him I might knowingly be led to Thee. loving these fleeting mockeries of things temporal. because it also could find learned maintainers. more recondite. Thenceforth I began to love him. Very many places then of those books having been explained. whose eloquent discourse did then plentifully dispense unto Thy people the flour of Thy wheat. and sent him at the public expense. and recallest. and the Catholic faith. I now blamed my despair. whether it answered the fame thereof. Yet did I not therefore then see that the Catholic way was to be held. though I love them if corrigible. trying his eloquence. and I hung on his words attentively. and I was delighted with the sweetness of his discourse. then prefect of the city. despairing of a way. and forgivest the adulteress soul of man. known to the whole world as among the best of men. said they. and they go a whoring from Thee. and to learning. these things also had now begun to appear to me capable of defence. But then I rather for my own sake misliked them evil. but as a person kind towards myself. to Thee). O God.

as still not as yet to be victorious. For the Catholic cause seemed to me in such sort not vanquished. and wavering between all. I might not continue in that sect.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE tions. BOOK V: 46 . to which I had been commended by my parents. to see if in any way I could by any certain proof convict the Manichees of falsehood. nor that what I held was therefore to be condemned. for that they were without the saving Name of Christ. that the Manichees were to be abandoned. I judged the tenets of most of the philosophers to have been much more probable. but I could not. as I more and more considered and compared things. Notwithstanding. which the senses of the flesh can reach to. to which philosophers notwithstanding. I determined therefore so long to be a Catechumen in the Catholic Church. till something certain should dawn upon me. So then after the manner of the Academics (as they are supposed) doubting of every thing. concerning the frame of this world. I utterly refused to commit the cure of my sick soul. because both sides could be maintained. and the whole of nature. and cast utterly out of my mind. Could I once have conceived a spiritual substance. Hereupon I earnestly bent my mind. to which I already preferred some of the philosophers. all their strongholds had been beaten down. whither I might steer my course. judging that. even while doubting. I settled so far.

of a sharper fit. For in perils of the sea. finds that he has blamed the Church Catholic wrongly. and Thou shouldest deliver him to his mother. But that man she loved as an angel of God. and begin to speak. and she hastened the more eagerly to the Church. wouldest one day give the rest. in all perils confiding in Thee. to be but tasted by herself. Arise. Who hadst promised the whole. and had come into the depths of the sea. how shaken in his worldly pursuits. though I had not yet attained the truth. that before she departed this life. Fountain of mercies. praying for the fountain of that water. that I myself wondered how readily she censured her own practice. she comforted the very mariners (by whom passengers unacquainted with the deep. Young man. most calmly. which for courtesy she would taste. when she had brought her basket with the accustomed festival-food. following me over sea and land. and dread of judgment. in that. O Thou. that Thou. I say unto thee. my hope from my youth. never joined therewith more than one small cup of wine. use rather to be comforted when troubled). carrying me forth upon the bier of her thoughts. But she. and bread and wine. and his value for her. that Thou mightest say to the son of the widow. But to Thee. Augustine’s gradual abandonment of error. and enlighten my darkness. yet did I walk in darkness. although she was now assured concerning that part of my misery. because Thou hadst by a vision assured her thereof. and then given away. and fowls of the air? Thou hadst made me wiser. My mother had now come to me. rather than discuss his prohibition. For wine-bibbing did not lay siege to her spirit. as at something unexpected. St. and distrusted and despaired of ever finding truth. Ambrose.” When then my mother had once.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE BOOK VI: tears desired of Thee was already in so great part realised. so soon as she knew that the Bishop had forbidden this. which springeth up unto life everlasting. she was not overjoyed. where wert Thou to me. And if there were many churches of the departed BOOK VI: Arrival of Monnica at Milan. assuring them of a safe arrival. certain cakes. resolute through piety. she so piously and obediently embraced his wishes. through which she anticipated most confidently that I should pass from sickness unto health. his inveterate sins. and was forbidden by the door-keeper. that Thou wouldest hasten Thy help. as it were. and whither wert Thou gone? Hadst not Thou created me. brought to the Churches built in memory of the Saints.” Thus much to me. who revolt at a lesson of sobriety. Augustine debates with himself and his friends about their mode of life. and in slippery places. as she was wont in Afric. and with a heart full of confidence. and hung upon the lips of Ambrose. I was rescued from falsehood. after the access. as it doth too many (both men and women). through despair of ever finding truth. Her heart then was shaken with no tumultuous exultation. her obedience to St. she should see me a Catholic believer. desire of absolute certainty. and he should revive. which physicians call “the crisis. “She believed in Christ. as being assured. nor did love of wine provoke her to hatred of the truth. and sought Thee abroad out of myself. Ambrose’s habits. and found not the God of my heart. She found me in grievous peril. as men well-drunk at a draught mingled with water. God’s guidance of his friend Alypius. for which she bewailed me as one dead. though to be reawakened by Thee. poured she forth more copious prayers and tears. when she heard that what she daily with 47 . But when I had discovered to her that I was now no longer a Manichee. because she knew that by him I had been brought for the present to that doubtful state of faith I now was in. diluted according to her own abstemious habits. though not yet a Catholic Christian. she replied to me. but struck with the contrary analogy of God’s natural providence. and separated me from the beasts of the field. but.

and his heart searched out the sense. whose weaknesses he served. but my spirit was wholly intent on learning. but his voice and tongue were at rest. so that his time being thus spent. what struggles he had against the BOOK VI: temptations which beset his very excellencies. I esteemed a happy man. I heard him indeed every Lord’s day. whom personages so great held in such honour. he was loth to be taken off. who doubted of all these things. to be used every where. what I would as I would. to be poured out to him. and what sweet joys Thy Bread had for the hidden mouth of his spirit. not pleasure. whom. where. so fervent in spirit. that Thou wouldest help me. she loved most entirely. and imagined the way to life could not be found out. so that. whereby in good works. when he saw me. had it been forbidden by another. that perhaps she would not so readily have yielded to the cutting off of this custom. certainly in such a man it was good. But yet it seems to me. and this. for my salvation. not knowing what a son she had in me. O Lord my God. But what hope he bore within him. I neither could conjecture. anniversary funeral solemnities did much resemble the superstition of the Gentiles. Ofttimes when we had come (for no man was forbidden to enter. he could not turn over so many volumes as he desired. congratulating me that I had such a mother. and he her again. then. conjecturing that in the small interval which he obtained. nor was it his wont that any who came should be announced to him). some attentive or perplexed hearer should desire him to expound it. he often burst forth into her praises. she had learned to bring to the Churches of the martyrs a breast filled with more purified petitions. she still carried round that same one cup. being shut out both from his ear and speech by multitudes of busy people. For I could not ask of him. With whom when he was not taken up (which was but a little time). although the preserving of his voice (which a very little speaking would weaken) might be the truer reason for his reading to himself. nor had experienced. for the recruiting of his mind. that so the communication of the Lord’s Body might be there rightly celebrated. when chewing the cud thereof. free from the din of others’ business. unless the thing might be answered briefly. or what comfort in adversities. though not only made very watery. Nor did he know the tides of my feelings. and perchance he dreaded lest if the author he read should deliver any thing obscurely. But when he was reading. he was either refreshing his body with the sustenance absolutely necessary. and restless to dispute. and never found it. but unpleasantly heated with carrying about. as she found this custom to be forbidden by that famous preacher and most pious prelate. rightly expounding the Word of truth 48 . or to discuss some of the harder questions. after the example of His Passion. So soon. Nor did I yet groan in my prayers. or his mind with reading. we saw him thus reading to himself. she most willingly forbare it: and for a basket filled with fruits of the earth. as the world counts happy. But those tides in me. even to those that would use it soberly. and never otherwise. I however certainly had no opportunity of enquiring what I wished of that so holy oracle of Thine. And Ambrose himself. as it were. the martyrs had been sacrificed and crowned. But with what intent soever he did it. and having long sat silent (for who durst intrude on one so intent?) we were fain to depart.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE saints that were to be honoured in that manner. for she sought there devotion. only his celibacy seemed to me a painful course. lest so an occasion of excess might be given to the drunken. his breast. or the abyss of my danger. and to give what she could to the poor. and thus thinks my heart of it in Thy sight. for her most religious conversation. and for these. she would distribute to those about her by small sips. required his full leisure. his eye glided over the pages. whom she loved not as Ambrose. she was constant at church.

whereof I knew not how to conceive. but by hanging in suspense I was the worse killed. what to hold for certain. when I reviled Thy holy ones for so thinking. which abideth always. and most near. Most High. whom I now discovered. that so the eyesight of my soul being cleared. but I desired to have other things as clear as this. and no where in space. I had pronounced on. 49 . prated of so many uncertainties. For I wished to be as assured of the things I saw not. then. how it was to be believed. as though they believed and conceived of Thee as bounded by human shape (although what a spiritual substance should be I had not even a faint or shadowy notion). yet bounded every where by the limits of a human form. or spiritual. that “man created by Thee. The letter killeth. with joy I blushed at having so many years barked not against the Catholic faith. For I kept my heart from assenting to any thing. resisting Thy hands. For Thou. whether things corporeal. the Creator of all. so was it with the health of my soul.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE among the people. And by believing might I have been cured. yet hast Thou made man after Thine own image. the more sharply gnawed my heart. but art wholly every where. according to the letter. that what I ought by enquiring to have learned. teaching herein nothing that offended me. whether it were true. after Thine own image. condemning. But as it happens that one who has tried a bad physician. but against the fictions of carnal imaginations. refused to be cured. whereas indeed they thought not so: and with joy I heard Ambrose in his sermons to the people. For so rash and impious had I been. Who hast prepared the medicines of faith. most secret. but the Spirit giveth life. For that they were falsehoods became clear to me later. in space. and lest it should believe falsehoods. So I was confounded. though he taught what I knew not as yet. some smaller. could be unravelled. I had with childish error and vehemence. except corporeally. and given unto them so great authority. and converted: and I joyed. and hast applied them to the diseases of the whole world. laying open spiritually what. as I was that seven and three are ten. not indeed as yet to teach truly. seemed to teach something unsound. I should have knocked and proposed the doubt. however great and large. might in some way be directed to Thy truth. and most present. from head to foot is he contained in space. Ignorant then how this Thy image should subsist. which were not present to my senses. whom of the Catholic Mother Thou hast born again through grace. art not of such corporeal shape. not now to be perused with that eye to which before they seemed absurd. which could not be healed but by believing. For I was not so mad as to think that even this could not be comprehended. as if believed. that so long deluded and deceived by the promise of certainties. and that I had formerly accounted them certain. I accused Thy Catholic Church. not insultingly opposed it. but at least not to teach that for which I had grievously censured her. which those our deceivers had knit against the Divine Books. whilst he drew aside the mystic veil. had no taste for infantine conceits. However I was certain that they were uncertain. fearing to fall headlong. Who hast not limbs some larger. yet. O my God.” was not so understood by Thy spiritual sons. that the One Only Church. when with a blind contentiousness. nor in her sound doctrine maintained any tenet which should confine Thee. Doubt. oftentimes most diligently recommend this text for a rule. I joyed also that the old Scriptures of the law and the Prophets were laid before me. and I was more and more convinced that all the knots of those crafty calumnies. and in no part faileth. the body of Thine Only Son (wherein the name of Christ had been BOOK VI: put upon me as an infant). and behold. the more ashamed I was. fears to trust himself with a good one. But when I understood withal.

and Thou didst guide me. whereas among the Manichees our credulity was mocked by a promise of certain knowledge. and “That the government of human things belongs to Thee. Then Thou. and without whom all things would be nothing. while it lay open to all to read. it might be converted unto Thee. who should say to me. How mis- 50 . lastly. sounding strangely in the Scripture. which was not Thou. nor was present while they were done. and thou deridedst me. and Thou wert with me. Let my soul cleave unto Thee. had I not believed upon hearsay -considering all this. who art above all. were to be blamed. having heard divers of them expounded satisfactorily. that forsaking all else. which I saw not. which unless we should believe. since no contentiousness of blasphemous questionings. How wretched was it! and Thou didst irritate the feeling of its wound. touching and composing my heart. O Lord. because they could not be demonstrated. and Thou didst not forsake me. and more worthy of religious credence. though I was ignorant. thereby sought. Thou didst persuade me. with how unshaken an assurance I believed of what parents I was born. “How knowest thou those Scriptures to have been imparted unto mankind by the Spirit of the one true and most true God?” For this very thing was of all most to be believed.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Being led. however. or could not at all be). yet many more than if it stood not aloft on such a height of authority. who wouldest I should remember all this. For now what things. were wont to offend me. more weakly otherwhiles. Since then we were too weak by abstract reasonings to find out truth: and for this very cause needed the authority of Holy Writ.considering what innumerable things I believed. the less Thou sufferedst aught to grow sweet to me. and hadst a care BOOK VI: of us. so many continually of other men. stooping to all in the great plainness of its words and lowliness of its style. so many of physicians. I sighed. could wring this belief from me. Behold my heart. in that she required to be believed things not demonstrated (whether it was that they could in themselves be demonstrated but not to certain persons. but they who believed them not. in that. it reserved the majesty of its mysteries within its profounder meaning. I wavered. “That Thou art” whatsoever Thou wert (what I knew not). I panted after honours. little by little with most tender and most merciful hand. and then so many most fabulous and absurd things were imposed to be believed. now that Thou hast freed it from that fast-holding birdlime of death. be converted. I wandered through the broad way of the world. as so many things in secular history. that not they who believed Thy Books (which Thou hast established in so great authority among almost all nations). of all that multitude which I had read in the self-contradicting philosophers. so many of friends. didst persuade me. These things I thought on. marriage. that so it might receive all in its open bosom.” This I believed. and its authority appeared to me the more venerable. yet calling forth the intensest application of such as are not light of heart. and confess to Thee. hadst Thou not willed thereby to be believed in. we should do nothing at all in this life. and through narrow passages waft over towards Thee some few. so many reports of places and of cities. both what was to be thought of Thy substance. yet I ever believed both that Thou wert. and be healed. which I had not seen. I referred to the depth of the mysteries. and that they were not to be heard. O Lord. gains. and Thou heardest me. nor drew multitudes within its bosom by its holy lowliness. and what way led or led back to Thee. which I could not know. from this to prefer the Catholic doctrine. In these desires I underwent most bitter crosses. Thou being the more gracious. I had now begun to believe that Thou wouldest never have given such excellency of authority to that Writ in all lands. I felt that her proceeding was more unassuming and honest. sometimes more strongly.

But should any ask me. Wherefore also Thou didst break my bones with the staff of Thy correction. For he verily had not the true joy. seeing I had no joy therein. but out of wrong judgment. Thou desiredst to joy in glory. and boiling with the feverishness of consuming thoughts. for his great towardliness to virtue. under the goading of desire. That beggar-man joyed in drunkenness. For what he had obtained by means of a few begged pence. of whom Alypius was born in the same town with me. joking and joyous: and I sighed. and afterwards at Carthage. by fair wishes. knowest. I suppose. Away with those then from my soul who say to her. and I. we yet looked to arrive only at that very joyousness whither that beggar-man had arrived before us. I. He that very night should digest his drunkenness. then. Lord? That which is not in Thee. because more learned than he. for. and how didst Thou deal with me.” What glory. For he had studied under me. but chiefly and most familiarly did I speak thereof with Alypius and Nebridius. by lying. which was eminent enough in one of no greater years. and grieved. by reason of some unkindness risen betwixt his father and me. I observed a poor beggar. and learned. for almost before I could grasp it. he void of care. and. and so was he then beyond me: for he verily was the happier.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE erable was I then. but younger than I. But “it doth make a difference whence a man’s joy is. For. of persons of chief rank there. and he loved me much. and the joy of a faithful hope lieth incomparably beyond such vanity. when I was preparing to recite a panegyric of the Emperor. but yet I with those my ambitious designs was seeking one much less true. But while he was miserably tossed therein. and was deeply grieved that he seemed likely. I had found then how deadly he doted upon the Circus. I full of fears. or had thrown away so great promise: yet had I no means of advising or with a sort of constraint reclaiming him. it flew away. For I supposed 51 . and spoke to the friends around me. These things we. for that by all such efforts of ours. Yea. with a full belly. was to be applauded by those who knew I lied. how many days. For even as his was no true joy. and doubled that very ill. was it the truth? For I ought not to prefer myself to him. to make me feel my misery on that day. and was to sleep again. of the many sorrows of our frenzies. and if any prosperity smiled on me. both when I first lectured in our town. was seeking for empty. as those wherein I then toiled dragging along. the same was I plotting for by many a toilsome turning and winding. so was BOOK VI: that no true glory: and it overthrew my soul more. I disembowelled with cares: but he. because I seemed to him kind. Again. had a public school. augmenting it. and that not to instruct. and lying. had I rather be merry or fearful? I would answer merry. but simply to please. Thou. swelling praise. nay. as yet he used not my teaching. I anxious. by dragging. professing rhetoric there. but I had slept and risen again with mine. bemoaned together. wherein I was to utter many a lie. passing through one of the streets of Milan. Yet the whirlpool of Carthaginian habits (amongst whom those idle spectacles are hotly followed) had drawn him into the madness of the Circus. who should never perchance attain it. and my heart was panting with these anxieties. or what I then was? I should choose to be myself. and I him. the joy of a temporary felicity. Much to this purpose said I then to my friends: and I often marked in them how it fared with me.” I know it. not only for that he was thoroughly drenched in mirth. God. if he asked had I rather be such as he was. or the authority of a master. the burthen of my own wretchedness. who were living as friends together. but sought to please men by it. though worn with cares and fears. and again to rise with it. “It makes a difference whence a man’s joy is. either by the kindness of a friend. And certainly he was joyous. I was loth to catch at it. and I found it went ill with me. had gotten wine.

vehemently refusing and resisting. hearing this. and was stricken with a deeper wound in his soul than the other. and was blinded with its wretched pastimes. and loving me more fervently. and there set me. that right-minded youth took as a ground of being offended at himself. a likeness from the Circensian races occurred to me. He gave way.” They. Thou knowest that I then thought not of curing Alypius of that infection. he was one day by chance met by divers of his acquaintance and fellow-students coming from dinner.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE that he thought of me as did his father. with my scholars before me. he opened his eyes. and would he had stopped his ears also! For in the fight. For Thou hadst said it long ago. I had by chance a passage in hand. 52 . He. that he should not. But Thou. loving in the Manichees that show of continency which he supposed true and unfeigned. ensnaring precious souls. he entered. unable as yet to reach the depth of virtue. and had taken their places as they could. in that order which Thyself knowest (and that order is just). And Alypius beginning to be my hearer again. he thus protesting: “Though you hale my body to that place. during these cruel and deadly shows. desirous perchance to try that very thing. and that his amendment might plainly be attributed to Thyself. and he shook his mind with a strong self-command. whether he could do as he said. When they were come thither. unknowingly. sat down. thus languishing. Priest and Dispenser of Thy Sacrament. even when seen. But he. which confess unto Thee out of my inmost soul. as likely to make what I would convey pleasanter and plainer. but he was not such. Rebuke a wise man and he will love Thee. overcome by curiosity. into the Amphitheatre. he began to greet me. and applied his mind to what I then handled. come sometimes into my lecture room. But I had not rebuked him. but Thou. knowing or not knowing. who guidest the course of all Thou hast created. who employest all. didst of my heart and tongue make burning coals. not forsaking that secular course which his parents had charmed him to pursue. and so cure it. And whence another would have taken occasion of offence with me. and there he was carried away incredibly with an incredible eagerness after the shows of gladiators. seasoned with biting mockery of those whom that madness had enthralled. and so shall overcome both you and them. which while I was explaining. undo so good a wit. For he upon that speech burst out of that pit so deep. I however had forgotten to deal with him. can you force me also to turn my mind or my eyes to those shows? I shall then be absent while present. hear a little. Whereas it was a senseless and seducing continency. who considers not Thy mercies. Upon this. yet readily beguiled with the surface of what was but a shadowy and counterfeit virtue. and put it into Thy book. and as if prepared to despise and be superior to it whatsoever it were. who was one day to be among Thy children. laying aside then his father’s mind in that matter. and be gone. hadst not forgotten him. led him on nevertheless. But he took it wholly to himself. God. and thought that I said it simply for his sake. closing the passage of his eyes. by which to set on fire the hopeful mind. O Lord. he prevailed with his unwilling father that he might be my scholar. whereupon all the BOOK VI: filths of the Circensian pastimes flew off from him. the whole place kindled with that savage pastime. to study law. greeted me. nor came he again thither. For being utterly averse to and detesting spectacles. was involved in the same superstition with me. had gone before me to Rome. forbade his mind to range abroad after such evil. when one fell. through a blind and headlong desire of vain pastimes. Thou effectedst it through me. and they with a familiar violence haled him. Let him be silent in Thy praises. wherein he was wilfully plunged. a mighty cry of the whole people striking him strongly. and gave in. For as one day I sat in my accustomed place.

he therewith drunk down savageness.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE whom he desired to behold. kindled. unawares. and enquiring the occasion of so great a calamity. yea and to draw in others. took him aside by the hand. But this was after. however. should already begin to learn that in judging of causes. yea. and the weaker. got in. I deem. For so soon as he saw that blood. They seize him. wondering and considering it. to disclose the whole. was a boy so young as to be likely. a young man. and so he was being led away to be taken before the judge.” quoth he presently: and being further questioned. But thus far was Alypius to be instructed. who had not seen him enter. hearing their voices. as though to show him at last by whom these thefts were committed. didst Thou. Alypius now. O Lord. fearing to be taken with it. Yet thence didst Thou with a most strong and most merciful hand pluck him. For no other cause. the noise whereof had startled and brought them thither. in that it had presumed on itself. shouted. but fixed his eye. a lawyer. with his note-book and pen. he discovered every thing. Why say more? He beheld. who had the chief charge of the public buildings. was aware of his going. but one of the throng he came unto. the real thief. those that had been sent. and was thinking over at mid-day in the marketplace what he was to say by heart (as scholars use to practise). not apprehending any harm to his master. drinking in frenzy. suffer it. And being desirous to know the matter. the silversmiths beneath began to make a BOOK VI: stir. Thou succouredst his innocency. he was standing. But this was already being laid up in his memory to be a medicine hereafter. whereof Thou alone wert witness. and began to cut away the lead. when behold. which ought to have relied on Thee. a certain architect met them. find him alone with the hatchet in his hand. and recognising him immediately. but in Thee. man was not readily to be condemned by man out of a rash credulity. hale him away. privily bringing a hatchet. bold rather than resolute. Thus the crime being transferred to that 53 . Glad they were to meet him especially. ran away. Thou sufferedst him to be apprehended by the officers of the market-place for a thief. by whom they were wont to be suspected of stealing the goods lost out of the marketplace. asked him “Whose that was?” “Ours. and taughtest him to have confidence not in himself. and sent to apprehend whomever they should find. For as he was walking up and down by himself before the judgment-seat. and he fell more miserably than he upon whose fall that mighty noise was raised. So they came to the house of the young man who had done the deed. had divers times seen Alypius at a certain senator’s house. amid much uproar and threats. unperceived by Alypius. heard the whole matter. He. where finding the hatchet. Whom so soon as Alypius remembered. to make way for the striking and beating down of a soul. he told the architect: and he showing the hatchet to the boy. leaving his hatchet. to go with him. For he had attended his master to the market-place. was in his body. which entered through his ears. So was that also. but that he who was hereafter to prove so great a man. and was delighted with that guilty fight. carried thence with him the madness which should goad him to return not only with them who first drew him thither. before the door. that when he was yet studying under me at Carthage. lo. our God. and intoxicated with the bloody pastime. a true associate of theirs that brought him thither. but also before them. to whom he often went to pay his respects. nor turned away. But he. boast of having taken a notorious thief. and saw with what speed he made away. For forthwith. as far as the leaden gratings which fence in the silversmiths’ shops. and gathering the dwellers in the market-place together. and bade all present. There. Nor was he now the man he came. For as he was being led either to prison or to punishment. entered the place. But the noise of the hatchet being heard. and unlocked his eyes.

viewing and reviewing things. Nor can that any how be void. settling when I had found her. and an examiner of many causes in Thy Church. but put the matter off upon Alypius. more to please his parents than himself. wherein I had begun to kindle with the desire of wisdom. There was at that time a very powerful senator. which proceeded out of the mouth of Thy Truth: If ye have not BOOK VI: been faithful in the unrighteous Mammon. ye Academicians. He would needs. but consulting justice. and the multitude ashamed.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE house. And in all the bitterness which by Thy mercy followed our worldly affairs. which passed away and wasted my soul. have a thing allowed him which by the laws was unallowed. His character was tried besides. to whose favours many stood indebted. I was now in my thirtieth year. and might practise something of the law he had studied. How long shall these things be? This too we often said. alleging that he would not allow him to do it: for in truth had the judge done it. is faithful also in much. as we looked towards the end. most wondered at the length of time from that my nineteenth year. yet did not openly refuse. leaving his excellent family-estate and house. not only with the bait of covetousness. Nebridius also. Faustus the Manichee will come. and a most acute examiner of the most difficult questions. that no certainty can be attained for the 54 . darkness met us. There he had thrice sat as Assessor. With this one thing in the way of learning was he well-nigh seduced. nor feared the enmity of one so great and so mightily renowned for innumerable means of doing good or evil. had come to Milan. Alypius would have decided otherwise. both that he might not leave me. Thus were there the mouths of three indigent persons. it will appear manifestly and I shall grasp it. many much feared. with an uncorruptness much wondered at by others. we might embrace. sighing out their wants one to another. who shall give you that which is your own? He being such. like me he wavered. At Rome he was Assessor to the count of the Italian Treasury. “Tomorrow I shall find it. and clear every thing! O you great men. whose councillor Alypius was. and with me wavered in purpose. esteeming equity whereby he was hindered more gainful than the power whereby he were allowed. did at that time cleave to me. sticking in the same mire. which these forsaken. And lo. And I. he wondering at others rather who could prefer gold to honesty. to. who will commit to your trust true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s. who having left his native country near Carthage. And the very judge. and went with me to Milan. went away better experienced and instructed. and we turned away groaning. where he had much lived. Him then I had found at Rome. why we should suffer all this. and a mother behind. with all his heart he scorned it: threats were held out. and waiting upon Thee that Thou mightest give them their meat in due season. who was not to follow him. and so saying forsook them not. and he clave to me by a most strong tie. although also unwilling it should be. he who was to be a dispenser of Thy Word. yea and Carthage itself. by his usual power. for as yet there dawned nothing certain. but with the goad of fear. but he that is faithful in little. while I said to myself. it is true then. to abandon all the empty hopes and lying frenzies of vain desires. These are slight things. he trampled upon them: all wondering at so unwonted a spirit. for no other reason but that with me he might live in a most ardent search after truth and wisdom. he altered his deliberation for the better. Like me he sighed. which neither desired the friendship. Alypius resisted it: a bribe was promised. that he might have books copied for him at Praetorian prices. greedy of enjoying things present. which had begun to insult over Alypius. and saying. what course of life was to be taken. an ardent searcher after true life.

THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE ordering of life! Nay, let us search the more diligently, and despair not. Lo, things in the ecclesiastical books are not absurd to us now, which sometimes seemed absurd, and may be otherwise taken, and in a good sense. I will take my stand, where, as a child, my parents placed me, until the clear truth be found out. But where shall it be sought or when? Ambrose has no leisure; we have no leisure to read; where shall we find even the books? Whence, or when procure them? from whom borrow them? Let set times be appointed, and certain hours be ordered for the health of our soul. Great hope has dawned; the Catholic Faith teaches not what we thought, and vainly accused it of; her instructed members hold it profane to believe God to be bounded by the figure of a human body: and do we doubt to ‘knock,’ that the rest ‘may be opened’? The forenoons our scholars take up; what do we during the rest? Why not this? But when then pay we court to our great friends, whose favour we need? When compose what we may sell to scholars? When refresh ourselves, unbending our minds from this intenseness of care? “Perish every thing, dismiss we these empty vanities, and betake ourselves to the one search for truth! Life is vain, death uncertain; if it steals upon us on a sudden, in what state shall we depart hence? and where shall we learn what here we have neglected? and shall we not rather suffer the punishment of this negligence? What, if death itself cut off and end all care and feeling? Then must this be ascertained. But God forbid this! It is no vain and empty thing, that the excellent dignity of the authority of the Christian Faith hath overspread the whole world. Never would such and so great things be by God wrought for us, if with the death of the body the life of the soul came to an end. Wherefore delay then to abandon worldly hopes, and give ourselves wholly to seek after God and the blessed life? But wait! Even those things are pleasant; they have some, and no small sweetness. We

BOOK VI: must not lightly abandon them, for it were a shame to return again to them. See, it is no great matter now to obtain some station, and then what should we more wish for? We have store of powerful friends; if nothing else offer, and we be in much haste, at least a presidentship may be given us: and a wife with some money, that she increase not our charges: and this shall be the bound of desire. Many great men, and most worthy of imitation, have given themselves to the study of wisdom in the state of marriage. While I went over these things, and these winds shifted and drove my heart this way and that, time passed on, but I delayed to turn to the Lord; and from day to day deferred to live in Thee, and deferred not daily to die in myself. Loving a happy life, I feared it in its own abode, and sought it, by fleeing from it. I thought I should be too miserable, unless folded in female arms; and of the medicine of Thy mercy to cure that infirmity I thought not, not having tried it. As for continency, I supposed it to be in our own power (though in myself I did not find that power), being so foolish as not to know what is written, None can be continent unless Thou give it; and that Thou wouldest give it, if with inward groanings I did knock at Thine ears, and with a settled faith did cast my care on Thee. Alypius indeed kept me from marrying; alleging that so could we by no means with undistracted leisure live together in the love of wisdom, as we had long desired. For himself was even then most pure in this point, so that it was wonderful; and that the more, since in the outset of his youth he had entered into that course, but had not stuck fast therein; rather had he felt remorse and revolting at it, living thenceforth until now most continently. But I opposed him with the examples of those who as married men had cherished wisdom, and served God acceptably, and retained their friends, and loved them faithfully. Of whose greatness of spirit I


THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE was far short; and bound with the disease of the flesh, and its deadly sweetness, drew along my chain, dreading to be loosed, and as if my wound had been fretted, put back his good persuasions, as it were the hand of one that would unchain me. Moreover, by me did the serpent speak unto Alypius himself, by my tongue weaving and laying in his path pleasurable snares, wherein his virtuous and free feet might be entangled. For when he wondered that I, whom he esteemed not slightly, should stick so fast in the birdlime of that pleasure, as to protest (so oft as we discussed it) that I could never lead a single life; and urged in my defence when I saw him wonder, that there was great difference between his momentary and scarce-remembered knowledge of that life, which so he might easily despise, and my continued acquaintance whereto if the honourable name of marriage were added, he ought not to wonder why I could not contemn that course; he began also to desire to be married; not as overcome with desire of such pleasure, but out of curiosity. For he would fain know, he said, what that should be, without which my life, to him so pleasing, would to me seem not life but a punishment. For his mind, free from that chain, was amazed at my thraldom; and through that amazement was going on to a desire of trying it, thence to the trial itself, and thence perhaps to sink into that bondage whereat he wondered, seeing he was willing to make a covenant with death; and he that loves danger, shall fall into it. For whatever honour there be in the office of well-ordering a married life, and a family, moved us but slightly. But me for the most part the habit of satisfying an insatiable appetite tormented, while it held me captive; him, an admiring wonder was leading captive. So were we, until Thou, O Most High, not forsaking our dust, commiserating us miserable, didst come to our help, by wondrous and secret ways.

BOOK VI: Continual effort was made to have me married. I wooed, I was promised, chiefly through my mother’s pains, that so once married, the health-giving baptism might cleanse me, towards which she rejoiced that I was being daily fitted, and observed that her prayers, and Thy promises, were being fulfilled in my faith. At which time verily, both at my request and her own longing, with strong cries of heart she daily begged of Thee, that Thou wouldest by a vision discover unto her something concerning my future marriage; Thou never wouldest. She saw indeed certain vain and fantastic things, such as the energy of the human spirit, busied thereon, brought together; and these she told me of, not with that confidence she was wont, when Thou showedst her any thing, but slighting them. For she could, she said, through a certain feeling, which in words she could not express, discern betwixt Thy revelations, and the dreams of her own soul. Yet the matter was pressed on, and a maiden asked in marriage, two years under the fit age; and, as pleasing, was waited for. And many of us friends conferring about, and detesting the turbulent turmoils of human life, had debated and now almost resolved on living apart from business and the bustle of men; and this was to be thus obtained; we were to bring whatever we might severally procure, and make one household of all; so that through the truth of our friendship nothing should belong especially to any; but the whole thus derived from all, should as a whole belong to each, and all to all. We thought there might be some often persons in this society; some of whom were very rich, especially Romanianus our townsman, from childhood a very familiar friend of mine, whom the grievous perplexities of his affairs had brought up to court; who was the most earnest for this project; and therein was his voice of great weight, because his ample estate far exceeded any of the rest. We had settled also that two annual officers, as it were, should provide all things necessary, the rest


THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE being undisturbed. But when we began to consider whether the wives, which some of us already had, others hoped to have, would allow this, all that plan, which was being so well moulded, fell to pieces in our hands, was utterly dashed and cast aside. Thence we betook us to sighs, and groans, and our steps to follow the broad and beaten ways of the world; for many thoughts were in our heart, but Thy counsel standeth for ever. Out of which counsel Thou didst deride ours, and preparedst Thine own; purposing to give us meat in due season, and to fill our souls with blessing. Meanwhile my sins were being multiplied, and my concubine being torn from my side as a hindrance to my marriage, my heart which clave unto her was torn and wounded and bleeding. And she returned to Afric, vowing unto Thee never to know any other man, leaving with me my son by her. But unhappy I, who could not imitate a very woman, impatient of delay, inasmuch as not till after two years was I to obtain her I sought not being so much a lover of marriage as a slave to lust, procured another, though no wife, that so by the servitude of an enduring custom, the disease of my soul might be kept up and carried on in its vigour, or even augmented, into the dominion of marriage. Nor was that my wound cured, which had been made by the cutting away of the former, but after inflammation and most acute pain, it mortified, and my pains became less acute, but more desperate. To Thee be praise, glory to Thee, Fountain of mercies. I was becoming more miserable, and Thou nearer. Thy right hand was continually ready to pluck me out of the mire, and to wash me thoroughly, and I knew it not; nor did anything call me back from a yet deeper gulf of carnal pleasures, but the fear of death, and of Thy judgment to come; which amid all my changes, never departed from my breast. And in my disputes with my friends

BOOK VI: Alypius and Nebridius of the nature of good and evil, I held that Epicurus had in my mind won the palm, had I not believed that after death there remained a life for the soul, and places of requital according to men’s deserts, which Epicurus would not believe. And I asked, “were we immortal, and to live in perpetual bodily pleasure, without fear of losing it, why should we not be happy, or what else should we seek?” not knowing that great misery was involved in this very thing, that, being thus sunk and blinded, I could not discern that light of excellence and beauty, to be embraced for its own sake, which the eye of flesh cannot see, and is seen by the inner man. Nor did I, unhappy, consider from what source it sprung, that even on these things, foul as they were, I with pleasure discoursed with my friends, nor could I, even according to the notions I then had of happiness, be happy without friends, amid what abundance soever of carnal pleasures. And yet these friends I loved for themselves only, and I felt that I was beloved of them again for myself only. O crooked paths! Woe to the audacious soul, which hoped, by forsaking Thee, to gain some better thing! Turned it hath, and turned again, upon back, sides, and belly, yet all was painful; and Thou alone rest. And behold, Thou art at hand, and deliverest us from our wretched wanderings, and placest us in Thy way, and dost comfort us, and say, “Run; I will carry you; yea I will bring you through; there also will I carry you.”


which I preferred before the corruptible. by a secret inspiration. but cannot altogether embrace the doctrine of the Church. nor swelled out. and was sure. being scarce put off. gradually extricated from his errors. not even a void. since I began to hear aught of wisdom. nor clear even to myself. as if a body were taken out of its place. deprived of this space. in the twinkling of an eye they gathered again thick about me. nor condensed. a man. Because whatsoever I conceived. and injurable. For over such forms as my eyes are wont to range.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE BOOK VII: under the form of the human body. sought to conceive of Thee the sovereign. pervious to Thee. not by bursting or by cutting. But what else to conceive of Thee I knew not. and I was passing into early manhood. O God. but by filling it wholly: so I thought the body not of heaven. that that which may be corrupted must be inferior to that which cannot. penetrating it. and yet it could not have formed them. through infinite spaces on every side penetrating the whole mass of the universe. only as unable to conceive aught else. and unchangeable. all things have Thee. the greatest as the smallest. all his doubts removed by the study of Holy Scripture. remains estranged from Him. is led to find in the Platonists the seeds of the Doctrine of the Divinity of the WORD. directing all things which Thou hast created. uninjurable. and they be bounded in Thee. yea altogether nothing. especially St. but such as is wont to be seen with these eyes. or did not or could not receive some of these dimensions. I then being thus gross-hearted. and uninjurable. and changeable) as being in space. but. so that though not 58 . and the place should remain empty of any body at all. Paul. the unchangeable to things subject to change. So I guessed. and unchangeable. and sea only. So also did I endeavour to conceive of Thee. and Thou bounded nowhere. hence he obtains clearer notions of God’s majesty. and such a man. because though not knowing whence or how. rejects the Manichaean heresy. as vast. not knowing Christ to be the Mediator. Life of my life. and beclouded it. and rejoiced to have found the same in the faith of our spiritual mother. only. For that as the body of this air which is above the earth. so that the earth should have Thee. whatsoever was not extended over certain spaces. I thought to be altogether nothing. what could not be injured I preferred unhesitatingly to what could receive injury. and beyond it. And I. For thus should a greater part of the earth BOOK VII: Augustine’s thirty-first year. so that in all its parts. every way. I always avoided this. air and heaven. yet was I constrained to conceive of Thee (that incorruptible. yet would it remain a void place. the heaven have Thee. had not itself been some great thing. but not of His humiliation. who could not imagine any substance. and with this one blow I sought to beat away from the eye of my mind all that unclean troop which buzzed around it. nor diffused. hindereth not the light of the sun from passing through it. and I did in my inmost soul believe that Thou wert incorruptible. it should admit Thy presence. within and without. flew against my face. the more defiled by vain things as I grew in years. was not of this sort. And to. but still with material conceptions of God. seemed to me nothing. yet I saw plainly. My heart passionately cried out against all my phantoms. but of the earth too. much aided by an argument of Nebridius. recovered from the belief in Astrology. Deceased was now that my evil and abominable youth. sees that the cause of sin lies in free-will. whereby I formed those very images. did my heart then range: nor yet did I see that this same notion of the mind. of earth and water. Thy Catholic Church. as it were a spacious nothing. or diffused infinitely without it. for it was false. true God. through unmeasurable boundless spaces. but miserably perplexed about the origin of evil. I thought not of Thee. whether infused into the world. under the figure of a human body. air.

But this raised me a little into Thy light. large to the large. thus thinking and speaking of Thee. and that this offspring of Thy Substance was the soul. wert undefilable and unalterable. should he mingled with opposed powers.” This argument then of Nebridius sufficed against BOOK VII: those who deserved wholly to be vomited out of the overcharged stomach. Thy Word. or offspring of Thy very Substance. and endeavouring often. I speedily confessed myself to be not unjustly punished. without horrible blasphemy of heart and tongue. and natures not created by Thee. but my punishment. that through enquiring the origin of evil. should they affirm Thee. I was most sure that no other than myself did will and nill: and I all but saw that there was the cause of my sin. that I knew as well that I had a will. lest I should become that evil I was seeking out. I perceived it was in such wise to be sought out. corrupted. they were filled with evil. for they had no escape. at which all we that heard it were staggered: “That said nation of darkness. that the body of an elephant should contain more of Thee. and not only our souls and bodies.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE contain a greater portion of Thee.’ then shouldest Thou be subject to injury and corruption: but if could do Thee no hurt. as that I lived: when then I did will or nill any thing. petty to the petty. But such art not Thou. as should not constrain me to believe the immutable God to be mutable. and whole. I saw that I suffered rather than did. But I also as yet. and in no degree mutable. in fragments. clearly and without difficulty. hadst Thou refused to fight with it? For. but goodness itself? Whence then came I to will evil and nill good. which the Manichees are wont to set as an opposing mass over against Thee. while we were yet at Carthage. certain of the untruth of what these held. It was enough for me. if they answered. from whom I shrunk with my whole heart: for I saw. whatsoever Thou art. which being enthralled. to be incorruptible. however. But I was not able clearly to discern it. and a less. And I strained to perceive what I now heard. whereby it might be extricated and purified. But what I did against my will. So then endeavouring to draw my soul’s vision out of that deep pit. that Word itself being still corruptible because it was of one and the same Substance. might relieve. and I judged not to be my fault.’ then was no reason brought for Thy fighting with it. although I held and was firmly persuaded that Thou our Lord the true God. and thus shouldest Thou make the several portions of Thyself present unto the several portions of the world. So then. a lesser: and all things should in such sort be full of Thee. yet understood I not. then were all these sayings false and execrable. And yet whatever it were. what could it have done unto Thee. to oppose to those deceived deceivers. But not as yet hadst Thou enlightened my darkness. I sought it out then. But again I said. whereby. in that they preferred to think that Thy substance did suffer ill than their own did commit it. and takes up more room. and Thy just judgment of our suffering ill. as to be turned from happiness into misery. but all beings. I was again plunged therein. and need assistance. and dumb praters. thus far free from anxiety. so that I am thus justly punished? who set this in 59 . pure. as that a certain portion or member of Thee. that is. and fighting in such wise. that free-will was the cause of our doing ill. by how much larger it is. and all things. Lord. the cause of evil. that was enough which long ago. since Thy word sounded not out of them. Who is not only good. the very statement showed it to be false and revolting. I was plunged back as often. Nebridius used to propound. defiled. holding Thee to be just. free. but our bodies. Thy Substance whereby Thou art. Who made me? Did not my God. ‘it would have done Thee some hurt. and be by them so far corrupted and changed to the worse. than that of a sparrow. but if corruptible. who madest not only our souls.

and whence. what myself had feigned for spirits. O Lord. yet every way finite. Who knowest all things? Nor is there any nature in things. and all the spiritual inhabitants thereof. yet not brought down to that hell of error (where no man confesseth unto Thee). who art the sovereign and the best good. Therefore either is that evil which we fear. whatsoever Thou wert. still both Creator and created. and see how He environeth and fulfils them. I set now before the sight of my spirit the whole creation. and God is good. “why that substance which God is should not be corruptible. in all its parts. whence corruption comes. though every way infinite: as if there were a sea. to think rather that Thou dost suffer ill. came in him that evil will whereby he became a devil. But these very beings. did my fancy dispose in place. the Good. air. seeing I was wholly formed by my most sweet God? If the devil were the author. but Thou knowest it. was there some evil matter of which He made. and whatever in it we do not see. Where is evil then. whence. For the will and power of God is God Himself. I could in thought have arrived at something better than my God. created them good. that sponge must needs. mortal creatures).” seeing if it were so. but to be corrupted is not good. wert Thou not incorruptible. and on every side. stars. but bounded. since Thy will is not greater than Thy power. and so much a greater evil. by no unlooked-for chance: because He is God. and how crept it in hither? What is its root. some.” and sought in an evil way. by no will. seeing the whole nature of angels was made by that most good Creator? By these thoughts I was again sunk down and choked. and Himself is that good. and I made one great mass of Thy creation. that is. I confessed to be incorruptible. that we fear. And what can be unlooked-for by Thee. through unmeasured space. not as it was (which I could not know). hath created all these things good. yea. than that man doth it. but as I thought convenient. Where then I saw the incorruptible to be preferable to the corruptible. and I said. as the firmament of heaven. the Good. nor shall be. then is that very fear evil. whereby the soul is thus idly goaded and racked. For corruption does no ways impair our God. But since most truly and certainly. distinguished as to the kinds of bodies. whence is that same devil? And if he also by his own perverse will. then. by which Thy substance can by no means be impaired. And what should we more say. and formed. and ingrated into me this plant of bitterness. and saw not the evil in my very search. were Thyself greater than Thyself. one only boundless sea. itself finite. and ordered it. real bodies. the greater and chiefest Good. of a good angel became a devil. some. able to conceive any thing which may be better than Thou. And this mass I made huge. hath created these lesser goods. the incorruptible is preferable to the corruptible (as I did now prefer it). trees. and what He wills is good. there ought I to seek for Thee. I imagined on every part environing and penetrating it. Whence is evil? Or. or else evil is. full of Thee. For never soul was. huge. as though they were bodies. Whence is it then? seeing God. For I was in such wise striving to find out the rest. every where. and it contained within it some sponge. Nor art Thou against Thy will constrained to any thing. the Infinite. and yet do fear. as one who had already found that the incorruptible must needs be better than the corruptible: and Thee therefore. whatsoever we can see therein (as sea. Yea. and behold what God hath created. yet left something in it which He did not convert into good? Why so then? Had He no 60 . as we have nothing to fear. all angels moreover. But greater should it be. yea.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE me. be filled from that unmeasurable sea: so conceived I Thy creation. again. all are good. and what its seed? Or hath it no being? Why then fear we and avoid what is not? Or if we fear it idly. by no necessity. But Thee. most mightily and incomparably better than all these: but yet He. earth. it should not be God? BOOK VII: And I sought “whence is evil. Behold God. and there observe “wherein evil itself was”. He indeed.

He might form good matter. and the BOOK VII: latter often (though with some doubtfulness) saying. and had a friend as earnest in them as himself. could it then be against His will? Or if it were from eternity. a young man of admirable talents. that this evil matter should not be. did not altogether refuse to conjecture. so that no evil should remain in it. unawares to them who spake it. but added. and the other for his servant. and fluctuating from the rule of doctrine. and well taught in Rhetoric. a woman-servant of that friend of his father’s was also with child.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE might to turn and change the whole. seeing He is All-mighty? Lastly. firmly fixed in my heart. nay. and not rather by the same All-mightiness cause it not to be at all? Or. confess unto Thee for this also. nor yet well skilled in those arts. no negligent consulter of the astrologers. in many points. These thoughts I revolved in my miserable heart. if He might not create something good without the aid of that matter which Himself had not created. whereof to create all things. And so it was that (the one for his wife. with the most careful observation. and infinite Good. consulted me. this rather should the All-mighty have effected. then. the first vehemently affirming. according to his socalled constellations. through their oft speaking. the lesser divisions of the hours) both were delivered at the same instant. our Lord and Saviour. the whole. but that men’s conjectures were a sort of lottery. sovereign. He said then that he had heard of his father. O my God. that I was now almost persuaded that these were but empty and ridiculous follies. so that they would observe the moments whereat the very dumb animals. who stumbled upon it.” Thou providedst then a friend for me. some actually did. and yet knowing something. as one very dear to him. which bred about their houses. Let Thine own mercies. and tell him what came into my unresolved mind. which how far it went to overthrow the estimation of that art. who had herein now begun to incline towards Nebridius’ opinion. true. For He should not be All-mighty. indeed. I thought on certain affairs of his. wherein his worldly hopes had risen. and Nebridius. which he said he had heard of his father. and then observed the relative position of the heavens. that what time his mother was about to give birth to him. overcharged with most gnawing cares. which could not escape her master. but rather daily took in more and more of it. Firminus by name. lest I should die ere I had found the truth. what. and that out of many things which they said should come to pass. Or if it was not good that He who was good should not also frame and create something that were good. whereby the universe is directed. “That there was no such art whereby to foresee things to come. Firminus. Thereupon he told me that his father had been very curious in such books. that evil matter being taken away and brought to nothing. and He alone be. But this time also had I rejected the lying divinations and impious dotages of the astrologers. he knew not. and was pleased so long after to make something out of it? Or if He were suddenly pleased now to effect somewhat. why suffered He it so to be for infinite spaces of times past. why would He make any thing at all of it. who took care with most exact diligence to know the births of his very puppies. but (as I said) a curious consulter with them. who with joint study and conference fanned the flame of their affections to these toys. so that both were constrained to 61 . hours. and I. down to the whirling leaves of trees?) Thou madest provision for my obstinacy wherewith I struggled against Vindicianus. out of my very inmost soul. reckoning days. For Thou. yet was the faith of Thy Christ. an acute old man. as yet unformed. thereby to make fresh experiments in this so-called art. yet did not my mind utterly leave it. and the Wisdom which needing no light enlightens the minds that need it. professed in the Church Catholic. Thou altogether (for who else calls us back from the death of all errors. save the Life which cannot die. having had a liberal education. This man then. gave birth.

Not by art. for he is man. but the failure of the chance. and the holy Scriptures. told by one of such credibility. liberal learning. For so soon as the women began to be in labour. that he may pronounce truly. ran his course through the gilded paths of life. Thus then the messengers of the respective parties met. even to the minutest points. each in his own province. good education.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE allow the same constellations. I ought again (to tell him too truly) to see in them a lineage the most abject. who for the most part come out of the womb so near one to other. But if that servant had consulted me upon the same constellations. or if truly. and whatever spoken falsely. as Firminus. he averred. if I spake the truth. the other for his new-born slave. I bent my thoughts on those that are born twins. while consulters and consulted know it not. and that Thou hast a care of. O my Helper. whereas that slave continued to serve his masters. Whence then. which the authority of Thy Catholic Church pressed upon me. I ought if I were to predict truly. he must have predicted the same of Esau and Jacob. without any relaxation of his yoke. Now then. and wouldest judge men. that the small interval (how much force soever in the nature of things folk may pretend it to have) cannot be noted by human observation. he must not give the same answer. from the same constellations. according to the hidden deservings of souls. since they were his also. then. speak diversely. at such an equal distance from either house that neither of them could make out any difference in the position of the stars. but chance. Upon hearing and believing these things. would he speak truly. and Thy substance to be unchangeable. to give instant intelligence. and first I endeavoured to reclaim Firminus himself from that curiosity. But Thou sufferedst me not by any fluctuations of thought to be carried away from the Faith whereby I believed Thee both to be. upon consideration of the constellations. what 62 . Thy Son. hadst Thou loosed me from those fetters: and I sought “whence is evil. whereas the same happened not to them. What is this? Why that? Let him not so say. Therefore he must speak falsely. the one for his son. and whom I longed to attack. born in a high estate in his parents’ house. to Whom let no man say. Yet they cannot be true: for looking into the same figures. and had messengers ready to send to one another so soon as they had notice of the actual birth. These things being safe and immovably settled in my mind. and yet Firminus. O Lord.” and found no way. high birth. then. and every thing else utterly at variance with the former. was not out of ignorance in the art. was spoken truly. they each gave notice to the other what was fallen out in their houses. I should. or his father him. looking into the same figures. was spoken not out of art. Thou hadst set the way of man’s salvation. a slavish condition. by telling him that upon inspecting his constellations. but by chance. a noble family in its own city. and with derision to confute) might urge against me that Firminus had informed me falsely. I sought anxiously “whence was evil?” What were the pangs of my teeming heart. raised to honours. that no one of those dotards (who lived by such a trade. told me. For Thou. Our Lord. or if I spake the same. speak falsely: thence it followed most certainly that whatever. most righteous Ruler of the Universe. to that life which is to be after this death. all that my resistance gave way. he ought to hear. to have seen in them parents eminent among their neighbours. or any other minutest points. dost by Thy hidden inspiration effect that the consulter should hear what. or be at all expressed in those figures which the astrologer is to inspect. out of the unsearchable depth of Thy just judgment. and that in Christ. of which they had easily provided. BOOK VII: An opening thus made. was increased in riches. ruminating with myself on the like things. who knew him.

and my desire was before Thee. but there found I no resting-place. those silent contritions of my soul were strong cries unto Thy mercy. and the light of mine eyes was not with me: for that was within. and the light shineth in the darkness.” “it is well”: nor did they yet suffer me to turn back. But Thou. They met my sight on all sides by heaps and troops. where it might be well enough with me. not indeed in the very words. but to the very same purpose. and Thou art my true joy when subjected to Thee. but of God. and no where was there respite or space of breathing. And that the soul of man. and dwelt among us. and in thought the images thereof presented themselves unsought. and by serving Thee. all which I roared out from the groanings of my heart.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE groans. yet itself is not that light. For. as many as believed in His name. But. that I could say. by means of one puffed up with most unnatural pride. abidest for ever. even these inferior things were set above me. by the smarting anointings of healthful sorrows. translated from Greek into Latin. that God the Word was born not of flesh nor of blood. and the darkness comprehended it not. and the life was the light of men. and I knew it not. and the world was made by Him. is that true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. reach them? Yet went up the whole to Thy hearing. being God. “Whither goest thou. but I was intent on things contained in place. and no man. until Thou wert manifested to my inward sight. and Thou hadst subjected to me what Thou createdst below me. “It is enough. But that the Word was made flesh. and by inward BOOK VII: goads didst Thou rouse me. Thus. as if they would say unto me. that the Son was in the form of the Father. and pressed me down. because Thou pitiest our dust and ashes. yet not for ever art Thou angry with us. willing first to show me how Thou resistest the proud. and middle region of my safety. yea. But when I rose proudly against Thee. as I would return to Thee. but inferior to Thee. And that He was in the world. with the thick bosses of my buckler. And therein I read. to them gave He power to become the sons of God. and without Him was nothing made: that which was made by Him is life. nor of the will of man. and when in silence I vehemently sought. but givest grace unto the humble. though it bears witness to the light. for which neither time nor utterance sufficed. Again I read there. to remain in Thy Image. For to these things was I superior. enforced by many and divers reasons. unworthy and defiled?” And these things had grown out of my wound. and the troubled and bedimmed eyesight of my mind. my pride-swollen face closed up mine eyes. and by how great an act of Thy mercy Thou hadst traced out to men the way of humility. and His own received Him not. O my God! yet even there were Thine ears open. that He came unto His own. certain books of the Platonists.” and through my own swelling was I separated from Thee. that In the beginning was the Word. that I should be ill at ease. I without: nor was that confined to place. and it was pleasing in Thy sight to reform my deformities. And this was the true temperament. this I read not there. in that Thy Word was made flesh. what was that which was thence through my tongue distilled into the ears of my most familiar friends? Did the whole tumult of my soul. Lord. Thou knewest what I suffered. for Thou “humbledst the proud like one that is wounded. nor did they so receive me. rule the body. and 63 . and the Word was with God. And Thou.Thou procuredst for me. I read not there. For I traced in those books that it was many and divers ways said. but as many as received Him. but the Word of God. by the secret hand of Thy medicining was my swelling abated. and the world knew Him not. and dwelt among men:. and the Word was God: the Same was in the beginning with God: all things were made by Him. was from day to day healed. and ran against the Lord with my neck. nor of the will of the flesh.

that they had changed the glory of Thy incorruptible nature into idols and divers shapes. And I entered and beheld with the eye of my soul (such as it was). they are renewed. And therefore did I read there also. of things in heaven. and creeping things. I entered even into my inward self. namely. and I below It. as one of their own poets had said. that they that labour and are heavy laden might come unto Him. knows eternity. co-eternal with Thee. beholding our lowliness and trouble. O Lord. whom they served with Thy gold. above the same eye of my soul. But such as are lifted up in the lofty walk of some would-be sublimer learning. and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator. for I am meek and lowly in heart. and that Thou sparedst not Thine Only Son. For Thou hiddest these things from the wise. humbled Himself. that in Thee we live. For that before all times and above all times Thy Only-Begotten Son remaineth unchangeable. is there. as oil is above water. far other from these. they became fools. and bowing Thy image. wheresoever it were. These things found I here. Nor was it above my soul. For it pleased Thee. but I fed not on them. which all flesh may look upon. And being thence admonished to return to myself. and that of His fulness souls receive. hear not Him. that I might see there was 64 . and the meek He directeth in judgment. O Truth Who art Eternity! and Love Who art Truth! and Eternity Who art Love! Thou art my God. and birds. and found in fashion as a man. and revealedst them to babes. for that naturally He was the Same Substance. so as to be wise. Love knoweth it. But that He emptied Himself. and with its greatness take up all space. Learn of Me. Thou being my Guide: and able I was. because It made me. nor as it were a greater of the same kind. is not there. seeing Thine it was. that they may be blessed. and beasts. but other. because I was made by It. turning in heart back towards Egypt. saying. those books have not. And verily these books came from thence. being made in the likeness of men.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE thought it not robbery to be equal with God. that the elder should serve the younger: and Thou calledst the Gentiles into Thine inheritance. and that by participation of wisdom abiding in them. into that Egyptian food for BOOK VII: which Esau lost his birthright. move. and forgiving all our sins. and that the death of the cross: wherefore God exalted Him from the dead. as though the brightness of this should be manifold brighter. before the image of a calf that eateth hay. Thou liftedst me up. Although they knew God. Thee when I first knew. yet they glorify Him not as God. And to the Athenians Thou saidst by Thy Apostle. and He refresh them. because He is meek and lowly in heart. the Light Unchangeable. to take away the reproach of diminution from Jacob. and I set my mind upon the gold which Thou willedst Thy people to take from Egypt. But that in due time He died for the ungodly. yea. their own soul. knows what that Light is. nor are thankful. professing that they were wise. nor yet as heaven above earth: but above to my soul. He that knows the Truth. for Thou wert become my Helper. to Thee do I sigh night and day. into the likeness of the image of corruptible man. for that Thy first-born people worshipped the head of a four-footed beast instead of Thee. and things under the earth. and became obedient unto death. Not such was this light. and he that knows It. and have our being. and the gentle He teacheth His ways. above my mind. And I had come to Thee from among the Gentiles. and gave Him a name above every name. that at the name of Jesus every knee should how. taking the form of a servant. who changed the truth of God into a lie. and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. Not this ordinary light. but wax vain in their thoughts. and their foolish heart is darkened. but deliveredst Him for us all. and ye shall find rest to your souls. and things in earth. But I set not my mind on the idols of Egypt.

And it was manifested unto me.” And I heard. I should indeed long for the better. I AM that I AM. and all people. which is clearly seen. as if I heard this Thy voice from on high: “I am the food of grown men. and I perceived that they neither altogether are. princes. which unless it were good. nor altogether are not. “Is Truth therefore nothing because it is not diffused through space finite or infinite?” And Thou criedst to me from afar: “Yet verily. For corruption injures. old men and young. Either then corruption injures not. And Thou art the Lord my God. For either it should be an incorruptible substance. because they shall abide incorruptibly. fruitful trees. I perceived therefore. and all cedars. because unharmonising with other some. and in themselves are good. not only to Thee. and all deeps. for if I remain not in Him. hail. for that Thou art to be praised. it should be good. praise Thy Name. And what more monstrous than to affirm things to become better by losing all their good? Therefore. But if they he deprived of all good. from heaven. And Thou didst beat back the weakness of my sight. But in the parts thereof some things. as the heart heareth. could not be corrupted. snow. and are good. do show from the earth. For that truly is which remains unchangeably. which we call Earth. there were nothing in them to be corrupted. That evil then which I sought. It is good then for me to hold fast unto God. like the food of thy flesh into thee. dragons. “These things should not be”: for should I see nought but these. but He remaining in Himself. For if they shall be. if they shall be deprived of all good. do yet with the inferior part. since Thou standest not in need of my goodness. that Thou for iniquity chastenest man. but also to Thy creation as a whole. and all judges of the earth. which neither were they sovereignly good. and stormy wind. and I should sooner doubt that I live than that Truth is not. because our God made all things very good. is not any substance: for were it a substance. these praise 65 . mountains. and it was manifested to me that Thou madest all things good. which may break in. kings of the earth. which cannot be. because each is good. young men and maidens. they are good: therefore whatsoever is. And I beheld the other things below Thee. it could not injure. beasts. I cannot in myself. since they are from Thee. nor had I room to doubt. for they are. And to Thee is nothing whatsoever evil: yea. So long therefore as they are. they shall be better than before. nor unless they were good could he corrupted: for if sovereignly good. and altogether very good. and that I was not yet such as to see. And all these things which harmonise not together. they were incorruptible. But when.” And I learned. and Thou madest my soul to consume away like a spider. streaming forth Thy beams of light upon me most strongly. is good. and corrupt that order which Thou hast appointed it. because they are not what Thou art. they shall cease to be. And I said. and all cattle. Far be it then that I should say. but thou shalt be converted into Me. but still must even for these alone praise Thee. grow. they shall no longer be. but are not. or which is most certain. nor shalt thou convert Me. reneweth all things. being understood by those things which are made. because there is nothing without. and for that Thou madest not all things equal. all which is corrupted is deprived of good. and all hills. and so a chief good: or a corruptible substance. which fulfil Thy word. having its own cloudy and windy sky harmonising with it. nor is there any substance at all. if not good at all. that those things be good which yet are corrupted. ice. fire. but unless it diminished goodness. in the region of unlikeness. are accounted evil: whereas those very things harmonise with others. creeping things. and flying fowls. therefore are all things. and I trembled with love and awe: and I perceived myself to be far off from Thee.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE what I might see. and thou shalt feed upon Me. whence it is. and can now no BOOK VII: longer he corrupted. which Thou madest not.

and what aided me in judging soundly on things mutable. and had again become the temple of its own idol. and I saw that they owed their being to Thee. didst not begin to work after innumerable spaces of times spent. And Thy righteousness displeaseth the wicked. towards these lower things. in the heights all Thy angels. and puffed up outwardly. and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things. and saw Thee infinite. And I perceived and found it nothing strange. which is not. and thought it to be Thee. and pronouncing. Hence it had gone into the opinion of two substances. neither go nor come. seeing I did so judge. whom aught of Thy creation displeaseth: as neither in me. but altogether better than those above by themselves. not with their places only. not as being in space. “This ought to be thus. And yet did I not press on to enjoy my God. O God. and this sight was not derived from the flesh. by how much they be unlike Thee. and no phantasm for Thee. but the perversion of the will. because I conceived of all: and with a sounder judgment I apprehended that the things above were better than these below. BOOK VII: and which shall pass. praise Thee. examining. I ceased somewhat of my former self. unknown to me. But after Thou hadst soothed my head. through infinite measures of all space. And I wondered that I now loved Thee. And because my soul durst not be displeased at my God. this not”. displeased me. whence it was that I so judged. and that the more. and I awoke in Thee. This weight was carnal custom. For examining whence it was that I admired the beauty of bodies celestial or terrestrial. it would fain not account that Thine. And most certain I was. and casting out its bowels. which to the sound is delightful. but talked idly. And returning thence. sun and moon. to Thee abominable. working and abiding. praise Thy Name. but through Thee. and had no rest. There is no soundness in them. I say. unless when that is thought to be. sinking with sorrow into these inferior things. that Thy invisible works from the creation of the world are clearly seen. but in another way. nor did I any way doubt that there was One to whom I might cleave. and all things are true so far as they nor is there any falsehood. I did not now long for things better. Yet dwelt there with me a remembrance of Thee. and were all bounded in Thee: but in a different way. and closed mine eyes that they should not behold vanity. the Supreme. but because Thou containest all things in Thine hand in Thy Truth. I had found the unchangeable 66 . who only art Eternal. but with their seasons. And I saw that all things did harmonise. And that Thou. much more the viper and reptiles. our God. with which the very wicked also fit in. and the waters that be above the heavens. and my frenzy was lulled to sleep. but was borne up to Thee by Thy beauty. turned aside from Thee. And I looked back on other things. but that I was not yet such as to cleave to Thee: for that the body which is corrupted presseth down the soul. which Thou hast created good. And I enquired what iniquity was. the Heaven of heavens.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Thee. all Thy hosts. all the stars and light. by how much they become more like to Thee. fitting in with the inferior portions of Thy Creation. but with the superior creatures. that bread which is pleasant to a healthy palate is loathsome to one distempered: and to sore eyes light is offensive. and soon borne down from Thee by mine own weight. both which have passed. when much which Thou hast made. being understood by the things that are made. and placed it in its heart. and found it to be substance. it had made to itself a God. even Thy eternal power and Godhead. which displeased it. for that all spaces of times.

far above the higher BOOK VII: parts of Thy Creation. but very man. raises up the subdued unto Itself: but in this lower world built for Itself a lowly habitation of our clay.” I could not even imagine. Then I sought a way of obtaining strength sufficient to enjoy Thee. nor knew I yet whereto His infirmity would guide us. not the body of a man only. now not. But what mystery there lay in “The Word was made flesh. “That the unchangeable was to be preferred to the changeable”. withdrawing itself from those troops of contradictory phantasms. and thence again to the reasoning faculty. in conformity therewith. and tomenting their love. until I embraced that Mediator betwixt God and men. now to keep silence. walk. carrying along with me only a loving memory thereof. for an ensample of despising things temporal for the obtaining of immortality. that Thy wisdom. For. humbled. nor did I at all doubt thereof. to which the bodily senses represent things external. and drew away my thoughts from the power of habit. Only I had learnt out of what is delivered to us in writing of Him that He did eat. which I now knew. Since then they were written truly. conceiving only of my Lord Christ as of a man of excellent wisdom. All know this who know the unchangeableness of Thy Word. but rather consent to become weak. God blessed for evermore. to the end they might go on no further in self-confidence. it had had no sure ground to prefer it to the changeable. but was not yet able to feed on. rejoiced in spirit. and saying. whitherto reach the faculties of beasts. through the Divine care for us. might cast themselves down upon It. who is over all. but for a certain great excellence of human 67 . without all doubting. might lift them up. And thus by degrees I passed from bodies to the soul. unless it had in some way known. and the life. seeing before their feet the Divinity weak by taking our coats of skin. And then I saw Thy invisible things understood by the things which are made. for that being wonderfully born of a Virgin. which through the bodily senses perceives. whence also it knew That Unchangeable. and found it not. I am the way. with the body. I was thrown again on my wonted habits. sleep. now not. discoursed. And thus with the flash of one trembling glance it arrived at THAT WHICH IS. whom no one could be equalled unto. the Man Christ Jesus. not only as being a form of Truth. the truth. For Thy Word. whereby to abase from themselves such as would be subdued. the Word was made flesh. now to deliver wise sayings through human signs. and It rising. and drink. when. And should these things be falsely written of Him. whom. especially.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE and true Eternity of Truth above my changeable mind. and bring them over to Himself. belong to soul and mind subject to variation. allaying their swelling. raised itself up to its own understanding. nor would there remain in those books any saving faith for mankind. and my infirmity being struck back. and mingling that food which I was unable to receive. Which finding itself also to be in me a thing variable. now to be moved by some affection. that flesh did not cleave by itself unto Thy Word. nor. with our flesh. to the Humble. as it were. but with the human soul and mind. and thence to its inward faculty. to have attained that great eminence of authority. the Eternal Truth. and wearied. For I did not hold to my Lord Jesus Christ. and a longing for what I had. whereby Thou createdst all things. I. to which what is received from the senses of the body is referred to be judged. as far as I could. perceived the odour of. it cried out. was sorrowful. But I thought otherwise. He seemed. calling unto me. For. I acknowledged a perfect man to be in Christ. all the rest also would risk the charge. that so it might find what that light was whereby it was bedewed. which. But I could not fix my gaze thereon. might provide milk for our infant state. now to move the limbs of the body by will. a sensitive soul without a rational.

puffed up with knowledge. Most eagerly then did I seize that venerable writing of Thy Spirit. and that he who cannot see afar off. and chiefly the Apostle Paul. and hadst Thou in the familiar use of them grown sweet unto me. For now I had begun to wish to seem wise. and yet not diffused in space. and wert infinite. to hold Thee. And the face of that pure word appeared to me one and the same. had I continued in that healthful frame which I had thence imbibed. and behold. that whoso sees. I confess. For had I first been formed in Thy Holy Scriptures. and whatsoever truth I had read in those other books. I prated as one well skilled. So I began. which is Christ Jesus? or when should these books teach me it? BOOK VII: Upon these. that they are. I might have thought that it might have been obtained by the study of those books alone.” Of these things I was assured. and that Thou truly art Who art the same ever. And because he was well persuaded that the actions recorded of Him could only be performed by a vital and a rational creature. I believe. and had I then fallen upon those other volumes. and thence been taught to search for incorporeal truth. I saw Thy invisible things. and the text of his discourse not to agree with the testimonies of the Law and the Prophets. For there must also be heresies. there was no soul at all in Christ. I perceived what that was which through the darkness of my mind I was hindered from contemplating. though a man be delighted with the law of God after the inner man. but killed. understood by those things which are made. but also healed. may not so glory as if he had not received. he moved the more slowly towards the Christian Faith. and bringeth him into captiv- 68 . but also that he sees (for what hath he. before I studied Thy Scriptures. but rather scorn. being filled with mine own punishment. not only what he sees. or. that besides God and flesh. and hold Thee. in no part nor motion varying. For. For the rejection of heretics makes the tenets of Thy Church and sound doctrine to stand out more clearly. yet I did not mourn. wherein he once seemed to me to contradict himself. whereby he may arrive. that it might be imprinted on my memory how I was affected by them. and did not think that a human mind was ascribed to Him. I found here amid the praise of Thy Grace. and that afterwards when my spirits were tamed through Thy books. they might perhaps have withdrawn me from the solid ground of piety. that the approved may be made manifest among the weak.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE nature and a more perfect participation of wisdom. For where was that charity building upon the foundation of humility. what shall he do with that other law in his members which warreth against the law of his mind. which he hath not received?). but had I not sought Thy way in Christ our Saviour. But understanding afterwards that this was the error of the Apollinarian heretics. I had proved to be. between those who saw whither they were to go. and that all other things are from Thee. did I learn how in that saying. But somewhat later. and I learned to rejoice with trembling. But Alypius imagined the Catholics to believe God to be so clothed with flesh. The Word was made flesh. and though cast back. being assured “That Thou wert. who art ever the same. on this most sure ground alone. But having then read those books of the Platonists. Thou therefore willedst that I should fall. Whereupon those difficulties vanished away. and the way that leadeth not to behold only but to dwell in the beatific country. I judged to be preferred before others. the Catholic truth is distinguished from the falsehood of Photinus. not skilled. and my wounds touched by Thy healing fingers. finite or infinite. and that he may be not only admonished to behold Thee. yet too unsure to enjoy Thee. he joyed in and was conformed to the Catholic Faith. may yet walk on the way. yet saw not the way. I might discern and distinguish between presumption and confession.

and the handwriting. because he persuaded our will to be like his will whereby he abode not in Thy truth. and in vain to essay through ways unpassable. the earnest of the Holy Ghost. a broken and a contrite heart. and to find no way thither. under their captain the lion and the dragon: and another to keep on the way that leads thither. the tears of confession. the king of death. These things did wonderfully sink into my bowels. for they avoid it. I shall no more be moved. Thy sacrifice. and hast revealed them unto babes. as very torment. Those pages present not the image of this piety. They scorn to learn of Him. the Cup of our Redemption. my guardian. for these things hast Thou hid from the wise and prudent. which was contrary to us. where they spoil not who have deserted the heavenly army. but we have sinned and committed iniquity. Shall not my soul be submitted unto God? for of Him cometh my salvation. whom Thou hast begotten co-eternal. when I read that least of Thy Apostles. BOOK VII: 69 . in whom the prince of this world found nothing worthy of death. was blotted out? This those writings contain not. through Jesus Christ our Lord. a troubled spirit. For He is my God and my salvation. Come unto Me. Thou art righteous. and have done wickedly. because He is meek and lowly in heart. What shall wretched man do? who shall deliver him from the body of his death. and Thy hand is grown heavy upon us. yet killed he Him. but only Thy Grace. the salvation of the people. from the mountain’s shaggy top to see the land of peace. and had meditated upon Thy works. all ye that labour. the Bridal City. and formedst in the beginning of Thy ways. and we are justly delivered over unto that ancient sinner. For it is one thing. opposed and beset by fugitives and deserters.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE ity to the law of sin which is in his members? For. guarded by the host of the heavenly General. No man sings there. and trembled exceedingly. O Lord. No one there hears Him call.

in heaven and in earth. remember. I will offer unto Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving. But still I was enthralled with the love of woman. the Saviour Himself. and Thou placedst me where I might recover. and by the common witness of all Thy creatures had found Thee our Creator. O Lord? Thou hast broken my bonds in sunder. And Thou didst put into my mind. neither were thankful. but is mastered by his old habits. with thanksgiving. and Thy grace shone in him. nor did the Apostle forbid me to marry. But I being weak. though I saw it in a figure and as through a glass. and the beauty of Thy house which I loved. Into this also had I fallen. was tossed up and down in all beside. because in other matters I was constrained against my will to conform myself to a married life. from him hears the history of the conversion of Victorinus. and my heart had to be purged from the old leaven. He consults Simplicianus. and another that way. and it seemed good in my eyes. yea now that my desires no longer inflamed me. let me. Now he was grown into years. I had heard from the mouth of the Truth. and confess unto Thee Thy mercies on me. whence was all other substance. became fools. although he advised me to something better. receive it. chiefly wishing that all men were as himself was. is still further roused by the history of St. Behold. I had surmounted it. and because of this alone. but as yet I shrunk from going through its straitness. all was wavering. And how Thou hast broken them. For. well pleased me.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE BOOK VIII: which were the fittest way for one in my case to walk in Thy paths. For Thou hast said unto man. in comparison of Thy sweetness. and so he had. Yet I had ceased to doubt that there was an incorruptible substance. His mother’s visions fulfilled. faint and wasted with withering cares. saith He. and. by whom Thou createdst all things. Let my bones be bedewed with Thy love. Of Thy eternal life I was now certain. God with Thee. I will declare. during a severe struggle. glorified Him not as God. hears a voice from heaven. There is yet another kind of ungodly. who seemed to me a good servant of Thine. the fear of the Lord is wisdom. and took me thence. Out of which store I wished that he would tell me (setting before him my anxieties) 70 . shall say. with his friend Alypius. but more steadfast in Thee. those things delighted me no longer. and of the conversion of two courtiers. and all who worship Thee. to which I was given up and enthralled. “ Thy words had stuck fast in my heart. Who is like unto Thee. But for my temporal life. and one went this way. and longs to devote himself entirely to God. and let them say unto Thee. and by reason of so great age spent in such zealous following of Thy ways. Desire not to seem wise. Antony. The Way. and is converted. and could not out of the good things which are seen. But I had now found the goodly pearl. I had heard also that from his very youth he had lived most devoted unto Thee. a very grievous burden it was to undergo so heavy a bondage. and together with Thee one God. as of old. chose the more indulgent place. because they who affirmed themselves to be wise. when they hear this. nor did I now desire to be more certain of Thee. “Blessed be the Lord. with hopes of honour and profit. that there were some eunuchs which had made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake: but. who knowing God. opens Scripture. and Thy Word. to go to Simplicianus. Surely vain are all men who are ignorant of God. But I was displeased that I led a secular life. O my God. great and wonderful is his name. but Thy right hand upheld me. let him who can receive it. he seemed to me likely to have learned much experience. BOOK VIII: Augustine’s thirty-second year. find out Him who is good. For. and I was hedged round about on all sides by Thee. But I was no longer in that vanity. I saw the church full.

to be confessed unto Thee. Lord. “Do walls then make Christians?” And this he often said. -he now blushed not to be the child of Thy Christ. But when I mentioned that I had read certain books of the Platonists. and revealed to little ones. how that aged man. and the new-born babe of Thy fountain. and weighed so many works of the philosophers. sometime Rhetoric Professor of Rome (who had died a Christian. replied. and appeared to himself guilty of a heavy offence. and who had read. full of fallacies and deceits. as I had heard). and had inspired the people with the love of Anubis. had translated into Latin. whereas the Platonists many ways led to the belief in God and His Word. selling all that I had. whose pride he had imitated and their rites adopted. and feared to be denied by Christ before the holy angels. I ought to have bought. To him I related the mazes of my wanderings. now adored. in being ashamed of the Sacraments of the humility of Thy Word.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE which. as a monument of his excellent discharge of his office. submitting his neck to the yoke of humility.” Whereto he answered. Which hast bowed the heavens and come down. and not being ashamed of the sacrilegious rites of those proud daemons. and shamefaced towards the truth. which the Lord had not yet broken down. he. he testified his joy that I had not fallen upon the writings of other philosophers. the instructor of so many noble Senators.” The other. “I will not believe it. “Go we to the Church. and Simplicianus as often made the same answer. the father of Ambrose (a Bishop now) in receiving Thy grace. barking Deity. hidden from the wise. should he now be afraid to confess Him before men. and a partaker of the sacrilegious rites. whom while at Rome he had most intimately known: and of him he related what I will not conceal. For it contains great praise of Thy grace. and said to Simplicianus (not openly. not containing himself for joy. and subduing his forehead to the reproach of the Cross. To Simplicianus then I went. and the conceit of the “walls” was by the other as often renewed. after the rudiments of this world. most studiously sought and searched into all the Christian writings. O Lord. in banter. and all The monster Gods of every kind. who fought ‘Gainst Neptune. and suddenly and unexpectedly said to Simplicianus (as himself told me). and Minerva: - BOOK VIII: whom Rome once conquered. that he was already a Christian. unless I see you in the Church of Christ. which Victorinus. all which the aged Victorinus had with thundering eloquence so many years defended. he spoke of Victorinus himself. as from cedars of Libanus. to which almost all the nobility of Rome were given up. proud daemon-worshippers. had (which men of this world esteem a high honour) both deserved and obtained a statue in the Roman Forum. by what means didst Thou convey Thyself into that breast? He used to read (as Simplicianus said) the holy Scripture. most learned and skilled in the liberal sciences. and whom Ambrose truly loved as a father. to that age a worshipper of idols. he supposed the weight of enmity would fall upon him.” But he. touched the mountains and they did smoke. he became bold-faced against vanity. I wish to be made a Christian. nor will I rank you among Christians. 71 . “Understand that I am already a Christian. from the height of whose Babylonian dignity. For he feared to offend his friends. but privately and as a friend). Venus. and I hesitated. Then to exhort me to the humility of Christ. who also. But after that by reading and earnest thought he had gathered firmness.

the Church rejoicing. the neighbours rejoicing with the woman who found it. given to drink. He pronounced the true faith with an excellent boldness. the presbyters. eat certain salt meats. And with much joyfulness do we hear. yet had he not conquered unless he had fought. and all wished to draw him into their very heart. Good God! what takes place in man. all wax pale at approaching death. Yea. Victorinus! Victorinus! Sudden was the burst of rapture. For Thou art ever the same. threatens shipwreck. and in Thy holy angels. to dread Thy meek flock. when it is more delighted at finding or recovering the things it loves. the very pleasures of human life men acquire by difficulties. Eating and drinking have no pleasure. who. in the sight of all the faithful. and the joy of the solemn service of Thy house forceth to tears. and the groat is restored to Thy treasury. as having been exceeding afraid. so often as we hear with what joy the sheep which had strayed is brought back upon the shepherd’s shoulder. he went up to make his profession. when the hour was come for making profession of his faith (which at Rome they. It is also ordered that the affianced 72 . that he was dead. so much the more joy is there in the triumph. and the more peril there was in the battle. for all things which abide not the same nor for ever. and is found. merciful Father. from an elevated place. offered Victorinus (as was done to such as seemed likely through bashfulness to be alarmed) to make his profession more privately: but he chose rather to profess his salvation in the presence of the holy multitude. causes pleasure. unless there precede the pinching of hunger and thirst. and pleasure-seeking trouble. when delivering his own words. “For it was not salvation that he taught in rhetoric. But the Lord God was the hope of Thy servant. Rome wondering. had not feared a mad multitude!” When. A friend is sick. deliver. though as yet he walks not with his former strength. and yet that he had publicly professed: how much less then ought he. such were the hands wherewith they drew him. who are about to approach to Thy grace. yea by their love and joy they drew him thither. and liveth again. and all things are full of witnesses. For Thou rejoicest in us.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE went with him.” The conquering commander triumpheth. that he might be regenerated by baptism. had been lost. as they knew him. The storm tosses the sailors. and other things witness hereunto. suddenly were they hushed that they might hear him. they gnashed with their teeth. not those only which fall upon us unlooked for. not long after he further gave in his name. and he regarded not vanities and lying madness. which the drink allaying. Thou for ever knowest in the same way. whispered his name one to another with the voice of congratulation. all. Men. than if it had ever had them? yea. and they are exceeding joyed. or the danger had BOOK VIII: been less? For so Thou also. and were wroth. sky and sea are calmed. yet there is such joy. when in Thy house it is read of Thy younger son. but even by self-chosen. when before he walked sound and strong. and against our wills. that he should more rejoice at the salvation of a soul despaired of. all who long for his recovery are sick in mind with him. And having been admitted to the first Sacrament and become a Catechumen. then. and melted away. than if there had always been hope of him. And who there knew him not? and there ran a low murmur through all the mouths of the rejoicing multitude. What then takes place in the soul. he said. that they saw him. in a set form of words committed to memory). dost more rejoice over one penitent than over ninety-nine just persons that need no repentance. and his pulse threatens danger. when pronouncing Thy word. to procure a troublesome heat. holy through holy charity. “So is it. To conclude. crying out. He is restored. The proud saw. and freed from greater peril. as was not.

or the noble before the ignoble. and are enlightened. he sighed not after. by whose tongue Thou soundedst forth these words. Thou settest each in its place. But when he had subjoined also. with which mighty and keen weapon he had slain many. which they who receive. Do not many. whereas from the highest heavens to the lowest earth. and lead the way with many to follow. how in the days of the Emperor Julian a law was made. and realisest each in their season. chose rather to give over the wordy school than Thy Word. obeying this law. seeing rather Thou hast BOOK VIII: chosen the weak things of the world to confound the strong. of more through their authority. And yet even that least of Thy apostles. grow sweet unto us. this. because they rejoice not in them alone. For of a forward will. and lived again. in him who was dead. Lord. and made meet for Thy honour. whereas Thou art everlastingly joy to Thyself. his pride conquered. My will the enemy held.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE bride should not at once be given. and those things which are not. as betrothed. that in Thy tabernacle the persons of the rich should be accepted before the poor. joy less for them. which the devil had held as an impregnable possession. influence the more towards salvation. Up. in having thus found opportunity to wait on Thee only. and become serviceable for the Lord. that this portion of things thus ebbs and flows alternately displeased and reconciled? Is this their allotted measure? Is this all Thou hast assigned to them. and how deep in the deepest! and Thou never departest. I was on fire to imitate him. Simplicianus. and thence had made a chain for me. and bound me. kindle and draw us. even they that know them. had been lost and was found. and the base things of this world. not with another’s irons. But the proud he hath more hold of. O Lord my God. from the beginning of the world to the end of ages. approach. and how he. in testimony of so great a victory. through their nobility. every thing good after its kind? Woe is me! how high art Thou in the highest. and the things despised hast Thou chosen. and became a provincial of the great King. For far be it. for that our King hath bound the strong man. from the angel to the worm. and some things around Thee evermore rejoice in Thee? What means this. by whom he hath hold of more. return to Thee. Again. and by them. receiving that Light. This law holds in foul and accursed joy. and we scarcely return to Thee. unto every good work. this in permitted and lawful joy. but by my own iron will. and do. inflame. stir us up. Paulus the Proconsul. But when that man of Thine. Every where the greater joy is ushered in by the greater pain. by which Thou makest eloquent the tongues of the dumb. because those known to many. Which thing I was sighing for. was pleased to be called Paul. from the first motion to the last. he also for his former name Saul. bound as I was. and recall us. By how much the more welcome then the heart of Victorinus was esteemed. For when many joy together. For the enemy is more overcome in one. each also has more exuberant joy for that they are kindled and inflamed one by the other. lest as a husband he should hold cheap whom. receive power from Thee to become Thy sons? But if they be less known to the nations. And therefore do they also who preceded them much rejoice in them. was a lust 73 . for for this very end had he related it. of whom he hath more hold. let us now love. that Thou mightest bring to nought things that are. out of a deeper hell of blindness than Victorinus. he seemed to me not more resolute than blessed. when through his warfare. so much the more abundantly ought Thy sons to rejoice. the tongue of Victorinus. and they saw his vessels taken from him and cleansed. related to me this of Victorinus. was made to pass under the easy yoke of Thy Christ. What means this. this in the very purest perfection of friendship. let us run. whereby Christians were forbidden to teach the liberal sciences or oratory.

and a very intimate friend of us all. and though half displeased. Myself verily either way. and led me captive under the law of sin which was in my members. even against its will. that I therefore as yet hesitated to be above the world and serve Thee.” had no present. because in much I rather endured against my will. And when Thou didst on all sides show me that what Thou saidst was true. consented to teach under Verecundus. but though the former course satisfied me and gained the mastery. the other spiritual. than to give myself over to mine own cupidity. Thus. how the flesh lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. “Anon. I attended Thy Church.” “leave me but a little. And yet it was through me that custom had obtained this power of warring against me. in that which I approved in myself. the latter pleased me and held me mastered. defers to shake off sleep. and arise from the dead. and feared as much to be freed of all incumbrances. was not yet able to overcome my former wilfulness. struggle within me. and confess unto Thy name. For the law of sin is the violence of custom. but deservedly. than in that which in myself I disapproved. became necessity. yet. anon. Amid increasing anxiety.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE made. such faithful aid as he greatly 74 . refused to fight under Thy banner. For in this last. who yet overcome with a heavy drowsiness. for now it too was. Nebridius had now. Who then should deliver me thus wretched from the body of this death. Awake. it was now for the more part not myself. O God. in consideration of our friendship. as it were. convicted by the truth. one new.” “presently. feeling a heavy lethargy in all his limbs. my helper and my redeemer. than acted willingly. and a lust served. who urgently desired. so was I BOOK VIII: assured that much better were it for me to give myself up to Thy charity. strengthened by age. the only assured pleasantness. And as no one would sleep for ever. But I still under service to the earth. what I had read. and my “little while” went on for a long while. But that new will which had begun to be in me. with pleasure yields to it. because I had come willingly. I was doing my wonted business. yet a man for the most part. whenever free from the business under the burden of which I groaned. And who has any right to speak against it. and Christ shall give thee light. wherewith I was bound most straitly to carnal concupiscence. a citizen and a grammarian of Milan. in vain I delighted in Thy law according to the inner man. undid my soul. joined together (whence I called it a chain) a hard bondage held me enthralled.” But “presently. I. whereby the mind is drawn and holden. Thus did my two wills. and by the right of friendship challenged from our company. Thus with the baggage of this present world was I held down pleasantly. and daily sighing unto Thee. when another law in my members rebelled against the law of my mind. even after it is time to rise. O Lord. I understood. as we should fear to be encumbered with it. now after the third sitting released from his law business. and by their discord. and custom not resisted. Alypius was with me. through Jesus Christ our Lord? And how Thou didst deliver me out of the bonds of desire. but Thy grace only. for that the truth was not altogether ascertained to me. for that it willingly fell into it. but only those dull and drowsy words. and the other old. I will now declare. and to wish to enjoy Thee. freely to serve Thee. whither I willed not. and awaiting to whom to sell his counsel. by my own experience. presently. became custom. and out of the drudgery of worldly things. are again drenched therein. if indeed teaching can impart it. By which links. as in sleep: and the thoughts wherein I meditated on Thee were like the efforts of such as would awake. yet more myself. if just punishment follow the sinner? Nor had I now any longer my former plea. and in all men’s sober judgment waking is better. as I sold the skill of speaking. Nor had I any thing to answer Thee calling to me. one carnal. thou that sleepest. had nothing at all to answer.

and was changed inwardly. poor in spirit. our countryman so far as being an African.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE needed. he would not be wanting to a good office. and determined on a better course. or read. whereof we knew nothing. and the other two wandered by themselves. and 75 . and baptised. and read on. and these. and the fruitful deserts of the wilderness. for he thought it some of those books which I was wearing myself in teaching. opened it. he stormed at himself a while. though to that hour unknown to us. avoiding the distraction of mind thence ensuing. wrought in the true Faith and Church Catholic. and there as they happened to walk in pairs. And in pain with the travail of a new life. lighted upon a certain cottage. he turned his eyes again upon the book. that they had not reached us. and their holy ways. as many hours as might be. and we knew it not. and almost in our own. “Tell me. Nebridius being absent (I recollect not why). He told us then how one afternoon at Triers. but we sat down to converse. or hear something concerning wisdom. that they were so great. informing and wondering at our ignorance of one so eminent. full of good brethren. and looking at me. Whereat smiling. there came to see me and Alypius. But he acted herein very discreetly. said to his friend. in high office in the Emperor’s court. where Thou sawest. took. And these two were of those whom they style agents for the public affairs. when the Emperor was taken up with the Circensian games. to seek. in their wanderings. I become now at once. For he was a Christian. But we stood amazed. if I wish it. one went apart with him. as soon appeared. and he. admire. inhabited by certain of Thy servants. and am resolved to serve God. and slight our request. one Pontitianus. “Now have I broken loose from those our hopes. Upon a day then. in anger with himself cast his eyes upon his friend. and we listened in intent silence. filled with a holy love. and desiring to have it free and at leisure. and now being Thine. and this only before my eyes. Which when he discovered. in times so recent. For as he read. and full of perils? and by how many perils arrive we at a greater peril? and when arrive we thither? But a friend of God. BOOK VIII: Thence his discourse turned to the flocks in the monasteries. What he would with us. his companions.” So spake he. and giving over his secular service to serve Thee. He went on with his discourse. and it happened that upon a table for some game. we. and often bowed himself before Thee our God in the Church. and as he read. went out to walk in gardens near the city walls. and kindle at it. found it the Apostle Paul. saying. to. and contrary to his expectation. what would we attain by all these labours of ours? what aim we at? what serve we for? Can our hopes in court rise higher than to be the Emperor’s favourites? and in this. to meditate on taking up such a life. Then suddenly. in frequent and continued prayers. Nebridius then was not drawn to this by any desire of advantage (for he might have made much more of his learning had he so willed). a conversation arose (suggested by his account) on Antony the Egyptian monk: whose name was in high reputation among Thy servants. a sweet-smelling savour unto Thee. under the fostering care of Ambrose. shunning to become known to personages great according to this world. he and three others. hearing Thy wonderful works most fully attested. he dwelt the more upon that subject. I pray thee. and a sober shame. before us. And there was a monastery at Milan. he observed a book. I know not. and his mind was stripped of the world. without the city walls. and rolled up and down the waves of his heart. and there they found a little book containing the life of Antony. but as a most kind and gentle friend. he expressed his joy and wonder that he had on a sudden found this book. We all wondered. This one of them began to read. what is there not brittle. When then I had told him that I bestowed very great pains upon those Scriptures. then discerned. of whom is the kingdom of heaven.

THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE this.” For I feared lest Thou shouldest hear me soon. If thou likest not to imitate me. was to be preferred to the treasures and kingdoms of the world. because there did not appear aught certain. did yet bewail themselves (as he affirmed). that I might see how foul I was. Such was the story of Pontitianus. begged them. who when they heard hereof. that they had resigned themselves wholly to BOOK VIII: Thee to be cured. to partake so glorious a reward. And I had thought that I therefore deferred from day to day to reject the hopes of this world. when. upon the reading of Cicero’s Hortensius. it is certain. whither to direct my course. and yet that burden still oppresseth thee. reminded them to return. that had walked in other parts of the garden. and I into myself. “Give me chastity and continency. though spread around me at my will. not to molest them. how crooked and defiled. fixing their heart on heaven. But the other two. my tongue? Thou saidst that for an uncertain truth thou likedst not to cast off the baggage of vanity. And if I sought to turn mine eye from off myself. unwilling to observe myself. and so. and my conscience was to upbraid me. “Where art thou now. now. with hearts lingering on the earth. though already found. didst turn me round towards myself. for the day was now far spent. not indeed assured thereof. went his way. and forgot it. nor for often years and more have been thinking thereon. though nothing altered from their former selves. in the very commencement of my early youth. which I wished to have satisfied. the more ardently I loved those whose healthful affections I heard of. have had their shoulders lightened. most wretched. and to the pleasures of the body. but as preferring it to the others which I did not seek religiously.” The other answered. Then Pontitianus and the other with him. he would cleave to him. were building the tower at the necessary cost. while he was speaking. while Pontitianus was so speaking. Thus both being now Thine. But they relating their resolution and purpose. and Thou again didst set me over against myself. and whither to flee from myself I found not. For many of my years (some twelve) had now run out with me since my nineteenth. And I beheld and stood aghast. And both had affianced brides. winked at it. I had known it. O Lord. and soon cure me of the disease of concupiscence. while they who neither have so worn themselves out with seeking it. But now. and received wings to fly away. remained in the cottage. but opposed maliciously. rather than extinguished. when compared with them. went away to the palace. if they would not join. whereof not the finding only. but made as though I saw it not. and give myself to search out that. had begged chastity of Thee. And he having brought to a close his tale and the business he came for. but Thou.” Thus was I gnawed within. But the others. he went on with his relation. the more did I abhor myself. and piously congratulated them. and exceedingly confounded with a horrible shame. and thrustedst me before my eyes. recommending themselves to their prayers. I begin upon. I was stirred to an earnest love of wisdom. but the very search. and said. and how that will was begun and settled in them. What said I not against myself? with what scourges of 76 . came in search of them to the same place. And I had wandered through crooked ways in a sacrilegious superstition. and following Thee. and finding them. that I might find out mine iniquity. But I wretched. and still I was deferring to reject mere earthly felicity. and follow Thee only. also dedicated their virginity unto God. in this place. And now was the day come wherein I was to be laid bare to myself. taking me from behind my back where I had placed me. so glorious a service. and setting me before my face. only not yet. bespotted and ulcerous. oppose not. from this hour. the forsaking all that they had. and hate it.

striving to go after Thee! Yet it drew back. or any other way hindered. a maimed and half-divided will. or chariots. for the master of the house. weakened with infirmity. For his presence did not lessen my privacy. spake my mind more than the words I uttered. and yet it doth not. I knew not. in the very fever of my irresoluteness. this way and that. which I had strongly raised against my soul. which all my bones cried out unto me to enter. Whence is this monstrousness? and to what end? The mind commands the body. or feet. “What ails us?” I exclaim: “what is it? what heardest thou? The unlearned start up and take heaven by force. may perhaps answer me. and without heart. And therein we enter not by ships. and not knowing what good thing I was shortly to become. not to go only. its own self. and to will was to do. if so be the secret penalties of men. no. and such readiness is there. The mind commands the mind. but to go in thither was nothing else but to will to go. to will. I was troubled in spirit. move not so far as I BOOK VIII: had come from the house to that place where we were sitting. and my fever of mind tore me away from him. and which soon after. tone of voice. and not done it. For it was not my wonted tone.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE condemnation lashed I not my soul. when “to will” was not in itself “to be able”. A little garden there was to our lodging. to. O my God. if locking my fingers I clasped my knee. For. and praised it to the skies. whereby she was wasting to death. when I should will. to be restrained from the flux of that custom. but excused not itself. not to turn and toss. most vehemently indignant that I entered not into Thy will and covenant. and Alypius. and she feared. refused. and we with our learning. Thither had the tumult of my breast hurried me. there remained a mute shrinking. But I might have willed. I made with my body many such motions as men sometimes would. beat my forehead. knowing what evil thing I was. eyes. when I should will. All arguments were spent and confuted. which we had the use of. I did it. until it should end as Thou knewest. I willed. and my forehead. Lastly. as of the whole house. but cannot. our host. that it might follow me. and I did not what both I longed incomparably more to do. was not living there. So many things then I did. than the soul obeyed itself to accomplish in the will alone this its momentous will. or these be bound with bands. the hand is body. I should be able to do. Whence is this monstrousness? and to what end? Let Thy mercy gleam that I may ask. I retired then into the garden. as she would death. Whence this monstrousness? and to what end? It commands 77 . The mind commands the hand to be moved. in the chamber of my heart. where no man might hinder the hot contention wherein I had engaged with myself. I should will thoroughly. and is resisted. kept silence. Thus. because soon after. Yet the mind is mind. if either they have not the limbs. I turned upon Alypius. Then in this great contention of my inward dwelling. struggling. if I tore my hair. where we wallow in flesh and blood! Are we ashamed to follow. and not ashamed not even to follow?” Some such words I uttered. in moving its limbs at its nod. but to will resolutely and thoroughly. cheeks. that command is scarce distinct from obedience. on my steps. because others are gone before. Only I was healthfully distracted and dying. the mind commands itself. For in these things the ability was one with the will. or how could he forsake me so disturbed? We sate down as far removed as might be from the house. while he. gazing on me in astonishment. and those darkest pangs of the sons of Adam. if the power of motion in my limbs had not obeyed. and yet was it not done: and more easily did my body obey the weakest willing of my soul. to live. colour. troubled in mind and countenance. with one part sinking as another rose. and it obeys instantly.

borne down by custom. or keep his money by covetousness. as it willeth: and. and rent asunder by myself. one good. but sin that dwelt in me. I neither willed entirely. not done. who have received and are held by the mysteries of theirs: or they must suppose two evil natures. here are two natures: one good. dost disprove. but now light in the Lord. as I had long purposed. as when. one soul fluctuates between contrary wills. both wills being bad. Let them perish from Thy presence. For were the will entire. or they must be converted to the truth. What then if one of us should deliberate. partly to nill. as perish vain talkers and seducers of the soul: who observing that in deliberating there were two wills. and no more deny that where one deliberates. there shall now be not two only. check. But they believe not that will to be other than good. of two contrary substances. I. Therefore was I at strife with myself. and it will not be true. which they say. imagining the nature of the soul to be that which God is. Themselves are truly evil. But they. for that one of them is not entire: and what the one lacketh. draws back that way. but in themselves. another bad. or thirdly. the other evil. as it willeth not. it would not even command it to be. and two evil souls conflicting in one man. and the other bad. Myself when I was deliberating upon serving the Lord my God now. whether he should seize this or that estate of another’s. But it doth not command entirely. and amid the strife of his two wills be in a strait. Therefore it was no more I BOOK VIII: that wrought it. I myself. one good. when they perceive two conflicting wills in one man. is not. one deliberates whether he should kill a man by poison or by the sword. because it would already be. I who nilled. O God. whether he should purchase pleasure by luxury. therefore what it commandeth. but the punishment of my own. that Thy Apostle may say to them. the other hath. so far forth is the thing commanded. when they hold these evil things. Let them no more say then. but itself. whether he should go to the theatre or to our church? would not these Manichees also be in a strait what to answer? For either they must confess (which they fain would not) that the will which leads to our church is good. for that they went back farther from Thee. in that I was a son of Adam. the punishment of a sin more freely committed. For so far forth it commandeth. when he cannot both. For if there he so many contrary natures as there be conflicting wills. and would not command. which draws to them. But it willeth not entirely: therefore doth it not command entirely. are made more gross darkness through a dreadful arrogancy. if both be open on one day. but a disease of the mind. and convict them. O true God. wishing to be light. as that which draws back to the theatre. but many. I say. whether he go to the circus or the theatre. And this rent befell me against my will. and your faces shall not be ashamed. unless it willed. And therefore are there two wills. that it doth not wholly rise. that the conflict is between two contrary souls. it was I who willed. and blush for shame: draw near unto Him and be enlightened. For the will commandeth that there be a will. to will.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE itself. not another. the true Light that enlightened every man that cometh into the world. If a man deliberate whether he should go to their conventicle or to the theatre. For Thou. these Manichees cry out. not in the Lord. as well as theirs. that there is one good and another bad. and themselves shall become good when they hold the truth and assent unto the truth. Ye were sometimes darkness. and what it commands is not done. affirm that there are two minds in us of two kinds. by truth upborne. For whence else is this hesitation between conflicting wills? But I say that both be bad: that which draws to them. not the presence of another mind. from two contrary principles. It is therefore no monstrousness partly to will. draws this way. Behold. and yet indicated. to rob 78 . nor nilled entirely. Take heed what you say.

it should recover strength. And she smiled on me with a persuasive mockery. the greater horror did it strike into me. prevailed more with me than the better whereto I was unused: and the very moment wherein I was to become other than I was. as would she say. but still was. and stretching forth to receive and embrace me. or. and to spring over whither I was called.” What then if all give equal pleasure.” And as I spake. serene. my ancient mistresses. a violent habit saying to me. and wanted somewhat less of it. so that I hesitated to burst and shake myself free from them. a multitude of youth and every age. which cannot at one time be acted: for they rend the mind amid four. when. and Continence herself in all. Yet they did retard me. her holy hands full of multitudes of good examples: there were so many young men and maidens here. there appeared unto me the chaste dignity of Continency. as I was departing. “it is good. accusing myself much more severely than my wont. “Be it done now. yet not relaxedly. but held me in suspense.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE another’s house. and did it not: yet sunk not back to my former state. “this or that. and somewhat less. and all at once? Do not divers wills distract the mind. and laid hold of it. O Lord. but kept my stand hard by. and the pleasure of temporal good holds us down below. still held me. but muttering as it were behind my back. by Thee her Husband. and not bursting that same slight remaining tie. The very toys of toys. till that were wholly broken. but to look back on them. and vanities of vanities. nor turned me away. they plucked my fleshy garment. to commit adultery. it is the same soul which willeth not this or that with an entire will. hesitating to die to BOOK VIII: death and to live to life: and the worse whereto I was inured. For I said with myself. and bind me the faster. thou canst live without them?” But now it spake very faintly. yet did it not strike me back. and yet came not at it. grave widows and aged virgins. is it good to take pleasure in reading the Apostle? or good to take pleasure in a sober Psalm? or good to discourse on the Gospel? They will answer to each. and whispered softly. “Thinkest thou. if at the same time he have the means thereof also. “Dost thou cast us off? and from that moment shall we no more be with thee for ever? and from that moment shall not this or that be lawful for thee for ever?” And what was it which they suggested in that I said. I all but enacted it: I all but did it. and all but touched. whither the one entire will may be borne. And Thou. not barren. redoubling the lashes of fear and shame. and privily plucking me. while out of truth it sets this first. 79 . honestly alluring me to come and doubt not. but a fruitful mother of children of joys. the nearer it approached me. but out of habit sets not that aside. Thus soul-sick was I. which before was divided into many. and are at variance till one be chosen. lest I should again give way.” what did they suggest. while he deliberates which he should rather choose? yet are they all good. whereby I now was but just. O Lord. nor touched nor laid hold of it. For I ask them. nor do they yet allege that there are so many divers substances. be it done now. For on that side whither I had set my face. fourthly. or even (amid the vast variety of things desired) more. and not openly showing themselves and contradicting me. eternity delights us. And I essayed again. and whither I trembled to go. above. O my God? Let Thy mercy turn it away from the soul of Thy servant. So also in wills which are good. rolling and turning me in my chain. What defilements did they suggest! what shame! And now I much less than half heard them. and all being equally desired. and tormented. and therefore is rent asunder with grievous perplexities. all these meeting together in the same juncture of time. Thus also. conflicting wills. and took breath. held. gay. pressedst upon me in my inward parts by a severe mercy. if he have the opportunity.

and come and follow me: and by such oracle he was forthwith converted unto Thee. not indeed in these words.” And I blushed exceedingly. as of boy or girl. So checking the torrent of my tears. Thus was it then with me. yet to this purpose. how long? how long. I know not. my countenance altered. and most corresponding to his character. This followed. He asked to see what I had read: I showed him. But Alypius sitting close by my side. receive. spake I much unto Thee: and Thou. and so standest not? cast thyself upon Him. I seized. “to-morrow. and hung in suspense. all the darkness of doubt vanished away. in silence waited the issue of my unwonted emotion. wherein the tones of my voice appeared choked with weeping. and with a calmed countenance made it known to Alypius. and I knew not what followed. and will heal thee. there arose a mighty storm. and the floods of mine eyes gushed out an acceptable sacrifice to Thee. for there had I laid the volume of the Apostle when I arose thence. that they may be mortified. and he looked even further than I had read. that coming in during the reading of the Gospel. what these maidens can? or can they either in themselves. but not as doth the law of the Lord thy God. I arose. I sent up these sorrowful words: How long. He will receive. I began to think most intently whether children were wont in any kind of play to sing such words: nor could I remember ever to have heard the like. for I felt that I was held by them. Which that I might pour forth wholly. fear not He will not withdraw Himself that thou shouldest fall. They tell thee of delights. Eagerly then I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting. bringing a mighty shower of tears. as if what was being read was spoken to him: Go. And what was wrought in him. for that I yet heard the muttering of those toys. most extremely astonished.” This controversy in my heart was self against self only. in its natural expressions. “ Instantly. I shut the volume. how long. and not rather in the Lord their God? The Lord their God gave me unto them. and oft repeating. and tomorrow?” Why not now? why not is there this hour an end to my uncleanness? BOOK VIII: So was I speaking and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart. which he applied to himself. chanting. He then remained where we were sitting. and give to the poor. when. so I retired so far that even his presence could not be a burden to me. I rose from Alypius: solitude was suggested to me as fitter for the business of weeping. he received the admonition. not in strife and envying. I cast myself down I know not how. O Lord. But when a deep consideration had from the secret bottom of my soul drawn together and heaped up all my misery in the sight of my heart. And. or some other mark. and so had risen up. Why standest thou in thyself. For I had heard of Antony. and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. opened. cast thyself fearlessly upon Him. “Take up and read. by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart. sell all that thou hast. No further would I read. he thus showed me. and disclosed to me. “Stop thine ears against those thy unclean members on the earth. And by this admonition was he strengthened. interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book. Take up and read. him that is weak in the faith. and by a good resolution and purpose. for something I suppose I had spoken. And she again seemed to say. in concupiscence. under a certain fig-tree. giving full vent to my tears. Then putting my finger between. wherein he did 80 . and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: Not in rioting and drunkenness. nor needed I: for instantly at the end of this sentence. wilt Thou be angry for ever? Remember not our former iniquities. and make not provision for the flesh. and read the first chapter I should find. which I knew not. not in chambering and wantonness. Lord. and he perceived something of it.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE “Canst not thou what these youths. lo! I heard from a neighbouring house a voice. but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.

so that I sought neither wife. for the better. much more plentiful than she had desired. we tell her. For thou convertedst me unto Thyself. and blesseth Thee. and in a much more precious and purer way than she erst required. And Thou didst convert her mourning into joy. she rejoiceth: we relate in order how it took place. than she was wont to beg by her pitiful and most sorrowful groanings. by having grandchildren of my body. Who are able to do above that which we ask or think. and triumpheth.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE always very far differ from me. where Thou hadst showed me unto her in a vision. for she perceived that Thou hadst given her more for me. standing in that rule of faith. BOOK VIII: 81 . Thence we go in to my mother. without any turbulent delay he joined me. so many years before. she leaps for joy. nor any hope of this world.

my words. For Thou didst cast them forth from me. Nevertheless. Thou hadst pierced our hearts with Thy charity. Her life and character. and to will what Thou willedst. Our purpose then was known to Thee. retires to the country to prepare himself to receive the grace of Baptism. though not to flesh and blood. O Lord. Who am I. Thou true and highest sweetness. who is like unto Thee? Let them say. higher than all honour. no students in Thy law. this our vow and purpose might also find some to commend it. and my riches. O Christ Jesus. which was before the eyes of all. yea. O Lord. kindled and burned up that our heavy torpor.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE BOOK IX: off the itch of lust. to want the sweetnesses of those toys! and what I feared to be parted from. Thou hadst given sharp arrows. my brightness. it seemed like ostentation not to wait for the vacation now so near. but to quit beforehand a public profession. and having been purchased by Thee. and the son of Thy handmaid: Thou hast broken my bonds in sunder. and is baptised with Alypius. so that all looking on this act of mine. Now was my soul free from the biting cares of canvassing and getting. and singing that song of degrees. not extinguish us. and scratching 82 . But where through all those years. and I resolved to endure them. was now a joy to part with. and for dead. and his son Adeodatus. should no longer buy at my mouth arms for their madness. my Helper and my Redeemer? How sweet did it at once become to me. and what am I? What evil have not been either my deeds. because for Thy Name’s sake which Thou hast hallowed throughout the earth. the Lord my God. and observing how near was the time of vintage which I wished to anticipate. nor in Thy peace. And my infant tongue spake freely to Thee. whereby to submit my neck to Thy easy yoke. and for them enteredst in Thyself. his mother Monnica dies in here fifty-sixth year. my will? But Thou. that we should not sink down to the abyss. and out of what low and deep recess was my free-will called forth in a moment. and my health. and to abandon his profession of Rhetoric. And I resolved in Thy sight. was it not known. the thirtythird of Augustine. I will offer to Thee the sacrifice of Let my heart and my tongue praise Thee. no more to return for sale. For we had agreed among ourselves not to let it out abroad to any: although to us. being piled together in the receptacle of our thoughts. the service of my tongue from the marts of liplabour: that the young. and they fired us so vehemently. And this Thy whole gift was. would thwart. that all the blasts of subtle tongues from gainsayers might only inflame us the more fiercely. whom for black Thou hadst made bright. I am thy salvation. let all my bones say. and we carried Thy words as it were fixed in our entrails: and the examples of Thy servants. quietly however. brighter than all light. but more hidden than all depths. but in lying dotages and law-skirmishes. or if not my deeds. Thou castest them forth. And very seasonably. sweeter than all pleasure. I am Thy servant. and weltering in filth. and Thy right hand had respect unto the depth of my death. BOOK IX: Augustine determines to devote his life to God. now ascending from the valley of tears. and my shoulders unto Thy light burden. other than our own friends. and say unto my soul. At Ostia. and destroying coals against the subtle tongue. but to men. which as though advising for us. but not to the high in their own conceits. as it doth its meat. and answer Thou me. but gently to withdraw. O Lord. it now wanted but very few days unto the Vacation of the Vintage. then in a regular way to take my leave. and from the bottom of my heart emptied that abyss of corruption. not tumultuously to tear. I am Thy servant. on his way to Africa. are good and merciful. to nill what I willed. or if not my words. and would out of love devour us. alive.

he saw that he should be severed from us. and serving Thee in perfect chastity and continence amongst his people in Africa. believing the flesh of Thy Son to be a phantom: yet emerging thence. not long after our conversion and regeneration by Thy Baptism. Thanks unto Thee. his whole house having through him first been made Christian. that people should repute and dispute upon my purpose. and one of the faithful. For although he also. Thou now requitest Verecundus for his country-house of Cassiacum. yet hadst Thou mercy not on him only. seeing Thou hast already given him the lot of the righteous.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE would talk much of me. we should be agonised with intolerable sorrow. it had at first troubled me that in this very summer my lungs began to give way. being now at Rome. be a Christian on any other terms than on those he could not. he departed this life. and I remained alone. where from the fever of the world we reposed in Thee. which might something moderate the offence taken by those who. that I might see how that Thou art the Lord. And what end had it served me. Whom. was he let and hindered from the journey which we had now essayed. I endured till that interval of time were run. had not patience taken its place. For he would not. as if I had desired to appear some great one. more rigidly than by any other chain. my God. with the eternal freshness of Thy Paradise: for that Thou hast forgiven him his sins upon earth. and that our good should be evil spoken of. amid too great literary labour. he said. in the holy water? Verecundus was worn down with care about this our blessedness. and to breathe deeply with difficulty. if I could be cured and recover. Nor would I be contentious. yet unable to number him among Thy flock. had left me. our God. pardoned and remitted this sin also. it may have been some twenty days. there lives my Nebridius. O most merciful Lord. in me. not as yet endued with any Sacraments of Thy Church. his wife one of the faithful. Thine own mountain. with my other most horrible and deadly sins. 83 . But hast not Thou. he believed as we did. Thou knowest. Perchance. I began even to rejoice that I had this secondary. For although. wished me never to have the freedom of Thy sons. or. for that being held back by bonds. that with a heart fully set on Thy service. and had been overwhelmed. for it almost constrained me of necessity to lay down that burden of teaching. this had troubled me. arose. excuse. not being yet a Christian. But when the full wish for leisure. and yet BOOK IX: hereby. had fallen into the pit of that most pernicious error. For himself was not yet a Christian. some of Thy servants. he offered us courteously to remain at his country-house so long as we should stay there. Moreover. O Lord. whereby he was most straitly bound. Faithful in promises. may say that I sinned in this. Whatever that be. being also a faithful member of the Church Catholic. shalt reward him in the resurrection of the just. and was fixed. He then had at that time sorrow. and that no feigned. Thou. but a most ardent searcher out of truth. and therein being made a Christian. However. didst Thou release from the flesh. and to refuse any full or lengthened speaking. for the covetousness which aforetime bore a part of this heavy business. he was seized with bodily sickness. we are Thine: Thy suggestions and consolations tell us. at least to intermit it. but on us also: lest remembering the exceeding kindness of our friend towards us. in that rich mountain. and by the pain in my chest to show that they were injured. yet they were endured manfully. but Nebridius joy. Full then of such joy. which is signified by that bosom. my brethren. and now he lives in Abraham’s bosom. for their sons’ sake. that mountain which yieldeth milk. I suffered myself to sit even one hour in the chair of lies. in our absence. endured.

Nor do I think that he is so inebriated therewith. and on fire to rehearse them. my God. Alypius. what accents did I utter unto Thee in those Psalms. in female garb with masculine faith. whereof in thought I was already freed. Now lays he not his ear to my mouth. could have beheld my countenance. O Lord. whereof he asked much of me. O Lord. comforting Verecundus. which he would not at first vouchsafe to have inserted in our writings. and how Thou also subduedst the brother of my heart. he was all but doing: and so. who was absent. And when shall I have time to rehearse all Thy great benefits towards us at that time. which the Lord hath now broken down. Would that what I uttered on these words. for they knew not those Sacraments. a poor inexperienced man. especially when hasting on to yet greater mercies? For my remembrance recalls me. resting in that villa. as to forget me. when I read the Psalms of David. they could hear. and sounds of devotion. panting from the school of pride. if I per- 84 . and heard my words. which was now enlisted in Thy service. My heart hath said unto Thee. BOOK IX: straightening my crookedness. being so near. that I might sing to Thee. rejoicing. How I would they had then been somewhere near me. who sorrowed. by what inward goads Thou tamedst me. and pleasant is it to me. art mindful of us. and Thy child. though still. adopted of a freed man: there he liveth. without my knowing whether they heard. namely. the God of my righteousness heard me. and awaiting Nebridius to follow us. with Alypius a Catechumen. and hear my prayer. and how that Psalm wrought upon me: When I called. than of the wholesome herbs of the Church. With what vehement and bitter sorrow was I angered at the Manichees! and again I pitied them. for long and many they seemed. in this breathing-time as it were. will I seek. Now was the day come wherein I was in deed to be freed of my Rhetoric Professorship. Thou didst rescue my tongue. as yet a Catechumen. in what accents spake I unto Thee. For what other place is there for such a soul? There he liveth. What I there did in writing. against the pride of mankind! And yet they are sung through the whole world. to confess to Thee. seeing Thou. as what with myself alone. and a novice in Thy real love. if possible.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE my sweet friend. and without my knowing that they were there. motherly love. but his spiritual mouth unto Thy fountain. lo! those days rolled by at length. lest they should think I spake it for their sakes! Because in truth neither should I speak the same things. before Thee: what with Nebridius. wisdom in proportion to his thirst. whence Thou hadst before rescued my heart. and drinketh as much as he can receive. nor can any hide himself from Thy heat. through the whole world. and how was I by them kindled towards Thee. those faithful songs. those medicines. and how Thou hast evened me. of a married estate. I have sought Thy face: Thy face. And it was done. our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. the antidote against serpents. endlessly happy. unto the name of Thy Only Begotten. from my inmost marrow. retiring with all mine to the villa. and smoothing my rough ways. my Epistles bear witness. my books may witness. And I blessed Thee. Lord. and were mad against the antidote which might have recovered them of their madness. with the tranquillity of age. Oh. Have mercy upon me. and exhorting him to become faithful. lowering the mountains and hills of my high imaginations. in tribulation Thou enlargedst me. as far as friendship permitted. according to his measure. So were we then. when I read the fourth Psalm in that time of my rest. Whom he drinketh. which allow of no swelling spirit. nor in the same way. as well what I debated with others. my mother cleaving to us. that our conversion was of such sort. which. Christian piety! Oh. for the love I bare to the easeful liberty. O Lord. For rather would he have them savour of the lofty cedars of the Schools. Lord.

where I had sacrificed. while they said. was there vanity and leasing. and with rejoicing in Thy mercy. wasting away time. in the bitterness of my remembrance. nor are we to seek those many other things. He had sent Him. that the Lord hath magnified His Holy One. and all issued forth both by mine eyes and voice. And Thou. Who will show us good things? For there. Oh that they were wearied out with their famine. how long slow of heart? why do ye love vanity. rising again from the dead. and Thou wouldest hear them when they cried unto Thee. Nor would I be multiplied with worldly goods. and I spake aloud many things earnestly and forcibly. And how was I moved. because it was spoken unto such as I remembered myself to have been. and said. so long as they brought me their heart in their eyes roving abroad from Thee. and hadst put gladness in my heart. I was grieved that I could not show It them. I further read. for by a true death in the flesh did He die for us.. where I was inwardly pricked. and sought after leasing: and therefore I heard and trembled. not knowing. The light of Thy countenance is sealed upon us. And with a loud cry of my heart I cried out in the next verse. when cometh to pass that saying which is written. O Father. and treasure up wrath against the day of wrath. and wine. when Thy good Spirit turning unto us. whence from on high He should send His promise. and in their famished thoughts do lick their very shadows. For we are not that light which enlighteneth every man. nor if I spake them would they so receive them. who had now learned to be angry at myself for things past. but we are enlightened by Thee. and again kindled with hope. For till then. hadst already magnified Thy Holy One. said. He cries out.there hadst Thou begun to grow sweet unto me. and waste themselves on the things seen and temporal. for who shall hinder us. For in those phantoms which I had held for truths. How long. that having been sometimes darkness. Which would they had heard. because He was now magnified. for they that would have joy from without soon become vain. slaying my old man and commencing the purpose of a new life. as I read this outwardly. that I might not sin in time to come! Yea. Death is swallowed up in victory? And Thou surpassingly art the Self-same. How long? He cries out. but I knew it not. finding it inwardly. O for The Self-same! O what said he. and sin not. and sought after leasing. who yet love vanity and seek after leasing! They would perchance have been troubled. raising Him from the dead. loved vanity. And the prophet cries out. and wasted by time. which are not what 85 . whereas I had in Thy eternal Simple Essence other corn. O ye sons of men. I will lay me down and sleep. out of the natural feelings of my soul. and setting Him at Thy right hand. and they hear. And I cried out. Nor were my good things now without. and oil. which having tasted. as when I spake by and for myself before Thee.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE ceived that they heard and saw me. Know this: and I so long. I trembled for fear. nor sought with the eyes of flesh in that earthly sun. because Jesus was not yet glorified. the Spirit was not yet given. who now intercedeth unto Thee for us. Who will show us good things? And we would say. putting my trust in Thee. And He had already sent Him. O my God. O Lord. and seek after leasing? Know this. and have vomited it up. for there is none other with Thee. where I was angry within myself in my chamber. to be justly angry. and in Thee is rest which forgetteth all toil. Who art not changed. and seek after leasing? For I had loved vanity. as they say who are not angry at themselves. the Comforter. for BOOK IX: that it was not another nature of a people of darkness which sinned for me. the Spirit of truth. we may be light in Thee. slow of heart? why do ye love vanity. and ascending into heaven. Be angry. O in peace. Oh that they could see the eternal Internal. and of the revelation of Thy just judgment.

Thou didst then torment me with pain in my teeth. with unwonted venture. For that we brought him up in Thy discipline. I confess unto Thee Thy gifts. touched to the quick by the voices of Thy sweet-attuned Church! The voices flowed into mine ears. but the sin. being already clothed with the humility befitting Thy Sacraments. it is a dialogue between him and me. But I. Him we joined with us. and kindled. I confess unto Thee Thy gifts. That talent struck awe into me. And by letters I signified to Thy Prelate. Excellently hadst Thou made him. He was not quite fifteen. whence the affections of my devotion overflowed. and the wonderful swiftness of Thy mercy. He recommended Isaiah the Prophet: I believe. 86 . to be resumed when better practised in our Lord’s own words. and rejoicing in faith. Thence. to wear the frozen ground of Italy with his bare feet. And the power of Thy Nod was deeply conveyed to me. and lightsome with Thine own light: and I was consumed with zeal at the enemies of this Scripture. Presently so soon as with humble devotion we had bowed our knees. and the Truth distilled into my heart. which when it had come to such height that I could not speak. which are honied with the honey of heaven. nor found I what to do to those deaf and dead. fearing nothing for his childhood or youth. a pestilent person. O Lord my God. and tears ran down. and imagining the BOOK IX: whole to be like it. The vintage-vacation ended. so as. our contemporary in grace. we left the country and returned to Milan. the God of all manner of health.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Thou art: but Thou. When shall I recall all which passed in those holy-days? Yet neither have I forgotten. Creator of all. I read. alone hast made me dwell in hope. and a most valiant tamer of the body. We joined with us the boy Adeodatus. of whom myself had been. Lord. none else. and through my difficulty of breathing and pain in my chest was not equal to the Professorship. or his whole self. Much besides. when the time was come wherein I was to give in my name. for that I had both made choice to serve Thee. my God. But what pain? or how went it away? I was affrighted. I gave notice to the Milanese to provide their scholars with another master to sell words to them. and anxiety for our past life vanished from us. Nor was I sated in those days with the wondrous sweetness of considering the depth of Thy counsels concerning the salvation of mankind. And that faith suffered me not to be at ease about my past sins. O my Lord. I found in him. and abundantly able to reform our deformities: for I had no part in that boy. and happy was I therein. of my sin. in Thy Hymns and Canticles. it was Thou. And who but Thou could be the workmaster of such wonders? Soon didst Thou take his life from the earth: and I now remember him without anxiety. that pain went away. because he above the rest is a more clear foreshower of the Gospel and of the calling of the Gentiles. laid it by. and yet more admirable. a bitter and a blind bawler against those writings. How did I weep. to become readier and fitter for receiving so great grace. nor will I pass over the severity of Thy scourge. And this I wrote on wax. not understanding the first lesson in him. had inspired us with it. It pleased Alypius also to be with me born again in Thee. Thou knowest that all there ascribed to the person conversing with me were his ideas. There is a book of ours entitled The Master. the holy man Ambrose. I praised Thy Name. which were not yet forgiven me by Thy baptism. born after the flesh. it came into my heart to desire all my friends present to pray for me to Thee. for from infancy I had never experienced the like. in his sixteenth year. my former errors and present desires. begging his advice what of Thy Scriptures I had best read. and in wit surpassed many grave and learned men. to he brought up in Thy discipline: and we were baptised. and gave it them to read.

Yet for her good discipline was she wont to commend not so much her mother’s diligence. I had passed by in forgetfulness. Therefore did I more weep among the singing of Thy Hymns. and well known to the city. ready to die with their Bishop Thy servant. almost all) Thy congregations. and excellent conversation. both in the flesh. for innumerable things whereof I am silent. We were together. not only they who were vexed with unclean spirits (the devils confessing themselves) were cured. and at length breathing in Thee. And yet then. Which when he had done. And the sceptre of Thy Christ. But I will not omit whatsoever my soul would bring forth concerning that Thy handmaid. We sought where we might serve Thee most usefully. divers (yea. that I might be born to Light eternal. didst join with us Euodius also. lest the people should wax faint through the tediousness of sorrow: and from that day to this the custom is retained. sprang forth desiring his guide to lead him thither. did we not run after Thee. Much I omit. For which reason. girded himself to Thine. to which she was seduced by the Arians. O my God. in a Christian house. who had carried her father when a child. Then it was first instituted that after the manner of the Eastern Churches. but an Empress. throughout other parts of the world following herein. persecuted Thy servant Ambrose. in favour of her heresy. as little ones used to be carried at the backs of elder girls. Hymns and Psalms should be sung. and with due honour translated to the Ambrosian Basilica. a good member of Thy Church. a citizen. Thou createdst her. Thanks to Thee.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Not long had the Church of Milan begun to use this kind of consolation and exhortation. for neither did she make nor educate herself. though not turned to the BOOK IX: soundness of believing. O my God. Thence did the fame spread. educated her in Thy fear. We. that Justina. still were stirred up by the sight of the amazed and disquieted city. bearing a chief part of those anxieties and watchings. but Thine in her. thence Thy praises glowed. but a certain man who had for many years been blind. For it was a year. shone. a child. when the odour of Thy ointments was so fragrant. Who being an officer of Court. whose death is precious in Thy sight. as far as the breath may enter into this our house of grass. lived for prayer. Receive my confessions and thanksgivings. Whence and whither hast Thou thus led my remembrance. the brethren zealously joining with harmony of voice and hearts. The devout people kept watch in the Church. mother to the Emperor Valentinian. a young man of our own city. my mother departed this life. the discipline of Thine only Son. they were forthwith opened. For when they were discovered and dug up. and put to his eyes. he begged to be allowed to touch with his handkerchief the bier of Thy saints. whence Thou mightest seasonably produce them to repress the fury of a woman. who brought me forth. formerly sighing after Thee. and for her great age. Not her gifts. Then didst Thou by a vision discover to Thy forenamed Bishop where the bodies of Gervasius and Protasius the martyrs lay hid (whom Thou hadst in Thy secret treasury stored uncorrupted so many years). was before us converted to Thee and baptised: and quitting his secular warfare. about to dwell together in our devout purpose. in 87 . would I speak of. thence the mind of that enemy. yet unwarmed by the heat of Thy Spirit. or not much more. Led thither. and were together returning to Africa: whitherward being as far as Ostia. was yet turned back from her fury of persecuting. and in heart. was she. that I should confess these things also unto Thee? which great though they be. Thou that makest men to dwell of one mind in one house. nor did her father and mother know what a one should come from them. as hastening much. There my mother Thy handmaid. asking and hearing the reason of the people’s confused joy. that I might be born to this temporal light. as that of a certain decrepit maid-servant.

Thou present. Where was then that discreet old woman. when he observes this. as though a sober maiden. not out of any desire of drink. you will scorn water. by which Thou ornamentedst her. for discovering it thus late. And she so endured the wronging of her bed as never to have any quarrel with her husband thereon. so in anger: but she had learnt not to resist an angry 88 . because you have not wine in your power. who turnest to Thy purposes the deepest currents.” By this method of instruction. But besides this. though parched with thirst. And thus by adding to that little. should ascribe it to his own power. and teaching them with a grave discretion. so soon as she was of marriageable age. who callest. she would not suffer them. restraining them earnestly. holding the vessel under the opening. preventing an evil custom. like a lancet out of Thy secret store. and the authority she had. but when you come to be married. Lord. but what themselves purposed. whom he wished to be reformed. so reproachful enemies mostly correct. to drink even water. but out of the exuberance of youth. with a holy severity. but the custom of drinking will abide. As flattering friends pervert. she refrained the greediness of childhood. she had fallen into such a habit as greedily to drink off her little cup brim-full almost of wine.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE that Christian family. O my God? how didst Thou cure her? how heal her? didst Thou not out of another soul bring forth a hard and a sharp taunt. and did her diligence to win him unto Thee. and made subject rather by Thee to her parents. With which taunt she. and be made mistresses of cellars and cupboards. taunted her with this fault. except at those hours wherein they were most temporately fed at their parents’ table. that believing in Thee. falling to words (as it happens) with her little mistress. to which she gave diligent heed. being bestowed upon a husband. didst by the very unhealthiness of one soul heal another. than by her parents to Thee. preaching Thee unto him by her conversation. and admirable unto her husband. But Thou. she served him as her lord. For when (as the manner was) she. making her reverently amiable. daily littles (for whoso despiseth little things shall fall by little and little). is reformed through words of his. which in youthful spirits are wont to be kept under by the gravity of their elders. lest any. dost Thou repay them. And yet (as Thy handmaid told me her son) there had crept upon her a love of wine. either for that the time and place of the quarrel so found them. who also by those set over us. before she poured the wine into the flagon. For she in her anger sought to vex her young mistress. Brought up thus modestly and soberly. and with one touch remove all that foul stuff? For a maidservant with whom she used to go to the cellar. calling her wine-bibber. when alone with her. stung to the quick. mother. Yet not what by them Thou doest. and adding this wholesome advice: “Ye drink water now. and did it in private. as in his affections. who createdst. or lest herself also should have anger. if Thy healing hand. she sipped a little with the tip of her lips. Whence also the charge of her master’s daughters was entrusted to her. whereby it boils over in mirthful freaks. not to amend her. well respected by its heads. he might be made chaste. and instantly condemned and forsook it. Governor of all in heaven and earth. he was fervid. For this she did. and governors absent. what didst Thou then. and that her earnest countermanding? Would aught avail against a secret disease. O Lord. even when another. workest something towards the sal- BOOK IX: vation of our souls. and the ruled turbulence of the tide of times. saw the foulness of her fault. when necessary. with most bitter insult. that they would not. was bidden by her parents to draw wine out of the hogshed. for more her instinctive feelings refused. watched not over us? Father. For she looked for Thy mercy upon him. For. and moulded their very thirst to such an excellent moderation that what they should not.

would in familiar talk blame their husbands’ lives. if haply he had overhastily taken offence. at her will who had discovered them. nor had she to complain of that in him as a believer. he had with stripes corrected those discovered. Then. O my God. so often travailing in birth of them. to please her. should speak ill of her daughter-in-law to her: and none now venturing. had requited her parents. remembering their condition. unless one study withal by good words to quench it. not only disclose to persons mutually angered things said in anger. had brought up children. Thyself. but add withal things never spoken. asking him to correct them. marvelled that it had never been heard. when in compliance with his mother. knowing what a choleric husband she endured. her own husband. that hearing on both sides most bitter things. in whose womb Thou createdst me. while many matrons. who before her sleeping in Thee lived united together. she so overcame by observance and persevering endurance and meekness. she promised the like reward to any who. did she so take care of. they should account them as indentures. who had milder husbands. us. In a word. as 89 . not in deed only. had governed her house piously. Lastly. upon that good handmaid of Thine. for that through the witness of the fruits of a holy conversation they perceived Thy presence in her heart. even for one day. whereby they were made servants. that Patricius had beaten his wife. of all of us Thy servants. having received the grace of Thy baptism. She was also the servant of Thy servants. ought not to set themselves up against their lords. giving them. and returned thanks. she never would disclose aught of the one unto the other. did in her much praise and honour and love Thee. at first by whisperings of evil servants incensed against her. as in jest. who through some horrible and wide-spreading contagion of sin. my mercy. earnest advice: “That from the time they heard the marriage writings read to them. but what might tend to their reconcilement. and so. but not even in word. as she saw them swerving from Thee. For she had been the wife of one man. nor by any token perceived. did she gain unto Thee. A small good this might appear to me. whereas to humane humanity. BOOK IX: This great gift also thou bestowedst. and in a temper to receive it. she would give an account of her actions. which before he was a believer she had borne from him. she showed herself such a peacemaker. those who observed it not. when the crudities of enmities are breathed out in sour discourses to a present friend against an absent enemy. and confidentially asking the reason. Such was she. towards the very end of his earthly life. her most inward Instructor. was well reported of for good works. found no relief. such as swelling and indigested choler uses to break out into. whosoever of them knew her. they lived together with a remarkable sweetness of mutual kindness. and for the well-ordering of the family. Finally. that between any disagreeing and discordant parties where she was able. and suffered. Her mother-in-law also. teaching her in the school of the heart.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE husband. or that there had been any domestic difference between them. Only when he was smoothed and tranquil. it ought to seem a light thing not to toment or increase ill will by ill words. she would blame their tongues. yet bore even in their faces marks of shame. did I not to my grief know numberless persons. O Lord (whom on occasion of Thy own gift Thou sufferest to speak).” And when they. that she of her own accord discovered to her son the meddling tongues whereby the domestic peace betwixt her and her daughter-in-law had been disturbed. Those wives who observed it found the good. she taught them her practice above mentioned.

but is. and went beyond them.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE though she had been mother of us all. that she and I stood alone. alone. but He made us that abideth for ever. having roused only our ears to Him who made them. we were recruiting from the fatigues of a long journey. after those heavenly streams of Thy fountain. not by them but by Himself. yea the very soul be hushed to herself. which looked into the garden of the house where we now lay. so served us. and forgetting those things which are behind. that the very highest delight of the earthly senses. not only not worthy of comparison. and this one ravish. BOOK IX: and what have been. and absorb. The day now approaching whereon she was to depart this life (which day Thou well knewest. was. and what shall be. by Thy secret ways so ordering it. we knew not).If then having uttered this. we raising up ourselves with a more glowing affection towards the “Self-same. yea rather. and He alone speak. that we may hear His Word. and wrap up its beholder amid these inward joys. and admiring of Thy works. as I believe. nor Angel’s voice. and by not thinking on self surmount self. every tongue and every sign. where the word spoken has beginning and end. and other visions of kind far unlike be withdrawn. nor sound of thunder.” seeing she is eternal. and waters. we might in some sort meditate upon so high a mystery.” are not in her. leaning in a certain window. all these say. so that life might be for ever like that one moment of understanding which now we sighed after. but only “to be. we were enquiring between ourselves in the presence of the Truth. and we came to our own minds. Thyself. as she hath been. yea. they too should be hushed. nor ear heard.” are not eternal. and in swift thought touched on that Eternal Wisdom which abideth over all). but might hear Whom in these things we love. and she is not made. We were discoursing then together. and where life is the Wisdom by whom all these things are made. And while we were discoursing and panting after her.” did by degrees pass through all things bodily. hushed also the pole of heaven. of what sort the eternal life of the saints was to be. and there we leave bound the first fruits of the Spirit. For to “have been. Enter into thy Master’s joy? And when shall that be? When we shall all rise again. and maketh all things new? We were saying then: If to any the tumult of the flesh were hushed. But yet we gasped with the mouth of our heart. And what is like unto Thy Word. our Lord. -could this be continued on. in the very purest material light. and air. and we sighed. in respect of the sweetness of that life. though we shall not all be changed? 90 . were not this. and whatsoever exists only in transition. who endureth in Himself without becoming old. that we might arrive at that region of never-failing plenty. at Ostia. as though she had been child to us all. even the very heaven whence sun and moon and stars shine upon the earth. We made not ourselves. which eye hath not seen. which Thou art. it came to pass. we slightly touched on her with the whole effort of our heart. where Thou feedest Israel for ever with the food of truth. that being bedewed thence according to our capacity. for the voyage. we were soaring higher yet. And when our discourse was brought to that point. since if any could hear. by inward musing. might hear His Very Self without these (as we two now strained ourselves. and returned to vocal expressions of our mouth. and discourse. nor hath it entered into the heart of man. not through any tongue of flesh. very sweetly. and so shall she be ever.” and “hereafter to be. to “have been. where removed from the din of men. hushed the images of earth. and reaching forth unto those things which are before. which is with Thee. the fountain of life. but not even of mention. hushed all dreams and imaginary revelations. nor in the dark riddle of a similitude.” and to “be hereafter.

she held her peace. wishing for her. and there flowed withal a mighty sorrow into my heart. not in a strange place.” saith she. let not the care for that any way disquiet you: this only I request. recalling what I before knew. One thing there was for which I desired to linger for a while in this life. Whereat. I knew not. as the happier lot. that she might die. that after her pilgrimage beyond the seas. nor was it to be feared lest at the end of the world. being exercised by her growing sickness. I heard afterwards also. which was overflowing into tears. my mother said. and was for a while withdrawn from these visible things. by the violent command of my mind. considering Thy gifts. mine eyes at the same time. and rejoiced admiring what she had so disclosed to me. BOOK IX: But I. and this world with all its delights became. For because they had lived in great harmony together. “Where was I?” And then looking fixedly on us. she fell sick of a fever. how careful and anxious she had ever been as to her place of burial. We hastened round her. she with anxious look. “Son. I closed her eyes. for mine own part I have no further delight in any thing in this life. she also wished (so little can the human mind embrace things divine) to have this addition to that happiness.” she saith. with grief amazed: “Here. said to us enquiringly. “this body any where. checking him with her eyes. when I was absent. whence wondrous fruits do spring.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Such things was I speaking. What I do here any longer. one day discoursed with certain of my friends about the contempt of this life. what was earthly of this united pair had been permitted to be united beneath the same earth. contemptible to us. become His servant: what do I here?” What answer I made her unto these things. Thou knowest that in that day when we were speaking of these things. yet. “What do I here any longer?” there appeared no desire of dying in her own country. which she had provided and prepared for herself by the body of her husband. and then looking upon me: “Behold. that I should now see thee withal. He should not recognise whence He were to raise me up. that when we were now at Ostia. and woe was me in such a strife! But when she breathed her last. as we spake.” I held my peace and refrained weeping. and the fifty-sixth year of her age. drank up their fountain wholly dry.” saith she. “what he saith”: and soon after to us both. and the blessing of death: and when they were amazed at such courage which Thou hadst given to a woman. or not much more. that you would remember me at the Lord’s altar.” On the ninth day then of her sickness. and asked. was that religious and holy soul freed from the body. I remember not. and in that sickness one day she fell into a swoon. but my brother spake something. wherever you be. when she said. for that he still savoured such things. Thou unseen God. Lord. “Lay. did rejoice and give thanks to Thee. and to what I am here. My God hath done this for me more abundantly. now that my hopes in this world are accomplished. “Whether she were not afraid to leave her body so far from her own city?” she replied. and looking on me and my brother standing by her. I know not. despising earthly happiness. and to have it remembered among men. but in her own land.” And having delivered this sentiment in what words she could. and the three-and-thirtieth of mine. But when this emptiness had through the fulness of Thy goodness begun to cease in her heart. and even if not in this very manner. but she was soon brought back to her senses. For scarce five days after. she with a mother’s confidence. the boy Adeodatus burst out into a loud 91 . and these same words. that I might see thee a Catholic Christian before I died. “shall you bury your mother. which Thou instillest into the hearts of Thy faithful ones. “Nothing is far to God. though indeed in that our discourse also in the window.

she called me “dutiful. with great affection of love. and conceiving me to be without all sense BOOK IX: of sorrow. I remembered those true verses of Thy Ambrose. I blamed the weakness of my feelings. But yet. and began to sing. what comparison is there betwixt that honour that I paid to her. as with a tide. whereas she was neither unhappy in her death. how strong is the bond of all habit. mingling her endearments with my acts of duty. Then I slept. the Lord. which gave way a little unto me. and with troubled mind prayed Thee. but a fresh wound wrought through the sudden wrench of that most sweet and dear custom of living together? I joyed indeed in her testimony. O my God. I believe. 92 . did I weep even during those prayers. The boy then being stilled from weeping. nor to change of countenance. And being very much displeased that these human things had such power over me.” and mentioned. through my heart’s youthful voice. yet Thou didst not. where none of them heard. as though unhappy. the testimony of her good conversation and her faith unfeigned. many brethren and religious women came together. yet not so as to burst out into tears. but again came. Euodius took up the Psalter. And behold. they unknowing and listening intently. and as I was alone in my bed. even upon a soul. then. I will sing of mercy and judgments to Thee. was checked and silenced. which. What then was it which did grievously pain me within. For neither in those prayers which we poured forth unto Thee. and groanings. which was. the corpse was carried to the burial. Of this we were assured on good grounds. known to Thee. It seemed also good to me to go and bathe. But hearing what we were doing. that I bathed. previous to its being laid therein. And Ruler of the height. we went and returned without tears. having heard that the bath had its name (balneum) from the Greek Balaneion for that it drives sadness from the mind. when the Sacrifice of our ransom was offered for her. impressing. as the manner there is. or altogether dead. had been made but one. Who madest us. which in the due order and appointment of our natural condition must needs come to pass. which now feeds upon no deceiving Word. and by this balm of truth assuaged that torment. Father of the fatherless.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE lament. of hers and mine together. and whilst they (whose office it was) made ready for the burial. for thereby do they for the most part express grief for the departed. with a new grief I grieved for my grief. the Psalm. together with those who thought not fit to leave me. held his peace. as I could. when. I (in a part of the house. nor altogether dead. And this also I confess unto Thy mercy. in that her last sickness. For we thought it not fitting to solemnise that funeral with tearful lament. finding its vent in weeping. upon my memory by this one instance. our whole house answering him. to heal my sorrow. For the bitterness of sorrow could not exude out of my heart. and woke up again. as the manner is. still I knew what I was keeping down in my heart. For Thou art the “Maker of all. But in Thy ears. discoursed upon something fitting the time. In like manner also a childish feeling in me. O Lord. and that life rent asunder as it were. when now the corpse was by the grave’s side. where I might properly). that she never had heard any harsh or reproachful sound uttered by my mouth against her. and was thus worn by a double sorrow. and was the same as before I bathed. and found my grief not a little softened. checked by us all. my soul was wounded. and refrained my flood of grief. yet was I the whole day in secret heavily sad. and her slavery for me? Being then forsaken of so great comfort in her.

since Thy words are true. And. Thou hast already done what I ask. and Thou hast promised mercy unto the merciful. flowing from a spirit shaken by the thoughts of the dangers of BOOK IX: every soul that dieth in Adam. And hearts be rais’d that sink and cower. our God.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Who. laying aside for a while her good deeds. And I gave way to the tears which I before restrained. who wilt have mercy on whom Thou wilt have mercy. we confidently hope to find some place with Thee. which Thou gavest them to be. with a heart cured of that wound. do Thou also forgive her debts. And woe be even unto the commendable life of men. But whosoever reckons up his real merits to Thee. For she. hast poured Soft slumbers o’er the night. since the water of salvation. reposing my heart upon them. what reckons he up to Thee but Thine own gifts? O that men would know themselves to be men. to overflow as much as they desired. Lord. O Lord. the Truth. not in those of man. that I wept my mother for a small portion of an hour (the mother who for the time was dead to mine eyes. Thou fool. do now beseech Thee for the sins of my mother. for her and for myself. if. and wilt have compassion on whom Thou hast had compassion. the Father of all the brethren of Thy Christ. Thou shouldest examine it. took no thought to have her body sump- 93 . her holy conversation towards Thee. enter not into judgment with her. how he will: and if he finds sin therein. and interpret it. a far different kind of tears. in her behalf and in my own. if he be one of large charity. Lord. forgive. whatever she may have contracted in so many years. let him not deride me. And sorrows be subdu’d. yet dare I not say that from what time Thou regeneratedst her by baptism. no word issued from her mouth against Thy Commandment. I know that she dealt mercifully. I beseech Thee. And although she having been quickened in Christ. her holy tenderness and observance towards us. who would have scornfully interpreted my weeping. and now sitting at Thy right hand maketh intercession to Thee for us. and that he that glorieth would glory in the Lord. let him weep himself for my sins unto Thee. Who hung upon the tree. had lived to the praise of Thy name for her faith and conversation. I pour out unto Thee. and it found rest in them. God of my heart. But now. Whosoever shall say unto his brother. whereof I was suddenly deprived: and I was minded to weep in Thy sight. shall be in danger of hell fire. Read it. even before her release from the flesh. Thy Son. hath said.” And then by little and little I recovered my former thoughts of Thy handmaid. Hearken unto me. the free-will offerings of my mouth. but rather. but accept. I entreat Thee. laying aside mercy. wherein it might seem blameworthy for an earthly feeling. for which I give thanks to Thee with joy. Forgive her. the day of her dissolution now at hand. in writing I confess it unto Thee. I therefore. for it was in Thy ears. who had for many years wept for me that I might live in Thine eyes). That to our limbs the power Of toil may be renew’d. O my Praise and my Life. Let Thy mercy be exalted above Thy justice. by the Medicine of our wounds. But because Thou art not extreme in enquiring after sins. And now. in behalf of that Thy handmaid. robing day in light. I believe. and from her heart forgave her debtors their debts. who will.

nor desired she a choice monument. For she will not answer that she owes nothing.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE tuously wound up. And inspire. by which the hand-writing that was against us is blotted out. Let none sever her from Thy protection: let neither the lion nor the dragon interpose himself by force or fraud. paid for us. Who owed nothing. even unto their return thither. and heart. That so my mother’s last request of me. inspire Thy servants my brethren. more than BOOK IX: through my prayers. with Patricius. may at Thy Altar remember Monnica Thy handmaid. my brethren under Thee our Father in our Catholic Mother. These things she enjoined us not. that so many as shall read these Confessions. found nothing in Him. or embalmed with spices. O Lord my God. through which the enemy was triumphed over. more abundantly fulfilled to her. Thy sons my masters. but desired only to have her name commemorated at Thy Altar. how I know not. Who shall restore to Him the innocent blood? Who repay Him the price wherewith He bought us. by whose bodies Thou broughtest me into this life. and pen I serve. who summing up our offences. that she might win him also unto Thee. her sometimes husband. 94 . whom she obeyed. in Whom we conquer. May they with devout affection remember my parents in this transitory light. whom with voice. may through my confessions. which she had served without intermission of one day: whence she knew the holy Sacrifice to be dispensed. May she rest then in peace with the husband before and after whom she had never any. through the prayers of many. and seeking what to lay to our charge. lest she be convicted and seized by the crafty accuser: but she will answer that her sins are forgiven her by Him. to Whom none can repay that price which He. and so take us from Him? Unto the Sacrament of which our ransom. or to be buried in her own land. and my fellow-citizens in that eternal Jerusalem which Thy pilgrim people sigheth after from their Exodus. be. Thy handmaid bound her soul by the bond of faith. with patience bringing forth fruit unto Thee.

which Thou hast forgiven and covered. What then have I to do with men. yet they believe me. This is my hope. not me from Thee. whose ears charity openeth unto me. O Lord. but which could not discover Him. But do Thou.a race. cometh to the light. and beloved. changing my soul by Faith and Thy Sacrament. in this Augustine confesses what he then was. Power of my soul. is made silently. it cries aloud. then to confess to Thee is nothing else than to be displeased with myself. for that my groaning is witness. O my God. “lust of the flesh. and he that doth it. before many witnesses. in Thy sight. my inmost Physician. what could be hidden in me though I would not confess it? For I should hide Thee from me. Who heals and will heal all infirmities. among those whom knitting unto itself it maketh one). O Lord. that men may hear.” unless himself lieth? But because charity believeth all things (that is. whence he enlarges on the mysterious character of the memory wherein God. “It is false. O Lord. O Lord. Nor do I it with words and sounds of the flesh. seeing no man knows what is in man. which Thou hast not first said unto me. dwells.” For what is it to hear from Thee of themselves. it is silent. am I open.” but awake in the love of Thy mercy and the sweetness BOOK X: Having in the former books spoken of himself before his receiving the grace of Baptism. O Lord.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE BOOK X: soul. Other things of this life are the less to be sorrowed for. curious to know the lives of others. but the spirit of man which is in him? But if they hear from Thee of themselves. I also. blessest the godly. For neither do I utter any thing right unto men. that I may be ashamed of myself. nor dost Thou hear any such thing from me. but first Thou justifieth him when ungodly. when from myself they hear of myself. and the more to be sorrowed for. but with the words of my 95 . and in this hope do I rejoice. For in sound. the less men sorrow for them. that I am displeased with myself. and fit it for Thee. and with what fruit I confess unto Thee. and longed for. stir up the heart. in affection. when I rejoice healthfully. when read and heard. and not silently. For the confessions of my past sins. and renounce myself. Thou lovest the truth. but when holy. but in Thee. For behold. that Thou mayest have and hold it without spot or wrinkle. what Christian continency prescribes as to each. nothing else than not to ascribe it to myself: because Thou. and the cry of the thought which Thy ear knoweth. and pride”. and neither please Thee nor myself. who will not hear from Thee what themselves are? And how know they. Let me know Thee. the more they are sorrowed for. but to know themselves? and who knoweth and saith. But now. “The Lord lieth. as I am known. and art pleasing. who knowest me: let me know Thee. will in such wise confess unto Thee. lust of the eyes. to whom I cannot demonstrate whether I confess truly.as if they could heal all my infirmities. On Christ the Only Mediator. that it sleep not in despair and say “I cannot. Then he examines his own trials under the triple division of temptation. whatever I am. slothful to amend their own? Why seek they to hear from me what I am. make plain unto me what fruit I may reap by doing it. being made know. I have said. enter into it. This would I do in my heart before Thee in confession: and in my writing. Thou shinest out. For when I am evil. unto whose eyes the abyss of man’s conscience is naked. that Thou mightest bless me in Thee. My confession then. he enquires by what faculty we can know God at all. and choose Thee. that they should hear my confessions. To Thee therefore. whether I say true. they cannot say. which Thou hast not before heard from me. But first. And from Thee. therefore do I speak.

at the very time of making these confessions. dost judge me: because. or are to follow on. who are gone before. out of the hearts of my brethren. but my Father ever liveth. Thy censers. whither neither their eye. to confess this. These are Thy servants. is strong. my brethren. and their right hand is a right hand of iniquity. telleth them that in my confessions I lie not. before I am with Thee. is sorry for me. do I by this book confess to men also in Thy presence what I now am. which neither the spirit of man that is in him. nor understanding can reach. in a secret exultation with trembling. For Thou. in over great peril. and she in them. but because they have been and are not. O Lord. Lord. and when it disapproveth me. because whether it approveth or disapproveth. not of what I have been. Thus therefore I would be heard. my masters. were not my soul subdued unto Thee under Thy wings. Lord. but that brotherly mind which when it approveth. But this Thy Word were little did it only command by speaking. I approach unto Thee? and to pray for me. But Thou. who have heard from me or of me. not that of the strange children. knowest all of 96 . whatever I am. I pray. yet is there something of man. my evil ones are my offences. to Whom my conscience daily confesseth. trusting more in the hope of Thy mercy than in her own innocency. when they shall hear how much I am held back by my own weight? To such will I discover myself For it is no mean fruit. this I do under Thy wings. but the spirit of a man which is in him. and let hymns and weeping go up into Thy sight. but their ear is not at my heart where I am. But for what fruit would they hear this? Do they desire to joy with me. This then I do in deed and word. by Thy gift. and partners in my mortality. They wish then to hear me confess what I am within. companions of my way. they wish it. he pleased with the incense of Thy holy temple. of Thee. believeth me.but will they know? For charity. as ready to believe. but in the ears also of the believing sons of men. Let them breathe freely at the one. To such will I discover myself: they will breathe freely at my good deeds. yea. To such then whom Thou commandest me to serve will I discover. I am a little one. My good deeds are Thine appointments. but what I now am and what I yet am. although no man knoweth the things of a man. and lament in me what Thou teachest is to be lamented. O Lord my God. itself knoweth. my fellow-citizens. BOOK X: and Thy gifts. whose mouth talketh of vanity. with what fruit. divers desire to know. But what I now am. who have or have not known me. sharers of my joy. not what I have been. and my infirmity known unto Thee. O Lord my God. if I would live with Thee. sigh at the other. sigh for my ill. whereby whoso is weak. This is the fruit of my confessions of what I am. not what I have been? For that other fruit I have seen and spoken of. it loveth me. With what fruit then. Almighty. Let a brotherly. And the good delight to hear of the past evils of such as are now freed from them. and defends me: and Thou Thyself art all my good. have mercy upon me according to Thy great mercy for Thine own name’s sake. Let the brotherly mind love in me what Thou teachest is to be loved. when they hear how near. whom Thou commandest me to serve. nor ear. not because they are evils. And do Thou. Who are with me. when by it he became conscious of his own weakness. For He is the same who begat me.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE of Thy grace. and a secret sorrow with hope. that by many thanks should be given to Thee on our behalf. Thou. rejoiceth for me. and not go before in performing. perfect my imperfections. mind. and no ways forsaking what Thou hast begun. and Thy judgments. whom Thou willest to be Thy sons. and Thou be by many entreated for us. not before Thee only. not a stranger. and fellow-pilgrims. But neither do I judge myself. and my Guardian is sufficient for me. whereby they are good.

I will confess also what I know not of myself. not manna and honey. I am more present with myself than with Thee. on every side they bid me love Thee. “We are not thy God. And truly. I asked the sea and the deeps.” I asked the moving air. But more deeply wilt Thou have mercy on whom Thou wilt have mercy. and there smelleth what breathing disperseth not. “I am not He. “ My questioning them. None of these I love. and fragrance. but wilt with the temptation also make a way to escape. “Who art thou?” And I answered. “We are not God. who said.” These things did my inner man know by the ministry of the outer: I the inner knew them. This is it which I love when I love my God. and it answered me. I know not. but He made me. though in Thy sight I despise myself. nor the brightness of the light. I am not God. behold. one without. the beams of mine eyes. that they may be without excuse. for to it as presiding and judging. all the bodily messengers reported the answers of heaven and earth. I asked the whole frame of the world about my God. what temptations I can resist. I know by Thy shining upon me. through the senses of my body. when I love Thee? not beauty of bodies. moon. but He made us. fragrance. Yea also heaven. do I love Thee. and wilt have compassion on whom Thou hast had compassion: else in deaf ears do the heaven and the earth speak Thy praises. so gladsome to our eyes. Who hast made him. But the better is the inner. melody. and I loved Thee. “A man. I will confess then what I know of myself. Thou hast stricken my heart with Thy word. and spices. and the whole air with his inhabitants answered. seek above us. But what do I love. “ I asked the heavens. not limbs acceptable to embracements of flesh. and yet know I Thee that Thou art in no ways passible. Lord. so long know I not it. And I turned myself unto myself. but they cannot ask it: because no reason is set over 97 . “He made us. the other within. and body.” And they cried out with a loud voice. yet know I something of Thee. and whatsoever are in it confessed the same. Is not this corporeal figure apparent to all whose senses are perfect? why then speaks it not the same to all? Animals small and great see it. the mind. By which of these ought I to seek my God? I had sought Him in the body from earth to heaven. which I know not of myself. and there tasteth what eating diminisheth not. because Thou art faithful. And that because what I do know of myself. tell me something of Him.” And I replied unto all the things which encompass the door of my flesh: “Ye have told me of my God. and it answered me. so far as I could send messengers. I. “Nor (say they) are we the God whom thou seekest. Not with doubting. and said to myself. meat. and ointments. stars. and there clingeth what satiety divorceth not. that we may be able to bear it. and melody. nor sweet melodies of varied songs. and yet I love a kind of light. and all that therein is. embracement of my inner man: where there shineth unto my soul what space cannot con- BOOK X: tain. but with assured consciousness. and meat. the light. and they answered.” And behold. that ye are not He. Yet I. And there is hope. not face to face as yet. nor the fair harmony of time. and embracement when I love my God. when I love my God. and there soundeth what time beareth not away. and account myself dust and ashes. and what I know not of myself. nor the fragrant smell of flowers.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE him. but I. in me there present themselves to me soul. and the living creeping things. and earth. sun. until my darkness be made as the noon-day in Thy countenance. now we see through a glass darkly. was my thoughts on them: and their form of beauty gave the answer. “Anaximenes was deceived. And what is this? I asked the earth. nor cease to say so unto all. So long therefore as I be absent from Thee. and all things therein. what I cannot. Who wilt not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able. “I am not He”.

all tastes by the mouth. giving it life. their appearance). and while one thing is desired and required. which the Lord hath framed for me: commanding the eye not to hear. and mule. and the ear not to see. whereby even their bodies live. There is stored up. Which images. do through them enact. what is hard or soft. who compare its voice received from without. in unbroken order. they start forth. as it were. but by love of them.” This. Nor yet do the creatures answer such as ask. But another power there is. nor yet do they change their voice (i. out of some inner receptacle. “Neither heaven.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE their senses to judge on what they report. and something instantly comes. as they are called for. I require what I will to be brought forth. when I love my God? who is He above the head of my soul? By my very soul will I ascend to Him. as who should say. another way to that. And I come to the fields and spacious palaces of my memory. unless they can judge. and to the other senses severally. they are made subject unto them: and subjects cannot judge. by the ears all sorts of sounds.” Now to thee I speak. for thought to recall. but that too whereby I imbue with sense my flesh. to be forthcoming. that through it I should hear. I the one mind. all smells by the avenue of the nostrils. I will pass beyond that power whereby I am united to my body. each entering in by his own gate. thou art my better part: for thou quickenest the mass of my body. which are fetched. nor any other body is thy God.e.. which no body can give to a body: but thy God is even unto thee the Life of thy life. where are the treasures of innumerable images. There are all things preserved distinctly and under general heads. and appear in sight. another seeing asks. ready to come when I will. for so horse and mule that have no understanding might find Him. seeing it is the same power. if one man only sees. but they only understand. Other things come up readily. All which takes place when I repeat a thing by heart. and fill its whole frame with life. and brought out at need. out of its secret place. either outwardly or inwardly to the body. it is dumb to this. being understood by the things that are made. I will pass beyond this power of mine also. being divers. those in front making way for the following. and there laid up. and by the sensation of the whole body. and whatever else hath been committed and laid up. others rush out in troops. For truth saith unto me. not that only whereby I animate. but the eye. their very nature saith to him that seeth them: “They are a mass. speaks to that. Nor can I by that power find my God. so that the invisible things of God are clearly seen. heavy or light. or any other way varying those things which the sense hath come to. yea rather it speaks to all. nor earth. that through it I should see. O my soul. rising by degrees unto Him Who made me. When I enter there. either by enlarging or diminishing. a mass is less in a part thereof than in the whole. what is to each their own peculiar seats and offices. with the truth within. who can 98 . brought into it from things of all sorts perceived by the senses. until what I wish for be unveiled. which forgetfulness hath not yet swallowed up and buried. for this also have the horse. from the face of my remembrance. and all colours and forms of bodies by the eyes. so as to appear one way to this man. and the ear. “Is it perchance I?” These I drive away with the hand of my heart. Nor yet do the things themselves enter in. and as they make way. but appearing the same way to both. whatsoever besides we think. others must be longer sought after. for they also perceive through the body. they are hidden from sight. BOOK X: I will pass then beyond this power of my nature also. how they are formed. All these doth that great harbour of the memory receive in her numberless secret and inexpressible windings. each having entered by its own avenue: as light. What then do I love. But men can ask. only the images of the things perceived are there in readiness. which. hot or cold. or rugged.

apart. with the same vast spaces between. from what I have experienced. amazement seizes me upon this. and belongs unto my nature. but their images only. and pass themselves by. sea. I discern the breath of lilies from violets. in that vast court of my memory. Therefore is the mind too strait to contain itself. inwardly in my memory. For. which is yet no place: nor are they the images thereof. as that I have not taken in the image. at the time neither tasting nor handling. piled in and up by the other senses. I did not see them with mine eyes. in such manner exists in my memory. whatsoever of these I know. and under what feelings. though it doth plainly appear by which sense each hath been brought in and stored up? For even while I dwell in darkness and silence. And I know by what sense of the body each was impressed upon me. and when. billows. For there are present with me. which notwithstanding be there. when it no longer 99 . Great is this force of memory. and my throat mute. which I am reviewing. or other’s credit. though they also are there. learnt of the liberal sciences and as yet unforgotten. There be all which I remember. Out of the same store do I myself with the past continually combine fresh and fresh likenesses of things which I have experienced. removed as it were to some inner place. And though my tongue be still. smooth before rugged. and forthwith they appear. And where should that be. These things do I within. “and this or that will follow. whereby it might be recalled. lying dormant. and whatever I could think on therein. as if it sounded. heaven. So the other things. the compass of the ocean. in my memory I can produce colours. where. and what I have done. O my God. out of the BOOK X: same treasury of memory. nor are they themselves with me. how many kinds of questions there be. were the images wanting. the mighty billows of the sea. and all these again I reflect on. unless I then actually saw the mountains. so can I sing as much as I will. and what others I will: nor yet do sounds break in and disturb the image drawn in by my eyes. but the things themselves.” say I to myself. nor do I myself comprehend all that I am. For these too I call for. as it were. earth. or. when with mine eyes I beheld them. have believed: and thence again infer future actions. and I prefer honey to sweet wine. if I will. rivers. but remembering only. Yet did not I by seeing draw them into myself. as if I saw them abroad. when another store is called for. in that great receptacle of my mind. events and hopes. besides what I have forgotten. as present. and discern betwixt black and white. the images of all I speak of are present. and the circuits of the stars. nor wonder that when I spake of all these things. Yea. Here also is all.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE tell. the broad tides of rivers. I recall at my pleasure. a large and boundless chamber! who ever sounded the bottom thereof? yet is this a power of mine. Yet not these alone does the unmeasurable capacity of my memory retain. “I will do this or that. and laid up.” “O that this or that might be!” “God avert this or that!” So speak I to myself: and when I speak. nor would I speak of any thereof. and recall myself. which it containeth not of itself? Is it without it. stored with the images of things so many and so great. and that. stars which I had seen. intrude themselves and interrupt. though smelling nothing. yet could not have spoken of them. what the art of disputing. and not within? how then doth it not comprehend itself? A wonderful admiration surprises me. and that ocean which I believe to be. excessive great. either on my own experience. There also meet I with myself. which flowed in by the ears. nor do those images of colours. what is literature. and left out the thing. or that it should have sounded and passed away like a voice fixed on the ear by that impress. And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains.

but by conception.” The ears say.” Whence and how entered these things into my memory? I know not how. ask me not. “Whether the thing be? what it is? of what kind it is? I do indeed hold the images of the sounds of which those words be composed. I gave no notice of it. nor sound. but themselves. But the things themselves which are signified by those sounds. whence I might bring them forth when I willed. when they were BOOK X: spoken. they are again so buried.” The touch says. that to learn these things whereof we imbibe nor the images by our senses. For the eyes say. without images. and by marking to take heed that those things which the memory did before contain at random and unarranged. they must as it were be collected together from their dispersion: whence the word “cogitation” is derived. that they must again. but recognised them in mine. as they are. brought together. I never reached with any sense of my body. I commended them to it. “If those images were coloured. and now are not. into the deeper recesses. The memory containeth also reasons and laws innumerable of numbers and dimensions. “Unless they have a savour. with a noise passed through the air. “If they smell. as if new. for other abode they have none: but they must be drawn together again. and yet in the memory still in a manner tasteth. or thought upon.” i. nor smell. For cogo (collect) and cogito (re-collect) have the same relation to each other as ago and agito. nor taste. which we are said to have learned and come to know which were I for some short space of time to cease to call to mind. that is to say. that they may be known. “If they sound. nor ever discerned them otherwise than in my mind. for I have gone over all the avenues of my flesh. “If it have not size.. For those things are not transmitted into the memory. yet in my memory have I laid up not their images. did I acknowledge them. we renew. but their images only are with an admirable swiftness caught up. they passed by us. nor touch. but so thrown back and buried as it were in deeper recesses. and stored as it were in wondrous cabinets. we gave knowledge of them. brought forth. but cannot find by which they entered. or as any thing which the body by touch perceiveth. And how many things of this kind does my memory bear which have been already found out. if I handled it not. it is true. is properly said to be cogitated. and that those sounds. in the mind. as it were. that had not the suggestion of another drawn them forth I had perchance been unable to conceive of them? Wherefore we find. let them say if they can. I gave not credit to another man’s mind. the memory still conceives. which remembering. Which how they entered into me. facio and factito. and so readily occur to the mind familiarised to them. not what is “collected” any how. we reported of them.” The taste says. But now when I hear that there be three kinds of questions.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE sounded. none of which hath any bodily sense impressed. placed as it were at hand. and thence wonderfully by the act of remembering. laying them up as it were. to receive. but perceive within by themselves. or as meat. but in my memory they were not. seeing they have neither colour. “So is it. and approving them for true. is nothing else. and glide back. Where then? or wherefore. be laid up at hand as it were in that same memory where before they lay unknown. I have heard the sound of the words whereby 100 . and said. but what is “recollected. so that. he thought out thence. For when I learned them. whence it conveys into the memory an image of itself. and as I said.” unless that they were already in the memory. or as a smell while it passes and evaporates into air affects the sense of smell.e. scattered and neglected.” The nostrils say. which verily in the belly hath now no taste. even before I learned them. But the mind hath appropriated to itself this word (cogitation). In my heart then they were. and which when removed from us. I handled it not.

THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE when discussed they are denoted: but the sounds are other than the things. For the sounds are other in Greek than in Latin; but the things are neither Greek, nor Latin, nor any other language. I have seen the lines of architects, the very finest, like a spider’s thread; but those are still different, they are not the images of those lines which the eye of flesh showed me: he knoweth them, whosoever without any conception whatsoever of a body, recognises them within himself. I have perceived also the numbers of the things with which we number all the senses of my body; but those numbers wherewith we number are different, nor are they the images of these, and therefore they indeed are. Let him who seeth them not, deride me for saying these things, and I will pity him, while he derides me. All these things I remember, and how I learnt them I remember. Many things also most falsely objected against them have I heard, and remember; which though they be false, yet is it not false that I remember them; and I remember also that I have discerned betwixt those truths and these falsehoods objected to them. And I perceive that the present discerning of these things is different from remembering that I oftentimes discerned them, when I often thought upon them. I both remember then to have often understood these things; and what I now discern and understand, I lay up in my memory, that hereafter I may remember that I understand it now. So then I remember also to have remembered; as if hereafter I shall call to remembrance, that I have now been able to remember these things, by the force of memory shall I call it to remembrance. The same memory contains also the affections of my mind, not in the same manner that my mind itself contains them, when it feels them; but far otherwise, according to a power of its own. For without rejoicing I remember myself to have joyed; and without

BOOK X: sorrow do I recollect my past sorrow. And that I once feared, I review without fear; and without desire call to mind a past desire. Sometimes, on the contrary, with joy do I remember my fore-past sorrow, and with sorrow, joy. Which is not wonderful, as to the body; for mind is one thing, body another. If I therefore with joy remember some past pain of body, it is not so wonderful. But now seeing this very memory itself is mind (for when we give a thing in charge, to be kept in memory, we say, “See that you keep it in mind”; and when we forget, we say, “It did not come to my mind,” and, “It slipped out of my mind,” calling the memory itself the mind); this being so, how is it that when with joy I remember my past sorrow, the mind hath joy, the memory hath sorrow; the mind upon the joyfulness which is in it, is joyful, yet the memory upon the sadness which is in it, is not sad? Does the memory perchance not belong to the mind? Who will say so? The memory then is, as it were, the belly of the mind, and joy and sadness, like sweet and bitter food; which, when committed to the memory, are as it were passed into the belly, where they may be stowed, but cannot taste. Ridiculous it is to imagine these to be alike; and yet are they not utterly unlike. But, behold, out of my memory I bring it, when I say there be four perturbations of the mind, desire, joy, fear, sorrow; and whatsoever I can dispute thereon, by dividing each into its subordinate species, and by defining it, in my memory find I what to say, and thence do I bring it: yet am I not disturbed by any of these perturbations, when by calling them to mind, I remember them; yea, and before I recalled and brought them back, they were there; and therefore could they, by recollection, thence be brought. Perchance, then, as meat is by chewing the cud brought up out of the belly, so by recollection these out of the memory. Why then does not the disputer, thus recollecting, taste in the mouth of his musing the sweetness of joy, or the bitterness of sorrow? Is the com-


THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE parison unlike in this, because not in all respects like? For who would willingly speak thereof, if so oft as we name grief or fear, we should be compelled to be sad or fearful? And yet could we not speak of them, did we not find in our memory, not only the sounds of the names according to the images impressed by the senses of the body, but notions of the very things themselves which we never received by any avenue of the body, but which the mind itself perceiving by the experience of its own passions, committed to the memory, or the memory of itself retained, without being committed unto it. But whether by images or no, who can readily say? Thus, I name a stone, I name the sun, the things themselves not being present to my senses, but their images to my memory. I name a bodily pain, yet it is not present with me, when nothing aches: yet unless its image were present to my memory, I should not know what to say thereof, nor in discoursing discern pain from pleasure. I name bodily health; being sound in body, the thing itself is present with me; yet, unless its image also were present in my memory, I could by no means recall what the sound of this name should signify. Nor would the sick, when health were named, recognise what were spoken, unless the same image were by the force of memory retained, although the thing itself were absent from the body. I name numbers whereby we number; and not their images, but themselves are present in my memory. I name the image of the sun, and that image is present in my memory. For I recall not the image of its image, but the image itself is present to me, calling it to mind. I name memory, and I recognise what I name. And where do I recognise it, but in the memory itself? Is it also present to itself by its image, and not by itself? What, when I name forgetfulness, and withal recognise what I name? whence should I recognise it, did I not remember it? I

BOOK X: speak not of the sound of the name, but of the thing which it signifies: which if I had forgotten, I could not recognise what that sound signifies. When then I remember memory, memory itself is, through itself, present with itself: but when I remember forgetfulness, there are present both memory and forgetfulness; memory whereby I remember, forgetfulness which I remember. But what is forgetfulness, but the privation of memory? How then is it present that I remember it, since when present I cannot remember? But if what we remember we hold it in memory, yet, unless we did remember forgetfulness, we could never at the hearing of the name recognise the thing thereby signified, then forgetfulness is retained by memory. Present then it is, that we forget not, and being so, we forget. It is to be understood from this that forgetfulness when we remember it, is not present to the memory by itself but by its image: because if it were present by itself, it would not cause us to remember, but to forget. Who now shall search out this? who shall comprehend how it is? Lord, I, truly, toil therein, yea and toil in myself; I am become a heavy soil requiring over much sweat of the brow. For we are not now searching out the regions of heaven, or measuring the distances of the stars, or enquiring the balancings of the earth. It is I myself who remember, I the mind. It is not so wonderful, if what I myself am not, be far from me. But what is nearer to me than myself? And to, the force of mine own memory is not understood by me; though I cannot so much as name myself without it. For what shall I say, when it is clear to me that I remember forgetfulness? Shall I say that that is not in my memory, which I remember? or shall I say that forgetfulness is for this purpose in my memory, that I might not forget? Both were most absurd. What third way is there? How can I say that the image of forgetfulness is retained by my memory, not forgetfulness itself, when I remember it? How could I say this either, seeing that when the


THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE image of any thing is impressed on the memory, the thing itself must needs be first present, whence that image may be impressed? For thus do I remember Carthage, thus all places where I have been, thus men’s faces whom I have seen, and things reported by the other senses; thus the health or sickness of the body. For when these things were present, my memory received from them images, which being present with me, I might look on and bring back in my mind, when I remembered them in their absence. If then this forgetfulness is retained in the memory through its image, not through itself, then plainly itself was once present, that its image might be taken. But when it was present, how did it write its image in the memory, seeing that forgetfulness by its presence effaces even what it finds already noted? And yet, in whatever way, although that way be past conceiving and explaining, yet certain am I that I remember forgetfulness itself also, whereby what we remember is effaced. Great is the power of memory, a fearful thing, O my God, a deep and boundless manifoldness; and this thing is the mind, and this am I myself. What am I then, O my God? What nature am I? A life various and manifold, and exceeding immense. Behold in the plains, and caves, and caverns of my memory, innumerable and innumerably full of innumerable kinds of things, either through images, as all bodies; or by actual presence, as the arts; or by certain notions or impressions, as the affections of the mind, which, even when the mind doth not feel, the memory retaineth, while yet whatsoever is in the memory is also in the mind- over all these do I run, I fly; I dive on this side and on that, as far as I can, and there is no end. So great is the force of memory, so great the force of life, even in the mortal life of man. What shall I do then, O Thou my true life, my God? I will pass even beyond this power of mine which is called memory: yea, I will pass beyond it, that I may approach unto Thee, O sweet Light. What sayest Thou to

BOOK X: me? See, I am mounting up through my mind towards Thee who abidest above me. Yea, I now will pass beyond this power of mine which is called memory, desirous to arrive at Thee, whence Thou mayest be arrived at; and to cleave unto Thee, whence one may cleave unto Thee. For even beasts and birds have memory; else could they not return to their dens and nests, nor many other things they are used unto: nor indeed could they be used to any thing, but by memory. I will pass then beyond memory also, that I may arrive at Him who hath separated me from the four-footed beasts and made me wiser than the fowls of the air, I will pass beyond memory also, and where shall I find Thee, Thou truly good and certain sweetness? And where shall I find Thee? If I find Thee without my memory, then do I not retain Thee in my memory. And how shall I find Thee, if I remember Thee not? For the woman that had lost her groat, and sought it with a light; unless she had remembered it, she had never found it. For when it was found, whence should she know whether it were the same, unless she remembered it? I remember to have sought and found many a thing; and this I thereby know, that when I was seeking any of them, and was asked, “Is this it?” “Is that it?” so long said I “No,” until that were offered me which I sought. Which had I not remembered (whatever it were) though it were offered me, yet should I not find it, because I could not recognise it. And so it ever is, when we seek and find any lost thing. Notwithstanding, when any thing is by chance lost from the sight, not from the memory (as any visible body), yet its image is still retained within, and it is sought until it be restored to sight; and when it is found, it is recognised by the image which is within: nor do we say that we have found what was lost, unless we recognise it; nor can we recognise it, unless we remember it. But this was lost to the eyes, but retained in the memory.


which we remember ourselves to have forgotten. “would they be happy?” they would answer without doubt. which we should not unless we recognised it. whatever else occurs. Yea. For these. would not so will to be happy. but. I seek a happy life. How then do I seek a happy life. which that they do will. Or. there is another way. and no one altogether wills it not? where have they known it. “It is enough”? How seek I it? By remembrance. if we see or think of some one known to us. whereon the knowledge reposes equably as its wonted object. and when it doth. But were it utterly blotted out of the mind. I know not how. we cannot even seek after. As we remember numbers then? No.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE But what when the memory itself loses any thing. on being reminded by another. until that present itself. he is not delighted. wherein when one hath it. yet are they better off than such as are happy neither in deed nor in hope. I will seek Thee. and so have it by some sort of knowledge. as it were. in that the memory felt that it did not carry on together all which it was wont. where I ought to say it. but we Latins are delighted. because it is not a body. that they so will it? where seen it. I know not. And whence does that present itself. we say. that my soul may live. and therefore love it. What then we have utterly forgotten. as not even to remember that I had forgotten it? is not a happy life what all will. nor recognise it unless we remembered it. it is thence it comes. or so forgotten it. who are blessed. in whom also we all died. either never having BOOK X: known. and having forgotten his name. They have known it then. and from whom we are all born with misery. is most certain. my God. we reject it. long for so earnestly. for they with one voice be asked. was the lost part sought for. then is he happy. Yet even these. connects itself not therewith. For we do not believe it as something new. if he heard it in Greek. but in the memory itself? and there. I know not. For when a Greek hears it in Latin. though lost. which if it be. For my body liveth by my soul. Known therefore it is to all. How then do I seek Thee. Certainly then we had forgotten it. until what we seek meets us. and we all confess that we desire the thing. whether the happy life be in the memory? For neither should we love it. “they would. for we are not delighted with the mere sound. we should not remember it. if one thing be perchance offered instead of another. but a happy life we have in our knowledge. he that hath in his knowledge. try to recover it. For a happy life is not seen with the eye. desiring to learn it as a thing unknown. “This is it”. as falls out when we forget and seek that we may recollect? Where in the end do we search. demanded the restoration of what it missed? For instance. as would he too. but out of the memory itself? for even when we recognise it. We hear the name. by the curtailment of its ancient habit. until I can say. as though I had forgotten it. how. and men of all other tongues. but only. as one remembers Carthage who hath seen it? No. and maimed. which Greeks and Latins. or in that man who first sinned. I now enquire not. and am perplexed whether it be in the memory. seeing I have it not. unless the thing itself whereof it is the name were retained in their memory. in hope. These have it in a lower kind. because the thing itself is neither Greek nor Latin. had they it not in some sort. and therefore is rejected. than they who have it in very deed. and my soul by Thee. then we have been happy once. and yet still desire to 104 . because it was not wont to be thought upon together with him. remembering that I had forgotten it? Or. even when reminded. upon recollection. not knowing what is spoken. had not the whole escaped us. allow what was named to be right. For we have not as yet utterly forgotten that. and there are. that they so love it? Truly we have it. But is it so. did we not know it.” And this could not be. what. but by the part whereof we had hold. O Lord? For when I seek Thee. whether all severally. seeks not further to attain unto.

we should not with so certain a will desire. another by another. I should therefore think myself happy. but if they were asked whether they would be happy. inasmuch as they who wish not to joy in Thee. which now recalling. what they are not able to do. and this joy they call a happy life? Although then one obtains this joy by one means. but I experienced it in my mind.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE attain it. to joy in the truth all desire.” for a happy life is joy in the truth: for this is a joying in Thee. Who art the Truth. so that I can recall it with disgust sometimes. when unhappy. as a happy life. and love. and been delighted. had he rather joy in truth. and many who desire to be so. for Thee. and recognised whenever the name of a happy life is mentioned. another in that. save where they know the truth also? For they love it also. that he would not. and long for it? Nor is it I alone. which. For although upon hearing this name also. that. for my joy I remember. whence it appears that it is in their knowledge. Or do all men desire this. all have one end. joy. we do by no bodily sense experience in others. For even from foul things have I been immersed in a sort of joy. and for no other reason would the one go to the wars. far be it. taste. Far be it. pursue some other and not the true joy. smell. For there is a joy which is not given to the ungodly. nor did I ever with bodily sense see. and therefore with sadness I recall former joy. This is the happy life which all desire. nor wish to be the like. 105 . hear. when I rejoiced. And this is the happy life. but to be happy. and there is no other. that we may be happy. I detest and execrate. Where then and when did I experience my happy life. and are content therewith. all desire. that I should remember. whose joy Thou Thyself art. be the joy what it may. at others with longing. I have met with many that would deceive. who would be deceived. and the Spirit against the flesh. wherein I remember myself to have joyed. Lord. It is not certain then that all wish to be happy. which I recall with longing. they fall upon that which they can. although perchance no longer present. Which being a thing which all must say they have experienced. as they would (if BOOK X: they were asked) that they wished to have joy. that if two men be asked whether they would go to the wars. this life which alone is happy. no one.” as to say “that they desire to be happy. even when sad. But how is this. the other. otherwhiles in good and honest things. namely. one. it is therefore found in the memory. unless by some certain knowledge we knew. yet these have by their bodily senses observed others to be eloquent. that they cannot do what they would. my God. Is it perchance that as one looks for his joy in this thing. perchance. all agree in their desire of being happy. O God my light. far be it from the heart of Thy servant who here confesseth unto Thee. of Thee. who still are not yet eloquent. or some few besides. to rejoice to Thee. and desire to be the like (though indeed they would not be delighted but for some inward knowledge thereof. which they strive to attain. and the other not. some call to mind the thing. whereas a happy life. unless they were thus delighted). they do not will so strongly as would suffice to make them able? For I ask any one. because. this is it. or in falsehood? They will as little hesitate to say “in the truth. which is the only happy life. but because the flesh lusteth against the Spirit. both would instantly without any doubting say they would. As we remember eloquence then? No. Where then did they know this happy life. but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake. For they who think there is another. or touch my joy. Yet is not their will turned away from some semblance of joy. As then we remember joy? Perchance. but we all would fain be happy. health of my countenance. do not truly desire the happy life. would answer that he would. and the knowledge of it clave to my memory. according to the nature of the things.

and there do I find Thee. and all these are changed. And when they love a happy life. But why doth “truth generate hatred. Thou residest in my memory. would not be convinced that they are so? Therefore do they hate the truth for that thing’s sake which they loved instead of the truth. so neither art Thou the mind itself. there found I my God. the Truth itself. For since I learnt Thee. But where in my memory residest Thou. which is nothing else but joying in the truth. which Thou hast given me in Thy mercy. I passed beyond such parts of it as the beasts also have. but Thou remainest unchangeable over all. Happy then will it be. but what I have kept in memory. For there is yet a little light in men. yea thus doth the mind of man. or the like). which yet they would not love. since I have remembered Thee ever since I learnt Thee. BOOK X: See what a space I have gone over in my memory seeking Thee. when I call Thee to remembrance. and yet hast vouchsafed to dwell in my memory. But the contrary is requited it. without it. and herself becometh not manifest unto them. that am I considering. Since then I learnt Thee. for I found Thee not there among the images of corporeal things: and I came to those parts to which I committed the affections of my mind. by Whom all things are true.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE since they would not be deceived. then also do they love the truth. Yet even thus miserable. and would deceive. wish to be hidden. let them walk. where residest Thou there? what manner of lodging hast Thou framed for Thee? what manner of sanctuary hast Thou builded for Thee? Thou hast given this honour to my memory. condole. nor found Thee there. as if there were places therein? Sure I am. nor the affection of a living being (as when we rejoice. because Thou art the Lord God of the mind. 106 . that itself should not be hidden from the Truth. were there not some notice of it in their memory. become an enemy to them? whereas a happy life is loved. inasmuch as the mind remembers itself also). thus. they hate her when she reproves. no distraction interposing. For where I found Truth. I have not forgotten. They love truth when she enlightens. unless that truth is in that kind loved. which since I learnt. it had rather joy in truths than in falsehoods. foul and illfavoured. remember. Why then joy they not in it? why are they not happy? because they are more strongly taken up with other things which have more power to make them miserable. O Lord. and there I find Thee. fear. and I have not found Thee. having regard to my poverty. preaching the truth. that they who love anything else would gladly have that which they love to be the truth: and because they would not be deceived. Whence she shall so repay them. O Lord. but in what quarter of it Thou residest. For in thinking on Thee. it shall joy in that only Truth. thus blind and sick. And why seek I now in what place thereof Thou dwellest. Thus. when I call Thee to remembrance. ever since I learnt Thee.” and the man of Thine. desire. that the darkness overtake them not. but the Truth is hid from it. neither wert Thou there: for as Thou art not a corporeal image. but that aught should be hidden from it. I have not forgotten Thee. that in it Thou dwellest. than that which they so faintly remember to make them happy. that they who would not be made manifest by her. they love her when she discovers herself unto them. since I learnt Thee. These be my holy delights. and delight in Thee. let them walk. she both against their will makes manifest. when. forget. And I entered into the very seat of my mind (which it hath in my memory. to reside in it. and hate her when she discovers them. it wills not. Nor have I found any thing concerning Thee. For since they would not be deceived. which is no other than joying in the truth.

once and again. plunging amid those fair forms which Thou hadst made. Thou liftest up. I the sick. My evil sorrows strive with my good joys. Thou flashedst. and scatteredst my blindness. once and again. as rather to will that. When I shall with my whole self cleave to Thee. Thou breathedst odours. and my life shall wholly live. shonest. though they hear not always what they will. my God. O Truth. in prosperity I fear adversity. yet ever new! too late I loved Thee! And behold. All consult Thee on what they will. which from Thee he heareth. have pity on me. and for wedlock itself.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Where then did I find Thee. though on manifold matters they ask Thy counsel. But now since whom Thou fillest. Verily Thou enjoinest me continency from the lust of the flesh. Thou art the Physician. whence we were dissipated into many. were not at all. this also was a part of wisdom to know whose gift she is. For too little doth he love Thee. Thou enjoinest continency: give me what Thou enjoinest. that I might learn Thee? For in my memory Thou wert not. I tasted. unless they were in Thee. Every where. it was done. Thou enjoinest us continency. O love. Woe is me! lo! I hide not my wounds. and the ambition of the world. strengthless when I am 107 . which haunt me. and enjoin what Thou wilt. he had rather there were nothing for him to endure. Woe is me! Lord. though he love to endure. and the third time. and on which side is the victory. Clearly dost Thou answer. In adversity I long for prosperity. I know not. kindle me. we go backward and forward. Thou merciful. and I burned for Thy peace. By continency verily are we bound up and brought back into One. Is not the life of man upon earth all trial: without any interval? And all my hope is no where but in Thy exceeding great mercy. and when I knew. Give what Thou enjoinest. For though he rejoices that he endures. that no man can be continent. and at once answerest all. saith one. I know not. before I learned Thee. O Thou Beauty of ancient days. not to be loved. from the longing for prosperity. deformed I. Lamentable joys strive with joyous sorrows: and on which side is the victory. even before I became a dispenser of Thy Sacrament. Woe is me! Lord. Thou calledst. No man loves what he endures. and because adversity itself is a hard thing. and there is no place. Thou hast counselled something better than what Thou hast permitted. and burstest my deafness. but I was not with Thee. and shoutedst. because I am not full of Thee I am a burden to myself. Where then did I find Thee. which he loveth not for Thee. Thou wert within. though all do not clearly hear. Thou wert with me. the lust of the eyes. and I abroad. and I drew in breath and panted for Thee. through fear of adversity. Things held me far from Thee. as wholly full of Thee. which. and lest it shatter endurance. and hunger and thirst. and enjoin what Thou wilt. I miserable. But there yet live in my memory (whereof I have much spoken) the images of such things as my ill custom there fixed. and corruption of joy! Woe to the adversities of the world. that I might learn Thee. And since Thou gavest it. have pity on me. Is not the life of man upon earth all BOOK X: trial? Who wishes for troubles and difficulties? Thou commandest them to be endured. where the life of man is not all trial? Woe to the prosperities of the world. who ever burnest and never consumest! O charity. who loves any thing with Thee. but in Thee above me? Place there is none. unless God give it. dost Thou give audience to all who ask counsel of Thee. Too late loved I Thee. I shall no where have sorrow or labour. Thou enjoinest continency from concubinage. and there I searched for Thee. He is Thy best servant who looks not so much to hear that from Thee which himself willeth. Thou touchedst me. What middle place is there betwixt these two.

but even to obtain assent. Which since it is at hand through the consolations of Thy gifts. and my pains are removed by pleasure. hoping that Thou wilt perfect Thy mercies in me. even to perfect peace. they burn and kill like a fever. not even such as a thought would restrain. our calamity is termed gratification. -to work this. Yea. in that which Thou hast given me. through images of sense. O Lord my God? And yet there is so much difference betwixt myself and myself. yield no assent to such enticements? And yet so much difference there is. so far prevails the illusion of the image. Art Thou not mighty. In this uncertainty the unhappy soul rejoiceth. Am I not then myself. and even in dreams not only not. when death shall be swallowed up in victory. that. until Thou destroy both belly and meat. within that moment wherein I pass from waking to sleeping. This hast Thou taught me. even to pollution of the flesh. And oft it is uncertain.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE awake: but in sleep. so that I may for her sake do what I say I do. which I would were sufficient for it. But while I am passing from the discomfort of emptiness to the content of replenishing. that I be not taken captive. for health’s sake. There is another evil of the day. For by eating and drinking we repair the daily decays of our body. For that nothing of this sort should have. which my outward and inward man shall have with Thee. and what is very like reality. commit those debasing corruptions. that when it happeneth otherwise. in the very passage the snare of concupiscence besets me. and mindful of our purpose. not only during life. it remaineth unshaken. when asleep. resisteth such suggestions? And should the things themselves be urged on it. whither we needs must pass. and by Thy more abundant grace to quench even the impure motions of my sleep! Thou wilt increase. For that passing. unless the medicine of nourishments come to our aid. disentangled from the birdlime of concupiscence. and bemoaning that wherein I am still BOOK X: imperfect. and carry on a daily war by fastings. Thy gifts more and more in me. but not even to consent unto them. the very least influence. and therein prepares an excuse to shield itself. glad that it appeareth not what sufficeth for the moderation 108 . is too little for pleasure. But what I yet am in this kind of my evil. and clothe this incorruptible with an eternal incorruption. For hunger and thirst are in a manner pains. God Almighty. is pleasure. and abiding most chastely in it. rejoicing with trembling. for what is enough for health. whether it be the necessary care of the body which is yet asking for sustenance. the true cannot. in my soul and in my flesh. and air serve our weakness. nor is there any other way to pass thither. And health being the cause of eating and drinking. so as to heal all the diseases of my soul. there joineth itself as an attendant a dangerous pleasure. that I should set myself to take food as physic. have I confessed unto my good Lord. is not hard for the Almighty. false visions persuade to that which when waking. or whether a voluptuous deceivableness of greediness is proffering its services. awake. Who art able to do above all that we ask or think. what yet we be sorry that in some way it was done in us. or return from sleeping to waking! Where is reason then. Nor have each the same measure. Is it clasped up with the eyes? is it lulled asleep with the senses of the body? And whence is it that often even in sleep we resist. But now the necessity is sweet unto me. often bringing my body into subjection. upon waking we return to peace of conscience: and by this very difference discover that we did not. but even at my present age. with which land. which mostly endeavours to go before it. and water. or wish to do. when Thou shalt slay my emptiness with a wonderful fulness. Lord. that my soul may follow me to Thee. not only so as to give pleasure. that it rebel not against itself. over the pure affections even of a sleeper. against which sweetness I fight. which.

as from Thee it was. they murmured against the Lord. Drunkenness is far from me. not the dust which we are. that it may be far from me. and I call on Thy right hand. I know how to abound. as I could of concubinage. enlightening my heart. Strengthen me. I fear not uncleanness of meat. I know also that Esau was deceived by lusting for lentiles. For no one can be continent unless Thou give it. Nor could he of himself do this. for I have learned in whatsoever state I am. Give what Thou enjoinest. These things have I learned. that Thou givest. whence it appeareth. and from Thee it was. because he whom I so loved. judge him that eateth. From Thee then it was. that they who have been. nor the other miserable. Thou wilt have mercy. Yea by Thy favour have I heard that which I have much loved. my God. which is received with thanksgiving. Many things Thou givest us. Go not after thy lusts. I heard another voice of Thine. not concerning flesh. that Noah was permitted to eat all kind of flesh that was good for food. neither shall the one make me plenteous. I strive daily against concupiscence in eating and drinking. but the uncleanness of lusting. in the Lord he glorieth. and that our King was tempted. I know. He con- BOOK X: fesses to have received. locusts. was of the same dust. And who is he. but because. shall we lack. that endued with an admirable abstinence. I heard also another. was not polluted by feeding on living creatures. and to Thee do I refer my perplexities. Drunkard was I never. in the desire of food. Placed then amid these temptations. thanks be to Thee. therewith to be content. Another have I heard begging that he might receive. from Thee we received it. neither if we eat. O Lord. should not so be. and that of dust Thou hast made man. but drunkards have I known made sober by Thee. For it is not of such nature that I can settle on cutting it off once for all. and never touching it afterward. And therefore the people in the wilderness also deserved to be reproved. good Father. and that meat commendeth us not to God. that I can. all things are pure. But full feeding sometimes creepeth upon Thy servant. Thou wilt have mercy. and. when that is done which Thou commandest to be done. that Elijah was fed with flesh. I hear the voice of my God commanding. and nothing to be refused. which is to say.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE of health. let him not despise him that eateth not. that we are dust. it may disguise the matter of gratification. The bridle of the throat then is to be held attempered between slackness and stiffness. but bread. that under the cloak of health. shall we abound. and let not him that eateth not. I can do all things (saith he) through Him that strengtheneth me. that no man should judge us in meat or drink. Behold a soldier of the heavenly camp. that both might know from Whom it was. saying this through the in-breathing of Thy inspiration. O my holy God. did we before receive it. deliver me out of all temptation. Lord. that he which eateth. praise to Thee. not for desiring flesh. neither if we eat not. because I have as yet no settled counsel herein. Thou hast taught me. But remember. that to the pure. yea to the end we might afterwards know this. These temptations I daily endeavour to resist. and enjoin what Thou wilt. Take from me (saith he) the desires of the belly. and. and how to suffer need. and he was lost and is found. praying for them. that it come not near me. but that it is evil unto the man that eateth with offence. and what good soever we have received before we prayed. and that David blamed himself for desiring a draught of water. that they who never were such. Let not your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness. and. my Master. who is not some whit transported beyond the limits of 109 . should not ever so be. and when he glorieth. knocking at my ears. I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me. that every creature of Thine is good. and from thy pleasure turn away.

And no one ought to be secure in that life. But with the words which are their life and whereby they find admission into me. only assured promise is Thy mercy. BOOK X: by some hidden correspondence wherewith they are stirred up. and in Thy book shall all be written. With the allurements of smells. ventures not readily to believe herself. I am not much concerned. as to wish the whole melody of sweet music which is used to David’s Psalter. yet not so as to be held thereby. and the Church’s too. when present. that it was nearer speaking than singing. and weep for me. may not likewise of better be made worse. for I am a sinful man. doth oft beguile me. For at one time I seem to myself to give them more honour than is seemly. Bishop of Alexandria. by a sweet variety. and have mercy and heal me. hearken. and that is my infirmity. Now. For that also is a mournful darkness whereby my abilities within me are hidden from me. Our only hope. I do a little repose. the whole whereof is called a trial. as that good action ensues. that he who hath been capable of worse to be made better. shunning over-anxiously this very deception. behold. yet ever ready to be without them. numbering me among the weak members of His body. than when not. perchance I am deceived. let him make Thy Name great. but that I can disengage myself when I will. Yet again. But Thou. O Lord my God. See now my state. these things touch not you. and lead her. unless experience reveal it. but Thou didst loosen and free me. I do not miss them. and how at this time I am moved. and sometimes to that degree. weep with me. but with the things sung. when sung with a sweet and attuned voice. and that the several affections of our spirit. to which the soul must not be given over to be enervated. when they are sung with a clear voice and modulation most suitable. because Thine eyes have seen that of Him which is imperfect. in the beginning of my recovered faith. At other times. I err in too great strictness. not with the singing. whoso regulate your feelings within. when I remember the tears I shed at the Psalmody of Thy Church. I do not refuse them. but having been admitted merely for her sake. I acknowledge the great use of this institution. Thou. by the holy words themselves when thus sung. So I seem to myself. themselves seek in my affections a place of some estimation. the sense not so waiting upon reason as patiently to follow her. But I am not such. he is a great one. Yet do I too magnify Thy name. The delights of the ear had more firmly entangled and subdued me. ye. because even what is in it is mostly hidden. and then had rather not hear music. For you who do not act. and see. in those melodies which Thy words breathe soul into. and I can scarcely assign them one suitable. only confidence. but afterwards am aware of it.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE necessity? whoever he is. have their own proper measures in the voice and singing. inclined the rather (though not as pronouncing an irrevocable opinion) to approve of the usage of singing in the church. and that mode seems to me safer. Thus I fluctuate between peril of pleasure and approved wholesomeness. that so by the delight of the ears the weaker minds may rise to the feeling of devotion. which I remember to have been often told me of Athanasius. 110 . Yet when it befalls me to be more moved with the voice than the words sung. feeling our minds to be more holily and fervently raised unto a flame of devotion. But this contentment of the flesh. so that my mind making enquiry into herself of her own powers. When absent. it strives even to run before her. Thus in these things I unawares sin. and He maketh intercession to Thee for my sins who hath overcome the world. in whose presence I have become a problem to myself. I confess to have sinned penally. who made the reader of the psalm utter it with so slight inflection of voice. banished from my ears.

sometimes not perceiving it. not as their father by his outward eye corrected them. because I had stuck fast in them. and bright and soft colours. And so strongly doth it entwine itself. the light. and not scatter it abroad upon pleasurable weariness. made by divers arts and manufactures. when he also. in the persons of his sons shed light on the different races of the future people. But they who know how to praise Thee for it. the whole day. as there is from musical. in pictures also and divers images. This is the light. those brotherly and devout ears. but keep their strength for Thee. never swerving. Thou ceasest not to pluck them out. upon his grandchildren by Joseph. with illumined heart. and destroying that which themselves have been made! But I. let God rather occupy it. that so they might not wander. he taught his son the way of life. while I often entangle myself in the snares on all sides laid. groaning earnestly. but not of using them. Or which Jacob saw. Such BOOK X: would I be. and I lift up mine invisible eyes to Thee. soothes me when engaged on other things. it seasoneth the life of this world for her blind lovers. sometimes in silence. with an enticing and dangerous sweetness.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE There remains the pleasure of these eyes of my flesh. and desiring to be clothed upon with my house from heaven. These seductions of the eyes I resist. and if absent long. otherwhiles with pain. and himself went before with the feet of charity. which my soul day and night sigheth after. though I speak and see this. that Thou wouldest pluck my feet out of the snare. and these far exceeding all necessary and moderate use and all pious meaning. nor is any rest given me from them. For I am taken miserably. to bless his sons. Let not these occupy my soul. and all are one. lest my feet wherewith I walk upon Thy way be ensnared. and so to conclude the temptations of the lust of the flesh. Thou dost ever and anon pluck them out. 111 . which is above our souls. my God and my Glory. shoes. outwardly following what themselves make. it was vouchsafed him. who see and love it. very good indeed. saddeneth the mind. “O all-creating Lord. though they perceive Him not. from all voices. not knowingly. wherever I am through the day. O Lord. because Thou that keepest Israel shalt neither slumber nor sleep. in our apparel. it is one. when I had but lightly lighted upon them. For this queen of colours. and not observing it. And I. in them foresignified. and laid his hands. mystically crossed. waking. not they. utensils and all sorts of works. Thou pluckest me out. and Thou pluckest me out mercifully. and are not taken up with it in their sleep. but by blessing to know them. on which to make my confessions in the hearing of the ears of Thy temple. who made these things. What innumerable toys. do hence also sing a hymn to Thee. The eyes love fair and varied forms. when. for they are ensnared. which Tobias saw. because those beautiful patterns which through men’s souls are conveyed into their cunning hands. but as himself inwardly discerned. which yet assail me.” take it up in Thy hymns. blind through great age. yet is He my good. And He is there. but Thou pluckest me out. when his fleshly eyes being heavy and closed by old age. it is with longing sought for. gliding by me in varied forms. bathing all which we behold. Or which Isaac saw. But the framers and followers of the outward beauties derive thence the rule of judging of them. entangle my steps with these outward beauties. because Thy loving-kindness is before my eyes. O Thou Light. inwardly forsaking Him by whom themselves were made. and do consecrate praise to Him who consecrateth me. come from that Beauty. have men added to tempt their own eyes withal. But that corporeal light whereof I spake. that if it be suddenly withdrawn. And these affect me. these eyes closed.

and sight being the sense chiefly used for attaining knowledge. when we employ them in seeking knowledge. the other senses by way of similitude take to themselves. then by degrees we take interest therein! I go not now to the circus to see a dog coursing a hare. and thrust out of my heart. the soul hath. see how it soundeth. O Lord my God. Jerusalem. or any report of its beauty drew them thither! Thus also in the other senses. so may it ever be further and further. but of making experiments through the flesh. for all these are said to be seen. Hence also. see how it shineth. As if when awake. But when I pray Thee for the salvation of any. But by this may more evidently be discerned. see how it smelleth. who go far from Thee. if passing. Even in sleep they are afraid to see it. is called The lust of the eyes. when signs and wonders are demanded of Him. O God of my salvation. to be made sad. wherein its slaves. as Thou hast given me. nor did my soul ever consult ghosts departed. not of delighting in the flesh. soft. to whom I owe humble and single-hearted service. they flock thither. that coursing peradventure will distract me even from some weighty thought. For we do not say. nor care I to know the courses of the stars. as was said. lest we offend the weak. or causes in me an idle interest? True. which the eyes alone can perceive. but curiosity. to see. hark how it flashes. For besides that concupiscence of the flesh which consisteth in the delight of all senses and pleasures. or smell how it glows. to see in a mangled carcase what will make you shudder? and yet if it be lying near. The seat whereof being in the appetite of knowledge. for trial’s sake. And so the general experience of the senses. which it were long to go through. Thou givest and wilt give me to follow Thee willingly. see how hard it is. wherein pleasure and wherein curiosity is the object of the senses. Hence also in religion itself. and wherein men desire nothing but to know. any one forced them to see it. the theatres do not now carry me away. but merely to make trial of. see how it tasteth. doing what Thou wilt. but also. because the office of seeing. by what artifices and suggestions doth the enemy deal with me to desire some sign! But I beseech Thee by our King. wherein the eyes hold the prerogative. in how many most petty and contemptible things is our curiosity daily tempted. which to know profits not. waste and perish. who can recount? How often do we begin as if we were tolerating people telling vain stories. savoury. through the same senses of the body. when they make search after any knowledge. not for the sake of suffering annoyance. and to turn pale. fragrant. belongeth properly to the eyes. my end and intention is far different. full of snares and dangers. not desired for any good end. or taste how it shines. melodious. From Thee. since so many things of this kind buzz on all sides about our daily lifewhen dare I say that nothing of this sort engages my attention. that as any consenting thereto is far from me. if with that same end of perverted knowledge magical arts be enquired by. a certain vain and curious desire. 112 . Notwithstanding. and by our pure and holy country. For. veiled under the title of knowledge and learning. all sacrilegious mysteries I detest. or feel how it gleams. In this so vast wilderness. for pleasure seeketh objects beautiful. is God tempted. And yet when dare I say. And yet we say not only. but in the field.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE To this is added another form of temptation more manifoldly dangerous. For what pleasure hath it. it is in Divine language called The lust of the eyes. behold many of them I have cut off. yet we use this word of the other senses also. and how often we give way. but out of the lust of making trial and knowing them. the contrary as well. From this disease BOOK X: of curiosity are all those strange sights exhibited in the theatre. Hence men go on to search out the hidden powers of nature (which is besides our end).

and let us fly under them. and Thy word feared in us. and tame my neck to Thy yoke. and my one hope is Thy wonderful great mercy. than of God. not in the bands of charity. or can it cease through this whole life? To wish. For the one took pleasure in the gift of God in man. that dark and chilled they might serve him. this so great concern is broken off by the rushing in of I know not what idle thoughts. but in Thy stead: and thus having been made like him. and verily so it was. and crown me with mercy and pity. oft-times takes my attention? Is the thing different. but this does not first draw my attention. yet still incline my mind thither. I dully stand fixed therein.not the sinner is praised in the desires of his soul. Who would be praised of men when Thou blamest. a lizard catching flies. Thou alone Lord without pride. and givest grace to the humble: yea. namely. who first healedst me of the lust of vindicating myself. then are our prayers also thereby often interrupted and distracted. hath this third kind of tempta- BOOK X: tion also ceased from me. Thou thunderest down upon the ambitions of the world. every where spreading his snares of “well-done. behold we are Thy little flock. For when our heart becomes the receptacle of such things. well-done”. And therefore dost Thou resist the proud. the other was better pleased with the gift of man. nor delivered when Thou condemnest. and hast made it. But when. will not be defended of men when Thou judgest. because so hast Thou promised. not for Thy sake. possess us as Thine. but in the bonds of punishment: who purposed to set his throne in the north. And of such things is my life full. because Thou art the only true Lord. and is overcharged with throngs of this abundant vanity. while Thou dispraisest. pervertedly and crookedly imitating Thee. having made me see my infirmity didst speedily admonish me either through the sight itself by some contemplation to rise towards Thee. And unless Thou. but.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE and draw me after it: not that I turn aside the body of my beast. that so Thou mightest forgive all the rest of my iniquities. But we. or altogether to despise and pass it by. 113 . another not to fall. or shall aught bring us back to hope. who hast no lord. better is he who praised than he who is praised. to be feared and loved of men. and be pleased at being loved and feared. Because now certain offices of human society make it necessary to be loved and feared of men. Be Thou our glory. O Lord. It is one thing to rise quickly. and satisfy my desire with good things: who didst curb my pride with Thy fear. since Thou hast begun to change us? And Thou knowest how far Thou hast already changed me. O Lord. he also is praised. because they are but small creatures? I go on from them to praise Thee the wonderful Creator and Orderer of all. Shall we then account this also among things of slight concernment. when I feared to take it. But. and set it in the deceivingness of men. and heal all my infirmities. stretch Thy wings over us. nor he blessed who doth ungodlily. we may be taken unawares. but that we may have a joy therein which is no joy? A miserable life this and a foul boastfulness! Hence especially it comes that men do neither purely love nor fear Thee. when sitting at home. and I knew it not.a man is praised for some gift which Thou hast given him. let us be loved for Thee. And now I bear it and it is light unto me. he may have them for his own. and he rejoices more at the praise for himself than that he hath the gift for which he is praised. or a spider entangling them rushing into her nets. and redeem life from corruption. that greedily catching at them. and the foundations of the mountains tremble. save Thy complete mercy. for no other end. the adversary of our true blessedness layeth hard at us. and sever our joy from Thy truth. and whilst in Thy presence we direct the voice of our heart to Thine ears. What.

which Thine eyes know. from what things to refrain our love. be praised by all men. mine do not. I beseech now. that no one should know without detesting us? What greater madness can be said or thought of? But if praise useth and ought to accompany a good life and good works. in Thee. that is. forasmuch as either those things are praised. and hast willed us to love not Thee only. I see that I ought not to be moved at my own praises. must we live ill. Give what Thou enjoinest. For I cannot learn how far I am more cleansed from this plague. in which I mislike myself. when I do without them. Am I then doubtful of myself in this matter? Behold. yea so abandonedly and atrociously. And when I am troubled at this my mis- BOOK X: ery. And whether it be so with me. either when those things be praised in me. or even lesser and slight goods are more esteemed than they ought. Yet I know not whether I can well or ill be without anything. why am I less moved if another be unjustly dispraised than if it be myself? Why am I more stung by reproach cast upon myself. O Lord. and do not the truth before Thee in my heart and 114 . in this. and not so only. whereon to bestow it. which of what value it is. when I hear him dispraise either what he understands not. more than with praise? For were it proposed to me. Thou knowest on this matter the groans of my heart. or being consistent and most settled in the truth be blamed by all. O Truth. with the same injustice. whether I would. Yet fain would I that the approbation of another should not even increase my joy for any good in me. before me? Know I not this also? or is it at last that I deceive myself. without ceasing are we assailed. which are desired. or to be grieved for evil in him. wherein I find myself maimed. and enjoin what Thou wilt. But again how know I whether I am therefore thus affected. but that I am delighted with praise. or not having them. O my God. if the soul cannot discern whether. but with truth itself. I seem to myself to be pleased with the proficiency or towardliness of my neighbour. If in my praise I am moved with the good of my neighbour. For in other kinds of temptations I have some sort of means of examining myself. that I may confess unto my brethren. Thou God knowest. who are to pray for me. as good life itself. discover to me myself also. unless it be absent. What then do I confess unto Thee in this kind of temptation. but for the good of my neighbour. Let me examine myself again more diligently. For then I ask myself how much more or less troublesome it is to me not to have them? Then. or those more. I see how much I have attained to.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE By these temptations we are assailed daily. but righteousness also. that is. riches. I see which I should choose. than at that cast upon another. it doth increase it. in refraining my mind from the pleasures of the flesh and idle curiosity. For sometimes I am grieved at my own praise. or is good. Yet I own. and therein essay our powers. for it leaves me uncertain. but dispraise doth diminish it. an excuse occurs to me. that so it may prove itself. O Lord? What. But to be without praise. and I much fear my secret sins. For herein I know less of myself than of Thee. for my own sake. being frenzied in error on all things. because I would not have him who praiseth me differ from me about myself. when it hath them. Our daily furnace is the tongue of men. which displease me. foregoing. I know not. but because those same good things which please me in myself. not as being influenced by concern for him. but our neighbour also. often. it despiseth them. please me more when they please another also? For some how I am not praised when my judgment of myself is not praised. and the floods of mine eyes. And in this way also Thou commandest us continence. when pleased with intelligent praise. scarce any. that they may serve to some one or two or all of the three concupiscences. For since Thou hast commanded us not continency alone. For. they may be cast aside. we ought as little to forego its company. which please me less.

or displease or care not to please others. neither was it Thou. Nor yet was I myself when I did this. which if it were perfected in me. And sometimes Thou admittest me to an affection. rising to a strange sweetness. whereof it glories. but am greatly held.e. O Truth. and these my senses. for it doth not contemn when it glorieth. Thus then have I considered the sicknesses of my sins in that threefold concupiscence. as if good. and am held. who went over them all. taking some things upon the report of my senses. both ways. yet as though for their own merits. or even if as though from Thy grace. for Thou art the abiding light. For with a wounded heart have I beheld Thy brightness. and nothing of me depart from Thee. or even if as Thine. numbering and distinguishing the reporters themselves. and finding none of them to be Thee. who found out these things. Thence BOOK X: entered I the recesses of my memory. that my power whereby I did it. but cannot. and seek Thy mercy. what they were. until what is lacking in my defective state be renewed and perfected. those manifold and spacious chambers. and as far as I may be freed from necessary duties. but in Thee. they much displease Thee. But through my miserable encumbrances I sink down again into these lower things. whereby men become vain. wonderfully furnished with innumerable stores. I know not what in it would not belong to the life to come. in my inmost soul. O Lord. but in Thy good things. and what to desire. within is another evil. and observed the life. pleasing themselves in themselves. bring with them a most dangerous temptation through the love of praise: which. on to that peace which the eye of the proud knoweth not. Nor was I myself. which my body hath from me. But pleasing themselves. drawing out others. and consulted Thee? With my outward senses. solicits and collects men’s suffrages. I am poor and needy. and in the large treasure-house of my memory revolving some things. “Who can attain thither? I am cast away from 115 . there I would. and this I often do. not only taking pleasure in things not good. arising out of a like temptation. and so it is no longer contempt of vain-glory. Yet the word which cometh out of the mouth. I surveyed the world. than not inflicted by me. very unusual. and laboured to distinguish and to value every thing according to its dignity. storing up others. and deeds known to men. and how to be valued.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE tongue? This madness put far from me. and I heard Thee directing and commanding me. on the very ground that it is reproved. i. Nor in all these which I run over consulting Thee can I find any safe place for my soul. miserable. this delights me. whether they were. as I might. but would not. Here I can stay. when I referred to Thee what I could discover here below. teaching me what to beware. which I consulted concerning all these. yet best. questioning about others which I felt to be mingled with myself. and stood aghast.. but envying that grace to others. lest mine own mouth be to me the sinner’s oil to make fat my head. Where hast Thou not walked with me. though they please not. while in hidden groanings I displease myself. Within also. and often glories more vainly of the very contempt of vain-glory. being able to discern nothing of these things without Thee. and greatly weep. and I rather feel my wounds to be cured by Thee. It tempts. and I considered. whither my scattered members may be gathered. So much doth the burden of a bad custom weigh us down. as though their own. unto this pleasure have I recourse. yet not with brotherly rejoicing. even when it is reproved by myself in myself. Thou seest the trembling of my heart. and am swept back by former custom. and stricken back I said. In all these and the like perils and travails. to establish a certain excellency of our own. and have called Thy right hand to my help.

and power to take it again: for us to Thee both Victor and Victim. and fallen into the desire of curious visions. this hath he in common with men. and so by the agreement of their heart. and of themselves unable. For many and great are my infirmities. I had cast in my heart. as I hear. that he had no body of flesh. He was a Mediator. being high minded. seeking a mediator. but deliveredst Him up for us ungodly! How hast Thou loved us.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE the sight of Thine eyes. that by His example also they might learn that same humility. and God with God. Whom could I find to reconcile me to Thee? was I to have recourse to Angels? by what prayers? by what sacraments? Many endeavouring to return unto Thee. but thou. Well then is my hope strong in Him. by whom they might be purged. for whom He that thought it no robbery to be equal with Thee. Whom in Thy secret mercy Thou hast showed to the humble. Lord. as himself to be ignorant of the truth. he should he far from God: or if in both like God. but would with Thee possess a lie. that with them he should be condemned to death. Affrighted with my sins and the burden of my misery. making us to Thee. of servants. many they are. Hence He was showed forth to holy men of old. and there was none. because equal to God. just with God: that because the wages of righteousness is life and peace. because Thou vouchsafest not to be possessed with a lie. sons by being born of Thee. How hast Thou loved us. through magical influences. unless He had been made flesh and dwelt among us. for us to Thee Priest and Sacrifice. For the devil it was. For they. For they were mortal. the Man Christ Jesus. But a mediator between God and man must have something like to God. drew unto themselves the princes of the air. now made righteous. something like to men. We might imagine that Thy Word was far from any union with man. For as Man. BOOK X: But the true Mediator. they were deceived. and together one God. mortal with men. through faith in His Passion to come. that is sin. sought Thee by the pride of learning. and sentest. have. else should I despair. too unlike man: and so not be a mediator. He alone. by whom in Thy secret judgments pride deserved to be deluded. because the Victim. would vaunt himself to be immortal. to whom they proudly sought to be reconciled. and therefore Priest because the Sacrifice. the fellow-conspirators of their pride. and despair of ourselves. that so they. And it much enticed proud flesh. good Father. which He willed to have in common with them. tried this. That deceitful mediator then. lest being in both like to man. but I through my covetousness would not indeed forego Thee. by Him Who sitteth at Thy right hand and maketh intercession for us. art immortal. and had purposed to flee to the wilderness: but Thou 116 . by whom. and serving us. and been accounted worthy to be deluded. was made subject even to the death of the cross. that Mediator between God and man. not in the middle between God and man. and great. But since the wages of sin is death.” Thou art the Truth who presidest over all. might be saved. having power to lay down His life. another he would seem to have in common with God. but Thy medicine is mightier. appeared betwixt mortal sinners and the immortal just One. and sinners. but as the Word. and not being clothed with the mortality of flesh. transforming himself into an Angel of light. and without sin. free among the dead. He might by a righteousness conjoined with God make void that death of sinners. as we through faith of it passed. hath one thing in common with man. swelling out rather than smiting upon their breasts. that Thou wilt heal all my infirmities. and therefore Victor. who sparedst not Thine only Son. So then I lost Thee. as no man would in such wise speak falsely.

and poor. because I meditate on my ransom. He. that they which live may now no longer live unto themselves. BOOK X: 117 . in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I cast my care upon Thee. teach me. and my infirmities. and consider wondrous things out of Thy law. desired to be satisfied from Him. Let not the proud speak evil of me. and heal me. Thine only Son. and they shall praise the Lord who seek Him.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE forbadest me. and eat and drink. See. Thou knowest my unskilfulness. and communicate it. amongst those that eat and are satisfied. Lord. hath redeemed me with His blood. saying. that I may live. but unto Him that died for them. Therefore Christ died for all. and strengthenedst me.

since eternity is Thine. and yet Truth hath said. and let Thy mercy hearken unto my desire: because it is anxious not for myself alone. seeing Thou hast called us. and all Thy terrors. For if Thine ears be not with us in the depths also. Behold. yea also Light of those that see. before you ask. that Thou mightest learn them through me. my Lord God. but to stir up mine own and my readers’ devotions towards Thee. confessing our own miseries. inaccessible to care. and hear it crying out of the depths. and ruminate. and the night is Thine. and pure in heart. and comforts. and hungering and athirst after righteousness. Circumcise from all rashness and all lying both my inward and outward lips: let Thy Scriptures be my pure delights: let me not be deceived in them. For Thou art good. and Thou seest my heart. in order to “confess” God’s mercies in opening to him the Scripture. Let me confess unto Thee BOOK XI: Augustine breaks off the history of the mode whereby God led him to holy Orders. Light of the blind. and meek. Thy voice is my joy. Thy voice exceedeth the abundance of pleasures. Perfect me. at Thy beck the moments flee by. not even the first words In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE BOOK XI: order. nor are those forests without their harts which retire therein and range and walk. but in Christ. I have said already. and mourners. and Thy mercies upon us. until infirmity be swallowed up by strength. whereas He did not make them before?” Inquiry into the nature of Time. and guidances. Moses is not to be understood. but would serve brotherly charity. “What did God before He created the heaven and the earth. to become poor in spirit. Answer to cavillers who asked. and merciful. that so it is. what passeth in time? Why then do I lay in order before Thee so many relations? Not. and reveal them unto me. and the remnants of my darkness. nor despise Thy green herb that thirsteth. and therein to confess to Thee my skill and unskilfulness. Your Father knoweth what you have need of. Great is the Lord. See. that Thou mayest free us wholly. and Strength of the strong. that we may all say. For I am poor and needy. and be blessed in Thee. But how shall I suffice with the tongue of my pen to utter all Thy exhortations. and whence willed He at length to make them. nor deceive out of them. Who. lie down. and greatly to be praised. or which though we owe not. Thou rich to all that call upon Thee. Lord. I would sacrifice to Thee the service of my thought and tongue. that we may cease to be wretched in ourselves. and again will say. and this hast Thou given: forsake not Thy own gifts. for love of Thy love do I this. For not in vain wouldest Thou have the darksome secrets of so many pages written. of a truth. we yet pay. give ear unto my prayer. Give what I love: for I do love. And I would not have aught besides steal away those hours which I find free from the necessities of refreshing my body and the powers of my mind. whereby Thou broughtest me to preach Thy Word. and long have I burned to meditate in Thy law. whither shall we go? whither cry? The day is Thine. Grant thereof a space for our meditations in the hidden things of Thy law. and dispense Thy Sacrament to Thy people? And if I suffice to utter them in 118 . feed. hearken unto my soul. what I may offer Thee. carest for us. do Thou give me. and of the service which we owe to men. O Lord. and close it not against us who knock. For we pray also. as I could and as I would. since Thou hast begun. I have told Thee many things. art Thou ignorant of what I say to Thee? or dost Thou see in time. the drops of time are precious with me. and peace-makers. Lord. O Lord my God. hearken and pity. the daybreak of Thy enlightening. O Lord my god. for Thy mercy endureth for ever. because Thou first wouldest that I should confess unto Thee. It is then our affections which we lay open unto Thee. and Strength of the weak.

” Moses wrote this. for they change and vary. because we have been made. whom Thou hast established for Thyself. or honours and offices. in vain will it strike on my senses. even from the beginning. how “In the Beginning Thou madest the heaven and earth. and hear the voice of praise. have mercy on me. nor Latin. wrote and departed. for they are beautiful. would say. the heavens and the earth are. or the pleasures of the flesh. nor barbarian. “thou sayest truly.. as Thy Mediator and ours. nor are they. O Truth. hath nothing in it. and hear my desire. this saith the Truth. that I may find grace before Thee. this saith Himself. passed hence from Thee to Thee. and this it is. compared with Whom. “therefore we are. O Lord my God. in the chamber of my thoughts. madest them. wherein Thou madest the heaven and the earth. through Whom Thou madest all things. And our knowledge. that they made not themselves. forming one body from another. I should know what he said. or necessaries for the body and for this life of our pilgrimage: all which shall be added unto those that seek Thy kingdom and Thy righteousness.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE whatsoever I shall find in Thy books. but if Latin. who gavest him Thy servant to speak these things. Father. Thee.Thy Only-Begotten. Lord. and would lay the ears of my body to the sounds bursting out of his mouth. they proclaim that they were created. that we might seek Thee. and yet is. give to me also to understand them. Of Him did Moses write. The wicked have told me of delights. Lord.I beseech Thee by Him. They proclaim also. should I know it from him? Truly within me. Behold. according to the discretion of 119 . who art good. behold. but not such as Thy law. the Son of man.” and I forthwith should say confidently to that man of Thine. Behold. Thou therefore. and if I knew this also. nor Greek. and intercedeth with Thee for us. and see and approve. in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. and Thou. and precious stones. which before it had not. Truth. forgive my sins. or gorgeous apparel. Behold. for they are. who sitteth at Thy right hand. But whence should I know. and among them. wherein is my desire. And should he speak Hebrew. whether he spake truth? Yea. through Whom Thou soughtest us. as Thou their Creator art. I beseech. not of gold and silver. or sound of syllables. nor good. compared with Thy knowledge. I would hear and understand. I deem. For it is not. unto the everlasting reigning of Thy holy city with Thee. we were not therefore.. Whereas whatsoever hath not been made. who art. they are neither beautiful. me also. that the inward parts of Thy words be opened to me knocking. nor would aught of it touch my mind. O Lord. full of Whom he spake truth. and beseech him by Thee BOOK XI: to open these things unto me. who art beautiful. But how didst Thou make the heaven and the earth? and what the engine of Thy so mighty fabric? For it was not as a human artificer. is the voice of the speakers. nor are. Behold. nor is he now before me. through Whom Thou calledst to adoption the believing people. so as to make ourselves. my God.. not seeking Thee. I beseech by our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. before we were. is ignorance. I would hold him and ask him. These do I seek in Thy books.Thy Word. “It is truth. yet are they not beautiful nor good. to change and vary. within.” Now the evidence of the thing. without organs of voice or tongue. and meditate on the wonderful things out of Thy law. and be it pleasing in the sight of Thy mercy. neither Hebrew. thanks be to Thee. Thee I beseech. for they are good. of the earth. Thee. the Man of Thy right hand.” Whereas then I cannot enquire of him. and drink in Thee. For if he were. wherein is my desire. but soughtest us. and therein me also. This we know.

Which is spoken eternally. that a body might be made. because they flee and pass away. For what was spoken was not spoken successively. because there was no place where to make it. or gold. convey that which he doth. and silence after the last. which presideth over itself. before it was made. Lord. surely Thou hadst. that it might be. whoso is not unthankful to assure Truth. serving Thy eternal will.” If then in sounding and passing words Thou saidst that heaven and earth should be made. the syllables sounded and passed away. whereof to make heaven and earth. far different. and is. and with me there knows and blesses Thee. created that. neither in the heaven. But she compared these words sounding in time. and see within what he doth without. Whence it is abundantly clear and plain that the motion of a creature expressed it. which was not. by which to say. Thou the apprehension whereby to take in his art. This is my beloved Son? For that voice passed by and passed away. or the like. hadst not Thou appointed them? Thou madest the artificer his body. and said “It is different. or waters. without such a passing voice. created for a time. whereof such a voice were made. All these praise Thee. And these Thy words. We know. the second after the first. and hath a being. or stone. and so madest heaven and earth. And therefore unto the Word coeternal with Thee Thou dost at once and eternally say all that Thou dost say. whether it be well done or no. nor in the air. and in Thy Word Thou madest them. unless Thou hadst made that mind? and he invests with a form what already existeth. there was a corporeal creature before heaven and earth. O God. it could not be at all. the outward ear BOOK XI: reported to the intelligent soul. whose inward ear lay listening to Thy Eternal Word. God. But how dost Thou make them? how. O my God. nor in the earth. Nothing then of Thy Word doth give place or replace. seeing these also belong to the heaven and the earth. And whence should he be able to do this. began and ended. or if there were. the Creator of all. nor dost Thou make. and by It are all things spoken eternally. I confess to Thee. and yet are not all 120 . But how didst Thou speak? In the way that the voice came out of the cloud. Nor didst Thou hold any thing in Thy hand. didst Thou make heaven and earth? Verily. Thou the sense of his body. Let the heaven and the earth be made. otherwise than by saying. and not a true eternity nor true immortality. with that Thy Eternal Word in silence. which Thou hadst not made. as it seeth in itself by its inward eye. and they were made. but because Thou art? Therefore Thou spokest. whereby these words again might be made? Thou callest us then to understand the Word. didst Thou make heaven and earth. which can in some way invest with such a form. as by an interpreter.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE his mind. Else have we time and change. whereby. unless by Thee it were made. For whence shouldest Thou have this. so far forth it dieth and ariseth. until the last after the rest. nor are they. This I know. itself temporal. And whence should they be. and so forth in order. These words are far beneath me. and give thanks. Thou the mind commanding the limbs. I know. and report to his mind what is done. with Thee God. whereof to make this passing voice. since inasmuch as anything is not which was. saying. For whatsoever that were. nor in the whole world didst Thou make the whole world. that it within may consult the truth. but all things together and eternally. he may from mind to matter. Thou the matter whereof he makes any thing. as clay. the third after the second. by whose motions in time that voice might take his course in time. one thing concluded that the next might be spoken. O Lord. and whatever Thou sayest shall be made is made. But there was nought corporeal before heaven and earth. or wood. we know. because It is truly immortal and eternal. thereof to make any thing? For what is. but the Word of my Lord abideth above me for ever. By what Word then didst Thou speak.

Who now teacheth us. “What was God doing before He made heaven and earth? For if (say they) He were unemployed and wrought not. O Lord. severing my cloudiness which yet again mantles over me. which Thou makest by saying. and leaves off then. and strikes my heart without hurting it. which He had never before made. hear I Thy voice speaking unto me. and speaking unto us. because also It speaketh unto us. And if aught have arisen in God’s Substance. through the darkness which for my punishment gathers upon me. while we stand and hear Him. do not yet understand Thee. And therefore the Beginning. inasmuch as I am like it. and in that Beginning didst Thou make heaven and earth. and for ever. because He speaketh us. in Wisdom hast Thou made them all. but the unchangeable Truth? for even when we are admonished through a changeable creature. because unless It abided. unless the will of the Creator had preceded. hear Thee inwardly discoursing out of Thy oracle: I will boldly cry out. O Lord my God? I see it in a way. For Thou shalt also redeem my life from corruption. Lord. and crown me with loving kindness and tender mercies. because my youth shall be renewed like an eagle’s. For in hope we are saved. where there ariseth a will. are they not full of their old leaven. when in Thy eternal Reason it is known. In this Beginning. There. and I shudder and kindle? I shudder. why does He not also henceforth. I beseech Thee. unless it be. understand not yet how the things be made. as He did heretofore? For did any new motion arise in God. that it ought to begin or leave off. which before was not. restoring us to Him. but before the creature. Lord. For my strength is brought down in need. It is Wisdom. shalt heal all my infirmities. I know not. in Thy Word. from Whom we are. Who shall comprehend? Who declare it? What is that which gleams through me. and rejoice greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice. in Thy Truth.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE things made together. where we learn truly. or everlasting. But if the will of God has been from eternity that the creature should be. be whither to return. seeing nothing could be created. inasmuch as I unlike it. though He speaketh. and shalt satisfy my desire with good things. and wondrously making. till Thou.” Thus in the Gospel He speaketh through the flesh. and that we may know. Wisdom’s self which gleameth through BOOK XI: me. The will of God then belongeth to His very Substance. in Thy Power. to us He speaketh not. Let him that is able. wondrously speaking. which was not? For the will of God is not a creature. O God. which is also “the Beginning. Why. in Thy Wisdom. but He that teacheth us not. where the good and only Master teacheth all His disciples. Light of souls. wherefore we through patience wait for Thy promises. which by Thee. in which Reason nothing beginneth or leaveth off. when we went astray. hast Thou made heaven and earth. He teacheth us. and this sounded outwardly in the ears of men. so that I cannot support my blessings. because He is the Beginning. Who hast been gracious to all mine iniquities. O Wisdom of God. that it might be believed and sought inwardly. who teacheth us. and found in the eternal Verity. I kindle. But when we return from error. why was not the creature also from eternity?” Who speak thus. there should not. that Substance cannot be truly called eternal. but how to express it. who say to us. it is through knowing. in Thy Son. and leaves off to be. and in Thee are made: yet they strive to comprehend 121 . How wonderful are Thy works. how then would that be a true eternity. fainting from it. Lo. we are but led to the unchangeable Truth. and a new will to make a creature. begins then. This is Thy Word. that whatsoever begins to be. and this Wisdom is the Beginning.

or the hand of my mouth by speech bring about a thing so great? See. art the Creator of every creature: and if by the name “heaven and earth. another to make sport of enquirers.” For if He made. if they never were? Seeing then Thou art the Creator of all times. but that in the Eternal nothing passeth. which Thou madest not. and is still unstable. to whom Thou saidst. that he wonders at false conceits. if any time was before Thou madest heaven and earth. Maker of heaven and earth. but ours shall all be. is created. and see that it cannot be compared. but Thou art the Same. but the whole is present. but out of many motions passing by. But I say that Thou. and all past and to come. that it be settled awhile. and Thy day is not daily. Nor dost Thou by time. what Thou then didst? For there was no “then. and that a long time cannot become long.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE things eternal. and surpassest all future because they are future. for they pass not away. and fix it. Thy To-day. Thou hast made all things. before Thou madest those times. seeing Thy To-day gives not place unto to-morrow. why say they that Thou didst forego working? For that very time didst Thou make. than so as to raise a laugh at him who asketh deep things and gain praise for one who answereth false things. neither past nor to come. Who shall hold it. and when they come. by the sublimity of an ever-present eternity. what did He make but a creature? And would I knew whatsoever I desire to know to my profit. let him awake and consider. “that before God made heaven and earth. and all to come followeth upon the past. and flows out of that which is ever present? Who shall hold the heart of man. therefore didst Thou beget The Coeternal. I answer him that asketh. But if before heaven and earth there was no time.” every creature be understood. whilst their heart fluttereth between the motions of things past and to come. and Thy years fail not. and see how eternity ever still-standing. nor could times pass by. that no creature was made. and awhile catch the glory of that everfixed Eternity. He did not make any thing.” It is one thing to answer enquiries. why is it demanded. they should not be 122 . that they all may come.” what I know not. is driven on by time to come. uttereth the times past and to come? Can my hand do this. precede time: else shouldest Thou not precede all times. as I know. because time itself Thou madest. Thou the Author and Creator of all ages? or what times should there be. But if any excursive brain rove over the images of forepassed times. for neither doth it replace yesterday. which cannot be prolonged altogether. our God. because Thou abidest. and wonder that Thou the God Almighty and All-creating BOOK XI: and All-supporting. and compare it with the times which are never fixed. nor are departing thrust out by coming years. they shall be past. I boldly say. This day have I begotten Thee.” when there was no time. whereas ours both come and go. but To-day. for rather had I answer. But Thou precedest all things past. whereas no time is all at once present: and that all time past. which were not made by Thee? or how should they pass by. So I answer not. because they do stand. before there was made any creature. and before all times Thou art: neither in any time was time not. when they shall no more be. For whence could innumerable ages pass by. but if they abode. Thy years are one day. And no times are coeternal with Thee. “He was preparing hell (saith he) for pryers into mysteries. At no time then hadst Thou not made any thing. Thy years stand together. “What did God before He made heaven and earth?” I answer not as one is said to have done merrily (eluding the pressure of the question). Thy years neither come nor go. is Eternity. didst for innumerable ages forbear from so great a work. that it may stand still. before Thou wouldest make it. “I know not.

which ceased to be. that ceased also to be long. if any of the middle. still. when there was. one is now past. the first is already past. Those two times then. whether present time can be long: for to thee it is given to feel and to measure length of time. is past. is not yet. and if nothing were coming. What wilt thou answer me? Are an hundred years. thou soul of man. the first hath the rest to come. than time? And. which alone we found could be called long. then is not the year present. Yea. is to come. when we speak of it. shall not here also Thy Truth mock at man? For that past time which was long. so as to utter a word about it? But what in discourse do we mention more familiarly and knowingly. that it shall not be. For if the first of these years be now current.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE times. time present were not. wherefore an hundred years cannot be present. that one hour passeth away in flying particles. But a short time past. but one day only. to come. what could be long. what could be long. time past were not. seeing the past now is not. I know: if I wish to explain it to one that asketh. often days hence. For it is made up of four and twenty hours of night and day: of which. the rest are to come. that we cannot truly say that time is. Let us not then say. it was long. but because it is tending not to be? And yet we say. For it had not yet passed away. verily it should not be time. of which whatever by the current month is present.” O my Lord. are past. how are they. when we hear it spoken of by another. but eternity. but the other ninety and nine are to come. or to come. And so if we assume any middle year of this hundred to be present. that if nothing passed away. Let us see then. Therefore. If an 123 . if the second. for if the current month be its first. so. if the last. and that to come is not yet? But the present. Whatsoever of it hath flown away. we understand also. only of time past or to come. and a short time to come. “time past hath been long”: for we shall not find. but if the second year be current. But let us examine that also. was it long when it was now past. and the rest are not yet. “it hath been long”. whatsoever remaineth. See how the present time. namely. is abridged to the length scarce of one day. itself is present. because. a long time? See first. those behind it to come. wherefore neither could that be long. we call (suppose) often days since. which was not at all. because neither is one day present as a whole. the rest to come. but let BOOK XI: us say. my Light. “it is long”. whose cause of being is. a time to come were not. If time present (if it is to be time) only cometh into existence. and therefore are not yet. What then is time? If no one asks me. and the future. and of the future. but of the past. or when it was yet present? For then might it be long. and a long time to come. what hath been long. For what is time? Who can readily and briefly explain this? Who can even in thought comprehend it. Although neither is that current month present. another present. but when past. when it was present. then amid past and to come. A long time past (for example) we call an hundred years since. it was no longer. But in what sense is that long or short. I know not: yet I say boldly that I know. and therefore there was. all before it. but after it was past. how can we say that either this is. Let us not then say. past and to come. which is not? For the past. we understand. “that present time was long”. “it will be long. whether an hundred years can be present. if it be the first. so as not to be. is not now. For twelve months are a year. seeing that since it was past. neither is the year now current present. when present. and any of the middle hath those before it past. the rest being to come. and if not present as a whole. and if nothing were. because it passeth into time past. “a long time” and “a short time”. all after it. it is no more. But see at least whether that one which is now current. the rest past. past. it is present. should it always be present. and never pass into time past. an hundred years hence. the last hath them past.

and when from future it becometh present. and future. but present. But what now is. if there also they be past. and we answer. which is. and compare them. Therefore they are not future but present to those who now see 124 . and that. “it is long”. some are shorter. have through the senses left as traces in the mind. that we generally think before on our future actions. could not relate them. cannot be seen. and tell of it. because then it is no longer future. Where then is the time. Which way soever then this secret fore-perceiving of things to come be. that only can be seen. but present. and others longer. is not future. I affirm not: O my God. Which yet if I cannot. Whether there be a like cause of foretelling things to come also. that so there should exist what may be long. wherever they be. see them. I would know where they be. I confess. then does time present cry out in the words above. “Who will tell me that there are not three times (as we learned when boys. we perceive intervals of times. because it is not yet.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE instant of time be conceived. that of things which as yet are not. and so it shall then be long. from present it becometh past? For where did they. it may be perceived and measured. I behold it in the present. it is not themselves which as yet are not (that is. O my hope. We measure also. when we have set upon. there are drawn out of the memory. And yet. that can be measured. it shall not be long (because what can be long. but past. which now is not: but now when I recall its image. in passing. but present only. they are not yet there. the images may be perceived before.” But we measure times as they are passing. but words which. or the future. and say. as yet is not). and that that forethinking is present. but their causes perchance or signs are seen. For if times past and to come be. they could no way be discerned. when it is yet to come. already existing. past. rule and guide me. “This is double. but when it is past. Thus my childhood. but present. The present hath no space. who can measure? unless a man shall presume to say. they. which are to be). I know not. present. I ask. yet I know. it shall begin now to be. and if they were not. When then things to come are said to be seen. it is divided into past and future. or past. Lord. or only just so much as that. Father. which now are not. let not my purpose be confounded. it cannot. Which yet flies with such speed from future to past. when from future which as yet is not. and so. who foretold things to come. Which. is in time past. and taught boys). so as to be long. or treble. but we say. how much longer or shorter this time is than that. Although when past facts are related. because those two are not? Or are they also. For if it be. which now is not. Things then past and to come. that it cannot be long. as not to be lengthened out with the least stay. which may be called present. Lord. that alone is it. which are not yet. conceived by the images of the things. And they who relate things past. it is only as present. when retiring. they are no longer there. to seek further. because it is not. but the action whereof we forethink is not yet. if in mind they did not discern them. When then time is passing. “it will be long. and have become present. which cannot be divided into the smallest particles of moments. because it is still in my memory. For if there also they be future. which we may call long? Is it to come? Of it we do not say.” When therefore will it be? For if even then. but once.” Permit me. because it is to come. Wheresoever then is whatsoever is. This indeed I know. and have begun to do what we were forethinking. O my God. if as yet they be not? BOOK XI: For that which is not. are. doth it come out of some secret place. which already are. then shall that action be. they are not there as future. not the things themselves which are past. by perceiving them. which is not.

” But time present how do we measure. nor that imagination of my mind. is present. yet hidden things. If thus we be permitted to speak. expectation. and equal. Nor is it properly said. still the things intended are understood. which be measurable. but when it shall have passed. to come. nor can we measure things that are not. we measure times as they pass. into that. when Thou shalt vouchsafe it. For but few things are there. Future things then are not yet: and if they be not yet. by what way. single. to whom nothing is to come. What I behold. Ruler of Thy creation. and those who foretell those things. teach things to come. O Lord my God. seeing it hath no space? It is measured while passing. I said then even now. the sun-rising. if what is so said be but understood. memory. but into the past? From that therefore. “How knowest thou?” I might answer. Or in the present. are not. Whom shall I enquire of con- 125 . we measure not. and triple. now is. that the sun. which hath no space. that it be hindered from piercing into them. which already is. not the sun. they are not: and if they are not. “there BOOK XI: be three times. Thou then. and I confess there are three. past.” For these three do exist in some sort. And if any should ask me. I see three times. most things improperly. nor what is past. Yet what do we measure. yet foretold they may be from things present. being foreconceived in the mind. as I said. or any other like way that we speak of time. is foretold. we do not measure: or in the past. through Christ I beseech Thee. present. if not time in some space? For we do not say. a present of things present. and things past and to come. but otherwhere do I not see them. but through the present? whither.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE that. in order to be able to say. and so of any other parts of time. By what way dost Thou. O sweet light of my hidden eyes. sight. in the soul. I could not foretell it. do behold the conceptions present before them. Shut it not up. they cannot be seen. from my desire. what I foresignify. and a present of things future. this is just so much as that. whence it passeth through? But what is not yet. Which fore-conceptions again now are. neither can it be taught. through that. by which it passes? but no space. and are seen. Let now the numerous variety of things furnish me some example. it is not measured. “I know. to which it passes? But neither do we measure that. by what way dost Thou teach souls things to come? For Thou didst teach Thy Prophets. My soul is on fire to know this most intricate enigma. which is not yet. good Father. do not shut up these usual. a present of things past. but from Thee I can. and double. and to come”: in our incorrect way. for there will be nothing to be measured. Let it be said too. this time is twice so much as that one. and to come”: yet perchance it might be properly said. which now is not. and whither passes it while it is a measuring? whence. or rather of the future. that neither what is to be. present. but from the future? Which way. nor find fault. or. present of things future. which is not yet. which we speak properly. I behold the day-break. What now is clear and plain is. nor gainsay. that neither things to come nor past are. I cannot attain unto it. I foreshow. which two are seen now present. except of spaces of times. that we do measure. past. which are already. what is not. Wherefore. that the other which is to be may be foretold. But neither is that daybreak which I discern in the sky. we measure times as they pass. “there be three times. is about to rise. although it goes before it. from which the future. See. And yet did I not in my mind imagine the sun-rising itself (as now while I speak of it). present of things present. but the sun-rising. “there be three times. but let them dawn through Thy enlightening mercy. In what space then do we measure time passing? In the future. present of things past. Too far is this way of my ken: it is too mighty for me. dost teach things present? For. O Lord. I object not. which now is not. But whence.

Holy of holies. By Christ I beseech Thee. “so many days. and understand. should there be no time by which we might measure those whirlings. are also for signs. that the motions of the sun. according to which we say. “how long time since he did this”. while the sun stood still. for I do love. if. because I have taken upon me to know. should we not also be speaking in time? Or. and how. or if it turned sometimes slower. Give. so vehemently kindled toward Thy Scriptures. and therefore do I speak. and times. in His Name. or both? For if the first be the day. This is my hope.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE cerning these things? and to whom shall I more fruitfully confess my ignorance. as the sun usually makes his whole course in. when at the prayer of one. the sun had stood still. And we talk of time. Father. I will not therefore now ask. and trouble is before me until Thou openest it. that I may contemplate the delights of the Lord. to complete one day. then should we have a day. they are. if the sun should run his whole round in the space of one hour. if between one sun-rise and another there were but so short a stay. than to Thee. If the second. nor that. For why should not the motions of all bodies rather be times? Or. let no man disturb me. and say. I know not. should say that it was finished in half the time it was wont. and “this syllable hath double time to that single short syllable. to Whom these my studies. Let no man then tell me. nor yet he. and these we hear. while we were saying this. Behold. constituted time. then should not that make a day. night another). Thou hast made my days old. others long. then neither could that be called a day. and the self-same things again are but too deeply hidden. but the sun must go four and twenty times about. and for days. For I believed. and a potter’s wheel run round. for this do I live. if the lights of heaven should cease. Most manifest and ordinary they are. whereby we. but because those sounded in a shorter time. If both. I desire to know the force and nature of time. and “how long time since I saw that”. these in a longer? God. as one hour comes to. by which we measure the motions of bodies. that either it moved with equal pauses. because. measuring the circuit of the sun. and time. even supposing the sun to run his round from east to east. should call this a single time. if so be it was finished in so small a space as twelve hours. I ask. what time is. as one hour comes to. or the stay in which that motion is completed.seeing then a day is completed by the motion of the sun and by his circuit from east to east again.. that a double time. does the motion alone make the day. yet neither should I say. I heard once from a learned man. and say (for example) this motion is twice as long as that. the sun stood still. and I assented not. and the discovery of them were new. sometimes in that double time. “there passed so many days. and are understood. grant to men to see in a small thing notices common to things great and small. 126 . from morning to morning. although the sun should finish that course in so small a space of time. that some rounds were longer. moon. but also its whole circuit from east to east again.” the night being included when we say. and for seasons. and stars. that the going BOOK XI: round of that wooden wheel was a day. and they pass away. For I ask. that it was therefore no time. are not troublesome? Give what I love.” These words we speak. till he could achieve his victorious battle. and this hast Thou given me. and comparing both times. what that is which is called day. so much time should overpass. other shorter? Or. “How long time is it since he said this”. that the motions of the heavenly bodies constitute times. otherwhiles quicker. and for years.” and the nights not reckoned apart. but. sometimes in that single. and times. Give. Seeing “day” denotes not the stay only of the sun upon the earth (according to which day is one thing. Who truly knowest to give good gifts unto Thy children. should there in our words be some syllables short. The stars and lights of heaven.

Seeing therefore the motion of a body is one thing. if it be not of the mind itself? For what. then we measure. a foot. and the time itself do I not measure? Or could I indeed measure the motion of a body how long it were. But when we can mark the distances of the places. who sees not. either indefinitely 127 . pronounced hurriedly. as we use to say. do I measure. and in how long space it could come from this place to that. long verses. O Lord. “this is as long as that. and the spaces of the verses. and the spaces of long. a syllable. how do I measure? do we by a shorter time measure a longer. but as I speak. that very “long” BOOK XI: is not long. not measuring by pages (for then we measure spaces. and again I confess unto Thee. that a shorter verse. the space of a rood? for so indeed we seem by the space of a short syllable. Light and Truth. Thou. by the spaces of the syllables. but when we utter the words and they pass by. For in its own allotted space of time was that battle waged and ended. so is my heart. O my God. but that the motion of a body is time. before Thee I lie not. but his standing still too by time. wilt show me. And if I look long. but of what. because consisting of so many feet. or “it stood still twice or thrice so long as it moved”. I hear not. that do not even know. seeing I know not what time is? or is it perchance that I know not how to express what I know? Woe is me. more or less. I cannot measure. but in time. until I cease to see. Dost Thou bid me assent. And I confess to Thee. that time is nothing else than protraction. For that no body is moved. when I say. without measuring the time in which it is moved? This same time then. another. was finished. For when a body is moved. but by the pause of time. or any other space which our measuring hath either ascertained. because composed of so many verses. not his motion only. or guessed. by the space of short syllables. Thus measure we the spaces of stanzas. and we say. sometimes stands still. as much as it moved”. as. if any define time to be “motion of a body?” Thou dost not bid me. I beseech Thee. from this place unto that. Does not my soul most truly confess unto Thee. But do I perceive it. may take up more time than a longer. which of the two is rather to be called time? For and if a body be sometimes moved. O Lord my God. by the spaces of the verses. “it stood still. Thou sayest it not. how long it moveth. then can we say precisely. or his parts. I hear. and the spaces of the feet. long feet. and we say “it is a long stanza. because when we say “how long. and to say that this is double the other. I can only pronounce it to be a long time. not times). and that having long spoken of time. Time then is not the motion of a body. O my God. How then know I this. wilt enlighten my darkness. because prolonged by so many syllables. from the time it began to move until it left off? And if I did not see whence it began. and it continue to move so that I see not when it ends. if it moved as in a lathe. a long syllable because double to a short one. Whence it seemed to me. and I marvel.” or “twice so long as that. save perchance from the time I began. And so for a verse. but not how long. this Thou sayest. I perceive time then to be a certain extension. to measure the space of a long syllable. that I yet know not what time is.” we do it by comparison. because it may be. Thou shalt light my candle. what I know not. But neither do we this way obtain any certain measure of time.” or the like. by the spaces of the feet. pronounced more fully. Behold. that I know that I speak this in time. in how much time the motion of that body or his part. I by time measure. as by the space of a cubit.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE but time went on. I know not. that by which we measure how long it is. whence and whither goeth the body moved. that I do measure times? Do I then measure. O my God. O Lord. or seem to perceive it? Thou. and know not what I measure? I measure the motion of a body in time.

or the like. and yet we do measure times. and yet I measure. Wherefore. it is silence now. or I do not measure times. because it now is not. and confidently answer (so far as is presumed on a practised sense) that as to space of time this syllable is but single. that is. for it was passing on. shall I apply it to the long. and still soundeth in one continued tenor without any interruption. and nothing left to be measured. and that voice is past. and how. and press on mightily. I measure a long syllable by a short. By plain sense then. It is in thee. are but single. because as yet it was not. and I sensibly find it to have twice so much. nor past. let us measure it while it sounds. let us measure it verily. so that it might be measured. have flown.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE “this is a longer time than that. the latter long. when I measure times. which now are not. that double. third. and could not be measured. measuring. We measure neither BOOK XI: times to come. seeing the long does not begin to sound. a voice that is not yet ended. If therefore then it might.” this verse of eight syllables alternates between short and long syllables. which things as they pass by cause in thee. now. and yet I measure not time to come. it no longer is. interrupt not thyself with the tumults of thy impressions. as one’s plain sense perceives. and eighth. it might. but something in my memory. seeing I measure it not till it be ended? Now his ending is his passing away. that I may find this to have twice so much. it was being extended into some space of time. for it is not yet.” or definitely “this is double that”? That I measure time. fourth. What when we 128 . this it is which still present. my mind. unless the short leaves sounding? And that very long one do I measure as present. This I measure. and list. the voice of a body begins to sound. namely. Courage. and sounds on. and tell how much it is. from some beginning unto some end. it will then be past. God is our helper. But yet even then it was not at a stay. nor passing. that I measure. Then therefore while it sounded. nor present. He made us. are no more. I know. And yet I could not do this. Interrupt me not. and seventh. how shall I detain the short one. But when ended. my mind. so that it may be said how long. not past? for so I said. in respect of the four long. but yet neither those which are not yet. Press on where truth begins to dawn. Before it sounded. which there remains fixed. the second. the impression. Suppose. fifth. cannot be measured. For the very space between is the thing we measure. How may it then be measured? And yet we measure times. What then is it I measure? where is the short syllable by which I measure? where the long which I measure? Both have sounded. unless they were already past and ended. seeing when it hath left sounding. Either then this is time. the first. because it is no longer. unto the end it left in. But it sounds still. It is not then themselves. because there then was what might be measured. suppose another voice hath begun to sound. nor can it be called equal to another. Could it be measured the rather. for that? For while passing. nor those which no longer are. What then do I measure? Times passing. to. but when one sounds after the other. nor past. and is no more a voice. or short it is. it was to come. sixth. and does sound. and passing away. that I measure times. passed away. or double to a single. report on them. if the former be short. In thee I measure times. “Deus Creator omnium. then. Every one of these to every one of those. remains even when they are gone. and find it so. not the things which pass by to make this impression. nor can it be measured but from the instant it began in. and not we ourselves. nor those which are not lengthened out by some pause. since the present hath no space. and now it cannot. The four short then. it ceases. nor those which have no bounds. nor present. I measure. hath a double time: I pronounce them. because it is not protracted by any space.

which is now no longer. is the memory enlarged: till the whole expectation be at length exhausted. hath sounded already. all is past. the past increasing by the diminution of the future. and contemplate Thy delights. is “a long expectation of the future. the Mediator betwixt Thee. whereof all the actions of man are parts. to follow The One. he hath in silence already gone through a space of time. it remembers. and the rest will sound. but to those things which are before. there is in the mind an expectation of things to come.” I am about to repeat a Psalm that I know. the same holds through the whole age of the sons of men. for so much of it as is finished. and will sound. which sounds on. for as yet it is not: but a long future. where I may hear the voice of Thy praise. But how is that future diminished or consumed. but a long past. but when I have begun. through that which it considereth. that things to come are not as yet? and yet. through which that which shall be present proceedeth to become absent. and committing it to memory.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE measure silence. thus the life of this action of mine is divided between my memory as to what I have repeated. that so that which it expecteth. and not distended but extended. whereof this Psalm may be part. until by the consumption of the future. And thus passeth it on. that by Him I may apprehend in Whom I have been apprehended. behold. it considers. nor to pass away. and report as to the spaces of times. neither to come. when that whole action being ended. there be three things done? For it expects. And this which takes place in the whole Psalm. shall have passed into memory. which as yet is not? or how that past increased. until the present intent conveys over the future into the past. Who therefore denieth. so much the more the expectation being shortened. and may be re-collected from my old conversation. and us many. and any other discourse. The One. But now are my years spent in mourning. 129 . It is not then future time. my life is but a distraction. that is long. until it be brought unto the end proposed. how much this is in respect of that. yet in thought we go over poems.” nor is it time past. no otherwise than if vocally we did pronounce them. passeth into that which it remembereth. in my Lord the Son of man. or dimensions of motions. is extended along my memory. Which the more it is done again and again. that so we may be able to report of the intervals of silence in a given space of time? For though both voice and tongue be still. the same takes place in each several portion of it. and had settled in thought how long it should be. my expectation is extended over the whole. that through it what was future. and expectation as to what I am about to repeat. And who denies past things to be now no longer? and yet is there still in the mind a memory of things past. and say that this silence hath held as long time as did that voice? do we not stretch out our thought to the measure of a voice. the same holds in the whole life of man. as if it sounded. may be conveyed over. so as to become past. and Thy right hand upheld me. and verses. And who denieth the present time hath no space. not to things which shall be and shall pass away. which BOOK XI: now is not. Before I begin. forgetting what is behind. whereof all the lives of men are parts. If a man would utter a lengthened sound. the same holds in that longer action. because it passeth away in a moment? and yet our consideration continueth. I follow on for the prize of my heavenly calling. many also through our manifold distractions amid many things. how much soever of it I shall separate off into the past. begins to utter that speech. but “consideration” is present with me. save that in the mind which enacteth this. Yea it hath sounded. But because Thy loving-kindness is better than all lives. and each several syllable. is “a long memory of the past. not distractedly but intently. that is long.

“How came it into His mind to make any thing. that “never” cannot be predicated. if there be mind gifted with such vast knowledge and foreknowledge. and say. without any variety of Thy knowledge. Certainly. what else is it to say. and understand Thee before all times. who by a penal disease thirst for more than they can contain. and how much of it had passed away from the beginning. as to know all things past and to come. my Father everlasting. even the inmost bowels of my soul. -not so doth any thing happen unto Thee. truly that mind is passing wonderful. unchangeably eternal. nor will I endure the questions of men. even if there be any creature before all times. For not. until I flow together into Thee. whose elevation Thou art. 130 . without any distraction of Thy action. varied. when “time” is not. having never before made any thing?” Give them. dost Thou know them. Far. that I may share the joy of Thy light. the Creator of souls and bodies. Thy truth. This then that He is said “never to have made”. well to bethink themselves what they say. Whoso understandeth. May they also be extended towards those things which are before. are through expectation of the words to come. and whoso understandeth not. for Thou raisest up those that are bowed down. and how far from it have the consequences of my transgressions cast me! Heal mine eyes. O Lord. let him confess unto Thee. as I know one well-known Psalm. and cease to speak that vanity. And now will I stand. whose order I know not. and that no times be coeternal with Thee. and yet the humble in heart are Thy dwelling-place. and the remembering of those that are past. O Lord. what. let him confess unto Thee. art my comfort. far more wonderfully. O Lord my God. and to find. nothing to come in afterages. “what did God before He made heaven and earth?” Or. in that nothing past. as the feelings of one who singeth what he knoweth. purified and molten by the fire of Thy love. and how much there remained unto the end. nor any creature. that time cannot be without created being. so madest Thou in the Beginning heaven and earth. than when I sung that Psalm. and my thoughts. and fearfully amazing. far be it. and become firm in Thee. and far more mysteriously. but I have been severed amid times. But far be it that Thou the Creator of the Universe. are rent and mangled with tumultuous varieties. than “in ‘no have made?” Let them see therefore. the eternal Creator of minds. is any more hidden from him. that is. and his senses divided. was hidden from me what. and they fall not. the eternal Creator of all times. that Thou shouldest in such BOOK XI: wise know all things past and to come.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE And Thou. Oh how high art Thou. in my mould. or heareth some well-known song. what a depth is that recess of Thy mysteries. Like then as Thou in the Beginning knewest the heaven and the earth.

by the name of earth invisible and without form. and demanding is longer than obtaining. And now this earth was invisible and without form. in fact. neither colour. hath more work to do. and to him that knocketh. which confesseth unto Thee? Hast not Thou taught me. that manifold senses may and ought to be extracted from it. and this earth that I tread upon. knock. to which all this which we see is earth? For this corporeal whole. that darkness was upon the face of the deep. upon which there was no light. occupying the lowest stage. And therefore most times. which is the Lord’s. findeth. and there was I know not what depth of abyss. For every one that asketh. which cleaves to God unintermittingly always beholding His countenance. however. but to that heaven of heavens. and that whatever truth can be obtained from its words. but to have no sound there? Hast not Thou. than our hand that receives. and it shall be opened unto you. nor figure. but the earth hath He given to the children of men? Where is that heaven which we see not. and enlightening? Where then light was not. O Lord. when the Truth promiseth? The lowliness of my tongue confesseth unto Thy Highness. among all parts of the world can be found nearer to an absolute formlessness. My heart. Therefore didst Thou command it to be written. taught his soul.” the formless matter whereof the corporeal creation was afterwards formed. and he that seeketh. because enquiring hath more to say than discovering. amid this poverty of my life. O Lord.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE BOOK XII: these lower parts. How then should it be called. that it might be in some measure conveyed to those of duller mind. and explains the “heaven” to mean that spiritual and incorporeal creation. because light was not upon it. other interpretations. nor spirit? and yet not altogether nothing. without any beauty. shall it be opened. We hold the promise. The heaven of heavens are the Lord’s. that Thou madest heaven and earth. for there was a certain formlessness. that before Thou formedst and diversifiedst this formless matter. there was nothing. where should it have been but by being over all. is much busied. as where sound is not. aloft. and our hand that knocks. to that unknown heaven. than earth and deep? For. touched with the words of Thy Holy Scripture. but by some ordinary word? And what. These be Thine own promises: and who need fear to be deceived. this heaven which I see. transparent all and shining. and ye shall have. Lord. even the heaven of our earth. But where is that heaven of heavens. not the sons’ of men. because it had no shape. Thou madest it. there is silence. whereof to make this beautiful world) to be suitably intimated unto men. is the poverty of human understanding copious in words. seek. He does not reject. whence is this earth that I bear about me. not being wholly every where. receiveth. And what is it to have silence there. which we hear of in the words of the Psalm. nor body. they are less beautiful than the other higher parts are. does. and ye shall find. what else than the absence of light? For had there been light. who can be against us? Ask. hath in such wise received its portion of beauty in 131 . O Lord. whereof the lowest is this our earth. who shall make it null? If God be for us. i. BOOK XII: Augustine proceeds to comment on Genesis I. may not absurdly be called earth. but rather confesses that such is the depth of Holy Scripture. is but earth: yea both these great bodies. lie concealed in them. what was the presence of darkness. Wherefore then may I not conceive the formlessness of matter (which Thou hadst created without beauty. “earth. but the absence of light? Darkness therefore was upon it.

. told me of it. so far forth as they are? But so much the further from Thee. one 132 . whatever Thyself hath taught me of that matter. out of which Thou createdst heaven and earth. this were it: and yet in some way was it even then. Lord. as life. Holy. because being invisible. the name whereof hearing before. and looked more deeply into their changeableness. which is of Thee. and otherwise in another. but yet “forms” and I called it without form not that it wanted all form. and a song of praise. by my tongue and my pen.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE So that when thought seeketh what the sense may conceive under this. but in comparison of more beautiful forms. and human frailness would be troubled at. yet this I longed to know. but from Thee. my mind tossed up and down foul and horrible “forms” out of all order. whatsoever knots Thou didst open for me in this question. if presented to it. Holy. things of two sorts. I suspected to be through a certain formless state. into which these changeable things are changed. a formless almost nothing. for so should they have been equal to Thine Only Begotten Son. what is it? Is it soul? Is it body? Is it that which constituteth soul or body? Might one say. didst in the Beginning. was without form. or justice. So my mind gave over to question thereupon with my spirit. and the Self-same.” I would say. is itself capable of all those forms. Holy. and not understanding. that I must utterly uncase it of all remnants of form whatsoever. And aught else besides Thee was there not. as being capable of receiving these visible and compound figures. For Thou createdst heaven and earth. and I could not.while man’s thought thus saith to itself. and I bent myself to the bodies themselves. as unwonted and jarring. not through a mere nothing. and the Self-same. and the petty earth. if I would. or to be ignorant. for it is not farness of place. from Whom are all things. whereof Thou mightest create them. as the unliker Thee. which was born of Thine own Substance. and therefore out of nothing didst Thou create heaven and earth. “It is no intellectual form. than conceive a thing betwixt form and nothing. But whence had it this degree of being. and a small thing. is not. so I conceived of it as having innumerable forms and diverse. and that out of nothing. which was not of Thee. confess unto Thee the whole. whereas no way were it right that aught should be equal to Thee. Lord God Almighty. neither formed.-If then my voice and pen would confess unto Thee the whole. Thou wert. even the great heaven. if I would conceive matter absolutely without form. turn from. but because it had such as my mind would. not as being deprived of all form. and saith to itself. and thereby to Thee also. create something. And still that which I conceived. for Thou art Almighty and Good. as it willed. which should be deprived of all form. for sooner could I imagine that not to be at all. one near Thee. Thou therefore. it being filled with the images of formed bodies. nor nothing. For the changeableness of changeable things. and begin to be what they were not. in Thy Wisdom. because it is the matter of bodies. Who art not one in one place. the other near to nothing. One Trinity. and true reason did persuade me. by which they cease to be what they have been. but the Self-same. what reader would hold out to take in the whole? Nor shall my heart for all this cease to give Thee honour. nor object of sense. to make all things good. “a nothing something”. for those things which it is not able to express. and therefore did not conceive it at all. Lord. by being ignorant of it. it may endeavour either to know it. and this same shifting from form to form. an “is. when they who understood it not. not out of Thyself. And this changeableness. a great thing. and nothing was there besides. But I. not to suspect BOOK XII: only. by knowing it. and Trine Unity. and changing and varying them. and without form. there was in it no object of sight or sense”. O God.

Let me not be mine own life. But this same earth which Thou madest was formless matter. O let the Light. invisible. which we sons of men wonder at. are varied and turned. from myself I lived ill. because hitherto it was altogether without form.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE to which Thou alone shouldest be superior. and doth through the sweetness of that most happy contemplation of Thyself. more than in the deep. Which firmament Thou calledst heaven. neither is this very formlessness of the earth. there does nothing come. Thou madest next to nothing. I have believed Thy Books. although no ways coeternal unto Thee. This is in Thy sight clear to me. and without form. speaks nothing of times. there plainly are no days. through the tumultuousness of the enemies of peace. is placed beyond all the rolling vicissitude of times. and their words be most full of mystery. of which invisible earth and without form. nor is Thy will altered by times: seeing no will which varies is immortal. is some intellectual creature. without form. nothing of days. And now. Do Thou speak unto me. and remembered Thee. speak unto me. and without any fall since its first creation. yet there was already that which could be formed. perceivable in whatever degree unto the fishes. the heaven. to this earth and sea. calling to me to return. or go. the Light of my heart. because In the beginning Thou hadst made heaven and earth. not mine own darkness. which Thou madest before all days. the Teacher of Thy servant. behold. by giving a visible figure to the formless matter. but that was the heaven of this heaven. I went astray. But that heaven of heavens was for Thyself. of which firmament between water and water. For already hadst Thou made both an heaven. Thou saidst. and scarcely heard it. when It recounts Thee to have In the Beginning created heaven and earth. For very wonderful is this corporeal heaven. and where this is not. that is. I heard Thy voice behind me. For times are made by the alterations of things. For verily that heaven of heavens which Thou createdst in the Beginning. even thence I loved Thee. yet partaketh of Thy eternity. a light proper for its nature. to be seen and felt. let me with 133 . For it was invisible. visible now. Who only hast immortality. and darkness was upon the deep. that Thou art eternal. the matter whereof is the invisible earth aforesaid. but subsists not. nor any vicissitude of spaces of times. that is. O Lord. hath even in his depths. of which formlessness. the other. For Thou. before all days. numbered among the days. and I revive in Thee. BOOK XII: And therefore the Spirit. in my inner ear. of which almost nothing. which. Lord. For where no figure nor order is. strongly restrain its own changeableness. and let it be more and more cleared to me. the Truth. to which nothing should be inferior. and became darkened. and it was made. do Thou discourse unto me. Already Thou hast told me with a strong voice. was not such as we now see and feel. O Lord. But that whole deep was almost nothing. whose very changeableness appears therein. Let no man forbid me! of this will I drink. darkness was above the deep. Let it be made. and so live. and in the manifestation thereof. I beseech Thee. which Thou madest the third day. thereof to make those great things. the Trinity. I fell off into that. Because this deep of waters. Yea. cleaving close unto Thee. after the creation of light. Thou mightest make all these things of which this changeable world consists. since Thou canst not be changed as to figure or motion. that times can be observed and numbered in it. madest the world of a matter without form. the second day. and creeping things in the bottom of it. or. because it was invisible and without form. and there was a deep. while the figures. which out of nothing. death was I to myself. upon which there was no light. I return in distress and panting after Thy fountain. but the earth which Thou gavest to the sons of men. but even thence.

THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE sobriety abide under Thy wings. Thou hast told me also with a strong voice, O Lord, in my inner ear, that Thou hast made all natures and substances, which are not what Thyself is, and yet are; and that only is not from Thee, which is not, and the motion of the will from Thee who art, unto that which in a less degree is, because such motion is transgression and sin; and that no man’s sin doth either hurt Thee, or disturb the order of Thy government, first or last. This is in Thy sight clear unto me, and let it be more and more cleared to me, I beseech Thee: and in the manifestation thereof, let me with sobriety abide under Thy wings. Thou hast told me also with a strong voice, in my inner ear, that neither is that creature coeternal unto Thyself, whose happiness Thou only art, and which with a most persevering purity, drawing its nourishment from Thee, doth in no place and at no time put forth its natural mutability; and, Thyself being ever present with it, unto Whom with its whole affection it keeps itself, having neither future to expect, nor conveying into the past what it remembereth, is neither altered by any change, nor distracted into any times. O blessed creature, if such there be, for cleaving unto Thy Blessedness; blest in Thee, its eternal Inhabitant and its Enlightener! Nor do I find by what name I may the rather call the heaven of heavens which is the Lord’s, than Thine house, which contemplateth Thy delights without any defection of going forth to another; one pure mind, most harmoniously one, by that settled estate of peace of holy spirits, the citizens of Thy city in heavenly places; far above those heavenly places that we see. By this may the soul, whose pilgrimage is made long and far away, by this may she understand, if she now thirsts for Thee, if her tears be now become her bread, while they daily say unto her, Where is Thy God? if she now seeks of Thee one thing, and desireth it, that she may dwell in Thy house all the days of her life

BOOK XII: (and what is her life, but Thou? and what Thy days, but Thy eternity, as Thy years which fail not, because Thou art ever the same?); by this then may the soul that is able, understand how far Thou art, above all times, eternal; seeing Thy house which at no time went into a far country, although it be not coeternal with Thee, yet by continually and unfailingly cleaving unto Thee, suffers no changeableness of times. This is in Thy sight clear unto me, and let it be more and more cleared unto me, I beseech Thee, and in the manifestation thereof, let me with sobriety abide under Thy wings. There is, behold, I know not what formlessness in those changes of these last and lowest creatures; and who shall tell me (unless such a one as through the emptiness of his own heart, wonders and tosses himself up and down amid his own fancies?), who but such a one would tell me, that if all figure be so wasted and consumed away, that there should only remain that formlessness, through which the thing was changed and turned from one figure to another, that that could exhibit the vicissitudes of times? For plainly it could not, because, without the variety of motions, there are no times: and no variety, where there is no figure. These things considered, as much as Thou givest, O my God, as much as Thou stirrest me up to knock, and as much as Thou openest to me knocking, two things I find that Thou hast made, not within the compass of time, neither of which is coeternal with Thee. One, which is so formed, that without any ceasing of contemplation, without any interval of change, though changeable, yet not changed, it may thoroughly enjoy Thy eternity and unchangeableness; the other which was so formless, that it had not that, which could be changed from one form into another, whether of motion, or of repose, so as to become subject unto time. But this Thou didst not leave thus formless, because before


THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE all days, Thou in the Beginning didst create Heaven and Earth; the two things that I spake of. But the Earth was invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep. In which words, is the formlessness conveyed unto us (that such capacities may hereby be drawn on by degrees, as are not able to conceive an utter privation of all form, without yet coming to nothing), out of which another Heaven might be created, together with a visible and well-formed earth: and the waters diversly ordered, and whatsoever further is in the formation of the world, recorded to have been, not without days, created; and that, as being of such nature, that the successive changes of times may take place in them, as being subject to appointed alterations of motions and of forms. This then is what I conceive, O my God, when I hear Thy Scripture saying, In the beginning God made Heaven and Earth: and the Earth was invisible and without form, and darkness was upon the deep, and not mentioning what day Thou createdst them; this is what I conceive, that because of the Heaven of heavens, -that intellectual Heaven, whose Intelligences know all at once, not in part, not darkly, not through a glass, but as a whole, in manifestation, face to face; not, this thing now, and that thing anon; but (as I said) know all at once, without any succession of times; -and because of the earth invisible and without form, without any succession of times, which succession presents “this thing now, that thing anon”; because where is no form, there is no distinction of things: -it is, then, on account of these two, a primitive formed, and a primitive formless; the one, heaven but the Heaven of heaven, the other earth but the earth invisible and without form; because of these two do I conceive, did Thy Scripture say without mention of days, In the Beginning God created Heaven and Earth. For forthwith it subjoined what earth it spake of; and also, in that the Firmament is recorded to be created the second day,

BOOK XII: and called Heaven, it conveys to us of which Heaven He before spake, without mention of days. Wondrous depth of Thy words! whose surface, behold! is before us, inviting to little ones; yet are they a wondrous depth. O my God, a wondrous depth! It is awful to look therein; an awfulness of honour, and a trembling of love. The enemies thereof I hate vehemently; oh that Thou wouldest slay them with Thy twoedged sword, that they might no longer be enemies unto it: for so do I love to have them slain unto themselves, that they may live unto Thee. But behold others not faultfinders, but extollers of the book of Genesis; “The Spirit of God,” say they, “Who by His servant Moses wrote these things, would not have those words thus understood; He would not have it understood, as thou sayest, but otherwise, as we say.” Unto Whom Thyself, O Thou God all, being judge, do I thus answer. “Will you affirm that to be false, which with a strong voice Truth tells me in my inner ear, concerning the Eternity of the Creator, that His substance is no ways changed by time, nor His will separate from His substance? Wherefore He willeth not one thing now, another anon, but once, and at once, and always, He willeth all things that He willeth; not again and again, nor now this, now that; nor willeth afterwards, what before He willed not, nor willeth not, what before He willed; because such a will is and no mutable thing is eternal: but our God is eternal. Again, what He tells me in my inner ear, the expectation of things to come becomes sight, when they are come, and this same sight becomes memory, when they be past. Now all thought which thus varies is mutable; and is eternal: but our God is eternal.” These things I infer, and put together, and find that my God, the eternal God, hath not upon any new will made any creature, nor doth His knowledge admit of any thing transitory. “What will ye say then,


THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE O ye gainsayers? Are these things false?” “No,” they say; “What then? Is it false, that every nature already formed, or matter capable of form, is not, but from Him Who is supremely good, because He is supremely?” “Neither do we deny this,” say they. “What then? do you deny this, that there is a certain sublime creature, with so chaste a love cleaving unto the true and truly eternal God, that although not coeternal with Him, yet is it not detached from Him, nor dissolved into the variety and vicissitude of times, but reposeth in the most true contemplation of Him only?” Because Thou, O God, unto him that loveth Thee so much as Thou commandest, dost show Thyself, and sufficest him; and therefore doth he not decline from Thee, nor toward himself. This is the house of God, not of earthly mould, nor of celestial bulk corporeal but spiritual, and partaker of Thy eternity, because without defection for ever. For Thou hast made it fast for ever and ever, Thou hast given it a law which it shall not pass. Nor yet is it coeternal with Thee, O God, because not without beginning; for it was made. For although we find no time before it, for wisdom was created before all things; not that Wisdom which is altogether equal and coeternal unto Thee, our God, His Father, and by Whom all things were created, and in Whom, as the Beginning, Thou createdst heaven and earth; but that wisdom which is created, that is, the intellectual nature, which by contemplating the light, is light. For this, though created, is also called wisdom. But what difference there is betwixt the Light which enlighteneth, and which is enlightened, so much is there betwixt the Wisdom that createth, and that created; as betwixt the Righteousness which justifieth, and the righteousness which is made by justification. For we also are called Thy righteousness; for so saith a certain servant of Thine, That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Therefore since a certain created wisdom was created before all

BOOK XII: things, the rational and intellectual mind of that chaste city of Thine, our mother which is above, and is free and eternal in the heavens (in what heavens, if not in those that praise Thee, the Heaven of heavens? Because this is also the Heaven of heavens for the Lord); -though we find no time before it (because that which hath been created before all things, precedeth also the creature of time), yet is the Eternity of the Creator Himself before it, from Whom, being created, it took the beginning, not indeed of time (for time itself was not yet), but of its creation. Hence it is so of Thee, our God, as to be altogether other than Thou, and not the Self-same: because though we find time neither before it, nor even in it (it being meet ever to behold Thy face, nor is ever drawn away from it, wherefore it is not varied by any change), yet is there in it a liability to change, whence it would wax dark, and chill, but that by a strong affection cleaving unto Thee, like perpetual noon, it shineth and gloweth from Thee. O house most lightsome and delightsome! I have loved thy beauty, and the place of the habitation of the glory of my Lord, thy builder and possessor. Let my wayfaring sigh after thee, and I say to Him that made thee, let Him take possession of me also in thee, seeing He hath made me likewise. I have gone astray like a lost sheep: yet upon the shoulders of my Shepherd, thy builder, hope I to be brought back to thee. “What say ye to me, O ye gainsayers that I was speaking unto, who yet believe Moses to have been the holy servant of God, and his books the oracles of the Holy Ghost? Is not this house of God, not coeternal indeed with God, yet after its measure, eternal in the heavens, when you seek for changes of times in vain, because you will not find them? For that, to which it is ever good to cleave fast to God, surpasses all extension, and all revolving periods of time.” “It is,” say they. “What then of all that which my heart


Speak Thou truly in my heart. the Enlightener. what part thereof do you affirm to be false? Is it that the matter was without form. and do yet contradict me in some thing.” With these I now parley a little in Thy presence. O our God. Jerusalem my country. and to open in them a way for Thy word. on the summit of authority to be followed. For such were that rude and carnal people to which he spake. be not Thou silent to me. as it were.” “What?” “By the name of heaven and earth would he first signify. let them bark and deafen themselves as much as they please.” They agree. O my God. for only Thou so speakest: and I will let them alone blowing upon the dust without. who honour Thy holy Scripture. For they say. and remembering Jerusalem. since all things be made not of the 137 . he said. was for this reason first conveyed under the name of heaven and earth. piece by piece. who grant all these things to be true. and solid joy. when. where the first-fruits of my spirit be already (whence I am ascertained of these things). which God made in His Wisdom. “do we not deny.” “This also. Guardian. there could be no vicissitude of times: and yet this almost nothing. and sing there a song of loves unto Thee. all this visible world. and. that all these visible things which we all know. all those things. yea all at once. was from Him certainly. O my God. Father. I answer thus. because out of it was this visible world with all those natures which most manifestly appear in it. Nor will I be turned away. from this dispersed and disordered estate. and raising it up into their own eyes: and myself will enter my chamber. not incongruously. and Thyself that rulest over it.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE loudly uttered unto my God. which is ofttimes called by the name of heaven and earth. in what degree soever it is. yet did not Moses intend those two. For those who deny these things. so as afterwards by the enumeration of the several days. I beseech. however. Jerusalem my mother. created and perfected?” What again if another say that “invisible and visible nature is not indeed inappropriately called heaven and earth. But those who do not affirm all these truths to be false.” say they.” say they. into the peace of that our most dear mother. O my God. that he thought them fit to be entrusted with the knowledge of such works of God only as were visible. when inwardly it heard the voice of His praise. because the One Sovereign and true Good. “universally and compendiously. the pure and strong delight. What now if another should say that “this same formlessness and confusedness of matter. nor under the name of earth. set forth by holy Moses.” say they. and Thou conform and confirm it for ever. were made and arranged during those “days”) may.” “What then?” “That man of God. from Whom is whatsoever is. which it pleased the Holy Ghost thus to enounce. By Thyself BOOK XII: judge. in which because there was no form. and repel me. placing it. that under the words earth invisible and without form. Husband. there was no order? But where no order was. and so. which Thy Truth whispers unto my soul. with heart lifted up towards it. until Thou gather all that I am. that the universal creation. “meant as we say.’ inasmuch as it was not altogether nothing. was comprehended under those two words? Notwithstanding. He did not under the name of heaven. in my wayfaring. as we. my Mercy. in the Beginning. signify that spiritual or intellectual creature which always beholds the face of God. and that darksome deep (out of which it is subsequently shown. to arrange in detail. and all good things unspeakable. groaning with groanings unutterable. between my Confessions and these men’s contradictions. “Though these things be true. But if they refuse. that formless matter. this declared he by those words. that is. be understood of this formless first matter. by revelation of the Spirit. I will essay to persuade them to quiet. In the beginning God created heaven and earth.

In the beginning God made heaven and earth. are called Heaven and Earth. and faith unfeigned. that the Beginning is Thy Wisdom. or turned. if I think otherwise than another thinketh the writer thought? All we readers verily strive to trace out and to understand his meaning whom we read. of Whom are all things. It is true. when we read. upon which two commandments He hung all the Law and the Prophets. and seeing we believe him to speak truly. which ourselves either know or think to be false. was entitled by the same names given to the earth invisible and without form and the darkness upon the deep. It is true. whereof heaven and earth were made. if he will. that by the earth invisible and without form is understood corporeal matter. was unformed before it was formed. the other the corporeal. because therein were confusedly contained. we dare not imagine him to have said any thing. or received any light from Wisdom?” It yet remains for a man to say. It is true. may by a certain mode of speech. dost show him to be true. But the law is good to edify. that whatsoever is mutable. cannot be subject to the alteration of times. doth it prejudice me. O Lord. and by the darkness upon the deep. but out of nothing (because they are not the same that God is. that whatsoever is formed out of that which had no form. was called by these names. in Which Thou createst all: and true again. if a man understand what Thou. visible and invisible.” All which things being heard and well considered. never to be changed. though not this truth? For true it is. spiritual matter. but whatsoever is capable of being created and formed. that that whereof a thing is made. whereby it receiveth a form. And true too. O my God. It is true. out of a pure heart and good conscience. I say. out of which was to be created both heaven and earth (i. and there is a mutable nature in them all. that this visible world hath for its greater part the heaven and the earth. the one being the spiritual. the stuff apt to receive form and making. which briefly comprise all made and created natures. Thou madest. that “the already perfected and formed natures. are not signified under the name of heaven and earth. It is true. And what doth it prejudice me. the invisible and visible creature when formed). whether they abide. which so cleaveth to the unchangeable Form. what hurt is it. but with this distinction. understood not this. if a man use it lawfully: for that the end of it is charity. 138 . than the earth and the deep. and it is true too. Thou light BOOK XII: of my eyes in secret. be called by the name of the thing made of it. that of things having form. might be called heaven and earth. -what. that not only every created and formed thing.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE substance of God. or is changed. as though subject to change. or be changed. creation. not as yet distinguished by their qualities and forms. that Thou madest heaven and earth. While every man endeavours then to understand in the Holy Scriptures. since divers things may be understood under these words which yet are all true. seeing he also understood a Truth. the light of all true-speaking minds. And well did our Master know. the same as the writer understood. antecedent to its being qualified by any form. that that is subject to no times. whence that formlessness. gives us to understand a certain want of form. before it underwent any restraint of its unlimited fluidness. although he whom he reads. all those things which being now digested into order. that that formlessness which is almost nothing. as doth the eternal house of God. It is true. there is not any nearer to having no form. but the subversion of the hearers. zealously confessing these things. but that the yet unformed commencement of things. as the soul and body of man are): therefore the common matter of all things visible and invisible (as yet unformed though capable of form). I will not strive about words: for that is profitable to nothing.

that is. that is. wherein heaven and earth lay as yet confused. that God had made heaven and earth. out of which to make heaven and earth. “the Scripture did not call that formlessness by the name of heaven and earth. which it containeth. and darkness was upon the deep.” Another he who says. The earth was invisible and without form. or the spiritual and the corporeal creature. of which the Scripture said before. that is. do they now stand out. the spiritual and corporeal creature. and darkness was upon the deep. did God make the universal bulk of this corporeal world.” And with regard to the understanding of the words following. thus. Ergo. of which he had before said. that is.” He another. and the earth. that saith. and are apparent. we are to understand no other matter.” He another. he chooses one to himself. of all these then. being now distinguished and formed. out of which was to be made. did God make the formless matter of creatures spiritual and corporeal. there was something which God had not made. and the earth was invisible and without form (although it pleased Him so to call the formless matter).THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Out of these truths. In the Beginning God created heaven and earth. was still a formless and darksome matter. God made the intelligible and the sensible. and darkness upon the deep. “If you will not allow. that is. “in His Word coeternal with Himself. namely. but that formlessness. upper and lower. which is called heaven and earth. But the earth was invisible. “this all. and who unshakenly believe Thy servant Moses to have spoken in the Spirit of truth. which he called the earth invisible without form. In the Beginning God made heaven and earth. with all things in them. being formed. unless we understand it to be signified by the name of heaven and earth. “that corporeal thing that God made. who saith. under which name is comprised this corporeal heaven also. both that intelligible heaven. In the Beginning God made heaven and earth. was as yet a formless matter of corporeal things. that this formlessness of matter seems to be called by the name of heaven and earth. of which the corporeal heaven and the corporeal earth were to be BOOK XII: made. and without form. In the Beginning God made heaven and earth. otherwhere called the Heaven of heavens. with all that is in them. “this all. “in the very beginning of creating and working. divided into two great parts. In the Beginning God made the heaven and the earth. but that which God made. that God made heaven and earth. that is. with all the common and known creatures in them. in a word. which is called heaven and earth. The earth was invisible and without form. did God create the formless matter of the creature corporeal. saith he. whereof is written 139 . the whole corporeal bulk of the world. or of earth alone. that is. “in His Word coeternal with Himself. and darkness was upon the deep. who saith. that is. “there already was a certain formless matter. the whole corporeal nature. which are known to our corporeal senses.” For should any attempt to dispute against these two last opinions. that is. that saith. that God made this matter. already was. of which they doubt not whose inward eye Thou hast enabled to see such things.” He another. which. “in His Word coeternal with Himself. without light. out of all those truths. who saith. he taketh one. and darkness was upon the deep. “in His Word coeternal with Himself. did God make that formless matter. for neither hath Scripture told us. together with all those apparent and known creatures. that so in what follows. confusedly containing in itself both heaven and earth. The earth was invisible and without form.” Another he who says. that is. without order. out of which every visible and invisible creature was to be created. out of which. namely. that saith. when it is said. and darkness was upon the deep. was still a formless and a darksome matter. In the Beginning God made the heaven and earth. “ Another he who says.” Another he who says. The earth was invisible and without form.” He another. we at this day see in the bulk of this world.

” The maintainers of either of those two latter opinions will. that out of the same formlessness. by what word they were formed.” and “this would he have understood in that history”. what is false.” whether Moses thought this or that? For behold. O Lord. another way. Or if in that which is said. that so the gathering together be itself the forming of them. according to the weakness of my capacity (which I confess unto Thee. when we see the waters so beautiful? Or if it be so taken. with the same confidence wherewith I affirm. O Lord. that excellent minister of Thy Faith. how then can formless matter be meant in that name of earth.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE above. what Moses. so discover that one meaning. Because I see 140 . when God said. would have his reader and hearer understand by those words. We say however that Scripture hath not set down. nor is it written. can I. But if they then received that beauty. Powers. with them that feed on Thy truth. and called heaven. and Seraphim. notwithstanding this history hath omitted to show when it was created?” These things then being heard and perceived. when he wrote. upon hearing this. the other. which is created and formed. return for answer. Let the waters under the firmament be gathered together. that in Thy incommutable world Thou createdst all things visible and invisible. as the Cherubim. For the first sort. very good. affirm also. why then is it written. “we do not deny this formless matter to be indeed created by God. and that the waters were made. on the ground that we find them to be mentioned in the hook of Genesis. what is true. but when they were created. as to affirm. with those and delight myself in Thee. concerning the meaning of the relater. which imagine Moses to have written things that be false. in the largeness of charity. among those so many truths. what will be said as to those waters above the firmament? Seeing neither if formless would they have been worthy of so honourable a seat. upon which the Spirit of God moved? For if they be comprised in this word earth. God made heaven and earth. “this is true. is most apparent. O my God. He made heaven and earth. with the same confidence as he would. when a thing is in words related by true reporters. as also it hath not many others. But let me be united in Thee. that knowest it). what shall we say of the waters. In the Beginning God made heaven and earth? No. and seek in them for Thy meaning. through the meaning of Thy servant. All which that God made. “this Moses thought. that by Thy mercy I may pay my vows unto Thee. the firmament was made. all things be comprehended. two sorts of disagreements I see may arise. by whose pen Thou hast dispensed them. we do not find. For we enquire one way about the making of the creature. yet still good. that God of Whom are all things. Thrones. away with all those who imagine themselves to know as a truth. which occur to enquirers in those words. Dominions. is not written? For the waters remain not formless and invisible. who have in this book vowed a sacrifice of confession unto Thee. Principalities. that Moses meant no other than this. so we confess that to be a lesser good which is made capable of creation and form. and those which the Apostle distinctly speaks of. concerning the truth of the things. and for this other. I Thy servant. for as we affirm that to be a greater good. and darksome deep) to have been created of God out of nothing. as they are differently understood. nor again will any sober teaching dare to affirm these waters to be coeternal with God. why (seeing truth teaches us) should we not understand that formless matter (which this Scripture calls the earth invisible and without BOOK XII: form. and let us approach together unto the words of Thy book. that God made this formlessness. But which of us shall. If then Genesis is silent as to God’s making of any thing. which yet that God did make neither sound faith nor well-grounded understanding doubteth. one. seeing we behold them flowing in so comely a manner. away with all them too. and pray. and therefore not to be coeternal to Him.

” Seeing then we strive not about the very light of the Lord God. “This I meant”. not because they have a divine Spirit. For whosoever challenges that as proper to himself. are Thy judgements terrible. why strive we about the thoughts of our neighbour which we cannot so see. when they say true: not because it is theirs. may both be true. but as I say: for if he should ask me. and before my brethren. who employ Thy law lawfully. life of the poor. when he said In the beginning. from truth. Otherwise they would equally love another true opinion. not knowing Moses’ opinion. do we see it? Neither I in thee. as the unchangeable Truth is seen: for that. but both in the unchangeable Truth itself. But whereas they contend that Moses did not mean what I say. and on that very ground not theirs because it is true. whom Thou callest publicly to partake of it. which is above our souls. whatsoever in those books he did mean. and both see that to be true that I say. when he uttered these words. to the end of charity: hearken and behold. unless we believe that Moses meant. to a lie. it might have been truly said. as being in common to all lovers of truth. as may be extracted out of those words. nor his. and mine. is driven from what is in common to his own. I do not so perceive. and with all our mind: and our neighbour as ourself. For I perceive. but belonging to us all. but to overboldness. Although. But if they therefore love it. by saying. But when he saith. which this so great man saw in his mind. I doubt not but that he saw it truly. as I do see it in Thy truth to be certain. that is. Moses thought not as you say. whether it were either of these. what I shall say to him. than he hath taught us. hearken to what I shall say to this gainsayer. but loving their own. and would answer perchance as I have above. Let us not then be puffed up for one against another. Truth Itself. “Moses meant not what you say. because it is true. in such abundance of most true meanings. but because it is theirs. warning us terribly. And therefore. that he thought of this when he wrote these things. as I love what they say. which of 141 . and not insight but vanity was its parent. if he were unyielding. not to account it private to ourselves. that whichsoever of the two had been said. this I like not. love not: for though it were so. and would have that his own which belongs to all. and expressed it aptly. or any sense beside (that I have not here mentioned). speaketh it of his own. we shall make God a liar. I pray Thee. For this brotherly and peaceful word do I return unto Him: “If we both see that to be true that Thou sayest. if it please Thee. in Whose bosom is no contradiction. imagining otherwise of our fellow servant’s mind. but which of the two he thought of in these words.” yet denieth not that what each of us say. which Thou propoundest to all to enjoy. hearken. Behold now. and by heaven and earth. seeing Thy truth is neither mine. rashly to affirm. that I may patiently bear with such as say this to me. and have seen in the heart of Thy servant what they speak. not because it is truth. For he that speaketh a lie. For he might have his thoughts upon God’s commencement of creating. O my God. neither so should we see it. but what they say. but both of them inchoate and as yet formless. if Moses himself had appeared to us and said. Thou best judge. but because they be proud. “How know you that Moses thought that which you infer out of his words?” I ought to take it in good part. then is it both theirs. pour down a softening dew into my heart. yet that their BOOK XII: rashness belongs not to knowledge. but because it is true. where. how foolish it is. or something more at large. Hearken. in this place he might intend no formed and perfected nature whether spiritual or corporeal. but what I say.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE not in his mind. above that which is written: let us love the Lord our God with all our heart. Let no man harass me then. for before Thee do I speak. but should believe it. lest we he deprived of it. O Lord. nor another’s. With a view to which two precepts of charity. O God. nor thou in me. with all our soul.

I should have desired verily. whose words we go about to expound. conceive that God like a man or some mass endued with unbounded power. so the relation of that dispenser of Thine. And yet I. which for so long after were to profit all nations. two great bodies above and below. nor by a will. overflow into streams of clearest BOOK XII: truth. Who hearest my confessions. I would then. and send Thine angel to replace it into the nest. which is the form of all things. that came into being. and been enjoined by Thee to write the book of Genesis. a 142 . is more plentiful. as it were at a certain distance. see the fruits concealed therein. did. For some. by larger circumlocutions of discourse. with a proud weakness. Let it be made. which. God said. which before was not. they see that all times past and to come. might reject the sayings. which was commanded so to do. after a wide interval. and pluck them. which in admirable variety their eye beholdeth around. saving that Thou art mindful of him?). Which words. And when they hear. and whatever of the like sort. after whose departure. that by the service of my heart and tongue those books might be dispensed. than I would wish or desire Thee to have given me. till it can fly. and with pernicious contentions to offend charity itself. as too simple. if any despising. and through the whole world from such an eminence of authority. not of Thy making. he will. and passing away. have desired such a power of expression and such a style to be given me. shall stretch himself beyond the guardian nest. men’s acquaintance with the material world would suggest. another. exterior to itself. I cannot believe that Thou gavest a less gift unto Moses Thy faithful servant. Whose will. that it may live. as in a mother’s bosom. than any one of those streams. which was to benefit many who were to discourse thereon. but deep shady fruit-bowers. that God made all natures. when they read. and hadst Thou set me in that office. or hear these words. For reading or hearing these words. alas. not by any change of will. Thou madest all things. being yet little ones and carnal. and forgivest my sins: seeing Thou commandest me to love my neighbour as myself. in Thine own likeness. create heaven and earth. carried on. and supplies a tide for more streams over larger spaces. while their weakness is by this humble kind of speech. fly joyously around. lest they who go by the way trample on the unfledged bird. whence every man may draw out for himself such truth as he can upon these subjects. Thou lifter up of my humility. wherein all things were to be contained. had I then been Moses (for we all come from the same lump. and rest of my labour. does out of a narrow scantling of language. For as a fountain within a narrow compass. are surpassed by Thy eternal and stable abiding.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE them Moses principally meant. might find what true opinion soever they had by thought arrived at. sounding in time. their faith is wholesomely built up. unto whom these words are no longer a nest. and with cheerful notes seek out. they conceive of words begun and ended. But others. another. and it was made. had I been born in the time he was. one. whereby they hold assured. O Lord God. and that these things were not out of Thyself. because it is the same that Thou art. had I been then what he was. neither should that fail of being discoverable in those same words. and yet that there is no creature formed in time. not passed over in those few words of that Thy servant: and should another man by the light of truth have discovered another. as beyond their capacity. and what is man. O my God. were to surmount all sayings of false and proud teachings. Have pity. In whom. that neither they who cannot yet understand how God created. for whose sake he spake every thing. and they who had attained thereto. one truth. but out of nothing. fall miserably. by some new and sudden resolution. is derived from the same fountain.

is of so sharpsighted understanding. passeth away. And among them that understand In the Beginning to mean. its sound is heard. a corporeal matter. cannot be formed. whereof a chest or vessel is fashioned. again. that only. another. to behold Thy Eternity. whereas that which existeth not. than if it were said. he will find nothing. with the things in them contained. In the Beginning God made heaven and earth. can only truly understand heaven and earth of the matter of heaven and earth. neither do they understand it in one way. that is. out of which heaven and earth were to be formed. to be there called heaven and earth. which is afterwards formed into a chant. if nothing after?” But when he says. He at first made. as God is before all things. unchangeably making things changeable. according to their appointed capacity. then formed. And who. to be in this place called heaven and earth. Thus is the matter before the thing made. easily. whether they abide around Thee. that matter out of which both the intelligible and the sensible creature were to be perfected.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE formless unlikeness. For such materials do by time also precede the forms of the things made of them. and might all be made very good. of the universal intelligible and corporeal creation. for when it is sung. for there is not first a formless sound. whereupon must he against his will hear another question. who believe the creatures already ordered and arranged. which should be formed by Thy likeness (recurring to Thy Unity. both the invisible and visible. what made He afterwards?” and after the universe. “How did God make this first. but in singing it is not so. Of these four. another. in the little degree they here may. as if it were said. the first and last mentioned. the Beginning because It also speaketh unto us. the other. and what in original. O Lord. what by choice. Another likewise bends his mind on the same words. and subsequently adapt or fashion them into the form of a chant. and by Beginning understands the commencement of things created. the two middle. as the flower before the fruit. out of which this sensible corporeal mass was to he made. so soon as made. containing in its vast bosom these visible and ordinary natures. For a rare and too lofty a vision is it. nor is it before by interval of time. seeing itself is rather made. nor canst thou find ought to recall and by art to compose. So then the chant is concentrated in its sound. there is no absurdity. and beholdeth therein Wisdom. BOOK XII: But he that no otherwise understands In the Beginning He made. as wood or silver. “If God made this first. if he be but qualified to discern. At first He made. In the beginning He made. made or undergo the beautiful variations of the Universe. what by time. and thereby before them. God made matter first formless.” one believes the matter out of which the heaven and earth were to be created. under the name Earth. natures already formed and distinguished. and darksome earth. so far as is given to each thing in his kind). as the sound before the tune. it may be rightly demanded of him. by time. by choice. Neither do they. understand matter as yet formless. in which we behold this lightsome heaven. By eternity. the visible only. what precedes by eternity. For if he would understand thereby the universe. or being in gradation removed in time and place. as to be able without great pains to discern. by original. and that a spiritual. and rejoice. Another bends his mind on that which is said. the other formless. one formed nature. under the name Heaven. may exist. and a thing not formed. another. in the light of Thy truth. for we do not first in time utter formless sounds without singing. as already formed. which 143 . They again who by the names heaven and earth. not because it maketh it. but the one. because a tune is a formed sound. These things they see. For each sound. are with extreme difficulty understood. but the one. how the sound is therefore before the tune. as the fruit before the flower. “In Thy Wisdom Thou createdst heaven and earth. understand the same.

could not offend me. or a fourth. not before. which not being false. By this example. understand how the matter of things was first made. nor yet are. let us so honour this Thy servant. but as I do. I confess. why may not he be believed to have seen all these. let him that is able. subjected to the soul which singeth. in time. O Lord. delivering high things lowlily. Yet was it not made first in time. thought on some one? which if so it be. have this benefit. and called heaven and earth. because heaven and earth were made out of it. if we are athirst for it. he intended that. who should see therein things true but divers? For I certainly (and fearlessly I speak it from my heart). let that which he thought on be of all the highest. that it may be a tune. And our God have mercy upon us.” I suppose that I speak more reverently. I will not therefore. He without doubt. which among them chiefly excels both for light of truth. pure charity. By this if man demands of me. though he through whom they were spoken. “Why not rather as both. yea if any other seeth any other truth in those words. if both be true?” And if there be a third. through whom the One God hath tempered the holy Scriptures to the senses of many. be so rash. who art God and not flesh and blood. Lastly. if man did see less. those carnal ones excepted. and therefore (as I said) the matter of the sound is before the form of the tune. could any thing be concealed from Thy good Spirit (who shall lead me into the land of uprightness). that Thou vouchsafedst as much to that great man. that were I to indite any thing to have supreme authority. as not to believe. And this indeed is formed. yea and whatsoever we have not been able. and not for vanities. of which I have spoken what seemed necessary. because a tune receives not form to become a sound. that whatever truth any could apprehend on those matters. let us love one another. a tune being not only a sound. might he conveyed in my words. but is something corporeal. when by Thy revelation he wrote these things. and another. the end of the commandment. an object of sense together with its form. “Nay. but a beautiful sound. for a sound is not better than a tune. the fountain of truth. perhaps among many true meanings. let Truth herself produce concord. because the forms of things give rise to time. whereof somewhat might be created. yea. should I not confess unto Thee. And yet nothing can be related of that matter. perceived and thought on what truth soever we have been able to find. O my God. this were not the language of my Confessions.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE sound of his is his matter. but now is. O Lord. but a sound receives a form to become a tune. for a sound is no way the workmaster of the tune. And even those hopeful little ones who so think. But to us. see and express the truth delivered in those words. Nor is it first in time. So when one says. and with few words a copious meaning. whereof to make a tune. and fruitfulness of profit. In this diversity of the true opinions. whereas in value it is last (because things formed are superior to things without form) and is preceded by the Eternity of the Creator: that so there might be out of nothing. But it is first in original. which Thou Thyself by those words wert about to reveal to readers in times to come. but which may be found in them. And all we who. I should prefer so to write. as to believe that. that the words of Thy Book affright them not. but that was without form. do 144 . full of Thy Spirit. for it is given forth together with the tune. “which of these was the meaning of Thy servant Moses”. through any power it hath to make it a tune. “Moses meant as I do”. that we may use the law lawfully. when he wrote those words. rather than set down my own meaning so clearly as to exclude the rest. and yet I know that those senses are true. nor first in choice. BOOK XII: and jointly love Thee our God. “I know not”. but as though prior in time. the dispenser of this Scripture.

how much I beseech Thee! What strength of ours. or some other by occasion of those words.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Thou. yea what ages would suffice for all Thy books in this manner? Permit me then in these more briefly to confess unto Thee. for this should I endeavour. what It willed. yet Thou mayest feed us. and good sense that Thou shalt inspire me. or any other true one which Thou pleasest. this being the law my confession. Behold. not error deceive us. yet I should say that. that so. which if I should not attain. certain. whether Thou discoverest the same to us. which Thy Truth willed by his words to tell me. that is right and best. as to that Thy servant. BOOK XII: 145 . which revealed also unto him. and to choose some one true. that if I should say that which Thy minister intended. O Lord my God. although many should occur. how much we have written upon a few words. where many may occur. either reveal that same.


BOOK XIII: deserved of Thee, to depend thereon (even in that their several inchoate and formless state, whether spiritual or corporeal, ready to fall away into an immoderate liberty and far-distant unlikeliness unto Thee; -the spiritual, though without form, superior to the corporeal though formed, and the corporeal though without form, better than were it altogether nothing), and so to depend upon Thy Word, as formless, unless by the same Word they were brought back to Thy Unity, indued with form and from Thee the One Sovereign Good were made all very good. How did they deserve of Thee, to be even without form, since they had not been even this, but from Thee? How did corporeal matter deserve of Thee, to be even invisible and without form? seeing it were not even this, but that Thou madest it, and therefore because it was not, could not deserve of Thee to be made. Or how could the inchoate spiritual creature deserve of Thee, even to ebb and flow darksomely like the deep, unlike Thee, unless it had been by the same Word turned to that, by Whom it was created, and by Him so enlightened, become light; though not equally, yet conformably to that Form which is equal unto Thee? For as in a body, to be, is not one with being beautiful, else could it not be deformed; so likewise to a created spirit to live, is not one with living wisely; else should it be wise unchangeably. But good it is for it always to hold fast to Thee; lest what light it hath obtained by turning to Thee, it lose by turning from Thee, and relapse into life resembling the darksome deep. For we ourselves also, who as to the soul are a spiritual creature, turned away from Thee our light, were in that life sometimes darkness; and still labour amidst the relics of our darkness, until in Thy Only One we become Thy righteousness, like the mountains of God. For we have been Thy judgments, which are like the great deep.

Continuation of the exposition of Genesis I; it contains the mystery of the Trinity, and a type of the formation, extension, and support of the Church. I call upon Thee, O my God, my mercy, Who createdst me, and forgottest not me, forgetting Thee. I call Thee into my soul which, by the longing Thyself inspirest into her, Thou preparest for Thee. Forsake me not now calling upon Thee, whom Thou preventedst before I called, and urgedst me with much variety of repeated calls, that I would hear Thee from afar, and be converted, and call upon Thee, that calledst after me; for Thou, Lord, blottedst out all my evil deservings, so as not to repay into my hands, wherewith I fell from Thee; and Thou hast prevented all my well deservings, so as to repay the work of Thy hands wherewith Thou madest me; because before I was, Thou wert; nor was I any thing, to which Thou mightest grant to be; and yet behold, I am, out of Thy goodness, preventing all this which Thou hast made me, and whereof Thou hast made me. For neither hadst Thou need of me, nor am I any such good, as to be helpful unto Thee, my Lord and God; not in serving Thee, as though Thou wouldest tire in working; or lest Thy power might be less, if lacking my service: nor cultivating Thy service, as a land, that must remain uncultivated, unless I cultivated Thee: but serving and worshipping Thee, that I might receive a well-being from Thee, from whom it comes, that I have a being capable of well-being. For of the fulness of Thy goodness, doth Thy creature subsist, that so a good, which could no ways profit Thee, nor was of Thee (lest so it should be equal to Thee), might yet be since it could be made of Thee. For what did heaven and earth, which Thou madest in the Beginning, deserve of Thee? Let those spiritual and corporeal natures which Thou madest in Thy Wisdom, say wherein they


THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE That which Thou saidst in the beginning of the creation, Let there be light, and there was light; I do, not unsuitably, understand of the spiritual creature: because there was already a sort of life, which Thou mightest illuminate. But as it had no claim on Thee for a life, which could be enlightened, so neither now that it was, had it any, to be enlightened. For neither could its formless estate be pleasing unto Thee, unless it became light, and that not by existing simply, but by beholding the illuminating light, and cleaving to it; so that, that it lived, and lived happily, it owes to nothing but Thy grace, being turned by a better change unto That which cannot be changed into worse or better; which Thou alone art, because Thou alone simply art; unto Thee it being not one thing to live, another to live blessedly, seeing Thyself art Thine own Blessedness. What then could he wanting unto Thy good, which Thou Thyself art, although these things had either never been, or remained without form; which thou madest, not out of any want, but out of the fulness of Thy goodness, restraining them and converting them to form, not as though Thy joy were fulfilled by them? For to Thee being perfect, is their imperfection displeasing, and hence were they perfected by Thee, and please Thee; not as wert Thou imperfect, and by their perfecting wert also to be perfected. For Thy good Spirit indeed was borne over the waters, not borne up by them, as if He rested upon them. For those, on whom Thy good Spirit is said to rest, He causes to rest in Himself. But Thy incorruptible and unchangeable will, in itself all-sufficient for itself, was borne upon that life which Thou hadst created; to which, living is not one with happy living, seeing it liveth also, ebbing and flowing in its own darkness: for which it remaineth to be converted unto Him, by Whom it was made, and to live more and more by the fountain of life, and in His light to see light, and to be perfected, and enlightened, and beautified.

BOOK XIII: Lo, now the Trinity appears unto me in a glass darkly, which is Thou my God, because Thou, O Father, in Him Who is the Beginning of our wisdom, Which is Thy Wisdom, born of Thyself, equal unto Thee and coeternal, that is, in Thy Son, createdst heaven and earth. Much now have we said of the Heaven of heavens, and of the earth invisible and without form, and of the darksome deep, in reference to the wandering instability of its spiritual deformity, unless it had been converted unto Him, from Whom it had its then degree of life, and by His enlightening became a beauteous life, and the heaven of that heaven, which was afterwards set between water and water. And under the name of God, I now held the Father, who made these things, and under the name of Beginning, the Son, in whom He made these things; and believing, as I did, my God as the Trinity, I searched further in His holy words, and to, Thy Spirit moved upon the waters. Behold the Trinity, my God, Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, Creator of all creation. But what was the cause, O true-speaking Light? -unto Thee lift I up my heart, let it not teach me vanities, dispel its darkness; and tell me, I beseech Thee, by our mother charity, tell me the reason, I beseech Thee, why after the mention of heaven, and of the earth invisible and without form, and darkness upon the deep, Thy Scripture should then at length mention Thy Spirit? Was it because it was meet that the knowledge of Him should be conveyed, as being “borne above”; and this could not be said, unless that were first mentioned, over which Thy Spirit may be understood to have been borne. For neither was He borne above the Father, nor the Son, nor could He rightly be said to be borne above, if He were borne over nothing. First then was that to be spoken of, over which He might be borne; and then He, whom it was meet not otherwise to be spoken of than as being borne. But


THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE wherefore was it not meet that the knowledge of Him should be conveyed otherwise, than as being borne above? Hence let him that is able, follow with his understanding Thy Apostle, where he thus speaks, Because Thy love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us: and where concerning spiritual gifts, he teacheth and showeth unto us a more excellent way of charity; and where he bows his knee unto Thee for us, that we may know the supereminent knowledge of the love of Christ. And therefore from the beginning, was He borne supereminent above the waters. To whom shall I speak this? how speak of the weight of evil desires, downwards to the steep abyss; and how charity raises up again by Thy Spirit which was borne above the waters? to whom shall I speak it? how speak it? For it is not in space that we are merged and emerge. What can be more, and yet what less like? They be affections, they be loves; the uncleanness of our spirit flowing away downwards with the love of cares, and the holiness of Thine raising us upward by love of unanxious repose; that we may lift our hearts unto Thee, where Thy Spirit is borne above the waters; and come to that supereminent repose, when our soul shall have passed through the waters which yield no support. Angels fell away, man’s soul fell away, and thereby pointed the abyss in that dark depth, ready for the whole spiritual creation, hadst not Thou said from the beginning, Let there be light, and there had been light, and every obedient intelligence of Thy heavenly City had cleaved to Thee, and rested in Thy Spirit, Which is borne unchangeably over every thing changeable. Otherwise, had even the heaven of heavens been in itself a darksome deep; but now it is light in the Lord. For even in that miserable restlessness of the spirits, who fell away and discovered their own darkness, when bared of the clothing of Thy light, dost Thou suf-

BOOK XIII: ficiently reveal how noble Thou madest the reasonable creature; to which nothing will suffice to yield a happy rest, less than Thee; and so not even herself. For Thou, O our God, shalt lighten our darkness: from Thee riseth our garment of light; and then shall our darkness be as the noon day. Give Thyself unto me, O my God, restore Thyself unto me: behold I love, and if it be too little, I would love more strongly. I cannot measure so as to know, how much love there yet lacketh to me, ere my life may run into Thy embracements, nor turn away, until it be hidden in the hidden place of Thy Presence. This only I know, that woe is me except in Thee: not only without but within myself also; and all abundance, which is not my God, is emptiness to me. But was not either the Father, or the Son, borne above the waters? if this means, in space, like a body, then neither was the Holy Spirit; but if the unchangeable supereminence of Divinity above all things changeable, then were both Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost borne upon the waters. Why then is this said of Thy Spirit only, why is it said only of Him? As if He had been in place, Who is not in place, of Whom only it is written, that He is Thy gift? In Thy Gift we rest; there we enjoy Thee. Our rest is our place. Love lifts us up thither, and Thy good Spirit lifts up our lowliness from the gates of death. In Thy good pleasure is our peace. The body by its own weight strives towards its own place. Weight makes not downward only, but to his own place. Fire tends upward, a stone downward. They are urged by their own weight, they seek their own places. Oil poured below water, is raised above the water; water poured upon oil, sinks below the oil. They are urged by their own weights to seek their own places. When out of their order, they are restless; restored to order, they are at rest. My weight, is my love; thereby am I borne, whithersoever I am borne. We are inflamed, by Thy Gift we are kindled; and are carried upwards; we glow inwardly, and go forwards. We ascend Thy


let him not therefore think that he has found that which is above these Unchangeable. namely. namely.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE ways that be in our heart. and one essence. in Thy Name have we been baptised. so soon as it was made. and there prove and feel how far they be. so that the three belong to Each. Yea and our earth. and there was light. for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. because among us also. and that mountain equal unto Thyself. but now light in the Lord. but to abide there for ever. it was. this is so spoken. and Holy Ghost. let him ask of Thee. Son. knows what it speaks of. behold. as if it had been unsettled and darksome before. and Thy judgments were like the great deep unto him. or whether both ways at once. yet unbounded. and Knows unchangeably. let him look into himself. and is Known unto Itself and sufficeth to itself. Itself a bound unto Itself within Itself. borne aloft by that calling whereby Thou saidst. that are in themselves. let him discern that can. Repent ye. yet. Holy. Thy mercy forsook not our misery. Repent ye. For I Am. O Lord my God. -who can readily conceive this? who could any ways express it? who would. the spiritual and carnal people of His Church. no man sees that vision. Son. and Holy Ghost. might appear. wondrously. And. say to the Lord thy God. and Will: I Am Knowing and Willing: and I Know myself to Be. without any interval. Blessed creature. whereby It is. There hath Thy good pleasure placed us. yea lastly how insep- BOOK XIII: arable a distinction there is. unchangeably the Self-same. without peace. Now the three I spake of are. Father. and yet a distinction. Father. Why should he trouble me. and to Will. and sing a song of degrees. that being turned to the Light unfailing it became light. and whether because of these three. Holy. We will go up to the house of the Lord. But because Thy Spirit was borne above the waters. as if I could enlighten any man that cometh into this world? Which of us comprehendeth the Almighty Trinity? and yet which speaks not of It. and Wills unchangeably. Whereas in us this took place at different times. And they contend and strive. any way. mind. how inseparable a life there is. than that. we turned unto Thee and there was light. that we may desire nothing else. These three be indeed far other than the Trinity: I do but tell. had it not been enlightened. and to Will: and I Will to Be. from the land of Jordan. because we go upwards to the peace of Jerusalem: for gladdened was I in those who said unto me. yea one life. we glow inwardly with Thy fire. was invisible and without form. and we go. which while it speaks of It. Which is borne above every thing changeable. to Know. before it received the form of doctrine. Whoso can. Let there be light. where they may practise themselves. in Thy Name do we baptise. there is in God also a Trinity. I would that men would consider these three. in His Christ did God make heaven and earth. Let there be light. by the abundant greatness of its Unity. what it would have been. pronounce thereon rashly? Proceed in thy confession. and Thou saidst. we remembered Thee. O Lord. Surely a man hath it before him. and we were covered with the darkness of ignorance. in that we were darkness. And because our soul was troubled within us. which Is unchangeably. Holy. we were sometimes darkness. To Be. which being itself other than Thou. has known no other condition. that so the cause whereby it was made otherwise. let there be light. 149 . and to Know. O my faith. simply and yet manifoldly. and Know. and are made light: but of that is only said. or whether all three be in Each. and tell me. but little for our sakes: and our darkness displeased us. and see. with Thy good fire. let him understand this. by Thy Gift. And. But when he discovers and can say any thing of these. if indeed it be It? Rare is the soul. In these three then. For Thou chastenedst man for iniquity.

waiting for the adoption. in this uncertainty of human knowledge. and set open the flood-gates of His gifts. the sound of him that keeps holyday. and the shadows fly away. when I pour out my soul by myself in the voice of joy and praise. who hath bewitched you? But now no longer in his own voice. a member of the Bride. Why art thou sad. and reacheth forth to those which are before. our God. and callest the light. And yet again it is sad. Or who. in the morning I shall stand in Thy presence. As yet doth deep call unto deep. and now is it stretched over us like a skin. For Thy Divine Scripture is of more eminent 150 . and forgetteth those things which are behind. be ye children. because it relapseth. lest as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty. and becomes a deep. relics whereof we bear about us in our body. I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual. or rather perceives itself still to be a deep. who provest our hearts. the redemption of his body. be not children in understanding. having now the first-fruits of the Spirit laid up with Him. but in malice. As yet doth he that saith. is not hope. and calleth upon this lower deep. Where art Thou? see. Him doth this friend of the Bridegroom sigh after. whereof others also are made unto dishonour. for Him he is jealous. but Thou? And what have we. where Thou art! in Thee I breathe a little. and are the children of light. for by hope we are saved. until the day break.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE But as yet by faith and not by sight. but as unto carnal. day. O my God. through Him who ascended up on high. for Him he is jealous. even he as yet. whereof we also were once children. until the wrath of the Lord. that in understanding ye may be perfect. and the children of the day. who also shall quicken our mortal bodies. doth not think himself to have apprehended. and O foolish Galatians. doth he call to that other depth. and his soul thirsteth after the Living God. When shall I come? desiring to be clothed upon with his house which is from heaven. which yet sometimes we were. be overpast. and groaneth being burthened. yet still groaning within himself. because in the voice of Thy water-spouts. until the night. to wit. Be not conformed to this world. Unto it speaks my faith which Thou hast kindled to enlighten my feet in the night. who were sometimes darkness. Where is now Thy God? BOOK XIII: Behold. not the children of the night. O my soul. that we should now be light: whilst we are saved by hope. not in his own voice. when we shall see Him as He is. And. as being a friend of the Bridegroom. and those tears be passed away. and contemplate Thee: I shall for ever confess unto Thee. except Thou. that we have not received of Thee? out of the same lump vessels are made unto honour. For heaven shall be folded up like a scroll. I too say. as the hart after the waterbrooks. not for himself. but in Thine who sentest Thy Spirit from above. O what a light of beauty will that be. In the morning I shall stand in Thy presence. whilst they daily say unto me. nor of the darkness. to Him he sighs. Betwixt whom and us. and the darkness. but now in the voice of Thy water-spouts. over whom being jealous he feareth. but hope that is seen. and shall see the health of my countenance. His word is a lanthorn unto thy feet: hope and endure. because He hath in mercy been borne over our inner darksome and floating deep: from Whom we have in this pilgrimage received an earnest. so their minds should be corrupted from the purity that is in our Bridegroom Thy only Son. dead because of sin. Thou only dividest. but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. by the Spirit that dwelleth in us. made for us that firmament of authority over us in Thy Divine Scripture? as it is said. the mother of the wicked. Hope thou in the Lord. saying. night. and why dost thou trouble me? Hope in the Lord. Thou. my God. that the force of His streams might make glad the city of God. which have been my meat day and night. and saith. For who discerneth us.

and Thy Will Is. which so destroy pride. For we know no other books. when they by sin became mortal. but Thy Word remaineth for ever. even unto the end of the world. Let us look. that is. and He spake us tenderly. good Father: grant this to me. Their book is never closed. or by reading to know of Thy Word. nor their scroll folded up. how Thou with skins didst clothe men. who resisteth Thy reconciliation by defending his own sins. because as it cannot of itself 151 . they read the very unchangeableness of Thy counsel. He looketh through the lattice of our flesh. and willest unchangeably. upon the heavens. I know not any other such pure words. where they might gaze up and learn Thy mercy. and Thy truth reacheth unto the clouds. For altogether. which now appeareth unto us under the dark image of the clouds. The preachers of Thy word pass out of this life into another. Yet heaven and earth also shall pass away. hast Thou established them. who have no need to gaze up at this firmament. Who art unchangeably. yet it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. Therefore is my soul like a land where no water is. and Willeth unchangeably. is in the heavens. but the heaven abideth. seeing Thou Thyself art this to them. As He is. and make my neck pliant to Thy yoke. and we ran after His odours. and Willeth unchangeably. but Thy Scripture is spread abroad over the people. Thou knowest. but Thy words shall not pass away. underwent mortality. and that never passes away which they read. which Thou hast firmly settled over the infirmity of the lower people.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE authority. more eminently extended over all that be under it. But when He shall appear. Thou only knowest. who am placed under them: because for those placed under them. and art eternally. which so destroy the enemy and the defender. For they always behold Thy face. and Knoweth unchangeably. Let them praise Thy Name. O Lord. Thou hadst not as yet spread abroad the heaven like a skin. I know not. let them praise Thee. will our sight be. that as the Unchangeable Light knoweth Itself. as Thou art. was not so eminently extended. Lord. for by choosing. shall with the goodliness of it pass away. Because the scroll shall be rolled together: and the grass over which it was spread. which giveth wisdom unto the little ones: perfect. Lord. They are ever read- BOOK XIII: ing. they love. so should it be known by the thing enlightened. Let me understand them. the work of Thy fingers. For Thy mercy. which so persuade me to confess. they choose. which Thou hast spread under them. Other waters there be above this firmament. which whilst they lived here. in Thy discourses set forth by them. and knowest unchangeably. which by the ministry of mortal men Thou spreadest over us. O Lord. Lord. the supercelestial people. clear from our eyes that cloud. and kindled us. Thy praise out of the mouth of babes and sucklings. The clouds pass away. then shall we be like Him. For by their very death was that solid firmament of authority. since those mortals by whom Thou dispensest it unto us. what willeth Thy eternal will. There is Thy testimony. Thine angels. and Thy Knowledge Is. and changeable. and there read without any syllables in time. not as it is: because we also. for we shall see Him as He is. announcing in time Thee Who madest times. O my God. though the well-beloved of Thy Son. I believe immortal. and by loving. Nor seemeth it right in Thine eyes. Thou hadst not as yet enlarged in all directions the glory of their deaths. and through the glass of the heavens. And Thou knowest. and separated from earthly corruption. because Thou hast ordained them above this firmament. Whence Thou hast like a skin stretched out the firmament of Thy book. and invite me to serve Thee for nought. Thy harmonizing words. And Thy Essence Knoweth. they read.

but Thy spiritual children also set and ranked in the same firmament (now that Thy grace is laid open throughout the world). how far they may be allowed to pass. and the day is at hand: and that Thou wilt crown Thy year with blessing. and Thou hast made it. others have laboured. and Thy hands prepared the dry land. appear like lights in the world. let truth spring out of the earth. for Thou restrainest the wicked desires of men’s souls. Thou preparest a garner for our passing years. as it were the lesser light: to another faith. that their waves may break one against another: and thus makest Thou it a sea. and bring the houseless poor to our house. as betwixt the day and the night. helping them. by the order of Thy dominion over all things. when from feeling of our infirmity. given either to things intellectual. so that now not Thou only in the secret of Thy judgment. Let us clothe the naked. as in herb yielding seed. and be for signs of times. and blessest the years of the just. and ourselves. and righteousness look down from heaven. Let us break our bread to the hungry. so can it not of itself satisfy itself. and. arriving at the delightfulness of contemplation. but also in the protection of our assistance. if we were in like need. like the tree yielding fruit: that is. dividest between the light and the darkness. see it is good: and let our temporary light break forth. so. Lord. but the gathering together of the waters. as we would be helped. BOOK XIII: So. and that appear before Thee (being by other bounds divided from the society of the sea). for attaining whereof they do all things. from this lower fruitfulness of action. as before the firmament was made. and things of sense. as Thou givest cheerfulness and ability. called sea. Who. may give light upon the earth. as Thou doest. For so is the fountain of life with Thee. which thirsteth after Thee? For the sea also is Thine. our soul may bud forth works of mercy according to their kind. Lord God. that old things are passed away. sending also into another field. To another the 152 . but Thou art the same. so commanding. though they waver up and down with an innumerable variety of cares. sending the labourers of Thy goodness into Thy harvest. from the hand of the powerful. and in Thy years which fail not. and settest them their bounds. well-doing in rescuing him that suffers wrong. and despise not those of our own flesh. Thou waterest by a sweet spring. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom. and divide betwixt the day and the night. and let there be lights in the firmament. Lord. but Thou. and that our salvation is nearer than when we believed: and that the night is far spent. to divide between the things intellectual. and let the dry land appear. whose harvest shall be in the end.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE enlighten itself. let there spring up. Nor is the bitterness of men’s wills. I beseech Thee. and Thou. a temporal and earthly felicity. Let the waters be gathered together into one place. Who gathered the embittered together into one society? For they have all one end. and giving him the shelter of protection. Thus grantest Thou the prayers of him that asketh. loving our neighbour in the relief of his bodily necessities. to another the gift with the light of perspicuous truth. Which fruits having sprung out of the earth. like as in Thy light we shall see light. or between souls. For Thou by an eternal counsel dost in their proper seasons bestow heavenly blessings upon the earth. or things of sense. by the mighty strength of just judgment. we compassionate so as to relieve the needy. having seed in itself according to its likeness. with our best strength. all things are become new. obtaining the Word of Life above. saidst. as it were for the rule of the day. behold. For there Thou instructest us. not only in things easy. cleaving to the firmament of Thy Scripture. that the earth may bring forth her fruit. in sowing whereof. But the souls that thirst after Thee.

utter unto day. and let the day. but be content with the light of the moon and the stars. even he. that we may discern all things. judge the fatherless. wherein are contained all Sacraments. and follow the Lord if thou wilt be perfect. not commit adultery. and they may shine upon the earth. you weak things of the world. Shine over the earth. as thou hast heard of the good Master. put away evil from your souls. Whence then so many thorns. to profit withal. by giving to the poor. what he should do to attain eternal life. unless thy heart be there: nor will that either be. which are reckoned up in order. and be filled with fruit. that there may be lights in the firmament of the heaven. inasmuch as they come short of that brightness of wisdom. until he be strengthened for solid meat and his eye be enabled to behold the Sun. lightened by the sun. in Thy Book. and in years. show unto night. let Him tell him. shining with the moon. go after Him. But that barren earth was grieved. But you. are only for the rule of the night. to another the working of miracles. not steal. to another discerning of spirits. Learn to do good. and bring forth the honouring of father and mother. let us reason together. as it were a babe in Christ and fed on milk. For behold God saying. and shine ye in the firmament. yet doth not the night obscure them. in an admirable contemplation. Thy firmament. and in days. and night. which gladdens the forementioned day. and the love of our neighbour. plead for the widow. that the dry land may appear. ye holy fires. but He is good because He is God). Who knoweth what to distribute to the day. ye beauteous fires. unless there thy treasure be. which are varied in their seasons as it were the moon. as it had been the rushing of a mighty wind. nor are 153 . if the earth be fruitful? Go. though as yet in signs and in times. and from before mine eyes. not kill. and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. But the natural man. to another the gift of healing. seeing they give it light in its degree. sell that thou hast. Let the good Master tell him (whom he thought no more than man. For they are necessary to such. to another prophecy. All these (saith he) have I kept. who have forsaken all.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE word of knowledge by the same Spirit. and for thee there may be lights in the firmament of heaven. though not as the angels. that the earth may bring forth the green herb for meat. go after Him. But first. the word of knowledge. let him not dwell in a night forsaken of all light. associated with them. if he would enter into life. and come. ye beautiful feet. chosen generation. So dost Thou speak to us. as it were the lesser light: to another faith. dividing between the light of the perfect. not bear false witness. as that Thy most prudent servant could not speak unto as unto spiritual. having the word of life. he must keep the com- BOOK XIII: mandments: let him put away from him the bitterness of malice and wickedness. And all these as it were stars. that the heavens may declare His glory. and the thorns choked the word. who speaketh wisdom among those that are perfect. The moon and stars shine for the night. and causing stars to appear manifestly. and there appeared cloven tongues like as of fire. wash you. dividing to every man his own as He will. and it sat upon each of them. and the darkness of the little ones. And there were made lights in the firmament of heaven. our All-wise God. as it were stars. but as unto carnal. there came suddenly a sound from heaven. saith the Lord. that thou also mayest know it. For all these worketh the one and self-same spirit. Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven. as it were. which will not be. and to the night. be clean. That rich man asked of the good Master. Run ye to and fro every where. to another divers kinds of tongues. for ye are the light of the world. and confound the mighty. among whom He speaketh wisdom. and the tree bearing fruit. that the dry land may appear. speech of wisdom. that ye may follow the Lord. root up the spreading thickets of covetousness. But the word of knowledge. and those other notices of gifts. though not despised.

to hallow the Gentiles in Thy Name. where their voice is not heard: seeing their sound is gone through all the earth. that madest all. yet even of them. O God. For Thy Sacraments. Send Thou Thy word into it by Thy messengers: for we speak of their working. may. For ye. after a corporeal and sensible manner. Now are all things fair that Thou hast made. whithersoever they went. many great wonders were wrought. and the material works in the wavy sea. as it were lights of wisdom and knowledge. unless their soul had a spiritual life. as the heathen have. brings forth. and one thing growing out of another. and tongues are for a sign. The neces- BOOK XIII: sities of the people estranged from the eternity of Thy truth. by whom He saith. and let the waters bring forth the moving creature that hath life. now that the faithful earth is separated from the waters that were bitter with infidelity. and hath exalted you. For now hath it no more need of baptism. but behold. why they were sent forth in Thy Word. that unless it sees signs and wonders. Speak I untruly. not the living creature which the earth brings forth. For such those moving and flying creatures now seem to me to mean. These Sacraments have the waters brought forth. yet it is Thou that 154 . and restlessly tumbling up and down. who hast refreshed the fastidiousness of mortal senses. is exalted. by the motions of the body. because the waters themselves cast them forth. that is. but in Thy word. for it is not such. not the deepness of the sea. the material operations are many and divers. Run ye to and fro. when it was covered with the waters. it looked forwards to perfection. should not further profit. it will not believe. And amid these things. but to them that believe not. need that flying kind. which at Thy word the waters brought forth. the brackishness of the sea had never flowed out of him. and then had there been no need of Thy dispensers to work in many waters. without any increase by generation. and unless after the word of admission. For there is no speech nor language. Lord. Thyself art unutterably fairer. from whom had not Adam fallen. He whom you cleave unto. by the ministry of Thy holy ones. Let the sea also conceive and bring forth your works. be many ways set out. and be known unto all nations. or do I mingle and confound. separating the precious from the vile. that so one thing in the understanding of our mind. multipliedst them by blessing. not the moving creature that hath life. and expressed. the human race so profoundly curious. whereby people being initiated and consecrated by corporeal Sacraments. are made the mouth of God. as it were great whales: and the voices of Thy messengers flying above the earth. that being set over them.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE ye put under a bushel. Let the waters bring forth. and under the firmament of heaven? For of those things whereof the knowledge is substantial and defined. have brought them forth. and as itself had. in the open firmament of Thy Book. but the moving creature having life. they are multiplied by Thy blessing. mysterious doings and sayings. but the living soul. have moved amid the waves of temptations of the world. And hereby. but the earth separated from the bitterness of the waters. but in Thy Gospel. and not distinguish between the lucid knowledge of these things in the firmament of heaven. the diseased bitterness whereof was the cause. and the fowls that fly above the earth. Neither then does that earth which Thou hast founded upon the waters. in Thy Word. (for no other entrance is there into the kingdom of heaven. since Thou hast appointed that this should be the entrance:) nor does it seek after wonderfulness of miracles to work belief. as their authority under which they were to fly. because Thou. in Thy Baptism. O God. and their words to the end of the world. not to them that believe. and tempestuously swelling.

and good cattle. But the living soul takes his beginning from the earth: for it profits only those already among the Faithful. is the fountain of life eternal. and your soul shall live. of whom the earth hath no need. Contain yourselves from it: the soul lives by avoiding what it dies by affecting. For these be the motions of our mind under an allegory. when being restrained from deadly prevailing upon us. upon that table which Thou hast prepared in the presence of them that believe. But Thy word. when our affections have been restrained from the love of the world. wherein ignorance. Thus in this living soul shall there be good beasts. and stirring them up to imitation. and Thy word which Thou spokest by Thy apostle. that is. for Thou. For of the first preachings of the Evangelists. and the poison of curiosity. For these creatures are obedient unto reason. and begun to be a living soul. not dangerous. might be intent upon them. so shalt thou be beloved by all men). the sluggish voluptuousness of luxury.let Thy ministers work now as on the dry land. because a man is wont to imitate his friend. Go on with thy business in meekness. being understood by the things that are made. and so is taken up by this transitory world. that the earth may bring forth the living soul. Be not conformed unto this world. For this is after his kind. separated from the whirlpools of the great deep: and let them be a pattern unto the Faithful. as may suffice that eternity be clearly seen. so as not to hear only. shall they over-abound. by living before them. the serpents. and Sacraments. The earth brings it forth. although it feeds upon that fish which was taken out of the deep. are the motions of a dead soul. but to do also. that so the earth may in the fountain of life bring forth a living soul. -not as upon the waters of infidelity. Be not conformed to the world. a soul made continent in Thy Word. which was dead while it lived in pleasures. because it dies by forsaking the fountain of life. in death-bringing pleasures. O God. when it is said unto us. they live. Lord. and only making so much search into this temporal nature. that so their soul may live unto Thee. and the fowl. harmless. and are good. and good serpents. and the false name of knowledge: that so the wild beasts may be tamed. Lord. But. and passeth not away: wherefore this departure of the soul is restrained by Thy word. in meekness of action (for Thou hast commanded. is 155 . Be ye (saith he) as I am. while they hide themselves from Thy face. nor. the delight of lust. and the fowls that fly under the firmament of heaven. though bred in the sea. for the soul dies not so as to lose all motion. but wise to take heed. by which we died through evil-living. have any lack. our Creator. by Thy Evangelists. Contain your- BOOK XIII: selves from the ungoverned wildness of pride. and become a darksome deep. if they eat not. the cattle broken to the yoke. through good living. For thus do men hear. to contain themselves from the love of this world. because the earth is the cause that they work this in the soul. by preaching and speaking by miracles. For therefore was He taken out of the deep. art the life-giving delight of the pure heart. yet are the faithful also exhorted and blessed by them manifoldly. is yet multiplied upon the earth. by following the followers of Thy Christ. for I also am as you are. and is conformed unto it. the mother of admiration.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE workest in them that they may work out a living soul in it. man’s infidelity was the cause. For such is the entrance unto the Faith for the sons of Adam forgetful of Thee. Now then let Thy ministers work upon the earth. For behold. Seek the Lord. our God. O Lord. and mystic words. to do hurt. as the sea was the cause that they wrought upon the moving creatures that have life. from day to day. that is to say. that He might feed the dry land. which neither if they eat. out of a reverence towards those secret signs. the haughtiness of pride.

do judge spiritually. but by Thy direction proveth what is that good. this answers to his having dominion over the fish of the sea. is yet rightly and truly spoken. not of that spiritual knowledge which shines in the firmament (for they ought not to judge as to so supreme authority). is subjoined in the singular. Let us make man after our own image and similitude). and is become like unto them. In Thy Church therefore. And God made man: and to that said in the plural. that by their fruits we might know them: but Thou. nor as living after the example of some better man (for Thou saidst not. or such as obey). Wherefore Thou sayest not. and over the fowls of the air. and hast divided and called them in secret. to discern the Trinity of the Unity. not those only who are spiritually set over. so as to follow after his kind. and over all the earth. that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. but they also who spiritually are subject to those that are set over them. For to this purpose said that dispenser of Thine (who begat children by the Gospel). which Thou 156 . Spiritual persons (whether such as are set over. that acceptable. in Thy grace spiritual. and over all cattle and wild beasts. Nor doth he. neither bond nor free. and beholding and understanding Thy truth. nor over that hidden heaven itself. and perfect will of Thine: yea. after the image of Him that created him: and being made spiritual. “according to his kind”. and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. who are known unto Thine eyes. after our image and likeness. not a judge.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE made good in us. he judgeth all things (all things which are to be judged). that we might prove what Thy will is. had no understanding. though spiritual. Lord. O our God. is yet subjoined in the singular. that he might not for ever have them babes. But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. according to the sex of body. according to Thy grace which Thou hast bestowed upon it (for we are Thy workmanship created unto good works). knowing not which of them shall hereafter come into the sweetness of Thy grace. that even what is closed to our sight. yet himself is judged of no man. be ye transformed (saith he) by the renewing of your mind. for we submit our understanding unto it. though now spiritual and renewed in the knowledge of God after His image that created him. dost even now know them. there is neither male nor female. whereby he perceiveth the things BOOK XIII: of the Spirit of God. For this he doth by the understanding of his mind. and is compared unto the brute beasts. needs not man as his director. which Thou presently subjoinedst. But that he judgeth all things.” but Let us make man. and have not as yet discovered themselves unto us by works. “Let man be made. saying. because neither Jew nor Grecian. as though following your neighbour who went before you. nor over the day and the night. “Let man be made after his kind. now made capable. -for in this way didst Thou make man male and female. for what hath he to do. not now after your kind. For so man. nor may they judge of Thy Book itself. where. man being placed in honour. whom Thou hast made after Thine own image. For man being renewed in his mind. ought to be a doer of the law. Nor saidst Thou. Be not conformed to this world: there follows that also. Thus is man renewed in the knowledge of God. to judge them that are without. or ever the firmament was made. Thou teachest him. After the image of God. even though something there shineth not clearly. whereas otherwise. and cherish as a nurse. Let us make man. judge the unquiet people of this world. and which continue in the perpetual bitterness of ungodliness? Man therefore.” but. but. whom he must be fain to feed with milk. and hold for certain. Neither doth he judge of that distinction of spiritual and carnal men. After our likeness. O our God. Wherefore to that said in the plural. received not dominion over the lights of heaven. and the Unity of the Trinity.

For He judgeth and approveth what He findeth right. wherein I confess unto Thee. what this lesson suggests to me. nor will I suppress. and of the living soul. but He received dominion over the fishes of the sea. Thus do the offspring of the waters increase and multiply. and He disalloweth what He findeth amiss. So that there is need to speak aloud into the ears. behold. those of more understanding than myself. or men. my God. do by generation increase and continue their kind. What then shall I say. flying as it were under the firmament. nor do I see what should hinder me from thus understanding the figurative sayings of Thy Bible. nor the lights. taken out of the deep. and what kind of mystery? Behold. O Lord. In the Beginning God 157 . consecrating. in fasting. which is the sea. O God. and that the fowls should be multiplied upon the earth. notwithstanding all these as well as the fishes. as proceed out of the mouth. nor the sea? I might say that BOOK XIII: Thou. discoursing disputing. wherein he hath also power of correction. that Thou spokest not so in vain. and over all cattle. Upon all these is he now said to judge. that is. nor serpents is it said. and the fowls of the air. as it were the earth bringing forth fruit. that this blessing pertained properly unto such creatures. and sound forth. dost Thou not thereby give us a hint to understand something? why didst Thou not as well bless the light. O Lord. in which that Fish is set forth. according as Thou. whosoever readest this. subject to the authority of Thy Book. by interpreting. who created created us after Thine Image. nor the trees. as are bred of their own kind. nor the stars. had I found it given to the fruit-trees. and beasts of the earth. nor over the gathering together of the waters. make better use of it. that I believe. let my betters. But let my confession also be pleasing in Thine eyes. their alms. and over all the earth. and disallowing what he finds amiss. which cannot see thoughts. that they may increase and multiply. And if I understand not what Thou meanest by that phrase.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE calledst before the foundation of the heaven. in how innumerable modes of speaking. fowls. in the works and lives of the faithful. in holy meditations. -such signs. and replenish the waters of the sea. nor the beasts. I might say likewise. that they should increase and multiply. living by the taming of the affections. For I know a thing to be manifoldly signified by corporeal expressions. what Scripture delivers. hast given to each man to understand. although flying fowls be multiplied upon the earth. Increase and multiply. yet they derive their beginning from the waters. which is understood one way by the mind. is occasioned by the deep of this world. The vocal pronouncing of all which words. Amen. which are perceived by the senses of the body. nor the earth. so that. the devout earth feedeth upon: or in the expressions and signs of words. and without meaning?” Not so. and plants. as Thy mercy searches out in many waters: or in that. that it had been Thy good pleasure to bestow this blessing peculiarly upon man. For it is true. in chastity. or praying unto Thee. O Truth my Light? “that it was idly said. Thou blessest mankind. expounding. which Thou calledst day. and the blindness of the flesh. which. hadst Thou not in like manner blessed the fishes and the whales. nor the firmament of heaven. Observe again. and in each several language. which is signified one way by corporeal expression. by what manifold sacraments. far he it from a minister of Thy word to say so. the single love of God and our neighbour. The spiritual man judgeth also by allowing of what is right. and of those things. O Father of piety. and over all creeping things which creep upon the earth. But now neither unto the herbs. Behold. But what is this. and replenish the earth. so that the people may answer. it is corporeally expressed. whether in the celebration of those Sacraments by which such are initiated. I might say. and the voice pronounces one only way. and that understood many ways in the mind. and innumerable languages.

Thus are the waters of the sea replenished. But how grieved he for some trees. as the living soul. and one expression understood many ways. But if we treat of the words as figuratively spoken (which I rather suppose to be the purpose of the Scripture. and reason ruleth over it. both to express several ways what we understand but one. and increase. as in the dry land. not through any deceit of error. seeing Thou art the Truth. is it not understood manifoldly. by things mentally conceived. yea. what the following Scripture minds me of. to have said to these kinds. yea and due to them also. necessarily occasioned by the depth of the flesh. I would also say. Thus did also the brethren. and to affections formed unto temperance. and to the society of people yet in the bitterness of infidelity. on account of the fruitfulness of reason. and they are due to them. and to the beasts of the earth. surely. I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. and every tree. and to holy authors who have been the ministers of the Law unto us.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE created heaven and earth. where he saith. not allegorically. which doth not. If therefore we conceive of the natures of the things themselves. but unto the fishes and to the great whales. but also to all the fowls of the air. and to the zeal of holy souls. that come of seed. Such an earth was the devout Onesiphorus. and in trees bearing fruit. and not fear. I will say. but properly. I conceive Thee to have granted us a power and a faculty. what we read to be BOOK XIII: obscurely delivered but in one. in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed. In all these instances we meet with multitudes. and every man a liar. as in the sea. as in heaven and earth. and to works of mercy belonging to this present life. Thyself inspiring me with what Thou willedst me to deliver out of those words. Now we said that by these fruits of the earth were signified. and to righteous and unrighteous. except in signs corporeally expressed. human generations. He therefore that speaketh a lie. For these fruits are due to such as minister the spiritual doctrine unto us out of their understanding of the divine mysteries. as in the lights of heaven. as flying creatures. for their 158 . O Lord my God. whose dryness appeareth in its longing. Lord. and figured in an allegory. as in light and darkness. but what shall in such wise increase and multiply that one thing may be expressed many ways. then do we find “multitude” to belong to creatures spiritual as well as corporeal. and to spiritual gifts set forth for edification. we find not. which are not moved but by several significations: thus with human increase is the earth also replenished. superfluously ascribe this benediction to the offspring of aquatic animals and man only). who out of Macedonia supplied what was lacking to him. abundance. which giveth itself as an example. and such fruit did they bear. then does the phrase increase and multiply. And for this end do we believe Thee. I will speak of Thine. but by various kinds of true senses? Thus do man’s offspring increase and multiply. Increase and multiply. But by no other inspiration than Thine. hast Thou not given them. speaketh of his own. as in the firmament which is settled betwixt the waters and the waters. in all continency. do I believe myself to speak truth. At my first answer no man stood by me. as in the herbs bearing seed. as in the living soul. For in this blessing. because he often refreshed Thy Paul. and in things mentally conceived. and to all creeping things. By signs corporeally pronounced we understand the generations of the waters. And not to us alone. agree unto all things. as men. and to understand several ways. but all men forsook me. unto whose house Thou gavest mercy. the works of mercy which are provided for the necessities of this life out of the fruitful earth. and was not ashamed of his chain. Thou hast given unto us for food every herb bearing seed which is upon all the earth. For I will say the truth. Behold. and due unto them also. which did not afford him the fruit due unto him. that therefore I may speak truth.

thou tongue like flying fowls. Verily I say unto you. because they had well done. but added. 159 . Nor was the inner man of Elijah so fed. Unto these good works. He that receiveth a righteous man. the other. no Church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving. Therefore subjoins he. both to abound. O great Paul? whereat rejoicest thou? whereon feedest thou. what they had sent by Epaphroditus unto him: and yet I perceive why he rejoiced. in the name of a disciple: and so concludeth. and to suffer want. thou living soul. every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. my God. and is gladdened that they flourished again. For the Good Master said not only. when I departed from Macedonia. and withered as it were as to bearing this fruit of a good work. of so much continency. hereon feedeth. and therefore fed him: but by the raven was he fed with a gift. he shall not lose his reward. not for himself. that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again. and I know how to abound. but with what mind they yield them. shelter. as money. for. Hereat he rejoiceth. with a long weariness. that are delighted with them. He that shall give to drink a cup of cold water to one of my little ones. but the outer only. is the thing itself which he gives. I can do all things through Him which strengtheneth me. He therefore that served God. For ye Philippians also know (saith he). Whereat then rejoicest thou. he now rejoiceth that they are returned. I know both how to be abased. Was it for his own necessities. O man. after the image of Him that created thee.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE blessings which are multiplied upon the earth. With fruit was Elijah fed by the widow that knew she fed a man of God. that imparts these necessaries unto us. in the name of a disciple. not because his strait was eased. that they supplied his wants. I see it. but added. So verily shall the one receive the reward of a prophet. ye have well done. I rejoiced (saith he) greatly in the Lord. drink. speaking mysteries? (for to such creatures. nor are they delighted with them. that they flourished again. is the good and right will of the giver. and to be hungry. that in the beginning of the Gospel. help: but the fruit. to receive a prophet. in the name of a righteous man. but ye only. and he rejoiceth for them. meat. as when a fruitful field resumes its green. He that receiveth a prophet. who saith unto Thee. Ye sent unto my necessity? Rejoiceth he for that? Verily not for that.) what is it that feeds thee? joy. Hear we what follows: notwithstanding. that ye did communicate with my affliction. These Philippians then had now dried up. For whereat he rejoiced upon that he fed. to give a cup of cold water to a disciple: but the fruit. but it had become wearisome unto you. For he had received from the Philippians. are the things yielded the fruit. A gift. but I desire fruit. to distinguish betwixt a gift. and fruit. therewith to be content. I plainly see why he rejoiced. but added. not because I desire a gift. Thou hast BOOK XIII: enlarged me when I was in distress. The gift is. speaking in truth. clothing. to receive a righteous man. in the name of a righteous man. and I rejoice with him. whose God is their belly. But how know we this? Because himself says immediately. because he said. I have learned of Thee. for that he knew to abound. and to suffer need. not that I speak in respect of want. which might also for want of that food have perished. is this food due. the reward of a righteous man: nor saith He only. because their sound went out into all lands. to do this in the name of a prophet. in the name of a prophet: nor did He only say. For neither in them that yield them. wherein ye were also careful. and not his own belly. in Thee Who strengthenest him. for I have learned in whatsoever state I am. renewed in the knowledge of God. But they are fed by these fruits.

and understood. And I looked narrowly to find. but time has no relation to My Word. when out of Thy conquered enemies Thou raisedst up the walls of the universe. ‘that in Thy seeing there be no times’. but that they were otherwhere and from other sources created. might not again be able to rebel against Thee. and harmony of the stars. that what Thou madest each day. that many of them Thou madest. All beautiful bodies express the same. I speak. Yea we also see the same. and with a strong voice tellest Thy servant in his inner ear. behold. Thou sawest each that it was good. because My Word exists in equal eternity with Myself. when they pleased Thee. why this is to be done. whereas they be ignorant. they were only good. and whatsoever hath its root in the earth. For severally. for Thee to bring together and compact and combine. because they see not Thy works by Thy Spirit. For upon that is the mind fed. as being now altogether. both good. nor are these fed by them. and. O Lord.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE I will then speak what is true in Thy sight. or otherwise succour Thy servant with something useful for this present life. and another nature not created by Thee. but also very good. for Thou art my God. whose fruit they as yet behold not. And therefore do not the fishes and whales feed upon such meats. And I said. Seven times have I counted it to be written. like as what ye speak by My Spirit. that Thou sawest that that which Thou madest was good: and this is the eighth. all things are very good. and that Thou madest them not of what was Thine. it was very good. sawest every thing that Thou hadst made. I say: and yet doth that speak in time. of which it is glad.” Unto this Thou answerest me. I found how often. that certain men there be who mislike Thy works. whereby I might understand BOOK XIII: that Thou sawest so often. that when carnal men and infidels (for the gaining and initiating whom. “O man. Frenzied are they who say thus. they say Thou neither madest them. Of the several kinds of Thy works. that they. and say. when Thou hadst said “let them be. as the earth brings not forth until after it was separated and divided from the bitterness of the waves of the sea. whether seven.” And I heard. whereas this Thy Scripture tells me. And so when ye see those things in time. For other things. and drank up a drop of sweetness out of Thy truth. but that a mind at enmity with Thee. and to what end. I see. that Thou sawest every thing that Thou hadst made. it was not only good. since Thou art true. which we suppose to be signified by the name of fishes and whales) undertake the bodily refreshment. nor recognise Thee in them. “Lord. such as the fabric of the heavens. breaking through my deafness and crying. as when ye speak in time.” and they were. So the things which ye see through My Spirit. and contrary unto Thee. bound down by the structure. notwithstanding that the members severally be also beautiful. the initiatory Sacraments and the mighty workings of miracles are necessary. And Thou. but altogether. by reason that a body consisting of members all beautiful. nor even compactedst them. in these lower stages of the world. Thou sawest that it was good: and when I counted them. that which My Scripture saith. because neither do the one do it out of an holy and right intent. and very good. such as all flesh and all very minute creatures. or eight times Thou sawest that Thy works were good. neither do they feed these. did. is not this Thy Scripture true. beget and frame these things. O God. compelled by necessity. what Thou madest. and. behold. is far more beautiful than the same members by themselves are. O Lord my God. by whose well-ordered blending the whole is perfected. and being Truth. but in Thy seeing I found no times. 160 . nor do the other rejoice at their gifts. and behold. hast set it forth? why then dost Thou say unto me. I speak them not in time. I see them not in time.

but the Spirit of God. We behold a face of waters gathered together in the fields of the sea. yea and the matter of herbs and trees. For from Him it is. doth consist. Thou seest that they are good. and altogether very good.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE But they who by Thy Spirit see these things. ‘It is not ye that see’. that when a man sees a thing that it is good. whereof the universal pile of the world. or (since this also is called heaven) this space of air through which wander the fowls of heaven. betwixt those waters which are in vapours borne above them. and another. whom yet Thou pleasest not in them. thickeneth itself by the exhalation of the waters. and the dry land both void. beasts. made a woman. ‘It is not ye that know. so whatsoever through the Spirit of God they see to be good. We behold on all sides a moist element. Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. and whatsoever things for Thy sake please. what things are given us of God?” Answer is made me. when they prefer to enjoy them. another made subject. O Lord. and man. the sun to suffice for the day. it is not ye that speak: so is it rightly said to them that know through the Spirit of God. should be in like manner subject to the sex of her husband. but God that sees that it is good. We see the firmament of heaven. times should be marked and signified. so. We behold the face of the earth decked out with earthly creatures. and what through Thy Spirit please us. and they are severally good. created after Thy image and likeness. who Himself Is not in degree. between the spiritual upper waters and the inferior corporeal waters. We behold the lights shining from above. it is not they. which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no one. but by the Holy Ghost which He hath given. whether that primary body of the world. Who cannot be loved. whether the corporeal part. that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man. “because the things which we know by His Spirit. because the grossness of the air. as the appetite of doing is fain to conceive the skill of right-doing from the reason of the mind. but the Spirit of God: how then do we also know. even through that Thy very image and likeness (that is the power of reason and understanding). even these no one knoweth. another. and formed so as to be visible and harmonized. God should in him see that it is good. they please Thee in us. Now we (saith he) have received. and in the adorning of these parts. set over all irrational creatures. And as in his soul there is one power which has dominion by directing.” It is one thing then for a man to think that to be ill which is good. is good. For as it is rightly said unto those that were to speak by the Spirit of God. Which is given unto us: by Whom we see that whatsoever in any degree is. BOOK XIII: Thanks to Thee. We behold the heaven and earth. namely. but in the sex of her body. but the Spirit of God. that that which is good. as the forenamed do. Therefore when they see that these things are good. we see light made. superior and inferior. or the spiritual and corporeal creature. not the spirit of this world. and divided from the darkness. corporeally also. the moon and the stars to cheer the night. or rather the universal creation. because they be good. and in clear nights distill down in dew. but the Spirit which is of God. and birds. but what He Is. who in the mind of her reasonable understanding should have a parity of nature. And I am admonished. and those heavier waters which flow along the earth. and that by all these. that it might obey. 161 . a man should see that it is good (as Thy creatures be pleasing unto many. Is.’ And no less then is it rightly said to those that see through the Spirit of God. These things we behold. save the spirit of a man. which bears up the flights of birds. to Thee). so was there for the man. Thou seest in them. replenished with fishes. Thou pleasest in them. “Truly the things of God knoweth no one. that He should be loved in that which He made.

and rectify our disorders. and those under. to the end Thou mightest reveal hidden things. although Thou madest them in unbroken rest. All these we see. having finished their courses. shall rest in Thee also in the Sabbath of eternal life. and to all Offices of Thy Ministry. even distributing to the poor their earthly riches. by Thee. having the word of life. Thou madest the matter of merely nothing. that we may love Thee. both heaven and earth. for they were made of nothing. Thou willedst. that that which Thou didst after Thy works which were very good. by which the faithful should be blessed and multiplied. form and privation. and together very good. in Thy predestination before all times. For seeing the matter of heaven and earth is one thing. and they might bring forth works of mercy.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Let Thy works praise Thee. Thy Holy ones. for the initiation of the unbelieving Gentiles. fruitful to themselves in time to come. without morning and evening. growth and decay. For all this most goodly array of things very good. and visible miracles. that may the voice of Thy Book announce beforehand unto us. that for their temporal uses. part apparently. the peace of the Sabbath. at the same time created by Thee). through affections well ordered by the vigour of continency: and after that. and they are very good. and the form another. part secretly. And we have seen. good things. They have then their succession of morning and evening. to help us in due season. so that the form should follow the matter. without any interval of delay. because Thou hast given them us). because Thou seest them in us. nor hath it setting. after that again. whether by the creation. as the woman to the man. which hath no evening. or that was before. in Thy Word. which from time have beginning and ending. hast Thou renewed after Thy image and likeness. but of matter concreated (that is. because Thou hast sanctified it to an everlasting continuance. 162 . Next didst Thou form the living soul of the faithful. resting the seventh day. not of Thee. who were to be subject to them: and Thou gatheredst together the society of unbelievers into one conspiracy. be given by the same faithful. by which we might see them. But when Thou begannest to execute in time the things predestinated. and in them love Thee. And after this didst Thou kindle certain lights in the firmament. and didst subject its rational actions to the excellency of the understanding. or the relation of things in such an order. Thou without any interval of time didst give form. and let us love Thee. the mind subjected to Thee alone and needing to imitate no human authority. because to its state without form. is to pass away. and Thou didst justify the ungodly. the Head and the body of the Church. and forms of words according to the firmament of Thy Book. that the zeal of the faithful might appear. that Thy works may praise Thee. and we had sunk into the dark deep. BOOK XIII: and shining with an eminent authority set on high through spiritual gifts. necessary for the perfecting of the faithful in this life. not of any matter not Thine. for our sins hung over us. rising and setting. give peace unto us: (for Thou hast given us all things. O Lord God. and dividest them from the wicked. who were to he docile unto Thee. We have also examined what Thou willedst to be shadowed forth. Who hast given unto us Thy Spirit. that we also after our works (therefore very good. that things singly are good. to obtain heavenly. didst Thou out of corporeal matter produce the Sacraments.) the peace of rest. but the form of the world out of the matter without form: yet both together. for in them there was morning and evening. in Thy Only-Begotten. and Thou madest the firmament of authority of Thy Book between those placed above. But the seventh day hath no evening. and Thy good Spirit was borne over us.

But Thou. ever workest.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE For then shalt Thou rest in us. because they are: but they are. And we also have some good works. and so shall that be Thy rest through us. but in the former time we were moved to do evil. being the Good which needeth no good. nor restest in a time. But Thou. and the rest which results from time. Nor dost Thou see in time. after them we trust to rest in Thy great hallowing. so shall it be found. forsaking Thee. an Angel? or what Angel. that they are. when made. Lord. after our hearts had conceived of Thy Spirit.GRATIAS TIBI DOMINE BOOK XIII: 163 . but Thou sawest them there. but Thou. the One. yet to be made. of Thy gift. didst never cease doing good. as now Thou workest in us. so shall it be opened. the Good God. . sought in Thee. and within. and art ever at rest. art ever at rest. And we were at a later time moved to do well. but not eternal. because Thou seest them. and yet Thou makest things seen in time. yea the times themselves. knocked for at Thee. nor art moved in time. We therefore see these things which Thou madest. Amen. a man? Let it be asked of Thee. so. so shall it be received. because Thy rest is Thou Thyself. And what man can teach man to understand this? or what Angel. where Thou sawest them. And we see without. that they are good. as these are Thy works through us.

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