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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

or return unto Thee. Lord. so had it not trailed away amid these empty trifles. or change of place. long-suffering. Assuredly no science of letters can be so innate as the 11 . if in relating some action of theirs. than he wounds his own soul by his enmity. And his speaking was most applauded.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Not one whit more easily are the words learnt for all this vileness. As if any enemy could be more hurtful than the hatred with which he is incensed against him. For it is not by our feet. 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. choice and precious vessels. and if we. upon terms of praise or shame.” hate a “human being” in despite of Thine. Lord. O Lord God. my God. that is. or could wound more deeply him whom he persecutes.” in despite of the laws of grammar. So then in lustful. Not that I blame the words. What is it to me. Behold. is the true distance from Thy face. in whom the passions of rage and grief were most preeminent. to speak the words of Juno. maintaining the dignity of the character. neglecting the eternal covenant of everlasting salvation received from Thee. and on what dotages I wasted it. troublesome enough to my soul. yea. or journey by the motion of his limbs. were abashed. being bepraised. Thy praises might have stayed the yet tender shoot of my heart by the prop of Thy Scriptures. Thy face. Insomuch. who. and have no sober judge to whom we may appeal. that he might in a far country waste in riotous living all Thou gavest at his departure? a loving Father. Wilt Thou hold Thy peace for ever? and even now Thou drawest out of this horrible gulf the soul that seeketh Thee. being. I have sought Thy face. as she raged and mourned that she could not “This Trojan prince from Latinum turn. For a task was set me. Lord. all this unhappily I learnt willingly with great delight. whose heart saith unto Thee. in darkened affections. O my God (in whose presence I now without hurt may remember this). when men were set before me as models. but by their means the vileness is committed with less shame. and for this was pronounced a hopeful boy. BOOK I: But what marvel that I was thus carried away to vanities. and plenteous in mercy and truth. For darkened affections is removal from Thee. and more loving unto him. and to say in prose much what he expressed in verse. O my God. and clothed in the most fitting language. For in more ways than one do men sacrifice to the rebellious angels. my God. and went out from Thy presence. Or did that Thy younger son look out for horses or chariots. they gloried? These things Thou seest. being censured. that men leave Thee. but that wine of error which is drunk to us in them by intoxicated teachers. in itself not ill. 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. we are beaten. while I say somewhat of my wit. O my true life. than if he. they committed some barbarism or solecism.” Which words I had heard that Juno never uttered. and fear of stripes. when Thou gavest. when he returned empty. or ships. a “human being. drink not. but we were forced to go astray in the footsteps of these poetic fictions. a defiled prey for the fowls of the air. but when in rich and adomed and wellordered discourse they related their own disordered life. and holdest Thy peace. Bear with me. as it were. fly with visible wings. of a “uman being. that thirsteth for Thy pleasures. will I seek. that a teacher or learner of the hereditary laws of pronunciation will more offend men by speaking without the aspirate. Thy gift. Yet. too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

nor turned me away. while he deliberates which he should rather choose? yet are they all good. and stretching forth to receive and embrace me. a multitude of youth and every age. but to look back on them. Yet they did retard me. and all being equally desired. her holy hands full of multitudes of good examples: there were so many young men and maidens here. rolling and turning me in my chain. For I said with myself. till that were wholly broken. grave widows and aged virgins. gay. so that I hesitated to burst and shake myself free from them. whither the one entire will may be borne. What defilements did they suggest! what shame! And now I much less than half heard them. 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.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE another’s house. and privily plucking me. if he have the opportunity. and whither I trembled to go. and tormented. still held me. and not openly showing themselves and contradicting me. the greater horror did it strike into me. yet did it not strike me back. and the pleasure of temporal good holds us down below. nor do they yet allege that there are so many divers substances. pressedst upon me in my inward parts by a severe mercy. as I was departing.” What then if all give equal pleasure. yet not relaxedly.” And as I spake. prevailed more with me than the better whereto I was unused: and the very moment wherein I was to become other than I was. not barren. hesitating to die to BOOK VIII: death and to live to life: and the worse whereto I was inured. all these meeting together in the same juncture of time. “it is good. And she smiled on me with a persuasive mockery. and whispered softly. whereby I now was but just. when. and wanted somewhat less of it. redoubling the lashes of fear and shame. and all at once? Do not divers wills distract the mind. which before was divided into many. I all but enacted it: I all but did it. nor touched nor laid hold of it. which cannot at one time be acted: for they rend the mind amid four. “this or that. Thus also. Thus soul-sick was I. For I ask them. or even (amid the vast variety of things desired) more. For on that side whither I had set my face. and vanities of vanities. serene. but kept my stand hard by. “Be it done now. conflicting wills. O Lord. held. to commit adultery. “Thinkest thou. but held me in suspense. they plucked my fleshy garment. fourthly. as would she say. my ancient mistresses. it should recover strength. if at the same time he have the means thereof also. but still was. and Continence herself in all. or. and laid hold of it. but out of habit sets not that aside. And Thou. and yet came not at it.” what did they suggest. and somewhat less. above. and to spring over whither I was called. thou canst live without them?” But now it spake very faintly. by Thee her Husband. and are at variance till one be chosen. but muttering as it were behind my back. and bind me the faster. and therefore is rent asunder with grievous perplexities. So also in wills which are good. and took breath. lest I should again give way. And I essayed again. a violent habit saying to me. it is the same soul which willeth not this or that with an entire will. but a fruitful mother of children of joys. O Lord. honestly alluring me to come and doubt not. the nearer it approached me. and all but touched. and not bursting that same slight remaining tie. The very toys of toys. there appeared unto me the chaste dignity of Continency. accusing myself much more severely than my wont. and did it not: yet sunk not back to my former state. eternity delights us. O my God? Let Thy mercy turn it away from the soul of Thy servant. “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. be it done now. 79 . while out of truth it sets this first.

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

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

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

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

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

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

but the sin. to become readier and fitter for receiving so great grace. He recommended Isaiah the Prophet: I believe. and kindled. in Thy Hymns and Canticles. We joined with us the boy Adeodatus. O Lord my God. that pain went away. laid it by. I read. our contemporary in grace. it came into my heart to desire all my friends present to pray for me to Thee. But what pain? or how went it away? I was affrighted. being already clothed with the humility befitting Thy Sacraments. born after the flesh. fearing nothing for his childhood or youth. and anxiety for our past life vanished from us. and gave it them to read. I gave notice to the Milanese to provide their scholars with another master to sell words to them. not understanding the first lesson in him. and a most valiant tamer of the body. O my Lord. my God. so as. nor will I pass over the severity of Thy scourge. when the time was come wherein I was to give in my name. with unwonted venture. He was not quite fifteen. And that faith suffered me not to be at ease about my past sins. Thou knowest that all there ascribed to the person conversing with me were his ideas. And by letters I signified to Thy Prelate. of whom myself had been. It pleased Alypius also to be with me born again in Thee. it is a dialogue between him and me. none else. to he brought up in Thy discipline: and we were baptised. it was Thou. whence the affections of my devotion overflowed. Presently so soon as with humble devotion we had bowed our knees. to wear the frozen ground of Italy with his bare feet. That talent struck awe into me. and in wit surpassed many grave and learned men. Thou didst then torment me with pain in my teeth. There is a book of ours entitled The Master. and the wonderful swiftness of Thy mercy. But I. I confess unto Thee Thy gifts. I praised Thy Name. The vintage-vacation ended. alone hast made me dwell in hope. Nor was I sated in those days with the wondrous sweetness of considering the depth of Thy counsels concerning the salvation of mankind. touched to the quick by the voices of Thy sweet-attuned Church! The voices flowed into mine ears. which are honied with the honey of heaven. Thence. Lord. Much besides. had inspired us with it. and through my difficulty of breathing and pain in my chest was not equal to the Professorship. to be resumed when better practised in our Lord’s own words. my former errors and present desires. 86 . we left the country and returned to Milan. and abundantly able to reform our deformities: for I had no part in that boy. and rejoicing in faith. and yet more admirable. I confess unto Thee Thy gifts. which were not yet forgiven me by Thy baptism. How did I weep. and lightsome with Thine own light: and I was consumed with zeal at the enemies of this Scripture. Excellently hadst Thou made him. For that we brought him up in Thy discipline. And the power of Thy Nod was deeply conveyed to me. a pestilent person. a bitter and a blind bawler against those writings. and the Truth distilled into my heart. Him we joined with us. and happy was I therein. And this I wrote on wax. of my sin. or his whole self.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Thou art: but 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. because he above the rest is a more clear foreshower of the Gospel and of the calling of the Gentiles. nor found I what to do to those deaf and dead. Creator of all. for that I had both made choice to serve Thee. the God of all manner of health. and imagining the BOOK IX: whole to be like it. the holy man Ambrose. begging his advice what of Thy Scriptures I had best read. for from infancy I had never experienced the like. When shall I recall all which passed in those holy-days? Yet neither have I forgotten. I found in him. and tears ran down. which when it had come to such height that I could not speak. in his sixteenth year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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

and hunger and thirst. the lust of the eyes. Thou merciful. Thou enjoinest us continency. and I drew in breath and panted for Thee. I know not. But now since whom Thou fillest. and when I knew. have pity on me. kindle me. saith one. I tasted. Thou hast counselled something better than what Thou hast permitted. through fear of adversity. deformed I. I know not. Woe is me! Lord. he had rather there were nothing for him to endure. where the life of man is not all trial? Woe to the prosperities of the world. But there yet live in my memory (whereof I have much spoken) the images of such things as my ill custom there fixed. once and again. as wholly full of Thee. and the third time. and at once answerest all. who loves any thing with Thee. but in Thee above me? Place there is none. and corruption of joy! Woe to the adversities of the world. and scatteredst my blindness. O Thou Beauty of ancient days. that I might learn Thee? For in my memory Thou wert not. my God. unless God give it. Thou touchedst me. When I shall with my whole self cleave to Thee. Thou breathedst odours. Woe is me! Lord. and I burned for Thy peace. Verily Thou enjoinest me continency from the lust of the flesh. and on which side is the victory. and enjoin what Thou wilt. and for wedlock itself. and the ambition of the world. Thou wert with me. I the sick. O Truth. even before I became a dispenser of Thy Sacrament. Is not the life of man upon earth all BOOK X: trial? Who wishes for troubles and difficulties? Thou commandest them to be endured. which he loveth not for Thee. Thou liftest up. Things held me far from Thee. as rather to will that. which haunt me. though all do not clearly hear. O love. dost Thou give audience to all who ask counsel of Thee. this also was a part of wisdom to know whose gift she is. have pity on me. and I abroad. plunging amid those fair forms which Thou hadst made. whence we were dissipated into many. and there I searched for Thee. that no man can be continent. Thou calledst. and because adversity itself is a hard thing. unless they were in Thee. Where then did I find Thee. Too late loved I Thee. For too little doth he love Thee. Lamentable joys strive with joyous sorrows: and on which side is the victory. What middle place is there betwixt these two. though he love to endure. I miserable. who ever burnest and never consumest! O charity. which from Thee he heareth. and shoutedst. shonest. Thou art the Physician. Clearly dost Thou answer. Thou enjoinest continency: give me what Thou enjoinest. Thou enjoinest continency from concubinage. were not at all. And since Thou gavest it. in prosperity I fear adversity. which. and there is no place. He is Thy best servant who looks not so much to hear that from Thee which himself willeth. and burstest my deafness. not to be loved. once and again. from the longing for prosperity. No man loves what he endures. Thou wert within. All consult Thee on what they will. and my life shall wholly live. it was done. though on manifold matters they ask Thy counsel. By continency verily are we bound up and brought back into One. because I am not full of Thee I am a burden to myself. we go backward and forward. Give what Thou enjoinest. Thou flashedst. and enjoin what Thou wilt. I shall no where have sorrow or labour. strengthless when I am 107 .THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE Where then did I find Thee. yet ever new! too late I loved Thee! And behold. 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. Woe is me! lo! I hide not my wounds. Every where. but I was not with Thee. before I learned Thee. though they hear not always what they will. In adversity I long for prosperity. that I might learn Thee. For though he rejoices that he endures. and lest it shatter endurance. My evil sorrows strive with my good joys.

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

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

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

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

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

And now I bear it and it is light unto me. Shall we then account this also among things of slight concernment. and I knew it not. But we. when sitting at home. and tame my neck to Thy yoke. pervertedly and crookedly imitating Thee. or can it cease through this whole life? To wish. not in the bands of charity. then are our prayers also thereby often interrupted and distracted. and redeem life from corruption. Be Thou our glory. and whilst in Thy presence we direct the voice of our heart to Thine ears. possess us as Thine. Who would be praised of men when Thou blamest. and be pleased at being loved and feared. But when. having made me see my infirmity didst speedily admonish me either through the sight itself by some contemplation to rise towards Thee. while Thou dispraisest. and my one hope is Thy wonderful great mercy. to be feared and loved of men. not for Thy sake. and is overcharged with throngs of this abundant vanity. O Lord. since Thou hast begun to change us? And Thou knowest how far Thou hast already changed me. and let us fly under them. better is he who praised than he who is praised. It is one thing to rise quickly. namely. and hast made it. And of such things is my life full. we may be taken unawares. O Lord. who first healedst me of the lust of vindicating myself. For the one took pleasure in the gift of God in man. or a spider entangling them rushing into her nets. for no other end. this so great concern is broken off by the rushing in of I know not what idle thoughts. every where spreading his snares of “well-done. because so hast Thou promised. because they are but small creatures? I go on from them to praise Thee the wonderful Creator and Orderer of all. Thou alone Lord without pride. when I feared to take it. oft-times takes my attention? Is the thing different. that dark and chilled they might serve him. and heal all my infirmities. And unless Thou. and Thy word feared in us. than of God. and satisfy my desire with good things: who didst curb my pride with Thy fear. 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. but in the bonds of punishment: who purposed to set his throne in the north. but. he also is praised. who hast no lord. and givest grace to the humble: yea. save Thy complete mercy. the adversary of our true blessedness layeth hard at us. 113 . well-done”. and he rejoices more at the praise for himself than that he hath the gift for which he is praised. nor he blessed who doth ungodlily. because Thou art the only true Lord. But. What. and sever our joy from Thy truth. let us be loved for Thee. but this does not first draw my attention. hath this third kind of tempta- BOOK X: tion also ceased from me. the other was better pleased with the gift of man. I dully stand fixed therein. or altogether to despise and pass it by. nor delivered when Thou condemnest.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE and draw me after it: not that I turn aside the body of my beast. another not to fall. and the foundations of the mountains tremble. a lizard catching flies. or shall aught bring us back to hope. and crown me with mercy and pity. stretch Thy wings over us. will not be defended of men when Thou judgest. For when our heart becomes the receptacle of such things. that greedily catching at them.a man is praised for some gift which Thou hast given him. and verily so it was. that so Thou mightest forgive all the rest of my iniquities. he may have them for his own. yet still incline my mind thither. and set it in the deceivingness of men. And therefore dost Thou resist the proud. Thou thunderest down upon the ambitions of the world. behold we are Thy little flock.not the sinner is praised in the desires of his soul. Because now certain offices of human society make it necessary to be loved and feared of men. but in Thy stead: and thus having been made like him.

I seem to myself to be pleased with the proficiency or towardliness of my neighbour. but that I am delighted with praise. that they may serve to some one or two or all of the three concupiscences. and therein essay our powers. yea so abandonedly and atrociously. either when those things be praised in me. or those more. For then I ask myself how much more or less troublesome it is to me not to have them? Then. Thou God knowest. But again how know I whether I am therefore thus affected. in this. than at that cast upon another. discover to me myself also. and hast willed us to love not Thee only. that I may confess unto my brethren. wherein I find myself maimed. which please me less. we ought as little to forego its company. with the same injustice. For in other kinds of temptations I have some sort of means of examining myself. I see that I ought not to be moved at my own praises. and not so only. in which I mislike myself. whereon to bestow it. and enjoin what Thou wilt. and do not the truth before Thee in my heart and 114 . but with truth itself. 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. Let me examine myself again more diligently. or being consistent and most settled in the truth be blamed by all. whether I would. or to be grieved for evil in him. If in my praise I am moved with the good of my neighbour. For. before me? Know I not this also? or is it at last that I deceive myself. which Thine eyes know. not as being influenced by concern for him. if the soul cannot discern whether. Yet I know not whether I can well or ill be without anything. I see how much I have attained to. 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. I know not. For sometimes I am grieved at my own praise. which displease me. Yet fain would I that the approbation of another should not even increase my joy for any good in me. but righteousness also. often. scarce any. and I much fear my secret sins. foregoing. What then do I confess unto Thee in this kind of temptation. forasmuch as either those things are praised. that is. I see which I should choose. Am I then doubtful of myself in this matter? Behold. please me more when they please another also? For some how I am not praised when my judgment of myself is not praised. For herein I know less of myself than of Thee. in Thee. when it hath them. O Lord. Thou knowest on this matter the groans of my heart. which are desired. And whether it be so with me. mine do not. more than with praise? For were it proposed to me. because I would not have him who praiseth me differ from me about myself. from what things to refrain our love. O Truth. being frenzied in error on all things. Give what Thou enjoinest. or is good. must we live ill. it despiseth them. for it leaves me uncertain. but our neighbour also. or not having them. that so it may prove itself. but because those same good things which please me in myself. unless it be absent. For I cannot learn how far I am more cleansed from this plague. O my God. when I hear him dispraise either what he understands not.THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE By these temptations we are assailed daily. Our daily furnace is the tongue of men. be praised by all men. without ceasing are we assailed. they may be cast aside. in refraining my mind from the pleasures of the flesh and idle curiosity. it doth increase it. But to be without praise. And when I am troubled at this my mis- BOOK X: ery. For since Thou hast commanded us not continency alone. and the floods of mine eyes. an excuse occurs to me. but for the good of my neighbour. Yet I own. riches. O Lord? What. which of what value it is. or even lesser and slight goods are more esteemed than they ought. as good life itself. who are to pray for me. for my own sake. And in this way also Thou commandest us continence. but dispraise doth diminish it. that is. when I do without them. when pleased with intelligent praise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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