CONFESSIONS OF ST AUGUSTINE PDF
About The Confessions of Saint Augustine by St. Augustine, Translated by. Edward B. Pusey, D. D.. The Confessions of Saint Augustine. Title. that, first and last, Augustine found the focus of his religious authority. At the same time, it was this .. The Confessions of Saint Augustine. BOOK ONE. In God's. Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the public and we .
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some read an uplifting story, and others may watch an inspiring resourceone.info I have quotes placed anywhere that I can see. of Avila who had a tremendous feeling for St. Augustine and as a young girl was a student At this time they gave me the Confessions of Saint Augustine. Sacred Texts Christianity Index. THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE. ( AD). Translated by Edward Bouverie Pusey. Book I 38, bytes.
His habit of cataloging them served his surviving collaborators well. The story was told that his mortal remains went to Sardinia and thence to Pavia Italy , where a shrine concentrates reverence on what is said to be those remains.
The story of his early life is exceedingly well known—better known than that of virtually any other Greek or Roman worthy.
Yet it is a story told with a sophisticated purpose, highly selective in its choice of incident and theological in its structure. The goal of the book was ultimately self-justification and self-creation. For Augustine the defining moment of his life was the time of his religious conversion to an intense and highly individual form of Christianity. He dated this experience to his time in Milan, and in relation to this he explained his ensuing career. But contemporaries found it odd to single out that particular moment—when he was conveniently away from Africa and from any scrutiny of his motives and actions—in a life that was not always as he seemed to narrate it.
Augustine was always dutiful and restrained. Neither he nor any of his modern biographers has yet succeeded in getting at the essence of his personality.
The hostages he left to psychobiography in Confessions have not made it any easier for modern readers to find him. In an odd way, the Freudian readings of Augustine common in the 20th century shared with him an emphasis on the selected emotional high points he chose to narrate and so were captives of his own storytelling.
Neither was particularly devout, but Monnica became more demonstratively religious in her widowhood and is venerated as St. Augustine was enrolled as a pre-baptismal candidate in the Christian church as a young child, and at various points in his life he considered baptism but deferred out of prudence.
In that age, before the prevalence of infant baptism, it was common for baptism to be delayed until the hour of death and then used to wash away a lifetime of sins.
His classical education was supplemented by a curious but dismissive reading of the Christian Scriptures, but he then fell in with the Manichaeans , enjoying their company and their polemics, in which he took eager part, for most of a decade.
He sheltered himself with them and used them for political influence even after he claimed to have dissociated himself from their beliefs. He abandoned them when he found himself in Milan.
The Confessions (Book X)
It was there, where St. Ambrose was making a name for himself as a champion of orthodoxy, that Augustine found orthodoxy—or at least found orthodoxy satisfactory as something a gentleman could practice. When Augustine accepted baptism at the hands of Ambrose in , thereby joining the religion of his mother to the cultural practices of his father, he managed to make it a Christianity of his own. To some extent influenced by Ambrose but few others influenced by Ambrose went in the same direction , Augustine made his Christianity into a rival to and replacement for the austerity of ancient philosophers.
Reading Platonic texts and correctly understanding some of their doctrine, Augustine decided for himself that Christianity was possible only if he went further than any churchman said he was required to go. He chose to remain celibate even though he was a layman and under no requirement to do so.
His life with a succession of lovers ended. Augustine accepted sexual abstinence as the price of religion. After a long winter in retirement from the temptations of the city, he presented himself to Ambrose for baptism, then slipped away from Milan to pursue a singularly private life for the next four years. That this life ended in his entering the Christian clergy was something he did not foresee, and he should probably be believed when he says that he did not want it.
It was in office as Christian bishop of Hippo that he chose to tell the story of his life as a drama of fall and rise, sin and conversion, desolation and grace. He told that story at a time when his own credentials were suspect—his Donatist opponents thought it queer, or at least suspiciously self-serving, that he left Africa a raving Manichaean and returned meekly claiming to have been baptized in the official church.
It is likely that his telling of the story was meant to reassure his followers and disarm his opponents. If Confessions had not survived, we would not surmise its story. The book is a richly textured meditation by a middle-aged man Augustine was in his early 40s when he wrote it on the course and meaning of his own life.
Those who seek to find in it the memoirs of a great sinner are invariably disappointed, indeed often puzzled at the minutiae of failure that preoccupy the author. Of greater significance is the account of redemption. Augustine is especially influenced by the powerful intellectual preaching of the suave and diplomatic bishop St.
Ambrose , who reconciles for him the attractions of the intellectual and social culture of antiquity, in which Augustine was brought up and of which he was a master, and the spiritual teachings of Christianity. Augustine heard Ambrose and read, in Latin translation, some of the exceedingly difficult works of Plotinus and Porphyry. He acquired from them an intellectual vision of the fall and rise of the soul of man, a vision he found confirmed in the reading of the Bible proposed by Ambrose.
Religion for Augustine, however, was never merely a matter of the intellect. The seventh book of Confessions recounts a perfectly satisfactory intellectual conversion, but the extraordinary eighth book takes him one necessary step further.
Augustine could not bring himself to seek the ritual purity of baptism without cleansing himself of the desires of the flesh to an extreme degree. For him, baptism required renunciation of sexuality in all its express manifestations. The narrative of Confessions shows Augustine forming the will to renounce sexuality through a reading of the letters of St. The rest of Confessions is mainly a meditation on how the continued study of Scripture and pursuit of divine wisdom are still inadequate for attaining perfection and how, as bishop, Augustine makes peace with his imperfections.
It is drenched in language from the Bible and is a work of great force and artistry. Fifteen years after Augustine wrote Confessions , at a time when he was bringing to a close and invoking government power to do so his long struggle with the Donatists but before he had worked himself up to action against the Pelagians , the Roman world was shaken by news of a military action in Italy.
Finally, in , his forces attacked and seized the city of Rome itself, holding it for several days before decamping to the south of Italy. The military significance of the event was nil. Such was the disorder of Roman government that other war bands would hold provinces hostage more and more frequently, and this particular band would wander for another decade before settling mainly in Spain and the south of France.
But the symbolic effect of seeing the city of Rome taken by outsiders for the first time since the Gauls had done so in bce shook the secular confidence of many thoughtful people across the Mediterranean. Perhaps the new Christian God was not as powerful as he seemed. Perhaps the old gods had done a better job of protecting their followers. That his readers and the doubters whose murmurs he had heard were themselves pagans is unlikely.
At the very least, it is clear that his intended audience comprised many people who were at least outwardly affiliated with the Christian church. During the next 15 years, working meticulously through a lofty architecture of argument, he outlined a new way to understand human society , setting up the City of God over and against the City of Man.
Rome was dethroned—and the sack of the city shown to be of no spiritual importance—in favour of the heavenly Jerusalem, the true home and source of citizenship for all Christians. The City of Man was doomed to disarray, and wise men would, as it were, keep their passports in order as citizens of the City above, living in this world as pilgrims longing to return home.
De civitate Dei contra paganos c. The first 10 refute the claims to divine power of various pagan communities. The last 12 retell the biblical story of humankind from Genesis to the Last Judgment , offering what Augustine presents as the true history of the City of God against which, and only against which, the history of the City of Man, including the history of Rome, can be properly understood.
The work is too long and at times, particularly in the last books, too discursive to make entirely satisfactory reading today, but it remains impressive as a whole and fascinating in its parts. The stinging attack on paganism in the first books is memorable and effective; the encounter with Platonism in Books VIII—X is of great philosophical significance; and the last books especially Book XIX, with a vision of true peace offer a view of human destiny that would be widely persuasive for at least a thousand years.
The City of God would be read in various ways throughout the Middle Ages , at some points virtually as a founding document for a political order of kings and popes that Augustine could hardly have imagined. At its heart is a powerful contrarian vision of human life, one which accepts the place of disaster, death, and disappointment while holding out hope of a better life to come, a hope that in turn eases and gives direction to life in this world.
In form, the book is a catalog of his writings with comments on the circumstances of their composition and with the retractions or rectifications he would make in hindsight. One effect of the book was to make it much easier for medieval readers to find and identify authentic works of Augustine, and this was surely a factor in the remarkable survival of so much of what he wrote.
There is very little in the work that is false or inaccurate, but the shaping and presentation make it a work of propaganda. The Augustine who emerges has been faithful, consistent, and unwavering in his doctrine and life. Many who knew him would have seen instead either progress or outright tergiversation, depending on their point of view. Of greatest interest are the following:.
It was widely influential in the Middle Ages as an educational treatise claiming the primacy of religious teaching based on the Bible. The most widespread and longest-lasting theological controversies of the 4th century focused on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity —that is, the threeness of God represented in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Augustine is carefully orthodox, after the spirit of his and succeeding times, but adds his own emphasis in the way he teaches the resemblance between God and man: The Creation narrative of the book of Genesis was for Augustine Scripture par excellence. They cover a wide range. Many are simple expositions of Scripture read aloud at a particular service according to church rules, but Augustine followed certain programs as well. There are sermons on all Psalms , deliberately gathered by him in a separate collection, Enarrationes in Psalmos —; Enarrations on the Psalms.
These are perhaps his best work as a homilist, for he finds in the uplifting spiritual poetry of the Hebrews messages that he can apply consistently to his view of austere, hopeful, realistic Christianity; his ordinary congregation in Hippo would have drawn sustenance from them.
Other sermons range over much of Scripture, but it is worth noting that Augustine had little to say about the prophets of the Old Testament , and what he did have to say about St. Paul appeared in his written works rather than in his public sermons.
Moderns enamoured of Augustine from the narrative in Confessions have given much emphasis to his short, attractive early works, several of which mirror the style and manner of Ciceronian dialogues with a new, Platonized Christian content: If they were all we had of Augustine, he would remain a well-respected, albeit minor, figure in late Latin literature.
Of his works against the Manichaeans , Confessions probably remains the most attractive and interesting. The sect itself is too little known today for detailed refutation of its more idiosyncratic gnostic doctrines to have much weight.
To the young and still Anglican John Henry Newman , what Augustine had written about the provincial self-satisfaction of the Donatists seemed an equally effective argument against the Church of England. De spiritu et littera ; On the Spirit and the Letter comes from an early moment in the controversy, is relatively irenic, and beautifully sets forth his point of view.
De gratia Christi et de peccato originali ; On the Grace of Christ and on Original Sin is a more methodical exposition. The hardest positions Augustine takes in favour of predestination in his last years appear in De praedestinatione sanctorum ; The Predestination of the Blessed and De dono perseverantiae ; The Gift of Perseverance. Thousands of manuscripts survive, and many serious medieval libraries—possessing no more than a few hundred books in all—had more works of Augustine than of any other writer.
His achievement is paradoxical inasmuch as—like a modern artist who makes more money posthumously than in life—most of it was gained after his death and in lands and societies far removed from his own. Augustine was read avidly in a world where Christian orthodoxy prevailed in a way he could barely have dreamed of, hence a world unlike that to which his books were meant to apply.
Some of his success is owed to the undeniable power of his writing, some to his good luck in having maintained a reputation for orthodoxy unblemished even by debates about some of his most extreme views, but, above all, Augustine found his voice in a few themes which he espoused eloquently throughout his career. At the same time, Augustine captures the poignancy and tentativeness of the human condition, centred on the isolated and individual experience of the person.
For all he writes of the Christian community, his Christian stands alone before God and is imprisoned in a unique body and soul painfully aware of the different way he knows himself and knows—at a distance and with difficulty—other people. But Augustine achieves a greater poignancy. His isolated self in the presence of God is denied even the satisfaction of solipsism: The soul experiences freedom of choice and ensuing slavery to sin but knows that divine predestination will prevail.
Thousands upon thousands of pages have been written on Augustine and his views.
The Confessions Of St Augustine
Given his influence, he is often canvassed for his opinion on controversies from the Immaculate Conception of Mary to the ethics of contraception that he barely imagined or could have spoken to. But the themes of imperial God and contingent self run deep and go far to explain his refusal to accept Manichaean doctrines of a powerful Devil at war with God, Donatist particularism in the face of universal religion, or Pelagian claims of human autonomy and confidence.
His views on sexuality and the place of women in society have been searchingly tested and found wanting in recent years, but they, too, may have roots in the loneliness of a man terrified of his father—or his God.
In the end, Augustine and his own experience, so vividly displayed and at the same time veiled in his Confessions , disappear from view, to be replaced by the serene teacher depicted in medieval and Renaissance art. It is worth remembering that Augustine died in the midst of a community that feared for its material well-being and that he chose to spend his last days in a room by himself, posting on a wall where he could see them the texts of the seven penitential Psalms, to wrestle one last time with his sins before meeting his maker.
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It is from love of your love that I make my act of recollection. We encounter here perhaps the most paradoxical, and the most fundamental, doctrine of the Confessions: The trinity of love is found in Plotinus. Ennead 6. Augustine, De Trinitate In the Confessions, it occurs most strikingly, and with structural power, here at the start of Book Two.
For Plotinus, we are drawn back to the One, because our being is the One in us; all being depends on unity. This unity may equally be called goodness or the love of love.
He is able to do so because You gathered me together from the state of disintegration in which I had been fruitlessly divided. I turned from you the One to be lost in the many. If the account of the infancy is intended as an explanation of how we all re-enact the Fall, and have all lost our original right place in the cosmos.
The theft of the pears poses the problem of the mystery of evil in the form of rebellion, evil apparently willed for its own sake. A solution to this problem, a solution which neither allows evil to exist as an independent reality, nor implicates God in evil, a solution which enables humans to discover responsibility for their deeds, and which permits repentance and forgiveness, does not appear until Book Seven where Augustine finds his answer in Platonism.
A philosophical love of God: Book Three begins like Book Two by conjugating amare to love. In Carthage, a cauldron of illicit loves, he had not yet been in love and he longed to love. I sought an object for love, I was in love with love.
He writes that this book literally changed my feelings. It changed his experience, religious practice, values, and desires in respect to God himself It altered my prayers, and created in me different purposes and desires. Now his conversion begins, and he represents it, in language Neoplatonists use, as the return to the divine source I began to rise up to return to you. Augustine describes his new love, the love which is philosophy, the love of wisdom, the wisdom which itself is God.
He employs the language of passionate feeling How I burned, my God, how I burned. In Book Eight, when he is about to describe the Take Up and Read conversion, he recollects the conversion to philosophy which enabled, and is completed, by this decisive new movement of his will in the Milan garden.
He writes that he had been excited to the study of wisdom by reading the Hortensius. Book Seven is the heart of the Confessions. Here we find Augustine finally arriving at a true knowledge about the substance of God.
There is for him a tight interconnection between: Augustine is explicit that he is dependent for this saving knowledge on the libri platonicorum, the books of the Platonists, i. Neoplatonic philosophy.
With the knowledge of God as immaterial substance and the perfect Good, knowledge coming to him from the Platonists, Augustine was able to become a Christian.
Both of these doctrines, acquired from Plato, are essential to the construction of Christianity.
Three main parts of the Confessions. The first nine books are the first autobiography in western literature and are a confession both in the primary sense of praising testimony to God and in the secondary sense of a public self-exposure of sins. He is to judge himself by God or, in other words, God is his judge.
He does in fact find God within himself and above himself by discovering that he has always been searching for happiness X. In this confession praise of God as the Creator, Augustine passes to a vision of the objective working of God.
The consideration of the relation of time to eternity Book XI concerns how the creature moving in time can share the eternal knowledge of God. How can the creature in time know its changing process from within the perspective of the divine eternity timelessness? The extent to which Augustine can understand Genesis is the extent to which he comes to know himself even as he is known, to understand that through which he has been understanding himself since the first words of this book words of Scripture , and to know the patterns or forms in which his personal history has been enacted.
Overall, then, there is a subjective movement i. This movement, and its result, define the specific character of Western Latin culture with the centrality and value it gives the human individual. For humans to possess such a divine understanding of their own lives rescues those lives from mere change and chance and gives them and such knowledge an infinite importance.
Augustine's Trinitarian Cosmos as published. By Wayne J Hankey.
Augustine on Being Material. By Joshua Nunziato.
Augustine's Trinitarian Cosmos, March 18, Is Monica Unique? By Dana M Trusso. Augustine's Trinitarian Cosmos for Dionysius 35 Download pdf. Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link.Dodaro and G. Subject Tag. These questions are commonly answered in the affirmative. As, then, I knew not how this image of Yours should subsist, I should have knocked and propounded the doubt how it was to be believed , and not have insultingly opposed it, as if it were believed.
Why do they desire to hear from me what I am, who are unwilling to hear from You what they are?