Infomotions, Inc.Select letters / St. Augustine ; with an English translation by James Houston Baxter. / Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo

Author: Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo
Title: Select letters / St. Augustine ; with an English translation by James Houston Baxter.
Publisher: London : W. Heinemann ; New York : G. P. Putnam's, 1930.
Tag(s): augustine; atque; quibus; vobis; domino; ergo; domino salutem; bishop
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
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Identifier: selectletters00auguuoft
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T. E. PAGE, LiTT.D. 
E. CAPPS, PH.D., I.I.D. W. H. D. ROUSE, litt.d. 



CLL-Q'.eflnc i-iicuM-i' , £/<.'.' ■'ce. 4^ 


1 1 1 







Printed in Great Britain 


Compared \vith his Confessio?is, St. Augustine's 
Letters have received but sUght attention, even from 
many of his professed biographers, and for each 
edition of the one there have appeared, at a moderate 
estimate, several hundred editions, translations or 
studies of the other. Yet a man's autobiography 
gives only his own account and interpretation of him- 
self and his deeds ; his letters, if they are genuine and 
spontaneous, show him directly, without the distor- 
tion of his own explanations and self-justifications. 
The present selection, barely a quarter of Augustine's 
extant correspondence, contains, it is hoped, enough 
to exhibit the human interest of the man and his 
environment ; excluding almost all the lengthier 
letters, often of the bulk of minor treatises, and those 
solely or chiefly concerned ^^dth questions of doctrine, 
I have sought to present those which best reveal 
him in contact with the varied and busy life of his 

The Latin text is, for the most part, that of the 
Vienna Corpus Scriptorutn Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum, 
edited in four volumes by Alois Goldbacher. Per- 
mission to reprint this was generously granted some 
ten years ago by the late August Engelbrecht, then 
Secretary of the Vienna Academy, and this courtesy 
is here gratefully acknowledged. The large number 


and variety of the manuscripts, which would have 
rendered necessary a fresh and lengthy series of 
sigla for each letter, has made it practically im- 
possible to provide critical notes for all the changes 
introduced into the text, and many of these have 
been adopted without remark. Goldbacher's re- 
viewers repeatedly pointed out the difficulties made 
for the reader by his method of quoting his manu- 
script authorities, but in an edition of this size no 
improvement has been attempted, and, as his appara- 
tus criticus has supplied the material for improving 
his text, to it the textual critic is referred. 

I have had before me the translations by Poujoulat, 
Cunningham and Miss Allies. Of these Poujoulat is 
fluent, but given to avoiding difficulties ; Cunning- 
ham is, on the whole, accurate, but his dull and 
over-literal style makes his translation heavy reading, 
though here and there he finds a phrase which it 
would have been hard to better ; in difficulties I 
have occasionally adopted or adapted his rendering. 
Miss Allies gives a paraphrase which is not of much 
help alongside the Latin. 

To Mr. C. J. Fordyce, of Jesus College, Oxford, 
I am indebted for a careful reading of the greater 
part of my translation and his high scholarship and 
accuracy have removed many weaknesses and rough- 
nesses. Messrs. R. and R. Clark's readers and printers 
have been models of exactness and speed. Finally, 
I owe a great debt, which I can merely acknow- 
ledge, to three men who in this particular field 
have given me guidance and inspiration : the late 
John Swinnerton Phillimore, of Glasgow University, 
to whose scholarship, kindliness and influence no 
words could be adequate tribute ; the late Alois 


Goldbacher, the veteran editor, whom I knew only 
in the last, difficult years of his long and devoted 
life, but who was even then unwearied in labour 
and in helpfulness ; and, last but not least, Pro- 
fessor Alexander Souter, of Aberdeen University, 
\\'ith whom my friendship during the last twelve 
years has been an interrupted, but happy, record of 
" patristic hours," fruitful and stimulating to a degree 
M'hich those who know him as a scholar and a friend 
will readily understand. 

J. H. B. 

St. Andrews, August 1930. 



No. 1 (Ep. II) 




(Ep. I\0 
(Ep. X) 
(Ep. XV) 
(Ep. XVI) 
(Ep. XVII) 
(Ep. XXI) 
(Ep. XXII) 
(Ep. XXIX) 
(Ep. XXXIV) 
(Ep. XLII) 



















No. 16 

(Ep. L) 

„ 17 

(Ep. LX) 

„ 18 

(Ep. LX\') 

„ 19 

(Ep. LXVI) 

„ 20 

(Ep. LXVII) . 

„ 21 


„ 22 

(Ep. LXXXI\0 

„ 23 


„ 24 

(Ep. XCI) 

» 25 

(Ep. XCVII) . 

., 26 

(Ep. XCIX) . 

,, 27 

(Ep.C) . 

,, 28 

(Ep. CI) . 

,, 29 

(Ep. CX) . 

„ 30 

(Ep. CXV) 

„ 31 

(Ep. CXXII) . 

» 32 

(Ep. CXXIV) . 

» 33 

(Ep. CXXVI) . 

,, 34 


„ 35 

(Ep. CXLIV) . 

„ S6 

(Ep. CXLVI) . 

» 37 

(Ep. CL) . 

„ 38 

(Ep. CLIX) 

„ 39 


„ 40 


„ 41 





No. 42 

(Ep. CLXXXIX) .... 322 

„ 43 

(Ep. CXCI) 


„ 44 

(Ep. CXCII) . 


» 45 

(Ep. CC) . 


„ 46 

(Ep. CCIII) 


» 47 

(Ep. CCIX) 


„ 48 

(Ep. CCX) 


„ 49 

(Ep. CCXI) 


„ 50 

(Ep. CCXIV) 


„ 51 

(Ep. CCXX) 



„ 52 



,, oS 



,, 54 



,, 55 



„ 56 

(Ep. CCXL\0 . 


„ 57 



» 58 

(Ep. CCLIV) . 


„ 59 



,, 60 

(Ep. CCLXII) . 


„ 61 



„ 62 



Index . 





As befitted the religion of a new and deep and 
universal brotherhood, Christianity from its first 
diffusion wove new ties between sundered classes and 
distant nations and created a fresh and urgent need 
for intercourse and for communication. Its earliest 
literature was epistolary and its chief missionary 
the prince of letter-\\Titers, whose correspondence, 
early deemed canonical, set an example and pro- 
vided a model for the following Christian genera- 
tions. The centuries of persecution may have 
diminished, though they did not stem, the stream 
of letters that flowed across the Mediterranean from 
Church to Church, and in the Christian literature 
of that time no names are better known than those 
of Ignatius, Barnabas, Clement, Polycarp, Irenaeus, 
Dionysius of Corinth, Origen, Dionysius of Alex- 
andria, and Cyprian — letter-wTiters all. When peace 
was won and the Church recognized. Christian 
development on all sides was rapid, until, in the 
half-century following Julian's failure to revive and 
restore the glories of ancient paganisni. Christian 
literature in both East and West, and with it Christian 
" epistolary converse," as its devotees loved to call it, 
reached its patristic Golden Age. 

There was, indeed, much to challenge and to stimu- 
late the eager and observant Christian mind, and to 


encourage the exchange of ideas between com- 
munities and between individuals. Paganism, by a 
succession of increasingly severe edicts, was being 
publicly dismissed from the Empire ; its temples 
were seized and closed or torn down, or else, when a 
less puritanical outlook prevailed, turned to Christian 
uses ; its Altar of Victory, set up in the Senate-house 
after the Battle of Actium in 31 b.c. and since then, 
with negligible interruptions, the standing symbol 
of the Empire's old religion, was finally and irre- 
vocably removed under Theodosius, and paganism, 
publicly proscribed, was driven to seek shelter and 
continuance in quiet districts and under new and 
orthodox disguises. The Church was learning to 
accommodate itself, not merely to freedom, but 
to dominance ; like a little water in a large vessel, 
it spread thinly to take the shape and perform the 
functions of that which it had displaced ; it had to 
learn new duties, and in the process it was acquiring 
that organization which has marked it ever since. At 
the same time, the internal changes were important 
and enduring : modes of v.orship were being evolved 
which became by slow growth and development 
the stately and impressive liturgy of the Middle 
Ages ; in the need for formulation of the standard 
faith, the boundaries were drawn more and more 
rigidly between right religion and dangerous error, 
and Christianity steadily grew more metaphysical as 
it attempted to express the inexpressible. A new 
ascetic movement, the parent of ordered community 
monasticism, had inevitably followed the invasion 
of the Church by masses to whom Christianity was 
more a fashion than a faith, and, partly as the result 
of the conviction that this elect and inner circle 


had a better and a surer way to salvation in the 
renunciation of the world and all its pomp and power, 
the rich surrendered their property for pious uses 
and their prospects for a lowlier, chastened life that 
was to win them higher blessings in the world to 
come. Partly too, no doubt, it w^as the conscious 
or unconscious answer of the harassed and perplexed 
to the increasing difficulties of the time, the pro- 
gressive impoverishment of the Empire and the 
progressive burden of taxation, for, since Constantine 
had first imposed his super-tribute, material em- 
barrassments had vastly grown, and the only ways 
of escape were into the senatorial class, which was 
hard, or into the ranks of the clergy, which was 
easy. The same economic pressure led to the con- 
solidation and the isolation of those great domains 
of M'hich the following letters speak more than 
once ; on them the proprietors became practically 
independent rulers, and to them, as hfe grew more 
and more unsure, the poorer classes gravitated in 
search of protection against pirates and brigands and 
the tax-collector. In the arrangements gradually 
evolved between the owners and the tenants for the 
cultivation of the land are to be found the beginnings 
of a system which was to play an important part in 
the peasant-life of the Middle Ages ; but for the 
moment its disadvantageous features are more evi- 
dent. City-life, prosperous and active in the first 
and second centuries of our era, was suffering a 
marked decline, and, as patriotic feeling had always 
found expression in devotion to one's city and a civic 
pride much narrower and more intense than in our 
own day, the Empire became more and more an 
abstraction and society more definitely turned in the 


direction of local pre-occupations and aristocratic 
administration. With the isolation of each territorial 
unit and its economic and administrative self-suffici- 
ency, centralized sovereignty disappeared before a 
divided and dissipated control which owed little 
allegiance and provided little support to the needs or 
to the idea of an empire. Each fundus, Augustine 
tells us, is a practical independent unit ; it has its 
own machinery, its own church or churches, and its 
own bishop. In these Letters the reader will often 
be struck by the existence of such bishops in charge 
of what are apparently very small churches and very 
limited territories, and in this fact of decentralization 
he will find the explanation. The same fact very 
largely accounts for the persistence of Donatism and 
the violence of its antagonism to the Catholic Church. 
The ancient stock, even after nearly six hundred 
years of Roman civilization, remained largely un- 
changed : the Punic language was spoken even in 
Hippo, and in the country districts it was often the 
only speech. The enormous extension of landed 
properties in Africa laid upon the native population a 
heavy burden of serfdom which provoked acute social 
and racial hatred, and when, through the generosity 
of the emperors, the Church itself, in addition to 
being officially recognized, became a landed pro- 
prietor, that opposition which had begun as a simple 
question of ecclesiastical rivalry \vas soon augmented 
by the accession of discontented slaves who were 
prompted to rebellion by economic oppression and 
social grievances. Their armed bands of circum- 
celliones wandered round the country, attacking and 
burning property and wreaking the most violent 
vengeance upon landowners and Catholic priests, 


pouring vinegar and salt water down their throats, 
putting hme into their eyes, and cudgeUing them to 
death. The African pro\1nces were completely at 
their mercy : debtors' tablets were seized and de- 
stroyed ; the roads were infested Mith brigands, and 
life was safe neither on the country domains nor 
outside them. At Hippo Augustine found his 
Catholic Christians denied bread by the Donatist 
baker and his people often driven by force to join 
the Donatist party. On one occasion he himself 
only escaped with his life by losing his way and so 
avoiding an ambush they had laid for him. During 
the short rebellion under Gildo, a count of Africa who 
had turned the social and religious ferment to his 
own ends, the threat not only to Africa, but to Rome, 
reached its most dangerous point. The rebel had 
chosen his moment well, for the Rhine frontier was 
crumbling. Alaric was threatening Italy, and the 
arrest of the corn supply from Numidia added actual 
famine to potential fear. Stilicho was campaigning 
in the East, and only in 398 was he able to deal with 
Gildo the Moor. The rebellion was soon put down, 
but already a few of the Donatists had began to look to 
the Catholic Church as the only agent which could re- 
establish peace and order. The outrageous violence 
of their supporters recoiled upon their own head, for 
a period of drastic repression was now adopted by 
both Church and State. Donatist churches were de- 
stroyed ; Donatist property was confiscated, and 
the right of buying, selling, or bequeathing property 
was taken away. In February 405 the Emperor 
Honorius promulgated the law known as the " Edict 
of Union," which made schism penal, and, though its 
immediate effect was to drive the Circumcellions to 


greater exasperation and outrage, it did in time pro- 
duce some degree of peace. Yet in 4-10 the council 
of African bishops assembled at Carthage sought 
from the Emperor powers to convene Catholics and 
Donatists in a Conference, at which the points at 
variance should be discussed. In June 411 the two 
parties met at Carthage under the presidency of the 
tribune Marcellinus, who after hearing both sides 
gave judgement for the CathoHcs. All rescripts 
giving toleration or favour to the Donatists were 
repealed and previous condemnations of their sect 
and error were confirmed. Heavy penalties were 
to be inflicted upon their adherents ; their clergy- 
were to be deported, and their churches handed over 
to the Catholics. Fresh outbreaks of fury resulted ; 
Restitutus, a priest of Hippo, was murdered and 
another cleric suffered mutilation, but the work of 
restoration and incorporation went on. Yet there 
can be no doubt that the success of the \'andals in 
Africa was in a considerable measure facilitated by 
the presence of large bodies of malcontents among 
the native population. The ten years of warfare 
that preceded the fall of Carthage in 439 were 
rendered appalhng by the wanton ferocity of the 
fanatical native peasantry, who under protection 
of the invaders burned the villas of their masters 
and gave the whole countryside over to pillage 
and destruction. During the \'andal occupation of 
Africa (a.d. 430-533), the Donatists seem to have 
escaped the persecution meted out by the Arian 
conquerors to the Catholic party, and from the re- 
conquest by the Byzantine emperors until in 637 the 
Saracen invaders swept across Africa destroying 
Church and State alike, occasional glimpses of 


Donatist activity reappear, to show that they had by 
no means abandoned their opposition to orthodoxy 
or yielded to the pressure of the long series of edicts 
designed to crush them. 

In its chronological details their history possesses 
only a restricted interest ; its importance lies rather 
in the system of Catholic doctrines which were 
formulated in the refutation of their errors. The 
real origins of the schism are to be found in the era 
of the persecutions, when many of the terrorized 
Christians of North Africa surrendered to the im- 
perial agents the Sacred Books of the Faith. When 
peace came, the question of discipline arose : were 
those who had thus handed over the Scriptures to 
be received back to full communion, or was their 
character as Christians and as officers of the Church 
not entirely impaired by that act of faint-heartedness 
and treason ? If a minister was thus unworthy, did 
his personal unworthiness destroy the efficacity of 
the Sacraments which he dispensed ? The party of 
zealots, many of whom declared that they had re- 
fused to surrender the Holy Books or had sought the 
honours of martyrdom by proclaiming their possession 
of them and their defiance of the persecuting edict, 
maintained the position that as the Bishop of Carthage 
had been ordained by a traditor, his consecration was 
invalid and the Catholics, who persisted in com- 
munion with him, were in consequence cut off from 
the true Church. This rigorism was not new in 
Africa : Tertullian had argued, a century before, 
that the Christian had no right to avoid persecution, 
since in so doing he is thwarting the will of God by 
whom the persecution has been allowed to come 
about ; Cyprian and the majority of his fellow- 



bishops held that baptism could not be validly 
administered by heretics, since they could not give 
what they did not possess. The Donatists. in turn, 
made the validity of a Sacrament depend upon the 
character of the minister ; holiness is the keynote 
of the Church, and when that has been impaired, 
apostolicity and catholicity are of no avail. The 
Church is a society of saints, not a school for sinners. 
So, since to their mind the whole Catholic body was 
composed of traditors and the sons of traditors, all 
who came over from its ranks to theirs must be re- 
baptized. On the point of fact, the betrayal of the 
Scriptures by representatives of the Catholic Church, 
they were proved by ample evidence to be in the 
WTong. On the point of doctrine, it was left for 
Augustine to emphasize the distinction between sacra- 
mental validity and efficacy and to give authorita- 
tive expression to the Cyprianic and ecclesiastical 
conceptions of the nature and the unity of the Church, 
the necessity of inclusion in it for salvation, and the 
apostolicity of its episcopate. Further, in his polemic 
against Donatism, he was led to forgo his earlier opinion 
in favour of freedom of thought, and to enunciate the 
theory of religious intolerance. To this momentous 
step his progress was gradual, and he was never, 
indeed, very happy about the employment of civil 
power in the coercion of the heretics. In the first 
period of the controversy, from 391 to about 4-04<, he 
sought to win the Donatists to unity through argu- 
ment and persuasion ; then, for a year or two, in face 
of the fruitlessness of that policy, he hesitated and 
held back, before finally accepting the edict of 405 
with its penal laws against the heretics and support- 
ing with his authority the theory that it is the duty 


of the Catholic prince to estabUsh CathoUc unity. 
The action of the emperors in using force to destroy 
heresy he thereafter vigorously defended, although 
in actual practice he sought as far as lay in his power 
to prevent the infliction of the extreme penalties of 
torture and death. Yet his theory of the coercion 
of heretics contains in germ the whole system of 
spiritual tyranny which came to a full development 
in the Inquisition, and his authority was invoked for 
the perpetration of cruelties from which he certainly 
would have shrunk with horror. His doctrine of the 
Church pro\dded the basis for the mediaeval concep- 
tion of an omnipotent institution, capable of using 
the secular State as the executive of its declared will, 
possessed of an essential and inalienable prerogative 
as the Body and Kingdom of Christ, and exercising 
a divine right in its organization and in the suppres- 
sion of all free inquiry and free speech. But he 
never completely resolved the inconsistency between 
his theory of the Church Catholic and his theological 
doctrine of Grace ; on the one hand, the Church is 
the visible Society bound together by the Sacra- 
ments and the hierarchy ; on the other, it is the sum 
total of all those who, whether within the visible 
Church or without, are predestined by God to eternal 
life. Between these two his thought wavered, and 
he transfers to the visible Society much of the ideal 
character of the final Kingdom of God. In this 
identification of the Kingdom of God with an organ- 
ized ecclesiastical government he supplied the frame- 
work for the mediaeval Church, but the real disparity 
between the hierarchical idea and his doctrine of Grace 
was not realized and faced until the days of Wyclif 
and Hus and the Reformation, 

b xxi 



The controversy between Augustine and Pelagius, 
in the course of which were evolved those theories of 
Grace, Predestination, and Freewill specifically desig- 
nated Augustinianism, occupies a relatively small space 
in the present collection of letters, for the majority of 
those in which Augustine sets forth his own views or 
discusses the theories of his opponents are either too 
lengthy or too technical for our purpose here. Yet in 
many ways it was the most important of the ecclesias- 
tical questions with which Augustine was engaged, 
and the one into which he threw himself with the 
most fervour and con\iction. His controversy with 
the Manichaeans concerning the nature of evil had 
already turned his attention to the problem of sin, its 
sway over the human heart, and its punishment, and 
the writings he had circulated on the subject had 
marked him out as a leader of Christian thought. 
Moreover, it was a phrase from his own Confessions : 
Da quod iuhes et iube quod vis (Bk. x. 40, 44, 60) to 
which Pelagius originally took exception, and it was in 
Africa that the new doctrines first took hold and were 
first conc'emned. When Pelagianism spread to the 
various countries around the Mediterranean, it was 
to Augustine that all men turned in hope of defini- 
tion in a problem which affected every Christian in 
his attitude towards evil and towards the salvation 
offered by the Church in Christ as a deliverance from 
evil. The dispute here concerned man as a more im- 
mediate and inward aspect of the problem which had 
earlier engaged Augustine's mind ; with the Mani- 
chaeans the discussion had centred round the meta- 
physical and cosmological problem, evil as it existed 


in the universe, its origin and its relation to the 
Creator. Against Pelagianism Augustine was chiefly 
engaged in discussing the nature of evil as it is mani- 
fested in the heart of man, the corruption of the 
human will, man's responsibility for all the sin that 
exists in the world, and the place of human freedom 
in God's scheme of salvation. Partly deriving from 
those Christological heresies which regarded Jesus as 
a sinless man inhabited by the divine Logos and so 
promoted to the dignity of being God, and partly 
drawing upon the Stoic doctrine of human perfecti- 
bility and of \drtue as the life according to nature, 
Pelagianism was an outbreak of paganism within the 
Church which threatened not only to blot out that 
condescension of God to man that makes all religion 
something more than mere ethics, but also to deny 
that fundamental doctrine of Christianity, the neces- 
sity and the power of the Atonement. Of the stages 
in this controversy, a few indications will be found in 
the Letters here selected : the first, at Carthage, when 
Celestius was condemned ; the second, in Palestine, 
where Pelagius's specious arguments misled two 
Eastern synods into approval of his case ; and the 
third, at Rome, where at first the Roman bishop, 
Zosimus, pronounced Pelagius orthodox and after- 
wards, under pressure from the Church at Carthage, 
declared his theories anathema. But the problem, 
once ventilated, continued to trouble the Western 
Church, and even in his own day x\ugustine found 
many critics of his system as he has continuously 
found both critics and supporters since. If his views 
have not found universal acceptance in detail, those 
which he attacked have been with one accord re- 
jected, though they are ever ready to return to 


favour as often as men lose their sense of the reality 
of sin and the Church fails to insist upon the cardinal 
need of redemption. If Augustine based his general 
argument upon theories which were inconsistent Mith 
his other teaching, if the sharp-Mitted Julian of 
Eclanum made short work of much of his doctrine, at 
least in the age-long controversy between " morals 
as against religion, free-^^ill as against grace, reason 
as against revelation, and culture as against con- 
version," Augustine undoubtedly saved the cause of 
Christianity. He re-discovered and re-interpreted 
St. Paul ; it might even be said that he re-lived the 
Pauline experience and re-expressed the Pauline 
contribution to Christian doctrine, and for that it is a 
becoming recognition that the only two conversion 
anniversaries in the Church's calendar should be those 
of the t\vo men who were so closely akin. It was by 
this side of his teaching, so irreconcilable with his 
Catholicism, that he became the teacher and the in- 
spiration of Gottschalk and the Jansenists, of Luther 
and of Calvin. 


Before the Roman conquest of 146 B.C. Carthage 
had been a Phoenician colony since the ninth century 
and Utica for three centuries more, and in the com- 
mercial centres along the coast and in the valleys 
cultivated for their support Punic civilization had left 
deep and abiding traces. At best, the Romanization 
of North Africa was but partial and external. Primarily 
an agricultural province, Africa had to be systematic- 
ally organized, preserved in orderliness and defended 
along the desert frontier, so that the rich harvests of 
wheat, wine, olives, and grapes, so necessary for the 


markets and the mouths of Rome, mio-ht be fully 
developed, safely gathered, and speedily transported. 
The coastal towns, Hadrumetum, Carthage, Hippo, 
and others, were active ports and shipbuilding 
centres, Mdth a considerable population of Roman 
agents and officials, yet even there the basic elements 
were Punic and so remained. In spite of the in- 
fluence exerted by the many municipalities scattered 
throughout the country, the existence of those ex- 
tensive estates M'hich have been already mentioned, 
and on them of a small, exclusive, and enormously 
wealthy class of proprietors alongside a vast population 
of serfs, made it possible to have considerable material 
progress without a corresponding extension of culture. 
Since the reign of Trajan, the soldiers of the Third 
Legion who on discharge from service settled in the 
veteran-colonies were almost all of African birth, and 
their influence in Romanizing the country was small. 
Through long contact and acquiescence the native 
inhabitants had adapted themselves to Roman forms 
and institutions, but the economic and social life 
developed by the conquerors, the laws and language 
they imposed and the religion they practised, made 
no deep impression upon a race that in speech, culture, 
and tradition was oriental. Although Africa, like the 
other provinces, shows abundant evidence of the cult 
of the Hellenic deities and the adoption of the old 
mythology, and although the official cult of Rome 
and the Emperor was naturally observed as an ex- 
pression of subjection, devotion, and loyalty, these 
forms of religion were only engrafted upon an older 
and deeper set of beliefs and superstitions, which they 
could neither displace nor destroy. As might be ex- 
pected, the imported religion found its chief devotees 



among the higher urban classes. The numerous 
monuments raised to the honour of the sovereign 
City or the Emperor were promoted either by the 
municipalities themselves or by those who had held 
office in them as magistrates. But among the humbler 
classes it was otherwise, and if they shared in the 
ceremonies and the games celebrated in the name 
of the imperial religion, their intimate and personal 
devotions were paid to other deities thinly disguised 
under Roman appellations. The inscriptions bear 
witness to the great popularity of Saturn throughout 
all North Africa, and Tertullian several times records 
the widespread nature of that cult, but at bottom it 
was, and remained, the cult of a Phoenician deity, 
Baal-Hammon, Similarly, the cult of Juno Caelestis 
or the Dea Caelestis or Diana concealed that of the old 
Punic goddess, Tanit, goddess of the crescent moon, 
parent of all things, mistress of all elements. In the 
old Carthaginian religion Baal and Tanit were the two 
supreme di^'inities, or rather the original divine being, 
conceived under male and female forms. Of their 
offspring, Eschmoun and Melqart were the most not- 
able, and they continued to be worshipped after the 
Roman conquest under the names of Esculapius and 
of Hercules. In the course of time certain changes 
were produced by this identification of the older 
religion with the new. The Phoenicians of Tyre and 
Sidon had refrained, like the Jews, from the repre- 
sentation of their divinities in human form, and in 
North Africa, too, the stones raised in honour of Baal 
or Tanit originally bore only symbols, the disk, the 
crescent, or the caduceus. Under Roman influence, 
the employment of more or less artistic human figures 
and features gradually became the custom, and the 


syncretistic paganism of the North African passed 
from being s3'mbohcal to being anthropomorphic. 
Fm'ther. the Punic rehgion in its native state had been 
more closely akin to the strict monotheism of the 
Hebrews than to the pictm-esque polytheism of the 
Hellenes. Its twofold divinity, Baal-Tanit, was more 
a cosmological conception than a religious or poetical ; 
though two in name, they symbolized the two corre- 
lative aspects of the ultimate being, the male and 
generative, and the female and reproductive. But 
around them had grown up no art and no mythology ; 
their functions remained vague and indeterminate, 
and their personality ill-defined. That was M'hy their 
identification with any sinsi'le one of the ficrures of 
the Roman pantheon was uncertain ; Tanit appears 
under the varying appellations of Diana, Ceres, or 
\^enus, and Baal masquerades under the designations 
of Saturn, Jupiter, Liber Pater, Mercury, Pluto, or 
Apollo. Here already was a suggestion of that mono- 
theistic tendency which later African paganism dis- 
plays so markedly. Since none of the characters of 
Roman mythology exactly fitted or completely ex- 
pressed the nature of that almost impersonal deity 
which the Phoenicians had introduced, it was the 
easier to claim, as does Maximus of Madaura, that 
behind the multiple names of divinities worshipped bv 
mankind there was a common God, the Father of them 
all. And again, in the centuries of Roman domina- 
tion, the worship even of Baal had gradually receded 
into the background, and that of Tanit, in the char- 
acter of Caelestis, had become more and more wide- 
spread, until she was an object of veneration, not only 
in her well-knoA\Ti and beautiful temple at Carthage, 
but also in Numidia, Spain, Mauretania, and in Rome 



itself. Thus, though transformed by the acceptance 
of a mythology which was at best an inadequate and 
ill-fitting cloak for its original bareness and simplicity, 
though adopting Roman nomenclature and con- 
structing its sanctuaries upon the model of those in 
Roman use, this Punic paganism persisted behind and 
below all that the conquerors imposed. In reality, 
they had not attempted a religious revolution. It was 
enough that political and industrial ends were served 
by external conformity to the State religion as a 
svmbol of authority and by participation in its games, 
its ceremonies, and its festivals. 

WTiat the Christian Church from the time of Con- 
stantine had been steadily attempting to repress and 
eradicate was this official Roman paganism, the ally and 
the expression of Roman imperialism. The distinc- 
tion drawn above between the Punic basis of religion 
and the veneer of terminology, mythology, and rite 
which accompanied the conquest and settlement, 
must be borne in mind for the understanding of 
the Church's attitudes and pohcies towards pagan- 
ism during the lifetime of Augustine. The reign of 
Juhan (361-363) had been folloMcd by nearly twenty 
years of vacillation and partial tolerance of paganism 
which Augustine himself must have clearly remem- 
bered, but from the time of the emperor Gratian on- 
wards a succession of imperial edicts forbade with 
increasing severity the observance of pagan practices ; 
sacrifices were proscribed, the immunities enjoyed by 
priests and vestals were withdrawn, the revenues and 
property of pagan temples were confiscated, and the 
statues of heathen deities were overthrown and their 
temples closed. Those most affected by this legisla- 
tion were naturally of the official class, the magistrates 


and the wealthier and Romanized famiUes of the 
municipaUties. For them the State reUgion had been 
indissolubly bound up with pohtics ; the dignity of 
perpetual flamen was the climax of the municipal 
ciirsiis honorum. while the priests of Rome and Augus- 
tus had not infrequently discharged the various public 
offices in their city before achieving the crowning 
honour of their career. In Timgad. for example, about 
two-thirds of the curia had fulfilled religious func- 
tions as flamines, pontiffs, augurs, or provincial high- 
priests ;'^ at Madaurathe public character of the pagan 
sacrifices is emphasized by Augustine's correspondent 
Maximus, and the municipal senate was apparently 
composed entirely of adherents of the older cult.^ 
The town of Sufes might be alleged as an example of 
popular resentment against the closing of the temples, 
yet it is not unlikely that the massacre of some sixty 
Christians there as a result of the legislation of 399 ^ 
was instigated by the magistrates and that, in any 
case, the level of Romanization was more than usually 
high, for that town owed its origin to the strategic 
position it occupied on the edge of the area of Punic 
infiltration around Mactar, and its population, as that 
of a frontier fort, may have been largely Roman. But 
in general the suppression of official paganism con- 
cerned the wealthier and the more cultured classes 

° This was between a.d. 364 and 367, certainly, but there 
is evidence of a correspondingly high proportion of pagans 
among municipal officers elsewhere in Augustine's own day. 
The vicar of Africa in 395 and the pro-consul in 394 were 
apostates ; the pro-consul in 400 was fanatically pagan. 
It was this condition of things which provoked Augustine's 
regretful remark {In Ps. 54, 13) : ille nohllis si Christkmus 
esset, nemo retnaneret paganvs. 

^ See Nos. 5, 6, and 55 infra, '^ See No. 16 infra. 


from whom were drawn the administrators and the 
civil servants, the educated and the hterary. The 
inevitable result was the loss to Christianity of those 
who represented the finer sides, not only of paganism, 
but of the antique culture, and the alienation of 
ecclesiastics from the art and literature of the ancient 
world. In the absence of a laity accustomed to the 
management of affairs, the whole working of the 
Church fell more and more upon the clergy, and the 
development of Christianity was accompanied by the 
development of ecclesiasticism. Being out of touch 
-with the personnel of the government, the Church was 
hardly in a position to act as an intermediary between 
the State and the indigenous population, and prob- 
ably the hostility of the governing class counted for 
something against Christianity when the barbarians 
began to arrive. 

In this direction, indeed, the Church had since the 
time of Constantine been steadily assuming the func- 
tions and the duties earlier the prerogative of the 
State religion, paganism, and the final rejection of that 
religion left the ground clear for Christianity and 
gave sanction to those actinties in which it had 
already discredited and displaced its competitor. In 
many respects the gradual association with political 
departments and secular concerns was a valuable pre- 
paration for the coming days of administrative disloca- 
tion and paralysis, when the machinery of the Roman 
Empire was reduced almost to impotence through 
the barbarian invasions. The tasks and the attributes 
of civil officialdom increasingly devolved upon the 
clergy, and, in Africa during the century before the 
irruption of the ^^andals, it meant the developing 
alliance of Church and State and the identification, 



in the eyes of the native inhabitants, of Christianity 
with the Roman conqueror. It was among these 
peoples that the earhest successes of the Church had 
been achieved ; missionary enterprise had begun in 
the coastal towns and followed the Roman roads in- 
land, but the first Christians were recruited from the 
lower classes, as were later the majority of the converts 
to monasticism. Now the victorious Church, through 
the generosity of the emperors and the devotion of 
its members, acquired or inherited vast tracts of land 
and became itself a proprietor and employer, bound 
to the same system of exploitation as had character- 
ized the civil regime. The owners of large estates 
who were Christians compelled their dependents to 
accept the faith, on the principle ciijus regio, ejus 
religio, and built Christian churches or chapels upon 
their land for the use of their workers. The bishops 
obtained judicial privileges which, if they added 
enormously to their labour, added no less to their 
prestige. Following more or less closely the civil 
boundaries, the Church had organized its dioceses 
into the six provinces into which Diocletian had 
di\'ided North Africa : Pro-consular Africa had its 
metropolis at Carthage, Numidia at Cirta, Byzacenum 
at Hadrumetum, Tripolitana at Tripoli, the two 
Mauretanias at Sitifis and Caesarea. ±\ clue to the 
nature of the Christian population is supplied by the 
interesting phenomenon of an unusually numerous 
episcopate : practically every important town had its 
own bishop, and not a few of the manorial churches 
besides. In the course of the fourth century there 
are no fewer than seven hundred bishoprics, and even 
admitting that roughly one half of these were due to 
Donatist rivalry, the remainder is still disproportion- 



ately large for a province even so extensive as North 
Africa. It is clear that the normal Christian con- 
gregation was recruited from the more civilized in- 
habitants and from the serfs on estates of Christian 
masters. There still remained a great number of 
natives outside the towns, to whom the increasing 
strength and organization of the Church suggested 
that it was only another instrument for native oppres- 
sion. It has been often suggested that the most 
formidable heresies that confronted the Church arose 
in those pro\-inces where Hellenistic or Roman culture 
was least assimilated, in Arian Egypt, Monophysite 
Syria, and Donatist Africa, and here, at least, the 
union of orthodoxy with the State brought to a head 
that national feeling which was already partially 
aroused by the heavy burden of taxation, the com- 
pact and depressing system of land-holding, and the 
undoubted increase of economic difficulties. Donat- 
ism began within the Church ; it ended as a social 

Though Christianity had successfully overcome 
paganism in this public sphere and acquired its official 
status and privileges, that deeper and more indigen- 
ous religion upon which paganism had been a loyal 
veneer presented a problem less easily solved. Public 
ceremonies and rites could be forcibly suppressed, 
but superstitions persisted alongside and within 
Christianity, and here the Church was unable to secure 
more than an unequal compromise. Augustine re- 
peatedly speaks of the extent of Christianity and the 
growing extinction of paganism, but while the com- 
position of his De Civitate Dei shows the survival of 
paganism among the lettered classes, his Sermojis, and 
casual remarks elsewhere, show how deeply it still in- 


fluenced the conduct of the people. One of the most 
important of his Letters'^ contains a graphic picture 
of the celebration of Agapae in cemeteries and in 
the chapels of the martyrs, and Augustine himself 
recognizes in this the persistence of the ancient 
Parentalia. To combat the evil of drunkenness at 
the martyrs' tombs, the Church turned the offering 
of bread and wine into an offering of the Eucharist ; 
roofed over the tomb, now become an altar, and 
called the new building a chapel, where the saint's 
career might be depicted in picture and in play and 
where the burial of the faithful might show their 
veneration for the saint and their belief in the virtue 
of his near presence. But other practices yielded 
less speedily and less completely. The consulting of 
astrologers was widespread, and Augustine himself, 
as he tells in the Confessions,^ had the habit as a young 
man. Even members of the Church observed pagan 
customs and required admonition to refrain from 
such habits as the celebration of New Year's Day by 
the giving of presents, the singing of ribald songs, 
attendance at the theatre and at banquets. From 
these and other references in Augustine's works, it 
is clear that the Christianity of the time bore the 
strong imprint of the character of those by whom it 
was received. The problem of dealing with survivals 
from earlier cults remained a difficulty for long there- 
after. It troubled St. Augustine of Canterbury and 
evoked two differing replies from Pope Gregory the 
Great ; it received solution by way of compromise 
from Gregory Thaumaturgus and by way of stern de- 

« No. 10 infra. 

^ Conf. iv. 3, 4 ; see the interesting account of the Cartha- 
ginian astrologer Albiceriiis in C Acad. i. 6. 17 if. 



nunciation of any association >^-ith paganism from the 
Popes consulted by the Franciscan missionaries to 
China in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 
Yet if these pagan characteristics were conspicuous 
in the African converts, it could hardly have been 
other^\•ise. By the aid of the imperial laws the Church 
had eventually succeeded in effacing paganism as an 
official cult ; through the Councils it preserved its 
doctrine free from subtle semi-paganized interpreta- 
tion and misconstruction, and in such ^\Titings as 
Augustine's City of God it created a historical back- 
ground against which its development could be seen 
as a vast pro\-idential purpose and its organization as 
a reflection and anticipation of the Eternal Kingdom 
of God. But in the loMcr levels of everyday practice 
among its ordinary believers Christianity was forced 
to accept and to sanction much that was undoubtedly 
of pagan origin and with Vvhich, strictly speaking, it 
had nothing whatever to do. In the pagan festivals 
are to be found the beginnings of the Christian year ; 
the worship of Tanit or Astarte or Caelestis may have 
encouraged the veneration of the Virgin Mother ; the 
lesser deities of popular superstition were certainly 
the prototypes of the Christian saints or demons ; the 
belief in magic and divination, probably the most 
energetic pagan sentiment of the time, continued 
both in and below Christianity and would not be cast 
out. It is possible to condemn the compromising 
spirit and to see in that century of Christian inter- 
penetration with alien and indefensible customs the 
ironical vengeance of the paganism \vhich, publicly 
ejected and condemned, returned to cloak itself under 
various licit and respectable guises, but it is perhaps 
kinder to find in that slow achievement the evidence 


of a divine capacity to absorb theories and customs 
that could be eradicated only by a toilsome process 
of education and enli2:htenment, to consecrate them 
by their admission among holier habits and to utilize 
them as steps towards a purer and a higher life. 


To the Christians of the fourth and fifth centuries 
the WTiting of letters was more than a personal and 
occasional pleasure. A bishop was tied to his see and 
not infrequently, as with Augustine, his people were 
unwilling to allow" him to be absent from them, so for 
such as he correspondence was a necessity. There 
were official letters communicating the decision of 
local synods, and others demanded in the exercise of 
episcopal duties and discipline. These Utteraeformatae 
might be certificates of church communion to Chris- 
tians M'ho were compelled to travel and were in this way 
commended to bishops elsewhere {litterae communica- 
toriae) ; they might be letters granting authority to 
local clergy to remove to another diocese with 
credentials from their own bishop (litterae dimissoriae) ; 
they might be simple letters of introduction (com- 
mendatoriae). But in addition correspondence was a 
means, often the only one, of publicity : it supplied 
news, discharged the function of exhortation and en- 
couragement, served as a bond between churches and 
between individuals, and not seldom did duty as an 
open pamphlet or treatise. A goodmany of Augustine's 
letters have this official or semi-official character, and, 
covering as they do a period of forty-five years, they 
are invaluable documents for the history of his age. 
The majority of them treat of the heresies, principally 



Donatism : a smaller number treat of paganism, 
and several others discuss such matters as church 
discipline,, the right of sanctuary, and monasti- 
cism. Most of the purely personal letters have been 
relegated by the editors, because of the difficulty of 
dating them, into the fourth section (Epp, ccxxxii.- 
cclxx.), and among these will be found some of the 
most interesting of the whole collection : his reply 
to the magistrates of Madaura discussing paganism 
(No. 55), his letter to Possidius concerning the paint- 
ing of the face and the wearing of ornaments and 
amulets (No. 56), his brief account and examination 
of astrology (No. 57) and his discussion of the matri- 
monial shortcomings of Ecdicia and the duties of a 
Christian wife (No. 60). In these more particularly 
he manifests his friendly and helpful pastoral care 
for his people, his understanding of human nature 
and his sound common sense. Here, with a regret- 
table infrequency, he becomes intimate and human, 
and the official, the bishop, the philosopher, the 
theologian, sink into the background as the man 

In general, the letters of the time were written 
upon papyrus (chartd). On one occasion^ Augustine 
excuses himself for ^^Titing on parchment, because at 
the moment neither papyrus nor tablets were avail- 
able : his ivory tablets he had sent to the uncle of his 
correspondent and he asks for their speedy return. 
His habit was to dictate to scribes ; ^ not seldom at 
the end of a letter he has added a sentence of greet- 
ing or exhortation in his own hand, though the care- 
lessness of copyists has considerably reduced the 

° No. \ infra. " Epp. 139. 3, 173 a, 238. 29, etc. 



number of the marginal annotations Et alia ma7iu.^ 
The letter finished, it was folded and sealed, and 
Augustine tells a correspondent on one occasion the 
emblem on his seal : it depicts a human face in profile, 
perhaps that of the \^Titer himself. The bearers of 
the missives were almost always private individuals, 
and only rarely was it possible to secure the ser\ices 
of the public tahellarii. Sometimes the wTiter v/as 
fortunate enough to find someone travelHng at least 
near to the person he desired to address, as when 
Augustine transmits a letter to Paulinus of Nola by 
Fortunatianus, who is journeying to Rome.^ More 
usually one of his own clergy, a presbyter or a deacon, 
was entrusted with the letter and made a special 
journey in order to deliver it ; ° once or tAvice an 
acolyte is sent ^\•ith letters,^ and once the agent of a 
Roman lady carries letters to the African shore and 
employed someone to bear them thence to Augustine 
at Hippo.* Naturally, a special bearer was always 
insistent upon receiving an answer and no less in- 
sistent upon the need for an early departure. Of all 
letters, received or transmitted, Augustine appears 
to have kept copies ; in ^\Titing to Jerome,^ for 
example, he speaks of his own earlier communications ; 
sometimes he quotes verbally from them, and one letter 
at least owes its preservation only to his inclusion of 
it in a later treatise.^ In the list of his works com- 
piled by Possidius, many of his letters are mentioned 
as existing in the library of the church of Hippo, and 
Augustine in his Retractations amends or qualifies 

^ e.g. No. 36 infra. * Ep. Ixxx. 

'^ Epp. xciv., xcv., xcvii., etc. 
<* No. 43. 1 . « No. -26. 

f Epp. clxvi., ccii. a. ^ No. 36. 

c xxxvii 


some of the statements he had made throughout the 
years in his correspondence. In preserving the 
letters he had received, Augustine must have dated 
them and at times supplied a name where the ^\Titer's 
identity was not conspicuous : thus, the superscription 
to the letter from Maximus of Madaura would in all 
probability come from the hand of Augustine alone. 
Again, the rich manuscript tradition for the corres- 
pondence exchanged between Augustine and Jerome 
suggests that each recipient edited it separately. 
There is a double tradition, as there is for the letters 
exchanged between Augustine and Paulinus of Nola, 
so it appears practically certain that there M'as also a 
double edition. 

To a reader unaccustomed to Christian Latin letters 
the use of honorific titles will appear at first strange 
and cumbersome. These occur in endless variety, 
and the translator is confronted ^ith the difficulty of 
either rendering the phrase by a periphrasis or of 
adopting and capitalizing a word which in English is 
not ordinarily so employed. Such terms as Beaiiiudo 
tua. Amplitudo tua. Magna7iimitas tua. J^enerahilitas tua, 
Benkoleiitia tua. Dilectio tua, can hardly be literally 
rendered, and even where an English phrase like 
" Your Grace " can be used, it has associations not 
always appropriate to the context. The employment 
of these honorific titles begins in the epistolary litera- 
ture of the third century and becomes increasingly 
frequent until the time of Justinian, when certain 
changes were made in terminology and descriptive 
titles assigned to certain ranks of imperial officials. 
Within the Church, the development of such a nomen- 
clature was no doubt the inevitable accompaniment of 
the development of a hierarchy, and as the dignity of 


the clergy was augmented and encouraged by the 
State, their titles became more and more pompous 
and ornate. Meantime, in Augustine's age, they are 
upon the whole elastic and variable. A few titles 
are the prerogative of the Emperor or of bishops in 
general ; some others are confined in use to the 
laity, but as yet there is hardly visible any such definite 
gradation as marks the civil officials into the three 
classes of illustres, spectabiles, and clarissimi, corre- 
sponding to the magistratus maximi, medii and minores. 
The title bestowed by a writer upon his correspondent 
depends upon the circumstances of their respective 
relations, the purpose of the letter, and the degree of 
veneration and respect which the writer thought 
proper to assume. Epistolary language of the period 
is exaggeratedly deferential, and the employment 
of the infinite varieties of honorific terms of address 
is only symptomatic of the rhetorical and pompous 
style in vogue among pagans and Christians alike. 

As a letter-writer Augustine certainly lacks the 
point and the passion of his contemporary, Jerome ; 
his style has little of the movement and the color 
poeticus of Ambrose, and nothing of the tedious 
loquacity and rotundity of Paulinus. To a modern 
reader it seems strange that one of his friends could 
compare his prose to that of Cicero, for as a rule it 
is comparatively undistinguished and unobtrusive. 
Critics and biographers have emphasized his early 
training in rhetoric and his adoption of public speak- 
ing as a career, yet their insistence upon the rhetorical 
nature of his prose is over-done. He does like, at 


times, to seize hold of a word or phrase in an oppon- 
ent's letter, and to play upon the Avord or the idea for 
the duration of his reply ; " he has a fondness for jingle 
and assonance, and many of his most quoted phrases 
owe their popularity as much to their balance, point, 
and rhyme, as to their meaning. But even granting 
all this, we fall short of accuracy in describing his 
language as " rhetorical " and in crediting his early 
and pre-Christian studies with a permanent and 
unmistakable moulding of his style. In reality, if 
he be compared with his contemporaries, none has 
emerged so far from enslavement to rhetoric ; no one 
of them shows less solicitude than he for the frills and 
flourishes of mere ornament. Of a sober and intro- 
spective nature, he is too much in earnest about the 
truth to be anything but direct, weighty, and un- 
adorned. He made Christian Latin a more pliant and 
forceful speech than any of his predecessors except 
that other African, TertuUian. Under stress of his 
ideas or his emotions it becomes a grave and sonorous 
vehicle for great and moving thoughts, and only at 
occasional moments does he condescend to think as 
much of his method and manner of utterance as of his 
message. Rhetoric formed indeed the chief staple of 
contemporary education and Augustine did not 
escape from the heritage of his age, yet in many re- 
spects he is one of the greatest, as well as the last, of 
the masters of Latin eloquence. 
I' It was Augustine's merit that, in an age of definite 
transition, he stood at the boundary-line of old and new 
and linked hands with both. In him the contribution 
of the passing ancient civilization was concentrated 
and epitomized : he had learned through his accept- 

" See, for example, No. 24, and others passim. 


ance of Manicheism much of the thought and the 
perplexities of the Orient, and as an African, sharing 
the blood of the Roman and the Phoenician, he could 
understand and participate in the Eastern and the 
Western both ; he had come through his Neoplatonic 
sympathies to know something of the legacy of 
Hellenic philosophy, and from it, too, he gathered 
much that influenced and enriched his interpreta- 
tion of Christian problems. J With him, the centre 
of theological discussion changes finally from East 
to West. The preceding century had A^'itnessed an 
Eastern heresy combating Eastern Councils, but the 
results of that long struggle he summed up, perhaps 
not altogether understanding it, and passed on with 
his imprint to the Western Church of later times. 
For all succeeding centuries he remains a source, an 
inspiration, and an originator. Rich and complex and 
powerful, his mind had gathered up all that was best 
in the past, and the story of his influence is the story 
of Christian thought from his own day till now. [He 
inspired both the scholastic philosopher and the 
mystic ; to the religious orders he was a veritable 
father and founder : to the Christian constitutionalist 
his Donatist synthesis and his vision and interpreta- 
tion of the two Cities was fundamental and authorita- 
tive ; to the Christian individualist his Pauline theory 
of Grace came as a challenge and a revelation. Yet 
no less he was unmistakablv the child of his own ae:e 
- — or perhaps it is because of this that he became the 
heritage of all time, for, if he survived the capture of 
Rome, Roman civilization survived him but a few 
months in North Africa. Confronted with what, to 
blinder eyes, appeared to be the end of all things, he 
has all the unhappiness and questioning of a time of 



collapse and desperate gloom, but to the ultimate 
and permanent problems of humanity he gave an 
answer, or a series of answers, not without a very 
sober realization of the sorrow of the times and the 
gra\-ity of the inescapable issues, which by its in- 
sight, wisdom, and indomitable faith gave assurance 
to mankind in centuries of trial and darkness and 
pro\'ided a starting-point, M'hen opportunity was ripe, 
for new inquiry and new achievements. 



354. Augustine born at Tagaste, November 13. 

361-363. Julian Emperor. 

370. Studies at Carthage. 

374. Ambrose becomes bishop of Milan. 

376. Teaches rhetoric at Carthage. The Goths cross the 

379-395. Reign of Theodosius. 

383. Goes to Rome. 

384. Appointed public teacher of rhetoric at Milan. 

386. His conversion (July or August). 

387. Returns to Milan after a period of retirement at 

Cassiciacum. Is baptized by St. Ambrose. Sets 
out for Africa with Monnica, his mother, who dies 
at Ostia. Returns to Rome. 

388. Returns to Africa (July or August). 

388-391. Selling his patrimony at Tagaste, Augustine 
adopts a monastic mode of life with some friends. 
391. Ordained presbyter at Hippo Regius. 
394. Ordained bishop-coadjutor. 

396. On Valerius's death, he becomes sole bishop. 

397. Death of St. Ambrose. 

c. 400. Writes the Confessions. 
402-403. Prudentius in Rome. 

406. The Germans cross the Rhine. 

407. The Roman legions withdrawn from Britain. 

408. Death of Claudian. Execution of Stilicho. 

410. Sack of Rome by Alaric, August 23. 

411. Conference at Carthage with the Donatists (June). 

412. First writings agamst the Pelagians. 
420. Death of Jerome. 

425-455. Valentian HI. Emperor in the West. 

426. Augustine nominates his coadjutor as successor. 

427. Revolt of Count Boniface. 

429. The "\^andals enter Africa and besiege Hippo. 

430. Death of Augustine, August 28. 

431. Death of Paulinus of Nola. 
439. The Vandals capture Carthage. 



See, in general, the bibliograpliies in M. Schanz, Geschichte 
der romischen Litteratur, iv. 2 (Munich, 1920), pp. 454-457 ; 
Otto Bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchUchen Literatur^ 
iv. (Freiburg-im-Breisgaii, 1924), pp. 497-500 ; Bihlio- 
theque Nationale : Catalogue des ouvrages de s. Augustin 
conserves au departement des imprimes (Extrait du tome v 
du Catalogue general) (Paris, 1901) ; Paul Monceaux, 
Histoire litteraire de VAfrique chretienne, tome vii : 
" Saint Augustin et le Donatisme " (Paris, 1923), pp. 129- 
146 (" Lettres d'Augustin relatives au Donatisme ") and 
pp. 279-286 ("Tableau chronologique des lettres d'Augus- 
tin relatives au Donatisme "). The longer studies of St. 
Augustine may often be consulted with advantage, especi- 
ally that by Portalie in the Dictionnaire de Theologie Catho- 
lique,\o\. i., cols. 2268-2472, but on the whole they pay little 
attention to the letters. The best recent, general biblio- 
graphy of studies on Augustine is that of Etienne Gilson, 
" Bibliographie des principaux travaux relatifs a la 
philosophic de saint Augustin jusqu'en 1927," which 
forms pp. 309-331 of his Introduction a I'etude de Saint 
Augustin (Paris, 1929). 

I. Manuscripts 

Owing to the great number and variety of the manu- 
scripts, no account of them can be attemj)ted here. For 
full information see Goldbacher's fifth volume {Corpus 
Scriptorum Eccl. Lat., vol. Iviii. : *S'. Augustini Epistulae, 
pars V. Vienna-Leipzig, 1923), pp. xi-lxxx, which super- 
sedes his early study, " Ueber d. Handschriften der Briefe 


des hi. Augustinus " {Sitzungsherichte der ki. Akad. Wien^ 
Hist.-Phil. Klasse. Bd. Ixxiv. (1873) pp. 275-284). For 
manuscripts of recently discovered letters see Morin, 
under " Editions," below, and for an English manuscript 
see Cowper, H. S., "A thirteenth - century manuscript 
of the Epistolae of St. Augustine, formerly belongmg to 
Conishead Priory " {Transactions of the Cumberland and 
Westmorland Antiquarian Society, N.S. vol. 27, 1926-7? 
pp. 48-53). 

There is an interesting paper by Henri Bordier, " Res- 
titution d'un manuscrit du VP siecle mi-parti entre Paris 
et Geneve, contenant des lettres et des sermons de S. 
Augustin " {Memoires et documents de la Societe d'histoire 
de Geneve, tome xvi., 1869, pp. 82-126 ; also in Etudes 
paleographiques et lustoriques, bv L. Delisle, A. Rillier, H. 
Bordier, Geneve et Bale, 1866).' 

II. Editions 

The earliest editions (Johannes de Amerbach, 1493 ; 
Erasmus, 1528, 1569) possess only a bibliographical in- 
terest. The editors of the Louvain edition of the complete 
works of Augustine (1576) added 29 new letters, some of 
which are found also as anecdota in the Supplementum to 
Augustine by Hieronymus Vignier (Paris, 1654-1655). A 
separate edition of the Letters was given in 1668 by L. F. 
Reinhart, who added seven more to the corpus. But an 
epoch-making recension and re-arranging appeared just a 
hundred years later, in the edition of the complete works 
prepared by the Benedictines of St. Maur. They added 
16 letters, making a total of 270, of which number 53 were 
addressed to Augustine, the remainder being written by 
him, sometimes in conjunction with others. These 270 
the Maurist editors arranged in four groups, as nearly 
chronological as they could place them. The first (Epp. 
i.-xxx.) belongs to the years before his elevation to epis- 
copal rank (a.d. 386-395) ; the second (Epp. xxxi.-cxxiii.) 
to the years 396-410 ; the third (Epp. cxxiv.-ccxxxi.) 



from 411-430 ; and the last group (Epp. ccxxxii.-cclxx.) 
contams the letters that cannot be dated. 

The Maurist edition was several times reprinted, the 
best-known reprint being that of Gaiime (Paris, 1836). 
Goldbacher's edition began to appear in 1895, after twenty- 
two years of preparation ; in the Vienna Corpus Scrip- 
torum Eccl. Latinorum it forms vols. 34 (parts 1 and 2, 
containing Epp. i.-xxx. and xxxi.-cxxiii., 1895, 1898), 
44 (part 3, Epp. cxxiv.-clxxxiv., 1904) and 57 (Epp. 
clxxv.-cclxx., 1911). The final volume, contauiing pre- 
faces and indices, was not issued untU 1923, fifty years 
after the editor had begun his long task. 

Meanwhile, the original corpus of 270 letters had been 
increased by several fortunate, if meagre, discoveries. 
Goldbacher inserted between Epp. clxx. and clxxi. a 
portion of a letter preserved in the Commentary of 
Primasius on the Apocalypse ; this fragment was re- 
edited after Goldbacher by Haussleiter in Zahn's For- 
schungen zur Geschichte d. neutest. Kanons, fasc. iv. (Er- 
langen, 1891) ; and also twO letters (Epp. clxxxiv. and 
ccii.A) published by G. Bessel in 1732 and 1733. Further, 
Goldbacher found two letters (Epp. xcii.A and clxxiii.A) 
Avhich he first published in Wieyier Studien, Bd. xvi. 
(1894) pp. 72-77- In the Revue Benedictine, vol. xiii. 
(1896) pp. 481-486, Dom Germain Morin published the 
text of an unprinted letter addressed to Valentinus, abbot 
of Hadrumetum (see No. 50 infra), of which, by the dis- 
covery of another manuscript, he was able to give a better 
text in the same review, vol. xviii. (1901) pp. 241-244. 
This letter has unfortunately found no place in Gold- 
bacher's edition. 

In the present year two small volumes have been an- 
nounced (.S. Eusehii Hieronymi et Aurelii Augustini 
epistulae mutuae, ed. Jos. Schmid, and S. Aurelii Augustini 
liber de videndo Deo, seu Epistula 11^7, ed. Michael 
Schmans = Florilegium Patristicum, Nos. xxii. and xxiii.). 
Of these only the second has ayjpeared at the time of going 
to press ; it is a faithful reproduction of Goldbacher's text, 
with a slight introduction and the minimum of textual notes. 


III. Translations 

(a) English 

Letters of Saint Augustine. Translated by the Rev. J. G. 
Cunningliam. Edinburgh, 1872-1875. 2 vols. Pp. 440, 

[Contams 160 letters. An American edition was 
published by Scribners.] 
Letters of St. Augustine. Selected and translated by 
Mary H. Allies. London, 1890. Pp. 342. 
[Contains 33 letters.] 

(b) French 

Epistres choisies de S. Augusfin, traduites en frangois par 

Monsieur Giry. Paris, 1653. 
Les Epistres choisies de S. Aiigustin, mises en fran9ois 

par le sieur Picard de La Cande. Paris, 1653. 8vo. 
Les Lettres de saint Augustin, traduites en francois sur 

I'edition nouvelle des Peres Benedictins . . . (par Ph. 

Goibaud Du Bois). Paris, 1684. 2 vols., folio. 

[There was an edition of 1684 in 6 vols. 8vo, and later 

editions in 1701, 1707, 1718, 1737.] 
Lettres nouvelles de saint Augustin, traduites en francois 

[par dom J. Martin], accompagnees de notes critiques, 

historiques et chronologiques. Paris, 1734. 8vo. 
Lettres de saint Augustin, traduites en francais et pre- 

cedees d'une introduction, par M. Poujoulat. Paris, 

1858. 4 vols., 8vo. 
La Vie heureuse. Lettres choisies de S. Augustin. 

Orleans, 1873. 16mo. 

(c) German 

Kranzfelder, Th. Augustinus. Ausgewdhlte Briefe. Kemp- 
ten, 1878-1879. 2 vols. (Bibliothek der Kirchenviiter.) 
Hoffmann, Alfred. Des hi. Augustinus ausgeivdhlte 
Briefe. Kempten and Munich, 1917. 2 vols. Pp. 
484, 440. (Bibliothek der Kirchenvater, 29, 30.) 
[A revision of Kranzfelder.] 



{d) Italian 

S. Agostbw. Lettere scelte e di altri a lui scritte fra cut di 
S. Gerolamo. Torino, 1871-1873. 2 vols. 

*S'. Agostino. Lettere ococcciii. Traduzione di Giov. 
Neapoli. Torino, 1887. Pp. xxxii. + 272. 

IV. Studies 


Banks, J. S. " Augustine as seen in his letters " {Loiidon 
Quarterly Review, vol. ccxi., 1914, pp. 86-97). 

de Bruyne, Donatien. " Notes sur les lettres de s. 
Augustin " {Revue Benedictine, t. xxiii, 1927, pp. 523- 

Dubelman, J. F. P. Das Heidenthum in Nordafrika nach 
den Briefen des hi. Augustinus. Bonn, 1859, 4to. 
Pp. 26. ' 

Ginzel, J. A. " Der Geist des hi. Augustinus in seinen 
Briefen," in his Kirchenhistorische Schri/ten, Bd. i. 
OVien, 1872) pp. 123-245. 

Karsten, H. T. " De brieven van den kerkvader Augus- 
tinus " (Verslagen en mededeelingen d. k. Akad. van 
Wetenschappen, Vierde Reeks, Tiende Deel, 1911, pp. 

[On Neoplatonic influences in the Letters.] 

Montgomery, W. " Augustine's correspondence," in his 
;S^. Augustine : Aspects of his life and thought. London, 
1914, pp. 66-98. 

Moorrees, F. D. De Organisatie van de christelike Kerk 
van Noord-Afrika in het licht van de brieven van Augus- 
tinus. Groningen-Hagne, 1926. Pp. 122. 

Parsons, Wilfrid. A Study of the Vocabulary and Rhetoric 
of the Letters of St. Augustine. Washington, 1923. 
Pp. 281. 

[See my review in Bulletin Du Cange, t. i., 1924-5. 
Pp. 251-254.] 



Sparrow-Sinipson, ^y. J. The Lettprs of St. Ainjustine. 

London, 1919. Pp. 336. 
Tliinime, W. Augu^thi : Eln Lehens- und Characterbild, 

auf Grund seiner Br'iefe. Gottingen, 1910. Pp. 206. 


(1) On Augustine s Correspondence with Jerome 

Barberiis, Philippe de. Discordantiae SS. Hieronymi et 
Augustini. Rome, 1481. 

Bindesboll, Severiii. August inus et Hieronymus de s. 
Scriptura ex Hebraeo interpretanda disputantes. Copen- 
hagen, 1825. 

Dufey, A. " Controverse entre s. Jerome et s. Angustin 
d'apres lem-s lettres " {Revue du Clerge francais, tome 
XXV., 1901, pp. 141-149). 

Dorsch, Aem. " St. Augustinus und Hieronymus iiber die 
Wahrheit der biblischen Geschichte " {Zeitschrift fur 
Katholische Theologie, 1911, pp. 421-448. 601-664). 

Haitjema, Th. " De Briefwisseling tuischen Augustinus 
en Hieronymus " {Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, vol. 
xxxvi., 1921, pp. 1.59-198). 

Malfatti, E. " Una controversia tra S. Agostino e S. 
Girolamo " {La Scuola Cattolica. 1921, pp. 321-338, 402- 

Mohler, J. A. " Hieronymus und Augustinus im Streit 
iiber Gal. 2. 14 " in his Gesammelte Schri/ien und 
Aufsdtze, Bd. i., Regensburg, 1839, pp. 1-18, 

Overbeck, F. Cebpr die Aujfassung des Streites des 
Paulus mit Petrus in Antiochen hei den Kirchenmtern. 
Basel, 1877. 

" Aus dem Briefwechsel des Augustinus mit Hierony- 
mus " {Historische Zeitschrift, Bd. vi., 1879, pp. 222- 

Tourscher, F. E. " The Correspondence of St. Augustine 
and St. Jerome " {American Ecclesiastical Review, 1917, 
vol. Ivii. pp. 476-492, 1918, vol. Iviii. pp. 45-56). 



(2) 071 Particular Letters 
Epp. xvi.-xvii, : 

Baxter, J. H. " The Martyrs of Madaura, a.d. 180 " 

{Journal of Theological Studies, vol. xxvi., 1924, pp. 

Beyerhaus, Gisbert. " Philosophische Aussetzungen in 

Augiistins Briefen " {Rheinisches Museum, N.F. vol. 

Ixxv., 1926, pp. 6-45). 
Usener, H. " Vergessenes " {Rheinisches Museum, 

N.F. vol. xxviii., 1873, pp. 407-409). 

Ep. xxvi. : 

Zelzner, M. De carmine Licentii ad Augustinum. 
(Dissertation.) Arnsberg, Westphalia, 1915. 

Ep. xxviii. 6 : 
Weyman, Carl, " Infinitiv auf -uiri bei Augustin " 
{Archiv fur lat. Leocikographie u. Grammatik, vol. 
ix., 1896, p. 492). 

Ep. xli. : 
Georges, Karl Ernst. " Miscellen " {Jahrhiicher filr 
class. Philologie, vol. 123, 1881, p. 807). 
Ep. xlviii. : 

The Judgement of the learned and pious St. Augustine 
concerning penal laws against conventicles and for 
Unity in Religion. Deliver 'd in his 48th Epistle to 
Mncentius. London, 1670. 

Ep. Ixviii. 2 : 
Schenkl, R. " Zu Hieronymus s. Augustinus Epist. 
Ixviii., § 2 " {Wiener Studien, Bd. xix, 1897, p. 317). 

Ep. xciii. : 

Herzog, E. " Ein Schreiben Augustins iiber kirchen- 
politischen Zwang " {Internat. kirchliche Zeitschrijl, 
vol. 6, 1916, pp. 1-26). 
Ep. cii. 6 : 
Rottmanner, Odilo. " S. Augustin, Epist. 102, 6 " 
{Revue Benedictine, tome xvii., 1900, p. 315). 


Epp. ciii.-cvi. (also Epp. cli., cliii. 20, cclxviii.) : 

Martroye, F. " S. Augiistin et la legislation " {Bulletin 
de la Societe nationale des Antiquaires de France, 1915, 
pp. 166-168, 223-229 ; 1917, p. 101 ; 1918, pp. 108- 
118, 165-166). 

Ep. cxxv. : 

Daux, C. " Un Incident a la BasHique d'Hippone en 
411 " {Revue des Questions Historiques, tome Ixxx., 
1906, pp. 31-73). 

Ep. clix. : 

Toursclier, F. E. " Some letters of St. Augustine. A 
Study " {American Ecclesiastical Review, 1919, vol. 
Ixix. 'pp. 609-625). 

Ep. clxiv. : 

Hundhausen, L. J. Die beiden Pontifical schreiben des 
Apostelfiirstens Petrus. Mainz, 1873, pp. 3-43 ff. 

Ep. clxxxix. : 

Moffatt, J. " St. Augustine's Advice to an Army Officer " 
{E.rpositor, vol. xi. series 8, 1916, pp. 409-420). 

Ep. ccxi. (The " Rule ") : 

The literature on the Rule is too lengthy to be given 
here, but reference may be made to the article " Regie 
de S. Augustin " in Dictionnaire de Theologie Catho- 
lique, vol. 1, cols. 2472-2483, and to an interesting 
paper by Eliz. Speakman, " The Rule of St. Augustine" 
in Historical Essays . . . Owens College, Manchester 
(1907), pp. 57-75. 

The following studies are directly concerned with 
Augustine's letter in itself, not as the foundation-statute 
of an order. 

Baxter, J. H. " St. Augustine's Rule " {Journal of 
Theological Studies, vol. xx., 1919, pp. 352-355). 
[A reply to V. M'Nabb, below.] 



Baxter, J. H. " On a place in St. Augustine's Rule " 
{Journal of Theological Studies, vol. xxiii., 1922, pp. 

[On the readijig Deo natis in § 4.] 

Capelle, B, " L'Epitre 21 P et la Regie de Saint Angus- 
tin " (Analecta Praemonstratensia, tome iii., 1927, pp. 

[A criticism of Goldbacher's text.] 

Lambot, C. "La Regie de s. Augustin et s. Cesaire " 
{Revue Benedictine, t. xli., 1929, pp. 333-341). 

McNabb, Vincent. " Was the Rule of St. Augustine 

. written, for St. Melania the Younger ? " {Journal of 
Theological Studies, vol. xx., 1919, pp. 242-249). 

Schroeder, P. " Die Augustinerchorherrenregel : Ent- 
stehung, kritischer Text und Einfiihrung der Regel " 
{Archiv fiir Urkundenforschung, 1926, pp. 271-306). 

Ep. cclxii. : 

Lettre de saint Augustin (262™^). Saint Augustin 
adresse des reproches et des conseils a unefemme mariee. 
Lvon, 1861. 8vo. 




No. 1 (Ep. II) 

Bene inter nos convenit, ut opinor, omnia, quae 
corporeus sensus adtingit, ne puncto quidem tem- 
poris eodem modo manere posse, sed labi, effluere et 
praesens nihil obtinere, id est, ut latine loquar, non 
esse. Horum itaque amorem perniciosissimum poe- 
narumque plenissimum vera et divina philosophia 
monet frenare atque sopire, ut se toto animus, etiam 
dum hoc corpus agit, in ea, quae semper eiusdem 
modi sunt neque peregrino pulchro placent, feratur 
atque aestuet. Quae cum ita sint et cum te veruin 
ac simplicem, qualis sine ulla solhcitudine amari 
potes, in semet ipsa mens videat, fatemur tamen 
congressum istum atque conspectum tuum, cum a 
nobis corpore discedis locisque seiungeris, quae- 
rere nos eoque, dum licet, cupere fratribus. Quod 
profecto vitium, si te bene novi, amas in nobis et, 
cum omnia bona optes carissimis et familiarissimis 

" Written at Cassiciacum towards the end of 386, while 
Augustine was still in retirement and immersed in philo- 
sophical studies. In these Zenobius was keenly interested, 
and to him Augustine dedicated the treatise L>e Ordine 
(a.d. 386). He afterwards became a keeper of public records 
{magister memoriae^ Ep. cxvii.). 


Xo. 1 (Ep. II) 

(a.d. 386) 


We are quite agreed. I think, that everything that 
is the object of our bodily senses is incapable of 
remaining a single moment in the same state, but is in 
motion and transition and possesses no actuality, that 
is, in plain language, has no real existence. In con- 
sequence, true, divine philosophy admonishes us to 
check and mitigate our affection for such things, as 
being verv baneful and productive of detriment, so 
that even while in control of this mortal body, the 
soul may with intensity and fervour pursue those 
things that are ever the same and satisfy with no 
transient charm. Although this is true and although 
mv mind envisages you in your simple and unalloyed 
character, as an individual who may be loved M"ithout 
disquietude, still I must confess that when you are 
absent in body and distant in space, I miss the pleasure 
of meeting and seeing you, and desire it, when it can 
be had, for the brethren. This fault, if I know you 
aright, you are glad to find in me, and, although you 
pray for every good thing for your dearest and closest 



tuis, ab hoc eos sanare metuis. Si auteni tarn potenti 
animo es, ut et agnoscere hunc laqueuni et eo captos 
inridere valeas, ne tu niagnus atque alius. Ego quidem 
quamdiu desidero absentem, desiderari me volo. 
Invigilo tamen, quantum queo, et nitor, ut nihil 
amem, quod abesse a me invito potest. Quod dum 
officio, commoneo te interim, qualiscumque sis, in- 
choatam tecum disputationem perficiendam, si curae 
nobismet ipsis sumus. Nam eam cum Alypio perfici 
nequaquam sinerem, etiam si vellet. Non vult 
autem ; non enim est humanitatis eius non mecum 
operam dare, ut in quam multis possemus litteris te 
nobiscum teneamus nescio qua necessitate fugientem. 

No. 2 (Ep. IV) 

1 Mirum admodum est, quam mihi praeter spem 
evenerit, quod, cum require, quibus epistulis tuis 
mihi respondendum remanserit, unam tantum inveni, 
quae me adhuc debitorem teneret, qua petis, ut tanto 
nostro otio, quantum esse arbitraris tecum aut nobis- 

" Alypius was born, like Augustine, at Tagaste, but 
was slightly younger. He attended Augustine's lectures in 
Carthage, became a Manichee when he did, followed him 
to Italy and was present during the struggle that preceded 
Augustine's conversion. They were baptized together, then 
shared the monastic life at Tagaste from 391 to 394, when 
Alypius visited Jerome at Bethlehem. Alypius Ijecame 
bishop of Tagaste some months before Augustine's elevation 
to Hippo, and held that post till his death about 430. 

^ Xebridius, born near Carthage, had accompanied 
Augustine to Rome and Milan, "for no other reason than 

NO. 1 (Ep. II)— NO. 2 (Ep. IV) 

friends, you are reluctant to see them cured of it. 
But if you have attained such strength of mind that 
you can both discern this pitfall and make mockery of 
those who have fallen into it, then you are indeed great 
and different from me, for I want my absent friend to 
miss me as long as I miss him. Yet, as far as I can, I 
watchfully strive to set my affections upon nothing 
that can cause me regret by its absence. Though 
engaged in this preventive course, I remind you in the 
meantime, whatever be your state of mind, that we 
must, if we care for each other, finish the discussion 
I had begun Mith you, for I should certainly not allow 
Alvpius '^ to help in finishing it. even if he wanted to, 
which he doesn't. His kindly nature would make 
him second my efforts to keep contact with you by as 
many letters as I can send, even when your duties 
drive you farther away from us. 

No. 2 (Ep. I\^ 

(a.d. 387) 


It is quite curious how surprised I am to dis- 1 
cover, on inquiring what letters of yours I have still 
to answer, that I am in your debt for only one. In it 
you ask me to tell you what progress I have made, 
with the abundant leisure you think I have or wish, as 

that he might live with me in the most ardent pursuit of 
truth and wisdom " {Confessions, vi. 17). He had not joined 
the party at Cassiciacum, and this and the following letter 
show his anxiety to be beside Augustine, sharing his life and 
studies. He died soon after Augustine's conversion. 



cum cupis, iiidicemus tibi, quid in sensibilis atque 
intellegibilis naturae discernentia profecerimus. Sed 
non arbitror occultum tibi esse, si falsis opinionibus 
tanto quisque inseritur magis, quanto magis in eis 
familiariusque volutatur, multo id facilius in rebus 
veris animo accidere. Ita tamen paulatim ut per 
aetatem profieimus. Quippe cum plurimum inter 
puerum et iuvenem distet, nemo a pueritia cotidie 
interrogatus se aliquando iuvenem dicet. 
2 Quod nolo in eam partem accipias, ut nos in his 
rebus quasi ad quandam mentis iuventutem firmioris 
intellegentiae robore pervenisse existimes. Pueri 
enim sumus, sed, ut dici adsolet, forsitan belli ; et 
non male. Nam plerumque perturbatos et sensi- 
bilium plagarum curis refertos ilia tibi notissima 
ratiuncula in respirationem levat, mentem atque 
intellegentiam oculis et hoc vulgari aspectu esse 
meliorem. Quod ita non esset, nisi magis essent ilia, 
quae intellegimus, quam ista, quae cernimus. Cui 
ratiocinationi utrum nihil valide inimicum sit, peto 
mecum consideres. Hac ego interim recreatus, cum 
deo in auxilium deprecate et in ipsum et in ea, quae 
verissime vera sunt, adtolli coepero, tanta non num- 
quam rerum manentium praesumptione compleor, ut 
mirer interdum ilia mihi opus esse ratiocinatione, ut 
haec esse credam quae tanta insunt praesentia, 
quanta sibi quisque ipse fit praesens. Recole tu 

° This phrase is difficult : I take arbltraris tecum to mean 
"think within yourself," on the analogy of rogltare tecum 
(for which see, e.g.^ Vulgate, Gen. xx. 11, Mark xi. 81, etc.), 
and nobiHcum cup'ot as "join me in wishing." But XeViridius's 
desire to share Augustine's monastic life (see infra) makes 
it possible that nobiscum cupia means " desire to enjoy in 
my company." 

" Or, perhaps, " and the phrase is not inappropriate." 


NO. 2 (Ep. n^ 

I do, that I had,^ in discriminating between nature as 
jDerceived by the senses and as known to the intellect. 
I think, however, you are not unaware that, if one 
becomes more thoroughly enmeshed in false opinions 
the more deeply and familiarly one wallows in them, 
the same happens much more readily to the mind in 
things that are real. My progress is gradual, like 
the advance of age. There is a very great differ- 
ence between a boy and a mature man, yet no one, if 
asked each day from boyhood on, will at any given 
time declare that he has reached maturity. 

I don't want you to take this to mean you are 2 
to assume that, through the vigour of a more robust 
understanding. I have attained in such matters a kind 
of mental maturity. I am still mentally a boy ; let 
us hope a fine, strapping one, as the phrase goes, but 
I am not badly off either.^ For generally, when I am 
unsettled and oppressed with the anxieties arising 
from the impingement of sensations, I am raised to a 
fresher atmosphere by this brief reasoning, which you 
know so well : " The mind and understanding are 
superior to the eyes and the common faculty of sight. 
That would not be so, unless the things we conceive 
were more real than those we perceive." Please 
examine with me whether there be anything that 
strongly conflicts with this line of reasoning. For the 
present I find it stimulating ; yet, when I have asked 
God's help and have begun to rise towards Him and 
towards those things that are most really real, I am 
sometimes filled with such a foretaste of the things 
that abide, that I occasionally wonder at my needing 
the help of this reasoning to believe in the existence 
of those things that are as real within me as any man 
can be to himself, 



quoque ; nam te fateor huius rei esse diligentiorem, 
ne quid forte nesciens rescriptis adhuc debeam. 
Nam mihi non facit fidem tam multorum onerum, 
quae aliquando numeraveram, tam repentina de- 
positio, quamvis te accepisse litteras meas non 
dubitem, quarum rescripta non habeo. 

No. 3 (Ep. X) 

Numquam aeque quicquam tuarum inquisitionum 
me in cogitando tenuit aestuantem atque illud, quod 
recentissimis tuis litteris legi, ubi nos arguis quod 
consulere neglegamus, ut una nobis vivere liceat. 
Magnum crimen et, nisi falsum esset, periculosis- 
simum. Sed cum perprobabilis ratio demonstrare 
videatur hie nos potius quam Carthagini vel etiam in 
rure ex sententia posse degere, quid tecum agam, mi 
Nebridi, prorsus incertus sum. Mittaturne ad te 
accommodissimum tibi vehiculum ? Nam basterna 
innoxie te vehi posse noster Lucinianus auctor est. 
At matrem cogito, ut quae absentiam sani non 
ferebat, inbecilli multo minus esse laturam. Veniam- 
ne ipse ad vos ? At hie sunt, qui neque venire me- 
cum queant et quos deserere nefas putem. Tu enim 
potes et apud tuam mentem suaviter habitare ; 
hi vero ut idem possint, satagitur. Eamne crebro 
et redeam et nunc tecum, nunc cum ipsis sim ? At 
hoc neque simul neque ex sententia vivere est. Non 

" By the autumn of 388 Augustine had retired to his 
native town, Tagaste, where he was practising the monastic 
life with a few friends. Nebridius was now at Carthage, 
but was still anxious to join the company. 

NO. 2 (Ep. I\Q— NO. 3 (Ep. X) 

Try you to remember, for I admit that you are more 
attentive to such details, in case I still owe you replies 
without knowing it. I can hardly believe I have so 
speedily discharged tasks I had once reckoned so 
numerous. Yet I am sure you must have had letters 
from me, to which I have received no answers. 

No. 3 (Ep. X) 

(a.d. 389) 


Never has any of your problems kept me so 1 
troubled in mind as the remark you made in your 
last letter, reproaching me for failing to plan how 
we may live together. A serious charge, and were 
it not untrue, very threatening to our friendship. 
But since quite satisfactory reasons seem to show 
that we can lead our ideal life here better than 
at Carthage or in the country, I am altogether in 
doubt how I should deal with you, Nebridius. Am 
I to send you our most suitable conveyance ? Our 
friend Lucinianus tells me that you can now ride 
in a sedan chair without any harm. But then your 
mother comes to my mind : if she cannot endure 
your absence when you are well, she will endure 
it much less when you are ill. Am I to come to 
you myself ? But there are people here who cannot 
come with me and whom I think it criminal to leave 
behind. For you can be happily at home with your 
own mind, while these others are only striving to- 
wards that attainment. Am I to make frequent 
journeys back and forward, living with you part of 
the time and the other part with them ? But that is 
neither living together nor living the ideal hfe. The 



enim brevis est via, sed tanta oninino, cuius per- 
agendae negotium saepe suscipere non sit ad optatum 
otium pervenisse. Hue aeeedit infirmitas eorporis, 
qua ego quoque, ut nosti, non valeo, quod volo, nisi 
oninino desinam quicquani plus velle, quam non 
2 Profectiones ergo, quas quietas et faciles habere 
nequeas, per totani cogitare vitani non est honiinis 
de ilia una ultima, quae mors vocatur, cogitantis, de 
qua vel sola intellegis vere esse cogitandum. Dedit 
quidem deus paucis quibusdam, quos ecclesiarum 
gubernatores esse voluit, ut et illam non solum ex- 
pectarent fortiter, sed alacriter etiam desiderarent 
et harum obeundarum labores sine ullo angore sus- 
ciperent ; sed neque his, qui ad huius modi admini- 
strationes temporalis honoris amore raptantur, neque 
rursum his, qui cum sunt privati, negotiosam vitam 
appetunt, hoc tantum bonum concedi arbitror, ut 
inter strepitus inquietosque conventus atque dis- 
cursus cum morte familiaritatem, quam quaerimus, 
faciant ; deificari enim utrisque in otio licebat. Aut 
si hoc falsum est, ego sum omnium ne dicam stultis- 
simus, certe ignavissimus, cui nisi proveniat quaedam 
secura cessatio, sincerum illud bonum gustare atque 
amare non possum. Magna secessione a tumultu 
rerum labentium, mihi crede, opus est, ut non duritia, 
non audacia, non cupiditate inanis gloriae, non super- 
stitiosa credulitate fiat in honiine nihil timere. Hinc 
enim fit illud etiam sohdum gaudium nullis omnino 
laetitiis ulla ex particula conferendum. 


NO. 3 (Ep. X) 

journey is not short, sufficiently long, in fact, that the 
effort to perform it often would prevent our having the 
leisure we long for. In addition, there is my physical 
weakness ; because of it, as you know, I am not able 
to do what I wish, unless I altogether give up wishing 
to do anything that I am not strong enough for. 

To go through life planning journeys that cannot 2 
be undertaken without disturbance and trouble does 
not become one who is planning for that last journey 
we call death ; with it alone, as you are aware, should 
our real plans be concerned. It is God's gift to 
some few men, whom He has appointed to rule over 
churches, not only to await death manfully but even to 
desire it eagerly, and to undertake the toil of those 
other journeys without any vexation. But in my 
opinion neither those who are impelled to such adminis- 
trative tasks by love of worldly position, nor those 
who, though occupying no public post, hunger for 
a life of aflPairs, have been granted the great boon of 
acquiring amid their clamour and their restless run- 
ning hither and thither that familiarity with death that 
we are seeking ; both classes might have become godly 
in retirement. If this be untrue, then I am of all men, 
I won't say the most foolish, but certainly the most 
slothful, for I cannot relish and enjoy that real boon, 
unless I obtain release from work and worry. Com- 
plete withdrawal from the turmoil of transitory things 
is, believe me, essential before a man can develop that 
fearlessness in the face of death which is based neither 
on insensibility nor on foolhardy presumption, neither 
on the desire for empty glory nor on superstitious 
credulity. It is that which is the origin of that solid 
joy with which no pleasure from any transitory source 
is in any way to be compared. 



3 Quod si in natura hiimana talis vita non cadit, cur 
aliquando evenit ista securitas ? Cur tanto evenit 
crebrius, quanto quisque in mentis penetralibus 
adorat deum ? Cur in actu etiam humano plerum- 
que ista tranquillitas manet, si ex illo adyto ad 
agendum quisque procedat ? Cur interdum et cum 
loquimur, mortem non formidamus, cum autem non 
loquimur, etiam cupimus ? Tibi dico, non enim hoc 
cuilibet dicerem, tibi, inquam, dico, cuius itinera in 
superna bene novi, tune, cum expertus saepe sis, 
quam dulce vivat, cum amori corporeo animus mori- 
tur, negabis tandem totam hominis vitam posse in- 
trepidam fieri, ut rite sapiens nominetur ? Aut banc 
afFectionem, ad quam ^ ratio nititur, tibi accidisse 
umquam, nisi cum in intimis tuis ageres, asserere 
audebis ? Quae cum ita sint, restare unum vides, ut 
tu quoque in commune consulas, quo vivamus simul. 
Quid enim cum matre agendum sit, quam certe frater 
\'ictor non deserit, tu multo melius calles quam ego. 
Alia scribere, ne te ab ista cogitatione averterem, 

No. 4 (Ep. X\^ 


1 Non haec epistula sic inopiam chartae indicat, ut 

membranas saltem abundare testetur ? Tabellas 

eburneas, quas habeo, avunculo tuo cum litteris misi. 

Tu enim huic pelliculae facilius ignosces, quia difFerri 

^ quam Goldbacher: ad quam A. Souter. 

^ A wealthy citizen of Tagaste, who had shown great 
generosity to Augustine when studying in Carthage, and also 
later. To him Augustine dedicated his Contra Academicos 
(a.d. 386) and the JJe Vera Religione, mentioned below. 


NO. 3 (Ep. X)— NO. 4 (Ep. XV) 

But if human nature does not admit of such a 3 
hfe, why does that cahiiness of spirit ever befall us ? 
Why does it befall us more frequently in proportion 
as each man worships God in the secret places of his 
mind ? Why even amid ordinary mortal concerns 
does that peace, as a rule, linger on, when one goes 
forth from that inner shrine to do his part ? Why is 
it that sometimes, even in conversation, death has no 
terrors for us, and, when conversation is stilled, it even 
allures us ? I say to you (and I would not say it to 
everyone) — I say to you, knowing well, as I do, your 
journeyings to the upper world, will you, after fre- 
quent experience of the sweet life the soul lives when 
it dies to bodily affections, deny that a man's whole 
life can at length become so exempt from fear that he 
may rightly be called wise ? Or will you venture to 
maintain that that state of mind, towards which 
reason strives, has ever befallen you, save when you 
were communing Avith your own heart ? This being 
so, you see this one thing only remains for you — to 
consider for our mutual advantage how we may live 
together. You know much better than I do what is 
to be done with your mother ; in any case your brother 
Victor is not leaving her, I write no more, for fear 
of diverting you from consideration of that problem. 

No. 4 (Ep. X\0 

(a.d. 390) 


Does this letter not show that, if we are short of 1 
papyrus, we have at least abundance of parchment ? 
The ivory tablets I possess I have sent to your uncle 
with a letter ; you will the more easily forgive this 



non potuit, quod ei scripsi, et tibi non scribere etiam 
ineptissimum existimavi. Sed tabellas, si quae ibi 
nostrae sunt, propter huius modi necessitates mittas 
peto. Scripsi quiddam de catholica rcligione, quan- 
tum dominus dare dignatus est, quod tibi volo ante 
adventum meum mittere, si charta interim non desit. 
Tolerabis enim qualemcumque scripturam ex officina 
Maiorini. De codicibus praeter libros de Oratore 
totum mihi excidit. Sed nihil amplius rescribere 
potui, quam ut ipse sumeres, quos liberet, et nunc 
in eadem maneo sententia. Absens enim quid plus 
faciam, non invenio. 
2 Gratissimum mihi est, quod in ultima epistula me 
participem domestici tui gaudii facere voluisti. Sed 

mene salis placidi vultum fluctusque quietos 
ignorare iubes ? 

quamquam nee me iubeas nee ipse ignores. Quare 
si ad melius cogitandum quies aliqua data est, utere 
di\ano beneficio. Nee enim nobis debemus, cum 
ista proveniunt, sed illis, per quos proveniunt, gratu- 
lari, quoniam iusta et officiosa et pro suo genere 
pacatior atque tranquillior rerum temporalium ad- 
ministratio recipiendorum aeternorum meritum gig- 
nit, si non teneat, cum tenetur, non implicet, cum 
multiplicatur, si non, cum . . . putatur, involvat. 

" His treatise l)e Vera Religione, written at Tagaste, 
389-390. " The allusion is unknown. 

'^ Cicero's, no doubt; the fact that it had survived 
Augustine's many journeys may be explained by the 
supposition that he used it as a text-book during his career 
as a public teacher of rhetoric. 

^ Virg. A en. v. 848-849. 

^ The text here is doubtful : Goldt)acher marks the lacuna, 
but perhaps amputatur would satisfy the palaeography and 
the sense. 


NO. 4 (Ep. X\^ 

bit of skin, since my message to him could not be 
postponed, and I considered it very impolite not to 
write to you. If you have any tablets of mine beside 
you, please send them back for such emergencies as 
this. I have written something, as far as the Lord has 
deigned to grant me, on the Catholic Religion ^ ; I 
want to send it to you before I come, if meanwhile 
paper does not fail me, for you will tolerate any kind 
of ^\Titing from the workshop of Majorinus.^ Of the 
manuscripts everything has disappeared except the 
books 0?i the Orator Shut I could not do any more in my 
reply than tell you to take those you wanted, and I 
am still of the same mind. I don't know what more I 
can do in my absence. 

It gave me very great pleasure that in your last 
letter you wanted to give me a share in your personal 
happiness, but 

bid'st thou me 
Ignore the portent of the sea's still face 
And slumbering waves ? "^ 

Yet you don't bid me, nor do you ignore it. So, if 
you do obtain some quietness for deeper reflection, 
avail yourself of what is a heavenly boon. For when 
such good fortune befalls us, we should not con- 
gratulate ourselves, but those through whom it has 
befallen us. If men discharge their temporal duties 
in a manner that is just and scrupulous and, con- 
sidering their nature, more than ordinarily serene and 
composed, they grow more worthy of having eternal 
things committed to them, provided always that 
such temporal duties, when laid hold of, do not lay 
hold of them, do not enfold as they grow manifold, 
do not enmesh when they are pruned.^ It has been 



Ipsius enim veritatis ore dictum est : Si in alieno 
Jideles Jion fuisfis, vestrum quis dabit vohis ? Laxatis 
ergo curis mutabiliuni rerum bona stabilia et certa 
quaeramus, supervolemus terrenis opibus nostris. 
Nam et in mellis copia non frustra pennas habet 
apicula ; necat enim haerentem. 

No. 5 (Ep. XVI) 


1 Avens crebro tuis afFatibus laetificari et instinctu 
tui sermonis, quod me paulo ante iucundissime salva 
caritate pulsasti, paria redhibere non destiti, ne 
silentium meum paenitudinem appellasses. Sed 
quaeso, ut, si haec quasi seniles artus esse duxeris, 
benignarum aurium indulgentia prosequaris. Olym- 
pum montem deorum esse habitaeulum sub incerta 
fide Graecia fabulatur. At vero nostrae urbis forum 
salutarium numinum frequentia possessum nos cer- 
nimus et probamus. Et quidem unum esse deum 
summum sine initio, sine prole naturae ceu patrem 
magnum atque magnificum quis tam demens, tarn 
mente captus neget esse certissimum ? Huius nos 
virtutes per mundanum opus diffusas multis vocabulis 
invocamus, quoniam nomen eius cuncti proprium 
videlicet ignoramus. Nam deus omnibus religionibus 

° Luke xvi. 12. 

^ Maximns is otherwise unknown, l)ut probably he had 
been one of Augustine's teachers at Madaura, the town to 
which his letter refers. Most notable as the birthplace of 
Apuleius, Madaura was a noted centre of pagan life and 
culture, and paganism seems to have lingered there long and 
tenaciously (see Ep. ccxxxii. infra). 


NO. 4 (Ep. XV)— NO. 5 (Ep. XVI) 

said by the mouth of Truth Himself : If ye have not 
been faithful in that n-hich is another's, ?rho shall give 
yon that which is your onii ? ^ Let us then relax our 
anxiety for transitory things and seek goods that are 
abiding and sure. Let us soar above our earthly 
possessions, for even when honey is abundant, the 
bee has not its wings for nothing : for if it stick in 
the honey, it dies. 

No. 5 (Ep. XM) 

(a.d. 390) 


I find interest and pleasure in frequent talk 1 
with you and in your provocative conversation, so, 
since you recently attacked me without unpleasant- 
ness and without disturbing our friendly relations, 
I make haste to give you back as good as you 
gave : otherwise you might have thought my silence 
implied a change of mind. But I beg you, if you 
consider my reply shows the stiffness of old age, 
to attend to it with a kindly ear. There is no 
sure e\'idence for the Greek fable that Mount 
Olympus is the dwelling-place of the gods, but we 
see and feel sure that the market-place of our own 
town is occupied by a crowd of beneficent deities. 
And indeed, who is so foolish, so mentally astray, as 
to deny the very certain truth that there is one 
supreme god, without beginning, without natural 
offspring, like a great and splendid father ? His 
powers that permeate the universe he has made we 
call upon by many names, since to all of us his right 
name is of course unknown. For god is a name 
c 17 


commune nomen est. Ita fit, iit, dum eius quasi 
quaedam membra carptim variis supplicationibus 
prosequimur. totum colere profecto videamur. 

2 Sed inpatientem me esse tanti erroris dissimulare 
non possum. Quis enim ferat lovi fulmina vibranti 
praeferri Migginem, luiioni, Minervae, Veneri Ves- 
taeque Sanamem et cunctis, pro nefas ! diis in- 
mortalibus archimartyrem Namphamonem ? Inter 
quos Lucitas etiam haud minore cultu suspicitur 
atque alii interminato numero, diis hominibusque 
odiosa nomina, qui conscientia nefandorum facino- 
rum specie gloriosae mortis scelera sua sceleribus 
cumulantes dignum moribus factisque suis exitum 
maculati reppererunt. Horum busta, si memoratu 
dignum est, relictis templis, neglectis maiorum 
suorum manibus stulti frequentant, ita ut praesagium 
vatis illius indigne ferentis emineat : 

inque deum templis iurabit Roma per umbras. 

Sed mihi hac tempestate propemodum videtur bellum 
Actiacum rursus exortum, quo Aegyptia monstra in 
Romanorum deos audeant tela vibrare minim e dura- 

3 Sed illud quaeso, vir sapientissime, uti remoto 
facundiae robore atque exploso, qua cunctis clarus 
es, omissis etiam, quibus pugnare solebas, Chrysip- 
peis argumentis postposita paululum dialectica, quae 

•^ Namphamo is commonly described by the text-books of 
Church history as one of the earliest Christian martyrs in 
Africa, and his date is given as circa a.d. 180. I have shown, 
in the Journal of Theological Studies, vol. xxvi. (1924), 
pp. 21-37, that this view is untenable, that his correct date is 
probably about the middle of the fourth century, and that 


NO. 5 (Ep. XVI) 

common to all cults, and so it is that while ^Wth differ- 
ing prayers we pursue, as it were, his members piece- 
meal, we seem, in truth, to worship him entire. 

But I cannot disguise my impatience with such a 
misconception as yours. For who could bear to see 
Misfffo esteemed above Jove, wielder of thunderbolts, 
Saname above Juno, Minerva, Venus, and Vesta, and 
your head-martyr, Namphamo ^ (save the mark !), 
above all the immortal srods ? Anions these Lucitas 
is honoured with a cult hardly inferior ; and others 
endless in number, names hateful to gods and men, 
who, villains that they were, and heaping crime on 
crime, met an end befitting their character and deeds, 
vaunting of their death as glorious though inwardly 
well aware of their unspeakable offences. Fools 
flock to their tombs, Fm ashamed to say, forsaking 
the temples and abandoning the worship of their 
ancestors, so that the prediction of the scornful bard 
is clearly fulfilled : 

And in God's temples Rome shall swear by shades.* 

This time seems to me to be almost another battle 
of Actium. in which the monsters of Egypt are daring 
to brandish against the Roman gods weapons doomed 
to speedy destruction. 

But I beg you, my learned friend, to reject, as 
unworthy of you, that ^'igorous eloquence which has 
brought you to universal fame, to abstain from those 
Stoic arguments that are your usual weapons, and 
to renounce for a while the logic which devotes all 

he was a Donatist or Circiimcellion. The others mentioned 
here with him are not known, but were probably of the same 
party. On the arguments advanced by Maximus see p. 30, 

^ Liican, B.C. vii. 459. 



nervorum suorum luctamine nihil certi cuiquani re 
linquere nititur, ipsa re adprobes, qui sit iste deus, 
quern vobis Christiani quasi proprium vindicatis et 
in locis abditis praesenteni vos videre componitis. 
Nos etenim deos nostros luce palani ante oculos atque 
aures omnium mortalium piis precibus adoramus et 
per suaves hostias propitios nobis efficimus et a 
cunctis haec cerni et probari contendimus. 
i Sed ulterius huic certamini me senex invalidus 
subtraho et in sententiam Mantuani rhetoris libenter 
pergo : 

trahat sua quemqiie voluptas. 

Post haec non dubito, vir eximie, qui a mea secta 
deviasti, hanc epistulam aliquorum furto detractam 
flammis vel quolibet pacto perituram. Quod si ac- 
cident, erit damnum chartulae, non nostri sermonis, 
cuius exemplar penes omnes religiosos perpetuo 
retinebo. Dii te servent, per quos et eorum atque 
cunctorum mortalium communem patrem universi 
mortales, quos terra sustinet, mille modis concordi 
discordia veneramur et colimus. 

No. 6 (Ep. XVII) 


1 Seriumne aliquid inter nos agimus, an iocari libet ? 
Nam sicut tua epistula loquitur, utrum causae ipsius 
infirmitate, an morum tuorum comitate sit factum, ut 

" A very common charge against the Christians, arising 
no doubt from a misunderstanding of their private celebra- 
tion of the Eucharist. It is made by Pliny and Fronto, 
among others, and is discussed and repudiated by all the 
Apologists, until in the third century it gradually disappears. 

^ Virg. Buc. ii. 65. 


NO. 5 (Ep. XVI)— NO. 6 (Ep. XVII) 

the strength of its sinews to robbing every man of 
certainty. Prove by the facts themselves who is that 
god whom you Christians claim as your peculiar pro- 
perty and whose presence you feign to see in secret 
places.^ We indeed \Wth reverent prayers worship 
our gods in daylight, openly before the eyes and ears 
of all mortals, and we earn their favour by acceptable 
sacrifices, taking pains to let our actions be seen and 
approved by everyone. 

But I am a feeble old man, so I withdraw from 4 
any further contest and gladly give my adherence 
to that sentiment of the eloquent Mantuan : 

Let each man be drawn by his own pleasure. ^" 

After this, my distinguished friend, seceder that you 
are from my own faith, I fully expect that some 
thieves \W11 steal this letter and that it will be burned 
or otherwise destroyed. In that event, it will only be 
the papyrus that will be lost, not what I have said, for 
I shall for ever keep a copy of it accessible to all the 
devout. Mav the gods keep you ! Through them all 
we mortals whom earth bears worship and adore in a 
thousand ways and with harmonious variance one 
who is the common father both of the gods and of all 
mortal men. 

No. 6 (Ep. XVII) 

(a.d. 390) 


Is it a serious discussion we are engaged in, or 1 
do you want only to be amused ? The tone of your 
letter leaves me wondering whether your preference 
for humorous remarks to studied arguments is the 



malles esse facetior quam paratior, incertum habeo. 
Prinio enim Olympi niontis et fori vestri comparatio 
facta est, quae nescio quo pertinuerit, nisi ut me 
commonefaceret et in illo monte lovem castra po- 
suisse, cum adversus patrem bellum gereret, ut ea 
docet historia, quam vestri etiam sacram vocant, et 
in isto foro recordarer esse in duobus simulacris unum 
Mart em nudum, alterum armatum, quorum dae- 
monium infestissimum civibus porrectis tribus digitis 
contra conlocata statua humana comprimeret. Ergo- 
ne umquam ego crediderim mentione illius fori 
facta numinum talium memoriam mihi te renovare 
voluisse. nisi iocari potius quam serie agere maluisses ? 
Sed illud plane, quod tales deos quaedam dei unius 
magni membra esse dixisti, admoneo, quia dignaris, 
ut ab huius modi sacrilegis facetiis te magnopere 
abstineas. Si quidem ilium deum dicis unum, de 
quo, ut dictum est a veteribus, docti indoctique con- 
sentiunt, huiusne tu membra dicis esse, quorum iam 
immanitatem vel, si hoc mavis, potentiam mortui 
hominis imago compescit ? Plura hinc possim di- 
cere ; vides enim pro tua prudentia, quam late locus 
iste pateat reprehensioni. Sed me ipse cohibeo, ne a 
te rhetorice potius quam veridice agere existimer. 
2 Nam quod nomina quaedam mortuorum Punica 
coUegisti, quibus in nostram religionem festivas, ut 
tibi visum est, contumelias iaciendas putares, nescio, 

NO. 6 (Ep. XVII) 

result of your having a feeble case, or simply of your 
affability. First you make a comparison between 
Mount Olympus and your o^ai market-place, the 
point of which I fail to see ; unless it was your in- 
tention to remind me that it was in that mountain 
Jove pitched his campM'hen fighting against his father, 
according to the tale your co-religionists call sacred, 
and to remind me of the two images of Mars in that 
same market-place, one of them armed, the other 
in his tunic, while a human statue, standing over 
against them, uses three outstretched fingers to 
curb their evil influence that threatens your towns- 
men so direfully. So should I ever have believed 
that in mentioning your market-place you wanted to 
revive my recollection of such deities, if it had not 
been your intention to be facetious rather than to 
have a serious discussion ? But as to your statement 
that such gods are portions of one great god, I give 
you plain warning : please refrain altogether from 
such irreverent jocularity. If you are really referring 
to the unity of that god about whom, as the ancients 
have it, learned and unlearned are in agreement, do 
you describe as portions of him those whose frightful- 
ness, or, if you prefer the word, power, is kept in check 
by the statue of a single dead man ? I could say a 
good deal more about this point : you are intelligent 
enough to see how far that remark of yours lays you 
open to censure. But I refrain, in case you imagine 
that I am quarrelling about words rather than seeking 

You have gathered together some Punic names 2 
of dead people, with the intention of making use of 
them to cast on our religion what you supposed to be 
wittv abuse : I am not sure if I should refute your 



utrum refellere debeam, an silentio praeterire. Si 
enim res istae tarn videntur leves tuae gravitati, 
quani sunt, iocari mihi non multum vacat ; si autem 
graves tibi videntur, miror, quod nominum absur- 
ditate commoto in mentem non venerit habere vos 
at in sacerdotibus Eucaddires et in numinibus Abad- 
dires. Non puto ego ista tibi, cum seriberes, in 
animo non fuisse, sed more humanitatis et leporis tui 
commonefacere nos voluisti ad relaxandum animum, 
quanta in vestra superstitione ridenda sint. Neque 
enim usque adeo te ipsum oblivisci potuisses, ut homo 
Afer scribens Afris, cum simus utrique in Africa con- 
stituti, Punica nomina exagitanda existimares. Nam 
si ea vocabula interpretemur, Namphamo quid aUud 
significat quam boni pedis hominem ? Id est, cuius 
adventus adferat aUquid fehcitatis, sicut solemus 
dicere secundo pede introisse, cuius introitum pro- 
speritas ahqua consecuta sit. Quae Ungua si in- 
probatur abs te, nega Punicis Ubris, ut a viris doctis- 
simis proditur, multa sapienter esse mandata me- 
moriae ; paeniteat te certe ibi natum, ubi huius 
linguae cunabula recalent. Si vero et sonus nobis 
noster non rationabihter disphcet et me bene inter- 
pretatum illud vocabulum recognoscis, habes quod 
suscenseas Vergiho tuo, qui Herculem vestrum ad 

" Abaddir is a Phoenician deity, probably to be identified 
with Baal Addir or Baal Hammon ; the word itself is Punic 
for "Mighty Father." The Eucaddires were perhaps the 
priests of that cult, but the word is not found elsewhere. 

^ Punic was still widely spoken, and Augustine several 
times speaks of the need for priests speaking that tongue. 
Arnobius Junior, writing in the fifth century, says Punic 
was still the language of the people of the little Syrtes, and 
a bilingual inscription has been found as late a.s 539 {Corpus 

NO. 6 (Ep. XVII) 

taunts or pass them over in silence. If such matters 
appear to a man of your sense to be as unimportant 
as they really are, I have not much time to spare for 
such pleasantry ; if they appear to you important, I 
am surprised that if absurd names appeal to you, you 
did not remember that among your priests you have the 
Eucaddires, and among your deities the Abaddires.^ 
I do not suppose that these did not occur to you when 
you were WTiting, but in your usual genial and witty 
way you wanted to amuse me by reminding me how 
many laughable things are to be found in your super- 
stitions. Nor could you have forgotten yourself so 
far as to imagine that Punic names were to be railed 
at, w^hen you, an African, were writing to Africans 
and seeing that we are both living in Africa. If we 
interpret those words, what does Namphamo mean 
but" the man v.ith the lucky foot " ? That is, the man 
whose coming brings some good fortune, just as we 
say that one whose arrival has been attended by some 
stroke of luck has entered with a prosperous foot. If 
you disapprove of Punic as a language, then you must 
refuse to admit that many wise things have been 
recorded in Punic books, as is declared by learned 
men ; you must even feel shame that you were born in 
a district in which the cradle of that language is still 
warm.^ If it is unreasonable that the sound of our 
own tongue should give us offence and if you grant 
that I have rightly interpreted that name, you have 
just cause to feel annoyed with your friend Virgil, 

Inscr. Lat. viii. 4677). Of Punic liierature only a few 
specimens are mentioned : Varro and Columella refer with 
praise to a treatise on Agriculture by Mago; Sallust had 
Punic chronicles translated to him, and Suidas cites one 
Charon of Carthage who wrote biographies. 


sacra, quae illi ab Evandro celebrantur, invitat hoc 
modo : 

et nos et tua dexter adi pede sacra secundo. 

Secundo pede optat ut veniat. Ergo venire optat 
Herculem Namphamonem, de quo tu multum nobis 
insultare dignaris. Verum tamen si ridere delectat. 
habes apud vos magnam materiam facetiarum : deum 
Stercutium, deam Cluacinam, Venerem Calvam, 
deum Timorem, deum Pallorem, deam Febrem et 
cetera innumerabilia huiusce modi, quibus Romani 
antiqui simulacrorum cultores templa fecerunt et 
colenda censuerunt. Quae si neglegis, Romanos 
deos neglegis, ex quo intellegeris non Romanis 
initiatus sacris, et tamen Punica nomina tamquam 
nimium Romanorum altaribus deditus contemnis 
ac despicis. 
3 Sed mihi videris omnino plus quam nos fortasse 
ilia sacra nihili pendere, sed ex eis nescio quam 
captare ad huius vitae transitum voluptatem, quippe 
qui etiam non dubitaveris ad Maronem confugere, 
ut scribis, et eius versu te tueri, quo ait : 

trahit sua quemque voluptas. 

Nam si tibi auctoritas Maronis placet, sicut placere 
significas, profecto etiam illud placet : 

primus ab aetherio venit Saturnus Olynipo 
arma lovis fugiens et regnis exul adernptis 

et cetera, quibus eum atque huius modi deos vestros 

" Virg. Aen. viii. 303. *" Virg. Buc. ii. Qo. 

= Virg. Aen. viii. 319-320^ 

NO. 6 (Ep. XVII) 

v.ho in these words invites your Hercules to the rites 
celebrated in his honour by Evander : 

Us and thy rites with prosperous foot approach, 
In favouring mood.*' 

He prays him to come " with prosperous foot " ; that 
is, he wants Hercules to come as Namphamo, in whom 
it pleases you to find much to taunt us with. But if 
you do take delight in jests, you have in your own 
religion ample material for ridicule : Stercutius. your 
god of manure, Cluacina, your goddess of purification, 
Bald ^^enus, your god Fear, your god Pallor, your 
goddess Fever, and countless others of the same kind, 
to whom the ancient Romans, worshippers of idols, 
built temples and thought worship should be offered. 
If you neglect them, you are neglecting Roman gods, 
thereby making it understood that you were not 
initiated into Roman rites, and yet you scorn and 
despise Punic names like one excessively devoted to 
the altars of Rome. 

But altogether your depreciation of those rites 
seems perhaps greater than ours, though you gain 
from them some vague pleasure for life's journey. 
You had no hesitation even in invoking the authority 
of \'irgil, as you say, and in shielding yourself by 
that line in which he says : 

Each man is drawn by his own pleasure. ** 

If you are satisfied with Mrgil's authority, as you 
indicate that you are, then you will certainly be 
satisfied -vdth these lines too : 

From high Olympus first came Saturn down. 
Fleeing Jove's arms, an exile from his realm, ^ 

and so on. By these lines the poet wants to show that 



vult intellegi homines fuisse. Legerat enini ille 
mythicami historiam vctusta auctoritate roboratam, 
quam etiam Tullius legerat, qui hoc idem in dialogis 
plus, quam postulare auderemus, commemorat et per- 
ducere in hominum notitiam, quantum ilia tempora 
patiebantur, molitur. 

4 Quod autem dicis eo nostris vestra sacra praeponi, 
quod vos publice colitis deos, nos autem secretioribus 
conventiculis utimur, primo illud abs te quaero, quo 
modo oblitus sis Liberum ilium, quem paucorum sa- 
cratorum oculis committendum putatis. Deinde tu 
ipse iudicas nihil aliud te agere voluisse, cum publicam 
sacrorum vestrorum celebrationem commemorares, 
nisi ut nobis decuriones et primates civitatis per 
plateas vestrae urbis bacchantes ac furentes ante 
oculos quasi specula poneremus. In qua celebritate 
si numine inhabitamini, certe videtis quale illud sit, 
quod adimit mentem ; si autem fingitis, quae sunt ista 
etiam in publico vestra secreta ? Vel quo pertinet 
tarn turpe mendacium ? Deinde cur nulla futura 
eanitis, si vates estis ? Aut cur spoliatis circum- 
stantes, si sani estis ? 

5 Cum igitur haec nos et alia, quae nunc praeter- 

^ Mss. multam, Goldbacher mysticam. 

° Of. l)e nat. dforum^ i. 42, 119. 

^ Though forbidden by the Senate in 186 b.c. (Livy xxxix. 
8-19), the BacchanaHa were later revived, and are often 
attacked by Christian writers. The celebration was confined 
to the initiate, who, feigning frenzy, claimed the indwelling 
presence of their god and practised many cruel and orgiastic 
rites. The language of Arnobius {Adv. Nat. v. 19) closely 
resembles Augustine's, and adds several other details : 
" Bacchanalia etiam praetermittemus inmania quibus nomen 
Omophagiis graecum est, in quibus furore mentito et seques- 
trata pectoris sanitate circumplicatis vos anguibus atque ut 
vos plenos dei numine ac maiestate doceatis, caprorum 

NO. 6 (Ep. XVII) 

Saturn and such-like gods of yours M'ere once men ; he 
had read that mythical tale confirmed by ancient 
authority and known to Tully as well, for in his Dia- 
logues " he draws attention to the same fact more 
explicitly than we should yenture to ask, and tries, 
as far as those days allowed, to put it before men's 

Then again, you state that your rites are to be 4 
preferred to ours, on the ground that your worship is 
public, while we use more secret places of meeting. 
First, I ask you how it comes that you haye forgotten 
your god Bacchus ; you think he should be entrusted 
only to the eyes of the few who are initiated. Then 
you con\ict yourself of haying had no other intention, 
in mentioning the public celebration of your rites, 
than that of making us enyisage, as in a mirror, your 
senators and notable townsmen raging and reyelling 
through your city streets. If in that celebration you 
haye the presence of a deity ^^ithin you, you sur6ly 
see what kind of being he is, when he destroys your 
reason. But if this is only an assumed madness, 
what are those secret rites that you actually practise 
in public ? Or what is the object of so yile a piece 
of deceit ? Or again, if you are inspired seers, why 
do you foretell no future eyents ? Or why do you 
rend the clothes of the bystanders, if you are in 
your right mind ? ^ 

Since your letter has recalled to me these facts 5 

reclamantium viscera cruentatis oribus dissipatis " (and also 
infra). See, too, Aug. C.I), vi. 9 and xviii. 13. There 
seems little evidence for this rending of bystanders' clothes, 
but probably this is what is implied in Plautus, Bacch. 974 
sqq. and Auhil. 408 " neqiie ego umquam nisi hodie ad 
Bacchas veni in bacchanal coquinatum, | ita me miserum et 
meos discipulos fustibus male contuderunt." 



mittenda existimo, per epistulam tuam feceris re- 
cordari. quid nos derideamus deos vestros, quos abs 
te ipso subtiliter derideri nemo non intellegit, qui et 
ingenium tuuni no\it et legit litteras tuas ? Itaque 
si aliquid inter nos de his rebus vis agamus, quod 
aetati prudentiaeque tuae congruit, quod denique de 
nostro proposito iure a carissimis nostris flagitari 
potest, quaere aliquid nostra discussione dignum et 
ea pro vestris numinibus cura dicere, in quibus non 
te causae praevaricatorem putemus, quod nos magis 
commoneas, quae contra illos dici possint, quam pro 
eis aliquid dicas. Ad summam tamen ne te hoc 
lateat et in sacrilega convicia inprudentem trahat, 
scias a Christianis catholicis, quorum in vestro oppido 
etiam ecclesia constituta est, nullum coli mortuorum, 
nihil denique ut numen adorari, quod sit factum et 
conditum a deo, sed unum ipsum deum, qui fecit et 
condidit omnia. Disserentur ista latius ipso vero et 
uilo deo adiuvante, cum te graviter agere velle 

" In addition to the Donatists. 

Note. — The two precedinjcr letters are amon^r the best 
known and most frequently cited of Augustine's correspond- 
ence. \'oltaire, for example, several times {Diet. Ph'doi<o- 
phique, s.vv. " Dieu,"" " Idole " ; Tra'ite sur la Tolerance, ch. 
9; "Notice sur Maxinie de Madaure" at the head of his 
Sophronime et Adelos) quotes Maxinius as evidence that the 
polytheism of his time was tolerant, philosophical, and deistic. 
The monotheistic explanation was by now current among the 
better educated pagans {rf. P.L. iii. 1 107 " gentiles quamvis 
idola colant, tamen summum Deum Patrem creatorem cog- 
noscunt et confitentur " : Maximus's own words are almost a 
literal translation of the verse quoted by Lactantius, Inst. \. 6. 
15 els debs, 6$ fxavos apx^i, VTrepfjLeyeOijs, dyeuvTos) ; but it was 
largely inspired by the struggle against Christianity and it was 

30 ' 

NO. 6 (Ep. XMI) 

and others which I think it better to pass over for the 
present, why should I make fun of your gods, when 
anyone who knows your type of mind and reads your 
letter can see that you yourself poke stealthy fun at 
them ? So, if you want us to discuss this topic in a 
manner befitting your age and good sense and answer- 
ing the just demands of my close friends from one of 
my profession, look for some theme worthy of debate 
between us, and do your best to put forward on your 
gods' behalf arguments that will not make me think 
you are betraying your own case ; for you certainly did 
suggest to me what can be said against them, rather 
than advance any statement on their behalf. Finally, I 
want to tell you something you should know, to keep 
you from being inadvertently drawn into irreverent 
gibes : Catholic Christians, who have a church estab- 
lished in your town too," worship no dead man and 
adore nothing as a deity that was made and created 
by God ; they worship only God himself, who made 
and created everything. 

I shall enlarge on these facts by the help of our one 
true God, when I am assured that you want to treat 
them seriously. 

never more than a controversial argrument, forgotten in poly- 
theistic practice. His case for paganism is largely aesthetic and 
sentimental ; in attacking Christianity he undoubtedly strikes 
at the weakest point of its popular observance, the cult of 
saints and martyrs, the concession made by Christianity to 
local, polytheistic hero-worship. But he confuses Donatism, 
strong in the region round Madaura, with orthodox C'hristian- 
ity, and his remarks about the villainous character of those 
popular objects of veneration are beside the mark. Au- 
gustine in reply attacks the disreputable cults and practices 
of paganism and treats Maximus's arguments, both for 
paganism and against Christianity, with contempt. 



No. 7 (Ep. XXI) 


1 Ante omnia peto, ut cogitet religiosa prudentia 
tua nihil esse in hac vita et maxime hoc tempore 
facihus et laetius et hominibus acceptabihiis epi- 
scopi aut presbyteri aiit diaconi officio, si perfunctorie 
atque adulatorie res agatur, sed nihil apiid deum 
miserius et tristius et damnabilius ; item nihil esse in 
hac vita et maxime hoc tempore difficilius, laborio- 
sius, periculosius episcopi aut presbyteri aut diaconi 
officio, sed apud deum nihil beatius, si eo modo milite- 
tur, quo noster imperator iubet. Quis autem iste sit 
modus, nee a pueritia nee ab adulescentia mca didici. 
Et eo tempore, quo discere coeperam, vis mihi facta 
est merito peccatorum meorum — nam quid aliud 
existimem nescio, — ut secundus locus gubernaculo- 
rum mihi traderetur, qui remum tenere non noveram. 

2 Sed arbitror dominum meum propterea me sic 
emendare voluisse, quod multorum peccata nauta- 
rum, antequam expertus essem, quid illic agitur, 
quasi doctior et melior reprehendere audebam. 
Itaque posteaquam missus sum in medium, tunc 

" Valerius was bishop of Hippo when Augustine returned 
to Africa in 388. By birth a Greek, he had difficulty in 
preaching in Latin. When Augustine was visiting lIii)po 
in 391, he was forcibly ordained to assist Valerius, and this 
letter was written soon after the ordination, probably from 
Tagaste, whither Augustine had no doubt returned to 
terminate his affairs there. Augustine always speaks of 

NO. 7 (Ep. XXI) 

Xo. 7 (Ep. XXI) 

(a.d. 391) 


First and foremost, I beg your wise Holiness to I 
consider that there is nothing in this life, and especi- 
ally in our own day, more easy and pleasant and accept- 
able to men than the office of a bishop or priest or 
deacon, if its duties be discharged in a mechanical and 
sycophantic way, but nothing more worthless and 
deplorable and meet for chastisement in the sight of 
God ; and, on the other hand, that there is nothing in 
this life, and especially in our own day, more difficult, 
toilsome and hazardous than the office of a bishop or 
priest or deacon, but nothing more blessed in the sight 
of God, if our service be in accordance with our Cap- 
tain's orders.^ But how that is to be done I learned 
neither in my boyhood nor in my youth, and just as 
I had begun to learn, I was compelled by reason 
of my sins to assume the second place at the helm, 
although I did not know how to hold an oar. 

But I imagine that it was my Lord's intention 2 
to chastise me because I was bold enough to rebuke 
many sailors for their faults, as though I were a wiser 
and a better man, before experience had taught me 
the nature of their work. So, on being sent into 
their midst, I then began to realize how presump- 

\'alerius with great respect and affection. Valerius retired 
in 396, and Augustine succeeded him. 
" 1 Tim. i. 18-19 ; 2 Tim. ii. 4. 

D 33 


sentire coepi temeritates reprehensionum mearuni, 
quamquani et antea periculosissimuni iudicareni hoc 
ministerium. Et hinc erant illae lacrimae, quas me 
fundere in no\'itate ordinationis meae nonnulli fratres 
animadverterunt, et nescientes causas doloris mei 
quibus potuerunt sermonibus, qui omnino ad vulnus 
nieum non pertinerent, tamen bono animo consolati 
sunt. Sed multo, valde niulto amplius expertus 
sum, quam putabam, non quia novos aliquos fluctus 
aut tempestates vidi, quas ante non videram vel non 
audieram vel non legeram vel non cogitaveram, sed 
ad eas evitandas aut perferendas sollertiam et vires 
meas omnino non noveram et alicuius momenti 
arbitrabar. Dominus autem inrisit me et rebus 
ipsis ostendere voluit me ipsum mihi. 
3 Quod si non damnando, sed miserando fecit — hoc 
enim spero certe vel nunc cognita aegritudine mea, 
— debeo scripturarum eius medicamenta omnia per- 
scrutari et orando ac legendo agere, ut idonea vali- 
tudo animae meae ad tam periculosa negotia tri- 
buatur. Quod ante non feci, quia et tempus non 
habui ; tunc enim ordinatus sum, cum de ipso va- 
cationis tempore ad cognoscendas divinas scripturas 
cogitaremus et sic nos disponere vellemus, ut nobis 
otium ad hoc negotium posset esse. Quod verum 
est, nondum sciebam, quid mihi deesset ad tale opus, 
quale me nunc torquet et conterit. Quod si propter- 
ea in re ipsa didici, quid sit homini necessarium. 

<" This was early in 391 {cf. § 4 "until Easter"), •when 
Augustine was in his thirty-sixth year. Among his earliest 
actions at Hippo was the founding of a monastery — his 
second, that at Tagaste remaining in the charge of Alypius. 
For other accounts of this forcible ordination see Serm. 


NO. 7 (Ep. XXI) 

tuous were my rebukes, although even before that 
time I had concluded that this occupation was fraught 
with great hazards. That was the cause of those tears 
which some of the brethren noticed me shedding 
when I was newly ordained ^ ; they said all they could 
to console me, but, though their intentions were 
good, their words had no bearing whatever on my 
trouble, as they did not know the reasons for my 
grief. But experience has revealed the hazards 
far, far more fully than even anticipation ; it is not 
that I have observed some new breakers or storms 
unknown to me by previous observation or report or 
reading or meditation, but that I completely mis- 
calculated my ability and strength to avoid them or 
endure them and reckoned it to be of some worth. 
But the Lord mocked me and by actual experience 
sought to show me just what I am. 

If He did this in mercy and not in judgement, as I 3 
confidently hope now that I at last recognize my weak 
points, it is my duty to investigate all the remedies to 
be found in His Scriptures and to see that prayer and 
study procure for my soul adequate strength for such 
dangerous tasks. I had no time before the ceremony, 
so I failed to do it then : I was ordained just when I 
was planning for a period of leisure in order to make 
myself acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, and when 
I was arranging to obtain some spare time for that 
task. The truth is, I did not realize my lack of quali- 
fications for the duties that now vex and harass me. 
If experience has taught me what is requisite for one 

ccclv. 2 and Possid. Vit. Aug. iv. Ordination by compulsion 
Avas at this time not uncommon : Ambrose, Martin of Tours, 
Chrysostom and Paulinus were ordained by force, as was 
also Jerome's brother, Paulinianus. 



qui populo ministrat sacramentum et verbum dei, iit 
iam mihi non liceat adsequi, quod me non habere 
cognovi, iubes ergo, ut peream, pater \\ileri ? Ubi 
est caritas tua ? Certe diligis me ? Certe diligis 
ipsam ecclesiam, cui me sic ministrare voluisti ? Et 
tamen certus sum, quod et me et ipsam diligis. Sed 
putas me idoneum, cum ego melius me noverim, qui 
tamen nee ipse me nossem, nisi experiendo didicissem. 
Sed dicit fortasse sanctitas tua : vellem, scire, quid 
desit instructioni tuae. Tarn multa autem sunt, ut 
facilius possim enumerare quae habeam, quam quae 
habere desidero. Auderem enim dicere scire me et 
plena fide retinere, quid pertineat ad salutem no- 
stram. Sed hoc ipsum quo modo ministrem ad salu- 
tem aliorum non quaerens, quod mihi utile est, sed quod 
multis, ut salvi jiant ? Et sunt fortasse aliqua, immo 
non est dubitandum esse in Sanctis libris conscripta 
consilia, quibus cognitis et adprehensis possit homo 
dei rebus ecclesiasticis ordinatioribus ministrare aut 
certe inter manus iniquorum vel vivere conscientia 
saniore vel mori, ut ilia vita non amittatur, cui uni 
Christiana corda humilia et mansueta suspirant. Quo 
modo autem hoc fieri potest, nisi, quern ad modum 
ipse dominus dicit, petendo quaerendo pulsando, id 
est orando legendo plangendo ? Ad quod negotium 
mihi parvum tempus velut usque ad pascha impe- 
trare volui per fratres a tua sincerissima et vx'nerabili 
caritate et nunc per has preces volo. 
5 Quid enim responsurus sum domino iudici ? Non 

« 1 Cor. X. 33. 
" Matt. vii. T-8 ; Luke xi. 9-10. 

NO. 7 (Ep. XXI) 

who dispenses God's word and sacrament to the people, 
only now to be debarred from acquiring what I know 
I do not possess, are you, Father Valerius, simply de- 
creeing my ruin? Where is your affection for me ? Do 
you really love me ? Do you really love the Church 
which you want me to serve with this poor equip- 
ment ? Yet I am sure that you love us both, but you 
think me quite well equipped, though I know myself 
better ; but I should not have acquired this know- 
ledge, had it not been taught me by experience. 

But perhaps your Holiness replies : "I should like 4 
to know wherein your training is deficient." It has 
so many deficiencies that it would be easier for me to 
enumerate the things I have acquired than those I 
w^ant to acquire. I might venture to say that I know 
and hold with complete trust what belongs to our 
salvation. But how am I to minister even that for 
the salvation of others, not seeking mine own profit, 
but the profit of many, that they may be saved " ? 
Perhaps there are some admonitions written in the 
holy books — nay, it is certain that there are — which, 
if a man of God grasp and apply them to himself, will 
enable him to discharge his more ordinary clerical 
duties, or at least amidst the kicked to keep so sound 
a conscience that, whether living or dying, he lose not 
that life for which alone humble and gentle Christian 
hearts long. But how can this be done, except, as the 
Lord Himself says, by asking, seeking and knocking,^ 
that is, by prayer, study and beating of the breast ? 
It was for this task that I sought through my brethren 
to obtain from your dear Reverence a short space of 
time, say until Easter, and to that I now add this 
present supplication. 

For what answer am I to make to the I^ord, when 5 



poteram ista iam quaerere, cum ecclesiasticis negotiis 
impedirer ? Si ergo mihi dicat : serve neqtiam, si 
villa ecclesiae caluniniosiini aliquem pateretur, cuius 
fructibus coUigendis magna opera inpenditur neglecto 
agro, quern rigavi sanguine meo, si quid agere pro 
ea posses apud iudicem terrae, nonne omnibus con- 
sentientibus, nonnuUis etiam iubentibus et cogentibus 
pergeres et, si contra te iudicaretur, etiam trans mare 
proficiscereris ? Atque hoc modo vel annuam vel 
amplius absentiam tuam nulla querella revocaret, 
ne alius possideret terram non animae sed corpori 
pauperum necessariam, quorum tamen famem vivae 
arbores meae multo facilius mihique gratius, si dili- 
genter colerentur, explerent. Cur ergo ad discen- 
dam agriculturam meam vacationem temporis tibi 
defuisse causaris ? Die mihi, quid respondeam ; rogo 
te an forte vis dicam : senex \^alerius dum me 
omnibus rebus instructum esse credidisset, quanto 
amplius me dilexit, tanto minus discere ista permisit ? 
6 Adtende omnia ista, senex Valeri ; obsecro te per 
bonitatem et severitatem Christi, per misericordiam 
et iudicium eius, per eum, tantam qui tibi inspiravit 
erga nos caritatem, ut ne te nee pro lucro animae 
nostrae audeamus offendere. Sic autem mihi do- 
minum et Christum testem facis innocentiae et cari- 
tatis et sinceri afFectus quem circa nos habes, quasi 
ego non de his iurare omnibus possum. Ipsam ergo 

« Matt, xviii. 32 ; Luke xix. 22. 

*• In Africa and Spain the title Sfji^.r was given to the 
Metropolitan, since the senior Bishop in those two countries 
usually held that dignity. The Bishop of Carthage was 
Primate from his possession of that see, but from 305 there 
was a Primate of Nnmidia as well, and later of Tripolitana, 
the Mauretanias, and Byzacenum. Cf. Leo Magn. Ep. iv. 
" in singulis Africae provinciis antiquitus primates] institue- 

NO. 7 (Ep. XXI) 

He judges me? That I had no opportunity for self 
improvement in the embarrassment of clerical duties ? 
If He were to say to me: "Thou wicked servant,^ if 
some rogue were preying upon the Church's property, 
the fruits of which are gathered with great expendi- 
ture of effort, and your intervention before an earthly 
bar could be of some avail, would not everyone agree 
and some even command and compel you to abandon 
the field that I watered with My own Blood and pro- 
ceed to court, and if the verdict were unfavourable, 
even to make the journey across the sea ? You 
might spend a year or more \vithout being recalled by 
grumbling, in preventing the land needful for the 
bodily, not the spiritual, welfare of the poor from 
falling into other hands ; yet their hunger would be 
appeased much more easily and more satisfactorily to 
Me, by My living trees, if they were carefully tended. 
Why then do you complain that you had no leisure 
to learn My husbandry ? " Tell me, what answer 
could I make ? I Monder if you would like me to say : 
"But the Senior^ \^alerius thought my training was 
complete and, out of his great love for me, gave me 
all the less opportunity to acquire what I lacked " ? 

Consider all these points. Senior Valerius ; I en- 6 
treat you by the goodness and severity of Christ, 
by His mercy and judgement, by Him who inspired 
you with such affection for me that even to gain my 
own soul I would not venture to displease you. You 
call upon the Lord and Christ to bear witness to me 
of the single-mindedness and liking and warm affec- 
tion you have towards me, as if I could not take an 
oath myself on them all. To that liking and affection 

bantur non secundum potentiam alicuius civitatis, sed 
secundum tempus suae ordinationis." 



caritateni et affectum inploro, ut miserearis mei et 
concedas mihi ad hoc quod rogavi, tempus quantum 
rogavi, atque adiuves me orationibus tuis, ut non sit 
inane desiderium meum nee infructuosa ecclesiae 
Christi atque utilitati fratrum et conservorum meo- 
rum absentia mea. Scio quod illam caritatem pro 
me orantem maxime in tali causa non despicit do- 
minus et earn sicut sacrificium suavitatis accipiens 
fortassis brexdore tempore, quam postula\-i, me salu- 
berrimis consiliis de scripturis suis reddet instructum. 

No. 8 (Ep. XXII) 


1 I. Qua gratia responderem litteris sanctitatis tuae, 
cum diu haesitans non reperirem — omnia enim vicit 
affectus animi mei, quem iam sponte surgentem lectio 
epistulae tuae multo ardentius excitavit, — commisi 
me tamen deo, qui pro viribus meis operaretur in me, 
ut ea rescriberem, quae utrique nostrum studio in 
domino et cura ecclesiastica pro tua praestantia et 
mea obsecundatione congruerent. Atque illud pri- 
mum, quod orationibus meis te adiuvari credis, non 
solum non defugio, verum etiam libenter amplector. 
Ita enim etsi non meis, at certe tuis me dominus 
noster exaudiet. Quod fratrem Alypium in nostra 
coniunctione mansisse, ut exemplo sit fratribus curas 
mundi huius vitare cupientibus, benivolentissime 

*• Augustine first met Aurelius at Carthage in 388, when 
Aurelius was a deacon (Civ. Dei^ xxii, 8. 8), and there were 
laid the beginnings of a long and close friendship. Aurehus 
succeeded to the see of Carthage in 391 or 39:2, and was 
still in office in 426. To him Augustine dedicated his De 
Trinitate, De Gestis Pelagli, and De Opere Monachorum. 

NO. 7 (Ep. XXI)— NO. 8 (Ep. XXII) 

I appeal : pity me and give me the time I want for the 
thino; I want ; give me the aid of your prayers, that 
my desire be not in vain and my absence not without 
fruit to the Church of Christ and the welfare of my 
brethren and fellow-servants. I am sure that the 
Lord does not despise such affection when it ex- 
presses itself in prayer for me, especially in a 
matter of this kind. He will accept it as a sweet 
sacrifice, and perhaps in a shorter time than I have 
asked for will provide from the health-giving counsels 
of His Scriptures the instruction I need. 

No. 8 (Ep. XXII) 
(a.d. 392) 


I. After long hesitation I have not discovered how 1 
most gratefully to reply to your Holiness 's letter, for 
all my efforts were thwarted by my heartfelt emotion, 
which rising of its own accord Mas much more warmly 
stirred by the reading of your letter. But I cast my- 
self upon God that He might work in me according 
to my strength, so that I should reply to you as be- 
fitted our mutual zeal in the Lord and our care for His 
church, you in your exalted station and I in my 
subordinate post. And, first, so far from declining 
your assurance that you believe my prayers avail for 
you, I gladly welcome it, for in this way the Lord will 
hear and answer me, if not through my own prayers, 
then certainly through yours. I am more grateful to 
you than I can well express for your kindly approval 
of brother Alypius's action in remaining a member of 
our fellowship, as an example to the brethren who 



accepisti, ago gratias, quas nullis verbis explicare 
possim ; deus hoc rependat in animam tuarn. 
Omnis itaque fratrum coetus, qui apud eos coepit 
coalescere, tanta tibi praerogativa obstrictus est, 
ut locis terrarum tantum longe disiunctis ita nobis 
consulueris tamquani praesentissimus spiritu. Qua- 
propter preeibus, quantum valemus, incumbimus, 
ut gregem tibi commissum tecum dominus sustinere 
dignetur nee te uspiam deserere, sed adesse adiutor 
in opportunitatihus faciens cum ecclesia sua miseri- 
cordiam per sacerdotium tuum, qualem spiritales viri 
ut faciat lacrimis eum gemitibusque interpellant. 
2 Scias itaque, domine beatissime et plenissima cari- 
tate venerabilis, non desperare nos, immo sperare 
nos vehementer, quod dominus et deus noster per 
auctoritatem personae, quam geris, quam non carni, 
sed spiritu tuo inpositam esse confidimus, multas 
carnales foeditates et aegritudines, quas Africana 
ecclesia in multis patitur, in paucis gemit . . . 
conciliorum gravi ense et tua gravitate posse sanari. 
Cum enim apostolus tria breviter genera vitiorum 
detestanda et vitanda uno in loco posuerit, de quibus 
innumerabilium peccatorum exsurrexit seges, unum 
horum, quod quidem secundo loco posuit, acerrime 
in ecclesia vindicatur ; duo autem reliqua, id est 
primum et ultimum, tolerabilia videntur hominibus 
atque ita paulatim fieri potest, ut nee vitia iam pu- 
tentur. Ait enim vas electionis : Non in comissatio- 
nihus et ehrietatihus , non in cubilibus et inpudicitiis, non 

*» Ps. Lx. 10 ; xvii. 51. 

^ There is an anacoluthon here, and Goldbacher has 
marked a lacuna. The last clause (ronciliorufn . . . sanari) 
is a locus vexatisshnus, and the variants so numerous that 
the textual critic must be referred to Goldbacher's apparatus, 

NO. 8 (Ep. XXII) 

wish to withdraw from the cares of this world. May 
God recompense your soul for this ! The whole com- 
pany of brethren that has begun to form around them 
is therefore bound to you with great gratitude, for 
you looked after our interests as if yery present in 
spirit, although our abode is so far remoyed from 
yours in space. So we deyote our best strength to 
praying that the Lord \W11 deign to uphold with you 
the flock committed to your care and that He will 
neyer leaye you but be a present help in time 
of trouble," showing \\'ith His Church such mercy 
through your ministry as spiritual men implore Him 
with tears and groanings to show. 

Let me assure you, therefore, my Lord most 2 
reyered, worthy of all deyotion and of oyerflowing 
affection, that we are not without hope — nay, are 
rather strongly hopeful— that through the authority 
you bear, laid, as we trust, not on your flesh, but on 
your spirit, our Lord and God may use the weighty 
sword of councils and your own weight for the healing 
of the many carnal sores and disorders which the 
African Church is suffering in so many quarters and 
lamenting in so few.'' In one passage the Apostle has 
set down to be hated and shunned three classes of 
yice from which has sprung an incalculable crop of 
sins. One of them, which he places only in the 
second rank, the Church punishes most seyerely ; 
the other two, the first and the last-mentioned, appear 
to men to be quite tolerable, and so they may gradu- 
ally come to be looked upon as not sins at all. The 
words of the Chosen Vessel'' are these : "Not in 
rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and 

" St. Paul, so called from the words of Acts ix. 15. 



in coiitentione et zelo ; sed induite vos dominum lesum 
ChrisUim et camis cur am nefeceritis in concupiscentiis. 
3 Horum ergo trium cubilia et inpudicitiae ita mag- 
num crimen putatur, ut nemo dignus non modo 
ecclesiastico ministerio, sed ipsa etiam sacramen- 
torum communione videatur, qui se isto peccato 
maculaverit. Et recte omnino. Sed quare solum ? 
Comissationes enim et ebrietates ita concessae et 
lieitae putantur, ut in honore etiam beatissimorum 
martyrum non solum per dies sollemnes, quod ipsum 
quis non lugendum videat, qui haec non carneis 
oeulis inspicit, sed etiam cotidie celebrentur. Quam 
foeditatem, si tantum flagitiosa et non etiam sacrilega 
esset, quibuscumque tolerantiae viribus sustentan- 
dam putaremus. Quamquam ubi est illud, quod 
cum multa vitia enumerasset idem apostolus, inter 
quae posuit ebriosos, ita conclusit, ut diceret : cum 
talihus nee panem edere ? Sed feramus haec in luxu 
et labe domestica et eorum conviviorum quae pri- 
vatis parietibus continentur, accipiamusque cum eis 
corpus Christi, cum quibus panem edere prohibemur : 
saltem de sanctorum corporum sepulcris, saltem de 

« Rom. xiii. 13-14. «• 1 Cor. v. 11. 

'^ This practice of drunkenness at the martyrs' tom})S was 
widespread (Ps.-Cypr. JJupL Martyr. 25 " armon videmus 
ad martyrum memorias Christianum a Christiano cogi ad 
ebrietatem?" Ambr. Ihlia xvii. 62 " caHces ad sepulchra 
martyrum deferunt atque illic in vesperam bil)unt," etc.). 
It was a survival of the old pagan custom of celebrating 
Parentalia or Feralia on the tombs of the dead, but, as 
Augustine says, the Church attempted to arrest this licence, 
not by complete suppression, but by converting the offering 
of bread and wine laid on the tombs (see (,'onf. vi. 2) to a 
nobler use. I'he martyr's tomb was made an altar, round 
which was built the chapel dedicated to him and called by 
his name; this explains why, in the fourth century, churches 

NO. 8 (Ep. XXII) 

wantonness, not in strife and envying ; but put ye 
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision 
for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof."" 

Of these three classes, chambering and wantonness 3 
are considered so great an offence that no one who 
lias defiled himself with that sin is considered worthy 
not merely of holding office in the Church, but even of 
participation in the sacraments. And quite rightly 
so, but why single out these ? Rioting and drunken- 
ness are considered so permissible and tolerable that 
they are practised not only on holy days, when the 
blessed martyrs are honoured, — a lamentable sight 
to anyone who looks on such festivities with more 
than a carnal eye, — but even on any and every day. 
Were this depravity only immoral and not sacrilegious 
as well, we might think of putting up with it with 
what power of endurance we could. And yet, what 
about the same Apostle's statement, when he ends his 
lengthy list of vices, among which drunkenness finds 
a place, by saying : " With such an one not even to eat 
bread " ^' ? Are we to put up with it in the disgraceful 
debauchery of private life and of those festivities that 
are confined to private houses, and receive the Body 
of Christ in the company of those with whom we are 
forbidden to eat bread ? At least let such a disgrace- 
ful practice be removed from the cemeteries ^ where 

were built outside the towns, for the cemeteries were there ; 
only in the tenth century did the church reach the middle of 
the town. Further, the martyr's fame and sanctity encour- 
aged burial near him ; hence the habit of burial within the 
church, and later around it. So throughout the Middle 
Ages the church and the cemetery were the sacred place of 
the people : there they held their plays, their dances (Giraldi:s 
Cambrensis describes one in Wales in 1188, Itln. Kamhr. 
i. 2), their revels and even their drinking-bouts, in spite of 
repeated prohibitions by Church Councils. 



locis sacranientorum, de domibus orationuni tantum 
dedecus arceatur. Quis enim audet vetare privatim, 
quod cum frequentatur in Sanctis locis, honor niar- 
tyrum nominatur ? 

4 Haec si prima Africa temptaret auferre, a ceteris 
terris imitatione digna esse deberet ; cum vero et 
per Italiae maximam partem et in aliis omnibus aut 
prope omnibus transmarinis ecclesiis, partim quia 
numquam facta sunt, partim quia vel orta vel in- 
veterata sanctorum et vere de vita futura cogitantium 
episcoporum diligentia et anirnadversione extincta 
atque deleta sunt, . . . dubitare quo modo pos- 
sumus tantam morum labem vel proposito tam 
lato exemplo emendare r Et nos quidem illarum 
partium hominem habemus episcopum, unde magnas 
deo agimus gratias. Quamquam eius modestiae 
atque lenitatis est, eius denique prudentiae et 
soUicitudinis in domino, ut, etiam si Afer esset, 
cito illi de scripturis persuaderetur curandum, quod 
licentiosa et male libera consuetudo vulnus inflixit, 
sed tanta pestilentia est huius mali, ut sanari prorsus, 
quantum mihi videtur, nisi concilii auctoritate non 
possit, aut, si ab una ecclesia inchoanda est medicina, 
sicut videtur audaciae mutare conari quod Cartha- 
giniensis ecclesia tenet, sic magnae inpudentiae est 
velle servare quod Carthaginiensis ecclesia correxit. 
Ad banc autem rem quis alius episcopus esset op- 
tandus, nisi qui ea diaconus execrabatur ? 

5 Sed quod erat tunc dolendum, nunc auferendum 


NO. 8 (Ep. XXII) 

the bodies of the saints are laid, and from the place 
where the sacraments are celebrated, and from the 
house of prayer. For who dare forbid the use in 
private of that which, when practised in holy places, is 
called a tribute to the martyrs ? 

If Africa were the first to attempt the removal of -1 
these abuses, she would be worthy of imitation by all 
other countries. But since they have been repressed 
and done away with through the greater part of 
Italy and in all, or nearly all, the other churches 
across the sea, partly because they were never in use, 
partly because, when they did arise or were of long 
standing, the scrupulousness and censure of saintly 
bishops, truly contemplating the life to come . . . how 
can we hesitate to correct this grave moral corruption, 
especially after the precedent set by so many others ? 
We have, too, as bishop a man belonging to those 
regions, for which fact we heartily thank God. Yet 
he is of such moderation and gentleness, such wisdom 
and zeal in the Lord, that, even if he were an African, 
he would readily have been persuaded from the 
Scriptures to undertake the cure of the wound that 
this dissolute and disorderly custom has inflicted. 
But the disease wrought by this evil habit has become 
so chronic that complete recovery seems to me to be 
impossible, unless by the authority of a council ; or if 
any one church has to begin the treatment, it appears 
foolish to try to change anything the Church of 
Carthage retains, and very presumptuous to desire 
to keep anything the Church of Carthage has rectified. 
And to carry through that reform here, what bishop 
could be more desirable than the one who, as a deacon, 
denounced such abuses ? 

But what at that time you could only deplore must 5 



est, non aspere sed, sicut scriptum est, in spiritu 
lenitahs et mansuetudiiiis. Dant enim mihi fiduciam 
litterae tuae, indices germanissimae caritatis, ut 
tecum tamquam iiiecuni audeam conloqui. Xon 
ergo aspere, quantum existimo, non duriter, non modo 
imperioso ista tolluntur,magisdocendo quam iubendo, 
magis monendo quam minando. Sic enim agendum 
est cum multitudine, se Veritas autem exercenda est 
in peccata paucorum. Et si quid minamur, cum 
dolore fiat de scripturis comminando vindictam 
futuram, ne nos ipsi in nostra potestate, sed deus in 
nostro sermone timeatur. Ita prius movebuntur 
spiritales vel spiritalibus proximi, quorum auctoritate 
et lenissimis quidem sed instantissimis admonitioni- 
bus cetera multitudo frangatur. 
6 Sed quoniam istae in ' cimiteriis ebrietates et 
luxuriosa convivia non solum honores martyrum a car- 
nali et inperita plebe credi solent, sed etiam solacia 
mortuorum, mihi videtur facilius illis dissuaderi posse 
istam foeditatem ac turpitudinem, si et de scripturis 
prohibeatur et oblationes pro spiritibus dormientium, 
quas vere aliquid adiuvare credendum est, super 
ipsas memorias non sint sumptuosae atque omnibus 
petentibus sine typho et cum alacritate praebeantur 
neque vendantur ; sed si quis pro religione aliquid 
pecuniae ofFerre voluerit, in praesenti pauperibus 
eroget. Ita nee deserere videbuntur memorias 
suorum, quod potest gignere non levem cordis dolo- 

<^ Gal. vi. 1 ; 1 Cor. iv. 2\. 

NO. 8 (Ep. XXII) 

now be repressed, not harshly, but as Scripture puts it, 
in the spirit of gentleness and meekness." Your letter, 
revealing as it does deep brotherly affection, encourages 
me to talk to you as I would to myself. It is not by 
harshness, in my opinion, or by severity, or by over- 
bearing methods, that such evils are removed, but by 
education rather than by formal commands, by persua- 
sion rather than by intimidation. That is the kind of 
treatment to use with men in the mass, while severity 
should be employed against the sins of individuals. 
If there be any intimidation, let it be done with 
sorrow by the threats of future punishment from the 
Scriptures, then the fear we inspire will not be of 
ourselves or our authority, but of God speaking in us. 
In this way an impression will first be made on the 
spiritually minded or on those most nearly so, and by 
their influence and gentle, but urgent, expostulation 
the rest of the crowd will be subdued. 

But since those drunken revels in cemeteries and 6 
those social orgies are usually considered by the 
carnal and ignorant laity not only to honour the 
martyrs but also to comfort the dead, they could, I 
think, be more easily prevailed upon to abandon 
th it scandalous and vicious practice, if, besides for- 
bidding it on Scriptural grounds, we ensure that the 
offerings made upon tombs for the spirits of those 
who have fallen asleep (and we must surely believe 
that they are of some avail) be not extravagant and 
be tendered without ostentation or reluctance to any 
who seek them, but be not sold. If any person 
wishes from religious motives to make an offering in 
coin, let him distribute it to the poor on the spot. In 
this way people will not have the appearance of 
neglecting their own burial-places, which might pro- 
E 49 


rem, et id celebrabitur in ecclesia, quod pie honeste- 
que celebratur. Haec interim de comissationibus 
et ebrietatibus dicta sint. 

7 11. De contentione autem et zelo quid me attinet 
dicere, quando ista vitia non in plebe, sed in nostro 
numero graviora sunt t Horum autem morborum 
mater superbia est et humanae laudis aviditas, quae 
etiam hypocrisin saepe generat. Huic non re- 
sistitur, nisi crebris divinorum librorum testimoniis 
incutiatur timor et caritas dei, si tamen ille, qui hoc 
agit, se ipsum praebeat patientiae atque humilitatis 
exemplum minus sibi adsumendo, quam ofFertur, sed 
tamen ab eis, qui se honorant, nee totum nee nihil 
accipiendo et id, quod accipitur laudis aut honoris, 
non propter se, qui totus coram deo esse debet et 
humana contemnere, sed propter illos accipiatur, 
quibus consulere non potest, si nimia deiectione 
vilescat. Ad hoc enim pertinet, quod dictum est : 
Nemo iuventutem tuam contemnat, cum ille hoc dixerit, 
qui alio loco ait : Si hominihus placere vellem, Christi 
servus non essem. 

8 Magnum est de honoribus et laudibus hominum 
non laetari, sed et omnem inanem pompam prae- 
cidere et, si quid inde necessarium retinetur, id 
totum ad utilitatem honorantium salutemque con- 
ferre. Non enim frustra dictum est : Deus confringet 
ossa hominihus placere volentium. Quid enim lan- 
guidius, quid tam sine stabilitate ac fortitudine, 
quod ossa significant, quam homo quem male loquen- 

° 1 Tim. iv. 12. * Gal. i. 10. ' Ps. lii. 6. 


NO. 8 (Ep. XXII) 

duce no slight heart-soreness, and the ceremonies in 
church will be conducted with piety and decorum. 
So mucli then, meanwhile, for rioting and drunken- 

II. Then again, concerning strife and envying, what 7 
right have I to speak, since such sins are more serious 
among ourselves than among the laity ? These e\ils 
are the offspring of pride and eagerness for the praise 
of men, which often begets hypocrisy as well. The 
only way they can be resisted is by instilling the fear 
and love of God with repeated arguments from the 
holy books, provided that one who follows this method 
shows himself a pattern of patience and humility, 
arrog-atino' to himself less honour than is offered him 
and yet accepting from those who pay him honour 
neither everything nor nothing, but accepting what- 
ever honour and praise is offered him. not on his own 
behalf, since he ought to be living with a sole eye to 
God and to despise merely mortal rewards, but for 
their sakes whose welfare he cannot promote if he de- 
preciate himself so much that he loses men's esteem. 
That is the point of the saying, " Let no man despise 
thy youth,"" although he who said those words 
remarks in another place, " If I yet pleased men, I 
should not be the servant of Christ." ^ 

It is a great matter not to rejoice in human praise 8 
and honours but to discard all empty ostentation, and, 
if any of it must be kept, to turn it all to the use and the 
well-being of those who honour us. Not for nothing 
has it been said, " God will break the bones of those 
who seek to please men"^; for what is more feeble, 
more lacking in steadfastness and strength (for this is 
what " bones " symbolize), than an individual who is 
unnerved by the voice of slander, when he knows that 



tium lingua debilitat, cum sciat falsa esse quae di- 
cuntur ? Cuius rei dolor nullo modo animae viscera 
dilaniaret, si non amor laudis eius ossa confringeret. 
Praesumo de robore animi tui ; itaque ista quae 
tecum confero, mihi dico ; dignaris tamen, credo, 
mecum considerare quam sint gravia, quam difficilia. 
Non enim huius hostis vires sentit, nisi qui ei bellum 
indixerit. quia, etsi cuiquam facile est laude carere, 
dum denegatur, difficile est ea non delectari, cum 
offertur. Et tamen tanta mentis in deum debet esse 
suspensio, ut, si non merito laudemur, corrigamus 
eos, quos possumus, ne arbitrentur aut in nobis esse, 
quod non est, aut nostrum esse, quod dei est, aut ea 
laudent, quae quamvis non desint nobis aut etiam 
supersint, nequaquam tamen sint laudabilia, velut 
sunt bona omnia, quae vel cum pecoribus habemus 
communia vel cum impiis hominibus. Si autem 
merito laudamur propter deum, gratulemur eis 
quibus placet verum bonum, non tamen nobis quia 
placemus hominibus, sed si coram deo tales sumus, 
quales esse nos credunt, et non tribuitur nobis sed 
deo, cuius dona sunt omnia quae vere meritoque 
laudantur. Haec mihi ipse canto cotidie vel potius 
ille cuius salutaria praecepta sunt, quaecumque sive 
in divinis lectionibus inveniuntur sive quae intrin- 
secus animo suggeruntur. Et tamen vehementer 
cum adversario dimicans saepe ab eo vulnera accipio, 
cum delectationem oblatae laudis mihi auferre non 
9 Haec propterea scripsi, ut, si tuae sanctitati iam 


NO. 8 (Ep. XXII) 

what is being said against him is untrue ? The pain 
of receiving such treatment would certainly not rend 
his inmost soul, unless the love of praise were " break- 
ing his bones." I have every confidence in your 
strength of mind, so what I am discussing with you 
I am applying to myself ; still, you are good enough, 
I think, to consider with me how serious and difficult 
a matter this is. Only one who has declared w^ar on 
that foe realizes his power, for, although it is easy to 
do without praise, when it is denied us, it is hard not 
to take pleasure in it, when it is offered. And yet 
our minds ought to be so completely uplifted to God 
that, if we are undeservedly praised, we may correct 
those we can, lest they should think we possess gifts 
that are not ours, or that the gifts we have from God 
are our own, or praise qualities we do possess and 
even possess in a marked degree, but which are in 
no way niatters for praise, for example all those 
advantages w^e share with animals or with unchristian 
men. But if we are deservedly praised for God's sake, 
we should congratulate those who find pleasure in 
what is truly good, and not ourselves for pleasing 
men, and that only if we are in the eyes of God what 
they take us to be and offer the praise not to us, but 
to God ; for everything that is truly and deservedly 
praised is a gift from Him. This is what I keep on 
saying to myself each day, or rather He does, from 
whom come whatever salutary counsels are found 
in Scripture readings or are suggested to the mind 
from within. Yet, strenuously as I struggle with the 
adversary, I often receive wounds from him, since I 
cannot rid myself of delight in the praise that is 
offered me. 

Your Holiness may have no further need for 


non sunt necessaria, sive quod plura ipse huius modi 
cogites atque utiliora sive quod tuae sanctitati 
medicina ista non opus sit, mala tamen mea nota 
sint tibi sciasque. unde pro mea infirmitate deum 
rogare digneris. Quod ut inpensissime facias, ob- 
secro per humanitatem illius, qui praeceptum dedit, 
ut in\-icem onera nostra portemus. Multa sunt, 
quae de nostra vita et conversatione deflerem, 
quae nollem per litteras ad te venire, sed inter cor 
meum et cor tuum nulla essent ministeria praeter 
OS meum et aures tuas. Si autem venerabilis nobis 
omni unique nostrum tota sinceritate carissimus, 
cuius in te vere fraternam, cum praesens essem, be- 
nignitatem studiumque perspexi, senex Saturninus 
si dignatus fuerit, quando opportunum videbit, ad nos 
venire, quicquid cum eius sanctitate et spiritali 
afFectu conloqui potuerimus, aut nihil aut non multum 
distabit, ac si cum tua dignatione id ageremus. Quod 
ut nobiscum ab eo petere atque impetrare digneris, 
tantis precibus posco, quantis verba nulla sufficiunt. 
Absentiam enim meam tantum longe Hipponienses 
vehementer nimisque formidant neque ullo modo 
mihi sic volunt credere ut et ego vobis. 

Agrum fratribus datum provisione et liberalitate 
tua didicimus ante epistulam tuam per sanctum 
fratrem et conservum nostrum Parthenium, a quo 
multa alia, quae audire desiderabamus, audivimus. 
Praestabit dominus, ut etiam cetera, quae adhuc 
desideramus, impleantur. 

<" Gal. vi. 2. 

NO. 8 (Ep. XXII) 

counsels of this kind, either because your own re- 
flection has suggested a richer store of beneficial 
principles, or else because your Holiness has passed 
the stage of requiring remedies of this kind. My 
purpose in writing as I have done is to make you aware 
of my vices and to let you know what, in view of my 
weakness, you might ask God for. I beseech you by 
the humanity of Him who has laid down the rule that 
we should bear each other's burdens,^ to do this most 
earnestly. There is much in my life and conduct 
that I deplore, but I should prefer that it should not 
reach you by letter ; between my heart and your 
heart there should be no intermediary save my 
mouth and your ears. If our venerated Senior, 
Saturninus, whom we all regard with very genuine 
affection, and whose really brotherly kindness and 
concern for you I saw when I was with you, will deign 
to visit us when he sees it convenient, any conversa- 
tion I may have ^vith that holy and warm-hearted 
and spiritually-minded man will be little, if any, 
different from what I might have with your Grace. 
With entreaties that surpass all expression I urge you 
to be good enough to join me in asking and obtaining 
a visit from him. The people of Hippo are much afraid, 
indeed excessively so, to let me go so far away from 
them, and they are in no wise willing to trust me, as I 
trust you. 

Before your letter reached me, I learned through 
our saintly brother and fellow-servant, Parthenius, 
of the ground provided for our brethren by your fore- 
thought and generosity. He gave us besides much 
news that we were anxious to have. The Lord ^vill 
grant the fulfilment of the other things also for which 
we are still anxious. 



No. 9 (Ep. XXVIII) 


1 I. Numquani aeque quisquam facie cuilibet in- 
notuit quam mihi tuorum in domino studiorum quieta 
laetitia et vere exercitatio liberalis. Quamquam 
ergo percupiam omnino te nosse, tamen exiguum 
quiddam tui minus habeo, praesentiam videlicet 
corporis. Quam ipsam etiam, posteaquam te beatis- 
simus nunc episcopus tunc vero iam episcopatu dignus 
frater Alypius vidit remeansque a me visus est, 
negare non possum magna ex parte mihi esse relatu 
eius inpressam et ante reditum, cum te ille ibi vide- 
bat, ego videbam sed oculis eius. Non enim animo 
me atque ilium sed corpore duos, qui noverit, dixerit, 
Concordia dum taxat et familiaritate fidissima, non 
meritis, quibus ille antecellit. Quia ergo me primitus 
communione spiritus, quo in unum nitimur, deinde 
illius ex ore iam diligis, nequaquam inpudenter quasi 
aliquis ignotus commendo germanitati tuae fratrem 
Profuturum, quem nostris conatibus, deinde adiu- 

^ Written from Hippo. Jerome was at Bethlehem, but 
through a series of mishaps this letter was not delivered 
until nine years later. 

* Profuturus was a member of Augustine's monastery 
at Hippo. He was prevented from setting out with this 


NO. 9 (Ep. XXVIII) 

No. 9 (Ep. XXVIII) 

(a.d. 39i or 395) 


I. Never did any man know another's features 1 
as well as I have come to know what peaceful joy 
you find in your studies in the Lord and what truly 
noble application you give to them. My desire for 
thorough acquaintance with you is of the strongest, 
yet I lack only one small portion of you, namely 
your bodily presence. But, I can assure you, even 
that has been to a large extent imprinted on my mind 
by the account given me by brother Alypius, now 
a much revered bishop, but even then, when he saw 
you, well worthy of that office. I saw him on his 
return, but even before then, while he was seeing 
you there, I too saw you, though with his eyes. 
For anyone who knows us both would say that he 
and I are distinct individuals in body only, not in 
mind ; I mean in our harmoniousness and trusty 
friendship, not in merit, in which he far outstrips me. 
So it is not presumptuous of me, as if I were a 
stranger to you, since you already cherish affection 
for me from the unity of spirit, first of all, that makes 
us strive for one common end and then, from what 
Alypius has told you of me, to commend to your 
fraternal kindness our brother Profuturus ^ ; it is my 
hope that through my efforts on his behalf and then 

letter by his appointment to the see of Cirta and died before 
403 (Ep. Ixxi. 2). To him is addressed No. 13 infra. 



torio tuo, vere profuturum speramus, nisi forte quod 
talis est, ut ipse tibi per eum fiam commendatior 
quam ille per me. Hactenus fortasse scribere de- 
buerim, si esse vellem epistularum sollemnium more 
contentus. Sed scatet animus in loquelas communi- 
candas tecum de studiis nostris quae habemus in 
Christo lesu domino nostro, qui nobis multas utilitates 
et viatica quaedam demonstrati a se itineris etiam 
per tuam caritatem non mediocriter ministrare 
2 II. Petimus ergo et nobiscum petit omnis Africa- 
narum ecclesiarum studiosasocietas,utinterpretandis 
eorum libris qui graece scripturas nostras quam op- 
time tractaverunt, curam atque operam inpendere 
non graveris. Potes enim efficere, ut nos quoque 
habeamus tales illos viros et unum potissimum, quern 
tu libentius in tuis litteris sonas. De vertendis autem 
in linguam latinam Sanctis litteris canonicis laborare 
te noUem, nisi eo modo quo lob interpretatus es, ut 
signis adhibitis, quid inter banc tuam et lxx, quorum 
est gravissima auctoritas, interpretationem distet, 
appareat. Satis autem nequeo mirari si aliquid 
adhuc in hebraeis exemplaribus invenitur, quod tot 
interpretes illius linguae peritissimos fugerit. Omitto 
enim lxx, de quorum vel consilii vel spiritus maiore 
Concordia quam si unus homo esset, non audeo in ali- 
quam partem certam ferre sententiam, nisi quod eis 
praeminentem auctoritatem in hoc munere sine con- 
troversia tribuendam existimo. lUi me plus movent, 

" Origen. 

NO. 9 (Ep. XXVIII) 

throucrh your assistance he really will '• profit " — ex- 
cept perhaps that he is the kind of man who will give 
youabetteropinionof me than I have given you of him. 
At this point I should perhaps have laid down my pen 
if I were satisfied with the usual formal letter, but 
so many remarks swarm into my mind that I must 
exchange \\ith you about the studies with which we 
are occupied in Jesus Christ, our Lord, who even 
through your Charity is pleased to provide us, in no 
stinted manner, with many benefits and, so to speak, 
resources for the journey He has prescribed. 

II. We beg vou then (and we are joined in this by 2 
all the companv of students in the African churches) 
not to refuse to devote toil and trouble to translating 
the work*^ of those who have so excellently expounded 
our Scriptures in Greek. You can put us in possession 
of those notable commentators and of one in parti- 
cular, whose name you utter in your writings with 
more than usual pleasure. ° But in translating the 
holy canonical writings into Latin I should not like 
you to follow any other method than that in which 
you translated Job, namely by applying signs to show 
wherein your translation differs from that of the 
Seventy, whose authority is of the weightiest. But 
I should be incredibly surprised if anything is found 
at this time of day in the Hebrew manuscripts that 
has escaped so many translators possessing expert 
knowledge of that language. I leave the Seventy 
out of account ; of their unanimity of mind or of 
inspiration, greater than if only one man had been 
concerned, I should not venture to express a definite 
opinion in any direction, except that I think there 
can be no question that in this sphere they must be 
conceded an outstanding authority. I am more 



qui, cum posteriores interpretarentur et verborum 
locutionumque hebraearuni \'iani atque regulas nior- 
dacius, ut fertur, tenerent, non solum inter se non 
consenserunt, sed etiam reliquerunt multa, quae 
tanto post eruenda et prodenda remanerent. Si 
enim obscura sunt, te quoque in eis falli posse credi- 
tur ; si manifesta, illos in eis falli potuisse non credi- 
tur. Huius igitur rei pro tua caritate expositis 
causis certum me facias obsecraverim. 
3 III. Legi etiam quaedam scripta, quae tua diceren- 
tur, in epistulas apostoli Pauli,quarum ad Galatas cum 
enodare velles, venit in manus locus ille, quo apo- 
stolus Petrus a perniciosa simulatione revocatur. Ibi 
patrocinium mendacii susceptum esse vel abs te tali 
viro vel a quopiam, si alius ilia scripsit, fateor, non 
mediocriter doleo, donee refellantur, si forte refelli 
possunt, ea quae me movent. Mihi enim videtur 
exitiosissime credialiquod in libris Sanctis esse menda- 
cium, id est, eos homines per quos nobis ilia scriptura 
ministrata est atque conscripta, aliquid in libris suis 
fuisse mentitos. Alia quippe quaestio est, sitne ali- 
quando mentiri viri boni, et alia quaestio est, utrum 

•* This controversy between Augustine and Jerome became 
famous in the history of the Church. St. Peter's inconsistent 
conduct at Antioch, in first eating with the Gentiles and later 
withdrawing from them (Gal. ii. 11-14), was found difficult 
to explain ; both heretics and pagans used the incident to 
discredit either Paul or Peter and the Church as well. One 
commentator, Clement of Alexandria, cut the knot by declar- 
ing that the Cephas mentioned in Galatians was not wSt. 
Petei, but a disciple of the same name; Origen invented the 
disingenuous and worse theory that the dispute between the 
two apostles was simulated in order the more severely to 
condemn the Judaizers. This view found wide acceptance: 
it was defended and urged by Chrysostom and, in the West, 
with characteristic vigour, by Jerome. Augustine here and 


NO. 9 (Ep. XXVIII) 

concerned about the later translators ; they are 
said to have possessed a more thorough grip of the 
course and the rules of Hebrew words and phrases, 
and yet they are not only at variance with each other, 
but have also left many points that have remained 
to be unearthed and broucjht to lio-ht after so long. 
For if these points are obscure, then it is quite 
credible that you too may go astray in them ; if 
they are clear, it is incredible that they could have 
gone astray in them. I should like to ask you of your 
kindness to explain the reasons for this state of things 
and to give me some assurance about it. 

III. I have been reading some books that are said 3 
to be by you, on the Epistles of the Apostle Paul ; 
in seeking to expound Galatians, you reached that 
passage in which the Apostle Peter is withheld 
from a piece of pernicious deceit." To see there the 
defence of falsehood undertaken by a man like you 
or by some other person (if another person was the 
author) has caused me, I confess, no small grief, 
which I shall continue to feel until the objections 
that trouble my mind are disproved, if they really 
can be disproved. For it seems to me very disastrous 
to believe that there can be any falsehood in the 
sacred books — I mean that those men who MTote 
and transmitted to us the Scripture, in any way lied 
in what they wrote. They are two quite different 
questions, whether it ever accords with a good man's 
character to lie, and whether a writer of the Holy 

in other letters denounces this interpretation as subversive of 
the whole authority of Scripture. Jerome eventually accepted 
Augustine's view, which became generally accepted. A full 
account of the controversy is given in Lightfoot's com- 
mentary on Galatians, pp. 128-132. 



scriptorem sanctarum scripturarum mentiri opor- 
tuerit, immo vero non alia, sed nulla quaestio est. 
Admisso enim semel in tantum auctoritatis fastigium 
officioso aliquo mendacio, nulla illorum librorum par- 
ticula remanebit, quae non, ut cuique videbitur vel 
ad mores difficilis vel ad fidem incredibilis, eadem 
perniciosissima regula ad mentientis auctoris con- 
silium officiumque referatur. 
4 Si enim mentiebatur apostolus Paulus, cum aposto- 
lum Petrum obiurgans diceret : Si tu, cum sis ludaeus, 
gentiliter et non iudaice vivis, quern ad modum Rentes 
cogis iudaizare ? et recte illi videbatur Petrus 
fecisse, quem non recte fecisse et dixit et scripsit, 
ut quasi animos tumultuantium deleniret, quid re- 
spondebimus, cum exsurrexerint perversi homines 
prohibentes nuptias, quos futuros ipse praenuntiavit. 
et dixerint totum illud, quod idem apostolus de 
matrimoniorum iure firmando locutus est, propter 
homines, qui dilectione coniugumtumultuaripoterant, 
fuisse mentitum, scilicet non quod hoc senserit, sed 
ut illorum placaretur adversitas ? Non opus est 
multa commemorare. Possunt enim videri etiam de 
laudibus dei esse officiosa mendacia, ut apud homines 
pigriores dilectio eius ardescat. Atque ita nusquam 
certa erit in Sanctis libris castae veritatis auctoritas. 
Nonne adtendimus eundem apostolum cum ingenti 
cura commendandae veritatis dicere : Si autem 
Christus non resurrejcit, inanis est praedicatio nostra, 

" Offic'iosum mendac'ium is difficult to translate: it is a lie 
told from a sense of duty, from a wish to glorify God. 

" Gal. ii. 11-14. ' ^ 1 Tim. iv. 1-3. 

<* 1 Cor. vii. 10-16. 

NO. 9 (Ep. XXVIII) 

Scriptures should have lied — nay, they are not really 
different questions, there is no question about it. 
Admit even a single well-meant falsehood ^ into such 
an exalted authority, and there will not be left a 
single section of those books which, if appearing to 
anyone to present difficulties from the point of 
view of practice or to be hard to believe from the 
point of view of doctrine, will escape, by the same 
very baneful principle, from being classified as the 
deliberate tact of an author who was lying. 

If the Apostle Paul was lying when he rebuked 4 
the Apostle Peter with the words, " If thou, being 
a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles and 
not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles 
to live as do the Jews ? " ^ and he approved of Peter's 
action while condemning him by word and pen with 
the ostensible object of soothing the mind of those who 
were raging against him, what answer shall we make 
when perverse men arise and forbid marriage (as 
the Apostle foretold would happen'^), declaring that 
all that he said about strengthening the marriage- 
bond^ was a lie told for the sake of those men M'ho 
from love of their wives might have made an uproar, 
that clearly those were not his real sentiments, but 
were meant to allay their antagonism ? There is no 
need to give many illustrations. There might appear 
to be well-meant falsehoods even about the praise of 
God, aiming at inflaming love for Him in men compara- 
tively hard of heart, and on those terms nowhere in 
the holy books would the authority of unadulterated 
truth stand unchallenged. Do we not observe the 
great care with which the same apostle commends 
truth in the words : " And if Christ be not risen, 
then is our preaching vain and your faith is also 



inajiis est et fides vestra. Invenimur autem et falsi 
testes del, quia testimojiium diximus adversus deum, 
quod suscitaverit Christum, quern Jion suscitavit ? Si 
quis huic diceret : " Quid in hoc mendacio per- 
horrescis, cum id dixeris quod, etiam si falsum sit, ad 
laudem dei maxime pertinet," nonne huius detestatus 
insaniam quibus posset verbis et significationibus 
in luceni penetralia sui cordis aperiret, damans non 
minore aut fortasse etiam maiore scelere in deo 
laudari falsitatem quam veritatem vituperari ? Agen- 
dum est igitur, ut ad cognitionem divinarum scrip- 
turarum talis homo accedat, qui de Sanctis libris tarn 
sancte et veraciter existimet, ut nolit ahqua eorum 
parte delectari per officiosa mendacia, potiusque id, 
quod non intellegit, transeat, quam cor suum prae- 
ferat illi veritati. Profecto enim cum hoc dicit, credi 
sibi expetit et id agit, ut divinarum scripturarum 
auctoritatibus non credamus. 

Et ego quidem qualibuscumque viribus quas 
dominus suggerit, omnia ilia testimonia quae adhibita 
sunt adstruendae utilitati mendacii, aliter oportere 
intellegi ostenderem, ut ubique eorum firm a Veritas 
doceretur. Quam enim testimonia mendacia esse 
non debent, tam non debent favere mendacio. Sed 
hoc intellegentiae relinquo tuae. Admota enim 
lectioni diligentiore consideratione, multo id fortasse 
facilius videbis quam ego. Ad hanc autem con- 
siderationem coget te pietas, qua cognoscis fluctuare 
auctoritatem divinarum scripturarum, ut in eis quod 

" 1 Cor. XV. 14-15. 

NO. 9 (Ep. XXVIII) 

vain ; yea, and we are found false mtnesses of God, 
because we have testified of God that He raised up 
Christ ; whom He raised not up " " ? If anyone should 
say to him : " What is it in this lie that shocks you, 
when, even if what you say is untrue, it very greatly 
redounds to the glory of God ? " would he not denounce 
the madness of such a suggestion and with every 
available word and sign open to the light the inmost 
secrets of his heart, declaring that to praise falsehood 
in God was no less a sin, perhaps even a much greater 
one, than to cast aspersion upon His truth ? An 
effort must be made to bring to a knowledge of 
the sacred Scriptures a man who will have such 
a reverent and truthful opinion of the holy books 
that he would refuse to find delight in a well-meant 
falsehood anywhere in them, and would rather pass 
over what he does not understand than prefer his 
own intelligence to their truth. For indeed when 
he expresses such a preference, he demands credence 
for himself and attempts to destroy our confidence 
in the authority of the holy Scriptures. 

For my part I would use all the strength the Lord 5 
supplies to show that all those texts that are adduced 
to prove the expediency of falsehood ought to be 
understood in another sense, so that everywhere their 
unimpeachable veracity might be made apparent. 
For just as texts ought not to be lies in themselves, 
so they should lend no support to lies. But I leave 
this matter to your own intelligence ; if you apply a 
more attentive consideration to the reading of them, 
you will perhaps see this more easily than I do. To 
that consideration you will be compelled by the 
reverent spirit that makes you recognize that the 
authority of the holy Scriptures becomes unsettled, 
F 65 


vult quisque credat, quod non vult non credat, si 
semel fuerit persuasum aliqua illos viros per quos 
nobis haec ministrata sunt, in scripturis suis officiose 
potuisse mentiri, nisi forte regulas quasdam daturus 
es, quibus noverimus ubi oporteat mentiri et ubi non 
oporteat. Quod si fieri potest, nullo modo mendaci- 
bus dubiisque rationibus id explices quaeso, nee me 
onerosum aut inpudenteni iudices per humanitatem 
veracissimam domini nostri. Nam ut non dicam nulla , 
certe non magna culpa meus error veritati favet, si 
recte in te potest Veritas favere mendacio. 
6 IV. Multa alia cum sincerissimo corde tuo loqui 
cuperem et de christian© studio conferre, sed huic 
desiderio meo nulla epistula sat est. Uberius id 
possum per fratrem quem miscendum et alendum 
dulcibus atque utilibus sermocinationibus tuis misisse 
me gaudeo. Et tamen, quantum vellem, nee ipse, 
quod eius pace dixerim, forsitan capit. Quamquam 
nihilo me illi praetulerim ; ego enim me fateor tui 
capaciorem, sed ipsum video fieri pleniorem, quo me 
sine dubitatione antecellit. Et posteaquam redierit, 
quod domino adiuvante prosperatum iri spero, cum 
eius pectoris abs te cumulati particeps fuero, non est 
impleturus quod in me adhuc vacuum erit atque 
avidum sensorurn tuorum. Ita fiet, ut ego etiam 
tunc egentior sim, ille copiosior. Sane idem frater 

NO. 9 (Ep. XXVIII) 

so that anyone may believe what he hkes in them 
and disbeheve what he does not hke, if it be once 
admitted that those men through whom they were 
dehvered to us could in their writings have uttered 
some well-meant lies. But perhaps you mean to 
provide us with some rules for discerning when lying 
is expedient and when it is not. If this can be done, 
I beg you not to couch your explanation in terms 
that are false or equivocal, nor, by the very true 
humanity of our Lord, to consider me burdensome 
or presumptuous. For a mistake on my part that 
favours truth is, I will not say no fault at all, but 
certainly no serious fault, if in you the truth can 
rightly favour lying. 

IV. There are many other matters about wliich 6 
I should like to have converse with your friendly 
spirit and to discuss with reference to Christian 
studies, but for this desire of mine no letter is 
sufficient ; I can do that more fruitfully through 
the brother whom I am glad to send to be admitted 
to the nurture of your pleasant and profitable con- 
versation. And yet even he (I apologize to him for 
saying this) has perhaps not the capacity to receive 
all I should like. But still I should not reckon myself 
his superior in any respect, for I confess that I have 
more room for receiving from you than he has ; but 
I see him becoming fuller of you, and in that there 
is no doubt that he surpasses me. When he returns, 
as I trust he will succeed in doing with God's, help, 
and shares with me his understanding that you 
have richly stored, he is not likely to satisfy the void 
and the eagerness that I shall still have for your 
thoughts and feelings, and so I shall even then be the 
poorer and he the richer. The same brother, hoAvever, 



aliqua scripta nostra fert secum. Qiiibus legendis si 
dignationem adhibueris, etiam sinceram fraternam- 
que severitatem adhibeas quaeso. Non enim aliter 
intellego, quod scriptum est : Emendahit me iustus 
hi misericordia et arguet me ; oleum autem peccatoris 
non inpinguet caput ineum, nisi quia niagis am at 
obiurgator sanans quani adulator unguens caput. 
Ego autem difficillime bonus iudex lego, quod scrip- 
serim, sed aut timidior recto aut cupidior. Video 
etiam interdum vitia mea, sed haec malo audire a 
melioribus, ne, cum me recte fortasse reprehendero, 
rursus mihi blandiar et meticulosam potius mihi 
videar in me quam iustam tulisse sententiam. 

No. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 


1 De negotio interim quod non curare non possum, 
nihil certum scribere potui absente fratre Macario, 
qui cito dicitur rediturus, et quod deo adiuvante 
peragi potuerit, peragetur. De nostra autem pro 
els sollicitudine quamquam fratres nostri cives qui 
aderant, secures vos facere possent, tamen digna res 

" Ps. cxl. 5. Translated from the Septuagint. 

" Leontius suffered martyrdom about 30S. A church 
built by him, the basilica Leontiana, is several times men- 
tioned by Augustine (here and Serin. 260, 262). "That 
festival" (§ 2) is the celel)ration of his martyrdom beside 
his tomb, with that licence which Augustine has in general 
terms already denounced in No. 8 above. 

NO. 9 (Ep. XXVIII)— NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

carries with him some of my writings, to which, if 
you have the condescension to read them, please 
apply an unbiased and brotherly severity. 1 or I take 
the words of Scripture, " The righteous shall correct 
me with pity and reprove me, but the oil of the 
sinner shall not anoint my head," " to mean this, 
that he is the greater friend whose censure heals 
than he whose flattery anoints the head. When I 
myself read over what I have MTitten, I find the 
greatest difficulty in judging it rightly, being either 
over-cautious or over-rash. I catch occasional sight 
of my faults, but I prefer to hear of them from 
better men, lest after censuring myself, perchance 
rightly, I fall again into self-flattery and think 
that my judgement of myself was more finical than 

No. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 
(a.d. 395) 


In the absence of brother Macarius,'^ I can give 1 
you no definite news meanwhile about that affair, 
which cannot fail to concern me. He is said to be 
returning soon, and what God's help will enable me 
to carry through, shall be carried through. Although 
the brethren, our fellow-townsmen, who were with 
you, could assure you of our zeal on their behalf, 
still a piece of news deserving of that epistolary con- 

'^ Macariiis is evidently one of Augustine's monks at 
Hippo, but his identity is otherwise uncertain. 


epistulari conloquio quo nos invicem consolamur, a 
domino praestita est, in quo promerendo multum nos 
adiutos esse credimus ipsa vestra sollicitudine, quae 
profecto sine deprecatione pro nobis esse non potuit. 
2 Itaque non praetermittamus vestrae caritati nar- 
rare quid gestum sit, ut nobiscum deo gratias agatis 
de accepto beneficio, qui nobiscum preces de ac- 
cipiendo fudistis. Cum post profectionem tuam nobis 
nuntiatum esset tumultuari homines et dicere se 
ferre non posse, ut ilia sollemnitas prohiberetur 
quam laetitiam nominantes vinulentiae nomen fru- 
stra conantur abscondere, sicut etiam te praesente 
iam iam nuntiabatur, opportune nobis accidit occulta 
ordinatione omnipotentis dei, ut quarta feria illud 
in evangelio capitulum consequenter tractaretur : 
Nolite dare sanctum canibus Jieqiie proieceritis margaritas 
vestras ante porcos. Tractatum est ergo de canibus 
et de porcis, ita ut et pervicaci latratu adversus dei 
praccepta rixantes et voluptatum carnalium sordi- 
bus dediti erubescere cogerentur conclusumque ita 
ut viderent quam esset nefarium intra ecclesiae 
parietes id agere nomine religionis, quod in suis 
domibus si agere perseverarent, sancto et marga- 
ritis ecclesiasticis eos arceri oporteret. 

" From the close of the second century Wednesday and 
Friday were held as fast-days {semi-ieiunia or dies statlonum, 
Tert. Orat. 19, Jeiun. 13), but the observance of Wednesday 
fell into disuse when Saturday was added to the weekly 

* Not " chapter," for these modern divisions are due only 
to the thirteenth century Hugo of St. Cher, though much 
earlier the public reading of Scripture had necessitated the use 
of sections (\-e0d\aia, irepiKOTrai, capitula). In Augustine, for 

NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

verse which is a solace to us both has been provided by 
the Lord, in gaining Whose favour I believe I have 
been much assisted by that very anxiety of yours on 
my behalf, for it certainly must have been accom- 
panied by intercession for me. 

So let me not miss the chance of telling your 2 
Charity what has happened, so that, as you joined 
me in pouring forth prayers for the bestowing of 
this boon, you may join me in giving God thanks for 
it, now that it has been bestowed. News was brought 
me after your departure, as it had been several times 
while you were here, that people were growing un- 
ruly and were saying they could not tolerate the 
prohibition of that festival, the drunken character 
of which they try in vain to disguise under the name 
of a " gaudy." Very appropriately, by a hidden 
dispensation of Almighty God, it happened that on 
the Wednesday " I was expounding in its due course 
that section^ from the Gospel: "Give not that 
Mhich is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your 
pearls before swine." ^' I discoursed about dogs and 
swine in such a way as to compel those to blush 
for very shame who were obstinately snarling and 
brawling against God's commandments and were 
abandoned to foul carnal pleasures. I ended up by 
showing them the heinousness of perpetrating 
within the four walls of the church, in the name of 
religion, what would necessitate their exclusion 
from " that which is holy " and the " pearls " of the 
church, if they persisted in doing it within their own 

example, Romans viii. 18-24 is a capitulum, as are the first 
five verses of St. John's Gospel. 
' Matt. vii. 6. 



3 Sed haec quamvis grate accepta fuerint. tamen 
quia pauci convenerant, non erat satisfactum tanto 
negotio. Iste aiitem semio cum ab eis qui aderant 
pro cuiusque facultate ac studio foris ventilaretur, 
multos habuit contradictores. Postea vero quani 
dies quadragesimae inluxisset et frequens niultitudo 
ad horam tractationis occurrit, lectum est illud in 
evangelio, ubi dominus de templo expulsis venditori- 
bus animaliuni et eversis niensis numniulariorum dixit 
domum patris sui pro domo orationuni speluncani 
latronum esse factam. Quod capitulum, cum eos 
intentos proposita vinulentiae quaestione feci, et 
ipse quoque recitavi adiunxique disputationem. qua 
ostenderem,. quanto commotius et vehementius do- 
minus noster ebriosa con vi via, quae ubique sunt 
turpia, de templo expelleret, unde sic expulit con- 
cessa commercia, cum ea venderentur quae sacri- 
ficiis illo tempore licitis essent necessaria, quaerens 
ab eis quibus similiorem putarent speluncam latro- 
num necessaria vendentibus an inmoderate biben- 

4 Et quoniam mihi praeparatae lectiones sug- 
gerendae tenebantur, adiunxi deinde ipsum adhue 
carnalem populum ludaeorum in illo templo ubi 
nondum corpus et sanguis domini offerebatur, non 
solum vinulenta sed nee sobria quidem umquam 
celebrasse convi\ia nee eos publice religionis nomine 
inebriatos inveniri in historia, nisi cum festa fabricato 
idolo exsolverent. Quae cum dicerem, codicem etiam 
accepi et recitavi totum ilium locum. Addidi etiam 
cum dolore, quo potui, quoniam apostolus ait ad dis- 

" Matt. xxi. 12-13. 

^ Historia, the historical books of the Bible, which were 
on a separate codex. « Exod. xxxii. 6. 


NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

They took this in quite a good spirit, but as 3 
the congregation was small, a matter so important 
demanded further treatment. When my hearers 
spread news of my sermon outside, each according 
to his ability and point of view, it found many to 
oppose it. But after the morning of Quadragesima 
had dawned and a considerable crowd had gathered 
at the time of Scripture exposition, we read that 
portion from the Gospel where the Lord drove from 
the Temple the sellers of animals and overthrew the 
tables of the money-changers, saying that His 
Father's house had been turned from a house of 
prayer into a den of thieves." After securing their 
attention by announcing the subject of drunkenness, 
I read that section myself and followed it with an 
address designed to show that, if our Lord drove 
lawful trade from the Temple, since what was sold 
Mas requisite for the sacrifices permitted under that 
dispensation, He would with much greater indigna- 
tion and violence drive from it drunken revels, which 
are abominable anywhere. And I asked them which 
they thought more like a den of thieves, those who 
sold necessaries or those who drank beyond measure. 

The Scripture readings, turned up beforehand, 4 
were being held ready to hand up to me, so I went 
on to say that the Jewish people, though yet carnal, 
never held even sober feasts, far less drunken ones, 
in that Temple in which as yet there was no offering 
up of the body and blood of the Lord, and that as a 
people they were never found in the Bible ^ drunk 
in the name of religion, unless when they were cele- 
brating a feast to the idol they had made.'' So 
saying, I took the book and read all that passage. 
Reminding them that the Apostle, to distinguish 



cernendum populum christianum a duritia ludaeo- 
rum epistulam suam non in tabulis lapideis scriptam 
sed in tabulis cordis carnalihus . cum Moyses famulus 
dei propter illos principes binas lapideas tabulas 
confregisset, quo modo non possemus istorum corda 
confringere, qui homines no\d testamenti sanctorum 
diebus celebrandis ea vellent sollemniter exhibere, 
quae populus veteris testamenti et semel et idolo 
5 Tunc reddito exodi codice crimen ebrietatis, quan- 
tum tempus sinebat, exaggerans sumpsi apostolum 
Paulum et inter quae peccata posita esset, ostendi 
legens ilium locum : Si quis frater nomineiur aut 
fornicator aut idolis serviens aut avarus aut maledicus 
aut ebriosus aut rapax, cum eius modi nee cibum sumere, 
ingemescendo admonens cum quanto periculo con- 
vivaremur cum eis qui vel in domibus inebriarentur. 
Legi etiam illud quod non longo intervallo sequitur : 
Nolite errare ; neque fornicatores neque idolis servientes 
neque adulteri neque molles neque masculorum concubi- 
tores neque fores neque avari neque ebriosi neque maledici 
neque raptores regjium dei possidebunt. Et haec quidem 
foistis, sed abluti estis, sed iustificati estis in nomine 
domini lesu Christi et spiritu dei nostri. Quibus lectis, 
dixi ut considerarent quo modo possent fideles 
audire sed abluti estis, qui adhuc talis concupiscentiae 
sordes, contra quas clauditur regnurn caelorum, in 
corde suo, id est in interiore dei templo esse patiun- 
tur. Inde ventum est ad illud capitulum : Con- 

" 2 Cor. iii. 3. ^ Exod. xxxii. 19. 

« 1 Cor. V. 11. ^ \ Cor. vi. 9-11. 


NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

the Christian people from the obdurate Jews, speaks 
of his letter as written " not in tables of stone, but 
in fleshy tables of the heart,"" I went on to ask 
Mith all the sorrow I could how it was that, though 
God's servant, Moses, had broken those two tables of 
stone ^ because of the rulers of Israel, we found it 
impossible to break their hearts ; they w ere men of 
the new covenant, yet they chose, in celebrating 
their saints' days, to practise such rites as the people 
of the old covenant had practised only once, and 
that before an idol. 

Then I gave back the book of Exodus and enlarged, 5 
as far as time permitted, on the sin of drunkenness, 
taking the apostle Paul and showing in what class 
of sins he placed it. I read that passage, " If any 
man that is called a brother be a fornicator or covetous 
or an idolater or a railer or a drunkard or an extor- 
tioner, with such an one no, not to eat," ^ remind- 
ing them with groanings what a risk we ran in 
carousing with those who got drunk even at home. 
I read that passage, too, which follows quite close 
to the last, " Be not deceived : neither fornicators 
nor idolaters nor adulterers nor effeminate nor 
abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves 
nor covetous nor drunkards nor revilers nor ex- 
tortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God. And 
such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are 
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and 
by the Spirit of our God."^ After which, I bade them 
consider how the faithful could bear to be told " But 
ye are washed," when they still tolerated in their 
heart, that is in the inward Temple of God, such 
filthy lusts, against which the kingdom of heaven 
is closed. Then I came to that section, " When 



veiiieniihus ergo vohis in unum Ji07i est domuiicam cenam 
celebrare, unusquisque efiim propriam cenam praesumit 
in manducaiido et alius quidem esurit, alius ebrius est. 
Numquid domos non habetis ad manducandum et bi- 
bendum ? an eccksiam dei contenmitis ? Quo recitato, 
diligentius commendavi ne honesta quidem et sobria 
con vi via debere in ecclesia celebrari, quando quidem 
apostolus non dixerit : " Numquid domos non habetis 
ad inebriandos vos," ut quasi tantum modo inebriari 
in ecclesia non liceret, sed " ad maiiducandum et biben- 
dum," quod potest honeste fieri sed praeter ecclesiam 
ab eis qui domos habent ubi alimentis necessariis 
refici possint. Et tamen nos ad has angustias cor- 
ruptorum temporum et diffluentium morum esse 
perductos, uti nondum modesta convivia sed saltem 
domesticum regnum ebrietatis optemus. 
6 Commemoravi etiam evangelii capitulum, quod 
pridie tractaveram, ubi de pseudoprophetis dictum 
est : Ex fructibus eorinn cognoscetis eos. Deinde in 
memoriam revocavi fructus eo loco non appellatos 
nisi opera. Tum quaesivi inter quos fructus nomi- 
nata esset ebrietas, et recitavi illud ad Galatas : 
Manifesta autem sunt opera carnis, quae sunt fornica- 
tiones, inmunditiae, luxuriae, idolorum servitus, venejicia, 
inimicitiae, contentiones , aemulationes , animositates, dis- 
sensiones, kaereses, ifividiae, ebrietates, comissationes et 
his similia ; quae praedico vobis, sicut praediii, qiioniam 
qui talia agunt, regnum dei non possidebunt. Post quae 

« 1 Cor. xi. 20-22. 
Matt. vii. 16. ^ Gal. v. 19-21. 


NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

ye come together into one place, that is not to eat 
the Lord's Supper ; for in eating every one taketh 
before other his own supper, and one is hungry, and 
another is drunken. What ? have ye not houses to 
eat and to drink in ? or despise ye the Church of 
God?"" After reading that, I earnestly pressed 
the point that it was not right that even decorous 
and sober feasts should be held in church, for the 
Apostle did not say, " Have ye not houses of your own 
to get drunk in ? " as though it were only in church 
that getting drunk was not allowed ; what he did say 
was " to eat and to drink in," a seemly enough 
action, provided it be done outside the church by 
those who have houses in which they can be re- 
freshed by the necessary food. And yet what 
straits we had fallen into, what corrupt times and 
lax morals, that we could not yet hope for decorous 
feasts, but only that the dominion of drunkenness 
should be confined to the home. 

I mentioned, too, a passage in the Gospels which 6 
I had expounded the day before, in which it is said 
of false prophets, " By their fruits ye shall know 
them." ^ Then I reminded them that there " fruits " 
meant only " works." Next I asked them what 
fruits drunkenness w^as reckoned among, repeating to 
them that passage in Galatians, " Now the works of 
the flesh are manifest, which are these : adultery, 
fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, 
witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, 
strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, 
revellings, and such like ; of the which I tell you, 
as I have told you in time past, that they which 
do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of 
God." '^ After these words, I asked them how, when 



verba interrogavi quo modo de fructu ebrietatis 
agnosceremur christiani, quos de fructibus agnosci 
dominus iussit. Adiunxi etiam legendum quod 
sequitur : Fructus autem spiritus est caritas, gaudiuffi, 
pax, longajiimitas, henignitas, honitas, fides, mansuetudo, 
conh7ientia, egique ut considerarent quam esset 
pudendum atque plangendum, quod de illis fructibus 
carnis non solum privatim vivere, sed etiam honorem 
ecclesiae deferre cuperent et, si potestas daretur, 
totum tarn magnae basilicae spatium turbis epulan- 
tium ebriorumque complerent ; de spiritalibus autem 
fructibus ad quos et divinarum scripturarum auctori- 
tate et nostris gemitibus invitarentur, nolunt adferre 
deo munera et his potissimum celebrare festa sanc- 

Quibus peractis, codicem reddidi et imperata ora- 
tione, quantum valui et quantum me ipsum peri- 
culum urguebat et vires subministrare dominus 
dignabatur, constitui eis ante oculos commune peri- 
culum, et ipsorum qui nobis commissi essent, et 
nostrum, qui de illis rationem reddituri essemus 
pastorum principi, per cuius humilitatem, insignes 
contumelias, alapas et sputus in faciem et palmas et 
spineam coronam et crucem ac sanguinem obsecravi 
ut, si se ipsi aliquid offendissent, vel nostri misere- 
rentur et cogitarent venerabilis senis Valerii circa 
me ineffabilem caritatem, qui mihi tractandi verba 
veritatis tam periculosum onus non dubitarit propter 

" Gal. V. 22-23. 

* A better rendering than " bidding the people pray." 
The congregation sometimes exercised the right of demand- 
ing a sermon. 

'^ Probably this is the right meaning here, not " pierced 


NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

the Lord has enjoined that Christians be recognized 
by their fruits, we could ever be so recognized by the 
fruits of drunkenness. I added that we must read 
too the verse that follows, " But the fruit of the Spirit 
is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, good- 
ness, faith, meekness, temperance," ^ and I urged 
them to consider how shameful and lamentable it was 
that they were not satisfied with practising those 
fruits of the flesh at home, but actually wanted to 
honour the church with them and, if they were only 
allowed, to fill up all the space of a church of this 
great size with crowds of banqueters and drunkards ; 
yet they would not offer to God the tribute of those 
spiritual fruits, to which they were invited both by 
the authority of the Holy Scriptures and by our 
groanings, and with them rather than any others 
celebrate the saints' days. 

After that, I handed back the manuscript and, 7 
being asked to speak, ^ I set before their eyes, as far 
as I could and as far as the danger itself impelled me 
and the Lord was pleased to afford me strength, our 
common danger, theirs, who were entrusted to our 
care, as well as ours, who were to render an account 
of them to the Chief Shepherd. I implored them by 
His humiliation, the unequalled insults, buffetings, 
and spitting on the face that He endured, by the blows 
on His face ^ and His crown of thorns and cross and 
blood, to have pity at least for me, if they had any 
reason for personal displeasure, and to consider the 
inexpressible affection felt for me by the venerable 
Senior, Valerius, who for their sakes had not hesitated 
to lay upon me the dangerous burden of expounding 

hands." Cf. ^^llgate, Matt. xxvi. 67 " alii palmas in faciem 
ei dederunt." 



eos inponerC; eisque saepe dixerit quod orationes eius 
exauditae essent de nostro adventu, quos non iitique 
ad communem mortem vel spectaculum mortis illormii 
sed ad communem conatum in aeternam vitam ad 
se venisse laetatus est. Postremo etiam dixi certum 
esse me et fidere in eum qui mentiri nescit, qui per 
OS prophetae sui pollicitus est de domino nostro lesu 
Christo dieens : Si reliquerint Jilii eius legem meam 
et in praeceptis meis ?iO}i amhidaverint, si iustijicatio7ies 
meas profanaverint, visitaho in virga facinora eorum et 
ill jiagellis delicta eorum ; misericordiam autem meam 
jion auferam, in eum ergo me fidere, quod, si haec 
tanta quae sibi essent lecta et dicta, contemnerent, 
visitaturus esset in virga et in flagello nee eos per- 
missurus cum hoc mundo damnari. In qua con- 
questione sic actum ut pro negotii atque periculi 
magnitudine tutor et gubernator noster animos facul- 
tatemque praebebat. Non ego illorum lacrimas meis 
lacrimis movi, sed cum talia dicerentur, fateor, 
eorum fletu praeventus meum abstinere non potui. 
Et cum iam pariter flevissemus, plenissima spe cor- 
rect] onis illorum finis sermonis mei factus est. 
8 Postridie vero, cum inluxisset dies cui solebant 
fauces ventresque se parare, nuntiatur mihi non- 
nullos eorum etiam, qui sermoni aderant, nondum a 
murmuratione cessasse tantumque in eis valere vim 
pessimae consuetudinis, ut eius tantum voce ute- 
rentur et dicerent : " Quare modo ? Non enim 

° This was contrary to the custom of the western church : 
in episcopal churches presbyters were forbidden to preach. 
For his violation of this rule Augustine was severely criticized 
by some of his colleagues, but Jerome describes the re- 
striction as " a verv bad practice " (Ep. lii.). 

" Ps. kxxviii. 3f-34. 


NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

the words of truth « and had often said to them that 
my coming had been an answer to his prayers ; but 
his rejoicing was surely that I had come to him not 
to share or to behold their death, but to share their 
efforts towards eternal life. Finally, I told them 
that I had trust and confidence in Him who cannot 
lie, vv'ho made by the mouth of His prophet a promise 
concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, in the words, " If 
His children forsake My law and walk not in My 
judgements ; if they break My statutes and keep 
not My commandments ; then will I yisit their trans- 
gression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes ; 
nevertheless My loving-kindness will I not utterly 
take from Him "^ — I had confidence therefore in Him 
that if they despised the grave warnings that had 
been read and addressed to them. He would visit 
them with the rod and with stripes, but would not 
leave them to condemnation along with the world. 
Throughout this protest I acted as our Defender and 
Ruler, to meet the importance of the matter and the 
greatness of the danger, provided me with courage 
and ability. I did not move them to weep by first 
weeping myself, but while such remarks were being 
addressed to them, their own tears came first and I 
confess that I could not keep back my own. After 
we had thus wept together, I concluded my sermon 
in the full anticipation of their amendment. 

But on the morrow, when the day dawned for 
which it was the habit of their throats and stomachs 
to prepare, I was told that some of those who had 
been present at my sermon had not even then given 
over complaining, and were so much under the in- 
fluence of that vile custom that they were speaking 
in terms of it alone and saying, " Why thus late in 
G 81 


antea, qui haec non prohibuerunt, Christiani non 
erant." Quo audito, quas sicut maiores commovendi 
eos machinas praepararem, omnino nesciebam ; dis- 
ponebam tamen, si perseverandum putarent, lecto 
illo loco de propheta Ezechiele : " Explorator absol- 
\'itur, si periculum denuntiaverit, etiam si illi, qui- 
bus denuntiatur, cavere noluerint," vestimenta niea 
excutere atque discedere. Turn vero dominus osten- 
dit quod nos non deserat, et quibus modis, in se ut 
praesuniamus, hortetur ; namque ante horam, qua 
exhedram ascenderemus, ingressi sunt ad me idem 
ipsi, quos audieram de oppugnatione vetustae con- 
suetudinis fuisse conquestos. Quos blande acceptos 
paucis verbis in sententiam sanam transtuli. Atque 
ubi ventum est ad tempus disputationis, omissa lec- 
tione quam praeparaveram, quia necessaria iam non 
videbatur, de hac ipsa quaestione pauca disserui, 
nihil nos nee brevius nee verius posse adferre ad- 
versus eos qui dicunt : " Quare modo ? " nisi et nos 
dieamus : " Vel modo." 
9 Verum tamen ne illi qui ante nos tam manifesta 
inperitae multitudinis crimina vel permiserunt vel 
prohibere non ausi sunt, aliqua a nobis affici con- 
tumelia viderentur, exposui eis, qua necessitate ista 
in ecclesia viderentur exorta. Scilicet post persecu- 

« Cf. Ezek. xxxiii. 9. 

^ Exedrae, etJSpaL, were originally recesses, rectangular or 
semi-circular, opening out of the church, then, later, rooms 
with seats. Here and elsewhere in Augustine the word seems 
to mean that part of the church which had seats and projected 
outwards, i.e. the portion later known as " choir " or " apse." 
It was raised above the nave (see Civ. Dei, 22. 8, and De 
Gest. c. Emer. 1.1), and the clergy sat there during sermon, 

NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

the day ? Those who allowed it in times past were 
surely not unchristian." On hearing this, I was 
quite at a loss what weapons to prepare that would 
have a greater effect on them, but still, if they 
decided to continue in that frame of mind, I was 
intending to read that passage from the prophet 
Ezekiel, " The watchman is absolved if he has 
uttered a warning of the danger, even if those whom 
he has warned have not cared to take precaution,"*^ 
and to shake my garments and depart. But at that 
point the Lord showed that He does not forsake us, 
and taught me the means He takes to encourage 
us to put our trust in Him, for before the time at 
which I had to mount into the choir, ^ those same 
individuals came in to me who, as I had learned, had 
complained of my attack upon their long-established 
custom. I received them graciously, and needed only 
a few words to bring them round to a sound state of 
mind. And when it came to the time for my dis- 
course, I left out the reading I had prepared, since 
it no longer appeared to be needed, and made a few 
remarks about the very point they had raised, stating 
that we could put forward against those who say 
" Why thus late in the day ? " no briefer and truer 
reply than to imitate them and say, " Yes, thus late 
in the day." 

Yet to avoid the appearance of casting any slight 9 
upon those who in earlier times either allowed, or 
did not venture to forbid, the ignorant mob to 
perpetrate these open sins, I explained to them the 
critical circumstances in which those practices 
apparently arose in the Church. When peace was 

while the people stood. It was more commonly called the 
/3^/ia, hema, or suggestum. 



tiones tarn multas tamque vehementes cum facta 
pace turbae gentilium in christianuni nonien venire 
cupientes hoc inipedirentur, quod dies festos cum 
idolis suis solerent in abundantia epularum et ebrie- 
tate consumere, nee facile ab his perniciosissimis sed 
tamen vetustissimis voluptatibus se possent abstinere, 
visum fuisse maioribus nostris ut huic infirmitatis 
parti interim parceretur diesque festos post eos quos 
rehnquebant, ahos in honorem sanctorum martyrum 
vel non simiH sacrilegio quamvis simiU luxu cele- 
brarent ; iam Christi nomine conhgatis et tantae auc- 
toritatis iugo subditis salutaria sobrietatis praecepta 
traderentur, quibus iam propter praecipientis ho- 
norem ac timorem resistere non valerent. Quocirca 
iam tempus esse, ut, qui non se audent negare 
christianos, secundum Christi voluntatem vivere in- 
cipiant, ut ea quae, ut essent christiani, concessa 
sunt, cum christiani sunt, respuantur. 
10 Deinde hortatus sum, ut transmarinarum eccle- 
siarum, in quibus partim ista recepta numquam sunt, 
partim iam per bonos rectores populo obtemperante 
correcta, imitatores esse vellemus. Et quoniam de 
basihca beati apostoU Petri cotidianae vinulentiae 
proferebantur exempla, dixi primo audisse nos saepe 
esse prohibitum, sed quod remotus sit locus ab epi- 

" The best-known example of this spirit of compromise is 
that of Pope Gregory the Great, who wrote to St. Augustine 
of Canterbury that the pagan practices of converts must be 
checked only by degrees (Bede, //^'5^. £'cc/. i. 30, with Plummer's 
good note, and Bright, Chapters in Early English Church 
History, pp. 78 ff.). Similar indulgence was common, although 
opposition to all compromise was occasionally urged, for 
example, by Vigilantius. 

^ As at Milan, where the custom had been opposed by 
St. Ambrose, as Monnica, the mother of Augustine, had dis- 

NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

made after many violent persecutions, crowds of 
pagans were anxious to come over to the Christian 
name but were hindered by the fact that they were 
accustomed to spend their feast-days with their idols 
in drunkenness and excessive banqueting and could 
not easily abstain from those baneful but long- 
established pleasures. So our predecessors thought 
it good to make concessions for the time being to 
those weaker brethren, and to let them celebrate 
in honour of the holy martyrs other feast-days, in 
place of those they were giving up, unlike them, at 
any rate, in profanation, though like them in excess. 
Now that they were bound together by the name of 
Christ and submissive to the yoke of His great 
authority, they must inherit the wholesome rules of 
sobriety, and these they could not oppose because 
of their veneration and fear for Him whose rules 
they were. It was now high time, therefore, for 
such as had not the courage to deny that they were 
Christians, to begin to live according to the will of 
Christ, casting behind them, now that they were 
Christians, the concessions made to induce them to 
become Christians. ° 

Then I urged them to undertake to follow the 10 
example of the churches overseas, in some of which 
those practices were never admitted, while in others 
they had already been corrected by the agency of 
good leaders and compliance on the part of the 
people.^ And as examples of daily excess in drinking 
were produced to me from the Church of the blessed 
apostle Peter, I stated in the first place that I had 
heard that they had often been forbidden, but since 

covered when she went to make the customary oiferings on 
the martyrs' tombs. See the account in Confessions, bk. vi. 2. 



scopi conversatione et in tanta ci\dtate magna sit 
carnalium multitudo peregrinis praesertim, qui novi 
subinde veniunt, tanto violentius quanto inscitius 
illam consuetudinem retinentibus, tarn immanem 
pestem nondum compesci sedarique potuisse. Verum 
tamen nos si Petrum apostolum honoraremus, debere 
praecepta eius audire et multo devotius epistulam 
in qua voluntas eius apparet, quam basilicam in qua 
non apparet, intueri ; statimque accepto codice re- 
citavi ubi ait : Christo e?iim passo pro nobis per carnem 
et vos eadem cogitatione armamini, quia qui passus est 
carne, desiit a came, id iam non hominiim desideriis 
sed voluntate dei reUquum tempus in came vivat. Suficit 
enim vohis praeteritum tempus voluntate hominum per- 
fecisse amhulantes in lihidinihus, desideriis, ebrietate, 
comissationihus et nefandis idolorum servitutibus. Qui- 
bus gestiSjCum omnes uno animo inbonam voluntatem 
ire contempta mala consuetudine cernerem, hortatus 
sum ut meridiano tempore divinis lectionibus et 
psalmis interessent ; ita ilium diem multo mundius 
atque sincerius placere celebrandum et certe de 
multitudine convenientium facile posse apparere, 
qui mentem et qui ventrem sequeretur. Ita lectis 
omnibus sermo terminatus est. 
11 Pomeridiano autem die maior quam ante meridiem 

" His residence was on the other side of the city, in the 
Lateran palace, presented to the Church by the Emperor 
Constantine. There the Popes continued to reside until the 
end of the fourteenth century. 

" 1 Pet. iv. 1-3. 

NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

the place was at a distance from the bishop's control ^ 
and in a city of that size there was a great crowd 
of carnally-minded people, the pilgrims especially, 
of whom fresh batches were continually arriving, 
clinging to that custom with a vehemence pro- 
portionate to their unenlightenment, it had not yet 
been possible to restrain and repress such a monstrous 
disorder. But yet, if we honoured the apostle Peter, 
we personally should give ear to his counsels and 
pay much more zealous attention to the Epistle 
in which his intention is revealed, than to his 
church, in which it is not, and straightway, taking 
up the manuscript, I read the passage where he 
says, " Forasmuch then as Christ hath suifered for 
us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the 
same mind, for he that hath suffered in the 
flesh hath ceased from sin, that he no longer 
should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the 
lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the 
time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought 
the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lascivious- 
ness, lusts, excess of wine, re veilings, banquetings 
and abominable idolatries." ^ After that, when I 
perceived that all with one mind were turning to 
a right disposition and spurning their wretched 
custom, I enjoined them to attend at mid-day for 
Scripture reading and singing of psalms : it was our 
purpose in that way to celebrate that day Math 
much more decency and purity, and it could easily 
be seen, from the number of those who assembled, 
who was following reason and who was the slave of 
appetite. So, w^hen everything had been read, my 
sermon concluded. 

In the afternoon a greater crowd attended than 11 



adfuit multitude et usque ad horam qua cum epi- 
scopo egrederemur, legebatur alternatim et psalle- 
batur ; nobisque egressis duo psalmi lecti sunt. 
Deinde me invitum, qui iam cupiebam peractum esse 
tam periculosum diem, iussum compulit senex ut 
aliquid eis loquerer. Habui brevem sermonem, quo 
gratias agerem deo, et quoniam in haereticorum 
basilica audiebamus ab eis solita convi\ia celebrata, 
cum adhuc etiam eo ipso tempore quo a nobis ista 
gerebantur, illi in poculis perdurarent, dixi diei pul- 
chritudinem noctis comparatione decorari et colorem 
candidum nigri vicinitate gratiorem ; ita nostrum 
spiritalis celebrationis conventum minus fortasse 
futurum fuisse iucundum, nisi ex alia parte carnalis 
ingurgitatio conferretur, hortatusque sum ut tales 
epulas instanter appeterent, si gustassent quam 
sua\1s est dominus ; illis autem esse metuendum, qui 
tamquam primum sectantur quod aliquando de- 
struetur, cum quisque comes efficiatur eius rei quam 
colit, insultaritque apostolus talibus dicens : Quorum 
deus venter, cum idem alio loco dixerit : Esca ventri 
et venter escis ; deus autem et hunc et illas evacuabit. 
Nos proinde oportere id sequi quod non evacuatur, 
quod remotissimum a carnis afFectu spiritus sanctifi- 
catione retinetur. Atque in banc sententiam pro 
tempore cum ea quae dominus suggerere dignatus 

<* The Donatists. " Phil. iii. 19. ^ 1 Cor. vi. 13. 


NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

in the forenoon, and reading and singing went on 
alternately until the hour when I was to come out 
with the bishop. When we came out, two psalms 
were read, then the Senior compelled me by express 
injunction to say something to them, though it was 
against my will, for by this time I was longing for 
the end of so critical a day. I gave a short address 
with the object of rendering thanks to God, and as 
we heard in the church of the heretics ^ the noise of 
the usual feasting that they were celebrating (for 
even at the very time when we were so engaged 
they were still lingering in their cups), I remarked 
that the beauty of the day was enhanced by com- 
parison with the night and that a M'hite colour 
was more pleasing alongside of a black ; thus our 
gathering for a spiritual celebration would perhaps 
have been less gratifying without the contrast of 
gluttonous carnality from other quarters. And I 
exhorted them that such were the banquets that they 
should eagerly seek after, if they had tasted how 
sweet the Lord is, but that fear was to be the lot 
of those who seek as the chief object of desire 
anything that would some day be destroyed. For 
each man is made to share the fate of that which he 
worships, and such people had been mocked by the 
Apostle in the words, " whose god is their belly," ^ 
since in another place he has used the words : " Meats 
for the belly and the belly for meats, but God shall 
destroy both it and them." ^ It was therefore our 
duty to follow after that which is not to be destroyed, 
which through the sanctification of the spirit is kept 
far removed from what befalls the flesh. And so, 
when what the Lord was pleased to suggest had been 
for the occasion spoken along those lines, the usual 



est, dicta essent, acta sunt vespertina quae cotidie 
Solent, nobisque cum episcopo recedentibus fratres 
eodem loco hymnos dixerunt non parva multitudine 
utriusque sexus^ ad obscuratum diem manente atque 
12 Digessi vobis, quantum breviter potui, quod vos 
audire desiderasse quis dubitaverit ? Orate ut a 
conatibus nostris omnia scandala et omnia taedia 
deus dignetur avertere. Magna sane ex parte vobis- 
cum requiescimus cum alacritate fervoris, quia 
spiritalis ecclesiae Tagastensium tam crebra nobis 
dona nuntiantur. Navis cum fratribus nondum 
venit. Apud Asnam, ubi est presbyter frater Ar- 
gentius, Circumcelliones invadentes basilicam no- 
stram altare comminuerunt. Causa nunc agitur, 
quae ut pacate agatur et ut ecclesiam catholicam 
decet ad opprimendas linguas haereseos inpacatae, 
multum vos petimus ut oretis. Epistulam Asiarchae 
misimus. Beatissimi perseveretis in domino me- 
mores nostri. Amen. 

^ sexus addidit Goldbacher. 

** Daily services had been the rule in Jerusalem until the 
fall of the city, but they were not practised from then until 
the fourth century, when the cessation of persecution and 
the influence of monastic use caused their revival. 

^ Apparently in the vicinity of Hippo, but the exact site 
is unknown. 

" These were brigand companies of the Donatist party, 
who for long terrorized Numidia with their organized violence 
and bloodthirstiness. Some of their cruel deeds are de- 
scribed in later letters (see pp. 128 and 162). 


NO. 10 (Ep. XXIX) 

daily evening service " was held and Me retired with 
the bishop, while the brethren repeated hymns there 
and a considerable crowd of both sexes remained and 
engaged in singing until darkness fell. 

I have set forth for you, as briefly as I could, what 12 
I am sure you were anxious to hear. Pray that God 
will graciously protect my efforts from providing any 
cause of offence or any distress. In no small measure 
we share with lively warmth of affection in your con- 
tentment that such frequent gifts to us from the 
spiritually-minded church of Tagaste are intimated. 
The ship with the brethren has not yet arrived. At 
Asna,^ where the priest is brother Argentius, the 
Circumcellions ^ have broken into our church and 
smashed the altar. The case is at present being tried ; 
we earnestly beg you to pray that the trial may 
give no provocation, and may serve, as becomes the 
Catholic Church, to check the tongue of provocative 
heresy. I have sent a letter to the Asiarch.*^ 

May ye remain steadfast in the Lord, brethren, 
in all blessedness, and forget us not ! Amen. 

'^ The Asiarchs were originally the chief presidents of the 
religious rites in the Roman province Asia, whose duties 
consisted in giving every year games and theatrical amuse- 
ments in honour of the Roman emperor and the gods. 
The religious character of the office disappeared with the 
establishment of Christianity. The word occurs in Acts 
xix. 31 and in the letter of the Church of Smyrna about the 
martyrdom of Polycarp. Here the presence of the word is 
surprising, unless it be either a synonym for " pro-consul " 
or a proper name. There is an excellent account of the 
pagan Asiarchate in Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, pt. ii. 
vol. iii. pp. 404-415. 



No. 11 (Ep.XXXlV) 


1 Scit deus, cui manifesta sunt arcana cordis humani, 
quantum pacem diligo Christianam, tantum me 
moveri sacrilegis eorum factis qui in eius dissensione 
indigne atque impie perseverant, eumque motum 
animi mei esse pacificum neque me id agere ut ad 
communionem catholicam quisquam cogatur invitus, 
sed ut omnibus errantibus aperta Veritas declaretur 
et per nostrum ministerium deo iuvante nianifestata 
se amplectendam atque sectandam satis ipsa per- 

2 Quid enim execrabilius, quaeso te, ut alia taceam, 
quam id quod nunc accidit ? Corripitur ab episcopo 
suo iuvenis crebris caedibus matris insanus et impias 
manus nee illis diebus cum etiam severitas legum 
sceleratissimis parcit, a visceribus unde natus est, 
revocans ; minatur eidem matri se in partem Donati 
translaturum et eam quam incredibili furore solet 
caedere, perempturum ; minatur ei, transit ad par- 
tem Donati, rebaptizatur furens et in maternum 
sanguinem fremens albis vestibus candidatur ; con- 
stituitur intra cancellos eminens atque conspicuus 

" At Easter, when, since the edicts of \^alentinian in 367, 
the prisons were opened and all prisoners released, except 
those guilty of more serious crimes {Cod. Theod. lib. Lx. 
tit. 38. 3). 


NO. 11 (Ep. XXXIV) 

No. 11 (Ep. XXXIV) 

(a.d. 396) 


God knows (for to Him the secrets of the human 1 
heart are manifest) that, as I love Christian peace, 
so I am disturbed by the profane deeds of those 
who basely and impiously persist in dissenting from 
it ; He knows too that my indignation springs from 
a desire for peace and that my object is not to drive 
anyone into the Catholic communion against his will, 
but to have the naked truth made known to all who 
are astray and revealed by God's help through my 
ministry, commending itself so well that they may 
embrace and follow it. 

I pass over other matters and ask you what could 2 
be more abominable than what has now happened ? 
A young man is rebuked by his bishop for repeatedly 
thrashing his mother like a madman and for not with- 
holding his unfilial hands from the body that gave 
him birth even on those days when the very harsh- 
ness of the law shows mercy to the vilest criminals. ** 
He threatens his mother to go over to the Donatist 
party and to do her to death, used as he is to thrash 
her with unbelievable ferocity. He makes this 
threat, goes over to the Donatist party, receives re- 
baptism while still in his frenzy, and is arrayed in 
the white vestments of a candidate for baptism 
while still raging for his mother's blood. Within 
the altar-rails he is set up in a prominent and con- 
spicuous position and, w^hile planning matricide, 



et omnium gementium oculis matricidii meditator 
tamquam renovatus opponitur. 

3 Haecine tandem tibi placent, vir gra\issime ? 
Nequaquam hoc de te crediderim ; novi considera- 
tionem tuam. Caeditur mater carnalis in membris, 
quibus genuit et nutrivit ingratum ; prohibet hoc 
ecclesia, mater spiritahs ; caeditur et ipsa in sacra- 
mentis, quibus genuit et nutrivit ingratum. Nonne 
tibi videtur dixisse parricidaHter frendens : " Quid 
faciam ecclesiae, quae me prohibet caedere matrem 
meam ? Inveni quid faciam : iniuriis, quibus potest, 
etiam ipsa feriatur ; fiat in me aliquid unde membra 
eius doleant ; eundum^ mihi ad eos qui noverunt ex- 
sufflare gratiam in qua ibi natus sum, destruere for- 
mam quam in utero eius accepi ; ambas matres 
meas saevis cruciatibus torqueam ; quae me posterior 
peperit, efferat prior ; ad huius dolorem spiritaUter 
moriar, ad iUius caedem carnaUter vivam." Quid 
aHud expectamus, vir honorabiUs Eusebi, nisi ut in 
miseram muUerem senectute decrepitam, viduitate 
destitutam, a cuius caedibus in cathoHca prohibebatur, 

. iam Donatista securus armetur ? Quid enim ahud 
furibundo corde concepit, cum diceret matri : " Trans- 
feram me in partem Donati et bibam sanguinem 
tuum " ? Ecce iam conscientia cruentus, veste de- 
albatus perficit partem polHcitationis suae ; restat 
pars altera, ut matris sanguinem bibat. Si ergo 

^ eundnm scripsi: vadam Afss. 

NO. 11 (Ep. XXXIV) 

he is exhibited to the eyes of all the disgusted con- 
gregation as a regenerate man. 

Do you, a man of sober judgement, really approye 3 
of this ? I should never beheve it of you ; I know 
how sensible a man you are. A mother after the 
flesh is beaten on the body which bore and nurtured 
her thankless son ; when the Church, his spiritual 
mother, forbids this, she too is beaten in her sacra- 
ments, by which she bore and nurtured her thank- 
less son. Don't you think it is as if he had said in 
his rage for a parent's blood, " What shall I do to the 
Church, which forbids my beating my mother ? I 
know what I will do. I will wound her too ^^ith every 
possible insult ; I will commit anything that will 
cause her members pain ; I will betake me to those 
who are experienced in sneering at the grace in which 
she gave me birth, in destroying the form I received 
in her womb ; ^\'ith cruel agonies let me rack both 
these mothers of mine. Let the one who gave me 
second birth be the first to give me burial ; for her 
grief I shall seek spiritual death, but for the other's 
death I shall continue my earthly life." What else 
can we expect, my esteemed Eusebius, than this, 
that the man who, while he was in the Catholic 
Church, was restrained from thrashing the un- 
fortunate woman, crippled with age and a lonely 
widow, will be free to employ his weapons against 
her, now that he is a Donatist ? What other purpose 
was in his raving heart when he said to his mother, 
" I will go over to the Donatist party and %dll 
drink your blood"? See now, with blood-stained 
conscience, but arrayed in white vestments, he has 
carried out one part of his threat ; the second part, 
the drinking of his mother's blood, awaits fulfilment. 



placent ista, urgeatur a clericis et sanctificatoribus 
suis ut intra octavas suas totum quod vovit exsolvat. 

4 Potens est quidem dextera doniini quae furorem 
illius a misera vidua et desolata compescat et eum, 
quibus modis novit, a tarn scelerata dispositione 
deterreat. Verum tamen ego tanto animi dolore 
percussus quid facerem, nisi saltern loquerer ? An 
vero ista illi faciunt et mihi dicitur : Tace ? Avertat 
a me dominus hanc amentiam, ut, cum ipse mihi 
imperet per apostolum suum et dicat ab episcopo 
refelli oportere doce?ites, quae 7ion oportet, ego illorum 
indignationibus territus taceam. Quod enim pu- 
blicis gestis haerere volui tam sacrilegum nefas, ad 
hoc utique volui, ne me quisquam maxime in aliis 
civitatibus, ubi opportunum fuerit, ista deplorantem 
fingere aliquid arbitretur, quando etiam apud ipsam 
Hipponem iam dicitur non hoc Proculianum man- 
dasse, quod publicum renuntiavit officium. 

5 Quid autem modestius agere possumus, quam ut 
tam graven! causam per te tamen agam, virum et 
clarissima dignitate praeditum et considerantissima 
voluntate tranquillum ? Peto igitur, sicut iam petivi 
per fratres nostros, bonos atque honestos viros, quos 
ad tuam eximietatem misi, ut quaerere digneris 
utrum Proculiani presbyter V ictor non hoc ab epi- 

" The eight days between Easter and the Sunday follow- 
ing, during which time neophytes wore their white garments. 
These were put off on the first Sunday after Easter, which 
was hence called Dominica in albis or Dies neophytorum, 
and the newly baptized were then introduced to the Church 
as full members. 

" Tit. i. 11. 

•= Proculianus was the Donatist bishop of Hippo, a trouble- 
some neighbour to Augustine until his death about 411. The 


NO. 11 (Ep. XXXIV) 

If that is the kind of thing you approve of, let your 
clergy and those v/ho are to carry through his sanctifi- 
cation instigate him to fulfil all his vow within his 
eight days." 

But the Lord's right hand is strong to restrain his 4 
rage from that unfortunate and lonely widow and, 
by means best known to Himself, to frighten him 
from his criminal purpose. Yet what was I to do, 
when I was so pained and indignant, but at least 
speak my mind ? Are they, indeed, to do such things 
and I be told to hold my peace ? The Lord deliver 
me from such folly, that when, by His apostle. He 
commands me and says that those who teach what 
they ought not, ought to be rebuked^ by the bishop, 
I should be silent from dread of their indignation. 
In wanting this heinous crime to find permanent 
record in the public registers, my intention surely 
was to prevent anyone, especially in other towns 
where I may have a chance to deplore these deeds, 
from imagining that I am inventing any detail, for 
even here in Hippo it is already being said that 
Proculianus ^ did not issue the order which the public 
officials have recorded as his. 

What more temperate course could we pursue 5 
than to take action in a matter of such seriousness 
through you, a man invested with the most eminent 
rank and, at the same time, possessing great circum- 
spection, goodwill and equanimity ? So I beseech 
you, as I have already done by our brethren, good 
and honourable men, whom I sent to your Ex- 
cellency, to have the kindness to inquire whether 
it was not this order of Proculianus recorded by the 

"order" is apparently that made by Proculianus to the 
priest Victor to receive the young man in question. 

H 97 


scopo suo mandatiim acceperit, quod officio publico 
renuntiavit, an forte, cum et ipse Mctor aliud dixerit, 
falsum illi apud acta prosecuti sint, cum sint com- 
munionis eiusdem ; aut, si consentit ut ipsam totam 
quaestionem dissensionis nostrae placide pertracte- 
mus, ut error qui iam manifestus est, manifestius 
innotescat, libenter amplector. Audivi enim quod 
dixerit, ut sine tumultu populari adsint nobiscum 
deni ex utraque parte graves et honesti viri, et secun- 
dum scripturas quid in vero sit perquiramus. Nam 
illud quod rursus eum dixisse nonnulli ad me per- 
tulerunt, cur non ierim Constantinam, quando ibi 
plures ipsi erant, vel me debere ire Mileum, quod 
illic, sicut perhibent, concilium proxime habituri 
sunt, ridiculum est dicere, quasi ad me pertineat 
cura propria nisi Hipponiensis ecclesiae. Mihi tota 
huius quaestionis ratio maxime cum Proculiano est. 
Sed si forte inparem se putat, cuius voluerit collegae 
sui inploret auxilium. In aliis enim ci\dtatibus 
tantum agimus quod ad ecclesiam pertinet, quan- 
tum vel nos permittunt vel nobis inponunt earundem 
civitatium episcopi, fratres et consacerdotes nostri. 
6 Quamquam et iste qui se tot annorum episcopum 
dicit, quid in me tirone timeat quominus mecum 
velit conferre sermonem, non satis intellego : si 

° Better known under its earlier name, Cirta, capital of 
the territory of King Sj-phax (Livy xxx. 12 and 41), and 
associated with the names of Masinissa, Adherbal and 
Micipsa. It suffered in a civil war in a.d. 308, but was 
restored by the Emperor Constantine, who gave it his name. 
It had a bishop since at least 256. 

" Now Mila, about ten miles west of Constantine : the 

NO. 11 (Ep. XXXIV) 

public officials that the priest Victor received from 
his bishop, or whether, since Victor himself has 
denied it, they have fathered a lie upon him in the 
public documents, although they belong to the same 
religious body. Otherwise, if he agrees that we 
should without heat discuss the v.hole question at 
issue between us to the end that the error, which is 
already clear, may be more clearly brought to light, 
I gladly embrace the opportunity. I have heard of 
his proposal that without any popular uproar we 
should examine what is true according to the Scrip- 
tures, in the presence of ten weighty and honourable 
men from each side. That alternative proposal, 
which some reported to me as his, that I should 
go to Constantine," since his followers were more 
numerous there, or that I ought to go to Mile vis, ^ 
because there, people say, they are going to hold a 
council soon, it is absurd to make, as if any particular 
charge concerned me except the church of Hippo. 
The whole issue of this inquiry lies between me 
and Proculianus above all, but if he considers him- 
self unequal to it, let him implore the aid of any 
colleague of his that he chooses. For in other towns 
we deal with matters concerning the Church only so 
far as the bishops of those towns, our brethren and 
fellow-priests, allow us or enjoin upon us. 

And yet, I do not quite see what he, who proclaims 6 
himself a bishop of such long standing, is afraid of 
in a novice such as I am, to shrink from a conference 

form of the name varies, the inscriptions having Mihv 
(indeclinable). Optatus, author of a work against the 
Donatists, was a bishop there, and it was the birthplace of 
the Donatist Faustus against whom Augustine wrote the 
Contra Faust urn. 



doctrinam liberalium litterarum, quas forte ipse aut 
non didicit aut minus didicit, quid hoc pertinet ad 
earn quaestionem quae vel de Sanctis scripturis vel 
documentis ecclesiasticis aut publicis discutienda est, 
in quibus ille per tot annos versatur, unde in eis 
deberet esse peritior ? Postremo est hie frater et 
collega meus Samsucius, episcopus Turrensis ec- 
clesiae, qui nullas tales didicit quales iste dicitur 
formidare ; ipse adsit, agat cum illo ; rogabo eum et, 
ut confido in nomine Christi, facile mihi concedet 
ut suscipiat in hac re vicem meam, et eum dominus 
pro veritate certantem, quamvis sermone inpolitum, 
tamen vera fide eruditum, sicut confidimus, adiu- 
vabit. Nulla ergo causa est cur ad alios nescio quos 
differat, ne inter nos quod ad nos pertinet per- 
agamus. Nee tamen, ut dixi, etiam illos defugio, si 
eorum ipse poscit auxilium. 

No. 12 (Ep. XXXVII) 

I Plenas bonorum gaudiorum litteras, quod sis 

° Before his conversion in 386, Augustine had been a 
grammat'icus at Tagaste {Confess, iv. 7), and a teacher of 
rhetoric at Carthage {ih. iv. 12 ; C. Acad. ii. 2, 3) and Milan 
{Confess, v. 23). 

** The exact site of Turres is not known, but it was probably 
near Hippo. Samsucius is mentioned again in No. 21 infra. 

«^ Simplicianus succeeded St. Ambrose in the see of Milan 
in 397. He was instrumental in converting \'ictorinus and 
was a close and honoured friend of Ambrose's. Augustine 
met him at Milan in 386, and was much influenced by his 
accoimt of Victorinus's conversion {Confess, viii. 5). To him 

NO. 11 (Ep. XXXn)— NO. 12 (Ep. XXXVII) 

with me. If it is my learning in liberal studies,'^ in 
which he perhaps is uninstructed or less instructed 
than I am, what has this to do with an inquiry which 
is to be conducted about Holy Scripture and ec- 
clesiastical or public records ? In these he has so 
many years of experience, which should make him 
all the better equipped. In the last resort, my 
brother and colleague, Samsucius, bishop of the 
Church of Turres,^ is here, and he has acquired no 
such learning as your man is said to be afraid of ; 
let him come and conduct it with him. I shall ask 
him, and I trust in the name of Christ he will readily 
agree to undertake to be my substitute in this. 
Though he is without any grace of eloquence, yet 
he is learned in the true faith, and the Lord will 
help him, I feel sure, in his contest for the truth. 
There is then no reason why he should refer me 
to any others, instead of settling between ourselves 
a matter which concerns ourselves. But still, as I 
said before, I do not decline to meet those others, if 
he himself demands their aid. 

No. 12 (Ep. XXXVII) 
(a.d. 397) 
Your letter has reached me, containing the good 1 

Augustine dedicated his work De Diversis Quaestionibus^ 
alluded to below, and he mentions him with great respect in 
several of his other works {I)e Praedest. 8 ; iJe Bono Persev. 
52 ; Civ. Dei, x. 29). Simplicianus died in 400 and is 
honoured on August 16, 



memor mei meque, ut soles, diligas magnaeque 
gratulationi tibi sit, quicquid in me donorum suorum 
dominus conferre dignatus est misericordia sua, non 
mentis meis, missas munere tuae sanctitatis accepi. 
In quibus affectum in me paternum tuo benignis- 
simo corde non repentinum et novum hausi, sed 
expertum plane cognitumque repetivi, domine beatis- 
sime et venerabiliter sincerissima caritate amplec- 

2 Unde autem tanta exorta est felicitas litterario 
labori nostro quo in librorum quorundam conscrip- 
tione sudavimus, ut a tua dignatione legerentur, nisi 
quia dominus, cui subdita est anima mea, consolari 
voluit curas meas et a timore recreare, quo me in 
talibus operibus necesse est esse sollicitum, necubi 
forte indoctior vel incautior quamvis in pianissimo 
campo veritatis offendam ? Cum enim tibi placet, 
quod scribo, novi cui placeat, quoniam quis te in- 
habitet novi. Idem quippe omnium munerum spiri- 
talium distributor atque largitor per tuam sententiam 
confirmavit oboedientiam meam. Quicquid enim 
habent ilia scripta delectatione tua dignum, in meo 
ministerio dixit deus : " Fiat,'' et factum est ; in tua 
vero approbatione vidit deus, quia honum est. 

3 Quaestiunculas sane quas mihi enodandas iubere 
dignatus es, etsi mea tarditate implicatus non in- 
tellegerem, tuis meritis adiutus aperirem. Tantum 
illud quaeso ut pro infirmitate mea depreceris deum 
et sive in his quibus me exercere benigne paterneque 

« Gen. i. 3-4. 

NO. 12 (Ep. XXXVII) 

and gladdening ncMs that you have not forgotten 
me but regard nie with your customary affection, 
and that you take great pleasure in whatever gifts 
the Lord has deigned in His mercy, and not for 
my deserving, to bestow on me. It was gracious of 
your Holiness to write to me, and in your letter, my 
dear lord whom I cherish with reverence and very 
genuine devotion, I discerned once more that 
fatherly feeling for me which is no new or sudden 
refreshment to me from your generous heart, but 
a joy already experienced and appreciated. 

The literary efforts I expended in the composing 2 
of some books have been well recompensed by your 
Grace's reading them. Surely that came from no 
other source than the Lord's desire (for my soul is 
subject to Him) to appease my anxieties and abate 
the fear that of necessity harassed me in such an 
undertaking, of stumbling, through my comparative 
inexperience and imprudence, even in the straight 
and level path of truth. For when my writings 
find favour with you, I know with whom it does 
find favour, for I know who it is that dwells in you : 
He who apportions and bestows all spiritual gifts has 
by your verdict ratified my obedience. For what- 
ever my wTitings contained that merited your satis- 
faction, it was God who said " Let it be done, and it 
was done," by me as His instrument, while in your 
approval it is the Lord who " saw that it was good." " 

If my own dullness has prevented me from grasping 3 
those problems you were good enough to bid me 
solve, still I could unravel them with your valued 
assistance. But I do beg you to intercede with 
God for me in my weakness, and not only to give 
the careful attention of a reader, but also to adopt 



voluisti, sive in aliis, quaecumque nostra in tuas 
sanctas manus forte pervenerint, quia sicut dei data 
sic etiam mea errata cogito, non solum curam legentis 
inpendas, sed etiam censuram corrigentis adsumas. 



Secundum spiritum, quantum domino placet atque 
ipse vires praebere dignatur, recte sumus ; corpore 
autem ego in lecto sum ; nee ambulare enim nee stare 
nee sedere possum rhagadis vel exochadis dolore et 
tumore. Sed etiam sic, quoniam id domino placet, 
quid aliud dicendum est, nisi quia recte sumus ? 
Potius enim, si id nolumus quod ille vult, nos cul- 
pandi sumus, quam ille non recte aliquid vel facere 
vel sinere existimandus est. Nosti haec omnia ; sed 
quia mihi es alter ego, quid libentius tecum loquerer, 
nisi quod mecum loquor ? Commendamus ergo 
Sanctis orationibus tuis et dies et noctes nostras, ut 
oretis pro nobis, ne diebus intemperanter utamur, ut 
noctes aequo animo toleremus, ut, etiam si amhulemus 
in medio umbrae mortis, nobiscum sit dominus, ne 
timeamus mala. 

<" See above, p. oQ note h. 

^ Rhagades (rhagas, rhagadki, rhagadium) is a "tear," 
"rent," "hack" of the skin {payds, payddia); exochas, 


NO. 12 (Ep. XXXVII)— NO. 13 (Ep. XXXVIII) 

the critical attitude of a reviewer, to any works of 
mine that happen to come into your holy hands, 
both those on which it was your kind and fatherly 
desire that I should try my hand, and any others. 
For I am fully conscious of God's gifts, and no less 
of my own mistakes. 

No. 13 (Ep. XXXVIII) 

(a.d. 397) 


In spirit I am well, so far as it is the Lord's good 1 
pleasure and as He deigns to grant me strength ; 
in body, I am confined to bed. I can neither walk 
nor stand nor sit do^^Tl because of the pain and 
swelling of piles or tumours.^ Yet even so, since 
that is the Lord's good pleasure, what else should 
I say than that I am well ? If we do not like what 
pleases Him, we ourselves are rather to assume the 
blame than to imagine that He is wrong in what He 
either does or allows. This is all familiar to you, 
but since you are my second self, what can I say to 
you with more pleasure than what I say to myself ? 
To your holy prayers then I commend both my 
nights and my days ; pray for me, that I may not 
squander my days and that I may endure my nights 
with patience ; pray that even if I walk in the valley 
of the shadow of death, the Lord may be with me 
that I may fear no evil.^ 

{exochadhnn) is a "pile" (e'^oxas, i'^ox'^^'-ov). The words are 
rare save in the medical writers. 
'^ Fs. xxii. 4. 



2 Quod senex Megalius defunctus sit, iam vos audisse 
quis dubitet ? Erant autem a depositione corporis 
eius, cum haec scriberem, dies ferine viginti quattuor. 
Utrum iam videris, disponebas enim, successorem pri- 
matus eius, si fieri potest, nosse volumus. Non desunt 
scandala sed neque refugium ; non desunt maerores 
sed neque consolationes. Atque inter haec quam 
vigilandum sit, ne cuiusquam odium cordis intima 
teneat neque sinat, ut oremus deum in cuhili nostro 
clauso ostio, sed adversus ipsum deum claudat ostium, 
nosti optime, optime frater ; subrepit autem, dum 
nulli irascenti ira sua videtur iniusta. Ita enim 
inveterescens ira fit odium, dum quasi iusti doloris 
admixta dulcedo diutius eam in vase detinet, donee 
totum acescat vasque corrumpat. Quapropter multo 
melius nee iuste cuiquam irascimur, quam velut iuste 
irascendo in alicuius odium irae occulta facilitate 
delabimur. In recipiendis enim hospitibus ignotis 
solemus dicere multo esse melius malum hominem 
perpeti quam forsitan per ignorantiam excludi bonum, 
dum cavemus, ne recipiatur malus. Sed in affectibus 
animi contra est. Nam incomparabiliter salubrius 
est irae etiam iuste pulsanti non aperire penetrale 
cordis quam admittere non facile recessuram et per- 

" Bishop of Calama and Primate of Numidia, who two 
years before this had ordained Augustine as coadjutor to 
Valerius at Hippo, although earHer he had opposed Augus- 
tine's election and made serious charges against him, which 
he was afterwards compelled to withdraw. Probably the 
remembrance of these charges suggested to Augustine's mind 
what follows on ill-feeling. Megalius's successor in Calama, 
about forty miles south-west of Hippo, was Augustine's 
biographer, Possidius. 

" Matt. vi. (3. 

" Cf. Cic. Tusc. iv. 9. 21, and for the " vessel " metaphor 


NO. 13 (Ep. XXXVIII) 

You will have already heard, I am sure, of the 2 
death of the Senior Megalius ^* ; as I write, it is 
almost twenty-four days since his body was laid to 
rest. Let me know, if possible, whether you have 
seen his successor in the primacy, as was your inten- 
tion. We are not without our trials, yet not ■sWth- 
out our refuge ; we are not without our sorrows, 
yet not without comfort either. And you are 
excellently well aware, my excellent brother, how 
carefully amid such vexations mc must watch that 
no ill-feeling towards anyone takes possession of 
our inmost heart and prevents us from entering into 
our chamber, closing the door and praying to God,^ 
and even closes the door against God Himself. 
Although no angry person thinks his o^\^l anger is 
unjustified, it grows upon him, and anger that be- 
comes inveterate in this way passes into hatred,^ since 
the pleasureableness that accompanies an apparently 
justified resentment keeps it longer in the vessel 
until the whole thing grows sour and spoils the 
vessel. For this reason it is much better to be 
angry with no one, even when it is justifiable, than 
from apparently justified anger to slip by the 
stealthy tendency of passion into hatred of anyone. 
We have a proverbial saying about welcoming un- 
known guests that it is much better to endure a bad 
man than through ignorance to risk shutting out a 
good one from fear of welcoming a bad one. But 
with our passions the opposite is true : for it is beyond 
comparison a more beneficial thing not to open the 
shrine of our heart at the knock of even justified 
anger than to yield it entrance ; once in, it \\'ill not 

Hor. Ep. i. 2. 54 " sincerum est nisi vas, quodcumque in- 
fundis acescit." 



venturani de surculo ad trabem. Audet quippe in- 
pudenter etiam crescere citius, quam putatur. Non 
enim erubescit in tenebris, cum super earn sol Occi- 
dent. Recolis certe, qua cura et quanta soUicitudine 
ista scripserim, si recolis quid mecum nuper in itinere 
quodam locutus sis. 
3 Fratrem Severum et qui cum eo sunt salutamus. 
Etiam ipsis fortasse scriberemus, si per festinationem 
perlatoris liceret. Peto autem, ut apud eundem 
fratrem nostrum Victorem, cui ago etiam apud tuam 
sanctitatem gratias, quod Constantinam cum per- 
geret indicavit, petendo adiuves, propter negotium 
quod ipse no^/it, de quo gravissimum pondus pro ea 
re multum deprecantis Nectarii maioris patior, per 
Calamam remeare ne gravetur ; sic enim promisit 
mihi. Vale. 

No. 14 (Ep. XLII) 


Num etiam hoc sperari aut expectari posset, ut 

" C/. Eph. iv. 26. 

'' Probably the Severiis who became bishop of Milevis 
about A.D. 400. He was born in the same town as Augustine, 
and was a member of the same monastic community, and a 
life-long friend. He is mentioned later in Nos. 22, 25 and 29, 
and probably died about 426. "^ See note a on p. 98. 

** See No. 24 infra, p. 150 note a. Calama lay about fifty 
miles from Hippo ; it was an old Punic town, under the 
name Malaca, and was later a Roman colony. The modern 
name is Guelma. 

* Paulinus is, after Prudentius, the most notable Christian 
Latin poet of the patristic age. Sprung from a wealthy 
patrician family in Aquitania, he renounced the world and, 


NO. 13 (Ep. XXXVIII)— NO. 14 (Ep. XLII) 

easily be expelled, and it will grow from a sapling to a 
sturdy tree, since it boldly and shamelessly develops 
at an even greater speed than people imagine, for it 
is not put to shame in the darkness, vvhen the sun has 
gone down upon it.'* You can at any rate bethink 
you of the care and anxiety with which I wTite this, 
if you bethink you of your remarks on a recent 
journey we made together. 

Give my greetings to brother Severus ^ and his 3 
company. I should perhaps be writing to them too, 
if the bearer's haste allowed it. I want, however, 
to express my thanks through your Holiness to our 
brother Victor for letting me know when he was 
going to Constantine.^ Please help me by asking 
him if he would mind making his return journey by 
Calama, as he promised me he would, because of that 
business he knows of ; it is weighing very heavily on 
me, for the elder Nectarius ^ is very insistent about 
it. Good-bye. 

No. U (Ep. XLII) 

(a.d. 397) 


Who could have expected or anticipated that I 

with his wife, Therasia, a Spanish lady, estabhshed himself 
in 394 at Nola in Campania, where he lived a monastic life, 
built a church in honour of his patron saint, Felix, and spent 
his life and substance in good works, dying in 431. His 
extant works consist of 51 letters and 36 poems, marked by 
grace and fluency and revealing a pious and humble mind, 
already medieval in its outlook. 



per fratrem Severum rescripta flagitaremus tarn diu 
tarn ardentibus nobis a vestra caritate non reddita ? 
Quid est, qui duas aestates easdemque in Africa sitire 
cogamur ? Quid amplius dicam ? O qui res vestras 
cotidie donatis, debitum reddite. An forte, quod 
adversus daemonicolas te scribere audieram atque 
id opus vehenienter desiderare me ostenderani, volens 
perficere ac mittere tanto tempore ad nos epistulas 
distulisti ? Utinam saltern tam opima mensa iam 
annosum ab stilo tuo ieiunium meum tandem accipias ! 
Quae si nondum parata est, non desinemus conqueri, 
si nos, dum illud perficis, non interim reficis. 

Salutate fratres, maxime Romanum et Agilem. 
Hinc, qui nobiscum sunt, vos salutant et parum nobis- 
cum irascuntur, si parum diligunt. 

No. 15 (Ep. XLVIII) 


1 Quando quietem vestram cogitamus, quam habetis 
in Christo, etiam nos, quamvis in laboribus variis 
asperisque versemur, in vestra caritate requiescimus. 

<* Eudoxius was abbot of the monastery on the island of 
Capraria, now Capraja, between Corsica and Tuscany, which 
lies thirty miles away. In 398, after Gildo's rebellion, the 
Roman punitive force embarked at Pisa and put in at 
Cagliari in Sardinia ; its leader, Gildo's brother, visited 
Capraria and took on board some monks, who probably 
brought a letter to Augustine and were now to take back his 
reply (c/. Claudian, Bell. Gild. 415-424; Oros. Hist. vii. 
36. 5). 


NO. li (Ep. XLII)— NO. 15 (Ep. XLVIII) 

should be demanding by brother Severus the repHes 
that you, my dear friends, have failed to send, though 
I have waited for them so long and so eagerly ? 
What have I done, to be compelled to endure this 
thirst for news for two whole summers, and that 
too in Africa ? What more shall I say ? You are 
making daily distribution of what wealth you have — 
why not pay your debt to me ? Can it be that you 
have so long postponed writing to me from the desire 
to finish and send the work which I had heard you 
were writing against devil-worshippers and which I 
had shown myself very anxious to peruse ? I do hope 
that it will at least be a groaning table at which you 
eventually receive my hungry appetite, so long denied 
the products of your pen. But if as yet it be not set and 
ready, my complaints will give you no respite if, while 
your book is finishing, you still leave me famishing. 

Greet the brethren, especially Romanus and 
Agilis. Those who are with me here greet you. If 
they are less exasperated than I am, it is because their 
affection for you is less than mine. 

No. 15 (Ep. XLVIII) 

(a.d. 398) 


W^hen we think of the peace that you enjoy in 1 
Christ, we too, though harassed by manifold irksome 
tasks, find peace in your affection. For we are one 



Unum enim corpus sub uno capite sumus, ut et vos 
in nobis negotiosi et nos in vobis otiosi simus, quia, si 
patitur unum membrum, compatiuntur omnia membra 
et, si glorificatur unum memhrum, congaudent omnia 
membra. Admonemus ergo et petimus et obsecramus 
per Christi altissimam humilitatem et misericordis- 
simam celsitudineni, ut nostri memores sitis in Sanctis 
orationibus vestris, quas vos vigilantiores et magis 
sobrias habere credimus ; nostras enim saepe sauciat 
et debilitat caligo et tumultus saecularium actionum. 
Quas etsi nostras non habemus, eorum tamen, qui nos 
angariant mille passus et iubemur ire cum eis alia duo, 
tanta nobis ingeruntur, ut vix respirare possimus, 
credentes tamen, quod ille, in cuius conspectu intrai 
gemitus compeditorum, perseverantes nos in eo mini- 
sterio, in quo conlocare dignatus est cum promissa 
mercede, adiuvantibus orationibus vestris ab omni 
angustia liberabit. 
2 Vos autem, fratres, exhortamur in domino, ut 
propositum vestrum custodiatis et usque in finem 
perseveretis ac, si qua opera vestra mater ecclesia 
desideraverit, nee elatione avida suscipiatis nee blan- 
diente desidia respuatis, sed miti corde obtemperetis 
deo, cum mansuetudine portantes eum qui vos regit, 
qui dirigit mites in iudicio, docebit mansuetos vias suas. 
Nee vestrum otium necessitatibus ecclesiae prae- 
ponatis, cui parturienti si nulli boni ministrare vellent, 
quo modo nasceremini, non inveniretis. Sicut autem 
inter ignem et aquam tenenda est via, ut nee exuratur 
homo nee demergatur, sic inter apicem superbiae et 
voraginem desidiae iter nostrum temperare debemus, 

" 1 Cor. xii. 26. 
^ Matt. V. 41. ' Ps. Ixxviii. 11. 


NO. 15 (Ep. XLVIII) 

body under one head, so that you share our occupation 
and we share your relaxation, since " if one member 
suffer, all the members suffer with it, and if one 
member be honoured, all the members rejoice with 
it."^ So we exhort and beg and beseech you by 
Christ's profound humility and compassionate exalta- 
tion to remember us in your holy prayers; yours are, 
we are confident, more watchful and composed, for 
ours are often crippled and weakened by the gloom 
and bustle of worldly affairs. Not that we have any 
of our own, but those who compel us to go a mile and 
we are bidden to go with them other twain ^ impose so 
many burdens on us that we have scarcely time to 
draw our breath ; yet we are confident that He 
"before whom comes the sighing of the prisoner " ^ 
will deliver us, by the help of your prayers, from every 
distress, while we endure in that ministry in which He 
has pleased to place us with the promise of reward. 

We exhort you in the Lord, brethren, to maintain 2 
your purpose and to persevere unto the end,'^ and if the 
Church, your mother, seeks any service from you, not 
to undertake it with eager elation nor to refuse it 
under the solicitation of indolence, but submit to God 
with lowly heart, suffering with meekness Him who 
governs you, " who guides the meek in judgement and 
will teach them His ways." ^ And do not place your 
own ease before the Church's needs, for if no good 
men were willing to minister to her in her travail, 
you would find no means of being born yourselves. 
But just as a man must hold the path between fire and 
water if he v>ould avoid either burning or drowning, 
so should we regulate our way between the peak of 
pride and the gulf of sloth, as it is written '• declining 
'^ Matt. xxiv. 13 ; x. 22. ' Ps. xxiv. 9. 

I lis 


sicut scriptuni est : Non declinantes neque ad dexteram 
neque ad sinistram. Sunt enim, qui, dum nimis timent, 
ne quasi in dexteram rapti extollantur, in sinistram 
lapsi demerguntur, et sunt rursus, qui, dum nimis se 
auferunt a sinistra, ne torpida vacationis mollitia 
sorbeantur, ex altera parte iactantiae fastu corrupti 
atque consumpti in fumum favillamque vanescunt. 
Sic ergo, dilectissimi, diligite otium, ut vos ab omni 
terrena delectatione refrenetis et memineritis nullum 
locum esse, ubi non possit laqueos tendere, qui timet, 
ne revolemus ad deum, et inimicum omnium bonorum, 
cuius captivi fuimus, iudicemus, nullamque esse 
nobis perfectam requiem cogitetis, donee transeat 
iniquitas et in indicium iustitia convertatur. 
3 Item cum aliquid strenue atque alacriter agitis 
et inpigre operamini sive in orationibus sive in ieiuniis 
sive in elemosynis vel tribuentes aliquid indigentibus 
vel dojiajites iniurias, sicut et deus in Christo donavit 
nobis, sive edomantes perniciosas consuetudines casti- 
gantesque corpus et servituii suhicientes sive sufFerentes 
tribulationem et ante omnia vos ipsos invicem in 
dilectionem — quid enim sufFerat, qui fratrem non 
suflPert ? — sive prospicientes astutiam atque insidias 
temptatoris et scutofidei iacula eius ignita repellentes 
et extinguentes sive cantantes et psallejites in cordihus 
vestris domino vel vocibus a corde non dissonis : omnia 
in gloriam dei facite, qui operatur omnia in omnibus, 
atque its. ferventes spiritu, ut in domino laudetur anima 
vestra. Ipsa est enim actio recti itineris, quae oculos 

« Deut. xvii. 1 1 ; Prov. iv, 27. 
Ps. Ivi. 2; xciii, 15. ' Eph. iv. 32. ^ 1 Cor. ix. 27. 

« Eph. vi. 16. f Eph. v. 19. « 1 Cor. x. 31. 

'' 1 Cor. xii. 6. * Kom. xii. 11. ^ Ps. xxxiii. 3. 


NO. 15 (Ep. XLVIII) 

neither to the right hand nor to the left." " For there 
are some who, over-afraid of being snatched up and 
borne, as it were, to the right hand, slip and sink 
down upon the left ; and there are some again who, 
while withdrawing too far from the left hand from fear 
of being engulfed in the slothful weakness of in- 
dolence, are corrupted and destroyed on the other 
side by the arrogance of boastfulness and vanish 
away into smoke and ashes. So then, beloved, do 
you love ease in such fashion as to restrain yourselves 
from every earthly delight, and remember that there 
is no spot free from a possible snare laid by him whose 
fear it is that we may take our flight back to God ; let 
us reckon him whose prisoners we once were to be the 
foe of all good men, and bear in mind that there is no 
perfect rest for us " until iniquity has ceased and 
judgement shall return unto righteousness." ^ 

Likewise, when you do anything with vigour and 3 
fervour and are unweariedly labouring in prayer or 
in fasting or in almsgiving or bestowing something 
on the needy or forgiving injuries, " as God also for 
Christ's sake hath forgiven us," '^ or subduing evil habits 
and " chastening the body and bringing it into subjec- 
tion," ^ or bearing tribulation and (before anything 
else) " bearing one another in love " — for what can he 
endure, who does not endure his brother ? — or looking 
out for the craftiness and guile of the tempter and 
" with the shield of faith " averting and " quenching 
his fiery darts," ^ or " singing and making melody to 
the Lord in your heart " ^ or with voices in harmony 
with your heart : " do all to the glory of God,^ who 
worketh all in all," ^ and be so " fervent in spirit " ^ 
that " your soul may make her boast in the Lord." ^ 
For on the straight path that is the behaviour of those 



semper habet ad dominum, quoniam ipse evellet de 
laqueo pedes. Talis actio nee frigitur negotio nee 
frigida est otio nee turbulenta nee mareida est nee 
audax nee fugax nee praeceps nee iacens. Haec 
agite et deus pads erit vohiscum. 
4 Nee importunum me existiniet caritas vestra, quia 
vobiseum loqui vel per epistulam volui. Non enini 
hoe vos nionui, quod vos non arbitror facere ; sed 
credidi nie non paruni conimendari deo a vobis, si ea 
quae munere illius faeitis, cum adloeutionis nostrae 
memoria faeiatis. Nam et ante iam fama et nunc 
fratres, qui venerunt a vobis, Eustasius et Andreas 
bonum Christi odorem de vestra sancta conversa- 
tione ad nos adtulerunt. Quorum Eustasius in eam 
requiem praeeessit, quae nullis fluctibus sicut insula 
tunditur, nee Caprariam desiderat, quia nee cilicio 
iam quaerit indui. 

No. 16 (Ep. L) 

Immanitatis vestrae famosissimum scelus et in- 

° Ps. xxiv. 15. ^ Phil. iv. 9 ; 2 Cor. xiii. 11. 

'^ The goat".s-hair garment, the chief article of manufacture 
on Capraria, " the goat-island." It was a rough garment used 
by the poor, by penitents as a sign of grief, and by monks. 

^ wSufes, now Sbiba, is in Tunisia, near the Algerian border. 
It was a castellum under the early Empire, but became a 
colony about the time of Marcus Aurelius, as the name 
indicates (colonia Aurelia Sufetana). It had been a bishopric 
since at least a.d. ^od^ but Augustine's language shows that 
the majority of its inhabitants were still pagan. In con- 
sequence, apparently, of the legislation of 399, by which 
Honorius ordered the closing of pagan temples and the 
destruction of idols {Cod. Theod. xvr. x. 16, 17, 18), the 


NO. 15 (Ep. XLVIII)— NO. 16 (Ep. L) 

" whose eyes are ever upon the Lord, for He shall pluck 
their feet out of the net." " Such behaviour is neither 
parched by business nor chilled by ease, neither 
boisterous nor enervated, neither reckless nor run- 
away, neither headstrong nor supine. " These things 
do, and the God of peace shall be with you." ^ 

Let your Charity not think me troublesome in 4 
wishing to have converse with you even by letter. I 
have given you these admonishments, not with the 
idea that you are failing to perform them, but in the 
belief that if what you do by His favour you do in 
remembrance of my exhortation, I have no slight com- 
mendation to God from you. For a good savour of 
Christ from your holy conduct had already reached 
me, first through rumour and now through the 
brethren, Eustasius and Andrew, who have come 
from you. Of these Eustasius has gone before us 
to that rest, which no waves beat upon as they do 
upon your island, nor does he long for Caprera, for 
in its hair-cloth he seeks no more his raiment. '^ 

No. 16 (Ep. L) 
(a.d. 399) 
Earth quakes and the heavens shake at the most 

Sufetan statue of Hercules had been destroyed, and in retalia- 
tion the townspeople had massacred sixty Christians. The 
cult of Hercules at Sufes is attested by an inscription to that 
god found among the ruins (C.I.L. viii. no. 262). The 
martyred Christians are commemorated on August 30 
{Martyrol. Rom. HI. Kal. Sept.; Acta Sanctorum, Aug. vi. 
553). The letter is unusually difficult and the style makes it 
doubtful that Augustine is actually the writer. 



opinata crudelitas terrain concutit et percutit caelum, 
ut in plateis ac delubris vestris eluceat sanguis et 
resonet homicidium. Apud vos Romanae sepultae 
sunt leges, iudiciorum rectorum calcatus est terror, 
imperatorum certe nulla veneratio nee timor. Apud 
vos sexaginta numero fratrum innocens efFusus est 
sanguis et, si quis plures occidit, functus est laudibus 
et in vestrani curiam tenuit principatum. Age nunc 
principalem veniamus ad causam. Si Herculem 
vestrum dixeritis, porro reddemus ; adsunt metalla, 
saxa nee desunt ; accedunt et marmorum genera, 
suppeditat artificum copia. Ceterum deus vester 
cum diligentia sculpitur, tornatur et ornatur ; addi- 
mus et rubricam, quae pingat ruborem, quo possint 
vota vestra sacra sonare. Nam si vestrum Herculem 
dixeritis, conlatis singulis nummis ab artifice vestro 
vobis emimus deum. Reddite igitur animas, quas 
truculenta vestra manus. contorsit, et, sicuti a nobis 
vester Hercules redhibetur, sic etiam a vobis tan- 
torum animae reddantur. 

No. 17 (Ep. LX) 


1 Litteras nullas tuae venerabilitatis, ex quo ab 

NO. 16 (Ep. L)— No. 17 (Ep. LX) 

glaring criminality and shocking barbarity of your 
fiendish conduct, which has made your streets and 
shrines run red with blood and resound with cries of 
murder. Among you the laws of Rome have been 
consigned to oblivion, the fear of righteous judgement 
has been trampled under foot, and for the Crown 
you have assuredly neither respect nor awe. Among 
you the innocent blood of exactly sixty Christian 
brethren has been spilt, and he who has the more 
murders to his credit has enjoyed various honours 
and been appointed to the chief post in your assembly. 
See now, let us come to the chief point. If you 
mention your Hercules, we shall straightway restore 
it to you ; we have quarries at hand, and there is no 
lack of stone ; there are in addition various kinds of 
marble and a sufficient supply of craftsmen. More- 
over, your god will be chiseled, smoothed off and 
ornamented : we shall even add red ochre to paint 
the blush with which your holy prayers may be 
uttered. For if you say the Hercules is your own, 
we shall contribute a penny each and buy a god for 
you from your own craftsman. Restore then the 
souls that your ferocious hand has destroyed, and as 
we give back your Hercules, so do you restore these 
many souls. 

No. 17 (Ep. LX) 
(a.d. 401) 

Since we parted from each other in body, I have 1 



invicem corporaliter digress! sumus, accepi. Nunc 
vero legi epistulam benignitatis tuae de Donato et 
fratre eius et, quid responderem, diu fluctuavi. Sed 
tamen etiam atque etiam cogitanti, quid sit utile 
saluti eorum quibus nutriendis in Christo servimus, 
nihil mihi aliud occurrere potuit nisi non esse istam 
viam dandam servis dei, ut facilius se putent eligi ad 
aliquid melius, si facti fuerint deteriores. Et ipsis 
enim facilis lapsus et ordini clericorum fit indignis- 
sima iniuria, si desertores monasteriorum ad militiam 
clericatus eliguntur, cum ex his, qui in monasterio per- 
manent, non tamen nisi probatiores atque meliores in 
clerum adsumere soleamus, nisi forte, sicut vulgares 
dicunt, " malus choraula bonus symphoniacus est," 
ita idem ipsi vulgares de nobis iocabuntur dicentes 
" malus monachus bonus clericus est." Nimis dolen- 
dum, si ad tam ruinosam superbiam monachos sub- 
rigimus et tam gravi contumelia clericos dignos puta- 
mus, in quorum numero sumus, cum aliquando etiam 
bonus monachus vix bonum clericum faciat, si adsit 
ei sufficiens continentia et tamen desit instructio 
necessaria aut personae regularis integritas. 
2 Sed de istis, credo, arbitrata sit beatitudo tua, 
quod nostra voluntate, ut suis potius conregionalibus 
utiles essent, de monasterio recessissent. Sed falsum 
est ; sponte abierunt, sponte deseruerunt nobis, 

NO. 17 (Ep. LX) 

received no letter from your Holiness, but now I have 
read a letter of your Grace about Donatus and his 
brother. For a considerable time I could not settle 
what answer to make, but after repeated con- 
sideration of what would further the welfare of those 
whose nurture in Christ is the aim of our service, I 
could reach no other conclusion than this : we must 
not put God's servants in the \vay of thinking that 
the worse their behaviour, the easier their advance- 
ment to better posts. For it would only make back- 
sliding easier for them and lay a quite undeserved 
sUght on the regular clergy, if we selected for 
clerical service monks who had run away from their 
monastery, seeing that our usual practice is to select 
for adoption to the ranks of the clergy only those of 
higher merit and character from among the monks 
who stay on in their monastery. The common 
people say that a bad accompanist makes a good 
singer ; do we want these same common people to 
laugh at us in the same way and say that a bad monk 
makes a good clergyman ? It is a great pity if we 
encourage monks to such demoralizing pride and 
think fit to lay so serious a slight on the clergy, to 
whose ranks we ourselves belong. Sometimes even 
a good monk hardly makes a good clergyman, if he 
possesses sufficient self-control and yet has not the 
necessary education or the finish of a man who has 
gone through the normal training. 

In the case we are discussing, your Holiness may, 2 
I think, have assumed that it was with my consent 
that they abandoned monastic life for a more desir- 
able sphere of service among the men of their own 
district. That, however, is not so ; they left of 
their own accord, of their own accord they deserted 



quantum potuinius, pro eorum salute renitentibus. 
Et de Donate quidem, quia iam factum est, ut, ante- 
quam de hac re aliquid in concilio statueremus, or- 
dinaretur, si forte a superbiae perversitate correctus 
est, quod vult, faciat prudentia tua. De fratre vero 
eius, in cuius vel maxime causa de monasterio etiam 
ipse Donatus abscessit, cum intellegas quid sentiam, 
nescio quid respondeam. Contradicere tamen pru- 
dentiae tuae, honori caritatique non audeo et sane 
spero id te facturum. quod membris ecclesiae salubre 
perspexeris. Amen. 

No. 18 (Ep. LXV) 


Officio debito meritis tuis salutans dis^nationem 
tuam tuisque me orationibus valde commendans 
insinuo prudentiae tuae Abundantium quendam in 
fundo Strabonianensi pertinente ad curam nostram 
ordinatum fuisse presbyterum. Qui cum non am- 
bularet vias servorum dei, non bonam famam habere 
coeperat. Qua ego conterritus non tamen temere ali- 
quid credens sed plane sollicitior factus operam dedi, 
si quo modo possem ad aliqua malae conversationis 
eius certa indicia pervenire. Ac primo comperi eum 

" The Council held at Carthage in June 401. 

* Xanthippus was bishop of Thagura (Taoura, near Souk 
Ahras). He is mentioned again in Ep. Hx. as one of those 
on whom devolved the duty of summoning a Council. 

*= The site of this fundus and of Gippi have not been 
identified, but they must have been near Hippo. 

NO. 17 (Ep. LX)— NO. 18 (Ep. LX\0 

their vocation, notwithstanding the most strenuous 
efforts I could make to oppose them, for their own 
best good. With Donatus, who has already managed 
to get himself ordained before we could decide any- 
thing in the Council'^ about this matter, just do in 
your wisdom as you will, if he happens to have been 
cured of his obstinate pride. But since you under- 
stand what I feel, I am at a loss what to say about 
his brother, for whose sake most of all Donatus 
himself left his monastery. Yet I do not presume to 
oppose one of your wisdom, rank and kindliness, and 
I do hope that you \\'ill do what you see to be bene- 
ficial for the members of the Church. Amen. 

No. 18 (Ep. LX\0 

(a.d. 402) 


I greet your Honour with the respect due to your 1 
merits and earnestly commend myself to your prayers. 
I have to report to your Wisdom that a man by the 
name of Abundantius was ordained priest on the 
manor of Strabonian,'' which belongs to my diocese, 
but, as he did not walk in the paths of God's servants, 
he began to acquire a bad reputation. This 
alarmed me, but yet I did not hghtly give it any 
credence ; yet, my worry clearly increasing, I made 
an effort to reach, if it were at all possible, some 
incontrovertible proofs of his e^il conduct. And my 
first discovery was that he had embezzled money 



pecuniam cuiusdam rusticani divino apud se com- 
mendato intervertisse, ita ut nullam inde posset pro- 
babilem reddere rationem. Deinde convictus atqiie 
confessus est die ieiunii natalis domini, quo etiam 
Gippitana ecclesia sicut ceterae ieiunabant, cum 
tamquam perrecturus ad ecclesiam suam " vale " 
fecisset collegae suo presbytero Gippitano, hora ferme 
quinta, et cum secum nullum clericum haberet, in 
eodeni fundo restitisse et apud quandam malae famae 
mulierem et prandisse et cenasse et in eadem dome 
mansisse. In huius autem hospitio iam quidam 
clericus noster Hipponiensis remotus erat ; et hoc 
quia iste optime noverat, negare non potuit, nam quae 
negavit, deo dimisi, iudicans quae occultare per- 
missus non est. Timui ei committere ecclesiam prae- 
sertim inter haereticorum circumlatrantium rabiem 
constitutam. Et cum me rogaret, ut ad presbyterum 
fundi Armenianensis in campo Bullensi, unde ad nos 
devenerat, causa eius insinuata litteras darem, ne 
quid de illo atrocius suspicaretur, ut illic vivat, si 
fieri potest, sine officio presbyterii correctior, miseri- 
cordia commotus feci. Haec autem me praecipue 
prudentiae tuae intimare oportebat, ne aliqua tibi 
fallacia subreperet. 
2 Audivi autem causam eius, cum centum dies essent 
ad dominicumpaschae,quifuturus est VHI Id. Aprilis. 
Hoc propter concilium insinuare curavi venerabilitati 
tuae, quod etiam ipsi non celavi, sed ei fideliter, quid 

° For this late use of nam see Stolz-Schmalz, Lat. Gramm.^ 
p. 679 ; Lofstedt, Peregr. Aeth. p. 34; Linderbauer, S. Bened. 
Reg. p. 174. 

^ There were at least two places called Bulla: Bulla Regia, 
the modern Derradji, five miles from Souk El Arba, and 

NO. 18 (Ep. LXV) 

belonging to a certain countryman, entrusted to him 
for religious purposes, and could give no satisfactory 
account of it. The next charge proved against him 
and admitted by himself was that, on the fast-day of 
Christmas, when the church of Gippi was fasting like 
all the others, he took leave of his colleague, the priest 
of Gippi, about 1 1 o'clock in the day, on the pretext of 
departing for his own church ; and although he had 
no clergyman with him, he remained in the same 
manor and dined and supped and stayed in the same 
house with a woman of ill fame. But one of our clergy 
of Hippo was already living from home in the local inn, 
and since Abundantius was very well aware of this, 
he could not deny the charge, but* what he did deny I 
left to God, passing sentence upon the facts he was 
not allowed to conceal. I was afraid to trust him with 
a church, especially one situated in the very midst of 
frenzied and snarling heretics. And when he asked 
me to give him letters explaining his case to the priest 
of the manor of Armenian in the district of Bulla,^ 
from which he had come to us, so that no worse 
suspicion might be conceived against him and that 
there he might live, if possible, a reformed life with 
no duties as a priest, I was moved by pity to do so. 
But it was my duty to report these facts particularly 
to your Wisdom, lest any misrepresentation be prac- 
tised upon you. 

I heard his case one hundred days before Easter 2 
Sunday, which will fall on the 6th April. This fact I 
have been careful to mention to your Reverence 
because of the Council, and I have not concealed it 
from him either, but have revealed to him exactly what 

Bulla Minor, doubtfully identified with Embarek, not far 
from Bulla Regia. 



institutum esset, aperui. Et si intra annum causam 
suam, si forte sibi aliquid agendum putat, agere ne- 
glexerit, deinceps eius voeem nemo audiat. Nos 
autem, domine beatissime et venerabiliter suscipiende 
pater, si haec indicia malae conversationis clericorum, 
maxime cum fama non bona eos coeperit comitari, 
non putaverimus nisi eo modo vindicanda quo in 
concilio constitutum est, incipimus cogi ea quae sciri 
non possunt, velle discutere et aut incerta damnare 
aut vere incognita praeterire. Ego certe presby- 
terum, ut qui die ieiunii, quo eiusdem loci etiam 
ecclesia ieiunabat, " vale " faciens coliegae suo eius- 
dem loci presbytero apud famosam mulierem nullum 
secum clericum habens remanere et prandere et 
cenare ausus est et in una domo dormire, removen- 
dum ab officio presbyterii arbitratus sum timens ei 
deinceps ecclesiam dei committere. Quod si forte 
iudicibus ecclesiasticis aliud videtur, quia sex epi- 
scopis causam presbyteri terminare concilio statutum 
est, committat illi, qui vult, ecclesiam suae curae 
commissam ; ego talibus, fateor, quamlibet plebem 
committere timeo, praesertim quos nulla bona fama 
defendit, ut hoc eis possit ignosci, ne, si quid per- 
niciosius eruperit, languens inputem mihi. 


NO. 18 (Ep. LXV) 

was decided. And if he thinks fit to take some 
action and fails to present his case within a year, let 
no one thereafter hearken to his plea. But for my 
part, my saintly lord and reverently cherished father, 
if I thought that these evidences of evil conduct on the 
part of the clergy, especially when a bad reputation 
has begun to attend them, deserved no punishment 
except in the manner prescribed by the Council, I 
should now be compelled to agree to the discussion 
of things that cannot be ascertained, and either to 
condemn things that are unproved or to pass over 
things that are really unknown. For my o^vn part, at 
any rate, I have decided that a priest who, on a fast- 
day which was actually being observed by the local 
church, took leave of his colleague, the local priest, 
dared to stay, unaccompanied by a clergyman, with a 
woman of ill fame, to dine and sup and sleep in the 
same house, ought to be deposed from the office of 
priest, since I was afraid thereafter to entrust to his 
care a church of God. If the ecclesiastical judges 
happen to take a different view, because the Council 
decreed that six bishops should pronounce the final 
verdict in a case affecting a priest, let who will entrust 
him with a church situated within his own jurisdiction; 
personally, I confess my own fear of entrusting any 
congregation to people of that kind, especially when 
they have no good reputation to urge in defence as a 
reason for condoning this delinquency ; otherwise, if 
any more heinous disorder broke out, I should with 
pain feel responsible for it myself. 



No. 19 (Ep. LXVI) 


Deum qiiidem timere debuisti ; sed quia in re- 
baptizandis Mappaliensibus sicut homo timeri voluisti, 
cur non valeat iussio regalis in provincia, si tantum 
valuit iussio provincialis in villa ? Si personas com- 
pares, tu possessor, ille imperator ; si loca compares, 
tu in fundo, ille in regno ; si causas compares, ille ut 
divisio resarciatur, tu ut unitas dividatur. Sed nos 
te de homine non terremus. Nam possemus agere 
ut decem libras auri secundum imperatoria iussa 
persolveres. An forte propterea non habes unde 
reddas quod dare iussi sunt rebaptizatores, dum 
multum erogas, ut emas quos rebaptizes ? Sed nos, 
ut dixi, de homine te non terremus ; Christus te 
potius terreat. Cui volo scire quid respondeas, si 
tibi dicat : " Crispine, carum fuit pretium tuum 
ad emendum timorem Mappaliensium et vilis mors 
mea ad emendum amorem omnium gentium ? Plus 
valuit rebaptizandis colonis tuis, quod numeratum 
est de sacculo tuo, quam baptizandis populis meis 
quod manavit de latere meo ? " Scio te plura audire 
posse, si Christo aurem praebeas, et ex ipsa tua 

" Crispinus was Donatist bishop of Calama ; to him Ep. 
li. is addressed. He had acquired the property of Mappalia, 
on the imperial domain near Hippo, and had compelled eighty 
Christian slaves to undergo re-baptism. Later, one of his 
priests, of the same name, broke into the house of Augustine's 
friend, Possidius, and severely beat him, but Crispinus refused 
to punish the offender, and was himself convicted and fined. 

NO. 19 (Ep. LXVI) 

No. 19 (Ep. LXVI) 

(a.d. 402) 


You should have feared God at least, but since 1 
it was your desire to be feared like a man in your re- 
baptizing of the Mappalians, why is a royal command 
of no avail in the province, if a provincial command 
has been of such avail on a private property ? If you 
compare the persons concerned, you are the possessor, 
he is emperor ; if you compare the positions of both, 
you are on an estate, he is on a throne ; if you com- 
pare the motives of both, he aims at mending what is 
rent, you at rending what is one whole. But we are 
not seeking to make you afraid of a man, for we could 
make you pay up ten pounds of gold, according to the 
imperial decrees. Or perhaps you have no money 
with which to pay the fine imposed on those who re- 
baptize, after your great expenses in bribing people to 
accept re-baptism ? But, as I said, we are not seek- 
ing to make you afraid of a man ; let Christ rather 
make you afraid. I want to know what answer you 
would make to Him, if He were to say to you : " Cris- 
pinus, was it a high price you paid for the fear of the 
Mappalians, and was my death a small price to pay for 
the love of all the nations ? Was the money that was 
counted out from your purse of greater value for the 
re-baptizing of your serfs than the blood which flowed 
from my side for the baptizing of my nations ? " I 
know that if you were to give ear to Christ, you could 

though the fine was remitted at Possidius's request (Aug. C. 

Cresc. ill. 46-47; C. Litt. Pet II. 11. 83 ; Possid. Vit. Aug. 12). 

K 129 


possessione adnioneri quam impia contra Christum 
loquamini. Si enim humano iure praesumis firme te 
possidere quod emisti argento tuo, quanto firmius 
di\'ino iure possidet Christus quod emit sanguine suo ! 
Et ille quidem inconcusse possidebit totum, de quo 
dictum est : Dominahitur a mari usque ad mare et a 
jiumine usque ad terminos orhis terrae. Sed certe quo 
modo confidis non te perditurum, quod in Africa 
videris emisse, qui Christum dicis toto orbe perdito 
ad solam Africam remansisse ? 
2 Quid multa ? Si voluntate sua Mappahenses in 
tuam communionem transierunt, ambos nos audiant, 
ita ut scribantur quae dicimus, et a nobis subscripta 
eis Punice interpretentur, et remoto timore domina- 
tionis eligant quod voluerint. Ex his enim quae 
dicimus, apparebit utrum coacti in falsitate re- 
maneant, an volentes teneant veritatem. Si enim 
haec non intellegunt, qua temeritate traduxisti non 
intellegentes ? Si autem intellegunt, ambos, ut dixi, 
audiant et quod voluerint, faciant. Si quae etiam 
plebes ad nos transierunt, quas putas a dominis 
coactas, hoc et ibi fiat ; ambos nos audiant et eligant 
quod placuerit. Si autem non vis hoc fieri, cui non 
appareat non vos de veritate praesumere ? Sed 

° Ps. Ixxi. 8. 

NO. 19 (Ep. LXVI) 

hear more such questions and be warned by your very 
property how impious are the words you and your 
like speak against Christ. For if you reckon that 
by human law you have a sure title to what you 
have bought with your own money, how much 
surer by divine law is Christ's title to what He has 
bought with His own blood! And yet He will 
have an unshakable title to everything, for it is 
-written of Him : " He shall have dominion from 
sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of 
the earth." ° But how do you expect with any assur- 
ance that you will not lose what you think you have 
bought in Africa, when you assert that Christ has lost 
the whole world and has been left for Africa alone ? 

But why multiply words ? If it was of their own ; 
free will that the Mappalians went over to your com- 
munion, let them hear us both, our statements being 
written down and, after being attested by our signa- 
tures, translated into Punic for them ; and without 
any fear of intimidation let them choose what they 
want. For from what we say it will be made clear 
whether they are abiding in falsehood from compul- 
sion or are holding fast the truth of their own choice. 
For if they do not understand what is involved, how 
had you the boldness to take them over to your side 
with no understanding of the points at issue ? But if 
they do understand, let them, as I said, hear us both 
and do as they wish. Further, if there are any con- 
gregations who have come over to us and whom you 
believe to have done so under compulsion from their 
overlords, let the same course be followed there too : 
let them hear us both and choose what they please. 
But if you are unwilling to do this, who can fail to see 
that your party has no confidence in the truth ? Yet 



cavenda est ira dei et hie et in future saeeulo. Ad- 
iuro te per Christunij ut ad ista respondeas. 

No. 20 (Ep. LXVII) 


1 Audivi pervenisse in manus tuas litteras meas ; 
sed quod adhue reseripta non merui, nequaquam in- 
putaverim dileetioni tuae ; aliquid procul dubio ini- 
pedimenti fuit. Unde agnoseo a me dominum potius 
deprecandum, ut tuae voluntati det facultatem mit- 
tendi quod rescripseris, nam rescribendi iam dedit, 
quia, cum volueris, facillime poteris. 

2 Etiam hoe ad me sane perlatum utrum quidem 
crederem, dubitavi, sed hinc quoque tibi aliquid 
utrum scriberem, dubitare non debui. Hoc autem 
breve est : suggestum caritati tuae a nescio quibus 
fratribus mihi dictum est, quod librum adversus te 
scripserim Romamque miserim. Hoc falsum esse nove- 
ris : deum nostrum testor hoc me non fecisse. Sed 
si forte aliqua in aliquibus scriptis meis reperiuntur, 
in quibus aliter aliquid quam tu sensisse reperiar, non 
contra te dictum, sed quod mihi videbatur, a me scrip- 
turn esse puto te debere cognoscere aut, si cognosci 
non potest, credere. Ita sane hoc dixerim, ut ego non 

° Neither of Augustine's previous letters to Jerome, 
written in 394. and 397 (Ep. xxviii. and xl.j. had till recently 
been delivered, but Ep. xl., in which the writer had repeated 
his objections to Jerome's account of the quarrel at Antioch 
(see No. 9 above), had been circulated without Augustine's 
knowledge and had eventually reached Bethlehem, where it 
had aroused much indignation, which the present letter seeks 
to dispel. 

NO. 19 (Ep. LXVI)— NO. 20 (Ep. LXVII) 

you must beware of the wrath of God both here and 
hereafter. I adjure you by Christ to reply to what I 
have \\Titten. 

No. 20 (Ep. LXVII) 
(a.d. 402) 
I have heard that my letter has safely reached you, 
but I Avould by no means make it a charge against 
your affection that as yet I have not been favoured 
with a reply ; no doubt something has come in your 
way. So I recognize that I must rather beseech the 
Lord to provide the opportunity of carrying out your 
intention to send the answer you have written, since 
He has already provided that of writing it, for you can 
very easily do so when you feel so disposed. 

Further, I have hesitated whether indeed to give 
credence to a report which has reached me, but it is 
my duty not to hesitate about writing something to 
you concerning it as well. Briefly, this is the point : 
I have been told that certain brethren have hinted 
to your Charity that I wrote a book against you and 
sent it to Rome. Rest assured that this statement 
is untrue : I call our God to witness that this I have 
not done. But if some remarks happen to be found 
in some of my writings, in which I am found taking a 
different view from you on any point, I think you 
ought to know, or if you have no means of knowing, 
to believe, that what I have written is not directed 
against you, but is an expression of my own opinion. 
And indeed, in so saying, I not only profess myself 



tantum paratissimus sim, si quid te in meis scriptis 
movent, fraterne accipere quid contra sentias, aut de 
correctione mea aut de ipsa tua benivolentia gavi- 
surus, veruni etiam hoc a te postulem ac flagitem. 
3 O si licuisset etsi non cohabitante saltern vicino te 
in domino perfrui ad crebrum et dulce conloquium ! 
Sed quia id non est datum, peto ut hoc ipsum quod 
in Christo, quam possimus, simul simus, conservare 
studeas et augeri ac perfici et rescripta quamvis rara 
non spernere. Saluta obsequio meo sanctum fratrem 
PauUnianum et omnes fratres, qui tecum ac de te in 
domino gaudent. Memor nostri exaudiaris a domino 
in omni sancto desiderio. domine carissime et deside- 
rantissime et honorande in Christo frater. 

No. 21 (Ep. LXXXIII) 
1 Tristitia Thiavensis ecclesiae cor meum conquie- 

" Jerome's j'ounger brother, who left Rome with him in 385 
and settled beside him in Bethlehem. 

^ A small town situated between Hippo and Tagaste ; 
its site is unknown. Its priest, Honoratus, formerly a monk 
under Alypius at Tagaste, had died leaving property, which 
was claimed by both his church and his monastery. Augustine, 
as arbitrator, at first inclined to an equal division, but this 
decision greatly displeased the church-people at Thiava, 
who as recent converts from Donatism required conciliatory 
treatment. After further consideration and consultation, 
Augustine awarded them the whole, and writes now to 
Tagaste explaining and justifying his award. In spite of 
his decision to admit to monastic life in the future only those 

NO. 20 (Ep. LXVII)— NO. 21 (Ep. LXXXIII) 

quite prepared to accept in a brotherly spirit any 
objections you conceive to whatever you disapprove of 
in my ^\Titings and to feel glad either at having my 
faults corrected or at such evidence of your goodwill ; 
I even demand and claim it as a right. 

O that it were possible to enjoy sweet and frequent 3 
converse in the Lord with you ; if not by living with 
you, at least by living near you ! But since that is 
denied us, I beg you to do your best to maintain and 
increase and perfect this one object, that we should be 
together, as far as we can, in Christ, and not to disdain 
replying to me, even if it be only occasionally. 

Greet with my respects your saintly brother Pauli- 
nianus^ and all the brethren who rejoice in the Lord 
with you and because of you. May you, remember- 
ing us, be heard by the Lord in all your holy desires, 
beloved lord and much desired and honoured brother 
in Christ. 

No. 21 (Ep. LXXXIII) 

(a.d. 405) 


The sorrow of the church at Thiava ^ prevents 1 

who had surrendered their worldly possessions, he was later 
several times troubled by similar problems. The two sermons 
he preached to justify his acceptance of legacies to his 
monastery and to enunciate his determined adherence to the 
principle of monastic poverty were of considerable importance 
in making this principle indispensable to monastic life (iSe-r;??. 
355, 356). 



scere non permittit, donee eos teeum audiam in 
pristinum animum restitutes , quod cito faciendum 
est. Si enim de homine uno tantum sategit apo- 
stolus dicens : Ne maiore tristitia absorbeatur, qui eius 
modi est, ubi etiani ait : Lt non 'possideamur a satana, 
non enim ignoramus me7ites eius, quanto magis nos 
oportet vigilanter agere ne hoc in toto grege plan- 
gamus et maxime in eis qui nunc catholicae paci 
accesserunt et quos nullo niodo relinquere possum. 
Sed quia temporis non sivit angustia ut simul inde 
nobis diligenter deliberatam liceret eliquare senten- 
tiam, quid mihi post digressum nostrum diu cogi- 
tanti placuerit, accipiat sanctitas tua et si tibi quoque 
placet, iam litterae quas ad eos communi nomine 
scripsi, sine dilatione mittantur. 
2 Dixisti ut dimidium habeant et alterum dimidium 
eis a me undecumque provideretur. Ego autem 
puto quia, si totum eis auferretur, esset quod dicere- 
mur non de pecunia nos sed de iustitia tantopere 
laborasse. Cum vero dimidium eis concedimus et eo 
modo cum eis pacem quandoque componimus, satis 
apparebit nostram curam nihil aliud quam pecunia- 
riam fuisse et vides quae pernicies consequatur. Et 
illis enim videbimur alienam rem dimidiam tulisse 

" 2 Cor. ii. 7. " 2 Cor. ii. 11, 


NO. 21 (Ep. LXXXIII) 

my heart from being at rest until I hear that they 
have been brought back to the same disposition 
toAvards you as before, and that must be done 
quickly. For if the Apostle was so much concerned 
about one individual when he said, " Lest such a one 
should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow," " 
adding there the words, " Lest Satan should get an 
advantage of us ; for we are not ignorant of his 
devices," ^ it much more becomes us to act with cir- 
cumspection so that we may not have the same 
thing to lament in a whole flock, and especially in 
those who have but recently come over to the 
peace of the Catholic Church, and whom I can in no 
wise abandon. But as the shortness of time did not 
allow us any opportunity to take careful counsel 
together on the matter and to clarify our opinions, 
may it please your Holiness to accept the decision I 
have reached after lengthy consideration since we 
parted, and, if you decide likewise, let the letter I 
have written them in our common name be dispatched 
to them without delay. 

Your proposal was that they should have the one 2 
half and that I should make up the other half to them 
from some other source. But it is my opinion that if 
they were deprived of the whole property, it might 
reasonably be said that we had so greatly exerted 
ourselves not for the sake of the money, but for the 
sake of justice. But when we yield them a half and 
on those terms arrange at some time a settlement 
with them, it will look pretty obvious that we were 
interested in only the financial aspect, and you see 
what a pernicious result would follow. For on one 
hand we shall be regarded by them as having taken 
one half to which we had no right, and they on the 



et illi nobis Wdebuntur inhoneste et inique se passes 
fuisse, ut adiuvarentur de dimidio quod totum pau- 
peruni fuerat. Nam quod dixisti : " Cavendum est, 
ne cum rem dubiam emendari volumus, maiora 
vulnera faciamus," tantundem valebit, si eis dimi- 
dium concedatur. Propter ipsum quippe dimidium 
illi, quorum conversioni consulere volumus, ut hoc 
exemplo secum agatur, rerum suarum venditionem 
per moras illas excusatorias dilaturi sunt. Deinde 
mirum si de re dubia est totius plebis tam grande 
scandalum, cum episcopos suos, quos pro magno 
habent, sordida avaritia maculatos putant, dum ma- 
ligna species non vitatur ? 
3 Nam cum quisque ad monasterium convertitur, si 
veraci corde convertitur, illud non cogitat maxime 
admonitus quantum malum sit. Si autem fallax est 
et sua quaerit, non quae lesu Christi, non habet utique 
caritatem et quid ei prodest, si distrihuerit omnia sua 
pauperihus et tradiderit corpus suum, ut ardeat? Hue 
accedit quia illud, sicut iam conlocuti sumus, deinceps 
vitari potest et agi cum eo qui convertitur, si non 
potest admitti ad societatem fratrum, antequam se 
omnibus illis impedimentis exuerit et ex otio tendatur, 
cum eius res iam esse destiterit. Haec autem mors 
infirmorum et tantum impedimentum salutis eorum, 
pro quibus tantopere laboramus, ut eos catholicae 
paci lucremur, aliter vitari non potest, nisi ut apertis- 

« Phil. ii. 21, M Cor. xiii. 3. 


NO. 21 (Ep. LXXXIII) 

other will be regarded by us as having unfairly and 
dishonourably agreed to accept help from a half which 
belonged entirely to the poor. For your remark that 
we must beware, while endeavouring to settle a 
doubtful matter, of causing more serious wounds, 
will have as much force if they be granted a half. 
For because of this half, those whose conversion to 
monastic life we wish to encourage will find excuses 
for delaying and putting off the sale of their own 
property so as to be dealt with under this precedent. 
Moreover, is it surprising that by this doubtful matter 
the whole Christian community is so much offended 
when they imagine their bishops, whom they honour 
so highly, to be smitten with sordid avarice, so long 
as they do not avoid the appearance of evil ? 

For when a man turns to monastic life and does so in 3 
a genuine spirit, he does not think of that, especially 
when he has been warned of the great sinfulness of 
such conduct. But if he is a deceiver and is " seeking 
his own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's," ° he 
certainly is ^^ithout charity, and" what does it profit 
him, if he bestow all his goods upon the poor and give his 
body to be burned " ^ : Further, as we already agreed 
together, that difficulty may be avoided for the future, 
and an arrangement made with any individual who 
is turning monk, that he cannot be admitted to the 
society of the brethren before he has rid himself of 
all those encumbrances and throws off his life of ease, 
his property having now ceased to belong to him. 
There is, indeed, no other possible way of avoiding 
this spiritual death of weak brethren and this griev- 
ous obstacle to the salvation of those for the winning 
of whom to the peace of Catholicism we so strenuously 
labour, unless by giving them very clearly to under- 



sime intellegant niillo modo nos de pecunia satagere 
in talibus causis, quod nullo modo intellecturi sunt, 
nisi illam rem quam semper presbyteri esse puta- 
verunt, eorum usibus relinquamus, quia et si eius non 
erat, hoc ab initio scire debuerant. 
4 Videtur itaque mihi haec regula esse in rebus 
huiusce modi retinenda, ut, quicquid eo iure quo 
talia possidentur, eius fuerit qui alicubi clericus 
ordinatur, ad eam pertineat ecclesiam in qua ordina- 
tur. Usque adeo autem eodem iure presbyteri 
Honorati est illud, unde agitur, ut non solum alibi 
ordinatus sed adhuc in Tagastensi monasterio con- 
stitutus si re sua non vendita nee per manifestam 
donationem in quempiam translata moreretur, non 
nisi heredes eius in eam succederent, sicut frater 
Aemilianus in illos triginta solidos fratri Privato suc- 
cessit. Haec ergo ante praecavenda sunt ; si autem 
praecauta non fuerint, ea iura eis servare oportet, 
quae talibus habendis vel non habendis secundum 
crvilem societatem sunt instituta, ut ab omni 
non solum re sed etiam specie maligna, quantum 
possumus, nos abstineamus et bonam famam custo- 
diamus dispensationi nostrae multum necessariam. 
Quam vero species maligna sit, advertat sancta pru- 
dentia tua. Excepta illorum tristitia, quam experti 
sumus, ne quid forte ipse fallerer, sicut fieri solet, 
dum in sententiam meam proclivior erro, narra\i 
causam fratri et collegae nostro Samsucio, nondum 

<" 1 Thess. V. 22. 

NO. 21 (Ep. LXXXIII) 

stand that we are in no way concerned about money 
in such cases ; and this they will not understand 
unless we leave for their use the property which 
they always supposed to belong to their priest, 
because, if it did not belong to him, they ought to 
have knoMTi this from the beginning. 

It seems to me, therefore, that in matters of this 4 
kind we should abide by this rule, that whatever 
belonged by the law of possession to one who is 
ordained to be the clergyman of any place, is the 
appurtenance of that church over which he was 
ordained. Now, by the same law, the property in 
question so far belonged to the priest Honoratus that, 
had he still been, when he died, in the monastery of 
Tagaste, instead of being ordained to another post, 
and had neither sold his property nor transferred it 
to any other by an express deed of gift, no one but 
his heirs would have succeeded to it, just as brother 
Aemilianus succeeded to the thirty shilHngs left by 
brother Privatus. These precautions must then be 
taken beforehand, but if they have not been taken, we 
should in their case comply with those laws which 
were draAvn up to regulate the possession or the 
disposal of propertv according to civil society, so that 
we may avoid as far as possible not only all reality, but 
even all appearance of evil," and retain the untar- 
nished reputation which is so necessary to our office as 
executors. And just how evil this appearance is, let 
your holy Wisdom observe. After hearing of their 
disappointment, which we fully reaUzed, from fear 
that I might perchance be mistaken (as usually 
happens when I incline \\'ith the more partiality to 
my own opinion), I stated the case to our brother 
and colleague, Samsucius, without telling him at the 



dicens quod mihi niodo \'idetur, sed illud potius 
adiungens quod utrique nostrum visum sit, cum illis 
resisteremius. Vehementer exhorruit et nobis hoc 
\isum esse miratus est, nulla re alia permotus nisi 
ipsa specie foeda, non nostra sed cuiuslibet vita ac 
moribus indignissima. 
6 Proinde obsecro, ut epistulam quam eis communi 
nomine scripsi, subscriptam non differas mittere. Et 
si forte illic illud iustum acutissime pervides, non 
cogantur infirmi modo discere, quod ego nondum 
intellego, ut hoc circa eos in hac causa servetur quod 
dominus ait : Multa haheo vobis dicere, sed non potestis 
ilia portare modo. Tali quippe infirmitati parcens 
etiam illud de tributo solvendo ait : Ergo liberi sunt 
JUii ; sed ?ie scajidalizemus eos et cetera, quando Petrum 
misit ut didrachmas quae tunc exigebantur, solve- 
rent. Noverat enimi aliud ius, quo nihil tale debe- 
bat ; sed eo iure tributum ei ille solvebat, quo iure 
diximus heredem presbyteri Honorati successurum 
fuisse, si, antequam rem suam vel donaret vel ven- 
deret, moreretur. Quamquam in ipso ecclesiae iure 
Paulus apostolus parcit infirmis et debitum stipen- 
dium non exigit, certus conscientia quod rectissime 
exigeret, sed nihil aliud quam suspicionem devitans 
bonum odorem Christi turbantem et ab ilia mahgna 
specie sese abstinens in eis regionibus, ubi hoc noverat 

° John xvi. 12. 
" Matt. xvii. 26-27. « 1 Cor. ix. 1-15. 


NO. 21 (Ep. LXXXIII) 

time what I have now decided, but rather adding what 
we had both decided when we were resisting their 
claims. He was very much shocked and marvelled 
that we had so decided, and what disturbed him was 
nothing else than this very appearance of foul deaUng, 
very unworthy not only of our life and character, but 
of anyone's. 

I beseech you, therefore, not to postpone signing 5 
and sending the letter I have written them in our 
common name. And if from it you very clearly 
realize that this course is just, let not those who are 
weak be compelled now to learn what I myself do not 
yet understand, so that in this affair we may observe 
towards them this saying of the Lord's : "I have 
many things to say to you, but ye cannot bear them 
now."" For He had compassion on such weakness 
and made the further remark about the payment of 
tribute : " Then are the children free ; notwith- 
standing, lest we offend them," ^ and so on, when He 
sent Peter to pay the half-shekel that was at that 
time exacted. He was acquainted with another law 
by which He had no such obligation, but Peter paid 
tribute for Him in accordance with that same law 
by which, as I have already said, the heir of the priest 
Honoratus would have succeeded, if he had died before 
either giving away or selling his property. And yet, 
under the law of the Church itself, Paul the Apostle 
had compassion on the weak and did not exact the 
subsidy due to himself,^ though quite convinced in his 
own mind that he had every right to exact it, but 
with no other intention than to escape the suspicion 
which would spoil the sweet savour of Christ and to 
defend himself from that appearance of evil in those 
districts where he knew that such was his duty and 



oportere, et forte antequam tristitiani hominum 
fuisset expertus. Sed nos tardiores vel expert! cor- 
rigamus quod praevidere debuimus. 
6 Postremo, quia omnia timeo et memini in digressu 
nostro quid proposueris, quod me fratres Tagastenses 
teneant debitorem in dimidio illius pretii, si hoc 
iustum esse liquido perspicis, ea dum taxat condieione 
non abnuo, ut, cum habuero, reddam, id est cum ali- 
quid tantum obvenerit Hipponiensi monasterio, ubi 
hoc sine angustia fieri possit, ut tanta ibi summa 
detracta non minus quam aequahs pro numero co- 
habitantium pars ad nostros perveniat. 

No. 22 (Ep. LXXXI\^ 


1 Et ego sentio quam durus videar, et me ipse vix 
fero, quod filium meum diaconum Lucillum germa- 
num tuum sanctitati tuae non mitto atque permitto. 
Sed cum ipse quoque aliquos ex tuis nutrimentis 
valde carissimos atque dulcissimos necessitatibus 
ecclesiarum longe abs te positarum concedere coe- 
peris, tunc senties quibus desideriorum stimulis 
fodiar, quod quidam mihi maxima et dulcissima 

" Novatus is probably the bishop of Sitifi (Setif), from 
about 403 to 440. He occurs again in Ep. ccxxix. 

NO. 21 (Ep. LXXXIII)— NO. 22 (Ep. LXXXRO 

in fact before he had experienced men's disappoint- 
ment. But now, though we are somewhat behind- 
hand, let us even profit by our experience and put 
right what we ought beforehand to have guarded 

Finally, since I am completely a prey to fear and 6 
recall the proposal you made when we parted, that 
the brethren at Tagaste should hold me responsible 
for the half of the sum named, if you clearly view this 
proposal as fair, I do not reject it, but on this con- 
dition, that I pay the amount when I have it, that is, 
when so great a sum falls to our monastery at Hippo 
that it may be done without unduly straitening us, 
so that, after subtracting the large amount owing 
them, our people may acquire no less than an equal 
share in proportion to the number of resident 

No. 22 (Ep. LXXXR^ 
(a.d. 405) 

I myself feel how hard-hearted I must appear, 1 
and I can scarcely excuse myself for not sending and 
lending to your Holiness my son the deacon Lucillus, 
your brother. But when you yourself begin to 
surrender some of the very dearest and sweetest of 
those you have nurtured to the needs of churches 
situated far from you, then you will understand the 
pangs of regret that stab me at losing the bodily com- 
L 145 


familiaritate coniuncti non sunt etiam corporaliter 
mecum. Nam ut longe mittam cognationem tuam, 
quantum libet valeat germanitas tui sanguinis, non 
vincit amicitiae vinculum quo nobis invicem ego et 
frater Severus inhaeremus ; et tamen nosti quam 
raro mihi eum videre contingat. Atque hoc fecit 
non utique voluntas vel mea vel illius, sed dum 
matris ecclesiae necessitates propter futurum sae- 
culum quo nobiscum inseparabiliter convivemus, 
nostri temporis necessitatibus anteponimus. Quanto 
ergo aequius te tolerare oportet pro utilitate ipsius 
matris ecclesiae eius fratris absentiam cum quo non 
tam diu cibum dominicum ruminas, quam diu ego 
cum dulcissimo concive meo Severo, qui mecum 
tamen nunc vix et interdum per exiguas chartulas 
loquitur et eas quidem plures aliarum curarum et 
negotiorum refertas quam portantes aliquid nostro- 
rum in Christi suavitate pratorum ! 
2 Hie forsitan dicas : " Quid enim ? Et apud nos 
germanus meus ecclesiae non erit utilis aut propter 
aliud eum mecum habere desidero ? " Plane si tan- 
tum ibi, quantum hie mihi eius praesentia lucrandis 
vel regendis ovibus domini utilis videretur, non dico 
duritiam sed iniquitatem meam nemo non iure cul- 
paret. Sed cum Latina lingua, cuius inopia in nostris 
regionibus evangeUca dispensatio multum laborat, 

" See p. 108, note h. 

^ As the text stands, with no variant, there is an anaco- 
luthon, and the sense demands " Punic " instead of " Latin." 
Even in Hippo, a coast town long Romanized, there were 
many who spoke Punic, and in inland districts it was often 
the only language spoken (see note h on p. 24). The true 
reading probably lies hid in Latina or cum Latina, and 
perhaps there was no adjective present {cum illam [calleat ?] 
linguam), Latina being an imported gloss. 

NO. 22 (Ep. LXXXIV) 

panionship of individuals united to me in the closest 
and most pleasing intimacy. For, to leave the fact 
of your kinship quite out of account, the blood-bond 
between you may be as strong as you please, vet it 
is not superior to the bond of friendship that binds 
brother Severus and me so closely to each other ; 
and yet you know how seldom I have the happiness 
of seeing him. And it is not my wish or his that is 
responsible for this, but the fact that the claims of 
our mother, the Church, having regard to the world 
to come, in which we shall live together and never 
part, are more important than the claims of our own 
time. Out of consideration, therefore, for the welfare 
of that same mother, the Church, you ought with 
all the greater equanimity to endure the absence of 
the brother with whom you have not been browsing 
upon the food of the Lord as long as I did with my 
dehghtful fellow-townsman, Severus,^ who yet holds 
converse Mith me now with difficulty and at intervals 
bv means of meagre letters, and those indeed packed, 
for the most part, with other cares and concerns 
instead of bringing any evidence of our wanderings 
in the sweet meadows of Christ. 

At this point you may perhaps reply, "What: 
then ? Here too, beside me, will my brother not be 
of service to the Church, or is it for any other reason 
that I want to have him \^-ith me .- " Certainly, if his 
being with you seemed as profitable for the winning 
and directing of the Lord's flock as it is here to me, 
there is no one who would not justly blame — I shall 
not call it my hard-heartedness, but my unfairness. 
But since he is familiar with a language ^ the lack of 
which in our territories greatly hinders the adminis- 
tration of the Gospel, while where you are the same 



illic autem eiusdem linguae usus omnino sit, — itane 
censes nos saluti plebium domini oportere consulere, 
ut banc facultatem illuc mittamus et hinc auferamus, 
ubi earn magno cordis aestu requirimus ? Da itaqiie 
veniam quod non solum contra tuum desiderium, sed 
etiam contra sensum meum, facio quod me facere 
sarcinae nostrae cura constringit. Dabit tibi do- 
minus in quo posuisti cor tuum, ut tales sint labores 
tui, ut pro isto beneficio remunereris ; sic enim regio- 
num nostrarum ardentissirnae siti diaconum Lucillum 
tu potius concessisti ; neque enim parum praestabis, 
cum de hac re nulla petitione me ulterius onerabis, 
ne nihil aliud quam durior appaream venerabili mihi 
et sanctae benivolentiae tuae. 

No. 23 (Ep. LXXXVI) 


Administrationis tuae castitas et fama virtutum, 
pietatis quoque Christianae laudanda diligentia et 
fida sinceritas, quae tibi divina munera eo donante 
gaudes tributa a quo speras promittente potiora, 

" Caecilianus was prominent in political life under 
Honorius. He was one of the legates sent by the senate to 
Honorius at Ravenna in 409 to deplore the misfortunes of 
Rome, where Alaric had broken his pledge. In 413 he was 
sent to Africa to examine the provincials' complaints and the 
adjustment of the corn-tax. On his arrival in Carthage, he 
bore letters from Pope Innocent to Augustine, who addressed 
to him Ep. cli. The edict mentioned is the vigorous 
legislation of 412 against the Donatists. The Benedictine 
editors, followed bv Goldbacher, assign this letter to the year 

NO. 22 (Ep. LXXXR^— NO. 23 (Ep. LXXX\ I) 

language is in general use, do you think it is our duty 
so to provide for the welfare of the Lord's people that 
we send this ability to you and deprive ourselves of it 
here, where our need of it is so great and so heart-felt? 
Forgive me, then, for doing, not only in spite of vour 
desire but also in spite of my own feelings, what my 
zeal for the office with which I am burdened compels 
me to do. The Lord, upon whom vou have stayed your 
heart, will make your labours such that you will be 
rewarded for this kind service ; for it is kind of you to 
surrender the deacon Lucillus to the thirsty eagerness 
of our territories rather than claim him for yourself. 
And it will be no small favour if you will refrain from 
laying upon me any request concerning this matter in 
the future, so that I may not appear to your revered 
and holv Benevolence to be onlv too hard-hearted. 

No. 23 (Ep. LXXXVI) 

(a.d. 413) 


The purity of your administration and your virtu- 
ous reputation, as well as the praiseworthy zeal and 
genuine sincerity of your Christian devotion — gifts of 
God that you rejoice to have bestowed upon you by 
Him whose promise makes you hope for still better 
things — have stimulated me to share \Nath your 

405, but Monceaux {Hist. lltt. de VAfrlque chretienne, vii. 
2S5) shows reasons for assigning it rather to early in 413. 



excitaverunt me ut hoc epistulari alloquio aestus cau- 
sarum niearum excellentia participaret tua. Quan- 
tum enim per alias Africae terras te unitati catholicae 
mirabili efficacia consuluisse gaudemus, tantum dole- 
mus regionem Hipponiensium-Regiorum et ei vicinas 
partes confines Numidiae praesidali edicti tui vigore 
nondum adiuvari meruisse, domine eximie et in 
Christi caritate vere meritoque honorabilis ac sus- 
piciende fili. Quod ne meae potius neglegentiae 
deputetur, qui episcopalem sarcinam Hippone sus- 
tineo, tuae magnificentiae non tacendum putavi. 
Quantum etiam in campo Hipponiensi haeretica prae- 
sumat audacia, si ex fratribus et collegis meis qui 
haec tuae sublimitati narrare potuerint, vel ex presby- 
tero quem cum litteris misi, fueris audire dignatus, 
adiuvante domino deo nostro procul dubio providebis, 
ut tumor sacrilegae vanitatis terrendo sanetur potius 
quam ulciscendo resecetur. 


No. 2^ (Ep. XCI) 

[10 meritoqu] 
:tario august 

1 lam senio frigescentibus membris fervere animum 

*» Nectarius was a decurion of Calama, a pagan, though of 
Christian descent. In spite of the edict of Honorius for- 
bidding any non-Christian celebrations, the Calamans had 
held pagan festivals which resulted in the destruction of 
life and property. Fearing the legal consequences, Nec- 
tarius wrote asking Augustine to use his influence on the 
Calamans' behalf (Ep. xc). Augustine's reply points out 
the enormity of the offence, argues that paganism must of 
necessity lead to excess and immorality, and urges Nectarius 
and the people to adopt Christianity. After eight months 
Nectarius answered in Ep. ciii., and Augustine in turn 
replied in Ep. civ., covering much the same ground as here. 

NO. 23 (Ep. LXXXVI)— NO. 24- (Ep. XCI) 

Excellency by means of this epistolary converse the 
anxieties arising from my controversies. For in pro- 
portion as we have been gladdened by the surprising 
success of your measures in favour of catholic unity 
throughout the other parts of Africa, so do we regret, 
my distinguished lord and son truly and deservedly 
honoured and cherished in Christ's love, that the 
district of Hippo Regius and the territories adjoining 
it on the borders of Numidia have not yet been 
honoured with the vigorous support of your edict as 
governor. I have thought it better to mention this 
fact to your Excellency, so that it may not be 
attributed rather to negligence on my part, since 
I bear the burden of episcopal office at Hippo. If 
you condescend to ascertain from my brethren and 
colleagues, who are in a position to recount the facts 
to your Highness, or from the priest whom I am 
sending with this letter, how far the heretics have had 
the boldness and effrontery to go in this same region 
of Hippo, I am confident you will, with the help of the 
Lord our God, take steps to have this puffed-up 
irreverence and conceit healed by methods tending to 
discourage it rather than cut away by measures that 
are purely retaliatory. 

No. 24. (Ep. XCI) 

(a.d. 4<08) 


I find it admirable but not surprising that, though 1 
age is beginning to chill your limbs, your heart still 



tuuni patriae caritate nee miror et laiido, teque non 
tantum tenere nienioriter verum etiam vita ac mori- 
bus demonstrare, quod nullus sit patriae consulendi 
modus aut finis bonis, non invitus imnio etiam libens 
accipio. Unde supernae cuiusdam patriae, in cuius 
sancto amore pro nostro modulo inter eos quibus ad 
illam capessendam consulimus, periclitamur atque 
laboramus, talem etiam te ipsum civem habere velle- 
mus, ut.eius portiunculae in hac terra peregrinanti 
nullum consulendi modum finemque censeres, tanto 
efFectus melior, quanto meliori civitati officia debita 
praerogares, in eius aeterna pace nullum gaudendi 
finem inventurus, cuius ad tempus laboribus nullum 
tibi finem statueris consulendi. 

Verum hoc donee fiat — neque enim desperandum 
est illam te patriam posse adquirere vel iam ad- 
quirendam prudentissime cogitare, ad quam te pater 
etiam, qui in ista genuit, antecessit — hoc ergo donee 
fiat, da nobis veniam, si propter patriam nostram, 
quam cupimus numquam relinquere, contristamus 
patriam tuam, quam cupis florentem relinquere. De 
cuius quidem floribus si cum tua prudentia dispute- 
mus, non est verendum ne tibi difficile persuadeatur 
aut vero etiam non facile occurrat, quem ad modum 
florere civitas debeat. Commemoravit poeta ille ve- 
strarum clarissimus litterarum quosdam flores Italiae ; 

" Virgil, Ae7i. vii. 643-644 " quibus Itala iam turn Floruerit 
terra alma viris, quibus arserit armis." For the readiness 
"with which Augustine quotes Virgil compare No. 5, p. 21. 
Earlier in life Augustine had been devoted to Mrgil, and 
at Cassiciacum he had spent much time reading the poet 
(C Acad. i. 15. 5, iJe Ord. ii. 20. 54), but later he tended to 
despise all the pagan classics {Con/, i. 13. 20-22). Here, 
Nectarius's use of the word Jlorere, " flower," or " flourish," 
of his own province recalls to Augustine Virgil's use of the 


NO. 24 (Ep. XCI) 

glows with patriotic zeal, and I am not sorry, but 
rather dehghted, to learn that you do not merely 
remember the maxim that " to good men there is no 
limit or end of devotion to their country," but actually 
exemplify it in your life and character. That is why 
we should like to have you enrolled in person as a 
citizen of a country which is above, in holy love for 
which we endure perils and toil, as far as in us lies, 
among those whose good we seek in urging them to 
make that country their own — and such a citizen that 
you would think there should be no limit or end to 
devotion to that fragment of it which is on pilgrimage 
in this land. So would you become a better man in pro- 
portion as you discharged here and now the duties due 
to that better country, in whose eternal peace you will 
find no end to rejoicing, if you prescribe for yourself no 
end to the devotion you bestow upon its temporal tasks. 
But until you do so — for we must not surrender 
the hope that it is in your power to gain, or that even 
already you must be wisely thinking how you should 
gain that country to which your own father, who begot 
you here, has gone before you — until you do so, you 
must forgive us if for the sake of our country, which we 
have no desire ever to leave, we inflict distress upon 
your country, which you desire to leave in the full 
flower of prosperity. Yet if I were to hold a discussion 
with your Wisdom about its flowering, I have every 
confidence that you would not be difficult to convince, 
or rather that you would easily discover for yourself, 
in what way a country ought to flower. That poet 
who enjoys the most renown in your literature has 
commemorated certain flowers of Italy " ; but in that 

word with reference to Itah*, and throughout the letter he 
keeps playing upon the words ^or^r^ and Jlores, 



sed nos in vestra patria non tarn expert! sumus 
" quibus floruerit " terra ilia " viris," quam " quibus 
arserit armis," immo vero non armis sed flammis nee 
arserit, sed incenderit. Quod tantum scelus si fuerit in- 
punitum nulla digna correctione pravorum, florentem 
te patriam putas relicturum ? O flores non plane 
fructuum sed spinarum ! Compara nunc, utrum malis 
florere patriam tuam pietate an impunitate, correctis 
moribus an securis ausibus ; compara ista et vide, 
utrum in patriae tuae amore nos vincas, utrum earn 
magis veriusque cupias florere quam nos. 
3 Intuere paululum ipsos de re publica libros, unde 
ilium affectum amantissimi civis ebibisti, quod nullus 
sit patriae consulendi modus aut finis bonis. Intuere, 
obsecro te, et cerne quantis ibi laudibus frugalitas 
et continentia praedicetur et erga coniugale vinculum 
fides castique honesti ac probi mores, quibus cum 
praepoUet civitas, vere florere dicenda est. Hi 
autem mores in ecclesiis toto orbe crescentibus tam- 
quam in Sanctis auditoriis populorum docentur atque 
discuntur, et maxime pietas qua verus et verax cola- 
tur deus, qui haec omnia quibus animus humanus 
divinae societati ad inhabitandam aeternam caele- 
stemque civitatem instruitur et aptatur, non solum 
iubet adgredienda, verum etiam donat implenda. 

*• Cicero's De Republica, quoted by Nectarius in his letter 
to Augustine. The work itself survives only in fragments ; 
in Civ. Dei ii. 21 Augustine gives a summary of Book iii. 


NO. 21. (Ep. XCI) 

country of yours we have experienced not so much 
" ^Wth what men it has flowered " as ** with what arms 
it has blazed," nay rather, not " arms," but " fires," 
and " not blazed," but " set on fire." If the heinous 
offence before us were left unpunished with no 
adequate chastisement of the miscreants, do you 
think that you would leave your country in full flower ? 
Flowers indeed, but promising thorns, certainly not 
fruit ! Just make the comparison and see whether you 
prefer your country to flower by practising piety or by 
escaping punishment, by the discipline of character 
or by the protection of \dolence ; make the com- 
parison and see m hether in love for your country you 
outdo us, whether your desire to behold it in full 
flower is greater and more genuine than ours. 

Look for a moment at those very books " On the 3 
State " " from which you imbibed that sentiment of 
a loyal subject, that " to good men there is no limit 
or end of devotion to their country," Look at them, 
I pray you, and notice the praise with which frugality 
and self-control are extolled, and fidelity to the 
marriage-bond, and chaste, honourable, and upright 
character. When a country is distinguished for these 
qualities, it may truly be said to be in full flower. Now, 
it is in the churches that are springing up through- 
out the world, in the sacred lecture-rooms, one might 
say, of the nations, that these moral qualities are 
being taught and learned, and most especially the 
piety v.ith which worship is paid to the true and 
truthful God, Who not only commands men to under- 
take, but also gives them the power to perform, all 
those things by which the human spirit is trained 
and fitted for fellowship with God and for dwelling in 
the everlasting heavenly country. It is for that 



Inde est quod deorum multorum falsorumque simu- 
lacra et praedixit eversum iri et praecepit everti. 
Nihil enim homines tam insociabiles reddit vitae 
perversitate quam illorum deorum imitatio, quales 
describuntur et commendantur Utteris eorum. 
4 Denique illi doctissimi viri qui rem pubUcam 
civitatemque terrenam, qualis eis esse debere vide- 
batur, magis domesticis disputationibus requirebant 
vel etiam describebant, quam publicis actionibus in- 
stituebant atque formabant, egregios atque lauda- 
biles quos putabant homines potius quam deos suos 
imitandos proponebant erudiendae indoH iuventutis. 
Et re vera Terentianus ille adulescens qui spectans 
tabulam pictam in pariete, ubi pictura inerat de 
adulterio regis deorum, libidinem qua rapiebatur, 
stimuUs etiam tantae auctoritatis accendit, nullo 
mode in illud flagitium vel concupiscendo laberetur 
vel perpetrando inmergeretur, si Catonem maluisset 
imitari quam lovem ; sed quo pacto id faceret, cum 
in templis adorare cogeretur lovem potius quam 
Catonem ? Verum haec ex comoedia quibus im- 
piorum luxus et sacrilega superstitio convinceretur, 
proferre forsitan non debemus. Lege vel recole 
in eisdem Hbris quam prudenter disseratur nullo 
modo potuisse scriptiones et actiones recipi co- 
moediarum, nisi mores recipientium consonarent. 
Ita clarissimorum virorum in re publica excellentium 

« Lev. xxvi. 30 ; Ezek. vi, 4, xxx. 13; Hos. x. 2; 3 Kings 
XV. 11-13; 2 Chron. xxiii. 17, xxxi. 1, xxxiii. 15, xxxiv. 3-4. 
* Ter. Eun. 584-591. 


NO. 24 (Ep. XCI) 

reason that He predicted the future overthrow of 
the images of the many false gods and enjoined 
that that overthrow should begin now." For there 
is nothing that makes men so unsuited for fellowship 
by reason of their depraved lives as does the imitation 
of those gods, such as they are described and com- 
mended by pagan literature. 

In short, those learned men who in private dis- 4 
cussion sought after and even portrayed what seemed 
to them the model republic and earthly state instead 
of bringing it into being and gi\'ing it shape by 
public service, usually put forward as examples for 
the training of the youthful character those men they 
deemed famous and praiseworthy rather than their 
own gods. And, in fact, that young man in Terence ^ 
who, on gazing upon a painted wall-panel which 
represented the adultery of the king of the gods, felt 
fuel added to the fire of passion that was consuming 
him by the encouragement given by an authority 
so eminent, would certainly not have fallen into 
that sin through desire nor have been overcome by 
it through bringing it to pass, if he had chosen Cato 
as his model rather than Jove. But how could he 
do that when in the temples he was compelled to 
reverence Jove instead of Cato ? And yet perhaps 
I should not put forward these scenes from comedy to 
confute the wantonness and the sacrilegious super- 
stition of the ungodly. Read or recall how carefully it 
is argued in those same books that the writing or 
acting of comedies could by no means have received 
public approbation if they had not harmonized with 
the character of those who approved of them. So the 
authority of the most outstanding men, both those 
who are prominent in the State and those who discuss 



et de re publica disputantiuni auctoritate firniatur 
nequissimos homines fieri deorum imitatione peiores, 
non sane verorum sed falsorum atque fictorum. 
5 At enim ilia omnia quae antiquitus de vita deorum 
moribusque conscripta sunt, longe aliter sunt in- 
tellegenda atque interpretanda sapientibus. Ita 
vero in templis populis congregatis recitari huiusce 
modi salubres interpretationes heri et nudiustertius 
audi\imus. Quaeso te, sicine caecum est humanum 
genus adversus veritatem, ut tarn aperta et mani- 
festa non sentiat ? Tot locis pingitur, funditur, tun- 
ditur, sculpitur, scribitur, legitur, agitur, cantatur, 
saltatur luppiter adulteria tanta committens ; quan- 
tum erat, ut in suo saltem Capitolio ista prohibens 
legeretur ? Haec mala dedecoris impietatisque 
plenissima si nemine prohibente in populis ferveant, 
adorentur in templis, rideantur in theatris, cum his 
victimas immolant, vastetur pecus etiam pauperum, 
cum haec histriones agunt et saltant, efFundantur 
patrimonia divitum, ci\itates florere dicuntur ? 
Horum plane florum non terra fertilis, non aliqua 
opulens virtus sed ilia dea Flora digna mater inventa 
est, cuius ludi scenici tam effusiore et licentiore turpi- 
dine celebrantur, ut quivis intellegat quale daemo- 
nium sit, quod placari aliter non potest nisi illic non 

<* Perhaps a reference to the attempt made by the Emperor 
Julian to allegorize the myths of paganism. 

^ With this heaping up of verbs c/. In Ps. Ivi. 16 " (caro) 
esuriat, sitiat, dormiat, teneatur, flagelletur, irrideatur, 
crucifig-atur, sepeliatur." 

" Flora was supposed to preside over the blossoming of 
plants in spring. The floral games {Floralia), which have 
been asserted to be the source of the May-day games, were 
held from April 28 to May 3, and were accompanied by 
such licence that the Church Fathers name them with 

NO. 24 (Ep. XCI) 

the nature of the State, establishes our pomt that by 
imitating the gods — not, to be sure, true gods, but 
false and fabricated gods — the most depraved of men 
become still worse. 

But it may be objected that all those ancient tales 5 
about the life and character of the gods are to be 
understood and interpreted far differently by men 
of wisdom. Thus, in fact, we heard just the other 
day harmless interpretations of this kind read to the 
people gathered in the temples.'^ Tell me, is the 
human race so blind to truth as not to perceive facts 
so evident and open ? In so many places Jove is 
exhibited committing his numerous adulteries by 
painters, founders, smiths, sculptors, writers, reciters, 
actors, singers and dancers ; what was the use of 
reciting, in his own Capitol at any rate, decrees for- 
bidding such sins ? If, with no one to forbid them, 
these foul deeds that are the culmination of turpitude 
and ungodliness are enthusiastically acclaimed by 
the people, worshipped in the temples, applauded in 
the theatres ^ ; if, when victims are sacrificed to their 
perpetrators, even the poor are despoiled of their 
flock, and when actors represent them in dance and 
action, the rich lavish their fortunes on them — are 
countries to be described as in flower ? Such flowers 
as these certainly do not owe their birth to fruitful 
soil or to any bounteous virtue ; they have found a 
worthy parent in that goddess Flora, ^ whose theatrical 
games are celebrated with such unusually abandoned 
and shameless vileness that anyone may understand 
what is the nature of a divinity that cannot be con- 
ciliated unless there perish as victims on her altars 

abhorrence (Min. Felix xxv. 8 ; Cypr. Idol. 4 ; Lact. i. 20. 5 ; 
Arnob. vii. 33 ; Prud. C. Symm. 1. -266). 



aves, non quadrupedes,non denique sanguis humanus, 
sed multo scelestius pudor humanus tamquam im- 
molatus intereat. 

6 Haec dixi, propter quod scripsisti, quantum tibi 
aetas fini proxima est, cupere te ut patriam tuam 
incolumem ac florentem relinquas. Tollantur ilia 
omnia vana et insana, convertantur homines ad 
varum dei cultum moresque castos et pios ; tunc pa- 
triam tuam florentem videbis non opinione stultorum 
sed veritate sapientium, cum haec patria carnalis 
generationis tuae portio fuerit illius patriae, cui non 
corpore sed fide nascimur, ubi omnes sancti et fideles 
dei post labores velut hiemales vitae huius intermina 
aeternitate florebunt. Nobis itaque cordi est neque 
Christianam amittere mansuetudinem neque pernicio- 
sum ceteris imitationis exemplum in ilia civitate re- 
linquere. Quo modo id agamus, aderit deus, si eis 
non ita graviter indignetur. Alioquin et mansuetudo 
quam servare cupimus, et disciplina qua uti moderate 
nitimur, impediri potest, si deo aliud in occulto placet 
sive iudicanti hoc tantum malum flagello acriore 
plectendum sive etiam vehementius irascenti, si non 
correctis nee ad se conversis ad tempus esse voluerit 

7 Praescribit nobis quodam modo prudentia tua de 
persona episcopali et dicis patriam tuam non levi 


NO. 24 (Ep. XCI) 

not birds or beasts or even human bodies, but (a much 
viler scandal) human modesty and shame. 

I have spoken of these things because of the 6 
statement in your letter that the nearer you come 
to the end of your life, the more strongly you desire 
to leave your country in sound condition and full 
flower. Take away all those frivolous and unwhole- 
some practices and let men turn to the genuine 
worship of God and to purity and godliness of 
character, then you will see your country in full 
flower, not in the empty opinion of the foolish, but 
in the sober judgement of the wise, when this 
country that gave you birth after the flesh has be- 
come a part of that country to which we are born not 
by the body, but by faith. There, after the wintry 
labours of this life, all God's saints and faithful people 
will flower in an endless eternity. Therefore is it 
our dear desire neither to put away Christian meek- 
ness nor to leave your country as a baleful example 
for others to follow. In our attempt to realize this 
hope, God will be at hand to help, provided He be 
not too grievously wroth A\-ith them. Otherwise both 
the meekness that we desire to preserve and the 
punishment that it is our aim to impose in modera- 
tion may be arrested, if God in His hidden wisdom 
ordaineth differently, whether He appoint that this 
immeasurable evil be punished with a keener chastise- 
ment, or v/hether, should the guilty fail to repent 
and to turn to Him, He shall will in still more 
vehement wrath to leave it in this world unpunished. 

Your Wisdom lays down for me certain principles 7 

for the conduct of my episcopal office and pleads that 

your native place has been brought to a serious pass 

by a grave misdemeanour on the part of its in- 

M l6l 


populi sui errato prolapsam. " Quod quidem si iuris 
public! rigore metiamur, debet plecti severiore cen- 
sura ; sed episcopum," inquis, " fas non est nisi salu- 
tem hominibus impertire et pro statu meliore causis 
adesse et apud omnipotentem deum veniam aliorum 
niereri delictis." Hoc omnino servare conamur, ut 
severiore ■ censura nemo plectatur neque a nobis 
neque ab alio ullo intercedentibus nobis, et salutem 
hominibus cupimus impertire, quae posita est in recte 
\-ivendi felicitate, non in male faciendi securitate. 
\^eniam quoque non tantum nostris verum et aliorum 
instamus delictis mereri, quod impetrare nisi pro 
correctis omnino non possumus. Adiungis etiam et 
dicis : " Quanta possum supplicatione deposco, ut 
si defendenda res est, innoxius defendatur, ab in- 
nocentibus molestia separetur." 

Accipe breviter quae commissa sint, et noxios 
ab innocentibus ipse discerne. Contra recentissimas 
leges Kalendis luniis festo paganorum sacrilega 
sollemnitas agitata est, nemine prohibente, tam in- 
solent! ausu, ut, quod nee luliani temporibus factum 
est, petulantissima turba saltantium in eodem prorsus 
vico ante fores transiret ecclesiae. Quam rem in- 
licitissimam atque indignissimam clericis prohibere 
temptantibus, ecclesia lapidata est. Deinde post 
dies ferme octo, cum leges notissimas episcopus ordini 

"In addition to the regular duty of the bishop to hear 
and decide clerical cases, the Emperor Constantine allowed 
either party in a civil suit to appeal to the bishop, but 
episcopal intercession for those accused, all along looked 
upon as a duty and regarded with favour, received legal 
sanction only under Justinian. These avocations occupied 
great portions of the bishop's time, as Augustine frequently 
complains (Ep. xxxiii. 5, ccxiii. 5, etc.). 

NO. 24 (Ep. XCI) 

habitants. " Should we estmiate it by the severity 
of the pubUc law, it deserves to be punished with 
a harsher sentence, but a bishop " — you say — " may 
not do aught but contribute to men's welfare, 
and attend court " to improve conditions there, and 
win before Almighty God pardon for other men's 
sins." It is certainly our endeavour to secure 
greater mercy, either from ourselves or from anv 
other through our intercession, in the sentencing of 
those who are punished, and it is our desire to con- 
tribute to men's welfare. But that welfare consists 
in the happiness that comes from righteous living, 
not in the impunity that may attend evil-doing. And 
as for pardon, we earnestly endeavour to win it not 
merely for our own sins, but for those of others as 
well, but we certainly cannot obtain it except for 
those who have repented. You go on then to say, 
" I entreat you with all possible urgency not to 
prosecute the guiltless, if the matter must come to a 
prosecution, but to ward off any trouble from the 

Let me briefly remind you of the offence, then 8 
draw the distinction for yourself bet v/een the innocent 
and the guilty. In defiance of quite recent legislation 
a sacrilegious celebration was held on the first of 
June, a pagan feast-day, with no prohibition from 
anyone and with such insolent effrontery that an 
impudent crowd of dancers actually passed along the 
same street in front of the church-doors — a thing that 
never happened even in Julian's time. When the 
clergy attempted to stop this most illegal and in- 
sulting procedure, the church was stoned. Then, 
almost a week later, when the bishop had drawn the 
attention of the magistrates to the well-known laws 



replicasset, et dum ea quae iussa sunt velut implere 
disponunt, iterum ecclesia lapidata est. Postridie 
nostris ad inponendum perditis metum, quod vide- 
batur, apud acta dicere volentibus publica iura negata 
sunt, eodemque ipso die, ne vel divinitus terrerentur, 
grando lapidationibus reddita est ; qua transacta con- 
tinuo tertiam lapidationem et postremo ignes ec- 
clesiasticis tectis atque hominibus intulerunt, unum 
servorum dei, qui oberrans occurrere potuit, occi- 
derunt. ceteris partini ubi potuerant latitantibus, 
partim qua potuerant fugientibus, cum interea con- 
trusus atque coartatus quodam loco se occultaret 
episcopus, ubi se ad mortem quaerentium voces audie- 
bat sibique increpantium quod eo non invento gratis 
tantum perpetrassent scelus. Gesta sunt haec ab 
hora ferme decima usque ad noctis partem non 
minim am. Nemo compescere, nemo sub venire temp- 
tavit illorum quorum esse graAis posset auctoritas, 
praeter unum peregrinum, per quem et plurimi 
servi dei de manibus interficere conantium liberati 
sunt et multa extorta praedantibus. Per quem 
clarum factum est quam facile ilia vel omnino non 

NO. 24 (Ep. XCI) 

on the subject, and they were, to all intents and 
purposes, preparing to put the legal prescriptions into 
effect, the church was stoned again. Next day, when 
our people wanted to lodge a complaint in court, with 
the object, apparently, of inspiring those abandoned 
characters fear, their rights were denied them, 
and on the very same day, to see if menaces from 
heaven might not dismay them, their stonings were 
answered by a shower of hail : but when it was over, 
thev immediately cast another shower of stones and 
finally fire upon the roofs of the church and the 
people within. One servant of God who was wander- 
ing about and may have run into them, they put to 
death, the others partly taking shelter wherever they 
could, partly escaping wherever they could. In the 
meantime the bishop was hiding in a certain spot into 
which he had thrust himself to lie all cramped, and 
from which he kept hearing the voices of those who 
Mere seeking him to put him to death and were 
reproaching themselves for letting him escape and so 
for perpetrating such a heinous crime to no effect. 
This went on from almost four o'clock until a late 
hour of night. No attempt at repression, no attempt 
at rescue was made by any of those who could have 
exercised some weight of authority. Only one 
person interfered, a stranger, by whom a considerable 
number of God's servants were delivered from the 
hands of those who were seeking to slay them, and 
much property as well was recovered from looters. 
His example made it clear how easilv those outrages 
might have been wholly prevented, or have been 
arrested if they had actually begun, provided only 
that the inhabitants and, most of all, the leading 



fierent vel coepta desisterent, si cives maximeque 
primates ea fieri perfieique vetuissent. 

Proinde in universa ilia civdtate non innocentes a 
nocentibus sed minus nocentes a nocentioribus poteris 
fortasse discernere. Nam in parvo peccato illi sunt 
qui metu deterriti maximeque, ne ofFenderent eos 
quos in illo oppido plurimum posse et inimicos ec- 
clesiae noverant, opem ferre non ausi sunt ; scelerati 
autem omnes. quibus etsi non facientibus neque in- 
mittentibus tamen volentibus ista commissa sunt ; 
sceleratiores, qui commiserunt ; sceleratissimi, qui 
inmiserunt. Sed de inmissione suspicionem putemus 
esse, non veritatem, nee ea discutiamus, quae nisi 
tormentis eorum per quos inquiruntur, inveniri 
omnino non possunt. Demus etiam veniam timori 
eorum, qui potius deum pro episcopo et servis eius 
deprecandum quam potentes inimicos ecclesiae 
ofFendendos esse putaverunt. Quid eos qui restant, 
nullane censes disciplina cohercendos et proponendum 
aestimas inpunitum tam immanis furoris exemplum ? 
Non praeterita vindicando pascere iram nostram 
studemus, sed misericorditer in futurum consulendo 
satagimus. Habent homines mali ubi et per Chri- 
stianos non solum mansuete verum etiam utiliter 
salubriterque plectantur ; habent enim quod corpore 
incolumi vivunt, habent unde vivunt, habent unde 

NO. 24 (Ep. XCI) 

citizens had forbidden them, either from the very 
first or after they had started. 

Accordingly you will hardly be able to draw a 9 
distinction in the whole community between the 
innocent and the guilty, but only perhaps between 
the less guilty and the more guilty. For slight is 
the sin of those who were deterred by fear (and 
especially by fear of offending those known to them 
to be men of great influence in the town and hostile 
towards the Church) from venturing to give any 
assistance ; but all are guilty who, although not 
participating or instigating, were consenting to the 
outrage ; more guilty are those who perpetrated it, 
and most guilty of all are those who instigated it. 
Let us assume that we have only suspicions who 
these instigators were, and no certain knowledge, 
and let us refrain from discussing facts which simply 
cannot be ascertained without the torturing of 
the witnesses. Let us, too, make allowance for the 
fear felt by those who thought it better to pray to 
God for the bishop and God's servants than to give 
offence to influential enemies of the Church. What 
about those who remain ? Do you give it as your 
opinion that they should escape all punishment and 
censure ? And do you think we should set the 
example of leaving so barbarous an outrage un- 
punished ? We have no desire to gratify our anger 
by exacting retribution for past offences, but we are 
concerned to provide for the future in a spirit of 
compassion. Evil men have certain points in which 
they can be punished by Christians not only in 
gentleness, but also with profit and improvement to 
themselves. They have the life and health of the 
body ; they have the means of sustaining that life ; 



male vivunt. Duo prima salva sint, ut quos pae- 
niteat sint ; hoc optamus, hoc, quantum in nobis 
est, etiam inpensa opera instamus. Tertium vero 
si deus voluerit tamquam putre noxiumque resecari, 
valde misericorditer puniet ; si autem vel amplius 
voluerit vel ne hoc quidem permiserit, altioris et 
profecto iustioris consilii ratio penes ipsum est ; a 
nobis curam officiumque oportet inpendi, quousque 
videre conceditur, deprecantibus eum, ut animum 
nostrum adprobet, quo cunctis volumus esse con- 
sultum, nihilque fieri sinat per nos quod et nobis et 
ecclesiae suae non expedire longe melius novit ipse 
quam nos. 
iO Modo cum apud Calamam essemus, ut nostri in tam 
gravi dolore vel consolarentur afflicti vel sedarentur 
accensi, quantum potuimus, quod in tempore opor- 
tuisse existimavimus,cum Christianisegimus. Deinde 
ipsos etiam paganos, mali tanti caput et causam, 
petentes ut ab eis videremur, admisimus, ut hac 
occasione admoneremus eos, quid facere deberent, 
si saperent, non tantum pro removenda praesenti 
sollicitudine verum etiam pro inquirenda salute per- 
petua. Multa a nobis audierunt, multum etiam ipsi 
rogaverunt ; sed absit ut tales servi simus, quos ab 
eis rogari delectet, a quibus noster dominus non 
rogatur. Unde pervides pro vivacitate mentis tuae 
ad hoc esse nitendum servata mansuetudine et 
moderatione Christiana, ut aut ceteros deterreamus 
eorum imitari perversitatem aut ceteros optemus 


NO. 24 (Ep. XCI) 

they have the means of Uving a wicked Ufe, Let 
the first two be untouched so that there may be some 
who repent ; this is our prayer, this, as far as in us 
Hes, v/e spare no effort to secure. But for the third, 
if it be God's will to take it a^ay like some foul and 
virulent growth. He will inflict punishment in great 
compassion ; but if it be His will to go farther and 
to allow not even this, the reason for this higher 
and certainly more just design rests with Himself. 
Our duty is to devote our zeal and efforts, according 
to the light that is granted us, to praying God for 
His approval of our intention to promote the welfare 
of all and to let nothing be done through us that is 
not for the good both of ourselves and of the Church ; 
for He knows that much better than we do. 

Recently when I was at Calama with the purpose of 10 
consoling the distress, or else appeasing the indigna- 
tion, of our people in their grievous sorrow, I used 
all my influence with the Christians to bring about 
what I thought was at the moment expedient. Then 
when the pagans themselves, the fount and cause of 
this great outrage, besought me for an interview, I 
received them, with the object of advising them on 
this occasion of the course of action that they ought 
to pursue if they were wise, not only to banish the 
present anxiety but also to seek for everlasting 
salvation. They listened to many things that I 
said, and even made many petitions themselves ; but 
far be it from me to be such a servant as to take 
delight in petitions by those who make no petitions 
to my Master. So vrith your quick mind you will 
clearly see that, while preserving our meekness and 
Christian moderation, we must direct our efforts 
either to deterring others from imitating their ob- 



eorum imitari correctionem. Damna, quae inlata 
sunt, vel tolerantur a Christianis vel resarciuntur 
per Christianos. Animarum nos lucra, quibus ad- 
quirendis cum periculo etiam sanguinis inhiamus, et 
in loco illo quaestuosius provenire et aliis locis illo 
exemplo non impediri desideramus. Dei miseri- 
cordia nobis praestet de tua salute gaudere. 

No. 25 (Ep. XCVII) 


1 Quamvis mox ut audivimus te merito sublimatum, 
cum ipsa fama nondum certissima nobis esset, nihil 
aliud de animo tuo credidimus erga ecclesiam dei, 
cuius te veraciter fiHum esse gaudemus, quam quod 
tuis litteris mox aperuisti, tamen etiam illis lectis. 
quibus ultro dignatus es, etiam si pigri et cunctantes 

" The Edictum quod de Unifate of March 5, 405 {Cod. 
Theod. x\^. xi. 2), promulg-ated by the Emperor Honorius 
to make Donatism a penal offence, had only succeeded 
in producing in Xumidia fresh outbreaks of Donatist fury, 
of which previous letters have provided examples. On the 
downfall of Stilicho the Donatists believed for a moment 
that persecution would end, but Olympius, Stilicho's be- 
trayer, who became Master of the Offices on Xovember 14, 
408 (the " promotion " mentioned by Augustine), confirmed 
the anti-Donatist legislation by a rescript of Xovember 24 
addressed to the African Proconsul, whom Augustine be- 
sought in X'o. 27 (Ep. c.) to exercise coercion upon the 
Donatists but not to impose the penalty of death. Before 
news of Olympius's confirmation had reached Africa, a 
deputation was sent by the African bishops to beg the 
Emperor to put in force the laws against disturbers of peace 

NO. 21. (Ep. XCI)— NO. 25 (Ep. XCVII) 

stinacy or to praying that others may imitate their 
repentance. The losses that were inflicted are either 
being borne by Christians or are being made good 
by Christians. As for the gain of souls, which we 
long to secure even at the peril of our own body, we 
hope that your district will furnish an unusually 
precious harvest and that other districts will not be 
kept back by that example. May God in His mercy 
grant us to rejoice over your salvation ! 

No. 25 (Ep. XCVII) 

(a.d. 408) 


As soon as we heard of your well-deserved pro- 
motion, although the report that reached us was still 
very indefinite, we were confident that your attitude 
towards the Church of God, of which we rejoice that 
you are truly a son, is no other than what you have 
now revealed in your letter. Nevertheless, I write 
to you, my excellent and justly distinguished lord and 

and religion. To secure Olympius's support Augustine sends 
this letter by a priest passing through Hippo on his way 
from M ileum to Rome. The letter is important too because, 
according to Zosimus, Olympius merely used Christianity 
as a cloak for his evil-doing, but Augustine's warm and 
appreciative language here gives quite another view of his 
character. If allowance must be made for Zosimus's ill-will 
to all Christians, it must equally be made for Augustine's 
want of personal knowledge of Olympius and the exag- 
geratedly deferential tone of epistolary address. 



essemus, exhortationem benivolentissimam mittere, 
ut instruente humilitate nostra per religiosam oboe- 
dientiam tuam dominus, cuius munere talis es, ec- 
clesiae suae iam iamque subveniat, maiore fiducia 
tibi scribimus, domine eximie et merito praestantis- 
sime multumque in Christi caritate honorande fill. 

Et fratres quidem multi sancti collegae mei gra\iter 
ecclesia perturbata profecti sunt paene fugientes ad 
gloriosissimum comitatum, quos sive iam videris sive 
litteras eorum ab urbe Roma opportunitate cuius- 
quam occasionis acceperis. ego tamen, licet nullum 
consilium cum eis communicare potuerim, non potui 
praetermittere per hunc fratrem et conpresbyterum 
meum, qui urgenti necessitate pro salute civis sui 
etiam media hieme quomodocumque ad illas partes 
venire compulsus est, et salutare et admonere carita- 
tem tuam, quam habes in Christo lesu domino nostro, 
ut opus tuum bonum diligentissima acceleretur in- 
stantia, quo noverint inimici ecclesiae leges illas quae 
de idolis confringendis et haereticis corrigendis vivo 
Stilichone in Africam missae sunt, voluntate im- 
peratoris piissimi et fidelissimi constitutas ; quo 
nesciente vel nolente factum sive dolose iactant 
sive libenter putant atque hinc animos inperitorum 
turbulentissimos reddunt nobisque periculose ac 
vehementer infestos. 

Hoc autem quod petendo vel suggerendo admoneo 
praestantiam tuam, non dubito omnium per Africam 

" Stilicho, son of a \^andal captain, became one of 
Theodosius I.'s most distinguished generals, and under 
Honorius was the virtual ruler of the West. He defeated 
Alaric and Radagaisus, but was assassinated in 408. He 
was the patron of the poet Claudian, who dedicated to him 
the panegyric De Consulatu Stilichonis. 

NO. 25 (Ep. XCVII) 

son worthy of much honour in the love of Christ, with 
all the greater confidence after reading that letter 
in which of your own accord you deigned to send us, 
even if we were hesitant and backward, a very kind 
invitation to use our humble efforts to point out to 
you how, through your pious obedience, the Lord, by 
whose gift you have become what you are, may at 
this juncture come to the assistance of His Church. 

And indeed, many of the brethren, my holy col- 2 
leagues, have by reason of the Church's serious 
troubles started out almost as fugitives for the im- 
perial court ; you may have seen them or by some 
fortunate encounter have received a letter of theirs 
from Rome. But for my part, although I was unable 
to talk over any plans with them, I could not miss the 
opportunity provided by this brother and fellow- 
priest of mine, who is driven by the urgent peril of a 
fellow-citizen to make the journey as best he can, 
even though it is mid-winter, to your part of the 
world, of greeting and exhorting you by that affec- 
tion you have in Christ Jesus our Lord, to hasten on 
your good work with the most pressing attention. 
So shall the enemies of the Church know that those 
laws about the demolition of idols and the correction 
of heretics, which were sent to Africa while Stilicho '^ 
was still alive, were drawn up at the desire of our 
most godly and faithful emperor. They deceitfully 
allege or fondly imagine that this action was taken 
without his knowledge or against his will, and thus 
they incite the mind of the ignorant to the utmost 
pitch of violence and to a vehemence of hostility that 
is fraught ^^'ith peril to us. 

But I am quite sure that in submitting this petition 3 
or suggestion for your Eminence's consideration, I 



collegarum meorum fieri voluntate. Arbitror qua- 
cumque primitus exorta occasione facillime posse 
ac debere maturari, ut noverint, sicut dixi, homines 
vani, quorum et adversantium salutem requirimus, et 
leges quae pro ecclesia Christi missae sunt, magis 
Theodosii filium quam Stilichonem curasse mittendas. 
Propterea quippe memoratus presbyter harum per- 
lator, cum de regione sit Milevitana, ab episcopo 
suo venerabili fratre meo Severo, qui tuam mecum 
sincerissimam dilectionem multum salutat, per 
Hipponem-Regium, ubi ego sum, transire iussus est, 
quia, cum forte simul essemus in magnis ecclesiae 
tribulationibus et perturbationibus, quaerebamus 
occasionem scribendi ad eximietatem tuam et non 
inveniebamus. lam quidem unam epistulam miseram 
in negotio sancti fratris et coUegae mei Bonifatii 
episcopi Cataquensis ; sed nondum ad nos per- 
venerant graviora, quae nos vehementius agitarent, 
quibus comprimendis vel corrigendis quem ad modum 
meliore secundum viam Christi consilio succurratur, 
commodius episcopi qui propterea navigaverunt, 
cum tanta benignitate tui cordis acturi sunt, qui 
potuerunt communi consilio diligentius deliberatum 
aliquid ferre, quantum temporis permittebat an- 
gustia. lUud tamen quo animum clementissimi et 
religiosissimi principis erga ecclesiam provincia 
noverit, nullo modo esse difFerendum, sed etiam 

" The emperor Honorius. ** F'or Severus see p. 108, n. h, 
« This business of Boniface forms the subject of Ep. 
xcvi. ; it concerned the possession of a piece of land 
acquired by Boniface's predecessor, which Boniface wanted 
to have regularly granted to himself. Cataquas was probably 
near Hippo, for Boniface is frequently found in corre- 
spondence and on business with Augustine (Epp. xcvi., 
cxxxix., cxliii., cxlix., clii.). 


NO. 25 (Ep. XCVII) 

am acting agreeably to the desire of all my colleagues 
throughout Africa. My opinion is that steps very 
easily could and should be taken at the first oppor- 
tunity that arises to let those vain men, whose welfare 
we seek even though they are our opponents, know, 
as I said already, that it was due to the care of 
Theodosius's son" rather than of Stilicho that the laws 
that were sent to Africa for the Church of Christ were 
sent at all. For this reason, then, the above-men- 
tioned priest, the bearer of this letter, being from 
the district of Mileve, was ordered by his bishop, 
my revered brother Severus,^ M'ho joins me in send- 
ing hearty greetings to your genuine affection, to 
pass through Hippo Regius, where I am stationed, 
because, as we happened to be together in the great 
tribulations and anxieties of the Church, we Mere 
seeking an opportunity of writing to your Excellency 
and found none. I have already sent one letter 
about the business of my holy brother and colleague, 
Boniface,'' the bishop of Cataquas, but this more 
serious news had not yet reached us to trouble us 
more keenly. As to the way in which you may 
come to our assistance in suppressing and punishing 
those offences M'ith a wiser plan according to the 
method of Christ, that will more suitably form the 
subject of negotiation between the bishops M'ho have 
made the voyage with that end in view, and yourself 
in your great and heartfelt benevolence. They have 
been able to bring with them some scheme that 
has been carefully thought out in mutual consulta- 
tion, as far as the shortness of time allowed. But 
this other point, how to let the province know the 
attitude of our most gracious and godly sovereign 
towards the Church, should on no account be post- 


antequam episcopos qui profecti sunt, videas. quam 
primum tua praestantissima pro Christi membris in 
tribulatione maxima constitutis vigilantia potuerit, 
accelerandum suggero, peto, obsecro, flagito. Neque 
enim parvum in his malis solatium dominus obtulit, 
quod te voluit multo amplius posse quam poteras, 
quando iam de tuis multis et magnis bonis operibus 
4 Multum sane de quorundam neque paucorum fide 
firma et stabili gratulamur, qui ex occasione legum 
ipsarum ad Christianam religionem vel catholicam 
pacem conversi sunt, pro quorum salute sempi- 
terna nos in hac temporali etiam perielitari delectat. 
Propterea enim maxime ab hominibus nimium durum- 
que perversis nunc inimicitiarum graviores impetus 
sustinemus, quos nonnulli eorum nobiscum patientis- 
sime sustinent ; sed plurimum infirmitati metuimus, 
donee discant et valeant adiuvante misericordissima 
gratia domini saeculum praesens et hominum diem 
robore cordis valentiore contemnere. Commoni- 
torium quod misi, fratribus episcopis, si, ut puto, 
nondum ibi sunt, ab eximietate tua illis tradatur, 
cum venerint. Tantam quippe tui sincerissimi pec- 
toris habemus fiduciam, ut adiuvante domino deo 
nostro non solum impertitorem auxilii te velimus 
verum etiam consilii participem. 

** Hominum dies apparently occurs only here in Augustine, 
but compare Ep. cxl. 12 " humanus dies et vitae huius 
prolixitas concupiscitur," and Seneca, Ep. Ixxxiii. 2 " obser- 
vabo me . . . et . . . diem meum recognoscam. Hoc nos 


KO. 25 (Ep. XCVII) 

poned ; I recommend, beg, beseech, implore you to 
hm-ry it on, even before you see the bishops who 
are on their way, as soon as is possible for you in 
your most earnest watchfulness for the members of 
Christ who are undergoing this very heavy trial. 
Amid these evils the Lord has given us no small 
comfort by being pleased to extend your sphere of 
influence much beyond what it Mas before, for even 
then we were rejoicing in the number and magnitude 
of your good works. 

We have indeed much cause for rejoicing in the 4 
firm and steadfast faith of some, and they are not a 
few, who were converted to the Christian religion 
and to Catholic peace by the opportuneness of those 
laws ; for their eternal welfare we are glad even 
to risk our temporal welfare. For on this account 
we are enduring more violent outbreaks of hostility 
especially from men of excessive and obdurate 
perversity ; and these some of the converts endure 
most patiently with us. But we have very great fears 
for their weakness until by the help of the Lord's 
compassionate favour they acquire the wisdom and 
the strength to despise the present age and the 
day of men ^ with sturdier and stouter spirit. The 
letter of instructions I am sending with this for my 
brother-bishops Mill your Excellency hand to them 
when they arrive, if, as I imagine, they have not 
yet come ? Such confidence Me place in your most 
unfeigned devotion that Mith the help of the Lord 
our God we Mish to have you not only bestow 
assistance, but also take a share in our counsels. 

pessimos facit, quod nemo vitam suam respicit." The 
Christian use of the phrase is no doubt suggested by the 
Scriptural " day of the Lord." 

N 177 


No. 26 (Ep. XCIX) 


1 Tres epistulas tuae benignitatis acceperam, cum 
ista rescripsi : unam quae adhuc meas litteras exige- 
bat, alteram quae ad te iam pervenisse indicabat, 
tertiam quae benivolentissimam pro nobis curam 
tuam etiam de domo clarissimi et egregii iuvenis 
luliani, quae nostris adhaeret parietibus, continebat. 
Qua accepta, continuo respondere non distuli, quia 
procurator eximietatis tuae cito se Romam posse 
mittere scripsit. Cuius litteris graviter contristati 
sumus, quod ea quae illic in urbe vel circa urbem 
geruntur, non nobis insinuare curavit, ut certum apud 
nos fieret quod incertae famae credere nolebamus. 
Fratrum quippe litteris ante transmissis quamvis 
molesta et dura multo tamen leviora nuntiata sunt. 
Plus sane quam dici potest, miratus sum, quod nee 
tanta occasione hominum tuorum fratres sancti epi- 
scopi scripserint nee epistula tua quicquam nobis de 
tantis tribulationibus vestris insinuaverit, quae utique 
per viscera caritatis et nostrae sunt, nisi forte facien- 
dum non putasti, quod nihil prodesse duxisti aut 

*• Probably identical with the Italica to whom Augustine 
wrote Ep. xcii. to console her on the death of her husband. 
She is probably also the Italica to whom Chrysostom wrote 
in 406 (Ep. clxx.), and appears to have enjoyed both wealth 
and position. The calamity to which Augustine refers is 
the capture of Rome in 408 by Alaric. 

NO. 26 (Ep. XCIX) 

Xo. 26 (Ep. XCIX) 
(a.d. 409) 


Three letters from your Grace have reached me up 1 
to the moment of my ^^Titing this reply ; the first 
still demanded a letter from me, the second intimated 
that you had by then received it, and the third 
contained the assurance of your most kind solicitude 
on my behalf, especially in the matter of the house 
belonging to that illustrious and distinguished young 
man, Julian, which adjoins my own walls. On receiv- 
ing it I lost no time in replying promptly, since your 
Excellency's agent wrote that he was in a position 
to send to Rome at an early date. His letter caused 
me grievous disappointment, in that he did not take 
the trouble to let me know what is happening in and 
around Rome, so that we might know for certain 
what we were reluctant to believe on uncertain 
rumour. The letters of the brethren that were sent 
to us before his, conveyed news that M'as vexatious 
and affecting enough, but still none too serious, but 
I was more surprised than I can tell you that my 
brethren, the holv bishops, did not seize such an ex- 
cellent opportunity to write to me as that provided 
by your bearers, and that your letters gave me no 
news at all about the great trials that you are passing 
through, though they are ours too by reason of our 
heart-felt affection. But perhaps you decided not to 
mention them, because you thought it would do no 



nos tuis litteris maestificari noluisti. Prodest aliquid, 
quantum ego arbitror, etiam ista cognoscere. primo 
quia iniustum est gaudere velle cum gaudentibus et 
Jiere non velle cum fleiitihus, deinde quia trihulatio 
paiientiam operatur, patientia prohationem, prohaiio 
spem, spes auiem ?ion confundit, quia caritas del diffusa 
est in cordibus nostris per spiritum sa?ictum, qui daius 
est nobis. 

2 Absit itaque ut recusemus audire etiam quae 
amara et tristia sunt erga carissimos nostros. 
Nescio quo enim modo minus fit quod patitur unum 
membrum, si compatiuntur alia membra. Nee ipsa mali 
relevatio fit per communionem cladis sed per sola- 
tium caritatis, ut, quamvis alii ferendo patiuntur, 
alii cognoscendo compatiuntur, communis sit tamen 
tribulatio, quibus probatio, spes, dilectio spiritusque 
communis est. Omnes autem nos dominus consolatur, 
qui et haec temporalia mala praedixit et post haec 
bona aeterna promisit. Nee debet, cum proeliatur, 
infringi, qui vult post proelium coronari, vires illo 
subministrante certantibus, qui praeparat inefFabilia 
dona victoribus. 

3 Rescripta ilia nostra non tibi ad nos auferant 
scribendi fiduciam, praesertim quia timorem nostrum 
non inprobabili defensione lenisti. Parvulos tuos 
resalutamus et in Christo tibi grandescere optamus, 

" Rom. xii. 15. ^ Rom. v. 3-5. <" 1 Cor. xii. 26. 


NO. 26 (Ep. XCIX) 

good or because you did not want your letter to 
sadden me. It does do some good, in my humble 
opinion, to know even sad news, first because it is 
unfair to be willing to " rejoice with them that do 
rejoice " and to be unwilling to " weep with them 
that weep," " and then because " tribulation worketh 
patience, and patience experience, and experience 
hope ; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the 
love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the 
Holy Ghost which is given unto us." ^ 

Far be it from us, then, to refuse to hear even 2 
the bitter and sorrowful things that befall those who 
are very dear to us. For somehow or other what 
one member suffers is mitigated if the other members 
suffer with it.'' But this mitigation of affliction is 
effected not by participation in the calamity but by 
the consolation love provides, and so, although some 
bear the actual burden of sorrow and others share 
the burden with sympathetic understanding, the 
tribulation is yet common to both, since they have 
in common the same experience, the same hope, the 
same love and the same spirit. But all of us alike 
have the consolation of the Lord, who both foretold 
these temporal afflictions and promised eternal bless- 
ings after them. And he who after the battle 
would receive the crown ought not to be broken 
in spirit while the battle is on, for He Who prepares 
unspeakable gifts for the victors ministers strength 
to them when they are engaged in the conflict. 

Do not let that reply of mine take away your 3 
confidence in writing to me, especially since you 
have had a quite acceptable excuse for soothing 
my fears. I return the greetings of your little ones 
and pray that they may grow up for you in Christ. 



qui iam in hac aetate cernunt quam sit amor huius 
saeculi periculosus et noxius. Atque utinam, cum 
magna et dura quatiuntur, parva et flexibilia cor- 
rigantur. De domo ilia quid dicam, nisi benignissimae 
tuae curae gratias agam ? Nam eam quam dare 
possumus, nolunt, quam volunt autem dare non 
possumus. Neque enim, sicut falso audierunt, a de- 
cessore meo relicta est ecclesiae, sed inter antiqua 
eius praedia possidetur et antiquae alteri ecclesiae 
sic cohaeret quem ad modum ista qua de agitur, 

No. 27 (Ep. C) 


1 Nollem quidem in his afRictionibus esse Africanam 
ecclesiam constitutam, ut terrenae ullius potestatis 
indigeret auxilio. Sed quia, sicut apostolus dicit, 
non est potestas nisi a deo, procul dubio, cum per 
vos sincerissimos catholicae matris filios eidem sub- 
venitur, auxilium nostrum in nomine domini est, qui 
fecit caelum et terram. Quis enim non sentiat in 

•* It is uncertain which churches are here meant. In 
addition to the Donatist church and basilica Leontiana 
mentioned in Ep. xxix. 11 above (p. 89), there were at 
Hippo other four churches : the basilica maior or basilica 
Pads, beside which was a chapel to St. Stephen (Ep. ccxiii., 
CI), xxii. 8. 22, Serm. 318, 319, 356); the basilica ad octo 
martyres, built by Augustine {Serm. 356. 10); a chapel ad 
viginti martyres {CD. xxii. 8. 9, Serm. 148, 325), and a 
chapel dedicated to St. Theogenes {memoria sancti Theogenisy 
Serm. <21S. 7). 

*• The name is of very frequent occurrence in Africa ; 
in Augustine's works there are about twenty-five different 

NO. 26 (Ep. XCIX)— NO. 27 (Ep. C) 

Already, young as they are, they perceive how dan- 
gerous and harmful is the love of the present world. 
And would that, when the tall and sturdy things are 
shaken, the lowly and yielding may receive correc- 
tion ! What shall I say about that house, except to 
thank you for your very generous thought ? For 
the house I can give they do not wish, and the one 
they wish, I cannot give, since it was not left to the 
Church by my predecessor, as they were wrongly 
informed, but is held among its ancient properties 
and adjoins the one ancient church just as the one 
now under consideration adjoins the other. « 

No. 27 (Ep. C) 
(a.d. 409) 


I should wish indeed that the African Church were I 
not placed in such afflictions as to require the aid of 
any earthly power, but since, as the Apostle says, 
" there is no power but of God," ^ it is true that when 
you, a very whole-hearted son of our Catholic Mother, 
come to her aid, " our help is in the name of the 
Lord, Who made heaven and earth." ^ For amid 
such grievous afflictions who does not realize, my 
excellent lord, worthy of all honour, and eminently 

individuals so called. This Donatus was proconsul of Africa, 
retiring from that post about 410, when Augustine addresses 
him in Ep. cxii. 

" Rom. xiii, 1, <* Ps. cxx. 2. 



tantis malis non parvam nobis consolationem divinitus 
missam, cum tu vir talis et Christi nominis amantis- 
simus proconsularibus es sublimatus insignibus, ut 
ab sceleratis et sacrilegis ausibus inimicos ecclesiae 
bonae tuae voluntati potestas sociata cohiberet, 
domine eximie meritoque honorabilis insigniterque 
laudabilis fill ? Denique unum solum est quod in 
tua iustitia pertimescimus, ne forte quoniam, quic- 
quid mali contra Christianam societatem ab homini- 
bus impiis ingratisque committitur, profecto gravius 
est et atrocius, quam si in alios talia committantur, 
tu quoque pro immanitate facinorum ac non potius 
pro lenitatis Christianae consideratione censeas 
cohercendum. Quod te per ipsum Christum ne 
facias obsecramus. Neque enim vindictam de 
inimicis in hac terra requirimus aut vero ad eas 
angustias animi nos debent coartare quae patimur, 
ut obliviscamur quid nobis praeceperit, pro cuius 
veritate ac nomine patimur ; diligimus inimicos 
nostros et oramus pro eis. Unde ex occasione 
terribilium iudicum ac legum, ne in aeterni iudicii 
poenas incidant, corrigi eos cupimus, non necari ; 
nee disciplinam circa eos neglegi volumus nee 
supplicia, quae digna sunt, exerceri. Sic ergo 
eorum peccata compesce, ut sint quos paeniteat 
2 Quaesumus igitur, ut, cum ecclesiae causas audis, 
quamlibet nefariis iniuriis appetitam vel afflictam 
esse cognoveris, potestatem occidendi te habere 
obliviscaris, petitionem nostram non obliviscaris. 

« Luke vi. 27-28. 

NO. 27 (Ep. C) 

praiseworthy son, that no small consolation has been 
sent us from heaven, when a man of your character 
and great devotion to the name of Christ has been 
raised to the dignity of proconsul, so that your 
power seconded by your goodwill may restrain 
the enemies of the Church from their criminal and 
sacrilegious violence ? In short, there is only one 
thing that we fear in your administration of justice, 
namely, that perhaps, since whatever evil impious and 
irreverent men commit against the Christian com- 
munity is surely more serious and more heinous than 
if the same evil were committed against others, you 
personally may decide to administer punishment in 
proportion to the enormity of the offence instead of 
in accordance with regard for Christian gentleness. 
We beseech you for Jesus' sake to refrain from doing 
so. For we exact no vengeance from our enemies on 
this earth, nor indeed should our sufferings drive 
us to such mental straits that we forget the injunc- 
tions of Him for Whose truth and name we suffer ; 
we love our enemies and pray for them." So, in 
availing ourselves of the terror of judges and laws, 
we desire their repentance, not their death, so that 
they may be saved from falling into the penalties of 
the eternal judgement. We do not wish to see 
them quite absolved from punishment, nor, on the 
other hand, visited with the torments they deserve. 
Check their sins, therefore, in such a way as to pro- 
duce repentance in at least a few. 

I beg you then, when you are trying cases con- 
cerning the Church, however outrageous the injuries 
with which you discover it has been assailed or dis- 
tressed, to forget that you possess the power of life 
and death, but not to forget my entreaty. And do 


Non tibi vile sit neque contemptibile, fili honorabiliter 
dilectissime, quod vos rogamus ne occidantur, pro 
quibus dominum rogamus ut corrigantur. Excepto 
etiam, quod a perpetuo proposito recedere non 
debemus vincendi i?i bono malum, illud quoque pru- 
dentia tua cogitet quod causas ecclesiasticas insinuare 
vobis nemo praeter ecclesiasticos curat. Proinde si 
occidendos in his homines putaveritis, deterrebitis 
nos, ne per operam nostram ad vestrum iudicium 
aliquid tale perveniat, quo comperto illi in nostram 
perniciem licentiore audacia grassabuntur, necessitate 
nobis impacta ut etiam occidi ab eis eligamus, quam 
eos occidendos vestris iudiciis ingeramus. Hanc 
admonitionem, petitionem, obsecrationem meam ne, 
quaeso, aspernanter accipias. Neque enim te ar- 
bitror non recolere magnam me ad te et multo quam 
nunc es altius sublimatum, etiam si episcopus non 
essem, fiduciam tamen habere potuisse. Cito in- 
terim per edicta excellentiae tuae noverint haeretici 
Donatistae manere leges contra errorem suum latas, 
quas iam nihil valere arbitrantur et iactant, ne vel 
sic nobis parcere aliquatenus possint. Plurimum 
autem labores et pericula nostra, quo fructuosa sint, 
adiuvabis, si eorum vanissimam et impiae superbiae 
plenissimam sectam non ita cures imperialibus legibus 
comprimi, ut sibi vel suis videantur qualescumque 
molestias pro veritate atque iustitia sustinere, sed 

* Rom. xii. 21. 

NO. 27 (Ep. C) 

not think it an unimportant or contemptible thing, 
my honoured and well-beloved son, that I ask you 
to spare the lives of men whom we pray God to bring 
to repentance. Even setting aside the fact that w^e 
ought not to depart from the eternal principle of 
overcoming evil with good,^ let your Wisdom take 
this other fact into account, that no one takes the 
trouble to bring Church cases before you, except 
churchmen themselves. So if in such cases you 
think fit to put men to death, you will deter us from 
having any such cases brought before your tribunal ; 
and when our opponents ascertain this, they \vi\\ 
proceed w^th all the more unrestrained effrontery 
to destroy us, when the necessity is laid upon us 
of choosing rather to die at their hands than to 
hale them before your tribunal to suffer death 
themselves. Do not receive with contempt, I beg 
you, this exhortation, this request, this entreaty 
of mine. For I do not think that you will forget 
that, even if you were in a much more exalted posi- 
tion than the one you now occupy, and even Mere I 
not a bishop, I might still have had great confidence 
in addressing you. Meanwhile, let the heretical 
Donatists quickly learn by your Excellency's edicts 
that the laws passed against their error are still 
in force, though they now think that they are of no 
effect, and boast that, not even if they were, could 
they to any extent spare us. But you will very 
greatly assist our labours and perils to bear fruit, if 
you strive to repress by the imperial laws that sect 
of theirs which is so flaunting and so full of impious 
pride, in such a way that they do not appear to 
themselves or their supporters to be enduring hard- 
ships, no matter how slight, for the sake of truth 



eos, cum hoc abs te petitur, reruni certarum niani- 
festissimis documentis apud acta vel praestantiae tuae 
vel minorum iudicum convinci atque instrui patiaris, 
ut et ipsi qui te iubente adtinentur, duram, si fieri 
potest, flectant in melius voluntatem et ea ceteris 
salubriter legant. Onerosior est quippe quam utilior 
diligentia, quamvis ut magnum deseratur malum et 
magnum bonum teneatur, cogi tantum homines, non 

No. 28 (Ep. CI) 


Nullas debui iam reddere litteras sanctae caritati 
tuae sine his libris quos a me sancti amoris iure 
violentissimo flagitasti, ut hac saltem oboedientia 
responderem epistulis tuis, quibus me magis onerare 
quam honorare dignatus es. Quamquam ubi suc- 
cumbo quia oneror, ibi etiam, quia diligor, sublevor. 
Neque enim a quolibet diligor, sublevor, eligor, sed 
ab eo viro et domini sacerdote, quem sic acceptum deo 

" Memorius was a bishop in Italy, perhaps at Capua. 
An intimate friend of Augustine's, he is more notable as 
the father of Julian of Eclanum (mentioned in § 4), the 


NO. 27 (Ep. C)— NO. 28 (Ep. CI) 

and righteousness ; but allow them, when this is 
requested from you, to be convinced and instructed 
by the incontrovertible evidence of clearly ascertained 
facts either in your Excellency's own court or in that 
of inferior judges, to the end that those who are 
arrested at your command may themselves bend 
their stubborn will, if it can be bent at all, to the 
better side and profitably read those proofs to others. 
For the effort to make men abandon even a great 
evil and cleave to a great good produces more trouble 
than benefit, if they act merely under compulsion 
and not from conviction. 

No. 28 (Ep. CI) 

(a.d. 409) 


I should not now write any letter to your holy 1 
Charity without sending those books that you de- 
manded from me by the most urgent right of holy 
affection, that by this act of obedience at least I 
might make reply to those letters of yours with 
which you were good enough to burden me rather 
than to honour me. Yet where I am bent low by 
the burden, even there I am raised up by your love. 
For it is no ordinary person that loves me, upraises 
me and makes me feel a picked man, but he can do 
so, that priest of the Lord, whom I feel to be so 



sentio, ut, cum animam tuam tarn bonam levas ad 
dominum, quoniam in ilia me habes, leves et me. 
Debui ergo nunc libros mittere, quos emendaturum 
me esse promiseram et ideo non misi quia non 
emendavi, non quia nolui, sed quia non potui, curis 
videlicet multis et multum praevalentibus occupatus. 
Nimis autem ingratum ac ferreum fuit, ut te, qui 
nos sic amas, hie sanctus frater et coUega noster 
Possidius, in quo nostram non parvam praesentiam 
reperies, vel non disceret vel sine nostris litteris dis- 
ceret. Est enim per nostrum ministerium non litteris 
illis quas variarum servi libidinum liberales vocant, 
sed dominico pane nutritus, quantus ei potuit per 
nostras angustias dispensari. 
2 Quid enim aliud dicendum est eis, qui cum sint 
iniqui et impii, liberaliter sibi videntur eruditi, nisi 
quod in litteris vere liberalibus legimus : Si vosjilius 
liberaverit, tunc vere liberi eritis ? Per eum namque 
praestatur, ut ipsae etiam quae liberales disciplinae 
ab eis qui in libertatem vocati non sunt, appellantur, 
quid in se habeant liberale noscatur. Neque enim 
habent congruum libertati, nisi quod habent con- 
gruum veritati. Unde ille ipse filius : Et Veritas, 
inquit, liherahit vos. Non ergo illae innumerabiles et 
impiae fabulae, quibus vanorum plena sunt carmina 
poetarum, ullo modo nostrae consonant libertati, 
non oratorum inflata et expolita mendacia, non 

" Mentioned above on pp. 106 and 128. At a council held 
in Carthage on June 14, 409, he was one of four African 
bishops who were deputed to request the Emperor's pro- 
tection from the fury of the Donatists. He conveyed a 
letter from Augustine to Paulinus at Xola, but nothing 
more is known of his journey or his mission. 

^ John viii. 36. <= John viii. 32. 


NO. 28 (Ep. CI) 

acceptable to God that when you lift up your good 
soul to the Lord, you lift me up too, since you hold 
me in it. I should then be now sending the books 
I had promised to revise, but I am not sending them 
for the reason that I have not revised them ; not 
because I did not want to, but because I had 
no chance to do so, being engrossed in a multi- 
tude of very cogent duties. But it would have 
been excessively ungrateful and hard-hearted to 
allow this holy brother and colleague of mine, Pos- 
sidius," in whom you will find no small traces of me, 
either to miss making your acquaintance, since you 
are so dear a friend of mine, or to make it without 
a letter from me. For by my efforts he has been 
brought up not on those studies which men who are 
enslaved to every kind of lust call liberal, but on 
the bread of the Lord, in so far as it could be supplied 
to him from my meagre store. 

For what else can we say to those who, although 2 
^vicked and ungodly, believe themselves to be men 
of a liberal education, except what we read in the 
book that is truly Hberal : "If the Son has made 
you free, then shall ye be free indeed "^? For it is by 
His gift that whatever even those disciplines that 
are termed liberal by men who have not been called 
unto liberty, contain that is liberal, can be known at 
all. For they contain nothing consonant with liberty, 
unless what they contain consonant with truth. That 
is why the Son Himself says, " And the truth shall 
make you free."'' Those innumerable ungodly tales 
with which the verses of empty poets abound are in 
no w^se consonant with the liberty that is ours, nor 
are the pompous, finely -turned falsehoods of the 
orators, nor even the long-winded subtleties of the 



denique ipsorum philosophorum garrulae argutiae, 
qui vel deum prorsus non cognoverunt vel, cum 
cogjiovissent deum, non sicut deum glorificaverunt out 
gratias egeruiit, sed evanuerunt in cogitationihus suis 
et ohscuratum est insipiens cor eorum et dicentes se esse 
sapientes stulti facti sunt et inmutaverunt gloriam in- 
corrupti del in similitudi?iem imaginis corruptibilis 
hominis et volucrum et quadrupedum et serpentium vel 
qui istis siniulacris non dediti aut non nimis dediti 
coluerunt tamen et servierunt creaturae potius quam 
creatori. Absit omnino ut istorumvanitates et insaniae 
mendaces, ventosae nugae ac superbus error recte 
liberales litterae nominentur hominum scilicet in- 
felicium, qui dei gratiam per lesum Christum domi- 
nuni nostrum, qua sola liberamur de corpore mortis 
huius, non cognoverunt nee in eis ipsis quae vera 
senserunt. Historia sane, cuius scriptores fidem 
se praecipue narrationibus suis debere profitentur, 
fortassis habeat aliquid cognitione dignum liberis, cum 
sive bona sive mala hominum tamen vera narrantur. 
Quamvis in eis cognoscendis, qui sancto spiritu non 
adiuti sunt rumoresque coUigereipsa humanae infirmi- 
tatis condicione compulsi sunt, quem ad modum 
non fallerentur in plurimis, omnino non video. Est 
tamen aliqua in eis propinquitas libertatis, si volun- 
tatem mentiendi non habent nee homines fallunt, nisi 
cum ab hominibus humana infirmitate falluntur. 

" Rom. i. 21-23. ^ Rom. i. 25. 

•^ Rom. vii. 24-25. 


NO. 28 (Ep. CI) 

philosophers themselves, who were either completely 
without knowledge of God or else, " when they 
knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither 
were thankful, but became vain in their imagina- 
tions, and their foolish heart was darkened ; profess- 
ing themselves to be wise they became fools, and 
changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an 
image made like to corruptible man and to birds 
and four-footed beasts and creeping things,"" or v\-ho, 
though not given, or not excessively given, to such 
images, yet " worshipped and served the creature 
more than the Creator." ^ Far be it, therefore, from 
us rightly to give the name of hberal studies to 
the lying conceits and follies, the empty trifles and 
complacent misrepresentations of those unhappy 
men who did not recognize the grace of God 
through our Lord Jesus Christ, by which alone we 
are dehvered '•' from the body of this death," ^ even in 
those things which they felt to be true. Their his- 
torical works, whose writers claim to be especially 
reliable in their narratives, contain something perhaps 
that may fitly be learned by the free, since what 
they narrate, whether the fortunes or the mis- 
fortunes of mankind, is at any rate true. And yet, 
I completely fail to see how men who were ^vithout 
the assistance of the Holy Spirit, and were com- 
pelled by the very nature of human infirmity to 
gather mere rumours together, were not in their 
search for facts mistaken in most of them. Yet 
in such writings there is an approximation to 
liberty, provided that the writers have no intention 
of deceiving and do not mislead men, except in so 
far as they themselves, through human infirmity, are 
misled by their informants. 

o 193 


3 Verum quia in omnibus rerum motibus, quid nu- 
meri valeant, facilius consideratur in vocibus eaque 
consideratio quibusdam quasi gradatis itineribus 
nititur ad superna intima veritatis, in quibus viis 
ostendit se sapientia kilariter et in omni provideniia 
occurrit amantibus, initio nostri otii, cum a curis 
maioribus magisque necessariis vacabat animus, volui 
per ista quae a nobis desiderasti scripta proludere, 
quando conscripsi de solo rhythmo sex libros et de 
melo scribere alios forsitan sex, fateor, disponebam, 
cum mihi otium futurum sperabam. Sed postea 
quam mihi curarum ecclesiasticarum sarcina inposita 
est, omnes illae deliciae fugere de manibus, ita ut 
vix nunc ipsum codicem inveniam, quoniam tuam 
voluntatem nee petitionem sed iussionem contemnere 
nequeo. Quod sane opusculum si potuero mittere, 
non quidem me tibi obtemperasse, verum tamen te 
hoc a me tanto opere flagitasse, paenitebit. Diffi- 
cillime quippe intelleguntur in eo quinque libri, si 
non adsit qui non solum disputantium possit separare 
personas, verum etiam pronuntiando ita sonare 
morulas syllabarum, ut eis exprimantur sensumque 
aurium feriant genera numerorum, maxime quia in 
quibusdam etiam silentiorum dimensa intervalla 

" Wisdom vi. 17, where the Septuagint reads iv wdarj 
i-mvoia and the EngHsh version " in every thought." 

* These are the six books De Musica, projected when 
Augustine was in Milan but written only after he returned 
to Africa in 388 and was living in monastic retirement 
(" initio nostri otii " above) at Tagaste. They were intended 
as part of an encyclopaedic work, Libri disciplinarum, 
designed to include studies of dialectic, grammar, geometry, 
arithmetic and philosophy, but the only part finished at 


NO. 28 (Ep. CI) 

Now, since the power of rhythm in every kind of 3 
movement is most easily studied in sounds, and since 
the study of those leads upwards to the highest 
secrets of truth by a kind of gradual ascent in follow- 
ing which Wisdom pleasantly reveals herself and in 
every act of providence ° meets those who love her, I 
intended at the beginning of my retirement, when my 
mind was free from greater and more necessary tasks, 
to make those books you asked from me a pre- 
liminary trial of strength. I then wrote six books 
exclusively on rhythm,^ and proposed, I confess, to 
write others, six perhaps, on music, as I was expecting 
to have leisure before me. But after the burden of 
ecclesiastical concerns was laid upon me, all those 
trifles vanished from my hands so completely that 
now, when I cannot but respect your desire, which is 
more a command than a request, I can hardly find 
my own manuscript copy. But if I actuallv am able 
to send the treatise to you, the regret will not be 
mine for submitting to your pressure, but yours for so 
eagerly demanding it from me. For five books of it 
are very difficult to follow, unless you have beside 
you someone who can not only distinguish the parts 
of the interlocutors, but also give by his enunciation 
the proper quantity to the syllables uttered, so that 
in them the character of the metre is expressed and 
strikes the sensitive ear, especially as some of the feet 
contain, besides, pauses of fixed length, which cannot 

Milan was the De Grammatica. Posteritj- has endorsed 
Augustine's own opinion of the six books Be Musica {cf. 
the beginning of Bk. VI : " satis diu paene atque adeo plane 
pueriliter per quinque libros in vestigiis numerorum ad 
moras temporum pertinentium morati sumus "), for while the 
first five have only an antiquarian interest, the sixth book 
was a favourite with medieval mystics. 


miscentur quae omnino sentiri nequeunt, nisi audi- 
torem pronuntiator informet. 
4 Sextum sane librum, quern emendatum repperi, 
ubi est omnis fructus ceterorum, non distuli mittere 
caritati tuae ; fortassis ipse tuam non multum re- 
fugiat gravitatem. Nam supei'iores quinque vix filio 
nostro et condiacono luliano, quoniam et ipse iam 
nobiscum coniniilitat, digni lectione vel cognitione 
videbuntur. Quern quidem non audeo dicere plus 
amo quam te, quia nee veraciter dico, sed tamen 
audeo dicere plus desidero quam te. Mirum videri 
potest, quem ad modum quem pariter amo, amplius 
desiderem ; sed hoc mihi facit spes amplior videndi 
eum ; puto enim quod si ad nos te iubente vel 
mittente venerit, et hoc faciet quod adulescentem 
decet, maxime quia nondum curis maioribus detinetur, 
et te ipsum mihi expeditius adportabit. Quibus 
numeris consistant versus Davidici, non scripsi, quia 
nescio. Neque enim ex Hebraea lingua, quam ignoro, 
potuit etiam numeros interpres exprimere, ne metri 
necessitate ab interpretandi veritate amplius quam 
ratio sententiarum sinebat, digredi cogeretur. Certis 
tamen eos constare numeris credo illis qui eam 
linguam probe callent. Amavit enim vir ille sanctus 
musicam piam et in ea studia nos magis ipse quam 
ullus alius auctor accendit. Hahitetis omnes in 

NO. 28 (Ep. CI) 

be sensed at all, unless the reader gives the hearer 
an idea of them by his method of enunciation. 

But the sixth book, which I have found in a 4 
revised condition, contains the whole harvest of the 
others, and I am sending it to your Charity at once ; 
it perhaps will not so markedly shrink from the atten- 
tions of one of your sober-mindedness. For the earlier 
five Mill hardly appear to our son and fellow-deacon, 
Julian, to be worth reading or knowing, since he 
too is now engaged in the same warfare as ourselves. 
Of him I dare not say that he is dearer to me than 
you are, for it would not be true to say that, but still I 
do dare to say that I long for him more than I do for 
you. It may seem strange how I long for him more, 
for I love you both equally ; but this is the result 
of the greater hope I have of seeing him, for I think 
that if you were to send him or bid him come to me, 
he would both be doing what a young man should 
do, especially when he is not yet hindered by heavier 
responsibilities, and he would the more speedily bring 
you yourself to me. 

I have not mentioned the nature of the verse in 
which the Psalms of David are composed, because I 
do not know, for the translator from the Hebrew 
tongue, which is unknown to me, could not reproduce 
the verse, for fear of being compelled by the needs 
of metre to depart from accuracy in his translation 
farther than was consistent with the meaning. But 
that they are composed in a definite metre I believe on 
the authority of those who have a thorough knowledge 
of that language ; for that holy man loved sacred 
music, and he more than any other WTiter kindled in 
me a zeal for its study. 

May you all " dwell " for evermore " in the secret 



aeternum in adiutorio altissimi, qui habitatis unayiimes 
in domo, pater materque fratres filiorum et cuncti 
unius patris filii memores nostri. 

No. 29 (Ep. CX) 


1 Epistula mea, quam pervexit carissimus filius et 
condiaconus noster Timotheus, iam parata erat pro- 
fecturo, quando filii nostri Quodvultdeus et Gaii- 
dentius ad nos venerunt cum litteris tuis. Inde 
factum est, ut continue proficiscens non adferret 
responsionem meam, quoniam post illorum adventum 
quantulumcumque apud nos inmoratus est et pro- 
fecturus per horas singulas videbatur. Sed etsi per 
eum respondissem, adhuc debitor forem. Nam et 
nunc, quod videor respondisse, debitor sum, non dico 
caritatis, quam tanto magis debemus quanto amplius 
inpenderimus, cuius nos perpetuos debitores ostendit 
apostolus dicens : Nemini quicquam deheatis, nisi ut 

" Ps. xc. 1 (after the Septuagint). 

* Ps. Ixvii. 7 (after the Septuagint). 
" See for Severiis p. 108 note b. 

^ Probably the Timothy about whom Augustine had 
already written to Severus in Epp. Ixii. and Ixiii. In 
Ep. cclxiii. Augustine writes a consolatory letter on the 
death of a deacon Timothy, who may be the same. 

* These two names are common in Africa at this time, 
and the individuals cannot be identified with certainty. 
Peculiar to Africa seems to have been the habit, best known 

NO. 28 (Ep. CI)— NO. 29 (Ep. CX) 

place^ of the Most High," you who "in one house 
dwell together in oneness of heart," ^ father and 
mother, of the same brotherhood as your children, and 
all of you children of one Father. Remember us. 

No. 29 (Ep. CX) 
(a.d. 409) 


This letter from me, which has been brought to you 1 
by my very dear son and fellow-deacon, Timothy,'* 
was ready for his departure, when my sons Quod- 
vultdeus and Gaudentius ^ reached us with a letter 
from you. That is the reason why Timothy, who was 
departing forthwith, did not bring a reply from me, 
since after their arrival he waited with us here only 
a very short time and was apparently on the point 
of departure at any minute. But even if I had sent 
a reply by him, I should still be in your debt, for 
even now, though I seem to have replied, I am in 
your debt, I do not mean for affection, for the more 
we have paid of that, the more we owe (we are always 
in debt for it, as the Apostle's words show, " Owe 

from the English Puritans, of employing these religious 
names : Augustine's own son was called Adeodatus, and 
there are many examples of such names as Deogratias, 
Deumhabet, Deusdedit, Habetdeus, Vincemalus, etc. 



invicem diligatis, sed ipsius epistulae tuae ; quando 
enim sufficiam tuae suavitati tantaeque aviditati 
animi tui, quam mihi lecta nuntiavit ? Rem quidem 
in te mihi notissimam insinuavit ; verum tamen etsi 
non mihi rei novae insiniiatrix, nova tamen re- 
scriptorum exactrix fuit. 

2 Miraris fortasse cur me huius debiti persolutorem 
inparem dicam, cum tu de me tam multum sentias, 
qui me tamquam anima mea noveris. Sed hoc 
ipsum est, quod mihi magnam difficultatem facit 
respondendi litteris tuis, quia et quantus mihi 
videaris, parco dicere propter verecundiam tuam, et 
utique minus dicendo, cum tu in me tantam laudem 
contuleris, quid nisi debitor remanebo ? Quod non 
curarem, si ea quae de me ad me locutus es, non ex 
caritate sincerissima dicta scirem sed adulatione 
inimica amicitiae. Hoc quippe modo nee debitor 
fierem, quia talia rependere non deberem ; sed 
quanto magis novi quam fideh animo loqueris, tanto 
magis video quanto debito graver. 

3 Vide autem quid mihi contigit, ut me quodam 
modo ipse laudaverim, qui me a te fideUter laudatum 
dixerim. Sed quid ahud dicerem quam id quod 
de te admonui, quam nosti ? Ecce mihi novam 
feci quaestionem, quam tu non proposuisti, et earn 
fortassis expectas ut solvam. Ita mihi parum erat 
quod debitor eram, nisi etiam me amphore debito ipse 

" Rom. xiii. 8. 

NO. 29 (Ep. CX) 

no man anything but to love one another " "), but for 
this letter of yours ; for when could I make a fair 
return for your graciousness and the great eagerness 
of your spirit conveyed to me in the reading of your 
letter ? Not that it told me anything in you that was 
not well known to me before, but yet, though not 
suggesting anything new, it was a new demand for 
a reply. 

You perhaps wonder why I describe myself as un- 2 
able to make an adequate repayment of this debt, 
when you, who know me as well as my own soul does, 
have conceived so great an opinion of me. But it 
is this very fact that makes it so difficult for me to 
reply to your letter, because I refrain for your 
modesty's sake from expressing the great esteem I 
entertain for you, and so by this restraint in express- 
ing myself, when you have heaped so much praise 
upon me, what can I do but remain in your debt ? 
This I should not mind, if I knew that your remarks 
to me about myself were inspired by flattery, that 
destroyer of friendship, and not by a very genuine 
affection, for in those circumstances I should not have 
been in debt at all, as it would have been no duty to 
pay back in the same coin. But the better I know 
the sincerity of mind with which you speak, the more 
I realize the burden of debt with which I am saddled. 

Now just see what I have brought upon myself: in 3 
saying that you were sincere in praising me, I have 
been in a way praising myself. Yet what else could 
I say than what I have suggested about yourself, 
what else than what you know ? But there I have 
put myself in another dilemma, one you did not set 
for me and which you perhaps expect me to resolve. 
Was it not enough for me to be in your debt without 



cumularem. Quamquam hoc facile sit ostendere et, 
si non ostendam, facile tibi videre, et vera infideliter 
dici posse et non vera fideliter. Qui enim sic credit 
ut loquitur, etsi non vera loquitur, fideliter loquitur ; 
qui autem non credit quae loquitur, etsi vera 
loquitur, infideliter loquitur. Numquid ergo dubito 
quod ea de me credas, quae scripsisti ? Quae cum 
in me non agnosco, potuisti fideliter de me non vera 
4 Sed nolo te vel benivolentia sic falli. Cui beni- 
volentiae debitor sum, quia et tam fideliter et tam 
benivole ea quae vera sunt, possem de te dicere, 
nisi, ut supra dixi, verecundiae tuae parcerem. Ego 
autem quando laudor a germanissimo et familiaris- 
simo animae meae, velut a me ipso lauder, sic habeo. 
Quod cernis quam molestum sit, etiam si vera 
dicantur ; quanto potius, quia etiam, cum sis altera 
anima mea, immo una sit anima tua et mea, sic in 
me falleris putando mihi adesse quae desunt, quo 
modo et de se ipse unus homo falli potest ! Quod 
non tantum ideo nolo, ne, quem diligo, tu fallaris, 
verum etiam ne minus ores, ut sim quod iam esse me 
credis. Nee in eo sum tibi debitor, ut eodem progressu 
benivolentiae credam et loquar de te bona quae 
adhuc et tu tibi deesse cognoscis, sed ut animo tam 

NO. 29 (Ep. CX) 

burdening myself with a debt even greater ? Still, it 
is easy to show (and if I do not show, it is easy for you 
to see) that the truth can be uttered with insincerity, 
and untruth with sincerity ; for a man who believes 
what he saj's speaks with sincerity, even if what he 
says be untrue, while a man who does not believe what 
he says speaks with insincerity, even if what he says 
be true. Have I any doubt that you do believe what 
you ^^Tote about me ? Yet, when I fail to recognize 
in myself the things you praise, it is possible that in 
all sincerity you were saying about me Vvhat was not 

But I do not want you to be so misled even in 4 
your kindness of heart ; to that kindness I am 
already in debt, since I could say with no less sincerity 
and no less kindness things that are true about you, 
if I were not anxious, as I said already, to spare 
your modesty. As for me, when praise is given me 
by one who is very near and very dear to my soul, 
I feel as if I were being praised by myself. So 
you see how embarrassing a position it is, even if 
what is said is true ; how much more embarrassing 
since you, being my other soul — nay, we are but one 
soul, you and I — are just as misled in thinking I 
possess qualities that I do not possess, as a single 
individual can be misled about himself. And I do 
not want that to happen, not simply to keep you, so 
dear a friend of mine, from being misled, but also 
to keep you from slackening in your prayers that 
I may become what you believe I am already. I 
am not in your debt in such a way that \\ith the 
same kindness and anticipation I should believe and 
speak favourably about qualities which you yourself 
are aware of not as yet possessing, but I am in debt 



quidem benivolo ea tamen dicam bona tua, dona dei, 
de quibus in te certus sum. Quod non idee non 
facio, ne fallar in eis, sed ne tu a me laudatus ipse 
te laudasse videaris et propter illam iustitiae regulam, 
quia mihi fieri nolo. Quod si fieri debet, eligo esse 
debitor, quam diu puto non esse faciendum ; si 
autem fieri non debet, nee debitor sum. 
5 Sed novi, quid mihi ad haec respondere possis : 
Ita ista loqueris, quasi prolixam epistulam tuam 
de laudibus meis desideraverim." Absit ut hoc de 
te credam ; sed epistula tua nolo dicere quam veris 
vel quam non veris plena tamen laudibus meis hoc 
de me ut rependerem etiam te nolente flagitavit. 
Nam si quid aliud volebas ut scriberem, largitorem 
me desiderabas, non redditorem. Porro iustitiae 
ordo sic habet, ut debitum prius reddamus, tum 
deinde, cui reddimus, si hoc placet, aliquid et do- 
nemus : quamquam etiam talia qualia desiderasti ut 
scriberem, si dihgentius praecepta dominica cogi- 
temus, reddimus potius quam donamus, si nemini 
quicquam debendum est, nisi ut invicem diligamus. 
Ipsa quippe dilectio exigit debitum, ut fraternae 
caritati servientes eum qui se adiuvari recte velit, 
in quo possumus, adiuvemus. Sed, mi frater, et tu 
credo quod noveris quanta sint in manibus meis, 
quibus adversus curas quas nostrae servitutis neces- 

" The " Golden Rule." 
" John xiii. 34, xv. 12, 17 ; Kom. xii. 10, etc. 

XO. 29 (Ep. CX) 

in this way, that with just the same kindhness of 
intention I may describe you as possessing those good 
quahties, sent from God above, which I am certain 
are in you. And if I refrain from doing so, it is 
not from fear that I may be misled, but from fear 
that when I have been praising you, you may seem 
to have been praising yourself, and because of that 
principle of justice," since I do not' want this done 
to myself. If this should be done, I prefer to be in 
debt as long as I keep thinking that it should not 
be done ; but if it should not be done, then am I not 
in debt. 

But I know the answer you may make to this : 5 
*' You speak as if I had wanted from you a 
lengthy letter in my praise." Far be it from me 
to think that of you : yet your letter, so full of my 
praises (how true or untrue no matter), did demand 
this repayment from me, even if you did not 
intend it. For if you wished me to write in any 
other way, it was not a repayment you wanted from 
me but a fresh gift. Moreover, justice prescribes 
this order, that we should pay our debt first, and 
that only then we should, if we so decide, make 
a gift to our creditor in addition ; yet, even the 
things you wanted me to write to you are, if we 
more carefully consider the Lord's injunctions, a 
repayment rather than a gift, if we are to owe no 
man anything but to love one another ^ ; for love 
requires the payment of our debt, to the end that, 
in obedience to brotherly affection, we may, wherever 
we can, help him who has the right desire to be 
helped. But, my brother, I think you know how 
full my hands are ; into them even the smallest drops 
of time hardly trickle for my refreshment amid the 



sitas habet, vix mihi paucissimae guttae temporis 
stillantur, quas aliis rebus si inpendero, contra 
officium meum mihi facere videor. 
6 Quod enim vis, ut ad te prolixam epistulam 
scribam, et hoc quidem debeo, fateor ; debeo prorsus 
hoc tarn dulci, tarn sincerae, tani merae voluntati 
tuae. Sed quia bonus es amator iustitiae, inde te 
admoneo, ut de ilia quam diligis, hoc a me libentius 
audias. Cernis prius esse quod et tibi et aliis quam 
quod tibi tantum modo debeo ; et tempus ad omnia 
mihi non sufficit, quando nee ad ilia quae priora sunt. 
Unde omnes carissimi et familiarissimi mei, quorum 
in nomine Christi inter primos mihi es, rem facient 
officii sui, si non solum mihi alia scribenda ipsi 
non inponant, verum etiam ceteros quanta possunt 
auctoritate et sancta benignitate prohibeant, ne 
videar ego durus, cum a singulis petita non dedero, 
dum ea magis volo reddere, quae omnibus debeo. 
Denique cum, sicut speramus et promissum tenemus, 
ad nos venerit venerabilitas tua, scies quibus operibus 
litterarum et quantum occupatus sim, et instantius 
facies quod rogavl, ut et alios, quos potueris, mihi 
aliquid aliud scribendum volentes iniungere a me 
demoliaris. Dominus deus noster impleat cordis tui 
tarn grandem et tarn sanctum sinum, quem ipse 
fecit, domine beatissime. 


NO. 29 (Ep. CX) 

anxieties that constitute the inevitable bondage of a 
servant of the Lord. If I squander those on other 
business, I seem to myself to be neglecting my 

Yet, when you want me to write you a lengthy 6 
letter, I do indeed owe you that, I must confess ; I 
surely do owe that to your sweet, sincere, and single- 
minded desire. But since you are a good lover of 
justice, I warn you to hear with the greater favour 
what I say about this object of your affection. You see 
that what I owe to you and others as well has a prior 
claim over what I owe to you alone ; and time fails 
me for everything, when it fails me even for my first 
duties. So all those who are nearest and dearest to 
me (and in Christ's name you are among the first of 
these) will only be doing their duty if they not only 
lay no further burden of writing on me themselves, 
but with all the authority and holy kindness they 
can, forbid others also to do so, so that I may not 
seem hard-hearted when I fail to give what each one 
has asked, my own desire being all the time to pay 
the debt I owe to all. Finally, when your Reverence 
visits me, as I hope you will, for I have your promise, 
you will understand with what literary tasks so much 
of my time is taken up, and you will be more insistent 
in doing what I have asked, deterring anj^ others 
you can from their desire to impose any more writing 
on me. May the Lord our God fill your spacious 
and holy breast and heart which He Himself has 
made, my most saintly lord ! 



No. .SO (Ep. CX\0 


Faventium bene novit sanctitas tua, qui Paratia- 
nensis saltus conductor fuit. Is cum ab eiusdem 
possessionis domino nescio quid sibi metueret, ad 
Hipponiensem confugit ecclesiam, et ibi erat, ut 
confugientes solent, expectans quo modo per inter- 
cessionem nostram sua negotia terminaret. Qui, ut 
saepe fit, per dies singulos minus minusque sollicitus 
et quasi adversario cessante securus, cum ab amico 
suo de cena egrederetur, subito raptus est a Floren- 
tino quodam, ut dicunt, comitis officiali per arma- 
torum manum, quanta eis ad hoc factum sufficere visa 

** Fortunatus was bishop of Cirta. He was present at the 
Conference in Carthage in 411 and is elsewhere mentioned 
by Augustine (Epp. liii., clxxvi.). 

* The case of Faventius was the occasion of the writing 
of Epp. cxiii., cxiv., and cxvi., aS well as this letter. Saltus^ 
originally only wooded and pasture land (" saltus proprie 
locus adhuc incultus et Silvester dicitur," Aug. In Ps. cxxxi. 
11), were vast estates as great as, sometimes larger than, the 
territory of a city [Groin, ed. Lachmann, p. 53). At the centre 
lay the r/7/aof the owner, surrounded by the houses of the 
workers, and this settlement was also called villa. All or 
part of the saltus was let to a conductor, belo%v whom were 
the colon i, owing him certain services. The domain itself was 
often caWtd fundus or lati fundi, but the word fundus was 
applied too to the smaller portions. See Reid, Municipal- 
ities of the Roman Empire, pp. 319 ff. ; Boissier, UAfrique 
Romaine, p. 165. 

" Paratianis has been identified with Medjez, on the coast 

NO. 30 (Ep. CXV) 

No. SO (Ep. CXV) 

(a.d. 410) 


Your Holiness is well acquainted with Faventius,^ 
the tenant of the estate at Paratianis.'' Being appre- 
hensive of something or other at the hands of the 
proprietor of that same estate, he fled for refuge to 
the Church of Hippo, where he remained, as those 
who seek sanctuary ^ usually do, waiting to see if by 
my interposition he could bring the affair to a satis- 
factory end. Becoming, as each day passed, less and 
less vigilant — a usual occurrence — and lulled to 
security by the delusion that his enemy was growing 
remiss, he was leaving a friend's house after supper 
when he was suddenly seized and abducted by one 
Florentinus, said to be an officer of the Count ,^ aided 
by what they thought to be for the purpose a suffi- 

twenty-five miles from Rusicade. It has fairly extensive 
ruins 'dating from Roman times. 

'^ Since the time of Constantine, churches had been a 
sanctuary for the innocent, the oppressed, and others who 
sought episcopal intercession. Commonly thirty days' pro- 
tection was granted. See Cod. Theod. rx. xv. 4 "de iis 
qui ad ecclesias confugiunt." See also No. 61 Infra. 

« When Diocletian separated the military administration 
of Africa from the civil, he appointed a dux prr Africam, 
but this title was changed about 330 to comfs. In 393 
Gildo was comes et mag'ister utriusque militiae; he was 
succeeded by Boniface, awidressed by Augustine in Nos. 43 
and 51. 

P 209 


est. Quod cum mihi nuntiaretur,^ et adhuc quo vel 
a quibus raptus fuerit, nesciretur, suspicio tamen 
esset de illo quern metuens se per ecclesiam tuebatur, 
continuo misi ad tribunum, qui custodiendo litori 
constitutus est. Misit militares ; nemo potuit re- 
periri. Sed mane cognovimus, et in qua domo fuerit 
et quod post galli cantum cum illo abscesserit qui 
eum tenuerat. Etiam illuc misi, quo dicebatur ab- 
ductus, ubi memoratus officialis inventus concedere 
presbytero quem miseram, noluit, ut eum saltem 
vlderet. Alio die misi litteras, petens ut ei con- 
cederetur quod iussit in causis talibus imperator, id 
est ut actis municipalibus interrogarentur, qui prae- 
cepti fuerint exhibendi, utrum velint in ea civitate 
sub custodia moderata triginta dies agere, ut rem 
suam ordinent vel praeparent sumptus. id utique 
existimans quod per ipsos dies possemus fortasse 
causam eius amica disceptatione finire. lam vero 
cum illo officiali profectus ductus est. Sed metus est 
ne forte ad consularis perductus officium mali aliquid 
patiatur. Habet enim causam cum homine pecunio- 
sissimo, quamvis iudicis integritas fama clarissima 
praedicetur. Ne quid tamen apud officium pecunia 
praevaleat, peto sanctitatem tuam, domine dilectis- 
sime et venerabilis frater, ut honorabili nobisque 
carissimo consulari digneris tradere litteras meas 
et has ei legere, quia bis eandem causam insinuare 

^ The Mss. have simply nuntiatum, after which Goldhacher 
inserts esset. The correct reading is probably nuntiaretur. 

** The reference is to the laws of Theodosius, of December 
30, 380, and of Honorius, of January 21, 409 {Cod. Theod. 
Lx. tit. ii.j. 

NO. SO (Ep. CXY) 

ciently large band of armed men. This was reported 
to me ; but since there was as yet no information who 
his abductors were nor where they had taken him, 
though suspicion fell on the man who had frightened 
him into seeking protection from the Church, I at 
once communicated with the tribune in command of 
the coast-guards. He sent soldiers ; no one could be 
found, but in the morning we discovered the house 
in which he had been detained and found that his 
keeper had left with him after cock-crow. I also 
sent to the place to which it was said he had been 
carried off. When the afore-mentioned officer w^as 
found, he refused to grant to the priest I had sent 
permission even to see him. Next day I sent a letter 
requesting for him the privilege which the Emperor 
appointed in such cases as this,^ namely, that those 
under summons to appear in court should be asked 
at the municipal bench if they were willing to spend 
thirty days in that town under lenient observation, 
to put their affairs in order or to prepare their 
finances. My expectation was that during that period 
we could perhaps reach a settlement of his case by 
friendly discussion. Already, however, he had gone 
off with that officer and was taken to prison, but 
there is some fear that if he be brought before the 
governor's tribunal, he may suffer some hardship, 
for although that judge has an excellent reputation 
for rectitude, Faventius's opponent in the case is a 
very wealthy man. So to prevent the exercise of any 
undue influence in that court by his money, I beg 
your Holiness, my dearest lord and venerable brother, 
to hand my letter to the honourable magistrate, a 
man very dear to me, and to read this one to him, for 
I do not think it necessary to write a second account 



necessarium non esse arbitratus sum : et eius causae 
differat audientiam, quoniam nescio utrum in ea 
nocens an innocens sit, et, quod circa eundem leges 
non servatae sunt, ut sic raperetur neque, ut ab im- 
peratore praeceptum est, ad acta municipalia per- 
duceretur interrogandus utrum beneficium dilationis 
vellet accipere, non contemnat, ut per hoc possimus 
cum eius adversario rem finire. 

No. 31 (Ep. CXXII) 


1 In primis peto caritatem vestram et per lesum 
obsecro, ne vos mea contristet absentia corporalis. 
Nam spiritu et cordis afFectu puto vos non dubitare 
nuUo modo me a vobis posse discedere, quamvis me 
amplius contristet quam forte vos ipsos, quod in- 
firmitas mea sufficere non potest omnibus curis quas 
de me exigunt membra Christi, quibus me et timor 
eius et caritas servire compellit. Illud enim noverit 
vestra dilectio numquam me absentem fuisse licen- 
tiosa libertate sed necessaria servitute, quae saepe 
sanctos fratres et collegas meos etiam labores marinos 

" Written from the country, to which Augustine's ill- 
health had made it necessary to retire (Ep. cxviii. 34 " me 
post aegritudinem . . . aliquantum ab Hippone removeram, 
quibus item diebus perturbatione valetudinis febribusque 
repetitus sum "j. For other indications of his poor health 
c/. No. 13 above and Serm. 355. 7 "ego, sicut videtis, per 
aetatem modo senui, sed per infirmitatem corporis olim sum 

NO. 30 (Ep. CX\')— NO. 31 (Ep. CXXII) 

of the same case ; and let him postpone the hearing 
of his case, since I do not know whether he is inno- 
cent or guilty. And let him not make light of the 
fact that in deahng with him the legal procedure 
was not observed, in that he was seized and abducted 
and was not taken, as the Emperor enjoined, before 
the municipal court to be questioned whether he 
wished to avail himself of the concession of delay. 
In this way we may be able to reach a settlement 
with his opponent. 

No. 31 (Ep. CXXII) 

(a.d. 410) 


I particularly beg you, my friends, and beseech 1 
you for Jesus' sake, not to be grieved that I am 
absent from you in the body, for I believe you are 
confident that in no wise could I depart from you 
in spirit and heart-felt affection. Yet I am more 
grieved than perhaps you are yourselves that in the 
weak state of my health I cannot adequately cope 
with all the attentions required from me by the 
members of Christ, whom love and fear of Him compel 
me to serve. For you are Mell aware, my dear 
friends, that I have never been absent because of 
any selfish desire for a free time, but because of the 
obligations imposed on me by my servitude, which 
has often compelled my holy brethren and colleagues 
to undertake tasks on the sea and over the sea, 



et transmarinos compulit sustinere, a quibus me 
semper non indevotio mentis sed minus idonea 
valitudo corporis excusavit. Proinde, dilectissimi 
fratres, sic agite, ut, quod ait apostolus, sive adveniens 
et videns vos sive ahsens, andiam de vobis quia statis in 
WW spiritu, uno animo conlahor antes Jidei evangelicae. 
Si vos aliqua molestia temporalis exagitat, ipsa vos 
magis admonere debet quem ad modum de ilia 
vita cogitare debeatis, ubi sine aliquo labore vivatis, 
evadentes non molestas angustias temporis parvi sed 
horrendas poenas ignis aeterni. Nam si modo tanta 
cura. tanta intentione, tanto labore agitis ne in aliquos 
cruciatus transitorios incidatis.. quantum vos oportet 
esse sollicitos, ut sempiternas miserias fugiatis ! Et 
si mors sic timetur, quae finit temporalem laborem, 
quo modo timenda est, quae mittit in aeternum 
dolorem ! Et si deliciae saeculi huius breves et 
sordidae sic amantur, quanto vehementius futuri 
saeculi gaudia pura et infinita quaerenda sunt ! Ista 
cogitantes, nolite esse pigri in operibus bonis, ut ad 
vestri seminis messem suo tempore veniatis. 
2 Nuntiaturn est enim mihi, quod morem vestrum 
de vestiendis pauperibus fueritis obliti, ad quam 
misericordiam, cum praesens essem, vos exhortatus 
sum et nunc exhortor, ne vos vincat et pigros faciat 
contritio mundi huius, cui talia videtis accidere 

" Indevotio, a late word, means want of reverence, respect, 
dutifulness, to God, the emperor, or the laws, or want of 
conscientiousness in performance of duty. It is found fairly 
often in the legal writers with the meaning of failing to 
respect the last wishes of a testator (Cod. Just. vii. 2. 15. 2, 
Novell, i. 3). It is rare in literary language, but occurs in 
AmV)rose (Ilelia, 17. 62, In Ps. cxviii. 16. 45), Salvian {Gub. 
3. 2. 10, Eccl. 3. 45), and Alcim. Avit. (Ep. Ixxxiv.). 

" Phil. i. 27. 

NO. 31 (Ep. CXXII) 

from which I have been excused not from want of 
conscientiousness,"^ but from imperfect bodily health. 
Accordingly, my brethren, let your behaviour be such 
that, as the Apostle says, " whether I come and see 
you or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, 
that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind_ 
striving together for the faith of the gospel."^ If 
you are harassed by some temporal vexation, it • 
ought the more to remind you how you ought to 
think of that life which you are to live without any 
toil, escaping not the vexatious hardships of this 
fleeting age, but the terrible penalties of the everlast- 
ing fire. For if you now expend so much forethought,, 
so much effort, so much toil, in saving yourselves 
from falling into any transitory torments, how anxious 
you should be to escape from everlasting miseries ! 
And if the death which ends the toil of this life 
inspires such fear, how greatly that death is to be 
feared which casts men into everlasting pain ! And 
if the vile and short-lived charms of this world are 
so loved, how much more eagerly are the undefiled 
and unending joys of the world to come to be sought 
after ! Meditate upon these things and be not 
slothful in good works, that in due season you may 
come to the harvest of your sowing. 

I have been informed that you have forgotten 2 
your habit of clothing the poor ; to that work of 
mercy I exhorted you when I was with you, and I 
now exhort you not to be overcome and made slothful 
by the trials of this present world, which you now 
see visited by such calamities '^ as our Lord and 

'^ The reference is to the capture and sacking of Rome by 
the Goths under Alaric in 410. 



qualia dominus et redemptor noster, qui mentiri non 
potest, Ventura praedixit. Non solum ergo non 
debetis minus facere opera misericordiae, sed etiam 
debetis amplius quam soletis. Sicut enim ad loca 
munitiora festinatius migrant, qui ruinam domus 
\'ident contritis parietibus imminere, sic corda 
Christiana quanto magis sentiunt mundi huius ruinam 
crebrescentibus tribulationibus propinquare, tanto 
magis debent bona quae in terra recondere dispone- 
bant, in thesaurum caelestem inpigra celeritate trans- 
ferre, ut, si aliqui humanus casus acciderit, gaudeat 
qui de loco ruinoso emigravit, si autem nihil tale 
fuerit subsecutum, non contristetur, qui quandoque 
moriturus inmortali domino ad quem venturus est, 
bona propria commenda\it. Itaque, fratres mei dilec- 
tissimi, ex eo quod quisque habet, secundum suas 
\ires, quas ipse novit, facite quod soletis, alacriore 
animo quam soletis, et inter omnes saeculi huius 
molestias apostolicam exhortationem corde retinete, 
ubi ait : Dominus in proximo est ; nihil solliciti fueritis. 
Talia mihi de vobis nuntientur, quibus noverim non 
propter meam praesentiam sed propter dei praecep- 
tum, qui numquam est absens, vos solere facere 
quod multis annis me praesente et aliquando etiam 
me absente fecistis. Dominus vos in pace conservet, 
dilectissimi fratres ; orate pro nobis. 

" Phil. iv. 5-Q, 

NO. 31 (Ep. CXXII) 

Redeemer, who cannot lie, foretold would come to 
pass. So far then from having any right to curtail 
your works of mercy, you ought to increase them 
beyond your usual measure. For just as they who 
see in the crumbling of its walls the impending 
downfall of their home, hasten to remove themselves 
to places more secure, so ought Christian hearts, the 
more they feel by the increase of its trials the ap- 
proaching downfall of this present world, to be the 
more prompt and active in transferring to the treasury 
of heaven those goods they v/ere proposing to store 
up on earth ; in this way, if any human misfortune 
occurs, he who has removed from the place of destruc- 
tion may rejoice, but if no such misfortune follows, 
he may not grieve, since, destined some day to die, 
he has committed his own possessions to his ever- 
lasting Lord, to Whom he will one day depart. 
Therefore, my beloved brethren, from what he has 
let each one of you according to his ability — and of 
that each man is the best judge — give his accus- 
tomed share with more than his accustomed cheerful- 
ness, and cherish in your hearts amid all the vexations 
of this present world that admonition of the Apostle, 
in which he says : " The Lord is at hand ; be careful 
for nothing."^ Let me have such reports of you that 
I may know that it is not because of my presence 
but because of God's command, Who is never absent 
from you, that you follow the practice you have 
followed for many years while I was present with 
you, and sometimes even when I was absent. The 
Lord preserve you in peace, my beloved brethren. 
Pray for us. 



No. 32 (Ep. CXXIV) 


1 Cum habitu valitudinis vel natura frigus ferre non 
possim, numquam tamen maiores aestus quani ista 
hieme tarn horrenda perpeti potui, quod ad vos, 
ad quos volatu maria transeunda fuerant, tam in 
proximo constitutos, tam de longinquo visendi nos 
gratia venientes, non dicam pergere sed volare non 
potui. Et forsitan sanctitas vestra eandem hiemalem 
asperitatem poenae meae tantum causam putaverit. 
Absit, carissimi. Quid enim grave ac molestum vel 
etiam periculosum habent imbres isti, quod non 
mihi subeundum ac ferendum fuit, ut ad vos venirem, 
tanta in tantis malis nostris solatia, in hac genera- 
tione tortuosa ac perversa tam ardenter accensa de 
summo lumine lumina suscepta humilitate subUmia 
et contempta claritate clariora ? Simul etiam fruerer 
carnalis patriae meae tam spiritali felicitate, quae 

« Albina was a daughter-in-law of the famous convert, 
the elder Melania, who, though of noble birth and great 
wealth, became a devoted ascetic. At the age of thirteen 
Albina's daughter, the younger Melania here mentioned, 
married Pinianus, who was equally high-born and wealthy. 
The three left Rome after the sack by Alaric in 410 and 
settled at Tagaste (Augustine's carnalis patria of § 1). 
They desired to make Augustine's acquaintance, and the 
present letter is his apology for being unable to go to 
Tagaste to meet them, so they came to Hippo, where the 
curious scenes narrated in the following letter, so instructive 
for the church life of the period, took place. At Tagaste 

NO. 32 (Ep. CXXIV) 

No. 32 (Ep. CXXIV) 

(a.d. 411) 


Although from the state of my health, or from my 1 
natural constitution, I cannot endure cold, still I have 
never had a chance of suffering greater feverishness 
than I have done this dreadful winter because of my 
inability — I shall not say to go, but to fly, to you (for 
to see you I would have flown across the seas) now 
that you are settled so near, after coming so far to visit 
us. And perhaps you will think, my godly friends, that 
this same severity of the \\1nter was the only cause 
of my affliction ; far be it from me, beloved ! For 
what difficulty or trouble or even danger lies in 
those storms that I would not have undergone 
and endured in order to be with you, our great 
comfort in our great troubles, who in this crooked 
and perverse generation are lights kindled into such 
brightness by the Light supreme, and are the loftier 
for the humility you have taken upon you and the 
more illustrious for the lustre you have scorned ? At 
the same time I should have too such great spiritual 
enjoyment in my earthly birthplace, since it has had 

the younger Melania acquired an estate of greater extent 
than the town itself. On it were many workers, a balneum, 
and two bishops, one Donatist and the other Catholic. 
This estate she presented to the church of Tagaste {Anal. 
Bolland. viii., 1889, p. 35). 



vos etiam praesentes habere meruit, de quibus ab- 
sentibus, cum id quod nati estis et quod gratia 
Christi facti estis, audiret, quamvis caritate crederet, 
tamen ne non crederetur, narrare forsitan verebatur. 
2 Dicam igitur quare non venerim et quibus malis 
a tanto bono impeditus sum, ut non solum a vobis 
veniam, sed etiam vestris orationibus ab illo qui in 
vobis quod ei vivitis, operatur, merear misericordiam. 
Populus Hipponiensis, cui me dominus servum dedit, 
cum ex magna ac pene ex omni parte ita infirmus sit, 
ut pressura etiam levioris tribulationis possit graviter 
aegrotare, nunc tam magna tribulatione caeditur, ut 
etiam si non sic esset infirmus, vix eam cum aliqua 
salute animi sustineret. Eum autem, cum modo re- 
gressus sum, periculosissime scandalizatum comperi 
de absentia mea ; vestris autem de quorum spiritali 
robore gaudemus in domino, sanis utique faucibus 
sapit quo modo dictum sit : Quis infirmatur et ego non 
injirmor ? Quis sca?idalizahir et ego non uror ?, prae- 
sertim quoniam multi sunt hie qui detrahendo nobis 
ceterorum animas a quibus diligi videmur, adversus 
nos perturbare conantur, ut locum in eis diabolo 
faciant. Cum autem irascuntur nobis de quorum 
salute satagimus, magnum illis consilium vindicandi 
est libido moriendi non in corpore sed in corde, ubi 
funus occulte prius suo putore sentitur, quam nostra 
cogitatione prospicitur. Huic meae sollicitudini 

2 Cor. xi. 29. 

NO. 32 (Ep. CXXI\0 

the honour of your presence ; in your absence, it 
had heard what you were by birth and what by the 
grace of Christ you have become, yet though in love 
it beheved this, yet it was perhaps afraid to tell it 
to others in case they might not believe it. 

I shall tell you, then, my reasons for not coming 2 
and the troubles that have kept me from so great a 
pleasure ; thus I may gain not only pardon from you, 
but also, through your prayers, compassion from Him 
Who worketh in you to make you live unto Him. The 
people of Hippo, to whom the Lord gave me as a 
servant, are to a great extent, indeed to an almost 
complete extent, so feeble, that the infliction of 
even a trivial distress can seriously impair their 
well-being, and now they are smitten with such a 
great distress that, even were they not so feeble, 
they could scarcely endure it without a consider- 
able risk of mental collapse. When I returned 
recently, I found them offended to a very dangerous 
degree at my absence. Now you, whose spiritual 
strength has given us such joy in the Lord, can 
certainly relish with wholesome palate the point of 
the saying: "Who is weak, and I am not weak? 
Who is offended, and I burn not? " ^ particularly since 
there are here many v.ho by disparaging us attempt 
to stir up against us the minds of the others by whom 
we seem to be loved, in order to make room in them 
for the devil. But when those whose salvation is our 
concern are angry with us, their great method of 
taking revenge is to lust after death, not the death 
of the body, but of the soul, where the fact of dis- 
solution is secretly perceived by the odour of corrup- 
tion before we can guess at it and take measures 
against it. This anxiety of mine I am sure you will 



procul dubio libenter ignoscitis, praesertim quoniam, 
si suscenseretis et velletis ulcisci, nihil fortasse 
gravius inveniretis, quam id quod patior cum vos 
Tagastae non video. Spero autem vestris adiutus 
orationibus, quod mihi ad vos, ubicumque in Africa 
fueritis, venire quantocius concedetur, cum hoc quo 
nunc detentus sum, praeterierit, si haec civitas in 
qua laboramus, digna non est, quia nee ego audeo 
dignam putare, quae nobiscum de vestra praesentia 

No. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 


I Dolorem animi tui, quern te scribis expUcare non 
posse, consolari aequum est, non augere, ut, si fieri 
potest, sanemus suspiciones tuas, non ut eis pro 
nostra causa suscensendo venerandum cor tuum et 
deo dicatum amplius perturbemus. Sancto fratri 
nostro fiUo tuo Piniano nullus ab Hipponiensibus 
metus mortis ingestus est, etiamsi forte ipse tale 
aliquid timuit; nam et nos metuebamus ne ab ali- 
quibus perditis, qui saepe multitudini occulta con- 

<• When Albina, Melania, and Pinianus came to Hippo, 
the people there, allured by Pinianus's wealth, sought to have 
Pinianus forcibly ordained. Augustine was unable to restrain 
them from extracting from Pinianus an oath that he would 
not leave Hippo and would not receive ordination elsewhere, 
but the trio, despite the oath, returned next day to Tagaste. 
Letters cxxv.-cxxviii. then passed between Augustine, Aly- 
pius, and Albina, warmly discussing the validity of Pinianus's 

NO. 32 (Ep. CXXIV)— NO. SS (Ep. CXXVI) 

gladly pardon, especially since you would perhaps 
find no heavier punishment, if you were angry and 
wanted to punish me, than what I have been endur- 
ing at not seeing you at Tagaste. But I hope that 
by the help of your prayers it may be granted me 
as soon as possible to pay you a visit, when this 
emergency that now detains me is past, wherever in 
Africa you may be, if this city that is the scene of 
my labours be unworthy, as I myself do not venture 
to consider it worthy, to share with me the joy of 
your presence. 

No. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

(a.d. 411) 


It is right that I should assuage, and not augment, 
the grief of your spirit, which you describe in your 
letter as inexpressible ; in this way I may, if possible, 
heal your suspicions and not add to the agitation of 
your heart, so venerable and so devoted to God, by 
indignantly repudiating them for my own sake. The 
people of Hippo did nothing to make our holy brother, 
your son Pinianus, apprehensive of death, even 
though he himself perhaps entertained some fear of 
it. We ourselves, indeed, were afraid that some of 
the ruffians who often mix with a crowd from some 

oath, which Augustine held to be valid, and repudiating the 
charge of covetousness. When Pinianus lost his property, 
the Hipponiensians quietly let the matter drop. 



spiratione miscentur, in violentani prorumperetur 
audaciam occasione seditionis inventa, quarn velut 
iusta indignatione concitaret. Sed, sicut post audire 
potuimus, nihil tale a quoquam dictum est vel moli- 
tum, sed vere in fratrem meum Alypium multa con- 
tumeliosa et indigna clamabant, a quo tarn ingenti 
reatu utinam per illius orationes mereantur absolvi. 
Ego autem post primos eorum clamores cum eis 
dixissem de illo invito non ordinando, qua iam pro- 
missione detinerer, atque adiecissem quod, si mea fide 
violata ilium haberent presbyterum, me episcopum 
non haberent, ad nostra subsellia relicta turba redie- 
ram. Tum illi aliquantulum inopinata mea responsione 
cunctati atque turbati velut flamma vento paululum 
pressa, deinde coeperunt multo ardentius excitari, 
existimantes fieri posse, ut vel mihi extorqueretur 
illud non servare promissum vel me tenente promissi 
fidem ab alio episcopo ordinaretur. Dicebam ego 
quibus poteram, qui ad nos in absidem honoratiores 
et gra\iores ascenderant, nee a promissi fide me posse 
dimoveri nee ab alio episcopo in ecdesia mihi tradita 
nisi me interrogate ac permittente posse ordinari ; 
quod si permitterem, a fide nihilo minus deviarem. 
Addebam etiam nihil eos velle, si ordinaretur in- 
vitus, nisi ut ordinatus abscederet. Illi hoc posse 

" The apse was the recess, usually semi-circular, in which 
the eastern end of the church terminated. It was reserved 
to the clergy, who had their seats or stalls (subsellia) there, 
hence it was sometimes known as presbyterlum, while, from 
its shape, it also received the name concha (Paul. Nol. Ep. 
xxxii. 12); the bishop's seat was usually provided with 
curtains, so it was called cathedra velata (Aug. Ep. xxiii. 3). 
This portion of the church was raised above the nave by 


NO. ^S (Ep. CXXVI) 

secret design might find an opportunity for rioting 
and produce an outburst of violence and outrage, 
stirring it up from apparently justified resentment ; 
but Me later had opportunity to ascertain that 
nothing of this kind was either suggested or attempted 
by anyone, although, to tell the truth, many insult- 
ing and opprobrious remarks were made against 
my brother Alypius — for which enormous offence I 
would that his prayers might win them pardon. 
But for my part, after their outcries began, I told 
them I could not ordain him against his will, being 
prevented by the promise I had already made, and 
I went on to say that if they made me break faith 
and had him as their priest, they would not have me 
as their bishop. I then left the crowd and returned 
to the clergy's stalls, whereupon, like a flame some- 
what checked by the wind, they hesitated for a 
moment in consternation at my unexpected reply 
and then began to be much more afire w^th excite- 
ment, thinking that possibly they could MTing from 
me the repudiation of my promise, or else that, if I 
stuck to my pledged word, he might receive ordina- 
tion from another bishop. To those more notable 
and more venerable persons who came up to me 
in the apse" I kept saying, when possible, that I 
could not be deflected from keeping my pledged 
word, nor could any other bishop ordain in the church 
entrusted to me without my permission asked and 
given ; even if I did allow that, I should none the 
less be departing from my pledge. I added, too, 
that if he were ordained against his Mill, they M'ould 
only drive him away after his ordination. They 

several steps {ahsis gradata, ib.), and before it stood the 
altar and the altar rails {co.ncelli). 

Q 225 


fieri non credebant. Multitude vero pro gradibus 
constituta horrendo et perseverantissimo clamorum 
fremitu in eadem voluntate persistans incertos animi 
consiliique faciebant. Tunc ilia in fratrem meuni in- 
digna clamabantur, tunc a nobis graviora timebantur. 
2 Sed quamvis tanto motu populi et tanta perturba- 
tione ecclesiae permoverer nee aliud constipationi 
illi dixissem nisi eum me invitum ordinare non posse, 
nee sic tamen adductus sum, quia et hoc promiseram 
non me fuisse facturum, ut aliquid ei de suscipiendo 
presbyterio suaderem ; quod si persuadere potuissem, 
non iam ordinaretur invitus. Servavi utriusque pro- 
missionis fidem, non solum illius quam iam populo 
patefeceram, verum etiam illius in qua uno teste, 
quantum ad homines adtinet, detinebar. Servavi, 
inquam, fidem promissionis, non iurationis, in tanto 
periculo. Quod licet falso, sicut postea comperimus, 
metuebatur, omnibus tamen, si quod esset, com- 
muniter inpendebat, et erat metus ipse communis, ac 
propter ecclesiam, in qua eramus, maxime metuens 
abscedere cogitabam. Sed metuendum fuit, ne 
magis me absente tale aliquid faceret et reverentia 
minor et dolor ardentior. Deinde, si cum fratre 
Alypio discederem per populum constipatum, caven- 

NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

would not believe that this could possibly happen, 
but the crowd standing before the steps and express- 
ing their unchanged and obstinate determination 
with the most persistent and hideous din and shout- 
ing made them irresolute and perplexed. It was 
then that those opprobrious outcries arose against 
my brother, and then that I was afraid of more serious 

Yet, although I was much perturbed at the 
excitement among the people and the turmoil 
in the church, and assured the crowd only of my 
inability to ordain him against his will, even under 
those circumstances I was not induced to make any 
suggestion to him about accepting priestly orders, 
for that was just what I had promised I would not do ; 
if I could have succeeded in making him accept my 
suggestion, then he would not be ordained against 
his will. I remained faithful to both promises, not 
only the one I had revealed to the people, but also 
the other which, so far as men were concerned, had 
only one witness to bind me. I was faithful, I repeat, 
even in the face of such danger, to what was a promise, 
not an oath. We learned afterwards that our appre- 
hensions of danger were without foundation, yet 
w^hatever danger there was threatened all of us alike, 
and the apprehension was shared by all, and I myself 
had thoughts of withdrawing, being chiefly appre- 
hensive for the safety of the church in which we were 
gathered. But there was reason to fear that if I 
were not there, some such outrage mJght be more 
likely to result from the increase of their dis- 
respect and the greater violence of their resentment. 
Further, if I did leave in company with brother 
Alypius through the crowded ranks of the people, 



dum fuitj ne quisquam in euni manum mittere 
auderet ; si autem sine illo, quae frons esset existima- 
tionis, si quid ei fortassis accideret et viderer eum 
propterea deseruisse, ut furenti populo traderetur. 
3 Inter hos aestus meos gravemque maerorem et 
nullius consilii respirationem, ecce repente atque in- 
opinate sanctus filius noster Pinianus mittit ad me 
servum dei, qui mihi diceret eum se velle populo 
iurare quod, si esset ordinatus in\dtus, ex Africa 
discederet omnino, credo, existimans eos, quando 
quidem peierare non posset, non iam ulterius in- 
fructuosa perseverantia clamaturos ad expellendum 
hinc hominem, quem saltem deberemus habere 
vicinum. Mihi autem quia videbatur vehementiorem 
eorum dolorem post hanc iurationem fuisse metuen- 
dum, apud me tacitus habui, et quia simul petierat 
ut ad eum venirem, non distuU. Cum mihi dixisset 
hoc ipsum, continuo et illud adiunxit eidem iurationi, 
quod mihi, dum ad eum pergo, per alium dei servum 
mandaverat, de praesentia scihcet sua, si ei clericatus 
sarcinam nolenti nullus inponeret. Hie ego in tantis 
angustiis quasi aura spirante recreatus nihil ei re- 
spondi, sed ad fratrem Alypium gradu concitatiore 
perrexi eique quid dixerit, dixi. At ille, ut existimo, 
devitans ne quid se auctore fieret, unde vos putabat 
ofFendi : " Hinc me," inquit, " nemo consulat." Quo 

NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

we should have had to see that no one ventured 
to lay hands upon him ; while if I left without 
him, what a shameful reputation I should earn if 
anything happened to him and I appeared to have 
deserted him with the sole purpose of delivering him 
over to the frenzy of the people. 

Amid this feverish anxiety and oppressive anguish, 3 
when I w^as without a breath of any plan, lo ! 
our holy son Pinianus suddenly and unexpectedly 
sends a servant of God to me to tell me that he 
wanted him to swear to the people that, if he were 
ordained against his will, he would leave Africa 
altogether ; his notion was, I imagine, that seeing 
he could not break his oath, they would not go on 
clamouring with such persistence, if it only resulted 
in driving from the country a man whom we ought 
at least to have as a neighbour. But since it appeared 
to me that we had to fear a more violent outburst of 
resentment from them in consequence of an oath of 
this kind, I kept it to myself and said nothing about 
it ; and as he had asked at the same time that I should 
go to him, I went at once. After telling me the same 
thing, he immediately added to that oath a point that 
he had sent another servant of God to put to me 
while I was on my way to him, namely, about his 
residence in Hippo, provided that no one compelled 
him to undertake the burden of clerical office against 
his will. At such an impasse, this refreshed me like 
a breath of air, but I said nothing to him and went 
with hurried step to brother Alypius and told him 
what he had said. But he, seeking, I think, to avoid 
responsibility for any occurrence that he thought 
might give you offence, made answer, " Let no one 
ask my advice about it." On hearing this, I returned 



audito, ad populum tumultuantem perrexi, factoque 
silentio, quid promissum esset, cum promissione etiam 
iurationis aperui. Illi vero, qui solum eius presby- 
terium cogitabant atque cupiebant, non ita ut 
putabam, quod oblatum fuerat, acceperunt, sed inter 
se aliquantulum mussitantes petiverunt ut adderetur 
eidem promissioni atque iurationi, ut, si quando illi 
ad suscipiendum clericatum consentire placuisset, 
non nisi in ipsa Hipponiensi ecelesia consentiret. 
Rettuli ad eum ; sine dubitatione adnuit. Renun- 
tiavi illis ; laetati sunt et mox iurationem pollicitam 
4 Reverti ad filium nostrum eumque inveni fluctu- 
antem quibusnam verbis comprehendi posset ilia 
cum iuratione promissio propter necessitates in- 
ruentes, quae possent eum ut abscederet, cogere. 
Simul etiam quid timeret ostendit, ne quis inruisset 
hostilis incursus, qui esset discessione vitandus. 
Volebat addi sancta Melania et aeris morbidi causa- 
tionem, sed illius responsione reprehensa est. Ego 
autem dixi gravem ab illo et non contemnendam 
causam necessitatis ingestam, quae cives etiam 
emigrare compelleret ; sed si haec populo dicerentur, 
timendum esse ne male nos ominari videremur, si 
autem sub generali necessitatis nomine fieret ex- 
cusatio, non nisi fraudulentam necessitatem putari. 
Placuit tamen ut de hac re populi animum ex- 
periremur, et nihil aliud quam id quod putaveramus, 
invenimus. Nam cum eius verba a diacono dicta 


NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

to the people, who were still in an uproar, and when 
silence had been obtained, I made them aware of the 
promise he had made and of the oath he had promised 
in addition. But as their mind and heart were set only 
on making him a priest, they did not accept his 
offer as I thought they would, but after a short time 
of muttering among themselves, demanded that he 
would add to his promise and oath the declaration 
that, if ever he decided to consent to undertake 
clerical office, he should do so only in the church of 
Hippo. I reported this to him ; he agreed without 
hesitation ; I returned to them Avith his answer ; 
they were overjoyed, and presently demanded the 
oath he had promised. 

I returned to our son, and found him at a loss for 4< 
words in which to frame his promise confirmed by 
his oath, allowing for necessities that might occur to 
make his departure essential. At the same time, 
too, he revealed what it was he feared, namely, the 
occurrence of a hostile invasion, to avoid which it 
would be necessary to depart. The saintly Melania 
wanted to add to this the excuse of the unhealthy 
climate, but his reply to this reproved her. I stated 
that he had brought forward a ground of necessity 
that was grave and not to be despised, one which 
would compel the inhabitants as well to abandon the 
town ; but if that reason were intimated to the people, 
it was to be feared that we might seem to be prophesy- 
ing disaster, while if his excuse were stated in general 
terms of necessity, they would think that the necessity 
was only a make-believe. Yet he decided that we 
should test the mind of the people about it, and 
we found the result was exactly what we had antici- 
pated. For when his words were read out to them 



recitarentur et omnia placuissent, ubi nomen inter- 
positae necessitatis insonuit, continue reclamatum est 
promissioque displicuit, tumultu recrudescente et nihil 
aliud quam fraude secum agi populo existimante. 
Quod cum sanctus filius noster vidisset, iussit inde 
auferri nomen necessitatis rursumque ad laetitiam 
populus remeavit. 

5 Et ut lassitudinem recusarem, sine me ad plebem 
accedere noluit ; simul accessimus. Dixit ea quae 
a diacono audita erant, se mandasse, se iurasse, eaque 
se esse facturum, continuoque omnia eo tenore quo 
dictaverat, prosecutus est. Responsum est : " Deo 
gratias," et petitum ut totum scriptum subscribere- 
tur. Dimisimus catechumenos continuoque scriptum 
subscripsit. Deinde peti coepimus nos episcopi, non 
vocibus populi sed tamen a populo per honestos 
fideles, ut nos quoque subscriberemus. At ubi coepi 
subscribere, sancta Melania contradixit. Miratus 
sum quare tam sero, quasi promissionem illam et 
iurationem nos non subscribendo facere possemus 
infectam ; sed tamen obtemperavi, ac sic remansit 
mea non plena subscriptio nee ultra nobis quisquam, 
ut subscriberemus, putavit instandum. 

6 Qui autem alio die, posteaquam ipsum discessisse 
didicerunt, fuerint motus vel linguae hominum, 
quantum satis arbitratus sum, sanctitati vestrae per 

" The catechumens were not allowed to be present at any 
rites or prayers (save the "prayers for the catechumens") 
or discourses on the inner mysteries of the Faith, though 
they heard the ordinary sermons (" ecce post sermonem fit 
missa catechumenis : manebunt fideles, venietur ad locum 
orationis," Serm. 49. 8). 


NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

by the mouth of a deacon and everything had been 
received with approbation, as soon as the word 
" necessity " that he had introduced fell on their ears, 
they immediately remonstrated and took exception 
to his promise, while the outcry was renewed, and the 
people jumped to the conclusion that the negotia- 
tions were meant only to deceive them. When our 
holy son perceived this, he ordered the word necessity 
to be struck out, and the people were restored to 
their condition of delight. 

And although I pleaded weariness, he would not 5 
approach the people without me, so we went together. 
He stated that it was his message they had heard the 
deacon recite, that he had confirmed it by oath and 
would carry out what he had promised, and straight- 
way he repeated everything just as he had dictated 
it. The response was made, " Thanks be to God," 
and it was asked that the whole written statement 
should be subscribed. We dismissed the catechumens '^ 
and straightway he subscribed the statement. Then 
the people began to ask (not by shouting out, but 
still through some of the faithful of good report, 
commissioned by them) that I, as bishop, should 
subscribe it too. But when I began to subscribe it, 
the saintly Melania opposed it. I wondered why she 
intervened at that late hour, as if my refraining from 
subscribing could invalidate his promise and oath ; 
but yet I humoured her, and so my subscription 
remained unfinished, and no one thought of insisting 
any further on my subscribing. 

But M'hat the feelings and remarks of people were 6 
on the follo^dng day, after they learned of his de- 
parture, I have taken the trouble to indicate to you, 
my saintly friend, as far as seemed to me necessary, in 


commonitorium intimare cura^-i. Quisquis itaque 
vobis contraria his quae narravi, forte narra\Tit, 
aut mentitur aut fallitur. Quaedam enim quae 
mihi ad curam non pertinere visa sunt, praeter- 
misisse me sentio, nulla tamen falsa dixisse. Proinde 
sanctus filius noster Pinianus quod me praesente ac 
permittente iuraverit, verum est ; quod aut em me 
praecipiente iuraverit, falsum est. Scit ipse, sciunt 
servi dei quos ad me misit, primo sanctus Barnabas, 
deinde Timasius, per quem etiam de promissione 
praesentiae suae mihi mandavit. Ipse quoque 
populus ad presbyterium, non ad ius iurandum cla- 
mando cogebat ; sed oblatum sibi non respuit, ea 
spe quo posset in eodem apud nos habitante vo- 
luntas fieri, quo consentiret ad ordinationem, ne, 
sicut iuraverat, si invitus ordinaretur, abscederet. 
Ac per hoc et illi propter opus dei clamaverunt — 
neque enim sanctificatio presbyterii non est opus dei 
— et, quod postea de promissa praesentia gratulati 
non sunt, nisi adderetur quod, si quando ad sus- 
cipiendum clericatum consentire vellet, non nisi in 
Hipponiensi ecclesia consentiret, satis in promptu 
est quod etiam de ipsa eius apud se habitatione 
speraverint, ideoque ab illo operis dei desiderio non 
7 Quo modo ergo dicis hoc eos fecisse turpissimo 
appetitu pecuniae } Primo quia ad plebem, quae 
clamabat, omnino non pertinet ; sicut enim plebs 
Tagastensis de his, quae contulistis ecclesiae Taga- 


NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

my official communication. Anyone, therefore, who 
happens to give you an account which contradicts the 
one I have given you is either lying or misinformed. 
I am conscious of having passed over certain points 
which seemed to m.e irrelevant to my purpose, but 
not of having made any false statement. Likewise, 
it is true that our holy son, Pinianus, took the oath in 
my presence and with my permission, but it is not 
true that he took it at my instigation. He knows this 
himself ; the servants of God whom he sent to me 
know it, first the saintly Barnabas, then Timasius, by 
whom too he sent me the message about his promise 
to take up residence in Hippo. The people, too, 
were urging him by their cries to accept office as priest, 
not to take an oath ; but when it was offered, they did 
not refuse it, in the hope that, if he came to live 
among us, he might become willing to agree to 
ordination, and that he would not take his departure, 
as he had sworn to do, if he were ordained against his 
will. And so even they were actuated in their out- 
cries by concern for God's work — for the consecration 
to priesthood is surely God's work — and afterwards 
feeling dissatisfied with his promise of residence here 
without the further stipulation that if he eventually 
decided to agree to undertake clerical office he would 
do so only in the church of Hippo, it is quite evident 
that they were hopeful too of his taking up house 
among them, and so, here too, they did not depart 
from their zeal for God's work. 

How then can you maintain that in so doing they 7 
were impelled by a base love of money? In the first 
place, the people who raised the outcry have simply 
nothing to do with that ; for just as the people of 
Tagaste derive from your gifts to the church of 



stensi, non habet nisi gaudium boni operis vestri, 
sic et Hipponiensis et cuiuslibet alterius loci, ubi 
de mammona iniquitatis domini praecepta fecistis vel 
estis ubicumque facturi. Non ergo populus, ut de 
tanto viro ecclesiae consuleret suae, ardentissime 
flagitans suuni pecuniarium commoduni quaesivit a 
vobis, sed vestrum pecuniae contemptum dilexit in 
vobis. Nam si in me dilexerunt quod audierant paucis 
agellulis paternis contemptis ad dei liberam ser\'i- 
tutem me fuisse conversum, neque in hoc inviderunt 
ecclesiae Tagastensi, quae carnalis patria mea est, 
sed, cum ilia mihi clericatum non inposuisset, quando 
potuerunt, habendum invaserunt, quanto flagran- 
tius in nostro Piniano amare potuerunt tantam mundi 
istius cupiditatem, tantas opes, tantam spem tanta 
conversione superatam atque calcatam ! Ego quippe 
secundum multorum sensum comparantium semet 
ipsos sibimet ipsis non divitias dimisisse, sed ad 
divitias videor venisse. Vix enim vigesima particula 
res mea paterna existimari potest in comparatione 
praediorum ecclesiae, quae nunc ut dominus existi- 
mor possidere. In qualibet autem maxime Africa- 
narum ecclesiarum hie noster non dico presbyter sed 
episcopus sit, comparatus pristinis opibus suis, etiamsi 
animo dominantis egerit, pauperrimus erit. Multo 
ergo liquidius et securius in hoc amatur Christiana 
paupertas, in quo nulla rerum ampliorum potest 
putari cupiditas. Hoc accendit animos populi, hoc 

" Luke xvi. 9. * 2 Cor. x. 12. 


NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

Tagaste only joy in your good deed, so, too, with 
the people of Hippo and of any other place where you 
have followed out the Lord's injunctions about the 
"mammon of unrighteousness,"" or wherever you 
will do so. Thus, in demanding with such eagerness 
that their own church should reap the advantage 
of so outstanding a man, the people did not seek 
their own monetary gain from you, but testified their 
esteem for the scorn of money in you. For if because 
they had heard that I had scorned my few paternal 
acres and had turned to the willing bondage of 
God, they testified their esteem for me and did 
not grudge them to the church of Tagaste, which 
is my earthly birthplace, but, since it had not 
imposed clerical office upon me, laid violent hands 
upon me when they had the opportunity to make 
me their own, how much more ardently could they 
esteem in our friend Pinianus his overcoming and 
treading under foot such worldly ambitions, such 
wealth, such prospects ! I indeed appear in the 
opinion of many who compare themselves with them- 
selves ^ not to have forsaken a fortune but to have 
come into a fortune, for my patrimony can scarcely be 
reckoned to be a twentieth part in proportion to the 
property of the church, which I am now considered to 
possess as a master. But let our brother become — 
I do not say a priest, but a bishop in any church, 
especially in Africa, he will be extremely poor, in 
comparison with his former wealthy condition, even 
if he acts in the spirit of a proprietor. In one in 
whom there can be no suspicion of coveting a position 
of greater affluence, the love of Christian poverty is 
therefore much more clearly apparent and certain. 
It was that which inflamed the people's mind and 



in illam violentiam perseverantissimi clamoris erexit. 
Non eos turpis cupiditatis insuper accusemus, sed 
magis bonum quod ipsi non habent, saltern in aliis 
diligere sine crimine permittamus. Nam etsi fuerunt 
illi niultitudini permixti inopes vel niendici, qui simul 
clamabant et de vestra venerabili redundantia in- 
digentiae suae supplementum sperabant, nee ista, 
ut arbitror, cupiditas turpis est. 
8 Restat ergo ut iste pecuniae turpissimus appetitus 
ex obliquo in clericos et niaxime in episcopum diri- 
gatur. Nos enim rebus ecclesiae dominari existi- 
mamur, nos opibus frui. Postremo quicquid de istis 
nos accepimus, nos vel adhuc possidemus vel, ut 
placuit, erogavimus ; nihil inde populo extra cleri- 
catum vel extra monasterium constituto nisi paucis- 
simis indigentibus largiti sumus. Non ergo dico quia 
vel in nos maxime a vobis dici ista debuerunt, verum 
tamen in nos solos credibiliter dici potuerunt. Quid 
ergo faciemus ? Qua nos, si apud inimicos non 
possumus, saltern apud vos ratione purgamus ? Res 
haec animi est, intus est, procul ab oculis secreta 
mortalium deo tantum modo nota est. Quid ergo 
restat nisi deum testari, cui nota est ? Cum ergo 
de nobis ista sentitis, non praecipitis quod multo 
melius est et quod mihi in epistula tua tamquam 
culpabile obiciendum putasti, sed omnino cogitis ut 
iuremus, non intentato metu mortis carnis nostrae, 

NO. S3 (Ep. CXXVI) 

stirred them up to that violent and most insistent 
clamom-. Let us not accuse them in addition of 
sordid covetousness, but rather let us allow them, 
without imputation of base motives, to esteem in 
others at least the good they themselves do not 
possess. For even if that crowd had an admixture of 
poor persons or beggars who joined in the shouting 
and hoped for an addition to their meagre store from 
what your Honours could spare, even that, in my 
opinion, is not sordid covetousness. 

It remains, then, that your charge of a most sordid : 
lust for money is indirectly levelled at the clergy, 
and especially at the bishop. For it is we who are 
thought to be lording it over the Church's property, 
and to be enjoying its resources. In short, whatever 
income we have received from those sources, it is we 
who either have it still in our possession or have 
expended it as we pleased ; no portion of it have we 
distributed to the people who are outside the ranks 
of clergy or outside the monastery, except to a very 
few in want. I do not say, then, that the charges you 
made were necessarily uttered against us particularly, 
but that we are the only people against whom they 
could be credibly uttered. What then shall we do ? 
If we cannot clear ourselves before our enemies, how 
at least shall we do so before you ? It is a matter 
of conscience, it lies within, hidden from mortal 
eyes, and is known only to God. What then remains 
to us but to call as our witness upon God, to Whom 
it is all known ? Since such is your feeling about us, 
you do not enjoin us to take the much better course 
which you have thought fit in your letter to cast up 
to me as blameworthy, but you absolutely force me 
to take an oath, not threatening me with the death 



quod populus Hipponiensis fecisse putatus est, sed 
intentato metu mortis existimationis nostrae, quae 
propter infirmos quibus nos praebere ad exemplum 
bonorum operum qualicunique conversatione conamur, 
etiam vitae carnis huius utique praeponenda est. 
9 Verum tamen vobis nos ita cogentibus ut iuremus, 
non suseensemus, sicut vos Hipponiensibus sus- 
censetis. Creditis enim, tamquam homines de ho- 
minibus, etsi ea quae in nobis non sunt, non tamen 
ea quae in nobis esse non possunt. Sananda ista 
in vobis, non accusanda sunt, et nostra purganda vobis 
est fama, si est domino purgata conscientia. Qui 
fortasse praestabit, sicut ante quam accidisset ista 
temptatio ego et frater mens Alypius conlocuti sumus, 
ut non solum vobis carissimis commembris nostris, 
verum etiam ipsis inimicis notissimum fiat nulla nos 
cupiditate pecuniae in rebus ecclesiasticis sordidari. 
Quod donee fiat, si dominus donabit ut fiat, ecce nunc 
interim, quod cogimur facimus, ne vestri cordis 
medicinam in quantam libet moram temporis 
differamus. Deus testis est istam omnem rerum 
ecclesiasticarum procurationem, quarum credimur 
amare dominatum, propter servitutem quam debeo 
caritati fratrum et timori dei, tolerare me, non amare, 
ita ut ea, si salvo officio possim, carere desiderem. 
Nee aliud me de fratre meo Alypio sentire ipse deus 

« Titus ii. 7. 

NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

of this body of mine, as the people of Hippo are 
supposed to have done, but threatening me with 
the death of my good reputation, which is surely to 
be reckoned more precious than even the life of 
this body, because of the weak brethren, to whom 
we strive by our conduct, such as it is, to show our- 
selves an example of good works." 

Yet, though you do in this way force me to take an 
oath, I am not indignant with you, as you are Mith 
the people of Hippo, for, like men judging other men, 
even if you believe the things which are not in us, 
still you do not believe the things that cannot be in 
us. That is a fault in you that is rather to be cured 
than to be censured, and, if our conscience is clear 
in the sight of the Lord, our character has to be 
cleared in your sight. It may be, as my brother 
Alypius and I said in conversation before that tempta- 
tion occurred, that God will grant that not only you, 
our beloved fellow-Christians, but also our enemies, 
may know without a shadow of a doubt that no lust 
for money defiles us in our administration of the 
Church's business. Until that happen (if the Lord 
grants it to happen), just see, I am doing as a tem- 
porary expedient what you force me to do, in order 
to avoid the slightest possible delay in soothing your 
feelings. God is my witness that it is only because 
of the service I owe to the love of my brethren and 
the fear of God that I put up with all the administra- 
tion of the Church's business over which I am sup- 
posed to love the exercise of lordship, and that I have 
so little liking for it that I should wish to do without it, 
if it could be done without unfaithfulness to my office. 
God Himself is my witness that I believe the same to 
be quite true about my brother Alypius. Neverthe- 
R 241 


testis est. Tamen et de illo aliter sentiendo populus 
et, quod est gravius, Hipponiensis in tantas est illius 
praecipitatus iniurias et de nobis vos sancti dei et 
pleni visceribus misericordiae talia credendo nomine 
eiusdem populi, qui ad causam huiusce modi cupidi- 
tatis omnino non pertinet, nos tangere atque ad- 
monere voluistis utique ad nos corrigendos, neque 
enim odio, quod absit a vobis. Unde non irasci sed 
gratias agere debeo, quod nee verecundius nee 
liberius agere potuistis, ut episcopo non quasi 
con\-iciose obiceretis quod sentiebatis, sed ex obliquo 
intellegendum relinqueretis. 
10 Nee molestum sit vobis ut vos velut gravatos 
arbitremini, quia iurandum putavi. Neque enim 
gravabat apostolus aut eos parum diligebat quibus 
dieebat : Non in sermone adulationis fuimus apud vos 
neque in occasione cupiditatis ; deus testis est. Rei 
quippe apertae ipsos testes adhibuit, rei autem 
occultae quem nisi deum ? Si ergo ille merito est 
veritus ne humana ignorantia de illo aliquid tale 
sentiret, cuius labor in promptu omnibus erat, quod 
nisi summa necessitate a populis quibus Christi 
gratiam dispensabat, in usus suos aliquid non sume- 
bat, cetera vero suo victui necessaria suis manibus 
transigebat ; quanto magis nobis laborandum est, ut 
credatur, qui et merito sanctitatis et virtute animi 
longe inpares sumus nee aliquid ad sustentacula vitae 
huius operari nostris manibus possumus, et si posse- 

° 1 Thess. ii. 5. 

NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

less, because in his case the people (and what is worse, 
the people of Hippo) held a different belief, they 
rushed into that abuse of him, and in our case, 
because you believed such accusations, though nomin- 
ally censuring the same people, who have simply 
nothing to do with this charge of covetousness, you, 
M'ho are saints of God and full of tender compassion, 
tried to get at us and reprove us, though to be sure it 
was for our improvement, and not from dislike — far 
be that from you. And so I should not be angry, but 
grateful, since you could not have acted in a more 
respectful or a more courteous manner, not offen- 
sively hurling at the bishop the reproof you had in 
mind, but leaving it to be indirectly understood. 

Do not be offended and think yourselves in a 10 
way ill-used, that I have thought it necessary to 
take an oath, for the apostle was not ill-using or 
ceasing to have affection for those to whom he 
said, " Neither used we at any time flattering 
words, as ye know, nor took any opportunity for 
covetousness; God is witness." ** For the known 
fact he took them to witness themselves, but for the 
hidden fact, God alone. If he then was right in fear- 
ing that human ignorance might conceive some such 
opinion about himself, whose labours were open for 
all men to see and who only in extreme necessity 
took anything for his own benefit from the peoples 
to whom he ministered the grace of Christ, producing 
with his own hands everything necessary for his 
sustenance ; how^ much more should we exert our- 
selves to secure men's confidence, for both in holy 
merit and in mental courage we are far inferior and 
are unable with our own hands to make anything 
that would support this life ; even if w^e could, the 



mus, tantis occupationibus, quas tunc illos non credo 
fuisse perpessosj nequaquam sineremur ! Non ergo 
ulterius in hac causa populo Christiano, quae ecclesia 
est dei, obiciatur pecuniae turpissimus appetitus. 
Tolerabilius enim nobis obicitur, in quos huius mali 
quamvis falsa, tamen verisimilis suspicio cadere potuit, 
quam illis quos ab hoc appetitu et a suspicione 
constat alienos. 
11 Denegare autem iurationem qualibet fide prae- 
ditas mentes, quanto magis fide Christiana, non dico 
aliquid contrarium confimiare, sed omnino dubitare, 
fas non est. De qua re quid sentiam, satis, ut 
arbitror, in epistula quam ad fratrem meum scripsi, 
planissime aperui. Scripsit mihi sanctitas tua : "Si 
aut ego aut Hipponienses hoc censent, ut iuri iurando 
violenter extorto satis fiat." Tu enim ipsa quid 
censes ? Placetne tibi, ut etiam certa morte im- 
minente, quod tunc inaniter metuebatur, nomen 
domini dei sui in fallaciam Christianus adsumat, 
deum suum testem falsitati Christianus adhibeat ? 
Qui profecto si praeter iurationem ad falsum testi- 
monium morte imminente cogeretur, maculare vitam 
suam magis timere debuit quam finire. Hostiles 
inter se acies et armatae certe apertissima mortis 
intentione confligunt, et tamen, cum invicem iurant, 
laudamus fidem servantes, fallentes autem merito 
detestamur. Ut autem iurarent, quid utraeque ab 
alterutris nisi occidi vel capi timuerunt ? Ac per 
hoc vel mortis vel captivltatis metu extortae iurationi 

" His letter to Alypius, Ep. cxxv., discussing how far an 
oath is binding. 


NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

many demands upon us, such as I do not think they 
in their day endured, would altogether prevent us. So 
in this matter let no further reproach of the base lust 
for money be made against the Christian people who 
constitute the Church of God. It is more tolerable 
that it should be made against us, for on us suspicion of 
that sin could fall, though without ground, yet not with- 
out probability, than upon those who are well known 
to be far removed from this lust and this suspicion. 

For minds endowed with any faith — and how much 11 
more Christian faith! — to deny an oath, I do not say 
to assert anything that contradicts it, but to waver in 
regard to it at all, this is utterly wrong. In the letter" 
I wTote to my brother I have, I think, revealed with 
sufficient clearness my opinion on this point. Your 
Holiness has ^\Titten to me, asking whether the people 
of Hippo or I think that anyone should abide by an 
oath that was extorted by force. What do you think 
yourself.^ Does it meet with your approval that 
a Christian should call upon the name of the Lord his 
God with intent to deceive, that a Christian should 
make his God a witness to a falsehood, even under 
the menace of certain death, the fear of which was 
in this case unfounded ? Surely if he were com- 
pelled by the menace of death to bear false witness 
besides his oath, he ought to fear the loss of honour 
more than the loss of life. Hostile armies confront 
each other with weapons and contend with the un- 
doubted and avowed purpose of dealing death, and 
yet w^hen they take an oath to each other, we praise 
those who keep their word and rightly execrate those 
who break it. What impelled them to take an oath, 
unless the fear on each side of being slain or captured ? 
And so, unless the oath extorted by the fear of either 



nisi parcatur, nisi fides quae ibi data est custodiatur, 
sacrilegii, periurii crimine detinentur etiam tales 
homines, qui magis metuunt peierare quam hominem 
occidere ; et nos, utrum implenda sit extorta iuratio 
servorum dei munere sanctitatis praeminentium, 
monachorum ad perfectionem mandatorum Christi 
reruni etiam suarum distributione currentium, quasi 
diseeptaturi ponimus quaestionem. 
12 Nam quid exilii vel deportationis aut relegationis 
nomine promissa ilia praesentia praegravatur, ob- 
secro te ? Puto quod presbyterium non est exilium. 
Hoc ergo noster eligeret quam illud exilium ? Absit 
a nobis ut sic sanctus dei et nobis carissimus de- 
fendatur ; absit, inquam, ut dicatur maluisse exilium 
quam presbyterium aut maluisse periurium quam 
exilium. Haec dicerem, si vere a nobis aut a populo 
iuratio ei fuisset extorta promittendae praesentiae ; 
nunc vero non extorta est dum negaretur, sed, dum 
ofFerretur accepta, et hoc ea spe, sicut supra diximus, 
quia per illam praesentiam creditum est eum etiam 
ad clericatum suscipiendum posse desiderantibus 
consentire. Postremo, quodlibet de nobis vel de 
Hipponiensibus sentiatur, longe alia est eorum causa 
qui coegerint iurare, quam eorum qui non dicam 
coegerint, sed suaserint, peierare. Ipse etiam de 
quo agitur, considerare non renuat utrum sit peius 

NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

death or captivity be respected, unless the faith they 
have pledged in it be kept, even men of that kind 
are held back by the fear of being charged with 
sacrilege and perjury, because they are more afraid 
of breaking faith than of taking human life ; and yet 
we debate like splitters of hairs whether an oath 
should be fulfilled that was extorted from servants of 
God who are most notable by reason of their holiness, 
from ascetics who even by the distribution of their 
own property are swift to carry out Christ's com- 

Is it that his promised residence here, I ask you, 12 
is burdened with the name of exile or transportation 
or banishment ? I do not suppose that the office of 
priest is an exile. Would our friend then choose it in 
preference to that exile ? Far be it from us to make 
that excuse for one who is a saint of God and very 
dear to ourselves ; far be it from us, I repeat, to say 
of him that he preferred exile to the priestly office, 
or preferred perjury to exile. I might say that, if 
the oath by which he promised to reside here had 
been really extorted from him by us or by the people, 
but in point of fact it was not extorted in spite of his 
refusal, but accepted on being proffered, and that 
in the hope and belief, as I said above, that by his 
residence here he might possibly comply with their 
desire that he should undertake clerical office. In 
the last place, whatever opinion be entertained of the 
people of Hippo or of us, there is a great difference 
between the case of those who may have compelled 
him to take the oath and that of those who may have 
persuaded, not to say compelled, him to break it. 
Further, let him of whom we speak not refuse to 
consider whether an oath taken under the compulsion 



sub quolibet timore ius iurandum, an remoto timore 
ipso periurium. 
13 Deo gratias quia non aliter Hipponienses pro- 
missum circa se impleri sentiunt, quam ut adsit 
voluntate habitandi, et eat quo necesse fuerit, cum 
dispositione redeundi. Nam si verba iurationis 
adtenderent et exigerent, nuUo modo servus dei 
recedere quam ullo modo debuit peierare. Sed quia 
crimen eorum esset non dico talem virum sed quem- 
libet hominem sic tenere, nee ipsi aliam expecta- 
tionem se habuisse probaverunt, qui audientes quod 
rediturus abscesserit, gratulati sunt, nee aliud illis 
verax iuratio debet quam id quod ab ilia expecta- 
verunt. Quid est autem, quod dicitur eum iuratione 
ore suo expressa exceptionem fecisse necessitatis, 
quasi non ore suo rursus hoc iussit auferri ? Certe 
ad populum quando ipse locutus est, tunc etiam inter- 
poneret. Quod si fecisset, non utique responderetur : 
" Deo gratias," sed ad illam rediretur reclamationem 
quae facta fuerat quando sic a diacono recitatum 
est. Et numquid ad rem pertinet, sive interposita 
sit ad recedendum necessitatis excusatio sive non 
sit ? Nihil ab illo aliud expectatum est quam id 
quod supra diximus. Expectationem autem eorum 
quibus iuratur quisquis deceperit, non potest esse 
non periurus, 

NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI) 

of any kind of fear is a worse thing than the breaking 
of that oath, when the actual fear has been removed. 

Thanks be to God that the people of Hippo regard 13 
his promise towards themselves as being fulfilled if 
he comes to the town %\'ith the intention of residing in 
it, and departs whither necessity calls him with the 
purpose of returning. If they were to regard the 
letter of his oath and demand its literal fulfilment, 
God's servant ought in no wise to depart rather than 
in any -sdse to break his M'ord. Yet, since it would be 
criminal for them so to bind any individual, not to 
mention a man of his quality, they themselves have 
proved that they entertained no other expectation, for 
on hearing that he had departed with the promise 
of return, they manifested their satisfaction ; and 
fidelity to an oath requires no more and no less than 
the performance of what was anticipated from it by 
those to whom it was made. What is the use of say- 
ing that in taking the oath that he framed with his 
own lips, he added a proviso about circumstances that 
might necessitate his leaving the town ; the fact is 
that \\'ith his own lips he again ordered that clause to 
be struck out. To be sure, he might have put it in 
again when he spoke to the people, but if he had, they 
surely would not have made answer, " Thanks be to 
God ! " but would have returned to that protest 
which they made when it was read out by the deacon 
with the proviso inserted. And does it really affect 
the point, whether the excuse of necessity for leaving 
the town was inserted or was not ? Nothing more 
and nothing less was expected from him than what 
I mentioned above, and anyone who disappoints the 
expectations of those to whom he takes an oath cannot 
be anything but a perjurer. 



14 Fiat ergo quod promissum est, et infirmorum corda 
sanentur, ne tanto exemplo, quibus hoc placuerit, 
ad imitandum periurium aedificentur, quibus autem 
displicet, iustissime dieant nulli nostrum credendum 
esse non solum promittenti aliquid sed etiam iuranti. 
Hinc enim potius cavendae sunt linguae inimi- 
corum, de quibus tamquam iaculis ad interficiendos 
infirmos maior ille utitur inimicus. Sed absit ut de 
tali anima speremus aliud quam quod dei timor 
inspirat et tanta quae in ilia est excellentia sancti- 
tatis hortatur. Ego autem, quern dicis etiam pro- 
hibere debuisse, fateor, non potui sic sapere, ut tanto 
vel tumultu vel ofFensione magis everti vellem ec- 
clesiam cui servio, quam id quod a tali viro nobis 
ofFerebatur, accipere. 

No. 34 (Ep. CXXXIII) 


1 Circumcelliones illos et clericos partis Donati, quos 

" Marcellinus, a tribune and notary, was brother to 
Apringius, proconsul of Africa, and was appointed by the 
Emperor Honorius to preside over an inquiry into the dis- 
pute between CathoHcs and Donatists. This conference took 
place in June 411, and in spite of the impartiality and 
moderation shown by Marcehinus, the Donatists accused 
him of receiving bribes (Ep. cxU. ; Cod. Theod. xvi. 11. 5). 
In this letter, and in cxxxviii. and cxxxix., Augustine de- 
plores the violence of the Circumcellions, but exhorts him 
to show mercy to those misguided fanatics. Marcellinus 
and Augustine were on terms of close friendship, and to him 
Augustine dedicated his De Peccatorum Meritis et Remissione, 
De Spiritu et Littera, and the first two books of the De 
Civitate Dei, which he says were written at Marcellinus's 

NO. 33 (Ep. CXXVI)— NO. 34 (Ep. CXXXIII) 

Therefore let his promise be fulfilled and the heart 14 
of the weak brethren be healed, so that this notable 
precedent may not encourage those who approve of 
it to commit similar perjury, or those who disapprove 
of it to say with perfect justice that no one of us is 
to be believed, not only on promise of anything, but 
even on oath. In this connexion we ought rather 
to safeguard ourselves against the tongues of our 
enemies, which our greater enemy employs like 
darts to slay the weak. But be it far from us to hope 
for anything from a soul like his, other than M'hat 
the fear of God inspires, and its own great, native 
excellence of holiness exhorts. As for myself, you 
say I ought actually to have forbidden his oath, but 
I confess I could not be so minded as to prefer seeing 
the church I serve overthrown by such an uproarious 
outbreak to accepting the offer made to me by a man 
of his standing. 

No. 34 (Ep. CXXXIII) 

(a.d. 411) 


Those Circumcellions and clergy of the Donatist 1 

suggestion. In 413, during the revolt of Heraclian, Marcel- 
linus and his brother were seized, imprisoned, and, in spite 
of a petition from several of the African bishops, put to 
death. Ep. cli. narrates the circumstances of his death and 
pays a noble tribute to his memory. The impartial conduct 
of Marcellinus towards the Donatists was commemorated in 
an imperial decree {Cod. Theod. xvi, 5. oo)^ and his memory 
is honoured by the Church of Rome on April 6. 



de Hipponiensi ad iudicium pro factis eorum publicae 
disciplinae cura deduxerat, a tua nobilitate comperi 
auditos et plurimos eorum de homicidio quod in 
Restitutum, catholicum presbyterum, commiserunt, 
et de caede Innocentii, alterius catholic! presbyteri» 
atque de oculo eius efFosso et digito praeciso, fuisse 
confessos. Unde mihi sollicitudo maxima incussa 
est, ne forte sublimitas tua censeat eos tanta legum 
severitate plectendos, ut qualia fecerunt, talia 
patiantur. Ideoque his Htteris obtestor fidem tuam, 
quam habes in Christo, per ipsius domini Christi 
misericordiam, ut hoc nee facias nee fieri omnino 
permittas. Quamvis enim ab eorum interitu dis- 
simulare possumus, qui non accusantibus nostris sed 
illorum notoria, ad quos tuendae pubUcae pacis 
vigilantia pertinebat, praesentati videantur exa- 
mini, nolumus tamen passiones servorum dei quasi 
vice tahonis paribus suppUciis vindicari, non quo 
scelestis hominibus hcentiam facinorum prohibeamus 
auferri, sed hoc magis sufficere volumus, ut vivi et 
nulla corporis parte truncati vel ab inquietudine 
insana ad sanitatis otium legum cohercitione diri- 
gantur vel a malignis operibus alicui utili operi 
deputentur. Vocatur quidem et ista damnatio, sed 
quis non intellegat magis beneficium quam supplicium 
nuncupandum, ubi nee saeviendi relaxetur audacia 
nee paenitendi medicina subtrahatur ? 


party whom the guardians of pubUc order had taken 
from Hippo to be tried for their misdeeds, have been 
heard. I am informed, bv your Excellency, and the 
majority of them have confessed to having murdered 
Restitutus, a Catholic priest, and beaten Innocentius, 
another Catholic priest, and gouged out his eye and 
cut off a finger. This news has plunged me into the 
deepest anxiety, lest perchance your Highness may 
decide that they must endure a legal sentence so 
severe that their punishment shall be similar in kind 
to their crime. For that reason I implore you by the 
faith you have in Christ, by the mercy of Christ the 
Lord Himself, neither to do this nor to let it be done 
at all. For although we can disclaim responsibility 
for the death of men who were clearly made to ap- 
pear before the court on no accusation of ours, but 
on the indictment of those officers who were concerned 
with the safe-guarding of the public peace, still it is 
not our desire that the sufferings of God's servants 
shall be avenged by the infliction of similar punish- 
ments, as if by way of retaliation ; not that we refuse 
to allow M-icked men to be deprived of impunity 
in crime, but that we rather desire that justice be 
satisfied in such a way as to turn the \^-icked by 
means of coercive measures from their mad frenzy 
to the peaceableness of sane men, without taking 
their life or crippling them in any part of the body, 
and so set them to some useful work instead of 
their works of malice. That too is called a penal 
sentence, but who can fail to see that it is to be termed 
rather a benefit than a punishment, when, on the one 
side, bold and frenzied violence is not allowed a free 
hand, and, on the other, the remedy of repentance 
is not withheld ? 


2 Imple, Christiane iudex, pii patris officium, sic 
suscense iniquitati, ut consulere humanitati memi- 
neris, nee in peecatorum atrocitatibus exereeas uleis- 
cendi libidinem, sed peecatorum vulneribus eurandi 
adhibeas voluntatem. Noli perdere paternani dili- 
gentiam, quam in ipsa inquisitione servasti, quando 
tantorum seelerum confessionem non extendente 
eculeo, non sulcantibus ungulis, non urentibus 
flammis, sed virgarum verberibus eruisti, — qui modus 
cohercitionis et a magistris artium liberalium et ab 
ipsis parentibus et saepe etiam in iudiciis solet ab 
episcopis haberi. Noli ergo atrocius vindicare quod 
lenius invenisti. Inquirendi quam puniendi neces- 
sitas maior est ; ad hoc enim et mitissimi homines 
facinus occultatum diligenter atque instanter exami- 
nant, ut inveniant quibus parcant. Unde plerum- 
que necesse est, exerceatur acrius inquisitio, ut 
manifestato scelere, sit ubi appareat mansuetudo. 
Omnia quippe bona opera amant in luce constitui 
non propter humanam gloriam, sed ut videant, ait 
dominus, bona opera vestra et glorificent patrem vestrum, 
qui iji caelis est. Et ideo non sufficit apostolo monere 
ut mansuetudinem servaremus, sed ut earn etiam 
notam omnibus faceremus : Mansuetudo, inquit, 
vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus, et alio loco : Man- 
suetudinem ostentantes ad omnes homines, ut nee ilia 
sancti David, quando inimico sibi in manus tradito 
clementer pepercit, praeclarissima lenitas emineret, 

" Matt. V. 16. ^ Phil. iv. 5. ^ Titus iii. 2. 

^ The reference is to David's sparing the life of Saul in 
the cave at En-gedi, when David cut off the skirt of Saul's 
robe (1 Samuel xxiv. 1-8). 

NO. 34 (Ep. CXXXIII) 

Christian judge, fulfil the duty of a devoted father ; 2 
be angry at wickedness, yet forget not humane con- 
siderations, and do not give rein to the desire to 
seek revenge for the atrocity of their sinful deeds, 
but exert your will to the curing of the sores of the 
sinners. Do not lose that fatherly care that you 
maintained at the inquiry, when you extracted the 
confession of those heinous offences, not by stretch- 
ing them on the rack, or by furrowing their flesh Mith 
hooks, or by burning them with flames, but by beat- 
ing them with rods — a method of coercion employed 
by schoolmasters and by parents themselves, and 
often by bishops as well in their courts. Do not then 
punish with harsher sentence what you found out by 
gentler methods. The need for finding out is greater 
than that of punishment, for even the gentlest of men 
investigate a hidden crime with care and insistence, 
to the end that they may find out those whom 
they are to spare. That is why it is usually neces- 
sary to pursue the investigation with greater harsh- 
ness, so that, when the guilt has been brought to 
light, there may be an opportunity for showing 
moderation. For all good works delight in being 
set in the light, not to gratify human vanity, but, 
as the Lord says, that men " may see your good works 
and glorify your Father which is in heaven." " And 
for this reason the Apostle was not satisfied with 
admonishing us to preserve our moderation, but urged 
us further to make it known to all, saying, " Let your 
moderation be known to all men," ^ and elsewhere, 
" Showing moderation to all men." ^ So, too, that very 
remarkable forbearance of the holy David, when in 
his clemency he spared the enemy who was delivered 
into his hands, ^ would not be so conspicuous, if his 



nisi potestas pariter appareret. Non te ergo ex- 
asperet vindicandi potestas, cui lenitatem non ex- 
cussit examinandi necessitas. Noli facinore invento 
quaerere percussorem, in quo inveniendo noluisti 
adhibere tortorem. 
3 Postremo pro ecclesiae utilitate missus es. Hoc 
ecelesiae catholicae aut, ut modum dispensationis 
meae non supergredi videar, hoc ecclesiae ad Hip- 
poniensium-Regiorum dioecesim pertinenti prodesse, 
hoc expedire contestor. Si non audis aniicum peten- 
tem. audi episcopum consulentem, quamvis, quoniam 
Christiano loquor, niaxime in tali causa non arro- 
ganter dixerim, audire te episcopum convenit iuben- 
tem, domine eximie et merito insignis atque carissime 
fili, unde scio quidem causas ecclesiasticas excel- 
lentiae tuae potissimum iniunctas ; sed quia credo 
istam curam ad virum clarissimum atque spectabilem 
proconsulem pertinere, ad eum quoque litteras dedi, 
quas rogo ut ipse iUi tradere et allegare, si opus est, 
non graveris. Atque ambos obsecro, ne importunam 
arbitremini vel intercessionem vel suggestionem vel 
soUicitudinem nostram, et passiones catholicorum 
servorum dei, quae infirmis ad aedificationem 
spiritalem utiles esse debent, baud reciproca inimi- 
corum, a quibus passi sunt, poena decoloretis, sed 
potius refracta iudiciaria severitate et vestram fidem, 
quia filii estis ecclesiae, et ipsius matris mansuetu- 

NO. 34 (Ep. CXXXIII) 

power to act otherwise were not equally apparent. 
So then, do not let your power to exact punishment 
drive you to harsh measures, when the need for 
making an investigation did not make you discard 
your clemency. Do not send for the executioner 
after finding out the crime, when to find it out you 
did not use the services of the torturer. 

Finally, it is for the benefit of the Church that you S 
have been sent. I solemnly avow that such a line of 
action is to the advantage of the Church as a whole 
or, not to have the appearance of going beyond the 
limits of my own stewardship, of the church belong- 
ing to the diocese of Hippo Regius. If you will not 
give ear to the petition of a friend, give ear to 
a bishop's advice ; in fact, since I am addressing a 
Christian, it would not be arrogant in me to say, 
especially in a matter of this kind, that it is your duty, 
my noble and justly distinguished lord and well- 
beloved son, to give ear to a bishop's commands, 
concerning that for which most of all, as I know, the 
Church cases have devolved upon your Excellency ; 
but as I believe this responsibility belongs to that 
illustrious and admirable man, the Proconsul, I have 
written a letter to him too, which I beg you to take 
the trouble to hand to him and, if need be, to re- 
commend to his notice yourself. And I beseech 
both of you not to think I am importunate with 
either my intercession or advice or anxiety, and not 
to let the sufferings of the Catholic servants of God, 
which ought to be of benefit in the spiritual up- 
building of the weak, be sullied by the retaliation of 
punishment on the enemies at whose hand they 
suffered ; rather, blunting the edge of judicial rigour, 
exert every effort to commend your faith, since ye 
s 257 


dinem commendare minime neglegatis. Deus omni- 
potens praestantiam tuam bonis omnibus augeat, 
domine eximie et merito insignis atque carissime fili. 

No. 35 (Ep. CXLIV) 


1 Si id quod in vestra civitate nos graviter con- 
tristabat, absumptum est, si duritia cordis humani 
resistens manifestissimae et quodam modo publicae 
veritati eiusdem potentia veritatis evicta est, si 
sapit dulcedo pads unitatisque caritas non iam 
reverberat oculos saucios, sed sanos inlustrat ac 
vegetat, non sunt haec opera nostra sed dei, non 
haec hunianis opibus oninino tribuereni nee si, cum 
apud vos essemus, tanta conversio multitudinis nobis 
loquentibus et hortantibus proveniret. Hoc agit ille 
et efficit, qui per ministros suos rerum signis ex- 
trinsecus admonet, rebus autem ipsis per se ipsum 
intrinsecus docet. Nee ideo pigrius moveri nos 

" For Cirta or Constantine see p. 98 n. a. That town was 
apparently a stronghold of Donatism, and its Donatist bishop, 
Petilianus, was addressed by Augustine in two treatises. 
Contra litteras PeUliani and De xmico haptismo contra 
Petilianum ; there, too, a Donatist council was held in 396 
(Ep. xxxiv. 5). After the Conference of 411, Donatists 
who refused to join the Catholic Church were exposed to the 
full rigour of the law, and in January 412 Honorius an- 
nulled all rescripts in their favour (Cod. Theod. xvi. 5. 52). 
At Cirta itself a Council of Numidian bishops was held on 


NO. 34 (Ep. CXXXIII)— NO. 35 (Ep. CXLIV) 

are sons of the Church, and at the same time the 
moderation of your Holy Mother. 

May Almighty God enrich your Excellency with all 
good things, my noble and deservedly distinguished 
lord and well-beloved son. 

No. 35 (Ep. CXLRO 

(a.d. 412) 


If that which greatly distressed me in your city 1 
has been removed, if the hardness of the human 
heart, resisting the most evident and, as one might 
say, the most notorious truth, has been overcome by 
the power of that same truth, if there is relish for 
the sweet savour of peace, and the brotherly love that 
springs from unity no longer dazzles aching eyes, but 
fills with light and vigour eyes that are sound, this is 
not my doing, but God's ; I would not in the least attri- 
bute it to human resources, even if the conversion of 
so great a multitude had taken place when I was 
among you, in response to my own addresses and 
exhortations. That is His doing. His achievement. 
Who uses his ministers to draw attention to the 
external signs of things, but teaches men by things 
themselves within, through none but Himself. Yet 

June 14, 412, which addressed a letter (Ep. cxli.) to the 
Donatist laity. As a result of that Council the people of 
Cirta returned to the Church, whereupon Augustine wrote 
this letter of congratulation and exhortation. 



oportet ad visendos vos, quoniam quicquid in vobis 
laudabile factum est, non a nobis sed ab illo factum 
est, qiti facit mirahilia solus. Multo enim alacrius 
debemus accurrere ad spectanda opera divina quam 
nostra, quia et nos, si quid boni sumus, opus illius, 
non hominum sumus ; unde apostolus dixit : Neque 
qui plantat est aliquid, neque qui rigat, sed qui i?i- 
crementum dat deus. 
2 Xenocrates Polemonem, ut scribitis et nos ex illis 
litteris recordamur, de fruge temperantiae dispu- 
tando non solum ebriosum verum et tunc ebrium 
ad mores alios repent e convertit. Quamquam ergo 
ille, sicut prudent er et veraciter intellexistis, non 
deo fuerit adquisitus sed tantum a dominatu luxuriae 
liberatus, tamen ne id ipsum quidem quod melius 
in eo factum est, humano operi tribuerim sed divino. 
Ipsius namque corporis, quod est infimum nostrum, 
si qua bona sunt sicut forma et vires et salus et si 
quid eius modi est, non sunt nisi ex deo creatore ac 
perfectore naturae ; quanto magis animi bona donare 
nullus alius potest ! Quid enim superbius vel in- 
gratius cogitare potest humana vecordia, si putaverit, 
cum carne pulchrum deus faciat hominem, animo 
castum ab homine fieri ? Hoc in libro Christianae 
sapientiae sic scriptum est : Cum scirem, inquit, 
quia nemo esse potest co?itinens, nisi deus det, et hoc 

« Ps. Ixxi. 18. M Cor. ill. 7. 

* Polemo was a profligate Athenian youth, who with a 
band of revellers burst one day into the school of Xenocrates 
the philosopher, and was so arrested by the discourse, which 
happened to be about temperance, that he tore off the gar- 
lands with which he was bedecked and remained an attentive 
listener. Adopting an abstemious life, he became a disciple 
of Xenocrates and succeeded him as head of the school 
in 315 B.C. The story was often told by the ancients (see 

NO. 35 (Ep. CXLR^ 

the fact that whatever praiseworthy change has been 
wrought in you has been MTOught not by us, but by 
Him "Who alone doeth wonderful works," « is no 
reason why we should be less eager to stir ourselves 
to visit you. With much more eagerness ought we 
to hasten to behold the works of God than our own, 
for we too, in so far as we are good at all, are His work, 
not the work of men. That is why the Apostle says, 
" Neither is he that planteth anything, neither he 
that watereth, but God that giveth the increase." ^ 

You mention in your letter an incident which I too 
recall from classical literature, how by discoursing on 
the fruits of temperance Xenocrates suddenly con- 
verted Polemo ^ to another mode of life, though he 
was not only a drunkard but was actually drunk at 
the time. Now although he was not won for God, 
but was only delivered from the thraldom of self-in- 
dulgence, as you have wisely and truly apprehended, 
yet I would not ascribe even that change wrought 
in him for the better to the work of man, but to that 
of God, for from God alone, by Whom nature was 
created and made perfect, come whatever good 
qualities there are in the body itself, the lowest part 
of us, such as comeliness and strength and health and 
the like. How much more sure is it, therefore, that no 
other can bestow its good qualities upon the soul. Can 
human folly harbour a more arrogant or ungrateful 
thought than the notion that whereas God makes man 
beautiful in body, man makes himself pure in heart ? 
In the book of Christian Wisdom it is written, "When 
I perceived that no one could have self-restraint, un- 

Lejay on Horace, Sat. ii. 3. 254), and is frequently mentioned 
by Christian writers (Ambr. Helia, 12. 45 ; Aug. C. Jul. 
Pelag. i. 4. 12, 7. 35; Hier. In Osee, i. 1, etc.). 



ipsum erat sapientiae scire cuius esset hoc donum. 
Polemon ergo si ex luxurioso continens factus, ita 
sciret cuius esset hoc donuni, ut euni abiectis super- 
stitionibus gentium pie coleret, non solum continens 
sed etiam veraciter sapiens et salubriter religiosus 
existeret, quod ei non tantum ad praesentis vitae 
honestatem verum et ad futurae immortalitatem 
valeret. Quanto minus igitur mihi adrogare debeo 
conversionem istam vestram vel populi vestri, quam 
nobis modo nuntiastis, quae me nee loquente nee 
saltem praesente procul dubio divinitus facta est. in 
quibus veraciter facta est ! Hoc itaque praecipue 
cognoscite, hoc pie humiUterque cogitate. Deo, 
fratres, deo gratias agite, deum timete, ne deficiatis, 
amate, ut proficiatis. 

Si autem adhuc quosdam amor hominis occulte 
segregat et timor hominis fallaciter congregat, 
observent, qui tales sunt, quoniam deum, cui nuda est 
humana conscientia, nee testem fallunt nee iudicem 
fugiunt. Si quid autem illos de quaestione ipsius 
unitatis pro suae salutis sollicitudine permovet, hoc 
sibi, quantum existimo, iustissimum extorqueant, 
ut de catholica ecclesia, id est toto orbe diffusa, id 
potius credant quod scripturae divinae dicunt, non 
quod linguae humanae maledicunt. De ipsa vero 
dissensione, quae inter homines orta est — qui quales 

" Wisdom viii. 21. 

* He is referring to those Donatists who had not ytt joined 
the CathoHc communion. 

'^ Though much less frequent than quod and quia, quoniam 
is occasionally found in Augustine introducing an oblique 
statement after verbs of saying or thinking, and it is almost 
always followed by the indicative. Usually such occurrences 
are Scriptural ; the use is comparatively rare in Augustine's 
own language. 

NO. ^5 (Ep. CXLI\0 

less God give it him, and that this itself is a part of 
wisdom, to know whose gift it is." " If, then, in being 
converted from dissipation to self-restraint, Polemo 
had known whose gift that was, and so had thrown 
over the superstitions of the heathen and worshipped 
Him in reverence, he would then have become not 
only self-restrained, but also truly ^\ise and soundly 
religious, and that would have secured for him not only 
virtue in the present life, but also immortality in the 
life to come. How much less, then, should I presume 
to claim for myself the credit for your conversion or 
that of your people, which you have just reported to 
me ; in those in whom it really was accomplished, it 
was unquestionably accomplished from above, with- 
out either my words or even my presence. Recognize 
this fact, therefore, above everything else ; with 
humility and reverence keep it before your mind. 
To God, my brethren, to God render your thanks ; 
fear God, so that you may not fall back ; love Him, so 
that you may go forward. 

If, however, there are some whom the love of man 3 
keeps secretly apart and the fear of man keeps mis- 
takenly united,* let all such take note that the 
human conscience lies naked to God and that they 
can neither deceive Him as witness nor escape Him 
as judge.'' But if, from anxiety to secure their own 
salvation, they are at all disturbed over this question 
of unity, let them force themselves to do what is, in 
my opinion, a thoroughly fair thing, namely, to accept 
the statements of Holy Scripture about the Church 
Catholic (that is, the Church spread abroad through- 
out the world) rather than the mis-statements of 
human tongues. With reference to this schism 
which has arisen among men (who, whatever they 



libet fuerint, non utique praeiudicant promissis dei, 
qui dixit ad Abraham : hi semine tuo henedicentur 
omiies gentes, quod creditum est cum audiretur prae- 
dictum, et negatur cum \'idetur impletum, — hoc 
tamen interim brevissimum et, nisi fallor, imictis- 
simum cogitent, aut actam esse istam causam in 
ecclesiastico transmarino iudicio aut non esse actam ; 
si acta ibi non est, innocens est Christi societas 
per omnes transmarinas gentes, cuius societatis nos 
communione gaudemus, et ideo ab eis innocentibus 
utique sacrilega diremptione separantur ; si vero 
acta ibi est ista causa, quis non intellegat, quis non 
sentiat, quis non videat eos in ea victos, quorum inde 
communio separata est ? Ehgant ergo utrum mahnt 
credere quod pronuntiaverunt ecclesiastici cognitores 
an quod murmurant victi Htigatores. Adversus 
istam complexionem dictu brevissimam, intellectu 
facillimam, adtendite dihgenter pro vestra prudentia 
quam nihil sobrium responderi possit ; et tamen 
malus Polemon magis ebrietate . . . inveterati erroris 

Date veniam prohxiori fortassis epistulae quam 
iucundiori verum tamen, ut arbitror, utihori quam 
blandiori, domini honorabiles et merito suscipiendi, 
carissimi ac desiderantissimi fratres. De adventu 
autem ad vos nostro utrorumque desiderium deus 
impleat. Quanto enim caritatis ardore accen- 
damur ad visendos vos, verbis exphcare non pos- 

<* Gen. xxvi, 4 (c/. xii. 3). 

^ The Benedictine editors, followed by Goldbacher, in- 
dicate a lacuna here, but the sense must be something like 
what is suggested. 


NO. 35 (Ep. CXLIV) 

may be, assuredly do not impair the promises of God, 
Who said to Abraham, " In thy seed shall all the 
nations of the earth be blessed," " a promise believed 
when it was heard as a prophecy and denied when it is 
seen as an accomplished fact), let them for the pre- 
sent meditate upon this very brief, but, unless I am 
mistaken, very unanswerable argument, that the case 
was either tried before a church court across the sea, 
or was not tried ; if it was not tried there, the society 
of Christians among all the overseas nations is guilt- 
less ; we rejoice in communion with that society, and 
so their separation from those guiltless brethren is 
clearly an act of sacrilegious disruption. If, again, 
the case was tried there, who can fail to understand, 
and feel, and see, that those whose communion is 
sundered from those others are the defeated party 
in the case ? Let them have their choice then, 
whether they prefer to accept the verdict of the 
ecclesiastical judges or the insinuations of the 
defeated plaintiffs. Notice carefully, as you are 
wise enough to do, that no serious confutation can 
be offered against this tersely expressed, yet easily 
understood, dilemma ; and yet Polemo in his dis- 
sipation was more easily turned from his drunken- 
ness than they from the folly of their deeply 
rooted error. ^ 

Grant me pardon, my noble and justly honoured 
lords, my beloved and much longed for brethren, 
for a letter which is perhaps more lengthy than 
agreeable, but yet, in my opinion, more likely to 
profit you than to flatter you. May God give fulfil- 
ment to the desire we both share, that I should visit 
you ! Words fail me to express the great and fervent 
love that inflames me to see you, but I have no doubt 



sumus, sed vos benigne credere minime dubi 

No. 36 (Ep. CXL^T) 


Gratias ago plurimum quod me litteris tuis ex- 
hilarare dignatus es et certum facere de salute vestra. 
Retribuat tibi dominus bona, quibus semper sis 
bonus, et cum illo aeterno vivas in aeternum, domine 
dilectissime et desiderantissime frater. Ego autem 
etsi in me non agnosco praeconia de me tua, quae 
tuae benignitatis epistula continet, benivolo tamen 
animo erga exiguitatem meam ingratus esse non 
possum., simul admonens ut potius ores pro me, quo 
talis a domino fiam, qualem me iam esse arbitraris. 

[Et alia manu] Memor nostri incolumis domino 
placeas, domine dilectissime et desiderantissime 

" The heresiarch. Born in Britain, he was at Rome from 
about 401 to 409, when in consequence of the threatened 
invasion by Alaric, he withdrew to Sicily and afterwards to 
Africa. He visited Hippo when Augustine was absent, but 
they met later in Carthage. Pelagius soon sailed for Palestine, 
but his views were condemned by the Council of Carthage 
in 412. Augustine joined in the controversy, and between 
the Council and the writing of this letter -«Tote his treatises 
De Peccatorum Meritis and De Spiritu et Littera. Pelagius 


NO. 35 (Ep. CXLIV)— NO. 36 (Ep. CXLVI) 

at all that you will be good enough to recognize that 
it is so. 

No. 36 (Ep. CXLM) 

(a.d. 413) 


I am very grateful for your kindness in cheering 
me by a letter from you and in giving me news of 
your welfare. The Lord recompense you, my greatly 
beloved lord and much longed for brother, with such 
blessings that you may be ever blessed and may live 
eternally with Him \Yho is eternal. Although I do 
not recognize myself in those encomiums of me 
contained in your Benevolence's letter, yet I cannot 
be ungrateful for your goodwill towards one so in- 
significant as I. At the same time I urge you rather 
to pray for me, that the Lord may make me what you 
imagine I already am. 

[hi another hand] May you abide in safety and be 
well-pleasing unto the Lord, my greatly beloved lord 
and much longed for brother. Forget us not ! 

wrote from Palestine, and the above reply is cordial enough 
to show that Augustine was still hoping that Pelagius would 
see and renounce his error. At the Synod of Diospolis in 
415 Pelagius used this letter, among others, as evidence of 
his good repute. Augustine was then led to defend himself 
from the charge of favouring the heretic, and in his De Gestis 
Pelagii, 50-53, he gives the text of his letter and discusses 
the language he used in it. 



No. 37 (Ep. CL) 


Iniplestis gaudio cor nostrum tanto iucundius 
quanto carius, tanto gratius quanto citius. Vestrae 
namque stirpis sanctimoniam virginalem quoniam 
quacumque innotuistis, ac per hoc ubique, fama cele- 
berrima praedicat, velocissimum volatum eius fide- 
liore atque certiore litterarum nuntio praevenistis et 
prius nos fecistis exultare de cognito tarn excellentis- 
simo bono quam dubitare de audito. Quis verbis 
explicet, quis digno praeconio prosequatur, quantum 
incomparabiliter gloriosius atque fructuosius habeat 
ex vestro sanguine feminas virgines Christus quam 
viros consules mundus ? Nam volumina temporum 
si magnum atque praeclarum est nominis dignitate 
signare, quanto est maius atque praeclarius cordis et 
corporis integritate transcendere ! Magis itaque 

" Proba was the wife of Sextus Anicius Petronius Probus, 
a member of one of the most illustrious families of Rome, 
consul in 371 and four times pretorian prefect. She is not 
to be identified with Falconia Proba, the compiler of a 
Virgilian cento which enjoyed great repute in the middle 
ages. Juliana was the wife of her son, Olybrius, and their 
daughter, Demetrias, mentioned in the text, delighted the 
Christian world in 413 by renouncing her worldly prospects 
and taking the vow of virginity. The family had left Rome 
shortly before the irruption of Alaric, but on arriving in 
Africa they fell into the hands of Count Heraclian, who 
seized a large part of their possessions. Augustine was not 
alone in offering congratulations and advice to the young 

NO. 37 (Ep. CL) 

No. 37 (Ep. CL) 

(a.d. 413) 


You have filled my heart mth joy, the more 
delightful because of your affection, and the more 
welcome because of your promptitude. For while 
the consecration of a daughter of your house to the 
life of virginity is being proclaimed by busy rumour 
wherever your fame is known, and that is everywhere, 
you outstripped its speediest flight by the surer and 
more trustworthy information in your letter and 
made us exult at the news of so very excellent a 
blessing before we had time to doubt the rumour 
of it. What words are adequate to tell, what com- 
mendation worthy to commemorate, how incompar- 
ably greater is the glory and the gain, that Christ 
should have women from your family dedicated to 
virginity than that the world should have men from 
it elevated to the consulship ? For if it is a great 
and notable thing to leave the mark of an honoured 
name upon the scrolls of time, how much greater and 
more notable it is by unsullied innocence of mind and 
body to rise above them ! So let this maiden, noble in 

ascetic : Jerome wrote to Demetrias a very lengthy letter 
which is almost a treatise on the ascetic life, and Pelagius 
too wrote a long epistle. Ad Demetriadem, into which he 
insinuated some of his own errors, which Augustine sought 
to confute in a later letter (Ep. clxxxviii.) addressed to 



gaudeat puella nobilis genere, nobilior sanctitate, 
quod sit per di\1num consortium praecipuam in 
caelis consecutura sublimitatem, quam si esset per 
humanum conubium prolem propagatura sublimern. 
Generosius quippe elegit Aniciana posteritas tarn 
inlustrem faniiliam beare nuptias nesciendo quam 
multiplicare pariendo et in carne iam imitari vitam 
angelorum quam ex carne numerum adhuc augere 
mortalium. Haec est uberior fecundiorque felicitas 
non ventre gravescere sed mente grandescere, non 
lactescere pectore sed corde candescere, non visceri- 
bus terram sed caelum orationibus parturire. Domi- 
narum honore dignissimae et merito inlustres et 
praestantissimae fiiiae, perfruamini in ilia quod de- 
fuit vobis, ut nasceretur ex vobis ; perseveret usque 
in finem, adhaerens coniugio quod non habet finem. 
Imitentur earn multae famulae dominam ignobiles 
nobilem, fragiliter excelsae excelsius humilem ; vir- 
gines quae sibi optant Aniciorum claritatem, eligant 
sanctitatem. Illud enim quanta libet cupiditate 
quando adsequentur ? Hoc autem, si plene cupierint, 
mox habebunt. Protegat vos incolumes et feliciores 
dextera altissimi, dominae honore dignissimae et 
praestantissimae fiiiae. Pignera sanctitatis vestrae, 
praecipue ipsam sanctitate praecipuam debito vestris 

<• Of the Anieii Gibbon says {Decline and Fall, chap. 31) : 
" From the reign of Diocletian to the final extinction of the 
Western Empire that name shone with a lustre which v/as 
not eclipsed in the public estimation by the majesty of the 
Imperial purple." 

NO. 37 (Ep. CL) 

her race, nobler in her holiness, find more cause for 
joy that she is destined to obtain through this divine 
espousal an especial distinction in heaven than if 
she had been destined to become through an earthly 
marriage the mother of a distinguished line. It was a 
more noble-minded thing for a scion of the Anicii" to 
prefer to magnify that illustrious family by repudiat- 
ing marriage rather than to increase it by bearing 
children and now in the flesh to imitate the life of 
the angels rather than from the flesh still further to 
augment the number of mortals. It is a richer and 
more prolific happiness not to grow big with child 
but to grow great in mind, not to have milk in the 
breasts but to have purity in the heart, to bring 
forth not the earthly through travail, but the heavenly 
through prayer. May it be yours, ladies most worthy 
of honour and daughters deservedly famous and most 
distinguished, to enjoy in her what you surrendered 
to give her birth ! May she be steadfast unto the 
end, cleaving to that union which has no end ! 
May many low-born maids imitate her, the high- 
born mistress, and those whose eminence is perish- 
able follow her who through humility has reached a 
higher eminence ; may the virgins who covet the 
splendour of the Anician family choose to emulate 
its holiness ! The one will always elude their 
grasp, however much they long for it ; the other 
will soon be theirs, if their longing be whole-hearted. 
May the right hand of the Most High be your 
covering unto safety and fuller happiness, ladies 
most worthy of honour and daughters most dis- 
tinguished ! In the love of the Lord and with 
the respect due to your deservings, we greet the 
children of your holy house, especially her w^ho is 



meritis officio dilectione domini salutamus. \'ela- 
tionis apophoretum gratissime accepimus. 

No. 38 (Ep. CLIX) 


1 Frater iste nomine Barbarus servus dei est iani 
diu apud Hipponem constitutus et verbi dei fervidus 
ac studiosus auditor. Desidera\-it ad tuam sancti- 
tatem litteras nostras, in quibus tibi eum in domino 
commendamus tibique per eum salutem debitam 
dicimus. Litteris autem sanctitatis tuae quibus 
ingentes texuisti quaestiones, respondere operosis- 
simum est etiam otiosis et multo maiore, quam nos 
sumus, praeditis facultate disserendi et acrimonia 
intellegendi. Duarum sane epistularum tuarum, 
quibus multa et magna conquiris, una nescio quo 

" Apophoreta {d7ro(p6p7]Ta} were presents given to guests 
to take home with them after an entertainment (Suet. Cal. 
55, Vesp. 19; Lamprid. Heliog. 21. 7; Ambr. Ep. 3. 5 "qui 
ad convivium magnum invitantur, apophoreta secum referre 
consueverunt ") ; in Symmachus it is used of gifts sent to 
friends by those who had just given games {Ep. 2. 81, 
5. 56, 9. o9). With the present passage compare Paul. Nol. 
Ep. 5. 21 " misimus testimonialem divitiarum nostrarum 
scutellam buxeam ; ut apophoretum voti spiritalis accipies." 
The word is occasionally employed by the Fathers in a 
transferred sense, as Ambrosiaster, Rom. 1. 1, 49a "ad quod 
omnes invitati apophoreta duplicia consequuntur : remissam 
enim peccatorum accipiunt, et filii Dei hunt." 

* Evodius was bishop of Uzalis and a prominent figure 
among the clergy of Xumidia. Born, like Augustine, at 


NO. 37 (Ep. CL)— NO. 38 (Ep. CLIX) 

outstanding in holiness. We have been very glad 
to receive the gift " commemorating her taking the 

No. 38 (Ep. CLIX) 

(a.d. 415) 


The brother who brings this, Barbaras by name, 1 
is a servant of God who has been settled for a long 
time now at Hippo and is an eager and diligent 
hearer of the word of God. He besought this letter 
from me to your Holiness, in which I commend him 
to you in the Lord and through him offer you my 
due greetings. To reply to your Holiness 's letter, 
into which you have woven big questions, is a very 
considerable undertaking even for men of leisure, 
possessing much more skill in argument and greater 
acuteness of understanding than I do. Of the two 
letters from you, containing many extensive queries, 

Tagaste, he had been converted shortly before him, and the 
two were in close fellowship at Milan and Cassiciaciim, 
where he appears as interlocutor with Augustine in the De 
Quantitate Animae and the De Lihero Arhitrio. After being 
present at Ostia when Monnica died, Evodius returned to 
Africa with Augustine and shared the monastic life of 
Tagaste. Four letters from him to Augustine are extant, 
full of abstruse questions. The present letter is a reply to 
one of his, Ep. clxxxviii., which had raised the problem 
of the reality and meaning of visions. Of Barbarus, the 
bearer of the letter, there is no other mention. 

T 273 


modo aberra\-it et diu quaesita non potuit reperiri ; 
altera vero, quae inventa est, habet commenda- 
tionem sua^issimam ser\'i dei boni et cast! adule- 
scentis, quo modo ex hac \-ita migraverit et quibus 
visionum fraternarum adtestationibus meritum eius 
vobis insinuari potuerit. Deinde ex hac occasione 
proponis et versas de anima obscurissimam quaestio- 
nem, utrum cum aliquo corpore egreditur e corpore, 
quo possit ad corporalia loca ferri vel locis corporali- 
bus contineri. Huius igitur rei tractatus, si tamen 
ad liquidum a talibus, quales nos sumus, examinari 
potest, curam atque operam negotiosissimam postulat 
ac per hoc mentem ab his occupationibus otiosissimam. 
Si autem breviter vis audire quid mihi videatur, 
nullo modo arbitror animam e corpore exire cum 
2 A'isiones autem illae futurorumque praedictiones 
quo modo fiant, ille iam explicare conetur qui novit 
qua vi efficiantur in unoquoque animo tanta, cum 
cogitat. Videmus enim planeque cernimus in eo 
fieri multarum rerum visibihum et ad ceteros sensus 
corporis pertinentium innumerabiles imagines, quae 
nunc non interest quam ordinate vel turbide fiant ; 
sed tantum, quia fiunt, quod manifestum est, qua 
vi et quo modo fiant, quisquis potuerit explicare — 
quae omnia certe cotidiana sunt atque continua, — 
audeat praesumere aliquid ac definire etiam de illis 
rarissimis visis. Ego autem tanto minus hoc audeo, 

NO. 38 (Ep. CLIX) 

one, indeed, has somehow or other gone astray and 
after a long search has eluded discovery, but the 
other, which was found, contains a very charming 
commendation of a servant of God, a good and 
chaste young man, telling how he departed this life 
and by what testimony from the visions of brethren 
you were able to have assurance of his worth. Then 
you take the opportunity to set forth and discuss a 
very obscure question about the soul, whether, when 
it leaves the body, it is united with any other material 
body, so that it may be conveyed to material places 
or be enclosed in material places. The treatment of 
this problem, if indeed it can be clearly investigated 
by one such as myself, demands attention and the 
most laborious application, and therefore a mind quite 
free from such occupations as mine. But if you want 
to hear my opinion in a word or two, I certainly do 
not hold that the soul departs from the body with a 
material body. 

How those visions and predictions of future events 2 
come about is for him first to try to explain who knows 
what agency produces all those images that are in 
anyone's mind when he is thinking. For we see and 
clearly perceive that in it are found countless images 
of many objects that are discernible by the eye or by 
the other bodily senses ; it is of no importance for 
the moment whether they are produced in regular 
sequence or at random, but only that, since they do 
take place, as is obvious, anyone who can explain by 
what agency and in what way these phenomena are 
produced, all of which are of daily and repeated 
occurrence, may warrantably venture a conjecture 
or a definition about those very rare visions too. 
But for my part, the more I realize my incom- 



quanto minus id quoque in nobis quod \'ita continua 
vigilantes dormientesque experiniur, quo pacto fiat, 
explicare sufficio. Nam cum ad te dictarem banc 
epistulam, te ipsum animo contuebar, te utique 
absente atque nesciente, et quo modo possis his 
verbis moveri, secundum notitiam quae mihi de te 
inest, imaginabar ; atque id quonam modo in animo 
meo fieret, capere ac investigare non poteram certus 
tamen non fieri corporeis molibus nee corporeis 
qualitatibus, cum corpori simillimum fieret. Hoc 
interim habeas ut ab occupato et festinante dictatum. 
In duodecimo autem hbro eorum quos de genesi 
scripsi, versatur haec quaestio vehementer et multis 
exempHs rerum expertarum atque credibiliter audi- 
tarum disputatio ilia silvescit. Quid in ea potuerimus 
vel efFecerimus, cum legeris, iudicabis, si tamen 
dominus donare dignatur ut eos mihi libros, quantum 
possum, congruenter emendatos iam liceat edere et 
multorum fratrum expectationem non iam longa 
disputatione suspendere. 
3 Narrabo autem unum aliquid breviter, unde cogites. 
Frater noster Gennadius, notissimus fere om.nibus 
nobisque carissimus medicus, qui nunc apud Cartha- 
ginem degit et Romae suae artis exercitatione prae- 
polluit, ut hominem religiosum nosti atque erga 

" He is here referring to his twelve books De Genesi ad 
litteram, begun about 401 but not published until 415, in 
spite of repeated requests from friends that he should bring it 
to an early completion (Ep. cxliii. 14 " periculosissimarum 
quaestionum libros de Genesi . . . diutius teneo quam vultis 
et fertis "). The twelfth book is a study of St. Paul's vision, 
2 Cor. xii. 2-4, and of supernatural visions in general. He 
had already before his ordination to the priesthood begun a 
controversial exposition of Genesis directed against the 
Manichees (De Genesi contra Manicliaeos), but later he came 
to the opinion that this treatise was too allegorical, so he 

NO. 38 (Ep. CLIX) 

petence to account for the occurrence of the ex- 
perience we have throughout hfe, asleep and awake, 
the more I shrink from attempting to explain these 
others. For while I am dictating this letter to you, 
I have a picture of you yourself in my mind, though 
naturally you are far away and unaware of mv 
thoughts, and, in the light of my inward knowledge 
of you, I try to see how my words can affect vou ; 
and I fail to comprehend and discover how that 
process takes place in my mind, though I am sure 
that it is not caused by material particles or material 
qualities, although the actual picture is very like 
something material. P'or the present, accept this 
as a statement dictated in haste and under the 
pressure of work. However, in the twelfth book of 
my treatise on Genesis,*^ this problem is examined 
with thoroughness, and the discussion there is luxu- 
riant ^^•ith numerous examples drawn from personal 
experience and trustworthy report. When you read 
it, you will be able to judge of my competence or 
success in it, if the Lord is but pleased to grant me 
the opportunity of publishing those books suitablv 
corrected and by concluding the discussion to end 
the suspense of anticipation in many of mv brethren. 
I shall give you a brief account, however, of one 
such example, which I commend to your considera- 
tion. Our brother Gennadius,^ the physician, very 
well known to almost everybody and very dear to us, 
who now lives at Carthage and was a leading figure 
in the practice of his art at Rome, is, as you know, 
a man of devout mind, unwearied compassion, most 

undertook, first, about 393, a Uteral exposition {De Genesi 
ad lift (ram imperfect us liber), then the work mentioned here. 
** Gennadius is not otherwise known. 



pauperum curam inpigra misericordia facillimoque 
animo benignissimum, dubitabat tamen aliquando, 
ut modo nobis rettulit, cum adhuc esset adulescens 
et in his elemosynis ferventissimus, utrum esset ulla 
vita post mortem. Huius igitur mentem et opera 
miserieordiae quoniam deus nullo modo desereret, 
apparuit illi in somnis conspicuus iuvenis et dignus 
intendi eique dixit : " Sequere me." Quem dum 
sequeretur, venit ad quandam civitatem, ubi audire 
coepit a dextra parte sonos suavissimae cantilenae 
ultra solitam notamque suavitatem ; tunc ille intento 
quidnam esset, ait hymnos esse beatorum atque 
sanctorum ; sinistra autem parte quid se vidisse 
rettulit, non satis memini. E\igilavit et somnium 
aufugit tantumque de illo quantum de somnio cogi- 
4 Alia vero nocte ecce idem ipse iuvenis eidem rursus 
apparuit, atque ab illo utrum cognosceretur interro- 
gavit ; respondit iste quod eum bene pleneque 
cognosceret. Tum ille quaesivit ubi se nosset. 
Nee memoriae defuit quid iste identidem responderet, 
totumque visum ilium hymnosque sanctorum, ad 
quos audiendos eo duce venerat, qua recentissimos 
recordabatur facilitate, narravit. Hie ille percon- 
tatus est utrumnam id quod narraverat, in somnis 
vidisset an vigilans ; respondit : "In somnis." At 
ille : " Bene," inquit, " recolis ; verum est, in somnis 
ilia vidisti ; sed etiam nunc in somnis te videre scies." 

NO. 38 (Ep. CLIX) 

gracious geniality, and great kindness to the afflicted 
poor. But at one time, as he told me recently, 
while he was still in the prime of life and most 
zealous in those works of charity, he was assailed by 
doubt of the existence of any life after death. As 
God would in no wise abandon a man so compassionate 
in temper and deeds, there appeared to him, accord- 
ingly, while he was asleep, a young man of striking 
appearance and imposing mien, and said to him, 

Follow me." He followed him and came to a 
certain city, in which he began to hear on the right 
hand the strains of a song so very sweet that it 
surpassed the sweetness of known and ordinary 
music ; listening eagerly, he asked what it was and 
was told that it was the hymns of the blessed and 
the holy. What he reported he had seen on the 
left hand, I do not clearly remember. He awoke 
and his dream fled, and he thought only of it as one 
does of a dream. 

Yet another night, lo, the same young man in 4 
person appeared to him again and asked if he re- 
cognized him. Gennadius replied that he recognized 
him perfectly well. Then the young man asked 
where he had got to know him ; he had quite a clear 
recollection of the answer to that too, and he told all 
about that vision and the hymns of the saints which, 
under the other's guidance, he had gone to hear, with 
that readiness \vhich marked the recollection of very 
recent experiences. At this point the other asked 
him whether he was asleep or awake when he saw 
what he had been telling of ; the answer was that 
he was asleep. The other replied, " Your memory is 
good ; you are right, you were asleep when you 
saw that, but you must know that even now you can 



Hoc cum audisset iste, ita esse credidit atque id 
responsione firmavit. Tunc qui hominem docebat, 
adiecit et ait : " Ubi est modo corpus tuum ? " Ille 
respondit : " In cubiculo meo." " Scisne," inquit 
ille, " in eodem corpusculo nunc esse inligatos et 
clauses et otiosos oculos tuos nihilque illis oculis 
te videre ? " Respondit: " Scio." Tunc ille: "Qui 
sunt ergo J " inquit, " isti oculi, quibus me vides ? " 
Ad hoc iste non inveniens quid responderet, obticuit. 
Cui haesitanti ille quod his interrogationibus docere 
moHebatur, aperuit, et continue : " Sicut," inquit, 
" illi oculi carnis tuae utique in dormiente atque in 
lectulo iacente nunc vacant nee aliquid operantur et 
tamen sunt isti, quibus me intueris et ista uteris 
visione, ita cum defunctus fueris, nihil agentibus 
oculis carnis tuae, vita tibi inerit qua vivas, sensusque, 
quo sentias. Cave iam deinceps, ne dubites vitam 
manere post mortem." Ita sibi homo fidelis ablatam 
dicit huius rei dubitationem, quo docente nisi provi- 
dentia et misericordia dei ? 
5 Ista narratione dixerit ahquis tantae rei nos non 
solvisse sed auxisse quaestionem. Verum tamen 
cum his verbis credere vel non credere liberum cuique 
sit, se ipsum quisque habet, quo se avocet, profun- 
dissimam quaestionem. Et vigilat homo et dormit 
homo cotidie et cogitat homo. Dicat unde fiant 
ista simiHa formis, similia qualitatibus, similia motibus 
corporum nee tamen materie corporal!. Dicat, si 


NO. 38 (Ep. CLIX) 

see, though you are asleep." When Gennadius heard 
that, he accepted it as true and expressed his beUef. 
Then his teacher went on to say, " Where is your 
body now ? " to which he made answer, " In my 
bed-chamber." " Do you know," said the other, 
" that in that puny body your eyes are at this moment 
bound down and shut and idle and that with those 
eyes you see nothing ? " He said, " I know." To 
which the other answered, " What eyes then are those 
with which you see me ? " Finding no reply to that 
question, Gennadius was silent, and when he hesi- 
tated, the young man revealed the lesson he was 
trying to teach by these questions and immediately 
replied, " Just as those eyes of your body that Hes 
sleeping in bed are now inactive and do nothing and 
yet you have eyes with which you behold me and 
employ another power of sight, so when you are 
dead and the eyes of your flesh have ceased to do 
anything, you still will have a Ufe by which you 
will live and perceptions by which you will per- 
ceive. Henceforth remember not to doubt the 
continuance of life after death." In this way that 
trustworthy man declares that his doubts concerning 
immortality were taken away. What taught him but 
the providence and mercy of God ? 

Someone may say that by this story I have not 5 
solved but complicated this great problem. But yet, 
since each man is free to believe what I have said or 
to disbelieve it, each one has a ver}^ deep problem in 
himself, and with that he may delight himself. Man 
wakes and sleeps each day and thinks. Let any 
man tell whence proceed those occurrences ; they 
are not material bodies, yet bear a likeness in shape, 
in properties and in motion, to material bodies ; let 



potest ; si autem non potest, quid se praecipitat 
de rarissimis aut inexpertis quasi definitam ferre 
sententiam, cum continua et cotidiana non sol vat ? 
Ego autem, quamvis quo modo fiant ista veluti 
corporea sine corpore, verbis prorsus explicare non 
possim, tamen sicut scio non ea corpore fieri, utinam 
sic scirem quo modo discernerentur, quae videntur 
aliquando per spiritum et per corpus videri putantur, 
quove modo distinguantur visa eorum, quos error vel 
impietas plerumque deludit, quando visis piorum 
atque sanctorum similia pleraque narrantur ! Quorum 
exempla si commemorare voluissem, tempus mihi 
potius quam copia defuisset. Memor nostri in 
domini misericordia vegeteris, domine beatissime et 
venerabilis et desiderabilis frater. 

No. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 


1 Si posses videre dolorem cordis mei et sollici- 
tudinem pro salute tua, fortasse miserereris animae 
tuae placens deo in audiendo verbo non nostro, sed 
ipsius, nee eius scripturas sic in memoria tua figeres, 
ut contra eas cor clauderes. Displicet tibi quia 

<* This Donatus, a priest of the Donatist party, who had 
been compelled by law to join the Catholic Church and in 
his resistance had done himself bodily harm, is not further 
known. From § 7 it appears that he came from Mutugenna, 
which lay in the vicinity of Hippo. This letter is very in- 
structive for Augustine's arguments against toleration. 

^ Ecclus. XXX. 24^. 


NO. 38 (Ep. CLIX)— NO. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 

him tell, if he can, but if he cannot, why is he so 
hasty to pronounce a kind of final judgement about 
experiences he has very seldom or not at all, when 
he cannot explain matters that occur each day and 
every day ? Though, for my part, words fail me to 
explain how those semblances of material bodies ^vith- 
out a real body come to be, yet, just as I know that 
they are not produced by the body, so I should wish 
to know how we can separate those things that 
are seen at times by the spirit and are thought 
to be seen by the body, or how we can distinguish 
the things seen by those who are often deluded 
by error or by impiety, when the majority of 
the visions they tell of bear a likeness to those 
seen by the good and the holy. If I had wanted 
to give examples of these, I should have been short 
of time rather than material. Remember me, my 
saintly lord and revered and longed for brother, and 
may the mercy of the Lord be your refreshment ! 

No. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 

(a.d. 416) 


If you could see my heart-felt grief and anxiety for 1 
your salvation, you would perhaps " have pity on your 
own soul, doing what is pleasing unto God " ^ by giving 
ear to the injunction which is not ours, but His, 
and you would not impress His Scriptures on your 
memory only to close your heart against them. You 



traheris ad salutem, cum tarn multos nostros ad 
perniciem traxeritis. Quid enim volumus, nisi te 
comprehendi et praesentari et servari, ne pereas^ ? 
Quod autem aliquantum in corpore laesus es, ipse 
tibi fecisti, qui iumento tibi mox admoto uti noluisti 
et te ad terram grav-iter conlisisti. Nam utique 
alius qui adductus est tecum, collega tuus, inlaesus 
venit, quia talia sibi ipse non fecit. 
2 Sed neque hoc putas tibi fieri debuisse, quia 
neminem aestimas cogendum esse ad bonum. Ad- 
tende quid apostolus dixerit : Qui episcopatum de- 
siderat, homim opus concupiscit, et tamen tarn multi, 
ut episcopatum suscipiant, tenentur inviti, perdu- 
cuntur, includuntur, custodiuntur, patiuntur tanta 
quae nolunt, donee eis adsit voluntas suscipiendi 
operis boni ; quanto magis vos ab errore pernicioso, 
in quo vobis inimici estis, trahendi estis et perdu- 
cendi ad veritatem vel cognoscendam vel eligendam, 
non solum ut honorem salubriter habeatis, sed etiam 
ne pessime pereatis ! Dicis deum dedisse liberum 
arbitrium, ideo non debere cogi hominem nee ad 
bonum. Quare ergo illi, de quibus supra dixi, 
coguntur ad bonum ? Adtende ergo quod con- 
siderare non vis. Ideo voluntas bona misericorditer 

" 1 Tim. iii. 1. 
^ On forcible ordination see note on p. 35. 

NO. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 

are angry because you are being dragged to salvation, 
although you and your friends have dragged so many 
of our people to destruction. What other intention 
have we, but to arrest you and bring you before the 
j udge and preserve you from perishing ? As for the fact 
that you received a slight bodily injury, you are to 
blame for that yourself, for you would not make use 
of the mule that was at once brought for you, and 
dashed yourself with violence to the ground ; for, as 
you know, the other person who w^as taken away 
with you, a colleague of yours, arrived uninjured, 
since he did not cause any such injury to himself. 

But even that, in your opinion, should not have 2 
been done to you, for you hold that no one should 
be forced to what is good. Mark the words of the 
Apostle, " If a man desire the office of bishop, he 
desireth a good work," " yet in spite of them, many 
men are led to undertake the office of bishop only 
by being detained against their will, brought from 
one place to another, shut up and kept under super- 
vision, subjected to treatment that they do not like, 
until they acquire a willingness to undertake that 
" good work." ^ How much more fitting it is that you 
should be torn away from that pernicious error, by 
clinging to which you are your own worst enemies, 
and brought to either a knowledge or acceptance 
of the truth, so that you may not only retain your 
honour with safety to 3'ourselves, but also escape the 
great misery of destruction. You say that God has 
given man free-will and that therefore no one should 
be forced even to good. Why then are those men 
I spoke of above compelled to good ? Mark well 
then a point you refuse to take into consideration : 
the reason why a good will expends itself in works 



inpenditur, ut mala voluntas hominis dirigatur. 
Nani quis nesciat nee damnari hominem nisi merito 
malae voluntatis, nee liberari nisi bonam habuerit 
voluntatem ? Non tamen ideo, qui diliguntur, malae 
suae voluntati impune et crudeliter permittendi sunt, 
sed, ubi potestas datur, et a malo prohibendi et ad 
bonum cogendi. 
3 Nam si voluntas mala semper suae permittenda 
est libertati, quare Israhelitae recusantes et mur- 
murantes tam duris flagellis a malo prohibebantur 
et ad terram promissionis compellebantur ? Si 
voluntas mala semper suae permittenda est libertati, 
quare Paulus non est permissus uti pessima volun- 
tate, qua persequebatur ecclesiam, sed prostratus 
est, ut excaecaretur, excaecatus, ut mutaretur, 
mutatus, ut mitteretur, missus, ut, qualia fecerat in 
errore, talia pro veritate pateretur ? Si voluntas 
mala semper suae permittenda est libertati, quare 
monetur pater in scripturis Sanctis filium durum non 
solum verbis corripere sed etiam latera eius tundere, 
ut ad bonam disciplinam coactus et domitus diri- 
gatur ? Unde idem dicit : Tu quidem percidis eum 
virga, aniinam autem eius Uberabis a morte. Si mala 
voluntas semper suae permittenda est libertati, quare 
corripiuntur neglegentes pastores et dicitur eis : 
Errantem ovem non revocasiis, perditam non inquisistis ? 

" Merito, as often in late Latin, has the meaning of 
propter, " because of," "by reason of." So in No. 7 § 1 
above (p. 32), "merito peccatorum meorum." See Butler- 
Owen on Apul. Apol. 8. 15 ; Bayard, Le Latin de S. Cyprien, 
p. 156; Roensch, Itala u. Vulgata, p. 398, and compare 
the similar use of beneficio, common in Seneca and the 

" In late Latin tamen often has a much weakened sense, 

NO. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 

of mercy is to provide guidance for man's evil will. 
For who does not know that man is not damned 
unless for " his evil will, nor, on the other hand, 
granted deliverance, unless he has a good will ? 
Still* it does not follow that those we love are to be 
cruelly left to enjoy their evil will without correction, 
but where the power is granted, they are to be both 
prevented from evil and forced to good. 

CFor if an evil will is always to be left to enjoy its 3 
liberty, why were such severe scourges employed to 
prevent the disobedient and querulous Israelites from 
evil and to compel them to the land of promise ? ^ If 
an evil will is always to be left to enjoy its liberty, 
why was Paul not allowed the free use of his per- 
verted will to persecute the Church, but was thrown 
to the ground to be blinded, and blinded to be trans- 
formed, and transformed to be made an apostle, and 
made an apostle to endure for the truth sufferings 
such as he had inflicted when in error ? '^ If an evil 
will is always to be left to enjoy its liberty, why do 
the Holy Scriptures admonish a father not only to 
correct his obstinate son with rebukes, but also to 
punish his body with blows, so that, compelled and 
subdued, he may be led to habits of goodness ? ^ That 
is why the same writer says, " Thou shalt beat him 
with a rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." ^ If 
an evil will is always to be left to enjoy its liberty, 
why are careless pastors rebuked with the words, 
" Ye have not brought back the wandering sheep, 
ye have not sought that which was lost "^ } You too 

becoming simply continuative. See Lofstedt, Philol. Kom- 
mentar zur Peregrinatio Aetheriae, pp. 27-33. 

<= Exod. XV. 22 sqq. ^ Acts ix. 1-9. 

* Ecchis. XXX. 12. ^ Prov. xxiii. 14. » Ezek. xxxiv. 4. 



Et vos oves Christi estis, char act erem dominicum 
portatis in sacramento quod accepistis, sed errastis 
et peristis. Non ideo vobis displiceamus, quia 
revocamus errantes et quaerimus perditos ; melius 
enini facimus voluntatem domini monentis ut vos 
ad eius o\'ile redire cogamus, quam consentinius 
voluntati o\iuin errantium, ut perire vos permittamus. 
Noli ergo iam dicere, quod te assidue audio dicere : 
" Sic volo errare, sic volo perire " ; melius enim nos 
hoc omnino non permittimus, quantum possumus. 
4 Modo quod te in puteum, ut morereris, misisti, 
utique libera voluntate fecisti. Sed quam crudeles 
essent servi dei, si huic malae tuae voluntati te 
permitterent et non te de ilia morte Hberarent ! 
Quis eos non merito culparet ? Quis non impios 
recte iudicaret ? Et tamen tu te volens in aquam 
misisti, ut morereris, illi te nolentem de aqua levave- 
runt, ne morereris ; tu fecisti secundum voluntatem 
tuam sed in perniciem tuam, illi contra voluntatem 
tuam sed propter salutem tuam. Si ergo salus ista 
corporalis sic custodienda est, ut etiam in nolentibus 
ab eis qui eos diligunt, servetur, quanto magis ilia 
spiritalis, in cuius desertione mors aeterna metuitur ! 
Quam quam in ista morte quam tibi tu ipse inferre 
voluisti, non solum ad tempus sed etiam in aeternum 

° Character, an Augustinian term, he defines {Serm. 302. 
5. 3) thus : "characterem accipit Christianus, cum lit catechu- 
menus." It is like the imprint on imperial money, or the 
nota militaris of the soldier, or the mark a shepherd places 
on his sheep (C. Ep. Farm. ii. 29), an indelible consecration. 
It is linked up with Augustine's theory of the Church and 
of Baptism, which once validly bestowed is not to be re- 
peated, but is efficacious only when the baptized are joined 
to the Church Catholic and are in grace. 

NO. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 

are Christ's sheep ; you bear the mark " of the 
Lord in the sacrament you have received, but you 
have v>'andered away and are lost. There is no 
reason why you should be angry with us for recalling 
you from wandering and seeking you when you 
were lost, for it is better for us to carry out the will 
of the Lord, Who gave us the injunction to compel 
you to return to His fold, than to acquiesce in the 
\vill of the wandering sheep and allow you to be lost. 
Do not then say what I hear you keep saying, " I 
want to wander in my own way ; I want to be lost 
in my own way," for it is better that we should not 
allow that at all, as far as in us lies. ) 

When lately you threw yourself into a well ^\'lth 4 
the intention of slaying your body, you certainly did 
that of your own free will. But how cruel the 
servants of God would have been if they had 
handed you over to your own evil will and not 
delivered you from that death ! Who would not 
have justly blamed them ? Who would not have 
been right in judging them inhuman ? And yet 
you threw yourself into the water, intending to 
slay your body, of your own free will, and they 
lifted you out of the water, to defeat your in- 
tention, against your will ; you acted according to 
your own ^^^ll, but to your own destruction, while 
they acted against your ^^-ill, but for your o^yn pre- 
servation. If then the preservation of the body is to 
be safeguarded so that those who do not wish it are 
to be secured by their friends, how much more the 
preservation of the spirit, for the abandoning of which 
the fearsome consequence is eternal death ! And yet 
the death you sought to deal yourself was not only 
a death for time but for eternity, for even if you 
u 289 


morereris, quia, etsi non ad salutem, non ad ecclesiae 

pacem, non ad Christi corporis unitatem, non ad 

sanctam et indi\-iduam caritatem. sed ad mala aliqua 

cogereris, nee sic tibi ipse mortem inferre debuisti. 

6 Considera scripturas di\dnas et discute quantum 

potes, et vide utrum hoc fecerit aliquis aliquando 

iustorum atque fidelium, cum ab eis tanta mala 

perpessi sint qui eos ad aeternum interitum non 

ad vitam aeternara, quo tu compelleris, adigebant. 

Audi\'i quod dixeris apostolum Paulum significasse 

hoc fieri debere, ubi ait : Et si tradidero corpus meum, 

ut ardeam. Quia videlicet omnia bona dicebat, quae 

sine caritate nihil prosunt, sicut sunt hnguae hominum 

et angelorum et omnia sacramenta et omnis scientia 

et omnis prophetia et omnis fides ita ut montes 

transferantur, et rerum suarum distributio pauperi- 

bus, ideo videtur tibi etiam hoc inter bona numerasse, 

ut sibi quisque inferat mortem. Sed adtende dili- 

genter et cognosce quem ad modum dicat scriptura 

quod tradat quisque suum corpus ut ardeat, non 

utique, ut ipse se in ignem mittat, quando perse- 

quentem patitur inimicum, sed, quando ei proponitur 

ut aut mali aliquid faciat aut maU aliquid patiatur, 

ehgat non facere mala quam non pati mala atque ita 

corpus suum tradat in potestatem interfectoris, sicut 

tres illi viri fecerunt qui auream statuam cogebantur 

adorare et, nisi facerent, minabatur eis ille qui 

cogebat, caminum ignis ardentem. Idolum adorare 

noluerunt, non ipsi se in ignem miserunt et tamen 

" 1 Cor. xiii. 3. ^ 1 Cor. xiii. 1-3. - Dan. iii. 13-21. 

NO. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 

were being compelled to some evil deed instead of to 
self-preservation, to the peace of the Chm-ch, to the 
unity of Christ's body, or to holy and indivisible 
charity, even so, you had no right to attempt to take 
your ov.Ti hfe. 

Examine the Holy Scriptures and scrutinize them 5 
to the best of your ability, and see if at any tim.e 
any one of the righteous and the faithful took this 
course, although they endured such great sufferings 
at the hands of those who sought to impel them to 
everlasting: destruction . not to everlasting; life , to which 
you are being forced. I have heard that you have said 
that the apostle Paul indicated that self-immolation 
was lawful, in the words, " Though I give my body 
to be burned," ° on the supposition that, as he was 
there enumerating all the good things that are of 
no avail without charity, such as the tongues of men 
and of angels, and all mysteries, and all knowledge 
and all prophecy and all faith that could remove 
mountains, and the bestowal of one's property on the 
poor,^ he intended among these good things to count 
even self-immolation. But observe carefully and 
notice in what sense the Scripture says that a man may 
give his body to be burned : certainly not that he may 
throw himself into the fire when he is harassed by 
a pursuing enemy, but that when the proposal is 
made to him that he should do \\Tong or else suffer 
•\\Tong, he should choose not to do MTong rather than 
not to suffer A\Tong and so give his body over to him 
who has power to slay it, as did those three men who 
were compelled to worship the golden statue, when 
he who apphed the compulsion threatened them with 
the fiery furnace if they did not comply.^ They re- 
fused to worship the image ; they did not cast them- 



etiam de illis scriptum est quod tradiderunt corpora 
sua, ut neque servirent neque adorarent ullum deian sed 
deum suum. Ecce quo modo dixit apostolus : Si 
tradidero corpus meum, ut ardeam. 

6 Quod autem sequitur, vide : Si caritatern non 
haheam, nihil miki prodest. Ad istam caritatern 
vocaris, ab ista caritate perire non sineris et putas 
tibi aliquid prodesse, si te ipse praecipites in interitum, 
cum tibi nihil prodesset, etiamsi alter te occideret 
caritatis inimicum. Foris autem ab ecclesia con- 
stitutus et separatus a compage unitatis et vinculo 
caritatis aeterno supplicio punireris, etiamsi pro 
Christi nomine vivus incendereris. Hoc est enim 
quod ait apostolus : Et si tradidero corpus meum, ut 
ardeam, caritatern autejn non haheam, ?iihil mi hi prodest. 
Revoca ergo animum ad sanam considerationem et 
sobriam cogitationem ; adtende diligenter utrum 
ad errorem et impietatem voceris, et patere pro 
veritate quaslibet molestias. Si autem tu potius in 
errore atque in impietate versaris, quo autem 
vocaris ibi est Veritas et pietas, quia ibi Christiana 
unitas et sancti spiritus caritas, quid adhuc tibi esse 
conaris inimicus ? 

7 Ideo praestitit misericordia dei, ut et nos et epi- 
scopi vestri tam frequenti numerosoque conventu 
Carthaginem veniremus atque inter nos de ipsa 

" Dan. iii. 95. ^ 1 Cor. xiii. 3. 

<^ The Conference of June 411, attended by 286 Catholic 
bishops and 279 Donatists. Its minutes, the Gesta Colla- 
tionis, are printed in Mansi, iv., and in the appendix to the 
works of Optatus {P.L. xi. 1257-1420); they are sum- 
marized in Augustine's Brevkulus Collationis, published 
soon after the Conference. 


NO. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 

selves into the fire, and yet it was written even of 
them that " they yielded their bodies that they might 
not serve nor worship any god except their own 
God."^ That is the sense in Avhich the Apostle 
said, " If I give my body to be bm-ned." 

Notice, however, what follows : " If I have not 6 
charity, it profiteth me nothing." ^ To that charity 
you are summoned ; by that charity you are with- 
held from perishing, and yet you think that to throw 
yourself headlong to destruction does to some degree 
profit you, although even if you suffered death at 
the hands of another person while you are still a foe 
to charity, that would profit you nothing ; indeed, 
as long as you remain outside the Church and severed 
from the fabric of unity and the bond of charity, 
you would be punished ^\^th everlasting chastise- 
ment, even if you v.ere burned alive for Christ's 
sake. That is what the Apostle means when he 
says, " Though I give my body to be burned, and 
have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." Bring 
back your mind, then, to sane reflection and sober 
thought ; consider carefully whether it is to error 
and impiety that you are being summoned, and 
endure any troubles you like for truth's sake. But if 
you rather are living in error and in impiety, and 
truth and piety rather exist in the place to which 
you are summoned, for the reason that there are to 
be found Christian unity and the charity of the 
Holy Spirit, why do you keep on trying to be your 
own worst enemy ? 

It was with this end in view that God in His mercy 7 
provided your bishops and us \\ith an opportunity of 
meeting at Carthage in a crowded and well-attended 
conference ^ and of reasoning together in the most 



dissensione ordinatissime conferremus. Gesta con- 
scripta sunt, nostrae etiam subscriptiones tenentur. 
Lege vel patere ut tibi legatur, et tunc elige quod 
volueris. Audivi quod dixeris posse te nobiscum de 
ipsis gestis aliquid agere, si omittamus verba epi- 
scoporuni vestrorum, ubi dixerunt : " Nee causa 
causae nee persona personae praeiudicat." Haec 
verba vis omittamus, ubi per eos nescientes Veritas 
ipsa locuta est. Sed tu dicturus es hie eos errasse et 
in falsam sententiam incautius cecidisse ; nos autem 
dicimus hoc eos verum dixisse et hoc per te ipsum 
facilUme probamus. Si enim episcopi vestri electi 
ab universa parte Donati, qui causam omnium 
sustinerent et, si quid egissent, gratum et acceptum 
ceteri haberent, tamen in eo quod illos temere et 
non recte dixisse arbitraris, non vis ut tibi prae- 
iudicent, verum ergo dixerunt, quia " nee causa 
causae nee persona personae praeiudicat." Et ibi 
debes agnoscere quia, si persona tot episcoporum 
tuorum in iiUs septem constitutorum non vis ut prae- 

" The words were used by the Donatists at the Conference 
of Carthage, " Quia ergo diximiis eis sicut ilhid [concihiim] 
non obesse Caeciliano, quemadmodum hoc non obest Pri- 
miano, quoniam contra absentes facta sunt ambo concilia ; 
continuo non invenientes quae responderent, et horribiles 
angustias passi, dixerunt nee causam causae, nee personam 
praeiudicare personae '.' {Ad Bon. p. Coll. 3. 3). His point 
here is that, on this Donatist admission that one man's 
guilt does not affect another, the crimes alleged by the 
Council of Carthage in 312 against Caecilian in no way 
affect his successors, still less the Church Universal. Seeing 

NO. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 

orderly manner about this very question of separa- 
tion. The minutes were ^\Titten down ; further, our 
signatures are on record. Read them, or have them 
read to you, and choose then which you prefer. I 
have heard you have stated that you could have 
some discussion \Wth us about those minutes, if we 
leave out the words of your bishops, in which it is 
said, " One case does not compromise another case, 
nor one person another person." " You want us to 
leave these words out, which truth itself spoke 
through them, though they knew it not. But you 
will say that in this point they were mistaken and 
through lack of foresight fell into a false opinion ; 
we say that what they said was true, and we very 
easily prove this by referring to yourself. For if 
you refuse to allow those bishops of yours, chosen 
by the entire Donatist party to represent the whole 
body in such wise that whatever they did, the rest 
should take as satisfactory and acceptable, to pre- 
judice your case by what you hold to be a rash 
and incorrect statement on their part, by this refusal 
you admit the truth of their statement that one case 
does not compromise another case, nor one person 
another person. And at this point you ought to 
grant that, if you refuse to allow the person of so 
many of your bishops as represented in those seven ^ 

the consequences of this argument, the Donatists declared 
that this admission by their leaders at the Conference of the 
intransmissibilitv of guilt was not " satisfactory and accept- 

^ At the Conference Catholics and Donatists each chose 
seven representatives to address the gathering, seven more 
as counsel, and four others to supervise the taking of the 
minutes. The reference here is to the seven speakers on the 
Donatist side. 


iudicet personae Donati Mutugennensis presbyteri, 
quanto minus non debet praeiudicare Caeciliani 
persona, etiamsi mali aliquid in illo esset inventum, 
universae unitati Christi, quae non in una villa 
Mutugenna concluditur, sed toto terrarum orbe 
diffunditur ! 

Sed ecce facimus quod voluisti ; sic tecum agimus, 
ac si non dixerint vestri : " Nee causa causae nee 
persona personae praeiudicat." Tu inveni quid illic 
dicere debuerint, cum eis obiecta esset causa et 
persona Primiani, qui damnatores suos et damnavit 
cum ceteris et damnatos ac detestatos in suo rursus 
honore suscepit, et baptismum quem mortui dederant 
(quia de ipsis in ilia praeclara sententia dictum erat 

" Caecilian was first archdeacon, then from 311 bishop, of 
Carthage ; the question whether his ordination was valid or 
not was the beginning of the Donatist schism. 

^ Primianus was Donatist bishop of Carthage, appointed 
in 391, the year which saw AureHus elevated to the Cathohc 
see in Carthage and Augustine ordained to the priesthood 
at Hippo. These two at once came to grips with the Donatist 
problem, but that party had as well its own internal difh- 
culties. Primianus became embroiled with a rival, Maximian, 
and at a synod held in the province of Byzacena, Primianus 
was deposed and Maximian appointed in his stead (June 
393). Primianus rallied his supporters in Xumidia, where the 
original strength of Donatism lay, and at Bagai, in April 
394, a synod of Primianist Donatists restored him. The 
rebel Gildo, aided by the infamous Optatus, bishop of 
Timgad, supported their cause, but when the rebellion was 
put down in 398 the Donatists found themselves acutely 
divided and in great disfavour. The Catholic party invoked 

NO. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 

to compromise the person of Donatus, priest of 
Mutugenna," all the less ought the person of 
Caecilian, even if some degree of evil had been 
detected in him, to compromise Christian unity, 
M'hich is not confined to the single village of Mutu- 
genna, but is spread abroad throughout the world. 

But see, we shall do as you have desired ; we 8 
shall treat with you as if your bishops had not said, 

One case does not compromise another case, nor 
one person another person." Do you find out what 
they ought to have replied to that point, when the 
objection was made to them of the case and person 
of Primianus,^ who although he joined the others in 
anathematizing those who had anathematized him, 
nevertheless received back with their former honours 
those whom he had anathematized and cursed, and 
chose rather to recognize and accept, than to abolish 
and breathe scorn upon,*^ the baptism given by 
dead men (for of them it was said in that famous 

in 404 the aid of the secular arm, and Primianus was dis- 
possessed, but soon returned, playing a prominent part 
in the Conference of 41 1. This marked a definite stage 
in the history of Donatism, and Primianus's power was quite 

" Exsiifflo is a late word, properly " to breathe out," 
" blow out," as Gael. Aur. Chron. 4. 3 " exsuflflatis omnibus 
quae de se admiserint"; then, naturally, it came to imply 
scorn (Iren.-Lat. i. 13. 4 " exsufflantes et catathemizantes 
eum "). In the baptism of the young, exsufflation was part 
of the ceremony of exorcism from very early in the Church's 
history (Augustine calls it an " antiqui?simam Ecclesiae tradi- 
tionem," De Xvpf. h. 29. 51) ; then, since in re-baptizing 
Catholic Christians the Donatists " exsuflflated " the previous 
baptism (" iterata baptismata, exsufflata sacramenta," Ep. 
xliii. 24 ; " fidelis si veniat, exsufflant et rebaptizant," Ep. 
lii. 2), it becomes almost a technical term to describe the 
attitude of Donatists to the Catholic sacraments. 



quod " mor tuorum funeribus plena sint litora "), agiios- 
cere potius et acceptare quam exsufflare et rescindere 
maluit, totumque dissolvit quod male intellegentes 
dicere soletis, quia qui baptizatur a mortuo, quid ei 
prodest lavacrum eius? Si ergo non dicerent : " Nee 
causa causae nee persona personae praeiudicat," 
rei tenerentur in causa Primiani ; cum autem hoc 
dixerunt, immunem fecerunt ecclesiam catholicam, 
sicut nos adserebamus, a causa Caeciliani. 
9 Sed cetera lege, cetera discute. Vide utrum in 
ipsura Caecilianum, de cuius persona praeiudicare 
conabantur ecclesiae, aliquid mali probare potuerint. 
Vide utrum non potius etiam pro illo multa egerint 
et pluribus lectionibus, quas contra se protulerunt et 
recitaverunt, causam eius bonam omnino firmaverint. 
Lege ista vel legantur tibi. Considera omnia, re- 
tracta diligenter, et elige quid sequaris, utrum 
nobiscum in Christi pace, in ecclesiae catholicae 
unitate, in fraterna caritate gaudere, an pro nefaria 
dissensione, pro Donati parte, pro sacrilega divisione 
importunitatem nostrae circa te dilectionis diutius 
10 Adtendis enim et saepe repetis, sicut audio, quod 
in evangelio scriptum est recessisse a domino septua- 

" The sentence is given in full in Augustine's Contra 
Gaudenthim, i. 54, " Aegyptiorum admodum exemplo per- 
euntium funeribus plena sunt litora," the reference being to 
Exod. xiv. SI, when the Israelites " viderunt Aegyptios 
mortuos super litus maris," and the implication being that 
the Donatists behold the catholic successors of Caecilian, 
with the appearance of Christian life but a real absence of it, 
widespread in Africa, but quite ineffective. The " wrong in- 
terpretation " refers to the Donatist practice of adducing in 
support of their re-baptizing of Catholics the text from Ecclus. 
xxxiv. 25, " qui baptizatur a mortuo, et iterum tangit 

NO. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 

decree*^ that " the shores were full of dead men "), and 
so gave a complete denial to that argument which you 
are wont to deduce from a ^vl•ong interpretation of 
the words, " He that washeth himself after touching 
a dead body, what availeth his washing ? " ^ If then 
your bishops had not said, " One case does not com- 
promise another case, nor one person another person," 
they would have been held to share the guilt in the 
case of Primianus ; but in making that assertion they 
secured the Catholic Church, as we contended, from 
any guilt in the case of Caecilian. 

But read all the rest and examine it well. Notice 9 
whether they have succeeded in proving any evil 
against Caecilian himself, from whose person they 
attempted to compromise the Church; notice whether 
they have not rather achieved much in his favour and 
altogether confirmed the soundness of his case by 
the comparatively large number of extracts they pro- 
duced and recited to the detriment of their own 
position. Read those, or have them read to you ; 
consider the whole matter, give it a further careful 
investigation, and choose which you will follow, 
whether you mil share our joy in the peace of Christ, 
in the unity of the Church Catholic, in brotherly 
affection, or, in the cause of ^\^cked discord, the 
Donatist party and sacrilegious schism, will endure 
still further the importunity of our love for you. 

I hear that you often quote and draw attention to 10 
the fact recorded in the Gospels that seventy dis- 
ciples vdthdrew from the Lord and were left to their 

mortuiim, quid ei prodest lavacrum eius ? " with the omission 
of the middle clause, " if he touch it again," and a monstrous 
perversion of the meaning. The Catholics, the Donatists 
argued, being mortui, could not confer a valid sacrament. 
^ Ecclus. xxxiv. 30. 



ginta discipulos et arbitrio suae malae atque impiae 
discessionis fuisse permissos, ceterisque duodecim 
qui remanserant, fuisse responsum : Xtf)?2quid et vos 
vultis ire? Et non adtendis quia tunc priniuin ecclesia 
novello germine pullulabat nondumque in ea fuerat 
completa ilia prophetia : Et adorahunt eiun omnes 
reges ierrae, omnes gentes servient illi, quod utique 
quanto magis impletur, tanto maiore utitur ecclesia 
potestate, ut non solum invitet, sed etiam cogat ad 
bonum. Hoc tunc doniinus significare volebat, qui 
quamvis haberet magnam potestatem, prius tamen 
elegit commendare humilitatem. Hoc et in ilia 
con\ivii similitudine satis e\identer ostendit, ubi 
misit ad invitatos et venire noluerunt ; et ait servo : 
Exi in plateas et vicos civitatis et paiiperes et debiles et 
caecos et claudos introduc hue. Et ait servus domino : 
" Factum est, id imperasti, et adhuc locus est.'' Et ait 
dominus servo : Exi in vias et saepes et compelle imrare, 
ut impleatur domus mea. \ ide nunc quern ad niodum 
de his qui prius venerunt, dictum est : " Introduc " 
eos, non dictum est " compelle " ; ita significata sunt 
ecclesiae primordia adhuc crescentis, ut essent vires 
etiam compellendi. Proinde, quia oportebat eius 
iam viribus et magnitudine roborata etiam compelli 
homines ad convivium salutis aeternae, posteaquam 
dictum est : Factum est, quod iussisti, et adhuc est 

« John vi. 67-68. " Ps. Ixxi. 11. " Luke xiv. 21-23. 

NO. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII) 

own choice in this wicked and undutiful desertion, 
and that to the other twelve who remained it was 
said, " Will ye also go away ? " ® But you neglect to 
draw attention to the fact that then the Church was 
just beginning to sprout with new shoots and that 
as yet that prophecy had not received fulfilment in 
her : " All kings shall fall down before him, yea, all 
nations shall serve him " ^ ; it is in proportion to the 
more complete fulfilment of that prophecy that the 
Church enjoys greater authority, so that she not only 
invites, but actually compels, men to goodness. This 
is what our Lord intended in that incident to indicate, 
for although He possessed great authority. He chose 
rather to give the example of humility. This too He 
taught clearly enough in that parable of the feast, in 
which, after a message had been sent to the invited 
guests and they had refused to come, the servant 
was told, " ' Go out into the streets and lanes of the 
city and bring in hither the poor and the maimed and 
the halt and the blind.' And the servant said to his 
lord, ' It is done as thou hast commanded, and yet 
there is room.' And the lord said to his servant, ' Go 
out into the highways and hedges, and compel them 
to come in, that my house may be filled.' "^ Just 
notice the phrase used of those who came first : 
" bring them in," not the phrase, " compel them to 
come in " ; that symbolized the incipient stage of 
the Church, still developing to the point where it 
would have the strength to compel men to it. Accord- 
ingly, since it v/as right that when it had grown 
stronger in power and extent men should actually be 
compelled to the feast of everlasting salvation, the 
words were afterwards added : "It is done as thou 
hast commanded, and still there is room. And the 



locus, exi, inquit, in vias et saepes et compelle intrare. 
Quapropter,. si ambularetis quieti extra hoc convi^-ium 
sanctae unitatis ecclesiae, tamquam in viis vos in- 
veniremus ; nunc vero, quia per multa mala et saeva 
quae in nostros committitis, tamquam spinis et 
asperitate pleni estis, vos tamquam in saepibus 
invenimus et intrare compeilimus. Qui compellitur, 
quo non vult cogitur, sed, cum intraverit, iam volens 
pascitur. Cohibe itaque iam iniquum et inpacatum 
animum, ut in vera ecclesia Christi invenias salutare 

No. 40 (Ep. CLXXnO 


De trinitate, quae deus summus et verus est, libros 
iuvenis inchoavi, senex edidi. Omiseram quippe 
hoc opus, posteaquam comperi praereptos mihi esse 
sive subreptos, antequam eos absolverem et re- 
tractatos, ut mea dispositio fuerat, expoUrem. Non 
enim singillatim, sed omnes simul edere ea ratione 
decreveram, quoniam praecedentibus consequentes 
inquisitione proficiente nectuntur. Cum ergo per 

" The title pajja was applied to all bishops indiscriminately 
from the third century until the ninth, and only then was 
reserved to the bishop of Rome (see P. de Labriolle in the 
Bulletin Du Cange^ t. iv. pp. 65-75). For Aurelius see note 
on p. 40. 

^ The De Trinitate was begun about 400, but the first 
twelve books having been published without his authority, 
it was not until 416, in response to several urgent requests, 

NO. 39 (Ep. CLXXIII)— NO. 40 (Ep. CLXXIV) 

lord said, ' Go out into the highways and hedges 
and compel them to come in.' " Wherefore, if you 
were walking quietly outside this feast of the Church's 
holy unity, we should find you, so to speak, in the 
" highways " ; but as it is, you are, so to say, full 
of thorns and sharpness, by reason of the many cruel 
sufferings you inflict on our people, so we find you, 
as it were, in the " hedges " and compel you to come 
in. He who is compelled is forced to go where he has 
no wish to go, but when he has come in, he partakes 
of the feast right willingly. So curb your hostile and 
rebellious spirit, that you may find the feast of salva- 
tion within the true Church of Christ. 

No. 40 (Ep. CLXXIV) 

(a.d. 416) 


I was young when I began my work on the Trinity,^ 
the supreme, true God ; I am old now when it is 
published. I had indeed abandoned the task, after 
learning that someone had stolen it from me or at 
least stolen a march on me before I could finish and 
revise it and give it the final touch I had intended. 
For I had decided not to pubhsh the books separately 
but all together, for the reason that the later books 
are linked up with the earlier in a progressive inquiry. 

that he completed and published the whole fifteen books 
{Retract, ii. 15, Ejyp. cxx. 13, cxliii. 4, clxiv. 2, clxix. 1). 



eos homines qui, priusquam vellem, ad quosdam 
illorum pervenire potuerunt, dispositio mea nequi- 
visset impleri, interruptam dictationem reliqueram 
cogitans hoc ipsum in aHquibus scriptis meis conqueri. 
ut scirent qui possent non a me fuisse eosdem libros 
editos, sed ablatos priusquam mihi editione mea digni 
viderentur. Verum multorum fratrum vehementis- 
sima postalatione et maxime tua iussione compulsus, 
opus tarn laboriosum adiuvante domino terminare 
curavi, eosque emendatos, non ut volui, sed ut potui, 
ne ab illis, qui subrepti iam in manus hominum 
exierant, plurimum discreparent, venerationi tuae 
per fiUum nostrum condiaconum carissimum misi et 
cuicumque audiendos, legendos describendosque per- 
misi. In quibus si servari mea dispositio potuisset, 
essent profecto, etsi easdem sententias habentes, 
multo tamen enodatiores atque planiores, quantum 
rerum tantarum explicandarum difficultas et facultas 
nostra pateretur. Sunt autem qui primos quattuor 
vel potius quinque etiam sine prooemiis habent et 
duodecimum sine extrema parte non parva. Sed 
si eis haec editio potuerit innotescere, omnia, si 
voluerint et valuerint, emendabunt. Peto sane ut 
banc epistulam seorsum quidem sed tamen ad caput 
eorundem Ubrorum iubeas anteponi. Ora pro me. 


NO. 40 (Ep. CLXXIV) 

Seeing, then, that my intention was prevented from 
being carried out because of those persons who were 
able to have access to some of the books before 
I wanted them to, I broke off my dictation and 
abandoned it, thinking to voice my complaint in 
some other work of mine, so as to let those who 
could, know that those same books were not pub- 
lished by me, but were taken out of my hands before 
they seemed to me fit for publication by me. But 
compelled by the most urgent demands of many of 
my brethren and most of all by your command, I 
have taken the trouble to bring to completion, with 
the help of God, a work on which I have expended 
so much effort, and now by our son and dear fellow- 
deacon I am sending them to your Grace, and hand- 
ing them over for anyone to hear, read, or copy, 
corrected as well as I could, not as well as I would, 
in case they might differ too much from those copies 
which were stolen from me and are already in circula- 
tion. If I could have stuck to what I intended in 
them, they should have contained the same opinions, 
but should certainly have been much less obscure 
and more easy to read, as far as the difficulty of 
explaining such weighty matters and my own ability 
allowed it. Now there are some people who possess 
the first four or rather five books without the in- 
troductions and the twelfth without the last portion, 
which is of a fair length ; but if this edition happens 
to come to their notice, they will be able to make 
all the corrections, if they have the wish and the 
ability. I beg you by all means to give instructions 
for the placing of this letter at the head of those 
books, but apart from them. Pray for me. 

X 305 


No. 41 (Ep. CLXXIX) 


1 Quod tuae sanctitatis scripta non merui, nihil 
audeo suscensere ; melius enim perlatorem credo 
defuisse, quam me suspicor a tua veneratione con- 
temptum, domine beatissime et merito venerabilis 
frater. Nunc vero, quoniam servum dei Lucam, 
per quem ista direxi, cito comperi esse rediturum, 
agam domino et tuae benignitati uberes gratias, si 
me litteris fueris visitare dignatus. Pelagium vero 
fratrem nostrum, filium tuum, quem audio quod 
multum diligis, banc illi suggero exhibeas dilectionem, 
ut homines, qui eum noverunt et diligenter audierunt, 
non ab eo tuam sanctitatem existiment falli. 

2 Nam quidam ex discipulis eius adulescentes 
honestissime nati et institutis liberalibus eruditi 
spem, quam habebant in saeculo, eius exhortatione 
dimiserunt et se ad dei servitium contulerunt. In 
quibus tamen cum apparuissent quaedam sanae 
doctrinae adversantia, quae salvatoris evangelio 

" This is John, bishop of Jerusalem from 386 to 417. When 
Pelagius and Coelestius reached Palestine in 415, John re- 
fused to accept the decrees of the Council of Carthage against 
them and held his own synod in 415. In 416 the Synod of 
Diospolis gave a decision favourable to Pelagius, but later 
this was reversed. Meantime Augustine writes warning 
John to beware of tolerating and encouraging the Pelagian 
heresy. For Augustine's earlier relations with Pelagius see 
No. 36. 

* These young men were Timasius and Jacobus, who in 
415 sent Augustine a copy of Pelagius's De Natura, to which 

NO. 41 (Ep. CLXXIX) 

No. 41 (Ep. CLXXIX) 
(a.d. 416) 


I would not for anything venture to cherish re- 1 
sentment that I have not been honoured with letters 
from your Holiness ; for it is better for me to believe 
that you, my saintly lord and deservedly revered 
brother, were without anyone to convey them, than 
to harbour the suspicion that your Grace was scorning 
me. But now, as I have learned that Luke, the servant 
of God by whom I am sending this letter to you, is 
going to return very shortly, I shall give hearty thanks 
to the Lord and to your Benignity, if you have the 
kindness to visit me by letter. As for Pelagius, our 
brother and your son, to whom I hear you show 
much affection, I suggest that the affection you show 
him be such that the people who know him and have 
carefully listened to him may not imagine that your 
Holiness is being deceived by him. 

Some of his disciples, indeed, young men of very 2 
noble birth and education in the liberal arts,^ gave 
up their worldly prospects at his persuasion and 
betook themselves to the service of God. When, 
however, they gave evidence of certain theories at 
variance vrith sound doctrine as contained in the 
Gospel of the Saviour and declared in the words of 

Augustine replied in his D& Natura et Gratia, dedicated to 
tlie two young men ; their letter of thanks on receiving the 
reply is printed as Ep. clxviii. 



continetur et apostolicis sermonibus declaratur, id 
est cum invenirentur contra dei gratiam disputari, 
propter quam Christian! sumus et in qua spiritu ex 
jide spem iustitiae eocpectamus, et admonitionibus 
nostris inciperent emendari, dederunt mihi librum, 
quern eiusdem Pelagii esse dixerunt, rogantes ut ei 
potius responderem. Quod posteaquam vidi nie 
facere debere, ut eo modo error ipse nefarius de 
cordibus eorum perfectius auferretur, legi atque 
3 In hoc hbro ille dei gratiam non appellat nisi 
naturam, qua Hbero arbitrio conditi sumus. lUam 
vero, quam innumerabilibus testimoniis sancta 
scriptura commendat ea nos iustificari, hoc est iustos 
fieri docens et in omni opere bono sive agendo sive 
perficiendo dei misericordia iuvari, quod etiam 
orationes sanctorum apertissime ostendunt, quibus 
ea petuntur a domino, quae praecipiuntur a domino, 
hanc ergo gratiam non solum tacet, sed ei contraria 
multa loquitur. Adfirmat enim vehementerque con- 
tendit per solum liberum arbitrium sibi humanam 
sufRcere posse naturam ad operandam iustitiam et 
omnia dei mandata servanda. Unde quis non 
videat, cum eundem librum legerit, quem ad modum 
oppugnetur gratia dei, de qua dicit apostolus : 
Miser ego homo ! Quis me liherahit de corpore mortis 
huius ? Gratia dei per dotninum nostrum lesum 
Christum, et nullus locus divino adiutorio relinquatur, 
propter quod orantes dicere debeamus : Ne nos 
infer as in temptationem, sine causa etiam dominus 

" Gal. V. 5. * Rom. vii. 24-25. 

*= Matt. vi. 13 ; Luke xi. 4. 


NO. 41 (Ep. CLXXIX) 

the apostles — that is, when they were discovered 
to be arguing against the grace of God, by means 
of which we become Christians and in which " we 
through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteous- 
ness by faith," <^ and were beginning to reject their 
errors under my strictures, they gave me a book 
which, they said, was by the same Pelagius, asking 
me instead to reply to him. After I saw that it was 
my duty to do so in order the more thoroughly to 
drive that wicked error from their hearts, I read it 
and composed an answer. 

In that book he declares the grace of God to be 3 
only nature, in which we are created with free-^\-ill. 
(As for that grace, however, which Holy Scripture 
commends to us in countless texts, teaching that it 
is by it that we are justified, that is, made just, and 
assisted, by God's mercy, in doing or completing 
every good work (as is shown too very clearly by the 
prayers of the holy, in which those things are sought 
from the Lord which have been enjoined by the 
Lord) — this grace, then, he not only passes over in 
silence, but advances many statements opposed to 
it. ('For he asserts and urgently argues that through 
free-will alone human nature can be sufficient to do 
the works of righteousness and keep all God's com- 
mandments. From that anyone can see, on reading 
the same book, what an attack is made upon the 
grace of God, of which the apostle says, " O wretched 
man that I am ! Who shall deliver me from the body 
of this death ? The grace of God through our Lord 
Jesus Christ," ^ and how there is no place left for that 
divine assistance because of which it is our duty to 
say, when we pray, " Lead us not into temptation " '^ ; 
further, the Lord seems to have had no reason for 



apostolo Petro dixisse videatur : Bogavi pro te, ne 
deficiat fides tua, si hoc totum in nobis niillo auxilio 
dei sed potestate voluntatis impletur ? 
4 His itaque disputationibus perversis et impiis non 
solum contradicitur orationibus nostris, quibus a 
domino petimus quicquid sanctos petisse legimus et 
tenemus, verum etiam benedictionibus nostris re- 
sistitur, quando super populum dicimus optantes eis 
et poscentes a domino, ut eos abundare facial in 
caritate ijivicem et i?i omiies et det eis secundum divitias 
gloriae suae virtute corroborari per spiritum eius et 
impleat eos omni gaudio et pace in credendo et abundent 
in spe et potentia spiritus sancti. Ut quid eis ista 
petimus, quae populis a domino petisse apostolum 
novimus, si iam natura nostra creata cum libero 
arbitrio omnia haec sibi potest sua voluntate prae- 
stare ? Ut quid etiam dicit idem ipse apostolus : 
Quotquot enim spiritu dei aguntur, hi filii sunt dei, si 
spiritu naturae nostrae agimur, ut efficiamur filii dei ? 
Ut quid dicit similiter : Spiritus adiuvat infirmitatem 
nosiram, si natura nostra sic creata est, ut spiritu 
ad opera iustitiae non indigeat adiuvari ? Ut quid 
scriptum est : Fidelis autem deus, qui non permittet vos 
temptari super id quod potestis, sed faciet cum tempta- 
tiojie etiam exitum, ut possitis susti?iere, si iam ita conditi 
sumus, ut viribus liberi arbitrii universas tempta- 
tiones sustinendo superare possimus ? 

« Luke xxii. 32. * 1 Thess. ill. 12. 

« Eph. iii. 16. " Rom. xv. 13. * Rom. viii. U. 

/ Rom. viii. 26. » 1 Cor. x. 13. 

NO. 41 (Ep. CLXXIX) 

saying to the apostle Peter, " I have prayed for thee, 
that thy faith fail not," " if all this receives its fulfil- 
ment in us without any help from God, but by the 
power of our will alone.) 

So these perverted and sacrilegious arguments not 4 
only give the lie to our prayers, in which we ask 
the Lord for anything that we read and believe that 
the holy have asked, but also are in conflict with the 
benediction we give, when over the people we utter 
the prayer and petition to God that He will " make 
them to increase and abound in love one towards 
another and towards all men," ^ and " grant them ac- 
cording to the riches of His glory to be strengthened 
with might by his Spirit," ^ and " fill them with joy and 
peace in believing and make them to abound in hope 
and in the power of the Holy Spirit." '^ (Why do we ask 
these things for them which we know the apostle 
asked from the Lord for the nations, if even now 
our nature, created ^\^th free-will, can provide all of 
them for itself by its own will ? And why does this 
same apostle say too, " For as many as are led by 
the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God," ^ if we 
are led by the spirit of our nature to be made the 
sons of God ? And why does he likewise say, " The 
Spirit helpeth our infirmities,"-'^ if our nature is created 
such that it does not need any help from the Spirit 
to do the works of righteousness ? And why does 
Scripture say, " But God is faithful, who will not 
suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, 
but will with the temptation also make a way to 
escape, that ye may be able to bear it,"^ if we have 
been created such that by the strength of our free- 
will we are able to overcome all temptations by 
simply enduring them ? J 



5 Quid pluribus agam apud sanctitatem vestram, 
quando quidem me onerosum sentio, maxime quia 
per interpretem audis litteras meas ? Si diligitis Pe- 
lagium, diligat vos etiam ipse, immo magis se ipsum 
et non vos fallat. Cum enim auditis eum confiteri 
gratiam dei et adiutorium dei, putatis hoc eum dicere 
quod et vos, qui catholica regula sapitis, quoniam 
quid in libro suo scripserit, ignoratis. Propter hoc 
ipsum hbrum misi et meum, quo ei respondi ; unde 
perspiciat venerabilitas vestra quam gratiam vel 
adiutorium dei dicat, quando illi obicitur quod 
gratiae dei et adiutorio contradicat. Proinde ostende 
ilU docendo et hortando et pro eius salute, quae in 
Christo esse debet, orando, ut eam dei gratiam con- 
fiteatur, quam probantur sancti dei fuisse confessi, 
cum a domino ea ipsi peterent, quae ilhs iubebat ut 
facerent, quoniam neque iuberentur, nisi ut nostra 
voluntas ostenderetur, neque peterentur, nisi ut 
voluntatis infirmitas ab illo, qui iusserat, iuvaretur. 
6 Aperte interrogetur, utrum ei placeat orandum 
esse a domino, ne peccemus. Quod si ei displicet, 
legatur in auribus eius apostolus dicens : Oramus 
autem ad deum, ne quid facialis mali ; si autem placet, 
aperte praedicet gratiam, qua iuvamur, ne ipse faciat 
multum mali. Hac enim gratia dei per lesum 
Christum dominum nostrum omnes liberantur, qui- 
cumque liberantur, quoniam nemo praeter ipsam 
quolibet alio modo liberari potest. Propter hoc 

" His own language was Greek, ^ 2 Cor. xiii. 7. 


NO. 41 (Ep. CLXXIX) 

Why need I dilate upon the point to your Holiness, 5 
when I already reahze that I am wearying you, es- 
pecially as you hsten to my letter through an in- 
terpreter ? ^ If you love Pelagius.may he too love you, 
or rather deceive himself and not you ! For when 
you hear him confessing God's grace and God's help, 
you think he means the same as you do, who under- 
stand them in the hght of the Catholic rule of faith, 
because you are unacquainted M-ith what he has 
MTitten in his book. For this reason I have sent the 
book itself and the reply I wrote to it; from these 
your Reverence may see what grace or help of God 
he speaks of, when the objection is made to him that 
he is speaking of something opposed to the grace and 
help of God. Open his eyes then by teaching and 
exhorting him and praying for the salvation he ought 
to have in Christ, so that he may confess that grace 
of God the saints are proved to have confessed, when 
they sought those things from the Lord which He 
commanded them to seek, for those things would 
have not been commanded unless to the end that our 
will should be revealed, nor would they be asked for, 
unless to the end that the weakness of our ^^-ill should 
have the help of Him who commanded them. 

Let the question be openly put to him whether he 6 
approves of praying the Lord that we fall not into sin. 
If he disapproves of it, let the apostle be read in his 
ears, in the words, " Now I pray to God that ye do 
no e\'il " ^ ; but if he does approve of it, let him openly 
preach that grace which assists us, so that he himself 
may be kept from doing much evil. For it is by this 
grace of God through Jesus Christ oiu: Lord that all 
those who are delivered, are dehvered, since no one 
can be delivered in any other way than through it. 



scriptum est : Sicut in Adam omnes moriuntur, sic et 
in Christo omnes vivijicaburitur, non quia nemo damna- 
bitur, sed quia nemo aliter liberabitur, quia, sicut 
nulli nisi per Adam filii hominis, ita nulli nisi per 
Christum filii dei. Omnes itaque filii hominis nonnisi 
per Adam et omnes ex eis filii dei nonnisi per Christum 
fieri possunt. Aperte itaque etiam hinc exprimat 
quid sentiat, utrum placeat ei etiam parvulos, qui 
nondum iustitiam possunt velle vel nolle, tamen 
propter unum hominem, per quem peccatum i?itravit 
in mundum et per peccatum mors et ita in omnes homines 
pertransiit, in quo onmes peccaverunt, per Christ! 
gratiam liberari, utrum etiam pro ipsis fusum credat 
sanguinem Christi propter originale peccatum, qui 
utique in remissionem fusus est peccatorum. De 
his maxime ab illo volumus nosse quid credat, quid 
teneat, quid certe confiteatur et praedicet. In 
aliis autem, quae illi obiciuntur, etiamsi errare 
convincitur, tamen, donee corrigatur, tolerabilius 

Peto etiam nobis transmittere, quibus perhibetur 
esse purgatus, ecclesiastica gesta digneris. Quod ex 
multorum episcoporum desiderio peto, quos mecum 
de hac re fama incerta perturbat ; sed ideo solus 
hoc scripsi, quia occasionem perlatoris festinantis a 
nobis, quem cito ad nos audivi posse remeare, praeter- 
mittere nolui. Pro quibus gestis iam nobis misit 

" 1 Cor. XV. 22. ^ Rom. v. 12. <" Matt. xxvi. 28. 

^ Held at Diospolis, the ancient Lydda, in December 415. 
When the minutes came into Augustine's hands, about the 
end of 416 or early in 417, he found that Pelagius's summary 
of the discussion was unfair, so he wrote the historical tract 
De Gestis Pelagii, an account of the proceedings against 
Pelagius in Palestine. 

NO. 41 (Ep. CLXXIX) 

For that reason it is written, " For as in x\dam all die, 
even so in Christ shall all be made alive," "^ not that 
no one will be damned, but that no one \\ill be de- 
livered in any other way ; for just as all those who are 
children of men are so through Adam, so all those 
Mho are children of God are so through Christ. So 
all children of men are able to become such only 
through Adam, and all of them who have become 
children of God, only through Christ. Let him 
therefore openly express his views on this further 
point, whether he accepts the fact that even little 
children, who have not yet reached the stage of 
willing righteousness or of refusing it, yet because of 
one man, bv whom " sin entered into the world, and 
death by sin, and so death passed ypon all men, for 
that all have sinned," ^ are delivered by the grace of 
Christ — whether even for them, because of original 
sin, he beheves that the blood of Christ was shed, 
which was, to be sure, shed for the remission of sins.^ 
About these points in particular I am anxious to know 
what he believes and holds, what he definitely con- 
fesses and preaches. In the other points, however, 
that are raised against him, even if he be proved to be 
in error, none the less until he accepts correction, it is 
more tolerable to bear with him. 

Further, I beg you to have the kindness to send to 7 
me the minutes of the Church council ^ which declare 
him to be cleared of the charge of heresy. This I beg 
at the desire of many bishops who have, like me, 
been troubled by the indefinite rumour about this ; 
I have WTitten, however, asking this in my own name 
for the reason that I did not want to miss the oppor- 
tunity of the messenger, who is in a position, I under- 
stand, to return to us speedily. In place of these 



non quidem ullam partem gestorum sed quandam 
a se conscriptam velut defensionem suam, qua se 
dixit obiectis respondisse Gallorum. In qua, ut alia 
omittam, cum ad illud responderet, quod ei obiectum 
est, eum dixisse posse hominem esse sine peccato et 
mandata dei custodire, si velit, " diximus," inquit ; 
" banc enim illi deus possibilitatem dedit ; non 
diximus quoniam inveniatur quis, ab infantia usque 
ad senectam qui numquam peccaverit, sed quoniam 
a peccatis conversus labore proprio et gratia dei 
adiutus potest absque peccato esse nee propter hoc 
in posterum erit inconvertibilis." 
8 In hac Pelagii responsione cernit reverentia tua 
hoc eum fuisse confessum, priorem hominis vitam, 
quae est ab infantia, sine peccato non esse, sed eum 
ad vitam, quae sine peccato sit, labore proprio et 
adiutus per gratiam dei posse converti. Cur ergo in 
hoc libro, cui respondi, Abel ita hie vixisse dicit, ut 
nihil omnino peccaverit ? Nam eius de hac re ista 
sunt verba : " Hoc," inquit, " recte dici potest de 
his, quorum neque bonorum neque malorum scriptura 
sit memor ; de illis vero, quorum iustitiae meminit, 
et peccatorum sine dubio meminisset, si qua eos 
peccasse sensisset. Sed esto," inquit, " aliis tempori- 
bus turbae numerositate omnium dissimulaverit 
peccata contexere, in ipso statim mundi primordio, 
ubi nonnisi quattuor homines erant, quid," inquit, 

" Pelagius had sent this to Augustine by Charus, a deacon 
in Palestine, by birth a citizen of Hippo. See De Gest. Pel. 
i. 57, 58. The Gauls are two bishops, Heros of Aries and 
Lazarus of Aix, who had taken refuge in Palestine, after 
undeserved ejection from their sees. They drew up a series 

NO. 41 (Ep. CLXXIX) 

minutes Pelagius has already sent us not indeed any 
portion of the minutes, but a kind of defence of him- 
self, written by his own hand, in which he says he 
has answered the objections of the Gauls." In it, to 
leave other matters out, he rephed to the objection 
made to him that he had said man could Hve without 
sin and keep God's commandments if he wished to ; 
his words are : " I maintained that this power was 
conferred upon him by God ; I did not maintain that 
any person would be found who had never committed 
a sin from his infancy to his old age, but that after 
turning from sin by his own effort and with the help 
of God's grace he can live ^\•ithout sin, and that the 
fact of having sinned does not prevent a man fromi 
turning from it at a future date." 

In this reply of Pelagius your Reverence can dis- 
cern that he has confessed that a man's earlier life, 
that is in infancy, is not without sin, but that he can 
be turned by his own effort, assisted by the grace 
of God, to the sinless life. Why then, in the book 
I have rephed to, does he allege that Abel lived a 
life that was completely without sin ? These are his 
words about this point : " This can ^vith justice be 
said of those of whose good deeds and evil deeds alike 
Scripture has no record ; but it would assuredly have 
recorded the sins of those whose righteousness it 
records, if it had perceived that they had sinned at 
all. But granted," he says, " that in other ages the 
great throng of men made Scripture neglect to 
weave an account of the sins of every one : right 
at the very beginning of the world, when there 
were only four people in existence, what reason," he 

of formal charges against Pelagius, to consider which the 
Synod of Diospolis was called. 



" dicimus, cur non omnium voluerit delicta memorare? 
Utrumne ingentis multitudinis causa, quae nondum 
erat ? An quia illorum tantum, qui commiserant, 
meminit, illius vero, qui nulla commiserat, memi- 
nisse non potuit ? Certe," inquit, " primo in tem- 
pore Adam et Eva, ex quibus Cain et Abel nati sunt, 
quattuor homines tantum fuisse referuntur. Pec- 
cavit Eva, scriptura hoc prodidit ; Adam quoque 
deliquit, eadem scriptura non tacuit ; sed et Cain 
peccasse ipsa quoque scriptura testata est. Quorum 
non modo peccata, verum etiam peccatorum indicat 
qualitatem. Quod si et Abel peccasset," inquit, 
" et hoc sine dubio scriptura dixisset ; si non dixit, 
ergo nee ille pecca\it." 
9 Haec verba de libro eius decerpsi, quae in ipso 
quoque volumine tua sanctitas poterit invenire, ut in- 
tellegatis quem ad modum et cetera neganti credere 
debeatis, nisi forte dicat ipsum Abel nihil peccasse, 
sed ideo non fuisse sine peccato et ideo non posse 
domino comparari, qui in carne mortali solus sine 
peccato fuit, quia erat in Abel originale peccatum 
quod de Adam traxerat, non in se ipso ipse com- 
miserat — utinam saltem hoc dicat, ut interim eius 
de baptismo parvulorum certam sententiam tenere 
possimus ! — aut si forte, quoniam dixit " ab infantia 
usque ad senectutem," ideo dicat Abel non peccasse, 
quia nee senuisse monstratur. Non hoc indicant 
verba eius ; ab initio priorem vitam dixit peccatricem, 
posteriorem vero posse esse sine peccato. Ait enim 

* This passage from Pelagius is again quoted and dis- 
cussed by Augustine in JJe ISatura et Gratia^ §§ 43-45. 


NO. il (Ep. CLXXIX) 

asks, " can we give for its failure to mention the sins 
of every one ? Is it because of the great number of 
people ? There was as yet nothing of the kind. Is 
it because it remembered only those who had com- 
mitted sin, and was unable to remember the one who 
had not committed any ? To be sure," he says, " in 
the first age of the world there Mere Adam and Eve, 
from whom were born Cain and Abel — four people 
only are mentioned as existing. Eve sinned ; the 
Scripture has revealed that to us ; Adam also sinned ; 
the same Scripture does not omit to mention it, and 
that Scripture has testified too that Cain sinned as 
well, and it points out not only their sins, but also the 
nature of their sins. If Abel too had sinned, that too 
would have been mentioned by Scripture ; but it is 
not mentioned, so he did not sin." ^ 

I have culled from his book these words, which 
your Holiness will be able to find in the volume itself, 
so that you may understand what manner of credence 
you should afford him when he denies the other points 
as well ; unless perhaps he says that Abel himself 
committed no sin, but that he was not therefore with- 
out sin and could not therefore bear comparison with 
the Lord, Who alone in mortal flesh was without sin, 
since in Abel there was original sin inherited from 
Adam, not committed by himself in his own person 
(I wish he would at least make this assertion, so that 
we might for the present obtain from him a definite 
expression of opinion about infant baptism) ; or unless 
he says perhaps, since he has used the words " from 
infancy to old age," that Abel did not sin because he 
is shown not to have lived to old age. This is not what 
his words indicate : he said that from the beginning 
the earher period of life was given to sin. but that the 



non se dixisse quoniam inveniatur quis ab infantia 
usque ad senectutem qui non peccaverit, sed quoniam 
a peccatis conversus labore proprio et gratia dei 
adiutus potest absque peccato esse. Cum enim dicit 
" a peccatis conversus," ostendit priorem vitam in 
peccatis agi. Fateatur ergo quod peccaverit Abel, 
cuius prima \'ita fuit in saeculo, quam fatetur non 
carere peccatis, et respiciat librum suum, ubi eum 
dixisse constat quod ait in hac defensione : " Non 
10 Si autem et hunc librum vel hunc in eo libro locum 
esse negaverit suum, ego quidem idoneos testes 
habeo honestos et fideles viros et eius sine dubio 
dilectores, quibus adtestantibus purgare me possum 
quod eundem librum ipsi mihi dederint et ibi hoc 
legatur eumque Pelagii esse dixerint, ut saltem hoc 
mihi sufficiat, ne dicat a me fuisse sive conscriptum 
sive falsatum. lam inter illos eligat quisque cui 
credat. Meum non est de hac re diutius disputare. 
Rogamus, ut certe transmittas sibi, si^ negaverit 
se ista sentire, quae illi obiciuntur inimica gratiae 
Christi. Tam quippe aperta est eius defensio, ut, 
si vestram sanctam prudentiam, qui eius alia scripta 
non nostis, nulla verborum ambiguitate fefellerit, 

^ The Benedictine edition here reads transmittas ipsi si, the 
manuscripts^ two of the fifteenth century^ transmittas sibi si. 
Goldhacher marks a lacuna, rchich is hardly necessary ; sibi 
is probably a corruption of illi or ei. 

" The reasoning here is a little involved. Pelagius has 
been trying to prove the sinlessness of Abel, in order to 
justify his own denial of the transmission of original sin and 
his theory that even before Christ there had been sinless lives. 
Augustine asks if he will maintain that Abel, whom he 
declares to have committed no sin, is therefore to be put on 
a level with Christ ; assuming Pelagius will hardly go so far, 

NO. 4.1 (Ep. CLXXIX) 

later could be sinless ; for he declares he did not state 
that anyone Mould be found who from infancy to old 
age had not committed sin, but that after turning 
from sin by his own effort and with the help of God's 
grace, he could live without sin. For when he says 
" turning from sin," he shows that the earlier part of 
life was lived in sin. Let him then admit that Abel 
did sin, since his early life was lived in the world, and 
it, according to his admission, is not without sin ; and 
let him take another look at his own book, where it 
is quite plain he did make the statement which in this 
defence he denies havingr made.'* 

But if he asserts that this book, or this passage in 10 
the book, is not from his pen, I on my side have 
adequate witnesses, men of honour and reliability 
and undoubted friends of his own, and I can acquit 
myself by their testimony that they handed this same 
book to me containing that sentence and that they 
declared it was from the pen of Pelagius ; that evi- 
dence at any rate is sufficient to deter anyone from 
saying that it was written or fabricated by me. Now 
among these let each man choose whom to believe. 
It is not my business to discuss the matter at any 
greater length. I ask you to convey to him by a sure 
hand, if he denies that those are his opinions, the 
points to which objection is taken as being in con- 
flict with the grace of Christ. So plausible is his de- 
fence, indeed, that we shall rejoice with exceeding 
joy if he has not deceived your wise Holiness, un- 
acquainted as you are with his other writings, by any 

he gives two alternatives : either Abel was not sinless in 
character, even if he did no sinful deed, or else he turned 
from sin — in either case, therefore, he was not without the 
taint of original sin which Pelagius is seeking to deny. 

Y 321 


niagno gaudio gratulabiniur non multum curantes, 
utrum ilia perversa et impia numquam senserit an 
se ab eis aliquando correxerit. 

No. 42 (Ep. CLXXXIX) 


1 lam rescripseram caritati tuae, sed, cum epistulae 
dirigendae occasio quaereretur, supervenit dilectis- 
simus filius meus Faustus pergens ad eximietatem 
tuam. Qui cum ipsas litteras, quas iam feceram, 
accepisset tuae benivolentiae perferendas, suggessit 
mihi multum te desiderare ut aliquid tibi scriberem 
quod te aedificet ad sempiternam salutem, cuius tibi 
spes in Christo lesu domino nostro. Et quamvis 
mihi occupato tantum institit ut facere non differrem, 
quantum scis quod te sinceriter diligat. Festinanti 
ergo ut occurrerem, malui festinanter aliquid scribere 
quam religiosum tuum desiderium retardare, domine 
eximie et merito insignis atque honorabilis fili. 

2 Quod ergo breviter possum dicere : Dilige do- 
minum deum tuum in toto corde tuo et in iota anima tua 
et in tota virtute tua, et : Dilige proximum tuum tamquam 

° Count Boniface was governor of Africa under Honorius 
and Placidia. Through the treachery of his perfidious rival 
Aetius, he was unjustly disgraced and revenged himself by 
making alliance with Genseric, king of the Vandals, who 
at his invitation invaded Africa in 429. The duplicity of 
Aetius being discovered, Boniface was restored to favour, 
and set himself to oppose the invaders. He retired to Hippo, 
which was besieged for fourteen months, during which time 

NO. 41 (Ep. CLXXIX)— NO. 4-2 (Ep. CLXXXIX) 

ambiguous statement. For the rest we care not over- 
much whether those perverted and impious opinions 
vrere never his, or if at last he has renounced them. 

No. 42 (Ep. CLXXXIX) 
(a.d. 418) 


I had already written my reply to your Charity, 1 
but when I was looking for an opportunity of trans- 
mitting my letter, my beloved son Faustus arrived 
on his way to your Excellency. After receiving the 
letter which I had already composed for conveyance 
to your Benevolence, he intimated to me your strong 
desire that I should ^\Tite something to you that 
would build you up unto that eternal salvation of 
which your confidence is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
And although I was busily occupied, he urged me 
with that instancy which, as you know, is propor- 
tioned to his affection for you, not to postpone the 
writing of it. To meet his haste, then, I have chosen 
rather to ^^Tite something in haste than to keep your 
holy desire in suspense, my noble and justly distin- 
guished lord and honourable son. 

All then that I can say in the short time I have is this : 2 
" Love the Lord thy God Avith all thy heart and with 
all thy soul and with all thy strength," and " love thy 

Augustine's death took place, and was finally taken. 
Boniface returned to Italy, but was slain in battle with 
Aetius in 432. He is addressed in No. 51 infra. 



te ipsum — hoc est enim verbum, quod breviavit 
dominus super terrain dicens in evangelio : In his 
duohus praeceptis tota lex pendet et prophetae, — in hac 
ergo dilectione cotidie profice et orando et bene 
agendo, ut ipso adiuvante, qui tibi earn praecepit 
atque donavit, nutriatur et crescat, donee haec te 
perfecta perficiat. Ipsa est enim caritas, quae, sicut 
dicit apostolus, diffusa est in cordibus ?wstris per 
spiritum sanctum, qui datus est nobis ; ipsa est, de qua 
item dicit : Plenitudo legis caritas ; ipsa est, per 
quam fides operatur, unde iterum dicit : Keque 
circumcisio quicquam valet neque praeputium sed fides, 
quae per dilectionem operatur. 
3 In hac omnes sancti patres nostri et patriarchae et 
prophetae et apostoH placuerunt deo ; in hac omnes 
veri martyres usque ad sanguinem contra diabolum 
certaverunt et, quia in eis non refriguit nee defecit, 
ideo vicerunt ; in hac omnes boni fideles cotidie 
proficiunt, pervenire cupientes non ad regnum 
mortalium, sed ad regnum caelorum, non ad tem- 
poralem, sed ad sempiternam hereditatem, non ad 
aurum et argentum, sed ad divitias incorruptibiles 
angelorum, non ad aUqua bona huius saecuh, in 
quibus cum timore \'ivatur nee ea quisquam secum 
potest auferre dum moritur, sed ad videndum deum ; 
cuius suavitas et delectatio excedit omnem non 
solum terrestrium, verum etiam caelestium corporum 
pulchritudinem, excedit omnem decorem animarum 
quantum libet iustarum atque sanctarum, excedit 
omnem speciem supernorum angelorum atque virtu- 
tum, excedit quicquid de illo non solum dicitur, 

" Luke X. 27, etc. * Matt. xxii. 40. ^ Rom. v. 5. 
^ Rom. xiii. 10. " Gal. v. 6. f Matt. xxiv. 12. 

" Matt. vii. 21 ; Heb. ix. 15. * Matt. v. 8. 


NO. 42 (Ep. CLXXXIX) 

neighbour as thyself. ' ' '^ These are the words in which 
the Lord Avhile upon earth summed up everything, 
saying in the Gospel : " On these two command- 
ments hang all the law and the prophets."^ In this 
love therefore make daily progress by both prayer 
and good deeds, so that by the help of Him who 
enjoined it upon you and granted you to possess it, 
it may find nourishment and increase, until being 
perfect it makes you perfect. For that is the love 
which, in the words of the apostle, " is shed abroad 
in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto 
us " ^' ; it is that love which he also describes as the 
" fulfilhng of the law " '^ ; it is that by which faith 
worketh, of which he says again, " Neither circum- 
cision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, but faith, 
which worketh by love."^ 

In this love all our holy fathers and patriarchs and 3 
prophets and apostles pleased God ; in it all true 
martyrs contended against the devil even unto 
blood,^ and because in them it neither waxed cold nor 
failed, they won the day : in it all good believers 
make daily progress, seeking to attain not unto an 
earthly kingdom, but unto the kingdom of heaven, 
not unto a temporal, but unto an eternal inheritance,^ 
not unto gold and silver, but unto the incorruptible 
riches of the angels, not unto any of this world's good 
things, which make life full of fear and which no one 
can take with him when he dies, but unto the vision 
of God.'^ His sweetness and delight transcend all 
beauty of form not only in earthly things, but even 
in heavenly, transcend all loveliness of souls however 
righteous and holy, transcend all the comeliness of 
angels and powers above, transcend not only every- 
thing that language can express about Him, but also 



verum etiam cogitatur. Neque banc tarn magnam 
promissionem, quia valde magna est, ideo despere- 
mus, sed potius, quia valde magnus earn promisit, 
accepturos nos esse credamus. Sicut enim dicit 
beatus lohannes apostolus,^//? dei sumus et nondum 
apparuit, quid erijnus ; scimus quia, cum apparuerit, 
s^imiles ei erimus, quoniam videbimus eum sicuti est. 

Noli existimare neminem deo placere posse, qui in 
armis bellicis militat. In his erat sanctus David, 
cui dominus tani magnum perhibuit testimonium ; in 
his etiam plurimi illius temporis iusti ; in his erat et 
ille centurio, qui domino dixit : Non sum dignus, ut 
intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum die verbo ei sanabitur 
puer meus. Nam et ego homo sum sub potestate con- 
stitutus habejis sub me milites et dico huic : " Fade " et 
vadit, et alio : " Veni " et venit, et servo meo : " Fac 
hoc " et facit; de quo et dominus : Amen dico vobis ; 
non inveni tantam Jidem in Israhel. In his erat et ille 
Cornelius, ad quem missus angelus dixit : Corneli, 
acceptae sunt elemosynae iuae et exauditae sunt orationes 
tuae ; ubi eum admonuit, ut ad beatum Petrum 
apostolum mitteret et ab illo audiret quae facere 
deberet ; ad quem apostolum, ut ad eum veniret, 
etiam religiosum militem misit. In his erant et illi, 
qui baptizandi cum venissent ad lohannem, sanctum 
domini praecursorem et amicum sponsi, de quo ipse 
dominus ait : In natis mulierum non exsurrexit maior 
lohanne Baptista, et quaesissent ab eo, quid facerent, 

« 1 John ill. 2. " Matt. viii. 8-10; Luke vii. 6-9. 

" Acts X. 1-8, 30-33 <* Matt. xi. 11. 


NO. 42 (Ep. CLXXXIX) 

everything that the mind can imagine. And let us 
not despair of the fulfihiient of a promise so great, 
since it is great indeed, but rather let us have faith 
that we shall obtain it, since He is great Who made 
the promise ; as the blessed John the apostle says, 
" Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet 
appear what we shall be ; but we know that, when 
He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall 
see Him as He is."° 

Do not think that it is impossible for anyone to 4 
please God while engaged in military service. Among 
such was the holy David, to whom the Lord gave so 
great a testimony, and among such were also many 
righteous men of that dispensation ; among such too 
was that centurion who said to the Lord, " I am not 
worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof, 
but speak the word only and my servant shall be 
healed ; for I am a man under authority, having 
soldiers under me, and I say to this man, Go, and he 
goeth, and to another. Come, and he cometh, and to 
my servant. Do this, and he doeth it," and of whom 
the Lord said, " Verily, I say unto you, I have not 
found so great faith, no, not in Israel." ^ Among such 
too was that Cornelius to whom an angel said, " Cor- 
nelius, thine alms are accepted, and thy prayers are 
heard," ^ by which v*'ords he signified that he should 
send to the blessed apostle Peter and hear from 
him what he should do ; to which apostle he sent a 
godly soldier, asking him to visit him. Among such 
too were those who came to be baptized by John, 
the holy forerunner of the Lord and the friend of the 
bridegroom, about whom the Lord Himself said, 
" Among them that are born of women there hath 
not arisen a greater than John the Baptist " ^ ; they 



respondit eis : Neminejn concusseritis, nidli calumniam 
feceritis, sufficiat vohis stipejidium vestruvi. Non eos 
utique sub armis militare prohibuit, quibus suum 
stipendium sufficere debere praecepit. 

5 Maioris quidem loci sunt apud deum, qui omnibus 
istis saecularibus actionibus derelictis etiam summa 
continentia castitatis ei serviunt. Sed unusquisque, 
sicut dicit apostolus, propriuj?i donum hahet a deo, alius 
sic, alius autem sic. Alii ergo pro vobis orando pugnant 
contra invisibiles inimicos, vos pro eis pugnando 
laboratis contra visibiles barbaros. Utinam una fides 
esset in omnibus, quia et minus laboraretur et 
facilius diabolus cum suis angelis vinceretur ! Sed 
quia in hoc saeculo necesse est, ut cives regni cae- 
lorum inter errantes et impios temptationibus 
agitentur, ut exerceantur et tamquam in fornace 
sicut aurum probentur, non debemus ante tempus 
velle cum solis Sanctis et iustis vivere, ut hoc suo 
tempore mereamur accipere. 

6 Hoc ergo primum cogita, quando armaris ad 
pugnam, quia virtus tua etiam ipsa corporalis donum 
dei est ; sic enim cogitabis de dono dei non facere 
contra deum. Fides enim quando promittitur, etiam 
hosti servanda est, contra quem bellum geritur ; 
quanto magis amico, pro quo pugnatur ! Pacem 
habere debet voluntas, bellum necessitas, ut liberet 
deus a necessitate et conservet in pace. Non enim 

" Luke iii. 12-14. " 1 Cor. vii. 7. 

<= Wisdom iii. 5-Q. 

NO. 42 (Ep. CLXXXIX) 

asked of him what they should do, and he made 
answer to them : " Do violence to no man, neither 
accuse any falsely, and be content with your wages. "'^ 
To be sure, when he commanded them to be content 
with their military wages, he did not forbid them to 
serve as soldiers. 

They have a greater place before God, who 5 
abandon all these worldly employments to serve him 
with the strictest self-discipline and chastity ; " but 
everyone," as the apostle says, " hath his proper 
gift of God, one after this manner and another after 
that." ^ There are some, then, who by praying for you 
fight against your invisible foes, while you by fighting 
for them are striving against the visible barbarians. 
Would that there were one faith in all, for there would 
be less of striving and the devil with his angels would 
be more easily overcome ! But as it is necessary in 
this world that the citizens of the kingdom of heaven 
should be harassed by temptations among erring 
and irreverent men so that they may be exercised 
and tried as gold in the furnace,^ we ought not before 
the appointed time to desire to live M'ith the saints 
and righteous alone, so that we may deserve to re- 
ceive this blessedness in its own due time. 

Think, then, of this point first of all when you are 6 
arming for battle, that your strength, even that of the 
body, is a gift from God ; in this wav vou will not 
think of using God's gift against God. For when 
faith is pledged, it is to be kept even with the enemy 
against whom you are waging war ; how much more 
with the friend, for whose sake you are fighting ! 
You ought to have peace as the object of your choice 
and war only as the result of necessity, so that God 
may deliver you from the necessity and preserve you 



pax qiiaeritur, ut bellum excitetur, sed bellum 
geritur, ut pax adquiratur. Esto ergo etiani bellando 
pacificus, ut eos, quos expugnas, ad pacis utilitatem 
vincendo perducas ; heati enini pacijlci, ait dominus, 
quoniam ipsi Jilii del vocahuntur. Si autem pax 
humana tarn dulcis est pro temporali salute niortalium, 
quanto est dulcior pax divina pro aeterna salute 
angelorum ! Itaque hostem pugnanteni necessitas 
periniat, non voluntas. Sicut rebellanti et resistenti 
violentia redditur, ita victo vel capto misericordia 
iam debetur, niaxime in quo pacis perturbatio non 

7 Ornet mores tuos pudicitia coniugalis, ornet 
sobrietas et frugalitas ; valde enim turpe est, ut, 
queni non vincit homo, \dncat libido et obruatur vino, 
qui non vincitur ferro. Divitiae saeculares si desunt, 
non per mala opera quaerantur in mundo ; si autem 
adsunt, per bona opera serventur in caelo. Animum 
virilem et Christianum nee debent, si accedunt, 
extollere nee debent frangere, si recedunt. Illiid 
potius cogitemus, quod dominus ait : Uhi est thesaurus 
tuus, illic erit et cor tuum, et utique, cum audimus ut 
cor sursum habeamus, non mendaciter respondere 
debemus, quod nosti quia respondemus. 

8 Et in his quidem bene studiosum te esse cognovi 
et fama tua multum delector multumque tibi in 

« Matt. V. 9. " Matt. vi. 21 ; Luke xii. 34. 

' This is the usual preface before the Great Thanksgiving, 
in the celebration of the Eucharist. Its use in public worship 
is first mentioned by St. Cyprian, De Dominica Orafiotie, 
31. It is frequently mentioned by Augustine (e.g. Serni. 
227 " Tenetis sacramenta ordine suo. Primo post orationem, 
admonomini sursum habere cor. . . . Respondetis, ' Habe- 
mus ad Dominum ' "). 


NO. 42 (Ep. CLXXXIX) 

in peace ; for peace is not sought in order that war 
may be aroused, but war is waged in order that 
peace may be obtained. So then be a peace-maker 
even when warring, that by overcoming those whom 
you conquer, you may bring them to the advantages 
of peace, for " blessed are the peace-makers," says 
the Lord, " for they shall be called the children of 
God. ' ' * Yet if human peace is so sweet for procuring 
the temporal salvation of men, how much sweeter is 
peace with God for procuring the eternal salvation 
of the angels ! So let it be your necessity and not your 
choice that slays the enemy who is fighting against 
you. Just as violence is the portion of him who rebels 
and resists, so mercy is the due of him who has been 
conquered or captured, especially M'hen a disturbance 
of the peace is not to be feared. 

Let your character be adorned by chastity in the 7 
marriage-bond, adorned by sobriety and moderation, 
for it is a very disgraceful thing that lust should over- 
come one whom man finds unconquerable, and that 
wine should overwhelm one whom the sword assails 
in vain. If you lack earthly riches, let them not be 
sought in the world by evil Morks ; but if you possess 
them, let them be laid up in heaven by good works. 
The manly Christian spirit ought neither to be elated 
by their accession nor depressed by their departure. 
Let us rather keep in mind what the Lord says, 
" Where your treasure is, there will your heart be 
also," ^ and certainly when we hear the exhortation to 
lift up our hearts, we ought unfeignedly to make the 
response which you know we do make.'' 

In such matters as this, however, I know that you 8 
are very zealous, and I take great delight in your 
reputation and greatly congratulate you in the Lord 



domino gratulor, ita ut haec epistula magis tibi sit 
speculum, ubi qualis sis videas, quam ubi discas 
qualis esse debeas. Verum tamen quicquid sive in 
ista sive in scripturis Sanctis inveneris quod tibi ad 
bonam vitam adhuc minus est, insta ut adquiras et 
agendo et orando, et ex his quae habes, gratias age 
deo tamquam fonti bonitatis, unde habes, atque in 
omnibus bonis actibus tuis iUi da claritatem, tibi 
humiUtatem. Sicut enim scriptum est, 0}nne datum 
optimum et omne donum perfectum desursum est descendens 
a patre luminum. Quantumcumque autem in dei et 
proximi caritate atque in vera pietate profeceris, 
quam diu in hac vita conversaris, sine peccato te esse 
non credas ; de ipsa quippe legitur in htteris Sanctis : 
Numquid noji temptatio est vita humana super terram ? 
Proinde quoniam semper quam diu es in hoc corpore, 
necessarium est tibi in oratione dicere quod dominus 
docuit : Dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimitti- 
mus debitoribus nostris, memento cito ignoscere, si 
quis in te peccaverit et a te veniam postulaverit, ut 
veraciter possis orare et peccatis tuis veniam valeas 
impetrare. Haec dilectioni tuae festinanter quidem 
scripsi, quoniam me festinatio perlatoris urgebat. 
Sed deo gratias ago, quoniam bono desiderio tuo 
quahtercumque non defui. Semper te misericordia 
dei protegat, domine eximie et merito insignis atque 
honorabihs fili. 

" James i. 17. " Job vii. 1. <^ Matt. vi. 12, etc. 


NO. 42 (Ep. CLXXXIX) 

upon it. This letter, then, may rather serve as a 
mirror to you, in which you can behold what manner 
of man you are, rather than as a lesson to you what 
manner of man you ought to be. And yet, whatever 
you find either in this letter or in Holy Scripture that 
you still lack for a good life, be instant in prayer and 
in deeds, so that you may acquire it ; and from what 
you have, render thanks to God as the fount of good- 
ness, from Whom you have received it, and in all 
your good deeds ascribe the glory to God and the 
humility to yourself, for, as it is A\Titten, " Every 
good and perfect gift is from above and cometh down 
from the Father of lights."" Yet whatever progress 
you make in the love of God and of your neighbour 
and in genuine godliness, do not imagine that you 
are without sin, as long as you are in this life, con- 
cerning which we read in Holy Writ, " Is not the 
Ufe of man upon earth a life of temptation } "^ And 
so, since it is necessary for you, as long as you are in 
this body, always to say in prayer what the Lord 
taught us, " Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our 
debtors,"^ remember quickly to forgive anyone who 
has sinned against you and has asked for pardon, so 
that you may be able to pray with sincerity and 
succeed in obtaining pardon for your own sins. 

I have written these exhortations to you, my dear 
friend, in haste, as the haste of the bearer compelled 
me, but I render thanks to God that I have in some 
degree been able to comply with your holy desire. 
May the mercy of God always be your protection, 
my noble lord and deservedly distinguished and 
honourable son ! 



No. 43 (Ep. CXCI) 


1 Ex quo Hipponem litterae benignitatis tuae per 
sanctum fratrem nostrum Firmum presbyterum 
directae me absente venerunt, posteaquam illas, 
cum remeassem, quamvis iam inde profecto earum 
perlatore legere potui, haec prima eademque gratis- 
sima rescribendi occurrit occasio per dilectissimum 
filium nostrum acolithum Albinum. Quod autem, 
quibus simul scripsisti, tunc non eramus simul, ideo 
factum est, ut singulorum singulas, non unam 
amborum epistulam sumeres. A me quippe di- 
gressus est perlator huius, per venerabilem fratrem 
et coepiscopum meum Alypium, qui tuae sanctitati 
aliam rescriberet, transiturus. Ad quem etiam ipsas 
quas ego iam legeram, litteras tuas ipse porta vit. 
Quae nos quanta laetitia perfuderint, quid homo ni- 
tatur loqui quod non potest eloqui ? Nee te ipsum 

" Sixtus was bishop of Rome from 432 to 440, when he 
was succeeded by Leo the Great. He had taken a lead- 
ing part in condemning Pelagianism, though some of the 
Pelagians claimed that he was on their side (see § 1), and 
had intervened too in the Nestorian dispute. Augustine also 
addressed him in Ep. cxciv., a long theological discussion 
of the errors of Pelagianism. Firmus, the letter-bearer, 
appears several times in this capacity : visiting Jerome at 
Bethlehem in 405, he was entrusted with letters for Au- 
gustine (Ep. cxv.) and ten years later he is again with 
Jerome, later reaching Africa, where he is in communication 
with Augustine (Ep. cxxxiv.). He brings back an answer to 
the present letter (Ep. cxciv. 1). 

NO. 43 (Ep. CXCI) 

No. 43 (Ep. CXCI) 

(a.d. 418) 


Since the letter your Grace sent by the hands of 1 
our holy brother, the priest Firmus, reached Hippo 
during my absence, and on my return I had the 
chance to read it only after the bearer of it had taken 
his departure, this first opportunity of replying (and 
it is a very welcome one too) is afforded by our v.ell- 
beloved son, the acolyte Albinus.^ Your letter, ad- 
dressed to Alypius and myself together, came at a time 
when we were not together, so in consequence you 
receive a letter from each of us, not one in the com- 
mon name of us both, for the bearer of this letter, hav- 
ing left me, will on his way pass by my revered brother 
and fellow-bishop, Alypius, so that he may wTite one 
for himself in reply to your Holiness ; that letter of 
yours, after reading it, I sent on to him by the same 
bearer. As for the great joy with which your letter 
filled me, why should one attempt to utter feelings 
that defy utterance ? Indeed, I am not sure that 

* Albinus is mentioned as bearer of Epp. cxcii., cxciii. 
and cxciv. to Rome. The acolytes formed one of the minor 
orders in the Church, introduced about the beginning of the 
third century. Though the name is Greek (d.voXoit^ot), the 
office was peculiar to the Western Church ; in the rituals of 
the Greek Church, the word is only a synonym for sub-deacon. 
As the name implies, the acolytes were the immediate 
attendants and followers of the bishops ; their specific duties 
were to light the candles of the church and to attend the 
officiating priest with v/ine for the Eucharist. 



satis nosse arbitror, sed nobis crede, quantum boni 
feceris talia nobis scripta mittendo. Sicut enim tu 
testis es animi tui, ita nos nostri, quern ad modum sit 
affectus illarum sinceritate luculentissima litterarum. 
Si enim brevissimam epistulam tuam, quam de hac 
ipsa re ad beatissimum senem Aurelium per Leonem 
acolithum direxisti, exultanti alacritate descripsimus 
et, quibus poteramus, magno studio legebamus, 
ubi nobis exposuisti quid de illo perniciosissimo 
dogmate vel quid contra de gratia dei, quam pusillis 
magnisque largitur, cui est illud inimicissimum, 
sentias, quanta nos putas ista tua prolixiora scripta 
vel exultatione legisse vel cura, ut legantur, quibus 
valuimus, aliis obtulisse atque adhuc, quibus valemus, 
offerre ! Quid enim gratius legi vel audiri potest, 
quam gratiae dei tam pura defensio adversus inimicos 
eius ex ore eius, qui eorundem inimicorum magni 
momenti patronus antea iactabatur ? Aut unde 
uberiores deo debemus agere gratias, quam quod 
eius sic defenditur gratia ab eis quibus datur, ad- 
versus eos quibus vel non datur vel ingratum est 
quod datur, quia, ut eis gratum sit, occulto et iusto 
iudicio dei non datur ? 
2 Quapropter, domine venerabilis et in Christi cari- 
tate suscipiende sancte frater, quamvis optime facias 
cum de hac re scribis ad fratres, apud quos se illi de 
tua Solent efFerre amicitia, tamen haec cura maior 

* This is very probably the I>eo who afterwards became 
pope and is known as " the Great." 

NO. 43 (Ep. CXCI) 

you have any adequate conception yourself of the 
amount of good you have done to us in ^\Titing as you 
did, but take our word for it ; for just as you can bear 
witness to your own soul, so we can to ours, of the 
extent to which we have been moved by the very 
transparent sincerity of your letter. For if we tran- 
scribed with exulting joy and with great fervour read 
to all we could that very short letter of yours on this 
same problem that you sent by the acolyte Leo " to 
our most saintly Senior, Aurelius — a letter in which 
you expounded to us your views about that most per- 
nicious doctrine, and, on the other hand, about the 
grace of God bestowed by Him upon small and great, 
to which that doctrine is violently opposed, — how 
great do you think was the exultation with which 
we read that lengthier statement from your pen, and 
how great the care ^\'ith which we have had it read by 
all we could offer it to and can still offer it to ? For 
what more welcome document could be read or 
heard than so faultless a defence of the grace of God 
against its enemies, uttered by one whom those 
same enemies boasted of as an influential supporter 
of their cause ? Or is there anything that should 
make us more abundantly grateful to God than this, 
that His grace is so well defended by those to whom 
it is given, against those to whom it is either not 
given or by whom it is so ungracious^ received when 
given, since by the secret and righteous judgement of 
God it is not given them to accept it graciously ? 

Wherefore, my venerable lord and holy brother 2 
cherished in the love of Christ, although you do an 
excellent service in writing on this question to the 
brethren before whom its supporters are in the habit 
of boasting of your friendship, yet this larger duty 
z 337 


tibi restat, ut non solum salubri severitate plectantur, 
qui errorem ilium Christiano infestissimum nomini 
audent garrire liberius, sed etiam hi diligentissime 
caveantur vigilantia pastorali propter infirmiores et 
simpliciores dominicas oves, qui eum pressius quidem 
atque timidius, sed tamen insusurrare non cessant, 
penetrantes domos, sicut ait apostolus, et cetera 
quae sequuntur, exercitata impietate facientes. 
Nee illi neglegendi sunt, qui usque ad profundum 
silentium supprimunt timore quod sentiunt, sed 
tamen eandem perversitatem sentire non desinunt. 
NonnuUi quippe eorum, antequam ipsa pestilentia 
manifestissimo etiam sedis apostolicae iudicio damna- 
retur, vobis innoteseere potuerunt, quos nunc 
repente reticuisse perspicitis nee, utrum sanati sint, 
sciri potest, nisi cum non solum dogmata ilia falsa 
tacuerint, verum etiam illis vera contraria eo, quo 
ilia Solent, studio defensaverint. Qui tamen lenius 
sunt profecto tractandi ; quid enim eos terreri opus 
est, quos satis territos ipsa taciturnitas monstrat ? 
Nee ideo tamquam sani praetereundi sunt diligentia 
medicinae, quorum vulnus in abdito est. Etsi enim 
terrendi non sunt, tamen docendi sunt et, quantum 
existimo, facilius possunt, dum in eis timor severitatis 
doctorem adiuvat veritatis, ut opitulante domino 

« 2 Tim. iii. 6-8. 

NO. 43 (Ep. CXCI) 

awaits you of not only having punishment of whole- 
some severity administered to those who dare with 
over-much freedom to rave about that error which is 
such a dangerous challenge to the name of Christ, but 
also for the sake of the Lord's weaker and more simple- 
minded sheep of employing with all the vigilance of 
a pastor the most careful safeguards against those who, 
though in a stealthier and more covert manner, still 
do not cease to whisper it, " creeping into houses,"^ 
as the apostle says, and ^\-ith practised ungodliness 
doing the other things that he goes on to mention. Nor 
should those be overlooked who under the restraint 
of fear conceal their opinions under the deepest 
silence, but yet do not cease to cherish the same per- 
verted opinions. Some, indeed, of their party may 
have attracted your attention before that pestilence 
was denounced by the most explicit condemnation of 
the Apostohc See itself, and may now, as you can 
see, have suddenly become silent, so that it is im- 
possible to ascertain whether they have been cured 
of it unless they not only refrain from uttering those 
false doctrines, but actually take up the defence of 
the contrary doctrines with the same fervour they 
showed in propounding error. These, however, 
surely call for milder treatment : what need is there 
to terrify them, when their very silence shows that 
they are terrified enough ? At the same time, they 
are not to be passed over and spared remedial atten- 
tion, as though they were quite sound, because 
their sore is hidden. For w^hile they are not to be 
terrified, yet they ought to be taught, and, in my 
opinion, this process is easier while the fear they 
have of severe measures assists him who teaches them 
the truth. In this way, after they have learned 



gratia eius intellecta atque dilecta etiam loquendo 
expugnent, quod iam loqui non audent. 

No. 44 (Ep. CXCII) 


1 Quamvis longe absens fuerim, quando per Proiec- 
tum clericum ad me directa Hipponem sanctitatis 
tuae scripta venerunt, tamen, posteaquam veni 
eisque lectis rescriptorum debitorem me factum esse 
cognovi, reddendi tempus opperiebar. Et ecce 
subito profecturi a nobis carissimi fratris nostri 
Albini acolithi gratissima occurrit occasio. De tua 
igitur, quae mihi exoptatissima est, salute laetatus 
sanctitati tuae salutationem debitam reddo. Semper 
autem debeo caritatem, quae sola etiam reddita 
semper detinet debitorem. Redditur enim, cum 
inpenditur ; debetur autem, etiamsi reddita fuerit, 
quia nullum est tempus, quando inpendenda iam non 
sit. Nee, cum redditur, amittitur, sed potius red- 
dendo multiplicatur ; habendo enim redditur, non 
carendo. Et cum reddi non possit, nisi habeatur, 
nee haberi potest, nisi reddatur ; immo etiam, cum 

" Celestine was bishop of Rome from 422 to 432. He 
took a prominent part in all the theological questions of the 
time, and was especially active in opposing Pelagianism ; 
in Britain the Pelagians had succeeded in winning much 
support, so Celestine sent Germain of Auxerre and Palladius 
to bring the Britons back to the orthodox faith. In 431, 
the year after Augustine's death, he sent to the bishops of 
Gaul a famous letter defining the Church's teaching on the 


NO. 43 (Ep. CXCI)— NO. 44 (Ep. CXCII) 

through the Lord's assistance to understand and 
love His grace, they may by their utterance refute 
the errors which they no longer dare to utter. 

No. 44 (Ep. CXCII) 

(a.d. 418) 


I was far away when the clerk Projectus brought the 1 
letters your Holiness sent to me at Hippo, yet as soon 
as I returned and read them and realized that I was 
in your debt, I was awaiting a chance of paying my 
debt, when lo ! the unexpected departure from us of 
our well-beloved brother, the acolyte Albinus, has pro- 
vided a most welcome opportunity. Rejoicing, there- 
fore, in your good health, which is the object of my 
earnest desire, I return your Holiness the salutation 
I was oM-ing you. But I always ov.e you love, the 
only debt which, after being repaid, still keeps one a 
debtor. For it is repaid when it is expended, but is 
still oA^ng even if it has been repaid, since there is no 
time when it does not require to be expended. Nor 
is it lost when it is repaid, but rather by repay- 
ment it is multiplied, for it is repaid by retaining 
it, not by getting quit of it. And since it cannot be 
repaid unless it be retained, so it cannot be retained 
unless it be repaid — nay rather, when a man repays it, 

question of grace. Augustine again addresses him in No. 47, 
after his elevation to the papal chair. 



redditur ab homine, crescit in homine et tanto maior 
adquiritur, quanto plurius redditur. Quo modo 
autem negatur amicis, quae debetur et inimicis ? 
Sed inimicis cauta inpenditur, amicis secura re- 
penditur. Agit tamen, quantum potest, ut ab his 
etiam, quibus pro malis bona retribuit, id recipiat, 
quod inpendit. Optamus quippe fieri amicum, quern 
veraciter diligimus inimicum, quia non eum diligimus, 
nisi velimus bonum ; quod utique non erit, nisi 
amiserit inimicitiarum malum. 
2 Non ergo sic inpenditur caritas ut pecunia. Ex- 
cepto enim, quod ilia inpendendo minuitur, haec 
augetur, etiam illo inter se difFerunt, qUod pecuniam 
cui dederimus, tunc ei benivolentiores erimus, si 
recipere non quaeramus, non autem potest esse verus 
caritatis inpensor, nisi fuerit benignus exactor, 
quoniam pecunia cum recipitur, accedit cui datur, 
sed recedit a quo datur, caritas vero non solum apud 
eum crescit qui hanc ab eo, quem diligit, exigit, 
etiamsi non recipit, sed etiam ille, a quo eam recipit, 
tunc incipit habere, cum reddit. Proinde, domine 
frater, mutuamtibi caritatemlibens reddogaudensque 
recipio ; quam recipio, adhuc repeto, quam reddo, 
adhuc debeo. Unum enim magistrum, apud quem 
condiscipuli sumus, per eius apostolum dociles audire 

° This and the next paragraph are characteristic of Augus- 
tine's fondness for seizing on one word or idea and pursuing 
it through various arguments ; for earher examples see Xo. 
24, where he plays on the words flares and florere^ No. 28, 
where he plays on the words " liberal studies " and " liberty," 
and No. 29, where he follows the same thought as here. The 

NO. 44< (Ep. CXCII) 

it increases in him, and the more lavishly he expends 
it, the more of it he gains. But how can that be re- 
fused to friends which is owing even to enemies ? To 
enemies, however, it is paid out with hesitation, 
while to friends it is paid back with confidence. 
Nevertheless, it makes every possible effort to 
recover what it has expended, even from those to 
whom it renders good for evil. For we desire to 
have as a friend the man whom we truly love as an 
enemy, because we do not love him unless we wish 
him good, and that cannot be the case unless he gives 
up the evil of enmity.^ 

Love, then, is not expended like money, for in 2 
addition to the fact that money is diminished by 
expenditure and love is increased, they differ in this 
too, that we give greater evidence of good-will to- 
wards anyone if we do not seek the return of money 
we have given him ; whereas no one can sincerely 
expend love unless he tenderly insist on being repaid ; 
for when money is received, it is so much gain to the 
recipient but so much loss to the donor ; love, on the 
other hand, is not only augmented in the man who 
demands it back from the person he loves, even M'hen 
he does not receive it, but the person who returns it 
actually begins to possess it only when he pays it back. 

Wherefore, my lord and brother, I willingly repay 
to you, and gladly receive back from you, the love we 
owe each other, and that which I receive back, I still 
claim ; that which I repay, I still owe. For it is our 
duty in all teachableness to hearken to our one Master, 
before Whom we are fellow-pupils, when He speaks 

thought is a favourite with him ; cf. In Ps. xxxvi., Serm. 3. 
18 " nos caritas debitores semper tenet; ilia enim una est 
quae, etsi quotidie redditur, semper debetur," etc. 



debemus praecipientem ac dicentem ; Nemini quic- 
quam debeatis, ?iisi ut invicem diligatis. 

No. 45 (Ep. CC) 


1 Cum diu moleste haberem, quod aliquotiens 
scripserim et nulla tuae sublimitatis rescripta 
meruerim, repente epistulas tres tuae benignitatis 
accepi, unam non ad me solum datam per co- 
episcopum meum Mndemialem et non longe post 
per conpresbyterum Firmum duas. Qui vir sanctus 
nobisque, ut ab illo scire potuisti, familiarissima 
caritate coniunctus, multa nobiscum de tua excel- 
lentia conloquendo et veraciter insinuando, qualem 
te in Christi viscerihus noverit, non solum eas quas 
memoratus episcopus vel quas ipse adtulit, sed etiam 
illas quas non accepisse nos querebamur, litteras 
licit. Et ideo de te narratio eius sua\ior nobis erat, 

" Rom. xiii. 8. With the preceding words compare Disc. 
Chr. 14. 15 " Christus est qui docet. . . . Schola ipsius in 
terra est"; 7?i P.y. xxxiv., Senn. 1. 1 "in cuius schola con- 
discipuH sumus"; In Ps-. 126. 3 "sub illo uno magistro in 
hac schola vobiscum condiscipuli sumus " ; Serm. 134. 1 
" omnes nos unum Magistrum habere et sub illo condiscipulos 
esse," 261. 2, 270. 1. 

* Valerius was Count of Africa, an earnest Christian and a 
firm supporter of orthodoxy against heretical error. He had 
adopted the ascetic rule of conjugal continence, and of this 
Augustine expresses warm approval, sending at the same time 
the first book of his work I)e Concupiscentia et Gratia. To 

NO. 44 (Ep. CXCII)— NO. 45 (Ep. CC) 

through His apostle and bids us " owe no man any- 
thing but to love one another." " 

No. 45 (Ep. CC) 

(a.d. 418) 


I have long been disappointed that, after writing I 
several times, I have not had the honour of receiving 
any reply from your Excellency. Now quite unex- 
pectedly I have received three letters from your 
Benignity, one of them, not exclusively to me, by 
the hands of my fellow-bishop Vindemialis,^ and not 
long afterwards two by the hands of my fellow-priest 
Firmus.'* That holy man, with whom I have ties of 
the most intimate and affectionate nature, as you may 
have heard from him, talked at length to me about your 
Excellency and gave me such a true conception of you, 
as he found you in '' the tender mercies of Christ," ^ that 
he outdid not only the letters brought to me by the 
afore-mentioned bishop or by himself, but even those 
I v\as complaining of not receiving. And his account 
of you was all the more pleasant in that he told me 

this book a reply ^vas written by Julian of Eclanum (see p. 1 88 
above), accusing Augustine of denying the divine institution 
of marriage ; Augustine thereupon added a second book re- 
futing the charge. Valerius is addressed also in Ep. ccvi., a 
recommendation of a bishop called Felix. 

'^ Not otherwise known. 

"* See above, p. 334. « Phil. i. 8. 



quia ea dicebat, quae ipse non possis ne quidem me 
inquirente rescribere, ne tuarum laudum, quod 
sancta scriptura prohibet, fieres praedicator. Quani- 
quam et ego verear haec ad te scribere, ne sus- 
picionem adulantis incurram, domine inlustris et 
merito praestantissime atque in Christi dilectione 
carissime fili. 

2 Laudes itaque tuas in Christo, sive magis in te 
laudes Christi, lide quid mihi delect ationis et lae- 
titiae fuit audire ab illo qui nee fallere me posset 
propter fidem suam, et eas ignorare non posset 
propter amicitiam tuam. Sed alia et ab aliis etsi 
non tarn multa vel certa, verum tamen audivimus, 
fides tua quam sit sana et catholica, quam pia ex- 
pectatio futurorum, quae dei fratrumque dilectio, 
quam non superbe sapias in excelsis honoribus nee 
speres in incerto divitiarum sed in deo vivo, et dives 
sis in operibus bonis, quam sit domus tua requies 
solaciumque sanctorum et terror impiorum, quanta 
tibi cura sit, ne quis insidietur membris Christi co- 
opertus velamine nominis Christi sive in veteribus 
eius sive in recentioribus inimicis, quamque sis 
eorundem inimicorum saluti providus, infestus errori. 
Haec atque huius modi, ut dixi, et ab aliis solemus 
audire, sed nunc ea per supra dictum fratrem plura 
et testatiora cognovimus. 

3 Porro autem de pudicitia coniugali, ut eam quoque 

" Prov. xxvii. 2 " Let another man praise thee, and not 
thine own mouth." 
" 1 Tim. vi. 17-18. 


NO. 45 (Ep. CC) 

those things M'hich, for fear of becoming addicted to 
singing your own praises (which Holy Scripture for- 
bids"), you yourself cannot write back tome even when 
I pointedly ask them. In fact I myself am afraid to 
compliment you on them when I A^Tite to you, my dis- 
tinguished and justly renowned lord and well-beloved 
son in the love of Christ, in case I incur the suspicion of 
flattering you. 

So you can just imagine what a pleasure and de- 2 
hght it was to me to hear your praises in Christ, or 
rather the praises of Christ in you, from one whose 
OM'n truthfulness prevents him from deceiving me and 
whose friendship with you provides him with a know- 
ledge of them.* Yet others too have furnished me 
with other information, which though not so full or so 
sure, was still worth hearing : how sound and cathoUc 
your faith is, how godly your hope of the world to come, 
what love you have towards God and towards the 
brethren, how humble-minded you are amid your 
high honours, and how your hope is not placed in the 
uncertainty of riches but in the living God,^ how 
abounding you are in good works, and what a rest and 
consolation your home is to the holy and what a terror 
to the ungodly, what zeal you exhibit to keep any 
who skulk under the cloak of the name of Christ, 
whether they be His old or His newer enemies, from 
laying snares for the members of Christ ; and yet how 
careful you are to procure the salvation of these same 
enemies, while opposing their errors. These and 
such-like things, as I said, I am in the habit of hearing 
from others too, but now I have had much fuller 
and surer testimony to them through the above- 
mentioned brother. 

Further, about your conjugal continence, what 3 



in te laudare et amare possimus, quid audiremus nisi 
ab aliquo interiore familiari tuo, qui vitam tuam non 
in superficie sed penitus nosset ? De hoc itaque tuo 
bono, dei dono, me quoque delectat familiarius et 
aliquanto diutius loqui tecum. Scio me non esse 
oneri tibi, si aliquid prolixum mitto, quod legendo 
diutius sis nobiscum. Nam et hoc comperi, quod 
inter tuas multas magnasque curas facile ac Hbenter 
legas, nostrisque opuscuhs, etiam quae ad ahos con- 
scripsimus, si qua in manus tuas venire potuerunt, 
admodum delecteris ; quanto magis, quod ad te 
scribitur, ubi tamquam praesenti loquar, et adver- 
tere dignaris attentius et accipere gratius ! Ab hac 
ergo epistula perge ad Ubrum, quern simul misi, qui 
tuae reverentiae, et cur conscriptus sit et cur ad te 
potissimum missus, ipse suo principio commodius 

No. 46 (Ep. CCIII) 


Accepi litteras eximietatis tuae, quibus me ad te 
petis ut scriberem. Quod quidem non desiderares, 
nisi et hoc, quod me posse scribere existimasti, 

^ This jingle with bonum and donvm is a favourite one 
with Augustine: Con/, i. 20. 31 "Deimei dona sunt . . . et 
bona sunt"; ib. x. 4. 5; In Ps. 118, Serm. 17. 1 "quando 
ergo delectat bonum, magnum est Dei donum " ; Civ. Deiy 
XV. 4 " haec bona sunt et sine dubio Dei dona sunt"; ib. 
XV. 22 ; Grat. et Arb. 6. 15 "si autem bona sunt, Dei dona 
sunt"; Epp. ex. 4 and ccxi. 3. 

^ Largus is probably the proconsul of that name in Africa, 
415, 418, and 419. 


NO. 45 (Ep. CC)— NO. 46 (Ep. CCIII) 

information could I have to be in a position to praise 
and love that too in you, save from someone in- 
timately famihar with you, who knew your life not on 
the surface, but within ? So, since you are thus, by 
God's blessing, good possessing," I too take pleasure in 
talking A\ith you more intimately and at rather greater 
length. I know I shall not weary you if I send you 
something comprehensive, the reading of which will 
keep you all the longer in my company. For I have 
learned too that among your many arduous duties you 
are ready and glad to read my little books, and take 
considerable delight in them, when they happen to 
come into your hands, even if they are addressed to 
others ; how much greater should be your pleasure in 
receiving one addressed to yourself, in which I speak 
to you as though you were present, and how much 
more thorough the attention you kindly bestow upon 
it ! From this letter, then, pass on to the book that 
accompanies it ; why it was written and why it was 
especially sent to you, your Reverence will more con- 
veniently find out from the opening chapter. 

No. 46 (Ep. CCIII) 

(a.d. 420) 


I have received your Excellency's letter, in which 
you ask me to write to you. This you would not 
desire, did you not believe that what you thought I 
would write to you would be acceptable and pleasant 



gratum haberes atque iucundum, id autem est, ut 
vana saeculi huius, si inexperta concupisti, experta 
contemnas. Fallax est enim in eis suavitas et in- 
fructuosus labor et perpetuus timor et periculosa 
sublimitas, initium sine providentia et finis cum 
paenitentia. Ita se habent omnia, quae in ista 
mortalitatis aerumna cupidius quam prudentius ap- 
petuntur. Alia est autem spes piorum, alius laboris 
fructus, alia periculorum merces. Nam in hoc mundo 
non timere, non dolere, non laborare, non periclitari 
inpossibile est ; sed plurimum interest, qua causa, 
qua expectatione, quo termino quisque ista patiatur. 
Ego quidem cum amatores saeculi huius intueor, 
nescio quando possit esse ad eorum animos sanandos 
opportuna sapientia. Quando enim res velut pro- 
speras habent, fastu respuunt salubres monitus et 
quasi anilem reputant cantilenam ; quando autem 
in adversis anguntur, magis cogitant evadere unde 
ad praesens anguntur, quam capere unde curentur 
et unde perveniant ubi angi omnino non possunt. 
Aliquando tamen quidam cordis aures admovent 
atque adhibent veritati rarius inter prospera, cre- 
brius inter adversa, sed tamen pauci sunt, ita enim 
praedicti sunt, inter quos te esse cupio, quia vera- 
citer diligo, domine insignis et praestantissime ac 
desiderantissime fili. Haec admonitio tibi sit mea 
resalutatio, quia, etsi te deinceps talia perpeti qualia 

" The phrase cordis anres occurs first in Tertullian {De 
An. 9), then in Juvencus, 2. 812. It is not uncommon in 
Augustine {Con/, i. 5, iv. 5. 10, In P.v. 48, Seniu 1,2; In 
loan. Ev. 1. 15, etc.), from whom it passes into the Benedic- 
tine Rule and Gregory the Great's writings. Similarly 
Augustine often speaks of the ocuhis cord 1ft {Serm. Dom. in 
Monte, ii. 1. 1, In loan. Ev. 14. 12, 17. 1, 18. 6, etc.). 

NO. 46 (Ep. CCIII) 

— in other words, if you longed for the vanities of this 
world while they were unknown to you, you scorn 
thern now they are known, for the charm in them is 
illusory, the toil unrewarded, the anxiety unremitting, 
the uplifting dangerous ; man seeks them at first 
without reflection and abandons them at last with re- 
morse. So it is with all the things that are sought 
in the tribulation of this mortal life with more eager- 
ness than reflection, but it is far different with the 
hope of the godly ; different with the reward of their toil, 
different too with the outcome of their perils. For in this 
world fear and grief, toil and peril, are unavoidable, 
but it is of the utmost importance for what cause, with 
what hope, and to what end a man endures those things. 
For my part, when I look upon those who love this 
world, I know not at what moment wisdom can most 
opportunely undertake the healing of their souls, for 
when things apparently are prosperous with them, 
they scornfully disdain her wholesome warnings and 
deem them but a kind of old wives' song ; but when 
they are in the pangs of adversity, they rather think 
of escaping the source of their present pangs than 
of seizing the things that may provide a cure and 
a haven of refuge, in which their pangs will be 
completely prevented. At times, however (though 
these are less frequent in prosperity and more frequent 
in adversity), some of them turn the ears of their 
heart " to apply them to the truth, yet these are few, 
for so it was foretold.^ Among them I desire you to be, 
my noble and most distinguished lord and son much 
longed for, because I love you truly. Let this counsel 
to you be my answer to your letter, for, though I 

^ Matt. vii. 13 " narrow is the way . . . and few there be 
that find it." 



pertulisti, plus tamen nolo haec ipsa te sine aliqua 
in melius vitae mutatione fuisse perpessum. 

No. 47 (Ep. CCIX) 


1 Primum gratulationem reddo meritis tuis, quod te 
in ilia sede dominus deus noster sine ulla, sicut 
audivimus, plebis suae discissione constituit. Deinde 
insinuo sanetitati tuae quae sint circa nos, ut non 
solum orando pro nobis, verum etiam consulendo 
et opitulando subvenias. In magna quippe tribula- 
tione positus haec ad tuam beatitudinem scripta 
direxi, quoniam volens prodesse quibusdem in nostra 
vicinitate membris Christi, magnam illis cladem 
inprovidus et incautus ingessi. 

2 Fussala dicitur Hipponiensi territorio confine 

" See above, p. 340. 

^ For the word papa see note a on p. 302. 

<= Augustine here appeals to Celestine to reconsider a case 
on which his predecessor Boniface had earher pronounced 
judgement. Later, the African bishops decided not to allow 
appeals from Africa to Rome, and when in 426 Celestine 
wrote on behalf of a priest deposed from office, they pointed 
out that the African Church retained the right of judging its 
own causes {Cod. Eccl. Cath. cxxv. " non provocent nisi ad 
Africana concilia vel ad primates provinciarum suarum ; ad 
transmarina autem qui putaverit appellandum, a nullo intra 
Africam in communionem suscipiatur "). 

^ The exact site of Fussala is unknown, but it probably lay 
to the south or south-east, for on that side the boundary of 
the commune of Hippo extended to about 40 miles. A later 
letter (Ep. ccxxiv.) speaks of a priest of Fussala. It was still 
a bishopric in 484, and a passage of Procopius mentions the 

NO. 46 (Ep. CCIII)— NO. 47 (Ep. CCIX) 

should not ^\^sh you to endure henceforward such 
sufferings as you have endured in the past, my wish 
is yet greater that you may not have endured them 
without some change of your Ufe for the better. 

No. 47 (Ep. CCIX) 

(a.d. 423) 


First of all I pay my tribute of congratulation to 1 
your merits that the Lord our God has placed you in 
that apostolic chair with (as w^e are informed) no 
division among His people. In the next place, I 
lay before your Holiness the state of affairs with us,- 
so that you may come to our assistance not only by 
praying for us, but also by giving us your counsel and 
assistance, '^ for I am writing to your Holiness under 
deep affliction : by my lack of foresight and caution 
I have brought a great disaster upon certain members 
of Christ in our neighbourhood, though I had in- 
tended only their benefit. 

Fussala '^ is the name of a small town not far from 2 

construction of a fortress there under Justinian. In Civ. 
Dei xxii. 8. 6 is mention of a private estate near Fussala, 
on which the owner had built a chapel in which he placed soil 
from the Holy Sepulchre. The bishop mentioned below, 
Antoninus, was present at the Council of Mileve in 416 (Ep. 
clxxvi., title), but in view of his misdeeds Augustine assumed 
control himself (§ 5, cf. Ep. ccxxiv.), and retained it till his 
death. Castellum is defined by Augustine himself in De 
Consensu Evang. iii. 25. 71: "castellum . . . non absurde 
accipimus etiam villam potuisse appellari." 

2 a S5^ 


castellum. Antea ibi numquam episcopus fuit, sed 
simul cum contigua sibi regione ad parochiam 
Hipponiensis ecclesiae pertinebat. Paucos habebat 
ilia terra catholicos ; ceteras plebes illic in magna 
multitudine hominum constitutas Donatistarum error 
miserabiliter obtinebat, ita ut in eodem castello 
nuUus esset omnino catholicus. Actum est in dei 
misericordia, ut omnia ipsa loca unitati ecclesiae 
cohaererent ; per quantos labores et pericula nostra, 
longum est explicare, ita ut ibi presbyteri qui eis 
congregandis a nobis primitus constituti sunt, ex- 
poliarentur, caederentur, debilitarentur, excaeca- 
rentur, occiderentur. Quorum tamen passiones 
inutiles ac steriles non fuerunt, unitatis illic securitate 
perfecta. Sed quod ab Hippone memoratum castel- 
lum milibus quadraginta seiungitur, cum in eis 
regendis et eorum reliquiis licet exiguis colligendis, 
■quae in utroque sexu oberrabant non minaces ulterius 
sed fugaces, me viderem latius quam oportebat 
extendi, nee adhibendae sufRcere diligentiae, quam 
certissima ratione adhiberi debere cernebam, epi- 
scopum ibi ordinandum constituendumque curavi. 
; Quod ut fieret, aptum loco illi congruumque 
requirebam, qui et Punica lingua esset instructus. 
Et habebam, de quo cogitabam, paratum presbyte- 
rum, propter quem ordinandum sanctum senem qui 
tunc primatum Numidiae gerebat, de longinquo ut 
veniret, rogans litteris impetravi. Quo iam prae- 
sente omniumque in re tanta suspensis animis, ad 

** Parorhla continues to mean a " diocese " and not a 
" parish " at least as late as the time of Bede, although the 
Greek word is used even for a country congregation as early 
as the Council of Chalcedon, a.d. 451 (see Bright, Sotes on 
the Canons of the first four General Councils, pp. 51-53). 

^ That is, the Donatists. 

NO. 47 (Ep. CCIX) 

the district of Hippo ; formerly there was never a 
bishop there, but along with the adjoining country 
it belonged to the diocese " of the church of Hippo. 
Of Catholics that region had but few ; all the other 
congregations there, located among a fairly dense 
population, were under the wretched influence of the 
Donatist error, so that in this town there was no 
Catholic at all. In the mercy of God it came about 
that all those districts became attached to the unity 
of the Church ; it would take too long to tell you what 
toil and danger that involved us in, such that the priests 
there, who were originally appointed by us to gather 
them ^together, were robbed, beaten, maimed, blinded, 
and killed ; yet their sufferings were not ineffectual or 
unfruitful, for by them unity was there securely 
achieved. But since the aforesaid town is forty 
miles distant from Hippo, and in the superintendence 
of the people and the gathering together of the rem- 
nants, however small, of the wandering bands, com- 
posed of both sexes, who were no longer threatening 
others but fleeing for their own safety, I saw myself 
drawn farther afield than was fitting, and unable to 
exercise that careful oversight which I perceived 
and was thoroughly convinced should be exercised, 
I arranged that a bishop should be ordained and 
appointed there. 

For this purpose I needed a man fitted and suitable 3 
for the place, one, too, possessing a knowledge of 
Punic, and I had in my mind a priest ready for the 
post, for whose ordination I wrote asking the holy 
Senior who at the time held the office of Primate 
of Numidia to make the long journey to us, and he 
agreed. When he was already with us and the minds 
of all were exalted in expectation of the solemn cere- 



horam nos ille, qui mihi paratus videbatur, omni modo 
resistendo destituit. Ego autem, qui utique, sicut 
exitus docuit, difFerre potius debui quam periculosum 
praecipitare negotium, dum nolo gravissimum et 
sanctissimum senem ad nos usque fatigatum sine 
efFectu propter quem venerat tarn longe, ad propria 
remeare, obtuli non petentibus quendam adulescen- 
tem Antoninum, qui mecum tunc erat, in monasterio 
quidem a nobis a parvula aetate nutritum, sed 
praeter lectionis officium nullis clericatus gradibus 
et laboribus notum. At illi miseri, quod futurum 
fuerat ignorantes, ofFerenti eum mihi oboedientis- 
sime crediderunt. Quid plura ? Factum est ; esse 
illis episcopus coepit. 
4 Quid faciam ? Nolo apud tuam venerationem 
gravare quem nutriendum collegi, nolo deserere 
quos colligendos timoribus et doloribus parturivi, et 
quo modo utrumque agam, reperire non possum. 
Res quippe ad tantum scandalum venit, ut cum eo 
hie apud nos causas dicerent, qui de ilUus episcopatu 
suscipiendo tamquam bene sibi consulentibus ob- 
temperaverant nobis. In quibus causis cum stupro- 
rum crimina capitalia, quae non ab ipsis quibus 

** Ad horam, " in our hour of need," " at the critical 
moment," sometimes simply " at the time," as in the next 
letter, § 2 "ad horam contristetur," Ep. Ixxi. 3 " mihi ad 
horam codex defuit," Cat. Rial. ii. 4 " hilaritas ad horam 
ut adsit," Civ. Dei i. 31 " [subseHiis] ad horam congestis," 

^ It will be observed that this Antoninus was ordained per 
saltum, elevated to the rank of bishop from being merely a 
reader, responsible for the sacred books, without passing 
through the intermediate ranks. This was forbidden in the 
Eastern Church at the Council of Sardica, a.d. 343, but it 
continued in the Latin Church until about the ninth century. 
Further, it is to be noticed that Augustine did not himself 


NO. 47 (Ep. CCIX) 

mony? at the last minute " the man who had appeared 
to me to be ready left me in the lm*ch by absolutely 
opposing our plans. As the event proved, I ought 
certainly to have postponed a matter fraught with 
such dangers, instead of hurrying it on ; however, 
not wanting the very eminent and holy Senior, after 
being at the trouble of coming all the way to us, to go 
back home without accomplishing the purpose for 
which he had made such a long journey, I put for- 
ward, ^\ithout waiting to be asked, a certain young 
man Antoninus, who was with me at the time. He 
had been brought up by me in the monastery from 
his earliest years, but beyond holding the office of 
reader, he had no experience of any of the ranks or 
labours of clerical life ; yet those unfortunate people, 
not knowing what lay before them, very dutifully 
acquiesced in my offer of him. Why say more ? 
The deed was done ; he began his career as their 

What am I to do ? I do not m ant to charge before 4 
your Reverence one whom I gathered in and fostered, 
nor do I want to abandon those for whose in-gathering 
I travailed with anxiety and pain ; and how I am to 
do both I cannot discover. The matter has indeed 
come to such a scandalous pass that those who yielded 
to my wish to have him undertake episcopal office, in 
the belief that it was to their own best interest, have 
approached me here and laid charges against him. 
Among these charges the most serious offence of gross 
immorality made against him, not by those over whom 

consecrate Antoninus, but sought the services of his Primate. 
The co-operation of other bishops in episcopal consecration 
was expressly enjoined by the Council of Nicaea, which 
prescribes thr-ee as a general rule (Canon IV.). 



episcopus erat, sed ab aliis quibusdam obiecta fuerant, 
probari minime potuissent, atque ab eis quae in- 
vidiosissime iactabantur, videretur esse purgatus, 
tarn miserandus factus est et nobis et aliis, ut, 
quicquid a castellanis et illius regionis hominibus de 
intolerabili doniinatione, de rapinis et diversis op- 
pressionibus et contritionibus obiciebatur, nequa- 
quam nobis tale videretur, ut propter hoc vel propter 
simul cuncta congesta episcopatu eum putaremus 
esse privandum, sed restituenda quae probarentur 

6 Denique sententias nostras sic temper a vimus, ut 
salvo episcopatu non tamen omnino inpunita re- 
linquerentur, quae non deberent vel eidem ipsi 
deinceps iterumque facienda vel ceteris iniitanda 
proponi. Honoreni itaque integrum servavimus iu- 
veni corrigendo, sed corripiendo minuimus potesta- 
tem, ne scilicet eis praeesset ulterius, cum quibus 
sic egerat, ut dolore iusto eum sibi praeesse ferre 
omnino non possent et cum suo illiusque periculo in 
aliquod scelus forsitan erupturam inpatientiam sui 
doloris ostenderent. Quorum talis animus etiam 
tunc, quando cum eis de illo episcopi egerunt, evi- 
denter apparuit, cum iam vir spectabilis Celer, de 
cuius adversum se praepotenti administratione con- 
questus est, nullam gerat vel in Africa vel uspiam 

6 Sed quid multis morer ? Conlabora, obsecro, 
nobiscum, pietate venerabili domine beatissime et 

" Celer became proconsul of Africa in 429, but he is 
known from Augustine's works from soon after 400. He 
is addressed in Epp. Ivi. and Ivii., which show him to have been 
a Donatist. In Ep. cxxxix. 2 mention is made of the opening 
of Donatist churches on Celer's estates near Hippo. 


NO. 4.7 (Ep. CCIX) 

he was bishop, but by certain others, was found to be 
quite unproved, and, apparently cleared of the most 
malicious of the imputations made against him, he was 
reduced to what we and others thought such a pitiful 
state that whatever complaint the town's-people and 
those of the district made about his intolerable 
tyranny, his rapacity and oppression and abuses of 
various kinds, seemed to me by no means so grievous 
that, because of it or of all of them put together, we 
should reckon it necessary to deprive him of his office 
as bishop ; it seemed enough to make him restore the 
things that were proved to have been taken away. 

In short, I so tempered my judgement with mercy 5 
that he was not deprived of office, although his faults 
were yet not left altogether unpunished ; they were 
not of a kind either to be repeated by him in the 
future or held up to others as a model. In correcting 
the young man, we therefore left him his rank unim- 
paired, but as a punishment we limited his authority, 
so that he should no longer be over those whom he 
had treated in such a way that from justified resent- 
ment it might have been impossible for them to 
endure having him over them at all ; they might 
perhaps show their impatience and resentment by 
breaking out into some misdeed fraught with danger 
to themselves and to him. That this was the state 
of their mind even at the time when the bishops were 
discussing his case vrith them appeared very clearly, 
although by now the eminent Celer,^ of Avhose very 
influential interference against him he complained, 
exercises no authority either in Africa or anywhere 

But why make a long story of it ? I beseech you 6 
to lend me your assistance, my saintly lord venerable 



debita caritate venerande sancte papa, et iube tibi 
quae directa sunt, omnia recitari. Vide episcopa- 
tum qualiter gesserit, quern ad modum iudicio nostro 
usque adeo consenserit communione privatus, nisi 
prius Fussalensibus omnia redderentur, iam postea 
citra acta aestimatis rebus solidos seposuerit, ut ei 
communio redderetur, quam versuta suasione sanctum 
senem primatem nostrum gravissimum virum, ut ei 
cuncta crederet, quem velut omni modo inculpatum 
venerando papae Bonifatio commendaret, induxerit, 
et cetera quae a me quid opus est recoli, cum 
memoratus venerabilis senex ad tuam sanctimoniam 
universa rettulerit ? 

In illis autem multiplicibus gestis, quibus de illo 
nostrum indicium continetur, magis deberem vereri 
ne tibi minus severe, quam oporteret, iudicasse 
videamur, nisi scirem vos tam propensos ad miseri- 
cordiam, ut non solum nobis, quia illi pepercimus, 
verum etiam ipsi existimetis esse parcendum. Sed 
ille, quod a nobis aut benigne aut remisse factum 
est, in praescriptionem vertere atque usurpare 
conatur ; clamat : " Aut in mea cathedra sedere 
debui aut episcopus esse non debui," quasi nunc 
sedeat nisi in sua. Propter hoc enim loca ilia eidem 
dimissa atque permissa sunt, in quibus et prius epi- 
scopus erat, ne in alienam cathedram contra statuta 

" Cathedra, originally a chair for women, or the seat used 
by teachers and professors, came to be applied to the chair 
used by bishops. It stood in the apse and had curtains at 
the side (Aug. Ep. xxiii. 3 "cathedrae velatae"). Thence 

NO. 47 (Ep. CCIX) 

for your piety and holy father revered with all due 
affection, and give orders that all the documents sent 
you be read to you. See how he conducted himself 
in his office as bishop, how, when deprived of com- 
munion until after everything had been restored to 
the people of Fussala, he so far accepted our decision, 
then later set aside a sum in compensation for the 
things, quite apart from the legal decision, so that 
he might regain the privilege of communion ; see 
too with what crafty persuasion he led the holy 
Senior, that very excellent man our Primate, to 
believe all his statements and to recommend him to 
the revered Pope Boniface as one in every v,ay 
blameless. What need is there for me to rehearse all 
the rest, since the venerable Senior afore-mentioned 
will have reported the aifair to your Holiness in all 
its details ? 

From the numerous minutes, however, that contain 7 
our judgement upon him, I should rather fear to 
appear to you less severe in judging him than I ought 
to have been, if I did not know that you are so prone 
to mercy as to reckon it your duty to spare the man 
himself and us as well for sparing him. But what we 
did, either from kindness or from carelessness, he is 
now trying to turn to account and employ as a legal 
objection. His cry is, " Either I ought to be sitting 
in my own episcopal chair or else I ought not to be a 
bishop at all," as if he w^ere now sitting in any chair " 
but his own. For it w^as for this very reason that 
those districts in which he was bishop before were 
set apart and set under his care that he might not 
be said to have been illegally transferred to another 

the word came to mean the building in which the bishop's 
throne stood. 



patrum translatus inlicite diceretur. Aut vero quis- 
quam ita esse debet sive severitatis sive lenitatis 
exactor, ut, qui non visi fuerint episcopatus honore 
privandi. nullo modo in eis aliquid vindicetur, aut in 
quibus aliquid \'isum fuerit vindicanduni, episcopatus 
honore priventur ? 

8 Existunt exempla-ipsa sede apostolica iudicante 
vel alioruni iudicata firniante quosdani pro culpis 
quibusdani nee episcopali spoliatos honore nee rehctos 
omnimodis inpunitos. Quae ut a nostris temporibus 
remotissima non requiram, recentia memorabo. 
Clamet Priscus, provinciae Caesariensis episcopus : 
** Aut ad primatum locus sicut ceteris et mihi patere 
debuit aut episcopatus mihi remanere non debuit." 

- Clamet alius eiusdem provinciae ^^ictor episcopus, 
cui relicto in eadem poena in qua etiam Priscus fuit, 
nusquam nisi in dioecesi eius ab aliquo communicatur 
episcopo, clamet, inquam : " Aut ubique communi- 
care debui aut etiam in meis locis communicare non 
debui." Clamet tertius eiusdem provinciae Lauren- 

° Translation from one see to another was definitely for- 
bidden by the Council of Xicaea (Canon X\.) and later 

*• His point is that there should be some form of punish- 
ment for offenders, midway between the extremes of complete 
immunity and complete deposition. 

'' Priscus was bishop of Quiza in 411. Victor's see is not 
known, but Laurentius was bishop of Icosium, the modern 
town of Algiers, and as such he appears at the Synod of 
Carthage in 419. Further particulars of their cases are 
wanting. One or other of them is probably the case which 
took Augustine to Mauretania about 418 (" litteras . . . quas 
ad Mauretaniam Caesariensem misisti, me apud Caesaream 
praesente venerunt, quo nos iniuncta nobis a venerabili papa 
Zosimo aposlolicae sedis episcopo ecclesiastica necessitas 
traxerat," Ep. cxc. 1). 

NO. 47 (Ep. CCIX) 

see contrary to the statutes of the Fathers.^ Or 
should anyone be so extreme an advocate of severity or 
of gentleness as either to exact absolutely no punish- 
ment from those who do not seem to merit deprivation 
of the honour of the bishop's office, or on the other 
hand to deprive of the honour of that office those who 
have been judged to deserve some punishment ? ^ 

There are on record among the judgements given : 
by the Apostolic See itself, or its confirmations of the 
judgements of others, precedents for not depriving 
certain bishops, tried for certain offences, of their 
episcopal rank, and yet for not leaving them alto- 
gether unpunished. Not to seek out examples that 
are far from our own day, I shall mention some of 
recent date. Hear the protest of Priscus,^ a bishop 
of the province of Caesarea^ : " Either the office of 
Primate ought to be open to me too, or else I ought 
not to retain my episcopal office." Let the protest 
be heard of another bishop of the same province, 
\ ictor, who when left in the same fault as Priscus, is 
not allowed to receive communion from any bishop 
unless within his own diocese — let his protest, I 
repeat, be heard: " Either I ought to communicate 
anywhere, or else I ought not to communicate even 
in my own district." Let the protest be heard of a 
third bishop of the same province, Laurentius, and 

'^ Caesarea was one of the two portions of Mauretania, 
which was incorporated in the Empire by Caligula in a.d. 40. 
About 292 Diocletian divided Caesarea into two, giving the 
new portion the name of Maurdania S'ltlfiensls, roughly 
corresponding to the western part of modern Algeria, while 
the other, Caesarea, corresponds to the eastern part of 
Morocco. Caesarea takes its name from the town of lol, a 
Phoenician colony, which Juba II. called Caesarea in honour 
of Julius Caesar, The modern name is Cherchel. 



tius episcopus et prorsus huius vocibus clamet : " Aut 
in cathedra, cui ordinatus sum, sedere debui aut 
episcopus esse non debui." Sed quis ista vituperet, 
nisi qui parum adtendit nee inulta omnia relinquenda 
nee uno modo omnia vindicanda ? 

Quia er^o pastorali vigilique cautela beatissimus 
papa Bonifatius in epistula sua posuit de Antonino 
loquens episcopo et ait : "Si ordinem rerum nobis 
fideliter indica\-it," accipe nunc ordinem rerum, 
quem ille in suo libello reticuit, ac deinde, quae post 
eius sanctae memoriae viri in Africa lectas litteras 
gesta sunt, et subveni hominibus opem tuam in 
Christi misericordia multo avidius quam ille poscenti- 
bus, a cuius inquietudine desiderant liberari. Indicia 
quippe illis et publicas potestates et militares im- 
petus tamquam executuros apostolicae sedis senten- 
tiam sive ipse sive rumores creberrimi comminantur, 
ut miseri homines Christiani catholici graviora 
formident a catholico episcopo, quam, cum essent 
haeretici, a cathoUcorum imperatorum legibus for- 
midabant. Non sinas ista fieri, obsecro te per 
Christi sanguinem, per apostoli Petri memoriam, qui 
Christianorum praepositos populorum monuit, ne 
violenter dominentur in fratres. Ego Fussalenses 
catholicos filios in Christo meos et Antoninum epi- 

** These rumours were encouraged by the fact that the 
representations of the African bishops to Pope Celestine were 
not yet made or known. Besides asking the Pope not to 
allow appeals from Africa or to receive those excommunicated 
in Africa, the bishops asked him not to send his clerks to 
carry out his sentences, lest the Church should appear to 
be introducing " the smoky vanity of the world " (" fumosum 
typhum saeculi ") {Cod. Eccl. Afr. No. cxxxviii). The letter 
of an African Council to Pope Celestine: "deinceps ad 
vestras aures hinc venientes non facilius admittatis, nee a 
nobis excommunicatos ultra velitis excipere ; . . . executores 


NO. 47 (Ep. CCIX) 

heard indeed in the very words of Antoninus : "Either 
I ought to sit in the see to which I was ordained, or 
else I ought not to be a bishop at all." But who 
would find fault with those sentences, except one who 
does not reflect that, on the one hand, all these 
offences must not be left unpunished, and on the other, 
that they are not all to be punished in the same way ? 

In his letter about Antoninus, addressed to his 9 
bishop, the saintly Pope Boniface, Mith the vigilance 
and caution of a true pastor, put the words, " Provided 
that he has faithfully revealed the sequence of events 
to us." So now accept this statement of the sequence 
of events which he in his memorandum passed 
over in silence, and further, of what happened after 
the letter of that man of blessed memory was read 
in Africa ; do you come to the aid of men who implore 
your aid in Christ's mercy more earnestly than did he, 
from whose harassment they seek deliverance. For 
threats are being made to the people, either by 
Antoninus himself or by oft-repeated rumours ,^ of legal 
processes and public officials and military attacks that 
are to enforce the decisionof the Apostolic See ; in con- 
sequence, those unfortunate people, though Catholic 
Christians, are in dread of heavier punishment from 
a Catholic bishop than what they feared from the 
laws of Catholic emperors when they were heretics. 
Do not let that be so, I implore you by the blood of 
Christ, by the memory of the apostle Peter who 
warned those placed in authority over Christian 
peoples not to lord it over their brethren.^ For 
myself, I commend to the gracious love of your 
Hohness both the Catholics of Fussala, my children 

etiam clericos vestros quibuscumque petentibus nolite mittere, 
nolite concedere." ^ 1 Pet. v. 3. 



scopum filium in Christo meum benignitati caritatis 
sanctitatis tuae, quia utrosque diligo, utrosque 
commendo. Neque Fussalensibus suscenseo, quia 
iustam de me querimoniam ingerunt auribus tuis, 
quod eis hominem nondum niihi probatum, nonduni 
saltern aetate firmatum, a quo sic affligerentur, inflixi, 
neque huic noceri volo, cui quanto magis sinceram 
habeo caritatem, tanto magis pravae cupiditati eius 
obsisto. Utrique misericordiam mereantur tuam, 
illi, ne mala patiantur, iste, ne faciat, illi, ne oderint 
catholicam, si a catholicis episcopis maximeque ab 
ipsa sede apostolica contra catholicum non eis sub- 
venitur episcopum, iste autem, ne se tanto scelere 
obstringat, ut, quos molitur invitos facere suos, a 
Christo faciat alienos. 
10 Me sane, quod confitendum est beatitudini tuae, 
in isto utrorumque periculo tantus timor et maeror 
excruciat, ut ab officio cogitem gerendi episcopatus 
abscedere et me lamentis errori meo convenientibus 
dedere, si per eum cuius episcopatui per inprudentiam 
sufFragatus sum vastari ecclesiam dei, et quod ipse 
deus avertat, etiam cum vastantis perditione perire 
conspexero. Recolens enim quod ait apostolus : Si 
nosmet ipsos diiudicaremus , a domino non iudicaremur, 
iudicabo me ipsum, ut parcat mihi qui iudicaturus est 
vivos et mortuos. Si autem et membra Christi, quae 
in ilia regione sunt, ab exitiabili timore ac tristitia 

" Catholica for catholka ecclesia is very frequent in 
Augustine. See Rottmanner, " Catholica," in Geistesfriichte 
aus der Klosterzelle, pp. 74-84. 

^- 1 Cor. xi. 31. '2 Tim. iv. 1. 


NO. 47 (Ep. CCIX) 

in Christ, and bishop Antoninus, my son in Christ, 
for both are dear to me. And I do not biame the 
people of Fussala for pouring into your ears their just 
complaint against me that I imposed upon them a 
man whom I had not tested and who was, in age at 
least, immature, to cause them such afflictions ; nor 
do I wish any harm to Antoninus, whose vile greed 
I oppose all the more stubbornly because I hold 
him in such genuine affection. Let your compassion 
be extended to both — to them, so that they may 
suffer no harm, to him, that he may do none ; to 
them, so that they may not hate the Catholic Church,'* 
if Catholic bishops and especially the Apostolic See 
itself fail to come to their defence against a Catholic 
bishop ; to him, so that he may not involve himself in 
such great wickedness as to alienate from Christ 
those whom he is striving to win for Him against 
their will. 

As for myself, however, I must confess to your 10 
Holiness that in the danger that threatens both I am 
racked by such great fear and grief that I contemplate 
retiring from the responsibility of carrying on my 
episcopal office and giving myself over to lamenta- 
tion befitting my fault, if I see the Church of God 
despoiled through one whose election as bishop I 
supported through lack of foresight and even (which 
may God forbid) brought to destruction along with the 
destruction of the despoiler himself. For in remem- 
brance of the Apostle's words, " If we would judge 
ourselves, we should not be judged by the Lord," ^ I 
shall judge myself, so that I may be spared by Him 
" Who shall judge the quick and the dead."^ But if 
you secure the recovery of the members of Christ in 
that district from their deadly fear and sorrow and 



recreaveris et meam senectutem hac misericordi 
iustitia fueris consolatus, retribuet tibi et in praesenti 
et in futura \-ita bona pro bonis, qui per te nobis in 
ista tribulatione succurrit et qui te in ilia sede 

No. 48 (Ep. CCX) 


1 Bonus est dominus et misericordia eius ubique 
diffusa, quae nos de vestra caritate in suis visceribus 
consolatur. Quantum enini diligat credentes et 
sperantes in se et ilium atque invieem diligentes et 
quid eis in posterum servet, hinc maxime ostendit, 
cum infidelibus et desperatis et perversis, quibus in 
mala voluntate usque in finem perseverantibus ignera 
cum diabolo aeternum minatur, in hoc tamen saeculo 
bona tanta largitur, q^d facit oriri solem suum super 
honos et malos et pluit super iustos et iniustos. Breviter 
enim aliquid dictum est, ut plura cogitentur ; quam 
multa enim habeant impii in hac \dta munera et dona 

" Felicitas was probably the prioress of the nunnerj- at 
Hippo in which Augustine's own sister had held office until 
her death. It seems likely that the development of monas- 
ticism among women in North Africa was due to Augustine, 
for while Tertullian and Cj^^rian give evidence of the honour 
in which consecrated widows and virgins were held, the 
first notice of their monastic life is given by the Council of 
Carthage in 397, and Possidius declares that when Augustine 
died in 430 he left " a sufficient body of clergy and monas- 
teries of men and women " ( Vit. 31). Of monasteries for 
men at Hippo, one was built on ground provided by Bishop 
Valerius {Serm. 355. 2), and on succeeding Valerius, Augus- 


NO. 47 (Ep. CCIX)— NO. 48 (Ep. CCX) 

at the same time comfort my old age by administer- 
ing justice tempered with mercy, He Who through 
you brings us dehverance in this trial and Who has 
set you in your See will recompense unto you good 
for good, both in this hfe and in the life to come. 

No. 48 (Ep. CCX) 

(a.d. 423) 


The Lord is good ^ and everywhere His mercy is 1 
shed abroad, which comforts us with your love in Him. 
How greatly He loves those who believe and hope in 
Him and who love both Him and one another, and 
what blessings He stores up for them to enjoy here- 
after, He shows most of all by this, that upon the 
unbelieving and the abandoned and the perverse, 
whom He threatens \\-ith eternal fire in company 
\\dth the devil if they persist in their evi\ disposition 
unto the end,^ He nevertheless in this present world 
bestows so many benefits, making " His sun to rise 
on the evil and on the good and sending rain on the 
just and on the unjust."^ That is a brief sentence, 
meant to suggest further thoughts to the mind, for 
who can count up how many benefits and unearned 

tine made another of his episcopal house, and during his 
life-time two more were founded near Hippo {Serm. 356. 
10, 15). 

* Lam. iii. 25. «^ Matt. xxv. 41. ^ Matt. v. 45. 

2 b 369 


gratuita ab illo quern contemnunt, enumerare quis 
potest ? Inter quae illud magnum, quod exemplis 
interpositarum tribulationum, quas huius saeculi 
dulcedini tamquam bonus medicus miscet, admonet 
eos, si adtendere velint, fugere ab ira ventura, et 
cum in via sunt, id est in hac vita, coneordare cum 
sermone dei, quern sibi adversarium male vivendo 
fecerunt. Quid ergo non misericorditer praestatur 
hominibus a domino deo, a quo etiam tribulatio 
beneficium est ? Nam res prospera donum est con- 
solantis, res autem adversa donum est admonentis 
dei. Et si haec praestat, ut dixi, etiam malis, quid 
praeparat sustinentibus se } Quorum in numero vos 
per illius gratiam congregatos esse gaudete, sus- 
tinentes invicem in dilectione, studentes servare unitatem 
spiritus in vijiculo pads. Non enim deerit quod in 
vobis invicem sufFeratis, nisi cum vos ita porta verit 
dominus absorpta morte in victoriam, ut sit deus 
omnia in omnibus. 
2 Dissensiones autem numquam debent amari. Sed 
aliquando tamen aut caritate nascuntur aut caritatem 
probant. Quis enim facile invenitur, qui velit 
reprehendi ? Et ubi est ille sapiens, de quo dictum 
est : Corripe sapientem et amahit te ? Numquid tamen 
ideo non debemus reprehendere et corripere fratrem, 

" Matt. iii. 7. * Matt v. 25. 

'^ A Scriptural phrase : Ps. xxvi. 14 " confortetur cor tuum 
et sustine Dominum "; Isaiah xxv. 9 " iste Dominus; susti- 
nuimus eum," etc. Augustine plaj-s on the two meanings of 
sustinere, " to wait for (God)," and " to endure (one's fellow- 
men)." ^ Eph. iv. 2-3. * 1 Cor. xv. 54, 28. 

^ Ubi est . . , ? a common rhetorical formula in late 
Latin, perhaps derived from the controversiae, serving to 
introduce against an opponent a final and unanswerable 
argument, almost always from Scripture. See an example 

NO. 48 (Ep. CCX) 

gifts the uicked receive in this hfe from Him whom 
they despise ? Among these is this great blessing, 
that by the instances of intermingled tribulation with 
which, like a good physician, He blends the charm 
of this world. He warns them, if they but pay heed, 
to " flee from the wrath to come " " and to " agree, 
while they are in the way " * (that is, in this life) with 
the word of God, w^hich by their wicked lives they 
have made their " adversary." What, then, is not sent 
to men by the Lord God in His compassion, when even 
tribulation is a blessing sent by Him ? For prosperity 
is God's gift when He comforts us, while adversity is 
God's gift when He is warning us. And if, as I said, 
He furnishes these even to the wicked, what does 
He prepare for those who wait for Him ^ ? Among 
this number rejoice ye that by His grace you have 
been gathered, " forbearing one another in love, 
endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the 
bond of peace. "<^ For there will not fail to be occasion 
for your bearing with one another, until the Lord has 
borne you hence and " death is swallowed up in 
victory " and " God shall be all in all." ^ 

Yet in strife we ought never to take pleasure, though 2 
from time to time it is either born of love or puts love 
to the test. For M-ho is easily found that is willing 
to endure reproof? And, what about ^ that wise 
man of w^hom it is said, " Rebuke a wise man, and 
he will love thee " ^ ? Surely then we ought not to 
refrain from reproving and correcting a brother in 

on p. 44, " Quamquam ubi est illud . . . quod . . . apostolus 
. . . ita conclusit ut diceret . . .? " Fastid. Vit. Chr. 13 
*' si Deus peccatorum non punit, ubi est illud propheticum 
. . . ? " My note in Bulletin Bu Cange, i. (1924) p. 51, first 
recorded this use. " Frov. ix. 8. 



ne securus tendat in mortem ? Solet enim fieri et 
frequenter accidit, ut ad horam contristetur, cum re- 
prehenditur, et resistat et contendat et tamen postea 
consideret secum in silentio, ubi nemo est nisi deus et 
ipse nee timet displicere hominibus, quia corripitur, sed 
timet displicere deo, quia non corrigitur, et deinceps 
non faciat illud, quod iuste reprehensus est, et, quan- 
tum odit peccatum suum, tantum diligat fratrem, quem 
sensit hostem peccati sui. Si autem de illo numero 
est, de quo dictum est : Corripe stultum et adiciet ut 
oderit te, non de caritate illius dissensio nascitur, sed 
tamen caritatem reprehensoris sui exercet et probat, 
quia non ei rependitur odium, sed dilectio, quae 
cogit reprehendere, inperturbata perdurat, etiam 
cum ille qui reprehensus est, odit. Si autem ille 
qui corripit, redder e vult malum pro malo ei qui 
corripienti indignatur, non fuit dignus qui corriperet, 
sed dignus plane, qui etiam ipse corripi deberet. 
Haec agite, ut aut non inter vos existant indignationes 
aut exortae statim celerrima pace perimantur. 
Maiorem date operam concordandis vobis quam 
redarguendis, quia, sicut acetum corrumpit vas, si 
diutius ibi fuerit, sic ira corrumpit cor, si in alium 
diem duraverit. Haec ergo agite, et deus pads erit 
vobiscum, orantes simul et pro nobis, ut ea quae 
bene monemus, alacriter impleamus. 

" Ad horam : see note a on p. 3o6. 
^ C/. note on arbitraris tecum, p. 6. 
' Prov. ix. 8. '^ Cf. p. 106. ' Phil. iv. 9. 


NO. 48 (Ep. CCX) 

case he go down to death in false security ? It is a 
usual experience and a common occurrence for one 
who is reproved to be mortified at the time " and to 
wrangle and be recalcitrant, yet afterwards to reflect 
within himself ^ in silence, alone with God, where he is 
not afraid of displeasing men by being reproved, but 
is afraid to displease God by refusing correction, and 
thenceforward to refrain from doing the thing for 
which he was justly rebuked, and in proportion as he 
hates his sin, to love the brother whom he realizes to 
have been the enemy of his sin. But if he belongs 
to the number of those of whom it is written, "Rebuke 
a fool and he will go on to hate thee," ^ the conten- 
tion is not born of his love, but yet it tries and tests the 
love of his reprover, since he does not repay hatred 
with hatred, but the love which prompted his rebuke 
endures undisturbed, even when he who was rebuked 
requites it with hatred. If the reprover, however, 
choose to render evil for evil to the man who takes 
offence at being reproved, he was not fit to reprove 
another, but clearly fit to be reproved himself. Act 
upon these principles, so that occasions of provocation 
may either not arise among you, or, when they do 
occur, be immediately quenched in speedy peace. 
Strive more earnestly to disseminate harmony among 
yourselves than to encourage fault-finding, for just 
as vinegar corrodes a vessel if it remain too long in 
it, so anger corrodes the heart if it linger on to 
another day.*^ " These things, therefore, do, and the 
God of peace shall be with you." ^ At the same time 
pray for us, that we may with cheerful mind carry 
out the good advice we have given you. 



No. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

1 Sicut parata est severitas peccata quae invenerit, 
vindicare, ita non vult caritas quod vindicet, in- 
venire. Haec causa fecit, ut non venirem ad vos, 
cum meam praesentiam quaereretis, non ad pacis 
vestrae gaudium, sed ad dissensionis vestrae augmen- 
tum. Quo modo enim contemnerem et inpunitum 
relinquerem, si et me praesente tantus vester 
tumultus existeret, quantus me absente etsi oculos 
meos latuit, tamen aures meas vestris vocibus ver- 
beravit ? Nam fortassis etiam maior esset vestra 
seditio in praesentia mea, quam necesse esset vobis 
non concedi, quod in perniciosissimum exemplum 
contra sanam disciplinam, quod vobis non expedit, 
petebatis ; ac sic non quales volo, invenirem vos et 
ipse invenirer a vobis qualem non volebatis. 

2 Cum ergo scribat apostolus ad Corinthios dicens : 
Testem deum facio super animam meant, quia parcejis 
vobis nondum veni Corinthum, non quia dominamur Jidei 

° This famous letter is the source of the Augustinian Rule, 
which from the eleventh century to the Ptenascence was the 
standard of canons regular, preaching friars, knights of the 
military orders, and the hospital brethren and sisters — of 
the active, as opposed to the contemplative religious orders, 
which were nearly all Benedictine. In this its original 
form, it was part of a letter addressed to a convent of nuns 
in Hippo, probably that to which the last letter was %^Titten, 
although the circumstances do not appear to be quite 
identical. The Rule itself, the first actual monastic legisla- 
tion in Western Europe, was early adapted to communities 
of men, but it is not a complete system of rules for monastic 
observance, requiring expansion and elucidation from 
Augustine's other ascetic writings, especially the De Opere 
Monachorum and De Sancta Virginitate. Here, for ex- 


NO. 4.9 (Ep. CCXI) 

No. 49 (Ep. CCXI) « 

(a.d. 423) 

Just as severity is ready to punish the sins it dis- 1 
covers, so love is anxious not to discover sins to punish. 
That was the motive which withheld me from coming 
to you, when you besought my presence, not to 
rejoice in your peacefulness, but to increase your 
strife. For how could I have made light of your 
wrangling or left it unpunished, if even in my presence 
it had arisen to the same pitch as that which in my 
absence, though it was hidden from my eyes, yet 
assailed my ears with your clamour } Perhaps 
your rebelliousness would have been even greater 
in my presence, which it was necessary for me to 
withhold from you since you were demanding, to 
the detriment of sound discipline, things inexpedient 
for you and furnishing a most dangerous precedent. 
Thus I should not have found you such as I desire, and 
you would have found me such as you did not desire. 

The Apostle writes to the Corinthians and says, "I 2 
call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you 
I came not as yet unto Corinth. Not for that we 

ample, Augustine passes over the great monastic counsel 
of silence and touches but lightly on the subject of labour, 
yet the Rule became essentially that of the religious orders 
with an active mission. Nor, again, does he speak in detail 
of the liturgical offices, perhaps because in the Africa of his 
day there was no uniformity (Ep. Iv. 34 " de hac re varia 
consuetudo est ") and no great enthusiasmfor it (/6., " pleraque 
in Africa ecclesiae membra pigriora sunt "), except among 
the Donatists. Yet such as it is, the " Rule " had all the 
authority of his name and all the mingled severity and 
kindness of his nature to make it imposing to the medieval 



vestrae, sed cooperatores sumus gaudii vestri, hoc ego 
etiani dico vobis quia parcens vobis non ad vos veni. 
Peperci etiam niihi, ?ie tristiham super tristitiam 
de vobis haherem, et elegi non exhibere facieni meam 
vobis, sed efFunderem cor nieuni deo pro vobis, et 
causam magis periculi vestri non apud vos verbis 
sed apud deum lacrimis agerem, ne convertat in 
luctum gaudium meum, quo soleo gaudere de vobis 
et inter tanta scandala, quibus ubique abundat hie 
mundus, ahquantulum consolari, cogitans copiosam 
congregationem et castam dilectionem et sanctam 
conversationem vestram et largiorem gratiam dei, 
quae data est vobis. ut non solum nuptias carnales con- 
temneretisj verum etiam ehgeretis societatem in domo 
habitandi unanimes. ut sit vobis anima una et cor 
unum in deum. 
3 Haec in vobis bona, haec dei dona considerans inter 
multas tempestates, quibus ex ahis mahs quatitur, 
cor meum solet utcumque requiescere. Currehatis 
bene. Quis vos fascinavit ? Suasio ilia non est ex deo, 
qui vocavit vos. Modicum fermenti — nolo dicere quod 
sequitur ; hoc enim magis cupio et oro et hortor, ut 
ipsum fermentum revertatur in melius, non tota 
massa, sicut paene iam fecerat, convertatur in peius. 
Si ergo repullulastis sanum sapere, orate, ne i?itretis 
in temptationem, ne iterum in cojite?itio7ies , aemulationes, 
animositates , dissensiones, detractiones, seditiones, susur- 
rationes. Non enim sic plantavimus et rigavimus 

" 2 Cor. i. 23-24. ^ Phil. ii. 27. 

^ Lam. ii. 19. ^ Acts iv. 32. 

* 1 Cor. V. 6 " modicum fermenti totam massam corrumpit." 

' Matt. xxvi. 41 ; Mark xiv. 38 ; Luke xxii. 46. 

» 2 Cor. xii. 20. 


NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of 
your joy." ° I too say the same to you : to spare 
you I came not unto you ; further, I spared myself, 
" lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow " ^ from you, 
and preferred not to show my face before you but 
to pour out my heart to God for your behoof and to 
conduct this perilous case of yours, not by speech 
before you, but rather by tears before God,^ lest He 
turn to mourning the joy wherewith I am wont to 
rejoice in you and to find some little comfort, amid 
the great offences with which this world everywhere 
abounds, in the remembrance of your large com- 
munity and your chaste love and holy conversation 
and the more abundant grace of God that has been 
given you, whereby you have not only renounced 
carnal wedlock, but have also chosen to dwell with 
one accord in fellowship together under the same 
roof, to have " one soul and one heart " unto God.^ 

When I consider these excellences you show, 3 
which God did bestow, my heart is wont to find 
some sort of peace amid the many storms that arise 
through evils elsewhere to agitate it. " Ye did run 
well ; who did hinder you that ye should not obey 
the truth ? This persuasion cometh not of God that 
called you. A little leaven " ^ — what follows I prefer 
to leave unsaid, for it is rather my desire and prayer 
and exhortation that the leaven itself may return 
to something better, not that " the whole lump " may 
turn (as it had almost done already) to something 
worse. If then you have blossomed again into 
soundness of mind, " pray that ye enter not into 
temptation," ■'' nor fall once more into "debates, 
envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, tumults, 
whisperings."^ For we did not so plant and water 



hortum dominicum in vobis, ut spinas istas metamus 
ex vobis. Si autem adhuc vestra tumultuatur in- 
firmitas, orate ut eruamini de temptatione. Quae 
autem conturbant vos, si adhuc conturbant, nisi 
correxerint, portabunt iudicium, quaecumque illae 
4 Cogitate quid mali sit, ut, cum de Donatistis in 
unitate gaudeamus, interna schismata in monasterio 
lugeamus. Perseverate in bono proposito et non 
desiderabitis mutare praepositam, qua in monasterio 
illo per tam multos annos perseverante et numero et 
aetate crevistis, quae vos mater non utero sed animo 
suscepit. Omnes enim quae illuc venistis, ibi eam 
aut sanctae praepositae sorori meae servientem, 
placentem aut etiam ipsam praepositam, quae vos 
susciperet, invenistis ; sub ilia estis eruditae, sub ilia 
velatae, sub ilia multiplicatae ; et sic tumultuamini, 
ut vobis eam mutemus, cum lugere deberetis si eam 
vobis mutare vellemus. Ipsa est, quam nostis ; 
ipsa est, ad quam venistis ; ipsa est, quam per tot 
annos habendo cre\dstis. Novum non accepistis nisi 
praepositum ; aut si propter ilium quaeritis novitatem 
et in eius invidia contra matrem vestram sic rebel- 

" 1 Cor. ill. 6-8 ; Hier. xii. 13. 

^ This intransitive use of corrigfrfi is peculiar to late Latin, 
as is the similar use of emendo and reformo. It is often cor- 
rected in texts by the poorer manuscripts, as it is here, and 
probably occurs more frequently than the texts show. See 
Thes. Ling. Lat. s.v., and Souter, A Study of Ambrosiaster, 
p. 96, and c/. Aug. In Ps. 93. 3 " utinam corrigant et non 
dicant sic." 

' Gal. V. 10. 

^ The reading Donatistis is a conjecture of the Maurist 
editors, all the manuscripts giving deo natis, but Donatistis 
is almost certainly right. The phrase in unitate gaudere is 
always used by Augustine with reference to the Donatists ; 

NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

the garden of the Lord among you as to reap these 
thorns from you ** ; yet if your weakness still causes 
turmoil, pray to be delivered from temptation. Yet 
unless those sisters that trouble your peace reform ^ 
(if they still trouble it), they shall bear their judge- 
ment, whosoever they be.^ 

Consider what an evil thing it is that we should 4 
have to bewail internal discords in your monastery, 
M'hen we are rejoicing over the Donatists^ in unity. 
Be steadfast in the good purpose you have set 
before you and you will not desire to change your 
superior ; steadfastly abiding in that monastery for so 
many years, she begot you not of the body, but of 
the soul, and you have grown both in numbers and 
in age. All of you, when you came to it, found 
her either doing service that was well-pleasing to 
the holy superior my sister, or else acting as 
superior herself and adopting you. Under her you 
received your training, under her you took the 
veil, under her you have been increased ; and 
yet you demand with all this clamour that we should 
replace her for you, when you ought to be lamenting 
if we proposed to replace her for you. She is the 
one you have learned to know ; she is the one to 
whom at first you came ; she is the one under whom 
for so many years you have grown. No new official 
has been given you except the priest-superior ; or if 
it be because of him that you seek some new thing and 
through jealousy for him that you have thus rebelled 

deo nati is too vague to be an adequate contrast to interna 
schismafa, and the reading deo natis is easily explained as 
derived from Donatistis by the wrong expansion of do- to 
Deo and the dropping of the second -tis. See my note in 
Journal of Theological Studies, xxiii. (1922), p. 188. 



lastis, cur non potius hoc petistis, ut ipse vobis 
mutetur ? Si autem hoc exhorretis. quia novi quo 
modo eum in Christo venerabiUter diligatis, cur non 
potius illud ? In vobis namque regendis sic prae- 
positi rudimenta turbantur, ut magis veUt vos ipse 
deserere, quam istam ex vobis famam et invidiam 
sustinere, ut dicatur non aham vos quaesituras fuisse 
praepositam, nisi ipsum coepissetis habere prae- 
positum. Tranquillet ergo deus et componat animos 
vestros ; non in vobis praevaleat opus diaboh, sed 
pax Christi vincat m cordihus vestris ; nee dolore 
animi, quia non fit quod vultis, vel quia pudet 
voluisse quod velle non debuistis, erubescendo 
curratis in mortem, sed potius paenitendo resumatis 
salutem nee debeatis paenitentiam ludae traditoris 
sed potius lacrimas Petri pastoris. 
5 Haec sunt, quae ut observe tis praecipimus in 
monasterio constitutae. Primum propter quod estis 
in unum congregatae, ut unanimes habitetis in domo 
et sit vobis anima una et cor unum in deum et non 
dicatis ahquid proprium, sed sint vobis omnia com- 
munia, et distribuatur unicuique vestrum a prae- 
posita vestra victus et tegumentum non aequaliter 
omnibus, quia non aequaUter valetis omnes, sed 

« 1 John iii. 8. * Col. ill. 15. 

" Matt, xxvii. 3-5. ^ Matt. xxvi. 75. 

* The " Rule " proper begins here. In the version adapted 
to male use the previous sections are omitted and in their 
place is a short introduction, comprising, among other things, 
liturgical injunctions, passed over very lightly in the " Rule." 

^ Acts iv. 32. Goldbacher reads with one family of 
manuscripts cor unum et anima una, which follows the order 
of the Greek and the \'ulgate. But not only is the reading 
anima una et cor unum attested by a better family; it is 
frequent and almost invariable in Augustine. Similarly 
Goldbacher lower down reads singulis prout, a Vulgate form, 

NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

against your mother, why did you not rather ask to 
have him changed for you ? But if you shrink from 
that (since I know with what reverence and affection 
you regard him in Christ), why not the more shrink 
from the other course ? For in ruUng you the efforts 
of the priest-superior are so thwarted by your dis- 
orderhness, that he himself is the rather minded to 
abandon you than to endure such an invidious reputa- 
tion from you as to have it said that you would not 
have demanded another mother-superior, if you had 
not begun to have him as priest-superior. May 
God then calm and compose your hearts ! May the 
work of the devil not gain the upper hand within 
you," but may " the peace of Christ rule in your 
hearts^ " ! And do not rush headlong unto death, 
either from mortification that your desire is not 
granted or from the shame that you experience 
from desiring what you ought not to have desired. 
Rather by repentance renew your salvation, nor 
ought it to be the repentance of Judas the betrayer ,<' 
but rather the tears of Peter the shepherd.^ 

These are the rules we lay down for your observ- i 
ance, who have entered upon monastic life.^ 

Firstly, to fulfil the end for which you have 
gathered into one community, dwell together in 
the house as single-minded sisters, and have " one 
mind and one heart"-'' towards God. And call not 
anything your own, but let everything be common 
property ; and let there be a distribution made to 
each of you by your superior of food and raiment, 
not in equal portions to all, since you are not all of 

which probably never occurs in Augustine, his usual form 
being that here read on the authority of the same better 
class of manuscripts. 



unicuique sicut opus fuerit. Sic enim legitis in 
actibus apostolorum, quia eraiit illis omnia communia 
et distribuehatur unicuique sicut cuique opus erat. Quae 
aliquid habebant in saeculo, quando ingressae sunt 
monasterium, libenter illud velint esse commune ; 
quae autem non habebant, non ea quaerant in 
monasterio, quae nee foris habere potuerunt, sed 
tamen earum infirmitati, quod opus est, tribuatur, 
etiam si pauperies earum, quando foris erant, nee 
ipsa necessaria poterat invenire ; tantum non ideo 
se putent esse felices, quia invenerunt victum et 
tegumentum quale foris invenire non potuerunt. 
6 Nee erigant cervicem, quia sociantur ad quas foris 
accedere non audebant, sed sursum cor habeant et 
terrena bona non quaerant, ne incipiant monasteria 
esse divitibus utilia non pauperibus, sed divites illic 
humihantur et pauperes illic inflantur. Sed rursus 
etiam illae quae aliquid esse videbantur in saeculo, 
non habeant fastidio sorores suas quae ad illam 
sanctam societatem ex paupertate venerunt ; magis 
autem studeant non de parentum divitum dignitate 
sed de pauperum sororum societate gloriari. Nee 
extollantur, si communi vitae de suis facultatibus 
aliquid contulerunt, ne de suis divitiis magis super- 
biant quia eas monasterio partiuntur, quam si eis 
in saeculo fruerentur. Alia quippe quaecumque 

« Acts iv. 32, 35. 

^ That there were many of low degree who entered 
monastic life appears too from De Opere Monachorum, 25 : 
" nunc autem veniunt plerumque ad hanc professionem servi- 
tutis Dei et ex condicione servili vel etiam liberti, vel propter 
hoc ex dominio liberati seu Hberandi et ex vita rusticana et 
ex opificum exercitatione et plebeio labore." 

NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

equal importance, but to each one according as she 
has need. For in the Acts of the Apostles you read 
that " they had all things common, and distribution 
was made to every man according as he had need." ^* 
Let those of you who had any possessions in the 
world before you entered the monastery willingly 
consent that they become common property ; let 
those, on the other hand, who had none, not seek in 
the monastery for things they could not have outside 
it, but yet let what is needful be conceded to their 
weakness, even if their poverty, while they were 
outside, was such that they could not procure even the 
bare necessities of life. Nevertheless, let them not 
think themselves fortunate only because they have 
procured such food and raiment as they were unable 
to procure outside. 

And let them not go about with head erect because 
they are associating with those whom they did not 
dare to approach outside, but let them lift up their 
hearts and not seek earthly goods, in case the 
monasteries become of service to the rich and not to 
the poor, while in them the rich are bowed down with 
humility and the poor in them puffed up with vanity. 
But again, let not those who in the world considered 
themselves something, hold in scorn their sisters 
who have come to that holy fellowship from poverty ^ ; 
let them endeavour to take greater pride in the 
fellowship of their poor sisters than in the rank of their 
v.-ealthy parents. And let them not exalt themselves, 
if they have made some contribution from their own 
resources to the common life, lest they grow more 
vain of their wealth because they are sharing it with 
the monastery, than if they were enjoying the use 
of it in the world ; for every other kind of iniquity 



iniquitas in malis operibus exercetur, ut fiant ; 
superbia vero etiam in bonis operibus insidiatur, ut 
pereant. Et quid prodest dispergere dando pauperi- 
bus et pauperem fieri, cum anima misera superbior 
efficiatur divitias contemnendo, quam fuerat possi- 
dendo ? Omnes ergo unanimiter et concorditer vivite 
et honor ate in vobis invicem deum, cuius templa 
factae estis. 

7 Orationibus instate horis et temporibus constitutis. 
In oratorio nemo aliquid agat, nisi ad quod est 
factum, unde et nomen accepit, ut, si aliquae etiam 
praeter horas constitutas, si eis vacat, et or are 
voluerint, non eis sint impedimento, quae ibi aliquid 
agendum putaverunt. Psalmis et hymnis cum oratis 
deum, hoc versetur in corde quod profertur in voce, 
et nohte cantare, nisi quod legitis esse cantandum ; 
quod autem non ita scriptum est, ut cantetur, non 

8 Carnem vestram domate ieiuniis et abstinentia 
escae et potus, quantum vahtudo permittit. Quando 
autem aliqua non potest ieiunare, non tamen extra 
horam prandii ahquid ahmentorum sumat, nisi cum 
aegrotat. Cum acceditis ad mensam, donee inde 
surgatis, quod vobis secundum consuetudinem legitur, 
sine tumultu et contentionibus audite nee solae vobis 
fauces sumant cibum, sed et aures esuriant dei 

9 Quae infirmae sunt ex pristina consuetudine, si 
aliter tractantur in victu, non debet aUis molestum 
esse nee iniustum videri, quas fecit aha consuetudo 
fortiores. Nee illas putent feliciores, quia sumunt 

" 1 Cor. iii. 16. * Coloss. iv. 2. 


NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

prompts the doing of evil deeds, but pride lurks even 
in good deeds to their undoing. And what does it avail 
to scatter Avealth in alms to the poor and to become 
poor oneself, when the wretched soul is rendered 
prouder by despising wealth than it was by possessing 
it ? Live, then, all of you, in singlemindedness and 
harmony, and in each other honour God, Whose 
temples you have become." 

Be instant in prayer ^ at the appointed hours and 7 
seasons. In the oratory let no one do anything but 
that for which it was made and from which it received 
its name, so that if any of you have leisure and wish 
to pray outside the appointed hours, you may not 
be hindered by others who think they should be 
doing something else in it. When you pray to God 
with psalms and hymns, meditate in your heart upon 
that which you utter with your voice, and do not 
sing anything unless what you read is to be sung ; 
what is not written to be sung, is not to be sung. 

Subdue your flesh by fasting and abstinence 8 
from meat and drink, as far as the health allows. 
When, however, anyone is unable to fast, let her 
not take any nourishment outside of the hour of 
repast, unless when ill. From the time of your 
coming to table until you rise from it, hearken with- 
out din and wranghng to what according to the 
custom is read to you ; let not your mouths alone 
take food, but let your ears too hunger for the word 
of God. 

If those who are of weaker health from their 9 
former mode of life are treated differently with 
regard to food, this ought not to be vexatious or to 
seem unfair to others whom a different mode of life 
has made stronger. And let them not imagine 
2 c 385 


quod non summit ipsae, sed sibi potius gratulentur, 
quia valent quod non valent illae. Et si eis quae 
venerunt ex moribus delicatioribus ad monasterium, 
aiiquid alimentorum, vestimentorum, stramentorum, 
operimentorum datur, quod aliis fortioribus et ideo 
felicioribus non datur, cogitare debent, quibus non 
datur, quantum de sua saeeulari vita illae ad istam 
descenderunt, quamvis usque ad aliarum, quae sunt 
corpore fortiores, frugalitatem pervenire nequiverint. 
Nee velle debent, quod eas vident amplius, 
non quia honorantur, sed quia tolerantur, accipere, 
ne contingat detestanda perversitas, ut in monasterio, 
ubi, quantum possunt, fiunt divites laboriosae, fiant 
pauperes delicatae. Sane, quem ad modum aegro- 
tantes necesse habent minus accipere, ne graventur, 
ita post aegritudinem sic tractandae sunt, ut citius 
recreentur, etiam si de humillima saeculi paupertate 
venerunt, tamquam hoc illis contulerit recentior 
aegritudo, quod divitibus anterior consuetudo. Sed 
cum vires pristinas reparaverint, redeant ad feliciorem 
consuetudinem suam, quae famulas dei tanto amplius 
decet, quanto minus indigent, nee ibi eas teneat 


NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

these weaker sisters more fortunate than themselves 
because they enjoy a fare which is denied to them- 
selves, but let them rather congratulate themselves 
that they have strength which is denied to the others. 
And if they who have come to the monastery from 
a more delicate upbringing are granted any food, 
clothing, bedding, or covering, that is not granted 
to others who are stronger and therefore more 
fortunate, those to whom it is not granted should 
consider how great a descent the others have made 
from their sphere of life in the world to this one, 
even although they have been unable to attain to 
the severe simplicity of those who are stronger in 
body. Nor should they hanker after what they 
see others receiving (not as a mark of higher favour, 
but as a mark of patient long-suffering) to a greater 
degree than they do themselves, lest there arise 
the abominable travesty of monastic life whereby 
the rich, as far as possible, are to be compelled to 
toil, and the poor allowed to live in luxury. Cer- 
tainly, just as those who are ill have of necessity to 
take less food so as not to aggravate their disease, 
so after their illness they must receive such treat- 
ment as will help them to a speedier recovery, even 
although the worldly station from which they have 
come was one of the deepest poverty ; just as if the 
illness they have just passed through had bestowed 
on them the privileges allowed to the wealthy 
because of their pre\-ious mode of life. But when 
they have made up their former strength, let them 
return to their own more fortunate mode of life, 
which is all the more befitting the handmaidens of 
God as it involves fewer wants ; and let not their 
choice keep them, when they are well, in the privi- 



voluntas iam vegetas, quo necessitas levarat infirmas. 
Illae se aestiment ditiores, quae fuerint in sus- 
tinenda parcitate fortiores ; melius est enim minus 
egere quam plus habere. 
10 Non sit notabilis habitus vester nee aifectetis 
vestibus placere, sed moribus ; non sint vobis tam 
tenera capitum tegmina, ut retiola subter appareant. 
Capiilos ex nulla parte nudos habeatis nee foris vel 
spargat neglegentia vel componat industria. Quando 
proceditis, simul ambulate ; cum veneritis quo itis, 
simul state. In incessu, in statu, in habitu, in omni- 
bus motibus vestris nihil fiat, quod inliciat cuiusquam 
libidinem, sed quod vestram deceat sanctitatem. 
Oculi vestri etsi iaciuntur in aliquem, figantur in 
neminem. Neque enim, quando proceditis, \dros 
videre prohibemini, sed appetere aut ab ipsis appeti 
velle. Nee tactu solo et affectu sed aspectu quoque 
appetitur et appetit femina. Nee dicatis vos habere 
animos pudicos, si habeatis oculos inpudicos, quia 
inpudicus oculus inpudici cordis est nuntius et, 
cum se invicem sibi etiam tacente lingua con- 
spectu mutuo corda nuntiant inpudica et secundum 
concupiscentiam carnis alterutro delectantur ardore, 
etiam intactis ab inmunda violatione corporibus, 
fugit castitas ipsa de moribus. Nee putare debet, 
quae in masculo figit oculum et illius in se ipsa 

" In Egyptian and Syrian monasteries, according to Jerome, 
it appears to have been the custom for nuns to have the 
hair cut short (" moris est in Aegypti et Syriae monasteriis 
ut tam virgo quam vidua quae Deo se voverint . . . crinem 
monasteriorum matribus offerant desecandum, non intecto 
postea . . . capite, sed hgato pariter ac velato," Hier. Ep. 
147. 5), but in the Western church they were allowed to wear 
the hair long (Optatus, vi. 4 ; Ambr. Laps. Virg. 8. 35). 

NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

leged position to which necessity had raised theni, 
when they were ill. Let those reckon themselves 
richer who in enduring frugality have been stronger ; 
it is better to want less than to receive more. 

Let not your apparel be conspicuous, and aspire to 10 
please, not by your attire, but by your conduct ; let 
the covering of your head not be so thin that the 
nets appear under it. Do not let any part of your hair 
be uncovered, and, when you are outside the monas- 
tery, do not let it fly loose through carelessness or 
be arranged with fastidiousness. ° When you go in 
procession, walk together ; when you reach the 
place you are going to, stand together. In walking, 
in standing, in deportment, in all your movements, 
let nothing- be done that miffht attract the desire of 
anyone, but let everything be in keeping with your 
holy character. Though your eyes may be cast upon 
anyone, let them be fixed upon no one ; for when 
you are in procession, you are not forbidden to look 
upon men, but to desire to make approaches to them 
or to have them make approaches to you. It is not 
by touch only and by bearing that a woman solicits 
approaches or makes them, but by look as well. And 
do not say that you have chaste minds if you have 
unchaste eyes, because an unchaste eye is the 
messenger of an unchaste heart, and when unchaste 
hearts send messages to each other, even though the 
tongue is silent, by the exchange of a look and 
agreeably to the lust of the flesh find pleasure each 
in the other's ardour, the body may actually remain 
uncontaminated by any unclean violation and yet 
purity may take its departure from the character. 
And she who fixes her eye upon a man and takes 
delight in having his fixed upon herself, must not 



diligit fixum, non se videri ab aliis, cum hoc facit ; 
videtur omnino, et a quibus videri non arbitratur. 
Sed ecce lateat et a nemine hominum videatur, quid 
faciet de illo desuper inspectore, quern latere nihil 
potest ? An ideo putandus est non videre, quia 
tanto videt patientius quanto sapientius ? Illi ergo 
timeat sancta femina displicere, ne velit viro male 
placere ; ilium cogitet omnia videre, ne velit virum 
male videre. Illius namque et in hac causa com- 
mendatus est timor, ubi scriptum est : Ahominatio 
est domijio defigens oculum. Quando ergo simul estis 
in ecclesia et ubicumque ubi et viri sunt, invicem 
vestram pudicitiam custodite ; deus enim, qui habitat 
in vobis, etiam isto modo vos custodit ex vobis. 
11 Et si hanc, de qua loquor, oculi petulantiam in 
aliqua vestrum adverteritis, statim admonete, ne 
coepta progrediantur, sed e proximo corrigantur. Si 
autem et post admonitionem iterum vel alio quo- 
cumque die id ipsum earn facere videritis, iam velut 
vulneratam sanandam prodat quaecumque hoc potuit 
invenire, prius tamen et alteri vel tertiae demon- 
stratam, ut duarum vel trium possit ore convinci et 
competent! severitate coherceri. Nee vos iudicetis 
esse maUvolas, quando hoc indicatis ; magis quippe 

" Prov. xxiv. 12. 

'' Prov. xxvii. 20, after the Septuagint: ^biXvyixa Kvpiip 
(TTr]pi^o}v 6(p6a\iJ.6v. 

^ 1 Cor. iii. 16 ; 2 Cor. vi. 16. 

<* Deut. xix. 15 ; Matt, xviii. 16 ; 2 Cor. xiii. 1. 


NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

imagine that, when she does so, she is not observed 
by others ; she assuredly is observed, and observed 
by those she wots not of. But just suppose she does 
escape detection and is not observed by any human 
being, what Mill she do about that observer from above, 
Whose detection nothing can escape ? '^ Is He to be 
considered to observe nothing, because He observes 
with as much long-suffering as wisdom ? Let each 
holy woman therefore cherish the fear of displeasing 
Him, so as to avoid the desire of sinfully pleasing 
man ; let her keep in mind that He observes every- 
thing, so that she may avoid the desire of sinfully 
observing man. For it is fear of Him, and that in 
this self-same matter, that is commended to us by 
the passage, " One that fixeth the eye is an abomina- 
tion to the Lord." ^ So then, when you are together 
in church and in any place where men too are 
present, keep mutual guard upon your chastity, for 
in that way too God, " Who dwelleth in you," ^ makes 
you His guards upon yourselves. 

And if in anyone of your number you perceive 11 
this frowardness of eye of which I am speaking, at 
once admonish her, so that what has begun may 
ffo no farther, but may be remedied straig-htway. 
But if, even after admonishment, you notice her 
doino; the same thing again on any other day, who- 
ever has had the opportunity of noticing this should 
report her for treatment, as one afflicted M'ith a sore, 
but not before she has been pointed out to a second 
or a third, so that she may be con\'icted from the 
mouth of two or three witnesses ^ and be punished 
with becoming severity. And do not judge yourselves 
to be acting from malice when you point out anything 
of this kind ; for the truth rather is that you share 



innocentes non estis, si sorores vestras, quas indicando 
corrigere potestis, tacendo perire permittitis. Si 
enim soror tua vulnus haberet in corpore, quod 
vellet occultare, cum timeret secari, nonne crudeliter 
abs te sileretur et misericorditer indicaretur ? 
Quanto ergo potius earn debes manifestare, ne 
perniciosius putrescat in corde ! Sed antequam aliis 
demonstretur per quas convincenda est, si negaverit, 
prius praepositae debet ostendi, si admonita ne- 
glexerit corrigi, ne forte possit secretius correpta 
non innotescere ceteris. Si autem negaverit, tunc 
mentienti adhibendae sunt aliae, ut iam coram 
omnibus possit non ab una teste argui, sed a duabus 
tribusque convinci ; convicta vero secundum prae- 
positae vel etiam presbyteri arbitrium debet emenda- 
toriam sustinere vindictam ; quam si ferre recusaverit 
et si ipsa non abscesserit, de vestra societate proicia- 
tur. Non enim et hoc fit crudeliter, sed miseri- 
corditer, ne contagione pestifera plurimas perdat. Et 
hoc quod dixi de oculo non Agendo, etiam in ceteris 
inveniendis, prohibendis, indicandis, convincendis 
vindicandisque peccatis diligenter observetur, cum 
dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum. Quaecumque 
autem in tantum progressa fuerit malum, ut occulte 
ab aliquo litteras vel quaelibet munuscula accipiat, 
si hoc ultro confitetur, parcatur illi et oretur pro ilia ; 

" A favourite thought of Augustine's: In Ps. 138. 22 
" nee propter vitia homines oderis, nee vitia propter homines 
diligas " ; In Ps. 1 18. 5. 24, 1-2 ; ib. 139. 2, ete. So, too, in 
the Benedictine Rule, 64 " oderit vitia, diligat fratres." 


NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

the guilt if you allow your sisters to perish by keep- 
ing silence, when it hes in your power to correct them 
by pointing them out. For if your sister had a sore 
on the body that she wanted to conceal from fear of 
the surgeon's knife, would it not be cruel on your 
part to say nothing about it, and compassionate to 
point it out ? How much rather, then, are you bound 
to expose her, so that she may not incur greater risk 
from the canker in her heart ? But before she be 
pointed out to the others whose vritness is to convict 
her if she deny her guilt, she ought first to be 
reported to the superior, if on being warned she has 
neglected to reform so that through the more private 
rebuke she may not escape the others' knowledge. 
If, however, she denies her guilt, then she should, 
on making this false assertion, be confronted with 
the others, so that in the presence of all she may be 
convicted by two or three witnesses, and not charged 
simply by one. After conviction she ought to be 
visited with corrective punishment at the discretion 
of the superior or the priest-in-charge ; if she refuses 
to undergo that and does not of herself take her 
departure, let her be expelled from your community. 
This extreme step is taken not out of cruelty, but out 
of compassion, as a precaution against the destruction 
of many others through deadly contamination. And 
let my remarks about wanton looks be carefully 
observed, with love of the sinner and hatred of the 
sin," in the discovery, prohibition, denunciation, trial 
and punishment of the other sins. But if anyone of 
you has gone to such lengths in sin that she is secretly 
receiving from a man letters or any kind of gifts, let 
her be pardoned and prayer be made for her, if she 
confesses it of her own accord ; but if she is detected 



si autem deprehenditur atque convincitur, secundum 
arbitrium presbyteri praepositi vel aliorum simul 
presbyterorum vel etiam episcopi gravius emendetur. 
12 ^'estes vestras habete sub una custode vel duabus 
vel quot sufficere potuerint ad eas excutiendas, 
ne tinea laedantur, et, sicut pascimini ex uno 
cellario, sic induamini ex uno vestiario. Et si 
fieri potest, non ad vos pertineat quid vobis in- 
duendujn pro temporis congruentia proferatur, utrum 
hoc recipiat unaquaeque vestrum quod deposuerat, 
an aliud quod altera habuerat, dum tamen unicuique 
quod opus est, non negetur. Si autem hinc inter vos 
contentiones et murmura oriuntur, cum queritur 
aliqua deterius aliquid se accepisse quam prius 
habuerat, et indignam se iudicat esse quae ita 
vestiatur, sicut alia soror eius vestiebatur, hinc vos 
probate, quantum vobis desit in illo interiore sancio 
habitu cordis, quae pro habitu corporis litigatis. 
Tamen si vestra toleratur infirmitas, ut hoc recipiatis 
quod posueratis, in uno tamen loco sub communibus 
custodibus habete quod ponitis, ita sane ut nulla 
sibi aliquid operetur, sive unde induatur sive ubi 
iaceat sive unde cingatur vel operiatur vel caput 
contegat ; sed omnia opera vestra in commune fiant, 
maiore studio et frequentiori alacritate quam si vobis 
propria faceretis. Caritas enim, de qua scriptum est 
quod non quaerit quae sua sunt, sic intellegitur, quia 
communia propriis, non propria communibus ante- 
ponit. Et ideo, quanto amplius rem communem quam 

" Titus ii. 3. ^1 Cor. xiii. 5. 

NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

and it be proved against her, let more serious punish- 
ment be inflicted on her at the discretion of the 
priest-superior or the other priests in a body or even 
the bishop. 

Keep your clothes under the care of one or two or 12 
as many as may be necessary to shake them out for 
protection against moths ; and just as your food is 
supplied from one store-room, so let your clothing 
come from one wardrobe. And whatever is brought 
forth for you to wear according to the weather, let it 
not concern you, if you can attain this, whether each 
of you receives the garment she put off, or another that 
someone else had been wearing, so long as each is 
not denied what she needs. But if this gives occasion 
for strife and murmurinar among: you, and someone 
complains that she has received a worse garment than 
she was wearing before and considers herself too good 
to be clad in the same way as her sister was, let that 
be evidence to you how far deficient you are in that 
inward holy apparel" of the heart, when you quarrel 
about the apparel of the body. Nevertheless, if your 
weakness is so far indulged that you are granted the 
dress you had put off, let what you put off be, never- 
theless, kept in one place in charge of the ordinary 
keepers of the wardrobe ; thus no one will work at 
anything for her own use, whether it be clothing or 
bedding or underclothing or covering or head-dress ; 
but let everything you make be for the common stock, 
with greater zeal and more cheerful urgency than if 
you were making anything for yourself. For the 
love about which it is written that it " seeketh not its 
own " * is to be understood as that which prefers the 
common good to personal good, not personal good to 
the common good. And so, the more attention you 



propriani vestram curaveritis, tanto vos amplius pro- 
fecisse noveritis, ut in omnibus quibiis utitur transito- 
ria necessitas, supereniineat quae permanet caritas. 
Consequens ergo est, ut etiani illud quod suis vel 
filiabus vel aliqua necessitudine ad se pertinentibus 
in monasterio constitutis aliquis vel aliqua contulerit 
sive vestem sive quodlibet aliud inter necessaria 
deputandum, non occulte accipiatur sed sit in potes- 
tate praepositae, ut in rem communem redactum, cui 
necessarium fuerit, praebeatur. Quod si aliqua rem 
sibi conlatam celaverit, furti iudicio condemnetur. 
13 Indumenta vestra secundum arbitrium praepositae 
laventur sive a vobis sive a fullonibus, ne interiores 
animae sordes contrahat mundae vestis nimius appe- 
titus. Lavacrum etiam corporum ususque balnearum 
non sit assiduus, sed eo, quo solet, intervallo temporis 
tribuatur, hoc est semel in mense. Cuius autem 
infirmitatis necessitas cogit lavandum corpus, non 
longius difFeratur ; fiat sine murmure de consilio 
medicinae, ita ut etiam si nolit, iubente praeposita 
faciat quod faciendum est pro salute. Si autem 
velit et forte non expedit, suae cupiditati non 
oboediat ; aliquando enim, etiamsi noceat, prod- 
esse creditur quod delectat. Denique, si latens 
est dolor in corpore famulae dei, dicenti sibi quid 
doleat, sine dubitatione credatur ; sed tamen, utrum 

« Eph. iii. 19 ; 1 Cor. xiii. 8. 

^ Compare the Rule of St. Benedict, 54 " quod si etiam a 
parentibus suis ei quidquam directum fuerit, non praesumat 
suscipere illud, nisi prius indicatum fuerit abbati. Quod si 
iusserit suscipi, in abbatis sit potestate cui illud iubeat dari." 

" With this compare Jerome, Ep. 125. 7 " sordes vestium 
candidae mentis indicio sint ; vilis tunica contemptum 
saeculi probet. . . . Balnearum fomenta non quaeras, qui 
calorem corporis ieiuniorum cupis frigore extinguere " ; id. 

NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

give to the common good in preference to your own, 
the more progress you will know you have made, so 
that the love which endureth " may be conspicuous 
in everything needed for the wants that pass away. 
It follows, then, that even what a man or woman 
bestows upon the inmates of the monastery, be they 
daughters or relatives, whether the gift be clothing or 
any other things that may be regarded as necessaries, 
must not be received in secret, but it must lie in the 
power of the superior to put it to the common stock 
and to hand it over to any inmate that needs it.^ If 
anyone conceal a gift bestowed on her, let her be 
sentenced and condemned for theft. 

Let your garments be washed, either by yourselves 13 
or by washer-women, at the discretion of the superior, 
so that excessive solicitude for clean raiment may 
not infect the soul with inward vileness.^ Let the 
bathing of the body and the use of baths not be 
incessant, but be granted at the usual interval of 
time, that is, once a month. If, however, the need 
arising from any illness demands the washing of the 
body, let it not be too long postponed, and let it be 
done without murmuring for medical reasons ; if 
anyone refuse, let her do at the command of the 
superior what needs to be done for health's sake. 
But if she wishes it and it does not happen to be for 
her good, she must not give in to her desire, for 
there are times when what is pleasant is thought to 
be beneficial, even though it really do harm. Finally, 
if a handmaid of God has some hidden pain in the 
body, and tells what ails her, she should be beheved 
without hesitation ; but still, if there be uncertainty 

Ep. 107. 11 " mihi omnino in adulta virgine lavacra dis- 



sanando illi dolori quod delectat expediat, si non 
est certum, medicus consulatur. Nee eant ad 
balneas sive quocunique ire neeesse fuerit minus 
quam tres. Nee ilia quae habet aliquo eundi neces- 
sitatem, cum quibus ipsa voluerit, sed cum quibus 
praeposita iusserit, ire debebit. Aegrotantium cura, 
sive post aegritudinemi reficiendarum sive aliqua im- 
becillitate etiam sine febribus laborantium, alicui 
debet iniungi, ut ipsa de cellario petat quod cuique 
opus esse perspexerit ; sive autem quae cellario sive 
quae vestibus sive quae codicibus praeponuntur, sine 
murmure serviant sororibus suis. Codices certa hora 
singulis diebus petantur ; extra boram quae petierint, 
non accipiant. ^ estimenta vero et calciamenta 
quando fuerint indigentibus necessaria, dare non dif- 
ferant, sub quarum custodia sunt, quae poscuntur. 
14 Lites aut nullas habeatis aut quam celerrime 
finiatis, ne ira crescat in odium et trabem faciat de 
festuca et animam faciat homicidam. Neque enim 
ad solos viros pertinet, quod scriptum est : Qui odit 
fratrem suum, homicida est, sed sexu mascalino, quem 
primum deus fecit, etiam femineus sexus praeceptum 
accepit. Quaecumque convicio vel maledicto vel 
etiam criminis obiectu alteram laeserit, meminerit 

" Churches possessed libraries from an early date. They 
are frequently referred to during the seizure of Christian 
books in the Diocletian persecution. The Acts of Purgation 
of Caecihan and Felix, for example, mention one in the 
church at Cirta early in the fourth century, and Augustine 
speaks of the librarj' of his church at Hippo in Ep. ccxxxi. 
7 " bibliothecam nostram, ut sint unde libri vel parentur 
vel reparentur, adiuvare dignatus es," and also in De 
Hnfi'fs. 80 " ipsum eius opusculum in nostra bibliotheca 
invenire non potuimus." There is frequent mention of 
church libraries in Jerome : e.g. Ep. 49. 3 " ecclesiarum 

NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

whether that which pleases her is suitable for curing 
her pain, let the doctor be consulted. When they go 
to the baths, or wherever they have to go, let there 
not be less than three ; and the sister who requires 
to go somewhere is not to go along with those she 
chooses herself, but with those the superior orders. 
The care of the sick, whether they be convalescing or 
be afflicted with some weakness, yet without fever, 
ought to be devolved upon someone, so that she her- 
self may procure from the store-room what she sees 
to be needful for each. Further, the sister who has 
charge either of the store-room or the wardrobe or 
the library,'^ must serve her sisters without murmur- 
ing. Let the manuscripts be applied for at a fixed 
hour each day ; outside that hour those who apply 
for them are not to receive them. As for clothes 
and shoes, whenever they are required for those in 
need, let those who have charge of them not delay 
to supply what is asked for. 

You should either have no quarrels or put an end 14 
to them as speedily as possible, lest anger develop 
into hatred and make a beam out of a mote ^ and turn 
the soul to murder. For it is not only to men that 
the saying applies, " He that hateth his brother 
is a murderer," ^ but the female sex too has received 
this commandment along ^\ith the male sex, which 
God created first. Whoever has injured a sister by 
taunt or abuse, or even by casting up faults, must 

bibliothecis fruere," 112. 9 " omnes ecclesiarum bibliothecas 
damnare cogeris," etc. Ambrose gives further testimony to 
the reading of books by nuns : De Virginihus, 3. 4. 15 
" siquando rogaris ut cibum sumas, paulisper deponas 

^ Matt. vii. 3-0 ; Luke vi. 41-42. Cf. p. 107 above. 

'^ 1 John iii. 15. 



satisfactione quantocius curare quod fecit, et ilia 
quae laesa est, sine disceptatione dimittere. Si 
autem invicem se laeserint, invicem sibi debita 
relaxare debebunt propter orationes vestras, quas 
utique quanto crebriores tanto sanctiores habere 
debetis. Melior est autem, quae quamvis ira saepe 
temptatur, tamen impetrare festinat ut sibi di- 
mittat, cui se fecisse agnoscit iniuriam, quam quae 
tardius irascitur et ad veniam petendam difficilius 
inclinatur. Quae autem numquam vult petere 
veniam aut non ex animo petit, sine causa est in 
monasterio, etiamsi non inde proiciatur. Proinde 
vobis a verbis durioribus parcite ; quae si emissa 
fuerint ex ore vestro, non pigeat ex ipso ore 
prof err e medicament a, ex quo facta sunt vulnera. 
Quando autem necessitas disciplinae minoribus co- 
hercendis dicere vos verba dura compellit, si etiam 
in ipsis modum vos excessisse sentitis, non a vobis 
exigitur ut ab eis veniam postuletis, ne apud 
eas, quas oportet esse subiectas, dum nimia servatur 
humilitas, regendi frangatur auctoritas. Sed tamen 
petenda est venia ab omnium domino, qui novit, 
etiam eas, quas plus iusto forte corripitis, quanta 
benivolentia diligatis. Non autem carnalis sed 
spiritalis inter vos debet esse dilectio ; nam quae 
faciunt pudoris inmemores etiam feminis feminae 
iocando turpiter et ludendo, non solum a viduis et 
intactis ancillis Christi in sancto proposito constitutis 
sed omnino Christianis nee a mulieribus nuptis nee a 
virginibus sunt facienda nupturis. 


NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

remember to make amends at the first opportunity 
and heal the wound slie has caused ; and the injured 
sister must forgive her without further argument. 
But if they have caused mutual injury, they will 
require to grant mutual pardon because of your 
prayers, which from their frequency ought to be 
the holier. She who is often tempted by anger and 
yet hastens to beg for forgiveness from the sister 
whom she acknowledges she has hurt, is better than 
she who is slower to anger and is more stubborn in 
turning to seek for pardon. As for her who always 
refuses to seek for pardon or who seeks it without 
sincerity, she has no reason to be in the monastery, 
even if she is not expelled from it. Wherefore, refrain 
from harsh words ; if they fall from your lips, do not 
think shame with the same lips that caused the hurt 
to utter words of healing. When, however, the needs 
of discipline compel the speaking of harsh words for 
the controlling of the younger inmates, you are not 
required to ask their pardon even if you feel that you 
have gone somewhat too far ; otherwise, in observing 
too much humility towards those whose duty it is to 
be subject to you, you will undermine your authority 
in controlling tliem. But still you must seek pardon 
from the Lord of all, Who knows how great is the 
goodwill and love you have even for those whom you 
rebuke, perhaps, with undue severity. The love you 
bear each other ought, however, not to be carnal, 
but spiritual, for the things that immodest women 
do even to other women in low jests and pranks 
ought not to be done, not only by widows and chaste 
handmaidens of Christ following your holy way of 
life, but by Christians at all, be they married women 
or maidens destined for marriage. 

2d 401 


15 Praepositae tamquam matri oboediatur honore 
servato, ne in ilia ofFendatur deus, multo magis 
presbytero, qui omnium vestrum curam gerit. Ut 
ergo cuncta ista serventur et, si quid servatum non 
fuerit, non neglegenter praetereatur, sed emendan- 
dum corrigendumque curetur, ad praepositam prae- 
cipue pertinebit, ita ut ad presbyterum. qui vobis 
intendit, referat quod modum vel \-ires eius excedit. 
Ipsa vero non se existimet potestate dominante sed 
caritate serviente felicem. Honore coram hominibus 
praelata sit vobis, coram deo substrata sit pedibus 
vestris. Circa omnes se ipsam bonorum operum 
praebeat exemplum. Corripiat inquietas, consoletur 
pusillanimes, suscipiat infirmas, patiens sit ad omnes ; 
disciplinam libens habeat, metuens inponat. Et 
quamvis utrumque sit necessarium, tamen plus a 
vobis amari appetat quam timeri, semper cogitans 
deo se pro vobis reddituram esse rationem. Unde 
magis oboediendo, non solum vestri verum etiam 
ipsius miseremini, quia inter vos quanto in loco 
superiore, tanto in periculo maiore versatur. 

16 Donet dominus ut observetis haec omnia cum 
dilectione tamquam spiritalis pulchritudinis amatrices 
et bono odore Christi de bona conversatione fra- 
glantes, non sicut ancillae sub lege, sed sicut liberae 
sub gratia constitutae. Ut autem vos in hoc li- 
bello tamquam in speculo possitis inspicere, ne per 
oblivionem aliquid neglegatis, semel in septimana 

« Dan. xi. 4 ; Gal. v. 13. ^ Titus ii. 7. <= 1 Thess. v. 14. 

^ Similarly the Benedictine Rule describes the duties of 
the abbot: (64) " sciat sibi oportere prodesse quam praeesse 
. . . studeat plus amari quam timeri ; . . . (2j agnoscat pro 
certo quia in die iudicii ipsarum animarum est redditurus 
Domino rationem." 

* 2 Cor. ii. 15. / Rom. vi. 14, 15. 


NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI) 

Let the superior be obeyed like a mother, ^^•ith all 15 
due honour, so that you offend not God through 
offending her ; much more should you obey the 
priest who has charge of you all. Upon the superior 
particularly will fall the responsibihty of seeing that 
all these regulations are carried out and, if anything 
is not carried out, of not carelessly passing over the 
offence, but of applying the remedy to heal and 
correct it ; she may, further, refer to the priest-in- 
charge any matter that goes beyond her province or 
power. But let her think herself fortunate, not in 
having authority to rule, but in ha\'ing the love to 
serve.'* In honour in the sight of men let her be 
preferred to you ; in the sight of God let her be 
beneath your feet. Towards everyone let her show 
herself " a pattern of good works." ^ Let her " warn 
the unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the 
weak, be patient to all."" Let her be cheerful in 
maintaining discipline and fearful to impose it ; and 
although both are necessary, yet let her endeavour 
to be more loved by you than feared, always bearing 
in mind that she has to render an account of you to 
God.'^ V/herefore, by yielding her greater obedience, 
have compassion on her as well as on yourselves, 
because the higher her position is among you, the 
greater is the risk she runs. 

May the Lord grant you to observe all these rules 16 
with love, as those whose affection is set upon spiritual 
beauty and who are fragrant ^\•ith the sweet savour 
of Christ in your good conduct,* not as bondswomen 
under the law, but as free women under grace. ^ In 
order, however, that you may examine yourselves 
in this treatise as in a mirror and may not neglect 
any point through forgetfulness, let it be read to 



vobis legatur, et ubi vos inveneritis ea quae scripta 
sunt facientes, agite gratias domino bonorum omnium 
largitori ; ubi sibi autem quaecumque vestrum videt 
aliquid deesse, doleat de praeterito, caveat de futuro, 
orans ut sibi debitum dimittatur et in temptationem 
non inducatur. 

No. 50 (Ep. CCXIV) 


1 ^'enerunt ad nos duo iuvenes, Cresconius et Felix, 
de vestra congregatione se esse dicentes, qui nobis 
rettulerunt monasterium vestrum nonnulla dissen- 
sione turbatum eo, quod quidam in vobis sic gratiam 
praedicent, ut negent hominis esse liberum arbitrium 
et, quod est gravius, dicant quod in die iudicii non 
sit redditurus deus unicuique secundum opera eius. 

« Matt. vi. 12-13 ; Luke xi. 4. 

^ \^alentiniis was abbot of the monastery at Hadrumetum, 
the capital of Byzacenum (now Soiisse, 100 miles south of 
Tunis). Two of his monks, Florus and Felix, when visiting 
the monastery at Uzala, read and copied Augustine's letter 
to the presbyter Sixtus (Ep. cxciv.) on grace and free-will, 
and on their return to Adrumetum read it to the monks 
there, some of whom considered Augustine's teaching fatal 
to the doctrine of free-will. The monastery was bitterly 
divided on the question, so Valentinus sent Felix and 
Cresconius, another of the disputants, to ascertain Augustine's 
real opinions. The present letter is his reply. The two 
monks were unwilling to wait at Hippo until some of his 
anti-Pelagian treatises were copied for them, but he kept 
them until Easter, writing another letter to Valentinus 
(Ep. ccxv.) and composing for him the treatise Be Gratia 

NO. 49 (Ep. CCXI)— No. 50 (Ep. CCXI\0 

you once each week, and when you find yourselves 
practising the things written in it, render thanks to 
the Lord, the giver of every good gift. But when 
any one of you perceives herself deficient in some 
point, let her lament the past and take precautions 
for the future, praying both that her tresyjass may 
be forgiven and that she may not be led into 

No. 50 (Ep. CCXIV) 

(a.d. 426 or 427) 


There have come to me two young men, Cresconius 1 
and Felix, declaring themselves members of your 
community , who have reported to me that there is some 
disturbance and dissension in your monastery because 
certain brethren are extolling grace to such an extent 
that they deny the freedom of the human will and, 
what is more serious, assert that on the day of judge- 
ment God will not render to every man according to 

et Libera Arhitrio. Later, Valentinus replied in Ep. ccxvi., 
and Florus too visited Hippo, giving Augustine the chance 
to mention the disputation at Hadrumetum in his Retracta- 
tiones, ii. 66. In the Revue Benedictine, xviii (1901), pp. 
241-:256, Dom Germain Morin has pubhshed a hitherto un- 
known, short letter from Augustine to Valentinus, with other 
letters addressed by a priest Januarianus and Evodius to the 
monks of Hadrumetum on this same occasion. 



Etiam hoc tamen indicaverunt, quod plures vestrum 
non ita sentiant, sed liberum arbitrium adiuvari 
fateantur per dei gratiam, ut recta sapiamus atque 
faciamus et, cum venerit dominus redder e unicuique 
secundum opera eius, inveniat opera nostra bona, 
quae praeparavit deus, ut in illis amhulemus. Hoc qui 
sentiunt, bene sentiunt. 

2 Ohsecro itaque vos, fratres, sicut Corinthios ob- 
secra\dt apostolus, per nomen domini nostri lesu Christi, 
ut id ipsum dicatis omnes et non sint in vobis schismata. 
Primo enim dominus lesus, sicut scriptum est in 
evangelio lohannis apostoli, non venit, ut iudicaret 
mundum, sed ut salvaretur viundus per ipsum ; postea 
vero, sicut scribit apostolus Paulus, iudicahit deus 
mundum, quando " venturus est," sicut tota ecclesia 
in symbolo confitetur, " iudicare vivos et mortuos." 
Si ergo non est dei gratia, quo modo salvat mundum ? 
Et si non est liberum arbitrium, quo modo iudicat 
mundum ? Proinde librum vel epistulam meam, 
quam secum ad nos supra dicti adtulerunt, secundum 
banc fidem intellegite, ut neque negetis dei gratiam 
neque liberum arbitrium sic defendatis, ut a dei 
gratia separetis, tamquam sine ilia vel cogitare aliquid 
vel agere secundum deum ulla ratione possimus, 
quod omnino non possumus. Propter hoc enim 
dominus, cum de fructu iustitiae loqueretur, ait 
discipulis suis : Sine me nihil potestis facere. 

3 Unde supra dictam epistulam ad Sixtum, presby- 
terum ecclesiae Romanae, contra novos haereticos 

« Matt. xvi. 27. * Eph. ii. 10. ^1 Cor. i. 10. 

<* John iii. 17. ^ Rom. iii. 6. 

^ 2 Tim. iv. 1 ; 1 Pet. iv. 5. " John xv. 5. 


NO. 50 (Ep. CCXI\0 

his deeds. '^ But yet they have pointed out too that 
there are many of you who do not share these 
opinions, but confess that our free-will is aided by 
the grace of God so that we may think and do what 
is right, and that, when the Lord comes to render to 
every man according to his deeds, he will find our 
deeds good — deeds " which God hath before ordained 
that we should walk in them." ^ Those who hold these 
opinions, hold right opinions. 

"I beseech you," therefore, "brethren," as the 2 
apostle besought the Corinthians, " by the name of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing 
and that there be no divisions among you."^ For in 
the first place, the Lord Jesus, as is written in the 
Gospel of John the apostle, did not come " to con- 
demn the world, but that the world through him 
might be saved "'^; secondly, as the apostle Paul 
writes, " God shall judge the world,"* when He has 
come, as the whole Church confesses in the Creed, 
" to judge the quick and the dead." ^ If then there is 
no grace of God, how does He save the world ? And 
if there is no free-will, how does He judge the world ? 
Wherefore, the treatise or letter of mine, which the 
afore-mentioned brethren brought with them to us, 
you are to understand in the light of that confession 
of faith, so that you neither deny the grace of God 
nor defend free-will in such a v/ay as to sunder it 
from God's grace, as if without it we could by any 
means think or do anything well-pleasing to God — 
a thing which is utterly impossible. That is why the 
Lord, speaking about the fruits of righteousness, says 
to His disciples, " Without me ye can do nothing."^ 

So you must know that the letter I have mentioned 3 
was WTitten to Sixtus, a priest of the Roman Church, 



Pelagianos noveritis esse conscriptam, qui dicunt 
gratiam dei secundum merita nostra dari, ut qui 
gloriatur, non in domino sed in se ipso glorietur, 
hoc est in homine, non in domino. Quod prohibet 
apostolus dicens : Nemo glorietur in homine, et alio 
loco : Qui gloriatur, inquit, i?i domino glorietur. Illi 
vero haeretici se ipsos a se ipsis iustos fieri putantes, 
quasi hoc eis non deus dederit sed ipsi sibi, non 
utique in domino sed in semet ipsis gloriantur. 
Talibus dicit apostolus : Quis enim te discer?iit ? 
Quod ideo dicit, quia de massa illius perditionis quae 
facta est ex Adam, non discernit hominem, ut eum 
faciat vas in honorem non in contumeliam, nisi deus. 
Sed quoniam homo carnalis et inaniter inflatus, cum 
audisset : Quis enim te discernit ?, posset respondere 
vel voce vel cogitatione et dicere : " Discernit me 
fides mea, discernit me oratio mea, discernit me 
iustitia mea," mox apostolus occurrit cogitationibus 
eius et dixit : Quid enim hahes, quod non accepisti ? 
Si autem et accepisti, quid gloriaris, quasi no7i acceperis ? 
Sic enim gloriantur quasi non acceperint, qui se a 
se ipsis iustificari putant ac per hoc in se ipsis non in 
domino gloriantur. 
4 Propter quod ego in hac epistula, quae ad vos 
pervenit, probavd per testimonia scripturarum sanc- 
tarum, quae ibi potestis inspicere, et bona opera 
nostra et pias orationes et rectam fidem nullo modo 

« 1 Cor. iii. 21 ; 1 Cor. i. 31 ; 2 Cor. x. 17. 

^ 1 Cor. iv. 7. 

' Rom. ix. 21 ; 2 Tim. ii. 20. ^* 1 Cor. iv. 7. 

* The ego is probably designed to discredit once for all 
the suggestion made by some of the monks of Hadrumetum 
that the monk Florus had written it himself. 


NO. 50 (Ep. ccxno 

against the new heretics, the Pelagians, who declare 
that the grace of God is bestowed according to our 
merits ; so that he who glories has to glory, not in 
the Lord, but in himself, that is, in man, not in the 
Lord. Now this is forbidden by the apostle, in the 
words, " Let no man glory in man," and in another 
place he says, " He that glorieth let him glory in the 
Lord." " But these heretics, imagining that they 
become righteous of themselyes, as if it was they 
themselyes and not God who granted this to them, 
consistently enough glory in themselyes and not in 
the Lord. To such the apostle says, " Who maketh 
thee to differ from another .^^ ",^ saying this on the 
ground that what makes a man to differ from that mass 
of perdition which had its origin in Adam and makes 
him a yessel unto honour and not unto dishonour,^ is 
God alone. But since carnal man, swollen with empty 
pride, might, on hearing the question " Who maketh 
thee to differ from another ? ", make answer either in 
thought or in word and say, " It is my faith that makes 
me to differ ; my prayers that make me to differ ; 
my righteousness that makes me to differ," the 
apostle at once met these thoughts half-way and 
said, " For what hast thou that thou didst not 
receiye ? Now, if thou didst receiye it, why dost 
thou glory, as if thou didst not receiye it ? " ^ For 
they glory just as if they did not receiye it, those 
who imagine they are justified of themselyes ; they 
glory therefore in themselyes and not in the Lord. 

That is the reason why, in that letter that has come 4 
into your hands, I, the author of it," haye proyed from 
passages of Holy Scripture, which you can examine in 
it, that our good works and our holy prayers and our 
right faith could certainly not haye come into being 



in nobis esse potuisse, nisi haec acciperenius ab illo 
de quo dicit apostolus lacobus : Omne datum optimum 
et omne donum perfectum desursum est descendens a 
patre luminum, ne quisquam dicat meritis operum 
suorum vel meritis orationuni suarum vel meritis 
fidei suae sibi traditam dei gratiam, et putetur verum 
esse quod illi haeretici dicunt, gratiam dei secundum 
merita nostra dari, quod omnino falsissimum est ; non 
quia nullum est meritum vel bonum piorum vel 
malum impiorum — alioquin quo modo iudicabit deus 
mundum ? — sed misericordia et gratia dei convertit 
hominem, de qua psalmus dicit : Deus mens, miseri- 
cordia eius praevejiiet me, ut iustificetur impius, hoc 
est ex impio fiat iustus, et incipiat habere meritum 
bonum, quod dominus coronabit quando iudicabitur 

5 Multa erant quae vobis mittere cupiebam, quibus 
lectis totam ipsam causam quae conciliis episcopali- 
bus acta est adversus eosdem Pelagianos haereticos, 
diligentius et plenius nosse possetis, sed festinaverunt 
fratres qui ex numero vestro ad nos venerant, per 
quos vobis non rescripsimus ista, sed scripsimus. 
Nullas enim ad nos vestrae caritatis litteras ad- 
tulerant ; tamen suscepimus eos, quoniam simplicitas 
eorum satis indicabat nihil illos nobis potuisse con- 
fingere. Ideo autem festinaverunt, ut apud vos 
agerent pascha, quo possit adiuvante domino tarn 
sanctus dies vestram pacem quam dissensionem 
potius invenire. 

6 Melius autem facietis, quod multum rogo, si ipsum 

^" James i. 17. * Ps. Iviii. 11. 


NO. 50 (Ep. CCXI\^ 

^\ithin us, unless we had received them from Him of 
Whom the apostle James says, " Every good gift and 
every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from 
the Father of hghts."<* This makes it impossible for 
anyone to say that it is for the merit of his own works 
or the merit of his own prayers or the merit of his 
own faith that the grace of God was bestowed upon 
him, and to imagine tha+ what these heretics say is 
true, that the grace of God is bestowed according to 
our merits. This is utterly untrue ; not because there 
are no merits — either good merits in the righteous, 
or e\il merits in the unrighteous — otherwise how ^^■ill 
God judge the world ?— but because a man is con- 
verted by the mercy and grace of God, of which the 
Psalm says, " As for my God, His mercy shall prevent 
me,"^ so that the unrighteous may be justified, that 
is, be made just instead of unrighteous, and begin to 
possess that good merit which the Lord will cro^^Tl 
v>'hen He comes to judge the world. 

There are many communications I ^\ished to send 5 
you for your perusal ; you would then have had 
more exact and detailed knowledge of the whole 
action that was broug-ht ag-ainst these same Pelag-ians 
by the councils of bishops. But the brethren who 
came to us from your company had to hurry away. 
By them I am sending you this letter, which is not 
a reply to any of yours, for they brought none to us 
from your Charity. Yet we received them, as their 
straightforwardness was sufficient evidence that they 
were incapable of fabricating anything. Their pur- 
pose in hurrying away is to spend Easter ^\dth you, 
so that so holy a day may, with the Lord's help, find 
you in peace, rather than in strife. 

It will, however, be better for you to do what I 6 



a quo dicunt se fuisse turbatos, ad me mittere non 
graveniihi. Aut enini non intellegit libruni meuni 
aut forte ipse non intellegitur. quando difficillimam 
quaestioneni et paucis intellegibilem solvere atque 
enodare conatur. Ipsa est enim quaestio de gratia 
dei, quae fecit ut homines non intellegentes putarent 
apostolum Paulum dicere : Faciamus mala, ut 
veniant bona. Unde apostolus Petrus in secunda 
epistula sua : Quapropter, inquit, carissimi, haec ex- 
pedantes. satis agite inviolati et inmaculati apiid eum 
reperiri in pace, et domifii nostri patientiam salutem exi- 
stimate, sicut et dilectissimus frater noster Paidus se- 
cundum earn quae data est ei sapientiam scripsit vobis 
ut et in omnibus epistidis loquens in eis de his, in quibus 
sunt quaedam difficilia intellectu, quae iiidocti et instabiles 
homines pervertunt sicut et ceteras scripturas ad proprium 
suum interitum. 

Cavete ergo quod tantus apostolus tarn terribiliter 
dicit, et, ubi sentitis non vos intellegere, interim 
credite divinis eloquiis quia et liberum hominis est 
arbitrium et gratia dei, sine cuius adiutorio liberum 
arbitrium nee converti potest ad deum nee proficere 
in deum, et, quod pie creditis, ut etiam sapienter 
intellegatis, orate. Et ad hoc ipsum enim, id est 
ut sapienter intellegamus, est utique liberum arbi- 
trium. Nisi enim libero arbitrio intellegeremus 
atque saperemus, non nobis praeciperetur dicente 

" Rom. iii. 8. " 2 Pet. iii. 14-16. 


NO. 50 (Ep. CCXI\0 

earnestly beg you will do ; send to me, if it will not 
trouble you, the brother who is said to have caused 
this dissension, for either he has misunderstood my 
book, or perhaps he has made himself misunderstood, 
in his attempt to elucidate and unravel a question 
which is very difficult and intelligible to few. It is 
no other than the question about God's grace, which 
has caused men of small intelligence to imagine that 
the apostle Paul says, " Let us do evil that good may 
come."** With reference to this the apostle Peter 
says in his second Epistle, " Wherefore, beloved, 
seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that 
ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot and 
blameless ; and account that the long-suffering of 
our Lord is salvation ; even as our beloved brother 
Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, 
liath written unto you ; as also in all his epistles, 
speaking in them in these things ; in which are some 
things hard to be understood, which they that are 
unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the 
other Scriptures, unto their own destruction." ^ 

(Take heed, then, to avoid what the great apostle 7 
describes so fearsomely, and when you realize that you 
do not understand, put your faith for the present in the 
inspired statements that in man there is both free- 
will and divine grace, without the aid of which free- 
will can neither be turned to God nor make any 
advance towards God ; and pray that what you 
submissively put your faith in, you may come wisely 
to understand. And indeed it is for this very purpose 
that we have free-M-ill, namely, that we may wisely 
understand, for unless we had freedom of will in 
understanding and practising wisdom, we should not 
be commanded in the words of Scripture, " Under- 



scriptura : Intellegite ergo, qui insipientes estis inpopulo ; 
et stulti, aliquajido sapite. Eo ipso quippe, quo prae- 
ceptum atque imperatuni est ut intellegamus atque 
sapiamus, oboedientiam nostram requirit, quae nulla 
potest esse sine libero arbitrio. Sed si posset hoc 
ipsum sine adiutorio gratiae fieri per liberum ar- 
bitrium, ut intellegeremus atque saperemus, non 
diceretur deo : Da mihi intellectuni , ut discam mandata 
tua, neque in evangelio scriptum esset : Tunc 
aperuit illis sensum, ut iniellegerent scripiuras, nee 
lacobus apostolus diceret : Si quis autem vestrum 
i?idiget sapientia, postulet a deo, qui dat omnibus affluenter 
et ?ion inproperat, et dahitur ei. Potens est autem 
dominus, qui et vobis donet et nobis, ut de vestra 
pace et pia consensione nuntiis celerrimis gaudeamus. 
Saluto vos non solum meo nomine, sed etiam fratrum 
qui mecum sunt, et rogo ut pro nobis concorditer 
atque instanter oretis. Sit vobiscum dominus. 

No. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 





1 Fideliorem hominem et qui faciliores haberet 

<» Ps.xciii.8. ^ Ps.cxviii. 125. *= Lukexxiv.45. ^ James i. 5. 

* See note on p. 322. Boniface had been recalled in 
disgrace from Africa, but refused to go. War was declared 
on him in 427, but he divided his opponents and defeated 
them. After a period of hesitation, Boniface called the 
Vandals to his aid, in May 429. The present letter was 
written after Boniface had fallen into disgrace, but before 
429; a translation of it is given by Hodgkin, Italy and her 
Invaders, 376-476, vol. i. pp. 495-503. His account of 
Aetius and Boniface, ih. pp. 456-462, should be read along 

NO. 50 (Ep. CCXIV)— XO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

stand now, ye simple among the people ; and ye 
fools, at length be wise." ^ From the very fact, then, 
that we have been comimanded and instructed to 
understand and be wise, it follows that our obedience 
is demanded, and it cannot exist unless through free- 
will. Yet if it were in our power of our own free-'s^dll 
to obey this precept to understand and be wise, 
without the assistance of grace, it would be useless 
to say to God, " Give me understanding, that I may 
learn Thy commandments," ^ nor would it be MTitten 
in the Gospel, " Then opened He their understanding, 
that they might understand the Scriptures " '^ ; nor 
would the apostle James say, " If any of you lack 
wisdom, let him ask of God, Who giveth to all men 
liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given 
him." '^ But the Lord is able to grant both to you and 
to us, to rejoice in the spe-Jy tidings of your peace 
and holy concordj I greet you, not only in my own 
name, but also in the name of the brethren who are 
with me, and I beseech you to pray for us \vith one 
heart and with all instancy. The Lord be with you ! 

No. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 
(a.d. 427) 

I could never find a more trustworthy man or one 1 

with that of Freeman, Western Europe in the Fifth Century ^ 
Appendix I: "Aetius and Boniface" (pp. 305-370), who 
tries to clear Boniface of the charge made by Procopius of 
inviting the Vandals to Africa. 



accessus ad aures tuas ferens litteras meas, num- 
quam potui reperire, quam nunc dominus obtulit 
servum et ministrum Christi diaconum Paulum 
ambobus nobis carissimum, ut aliquid tibi loquerer 
non pro potentia tua et honore quern geris in isto 
saeculo maligno, nee pro incolumitate carnis tuae 
corruptibilis atque mortalis, quia et ipsa transitoria 
est, et quam diu sit, semper incertum est, sed 
pro ilia salute quam nobis promisit Christus, qui 
propterea hie exhonoratus atque crucifixus est, ut 
doceret nos bona saeculi huius magis contemnere 
quam diligere, et hoc amare et sperare ab illo, quod 
in sua resurrectione monstravit ; resurrexit enim a 
mortuis nee iam moritur, et mors ei ultra non domina- 
2 Scio non deesse homines qui te secundum vitam 
mundi huius diligunt et secundum ipsam tibi dant 
consilia, aliquando utilia aliquando inutilia, quia 
homines sunt et, sicut possunt, ad praesens sapiunt, 
nescientes quid contingat sequenti diei. Secundum 
autem deum, ne pereat anima tua, non facile tibi 
quisquam consulit, non quia desunt qui hoc faciant, 
sed quia difficile est invenire quando tecum ista 
possint loqui. Nam et ego semper desideravi, et 
numquam inveni locum vel tempus, ut agerem tecum 
quod me agere oportebat cum homine quem multum 
diligo in Christo. Scis autem qualem me apud 
Hipponem videris, quando ad me venire dignatus es, 

Probably the Paul spoken of in the following letter. 
" 1 Cor. XV. 53. " Rom. vi. 9. 


NO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

who could have easier access to your presence as 
bearer of my letter than the servant and minister of 
Christ, the deacon Paul," a dear friend of us both, 
who has just now been provided for me by the Lord. 
I must say something to you, not ^\'ith regard to the 
power and the honour you bear in this evil world, 
nor with regard to the preservation of your corruptible 
mortal body ^ (for it too is destined to pass away, 
and how long it may endure is always uncertain), 
but with regard to the salvation promised us by 
Christ. Because of it He was degraded and crucified 
here below, so that He might teach us rather to 
despise than to desire the good things of this world, 
and to set our affection and our hope upon that 
which He revealed in His resurrection ; for He 
" is risen from the dead and dieth no more ; death 
hath no more dominion over Him." ^ 

I know that you have no lack of friends who love 2 
you as far as your life in this world is concerned, and, 
so far as it is concerned, give you advice, sometimes 
useful, sometimes not ; for they are only human and 
the highest wisdom they as such can have looketh 
only to the present hour, and they do not know 
what may happen on the morrow. But as far as God 
is concerned, it is not easy for anyone to give you 
advice that will prevent the destruction of your 
soul ; it is not that you lack friends who would do 
this, but because it is difficult for them to find an 
opportunity of speaking of those subjects with you. 
I myself, indeed, have always wanted to do so, but 
I have never found the place or the time to deal vAxh 
you as I ought to deal with one for whom I have a 
great affection in Christ. Yet you know what I was 
like when you saw me at Hippo, on the occasion of 
2e 417 


quia vix loquebar inbecillitate corporis fatigatus. 
Nunc ergo, fili, audi me saltern per litteras tibi 
sermocinantem, quas in periculis tuis numquam tibi 
mittere potui, periculum cogitans perlatoris et cavens 
ne ad eos, ad quos noUem, mea epistula perveniret. 
Unde peto ut ignoscas, si putas me plus timuisse 
quam debui ; tamen dixi, quod timui. 
3 Audi ergo me, immo dominum deum nostrum per 
ministerium infirmitatis meae ; recole qualis fueris 
adhuc in corpore constituta religiosae memoriae 
priore coniuge tua et recenti eius obitu quo modo 
tibi vanitas saeculi huius horruerit et quo modo 
concupieris servitutem dei. Nos novimus, nos testes 
sumus, quid nobiscum apud Tubunas de animo et 
voluntate tua fueris conlocutus. Soli tecum eramus 
ego et frater Alypius. Non enim existimo tantum 
valuisse terrenas curas quibus impletus es, ut hoc de 
memoria tua penitus delere potuerint. Nempe omnes 
actus publicos quibus occupatus eras, relinquere 
cupiebas et te in otium sanctum conferre atque 
in ea vita vivere, in qua servi dei monachi vivunt. 
Ut autem non faceres, quid te revocavit, nisi quia 

** It was probably on this occasion that Augustine preached 
before him Sermon cxiv., the title of which states it was 
delivered " praesente comite Bonifacio." 

* Servitus JJei^ in the narrower sense, is used of the 
monastic life, just as servus Dei, in the narrower sense, is 
used of a monk {e.g. Serm. 214. 8 " de servis Dei . . . 
saepissime dicitur, ' Tot annos ille in illo vel in illo monasterio 
sedit,' hoc est, requievit, commoratus est, habitavit " ; Ep. 
clix. 1, etc.), but it is also used of the clergy (in No. 34, § 3, 
it is used of priests) and of the Christian laity {In loan. Ev. 
X. 7 " servus Dei, populus Dei, ecclesia Dei," and § 5 below). 

'^ The modern Tobna, near El Kantara, which lies about 
fifty miles north of Biskra. Tubunae became a municipium 

NO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

your gracious visit to me ° : I was so worn out and 
weak in body that I could scarcely speak. But now, 
my son, hearken to me when I converse ^\ith you 
by letter at least ; while you were in danger, I never 
had a chance of sending one to you. from apprehension 
of danffer to the bearer and fear that mv letter miffht 
come into the hands of people whom I should not 
have wished it to reach. I beg you, therefore, for 
forgiveness, if you have the impression that I was 
more apprehensive than I should have been ; vet 
I have stated that I was apprehensive. 

Hear me, therefore ; nay, hear the Lord our God 3 
through me, His feeble servant. Recall to mind 
what manner of man you w-ere while your first wife, 
of hallowed memory, was still in the flesh, and how- 
just after her death you took a horror of the vanity 
of this life, and how you longed to enter the service 
of God.'' We know, we can testify, what you said in 
conversation with us at Tubunae ^ about your state of 
mind and your intentions, when brother Alvpius 
and I were alone with you. Indeed, I do not think 
that the earthly cares which now engross you have 
so prevailed as to be able to wipe that conversation 
from your memory. You wanted, in fact, to abandon 
all the public business that engaged you and to retire 
to a holy retreat and to live the Ufe lived by God's 
servants the monks. What was it that restrained 
you ? Only the reflection, which we urged on you, of 

not later than the reign of Septimius Severus. Bishops of 
Tubunae are mentioned in 256, 411, and 48-i. Under the 
Byzantines a large fortress was built there, and the town 
retained its importance long after their dominion had passed 
away. There are now few remains from the period of the 
Roman Empire. 



considerasti ostendentibus nobis quantum prodesset 
Christ! ecclesiis quod agebas, si ea sola intentione 
ageres, ut defensae ab infestationibus barbarorum 
quietam et tranquillam vitam agerent, sicut dicit 
apostolus, hi omni pietate et castitate, tu autem nihil 
ex hoc mundo quaereres nisi ea quae necessaria 
essent huic vitae sustentandae tuae ac tuorum, 
accinctus balteo castissimae continentiae et inter 
arma corporalia spiritalibus armis tutius fortiusque 
4 Cum ergo te esse in hoc proposito gauderemus, 
navigasti uxoremque duxisti. Sed navigasse oboe- 
dientiae fuit, quam secundum apostolum debebas 
sublimioribus potestatibus ; uxorem autem non 
duxisses, nisi susceptam deserens continentiam 
concupiscentia victus esses. Quod ego cum com- 
perissem. fateor, miratus obstipui ; dolorem autem 
meum ex aliqua parte consolabatur, quod audivi te 
illam ducere noluisse, nisi prius catholica fuisset facta. 
Et tamen haeresis eorum qui verum filium dei 
negant, tantum praevaluit in domo tua, ut ab ipsis 
filia tua baptizaretur. lam vero, si ad nos non falsa 
perlata sunt, quae utinam falsa sint, quod ab ipsis 
haereticis etiam ancillae deo dicatae rebaptizatae 
sint, quantis tantum malum plangendum est fontibus 

° These barbarians were not the Huns or Vandals from 
the north, but, as §§ 6-7 show, the Moors from the inner 
recesses of Africa. 

^ 1 Tim. ii. 2. 

<= Recalled to Italy after Valentinian's victory in 425, 
Boniface was rewarded for his fidelity to Placidia and his 
resistance to the usurper John by the grant of the ad- 
ministration of Africa and (probably) the title Comes 
domestkorvm. While in Italy he married the wealthy 

NO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

the great advantage the work you were doing would 
be to the churches of Christ, if you pursued it ^\■ith 
the sole purpose of protecting them from the hostile 
attacks of barbarians," so that they might live, as 
the apostle says, " a quiet and peaceable life in all 
godliness and honesty," ^ while you yourself would 
seek from this world nothing but what was necessary 
for the maintenance of your own life and that of your 
household, girding yourself ^ith the chastest con- 
tinence, and wearing along with the armour of the 
body the surer and stronger defence of the armour 
of the spirit. 

When, in consequence, we were rejoicing in this 4 
design of yours, you sailed for Italy and you married 
a wife ^ ; your sailing was an act of obedience, 
M'hich you owed, according to the apostle, to " the 
higher powers "^ ; but you would not have married 
a wife if you had not been overcome by desire and 
abandoned the continence you took upon yourself. 
When I learned of this, I confess I was thunder- 
struck with amazement, yet in some measure I 
found consolation for my grief in the fact that I 
heard you had refused to marry her until she turned 
Catholic. But in spite of that, the heresy of those 
who deny the true Son of God has acquired such 
influence in your home that it was by them that 
your daughter was baptized. If the report that 
reached us was not untrue (and would to Heaven 
that it were !), that those same heretics have even 
re-baptized maidens consecrated to God, what 
fountains of tears we should need now to bewail 

Pelagia, an Arian, but she abandoned this heresy before her 
marriage, only to return to it afterwards. 
** Rom. xiii. 1. 



lacrimarum ! Ipsam quoque uxorem non tibi suf- 
fecisse, sed concubinarum nescio quarum commixtione 
pollutum loquuntur homines et forsitan mentiuntur. 
Ista, quae omnibus patent, tot et tanta mala, quae 
a te, posteaquam coniugatus es, consecuta sunt, quid 
ego dicam ? Christianus es, cor habes, deum times. 
Tu ipse considera quae nolo dicere, et invenies de 
quantis malis debeas agere paenitentiam, propter 
quam tibi credo dominum parcere et a periculis 
omnibus liberare, ut agas eam sicut agenda est, 
sed si illud audi as quod scriptum est : Ne tardes 
converti ad dominum neque dijfei'as de die in diem. 
lustam quidem dicis habere te causam, cuius ego 
iudex non sum, quoniam partes ambas audire non 
possum ; sed qualiscumque sit tua causa, de qua 
modo quaerere vel disputare non opus est, numquid 
coram deo potes negare quod in istam necessitatem 
non pervenisses, nisi bona huius saeculi dilexisses, 
quae tamquam servus dei, quem te ante noveramus, 
contemner e omnino et pro nihilo habere debuisti et 
oblata quidem sumere, ut eis utereris ad pietatem, 
non autem negata vel delegata sic quaerere, ut 
propter ilia in istam necessitatem perducereris, ubi, 
cum amantur vana, perpetrantur mala, pauca quidem 

<* Cor habere is not a common phrase, but it is more 
frequently used by Augustine than by any other, though the 
Thesaurus Linguae Latinae fails to note the fact. It occurs 
in Epp. Ixxxv. 2, cxli. 3 ; Util. lehin. 7. 9 " habent cor, 
sciunt lapidem sentire non posse"; In Ps. Ixxv. 16 "cor 
habeant, non sint fatui " ; c/. In Ps. xxxiv. ; Serm. 2. 8 " ubi- 
cumque invenerint Christianum, solent . . . vocare hebetem, 
insulsum, nullius cordis." 

'' Ecclus. V. 8. 

*= This refers to Placidia's recall of Boniface from Africa 
at the treacherous instigation of Boniface's rival, and the con- 


NO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

such a calamity ! Further, people say that you have 
not been content M-ith your own wife, but have 
degraded yourself by having intercourse with some 
concubines or other. But perhaps this is lying gossip. 

These evils, numerous and grave and known to 5 
everybody, have been perpetrated by you since 
your marriage, and so what am I to say ? You are 
a Christian, you possess intelligence," you cherish 
the fear of God. Consider for yourself the things 
I am un>\illing to utter, and you will find how great 
are the evils for which you ought to do penance. I 
believe it is for that that the Lord is sparing you and 
delivering you from all dangers, so that you may do 
it as it should be done, but on condition that you 
hearken to the words, " Tarry not to be converted 
to the Lord and put not off from day to day." ^ You 
maintain that your cause is just,*^ but I cannot judge 
of that, for I am unable to hear both sides ; but 
whatever your cause be, and of that at present 
there is no need of inquiry or discussion, can you 
deny before God that you would not have fallen 
into these straits if you had not loved the good things 
of this world, which like a servant of God, as we 
knew you to be formerly, you ought entirely to have 
despised and counted as nothing ? Accepting what 
was bestowed on you, you should have employed it to 
advance your godliness ; that which was denied you 
or was entrusted to you to administer, you should 
not have sought after in such a way as to reduce 
yourself because of it to the present straits, in which, 
because of the love felt for vain things, evil things 
are done — few, indeed, by you, but many because of 

sequent disgrace into which Boniface fell. It was unjust, 
for Aetius betrayed both the Empress and his rival. 



a te sed multa propter te et, cum timentur quae 
ad exiguum tempus nocent, si tamen nocent, com- 
mittuntur ea quae vere noceant in aeternum ? 
) De quibus ut unum aliquid dicam, quis non videat 
quod multi homines tibi cohaereant ad tuendam 
tuam potentiam vel salutem, qui, etiam si tibi omnes 
fideles sint nee ab aliquo eorum ullae timeantur 
insidiae, nempe tamen ad ea bona quae ipsi quoque 
non secundum deum sed secundum saeculum diligunt, 
per te cupiunt pervenire, ac per hoc, qui refrenare et 
compescere debuisti cupiditates tuas, explere cogeris 
aUenas ? Quod ut fiat, necesse est multa quae dec 
displicent, fiant. Nee sic tamen explentur tales 
cupiditates ; nam facilius resecantur in eis qui deum 
diligunt, quam in eis, qui mundum diUgunt, ah- 
quando satiantur. Propter quod dicit scriptura 
divina : Nolite diligere mundum nee ea quae in mundo 
sunt. Si quis dilexerit mundum, dilectio pairis non est 
in eo, quia omne quod in mundo est, concupiscentia 
carnis est et concupiscentia oculorum et ambitio saeculi, 
quae no?i est a patre, sed ex mundo est. Et mundus 
tra?isit et concupiscentia eius ; qui autem facit voluntatem 
dei manet in aeternum, sicut et deus manet in aeternum. 
Quando ergo poteris tot hominum armatorum, 
quorum fovenda est cupiditas, timetur atrocitas, 
quando, inquam, poteris eorum concupiscentiam qui 
dihgunt mundum, non dico satiare, quod fieri nullo 

° 1 John ii. 15-17. Augustine quotes this text with an 
additional clause (" sicut . . . aeternum ") which is not in 
the Greek original, but is found in the Sahidic version, in 
Cj^Drian, and in Lucifer of Calaris. The same reading is 
given in Augustine's Tract, in loan. 2. 10, but ib. 2. 4 he 
reads " quomodo ipse . . ." Like the Vulgate, Augustine's 

NO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

you, and since fear is felt for things which hurt for 
only a short time (if indeed they hurt at all), things 
are done which really hurt for all eternity. 

To mention only one of these things : who can fail 6 
to see that many men cleave to you for the preserva- 
tion of your power or your personal safety, who 
(assuming that they are all loyal to you and that 
you need not apprehend treachery from any one of 
them) yet desire through you to attain to those 
good things which they too love, not in order to 
please God, but from worldly motives ? As a result, 
you, whose duty it was to bridle and check your 
desires, are compelled to satisfy those of others ; 
and before that can be done, many things have to 
be done that are displeasing to God. Even so, such 
desires as theirs are not quite satisfied, for it is 
easier altogether to cut them off in those who love 
God, than ever to give them appeasement in those 
who love the world. That is why Holy Scripture 
says, " Love not the world nor the things that are 
in the world. If any man love the world, the love of 
the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, 
the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the 
pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof ; 
but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever, 
as God abideth for ever." ° When, then, will you 
succeed ^\'ith so many armed men whose desires 
have to be humoured and whose vindictiveness is to 
be feared — when, I repeat, will you succeed in bring- 
ing the desires of these men who love the world, 
not to actual repletion (for that is simply impossible), 

version interpolates into the second part of verse 16 an est 
which is not in the Greek original. 



modo potest, sed aliqua ex parte pascere, ne universa 
plus pereant, nisi tu facias quae deus prohibet et 
facientibus comminatur ? Propter quod vides tarn 
multa contrita, ut iam vile aliquid quod rapiatur, 
vix inveniatur. 

7 Quid autem dicam de vastatione Africae, quam 
faciunt Afri barbari resistente nuUo, dum tu talis tuis 
necessitatibus oecuparis nee aliquid ordinas unde 
ista calamitas avertatur ? Quis autem crederet, quis 
autem timeret, Bonifatio domesticorum et Africae 
comite in Africa constituto cum tarn magno exercitu 
et potestate, qui tribunus cum paucis foederatis 
omnes ipsas gentes expugnando et terrendo paca- 
verat, nunc tantum fuisse barbaros ausuros, tantum 
progressuroSj tanta vastaturos, tanta rapturos, 
tanta loca quae plena populis fuerant, deserta 
facturos ? Qui non dicebant, quandocumque tu 
comitivam sumeres potestatem, Afros barbaros non 
solum domitos sed etiam tributaries futuros Romanae 
rei publicae ? Et nunc quam in contrarium versa 
sit spes hominum, vides. Nee diutius hinc tecum 
loquendum est, quia plus ea tu potes cogitare quam 
nos dicere. 

8 Sed forte ad ista respondes illis hoc esse potius 
inputandum, qui te laeserunt, qui tuis officiosis 

" Boniface had apparently not followed the advice given 
him by Augustine in No. 42 § 7 " divitiae saeculares, si 
desunt, non per mala opera quaerantur in mundo." The 
historian Olympiodorus is much more favourable to Boniface: 
'qv 5e Kai oiKaiocruprjs epaar-qs Kal xpTj/xdrwv KptLTTwv. 

^ There is as yet no question of the Vandals, whose coming 
to Africa was at least a year later. Of this campaign in 
Africa against the Moors no details are known. Freeman, 

NO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

but to a moderate gratification, in order to avoid a 
universal destruction, if you do not do the things 
that God forbids and for which His vengeance \\ill 
fall on the doers ? And to afford them gratification, 
you see the havoc has been so widespread that now 
hardly anything, however small its value, can be 
found for them to plunder.^ 

And what shall I say about the devastation of 7 
Africa that is being Avrought by African barbarians ? 
They meet with no opposition, so long as you are 
taken up with the difficulties of your own situation and 
take no measures to avert this calamity. After the 
appointment of Boniface as Count of the Household 
and of Africa with so great an army and such exten- 
sive authority — Boniface, who, while tribune, aided 
by a few confederates, quelled all those tribes by 
force of arms and the menace of his name,^ — 
who would ever believe, who would ever be afraid, 
that those barbarians would be so daring, would 
encroach so far, would spread such devastation, seize 
so much plunder, make desolate so many places 
that were once crowded with people ? Did not 
everyone declare that, as soon as you took over the 
authority of Count, the African barbarians would 
not only be subdued, but would actually be made 
tributary to the Roman Empire ? And now you see 
how men's hopes have been dashed to the ground. 
On this subject I need not linger, for your own mind 
can suggest more to you than I can say. 

But perhaps you reply to this with the defence 8 
that the blame must rather be laid upon those w^ho 
have injured you, who instead of a fair reward for 

Western Europe', pp. 327-338, discusses this sentence as it 
bears on the point of Boniface's appointment as Count. 



virtutibus non paria sed contraria reddiderunt. 
Quas causas ego audire et iudicare non possum ; 
tuam causam potius aspice et inspice, quam non cum 
hominibus quibuslibet, sed cum deo habere te co- 
gnoscis ; quia in Christo fideliter \dvis5 ipsum debes 
timere ne ofFendas. Nam causas ego superiores 
potius adtendo, quia, ut Africa tanta mala patiatur, 
suis debent inputare homines peccatis. Verum tamen 
nolo te ad eorum numerum pertinere, per quos malos 
et iniquos deus flagellat poenis temporalibus quos 
voluerit. Ipsis namque iniquis, si correcti non fuerint, 
servat aeterna supplicia, quorum malitia iuste utitur 
ut aliis mala ingerat temporalia. Tu deum adtende, 
tu Christum considera, qui tanta bona praestitit et 
tanta mala pertulit. Quicumque ad eius regnum 
cupiunt pertinere et cum illo ac sub illo semper beate 
vivere, diligunt etiam inimicos suos, bene faciunt 
illis qui eos oderunt, et orant pro eis a quibus per- 
secutionem patiuntur, et, si quando adhibent pro 
disciplina molestam severitatem, non tamen amittunt 
sincerissimam caritatem. Si ergo bona tibi sunt prae- 
stita quam^is terrena transitoria ab imperio Romano, 
quia et ipsum terrenum est, non caeleste, nee potest 
praestare nisi quod habet in potestate ; si ergo bona 
in te conlata sunt, noli reddere mala pro bonis ; si 
autem mala tibi inrogata sunt, noli reddere mala 

« Matt. V. 44 ; Luke vi. 27-28. 

^ No writer is so fond of the word transitorius as Augustine, 
and not infrequently he uses it in conjunction Math terrenusy 
as here {e.g. Serm. 113. 6). From him comes probably the use 
of the phrase in the Rule of St. Benedict, § 2, and in Gregory 
the Great, In Ezech. ii. 10. 21. 


NO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

the virtues you displayed in office, rendered you 
the very opposite. The rights or wrongs of that 
I personally am unable to examine and decide ; 
rather look at and look into your own case, not as it 
lies between you and any men, but as it lies, to your 
o^\'n personal knowledge, between you and God ; 
for as you live in Christ as a believer, you ought to 
cherish fear of giving offence to Him. The cases 
that engage my attention are rather those of the 
world above, for it is to their own sins that men 
ought to attribute the fact that Africa is undergoing 
such calamities. Nevertheless, I do not want you 
to be of the number of those evil and unrighteous 
men whom God uses to scourge with temporal 
punishments those whom He chooses ; since for 
the unrighteous themselves, whose evil nature He 
justly employs to inflict temporal evils on others, 
He reserves everlasting punishment, if they do not 
reform. But as for yourself, fix your mind upon 
God, turn your thoughts to Christ, Who has bestowed 
such great blessings and endured such great suffer- 
ings. Those who desire to attain to His kingdom 
and to live ^^ith Him and under Him in everlasting 
blessedness, love even their enemies, do good to 
those who hate them and pray for those who persecute 
them"; and if at any time in the interests of discipline 
they employ irksome severity, they do not, however, 
lay aside their sincere affection. If, then, benefits 
have been conferred upon you by the Roman Empire, 
though they be earthly and transitory ^ (for that 
Empire itself is earthly, and not heavenly, and it can 
bestow only what lies within its own power) ; if, then, 
benefits have been bestowed upon you, render not 
evil for good ; but if e\il has been inflicted upon 



pro malis. Quid istorum duorum sit, nee diseutere 
volo nee valeo iudicare ; ego Christiano loquor : noli 
reddere vel mala pro bonis vel mala pro malis. 

Dicis mJhi fortasse : "In tanta necessitate quid 
vis ut faciam ? " Si consilium a me secundum hoc 
saeculum quaeris, quo modo ista salus tua transitoria 
tuta sit, et potentia atque opulentia vel ista servetur 
quam nunc habes, vel etiam maior addatur, quid tibi 
respondeam, nescio ; incerta quippe ista certum 
consilium habere non possunt. Si autem secundum 
deum me consulis ne anima tua pereat, et times 
verba veritatis dicentis : Qitid prodest homini, si 
totum mujidum lucretur, ajiimae autem suae damnum 
patiatur ? habeo plane, quod dicam ; est apud me 
consilium quod a me audias. Quid autem opus est 
ut aliud dicam quam illud quod supra dixi : Noli 
diligere mundum nee ea quae in mundo sunt. Si quis 
enim dilexerit mundum, non est caritas patris in illo, 
quoniam omnia quae in muiido sunt, co?icupiscentia 
carnis est et concupiscentia oculorum et amhitio saeculi, 
quae non est a patre, sed ex mundo est. Et mundus 
transit et concupisceiitia eius ; qui autem fecerit volun- 
tatem dei, manet in aeternum, sicut et deus manet in 
aeternum ? Ecce consilium ; arripe et age. Hie 
appareat, si vir fortis es ; vince cupiditates, quibus 
iste diligitur mundus, age paenitentiam de praeteritis 
malis, quando ab eis cupiditatibus victus per desi- 

" Rom. xii. 17 ; 1 Thess. v. 15 ; 1 Pet. iii. 9. 

^ Cf. Ter. Eii7i. 57-63 " quae res in se neque consilium 
neque modum Habet ullum, earn consilio regere non potes." 

'^ Matt. xvi. 2Q ; Mark viii. 36 ; Luke ix. 25. This seems 
to be the only place where Augustine quotes the form 
damnum patiatur ; elsewhere {De S&rm. Dom. 2. 50, C. 
Adlm. 18, Serm. 330. 3) he has either detrimentum faciat, or 
detrimentum patiatur. 

NO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

you, render not evil for evil." Which of these two 
has been your lot, I do not Mlsh to discuss nor am I 
able to decide ; for my part I am speaking to a 
Christian : render not evil for good nor yet evil for 

You perhaps say to me, " What do you want me 9 
to do in these straits ? " If you ask advice from me 
as after the spirit of this world, how your safety, 
transitory as it is, may be secured, and your power 
and wealth either preserved in their present con- 
dition or increased to greater dimensions, I am at a 
loss what to answer you ; things as uncertain as 
these do not admit of any certain counsel.^ But if, 
as in the sight of God, you consult me about saving 
your soul from destruction and fear the word of 
Truth Who says, " What is a man profited, if he shall 
gain the whole world and lose his own soul ? 'V I 
certainly have an answer to give ; I am ready with 
advice which you must hear from me. Yet what need 
is there for me to say anything different from Mhat 
I have already said: " Love not the world, neither 
the things that are in the world. If any man love 
the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For 
all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the 
lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the 
Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth 
away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the 
will of God, abideth for ever, even as God abideth 
for ever." '^ Here is ad\ice for you ; lay hold of it 
and act upon it. Let it now be seen if you are a 
strong man : vanquish the desires ^Wth which you 
love the world. Do penance for the misdeeds of 
the past, when these desires had you vanquished 

'^ 1 John ii. 15-17. 



deria vana trahebaris. Hoc consilium si acceperis, 
si tenueris atque servaveris, et ad bona ilia certa 
pervenies et cum salute animae tuae inter ista in- 
certa versaberis. 

10 Sed forte iterum quaeris a me, quo modo ista 
facias tantis mundi huius necessitatibus implicatus. 
Ora fortiter et die deo, quod habes in psalmo : De 
necessitatibus meis erue me. Tunc enim finiuntur istae 
necessitates, quando vincuntur illae cupiditates. 
Qui exaudivit te et nos pro te, ut libereris de tot 
tantisque periculis visibilium corporaliumque bello- 
rum, ubi sola ista vita quandoque finienda periclitatur, 
anima vero non perit, si non malignis cupiditatibus 
captiva teneatur, ipse te exaudiet, ut interiores et 
invisibiles hostes, id est ipsas cupiditates, invisibiliter 
et spiritaliter vincas et sic utaris hoc mundo tamquam 
non utens, ut ex bonis eius bona facias, non malus 
fias, quia et ipsa bona sunt nee dantur hominibus 
nisi ab illo, qui habet omnium caelestium et terre- 
strium potestatem. Sed ne putentur mala, dantur 
et bonis ; ne putentur magna vel summa bona, 
dantur et malis itemque auferuntur ista et bonis, ut 
probentur, et malis, ut crucientur. 

11 Quis enim nesciat, quis ita sit stultus, ut non 
videat quod salus huius mortalis corporis et mem- 

« Ps. xxiv. 17. M Cor. vii. 31. 


NO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

and empty passions dragged you in their train. If 
you will receive this advice and hold fast to it and 
keep it, you will both attain to those blessings which 
are certain and pass through the midst of these 
uncertain things \\"ithout harm to your own soul. 

But perhaps you ask me again how you are to 10 
accomplish this, involved as you are in the great 
distresses of this world. Be earnest in prayer and 
say to God the words you find in the Psalm, " Bring 
thou me out of my distresses," " for then are these dis- 
tresses ended when those desires are overcome. He 
who has answered your prayers and our prayers for you 
and has delivered you from the many great dangers 
of the warfare in which men visibly risk their bodies, 
in which the stake is but this life that must sooner or 
later come to an end, while the soul escapes destruc- 
tion unless it be held in captivity by evil desires — He 
^^ill Himself also answer your prayer for an invisible 
and spiritual victory over your inward and invisible 
foes, that is these same desires, and help you to " use 
this world as not abusing it,"^ so that with its good 
things you may do good, instead of becoming evil. 
For these things are good in themselves and are not 
given to men save by Him Who has power over all 
things in heaven and in earth : and on the one hand 
they are bestowed upon the good, so that they may 
not be thought to be evil ; on the other, they are 
bestowed upon the evil, so that they .may not be 
thought to be the great or supreme good ; and 
likewise they are taken away from the good, in 
order to try them, and from the evil, in order to 
punish them. 

Who is so ignorant, who so foolish, as not to see 11 
that the health of this mortal body and the strength 
2f 4<33 


brorum corruptibilium virtus et \-ictoria de hominibus 
inimicis et honor atque potentia temporalis et cetera 
ista bona terrena et bonis dentur et malis et bonis 
auferantur et malis ? Salus vero animae cum in- 
mortalitate corporis virtusque iustitiae et victoria de 
cupiditatibus inimicis et gloria et honor et pax in 
aeternum non dantur nisi bonis. Ista ergo dilige, 
ista concupisce, ista modis omnibus quaere. Propter 
haec adquirenda et obtinenda fac elemosynas, funde 
orationes, exerce ieiunia, quantum sine laesione tui 
corporis potes. Bona vero ilia terrena noli diligere, 
quanta libet tibi abundent. Sic eis utere, ut bona 
multa ex illis, nullum autem malum facias propter 
ilia. Omnia quippe talia peribunt, sed bona opera 
non pereunt, etiam quae de bonis pereuntibus fiunt. 
12 Si enim coniugem non haberes, dicerem tibi quod 
et Tubunis diximus, ut in castitate continentiae 
viveres ; adderem quod tunc fieri prohibuimus, ut 
lam te, quantum rerum humanarum salva pace 
potuisses, ab istis bellicis rebus abstraheres et ei 
vitae vacares in societate sanctorum, cui tunc vacare 
cupiebas, ubi in silentio pugnant milites Christi, non 

<* Miles Christi, like servus Christi, does not exclusively- 
mean " monks," but refers generally to Christian service, 
whether on the part of the laity (Ambr. Ep. 27. 15 "omnes 
qui sunt in ecclesia, Deo miUtant " ; Leo ^lagn. Serm. 89. 2 
has the phrase ecclesiasticus miles of a layman), or of the 
regular clergy (Aug. Ep. Lx. 1 " ad militiam clericatus 
eligantur," Ep. xxi. 1 " quo modo militetur "), or of monks 
(Aug. Ep. cli. 8 " ne susciperet cingulum militiae Chris- 
tianae vinculum praepediebat uxorium "). This use was a 
natural extension of the idea of service connoted by militare, 
and it was encouraged by the Pauline phrase in 1 Tim. i. 18 
" milites in illis bonam militiam," and 2 Tim. iv. 2 " nemo 
militans Deo . . ." In especial, militare was used by 
Christian writers of the centuries of persecution to denote 

NO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

of its corruptible members, and victory over men who 
are our foes, and honour and temporal power and all 
other earthly blessings, are bestowed upon both the 
good and the evil and are taken away from both the 
good and the evil ? But the health of the soul, along 
with the immortality of the body, and the strength of 
righteousness and victory over the desires that are our 
foes, and glory and honour and peace for evermore, are 
bestowed upon the good alone. These things, then, 
love and desire and seek by every possible means. 
To secure them and hold them fast, give alms, pour 
forth prayers, practise fasting as much as you can 
without harming your body ; but love not those 
earthly blessings, however much you may abound in 
them. Make such use of them that you do many 
good deeds by them and no single evil deed because of 
them. For all such things will pass away, but good 
deeds do not pass away, even those which are done 
Mith the aid of the good things that pass away. 

If you had not a wife, I should tell you what we 12 
said to you already at Tubunae, that you should live 
in the holy state of continence ; to that I should 
add what we then forbade you to do, namely, that you 
should withdraw from your military labours as far as 
is possible without endangering the peace of man- 
kind, and obtain the leisure to follow that quiet life 
you then expressed your desire to follow, in the 
community of the holy, where the soldiers of Christ " 
contend in silence, not with the purpose of taking 

the " service " of martyrs (Cypr. Ep. 60. 2 " milites 
Christi . . . prompte et animas et sangiiinem tradere "). 
On the other hand, it was used too by Christian wTiters of 
the service of the world, sin, or the devil (Aug. Conf. ix. 8. 17 
" relicta militia saeculari accinctus in Tua "). 



ut occidant homines, sed ut expugnent principes et 
potestates et spiritalia nequitiae, id est diabolum et 
angelos eius. Hos enim hostes sancti vincunt, quos 
videre non possunt ; et tamen, quos non vident 
vincunt, ista vincendo quae sentiunt. Sed ut te ad 
istani vitani non exhorter, coniunx impedimento est, 
sine cuius consensione continenter tibi non liceat 
\dvere, quia, etsi tu earn post ilia tua verba Tubu- 
nensia ducere non debebas, ilia tibi tamen nihil 
eorum sciens innocenter et simpliciter nupsit. Atque 
utinam posses ei persuadere continentiam, ut sine 
impedimento redderes deo quod te debere cognoscis ! 
Sed si cum ilia agere non potes, serva saltem pudi- 
citiam coniugalem et roga deum, qui te de neces- 
sitatibus eruat, ut, quod non potes modo, possis 
aliquando. Verum tamen, ut deum diligas, non diligas 
mundum ; ut in ipsis bellis, si adhuc in eis te versari 
opus est, fidem teneas, pacem quaeras ; ut ex mundi 
bonis facias opera bona et propter mundi bona non 
facias opera mala, aut non impedit coniunx aut 
impedire non debet. Haec ad te, fili dilectissime, 
ut scriberem, caritas iussit, qua te secundum deum, 
non secundum hoc saeculum diligo, quia et cogitans 
quod scriptum est : Corripe sapientem et amahit te, 
corripe stultum et adiciet odisse te, non te utique stultum 
sed sapientem debui cogitare. 

° Eph. vi. 12. ^ Matt. xxv. 41. ' Prov. ix. 8. 


NO. 51 (Ep. CCXX) 

men's lives, but of conquering " principalities and 
powers and spiritual wickedness,"'* that is, the devil 
and his angels.^ For these are the enemies whom the 
holy vanquish, enemies they cannot see ; and yet 
they vanquish the enemies they cannot see by 
vanquishing the objects of their senses. But to that 
kind of life I am prevented from urging you, for your 
wife stands in the way, and without her consent you 
cannot adopt a life of continence ; because, although 
you had no right to marry her after what you said 
at Tubunae, yet she became your wife in all inno- 
cence and single-mindedness, knowing nothing of 
your declaration. Yet would that you could persuade 
her to continence, so that with nothing in your way 
you could render unto God what you know you owe 
Him ! But if you cannot arrange that with her, 
preserve at least your conjugal chastity and ask 
God, Who can " bring you out of your distresses," to 
grant that you may be able to do sooner or later 
what you find impossible now. But yet, in order to 
love God, you must give up loving the world ; in your 
warfare (if you have still to be engaged in it) keep the 
faith and ensue peace ; use this M'orld's goods to do 
good deeds, and to obtain this world's goods do not 
do evil deeds — in these duties a wife is not a 
hindrance, or ought not to be. 

I have written thus to you, my beloved son, at the 
bidding of the love wherewith I love you, not in the 
way of this world, but in God's way. And when I 
recall to mind the words of Scripture, " Reprove a 
wise man and he will love thee ; reprove a fool and 
he will hate thee more,"^ I had to think of you as 
surely not a fool, but a wise man, 



No. 52 (Ep. CCXXVII) 


Frater Paulus hie est ineolumis ; adportat nego- 
tiorum suorum seeundas euras ; praestabit dominus, 
ut etiam ipsa ultima sint. Multum vos salutat et 
narrat gaudia de Gaviniano, quod ab ilia sua eausa 
miserieordia dei liberatus non solum Christianus sed 
etiam fidelis sit valde bonus per pascha proximo 
baptizatus, in corde atque in ore habens gratiam 
quam percepit. Quantum eum desiderem, quando 
explicabo ? Sed nosti ut eum diligam. Archiater 
etiam Dioscorus Christianus fidelis est, simul gratiam 
consecutus. Audi etiam quem ad modum ; neque 
enim cervicula ilia vel hngua nisi ahquo prodigio 
domarentur. Fiha eius, in qua unica adquiescebat, 
aegrotabat et usque ad totam desperationem salutis 
temporalis eodem ipso patre renuntiante pervenit. 

" Dioscurus is unknown except from this letter. Brother 
Paul is probably the Paul mentioned in the last letter. Nothing 
is known of the business here spoken of, or of Gavinianus. 

^ Fidelis in this sense is contrasted with catednnnenus, a 
distinction which is as early as Tertullian (Praescr. Haer. 41 
" quis catechumenus, quis fidelis, incertum est ; pariter 
adeunt, pariter audiunt, pariter orant "). Jerome speaks 
{In Isaiam xix. 19) of five orders in the Church : ejjiscopos, 
preshyteros, diaconos, fideles, cafechumenos, and Augustine 
{Serm. 21. 5) mentions a higher kind of faith, " qua fidelis 
vocaris, accedens ad mensam Domini tui," and (Serm. 93. 2) 
defines fidelis : " Fidelibus dico, eis quibus Christi corpus 
erogamus." " Rom. x. 8. 

''The archiater (apxtarpos) was a municipal doctor, 
appointed by the decurions and receiving a salary from the 
town. They enjoyed, with their wives and families, special 
privileges {Cod. Theod. xiii. iii. 1, 2, 3 " archiatri omnes 


NO. 52 (Ep. CCXXVII) 

No. 52 (Ep. CCXXVII) 
(a.d. 428 or 429) 


Brother Paul has arrived back safely ; he reports 
that his affairs have been considered favourably ; the 
Lord will grant that this may be the last of them. 
He sends you hearty greetings and gives us the 
joyful news about Gavinianus, that having secured 
deliverance, by God's mercy, from that case of his, 
he is now not only a Christian but has become a very 
admirable member of the Church,^ having received 
baptism last Easter, and professing in his heart and 
with his mouth ^ the grace that was bestowed on him. 
I could never express the greatness of my longing for 
him, but you know how dear he is to me. The town 
physician,^ Dioscurus, has also become a Christian 
and joined the Church, having received grace at the 
same time. I must tell you how it came about, for one 
so stiff-necked and sharp-tongued could have been 
subjugated only by a miracle. 

His daughter, an only child, the pride of his life, 
was ill, and she reached a point when the recovery 
of her bodily health was quite despaired of, and her 
own father gave her up. The story goes (and its truth 

... a praestationibus quoque publicis liberi immimesque 
permaneant "). Ptome and Constantinople had these muni- 
cipal doctors appointed in 368, and at Rome there were 
fourteen in all, one for each region. In Ep. xli. 2 
Augustine speaks of one Hilarinus, whom he calls Hippo- 
niensem archiatrum et principalein, and another is mentioned 
by one of his correspondents in Ep. ccxxx. 6. 



Dicitur ergo — et constat, cum mihi hoc et ante 
fratris Pauli reditum comes Peregrinus, vir laudabilis 
et bene Christianus, qui cum eis eodem tempore bapti- 
zatus est, indicaret, — dicitur ergo ille senex tandem 
conversus ad inplorandam Christi misericordiam voto 
se obligasse Christianum fore, si illam salvam videret. 
Factum est. At ille, quod voverat, dissimulabat 
exsolvere. Sed adhuc manus excelsa. Nam repen- 
tina caecitate sufFunditur statimque venit in mentem 
unde illud esset. Exclamavit confitens atque iterum 
vovit se, recepto lumine, impleturum esse quod 
voverat. Recepit, implevit. Et adhuc manus ex- 
celsa. Symbolum non tenuerat aut fortasse tenere 
recusaverat et se non potuisse excusaverat. Deus 
viderit. lam tamen post festa omnia receptionis 
suae in paralysin solvitur multis ac paene omnibus 
membris, tunc somnio admonitus confitens per 
scripturam ob hoc sibi dictum esse accidisse, quod 
symbolum non reddiderit. Post illam confessionem 
redduntur officia membrorum omnium nisi linguae 
solius. Se tamen didicisse symbolum ideoque me- 

* Apparently mentioned only here. 

^ This is a Biblical phrase, occurring in Exod. xiv. 8, 
Num. xxxiii. 3, and Deut. xxxii. 27, where it seems to imply 
" with unbroken pride," or the like. Similar is Job xxxviii. 
15 " auferetur ab impiis lux sua, et brachium excelsum 

" Teneo, thus used, is found in Plautus, Virgil (Eel. ix. 45 
" numeros memini, si verba tenerem "), Martial (iv. 37 
" teneo melius ista, quam meum nomen "), and others, 
though Cicero always uses memoria tenere. Augustine uses 
it both with memoria, and Mithout (In loan. Ev. 69. 4 " si 
tenueritis quod audistis " ; Quant. An. 7. 12 " nosse hoc 
plane ac tenere volumus "). Candidates for baptism were ex- 
pected to memorize the Creed, which it was forbidden to write 
down (Retr. i. 17 speaking of his book De Eide et SymbolOy 


NO. 52 (Ep. CCXXVII) 

is vouched for by the fact that even before the return 
of brother Paul it was told me by Count Peregrinus,** 
an admirable man and a thorough Christian, who 
received baptism at the same time as they did) — the 
story goes then that the old man finally turned to 
implore the pity of Christ and bound himself by a 
vow to become a Christian, if he saw her out of 
danger. That prayer was granted, but in spite of 
that he neglected to fulfil his vow. But his hand 
was still high.^ For suddenly he is smitten with 
blindness and it immediately occurred to him why 
that had happened. He cried out, confessing his 
fault, and made another vow that, if he received back 
his sight, he would fulfil his earlier vow. He received 
it back, he fulfilled his vow. And still his hand was 
high.^ He had not memorized'' the Creed, or perhaps 
had refused to memorize it, and had offered the excuse 
that he could not. Let God be judge. But just after 
the completion of the ceremony of his admission, he 
fell into a paralytic seizure affecting many, if not all, 
of his members. Then, being warned in a dream, he 
confessed in writing that he had been told this had 
befallen him for the reason that he had failed to 
repeat the Creed. After that confession the use of all 
his Hmbs was restored to him, saving only his tongue. 
Yet he confessed on paper that in spite of that 

which he ^^Tote without putting the Creed in writing, " ut 
tamen non fiat verborum ilia contextio quae tenenda me- 
moriter competentibus traditur " : Senn. 212. 2 " nee ut 
eadem verba Symboli teneatis, ullo modo debetis scribere, 
sed audiendo perdiscere; nee . . . scribere, sed memoriter 
semper tenere " ; Serm. 58. 1 " quicumque vestrum non 
bene reddiderunt, habent spatium, teneant ; quia die sabbati 
audientibus omnibus qui aderunt reddituri estis, die sabbati 
novissimo, quo die baptizandi estis "). 



moria iam tenere nihilo minus in eadem temptatione 
litteris fassus est, et omnis est ab eo deleta nugaci- 
tas, quae, ut scis, multum dedecorabat naturalem 
quandam eius benignitatem eumque insultantem 
Christianis faciebat valde sacrilegum. Quid dicam 
domino, nisi hymnum canamus et superexaltemiis eum 
in saecula ? Amen. 

No. 53 (Ep. CCXXIX) 


1 A Sanctis fratribus et coepiscopis meis Urbano et 
Novato, qualis sis vir et quantus, accepi, quorum 
alteri apud Carthaginem in Hilarensi oppido et modo 
in Siccensi, alteri autem apud Sitifim te nosse pro- 
venit. Per hos ergo factum est ut nee ego te habere 

" Judith xvi. 15; Dan. iii. 57. 

^ Darius, a high official at the court of Valentinian III., 
was sent in 429 to Africa to negotiate a peace between 
Count Boniface and the Emperor. He was accompanied by 
his son Verimodus, alluded to at the end of the letter. 
Augustine here writes congratulating him on making peace 
with the Vandals. 

'^ This Urbanus is most probably the bishop of Sicca, who 
was originally a member of Augustine's monastery at Hippo 
(Ep. cxlix. 34) ; he became bishop there before 418. He is 
best remembered as the central figure in that Council of 418 
which decreed that no African cleric should prosecute an 
appeal overseas (c/. p. 364 above) — a decree of great im- 
portance in the controversy about the supremacy of the see 
of Rome. Sicca (or Sicca Veneria, so-called from its famous 
temple to Astarte, whom the Romans identified with Venus) 


NO. 52 (Ep. CCXXVII)— NO. 55 (Ep. CCXXIX) 

seizure he had learned the Creed and still retained it 
in his memory. And thus was destroyed in him all the 
scurrility which, as you know, was a great blemish 
on his natural kindness and made him, when he 
mocked Christians, a yery sacrilegious man. What 
shall I say saye " Let us sing a hymn to the Lord 
and highly exalt Him for ever " " ? Amen. 

No. dS (Ep. CCXXIX) 
(a.d. 429) 


From my holy brethren and fellow-bishops L'rbanus 1 
and Noyatus ^ I haye learned of your character and 
high position ; one of them had the good fortune to 
make your acquaintance in the toA^Ti of Hilari near 
Carthage and recently at Sicca, the other at Sitifis. 
Through them it has been brought about that I too 

is the modern Le Kef, lying about 135 miles south-west of 
Tunis ; its strategical position on the great roads between 
Numidia and Proconsular Africa gave it great importance. 

Novatus was bishop of Sitifis (Setif j in Mauretania ; he 
was addressed by Augustine in No. 22 above. The Hilarense 
oppidum I have not succeeded in locating. One of the four 
manuscripts of this letter reads larensi, whis is probably the 
adjectival form of the name Lares, an important town 
10 miles south-east of Sicca \'eneria and prominent during 
the war with Jugurtha (Sallust, lug. 90). Though at a 
considerable distance from Carthage, it was within Cartha- 
ginian territory, and was easy for Darius to reach from 
Sicca, so I am inclined to adopt the reading Larensi here in 
place of the unidentifiable Hilarensi. 



incognitum possem. Neque enim quia me infirmitas 
corporis et geminum frigus, id est hiemis et aetatis, 
non sinit coram tecumi conloqui, ideo non te vidi ; 
nam iste mihi etiam praesens, qiiando ad me venire 
dignatus est, ille autem litteris, non faciem tuae 
carnis sed cordis ostendit, ut tanto suavius quanto 
interius te viderem. Hanc faciem tuam etiam in 
sancto evangelio et nos et tu ipse propitio deo tam- 
quam in speculo laetissimus inspicis, ubi scriptum 
est a veritate dicente : Beati pacifici, quoniam filii 
dei vocabuntur. 
2 Magni quidem sunt et habent gloriam suam non 
solum fortissimi sed etiam, quod verioris origo laudis, 
fidelissimi bellatores et quorum laboribus atque peri- 
culis dei protegentis atque opitulantis auxilio hostis 
indomitus vincitur, quies rei publicae pacatisque 
provinciis comparatur ; sed maioris est gloriae ipsa 
bella verbo occidere quam homines ferro, et ad- 
quirere vel obtinere pacem pace non bello. Nam et 
hi qui pugnant, si boni sunt, procul dubio pacem sed 
tamen per sanguinem quaerunt ; tu autem, ne cuius- 
quam sanguis quaereretur, es missus. Est itaque 
ahis ilia necessitas, tibi ista felicitas. Proinde, 
domine merito inlustris et magnificentissime atque 
in Christo carissime fili, gaude isto tuo tam magno 
et vero bono et fruere in deo, unde sumpsisti ut talis 

« Matt. V. 9. 

NO. 53 (Ep. CCXXIX) 

cannot regard you as unknown to me. For the fact 
that my bodily weakness and the twofold cold, of 
whiter and of old age, does not permit me to have 
converse with you face to face, has not prevented me 
from seeing you, for one of these friends, when 
present with me on a visit he was good enough to 
make, revealed to me the countenance of your heart, 
if not of your body, and the other did so by letter, so 
that I have all the greater pleasure in seeing the 
more inward man. This countenance of yours both 
you and I, by God's favour, behold with joy in the 
Holy Gospel, as in a mirror, where the words are 
written that were uttered by Him who is truth : 
" Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be 
called the children of God."^ 

Those men are indeed great and they have their 2 
own honour who as warriors display not only great 
courage but also (what is the source of more genuine 
praise) great fidelity, and by their toils and perils, with 
the assistance of God's protection and aid, subdue 
foes before invincible, and procure peace for the state 
and for the tranquilUzed provinces. (But it is a greater 
glory to slay war with a word than men with the 
sword and to gain and maintain peace by means of 
peace, not by means of war.y For even those who 
hght are certainly seeking peace, if they are good 
men, but seeking it by the shedding of blood, while 
you have been sent to prevent the seeking of any- 
one's blood. Others are therefore under the necessity 
of taking life, while you have the felicity of sparing 
it. Wherefore rejoice, my deservedly illustrious and 
most distinguished lord and son warmly cherished in 
Christ, in the great and genuine blessing that is yours 
and enjoy it in the Lord to Whom you owe it that you 



esses et talia gerenda susciperes. Confirmet deus 
quod per te operatus est nobis. Accipe hanc 
salutationem nostram et tuam dignare rependere. 
Sicut mihi scripsit frater Novatus, egit ut me ex- 
cellentia et eruditio tua etiam in meis opusculis 
nosset. Si ergo legisti quae dedit, ego quoque in- 
notui interioribus tuis sensibus, non multum dis- 
plicens, quantum existimo. si propensiore caritate 
quam severitate legisti. Non est multum sed multum 
gratum, si pro litteris nostris et his et illis unam nobis 
epistulam reddas. Saluto etiam pignus pacis, quod 
domino deo nostro adiuvante feliciter accepisti, ea 
dilectione qua debeo. 

No. 54 (Ep. CCXXXI) 


1 Quod acceperim libenter litteras tuas, mea re- 
seripta indicio esse voluisti. Ecce rescribo et tamen 
rescriptis hoc indicare non possum vel istis vel 
quibuslibet aliis, sive breviter sive prolixissime 
scribam ; neque enim aut paucis aut multis verbis 

« Ps. Ixvii. 29. 

* This phrase seems to imply that Darius's son, Verimodus, 
had been a hostage until the peace %vith the Vandals was 
signed. If so (and the words seem to demand this interpre- 
tation), there is no other mention of it. 

* In his reply Darius had expressed his hope that the 
peace with the Vandals would be permanent and asks 
Augustine to send for his perusal a copy of the Confessions. 
He also sent some medicines to help Augustine in his illness, 
and these are alluded to at the end of the letter. 


NO. 5S (Ep. CCXXIX)— NO. 54 (Ep. CCXXXI) 

are what you are and that you have undertaken the 
task it is yours to accomphsh. May God " strengthen 
that which He hath wrought for us through you"^ ! 
Accept this my greeting and be good enough to repay 
it with one from you. As I am informed by the 
letter of my brother Novatus, he has taken steps to 
make your learned Excellency acquainted with me 
also in my writings. If, then, you have read the 
works he gave you, I too have become known to your 
more inward perceptions, nor w^ould you, I imagine, 
find me very unsatisfactory, if your reading has been 
done with greater inclination to love than to harsh- 
ness. It is not asking very much, but it will be very 
much appreciated, if in return for my writings, both 
this one and those others, you send me a single letter. 
I greet too with all due affection the pledge of peace, ^ 
whom you have been happy enough to receive by 
the favour of the Lord our God. 

No. 54 (Ep. CCXXXI) 
(a.d. 429) 


You wanted a reply from me as evidence that I 1 
have received your letter with joy, so, see, I send 
you one. And yet in a reply, be it this one or 
any other, it is impossible for me, whether writing 
briefly or at great length, to make that evident, for 
neither a few words nor many can be evidence of 



indicari potest quod indicari verbis non potest. Et 
ego quidem parum eloquor, etsi multum loquor ; 
sed nulli eloquent! omnino concesserim ut quali- 
cumque et quantaeumque epistula sua affectum ex- 
plicet, quem fecit in me tua, quod non possum ego, 
etiam si eum possit ita in animo meo videre sicut ego. 
Restat ergo sic tibi indicare quod scire voluisti, ut 
in verbis meis, et quod non indicant, sentias. Quid 
igitur dicam nisi delectatum me esse litteris tuis 
valde valde ? Repetitio verbi huius non est repetitio 
sed quasi perpetua dictio ; quia enim fieri non posset 
ut semper diceretur, ideo factum est ut saltem 
repeteretur ; sic enim fortasse dici potest quod dici 
non potest. 
2 Hie si quaerat aliquis quid me tandem in tuis tam 
valde litteris delectaverit, utrum eloquium, respon- 
debo : " Non " ; et ille forsitan respondebit : " Ergo 
laudes tuae " ; sed de his quoque respondebo : 
" Non," nee ideo, quia non sunt ista in ilia epistula ; 
nam et eloquium ibi tantum est, ut et optimo te 
natum ingenio et talibus disciplinis satis eruditum 
praeclarissime luceat, et prorsus plena est meis 
laudibus. " Ergone," ait quispiam, " non te ista 
delectant ? " Immo vero ; " neque enim mihi," 
ut ait quidam, " cornea fibra est," ut haec non sentiam 
vel sine delectatione sentiam. Delectant et ista : 

« Pers. i. 47. 

NO. 54 (Ep. CCXXXI) 

what words cannot make evident at all. And for 
my part, though I have the gift of copious expression, 
I have only a limited powder of se^f-expression ; yet 
I would certainly not admit that any man, how^ever 
gifted with the power of expression, could describe 
in a letter, no m^atter how good or how long, the 
feelings awakened in me by your letter ; it is quite 
beyond my power, and he cannot observe them 
within me as I do myself. It only remains for me, 
then, to give you the evidence you wanted to have in 
such a way that in my words you may feel evidence 
of what they cannot express. So what shall I say 
but this, that I was very, very pleased with your 
letter ? The repetition of that word is not so much 
a repetition as a constant utterance, but since the 
perpetual utterance of it is quite impossible, I have 
done the only thing possible by at least repeating 
it. In this way, perhaps, things may be uttered that 
completely defy utterance. 

At this point, if anyone were to ask what after all 2 
it was in your letter that pleased me so very much, 
if it was its eloquence, I shall say " No " ; he will 
perhaps reply, " Then it was the praise of yourself," 
and to that too I shall say " No " ; not for the 
reason that your letter Mas without these, for it was 
eloquent enough very notably to reveal the fact that 
your natural endoMTiients are of the finest quality 
and that your training in the hterary disciphnes has 
been good ; and, further, your letter was full of 
praises of myself. " And so," someone may say, 
" things of that kind give you no pleasure ? " It is 
the other way round, for, as someone has remarked, 
" my heart is not made of horn,"" that I either do not 
feel such things or feel them without pleasure. I do 
2g 449 


sed ad illud, quo me valde dixi esse delectatum, 
quid sunt ista ? nam eloquium tuum me delectat, 
quoniam graviter suave est vel suaviter grave ; 
meis autem laudibus cum profecto nee omnibus 
delecter nee ab omnibus, sed eis qualibus me dignum 
esse arbitratus es, et ab eis qualis es, id est qui 
propter Christum diligunt servos eius, etiam laudibus 
meis me delectatum in litteris tuis negare non 
3 Viderint graves et periti viri quid de illo The- 
mistocle sentiant, si tamen hominis nomen verum 
recolo, qui cum in epulis, quod clari et eruditi 
Graeciae facere solebant, canere fidibus recusasset 
et ob hoc indoctior haberetur totumque illud iucun- 
ditatis genus aspernatus esset, dictum illi est : 
" Quid ergo audire te delectat ? " Ad quod ille 
respondisse fertur : " Laudes meas." Viderint ergo 
quo fine qua intentione illud dixisse crediderint vel 
ipse qua dixerit. Erat enim secundum hoc saeculum 
vir magnificus. Nam etiam cum ei dictum fuisset : 
" Quid igitur nosti ? " " Rem publicam," inquit, 
" ex parva magnam facere." Ego autem, quod ait 
Ennius : " Omnes mortales sese laudari exoptant," 
partim puto adprobandum, partim cavendum. Ut 
enim appetenda est Veritas, quae procul dubio 
est, etiam si non laudetur, sola laudabilis, sic ea 
quae facile subrepit, vanitas in hominum laude 
fugienda est ; haec est autem, cum vel ipsa bona 

" Cic. rro Arch. 9. 20 ; Plut. Them. 2. 
^ \\x\n. Ann. 560 (ed. \"ahlen). 

NO. 54- (Ep. CCXXXI) 

take pleasure in even such things as these, but, 
alongside that which made me, as I said, very 
pleased, what are such things after all ? Your elo- 
quence does give me pleasure, so gravely sweet 
and so sweetly grave it is ; TNith the praise of myself, 
however, though certainly I neither find pleasure in 
every kind nor from every man, but onlv in such as 
you consider me worthy to receive and from men 
such as you are, who for Christ's sake love His 
servants — even with the praise of myself contained in 
your letter I cannot deny that I was very well pleased. 

Let serious-minded and experienced men consider 3 
M'hat opinion they should form of the well-known 
Themistocles" (if I remember his name aright), who 
at a banquet, on refusing to play on the lyre, a usual 
practice among the distinguished and learned men 
of Greece, and being on that account deemed a less 
cultured person, and scorning all that kind of amuse- 
ment, is said, when asked what he did take pleasure 
in hearing, to have made answer, " My own praises." 
Let such men consider what they think the aim and 
intention of this remark was or what was the intention 
of the speaker. He was, indeed, a very high-minded 
man, in the eyes of this world, for when the further 
question was asked him, " What then do you know ? " 
he replied, " How to make a small state great." For 
myself, however, I hold that the saying of Ennius that 
" All mortal men are eager to be praised," ^ is partly to 
be approved of, partly to be taken as a warning. For 
just as truth is to be sought after, as being without 
a doubt the only thing deserving of praise, even if 
praise be withheld, so is the easily and furtivelv 
developing pride in the praise of men to be shunned. 
And that is the case when, on the one hand, those good 



quae laudatione digna sunt, non putantur habenda, 
nisi laudetur ab hominibus homo, vel ea quoque 
vult in se multum quisque laudari, quae aut exigua 
laude aut fetiam vituperatione digniora sunt. Unde 
Horatius Ennio vigilantior ait : 

laudis amore turaes ? sunt certa piacula, quae te 
ter pure lecto poterunt recreare libello. 

4 Ita tunioreni de aniore laudis humanae velut 
serpentis morsum medicinalibus verbis quasi ex~ 
cantandum putavit. Docuit itaque nos per aposto- 
lum suum magister bonus neque propterea nos recte 
vivere et recte facere, ut laudemur ab hominibus, 
id est finem recti nostri non in hominum laudibus 
ponere et tamen propter ipsos homines quaerere 
laudes hominum. Etenim cum laudantur boni, non 
laudatis sed laudantibus prodest. Nam iUis, quan- 
tum ad ipsos adtinet, quod boni sunt sufficit ; sed 
eis, quibus expedit imitari bonos, gratulandum est, 
cum ab eis laudantur boni, quoniam sic indicant eos 
sibi placere, quos veraciter laudant. Dicit ergo 
apostolus quodam loco: Si hominibus placerem, Christi 
servus non essem, et idem dicit alio loco : Placete 
omnibus per omnia, sicut et ego omnibus per omnia 
placeo, sed adiungens causam : Non quaerens quod 
mihi utile est, sed quod multis, ut salvi fiant. Ecce 
quod quaerebat in laude hominum, ubi etiam dicebat : 
De cetero, fratres, quaecumque sunt vera, quaecumque 
pudica, quaecumque casta, quaecumque sancta, quaecum- 

« Hor. Ep. i. 1. 36-37. 

" 1 Thess. ii. 4; Matt. v. 16; for the phrase c/. Pers. i. 48 
" sed recti finemque extremumque esse recuse ' Euge ' tuum 
et ' belle.' " ' Gal. i. 10. 

^ 1 Cor. X. 33. The words Placete omnibus per omnia is 
only his paraphrase of the preceding verse : Sine offensione 
estate Judaeis et gentibus et ecclesiae Dei. 

NO. 54 (Ep. CCXXXI) 

qualities that are worthy of being praised are thought 
not worth possessing unless a man is praised by his 
fellows, or, on the other hand, when a man desires 
great praise for things which are worthier of either 
slight praise or even censure. Hence Horace was 
much more cautious than Ennius in saying " : 

Swell you Mith lust for praise ? Then read thrice o'er 
Some book whose charms are potent to restore. 

You see he thought that the swelling arising from 4 
the lust for human praise was to be, as it were, charmed 
away, like some serpent's bite, by healing words. 
The Good Master has accordingly taught us by His 
apostle not to live right and do right with the object 
of being praised by men, that is, not to make the 
praise of men the motive of our doing right, and yet 
He has taught us for men's sake to seek men's praise.^ 
For when good men are praised, the praise confers a 
benefit on those who bestow it, not on those who 
receive it. For as far as concerns the good, the fact 
that they are good is sufficient, but the others, whose 
interest it is to imitate the good, are to be congratu- 
lated when they bestow praise on the good, since by 
doing so they show that they are pleased by those 
whom they praise in sincerity. So the apostle says 
in a certain passage, " If I yet pleased men, I should 
not be the servant of Christ," ^ and he says in another 
passage, Please all men in all things, " even as I 
please all men in all things ^ " ; but he adds the 
reason, " Not seeking mine own profit, but the profit 
of many that they may be saved." See what he 
sought in men's praise, of which he says further, 
" Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, 
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are 



que carissinia, quaecumque honae famae, si qua virtus, si 
qua laus, haec cogitate ; quae didicistis et accepistis et 
audistis et vidistis in me, haec agite et dens pads erit 
vohiscum. Cetera igitur quae supra conmiemoravit, 
virtutis nomine amplexus est, dicens " si qua virtus " ; 
illud autem quod subiecit " quaecumque bo7iae famae,'' 
alio uno verbo congruo prosecutus est dicendo " si 
qua laus." Quod itaque ait : Si hominibus placerem, 
Christi servus non essem, sic utique accipiendum est 
tamquam dixerit : "Si bona quae facio, fine laudis 
humanae facereni, laudis amore tumeseerem." 
Volebat ergo apostolus placere omnibus et eis placere 
gaudebat, non quorum laudibus tumescebat in se 
ipso, sed quos laudatus aedificabat in Christo. Cur 
ergo me non delectet laudari abs te, cum et vir bonus 
sis, ne me fallas, et ea laudes quae amas et quae 
amare utile ac salubre est, etiam si non sint in me ? 
Neque hoc tibi tantum sed etiam mihi prodest. Si 
enim non sunt in me, salubriter erubesco, atque ut 
sint, inardesco. Ac per hoc, quae agnosco mea in 
laude tua, gaudeo me habere et abs te ilia ac me 
ipsum diligi propter ilia ; quae autem non agnosco, 
non solum ut ipse habeam, desidero consequi, verum 
etiam ne semper in mea laude fallantur qui me 
sinceriter diligunt. 

" Phil. iv. 8-9. 

NO. 54 (Ep. CCXXXI) 

just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things 
are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report ; if 
there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think 
on these things. Those things, which ye have both 
learned and received and heard and seen in me, do ; 
and the God of peace shall be with you."^ So the 
other things he mentioned above he included under 
the word "virtue," saying, " If there be any virtue"; 
what he meant by the words, " Whatsoever things are 
of good report," he followed up by the single, appropri- 
ate phrase, " If there be any praise." So his words, 
" If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant 
of Christ," are to be understood in this way, as if 
he had said, " If I were doing the good I do with 
the motive of receiving human praise, I should be 
' swelling with the lust for praise.' " The apostle 
wanted therefore to please all men, and found joy in 
pleasing those whom he edified in Christ by receiving 
their praise, not those whose praise made him swell 
within himself. Why should I not therefore find 
pleasure in being praised by you, when you are (unless 
I am mistaken in you) a good man and bestow your 
praise upon the things which you admire and which 
it is profitable and wholesome for you to admire, even 
if they be lacking in me ? This benefits not only you, 
but me too, for if they are lacking in me, it is whole- 
some for me to be shamed and inflamed with desire 
to acquire them. And so the qualities I recognize in 
your praises as my own I rejoice in possessing and in 
having you love them and me for their sake ; those on 
the other hand that I fail to recognize as mine I yearn 
to acquire, not only in order to possess them for 
myself, but also to keep those who have a genuine love 
for me from being deluded when they praise me. 



5 Ecce quam multa dixi et quid sit illud quod me 
longe amplius eloquio tuo, longe amplius laudibus 
meis in tuis litteris delectavit, non adhuc dixi. Quid 
autem putas esse, o bone homo, nisi quod te talem 
virum etiam non visum feci amicum, si tamen non 
visum dicere debeo, cuius non corpus sed animum in 
ipsis tuis litteris vidi, ubi de te non sicut antea 
fratribus meis, sed mihi credidi ? Quis enim esses 
iam quidem acceperam, sed qualis erga me esses 
nondum tenebam. Ex hac amicitia tua etiam laudes 
meas, quae me quo fine delectent, satis dixi, multo 
uberius ecclesiae Christi non dubito profuturas, 
quando quidem etiam labores meos in defensione 
evangelii adversus reliquias impiorum daemonico- 
larum sic habes, sic legis, sic amas, sic praedicas, ut 
in eis tanto fiam notior, quanto es ipse nobilior ; eos 
enim latentes inlustris inlustras clarusque declaras, 
et ubi prodesse posse perspicies, ignorari omnino 
non sines. Si unde id sciam quaeris, talis mihi 
apparuisti in litteris tuis. Hinc iam vide quantum 
me illae litterae delectare potuerint, si bene de 
me existimans, cogitas quantum me Christi lucra 
delectent. Iam vero quod te ipsum, qui, ut scribis, 
a parentibus, ab avis et postrema usque gentis prole 
Christi iura percipere potuisti, tamen adversus 
gentiles ritus ut numquam alias eisdem laboribus 

NO. 54 (Ep. CCXXXI) 

See how much I have said, and I have not yet 5 
said what it is in your letter that delighted me far 
more than your eloquence, far more than your praise 
of myself. What else do you think it is, honoured Sir, 
than this, that I have gained the friendship of a man 
of your character, even ^\^thout seeing you — if I ought 
to use the words " without seeing you," when I have 
seen your mind, if not your body, in your letter ; in it 
I gained an impression of you not, as before, from the 
testimony of my brethren, but for myself. Already, 
indeed, I had been told what manner of man you were, 
but I had not experienced what kind of man vou were 
towards me. But I am sure that from this friendship 
of yours even my praises (which delight me in a way I 
have already sufficiently spoken of) Avill redound all 
the more richly to the profit of the Church, since you 
possess and study and admire and commend even my 
labours in defence of the Gospel against the remnant of 
ungodly demon-worshippers to such an extent that, in 
proportion to your high station, I gain all the greater 
reputation ; illustrious yourself, you add lustre to 
their lowliness, and celebrated yourself, you celebrate 
them, and wherever you see that they can do good, 
you will certainly not allow them to remain unknown. 
If you ask me how I know that, it is as such that you 
have shown yourself to me in your letter. See now 
from this how great delight your letter was able to 
give me, if, with your good opinion of me, you think 
how dehghted I am by gains for Christ. And when 
you inform me that you yourself, who have had the 
good fortune, as you say in your letter, to acquire 
Christian rights from your parents, your grand- 
parents, and even your remotest ancestry, were yet 
helped by my efforts in the contest with pagan rites 



meis adiutum esse significas, parumne cogito quan- 
tum boni aliis et quam multis, quam claris et quam 
facile quamque salubriter per illos ceteris quibus 
talia conveniunt, possint scripta nostra te comnien- 
dante ac disseminante conferre ? Aut hoc cogitans 
possumne parvorum vel mediocrium gaudiorum 
iucunditate perfundi ? 
6 Quia igitur non potui verbis explicare quantam 
delectationem de tuis litteris ceperim, unde me de- 
lectaverint, dixi. lam quod nequivi satis dicere, id 
est quantum delectaverint, tibi coniciendum relinquo. 
Sume itaque, mi fili, sume, vir bone et non in super- 
ficie sed Christiana caritate Christiane, sume, inquam, 
etiam Ubros quos desiderasti, confessionum mearum ; 
ibi me inspice, ne me laudes ultra quam sum, ibi 
non aliis de me crede sed mihi, ibi me adtende et 
vide quid fuerim in me ipso per me ipsum. Et si 
quid in me tibi placuerit, lauda ibi mecum quern 
laudari volui de me, neque enim me, quoniam ipse 
fecit nos et 7ion ipsi nos ; nos autem perdideramus 
nos, sed qui fecit, refecit. Cum autem ibi me in- 
veneris, ora pro me, ne deficiam, sed perficiar ; ora, 
fili, ora. Sentio quid dicam, scio quid petam ; non 
tibi videatur indignum et quasi ultra merita tua ; 
fraudabis me magno adiutorio, si non feceris. Non 
solum tu, sed etiam omnes qui me ex ore tuo di- 

<• Ps. xcix. 3. 

^ Here Augustine has an untranslatable four-fold jingle 
with facio, rejicio, d^ficio, perficio ; several times elsewhere 
he has the triple paronomasia, as In loan. Ev. 1. 12 " si per 
te deficis, Ille te reficiat qui te fecit," In Ps. 94.. 10 "a te 
deficere potes, tn teipsum reficere non potes; Ille reficit qui 
te fecit." The play upon deficere and reficere is a favourite 
with him {In loan. Ev. 11. 5, 52. 3; In Ep. loan. 3. 1, 4. 5; 


NO. 54. (Ep. CCXXXI) 

as by nothing else, can I think it a small matter, the 
amount of good that through your commendation and 
circulation my writings can bestow on others, and they 
numerous and famous, and through them easily and 
profitably on other people in need of some such 
message ? Or with that thought in mind can I be 
imbued with the satisfaction of joys that are only 
slight or commonplace ? 

Since then I could not express inv.ordsthe extent of 6 
the delight your letter gave me, I have spoken of that 
in it which was the source of my delight, and now I 
leave you to conjecture for yourself what I have been 
unable sufficiently to tell, that is, the delight it gave 
me. Take then, my son, take, excellent Sir, Christian 
that you are not on the surface only, but with Christian 
love — take, I repeat, those books of my Confessions 
that you asked for ; in them behold me, so that you 
praise me not beyond what I am ; in them give your 
belief to me, not to others who speak of me ; in them 
observe me and see what I was of myself, by myself, 
and if anything in me gives you pleasure, join me in 
praising for it Him Whom I desired to have praise 
from me, and not myself; for " He hath made us 
and not we ourselves"" — indeed we had destroyed 
ourselves, but He Who made us, re-made us. And 
when in them you find me, pray for me that I 
may not suffer defeat,^ but may be made complete ; 
pray, my son, pray. I realize what I am saying ; I 
know what I am asking ; let it not seem to you un- 
fitting and beyond your merits ; you will deprive me 
of great assistance, if you do it not. Pray for me, not 
only you, but all others who have learned to love me 

In Ps. 36 ; Serm. 1. 11, 38. 16, 94. 10, 109. 6, 145. 4, 159. 
8, 9, 190. 2 ; Discip. Chr. 13. 14 ; C. Sec. 17 ; Ep. 144. 2, etc.). 



lexerint, orate pro me. Hoc eis me petivisse indica, 
aut, si m.ultum nobis tribuitis, iussisse nos exis- 
timate quod petimus ; et tamen date petentibus vel 
obtemperate iubentibus : orate pro nobis. Lege 
litteras dei et invenies ipsos arietes nostros apostolos 
petisse hoc a filiis suis sive praecepisse auditoribus 
suis. Ego certe, quoniam hoc a me petisti pro te, 
quantum faciam, videt qui exaudiat, qui videbat 
quia et ante faciebam ; sed redde etiam in hac re 
dilectionis vicem. Praepositi vestri sumus, grex 
dei estis ; considerate et videte pericula nostra 
maiora esse quam vestra, et orate pro nobis — hoc 
enim et nobis conducit et vobis — ut bonam rationem 
de vobis reddamus pastorum principi et omnium 
nostrum capiti pariterque evadamus huius mundi 
periculosiores blanditias quam molestias, nisi cum 
pax eius ad hoc proficit quod apostolus orare nos 
monuit, id est ut quietam vitam et tranquillam agamus 
in omni pietate et caritate. Si enim desit pietas et 
caritas. quid est ab iUis et a ceteris mundi malis 
tranquiUitas et quies, nisi luxuriae perditionisque 
materies sive invitamentum sive adiumentum ? 
Ut ergo habeamus quietam et tranquillam vitam in 
omni pietate et caritate, quod oro pro vobis, orate pro 
nobis, ubicumque estis, ubicumque sumus ; nusquam 
enim non est, cuius sumus. 

" 1 Pet. V. 2 ; Hier. xiii. 17. The ram is used of the 
apostles because they are leaders of the flock (Cassiod. In 
Ps. 28. 1 " arietes apostoli accipiendi sunt, qui tanquam 
duces gregum in caulas Domini perduxerunt populum 
Christianum "), and so occasionally in Augustine (Serm. 
135. 7, 311. 2.; In Ps. 64. 18, etc.), but, as suggested 
by the sacrifice offered by Abraham, the ram is frequently 
employed as a figure of Christ {Civ. Dei, xvi. 32 " quis erat 

NO. 54 (Ep. CCXXXI) 

from your lips ; inform them of this my request, or 
rather, if you esteem me highly, consider that my 
request is a command ; in any case, grant my request 
or carry out my command : pray for me. Read God's 
letters and you will find that the apostles themselves, 
the leaders " of the flock, requested this from their 
children or enjoined it on their hearers. For myself, 
since you make the same request from me for your- 
self. He Who answers prayer sees to w^hat extent I am 
doing it, and saw to what extent I was doing it even 
before ; but in this matter do you show me an equal 
return of love. We are your overseers, and you are 
God's flock. Reflect and see that our dangers are 
greater than yours, and pray for us (for this profits 
both us and you) that we may render a good account of 
you to the Chief Shepherd ^ and Head of us all and that 
we may likewise escape this world's allurements, more 
dangerous than its afflictions, unless when its peace 
makes for that for which the apostle warned us to 
pray, that is, " that Ave may lead a quiet and peaceable 
life in all godliness and honesty." ° For if godliness 
and honesty be wanting, what is quietness and peace- 
ableness from those and the other evils of the world 
but an opportunity for self-indulgence and destruction, 
either by inviting to it or by assisting towards it ? So, 
then, that we may obtain this '' quiet and peaceful life 
in all godliness and honesty " which my prayers ask 
for you, let your prayers ask it for me, wherever you 
are, wherever we are ; for He is everywhere, " Whose 

ille aries [at the sacrifice of Isaac] . . . nisi lesus?"), and 
as such it is frequently found in Christian epigraphy. 

" 1 Pet. V. 4. «1 Tim. ii. 2. 

^ Act. xxvii. 23. 



7 Misi et alios libros, quos non petisti, ne hoc tantum 
modo facerem quod petisti : de fide rerum quae 
non videntur, de patientia, de continentia, de provi- 
dentia, et unum grandem de fide et spe et caritate. 
Hos onmes si duni es intra x\fricam, legeris, iudicium 
tuum mitte de illis, aut mitte nobis aut quod nobis 
a domino sene Aurelio mittatur, ibi dimitte. Quam- 
quam et ubieumque fueris, speramus inde litteras 
tuas et hinc tu, duni possunius, nostras. Suscepi 
gratissime quae misisti, ubi et salutem meam 
quamvis corporalem, quoniam vis me utique sine 
impedimento malae valitudinis deo vacare, et biblio- 
thecam nostram, ut sit unde libri vel parentur vel 
reparentur, adiuvare dignatus es. Rependat tibi 
dominus et hie et in futuro saeculo bona quae talibus, 
qualem te esse voluit, praeparavit. Pignus pacis 
apud te depositum nostrumque utrique dulcissimum, 
sicut ante a me salutari, ita nunc resalutari peto. 

No. 55 (Ep. CCXXXII) 



1 Si forte illi qui inter vos catholici Christiani sunt, 
talia mihi scripta miserunt, hoc tantum miror, quod 

" For Aurelius see p. 40, note. 

^ For the liy^rary at Hippo see note on p. 398. 

" 1 Cor. ii. 9. ** Verimodus, his son, as on p. 446. 

* To this point the letters have been arranged in chrono- 
logical order, but the remaining letters cannot be dated and 
are grouped in two divisions, controversial letters, and 
letters to private individuals. Florentius is not further 
known ; >Iadaura was mentioned on p. 16, note b. The 


NO. 54 (Ep. CCXXXI)— NO. 55 (Ep. CCXXXII) 

I am sending other books as well, though you did 7 
not ask for them ; I did not want to do only VN'hat you 
asked and nothing more. They are 0?! Faith in Things 
Unseen, On Patience. On Continence, On Providence, and 
a bulky book On Faith, Hope and Charity. If you read 
all these while in Africa, send me your opinion of 
them ; either send it to me or send it to a place from 
^vhich it can be sent to me by my lord, the Senior 
Aurehus." Yet wherever you are, I hope to receive 
letters from you and to send some to you while I am 
able. I have been very glad to receive the materials 
you were kind enough to send to the assistance both 
of my health, though it is only of the body, since you 
want me to suffer no impediment in the devotion of 
my time to God, and also of our library,^ so that we 
may have the means of either preparing books or 
repairing them. May the Lord recompense you, 
both in this life and in the life to come, with those 
blessings He has prepared ^ for such as He has willed 
that you should be ! I beg you to convey my greetings 
once again, as you did before, to the pledge of peace ^ 
entrusted to you and very dear to us both. 

No. 55 (Ep. CCXXXH) 


If perchance those who are Catholic Christians 1 
among you have sent me a letter of this kind, my 

letter is interesting for its indication of the survival and 
the strength of paganism, for which see also Nos. o-Q, 16 
and 2A above. 



non suo potius quam ordinis nomine. Si autem re 
vera omnes aut prope omnes ordinis viri ad me 
dignati estis litteras dare, miror quod " patri " et 
" in domino salutem " scripsistis, quorum mihi super- 
stitiosus cultus idolorum, contra quae idola facilius 
templa vestra quam corda clauduntur, vel potius quae 
idola non magis in templis quam in vestris cordibus 
includuntur, cum magno est dolore notissimus, nisi 
forte iam de salute ipsa quae in domino est, per 
quam me salutare voluistis, tandem prudenti con- 
sideratione cogitatis. Nam si non ita est, quaeso 
vos, quid laesi, quid offendi benivolentiam vestram, 
ut me titulo epistulae vestrae inridendum potius 
quam honorandum esse putaretis, domini praedica- 
biles et dilectissimi fratres ? 
2 Quod enim scripsistis : " Patri Augustino in 
domino aeternam salutem," cum legerem, tanta spe 
subito erectus sum, ut crederem vos ad ipsum . 
dominum et ad ipsam aeternam salutem aut iam 
esse conversos aut per nostrum ministerium de- 
siderare converti. Sed ubi legi cetera, refriguit 
animus meus ; quaesivi tamen ab epistulae perlatore 
utrum iam vel essetis Christiani vel esse cuperetis. 
Cuius responsione posteaquam comperi nequaquam 
vos esse mutatos, gravius dolui, quod Christi nomen, 
cui iam totum orbem subiectum esse conspicitis, non 
solum a vobis repellendum. sed etiam in nobis in- 
ridendum esse credidistis. Non enim potui cogitare 

* The Ordo was the Senate of the municlpium^ or 
municipal town of the Provinces ; sometimes it is called curia. 
Its members are decuriones or cnrlales. See too No. 24 § 8 
"cum leges . . . episcopus ordini replicasset." The word 
Senatus was at this time reserved for the Senate at Rome. 

^ As was ordered by the laws of 399 (Cod. Theod. xvi. x. 


NO. 55 (Ep. CCXXXII) 

only surprise is that it was in the name of the muni- 
cipal senate '^ instead of their own. But if, in very 
truth, you all or almost all of the municipal senate 
have deigned to write to me, I am surprised that 
you have written the words " To Father Augustine " 
and " Salutation in the Lord " ; for to my great grief 
I am well aware of your superstitious devotion to idols, 
against which idols it is easier to close your temples ^ 
than your hearts, or rather those idols are more 
enclosed in your hearts than they are in your temples. 
But perhaps you have at last given wise considera- 
tion and thought to that salutary life which is in the 
Lord and in which you wanted to give me salutation. 
For if it be not so, I ask you, praiseworthy lords 
and well-beloved brethren, what harm have I done 
to your Benevolences, what offence have I given, that 
you should think fit to mock at me by the super- 
scription of your letter instead of honouring me ? 

For when I read the words you ^vTote, " To Father 2 
Augustine, eternal salutation in the Lord," I was 
suddenly uphfted ^^ith such hope as to believe that you 
had already turned to this Lord and this eternal 
salvation, or were through my ministry desirous of 
turning. But when I read the rest, my spirit was 
chilled : I inquired, however, from the bearer of the 
letter whether you were already Christians or were 
anxious to become so. After learning from his 
answer that you were in no way changed, I was the 
more deeply grieved that you thought fit not only 
to spurn from you the name of Christ to which 
you see the whole world already in subjection, but 
even to make mock of it in my person. For I was 

15-18) and 408 {ib. yivi. x. 19), when the pagan temples 
were confiscated or turned to public uses. 

2 H 46o 


alterum dominum, secundum quein posset episcopus 
** pater " a vobis vocari, praeter dominum Christum, 
et si esset hinc aliqua de interpretatione vestrae 
sententiae dubitatio, subscriptione epistulae tolle- 
retur, ubi aperte posuistis : " Optamus te, domine, 
in deo et Christo eius per multos annos semper in 
clero tuo gaudere." Quibus omnibus perlectis atque 
discussis, quid aliud mihi occurrere potuit aut cuilibet 
homini potest, nisi aut veridico aut fallaci scribentium 
animo haec esse conscripta ? Sed si veridico animo 
ista scribitis, quis vobis ad banc veritatem inter- 
clusit viam ? Quis aspera dumeta substravit ? Quis 
rupium praerupta inimicus opposuit ? Postremo 
quis basilicae ianuam ingredi cupientibus clausit, ut 
in eodem domino per quem nos salutatis, eandem 
salutem nobiscum habere nohtis ? Si autem fallaciter 
atque inridenter haec scribitis, itane tandem mihi 
negotia vestra curanda inponitis, ut nomen eius per 
quem aUquid possum, audeatis non veneratione 
debita adtollere, sed insultatione adulatoria ventilare ? 
3 Sciatis me, carissimi, cum inefFabih pro vobis 
tremore cordis haec dicere ; novi enim quanto 
graviorem et perniciosiorem causam sitis habituri 
apud deum, si frustra vobis haec dixero. Omnia 
quae praeteritis temporibus erga humanum genus 
maiores nostri gesta esse meminerunt nobisque 

NO. 55 (Ep. CCXXXII) 

unable to think of any other Lord in whom a bishop 
could be addressed by you as " Father," except the 
Lord Christ ; and if there were any doubt on this 
point about the meaning of the words you used, it 
would be removed by the closing sentence of your 
letter, in which you plainly put the words, '* We 
pray, my lord, that always in company with your 
clergy you may rejoice in God and His Christ for 
many years." After reading it all and pondering 
it, what else could I, what else can any man, think 
than that it was written either as a genuine expression 
of the writers' mind or vvith an intention to deceive ? 
But if what you wrote is a genuine expression of 
your mind, who has barred your way to this truth ? 
Who has strewn it with sharp thorns ? Who has 
out of enmity set up steep rocks against you ? W^ho, 
finally, has shut the church door in your face when 
you sought to enter, that you refuse to be partakers 
with us of that same salvation in that same Lord by 
whom you gave us salutation ? But if it was with the 
intention to deceive and to mock that you wrote what 
you did, is that indeed the way in which to lay upon 
me the conduct of your affairs, not exalting with due 
honour the name of Him through Whom it is possible 
for me to do anything, but having the effrontery to 
bandy it about with insulting flattery ? 

You must understand, my dear friends, that it is 3 
with unspeakable quaking of the heart on your 
account that I say this to you, for I realize how much 
greater will be the seriousness and the doom of your 
case before God, if what I say to you has no effect. 
There is nothing that has happened to the human 
race in past times and has been recorded and handed 
down to us by our ancestors, nothing either that we 



tradiderunt, omnia etiam quae nos videmus et 
posteris tradimus, quae tamen pertinent ad veram 
religioneni quaerendani et tenendam, divina scriptura 
non taeuit, sed ita oninino cuncta transeunt, ut tran- 
situra esse praedicta sunt. Videtis certe populum 
ludaeorum avulsum a sedibus suis per omnes fere 
terras disseminatum atque diffusum ; et origo eius- 
dem populi et incrementa et regni amissio et per 
cuncta dispersio sicut praedicta, ita facta sunt. 
Videtis certe ex ipso populo verbum dei legemque 
prodeuntem per Christum, qui ex illis mirabiliter 
natus est, omnium gentium fidem occupasse atque 
tenuisse ; ita haec omnia praenuntiata legimus, ut 
videmus. Videtis certe multos praecisos a radice 
Christianae societatis, quae per sedes apostolorum 
et successiones episcoporum certa per orbem pro- 
pagatione diffunditur, de sola figura originis sub 
Christiano nomine quasi arescentia sarmenta gloriari, 
quas haereses et schismata nominamus ; praevisa, 
praedicta, scripta sunt omnia. Videtis certe simula- 
crorum templa partim sine reparatione conlapsa, 
partim diruta, partim clausa, partim in usus alios 
commutata, ipsaque simulacra vel confringi vel in- 
cendi vel includi vel destrui, atque ipsas huius saeculi 
potestates, quae aliquando pro simulacris populum 
Christianum persequbeantur, victas et domitas non 
a repugnantibus sed a morientibus Christianis et 

"^ Like the temple of Caelestis at Carthage, which was 
closed for pagan worship in 391, but consecrated by bishop 
Aurelius in 399 as a Christian church. In C. Gaud. i. 38. 51 
Augustine speaks of pagan temples overthrown by the 
Donatists ; " pagan i quorum certe templa evertistis et ba- 
silicas construxistis." The passage in Serm. 163. 2 bears a 
resemblance to the text: " loca ipsa terrena [i.e. pagan 

NO. 55 (Ep. CCXXXII) 

experience and hand down to our posterity, that 
Holy Scripture has not spoken of, as far as it pertains 
to the seekinpf and the holding of true rehorion ; 
everything comes to pass exactly as it was foretold 
it would come to pass. You plainly see the Jewish 
people torn from their abode and dispersed and 
scattered throughout almost the whole world ; the 
origin of that people and its development and the 
loss of its realm and its dispersion everywhere — • 
everything has happened just as it was foretold. 
You plainly see that the word of God and the law 
that came forth from that same people through Christ 
(Who was miraculously born of them) has laid fast 
hold upon the faith of all the nations ; all these 
things, as we may read, were predicted just as we 
see them. You plainly see many cut off from the 
root of the Christian society, which through the sees 
of the apostles and the succession of bishops is spread 
abroad in unmistakable diffusion throughout the 
world, who yet boast, under cover of the Christian 
name, of the mere outward likeness they bear to 
their origin, like withered branches, which we term 
heresies and schisms ; it was all foreseen, foretold and 
put down in writing. You plainly see some of the 
temples of idols fallen into ruin and not restored, some 
cast down, some closed, some converted to other uses," 
and the idols themselves either smashed to pieces or 
burned or destroyed ; and you see how the powers of 
this world, who at one time for the sake of their 
idols persecuted the Christian people, are vanquished 
and subdued by Christians who did not take up 
arms but laid down their lives, and have now turned 

temples] in melius convertuntur, alia diruuntur atqiie fran- 
guntur, alia in meliores usus commutantur." 



contra eadem simulacra, pro quibus Christianos 
occidebant, impetus suos legesque vertisse et imperii 
nobilissimi eminentissimum culmen ad sepulcrum 
piscatoris Petri submisso diademate supplicare. 
4 Haec omnia divinae scripturae, quae in manus 
omnium iam venerunt, ante longissima tempora 
futura esse testatae sunt ; haec omnia tanto robus- 
tiore fide laetamur fieri, quanto maiore auctoritate 
praedicta esse in Sanctis litteris invenimus. Num- 
quidnam, obsecro vos, numquidnam solum iudicium 
dei, quod inter fideles atque infideles futurum esse 
in eisdem litteris legimus, cum ilia omnia, sicut prae- 
dicta sunt, venerint, numquidnam solum iudicium 
dei venturum non esse putabimus ? Immo vero 
veniet, sicut omnia ilia venerunt. Nee quisquam 
erit homo nostrorum temporum, qui se in illo iudicio 
de sua possit infidelitate defendere, cum Christum 
cantet et iustus ad aequitatem et periurus ad fraudem 
et rex ad imperium et miles ad pugnam et maritus 
propter regimen et uxor propter obsequium et pater 
propter praeceptum et filius propter oboedientiam et 
dominus propter dominationem et servus propter 
famulatum et humilis ad pietatem et superbus ad 
aemulationem et dives, ut porrigat, et pauper, ut 
sumat, et ebriosus ad phialam et mendicus ad ianuam 

" Augustine is probably not thinking of any specific 
incident, but he might well have had in mind the subjection of 
the Emperor Theodosius to the Church under St. Ambrose. 
And yet, in spite of his eloquence here, he acknowledges 
elsewhere that Rome itself was still given over to idolatry 
{Conf. viii. 2-3) ; in Ep. xxxvi. 4, he speaks of the Church 
as " toto terrarum orbe diffusam, exceptis Romanis." This 
fact accounts for the scant sympathy he shows at the fall 
of Rome {Excid. Urbis, ii.). His language here is paralleled 
by the words of St. John Chrysostom (C. Jud. et Gent. § 9) : 
iv TTj ^aatXiKojTdTri 7r6\ei 'Pwyu.??, iravTa acpUvT^s, iiri tovs Td(f>ovs 


NO. 55 (Ep. CCXXXII) 

their attacks and their laws against the very idols for 
whose sake they were in the habit of slaying Chris- 
tians ; and you see the most eminent dignitary of 
this noble Empire lay aside his crown and bow in 
supplication before the tomb of the fisherman Peter.'* 

All these things were long, long ago foretold to 4 
be coming to pass by the testimony of Holy Scripture, 
which has now come into the hands of everyone : 
all of them have happened, to our joy and to the 
greater strengthening of our faith as we find the 
Holy Scripture foretold them ^vith a more imposing 
authority. Are we then, I ask you, to imagine that 
it is God's judgement alone, which those same Books 
foretell to their readers as deciding between the 
believing and theunbeUeving — are we then to imagine 
that this judgement of God's alone will not come 
about, when all those other things came about just as 
they were foretold ? Yea, verily, just as they all 
came about, so it too will come. Nor will there be any 
man of our times who at that judgement will be able 
to put forward any defence for being an unbeUever, 
when the name of Christ is on every man's lips : the 
righteous invokes it for justice, and the perjurer for 
deceit and the king for rule and the soldier for 
battle and the husband for estabUshing his authority 
and the wife as a sign of her submission and the 
father for his commands and the son for his obedi- 
ence, the master for his lordship and the servant 
for his service, the humble man for piety and the 
proud man for ambition, the rich man when he gives 
away and the poor man when he receives, the 
drunkard in his cups and the beggar at the gate, and 

Tov dXtews Kal rod o-ktjvottolov rpexovcn Kal /SacrtXets /cat vraroi 
Kal (TTpaTrjyoi. 



et bonus, ut praestet, et malus, ut fallat, et Christia- 
nus venerator et paganus adulator ; omnes Christum 
cantant et, qua voluntate atque ore cantent, eidem 
ipsi, quern cantant, rationem sine dubio reddituri 
5 Est quiddam invisibile, ex quo creatore principio 
sunt omnia quae videmus, summum, aeternum, in- 
commutabile et nulli efFabile nisi tantum sibi. Est 
quiddam, quo se ipsa summitas maiestatis narrat et 
praedicat, non inpar gignenti atque narranti, verbum 
quo ille qui verbum gignit, ostenditur. Est quaedam 
sanctitas, omnium quae sancte fiunt, sanctificatrix, 
ipsius incommutabilis verbi, per quod narratur illud 
principium, et ipsius principii, quod pari se verbo 
narrat, inseparabilis et indivisa communio. Quis 
autem hoc totum, quod non dicendo dicere conatus 
sum et dicendo non dicere, quis hoc possit serenis- 
sima et sincerissima mente contueri eoque contuitu 
beatitudinem ducere, atque in id quod intuetur, 
deficiens quodam modo se oblivisci et pergere in 
illud, cuius visione sibi vilis est, quod est inmortalitate 
indui et obtinere aeternam salutem, per quam me 
salutare dignamini — quis hoc possit, nisi qui omnes 

" Salvian, Gub. Dei, iv. 15. 71, gives similar testimony 
to the common use of the name of Christ : " Quis est 
omnino hominum saecularium praeter paucos, qui non ad 
hoc semper Christi nomen in ore habeat ut peieret ? Unde 
etiam pervulgatum hoc fere et apud nobiles et apud ignobiles 
sacramentum est : ' per Christum quia hoc facio,' ' per 
Christum quia hoc ago,' . . . ¥A quid plura ? In id penitus 
deducta res est, ut . . . Christi nomen non videatur iam 
sacramentum esse, sed sermo." Augustine seems nowhere 
else to refer to this practice, but he frequently does speak 
of the profane invocation of God's name, which he confesses 
having been addicted to himself (*SVrm. 180. 10, " iuravimus 

NO. 55 (Ep. CCXXXII) 

the good man that he may do good and the bad 
man that he may deceive, both the Christian wor- 
shipper and the pagan time-server — all repeat the 
name of Christ, and with what purpose and what 
lips they repeat it, to that same Christ, whose name 
they repeat, they shall most assuredly render an 
account. ° 

(There is an invisible something from which, as a 5 
creator and first cause, all that we see derives its 
being, supreme, eternal, unchangeable and in- 
expressible save only to itself. There is a some- 
thing by which that supreme majesty utters and 
declares itself, the Word, not inferior to its begetter 
and utterer, by which He Who begets the Word 
reveals Himself. There is a certain holy thing, the 
sanctifier of everything that is begotten in sanctity, 
which inseparably and undividedly unites that un- 
changeable Word, through which the First Principle 
utters itself, with the First Principle, M'hich utters 
itself in the Word which is its equal. Who could 
contemplate with perfectly tranquil and pure mind 
this whole, which I have attempted to express \\'ithout 
expressing it and by expressing it not to express, 
and from that contemplation draw blessedness, and 
lose and forget self in that object of contemplation, 
and press forward to that which, once seen, makes man 
hold himself as nothing — M'hich means to be clothed 
with immortality and to lay hold upon that eternal 
salvation, in which you think fit to give me salutation 
— who could do this, save he who, confessing his sins, 

et nos passim, habuimus istam teterrimam consuetudinem 
et mortiferam " ; cf. Serm. 307, 4-5, and for the common 
habit, Serm. 12. 3, 180). He also mentions, in Serm. 4. 6, 
the familiar habit of swearing " per lumina mea." 



superbiae suae toros inanes peccata sua confitens 
complanaverit seque substraverit mitem atque 
humilem ad excipiendum doctorem deum ? 
6 Quoniam ergo a vanitate superbiae prius ad 
humilitatem deponendi sumus, ut inde surgentes 
solidam celsitudinem teneamus, non potuit nobis hoe 
tanto magnificentius quanto blandius inspirari, ut 
nostra ferocitas non vi sed persuasione sedaretur, 
nisi verbum illud, per quod se angelis indicat deus 
pater, quod \-irtus et sapientia eius est, quod corde 
humano visibilium rerum cupiditate caecato videri 
non poterat, personam suam in homine agere atque 
ostendere dignaretur, ut magis homo timeret extolli 
fastu hominis quam humiUari exemplo dei. Itaque 
non Christus regno terreno decoratus, nee Christus 
terrenis opibus dives, nee Christus ulla terrena 
felicitate praefulgens, sed Christus crucifixus per 
totum terrarum orbem praedicatur, quod riserunt 
prius populi superborum et adhuc rident rehquiae, 
crediderunt autem prius pauci, nunc populi, quia 
tunc ad fidem paucorum et contra inrisionem popu- 
lorum, cum Christus crucifixus praedicaretur, claudi 
ambulabant, muti loquebantur, surdi audiebant, 
caeci videbant, mortui resurgebant. Sic tandem 
animadvertit terrena superbia nihil in ipsis terris esse 
potentius humilitate divina, ut etiam saluberrima 
humilitas humana contra insultantem sibi superbiam 
divinae imitationis patrocinio tueretur. 

° 1 Cor. i. 24. * 1 Cor. i. 23. 

" Matt. xi. 5 ; Luke vii. 22. 

NO. 55 (Ep. CCXXXII) 

has laid low all the empty swellings of his pride and 
prostrated himself in meekness and humility to receive 
God as his teacher ? ) 

Since then we have first to be reduced from the 6 
vanity of pride to humility, so that rising thence we 
may acquire real exaltation, it was impossible for us 
to have communicated to us this spirit (the more 
glorious for its very gentleness) whereby our un- 
governableness is subdued by persuasion instead of 
by force, had not this Word — through Whom God 
the Father reveals Himself to the angels," Who is 
His strength and wisdom. Whom the human heart, 
blinded by the desire for things visible, was unable 
to perceive — condescended to act out His part in 
human form and exhibit His being in such a way as 
to make mankind more afraid of being uplifted by the 
pride of man than of being brought low by the 
example of God. So the Christ Who is preached 
throughout the world is not a Christ Who is adorned 
with an earthly kingdom ^ nor a Christ rich in earthly 
possessions, nor a Christ shining with any earthly 
splendour, but Christ crucified.^ This was a matter 
for ridicule at first by proud nations and still is to 
a remnant, but it was a matter for faith first to a 
few, now to nations, for then according to the faith 
of the few and in spite of the ridicule of the nations, 
when Christ crucified was preached, the lame 
walked, the dumb spoke, the deaf heard, the blind 
saw, and the dead rose again. ^ Thus at last conviction 
was brought to the pride of the world that nothing 
in the world itself was more potent than divine 
humility, so that under the protection of that divine 
example the most wholesome human humility may 
find shelter against the scornful assaults of pride. 



7 Expergiscimini aliquando, fratres mei et parentes 
mei Madaurenses ; hanc occasionem scribendi vobis 
deus mihi obtulit. Quantum potui quidem in negotio 
fratris Florenti, per quern litteras misistis, sicut deus 
voluit, adfui et adiuvi ; sed tale negotium erat, quod 
etiam sine opera mea facile peragi posset; prope 
omnes enim domus ipsius homines qui apud Hip- 
ponem sunt, noverunt Florentium et multum eius 
orbitatem dolent. Sed epistula mihi a vobis missa 
est, ut non inpudens esset epistula mea, cum occasione 
a vobis accepta idolorum cultoribus de Christo aliquid 
loqueretur. Sed obsecro vos, si eum non inaniter in 
mea epistula nominastis, ut non inaniter vobis haec 
scripserim. Si autem me inridere voluistis, timete 
ilium, quem prius iudicatum inrisit superbus orbis 
terrarum et nunc iudicem subiectus expectat ; erit 
enim testis aflPectus in vos cordis mei per hanc, 
quantum potui, paginam expressus, erit testis vobis 
in iudicio eius, qui credentes sibi confirmaturus est 
et incredulos confusurus. Deus unus et verus vos 
ab omni huius saeculi vanitate liberatos convertat ad 
se, domini praedicabiles et dilectissimi fratres. 

" The editors say that Augustine uses the term " fathers " 
here because he was born at Tagaste, which is not far 
from Madaura, and studied in Madaura as a boy. 


NO. 55 (Ep. CCXXXII) 

Awake at last from your slumbers, ye men of 7 
Madaura, my brethren and my fathers ! ° This 
opportunity of writing to you has been furnished me 
by God. As far as was possible, I stood by and 
gave my assistance, as God willed, in this affair of 
brother Florentius, who brought your letter to me ; 
but the affair was such that even without my aid 
it could very easily have been carried through, for 
almost all the men of that family who are at Hippo 
know Florentius and deeply lament his bereavement. 
But your having sent a letter to me made it not 
presumiptuous in me to write to you and, availing 
myself of the opportunity you provided, to say some- 
thing to idol-worshippers about Christ. But I beseech 
you, if your naming of Him in your letter was not a 
vain gesture, that what I have written to ypu may 
not be in vain. If you wanted to make mock of me, 
fear Him Who on being at first condemned was made 
mock of by the proud world, which now awaits Him 
in subjection as Judge. For my heart's desire for 
you, expressed as well as I could in these pages, will 
be a witness against you at His judgement, when 
He will confirm those who believe in Him and 
confound those who do not. May the one true 
God free you from all the vanity of this world, my 
praiseworthy lords and well-beloved brethren, and 
turn vou to Himself. 



No. 56 (Ep. CCXLV) 


1 Magis quid agas cum eis qui obtemperare nolunt, 
cogitandum est, quam quern ad modum eis ostendas 
non licere quod faciunt. Sed nunc epistula sancti- 
tatis tuae et occupatissimum me repperit et celerri- 
mus baiuli reditus neque non rescribere tibi neque 
ad ea quae consuluisti, ita ut oportet, respondere 
pemiisit. Nolo tamen de ornamentis auri vel vestis 
praeproperam habeas in prohibendo sententiam, nisi 
eos qui, neque coniugati neque coniugari cupientes, 
cogitare debent quo modo placeant deo. Illi autem 
cogitant quae sunt mundi, quo modo placeant vel wi 
uxoribus vel mulieres maritis,nisi quod capillos nudare 
feminas, quas etiam caput velare apostolus iubet, 
nee maritatas decet ; fucari autem pigmentis, quo 
vel rubicundior vel candidior appareat, adulterina 

" For Possidius see pp. 128, 190 above. 

" 1 Cor. vii. 32-34. " 1 Cor. xi. 5-6. 

^ The habit of painting the face was denounced by all 
the Christian writers : Tertullian, De Cidt. Fern. ii. 7 
" videbo an eum cerussa et purpurisso et croco et in illo 
ambitu capitis resurgatis " ; Cyprian, De Uab. Vlrg. 14, 
blames the fallen angels for teaching " oculos nigrore 
fucare et genas mendacio ruboris inficere et mutare adul- 
terinis coloribus crinem " ; Ambr. De Virginibvs, i. 6. 28 
" quaesitis coloribus ora depingant, dum viris displicere 
formidant " ; and frequently by Jerome: Ep. 54. 7 "quid 
facit in facie Christianae purpurissus et cerussa ? " ; Ep. 
107. 5 "cave ne aures perfores, ne cerussa et purpurisso 


NO. 56 (Ep. CCXLV) 

No. 56 (Ep. CCXLV) 


What you are to do with those who refuse to 1 
comply requires more consideration than how you 
can show them that what they are doing is unlawful. 
But at present the letter of your Holiness has found 
me extremely busy and at the same time the bearer's 
great haste to return has not allowed me either to 
make no reply to you or to give an adequate answer 
to the problems on which you asked my advice. 
Still, I should not like you to make any over-hasty 
decision about the forbidding of ornaments of gold 
or finery, except that those who are neither married 
nor desirous of being married ought to be thinking 
how they may please God. For that class of people 
think of worldly things, how they may, if they are 
husbands, please their wives, or if wives, please their 
husbands ^ ; the one exception is that it is not becoming 
in women, even in those who are married, to uncover 
their hair, since the apostle bids them cover the 
whole head.*' But as for painting the face ^ so that it 
may appear ruddier or fairer, this is immoral deceit. 

. . . ora depingas." In Doct. Chr. iv. 2L 49 Augustine 
quotes passages from Cyprian and Ambrose on women who 
paint the face, and in I)e Bono Vidtiitat/s, 19. 24, he advises 
a virgin and a widow " simulatum candorem ac ruborem et 
pigmentis ilHtum non adhiberetis, etiamsi viros haberetis ; 
non putantes dignos quos falleretis, nee vos quae fallere 



fallacia est, qua non dubito etiam ipsos maritos se 
nolle decipi, quibus solis permittendae sunt feminae 
ornari secundum veniam, non secundum imperium. 
Nam verus ornatus maxime Christianorum et Chris- 
tianarum non tantum nullus fucus mendax verum ne 
auri quidem vestisque pompa, sed mores boni sunt, 

Execranda autem superstitio ligaturarum, in quibus 
etiam inaures virorum in summis ex una parte auri- 
culis suspensae deputantur : non ad placendum 
hominibus sed ad serviendum daemonibus adhibentur. 
Quis autem possit speciales nefariarum supersti- 
tionum prohibitiones in scripturis invenire, cum gene- 
raliter apostolus dicat : S^olo vos socios fieri clae- 
mo7iiorum, et iterum : Quae enim consojiantia Ckristi 
ad Belial? nisi forte, quia Belial nominavit et 
generalem societatem daemoniorum prohibuit, licet 
Christianis sacrificare Neptune, quia nihil propria de 

<* These amulets were used especially to cure diseases, 
and their use seems to have been common at this time. 
Augustine repeatedly refers to it {In Ps. 33, Seryn. 2, 18 ; 
93. 20 ; In loan. Ev. 3. 14 ; Serm. 286. 7, 318. 3, etc.) and 
in De iJoctr. Chr. ii. 20. 30 mentions it among other charms, 
especially the earrings spoken of in the text : ' ad hoc genus 
[superstitionis] pertinent omnes etiam ligaturae atque remedia 
. . . sive in praecantationibus, sive in quibusdam notis quos 
' characteres ' vocant, sive in quibusque rebus suspenden- 
dis atque illigandis vel etiam aptandis quodammodo . . . 
ad quasdam significationes aut occultas aut etiam mani- 
festas ; . . . sicut sunt inaures in summo aurium singu- 
larum aut de struthionum ossibus ansulae in digitis, aut 
cum tibi dicitur singultienti, ut dextera manu sinistrum 
polHcem teneas." He complains too that the ligaturae had 
the name of Christ written on them, so as to avert the 
suspicion of the Christians {In lo. Ev. 7. 6), and that it was 
a common practice to fasten a copy of the Gospels to the 
head, if it ached, as a doubly sure ligatura {ih. 7. 12). 


NO. 56 (Ep. CCXL\0 

I am quite sure that even their own husbands do 
not want to be so taken in, and they are the only 
people for whom women should be allowed to adorn 
themselves, and that as a concession, not as a com- 
mand. For not only is lying paint no real adorn- 
ment of Christian men and women, nor yet is the 
ostentation of gold and finery ; but a good character is. 

It is an accursed superstition to wear amulets," 2 
among which must be reckoned also the earrings^ 
that men wear on the top part of the ear on one side ; 
they are employed not to please men, but to do 
homage to devils. Who could expect to find in 
the Scriptures individual prohibitions of every kind 
of ungodly superstition, when the apostle says in 
general terms, " I would not that ye should have 
fellowship with devils,"'' and again, "For what 
concord hath Christ ^^-ith Belial ? ",^ unless in naming 
Belial and forbidding in general terms fellowship 
\Wth devils, he perchance allowed Christians to 
sacrifice to Neptune, because we do not read that 
any prohibition was made of Neptune specifically. « 

* The habit of wearing earrings is denounced by Cyprian, 
De Hah. Virg. 14. " an vulnera inferre auribiis Deus voliiit, 
quibus innocens adhuc infantia et maU saecularis ignara 
crucietur, ut postea de aurium cicatricibus et cavernis pretiosa 
grana dependeant, gravia etsi non siio pondere, mercium 
tamen qaantitate?" and Jerome, Ep. 127. 3 " illae solent 
purpurisso et cerussa ora depingere . . . et auribus per- 
foratis Rubri Maris pretiosissima grana suspendere." These 
passages refer to the wearing of earrings by women : there 
is scantv evidence for their use by men. 

<' 1 Cor. X. 20. ^ 2 Cor. vi. 15. 

* The cult of Neptune is mentioned several times by 
Augustine and seems to have been fairly common in North 
Africa (C. Cresc. iii. 78. 89 ; Doctr. Chr. iii. 7. 11 ; In Ps. 
183 ; Serm. 2, o ; In Ps. 145, 6. 12, etc.). 

2 I 481 


Neptuno vetitum legimus. Moneantur interim mi- 
serij ut, si obtemperare nolunt praeceptis salubriori- 
bus, saltern sacrilegia sua non defendant, ne maiore se 
scelere implicent. Quid autem cum eis agendum 
sit, si solvere inaures timent et corpus Christi cum 
signo diaboli accipere non timent ? 

De ordinando autem, qui in parte Donati bapti- 
zatus est, auctor tibi esse non possum ; aliud est 
enim facere, si cogaris, aliud consulere ut facias. 

No. 57 (Ep. CCXLVI) 

1 De quaestione fati ac fortunae, qua tuum animum 
non leviter moveri et, cum praesens essem, adverti 
et nunc tuis litteris gratius certiusque cognovi, 
rescriptum tibi non parvi voluminis debeo, quod 
dominus praestabit ut ita explicem, quem ad modum 
novit tibi congruere ac saluti fidei tuae. Non enim 
parvum malum est perversis opinionibus non solum 
ad committendum blandimento voluptatis adduci, sed 
etiam ad defendendum peccatum a medicamento 
confessionis averti. 

2 Illud sane quanto citius ac breviter noveris, omnes 
leges atque instituta omnia, disciplinae, laudes, 
vituperationes, exhortationes, terrores, praemia, sup- 

<* Lampadius appears to be mentioned only here. 


NO. 56 (Ep. CCXL\')— NO. 57 (Ep. CCXLVI) 

Meanwhile, let those unhappy people be warned 
that if they refuse to comply Mith these more whole- 
some counsels, they must at least refrain from de- 
fending their acts of irreverence, from fear of involving 
themselves in greater guilt. Yet what are we to do 
^^-ith them, if they are afraid to put off their earrings 
and are not afraid to receive the body of Christ while 
wearing the devil's badge ? 

I cannot accept responsibihty for the ordaining 
of one who was baptized in the Donatist party ; it 
is one thing to do it if you are compelled, and 
another thing to ad\'ise you to do it. 

No. 57 (Ep. CCXLVI) 

On the problem of Fate and Chance, which is seri- 1 
ously perturbing your mind, as I noticed when I was 
with vou and am now assured in a more m-atifvinsr 
and definite manner by your letter, I ought to reply to 
you at considerable length ; the Lord will enable me 
to furnish you with such an explanation as He knows 
Mill be best suited for you and for your spiritual 
welfare. For it is no shght e\il that perverted 
opinions not only induce men by the allurement 
of pleasure to commit sin, but lead them away from 
the remedy of confession to a defence of their sin. 

Let me, however, at once and in a word assure 2 
you of this, that all legislation and all rules, all re- 
pressions, all commendations, censures, exhortations, 
menaces, rewards, punishments, and all other things 



plicia, ceteraque omnia quibus hunianum genus ad- 
ministratur et regitur, penitus labefactari atque 
subvert! nihilque in eis omnino iustitiae remanere, 
nisi voluntas sit causa peccandi. Quanto ergo 
licentius et aequius mathematiccrum inprobamus 
errores, quam divinas leges vel etiam domorum 
nostrarum curam damnare atque abicere cogimur, 
quod nee ipsi mathematici faciunt ! Nam cum 
aliquis eorum hominibus nummatis fatua fata vendi- 
derit, mox ut oculum a tabellis eburneis ad domus 
suae moderamen ac sollicitudinem revocaverit, non 
solum vocibus sed etiam plagis emendat uxor em, 
non dico si petulantius iocantem, sed si inmoderatius 
per fenestram aspicientem animadverterit. Quae 
tamen si ei dicat : " Quid me caedis ? Venerem 
caede, si potes, a qua cogor hoc facere," tunc vero 
ille non curat, quam vana verba componat fallendis 
extraneis, sed quam iusta verbera inponat corri- 
gendis suis. 
3 Quando ergo quisque, cum reprehendi coeperit, 
causam convertit in fatum et ideo se culpari non vult, 
quia fato se dicit coactum fecisse id quod arguitur, 

" Mathematicus was the popular term for " astrologer " 
from the time of Tacitus and Juvenal, and Augustine follows 
other writers in explaining that the proper term is genetldiaci 
{Boot. Chr, ii. 21. 32 ; D'n^. Quaest. xlv. 2). In Conf. iv. 3, 
he tells how he once consulted astrologers himself. He often 
has occasion to point out the absurdity of their pretensions 
{Gen. ad Litt. 2. 35 ; In loan. Ev. 8. 11 ; In Ps. 40. 3, 61. 
23, 140. 9 where he repeats very nearly the words of this 
letter : " mathematicus si uxorem suam paulo petulantius 
viderit conversari . . . aut fenestram crebro repetere, nonne 
arripit, verberat, et dat disciplinam ? Respondeat illi uxor : 
' Si potes, Venerem caede, non me ' " ; Ep. Iv. 12-13, where 
he repeats his argument that to believe them is to deny the 


NO. 57 (Ep. CCXLVI) 

by which the human race is controlled and governed, 
are utterly overthrown and subverted and left devoid 
of any particle of justice, if the cause of sinning is 
not the ^^dll. How much more legitimate and right, 
therefore, is it for us to reject the errors of the 
astrologers ,** than to be forced to condemn and 
repudiate the divine laws or even the supervision 
of our oMTi households. The astrologers themselves 
do not do so, for when one of them has sold his silly 
horoscopes to wealthy persons and turns his eyes 
away from the ivory tablets to the management and 
supervision of his own household, he immediately 
reproves his wife, not with objurgations only but even 
M'ith blows, if he finds her not to say engaged in 
fro ward dalliance, but even looking too much out of 
the window. Yet if she were to say to him : " Why 
do you beat me ? Beat Venus, if you can, for it is 
the influence of her planet that makes me do this," 
his concern then is not what empty jargon he can 
concoct for the deception of strangers, but what just 
lashes he can inflict for the correction of his own 

When a man, then, upon receiving censure, throws 3 
the responsibility on Fate and therefore declines to 
accept the blame on the ground that it was under 
the compulsion of Fate that he did the action which 

freedom of the will). Astrologers were condemned both by 
civil laws (in 357, 358, 370, 409), and by ecclesiastical 
councils, but they continued to flourish. 

^ The careful and prolonged jingle in verba componat 
faUendis extrane'is and verhera inponat corrigendls suis is 
almost beyond reproduction in English. The play on verba 
and verbera, or verbero, is not infrequent in Augustine 
(Ep. clxxxv. 15 ; Fid. et Symb. 3. 3 ; In loan. Ev. 37. 4). 
So in No. 59. 1, abripiii and subripuL 



redeat ad se ipsum, servet hoc in siiis, non castiget 
servum furem, fton de contumelioso filio conqueratur, 
vicino inprobo non minetur. Quid enim horum 
faciens iuste facit, si omnes a quibus iniiirias patitur, 
non culpa sua sed fato inpelluntur ut faciant ? Si 
autem iure proprio et patris familias diligentia, quos- 
cumque homines pro tempore in potestate habet, 
hortatur ad bonum, deterret a malo, imperat suae 
voluntati ut obtemperent, honorat eos qui sibi ad 
nutum oboediunt, vindicat in eos qui se contemnunt, 
rependit gratiam beneficis, odit ingratos, egone ex- 
pectabo ut contra fatum disputet, cum tanta eum 
non verbis sed factis eloqui deprehendam, ut prope 
manibus suis omnes mathematicorum lapillos supra 
capita eorum frangere videatur ? His itaque paucis 
si a\dditas tua contenta non est et hbrum ahquem 
de hac re, quem diutius legas, desideras, patienter 
tibi sunt expectandae vacationes nostrae et rogandus 
deus, qui et otium et facultatem satiando de hac re 
animo tuo tribuere dignetur. Ero tamen alacrior, 
si et saepe commemorare me Htteris tuam non 
piguerit caritatem, et quid de hac epistula sentias, 
rescribendo edocueris. 


NO. 57 (Ep. CCXLVI) 

is condemned, let him come to himself again and 
observe this same principle in dealing v,ith those 
attached to him ; let him refrain from chastising a 
servant who steals ; let him utter no complaint of an 
abusive son and no threats to an offensive neighbour. 
Would he be acting justly in doing any of these 
things, if all those who do him some injury are 
driven to perform such actions, not by any fault of 
their own, but by Fate ? If, however, from his 
personal rights and his responsibility as the head of 
a household, he exhorts to good those persons who 
for the time being are under his authority, deters 
them from doing evil and commands them to carry 
out his will, honours those who obey his nod, punishes 
those who set him at naught, renders thanks to the 
obliging, and hates those who are ill-disposed — shall 
I expect him to argue against Fate, when I find him 
proclaiming, not in words but in deeds, such con- 
victions as to make him almost appear to be breaking 
with his own hands all the tables of the astrologers 
over their own heads ? 

So then, if these few remarks do not appease your 
thirst for information and you desire on this subject 
a book that will take a longer time to read, you must 
await ^\1th patience until I have a free interval, and 
ask God to be pleased to grant me both the leisure 
and the ability to satisfy your mind on this question. 
Yet my eagerness ^\dll be increased, if your charity 
does not grudge to ^\Tite often and remind me, and 
also to reply informing me what }^ou think about this 



No. 58 (Ep. CCLIV) 


Puella de qua mihi scripsit sanctitas tua, in ea 
voluntate est, ut, si aetas ei iam matura esset, nulli 
in nuptiis conveniret. In ea vero aetate est, ut, si 
voluntatem nubendi haberet, nulli adhuc dari vel 
promitti deberet. Hue accedit quia earn deus in 
eeclesia sic tuetur, ut contra inprobos tueatur, non 
ut cui voluero tradi possit, sed ut a quo non oportet 
rapi non possit, domine Benenate dilectissime et 
venerabilis frater. Condicio itaque quam insinuare 
dignatus es, non mihi displicet, si nuptura est ; 
utrum autem nuptura sit, etsi illud quod in ore 
habet magis optamus, nunc tamen ignoramus, quia 
in his annis est ut et quod se dicit velle esse sancti- 
monialem, iocus sit potius garrientis quam sponsio 
profitentis. Deinde habet materteram, cuius vir 
honorabilis frater noster Fehx, dum de hac re 
contulissem cum illo — neque enim possem aUter 

" Benenatus was bishop of Tugutiana, the site of which 
is not known. The girl referred to was an orphan whom her 
father, a vir spectabUis (probably a magistrate), had en- 
trusted to the guardianship of the Church. Four letters were 
written by Augustine about her : cclii. to one Felix, declining 
to take any action concerning her without consulting another 
guardian, ccliii. to Benenatus, expressing surprise at receiving 
through him the proposal for a marriage with a pagan, ccliv. 
here translated, and civ. to Rusticus, the pagan who had sought 
her hand, bluntly refusing his request. The practice of caring 
for orphans dates from the early years of the Church, and it 

NO. 58 (Ep. CCLIV) 

No. 58 (Ep. CCLI\^ 


The girl about whom your Holiness "s^Tote to me is 
so minded, that if she were once of full age, she would 
not be joined in marriage to anyone ; but her present 
age is such that, even if she had a mind to marry, she 
ought not at this stage to be given or betrothed to 
any man. In addition to this, my lord Benenatus, 
brother revered and well-beloved, the p^tection God 
is giving her in the church is a prot^^ion against 
wicked men, not an opportunity to give her over to 
anyone I choose, but an opportunity to defend her 
from seizure by any unsuitable person. The con- 
dition, therefore, that you are good enough to suggest 
seems to me satisfactory, if she gets married ; at 
present, however, while I have greater hopes she 
will carry out the intention she now expresses, I do 
not know if she will get married, because at her age 
the declaration that she wants to be a nun is rather 
the whim of an irresponsible babbler than the vow of 
one solemnly pledging herself. Further, she has an 
aunt married to our esteemed brother Felix ; when 
I consulted him about this (for I could not do other- 
was regarded as fitting that the duties of guardianship should 
be undertaken by the clergy. Augustine refers to this in 
Serm. 176. 2 : " Pro magno commendantur episcopis patri- 
monia pupillorum . . . Pupillum tuetur episcopus, ne 
mortuis parentibus ab extraneis opprimatur." 



vel deberem, — non quidem invitus accepit, immo 
etiam gratulatus est ; sed iure amicitiae non im- 
portune doluit, quod eis nihil inde sit scriptum. 
Fortassis enim, quae nunc non apparet, apparebit et 
mater, cuius voluntatem in tradenda filia omnibus, 
ut arbitror, natura praeponit, nisi eadem puella in 
ea iam aetate fuerit ut iure licentiore sibi eligat ipsa 
quod velit. lilud quoque cogitet sinceritas tua, quia 
si mihi de nuptiis eius potestas summa ac tota tri- 
buatur atque ipsa quoque iam matura et nubere 
volens, cui voluero, se tradendam sub deo iudice 
mihi commiHat, sic dico et verum dico mihi placere 
istam condicionem, ut propter deum iudicem non 
possim respuere meliorem. Quae utrum adventura 
sit, utique incertum est. Quapropter videt caritas 
tua quanta consider anda concurrant.. ut nunc a me 
cuiquam promitti omnino non possit. 

No. 59 (Ep. CCLVni) 


1 Abripui vel potius subripui et quodam mode 

" This is the only place where Marcianus is mentioned. 


NO. 58 (Ep. CCLI\^— NO. 59 (Ep. CCLVIII) 

wise nor ought I to do otherwise), so far was he from 
being reluctant to agree to it that he actually ex- 
pressed his delight, but he regretted that they had 
no written instructions on the matter, as their 
friendly relations not unreasonably entitled him to 
expect. ¥oY perhaps the girl's mother will come 
forward, though she has not come forward as yet, and 
her ^\ishes about the handing over of her daughter 
naturally have, in my opinion, precedence over all 
others, unless the girl is by that time of an age to 
have a more legitimate claim to choose for herself 
what she wants. Take this point too into considera- 
tion, my true friend, that if supreme and undivided 
power over her marriage were entrusted to me and 
she herself, if of age and desirous of marrying, left 
me free, with God as my Judge, to give her hand to 
the one I desired, then I declare, and declare \\dth 
sincerity, my satisfaction with the condition you 
suggest, provided that, because of God my Judge, 
I should not be repudiating a better one ; but 
whether a better one will turn up, is naturally un- 
certain. So your Charity vtdll see how many con- 
siderations conspire to make it quite impossible for 
me at present to promise her to anyone. 

No. 59 (Ep. CCLVIII) 


I have torn myself away from my many pre- 1 
occupations (or rather have slipped away and, so to 



furatus sum memet ipsum multis occupationibus 
meis, ut tibi scriberem antiquissimo amico, quein 
tamen non habebam, quam diu in Christo non 
tenebam. Nosti quippe ut definierit amicitiam 
" Romani," ut ait quidam, " maximus auctor Tullius 
eloquii." Dixit enim et verissime dixit : " Ami- 
citia est rerum humanarum et di\'inarum cum 
benivolentia et caritate consensio." Tu autem, mi 
carissime, aliquando mihi consentiebas in rebus 
humanis, cum eis more vulgi frui cuperem, et mihi 
ad ea capessenda, quorum me paenitet, favendo 
velificabas, immo vero vela cupiditatum mearum 
cum ceteris tunc dilectoribus meis inter praecipuos 
aura laudis inflabas. Porro in rebus divinis, quarum 
mihi illo tempore nulla eluxerat Veritas, utique in 
maiore illius definitionis parte, nostra amicitia claudi- 
cabat ; erat enim rerum tantum modo " huma- 
narum " non etiam " divinarum," quam vis " cum 
benivolentia et caritate consensio." 
2 Et posteaquam ilia cupere destiti, tu quidem 
perseverante benivolentia salvum me esse cupiebas 
salute mortal! et ea rerum prosperitate felicem, 
quam mundus optare consuevit. Et iam sic itaque 
aliquantum tibi erat mecum rerum humanarum 
benivola et cara consensio. Nunc ergo quantum de 
te gaudeo, quibus explicem verbis, quando eum 
quem quoquo modo habui diu amicum, habeo iam 
verum amicum ? Accessit enim rerum etiam con- 
sensio divinarum, quoniam, qui mecum temporalem 

" Lucan, B.C. vii. 62-63, quoted again by Augustine in 
Ep. cxliii. 3 and Civ. Dei, xiv. 18. 
^ Cicero, Lael. vi. 20. 


NO. 59 (Ep. CCLVIII) 

speak, stolen myself away from them) in order to ^\Tite 
to you, my oldest friend ; and yet I did not really 
have you as a friend until I clove to you in Christ. 
You know, to be sure, the definition of friendship 
given by " Tully, the greatest master of the Roman 
tongue," as he has been called" ; he said, and said 
very truly, " Friendship is agreement, with kindliness 
and affection, on things human and divine." ^ At one 
time, my dear friend, you were in agreement ^vith me 
about things human, when it was my wish to 
enjoy them as the common people do, and by your 
encouragement you stretched my sails to the eager 
pursuit of things whereof I am now ashamed — or 
rather, along with the rest of my admirers of that 
time (and you were among the chief of them) you 
filled the sails of my ambitions Avith the breeze of 
praise. On the other hand, our friendship was de- 
fective on the side of things divine ^ of which at that 
period no gleam of truth had come to me, though 
they form the more important half of that definition ; 
it included only the human things, not those as well 
that are divine, although it was " agreement with 
kindliness and affection." 

And after I abandoned those desires, you with 2 
persistent kindliness desired that in earthly welfare 
I should do well and be successful with that material 
prosperity which the world is wont to wish for one, 
and so, because of this, you still to some extent shared 
with me this kindly and affectionate agreement on 
things human. So, now, how can I explain in words the 
joy I have of you, when he who was so long my friend in 
some kind of way , is at last my friend in a genuine way ? 
For there has been added the agreement in things 
divine as well, since you, who formerly spent this 



vitani quondam iucundissima benignitate duxisti, 
nunc in spe vitae aeternae mecum esse coepisti. 
Modo vero etiam de rebus humanis inter nos nulla 
dissensio est, qui eas rerum divinarum cognitione 
pensamus, ne plus eis tribuamus quani modus earum 
iustissime postulat, nee eas iniquo contemptu ab- 
ieiendo creatori earum domino rerum caelestium 
atque terrestrium faciamus iniuriam. Ita fit, ut 
inter quos amieos non est rerum consensio divinarum, 
nee humanarum esse plena possit ac vera. Necesse 
est enim, ut aliter quam oportet humana aestimet, 
qui divina contemnit, nee hominem recte diligere 
noverit, quisquis eum non diligit qui hominem fecit. 
Proinde non dico : " Nunc mihi plenius amicus es, 
qui eras ex parte," sed, quantum ratio indicat, 
nee ex parte eras, quando nee in rebus humanis 
mecum amicitiam veram tenebas. Rerum quippe 
divinarum, ex quibus recte humana pensantur, 
socius mihi nondum eras, sive quando nee ipse in 
eis eram sive posteaquam ego eas utcumque sapere 
coepi, a quibus tu longe abhorrebas. 
3 Nolo autem suscenseas, nee tibi videatur absurdum 
quod illo tempore, cum in vana mundi huius aestuarem, 
quamvis me multum amare videreris, nondum eras 
amicus meus, quando nee ipse mihi amicus eram sed 
potius inimicus. Diligebam quippe iniquitatem, et 


NO. 59 (Ep. CCLVIII) 

temporal life with me in the most charming kindness, 
have now begun to be Mith me in the hope of life eternal. 
Now, indeed, even on things human there is no 
disagreement between us, for we weigh them in the 
knowledge of things divine, so as not to concede to 
them more than their measure most justly demands, 
nor yet to slight their Creator, the Lord of things 
heavenly and earthly, by throwing them away with 
undeserved contempt. It is on these grounds that 
those friends who are not in agreement about things 
di\ine cannot be in complete and genuine agree- 
ment about things human either ; for of necessity 
one who has a contempt for things divine must hold a 
different opinion from what he should hold about 
things human, and anyone who does not love Him 
Who made man has not learned to love man aright. 
Hence I do not say that now you are more com- 
pletely my friend, instead of being, as you were 
before, only partially so ; but, as far as reason can 
show, you were not even partially so before, since the 
friendship you cherished with me then was not even 
genuine in things human : for, assuredly, you were 
not yet my comrade in those things divine by which 
the human things are rightly weighed. Partly it 
was that at that time I had no interest in them my- 
self, partly that after I began to have a taste (how- 
ever slight) for them, you still entertained for them 
a strong aversion. 

I do not want you to feel annoyed or to think it 3 
absurd that at that time, when I was aflame with 
desire for this Morld's empty show, you were not 
yet my friend, although you seemed to have a great 
affection for me ; for then I was not even a friend to 
myself, but an enemy instead. For I loved iniquity, 



vera, quia divina, sententia est, qua scriptum est in 
Sanctis libris : Qui autem diligit iniquitatem, odit 
animam suam. Cum ergo odissem animam meam, 
verum aniicum quo modo habere poteram ea mihi 
optantem, in quibus ipse me ipsum patiebar inimi- 
cum ? Cum vero benignitas et gratia salvatoris nostri 
inluxit mihi non secundum merita mea sed secundum 
ipsius misericordiam, tu ab hac alienus quo modo esse 
poteras amicus meus, qui, unde beatus esse possem, 
penitus ignorabas et non in hoc me amabas, in quo 
mihi ipse iam fueram utcumque amicus efFectus ? 

4 Gratias itaque domino, quod te mihi amicum 
facere tandem aliquando dignatur. Nunc enim 
nobis est " rerum humanarum et divinarum cum 
benivolentia et caritate consensio " in Christo lesu 
domino nostro, verissima pace nostra. Qui duobus 
praeceptis cuncta praeconia divina conclusit dicens : 
Diliges dominum deum tuum ex toto corde tuo et ex tota 
anima tua et ex tota mente tua, et : Diliges proximum 
tuum tamquam te ipsum ; in his duobus praeceptis tota 
lex pendet et prophetae. In illo primo rerum divinaruin, 
in hoc secundo rerum humanarum est cum benivo- 
lentia et caritate consensio. Haec duo si mecum 
firmissime teneas, amicitia nostra vera ac sempiterna 
erit et non solum invicem nos sed etiam ipsi domino 

5 Quod ut fiat, exhortor gravitatem et prudentiam 
tuam, ut iam etiam fidehum sacramenta percipias ; 

" Ps. X. 5, the Vulgate version, after the Septuagint 6 8^ 
dyairCov doLKiau ixLcrel Tir]u eavrov ^I'XW '^ the English reads, 
" But the wicked and him that loveth violence, his own soul 

* Titus iii. 4-5. " Cicero, Lael. vi. 20. 


NO. 59 (Ep. CCLVIII) 

and that saying that is ^^Titten in the Holy Books is 
true, because divine : " He that loveth iniquity 
hateth his own soul." ^ Hating then my ovm soul as 
I did. how could I have a true friend in one who wished 
me those things in which I was suffering myself to be 
my o^^^l enemy ? " But after that the kindness and 
love of God our Saviour " ^ dawned upon me, not 
according to my merits, " but according to His 
mercy," how could you, when you were a stranger 
to it, be my friend ? That which could give me 
happiness was quite unkno^^^l to you, nor did you 
love me in that wherein I had already been made a 
friend (however poor) unto myself. 

Thanks be therefore to the Lord, that He is good 4} 
enough to make you a friend of mine now at last ; 
for now we have that " agreement, with kindliness 
and affection, about things human and divine " ^ in 
Christ Jesus our Lord, Who is our real peace. In 
two commandments He has summed up all God's 
injunctions, saying : " Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and 
with all thy mind " and " thou shalt love thy neigh- 
bour as thyself ; on these two commandments hang 
all the law and the prophets." '^ In the first of these 
is " agreement, with kindliness and affection " about 
things divine, in the second, about things human. 
If you are ^\-ith me in holding these two command- 
ments ^\ith tenacity, our friendship will be genuine 
and everlasting and it will join us not merely to each 
other but also to the Lord Himself. 

That this may be so, I exhort you, my wise and 5 
honoured friend, now also to partake of the Sacra- 
ments available for those in full communion, for 
«^ Matt. xxii. 37, 39, 40, etc. 

2 K 497 


decet enim aetatem et congruit, quantum credo, 
moribus tuis. Memento quid mihi dixeris pro- 
fecturo, comicum quidem de Terentio recolens versum 
sed tamen aptissimum et utilissimum : 

nunc hie dies aliam vitam adfert, alios mores postulat. 
Quod si veraciter dixisti, sicut de te dubitare non 
debeo, iam profecto sic vivis ut sis dignus baptismo 
salutari remissionem praeteritorum accipere pecca- 
torum. Nam omnino non est, cui alteri praeter 
dominum Christum dicat genus humanum : 

te duce, si qua manent sceleris vestigia nostri, 
inrita perpetua solvent formidine terras. 

Quod ex Cymaeo, id est ex Sibyllino carmine se 
fassus est transtulisse Vergilius, quoniam fortassis 
etiam ilia vates aliquid de unico salvatore in spiritu 
audierat, quod necesse habuit confiteri. Haec tibi, 
domine merito suscipiende et in Christo dilectissime 
ac desiderantissime frater, sive pauca sive forsitan 
multa sint, utcumque occupatissimus scripsi. Tua 
sumere rescripta desidero et te nomen vel dedisse 
inter competentes vel daturum esse iam iamque 
cognoscere. Dominus deus, in quern credidisti, et 
hie et in futuro saeculo te conservet, domine merito 
suscipiende et in Christo dilectissime ac deside- 
rantissime frater. 

** From what follows it is clear that Augustine wanted 
his friend to be baptized. The habit of postponing baptism 
as long as possible was still very common ; Basil, Gregory 
of Nazianzus and Chrysostom, tfiough the sons of Christian 
mothers, received baptism only when of mature years, and 
Augustine himself was baptized only at the age of 33. 
Infant baptism was not the general rule until the following 
century. For fidelis in the sense of "a communicant" 
see p. 438. ^ Terence, Andr. 189. 

« Virgil, Buc. iv. 13-14, Rhoades's translation. 


NO. 59 (Ep. CCLVIII) 

this would become one of your age ° and be appro- 
priate, in my opinion, to your character. Remember 
your remark to me when I was on the point of leaving 
you ; you recalled that verse from one of Terence's 
comedies, but still, though from a comedy, very 
apposite and proper : 

To-day now introduces a different life 
and demands a different character.* 

If you were sincere in quoting it, as I have no right 
to doubt you were, you certainly are li\-ing now in 
such a way as to be worthy of receiving through 
the saving rite of baptism the remission of your past 
sins. There is none other at all, save the Lord 
Christ, to whom the human race can say : 

Under Thy guidance, whatso tracks remain 
Of our old wickedness, once done away, 
Shall free the earth from never-ceasing fear.** 

Virgil confessed to adopting this thought from the 
Cumaean, that is, the Sibylline, prophecy, and per- 
haps that seer too had had some message to her 
spirit about the only Saviour, which she had of 
necessity to confess. 

This, my lord deservedly honoured and brother 
cherished in Christ and longed for, be it little or 
be it perchance much, I have at any rate ^^Titten 
you, though in one way and another extremely en- 
grossed in business. I long to receive a reply from 
you and to learn at any moment that you have 
entered your name among the candidates for baptism 
or are on the point of doing so. May the Lord God, 
in Whom you have put your trust, keep you, my 
lord deservedly honoured and brother cherished 
in Christ and longed for, both here and in the 
world to come ! 



No. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 


1 Lectis litteris reverentiae tuae et earum perlatore 
interrogato, quae interroganda restabant, vehementer 
dolui sic te voluisse agere cum marito, ut aedificium 
continentiae, quod in eo iam construi coeperat, amissa 
perseverantia in adulterii ruinam miserabiliter labe- 
retur. Cum enim lugendus esset, si post conti- 
nentiam votam deo iamque actu ipso moribusque 
susceptam reverteretur ad coniugis carnem, quanto 
magis nunc demersus in interitum profundiorem 
lugendus est, qui tam abrupta dissolutione moechatur 
iratus tibi perniciosus sibi, tamquam in te acerbius 
saeviat, si ipse pereat ! Hoc autem tantum mali 
accidit, dum tu eius animum non qua debuisti 
moderatione tractasti, quia, etsi carnali consortio iam 
ex consensu vobis non miscebamini, in ceteris tamen 
rebus coniugali obsequio viro tuo mulier servire 
debuisti, praesertim cum ambo essetis membra 
corporis Christi. Et utique, si maritum infidelem 
fidelis habuisses, agere te conversatione subdita 
oportuit, ut eum domino lucrareris, sicut apostoli 

2 Omitto enim, quod ipsam continentiam, illo non- 

" Ecdicia is not otherwise known. 
" Eph. V. 30, etc. 


NO. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 

No. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 


After reading your Reverence's letter and asking 1 
its bearer the questions that remained to be asked, 
I have been very greatly grieved that you chose so to 
act towards your husband that the edifice of chastity 
which had already begun to be built up in him has, 
through his failure to persevere, toppled to the pitiful 
downfall of adultery. If after making to God a vow 
of chastity and already undertaking its observance in 
deed and in disposition, he had returned to his wife's 
body, his case would have been deplorable enough ; 
but how much more deplorable is it now that he has 
plunged to deeper destruction, with such precipitate 
collapse into adultery, furious towards you, in- 
jurious to himself, as if his rage at you would be 
the more violent if he accomplished his o"v\ti ruin ! 
This great mischief has come about because you 
failed to treat him with the moderation you ought, 
for although by agreement you were no longer 
coming together in carnal intercourse, yet in all other 
things you ought to have shoM-n the subjection of a 
-wife to your husband in compHance with the marriage- 
bond, especially as you were both members of the 
body of Christ.^ Indeed, if you, a behever, had had 
a husband who was an unbeliever, it would have 
been your duty to conduct yourself with submissive- 
ness, as the Apostles enjoined, so as to win him to 
the Lord. 

I leave out of account the fact that I know you 2 



dum volente, non secundum sanam doctrinam te 
suscepisse cognovi. Neque enim corporis tui debito 
fraudandus fuit, priusquam ad illud bonum quod 
superat pudicitiam coniugalem, tuae voluntati vo- 
luntas quoque eius accederet, nisi forte non legeras 
nee audieras vel non adtenderas apostolum dicentem : 
Bonum est homini mnlierem non tangere; propter fornica- 
tiones autem unusquisque suam uxorem haheat et una- 
qiiaeque suum virum haheat. Uxori vir dehitum reddat, 
similiter autem et uxor viro. Uxor non kabet potestatem 
corporis sui sed vir ; similiter autem et vir non kabet 
potestatem corporis sui sed mulier. Nolite fraudare 
invicem nisi ex consensu ad tempus, ut vacetis orationi, 
et iterum ad id ipsum estote, ne vos temptet Satanas 
propter incontinentiam vestram. Secundum haec verba 
apostolica, etiam si se ipse continere voluisset et tu 
noluisses, debitum tibi reddere cogeretur et illi deus 
inputaret continentiam, si non suae sed tuae cedens 
infirmitati, ne in adulterii damnabile flagitium 
caderes, maritalem tibi concubitum non negaret ; 
quanto magis te, quam magis subiectam esse de- 
cuerat, ne ipse quoque in adulterium diabolica 
temptatione traheretur, in reddendo huius modi 
debito voluntati eius obtemperare convenerat, cum 
tibi voluntatem continendi acceptaret deus, quia 
propterea non faceres, ne periret maritus ! 
3 Sed hoc, ut dixi, omitto, quoniam postea tibi 

« 1 Cor. vii. 1-5. 

NO. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 

took this chastity upon yourself before he consented, 
which was not according to sound doctrine, for he 
should not have been defrauded of the debt you owed 
him of your body, before his Mill too joined with yours 
in seeking that good which is above conjugal chastity. 
But perhaps you had not read or heard or meditated 
upon the apostle's words : " It is good for a man not 
to touch a woman ; nevertheless, to avoid fornication, 
let every man have his own \vife and let every woman 
have her own husband. Let the husband render unto 
the wife due benevolence ; and like^vise also the wife 
unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her 
own body, but the husband ; and likewise also the 
husband hath not power of his owti body, but the wife. 
Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with 
consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to 
prayer ; and come together again that Satan tempt 
you not because of your incontinency." " According 
to these words of the apostle's, even if he had 
desired to practise chastity and you had not, he 
would be bound to " render you due benevolence," 
and God would give him credit for chastity, since 
he would have been granting you marital inter- 
course through regard not for his o^\^l weakness 
but for yours, so as to prevent you from falling into 
the damnable sin of adultery. How much more 
fitting was it that you, who ought to have been 
in greater subjection, should give way to his desire 
in the rendering of this benevolence, so that he 
might not be led by the devil's tempting into 
adultery, since' your desire for chastity would have 
been acceptable to God, as you were unable to carry 
it out for fear of driving your husband to destruction ! 
I leave this fact, as I said, out of account, because 



nolenti sibi ad reddenda coniugalia debita con- 
sentire ad eadem continentiae pacta ipse consensit 
et tecum continentissime diu vixit suoque con- 
sensu a peccato illo, quo ei debitum carnis negabas, 
ipse te absohit. Non ergo iam in tua causa ista 
vertitur quaestio, utrum redire debeas ad concubitum 
viri. Quod enim deo pari consensu ambo voveratis, 
perseveranter usque in finem reddere ambo de- 
buistis, a quo proposito si lapsus est ille, tu saltern 
constantissime persevera. Quod te non exhortarer 
nisi quia tibi ad hoc ipse consenserat. Nam si 
numquam tenuisses eius adsensum, numerus te nullus 
defendisset annorum, sed post quantum libet tempus 
me consuluisses, nihil tibi aliud responderem nisi 
quod ait apostolus : Uxor no?i hahet potestatem corporis 
sui sed vir. De qua potestate sic tibi iam permiserat 
continentiam, ut eam tecum et ipse susciperet. 
4 Sed illud est quod minus te observasse contristor, 
quia tanto humilius et oboedientius ei obsequi in 
domestica conversatione debuisti, quanto ille re- 
ligiosius tibi rem tam magnam etiam imitando con- 
cesserat. Non enim quia pariter temperabatis a 
commixtione carnali, ideo tuus maritus esse desti- 
terat ; immo vero tanto sanctius inter vos coniuges 
manebatis, quanto sanctiora concorditer placita 
servabatis. Nihil ergo de tua veste, nihil de auro 

" 1 Cor. vii. 4. 

NO. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 

after you had refused to consent to render him this 
conjugal benevolence he consented to the same bond 
of continence and lived for a long time in the greatest 
continence with you ; and by consenting he absolved 
you from your sin in denying him carnal benevolence. 
So now in this problem of yours the question is not 
involved whether you ought to return to intercourse 
with your husband ; for what you both with one 
consent vowed unto God, you both ought to have 
persevered unto the end in paying ; even if he has 
fallen away from your resolution, do you at least 
persevere in it with the utmost fidelity. I should not 
be urging you to this course unless for the fact that 
he gave you his consent to that plan ; for if you had 
never obtained his assent, no lapse of years would 
excuse you, but had you consulted me, however long 
afterwards, I should have made you no other answer 
than the saying of the apostle : " The wife hath not 
power of her own body, but the husband." " By this 
power of his he had already allowed you to practise 
continence and undertook to practise it with you 

But this is the point which I am grieved you did 4 
not observe more carefully : you were bound to give 
way to him in your private conduct with all the 
greater humility and submission, since he had so 
devotedly followed your example and conceded you 
so much. For he had not ceased to be your husband 
because you had both agreed to abstain from carnal 
intercourse ; instead of that, the tie that bound you 
to each other as husband and wife remained all the 
more holy because of the greater holiness of the 
resolutions you were with one accord carrying out. 
You had no right, therefore, to do anything with 



vel argento vel quacumque pecunia, rebus ullis 
terrenis tuis, sine arbitrio eius facere debuisti, 
ne scandalizares hominem qui deo tecum maiora 
voverat et ab eo quod de tua carne licita potestate 
posset exigere, se eontinenter abstinuerat. 
5 Denique factum est ut \anculum continentiae, 
quo se dilectus innexuerat, contemptus abrumperet 
et iratus tibi non parceret sibi. Sicut enim mihi 
rettulit perlator epistulae tuae, cum cognovisset 
quod omnia vel paene omnia quae habebas, nescio 
quibus duobus transeuntibus monachis tamquam 
pauperibus eroganda donaveris, tunc ille detestans 
eos tecum et non dei servos sed domus alienae 
penetratores et tuos captivatores et depraedatores 
putans, tam sanctam sarcinam quam tecum subierat, 
indignatus abiecit. Infirmus enim erat et ideo tibi, 
quae in communi proposito fortior videbaris, non erat 
praesumptione turbandus sed dilectione portandus, 
quia, etiamsi ad ipsas elemosynas largius faciendas 
forte pigrius movebatur, posset et ista condiscere, 
si tuis inopinatis non feriretur expensis, sed ex- 
pectatis invitaretur obsequiis, ut etiam hoc quod 

" These were probably wandering monks, who were 
numerous in Africa ; Augustine describes them in De 
Opere Monachorum 28. 36 : " tam multos hypocritas sub 
habitu monachorum usquequaque dispersit fdiabolus], 
circumeuntes provincias, nusquam missos, nusquam fixos, 
nusquam stantes, nusquam sedentes. AHi membra marty- 
rum, si tamen martyrum, venditant ; ahi fimbrias et phy- 
lacteria sua magnificant ; ahi parentes vel consanguineos 
suos in ilia vel in ilia regione se audisse vivere et ad eos 
pergere mentiuntur ; et omnes petunt, omnes exigunt, 
aut sumptus egestosae egestatis, aut simulatae pretium 

NO. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 

your garments, anything ^\'ith your gold or silver or 
money or with any of your earthly property, without 
his approval, for fear of scandalizing a man who had 
joined you in vo'v\dng more important things to God 
and had continently refrained from what he had 
lawful authority to demand from your body. 

Finally, it came about that when scorned he burst 5 
the bond of continence with which he had girt himself 
when loved, and from anger with you, did not hesitate 
to harm himself. For, as the bearer of your letter in- 
formed me, when he learned that you had given away 
everything, or nearly everything, that you possessed 
to two passing monks," of some kind or other, as if it 
were alms you were giving to the poor, then he cursed 
them and you together, and thinking that they were 
the kind of men who " creep into other people's 
houses," and not servants of God, and that they 
had " led you captive " ^ and plundered you, he 
was provoked to throw oif the holy obligation he had 
undertaken along with you. For he was weak, and 
therefore, since you seemed the stronger in your com- 
mon resolution, he required to be supported by your 
love and not disquieted by your obstinacy ; even if he 
happened to be slower in being moved to greater 
generosity in giving those alms, he could have learned 
even that from you, had he not been exasperated by 
your unlooked-for extravagance, but won over to it 
by the comphance he expected from you ; so even this 

sanctitatis." They are the monks referred to in the Bene- 
dictine Rule as gyrovagi, the worst class of monks, " qui 
tota vita sua per diversas provincias ternis aut quaternis 
diebus per diversorum cellas hospitantur, semper vagi et 
numquam stabiles et propriis voluptatibus et gulae illecebris 
^ 2 Tim. iii. 6. 



temere sola fecisti, multo consultius dilectione con- 
cordi multoque ordinatius et honestius ambo faceretis, 
nee blasphemarentur servi dei, si tamen hoe fuerunt 
qui marito absente atque nesciente ab ignota muliere 
et aliena uxore tanta sumpserunt, et laudaretur deus 
in operibus vestris, quorum esset tarn fida societas, 
ut a vobis communiter teneretur non solum summa 
castitas verum etiam gloriosa paupertas. 
6 Nunc autem inconsiderata festinatione adtende 
quid feceris. Ut enim de illis monachis, a quibus te 
ipse non aedificatam sed spoliatam esse conqueritur, 
ego bene sentiam nee homini prae ira turbatum 
oculum habenti contra dei fortasse famulos facile 
consentiam, numquid tantum bonum est quod 
pauperum carnem largioribus elemosynis refecisti, 
quantum malum est quod viri tui mentem a tam bono 
proposito subruisti ? An cuiusquam tibi temporalis 
salus carior esse debuerat quam huius aeterna ? 
Nonne si ampliorem misericordiam cogitans ideo 
pauperibus res tuas erogare difFerres, ne scandalizatus 
maritus tuus deo periret, uberiores tibi deus ele- 
mosynas inputaret ? Proinde, si recolis quid ad- 
quisiveras, quando lucrata fueras virum tuum ut 
tecum Christo sanctiore castitate serviret, intellege, 
per illas elemosynas tuas quibus cor eius eversum 

'^ Ps. vi. 8, " turbatus est prae ira oculus meus " (Vulgate : 
" turbatus est a furore . . ."j 

NO. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 

that you did of yourself so indiscreetly, you would 
in harmonious affection have done together with 
much more deliberation, much more orderhness and 
more decency, and no blasphemy would have been 
directed at servants of God (if that is what those men 
really were, who accepted such large sums from 
a woman they did not know, another man's wife, in 
the absence of her husband and without his know- 
ledge) and praise would have arisen to God from 
your works. In them your companionship w'ould 
have been so trustful that you would jointly have 
embraced not only the strictest chastity, but also 
glorious poverty. 

Now, however, by your ill-advised haste see what 6 
you have done. For although I were to think the 
best about those monks by w^hom he complains you 
were not edified but robbed, and were not readily 
to take the part of a man w^hose eye was confused 
by anger " against those who were perhaps God's 
servants, is the good you have done in refreshing the 
bodies of the poor by your over-generous alms as 
great as the evil you have done in subverting 
your husband's mind from his virtuous resolution ? 
Or ought anyone's temporal welfare to have been 
more precious to you than his eternal welfare ? 
Would not God have credited you with still richer 
alms, if, meditating a \vider sphere of mercy, you 
had postponed the distribution of your wealth to 
the poor in order to avoid putting a stumbling-block 
in your husband's w^ay and making him die to God ? 
So, if you recall what you gained when you won your 
husband to the service of Christ with you in holier 
chastity, you can understand how much weightier 
is the loss with which you have been smitten 



est, quanto graviore damno percussa fueris, quam 
sunt ilia lucra quae caelestia cogitabas. Si enim 
habet ibi magnum locum panis fractus esurienti, 
quantum locum ibi credenda est habere misericordia 
qua homo eripitur diabolo, tamquam leoni rugienti 
et quern devoret inquirenti ! 

7 Neque hoc ita dicimus, ut, si quisquam scandali- 
zatus fuerit de bonis operibus nostris, ab eis desisten- 
dum putemus ; sed alia causa est alienarum aha 
necessariarum in societate aliqua personarum, alia 
fidelis alia infidelis, aha parentum erga fihos aha 
fihorum erga parentes, alia postremo ea quae in his 
rebus vel maxime intuenda est, viri et uxoris, ubi 
mulierem coniugatam non hcet dicere : " Facio quod 
volo de meo," cum et ipsa non sit sua sed capitis 
sui, hoc est viri sui. Nam sic quaedam, ut com- 
memorat apostolus Petrus, mulieres sanctae, quae in 
deum sperahajit, ornahayit se subiectae suis viris, sicut 
Sarra obsequehatur Abrahae dominum eum vocans, cuius , 
inquit, factae estis Jiliae,, cum ad Christianas, non ad 
ludaeas feminas loqueretur. 

8 Quid autem mirum, si pater communem fihum 
nolebat huius vitae sustentaculis a matre nudari, 
ignorans quid sectaturus esset, cum in aetate 
grandiuscula esse coepisset, utrum monachi pro- 
fessionem an ecclesiasticum ministerium an con- 
iugalis necessitudinis vinculum ? Quamvis enim ad 
meliora excitandi et erudiendi sint filii sanctorum, 

" Isai. Iviii. 7. " 1 Pet. v. 8. 

' Eph. V. 23. " 1 Pet. iii. 5-6. 


NO. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 

through your almsgiving, which overturned his heart, 
than is the gain which you thought you were laying 
up in heaven. For if the breaking of bread for the 
hungry " has a great place there, how great must we 
believe to be there the place of the compassion by 
which a man is snatched from the devil, " as a roar- 
ing lion seeking Mhom he may devour " ^ ! 

Now, by this I do not mean that if our good 7 
works put a stumbling-block in anyone's way, we 
should imagine that we must cease from themi ; but 
the case of strangers differs from that of those bound 
to us by any tie : that of the believer differs from 
that of the unbeliever, that of parents towards their 
children from that of children towards their parents, 
and finally the case (which in the present circum- 
stances must be particularly considered) of a husband 
and a wife, where the married woman has no right 
to say, " I shall do what I like with what is my own." 
She is not her own, but belongs to her head, that is, 
her husband,^ "for after this manner," as the apostle 
Peter reminds us,^ " the holy women also, who trusted 
in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto 
their own husbands, even as Sara obeyed Abraham, 
calling him lord ; whose daughters," he says, though 
he was speaking to Christian not to Jewish women, 
" ye have become." 

And was it surprising that a father refused to 8 
have the son of both of you stripped by his mother 
of the means of supporting this life, when he did not 
know what career he would pursue when he came to 
be a little older, whether he would undertake the 
vows of a monk or service in the Church or the tie 
of marriage relations ? For although the children 
of holy parents should be prompted and trained for 



ufiusqidsqtie tamen proprium donum habet a deo alius 
sic, alius autem sic, nisi forte talia prospiciens et 
praecavens reprehendendus est pater, cum beatus 
apostolus dicat : Qiiisqids autem suis et maxime 
domesticis non providet, fidem denegat et est injldeli 
deterior. Cum vero de faciendis ipsis elemosynis 
loqueretur, ait : Non ut aliis refectio, vobis autem 
angustia. Pariter ergo consilium de omnibus habere- 
tis, pariter moderaremini quid thesaurizandum esset 
in caelo, quid ad vitae huius sufficientiam vobis et 
vestris vestroque filio relinquendum, ne aliis esset 
refectio, vobis autem angustia. Et in his disponendis 
atque faciendis si quid tibi forte melius videretur, 
suggereres viro reverenter eiusdemque auctoritatem 
tamquam tui capitis sequereris oboedienter, ut 
omnes qui sanum sapiunt, ad quos posset hoc bonum 
vestrum fama perferre, de domus vestrae fructu ac 
pace gauderent, et adversarius revereretur, nihil 
habens de vobis dicere pravi. 

Porro si de faciendis elemosynis et in pauperes 
inpendendis rebus tuis, de quo bono opere et magno 
tam evidentia praecepta sunt domini, cum viro tuo 
fideli et tecum sancta continentiae pacta servante 
consilium communicare deberes eiusdemque non 
spernere voluntatem, quanto magis de habitu atque 
vestitu nihil tibi praeter eius arbitrium mutandum 
vel usurpandum fuit, unde nihil divinitus legimus 

« 1 Cor. vii. 7. ^ 1 Tim. v. 8. 

' 2 Cor. viii. 13, where the Vulgate reads " non ut aliis sit 
remissio, vobis autem tribulatio." 

NO. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 

better things, still " every man hath his proper gift 
of God, one after this manner, and another after 
that "" ; unless indeed a father is to be blamed who 
exercises foresight and caution about such things, 
though the apostle says, " But if any provide not 
for his own, and specially for those of his 0'^^^l house, 
he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel."^ 
But when he speaks of almsgiving, he says, " I 
mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened. " ^' 
Together, you should deliberate on all matters, 
together you should apportion what treasure you 
should lay up in heaven and what you should leave as 
a sufficiency in this life for yourselves and your house- 
hold and your son, so that " other men " should 
not " be eased and ye burdened." And in the 
ordering and doing of this, if any better plan hap- 
pened to occur to you, you should have suggested it 
to your husband with deference and with obedience 
submitted to his authority as that of your head. In 
this way all sensible people to whom the report 
could come of this good thing in you would rejoice 
at the fruitfulness and peace of your household, 
and your adversary would be put to shame, having 
nothing to say about you that was amiss. 

Further, if in the matter of alms-giving and be- 9 
stowing your property upon the poor — a good work 
and important, about which the Lord has given such 
unmistakable commandments — it was your duty to 
take common counsel A\-ith your husband, a Christian 
and observing ■s\ith you the holy vow of continence, 
and not to scorn his wishes, how much more 
necessary was it for you, not to change or to 
adopt against his will anything in the way of 
attire or dress — a thing about which there are 
2 L 513 


imperatum ! Scriptum est quidem mulieres esse debere 
in habitu ordinate, aurique circumpositio et intortio 
crinium et cetera huius modi, quae vel ad inanem 
pompam vel ad inlecebram formae adhiberi solent, 
merito reprehensa sunt. Sed est quidam pro modulo 
personae habitus matronalis a \dduali veste dis- 
tinctus, qui potest fidelibus coniugatis salva religionis 
observantia convenire. Hunc te maritus si deponere 
noluit, ne te velut viduam illo vivente iactares, puto 
quia non fuerat in hac re usque ad dissensionis 
scandalum perducendus magis inoboedientiae male 
quam ullius abstinentiae bono. Quid est enim ab- 
surdius quam mulierem de humili veste \dro superbire, 
cui te potius expediret obtemperare candidis moribus 
quam nigellis vestibus repugnare, quia etsi te in- 
dumentum monachae delectabat, etiam hoc gratius 
posset marito observato exoratoque sumi quam illo 
inconsulto contemptoque praesumi ? Quod si om- 
nino non sineret, quid tuo proposito deperiret ? 
Absit ut hinc displiceres deo, quod coniuge tuo 

° 1 Tim. ii. 9 ; 1 Pet. iii. 3. 

^ Two orders of widows are to be discriminated: (1) those 
who were maintained by the Church and who gave a return 
of either prayer or good works {cf. Stat. Eccl. Antlq. 103 
"viduae quae stipendiis ecclesiae sustentantur tam assiduae 
in Dei opere esse debent ut et meritis et orationibus suis 
ecclesiam adjuvent"); (2) a more honourable order, not 
confined to those over 60 or in need of support, who gained 
merit from abstaining from a second marriage. The widows 
who had taken this vow were distinguished by a special 
dress (" vestis fuscior," Jerome, Ep. 38, 3), and the distinction 
seems to have been much coveted. This class of widows 


NO. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 

no divine orders for us to read. It is, indeed, 
written that women should have " modest apparel," 
and " the wearing of gold " and " the broidering 
of the hair " '^ and other suchlike things, usually 
employed either for empty show or to give allurement 
to the body, are deservedly condemned. But there 
is a kind of matronly dress, befitting a person's 
station, distinct from the garments of a widow, which 
may become Christian wives without affronting 
Christian decorum. If your husband did not wish you 
to put that aside, so that you should not vaunt yourself 
as a widoAV while he was still alive, ^ I am of opinion 
that on this point he should not have been driven to 
the scandal of quarrelling with you, for the harm done 
by your disobedience was greater than the good 
you did by any of your self-repression. For what is 
more preposterous than a wife's domineering over 
her husband about a humble garment, when it would 
be more becoming in you to yield him compliance in 
shining deeds than to contend ^\ith him about 
gloomy clothes ? Even if a nun's dress pleased you, 
you would have been happier in assuming even it 
when you had sho^^^l due regard for your husband 
and received his permission, than in presuming to 
don that other, without asking his advice or paying 
him any respect. And if he altogether refused to 
alio v.- it, wherein would your resolution have been the 
loser ? Far be it from us to imagine you would dis- 

performed duties much like deaconesses, and by the eighth 
century they were compelled to leave their private houses 
and live in communities. Eventually, too, the order of 
widows was confused with that of deaconesses, and the 
ceremony of assuming widow's dress was performed before 
the bishop, instead of remaining simply a private act of the 
widow herself. 



nondum defuncto non induereris sicut Anna, sed 
sicut Susanna. 
10 Neque enim et ille qui tecum iam coeperat 
custodire tarn magnum continentiae bonum, etiamsi 
coniugale, non viduale, voluisset ut acciperes indu- 
mentum, ad indecentem quoque te compulisset 
ornatum, quo etsi aliqua dura condicione cogereris, 
posses habere in superbo cultu cor humile. Nempe 
apud patres Esther ilia regina deum timens, deum 
colens, 'deo subdita, marito regi alienigenae non 
eundem secum colenti deum tamen subiecta 
serviebat. Quae cum extremo periculo non suo 
tantum sed etiam gentis suae, qui tunc erat 
populus dei, domino prosterneretur orando, in ipsa 
oratione sua dixit ita sibi esse ornatum regium sicut 
pannum menstrualem ; et ita orantem confestim 
exaudivit, qui cordis i?ispector eam verum dicere 
scivit. Et utique maritum habebat multarum 
mulierum virum et deorum alienorum falsorumque 
cultorem. Tu autem, si et ille in proposito quod 
tecum susceperat, perduraret nee a te ofFensus in 
flagitium corruisset, maritum habebas non solum 
fidelem et verum deum tecum colentem sed etiam 
continentem, qui procul dubio propositi vestri non 

" i.e. By wearing a matron's dress instead of a widow's 
dress. "Anna" is the prophetess of S. Luke ii. 36-38, one 
of the godly remnant of Israel that was looking for the 
coming of the Messiah ; she is taken by the Fathers as a proto- 
type of true and holy widowhood. The story of Susanna is 
told in the apocryphal part of Daniel, ch. xiii ; she is the 

NO. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 

please God by wearing, while your husband was still 
alive, not the dress of Anna, but of Susanna." 

Nor even if he had \vished you to put on the 10 
dress of a matron and not of a Vvidow, would he who 
had already begun with you to observe the great 
virtue of continence, have been driving you also to 
adopt adornment that was unbecoming ; even had 
he compelled you to it by some galling condition, 
you could have had a humble heart beneath your 
haughty finery. Surely, in the time of the patriarchs. 
Queen Esther feared God, worshipped God and 
obeyed God, and yet in submission served the foreign 
king, her husband, who did not worship the same 
God as she did. At a time of the utmost danger, 
not to herself alone but to her race as well, Avho were 
then God's chosen people, she prostrated herself 
before God in prayer, and said in her prayer that 
she regarded her royal adornment " as a menstruous 
rag " ^ ; and so her prayer was immediately heard 
and answered by Him " that pondereth the heart," «^ 
Who knew that she was speaking the truth. And 
yet her husband was a man with many wives and 
worshipped strange, false gods. But you, if your 
husband had persevered in the resolution he had 
undertaken with you and had not fallen into sin on 
provocation from you, you had a husband who was 
not only a believer and a worshipper with you of 
the true God, but was also practising continence, 
and who undoubtedly, recollecting your common 

type of the chaste matron. See, for example, St. Ambrose's 
praises of Susanna, Anna and the Virgin Mother, as types 
of chastity in the wife, the widow and the virgin {De Vid. 4. 

* Esther xiv. 16. * Prov. xxiv. 12. 



inmemor, etsi te ad coniugalia cogeret indumenta, 
ad superba tamen ornamenta non cogeret. 
1 Haec tibi scripsi, quoniam me consulendum pu- 
tasti, non ut tuum rectum institutum sermone meo 
frangerem, sed quod te inordinate et incaute agente 
viri tui factum dolerem. De cuius reparatione debes 
vehementissime cogitare, si vere ad Christum vis 
pertinere. Indue itaque humilitatem mentis, et 
ut te deus conservet perseverantem, noli maritum 
contemnere pereuntem. Funde pro illo pias et 
assiduas orationes, sacrifica lacrimas tamquam vulne- 
rati sanguinem cordis et scribe ad eum satisfactionem, 
petens veniam, quia in eum' peccasti, quod praeter 
eius consilium et voluntatem de rebus tuis fecisti 
quod faciendum putasti, non ut te paeniteat tribuisse 
pauperibus sed eum boni tui operis participem et 
moderatorem habere noluisse. Promitte de cetero 
in adiutorio domini, si et ilium suae turpitudinis 
paenituerit et continentiam quam deseruit, re- 
petiverit, te illi, sicut decet, in omnibus servituram, 
ne forte, ut ait apostolus, det illi deus paenitentiam et 
resipiscat de diaholi laqueis, a quo captivus tenetur 
secundum ipsius voluntatem. Filium autem vestrum, 
quoniam de legitimis eum et honestis nuptiis sus- 
cepisti, magis in patris quam in tua esse potestate 
quis nesciat ? Et ideo ei negari non potest, ubicum- 
que ilium esse cognoverit et iure poposcerit ; ac per 
hoc, ut secundum tuam voluntatem in dei possit 

« 2 Tim. ii. 2o-:>Q. 

NO. 60 (Ep. CCLXII) 

resolution, even if he did compel you to wear matronly 
dress, would nevertheless not have compelled you to 
wear proud ornaments. 

I have written this to you, since you thought fit to 11 
ask my advice, not in order to undermine your 
righteous design by any words from me, but because 
I am grieved at what your husband has done as 
a result of your irregular and imprudent conduct. 
It is your duty most earnestly to think how he may 
be restored, if your wdsh to belong to Christ is sincere. 
Put on therefore humility of mind, and in order that 
God may keep you while you persevere, do not you 
scorn your husband while he perishes. Pour forth 
for him devoted and constant prayers ; offer the 
sacrifice of tears as though they v.ere the blood of a 
stricken heart, and write him an apology, begging his 
forgiveness for that you sinned against him in doing 
with your property what you thought should be 
done, mthout asking his advice and consent ; not 
that you should repent of having given to the poor, 
but of having refused to let your husband share and 
direct your good deeds. Promise for the future, with 
the help of the Lord, that, if he repents of his evil con- 
duct and returns to the continence he had abandoned, 
you will be subject to him, as it is fitting you should 
be, in all things, " if peradventure God will give him 
repentance and that he may recover himself out of 
the snare of the devil, by whom he is taken captive 
at his will. ' ' " And as for your son, who does not know 
that, since you got him in lawful and honourable wed- 
lock, his father has greater authority over him than 
you have ? So he cannot be denied him, when he 
learns his whereabouts and claims him by law. 
Hence, in order that he may be nurtured and 



nutriri et erudiri sapientia, necessaria illi est etiam 
vestra concordia. 

No. 61 (Ep. CCLXVIII) 


Notissima mini et probatissima devotio sanctitatis 
vestrae in domino nostro lesu Christo fiduciam dedit, 
ut etiam absens praesumerem mide praesens gaud ere 
consuevi, qui semper spiritu vobiscum sum, non 
solum quia gratia domini nostri lesu Christi tantae 
suavitatis flagrare non cessat, sed etiam quia me 
ipsum, qui vobis in evangelio servio, angustiam pati 
non permittitis. Cum enim frater noster Fascius debito 
decem et septem solidorum ab opinatoribus urgeretur 
ut redderet, quod ad praesens unde explicaret 
se, non inveniebat, ne corporalem pateretur iniuriam 
ad auxilium sanctae ecclesiae convolavit. Illi etiam 
exactoresjcum proficisci cogerenturet ideo dilationem 
dare non possent, gravissimis me querelis onera- 
verunt, ita ut eis ilium traderem aut, quod sibi deberi 
ostendebant, unde acciperent, providerem. Cumque 
obtulissem Fascio ut vestram sanctitatem de necessi- 

" In this letter to his congregation at Hippo, Augustine 
appeals for a collection to enable him to repay to Mace- 
donius a debt he had incurred to relieve their townsman 
and fellow-Christian, Fascius, who being pressed by creditors, 
took sanctuary in the church. By a law of Theodosius 
{Cod. Theod. ix. 45. 1-3) Fascius was liable to seizure and 
removal, unless the bishop discharged the debt. This 
Augustine did by borrowing, but as Fascius has not repaid 
him, he appeals for their help. 

NO. 60 (Ep. CCLXII)— NO. 61 (Ep. CCLXVIII) 

trained, as you would have him, in the -vWsdom of 
God, it is essential for him too that you both should 
be in harmony. 

No. 61 (Ep. CCLXVIII) 


Your devotion, my holy brethren, to our Lord Jesus 1 
Christ, well known to me and often tested, has g-iven 
me, though absent, reason to place reliance in that 
wherein I have been w^ont to rejoice when present : 
in spirit I am always with you, not only because the 
great sweetness of the grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ ever continueth its fragrance, but also be- 
cause you do not suffer me, who am your servant 
in the Gospel, to endure any hardship. Now, our 
brother Fascius was being pressed for payment of 
a debt of seventeen solidi ^ by the tribute-gatherers 
and found for the moment no way of escape from 
his entanglement ; wherefore, so as not to suffer 
bodily injury, he fled to the protection of Holy 
Church.^ And as those tax-collectors were com- 
pelled to take their departure and so were unable to 
grant him a respite, they heaped on me the most 
grievous abuse, declaring that I ought to hand him 
over to them or to furnish the means wherefrom 
they could receive the debt which they proved was 
owing them. I made the offer to Fascius to speak to 

^ This amounted to about £16. 
" For sanctuary see p. 209. 



tatibus eius adloquerer, pudore deterritus, ne facerem 
deprecatus est. Ita ego niaiore necessitate coartatus 
a fratre nostro Macedonio decern et septem solidos 
accepi, quos in causam eius continue dedi, promittente 
illo quod ad certum diem cum eis reddendis posset 
occurrere, et consentiente, ut si non posset occurrere, 
sermo de illo fieret ad vestram misericordiam, quam 
fraternam fratribus exhibere consuestis. 
2 Nunc ergo, quoniam absens est, restat ut sub- 
veniatis non illi, quern nemo compellat absentem, 
sed pollicitationi meae, cuius existimatio vobis 
semper est praesens. lam enim dies ad quern se 
promiserat occursurum, transactus est, et ego ei qui 
solidos suos fidei meae commisit, quid respondeam, 
non invenio, nisi ut faciam quod me facturum esse 
promisi. Sed quoniam non sum de hac re com- 
monitus, ut die pentecostes, quando aderat maior 
vestra frequentia, sermonem inde facerem, peto ut 
has litteras pro lingua mea praesente habere digne- 
mini admonente vos et exhortante in cordibus vestris 
deo et domino nostro, cui credidistis, qui numquam 
discedit a nobis timentibus et honorantibus nomen 
suum, in quo vobis et nos semper coniuncti sumus, 
quamvis corpore a vobis profecti esse videamur, qui 
vobis de isto bonorum operum semine messem vitae 
aeternae promittit, dicente apostolo : Bonum autem 
facieiites 7ion dejiciamus; tempore enim suo metemus 
infaiigabiles. Itaque, dum tempus hahemus, operemur 
honum ad omnes, maxime autem ad domesticos Jidei. 

" This is probably a citizen of Hippo and a member of 
Augustine's church, and not the Macedonius who was 
vicar of Africa in 414, when he was entrusted with the 
duty of enforcing the imperial decrees against the recusant 
Donatists. Several of the letters exchanged between him 
and Augustine are extant {Epp. cliii.-clv.j. 

NO. 61 (Ep. CCLXVIII) 

you, holy brethren, about his needs, but, deterred by 
shame, he implored me not to do it. So I myself, 
under pressure of greater needs, accepted seventeen 
solidi from our brother Macedonius," and these I 
immediately handed over on his behoof, while he 
promised that on a certain day he could meet the 
repayment, and agreed that if he was not able to 
meet it, an appeal should be made for him to that 
compassion of yours, which it is your habit to dis- 
play as a brotherly feeling for our brethren. 

Wherefore, now that he is absent, it remains for 2 
you to give your backing, not to him, for no one 
can apply compulsion to him in his absence, but 
to my promise, for with you my good name and 
fame are always present. For already the day on 
which he promised he would meet the debt, is past 
and gone, and I find no reply to make to him who 
gave me the amount on trust, save to do what I 
promised I would do. But since I had no informa- 
tion about this matter on the day of Pentecost, so 
that I might have made an appeal when the crowd 
at Church was greater than usual, I ask you to be 
good enough to take this letter as my voice, while in 
your hearts Our Lord and God speaks warning and 
exhortation ; in Him you have put your trust, and 
He never leaves us so long as we fear and honour His 
name ; in Him I too am united with you, although 
in body I seem to have departed from you ; from 
Him comes the promise of the harvest of eternal life 
from this seed of good works, for the apostle says : 
" And let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due 
season we shall reap if we faint not. As we there- 
fore have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, 
especially unto them who are of the household of 



Quoniam ergo domesticus fidei est, Christianus 
fidelis, catholicus frater noster, pro cuius supplenda 
necessitate vos peto ut faciatis quod dominus 
imperat, sine tristitia, sine murmuratione et cum 
laetitia et hilaritate facite ; deo enim creditis non 
homini, quia ille promittit vos nihil eorum quae 
misericorditer facitis, perdituros, sed in illo die cum 
usuris inmortalibus recepturos. Et quoniam ipse 
apostolus dicit : Hoc autem dico : Qui parce seminal, 
parce et metet, intellegere debetis tempus esse, ut 
donum vitae aeternae, cum adliuc in ista vita sumus, 
festinanter et alacriter comparemus, quia, cum finis 
saeculi venerit, non dabitur nisi eis qui per fidem 
sibi hoc emerunt, antequam videre potuissent. 
3 Scripsi etiam presbyteris, ut, si quid minus fuerit 
post conlationem sanctitatis vestrae, compleant ex 
eo quod habet ecclesia, dum tamen vos, secundum 
quod placet, hilariter ofFeratis, quia sive de vestro 
sive de ecclesia detur, omnia dei sunt, et devotio 
magis vestra dulcior erit thesauris ecclesiae, sicut 
apostolus dicit : Xo7i quia quaero datum, sed requiro 
fructum. Laetificate ergo cor meum, quia de fruc- 
tibus vestris gaudere cupio ; vos enim estis arbores 
dei, quas assiduis imbribus etiam per nostrum mini- 
sterium rigare dignatur. Tueatur vos dominus ab 

" Gal. vi. 9-10. & Matt. xxv. 34-40. 

"= 2 Cor. ix. 6. " Phil. iv. 17. 

* The mention of fruits suggests to him the trees that 
bring forth good fruits (Matt. iii. 10, etc.), and he immedi- 
ately applies the Scriptural idea to those he is addressing 
— a frequent device with him. Cf. Ep. xxi. 5 " arbores 
vivae " (p. 38 above) ; Ep. Ixxiv. 2 " fingite vos ante tempus 
messis fugere permixta zizania, quia vos estis Sola zizania " ; 
Serm. 11. 1 " Deus . . . excolens ecclesiam suam velut 
agrum suum, quaerens fructum de arboribus suis " ; 72. 1 

NO. 61 (Ep. CCLXVIII) 

faith." ^ Since then he is of the household of faith, 
a member of the Christian Chm-ch, a Catholic brother 
of our owTi, for the satisfaction of whose needs I ask 
you to do \yhat the Lord bids you do, do it without 
grudging, without complaint, and \\\x\i gladness and 
cheerfulness ; for your trust is in God, not in man, 
and He has promised that you will lose nothing of 
the things you do in mercy, but will receive 
them on that day with eternal usury. ^ And since the 
apostle himself says, " But this I say, He which 
soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly," '^ you 
should understand that now is the time for us, while 
we are still in this life, to purchase ^^-ith haste and 
cheerfulness the gift of eternal life ; for w^hen the 
end of the world comes, it will be given only to those 
who through faith have bought it for themselves 
before it was possible for them to see it. 

I have \\Titten to the priests as well that, if there 3 
be any deficiency after the offering made by you, 
my holy friends, they should make it up from the 
Church's store, provided that you have all made 
cheerful offering, each man as he v.-ill ; for v/hether 
the gift come from you or from the Church, it is all 
God's, yet your devotedness A\ill be far more accept- 
able than the treasures of the Church, as the apostle 
says, " Not because I desire a gift, but I desire that 
fruit may abound." ^ Gladden my heart, then, for I 
wish to have joy of your fruits ; for you are God's 
trees which even through my ministry He deigns to 
water -s^ith unceasing showers.^ ^^ay the Lord keep 

" admonuit nos Dominus ut bonae arbores simus " ; 36. 4. 
" arboribiis bonis et fidelibus banc adlocutionem praebet 
apostokis " ; 12. 2 " quisquis igitur homo hodie bonus est, 
id est, arbor bona ..." 



omni malo et hie et in futuro saeculo, domini 
dilectissimi et desiderantissimi fratres. 

No. 62 (Ep. CCLXIX) 


Tanta est sollemnitas ad quam me afFectus tuae 
fraternitatis invitat, ut corpusculuni nieum ad vos 
traheret voluntas, nisi teneret infirmitas. Possem 
venire, si hiems non esset ; possem hiemem con- 
temnere, si iuvenis essem ; aut enim ferret rigorem 
temporis fervor aetatis aut temperaret frigus aetatis 
fervor aestatis. Nunc hieme iter tam prolixum non 
suffero cum annositate algida, quam mecum fero, 
domine beatissime, sancte ac venerabilis frater et 
consacerdos. Salutationem debitam reddo meritis 
tuis ; salutem vero m.eam commendo precibus tuis, 
poscens et ipse a domino, ut dedicationem tantae 
fabricae pacis prosperitas prosequatur. 

" Augustine writes excusing himself on grounds of his 
age and feebleness and of the winter season, from attending 
the dedication of a church. Nobilius is not known and his 
name does not elsewhere appear. From internal evidence 
this appears to be among the last letters Augustine wrote : 
the remaining letter in the complete collection is from the 


NO. 61 (Ep. CCLXVIII)— NO. 62 (Ep. CCLXIX) 

you from all evil, both in this world and in the world 
to come, m] 
for brethren. 

to come, my well-beloved lords and much longed 

No. 62 (Ep. CCLXIX) 


So important is the ceremony to which your 
brotherly affection invites me, that I should drag 
my poor body to you with willingness, were it not 
detained by weakness. I might have come, had it 
not been winter ; I might have scorned the winter, 
had I been young ; for either the glow of youth 
would have endured the rigour of the season, or 
else the glow of summer would have allayed the chill 
of age. As it is, niy saintly lord, my holy and revered 
brother and fellow-priest, in winter I cannot bear 
so lengthy a journey since I must bear with me the 
frigidity of great age. I return the greeting that 
I owe to your merits ; my own welfare I commend 
to your supplications, while beseeching the Lord 
myself that peace and prosperity may follow upon 
the dedication of so great a building. 

hand of an unknown correspondent. The date of the present 
piece is probably the winter of 429-430. 



The references are to letters, as numbered in th is selection, 
and to paragraphs. 

Abaddir, a god, 6. 2 
Abel, his siulessuess, 41. 8, 9 
Abraham, 35. 3 ; 54. 6 n. ; 60. 7 
Abundautius, a proHigate priest, 

18. 1, 2 
Acolybes, duties of, 43. 1 n. 
Actium. battle of, 5. 2 
Adam, 41. 6, 8, 9 ; 50. 3 
Aemilianns, his legacy, 21. 4 
Aetius, 42. 1 n. ; his treachery. 51. 

Africa, Augustine's dwelling-place, 

6. 2 ; proconsul of, 27. 1 n. ; 34. 

1 n. ; 46. 1 n. ; 47. 5 n. ; dux per 

Africam, 30. 1 n. ; vicar of, 61. 1 
African Bishops, deputation of, to 

the Emperor, 25 n. ; decidf^ not 

to allow appeals to Rome, 47. 1 n. 
African Church, disorders in the, 

8.2, 4 
Af^ilis, 14 
Alaric, breaks his pledge to Rome, 

22 n. ; defeated by Stilicho, 25. 

3n. ; captures Rome. 26 n. ; sacks 

Rome, 31 n. ; 32 n. ; 36 n. ; 37 n. 
Albina, 32 n. ; 33 
Albinus, the acolyte, 43. 1 ; 44. 1 
Algiers, 47. 8 n. 
AlypiuH, 1 ; 8. 1 ; note on his life, 

1 n. ; 10 ; 33 n. ; insulted by the 

people of HipiJO, 33. 1, 2, 3, 9, 

11 ; 43. 1 ; 51. 3 ; 52 
Ambrose, St., opposed to tolerating 

pa'^an practices. 10. 10 n. ; 55. 3 n. 
Amulets, use of, 56. 2 n. 
Andrew, 15. 4 
Anger, 13. 2 ; 49. 14 


Anna, 60. 9 

Antioch, 9. 3 n. ; 20 n. 

Antoninus, Bishop, 47. 2 n., 3, 8, 9 

Apringius, proconsul of Africa, 
34 n. 

Apuleius, birthplace of, 5. 1 n. 

Aquitania, 14 n. 

Archiater, or municipal doctor, 52 n. 

Argentius, priest at Asna, 10. 12 

Arian heresy, 51. 4 

Armenian, manor of, 18. 1 

Arnobius, 6. 4 n. 

Asiarchs, 10, 12 n. 

Asna, near Hij^po, 10. 12 

Astarte, famous temple of, at Sicca, 
53. 1 n. 

Astrologers, their fooli-shness, 57. 2 

Augustine, St., his physical weak- 
ness, 3. 1 ; 53. 1 ; 62; his work on 
the Catholic religion, 4. 1 : his 
use of Stoic arguments, 5. 3 ; 
bewails his own presumption, 7. 
2 ; his ordination, 3 ; his un- 
worthiness of the priesthood, 
3, 4 ; asks Aurelius to pray for 
him, 8. 9 ; in Italy, 9 n. ; made of Hippo, 9 n. ; asks 
Jerome to criticize his writings, 
9. 6; his sermon on dogs and 
swine, 10. 2 ; his sermon on 
drunkenness, 3, 5, 6, 11; weeps 
during his sermon, 7 ; hi.s 
Contra Fau.^tuin, 11. 5 n. ; and 
Simplician, 12 n. : suffers from 
piles or tumours, 13. 1 ; on anger 
and hatred, 2; admonishes 
Eudoxius, 15 ; on the way to 


appoint the clergy, 17, 1 ; de- 
clares he did not write a book 
against Jerome, 20. 2 ; on legacies 
left to monasteries; 21. 1-6 ; urges 
the Calamans to adopt Christi- 
anity, 24 n. ; a reader of Virgil, 
2 n. ; on the immorality of the 
pagan gods, 4 ; on the disturb- 
ances of June the 1st, 8 ; his 
contemjjt for pagan writings, 28. 
2 ; his books De Mu.^ica, 3 ; on 
the Psalms, 4 ; on being praised 
by his friend, 29. 3-5 ; his weak 
health, 31. 1 ; on the sanctity of 
oaths, 33. 11 ; his friendship with 
Marcellinus, 34 n. ; on the 
punishment of criminals, 1, 2 ; 
his controversy with Pelagius, 
36 n. ; on the connexion of soul 
and body, 38. 1 ; on visions, 

2 ; his argument against tolera- 
tion, 39. 2 ; on free-will, 3-5 ; on 
baptism, 4 n. ; on charity, 6 ; 
his De Trinitate, 40 ; his Dc 
natura et gratia, 41 n. ; on the 
Pelagian heresy, 3-10 ; death of, 
42. 1 n. ; on military service, 4-6 ; 
on love, 44. 1, 2 ; his approval 
of conjugal continence, 45. 1 n., 

3 ; 51. 12 ; development of mo- 
nasticism among women due to, 
48. 1 n. ; his monastic Rule, 49. 
o-lfi ; his letter on grace and 
free-will, 50 n., 2-7 ; on bodily 
adornment. 51. 1,2; on praise, 
54. 2-4 ; his advice to Ecdicia on 
conjugal chastity, 60 

Augustine, St., of Canterbury, 

10. 1 n. 
Augustinian Rule, the, 49. 5-16 
Aurelius, Bishop. 8; 17; 39. 8 n. ; 

40 n. ; 43. 1 ; 54. 7 

Baal Addir, 6. 2 n. 

Bacchus, deprives men of reason, 

Bagai, 39. 8 n. 
Balearic Islands, 15 n. 
Baptism, adult, Augustine on, 39. 

4 n. ; 59. 4 n. 
Barbarus, 38. 1 
Barnabas, 33. 6 

Baths, once a month, 49. 13 
Bede, 47. 2 n. 

Bee, the, if it sticks in the honey 
dies, 4. 2 

Benedict, St., Rule of, 49. 12 n., 
15 n. ; 51. 8 n. ; 60. 5 n. 

Benenatus, Bishop of Tugutiana, 

Bethlehem, Jerome in, 9n. ; 20 n. ; 
43. In. 

Bishop, the difficulty of worthily 
discharging the duties of, 7. 1 ; 
legal duties of, 24. 7 ; translation 
of, forbidden, 47. 7 n. 

Biskra, 51. 3 

Boniface, Bishop of Cataquas, 25.3 

Boniface, Count, Governor of 
Africa, note on his life, 42. 1 
n. ; his disgrace, 51. 1 n. ; his 
marriage, 4 n. ; barbarian in- 
vasions under, 7 ; 54 n. 

Bonilace, Pope, 47. 1 n., 6, 9 

Eonum, donum, 45. 3 n. 

Britain, 44. 1 n. 

Britons, the, 44. 1 n. 

Bulla, 18. 1 

Byzacena, 39. 8 n. ; 50 n. 

Cabrera, 15 n. 

Caecilian, Bishop of Carthage, 39* 
7-i» ; his Act of Purgation, 49. 13 n. 

Caecilianus, Roman legate, note on 
his life, 23 n. 

Caelestis, temple of, consecrated as 
a church, 45. 3 n. 

Caesarea, note on its historv, 47. 

Cain, 41. 8 

Calama, 13. 2 n., 3; 19 n. ; pagan 
festivals held at, 24 n., 10 

Caligula, 47. 8 n. 

Campania, 14 n. 

Capitulum, portion of Scripture, 
10. 2 n. 

Capraria 15 n. 

Caprera, famous for manufacture 
of goat's-hair garments, 15. 4 n. 

Capua, 28 n. 

Carthage, Church of, 8. 4 ; Augus- 
tine's lectures in, 9 n.; Council of, 
17. 2 n. ; 36 n. : 41 n. ; 48. 1 n. ; 
Caecilianus in, 22 n. : 38. 3 ; con- 
ference of, 39. 7 n. ; Svnod of, 47. 
8 n. ; 53. 1 ; 55. 3 n. 

Cassiciacum, 1. 1 n. ; 2. 1 n. ; 24. 
2 u. ; 38n. 




Castellum, Augustine's definition 

of, 47. 2 n. 
Cataquas, 25. 3 
Catechumens, not present at 

prayers, 33. 5 n. 
Cathedra, defined, 47. 7 n. 
Catholica, the Church Catholic, 

47. 9 n. 
Catholics, disputes between, and 

Donatists, 34 n. 
Cato, a model of pagan virtue, 24. 4 
Celer, proconsul of Arica, a Dona- 

tist, 47. 5 
Celestine, Bishop of Rome, note on 

his life, 44. 1 n., 4, 7 ; 47. 9 n. 
Cemeteries, drunkenness in, 8. 3, 6 
Chalcedon, Council of, 47. 2 n. 
Chambering and Avantonness, a 

great sin, 8. 3 
Character Domini, 39. 3 n. 
Characteres, 56. 2 n. 
Charity, 39. 6 
Charus, a deacon, 41. 7 n. 
Chastity, conjugal, 51. 60 
Cherchel, 47. 8 n. 

Choir, in the early Church, 10. 8 n. 
Christ, swearing by, 55. 4 n. 
Christian names, 29 n. < 

Christians, their .secret worship of 

God, 5. 3 ; worship God only, 6. 

5 ; concessiohs made to induce 

people to become, 10. t» ; massacre 

of, at Sufes, 16; their attitude 

towards their enemies, 27. 1, 2 
Chrysostom, his correspondence 

with Italics, 26 n. 
Churches, as sanctuaries, 30. 1 n. ; 

Cicero (Tully), his Dialogues, 6. 3 ; 

his De liepublica, 3 n. ; on friend- 

.ship, 59 
Circumcellions, break into the 

church at Asna, 10. 12 ; their 

violence, 34. 1 n. 
Cirta, Profuturus made Bishop of, 

9. 1 ; 30 n. ; 49. 13 n. See also 

Claudian, patronized by Stilicho, 

25. 3 n. 
Cluacina, the go<Jdess of purifica- 
tion, 6. 2 
Coelestius, 41 n. 
Columella, 6. 2 n. 
Comes per Africam, 30. 1 n. 


Constantine, or Cirta, named after 
the Emperor, 11. 5 n. ; 13.3; a 
stronghold of Donatists, 35 n. 

Constantine, Emperor, presents 
the Lateran to the Church, 10. 
10 n. ; allows appeals to Bishops 
in civil suits, 24. 7 n. ; allows 
churches to be used as sanctu- 
aries, 30. 1 n. 

Constantinople, municipal doctors 
in, 52 n. 

Cor habere, 51. 5 n. 

Cordis aures, 46 n. 

Cornelius, 42. 4 

Corrigere, intransitive. 49. 3 n. 

Corsica, 15 n. 

Cosmetics, 56. 1 n. 

Creed, candidates for baptism ex- 
pected to memorize the, 52 n. 

Cresconius, monk, 50. 1 

Crispinus, Donatist Bishop of 
Calama, 19 n. 

Cyprian, 48. 1 n. ; 51. 9 n. 

Darius, note on liis life, 53. 1 n. 
David, his clemency, 34. 2 ; 42. 4 
Death, the journey to, alone to be 

planned, 3. 2 ; not feared by those 

who die to bodily affections, 3 
DeBcere, reficere, 54. 6 n. 
Demetrias, the virgin, 37 n. 
Devil-wonshippers, 14 
Diocletian, 30. 1 n. ; 47. 8 n. ; j er- 

secution under, 49. 13 n. 
Dio.scurus, the physician, 52 
Diospolis, Synod of, 36 n.; 41. 1 n., 

Dominica in albis, 11. 3 n. heresy, 47. 2 
Donatist I'arty, the, terrorize 

Xumidia, 10. 12 n. ; incident of 

the violent young man who joined, 

11. 2, 3 
Donatists, disputes between, and 

Catholics, 34 n. ; edicts against, 

25 n. ; 27. 2 ; 28. 1 n. ; 35 n. ; 36. 

2 n. ; 39. 7 n., 8 n., 9; 49. 4 n. ; 

61. 1 n. 
Donatus, priest of Mutngenna, 39. 7 
Donatus, priest of the 

party, 17. 1, 2 ; 39 n. 
D(jiiatus, Proconsul of Africa, 17 n. 
Drunkenness, condemned by St. 

Paul, 8. 3 ; in cemeteries, 3, 6 ; 


suppressed in Italy, 4 ; Augus- 
tine's sermon on, 10. 3-6 ; on 
saints' days, 4, 6 ; how it came to 
be tolerated in the early Church, 
9 ; drunk man in his cups swears 
by Christ, 55. 4 

Duties, temporal, if scrupulously 
fulfilled make a man worthy of 
being entrusted with eternal 
things, 4. 2 

Dux per Africam, 30. 1 n. 

Earrings, used by men, 56. 2 u. 
Easter, a festival at whicli prisoners 

were released, 11. 2 n. ; neophytes 

wore their white garments for 

eight days after, 3 n. 
Ecdicia, Augustine's advice to, on 

the duty of a wife, 60. 1-11 
Egj-pt, 5. 2 ; 49. 10 n. 
El Kantara, 51. 3 
Ennius, 54. 3 
Estates in Africa. 30. 1 n. 
Esther, Queen, 60. 10 
Eucaddir, a priest, 6. 2 
Eudoxius, Abbot, 15 n. 
Eusebius, 11 
Eustasius, 15. 4 
Evauder, 6. 2 
Eve, 41. 8 
Evodius, Bishop of Uzalis, note on 

his liie, 38 n. 
Exedrae, 10. s n. 
Exsufflatiou, 39. 8 n. 

Fascius, 61. 1 

Fast-days, 10. 2 n. 

Faustus, the Donatist, 11. 5 n. ; 

42. 1 n. 
Faventius, 30. 1 
Fear, the god, 6. 2 
Felicitas, note on her life, 48. 1 n. 
Felix, Bishop. 45. 1 n. ; his Act of 

Purgation, 49. 13 n. 
Felix, monk, 50. 1 : 58 
Felix, patron .saint ofPaulinus, 14n. 
Fever, the goddess, 6. 2 
Fidelis, a communicant, 52. 1 n. 
Firm us, 43. 1 ; 45. 1 
Flora, the shamelessness of her 

festivals, 24. 5 
Floralia, the, held in abhorrence 

by the Church Fathers, 24. 5 n. 
Florentinus, 30 ; 55. 1, 7 

Floras, monk, 50. 1 n., 3 n. 
Fortunatus, Bishop of Cirta, 30 n. 
Free-will, Augustine on, 39. 3, 4 
Friendship, Augustine on true, 59 
Fundus, 30. 1 n. 
Fussala, 47. 2, 6, 9 

Galatians, expounded by Jerome, 

9. 3 
Gaudentius, 29. 1 

'•Gaudy," a euphemism for a 

drunken festival, 10. 2 
Gavinianus, 52 
Gennadius, the physician, his 

dream, 38. 3, 4 
Genseric, King of the Vandals, 42. 

1 n. 
Germain of Auxerre, 44. 1 n. 
Gildo, the rebel, 39. 8 n. 
Gippi, 18. 1 

Giraldus Cambrensis, 8. 3 n. 
God, the existence of one supreme, 

5. 1 ; not made up of minor deities, 

6. 1 ; alone worshipped by the 

Christians, 6. 5 
Goths, the, sack Rome, 31. 2 
Gregory the Great, on tolerating 

the pagan practices of converts, 

10. 9 n. ; 51. 8 n. 
Guardians, clergy as, 58. 1 n. 

Hadruinetuni, 50. 1 n. 

Hair worn short by nuns, 49. 10 ; 
nets worn o\er, ibid. 

Heraclian, revolt of, 34 n. ; 37 n. 

Hercules, 6. 2; his statue de- 
stroyed, 16 

Herosj Bishop of Aries, 41. 7 n. 

Hiccouirh, cure for, 56. 2 n. 

Hilari, 53. 1 

Hilarinus, a municipal doctor, 52 n. 

Hippo, the people of, refuse to let 
Augustine leave. 8. 9 ; 11. 4. 5 ; 
13. 2 n. ; 18. 1; 19 n. ; 21. 1 n., 
•5 ; 22. 2 n. ; 23; 25. 1 n., 3 n. ; 
30. 1 ; 32. 1 n. , 2 ; the people of, 
and the case of Pinianus, 33. 1, 3. 
6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 ; 34. 1, 3 : 36 
n. ; 38. 1 : 39. 7 n.. 8 n. ; 41. 7 n. ; 
siege of, 42. 1 n. ; 43. 1 ; 47. 2, 5 
n. ; 48. 1 n. ; 49 n. ; library at, 
13 n. ; 51. 2 ; 53. 1 n. ; 54. 7 n. ; 
55. 7 ; 61 n. 

Honoratus, priest, 21. 4 



Honorius, dispute about his pro- 
perty, 21. 1 n., 5 

Honorius, Emperor, orders closing 
of pagan temples, 16 n. ; 22 n. ; 
his edict forbidding non-Christian 
celebrations, 24 n. ; his Ediciuin 
quod de unitate against the 
Donatists, 25 n. ; his laws about 
the demolition of idols, 2, 3 ; 
his laws of Januarj' 21, 409, 30 
n. ; 34 n. ; annuls rescripts in 
favour of the Donatists, 35 n. ; 42. 
1 n. 

Horace, 13. 2 n. ; 54.3 

Horani, Ad, 47. 3 n. 

Huns, the, 51. 3 n. 

Immortality, 38. 3, 4 

Indevotio, 31. 1 n.' 

Innocent, Pope, his letters to 

Augustine, 22 n. 
Innocentius, maltreated, 34. 1 
lol, Phoenician colony, 47. 8 n. 
Italica, 26 n. 
Italy, Augustine in, 9 n. 

Jacobus, 41 n. 

James, the Apostle, 50. 4, 7 

Jerome, in Bethlehem, 9 n. ; Augus- 
tine urges him to translate the 
Greek commentators, 2 ; his 
translation of Job, 2 ; his books 
on St. Paul's Epistles, 3; in 
favour of presbyters being allowed 
to preach, 10. 7 n. ; 20 n. ; 
Augustine declares he did not 
write a book against, 2 ; his letter 
to Demctrias, 37 n. ; 43. 1 n. ; 
49. 1» n., 13 n. ; on the five orders 
of the Church, 52 n. 

Jerusalem, 41 n. 

Jews, the, never held drunken 
festivals in the Temple, 10. 4 ; 
dispersion of, 55. 3 

Job, translated by Jerome, 9. 2 

John, the Apostle, 42. 3 

John, thi^ Baptist, 42. 4 

John, Bishop of Jerusalem, 41 n, 

John, tlie usurper, 51. 4 n. 

Jove, his adultery, 5. 2 ; fought his 
father from Olympns, 6. 1, 2 ; 24. 
4, 5 

Juba II., 47, 8 n. 

Judas, 49. 4 

Judges, the duty of Christian, 34. 2 
Jugurtha, 53. 1 n. 
Julian, Augustine's neighbour, 26. 1 
Julian, Emperor, his attempt to 

allegorize pagan mythology, 24. 

5n., 8 
Julian, of Eclanum, the Pelagian. 

Juliana, 37 n. 

Juno, 5. 2 

Jurists, the, 39. 2 n. 

Justinian, legalized episcopal inter- 
cession for criminals. 24. 7 n. ; 
47. 2 n. 

Juvenal, 57. 2 n, 

Lampadius, 57 

Land in Africa, 30. 1 n. 

Lares, town of, 53. 1 n. 

Largus, x^roconsul of Africa, 46. 1 n. 

Lateran Palace, presented to the 

Church by Constantine, 10 n. 
Laurentius, Bishop of Icosium, 47. 

Lazarus, Bishop of Aix, 41. 7 n. 
Le Kef, 53. 1 n. 
Leo, the acolyte, 43. 1 
Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome, 

43. 1 n. 
Leontius, the martyr, 10. 1 n. 
Libraries, belonging to churches, 

49. 13 n. 
Lucan quoted, 5. 2 ; 59. 1 
Lucifer of Calaris, 51. '.' n. 
Lucillus, deacon, 22. 1, 2 
Lucinianus, 3. 1 
Lucitas, worship of, 5. 2 
Lydda, 41. 7 n. 
Lying never justifiable, 9. 3-5 

Macarius, monk, 10. 1 n. 

Macedonins, 61. 1 

Madaura, 5. 1 n. ; 55. 1, 4 

Majorinus, 4. 1 

Manichee, Augustine becomes a, 9n. 

Mappalia, 19 n. 

Mappalians, the, re-baptized by 

Crispinu.s, 19. 1, 2 
Marcellinus, a tribune and notary 

note on his life, 34 n. 
Marcianus, 59 
Marcus Aurelius, 16 n. 
Mars, statue of, 6. 1 
Martin of Tours, 7. 2 n. 



Martyrs' tombs, offerings on, 10. 
10 n. 

Massinissa, 11. 5 n. 

Mauretania, 47. 8 n. 

Maximian, 39. 8 n. 

Maximus the Grammarian, his 
pleasure in Augustine's conversa- 
tion, 5. 1 ; aslvs Augustine to ex- 
plain who the Christian God is, 
5. 3 ; makes fun of Punic names, 

Megalius, Bishop of Calama, his 
death, 13.2 ; ordained Augustine, 
2 n. 

Melania, 32 n. ; 33 n., 4; her in- 
fluence over Augustine, 5. 

Memorius, probably Bishop of 
Capua, 28 n. 

Miggo, 5. 2 

Mila, 11. 5 n. 

Milan, pagan practices opposed in, 
by Ambrose, 10. 10 ; 12 n. ; 28 n. 

Miles Christi, 51. 12 n. 

M ileum, 25 n. 

Mileve, 25. 3 ; Council of, 47. 2 n. 

Milevis, or Mila, near Constantine, 
11. 5 ; 13. 3 n. 

Militare J)eo, 51. 12 n. 

Mind, the, superior to sight, 2. 2 

Minerva, 5. 2 

Monasticism, development of, 
among women, 48. 1 n. 

Monks, wandering, 60. 5 

Monnica, mother of Augustine, 10. 
10 n. ; death of, 38 n. 

Moors, the, 51. 3 n. 

Morin, Dom Germain, 50. 1 n. 

Moses, breaks the tables of stone, 

Moths, precautions against, 49. 12 

Musica, De, Augustine's book, 28. 

Mutugenna, 39. 7 

Nam, but, 18. 1 n. 

Names, Puritan, in Africa, 29. 1 n. 

Nam])hamo, the martyr, 5. 2 ; 6. 2 

Nebridius, 3. 1, 3 

Nectarius, 13. 3 

Nectarius, decurion of Calama, 24 

n. , 3 n. 
Neophytes, wear white garments 

for eight days, 11. 3 n. 
Neophytorum, dies, 11. 3 n. 

Neptune, 56. 2 

Nestorian dispute, 43. 1 n. 

Nets worn on head, 49. 10 

Nicaea, Council of, 47. 7 n. 

Nobilius, 62 

Nola, 14 n. ; 28. 1 n. 

Novatus, Bishop of Sitifis, 22 n. ; 

note on his life, 53. In., 2 
Numidia, terrorized bv the Dona- 

tists, 10. 12 n. ; 13. 2 n. ; 23 ; 

Donatist disturbances in, 25 n. ; 

38 n. ; 39. 8 n. 
Nuns, have hair cut short, 49. 10 n. 

Oaths, sanctity of, 33. 11-14 

Olybrius, 37 n. 

Olvmpius, Master of the Offices, 

25 n. 
Olympus, Mt., no sure evidence 

that it is the abode of the gods, 

5. 1 ; 6. 1, 2 
Optatus, Bishop of Milevis, 11. 5 n, 
Optatus, Bishop of Tinigad, 39. 8 n. 
Ordination i^er saltum, 47. 3 n. ; 

by force, 7. 2 n. ; 33 
Ordo, municipal, 24. 8 ; 55. 1 n. 
Origen, Jerome's admiration of, 9. 2 
Orosius, 15 n. 
Orphans, the Chixrch's care for, 

58 n. 
Ostia, 38 n. 

Paganism, 5 ; 6 ; 10. 9 n. : 16 ; 
24; 55 

Painting the face, 56. 1 n. 

Palestine, 36 n. ; 41 n., 7n. 

Palladius, 44. 1 n. 

Pallor, the god, 6. 2 

Papa, used of all Bishops, 40. 1 n. 

Paratianis, 30. 1 

Parentalia, 8. 3 n. 

Parochia, meaning "diocese," 47. 
2 n. 

Parthenius, 8. 9 

Paul, Apostle, did not lie in rebuk- 
ing Peter, 9. 4 ; on drunkenness, 
10. 5 ; forgoes the subsidy due 
to him, 21. 5 ; his vision, 38. 2 
n. ; not allowed to exercise free- 
will, 39. 3 ; on suicide, 39.5 ; 50. 6 

Panl, brother, 52 

Paul, deacon, 51 

Paulinianus, brother of Jerome, 20. 



Paulinus, the poet, note on his life, 
14 n. ; his work against devil- 
worshippers, 14 ; 28. 1 n. 

Pelagia, wife of Boniface, 51. 4 n. 

Pelagian heresy, 41. 1 n., 3-10^ 43. 

Pelagians, the, 43. 1 n. ; in Britain, 
44. 1 n. ; their heresy concerning 
grace, 50. 3-5 

Pelagius, the heresiarch, 36 n. ; 41. 
1 n., 1-6 

Peregrinus, Count, 52 

Persius quoted, 54. 2, 4 

Peter, Apostle, withheld from hann- 
ful deceit, 9. 3 ; disorders in the 
Church iu his time, 10. 10 ; and 
the payment of tribute, 21. 5 ; 
41. 3 ; 42. 4 ; 47- 9 ; 49. 4 ; 50. 6 ; 
55. 3 ; 60. 7 

Petilianus, 35 n. 

Pinianus, 31 n. ; the dispute over 
his ordination, 33 u., 1-7 

Placidia, 42. 1 n. ; 51. 4 n., 5 n. 

Plautus quoted, 6. 4 n. 

Polemo, note on his life, 35. 2 n., 3 

Possidius, 19 n. ; 28. 1 n. ; 48. 1 n. ; 

Praise, to be turned to the well- 
being of those who give it, 8. 8 ; 
what true praise is, 54. 2, 5 

Presbyters, forbidden to preach, 
10. 7 n. 

Primianus, Donatist Bishop of 
Carthage, 39. 7 n. ; note on his 
life, 8 

Priscus, Bishop of Quinza, 47. 8 

Privatus, legacy left to, 21. 4 

Proba, 37 n. 

Procopius, 47. 2 n. 

Proculianus, Donatist Bishop of 
Hippo, 11. 4 n., 5 

Profuturus, appointed Bishop, 9 
n. ; 13 

Projectus, 44. 1 n. 

Psalms, the, Augustine on, 28. 4 

Punic language, the, 6. 2 ; often the 
only one used near Hippo, 22. 2 n. 

Puritans, the English, 29 n. 

Quiza, Bishop of, 47. 8 n. 
Quodvultdeus, 29. 1 

Radagaisus, defeated by Stilicho, 
25. 3 n. 


Ram, symbolism of, 54. C n. 

Ravenna, 22 n. 

Reality, better apprehended by the 
mind than by the senses, 2. 2 

Restitutus, his murder, 34. 1 

Rioting and drunkenness, wrongly 
considered tolerable, 8. 3 

Roman Empire, the, 51. 8 

Romanianus, 4. 1 n. 

Romanus, 14 

Rome, her worship of sham deities, 
5. 2 ; 20. 3 n. ; misfortunes 
of, due to Alaric, 22 n. ; 25 n. ; 
captured by Alaric, 26 n. ; sacked 
by the Goths, 31 n. ; 32 n. ; 36 
n. ; 37 n. ; 38. 3 ; 43. 1 n. ; 44. 1 
n. ; 47. In.; municipal doctors 
in, 52 n. ; 53. 1 n. ; given over to 
idolatry, 55. 3 n. 

Rusicade, 30. 1 n. 

Rusticus, 58 n. 

Saltus, 30. 1 n. 

Salvian, on the use of the name of 
Christ, 55. 4 n. 

Samsucius, Bishop of Tunes, 11, 
6: 21. 4 

Saname, 5. 2 

Sanctuary in Churches, 30. 1 n. ; 

Sara, 60. 7 

Saturn, supposed by Virgil to have 
been a man, 6. 3 

Saturninus, asked to visit Augus- 
tine, 8. 8 

Seneca, 39. 2 n. 

Seiiex, metropolitan, 7. 5 n. 

Senses, the bodily, have no real 
existence, 1 

Septimus Severus, 51. 3 

Servus Christi, 51. 12 n. 

Seventy, translation of the Scrip- 
tures by the, 9. 2 

Severus, Bishop of Milevis, 13. 3 
n. ; 14'; 22. 1 ; 25. 3; 29 

Sicca, famous for Temple of 
Astarte, 53. 1 n. 

Sicily, 36 n. 

Simplicianus, Bishop of Milan, 
note on his life, 12 n. ; Augustine 
asks him to criticize his work, 

Sititis, 53. 1 


Sixtns, Bishop of Rome, note on 

his life, 43. 1 n. 
Sixtus, presbyter, 50 n., 3 
Soul, connexion between body 

and, 38. 1 
Sousse, 50 n. 

Stephen, St., Chapel of, 26. 3 n. 
Stercutius, the god of manure, 6. 2 
Stilicho, betrayed by Olympius, 

25. 1 n., 2 ; note on his life, 3 n. 
Strabonian, 18. 1 
Strife and envying, rife among the 

clergy, 8. 7 
Sufes, note on its history, 16 n. 
Suicide, 39. 5 
Sursum cor, 42. 7 n. 
Susanna, 60. 9 

Swearing by Christ's name, 55. 4 n. 
Symmachus, 37 n. 
Syphax, 11. 5 n. 

Tacitus, 57. 2 n. 

Tagaste. birthplace of Alypius, 1 

n. ; 10; 11. 6 n. ; 21. 1 n., 4, 6: 

32. m., 2; 33. 1 n., 7 ; 38 n. 
Temples, pagan, closing of, 55. 

1 n., 3 n. 
Teneo, to remember, 52 n. 
Terence, 24. 4 ; 51. 9 n. ; 59. 5 
TertuUian, 48. 1 n. ; 52 u. ; 56 n. 
Thagura, 18 n. 
Themistocles, 54. 3 
Theodosius, Emperor, his laws of 

December 80, 3S0, 30 n. ; 55. 3 

n. ; 61. 1 n. 
Theogenes, St., Chapel of, 26. 3 n. 
Therasia, wife of Paulinus, 14 n. 
Thiava, 21. 1 
Timasius, 33. 6 ; 41 n. 
Timgad, 39. S u. 
Timothy. 29 n. 
Tobna, 51. 3 n. 
Toleration. Augustine's argument 

against, 39. 2 
Transitorius, 41. 8 
Tubunae, 51. 3, 12 
Tugutiana, Bishop of, 58. 1 n. 
Tunis, 50 n. ; 53. 1 n. 
Tunisia, 16 n. 
Tiirres, near Hippo, 11. 6 
Tuscany, 15 n. 

Ubi est . . ., 48. 2 

Urbanus. Bishoi) of Sicca, note on 

his life. 53. 1 u. 
Uzala, 38 u. ; 50 n. 

Valentinian III., 51. 4 n. ; 53 n. 
Valentinus, Abbot of Hadrume- 

turn, 50 n. 
Valerius, Bishop. 48. 1 n. ; Augus- 
tine's appeal to, 7. 1-6 ; 10. 7 ; 

Augustine's coadjutor, 13. 2 n. 
Valerius, Count of Africa, note on 

his lite, 45. 1 u. 
Vandals, the, 42. 1 n. ; 51. 3 n. ; 

54 n. 
Varro, 6. 2 n. 

Venus, 5. 2 : bald, 6. 2 : 53. 1 n. 
Verba, verbera, 57. 2 n. 
Verimodus. 53 2 n. 
Vesta, 5. 2 
Victor, 11. 5 ; 13. 3 
Victor, Bishop, 47. S u. 
Victor, brother of Xebridius, 3. 3 
Victorinus, converted by Simpli- 

cian, 12 n. 
Vigilantius, opposed to tolerating 

pagan practices, 10. 9 n. 
Villae in Africa, 30 n. 
Vindemialis, Bishop, 45. 1 
Virgil, quotation from, 4. 2 ; 5. 4 ; 

6. 3; Augustine a reader of, 24. 

2 n. ; 59 
Virginity, the glory of, 37 
Virgins honoured in Africa, 48. 

1 n. 
Visions, Augustine on, 38. 2 

Widows honoured, 48. 1 n. ; two 

orders of, 60. 9 n. 
Wife, duties of a, 60 
Windows, looking out of, reproof 

for, 57. 2 n. 

Xanthippus, BLshop of Thagura, 

18 n. 
Xeuocrates, the philosopher, 35. 1 

Zenobius, 1. 1 n. 

Zosimus, his opinion of Olvmpius, 
25 n. 

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