Infomotions, Inc.Confessions And Enchiridion / Augustine

Author: Augustine
Title: Confessions And Enchiridion
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Digitized by Harry Plantinga <>

Originally: confessions+enchiridion1.0.txt

Scanned from an uncopyrighted 1955 Westminster Press
edition, Vol. VII of the Library of Christian Classics,
printed in the United States.

This text is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN, posted to Wiretap 7/94.


                 Newly translated and edited



                ALBERT C. OUTLER, Ph.D., D.D.

                    Professor of Theology

                 Perkins School of Theology 

                Southern Methodist University 

                        Dallas, Texas

                    First published MCMLV 

       Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 55-5021


last patristic and the first medieval father of Western 
Christianity.  He gathered together and conserved all the main 
motifs of Latin Christianity from Tertullian to Ambrose; he 
appropriated the heritage of Nicene orthodoxy; he was a 
Chalcedonian before Chalcedon -- and he drew all this into an 
unsystematic synthesis which is still our best mirror of the heart 
and mind of the Christian community in the Roman Empire.  More 
than this, he freely received and deliberately reconsecrated the 
religious philosophy of the Greco-Roman world to a new apologetic 
use in maintaining the intelligibility of the Christian 
proclamation.  Yet, even in his role as summator of tradition, he 
was no mere eclectic.  The center of his "system" is in the Holy 
Scriptures, as they ordered and moved his heart and mind.  It was 
in Scripture that, first and last, Augustine found the focus of 
his religious authority.

     At the same time, it was this essentially conservative genius 
who recast the patristic tradition into the new pattern by which 
European Christianity would be largely shaped and who, with 
relatively little interest in historical detail, wrought out the 
first comprehensive "philosophy of history." Augustine regarded 
himself as much less an innovator than a summator.  He was less a 
reformer of the Church than the defender of the Church's faith.  
His own self-chosen project was to save Christianity from the 
disruption of heresy and the calumnies of the pagans, and, above 
everything else, to renew and exalt the faithful hearing of the 
gospel of man's utter need and God's abundant grace.  But the 
unforeseen result of this enterprise was to furnish the motifs of 
the Church's piety and doctrine for the next thousand years and 
more.  Wherever one touches the Middle Ages, he finds the marks of 
Augustine's influence, powerful and pervasive -- even Aquinas is 
more of an Augustinian at heart than a "proper" Aristotelian.  In 
the Protestant Reformation, the evangelical elements in 
Augustine's thought were appealed to in condemnation of the 
corruptions of popular Catholicism -- yet even those corruptions 
had a certain right of appeal to some of the non-evangelical 
aspects of Augustine's thought and life.  And, still today, in the 
important theological revival of our own time, the influence of 
Augustine is obviously one of the most potent and productive 
impulses at work.

     A succinct characterization of Augustine is impossible, not 
only because his thought is so extraordinarily complex and his 
expository method so incurably digressive, but also because 
throughout his entire career there were lively tensions and 
massive prejudices in his heart and head.  His doctrine of God 
holds the Plotinian notions of divine unity and remotion in 
tension with the Biblical emphasis upon the sovereign God's active 
involvement in creation and redemption.  For all his devotion to 
Jesus Christ, this theology was never adequately Christocentric, 
and this reflects itself in many ways in his practical conception 
of the Christian life.  He did not invent the doctrines of 
original sin and seminal transmission of guilt but he did set them 
as cornerstones in his "system," matching them with a doctrine of 
infant baptism which cancels, ex opere operato, birth sin and 
hereditary guilt.  He never wearied of celebrating God's abundant 
mercy and grace -- but he was also fully persuaded that the vast 
majority of mankind are condemned to a wholly just and appalling 
damnation.  He never denied the reality of human freedom and never 
allowed the excuse of human irresponsibility before God -- but 
against all detractors of the primacy of God's grace, he 
vigorously insisted on both double predestination and irresistible 

     For all this the Catholic Church was fully justified in 
giving Augustine his aptest title, Doctor Gratiae.  The central 
theme in all Augustine's writings is the sovereign God of grace 
and the sovereign grace of God.  Grace, for Augustine, is God's 
freedom to act without any external necessity whatsoever -- to act 
in love beyond human understanding or control; to act in creation, 
judgment, and redemption; to give his Son freely as Mediator and 
Redeemer; to endue the Church with the indwelling power and 
guidance of the Holy Spirit; to shape the destinies of all 
creation and the ends of the two human societies, the "city of 
earth" and the "city of God." Grace is God's unmerited love and 
favor, prevenient and occurrent.  It touches man's inmost heart 
and will.  It guides and impels the pilgrimage of those called to 
be faithful.  It draws and raises the soul to repentance, faith, 
and praise.  It transforms the human will so that it is capable of 
doing good.  It relieves man's religious anxiety by forgiveness 
and the gift of hope.  It establishes the ground of Christian 
humility by abolishing the ground of human pride.  God's grace 
became incarnate in Jesus Christ, and it remains immanent in the 
Holy Spirit in the Church.

     Augustine had no system -- but he did have a stable and 
coherent Christian outlook.  Moreover, he had an unwearied, ardent 
concern: man's salvation from his hopeless plight, through the 
gracious action of God's redeeming love.  To understand and 
interpret this was his one endeavor, and to this task he devoted 
his entire genius.

     He was, of course, by conscious intent and profession, a 
Christian theologian, a pastor and teacher in the Christian 
community.  And yet it has come about that his contributions to 
the larger heritage of Western civilization are hardly less 
important than his services to the Christian Church. He was far 
and away the best -- if not the very first -- psychologist in the 
ancient world.  His observations and descriptions of human motives 
and emotions, his depth analyses of will and thought in their 
interaction, and his exploration of the inner nature of the human 
self -- these have established one of the main traditions in 
European conceptions of human nature, even down to our own time.  
Augustine is an essential source for both contemporary depth 
psychology and existentialist philosophy.  His view of the shape 
and process of human history has been more influential than any 
other single source in the development of the Western tradition 
which regards political order as inextricably involved in moral 
order.  His conception of a societas as a community identified and 
held together by its loyalties and love has become an integral 
part of the general tradition of Christian social teaching and the 
Christian vision of "Christendom." His metaphysical explorations 
of the problems of being, the character of evil, the relation of 
faith and knowledge, of will and reason, of time and eternity, of 
creation and cosmic order, have not ceased to animate and enrich 
various philosophic reflections throughout the succeeding 
centuries.  At the same time the hallmark of the Augustinian 
philosophy is its insistent demand that reflective thought issue 
in practical consequence; no contemplation of the end of life 
suffices unless it discovers the means by which men are brought to 
their proper goals.  In sum, Augustine is one of the very few men 
who simply cannot be ignored or depreciated in any estimate of 
Western civilization without serious distortion and impoverishment 
of one's historical and religious understanding.

     In the space of some forty-four years, from his conversion in 
Milan (A.D.  386) to his death in Hippo Regius (A.D.  430), 
Augustine wrote -- mostly at dictation -- a vast sprawling library 
of books, sermons, and letters, the remains of which (in the 
Benedictine edition of St.  Maur) fill fourteen volumes as they 
are reprinted in Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, Series 
Latina (Vols.  32-45).  In his old age, Augustine reviewed his 
authorship (in the Retractations) and has left us a critical 
review of ninety-three of his works he judged most important.  
Even a cursory glance at them shows how enormous was his range of 
interest.  Yet almost everything he wrote was in response to a 
specific problem or an actual crisis in the immediate situation.  
One may mark off significant developments in his thought over this 
twoscore years, but one can hardly miss the fundamental 
consistency in his entire life's work.  He was never interested in 
writing a systematic summa theologica, and would have been 
incapable of producing a balanced digest of his multifaceted 
teaching.  Thus, if he is to be read wisely, he must be read 
widely -- and always in context, with due attention to the 
specific aim in view in each particular treatise.  

     For the general reader who wishes to approach Augustine as 
directly as possible, however, it is a useful and fortunate thing 
that at the very beginning of his Christian ministry and then 
again at the very climax of it, Augustine set himself to focus his 
experience and thought into what were, for him, summings up.  The 
result of the first effort is the Confessions, which is his most 
familiar and widely read work.  The second is in the Enchiridion, 
written more than twenty years later.  In the Confessions, he 
stands on the threshold of his career in the Church. In the 
Enchiridion, he stands forth as triumphant champion of orthodox 
Christianity.  In these two works -- the nearest equivalent to 
summation in the whole of the Augustinian corpus -- we can find 
all his essential themes and can sample the characteristic flavor 
of his thought.

     Augustine was baptized by Ambrose at Milan during Eastertide, 
A.D.  387.  A short time later his mother, Monica, died at Ostia 
on the journey back to Africa.  A year later, Augustine was back 
in Roman Africa living in a monastery at Tagaste, his native town.  
In 391, he was ordained presbyter in the church of Hippo Regius (a 
small coastal town nearby).  Here in 395 -- with grave misgivings 
on his own part (cf. Sermon CCCLV, 2) and in actual violation of 
the eighth canon of Nicea (cf. Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum, II, 
671, and IV, 1167) -- he was consecrated assistant bishop to the 
aged Valerius, whom he succeeded the following year.  Shortly 
after he entered into his episcopal duties he began his 
Confessions, completing them probably in 398 (cf. De Labriolle, I, 
vi (see Bibliography), and di Capua, Miscellanea Agostiniana, II, 

     Augustine had a complex motive for undertaking such a self-
analysis.[1]  His pilgrimage of grace had led him to a most 
unexpected outcome.  Now he felt a compelling need to retrace the 
crucial turnings of the way by which he had come.  And since he 
was sure that it was God's grace that had been his prime mover on 
that way, it was a spontaneous expression of his heart that cast 
his self-recollection into the form of a sustained prayer to God.

     The Confessions are not Augustine's autobiography.  They are, 
instead, a deliberate effort, in the permissive atmosphere of 
God's felt presence, to recall those crucial episodes and events 
in which he can now see and celebrate the mysterious actions of 
God's prevenient and provident grace.  Thus he follows the 
windings of his memory as it re-presents the upheavals of his 
youth and the stages of his disorderly quest for wisdom.  He omits 
very much indeed.  Yet he builds his successive climaxes so 
skillfully that the denouement in Book VIII is a vivid and 
believable convergence of influences, reconstructed and "placed" 
with consummate dramatic skill.  We see how Cicero's Hortensius 
first awakened his thirst for wisdom, how the Manicheans deluded 
him with their promise of true wisdom, and how the Academics upset 
his confidence in certain knowledge -- how they loosed him from 
the dogmatism of the Manicheans only to confront him with the 
opposite threat that all knowledge is uncertain.  He shows us (Bk. 
V, Ch. X, 19) that almost the sole cause of his intellectual 
perplexity in religion was his stubborn, materialistic prejudice 
that if God existed he had to exist in a body, and thus had to 
have extension, shape, and finite relation.  He remembers how the 
"Platonists" rescued him from this "materialism" and taught him 
how to think of spiritual and immaterial reality -- and so to 
become able to conceive of God in non-dualistic categories.  We 
can follow him in his extraordinarily candid and plain report of 
his Plotinian ecstasy, and his momentary communion with the One 
(Book VII).  The "Platonists" liberated him from error, but they 
could not loose him from the fetters of incontinence.  Thus, with 
a divided will, he continues to seek a stable peace in the 
Christian faith while he stubbornly clings to his pride and 

     In Book VIII, Augustine piles up a series of remembered 
incidents that inflamed his desire to imitate those who already 
seemed to have gained what he had so long been seeking.  First of 
all, there had been Ambrose, who embodied for Augustine the 
dignity of Christian learning and the majesty of the authority of 
the Christian Scriptures.  Then Simplicianus tells him the moving 
story of Victorinus (a more famous scholar than Augustine ever 
hoped to be), who finally came to the baptismal font in Milan as 
humbly as any other catechumen.  Then, from Ponticianus he hears 
the story of Antony and about the increasing influence of the 
monastic calling.  The story that stirs him most, perhaps, relates 
the dramatic conversion of the two "special agents of the imperial 
police" in the garden at Treves -- two unlikely prospects snatched 
abruptly from their worldly ways to the monastic life.

     He makes it plain that these examples forced his own feelings 
to an intolerable tension.  His intellectual perplexities had 
become resolved; the virtue of continence had been consciously 
preferred; there was a strong desire for the storms of his breast 
to be calmed; he longed to imitate these men who had done what he 
could not and who were enjoying the peace he longed for.

     But the old habits were still strong and he could not muster 
a full act of the whole will to strike them down.  Then comes the 
scene in the Milanese garden which is an interesting parallel to 
Ponticianus' story about the garden at Treves.  The long struggle 
is recapitulated in a brief moment; his will struggles against and 
within itself.  The trivial distraction of a child's voice, 
chanting, "Tolle, lege,"  precipitates the resolution of the 
conflict.  There is a radical shift in mood and will, he turns 
eagerly to the chance text in Rom. 13:13 -- and a new spirit rises 
in his heart.

     After this radical change, there was only one more past event 
that had to be relived before his personal history could be seen 
in its right perspective.  This was the death of his mother and 
the severance of his strongest earthly tie.  Book IX tells us this 
story.  The climactic moment in it is, of course, the vision at 
Ostia where mother and son are uplifted in an ecstasy that 
parallels -- but also differs significantly from -- the Plotinian 
vision of Book VII.  After this, the mother dies and the son who 
had loved her almost too much goes on alone, now upheld and led by 
a greater and a wiser love.

     We can observe two separate stages in Augustine's 
"conversion." The first was the dramatic striking off of the 
slavery of incontinence and pride which had so long held him from 
decisive commitment to the Christian faith.  The second was the 
development of an adequate understanding of the Christian faith 
itself and his baptismal confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and 
Saviour.  The former was achieved in the Milanese garden.  The 
latter came more slowly and had no "dramatic moment." The 
dialogues that Augustine wrote at Cassiciacum the year following 
his conversion show few substantial signs of a theological 
understanding, decisively or distinctively Christian.  But by the 
time of his ordination to the presbyterate we can see the basic 
lines of a comprehensive and orthodox theology firmly laid out.  
Augustine neglects to tell us (in 398) what had happened in his 
thought between 385 and 391.  He had other questions, more 
interesting to him, with which to wrestle.

     One does not read far in the Confessions before he recognizes 
that the term "confess" has a double range of meaning.  On the one 
hand, it obviously refers to the free acknowledgment, before God, 
of the truth one knows about oneself -- and this obviously meant, 
for Augustine, the "confession of sins." But, at the same time, 
and more importantly, confiteri means to acknowledge, to God, the 
truth one knows about God.  To confess, then, is to praise and 
glorify God; it is an exercise in self-knowledge and true humility 
in the atmosphere of grace and reconciliation.

     Thus the Confessions are by no means complete when the 
personal history is concluded at the end of Book IX.  There are 
two more closely related problems to be explored: First, how does 
the finite self find the infinite God (or, how is it found of 
him?)?  And, secondly, how may we interpret God's action in 
producing this created world in which such personal histories and 
revelations do occur?  Book X, therefore, is an exploration of 
_man's way to God_, a way which begins in sense experience but 
swiftly passes beyond it, through and beyond the awesome mystery 
of memory, to the ineffable encounter between God and the soul in 
man's inmost subject-self.  But such a journey is not complete 
until the process is reversed and man has looked as deeply as may 
be into the mystery of creation, on which all our history and 
experience depend.  In Book XI, therefore, we discover why _time_ 
is such a problem and how "In the beginning God created the 
heavens and the earth" is the basic formula of a massive Christian 
metaphysical world view.  In Books XII and XIII, Augustine 
elaborates, in loving patience and with considerable allegorical 
license, the mysteries of creation -- exegeting the first chapter 
of Genesis, verse by verse, until he is able to relate the whole 
round of creation to the point where we can view the drama of 
God's enterprise in human history on the vast stage of the cosmos 
itself.  The Creator is the Redeemer!  Man's end and the beginning 
meet at a single point!

     The Enchiridion is a briefer treatise on the grace of God and 
represents Augustine's fully matured theological perspective -- 
after the magnificent achievements of the De Trinitate and the 
greater part of the De civitate Dei, and after the tremendous 
turmoil of the Pelagian controversy in which the doctrine of grace 
was the exact epicenter.  Sometime in 421, Augustine received a 
request from one Laurentius, a Christian layman who was the 
brother of the tribune Dulcitius (for whom Augustine wrote the De 
octo dulcitii quaestionibus in 423-425).  This Laurentius wanted a 
handbook (enchiridion)  that would sum up the essential Christian 
teaching in the briefest possible form.  Augustine dryly comments 
that the shortest complete summary of the Christian faith is that 
God is to be served by man in faith, hope, and love.  Then, 
acknowledging that this answer might indeed be _too_ brief, he 
proceeds to expand it in an essay in which he tries unsuccessfully 
to subdue his natural digressive manner by imposing on it a 
patently artificial schematism.  Despite its awkward form, 
however, the Enchiridion is one of the most important of all of 
Augustine's writings, for it is a conscious effort of the 
theological magistrate of the Western Church to stand on final 
ground of testimony to the Christian truth.

     For his framework, Augustine chooses the Apostles' Creed and 
the Lord's Prayer.  The treatise begins, naturally enough, with a 
discussion of God's work in creation.  Augustine makes a firm 
distinction between the comparatively unimportant knowledge of 
nature and the supremely important acknowledgment of the Creator 
of nature.  But creation lies under the shadow of sin and evil and 
Augustine reviews his famous (and borrowed!) doctrine of the 
privative character of evil.  From this he digresses into an 
extended comment on error and lying as special instances of evil.  
He then returns to the hopeless case of fallen man, to which God's 
wholly unmerited grace has responded in the incarnation of the 
Mediator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  The questions about the 
appropriation of God's grace lead naturally to a discussion of 
baptism and justification, and beyond these, to the Holy Spirit 
and the Church. Augustine then sets forth the benefits of 
redeeming grace and weighs the balance between faith and good 
works in the forgiven sinner.  But redemption looks forward toward 
resurrection, and Augustine feels he must devote a good deal of 
energy and subtle speculation to the questions about the manner 
and mode of the life everlasting.  From this he moves on to the 
problem of the destiny of the wicked and the mystery of 
predestination.  Nor does he shrink from these grim topics; 
indeed, he actually _expands_ some of his most rigid ideas of 
God's ruthless justice toward the damned.  Having thus treated the 
Christian faith and Christian hope, he turns in a too-brief 
concluding section to the virtue of Christian love as the heart of 
the Christian life.  This, then, is the "handbook" on faith, hope, 
and love which he hopes Laurence will put to use and not leave as 
"baggage on his bookshelf."

     Taken together, the Confessions and the Enchiridion give us 
two very important vantage points from which to view the 
Augustinian perspective as a whole, since they represent both his 
early and his mature formulation.  From them, we can gain a 
competent -- though by no means complete -- introduction to the 
heart and mind of this great Christian saint and sage.  There are 
important differences between the two works, and these ought to be 
noted by the careful reader.  But all the main themes of 
Augustinian Christianity appear in them, and through them we can 
penetrate to its inner dynamic core.

     There is no need to justify a new English translation of 
these books, even though many good ones already exist.  Every 
translation is, at best, only an approximation -- and an 
interpretation too.  There is small hope for a translation to end 
all translations.  Augustine's Latin is, for the most part, 
comparatively easy to read.  One feels directly the force of his 
constant wordplay, the artful balancing of his clauses, his 
laconic use of parataxis, and his deliberate involutions of 
thought and word order.  He was always a Latin rhetor; artifice of 
style had come to be second nature with him -- even though the 
Latin scriptures were powerful modifiers of his classical literary 
patterns.  But it is a very tricky business to convey such a Latin 
style into anything like modern English without considerable 
violence one way or the other.  A literal rendering of the text is 
simply not readable English.  And this falsifies the text in 
another way, for Augustine's Latin is eminently readable!  On the 
other side, when one resorts to the unavoidable paraphrase there 
is always the open question as to the point beyond which the 
thought itself is being recast.  It has been my aim and hope that 
these translations will give the reader an accurate medium of 
contact with Augustine's temper and mode of argumentation.  There 
has been no thought of trying to contrive an English equivalent 
for his style.  If Augustine's ideas come through this translation 
with positive force and clarity, there can be no serious reproach 
if it is neither as eloquent nor as elegant as Augustine in his 
own language.  In any case, those who will compare this 
translation with the others will get at least a faint notion of 
how complex and truly brilliant the original is!

     The sensitive reader soon recognizes that Augustine will not 
willingly be inspected from a distance or by a neutral observer.  
In all his writings there is a strong concern and moving power to 
involve his reader in his own process of inquiry and perplexity.  
There is a manifest eagerness to have him share in his own flashes 
of insight and his sudden glimpses of God's glory.  Augustine's 
style is deeply personal; it is therefore idiomatic, and often 
colloquial.  Even in his knottiest arguments, or in the 
labyrinthine mazes of his allegorizing (e.g., Confessions, Bk. 
XIII, or Enchiridion, XVIII), he seeks to maintain contact with 
his reader in genuine respect and openness.  He is never content 
to seek and find the truth in solitude.  He must enlist his 
fellows in seeing and applying the truth as given.  He is never 
the blind fideist; even in the face of mystery, there is a 
constant reliance on the limited but real powers of human reason, 
and a constant striving for clarity and intelligibility.  In this 
sense, he was a consistent follower of his own principle of 
"Christian Socratism," developed in the De Magistro and the De 
catechezandis rudibus.  

     Even the best of Augustine's writing bears the marks of his 
own time and there is much in these old books that is of little 
interest to any but the specialist.  There are many stones of 
stumbling in them for the modern secularist -- and even for the 
modern Christian!  Despite all this, it is impossible to read him 
with any attention at all without recognizing how his genius and 
his piety burst through the limitations of his times and his 
language -- and even his English translations!  He grips our 
hearts and minds and enlists us in the great enterprise to which 
his whole life was devoted: the search for and the celebration of 
God's grace and glory by which his faithful children are sustained 
and guided in their pilgrimage toward the true Light of us all.

     The most useful critical text of the Confessions is that of 
Pierre de Labriolle (fifth edition, Paris, 1950).  I have collated 
this with the other major critical editions: Martin Skutella, S.  
Aureli Augustini Confessionum Libri Tredecim (Leipzig, 1934) -- 
itself a recension of the Corpus Scriptorum ecclesiasticorum 
Latinorum XXXIII text of Pius Knoll (Vienna, 1896) -- and the 
second edition of John Gibb and William Montgomery (Cambridge, 

     There are two good critical texts of the Enchiridion and I 
have collated them: Otto Scheel, Augustins Enchiridion (zweite 
Auflage, Tubingen, 1930), and Jean Riviere, Enchiridion in the 
Bibliotheque Augustinienne, Oeuvres de S.  Augustin, premiere 
serie: Opuscules, IX: Exposes generaux de la foi (Paris, 1947).

     It remains for me to express my appreciation to the General 
Editors of this Library for their constructive help; to Professor 
Hollis W.  Huston, who read the entire manuscript and made many 
valuable suggestions; and to Professor William A.  Irwin, who 
greatly aided with parts of the Enchiridion.   These men share the 
credit for preventing many flaws, but naturally no responsibility 
for those remaining.  Professors Raymond P.  Morris, of the Yale 
Divinity School Library; Robert Beach, of the Union Theological 
Seminary Library; and Decherd Turner, of our Bridwell Library here 
at Southern Methodist University, were especially generous in 
their bibliographical assistance.  Last, but not least, Mrs.  
Hollis W.  Huston and my wife, between them, managed the difficult 
task of putting the results of this project into fair copy.  To 
them all I am most grateful.



I.  THE Retractations, II, 6 (A.D.  427)

     1.  My Confessions, in thirteen books, praise the righteous 
and good God as they speak either of my evil or good, and they are 
meant to excite men's minds and affections toward him.  At least 
as far as I am concerned, this is what they did for me when they 
were being written and they still do this when read.  What some 
people think of them is their own affair [ipse viderint];  but I 
do know that they have given pleasure to many of my brethren and 
still do so.  The first through the tenth books were written about 
myself; the other three about Holy Scripture, from what is written 
there, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,[2] 
even as far as the reference to the Sabbath rest.[3] 

     2.  In Book IV, when I confessed my soul's misery over the 
death of a friend and said that our soul had somehow been made one 
out of two souls, "But it may have been that I was afraid to die, 
lest he should then die wholly whom I had so greatly loved" (Ch. 
VI, 11) -- this now seems to be more a trivial declamation than a 
serious confession, although this inept expression may be tempered 
somewhat by the "may have been" [forte]  which I added.  And in 
Book XIII what I said -- "The firmament was made between the 
higher waters (and superior) and the lower (and inferior) waters" 
-- was said without sufficient thought.  In any case, the matter 
is very obscure.

     This work begins thus: "Great art thou, O Lord."

II.  De Dono Perseverantiae, XX, 53 (A.D.  428)

     Which of my shorter works has been more widely known or given 
greater pleasure than the [thirteen] books of my Confessions?   
And, although I published them long before the Pelagian heresy had 
even begun to be, it is plain that in them I said to my God, again 
and again, "Give what thou commandest and command what thou wilt." 
When these words of mine were repeated in Pelagius' presence at 
Rome by a certain brother of mine (an episcopal colleague), he 
could not bear them and contradicted him so excitedly that they 
nearly came to a quarrel.  Now what, indeed, does God command, 
first and foremost, except that we believe in him?  This faith, 
therefore, he himself gives; so that it is well said to him, "Give 
what thou commandest." Moreover, in those same books, concerning 
my account of my conversion when God turned me to that faith which 
I was laying waste with a very wretched and wild verbal assault,[4 
]do you not remember how the narration shows that I was given as a 
gift to the faithful and daily tears of my mother, who had been 
promised that I should not perish?  I certainly declared there 
that God by his grace turns men's wills to the true faith when 
they are not only averse to it, but actually adverse.  As for the 
other ways in which I sought God's aid in my growth in 
perseverance, you either know or can review them as you wish (PL, 
45, c.  1025).

III.  Letter to Darius (A.D.  429)

     Thus, my son, take the books of my Confessions and use them 
as a good man should -- not superficially, but as a Christian in 
Christian charity.  Here see me as I am and do not praise me for 
more than I am.  Here believe nothing else about me than my own 
testimony.  Here observe what I have been in myself and through 
myself.  And if something in me pleases you, here praise Him with 
me -- him whom I desire to be praised on my account and not 
myself.  "For it is he that hath made us and not we ourselves."[5]  
Indeed, we were ourselves quite lost; but he who made us, remade 
us [sed qui fecit, refecit].  As, then, you find me in these 
pages, pray for me that I shall not fail but that I may go on to 
be perfected.  Pray for me, my son, pray for me! (Epist. CCXXXI, 
PL, 33, c.  1025).


              The Confessions of Saint Augustine


                           BOOK ONE

     In God's searching presence, Augustine undertakes to plumb 
the depths of his memory to trace the mysterious pilgrimage of 
grace which his life has been -- and to praise God for his 
constant and omnipotent grace.  In a mood of sustained prayer, he 
recalls what he can of his infancy, his learning to speak, and his 
childhood experiences in school.  He concludes with a paean of 
grateful praise to God.  


                           CHAPTER I

     1.  "Great art thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great 
is thy power, and infinite is thy wisdom."[6]  And man desires to 
praise thee, for he is a part of thy creation; he bears his 
mortality about with him and carries the evidence of his sin and 
the proof that thou dost resist the proud.  Still he desires to 
praise thee, this man who is only a small part of thy creation.  
Thou hast prompted him, that he should delight to praise thee, for 
thou hast made us for thyself and restless is our heart until it 
comes to rest in thee.  Grant me, O Lord, to know and understand 
whether first to invoke thee or to praise thee; whether first to 
know thee or call upon thee.  But who can invoke thee, knowing 
thee not?  For he who knows thee not may invoke thee as another 
than thou art.  It may be that we should invoke thee in order that 
we may come to know thee.  But "how shall they call on him in whom 
they have not believed?  Or how shall they believe without a 
preacher?"[7]  Now, "they shall praise the Lord who seek him,"[8] 
for "those who seek shall find him,"[9] and, finding him, shall 
praise him.  I will seek thee, O Lord, and call upon thee.  I call 
upon thee, O Lord, in my faith which thou hast given me, which 
thou hast inspired in me through the humanity of thy Son, and 
through the ministry of thy preacher.[10]

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  And how shall I call upon my God -- my God and my Lord?  
For when I call on him I ask him to come into me.  And what place 
is there in me into which my God can come?  How could God, the God 
who made both heaven and earth, come into me?  Is there anything 
in me, O Lord my God, that can contain thee?  Do even the heaven 
and the earth, which thou hast made, and in which thou didst make 
me, contain thee?  Is it possible that, since without thee nothing 
would be which does exist, thou didst make it so that whatever 
exists has some capacity to receive thee?  Why, then, do I ask 
thee to come into me, since I also am and could not be if thou 
wert not in me?  For I am not, after all, in hell -- and yet thou 
art there too, for "if I go down into hell, thou art there."[11]  
Therefore I would not exist -- I would simply not be at all -- 
unless I exist in thee, from whom and by whom and in whom all 
things are.  Even so, Lord; even so.  Where do I call thee to, 
when I am already in thee?  Or from whence wouldst thou come into 
me?  Where, beyond heaven and earth, could I go that there my God 
might come to me -- he who hath said, "I fill heaven and 

                         CHAPTER III

     3.  Since, then, thou dost fill the heaven and earth, do they 
contain thee?  Or, dost thou fill and overflow them, because they 
cannot contain thee?  And where dost thou pour out what remains of 
thee after heaven and earth are full?  Or, indeed, is there no 
need that thou, who dost contain all things, shouldst be contained 
by any, since those things which thou dost fill thou fillest by 
containing them?  For the vessels which thou dost fill do not 
confine thee, since even if they were broken, thou wouldst not be 
poured out.  And, when thou art poured out on us, thou art not 
thereby brought down; rather, we are uplifted.  Thou art not 
scattered; rather, thou dost gather us together.  But when thou 
dost fill all things, dost thou fill them with thy whole being?  
Or, since not even all things together could contain thee 
altogether, does any one thing contain a single part, and do all 
things contain that same part at the same time?  Do singulars 
contain thee singly?  Do greater things contain more of thee, and 
smaller things less?  Or, is it not rather that thou art wholly 
present everywhere, yet in such a way that nothing contains thee 

                          CHAPTER IV

     4.  What, therefore, is my God?  What, I ask, but the Lord 
God?  "For who is Lord but the Lord himself, or who is God besides 
our God?"[13]  Most high, most excellent, most potent, most 
omnipotent; most merciful and most just; most secret and most 
truly present; most beautiful and most strong; stable, yet not 
supported; unchangeable, yet changing all things; never new, never 
old; making all things new, yet bringing old age upon the proud, 
and they know it not; always working, ever at rest; gathering, yet 
needing nothing; sustaining, pervading, and protecting; creating, 
nourishing, and developing; seeking, and yet possessing all 
things.  Thou dost love, but without passion; art jealous, yet 
free from care; dost repent without remorse; art angry, yet 
remainest serene.  Thou changest thy ways, leaving thy plans 
unchanged; thou recoverest what thou hast never really lost.  Thou 
art never in need but still thou dost rejoice at thy gains; art 
never greedy, yet demandest dividends.  Men pay more than is 
required so that thou dost become a debtor; yet who can possess 
anything at all which is not already thine?  Thou owest men 
nothing, yet payest out to them as if in debt to thy creature, and 
when thou dost cancel debts thou losest nothing thereby.  Yet, O 
my God, my life, my holy Joy, what is this that I have said?  What 
can any man say when he speaks of thee?  But woe to them that keep 
silence -- since even those who say most are dumb.

                          CHAPTER V

     5.  Who shall bring me to rest in thee?  Who will send thee 
into my heart so to overwhelm it that my sins shall be blotted out 
and I may embrace thee, my only good?  What art thou to me?  Have 
mercy that I may speak.  What am I to thee that thou shouldst 
command me to love thee, and if I do it not, art angry and 
threatenest vast misery?  Is it, then, a trifling sorrow not to 
love thee?  It is not so to me.  Tell me, by thy mercy, O Lord, my 
God, what thou art to me.  "Say to my soul, I am your 
salvation."[14]  So speak that I may hear.  Behold, the ears of my 
heart are before thee, O Lord; open them and "say to my soul, I am 
your salvation." I will hasten after that voice, and I will lay 
hold upon thee.  Hide not thy face from me.  Even if I die, let me 
see thy face lest I die.

     6.  The house of my soul is too narrow for thee to come in to 
me; let it be enlarged by thee.  It is in ruins; do thou restore 
it.  There is much about it which must offend thy eyes; I confess 
and know it.  But who will cleanse it?  Or, to whom shall I cry 
but to thee?  "Cleanse thou me from my secret faults," O Lord, 
"and keep back thy servant from strange sins."[15]  "I believe, 
and therefore do I speak."[16]  But thou, O Lord, thou knowest.  
Have I not confessed my transgressions unto thee, O my God; and 
hast thou not put away the iniquity of my heart?[17]  I do not 
contend in judgment with thee,[18] who art truth itself; and I 
would not deceive myself, lest my iniquity lie even to itself.  I 
do not, therefore, contend in judgment with thee, for "if thou, 
Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"[19]

                          CHAPTER VI

     7.  Still, dust and ashes as I am, allow me to speak before 
thy mercy.  Allow me to speak, for, behold, it is to thy mercy 
that I speak and not to a man who scorns me.  Yet perhaps even 
thou mightest scorn me; but when thou dost turn and attend to me, 
thou wilt have mercy upon me.  For what do I wish to say, O Lord 
my God, but that I know not whence I came hither into this life-
in-death.  Or should I call it death-in-life?  I do not know.  And 
yet the consolations of thy mercy have sustained me from the very 
beginning, as I have heard from my fleshly parents, from whom and 
in whom thou didst form me in time -- for I cannot myself 
remember.  Thus even though they sustained me by the consolation 
of woman's milk, neither my mother nor my nurses filled their own 
breasts but thou, through them, didst give me the food of infancy 
according to thy ordinance and thy bounty which underlie all 
things.  For it was thou who didst cause me not to want more than 
thou gavest and it was thou who gavest to those who nourished me 
the will to give me what thou didst give them.  And they, by an 
instinctive affection, were willing to give me what thou hadst 
supplied abundantly.  It was, indeed, good for them that my good 
should come through them, though, in truth, it was not from them 
but by them.  For it is from thee, O God, that all good things 
come -- and from my God is all my health.  This is what I have 
since learned, as thou hast made it abundantly clear by all that I 
have seen thee give, both to me and to those around me.  For even 
at the very first I knew how to suck, to lie quiet when I was 
full, and to cry when in pain -- nothing more.

     8.  Afterward I began to laugh -- at first in my sleep, then 
when waking.  For this I have been told about myself and I believe 
it -- though I cannot remember it -- for I see the same things in 
other infants.  Then, little by little, I realized where I was and 
wished to tell my wishes to those who might satisfy them, but I 
could not!  For my wants were inside me, and they were outside, 
and they could not by any power of theirs come into my soul.  And 
so I would fling my arms and legs about and cry, making the few 
and feeble gestures that I could, though indeed the signs were not 
much like what I inwardly desired and when I was not satisfied -- 
either from not being understood or because what I got was not 
good for me -- I grew indignant that my elders were not subject to 
me and that those on whom I actually had no claim did not wait on 
me as slaves -- and I avenged myself on them by crying.  That 
infants are like this, I have myself been able to learn by 
watching them; and they, though they knew me not, have shown me 
better what I was like than my own nurses who knew me.

     9.  And, behold, my infancy died long ago, but I am still 
living.  But thou, O Lord, whose life is forever and in whom 
nothing dies -- since before the world was, indeed, before all 
that can be called "before," thou wast, and thou art the God and 
Lord of all thy creatures; and with thee abide all the stable 
causes of all unstable things, the unchanging sources of all 
changeable things, and the eternal reasons of all non-rational and 
temporal things -- tell me, thy suppliant, O God, tell me, O 
merciful One, in pity tell a pitiful creature whether my infancy 
followed yet an earlier age of my life that had already passed 
away before it.  Was it such another age which I spent in my 
mother's womb?  For something of that sort has been suggested to 
me, and I have myself seen pregnant women.  But what, O God, my 
Joy, preceded _that_ period of life?  Was I, indeed, anywhere, or 
anybody?  No one can explain these things to me, neither father 
nor mother, nor the experience of others, nor my own memory.  Dost 
thou laugh at me for asking such things?  Or dost thou command me 
to praise and confess unto thee only what I know?

     10.  I give thanks to thee, O Lord of heaven and earth, 
giving praise to thee for that first being and my infancy of which 
I have no memory.  For thou hast granted to man that he should 
come to self-knowledge through the knowledge of others, and that 
he should believe many things about himself on the authority of 
the womenfolk.  Now, clearly, I had life and being; and, as my 
infancy closed, I was already learning signs by which my feelings 
could be communicated to others.

     Whence could such a creature come but from thee, O Lord?  Is 
any man skillful enough to have fashioned himself?  Or is there 
any other source from which being and life could flow into us, 
save this, that thou, O Lord, hast made us -- thou with whom being 
and life are one, since thou thyself art supreme being and supreme 
life both together.  For thou art infinite and in thee there is no 
change, nor an end to this present day -- although there is a 
sense in which it ends in thee since all things are in thee and 
there would be no such thing as days passing away unless thou 
didst sustain them.  And since "thy years shall have no end,"[20] 
thy years are an ever-present day.  And how many of ours and our 
fathers' days have passed through this thy day and have received 
from it what measure and fashion of being they had?  And all the 
days to come shall so receive and so pass away.  "But thou art the 
same"![21]  And all the things of tomorrow and the days yet to 
come, and all of yesterday and the days that are past, thou wilt 
gather into this thy day.  What is it to me if someone does not 
understand this?  Let him still rejoice and continue to ask, "What 
is this?"  Let him also rejoice and prefer to seek thee, even if 
he fails to find an answer, rather than to seek an answer and not 
find thee!

                         CHAPTER VII

     11.  "Hear me, O God!  Woe to the sins of men!"  When a man 
cries thus, thou showest him mercy, for thou didst create the man 
but not the sin in him.  Who brings to remembrance the sins of my 
infancy?  For in thy sight there is none free from sin, not even 
the infant who has lived but a day upon this earth.  Who brings 
this to my remembrance?  Does not each little one, in whom I now 
observe what I no longer remember of myself?  In what ways, in 
that time, did I sin?  Was it that I cried for the breast?  If I 
should now so cry -- not indeed for the breast, but for food 
suitable to my condition -- I should be most justly laughed at and 
rebuked.  What I did then deserved rebuke but, since I could not 
understand those who rebuked me, neither custom nor common sense 
permitted me to be rebuked.  As we grow we root out and cast away 
from us such childish habits.  Yet I have not seen anyone who is 
wise who cast away the good when trying to purge the bad.  Nor was 
it good, even in that time, to strive to get by crying what, if it 
had been given me, would have been hurtful; or to be bitterly 
indignant at those who, because they were older -- not slaves, 
either, but free -- and wiser than I, would not indulge my 
capricious desires.  Was it a good thing for me to try, by 
struggling as hard as I could, to harm them for not obeying me, 
even when it would have done me harm to have been obeyed?  Thus, 
the infant's innocence lies in the weakness of his body and not in 
the infant mind.  I have myself observed a baby to be jealous, 
though it could not speak; it was livid as it watched another 
infant at the breast.

     Who is ignorant of this?  Mothers and nurses tell us that 
they cure these things by I know not what remedies.  But is this 
innocence, when the fountain of milk is flowing fresh and 
abundant, that another who needs it should not be allowed to share 
it, even though he requires such nourishment to sustain his life?  
Yet we look leniently on such things, not because they are not 
faults, or even small faults, but because they will vanish as the 
years pass.  For, although we allow for such things in an infant, 
the same things could not be tolerated patiently in an adult.

     12.  Therefore, O Lord my God, thou who gavest life to the 
infant, and a body which, as we see, thou hast furnished with 
senses, shaped with limbs, beautified with form, and endowed with 
all vital energies for its well-being and health -- thou dost 
command me to praise thee for these things, to give thanks unto 
the Lord, and to sing praise unto his name, O Most High.[22]  For 
thou art God, omnipotent and good, even if thou hadst done no more 
than these things, which no other but thou canst do -- thou alone 
who madest all things fair and didst order everything according to 
thy law.

     I am loath to dwell on this part of my life of which, O Lord, 
I have no remembrance, about which I must trust the word of others 
and what I can surmise from observing other infants, even if such 
guesses are trustworthy.  For it lies in the deep murk of my 
forgetfulness and thus is like the period which I passed in my 
mother's womb.  But if "I was conceived in iniquity, and in sin my 
mother nourished me in her womb,"[23] where, I pray thee, O my 
God, where, O Lord, or when was I, thy servant, ever innocent?  
But see now, I pass over that period, for what have I to do with a 
time from which I can recall no memories? 

                         CHAPTER VIII

     13.  Did I not, then, as I grew out of infancy, come next to 
boyhood, or rather did it not come to me and succeed my infancy?  
My infancy did not go away (for where would it go?).  It was 
simply no longer present; and I was no longer an infant who could 
not speak, but now a chattering boy.  I remember this, and I have 
since observed how I learned to speak.  My elders did not teach me 
words by rote, as they taught me my letters afterward.  But I 
myself, when I was unable to communicate all I wished to say to 
whomever I wished by means of whimperings and grunts and various 
gestures of my limbs (which I used to reinforce my demands), I 
myself repeated the sounds already stored in my memory by the mind 
which thou, O my God, hadst given me.  When they called some thing 
by name and pointed it out while they spoke, I saw it and realized 
that the thing they wished to indicate was called by the name they 
then uttered.  And what they meant was made plain by the gestures 
of their bodies, by a kind of natural language, common to all 
nations, which expresses itself through changes of countenance, 
glances of the eye, gestures and intonations which indicate a 
disposition and attitude -- either to seek or to possess, to 
reject or to avoid.  So it was that by frequently hearing words, 
in different phrases, I gradually identified the objects which the 
words stood for and, having formed my mouth to repeat these signs, 
I was thereby able to express my will.  Thus I exchanged with 
those about me the verbal signs by which we express our wishes and 
advanced deeper into the stormy fellowship of human life, 
depending all the while upon the authority of my parents and the 
behest of my elders.

                          CHAPTER IX

     14.  O my God!  What miseries and mockeries did I then 
experience when it was impressed on me that obedience to my 
teachers was proper to my boyhood estate if I was to flourish in 
this world and distinguish myself in those tricks of speech which 
would gain honor for me among men, and deceitful riches!  To this 
end I was sent to school to get learning, the value of which I 
knew not -- wretch that I was.  Yet if I was slow to learn, I was 
flogged.  For this was deemed praiseworthy by our forefathers and 
many had passed before us in the same course, and thus had built 
up the precedent for the sorrowful road on which we too were 
compelled to travel, multiplying labor and sorrow upon the sons of 
Adam.  About this time, O Lord, I observed men praying to thee, 
and I learned from them to conceive thee -- after my capacity for 
understanding as it was then -- to be some great Being, who, 
though not visible to our senses, was able to hear and help us.  
Thus as a boy I began to pray to thee, my Help and my Refuge, and, 
in calling on thee, broke the bands of my tongue.  Small as I was, 
I prayed with no slight earnestness that I might not be beaten at 
school.  And when thou didst not heed me -- for that would have 
been giving me over to my folly -- my elders and even my parents 
too, who wished me no ill, treated my stripes as a joke, though 
they were then a great and grievous ill to me.

     15.  Is there anyone, O Lord, with a spirit so great, who 
cleaves to thee with such steadfast affection (or is there even a 
kind of obtuseness that has the same effect) -- is there any man 
who, by cleaving devoutly to thee, is endowed with so great a 
courage that he can regard indifferently those racks and hooks and 
other torture weapons from which men throughout the world pray so 
fervently to be spared; and can they scorn those who so greatly 
fear these torments, just as my parents were amused at the 
torments with which our teachers punished us boys?  For we were no 
less afraid of our pains, nor did we beseech thee less to escape 
them.  Yet, even so, we were sinning by writing or reading or 
studying less than our assigned lessons.

     For I did not, O Lord, lack memory or capacity, for, by thy 
will, I possessed enough for my age.  However, my mind was 
absorbed only in play, and I was punished for this by those who 
were doing the same things themselves.  But the idling of our 
elders is called business; the idling of boys, though quite like 
it, is punished by those same elders, and no one pities either the 
boys or the men.  For will any common sense observer agree that I 
was rightly punished as a boy for playing ball -- just because 
this hindered me from learning more quickly those lessons by means 
of which, as a man, I could play at more shameful games?  And did 
he by whom I was beaten do anything different?  When he was 
worsted in some small controversy with a fellow teacher, he was 
more tormented by anger and envy than I was when beaten by a 
playmate in the ball game.

                          CHAPTER X

     16.  And yet I sinned, O Lord my God, thou ruler and creator 
of all natural things -- but of sins only the ruler -- I sinned, O 
Lord my God, in acting against the precepts of my parents and of 
those teachers.  For this learning which they wished me to acquire 
-- no matter what their motives were -- I might have put to good 
account afterward.  I disobeyed them, not because I had chosen a 
better way, but from a sheer love of play.  I loved the vanity of 
victory, and I loved to have my ears tickled with lying fables, 
which made them itch even more ardently, and a similar curiosity 
glowed more and more in my eyes for the shows and sports of my 
elders.  Yet those who put on such shows are held in such high 
repute that almost all desire the same for their children.  They 
are therefore willing to have them beaten, if their childhood 
games keep them from the studies by which their parents desire 
them to grow up to be able to give such shows.  Look down on these 
things with mercy, O Lord, and deliver us who now call upon thee; 
deliver those also who do not call upon thee, that they may call 
upon thee, and thou mayest deliver them.

                          CHAPTER XI

     17.  Even as a boy I had heard of eternal life promised to us 
through the humility of the Lord our God, who came down to visit 
us in our pride, and I was signed with the sign of his cross, and 
was seasoned with his salt even from the womb of my mother, who 
greatly trusted in thee.  Thou didst see, O Lord, how, once, while 
I was still a child, I was suddenly seized with stomach pains and 
was at the point of death -- thou didst see, O my God, for even 
then thou wast my keeper, with what agitation and with what faith 
I solicited from the piety of my mother and from thy Church (which 
is the mother of us all) the baptism of thy Christ, my Lord and my 
God.  The mother of my flesh was much perplexed, for, with a heart 
pure in thy faith, she was always in deep travail for my eternal 
salvation.  If I had not quickly recovered, she would have 
provided forthwith for my initiation and washing by thy life-
giving sacraments, confessing thee, O Lord Jesus, for the 
forgiveness of sins.  So my cleansing was deferred, as if it were 
inevitable that, if I should live, I would be further polluted; 
and, further, because the guilt contracted by sin after baptism 
would be still greater and more perilous.

     Thus, at that time, I "believed" along with my mother and the 
whole household, except my father.  But he did not overcome the 
influence of my mother's piety in me, nor did he prevent my 
believing in Christ, although he had not yet believed in him.  For 
it was her desire, O my God, that I should acknowledge thee as my 
Father rather than him.  In this thou didst aid her to overcome 
her husband, to whom, though his superior, she yielded obedience.  
In this way she also yielded obedience to thee, who dost so 

     18.  I ask thee, O my God, for I would gladly know if it be 
thy will, to what good end my baptism was deferred at that time?  
Was it indeed for my good that the reins were slackened, as it 
were, to encourage me in sin?  Or, were they not slackened?  If 
not, then why is it still dinned into our ears on all sides, "Let 
him alone, let him do as he pleases, for he is not yet baptized"?  
In the matter of bodily health, no one says, "Let him alone; let 
him be worse wounded; for he is not yet cured"!  How much better, 
then, would it have been for me to have been cured at once -- and 
if thereafter, through the diligent care of friends and myself, my 
soul's restored health had been kept safe in thy keeping, who gave 
it in the first place!  This would have been far better, in truth.  
But how many and great the waves of temptation which appeared to 
hang over me as I grew out of childhood!  These were foreseen by 
my mother, and she preferred that the unformed clay should be 
risked to them rather than the clay molded after Christ's 

                          CHAPTER XII

     19.  But in this time of childhood -- which was far less 
dreaded for me than my adolescence -- I had no love of learning, 
and hated to be driven to it.  Yet I was driven to it just the 
same, and good was done for me, even though I did not do it well, 
for I would not have learned if I had not been forced to it.  For 
no man does well against his will, even if what he does is a good 
thing.  Neither did they who forced me do well, but the good that 
was done me came from thee, my God.  For they did not care about 
the way in which I would use what they forced me to learn, and 
took it for granted that it was to satisfy the inordinate desires 
of a rich beggary and a shameful glory.  But thou, Lord, by whom 
the hairs of our head are numbered, didst use for my good the 
error of all who pushed me on to study: but my error in not being 
willing to learn thou didst use for my punishment.  And I -- 
though so small a boy yet so great a sinner -- was not punished 
without warrant.  Thus by the instrumentality of those who did not 
do well, thou didst well for me; and by my own sin thou didst 
justly punish me.  For it is even as thou hast ordained: that 
every inordinate affection brings on its own punishment.

                         CHAPTER XIII

     20.  But what were the causes for my strong dislike of Greek 
literature, which I studied from my boyhood?  Even to this day I 
have not fully understood them.  For Latin I loved exceedingly -- 
not just the rudiments, but what the grammarians teach. For those 
beginner's lessons in reading, writing, and reckoning, I 
considered no less a burden and pain than Greek.  Yet whence came 
this, unless from the sin and vanity of this life?  For I was "but 
flesh, a wind that passeth away and cometh not again."[25]  Those 
first lessons were better, assuredly, because they were more 
certain, and through them I acquired, and still retain, the power 
of reading what I find written and of writing for myself what I 
will.  In the other subjects, however, I was compelled to learn 
about the wanderings of a certain Aeneas, oblivious of my own 
wanderings, and to weep for Dido dead, who slew herself for love.  
And all this while I bore with dry eyes my own wretched self dying 
to thee, O God, my life, in the midst of these things.

     21.  For what can be more wretched than the wretch who has no 
pity upon himself, who sheds tears over Dido, dead for the love of 
Aeneas, but who sheds no tears for his own death in not loving 
thee, O God, light of my heart, and bread of the inner mouth of my 
soul, O power that links together my mind with my inmost thoughts?  
I did not love thee, and thus committed fornication against 
thee.[26]  Those around me, also sinning, thus cried out: "Well 
done!  Well done!"  The friendship of this world is fornication 
against thee; and "Well done!  Well done!"  is cried until one 
feels ashamed not to show himself a man in this way.  For my own 
condition I shed no tears, though I wept for Dido, who "sought 
death at the sword's point,"[27] while I myself was seeking the 
lowest rung of thy creation, having forsaken thee; earth sinking 
back to earth again.  And, if I had been forbidden to read these 
poems, I would have grieved that I was not allowed to read what 
grieved me.  This sort of madness is considered more honorable and 
more fruitful learning than the beginner's course in which I 
learned to read and write.

     22.  But now, O my God, cry unto my soul, and let thy truth 
say to me: "Not so, not so!  That first learning was far better." 
For, obviously, I would rather forget the wanderings of Aeneas, 
and all such things, than forget how to write and read.  Still, 
over the entrance of the grammar school there hangs a veil.  This 
is not so much the sign of a covering for a mystery as a curtain 
for error.  Let them exclaim against me -- those I no longer fear 
-- while I confess to thee, my God, what my soul desires, and let 
me find some rest, for in blaming my own evil ways I may come to 
love thy holy ways.  Neither let those cry out against me who buy 
and sell the baubles of literature.  For if I ask them if it is 
true, as the poet says, that Aeneas once came to Carthage, the 
unlearned will reply that they do not know and the learned will 
deny that it is true.  But if I ask with what letters the name 
Aeneas is written, all who have ever learned this will answer 
correctly, in accordance with the conventional understanding men 
have agreed upon as to these signs.  Again, if I should ask which 
would cause the greatest inconvenience in our life, if it were 
forgotten: reading and writing, or these poetical fictions, who 
does not see what everyone would answer who had not entirely lost 
his own memory?  I erred, then, when as a boy I preferred those 
vain studies to these more profitable ones, or rather loved the 
one and hated the other.  "One and one are two, two and two are 
four": this was then a truly hateful song to me.  But the wooden 
horse full of its armed soldiers, and the holocaust of Troy, and 
the spectral image of Creusa were all a most delightful -- and 
vain -- show![28]

     23.  But why, then, did I dislike Greek learning, which was 
full of such tales?  For Homer was skillful in inventing such 
poetic fictions and is most sweetly wanton; yet when I was a boy, 
he was most disagreeable to me.  I believe that Virgil would have 
the same effect on Greek boys as Homer did on me if they were 
forced to learn him.  For the tedium of learning a foreign 
language mingled gall into the sweetness of those Grecian myths.  
For I did not understand a word of the language, and yet I was 
driven with threats and cruel punishments to learn it.  There was 
also a time when, as an infant, I knew no Latin; but this I 
acquired without any fear or tormenting, but merely by being alert 
to the blandishments of my nurses, the jests of those who smiled 
on me, and the sportiveness of those who toyed with me.  I learned 
all this, indeed, without being urged by any pressure of 
punishment, for my own heart urged me to bring forth its own 
fashioning, which I could not do except by learning words: not 
from those who taught me but those who talked to me, into whose 
ears I could pour forth whatever I could fashion.  From this it is 
sufficiently clear that a free curiosity is more effective in 
learning than a discipline based on fear.  Yet, by thy ordinance, 
O God, discipline is given to restrain the excesses of freedom; 
this ranges from the ferule of the schoolmaster to the trials of 
the martyr and has the effect of mingling for us a wholesome 
bitterness, which calls us back to thee from the poisonous 
pleasures that first drew us from thee.

                          CHAPTER XV

     24.  Hear my prayer, O Lord; let not my soul faint under thy 
discipline, nor let me faint in confessing unto thee thy mercies, 
whereby thou hast saved me from all my most wicked ways till thou 
shouldst become sweet to me beyond all the allurements that I used 
to follow.  Let me come to love thee wholly, and grasp thy hand 
with my whole heart that thou mayest deliver me from every 
temptation, even unto the last.  And thus, O Lord, my King and my 
God, may all things useful that I learned as a boy now be offered 
in thy service -- let it be that for thy service I now speak and 
write and reckon.  For when I was learning vain things, thou didst 
impose thy discipline upon me: and thou hast forgiven me my sin of 
delighting in those vanities.  In those studies I learned many a 
useful word, but these might have been learned in matters not so 
vain; and surely that is the safe way for youths to walk in.

                          CHAPTER XVI

     25.  But woe unto you, O torrent of human custom!  Who shall 
stay your course?  When will you ever run dry?  How long will you 
carry down the sons of Eve into that vast and hideous ocean, which 
even those who have the Tree (for an ark)[29] can scarcely pass 
over?  Do I not read in you the stories of Jove the thunderer -- 
and the adulterer?[30]  How could he be both?  But so it says, and 
the sham thunder served as a cloak for him to play at real 
adultery.  Yet which of our gowned masters will give a tempered 
hearing to a man trained in their own schools who cries out and 
says: "These were Homer's fictions; he transfers things human to 
the gods.  I could have wished that he would transfer divine 
things to us."[31]  But it would have been more true if he said, 
"These are, indeed, his fictions, but he attributed divine 
attributes to sinful men, that crimes might not be accounted 
crimes, and that whoever committed such crimes might appear to 
imitate the celestial gods and not abandoned men."

     26.  And yet, O torrent of hell, the sons of men are still 
cast into you, and they pay fees for learning all these things.  
And much is made of it when this goes on in the forum under the 
auspices of laws which give a salary over and above the fees.  And 
you beat against your rocky shore and roar: "Here words may be 
learned; here you can attain the eloquence which is so necessary 
to persuade people to your way of thinking; so helpful in 
unfolding your opinions." Verily, they seem to argue that we 
should never have understood these words, "golden shower," 
"bosom," "intrigue," "highest heavens," and other such words, if 
Terence had not introduced a good-for-nothing youth upon the 
stage, setting up a picture of Jove as his example of lewdness and 
telling the tale

          "Of Jove's descending in a golden shower 

     Into Danae's bosom...  

     With a woman to intrigue."

     See how he excites himself to lust, as if by a heavenly 
authority, when he says:

          "Great Jove, 

     Who shakes the highest heavens with his thunder; 

     Shall I, poor mortal man, not do the same?

     I've done it, and with all my heart, I'm glad."[32]

     These words are not learned one whit more easily because of 
this vileness, but through them the vileness is more boldly 
perpetrated.  I do not blame the words, for they are, as it were, 
choice and precious vessels, but I do deplore the wine of error 
which was poured out to us by teachers already drunk.  And, unless 
we also drank we were beaten, without liberty of appeal to a sober 
judge.  And yet, O my God, in whose presence I can now with 
security recall this, I learned these things willingly and with 
delight, and for it I was called a boy of good promise.

                         CHAPTER XVII

     27.  Bear with me, O my God, while I speak a little of those 
talents, thy gifts, and of the follies on which I wasted them.  
For a lesson was given me that sufficiently disturbed my soul, for 
in it there was both hope of praise and fear of shame or stripes.  
The assignment was that I should declaim the words of Juno, as she 
raged and sorrowed that she could not

          "Bar off Italy

     From all the approaches of the Teucrian king."[33]

     I had learned that Juno had never uttered these words.  Yet 
we were compelled to stray in the footsteps of these poetic 
fictions, and to turn into prose what the poet had said in verse.  
In the declamation, the boy won most applause who most strikingly 
reproduced the passions of anger and sorrow according to the 
"character" of the persons presented and who clothed it all in the 
most suitable language.  What is it now to me, O my true Life, my 
God, that my declaiming was applauded above that of many of my 
classmates and fellow students?  Actually, was not all that smoke 
and wind?  Besides, was there nothing else on which I could have 
exercised my wit and tongue?  Thy praise, O Lord, thy praises 
might have propped up the tendrils of my heart by thy Scriptures; 
and it would not have been dragged away by these empty trifles, a 
shameful prey to the spirits of the air.  For there is more than 
one way in which men sacrifice to the fallen angels.

                         CHAPTER XVIII

     28.  But it was no wonder that I was thus carried toward 
vanity and was estranged from thee, O my God, when men were held 
up as models to me who, when relating a deed of theirs -- not in 
itself evil -- were covered with confusion if found guilty of a 
barbarism or a solecism; but who could tell of their own 
licentiousness and be applauded for it, so long as they did it in 
a full and ornate oration of well-chosen words.  Thou seest all 
this, O Lord, and dost keep silence -- "long-suffering, and 
plenteous in mercy and truth"[34] as thou art.  Wilt thou keep 
silence forever?  Even now thou drawest from that vast deep the 
soul that seeks thee and thirsts after thy delight, whose "heart 
said unto thee, ÔI have sought thy face; thy face, Lord, will I 
seek.'"[35] For I was far from thy face in the dark shadows of 
passion.  For it is not by our feet, nor by change of place, that 
we either turn from thee or return to thee.  That younger son did 
not charter horses or chariots, or ships, or fly away on visible 
wings, or journey by walking so that in the far country he might 
prodigally waste all that thou didst give him when he set out.[36] 
A kind Father when thou gavest; and kinder still when he returned 
destitute!  To be wanton, that is to say, to be darkened in heart 
-- this is to be far from thy face.

     29.  Look down, O Lord God, and see patiently, as thou art 
wont to do, how diligently the sons of men observe the 
conventional rules of letters and syllables, taught them by those 
who learned their letters beforehand, while they neglect the 
eternal rules of everlasting salvation taught by thee.  They carry 
it so far that if he who practices or teaches the established 
rules of pronunciation should speak (contrary to grammatical 
usage) without aspirating the first syllable of "hominem" 
["ominem," and thus make it "a 'uman being"], he will offend men 
more than if he, a human being, were to _hate_ another human being 
contrary to thy commandments.  It is as if he should feel that 
there is an enemy who could be more destructive to himself than 
that hatred which excites him against his fellow man; or that he 
could destroy him whom he hates more completely than he destroys 
his own soul by this same hatred.  Now, obviously, there is no 
knowledge of letters more innate than the writing of conscience -- 
against doing unto another what one would not have done to 

     How mysterious thou art, who "dwellest on high"[37] in 
silence.  O thou, the only great God, who by an unwearied law 
hurlest down the penalty of blindness to unlawful desire!  When a 
man seeking the reputation of eloquence stands before a human 
judge, while a thronging multitude surrounds him, and inveighs 
against his enemy with the most fierce hatred, he takes most 
vigilant heed that his tongue does not slip in a grammatical 
error, for example, and say inter hominibus [instead of inter 
homines], but he takes no heed lest, in the fury of his spirit, he 
cut off a man from his fellow men [ex hominibus].

     30.  These were the customs in the midst of which I was cast, 
an unhappy boy.  This was the wrestling arena in which I was more 
fearful of perpetrating a barbarism than, having done so, of 
envying those who had not.  These things I declare and confess to 
thee, my God.  I was applauded by those whom I then thought it my 
whole duty to please, for I did not perceive the gulf of infamy 
wherein I was cast away from thy eyes.  

     For in thy eyes, what was more infamous than I was already, 
since I displeased even my own kind and deceived, with endless 
lies, my tutor, my masters and parents -- all from a love of play, 
a craving for frivolous spectacles, a stage-struck restlessness to 
imitate what I saw in these shows?  I pilfered from my parents' 
cellar and table, sometimes driven by gluttony, sometimes just to 
have something to give to other boys in exchange for their 
baubles, which they were prepared to sell even though they liked 
them as well as I.  Moreover, in this kind of play, I often sought 
dishonest victories, being myself conquered by the vain desire for 
pre-eminence.  And what was I so unwilling to endure, and what was 
it that I censured so violently when I caught anyone, except the 
very things I did to others?  And, when I was myself detected and 
censured, I preferred to quarrel rather than to yield.  Is this 
the innocence of childhood?  It is not, O Lord, it is not.  I 
entreat thy mercy, O my God, for these same sins as we grow older 
are transferred from tutors and masters; they pass from nuts and 
balls and sparrows, to magistrates and kings, to gold and lands 
and slaves, just as the rod is succeeded by more severe 
chastisements.  It was, then, the fact of humility in childhood 
that thou, O our King, didst approve as a symbol of humility when 
thou saidst, "Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."[38]

                          CHAPTER XIX

     31.  However, O Lord, to thee most excellent and most good, 
thou Architect and Governor of the universe, thanks would be due 
thee, O our God, even if thou hadst not willed that I should 
survive my boyhood.  For I existed even then; I lived and felt and 
was solicitous about my own well-being -- a trace of that most 
mysterious unity from whence I had my being.[39]  I kept watch, by 
my inner sense, over the integrity of my outer senses, and even in 
these trifles and also in my thoughts about trifles, I learned to 
take pleasure in truth.  I was averse to being deceived; I had a 
vigorous memory; I was gifted with the power of speech, was 
softened by friendship, shunned sorrow, meanness, ignorance.  Is 
not such an animated creature as this wonderful and praiseworthy?  
But all these are gifts of my God; I did not give them to myself.  
Moreover, they are good, and they all together constitute myself.  
Good, then, is he that made me, and he is my God; and before him 
will I rejoice exceedingly for every good gift which, even as a 
boy, I had.  But herein lay my sin, that it was not in him, but in 
his creatures -- myself and the rest -- that I sought for 
pleasures, honors, and truths.  And I fell thereby into sorrows, 
troubles, and errors.  Thanks be to thee, my joy, my pride, my 
confidence, my God -- thanks be to thee for thy gifts; but do thou 
preserve them in me.  For thus wilt thou preserve me; and those 
things which thou hast given me shall be developed and perfected, 
and I myself shall be with thee, for from thee is my being.


                          BOOK TWO

He concentrates here on his sixteenth year, a year of idleness, 
lust, and adolescent mischief.  The memory of stealing some pears 
prompts a deep probing of the motives and aims of sinful acts.  "I 
became to myself a wasteland." 

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  I wish now to review in memory my past wickedness and the 
carnal corruptions of my soul -- not because I still love them, 
but that I may love thee, O my God.  For love of thy love I do 
this, recalling in the bitterness of self-examination my wicked 
ways, that thou mayest grow sweet to me, thou sweetness without 
deception!  Thou sweetness happy and assured!  Thus thou mayest 
gather me up out of those fragments in which I was torn to pieces, 
while I turned away from thee, O Unity, and lost myself among "the 
many."[40]  For as I became a youth, I longed to be satisfied with 
worldly things, and I dared to grow wild in a succession of 
various and shadowy loves.  My form wasted away, and I became 
corrupt in thy eyes, yet I was still pleasing to my own eyes -- 
and eager to please the eyes of men.

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  But what was it that delighted me save to love and to be 
loved?  Still I did not keep the moderate way of the love of mind 
to mind -- the bright path of friendship.  Instead, the mists of 
passion steamed up out of the puddly concupiscence of the flesh, 
and the hot imagination of puberty, and they so obscured and 
overcast my heart that I was unable to distinguish pure affection 
from unholy desire.  Both boiled confusedly within me, and dragged 
my unstable youth down over the cliffs of unchaste desires and 
plunged me into a gulf of infamy.  Thy anger had come upon me, and 
I knew it not.  I had been deafened by the clanking of the chains 
of my mortality, the punishment for my soul's pride, and I 
wandered farther from thee, and thou didst permit me to do so.  I 
was tossed to and fro, and wasted, and poured out, and I boiled 
over in my fornications -- and yet thou didst hold thy peace, O my 
tardy Joy!  Thou didst still hold thy peace, and I wandered still 
farther from thee into more and yet more barren fields of sorrow, 
in proud dejection and restless lassitude.

     3.  If only there had been someone to regulate my disorder 
and turn to my profit the fleeting beauties of the things around 
me, and to fix a bound to their sweetness, so that the tides of my 
youth might have spent themselves upon the shore of marriage!  
Then they might have been tranquilized and satisfied with having 
children, as thy law prescribes, O Lord -- O thou who dost form 
the offspring of our death and art able also with a tender hand to 
blunt the thorns which were excluded from thy paradise![41]  For 
thy omnipotence is not far from us even when we are far from thee.  
Now, on the other hand, I might have given more vigilant heed to 
the voice from the clouds: "Nevertheless, such shall have trouble 
in the flesh, but I spare you,"[42] and, "It is good for a man not 
to touch a woman,"[43] and, "He that is unmarried cares for the 
things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord; but he 
that is married cares for the things that are of the world, how he 
may please his wife."[44]  I should have listened more attentively 
to these words, and, thus having been "made a eunuch for the 
Kingdom of Heaven's sake,"[45] I would have with greater happiness 
expected thy embraces.

     4.  But, fool that I was, I foamed in my wickedness as the 
sea and, forsaking thee, followed the rushing of my own tide, and 
burst out of all thy bounds.  But I did not escape thy scourges.  
For what mortal can do so?  Thou wast always by me, mercifully 
angry and flavoring all my unlawful pleasures with bitter 
discontent, in order that I might seek pleasures free from 
discontent.  But where could I find such pleasure save in thee, O 
Lord -- save in thee, who dost teach us by sorrow, who woundest us 
to heal us, and dost kill us that we may not die apart from thee.  
Where was I, and how far was I exiled from the delights of thy 
house, in that sixteenth year of the age of my flesh, when the 
madness of lust held full sway in me -- that madness which grants 
indulgence to human shamelessness, even though it is forbidden by 
thy laws -- and I gave myself entirely to it?  Meanwhile, my 
family took no care to save me from ruin by marriage, for their 
sole care was that I should learn how to make a powerful speech 
and become a persuasive orator.

                          CHAPTER III

     5.  Now, in that year my studies were interrupted.  I had 
come back from Madaura, a neighboring city[46] where I had gone to 
study grammar and rhetoric; and the money for a further term at 
Carthage was being got together for me.  This project was more a 
matter of my father's ambition than of his means, for he was only 
a poor citizen of Tagaste.  

     To whom am I narrating all this?  Not to thee, O my God, but 
to my own kind in thy presence -- to that small part of the human 
race who may chance to come upon these writings.  And to what end?  
That I and all who read them may understand what depths there are 
from which we are to cry unto thee.[47]  For what is more surely 
heard in thy ear than a confessing heart and a faithful life?  

     Who did not extol and praise my father, because he went quite 
beyond his means to supply his son with the necessary expenses for 
a far journey in the interest of his education?  For many far 
richer citizens did not do so much for their children.  Still, 
this same father troubled himself not at all as to how I was 
progressing toward thee nor how chaste I was, just so long as I 
was skillful in speaking -- no matter how barren I was to thy 
tillage, O God, who art the one true and good Lord of my heart, 
which is thy field.[48] 

     6.  During that sixteenth year of my age, I lived with my 
parents, having a holiday from school for a time -- this idleness 
imposed upon me by my parents' straitened finances.  The 
thornbushes of lust grew rank about my head, and there was no hand 
to root them out.  Indeed, when my father saw me one day at the 
baths and perceived that I was becoming a man, and was showing the 
signs of adolescence, he joyfully told my mother about it as if 
already looking forward to grandchildren, rejoicing in that sort 
of inebriation in which the world so often forgets thee, its 
Creator, and falls in love with thy creature instead of thee -- 
the inebriation of that invisible wine of a perverted will which 
turns and bows down to infamy.  But in my mother's breast thou 
hadst already begun to build thy temple and the foundation of thy 
holy habitation -- whereas my father was only a catechumen, and 
that but recently.  She was, therefore, startled with a holy fear 
and trembling: for though I had not yet been baptized, she feared 
those crooked ways in which they walk who turn their backs to thee 
and not their faces.

     7.  Woe is me!  Do I dare affirm that thou didst hold thy 
peace, O my God, while I wandered farther away from thee?  Didst 
thou really then hold thy peace?  Then whose words were they but 
thine which by my mother, thy faithful handmaid, thou didst pour 
into my ears?  None of them, however, sank into my heart to make 
me do anything.  She deplored and, as I remember, warned me 
privately with great solicitude, "not to commit fornication; but 
above all things never to defile another man's wife." These 
appeared to me but womanish counsels, which I would have blushed 
to obey.  Yet they were from thee, and I knew it not.  I thought 
that thou wast silent and that it was only she who spoke.  Yet it 
was through her that thou didst not keep silence toward me; and in 
rejecting her counsel I was rejecting thee -- I, her son, "the son 
of thy handmaid, thy servant."[49]  But I did not realize this, 
and rushed on headlong with such blindness that, among my friends, 
I was ashamed to be less shameless than they, when I heard them 
boasting of their disgraceful exploits -- yes, and glorying all 
the more the worse their baseness was.  What is worse, I took 
pleasure in such exploits, not for the pleasure's sake only but 
mostly for praise.  What is worthy of vituperation except vice 
itself?  Yet I made myself out worse than I was, in order that I 
might not go lacking for praise.  And when in anything I had not 
sinned as the worst ones in the group, I would still say that I 
had done what I had not done, in order not to appear contemptible 
because I was more innocent than they; and not to drop in their 
esteem because I was more chaste.

     8.  Behold with what companions I walked the streets of 
Babylon!  I rolled in its mire and lolled about on it, as if on a 
bed of spices and precious ointments.  And, drawing me more 
closely to the very center of that city, my invisible enemy trod 
me down and seduced me, for I was easy to seduce.  My mother had 
already fled out of the midst of Babylon[50] and was progressing, 
albeit slowly, toward its outskirts.  For in counseling me to 
chastity, she did not bear in mind what her husband had told her 
about me.  And although she knew that my passions were destructive 
even then and dangerous for the future, she did not think they 
should be restrained by the bonds of conjugal affection -- if, 
indeed, they could not be cut away to the quick.  She took no heed 
of this, for she was afraid lest a wife should prove a hindrance 
and a burden to my hopes.  These were not her hopes of the world 
to come, which my mother had in thee, but the hope of learning, 
which both my parents were too anxious that I should acquire -- my 
father, because he had little or no thought of thee, and only vain 
thoughts for me; my mother, because she thought that the usual 
course of study would not only be no hindrance but actually a 
furtherance toward my eventual return to thee.  This much I 
conjecture, recalling as well as I can the temperaments of my 
parents.  Meantime, the reins of discipline were slackened on me, 
so that without the restraint of due severity, I might play at 
whatsoever I fancied, even to the point of dissoluteness.  And in 
all this there was that mist which shut out from my sight the 
brightness of thy truth, O my God; and my iniquity bulged out, as 
it were, with fatness![51]

                          CHAPTER IV

     9.  Theft is punished by thy law, O Lord, and by the law 
written in men's hearts, which not even ingrained wickedness can 
erase.  For what thief will tolerate another thief stealing from 
him?  Even a rich thief will not tolerate a poor thief who is 
driven to theft by want.  Yet I had a desire to commit robbery, 
and did so, compelled to it by neither hunger nor poverty, but 
through a contempt for well-doing and a strong impulse to 
iniquity.  For I pilfered something which I already had in 
sufficient measure, and of much better quality.  I did not desire 
to enjoy what I stole, but only the theft and the sin itself.

     There was a pear tree close to our own vineyard, heavily 
laden with fruit, which was not tempting either for its color or 
for its flavor.  Late one night -- having prolonged our games in 
the streets until then, as our bad habit was -- a group of young 
scoundrels, and I among them, went to shake and rob this tree.  We 
carried off a huge load of pears, not to eat ourselves, but to 
dump out to the hogs, after barely tasting some of them ourselves.  
Doing this pleased us all the more because it was forbidden.  Such 
was my heart, O God, such was my heart -- which thou didst pity 
even in that bottomless pit.  Behold, now let my heart confess to 
thee what it was seeking there, when I was being gratuitously 
wanton, having no inducement to evil but the evil itself.  It was 
foul, and I loved it.  I loved my own undoing.  I loved my error 
-- not that for which I erred but the error itself.  A depraved 
soul, falling away from security in thee to destruction in itself, 
seeking nothing from the shameful deed but shame itself.

                           CHAPTER V

     10.  Now there is a comeliness in all beautiful bodies, and 
in gold and silver and all things.  The sense of touch has its own 
power to please and the other senses find their proper objects in 
physical sensation.  Worldly honor also has its own glory, and so 
do the powers to command and to overcome: and from these there 
springs up the desire for revenge.  Yet, in seeking these 
pleasures, we must not depart from thee, O Lord, nor deviate from 
thy law.  The life which we live here has its own peculiar 
attractiveness because it has a certain measure of comeliness of 
its own and a harmony with all these inferior values.  The bond of 
human friendship has a sweetness of its own, binding many souls 
together as one.  Yet because of these values, sin is committed, 
because we have an inordinate preference for these goods of a 
lower order and neglect the better and the higher good -- 
neglecting thee, O our Lord God, and thy truth and thy law.  For 
these inferior values have their delights, but not at all equal to 
my God, who hath made them all.  For in him do the righteous 
delight and he is the sweetness of the upright in heart.

     11.  When, therefore, we inquire why a crime was committed, 
we do not accept the explanation unless it appears that there was 
the desire to obtain some of those values which we designate 
inferior, or else a fear of losing them.  For truly they are 
beautiful and comely, though in comparison with the superior and 
celestial goods they are abject and contemptible.  A man has 
murdered another man -- what was his motive?  Either he desired 
his wife or his property or else he would steal to support 
himself; or else he was afraid of losing something to him; or 
else, having been injured, he was burning to be revenged.  Would a 
man commit murder without a motive, taking delight simply in the 
act of murder?  Who would believe such a thing?  Even for that 
savage and brutal man [Catiline], of whom it was said that he was 
gratuitously wicked and cruel, there is still a motive assigned to 
his deeds.  "Lest through idleness," he says, "hand or heart 
should grow inactive."[52]  And to what purpose?  Why, even this: 
that, having once got possession of the city through his practice 
of his wicked ways, he might gain honors, empire, and wealth, and 
thus be exempt from the fear of the laws and from financial 
difficulties in supplying the needs of his family -- and from the 
consciousness of his own wickedness.  So it seems that even 
Catiline himself loved not his own villainies, but something else, 
and it was this that gave him the motive for his crimes.

                          CHAPTER VI

     12.  What was it in you, O theft of mine, that I, poor 
wretch, doted on -- you deed of darkness -- in that sixteenth year 
of my age?  Beautiful you were not, for you were a theft.  But are 
you anything at all, so that I could analyze the case with you?  
Those pears that we stole were fair to the sight because they were 
thy creation, O Beauty beyond compare, O Creator of all, O thou 
good God -- God the highest good and my true good.[53]  Those 
pears were truly pleasant to the sight, but it was not for them 
that my miserable soul lusted, for I had an abundance of better 
pears.  I stole those simply that I might steal, for, having 
stolen them, I threw them away.  My sole gratification in them was 
my own sin, which I was pleased to enjoy; for, if any one of these 
pears entered my mouth, the only good flavor it had was my sin in 
eating it.  And now, O Lord my God, I ask what it was in that 
theft of mine that caused me such delight; for behold it had no 
beauty of its own -- certainly not the sort of beauty that exists 
in justice and wisdom, nor such as is in the mind, memory senses, 
and the animal life of man; nor yet the kind that is the glory and 
beauty of the stars in their courses; nor the beauty of the earth, 
or the sea -- teeming with spawning life, replacing in birth that 
which dies and decays.  Indeed, it did not have that false and 
shadowy beauty which attends the deceptions of vice.

     13.  For thus we see pride wearing the mask of high-
spiritedness, although only thou, O God, art high above all.  
Ambition seeks honor and glory, whereas only thou shouldst be 
honored above all, and glorified forever.  The powerful man seeks 
to be feared, because of his cruelty; but who ought really to be 
feared but God only?  What can be forced away or withdrawn out of 
his power -- when or where or whither or by whom?  The enticements 
of the wanton claim the name of love; and yet nothing is more 
enticing than thy love, nor is anything loved more healthfully 
than thy truth, bright and beautiful above all.  Curiosity prompts 
a desire for knowledge, whereas it is only thou who knowest all 
things supremely.  Indeed, ignorance and foolishness themselves go 
masked under the names of simplicity and innocence; yet there is 
no being that has true simplicity like thine, and none is innocent 
as thou art.  Thus it is that by a sinner's own deeds he is 
himself harmed.  Human sloth pretends to long for rest, but what 
sure rest is there save in the Lord?  Luxury would fain be called 
plenty and abundance; but thou art the fullness and unfailing 
abundance of unfading joy.  Prodigality presents a show of 
liberality; but thou art the most lavish giver of all good things.  
Covetousness desires to possess much; but thou art already the 
possessor of all things.  Envy contends that its aim is for 
excellence; but what is so excellent as thou?  Anger seeks 
revenge; but who avenges more justly than thou?  Fear recoils at 
the unfamiliar and the sudden changes which threaten things 
beloved, and is wary for its own security; but what can happen 
that is unfamiliar or sudden to thee?  Or who can deprive thee of 
what thou lovest?  Where, really, is there unshaken security save 
with thee?  Grief languishes for things lost in which desire had 
taken delight, because it wills to have nothing taken from it, 
just as nothing can be taken from thee.

     14.  Thus the soul commits fornication when she is turned 
from thee,[54] and seeks apart from thee what she cannot find pure 
and untainted until she returns to thee.  All things thus imitate 
thee -- but pervertedly -- when they separate themselves far from 
thee and raise themselves up against thee.  But, even in this act 
of perverse imitation, they acknowledge thee to be the Creator of 
all nature, and recognize that there is no place whither they can 
altogether separate themselves from thee.  What was it, then, that 
I loved in that theft?  And wherein was I imitating my Lord, even 
in a corrupted and perverted way?  Did I wish, if only by gesture, 
to rebel against thy law, even though I had no power to do so 
actually -- so that, even as a captive, I might produce a sort of 
counterfeit liberty, by doing with impunity deeds that were 
forbidden, in a deluded sense of omnipotence?  Behold this servant 
of thine, fleeing from his Lord and following a shadow!  O 
rottenness!  O monstrousness of life and abyss of death!  Could I 
find pleasure only in what was unlawful, and only because it was 

                          CHAPTER VII

     15.  "What shall I render unto the Lord"[55] for the fact 
that while my memory recalls these things my soul no longer fears 
them?  I will love thee, O Lord, and thank thee, and confess to 
thy name, because thou hast put away from me such wicked and evil 
deeds.  To thy grace I attribute it and to thy mercy, that thou 
hast melted away my sin as if it were ice.  To thy grace also I 
attribute whatsoever of evil I did _not_ commit -- for what might 
I not have done, loving sin as I did, just for the sake of 
sinning?  Yea, all the sins that I confess now to have been 
forgiven me, both those which I committed willfully and those 
which, by thy providence, I did not commit.  What man is there 
who, when reflecting upon his own infirmity, dares to ascribe his 
chastity and innocence to his own powers, so that he should love 
thee less -- as if he were in less need of thy mercy in which thou 
forgivest the transgressions of those that return to thee?  As for 
that man who, when called by thee, obeyed thy voice and shunned 
those things which he here reads of me as I recall and confess 
them of myself, let him not despise me -- for I, who was sick, 
have been healed by the same Physician by whose aid it was that he 
did not fall sick, or rather was less sick than I.  And for this 
let him love thee just as much -- indeed, all the more -- since he 
sees me restored from such a great weakness of sin by the selfsame 
Saviour by whom he sees himself preserved from such a weakness.

                         CHAPTER VIII

     16.  What profit did I, a wretched one, receive from those 
things which, when I remember them now, cause me shame -- above 
all, from that theft, which I loved only for the theft's sake?  
And, as the theft itself was nothing, I was all the more wretched 
in that I loved it so.  Yet by myself alone I would not have done 
it -- I still recall how I felt about this then -- I could not 
have done it alone.  I loved it then because of the companionship 
of my accomplices with whom I did it.  I did not, therefore, love 
the theft alone -- yet, indeed, it was only the theft that I 
loved, for the companionship was nothing.  What is this paradox?  
Who is it that can explain it to me but God, who illumines my 
heart and searches out the dark corners thereof?  What is it that 
has prompted my mind to inquire about it, to discuss and to 
reflect upon all this?  For had I at that time loved the pears 
that I stole and wished to enjoy them, I might have done so alone, 
if I could have been satisfied with the mere act of theft by which 
my pleasure was served.  Nor did I need to have that itching of my 
own passions inflamed by the encouragement of my accomplices.  But 
since the pleasure I got was not from the pears, it was in the 
crime itself, enhanced by the companionship of my fellow sinners.

                          CHAPTER IX

     17.  By what passion, then, was I animated?  It was 
undoubtedly depraved and a great misfortune for me to feel it.  
But still, what was it?  "Who can understand his errors?"[56]

     We laughed because our hearts were tickled at the thought of 
deceiving the owners, who had no idea of what we were doing and 
would have strenuously objected.  Yet, again, why did I find such 
delight in doing this which I would not have done alone?  Is it 
that no one readily laughs alone?  No one does so readily; but 
still sometimes, when men are by themselves and no one else is 
about, a fit of laughter will overcome them when something very 
droll presents itself to their sense or mind.  Yet alone I would 
not have done it -- alone I could not have done it at all.

     Behold, my God, the lively review of my soul's career is laid 
bare before thee.  I would not have committed that theft alone.  
My pleasure in it was not what I stole but, rather, the act of 
stealing.  Nor would I have enjoyed doing it alone -- indeed I 
would not have done it!  O friendship all unfriendly!  You strange 
seducer of the soul, who hungers for mischief from impulses of 
mirth and wantonness, who craves another's loss without any desire 
for one's own profit or revenge -- so that, when they say, "Let's 
go, let's do it," we are ashamed not to be shameless.

                           CHAPTER X

     18.  Who can unravel such a twisted and tangled knottiness?  
It is unclean.  I hate to reflect upon it.  I hate to look on it.  
But I do long for thee, O Righteousness and Innocence, so 
beautiful and comely to all virtuous eyes -- I long for thee with 
an insatiable satiety.  With thee is perfect rest, and life 
unchanging.  He who enters into thee enters into the joy of his 
Lord,[57] and shall have no fear and shall achieve excellence in 
the Excellent.  I fell away from thee, O my God, and in my youth I 
wandered too far from thee, my true support.  And I became to 
myself a wasteland.

                          BOOK THREE

     The story of his student days in Carthage, his discovery of 
Cicero's  Hortensius, the enkindling of his philosophical 
interest, his infatuation with the Manichean heresy, and his 
mother's dream which foretold his eventual return to the true 
faith and to God.  

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  I came to Carthage, where a caldron of unholy loves was 
seething and bubbling all around me.  I was not in love as yet, 
but I was in love with love; and, from a hidden hunger, I hated 
myself for not feeling more intensely a sense of hunger.  I was 
looking for something to love, for I was in love with loving, and 
I hated security and a smooth way, free from snares.  Within me I 
had a dearth of that inner food which is thyself, my God -- 
although that dearth caused me no hunger.  And I remained without 
any appetite for incorruptible food -- not because I was already 
filled with it, but because the emptier I became the more I 
loathed it.  Because of this my soul was unhealthy; and, full of 
sores, it exuded itself forth, itching to be scratched by scraping 
on the things of the senses.[58]  Yet, had these things no soul, 
they would certainly not inspire our love.

     To love and to be loved was sweet to me, and all the more 
when I gained the enjoyment of the body of the person I loved.  
Thus I polluted the spring of friendship with the filth of 
concupiscence and I dimmed its luster with the slime of lust.  
Yet, foul and unclean as I was, I still craved, in excessive 
vanity, to be thought elegant and urbane.  And I did fall 
precipitately into the love I was longing for.  My God, my mercy, 
with how much bitterness didst thou, out of thy infinite goodness, 
flavor that sweetness for me!  For I was not only beloved but also 
I secretly reached the climax of enjoyment; and yet I was joyfully 
bound with troublesome tics, so that I could be scourged with the 
burning iron rods of jealousy, suspicion, fear, anger, and strife.

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  Stage plays also captivated me, with their sights full of 
the images of my own miseries: fuel for my own fire.  Now, why 
does a man like to be made sad by viewing doleful and tragic 
scenes, which he himself could not by any means endure?  Yet, as a 
spectator, he wishes to experience from them a sense of grief, and 
in this very sense of grief his pleasure consists.  What is this 
but wretched madness?  For a man is more affected by these actions 
the more he is spuriously involved in these affections.  Now, if 
he should suffer them in his own person, it is the custom to call 
this "misery." But when he suffers with another, then it is called 
"compassion." But what kind of compassion is it that arises from 
viewing fictitious and unreal sufferings?  The spectator is not 
expected to aid the sufferer but merely to grieve for him.  And 
the more he grieves the more he applauds the actor of these 
fictions.  If the misfortunes of the characters -- whether 
historical or entirely imaginary -- are represented so as not to 
touch the feelings of the spectator, he goes away disgusted and 
complaining.  But if his feelings are deeply touched, he sits it 
out attentively, and sheds tears of joy.

     3.  Tears and sorrow, then, are loved.  Surely every man 
desires to be joyful.  And, though no one is willingly miserable, 
one may, nevertheless, be pleased to be merciful so that we love 
their sorrows because without them we should have nothing to pity.  
This also springs from that same vein of friendship.  But whither 
does it go?  Whither does it flow?  Why does it run into that 
torrent of pitch which seethes forth those huge tides of loathsome 
lusts in which it is changed and altered past recognition, being 
diverted and corrupted from its celestial purity by its own will?  
Shall, then, compassion be repudiated?  By no means!  Let us, 
however, love the sorrows of others.  But let us beware of 
uncleanness, O my soul, under the protection of my God, the God of 
our fathers, who is to be praised and exalted -- let us beware of 
uncleanness.  I have not yet ceased to have compassion.  But in 
those days in the theaters I sympathized with lovers when they 
sinfully enjoyed one another, although this was done fictitiously 
in the play.  And when they lost one another, I grieved with them, 
as if pitying them, and yet had delight in both grief and pity.  
Nowadays I feel much more pity for one who delights in his 
wickedness than for one who counts himself unfortunate because he 
fails to obtain some harmful pleasure or suffers the loss of some 
miserable felicity.  This, surely, is the truer compassion, but 
the sorrow I feel in it has no delight for me.  For although he 
that grieves with the unhappy should be commended for his work of 
love, yet he who has the power of real compassion would still 
prefer that there be nothing for him to grieve about.  For if good 
will were to be ill will -- which it cannot be -- only then could 
he who is truly and sincerely compassionate wish that there were 
some unhappy people so that he might commiserate them.  Some grief 
may then be justified, but none of it loved.  Thus it is that thou 
dost act, O Lord God, for thou lovest souls far more purely than 
we do and art more incorruptibly compassionate, although thou art 
never wounded by any sorrow.  Now "who is sufficient for these 

     4.  But at that time, in my wretchedness, I loved to grieve; 
and I sought for things to grieve about.  In another man's misery, 
even though it was feigned and impersonated on the stage, that 
performance of the actor pleased me best and attracted me most 
powerfully which moved me to tears.  What marvel then was it that 
an unhappy sheep, straying from thy flock and impatient of thy 
care, I became infected with a foul disease?  This is the reason 
for my love of griefs: that they would not probe into me too 
deeply (for I did not love to suffer in myself such things as I 
loved to look at), and they were the sort of grief which came from 
hearing those fictions, which affected only the surface of my 
emotion.  Still, just as if they had been poisoned fingernails, 
their scratching was followed by inflammation, swelling, 
putrefaction, and corruption.  Such was my life!  But was it life, 
O my God? 

                          CHAPTER III

     5.  And still thy faithful mercy hovered over me from afar.  
In what unseemly iniquities did I wear myself out, following a 
sacrilegious curiosity, which, having deserted thee, then began to 
drag me down into the treacherous abyss, into the beguiling 
obedience of devils, to whom I made offerings of my wicked deeds.  
And still in all this thou didst not fail to scourge me.  I dared, 
even while thy solemn rites were being celebrated inside the walls 
of thy church, to desire and to plan a project which merited death 
as its fruit.  For this thou didst chastise me with grievous 
punishments, but nothing in comparison with my fault, O thou my 
greatest mercy, my God, my refuge from those terrible dangers in 
which I wandered with stiff neck, receding farther from thee, 
loving my own ways and not thine -- loving a vagrant liberty!

     6.  Those studies I was then pursuing, generally accounted as 
respectable, were aimed at distinction in the courts of law -- to 
excel in which, the more crafty I was, the more I should be 
praised.  Such is the blindness of men that they even glory in 
their blindness.  And by this time I had become a master in the 
School of Rhetoric, and I rejoiced proudly in this honor and 
became inflated with arrogance.  Still I was relatively sedate, O 
Lord, as thou knowest, and had no share in the wreckings of "The 
Wreckers"[60] (for this stupid and diabolical name was regarded as 
the very badge of gallantry) among whom I lived with a sort of 
ashamed embarrassment that I was not even as they were.  But I 
lived with them, and at times I was delighted with their 
friendship, even when I abhorred their acts (that is, their 
"wrecking") in which they insolently attacked the modesty of 
strangers, tormenting them by uncalled-for jeers, gratifying their 
mischievous mirth.  Nothing could more nearly resemble the actions 
of devils than these fellows.  By what name, therefore, could they 
be more aptly called than "wreckers"? -- being themselves wrecked 
first, and altogether turned upside down.  They were secretly 
mocked at and seduced by the deceiving spirits, in the very acts 
by which they amused themselves in jeering and horseplay at the 
expense of others.

                          CHAPTER IV

     7.  Among such as these, in that unstable period of my life, 
I studied the books of eloquence, for it was in eloquence that I 
was eager to be eminent, though from a reprehensible and 
vainglorious motive, and a delight in human vanity.  In the 
ordinary course of study I came upon a certain book of Cicero's, 
whose language almost all admire, though not his heart.  This 
particular book of his contains an exhortation to philosophy and 
was called Hortensius.[61]  Now it was this book which quite 
definitely changed my whole attitude and turned my prayers toward 
thee, O Lord, and gave me new hope and new desires.  Suddenly 
every vain hope became worthless to me, and with an incredible 
warmth of heart I yearned for an immortality of wisdom and began 
now to arise that I might return to thee.  It was not to sharpen 
my tongue further that I made use of that book.  I was now 
nineteen; my father had been dead two years,[62] and my mother was 
providing the money for my study of rhetoric.  What won me in it 
[i.e., the Hortensius] was not its style but its substance.

     8.  How ardent was I then, my God, how ardent to fly from 
earthly things to thee!  Nor did I know how thou wast even then 
dealing with me.  For with thee is wisdom.  In Greek the love of 
wisdom is called "philosophy," and it was with this love that that 
book inflamed me.  There are some who seduce through philosophy, 
under a great, alluring, and honorable name, using it to color and 
adorn their own errors.  And almost all who did this, in Cicero's 
own time and earlier, are censored and pointed out in his book.  
In it there is also manifest that most salutary admonition of thy 
Spirit, spoken by thy good and pious servant: "Beware lest any man 
spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition 
of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ: 
for in him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily."[63]  
Since at that time, as thou knowest, O Light of my heart, the 
words of the apostle were unknown to me, I was delighted with 
Cicero's exhortation, at least enough so that I was stimulated by 
it, and enkindled and inflamed to love, to seek, to obtain, to 
hold, and to embrace, not this or that sect, but wisdom itself, 
wherever it might be.  Only this checked my ardor: that the name 
of Christ was not in it.  For this name, by thy mercy, O Lord, 
this name of my Saviour thy Son, my tender heart had piously drunk 
in, deeply treasured even with my mother's milk.  And whatsoever 
was lacking that name, no matter how erudite, polished, and 
truthful, did not quite take complete hold of me.

                           CHAPTER V

     9.  I resolved, therefore, to direct my mind to the Holy 
Scriptures, that I might see what they were.  And behold, I saw 
something not comprehended by the proud, not disclosed to 
children, something lowly in the hearing, but sublime in the 
doing, and veiled in mysteries.  Yet I was not of the number of 
those who could enter into it or bend my neck to follow its steps.  
For then it was quite different from what I now feel.  When I then 
turned toward the Scriptures, they appeared to me to be quite 
unworthy to be compared with the dignity of Tully.[64]  For my 
inflated pride was repelled by their style, nor could the 
sharpness of my wit penetrate their inner meaning.  Truly they 
were of a sort to aid the growth of little ones, but I scorned to 
be a little one and, swollen with pride, I looked upon myself as 
fully grown.

                          CHAPTER VI

     10.  Thus I fell among men, delirious in their pride, carnal 
and voluble, whose mouths were the snares of the devil -- a trap 
made out of a mixture of the syllables of thy name and the names 
of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the Paraclete.[65]  These names 
were never out of their mouths, but only as sound and the clatter 
of tongues, for their heart was empty of truth.  Still they cried, 
"Truth, Truth," and were forever speaking the word to me.  But the 
thing itself was not in them.  Indeed, they spoke falsely not only 
of thee -- who truly art the Truth -- but also about the basic 
elements of this world, thy creation.  And, indeed, I should have 
passed by the philosophers themselves even when they were speaking 
truth concerning thy creatures, for the sake of thy love, O 
Highest Good, and my Father, O Beauty of all things beautiful.

     O Truth, Truth, how inwardly even then did the marrow of my 
soul sigh for thee when, frequently and in manifold ways, in 
numerous and vast books, [the Manicheans] sounded out thy name 
though it was only a sound!  And in these dishes -- while I 
starved for thee -- they served up to me, in thy stead, the sun 
and moon thy beauteous works -- but still only thy works and not 
thyself; indeed, not even thy first work.  For thy spiritual works 
came before these material creations, celestial and shining though 
they are.  But I was hungering and thirsting, not even after those 
first works of thine, but after thyself the Truth, "with whom is 
no variableness, neither shadow of turning."[66]  Yet they still 
served me glowing fantasies in those dishes.  And, truly, it would 
have been better to have loved this very sun -- which at least is 
true to our sight -- than those illusions of theirs which deceive 
the mind through the eye.  And yet because I supposed the 
illusions to be from thee I fed on them -- not with avidity, for 
thou didst not taste in my mouth as thou art, and thou wast not 
these empty fictions.  Neither was I nourished by them, but was 
instead exhausted.  Food in dreams appears like our food awake; 
yet the sleepers are not nourished by it, for they are asleep.  
But the fantasies of the Manicheans were not in any way like thee 
as thou hast spoken to me now.  They were simply fantastic and 
false.  In comparison to them the actual bodies which we see with 
our fleshly sight, both celestial and terrestrial, are far more 
certain.  These true bodies even the beasts and birds perceive as 
well as we do and they are more certain than the images we form 
about them.  And again, we do with more certainty form our 
conceptions about them than, from them, we go on by means of them 
to imagine of other greater and infinite bodies which have no 
existence.  With such empty husks was I then fed, and yet was not 

     But thou, my Love, for whom I longed in order that I might be 
strong, neither art those bodies that we see in heaven nor art 
thou those which we do not see there, for thou hast created them 
all and yet thou reckonest them not among thy greatest works.  How 
far, then, art thou from those fantasies of mine, fantasies of 
bodies which have no real being at all!  The images of those 
bodies which actually exist are far more certain than these 
fantasies.  The bodies themselves are more certain than the 
images, yet even these thou art not.  Thou art not even the soul, 
which is the life of bodies; and, clearly, the life of the body is 
better than the body itself.  But thou art the life of souls, life 
of lives, having life in thyself, and never changing, O Life of my 

     11.  Where, then, wast thou and how far from me?  Far, 
indeed, was I wandering away from thee, being barred even from the 
husks of those swine whom I fed with husks.[68]  For how much 
better were the fables of the grammarians and poets than these 
snares [of the Manicheans]!  For verses and poems and "the flying 
Medea"[69] are still more profitable truly than these men's "five 
elements," with their various colors, answering to "the five caves 
of darkness"[70] (none of which exist and yet in which they slay 
the one who believes in them).  For verses and poems I can turn 
into food for the mind, for though I sang about "the flying Medea" 
I never believed it, but those other things [the fantasies of the 
Manicheans] I did believe.  Woe, woe, by what steps I was dragged 
down to "the depths of hell"[71] -- toiling and fuming because of 
my lack of the truth, even when I was seeking after thee, my God!  
To thee I now confess it, for thou didst have mercy on me when I 
had not yet confessed it.  I sought after thee, but not according 
to the understanding of the mind, by means of which thou hast 
willed that I should excel the beasts, but only after the guidance 
of my physical senses.  Thou wast more inward to me than the most 
inward part of me; and higher than my highest reach. I came upon 
that brazen woman, devoid of prudence, who, in Solomon's obscure 
parable, sits at the door of the house on a seat and says, "Stolen 
waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant."[72]  
This woman seduced me, because she found my soul outside its own 
door, dwelling on the sensations of my flesh and ruminating on 
such food as I had swallowed through these physical senses.

                          CHAPTER VII

     12.  For I was ignorant of that other reality, true Being.  
And so it was that I was subtly persuaded to agree with these 
foolish deceivers when they put their questions to me: "Whence 
comes evil?"  and, "Is God limited by a bodily shape, and has he 
hairs and nails?"  and, "Are those patriarchs to be esteemed 
righteous who had many wives at one time, and who killed men and 
who sacrificed living creatures?"  In my ignorance I was much 
disturbed over these things and, though I was retreating from the 
truth, I appeared to myself to be going toward it, because I did 
not yet know that evil was nothing but a privation of good (that, 
indeed, it has no being)[73]; and how should I have seen this when 
the sight of my eyes went no farther than physical objects, and 
the sight of my mind reached no farther than to fantasms?  And I 
did not know that God is a spirit who has no parts extended in 
length and breadth, whose being has no mass -- for every mass is 
less in a part than in a whole -- and if it be an infinite mass it 
must be less in such parts as are limited by a certain space than 
in its infinity.  It cannot therefore be wholly everywhere as 
Spirit is, as God is.  And I was entirely ignorant as to what is 
that principle within us by which we are like God, and which is 
rightly said in Scripture to be made "after God's image."

     13.  Nor did I know that true inner righteousness -- which 
does not judge according to custom but by the measure of the most 
perfect law of God Almighty -- by which the mores of various 
places and times were adapted to those places and times (though 
the law itself is the same always and everywhere, not one thing in 
one place and another in another).  By this inner righteousness 
Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob and Moses and David, and all those 
commended by the mouth of God were righteous and were judged 
unrighteous only by foolish men who were judging by human judgment 
and gauging their judgment of the mores of the whole human race by 
the narrow norms of their own mores.  It is as if a man in an 
armory, not knowing what piece goes on what part of the body, 
should put a greave on his head and a helmet on his shin and then 
complain because they did not fit.  Or as if, on some holiday when 
afternoon business was forbidden, one were to grumble at not being 
allowed to go on selling as it had been lawful for him to do in 
the forenoon.  Or, again, as if, in a house, he sees a servant 
handle something that the butler is not permitted to touch, or 
when something is done behind a stable that would be prohibited in 
a dining room, and then a person should be indignant that in one 
house and one family the same things are not allowed to every 
member of the household.  Such is the case with those who cannot 
endure to hear that something was lawful for righteous men in 
former times that is not so now; or that God, for certain temporal 
reasons, commanded then one thing to them and another now to 
these: yet both would be serving the same righteous will.  These 
people should see that in one man, one day, and one house, 
different things are fit for different members; and a thing that 
was formerly lawful may become, after a time, unlawful -- and 
something allowed or commanded in one place that is justly 
prohibited and punished in another.  Is justice, then, variable 
and changeable?  No, but the times over which she presides are not 
all alike because they are different times.  But men, whose days 
upon the earth are few, cannot by their own perception harmonize 
the causes of former ages and other nations, of which they had no 
experience, and compare them with these of which they do have 
experience; although in one and the same body, or day, or family, 
they can readily see that what is suitable for each member, 
season, part, and person may differ.  To the one they take 
exception; to the other they submit.

     14.  These things I did not know then, nor had I observed 
their import.  They met my eyes on every side, and I did not see.  
I composed poems, in which I was not free to place each foot just 
anywhere, but in one meter one way, and in another meter another 
way, nor even in any one verse was the same foot allowed in all 
places.  Yet the art by which I composed did not have different 
principles for each of these different cases, but the same law 
throughout.  Still I did not see how, by that righteousness to 
which good and holy men submitted, all those things that God had 
commanded were gathered, in a far more excellent and sublime way, 
into one moral order; and it did not vary in any essential 
respect, though it did not in varying times prescribe all things 
at once but, rather, distributed and prescribed what was proper 
for each. And, being blind, I blamed those pious fathers, not only 
for making use of present things as God had commanded and inspired 
them to do, but also for foreshadowing things to come, as God 
revealed it to them.

                         CHAPTER VIII

     15.  Can it ever, at any time or place, be unrighteous for a 
man to love God with all his heart, with all his soul, and with 
all his mind; and his neighbor as himself?[74]  Similarly, 
offenses against nature are everywhere and at all times to be held 
in detestation and should be punished.  Such offenses, for 
example, were those of the Sodomites; and, even if all nations 
should commit them, they would all be judged guilty of the same 
crime by the divine law, which has not made men so that they 
should ever abuse one another in that way.  For the fellowship 
that should be between God and us is violated whenever that nature 
of which he is the author is polluted by perverted lust.  But 
these offenses against customary morality are to be avoided 
according to the variety of such customs.  Thus, what is agreed 
upon by convention, and confirmed by custom or the law of any city 
or nation, may not be violated at the lawless pleasure of any, 
whether citizen or stranger.  For any part that is not consistent 
with its whole is unseemly.  Nevertheless, when God commands 
anything contrary to the customs or compacts of any nation, even 
though it were never done by them before, it is to be done; and if 
it has been interrupted, it is to be restored; and if it has never 
been established, it is to be established.  For it is lawful for a 
king, in the state over which he reigns, to command that which 
neither he himself nor anyone before him had commanded.  And if it 
cannot be held to be inimical to the public interest to obey him 
-- and, in truth, it would be inimical if he were not obeyed, 
since obedience to princes is a general compact of human society 
-- how much more, then, ought we unhesitatingly to obey God, the 
Governor of all his creatures!  For, just as among the authorities 
in human society, the greater authority is obeyed before the 
lesser, so also must God be above all.

     16.  This applies as well to deeds of violence where there is 
a real desire to harm another, either by humiliating treatment or 
by injury.  Either of these may be done for reasons of revenge, as 
one enemy against another, or in order to obtain some advantage 
over another, as in the case of the highwayman and the traveler; 
else they may be done in order to avoid some other evil, as in the 
case of one who fears another; or through envy as, for example, an 
unfortunate man harming a happy one just because he is happy; or 
they may be done by a prosperous man against someone whom he fears 
will become equal to himself or whose equality he resents.  They 
may even be done for the mere pleasure in another man's pain, as 
the spectators of gladiatorial shows or the people who deride and 
mock at others.  These are the major forms of iniquity that spring 
out of the lust of the flesh, and of the eye, and of power.[75]  
Sometimes there is just one; sometimes two together; sometimes all 
of them at once.  Thus we live, offending against the Three and 
the Seven, that harp of ten strings, thy Decalogue, O God most 
high and most sweet.[76]  But now how can offenses of vileness 
harm thee who canst not be defiled; or how can deeds of violence 
harm thee who canst not be harmed?  Still thou dost punish these 
sins which men commit against themselves because, even when they 
sin against thee, they are also committing impiety against their 
own souls.  Iniquity gives itself the lie, either by corrupting or 
by perverting that nature which thou hast made and ordained.  And 
they do this by an immoderate use of lawful things; or by lustful 
desire for things forbidden, as "against nature"; or when they are 
guilty of sin by raging with heart and voice against thee, 
rebelling against thee, "kicking against the pricks"[77]; or when 
they cast aside respect for human society and take audacious 
delight in conspiracies and feuds according to their private likes 
and dislikes.

     This is what happens whenever thou art forsaken, O Fountain 
of Life, who art the one and true Creator and Ruler of the 
universe.  This is what happens when through self-willed pride a 
part is loved under the false assumption that it is the whole.  
Therefore, we must return to thee in humble piety and let thee 
purge us from our evil ways, and be merciful to those who confess 
their sins to thee, and hear the groanings of the prisoners and 
loosen us from those fetters which we have forged for ourselves.  
This thou wilt do, provided we do not raise up against thee the 
arrogance of a false freedom -- for thus we lose all through 
craving more, by loving our own good more than thee, the common 
good of all.

                          CHAPTER IX

     17.  But among all these vices and crimes and manifold 
iniquities, there are also the sins that are committed by men who 
are, on the whole, making progress toward the good.  When these 
are judged rightly and after the rule of perfection, the sins are 
censored but the men are to be commended because they show the 
hope of bearing fruit, like the green shoot of the growing corn.  
And there are some deeds that resemble vice and crime and yet are 
not sin because they offend neither thee, our Lord God, nor social 
custom.  For example, when suitable reserves for hard times are 
provided, we cannot judge that this is done merely from a hoarding 
impulse.  Or, again, when acts are punished by constituted 
authority for the sake of correction, we cannot judge that they 
are done merely out of a desire to inflict pain.  Thus, many a 
deed which is disapproved in man's sight may be approved by thy 
testimony.  And many a man who is praised by men is condemned -- 
as thou art witness -- because frequently the deed itself, the 
mind of the doer, and the hidden exigency of the situation all 
vary among themselves.  But when, contrary to human expectation, 
thou commandest something unusual or unthought of -- indeed, 
something thou mayest formerly have forbidden, about which thou 
mayest conceal the reason for thy command at that particular time; 
and even though it may be contrary to the ordinance of some 
society of men[78] -- who doubts but that it should be done 
because only that society of men is righteous which obeys thee?  
But blessed are they who know what thou dost command.  For all 
things done by those who obey thee either exhibit something 
necessary at that particular time or they foreshow things to come.

                           CHAPTER X

     18.  But I was ignorant of all this, and so I mocked those 
holy servants and prophets of thine.  Yet what did I gain by 
mocking them save to be mocked in turn by thee?  Insensibly and 
little by little, I was led on to such follies as to believe that 
a fig tree wept when it was plucked and that the sap of the mother 
tree was tears.  Notwithstanding this, if a fig was plucked, by 
not his own but another man's wickedness, some Manichean saint 
might eat it, digest it in his stomach, and breathe it out again 
in the form of angels.  Indeed, in his prayers he would assuredly 
groan and sigh forth particles of God, although these particles of 
the most high and true God would have remained bound in that fig 
unless they had been set free by the teeth and belly of some 
"elect saint"[79]!  And, wretch that I was, I believed that more 
mercy was to be shown to the fruits of the earth than unto men, 
for whom these fruits were created.  For, if a hungry man -- who 
was not a Manichean -- should beg for any food, the morsel that we 
gave to him would seem condemned, as it were, to capital 

                          CHAPTER XI

     19.  And now thou didst "stretch forth thy hand from 
above"[80] and didst draw up my soul out of that profound darkness 
[of Manicheism] because my mother, thy faithful one, wept to thee 
on my behalf more than mothers are accustomed to weep for the 
bodily deaths of their children.  For by the light of the faith 
and spirit which she received from thee, she saw that I was dead.  
And thou didst hear her, O Lord, thou didst hear her and despised 
not her tears when, pouring down, they watered the earth under her 
eyes in every place where she prayed.  Thou didst truly hear her.

     For what other source was there for that dream by which thou 
didst console her, so that she permitted me to live with her, to 
have my meals in the same house at the table which she had begun 
to avoid, even while she hated and detested the blasphemies of my 
error?  In her dream she saw herself standing on a sort of wooden 
rule, and saw a bright youth approaching her, joyous and smiling 
at her, while she was grieving and bowed down with sorrow.  But 
when he inquired of her the cause of her sorrow and daily weeping 
(not to learn from her, but to teach her, as is customary in 
visions), and when she answered that it was my soul's doom she was 
lamenting, he bade her rest content and told her to look and see 
that where she was there I was also.  And when she looked she saw 
me standing near her on the same rule.

     Whence came this vision unless it was that thy ears were 
inclined toward her heart?  O thou Omnipotent Good, thou carest 
for every one of us as if thou didst care for him only, and so for 
all as if they were but one! 

     20.  And what was the reason for this also, that, when she 
told me of this vision, and I tried to put this construction on 
it: "that she should not despair of being someday what I was," she 
replied immediately, without hesitation, "No; for it was not told 
me that 'where he is, there you shall be' but 'where you are, 
there he will be'"?  I confess my remembrance of this to thee, O 
Lord, as far as I can recall it -- and I have often mentioned it.  
Thy answer, given through my watchful mother, in the fact that she 
was not disturbed by the plausibility of my false interpretation 
but saw immediately what should have been seen -- and which I 
certainly had not seen until she spoke -- this answer moved me 
more deeply than the dream itself.  Still, by that dream, the joy 
that was to come to that pious woman so long after was predicted 
long before, as a consolation for her present anguish.

     Nearly nine years passed in which I wallowed in the mud of 
that deep pit and in the darkness of falsehood, striving often to 
rise, but being all the more heavily dashed down.  But all that 
time this chaste, pious, and sober widow -- such as thou dost love 
-- was now more buoyed up with hope, though no less zealous in her 
weeping and mourning; and she did not cease to bewail my case 
before thee, in all the hours of her supplication.  Her prayers 
entered thy presence, and yet thou didst allow me still to tumble 
and toss around in that darkness.

                          CHAPTER XII

     21.  Meanwhile, thou gavest her yet another answer, as I 
remember -- for I pass over many things, hastening on to those 
things which more strongly impel me to confess to thee -- and many 
things I have simply forgotten.  But thou gavest her then another 
answer, by a priest of thine, a certain bishop reared in thy 
Church and well versed in thy books.  When that woman had begged 
him to agree to have some discussion with me, to refute my errors, 
to help me to unlearn evil and to learn the good[81] -- for it was 
his habit to do this when he found people ready to receive it -- 
he refused, very prudently, as I afterward realized.  For he 
answered that I was still unteachable, being inflated with the 
novelty of that heresy, and that I had already perplexed divers 
inexperienced persons with vexatious questions, as she herself had 
told him.  "But let him alone for a time," he said, "only pray God 
for him.  He will of his own accord, by reading, come to discover 
what an error it is and how great its impiety is." He went on to 
tell her at the same time how he himself, as a boy, had been given 
over to the Manicheans by his misguided mother and not only had 
read but had even copied out almost all their books.  Yet he had 
come to see, without external argument or proof from anyone else, 
how much that sect was to be shunned -- and had shunned it.  When 
he had said this she was not satisfied, but repeated more 
earnestly her entreaties, and shed copious tears, still beseeching 
him to see and talk with me.  Finally the bishop, a little vexed 
at her importunity, exclaimed, "Go your way; as you live, it 
cannot be that the son of these tears should perish." As she often 
told me afterward, she accepted this answer as though it were a 
voice from heaven.

                          BOOK FOUR

     This is the story of his years among the Manicheans.  It 
includes the account of his teaching at Tagaste, his taking a 
mistress, the attractions of astrology, the poignant loss of a 
friend which leads to a searching analysis of grief and 
transience.  He reports on his first book, De pulchro et apto, and 
his introduction to Aristotle's  Categories and other books of 
philosophy and theology, which he mastered with great ease and 
little profit.  

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  During this period of nine years, from my nineteenth year 
to my twenty-eighth, I went astray and led others astray.  I was 
deceived and deceived others, in varied lustful projects -- 
sometimes publicly, by the teaching of what men style "the liberal 
arts"; sometimes secretly, under the false guise of religion.  In 
the one, I was proud of myself; in the other, superstitious; in 
all, vain!  In my public life I was striving after the emptiness 
of popular fame, going so far as to seek theatrical applause, 
entering poetic contests, striving for the straw garlands and the 
vanity of theatricals and intemperate desires.  In my private life 
I was seeking to be purged from these corruptions of ours by 
carrying food to those who were called "elect" and "holy," which, 
in the laboratory of their stomachs, they should make into angels 
and gods for us, and by them we might be set free.  These projects 
I followed out and practiced with my friends, who were both 
deceived with me and by me.  Let the proud laugh at me, and those 
who have not yet been savingly cast down and stricken by thee, O 
my God.  Nevertheless, I would confess to thee my shame to thy 
glory.  Bear with me, I beseech thee, and give me the grace to 
retrace in my present memory the devious ways of my past errors 
and thus be able to "offer to thee the sacrifice of 
thanksgiving."[82]  For what am I to myself without thee but a 
guide to my own downfall?  Or what am I, even at the best, but one 
suckled on thy milk and feeding on thee, O Food that never 
perishes?[83]  What indeed is any man, seeing that he is but a 
man?  Therefore, let the strong and the mighty laugh at us, but 
let us who are "poor and needy"[84] confess to thee.

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  During those years I taught the art of rhetoric.  
Conquered by the desire for gain, I offered for sale speaking 
skills with which to conquer others.  And yet, O Lord, thou 
knowest that I really preferred to have honest scholars (or what 
were esteemed as such) and, without tricks of speech, I taught 
these scholars the tricks of speech -- not to be used against the 
life of the innocent, but sometimes to save the life of a guilty 
man.  And thou, O God, didst see me from afar, stumbling on that 
slippery path and sending out some flashes of fidelity amid much 
smoke -- guiding those who loved vanity and sought after 
lying,[85] being myself their companion.

     In those years I had a mistress, to whom I was not joined in 
lawful marriage.  She was a woman I had discovered in my wayward 
passion, void as it was of understanding, yet she was the only 
one; and I remained faithful to her and with her I discovered, by 
my own experience, what a great difference there is between the 
restraint of the marriage bond contracted with a view to having 
children and the compact of a lustful love, where children are 
born against the parents' will -- although once they are born they 
compel our love.

     3.  I remember too that, when I decided to compete for a 
theatrical prize, some magician -- I do not remember him now -- 
asked me what I would give him to be certain to win.  But I 
detested and abominated such filthy mysteries,[86] and answered 
"that, even if the garland was of imperishable gold, I would still 
not permit a fly to be killed to win it for me." For he would have 
slain certain living creatures in his sacrifices, and by those 
honors would have invited the devils to help me.  This evil thing 
I refused, but not out of a pure love of thee, O God of my heart, 
for I knew not how to love thee because I knew not how to conceive 
of anything beyond corporeal splendors.  And does not a soul, 
sighing after such idle fictions, commit fornication against thee, 
trust in false things, and "feed on the winds"[87]?  But still I 
would not have sacrifices offered to devils on my behalf, though I 
was myself still offering them sacrifices of a sort by my own 
[Manichean] superstition.  For what else is it "to feed on the 
winds" but to feed on the devils, that is, in our wanderings to 
become their sport and mockery?

                          CHAPTER III

     4.  And yet, without scruple, I consulted those other 
impostors, whom they call "astrologers" [mathematicos], because 
they used no sacrifices and invoked the aid of no spirit for their 
divinations.  Still, true Christian piety must necessarily reject 
and condemn their art.

     It is good to confess to thee and to say, "Have mercy on me; 
heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee"[88] -- not to abuse 
thy goodness as a license to sin, but to remember the words of the 
Lord, "Behold, you are made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing 
befall you."[89]  All this wholesome advice [the astrologers] 
labor to destroy when they say, "The cause of your sin is 
inevitably fixed in the heavens," and, "This is the doing of 
Venus, or of Saturn, or of Mars" -- all this in order that a man, 
who is only flesh and blood and proud corruption, may regard 
himself as blameless, while the Creator and Ordainer of heaven and 
the stars must bear the blame of our ills and misfortunes.  But 
who is this Creator but thou, our God, the sweetness and 
wellspring of righteousness, who renderest to every man according 
to his works and despisest not "a broken and a contrite 

     5.  There was at that time a wise man, very skillful and 
quite famous in medicine.[91]  He was proconsul then, and with his 
own hand he placed on my distempered head the crown I had won in a 
rhetorical contest.  He did not do this as a physician, however; 
and for this distemper "only thou canst heal who resisteth the 
proud and giveth grace to the humble."[92]  But didst thou fail me 
in that old man, or forbear from healing my soul?  Actually when I 
became better acquainted with him, I used to listen, rapt and 
eager, to his words; for, though he spoke in simple language, his 
conversation was replete with vivacity, life, and earnestness.  He 
recognized from my own talk that I was given to books of the 
horoscope-casters, but he, in a kind and fatherly way, advised me 
to throw them away and not to spend idly on these vanities care 
and labor that might otherwise go into useful things.  He said 
that he himself in his earlier years had studied the astrologers' 
art with a view to gaining his living by it as a profession.  
Since he had already understood Hippocrates, he was fully 
qualified to understand this too.  Yet, he had given it up and 
followed medicine for the simple reason that he had discovered 
astrology to be utterly false and, as a man of honest character, 
he was unwilling to gain his living by beguiling people.  "But 
you," he said, "have the profession of rhetoric to support 
yourself by, so that you are following this delusion in free will 
and not necessity.  All the more, therefore, you ought to believe 
me, since I worked at it to learn the art perfectly because I 
wished to gain my living by it." When I asked him to account for 
the fact that many true things are foretold by astrology, he 
answered me, reasonably enough, that the force of chance, diffused 
through the whole order of nature, brought these things about.  
For when a man, by accident, opens the leaves of some poet (who 
sang and intended something far different) a verse oftentimes 
turns out to be wondrously apposite to the reader's present 
business.  "It is not to be wondered at," he continued, "if out of 
the human mind, by some higher instinct which does not know what 
goes on within itself, an answer should be arrived at, by chance 
and not art, which would fit both the business and the action of 
the inquirer."

     6.  And thus truly, either by him or through him, thou wast 
looking after me.  And thou didst fix all this in my memory so 
that afterward I might search it out for myself.

     But at that time, neither the proconsul nor my most dear 
Nebridius -- a splendid youth and most circumspect, who scoffed at 
the whole business of divination -- could persuade me to give it 
up, for the authority of the astrological authors influenced me 
more than they did.  And, thus far, I had come upon no certain 
proof -- such as I sought -- by which it could be shown without 
doubt that what had been truly foretold by those consulted came 
from accident or chance, and not from the art of the stargazers.

                          CHAPTER IV 

     7.  In those years, when I first began to teach rhetoric in 
my native town, I had gained a very dear friend, about my own age, 
who was associated with me in the same studies.  Like myself, he 
was just rising up into the flower of youth.  He had grown up with 
me from childhood and we had been both school fellows and 
playmates.  But he was not then my friend, nor indeed ever became 
my friend, in the true sense of the term; for there is no true 
friendship save between those thou dost bind together and who 
cleave to thee by that love which is "shed abroad in our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit who is given to us."[93]  Still, it was a 
sweet friendship, being ripened by the zeal of common studies.  
Moreover, I had turned him away from the true faith -- which he 
had not soundly and thoroughly mastered as a youth -- and turned 
him toward those superstitious and harmful fables which my mother 
mourned in me.  With me this man went wandering off in error and 
my soul could not exist without him.  But behold thou wast close 
behind thy fugitives -- at once a God of vengeance and a Fountain 
of mercies, who dost turn us to thyself by ways that make us 
marvel.  Thus, thou didst take that man out of this life when he 
had scarcely completed one whole year of friendship with me, 
sweeter to me than all the sweetness of my life thus far.  

     8.  Who can show forth all thy praise[94] for that which he 
has experienced in himself alone?  What was it that thou didst do 
at that time, O my God; how unsearchable are the depths of thy 
judgments!  For when, sore sick of a fever, he long lay 
unconscious in a death sweat and everyone despaired of his 
recovery, he was baptized without his knowledge.  And I myself 
cared little, at the time, presuming that his soul would retain 
what it had taken from me rather than what was done to his 
unconscious body.  It turned out, however, far differently, for he 
was revived and restored.  Immediately, as soon as I could talk to 
him -- and I did this as soon as he was able, for I never left him 
and we hung on each other overmuch -- I tried to jest with him, 
supposing that he also would jest in return about that baptism 
which he had received when his mind and senses were inactive, but 
which he had since learned that he had received.  But he recoiled 
from me, as if I were his enemy, and, with a remarkable and 
unexpected freedom, he admonished me that, if I desired to 
continue as his friend, I must cease to say such things.  
Confounded and confused, I concealed my feelings till he should 
get well and his health recover enough to allow me to deal with 
him as I wished.  But he was snatched away from my madness, that 
with thee he might be preserved for my consolation.  A few days 
after, during my absence, the fever returned and he died.

     9.  My heart was utterly darkened by this sorrow and 
everywhere I looked I saw death.  My native place was a torture 
room to me and my father's house a strange unhappiness.  And all 
the things I had done with him -- now that he was gone -- became a 
frightful torment.  My eyes sought him everywhere, but they did 
not see him; and I hated all places because he was not in them, 
because they could not say to me, "Look, he is coming," as they 
did when he was alive and absent.  I became a hard riddle to 
myself, and I asked my soul why she was so downcast and why this 
disquieted me so sorely.[95]  But she did not know how to answer 
me.  And if I said, "Hope thou in God,"[96] she very properly 
disobeyed me, because that dearest friend she had lost was as an 
actual man, both truer and better than the imagined deity she was 
ordered to put her hope in.  Nothing but tears were sweet to me 
and they took my friend's place in my heart's desire.

                           CHAPTER V

     10.  But now, O Lord, these things are past and time has 
healed my wound.  Let me learn from thee, who art Truth, and put 
the ear of my heart to thy mouth, that thou mayest tell me why 
weeping should be so sweet to the unhappy.  Hast thou -- though 
omnipresent -- dismissed our miseries from thy concern?  Thou 
abidest in thyself while we are disquieted with trial after trial.  
Yet unless we wept in thy ears, there would be no hope for us 
remaining.  How does it happen that such sweet fruit is plucked 
from the bitterness of life, from groans, tears, sighs, and 
lamentations?  Is it the hope that thou wilt hear us that sweetens 
it?  This is true in the case of prayer, for in a prayer there is 
a desire to approach thee.  But is it also the case in grief for a 
lost love, and in the kind of sorrow that had then overwhelmed me?  
For I had neither a hope of his coming back to life, nor in all my 
tears did I seek this.  I simply grieved and wept, for I was 
miserable and had lost my joy.  Or is weeping a bitter thing that 
gives us pleasure because of our aversion to the things we once 
enjoyed and this only as long as we loathe them? 

                          CHAPTER VI

     11.  But why do I speak of these things?  Now is not the time 
to ask such questions, but rather to confess to thee.  I was 
wretched; and every soul is wretched that is fettered in the 
friendship of mortal things -- it is torn to pieces when it loses 
them, and then realizes the misery which it had even before it 
lost them.  Thus it was at that time with me.  I wept most 
bitterly, and found a rest in bitterness.  I was wretched, and yet 
that wretched life I still held dearer than my friend.  For though 
I would willingly have changed it, I was still more unwilling to 
lose it than to have lost him.  Indeed, I doubt whether I was 
willing to lose it, even for him -- as they tell (unless it be 
fiction) of the friendship of Orestes and Pylades[97]; they would 
have gladly died for one another, or both together, because not to 
love together was worse than death to them.  But a strange kind of 
feeling had come over me, quite different from this, for now it 
was wearisome to live and a fearful thing to die.  I suppose that 
the more I loved him the more I hated and feared, as the most 
cruel enemy, that death which had robbed me of him.  I even 
imagined that it would suddenly annihilate all men, since it had 
had such a power over him.  This is the way I remember it was with 

     Look into my heart, O God!  Behold and look deep within me, 
for I remember it well, O my Hope who cleansest me from the 
uncleanness of such affections, directing my eyes toward thee and 
plucking my feet out of the snare.  And I marveled that other 
mortals went on living since he whom I had loved as if he would 
never die was now dead.  And I marveled all the more that I, who 
had been a second self to him, could go on living when he was 
dead.  Someone spoke rightly of his friend as being "his soul's 
other half"[98] -- for I felt that my soul and his soul were but 
one soul in two bodies.  Consequently, my life was now a horror to 
me because I did not want to live as a half self.  But it may have 
been that I was afraid to die, lest he should then die wholly whom 
I had so greatly loved.

                          CHAPTER VII

     12.  O madness that knows not how to love men as they should 
be loved!  O foolish man that I was then, enduring with so much 
rebellion the lot of every man!  Thus I fretted, sighed, wept, 
tormented myself, and took neither rest nor counsel, for I was 
dragging around my torn and bloody soul.  It was impatient of my 
dragging it around, and yet I could not find a place to lay it 
down.  Not in pleasant groves, nor in sport or song, nor in 
fragrant bowers, nor in magnificent banquetings, nor in the 
pleasures of the bed or the couch; not even in books or poetry did 
it find rest.  All things looked gloomy, even the very light 
itself.  Whatsoever was not what he was, was now repulsive and 
hateful, except my groans and tears, for in those alone I found a 
little rest.  But when my soul left off weeping, a heavy burden of 
misery weighed me down.  It should have been raised up to thee, O 
Lord, for thee to lighten and to lift.  This I knew, but I was 
neither willing nor able to do; especially since, in my thoughts 
of thee, thou wast not thyself but only an empty fantasm.  Thus my 
error was my god.  If I tried to cast off my burden on this 
fantasm, that it might find rest there, it sank through the vacuum 
and came rushing down again upon me.  Thus I remained to myself an 
unhappy lodging where I could neither stay nor leave.  For where 
could my heart fly from my heart?  Where could I fly from my own 
self?  Where would I not follow myself?  And yet I did flee from 
my native place so that my eyes would look for him less in a place 
where they were not accustomed to see him.  Thus I left the town 
of Tagaste and returned to Carthage.

                         CHAPTER VIII

     13.  Time never lapses, nor does it glide at leisure through 
our sense perceptions.  It does strange things in the mind.  Lo, 
time came and went from day to day, and by coming and going it 
brought to my mind other ideas and remembrances, and little by 
little they patched me up again with earlier kinds of pleasure and 
my sorrow yielded a bit to them.  But yet there followed after 
this sorrow, not other sorrows just like it, but the causes of 
other sorrows.  For why had that first sorrow so easily penetrated 
to the quick except that I had poured out my soul onto the dust, 
by loving a man as if he would never die who nevertheless had to 
die?  What revived and refreshed me, more than anything else, was 
the consolation of other friends, with whom I went on loving the 
things I loved instead of thee.  This was a monstrous fable and a 
tedious lie which was corrupting my soul with its "itching 
ears"[99] by its adulterous rubbing.  And that fable would not die 
to me as often as one of my friends died.  And there were other 
things in our companionship that took strong hold of my mind: to 
discourse and jest with him; to indulge in courteous exchanges; to 
read pleasant books together; to trifle together; to be earnest 
together; to differ at times without ill-humor, as a man might do 
with himself, and even through these infrequent dissensions to 
find zest in our more frequent agreements; sometimes teaching, 
sometimes being taught; longing for someone absent with impatience 
and welcoming the homecomer with joy.  These and similar tokens of 
friendship, which spring spontaneously from the hearts of those 
who love and are loved in return -- in countenance, tongue, eyes, 
and a thousand ingratiating gestures -- were all so much fuel to 
melt our souls together, and out of the many made us one.

                          CHAPTER IX

     14.  This is what we love in our friends, and we love it so 
much that a man's conscience accuses itself if he does not love 
one who loves him, or respond in love to love, seeking nothing 
from the other but the evidences of his love.  This is the source 
of our moaning when one dies -- the gloom of sorrow, the steeping 
of the heart in tears, all sweetness turned to bitterness -- and 
the feeling of death in the living, because of the loss of the 
life of the dying.

     Blessed is he who loves thee, and who loves his friend in 
thee, and his enemy also, for thy sake; for he alone loses none 
dear to him, if all are dear in Him who cannot be lost.  And who 
is this but our God: the God that created heaven and earth, and 
filled them because he created them by filling them up?  None 
loses thee but he who leaves thee; and he who leaves thee, where 
does he go, or where can he flee but from thee well-pleased to 
thee offended?  For where does he not find thy law fulfilled in 
his own punishment?  "Thy law is the truth"[100] and thou art 

                           CHAPTER X

     15.  "Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts, cause thy face to 
shine; and we shall be saved."[101]  For wherever the soul of man 
turns itself, unless toward thee, it is enmeshed in sorrows, even 
though it is surrounded by beautiful things outside thee and 
outside itself.  For lovely things would simply not be unless they 
were from thee.  They come to be and they pass away, and by coming 
they begin to be, and they grow toward perfection.  Then, when 
perfect, they begin to wax old and perish, and, if all do not wax 
old, still all perish.  Therefore, when they rise and grow toward 
being, the more rapidly they grow to maturity, so also the more 
rapidly they hasten back toward nonbeing.  This is the way of 
things.  This is the lot thou hast given them, because they are 
part of things which do not all exist at the same time, but by 
passing away and succeeding each other they all make up the 
universe, of which they are all parts.  For example, our speech is 
accomplished by sounds which signify meanings, but a meaning is 
not complete unless one word passes away, when it has sounded its 
part, so that the next may follow after it.  Let my soul praise 
thee, in all these things, O God, the Creator of all; but let not 
my soul be stuck to these things by the glue of love, through the 
senses of the body.  For they go where they were meant to go, that 
they may exist no longer.  And they rend the soul with pestilent 
desires because she longs to be and yet loves to rest secure in 
the created things she loves.  But in these things there is no 
resting place to be found.  They do not abide.  They flee away; 
and who is he who can follow them with his physical senses?  Or 
who can grasp them, even when they are present?  For our physical 
sense is slow because it is a physical sense and bears its own 
limitations in itself.  The physical sense is quite sufficient for 
what it was made to do; but it is not sufficient to stay things 
from running their courses from the beginning appointed to the end 
appointed.  For in thy word, by which they were created, they hear 
their appointed bound: "From there -- to here!"

                          CHAPTER XI

     16.  Be not foolish, O my soul, and do not let the tumult of 
your vanity deafen the ear of your heart.  Be attentive.  The Word 
itself calls you to return, and with him is a place of unperturbed 
rest, where love is not forsaken unless it first forsakes.  
Behold, these things pass away that others may come to be in their 
place.  Thus even this lowest level of unity[102] may be made 
complete in all its parts.  "But do I ever pass away?"  asks the 
Word of God.  Fix your habitation in him.  O my soul, commit 
whatsoever you have to him.  For at long last you are now becoming 
tired of deceit.  Commit to truth whatever you have received from 
the truth, and you will lose nothing.  What is decayed will 
flourish again; your diseases will be healed; your perishable 
parts shall be reshaped and renovated, and made whole again in 
you.  And these perishable things will not carry you with them 
down to where they go when they perish, but shall stand and abide, 
and you with them, before God, who abides and continues forever.

     17.  Why then, my perverse soul, do you go on following your 
flesh?  Instead, let it be converted so as to follow you.  
Whatever you feel through it is but partial.  You do not know the 
whole, of which sensations are but parts; and yet the parts 
delight you.  But if my physical senses had been able to 
comprehend the whole -- and had not as a part of their punishment 
received only a portion of the whole as their own province -- you 
would then desire that whatever exists in the present time should 
also pass away so that the whole might please you more.  For what 
we speak, you also hear through physical sensation, and yet you 
would not wish that the syllables should remain.  Instead, you 
wish them to fly past so that others may follow them, and the 
whole be heard.  Thus it is always that when any single thing is 
composed of many parts which do not coexist simultaneously, the 
whole gives more delight than the parts could ever do perceived 
separately.  But far better than all this is He who made it all.  
He is our God and he does not pass away, for there is nothing to 
take his place.

                          CHAPTER XII

     18.  If physical objects please you, praise God for them, but 
turn back your love to their Creator, lest, in those things which 
please you, you displease him.  If souls please you, let them be 
loved in God; for in themselves they are mutable, but in him 
firmly established -- without him they would simply cease to 
exist.  In him, then, let them be loved; and bring along to him 
with yourself as many souls as you can, and say to them: "Let us 
love him, for he himself created all these, and he is not far away 
from them.  For he did not create them, and then go away.  They 
are of him and in him.  Behold, there he is, wherever truth is 
known.  He is within the inmost heart, yet the heart has wandered 
away from him.  Return to your heart, O you transgressors, and 
hold fast to him who made you.  Stand with him and you shall stand 
fast.  Rest in him and you shall be at rest.  Where do you go 
along these rugged paths?  Where are you going?  The good that you 
love is from him, and insofar as it is also for him, it is both 
good and pleasant.  But it will rightly be turned to bitterness if 
whatever comes from him is not rightly loved and if he is deserted 
for the love of the creature.  Why then will you wander farther 
and farther in these difficult and toilsome ways?  There is no 
rest where you seek it.  Seek what you seek; but remember that it 
is not where you seek it.  You seek for a blessed life in the land 
of death.  It is not there.  For how can there be a blessed life 
where life itself is not?"

     19.  But our very Life came down to earth and bore our death, 
and slew it with the very abundance of his own life.  And, 
thundering, he called us to return to him into that secret place 
from which he came forth to us -- coming first into the virginal 
womb, where the human creature, our mortal flesh, was joined to 
him that it might not be forever mortal -- and came "as a 
bridegroom coming out his chamber, rejoicing as a strong man to 
run a race."[103]  For he did not delay, but ran through the 
world, crying out by words, deeds, death, life, descent, ascension 
-- crying aloud to us to return to him.  And he departed from our 
sight that we might return to our hearts and find him there.  For 
he left us, and behold, he is here.  He could not be with us long, 
yet he did not leave us.  He went back to the place that he had 
never left, for "the world was made by him."[104]  In this world 
he was, and into this world he came, to save sinners.  To him my 
soul confesses, and he heals it, because it had sinned against 
him.  O sons of men, how long will you be so slow of heart?  Even 
now after Life itself has come down to you, will you not ascend 
and live?  But where will you climb if you are already on a 
pinnacle and have set your mouth against the heavens?  First come 
down that you may climb up, climb up to God.  For you have fallen 
by trying to climb against him.  Tell this to the souls you love 
that they may weep in the valley of tears, and so bring them along 
with you to God, because it is by his spirit that you speak thus 
to them, if, as you speak, you burn with the fire of love.

                         CHAPTER XIII

     20.  These things I did not understand at that time, and I 
loved those inferior beauties, and I was sinking down to the very 
depths.  And I said to my friends: "Do we love anything but the 
beautiful?  What then is the beautiful?  And what is beauty?  What 
is it that allures and unites us to the things we love; for unless 
there were a grace and beauty in them, they could not possibly 
attract us to them?"  And I reflected on this and saw that in the 
objects themselves there is a kind of beauty which comes from 
their forming a whole and another kind of beauty that comes from 
mutual fitness -- as the harmony of one part of the body with its 
whole, or a shoe with a foot, and so on.  And this idea sprang up 
in my mind out of my inmost heart, and I wrote some books -- two 
or three, I think -- On the Beautiful and the Fitting.[105]  Thou 
knowest them, O Lord; they have escaped my memory.  I no longer 
have them; somehow they have been mislaid.

                          CHAPTER XIV

     21.  What was it, O Lord my God, that prompted me to dedicate 
these books to Hierius, an orator of Rome, a man I did not know by 
sight but whom I loved for his reputation of learning, in which he 
was famous -- and also for some words of his that I had heard 
which had pleased me?  But he pleased me more because he pleased 
others, who gave him high praise and expressed amazement that a 
Syrian, who had first studied Greek eloquence, should thereafter 
become so wonderful a Latin orator and also so well versed in 
philosophy.  Thus a man we have never seen is commended and loved.  
Does a love like this come into the heart of the hearer from the 
mouth of him who sings the other's praise?  Not so.  Instead, one 
catches the spark of love from one who loves.  This is why we love 
one who is praised when the eulogist is believed to give his 
praise from an unfeigned heart; that is, when he who loves him 
praises him.  

     22.  Thus it was that I loved men on the basis of other men's 
judgment, and not thine, O my God, in whom no man is deceived.  
But why is it that the feeling I had for such men was not like my 
feeling toward the renowned charioteer, or the great gladiatorial 
hunter, famed far and wide and popular with the mob?  Actually, I 
admired the orator in a different and more serious fashion, as I 
would myself desire to be admired.  For I did not want them to 
praise and love me as actors were praised and loved -- although I 
myself praise and love them too.  I would prefer being unknown 
than known in that way, or even being hated than loved that way.  
How are these various influences and divers sorts of loves 
distributed within one soul?  What is it that I am in love with in 
another which, if I did not hate, I should neither detest nor 
repel from myself, seeing that we are equally men?  For it does 
not follow that because the good horse is admired by a man who 
would not be that horse -- even if he could -- the same kind of 
admiration should be given to an actor, who shares our nature.  Do 
I then love that in a man, which I also, a man, would hate to be?  
Man is himself a great deep.  Thou dost number his very hairs, O 
Lord, and they do not fall to the ground without thee, and yet the 
hairs of his head are more readily numbered than are his 
affections and the movements of his heart.  

     23.  But that orator whom I admired so much was the kind of 
man I wished myself to be.  Thus I erred through a swelling pride 
and "was carried about with every wind,"[106] but through it all I 
was being piloted by thee, though most secretly.  And how is it 
that I know -- whence comes my confident confession to thee -- 
that I loved him more because of the love of those who praised him 
than for the things they praised in him?  Because if he had gone 
unpraised, and these same people had criticized him and had spoken 
the same things of him in a tone of scorn and disapproval, I 
should never have been kindled and provoked to love him.  And yet 
his qualities would not have been different, nor would he have 
been different himself; only the appraisals of the spectators.  
See where the helpless soul lies prostrate that is not yet 
sustained by the stability of truth!  Just as the breezes of 
speech blow from the breast of the opinionated, so also the soul 
is tossed this way and that, driven forward and backward, and the 
light is obscured to it and the truth not seen.  And yet, there it 
is in front of us.  And to me it was a great matter that both my 
literary work and my zest for learning should be known by that 
man.  For if he approved them, I would be even more fond of him; 
but if he disapproved, this vain heart of mine, devoid of thy 
steadfastness, would have been offended.  And so I meditated on 
the problem "of the beautiful and the fitting" and dedicated my 
essay on it to him.  I regarded it admiringly, though no one else 
joined me in doing so.

                          CHAPTER XV

     24.  But I had not seen how the main point in these great 
issues [concerning the nature of beauty] lay really in thy 
craftsmanship, O Omnipotent One, "who alone doest great 
wonders."[107]  And so my mind ranged through the corporeal forms, 
and I defined and distinguished as "beautiful" that which is so in 
itself and as "fit" that which is beautiful in relation to some 
other thing.  This argument I supported by corporeal examples.  
And I turned my attention to the nature of the mind, but the false 
opinions which I held concerning spiritual things prevented me 
from seeing the truth.  Still, the very power of truth forced 
itself on my gaze, and I turned my throbbing soul away from 
incorporeal substance to qualities of line and color and shape, 
and, because I could not perceive these with my mind, I concluded 
that I could not perceive my mind.  And since I loved the peace 
which is in virtue, and hated the discord which is in vice, I 
distinguished between the unity there is in virtue and the discord 
there is in vice.  I conceived that unity consisted of the 
rational soul and the nature of truth and the highest good.  But I 
imagined that in the disunity there was some kind of substance of 
irrational life and some kind of entity in the supreme evil.  This 
evil I thought was not only a substance but real life as well, and 
yet I believed that it did not come from thee, O my God, from whom 
are all things.  And the first I called a Monad, as if it were a 
soul without sex.  The other I called a Dyad, which showed itself 
in anger in deeds of violence, in deeds of passion and lust -- but 
I did not know what I was talking about.  For I had not understood 
nor had I been taught that evil is not a substance at all and that 
our soul is not that supreme and unchangeable good.

     25.  For just as in violent acts, if the emotion of the soul 
from whence the violent impulse springs is depraved and asserts 
itself insolently and mutinously -- and just as in the acts of 
passion, if the affection of the soul which gives rise to carnal 
desires is unrestrained -- so also, in the same way, errors and 
false opinions contaminate life if the rational soul itself is 
depraved.  Thus it was then with me, for I was ignorant that my 
soul had to be enlightened by another light, if it was to be 
partaker of the truth, since it is not itself the essence of 
truth.  "For thou wilt light my lamp; the Lord my God will lighten 
my darkness"[108]; and "of his fullness have we all 
received,"[109] for "that was the true Light that lighteth every 
man that cometh into the world"[110]; for "in thee there is no 
variableness, neither shadow of turning."[111]

     26.  But I pushed on toward thee, and was pressed back by 
thee that I might know the taste of death, for "thou resistest the 
proud."[112]  And what greater pride could there be for me than, 
with a marvelous madness, to assert myself to be that nature which 
thou art?  I was mutable -- this much was clear enough to me 
because my very longing to become wise arose out of a wish to 
change from worse to better -- yet I chose rather to think thee 
mutable than to think that I was not as thou art.  For this reason 
I was thrust back; thou didst resist my fickle pride.  Thus I went 
on imagining corporeal forms, and, since I was flesh I accused the 
flesh, and, since I was "a wind that passes away,"[113] I did not 
return to thee but went wandering and wandering on toward those 
things that have no being -- neither in thee nor in me, nor in the 
body.  These fancies were not created for me by thy truth but 
conceived by my own vain conceit out of sensory notions.  And I 
used to ask thy faithful children -- my own fellow citizens, from 
whom I stood unconsciously exiled -- I used flippantly and 
foolishly to ask them, "Why, then, does the soul, which God 
created, err?"  But I would not allow anyone to ask me, "Why, 
then, does God err?"  I preferred to contend that thy immutable 
substance was involved in error through necessity rather than 
admit that my own mutable substance had gone astray of its own 
free will and had fallen into error as its punishment.

     27.  I was about twenty-six or twenty-seven when I wrote 
those books, analyzing and reflecting upon those sensory images 
which clamored in the ears of my heart.  I was straining those 
ears to hear thy inward melody, O sweet Truth, pondering on "the 
beautiful and the fitting" and longing to stay and hear thee, and 
to rejoice greatly at "the Bridegroom's voice."[114]  Yet I could 
not, for by the clamor of my own errors I was hurried outside 
myself, and by the weight of my own pride I was sinking ever 
lower.  You did not "make me to hear joy and gladness," nor did 
the bones rejoice which were not yet humbled.[115] 

     28.  And what did it profit me that, when I was scarcely 
twenty years old, a book of Aristotle's entitled The Ten 
Categories[116] fell into my hands?  On the very title of this I 
hung as on something great and divine, since my rhetoric master at 
Carthage and others who had reputations for learning were always 
referring to it with such swelling pride.  I read it by myself and 
understood it.  And what did it mean that when I discussed it with 
others they said that even with the assistance of tutors -- who 
not only explained it orally, but drew many diagrams in the sand 
-- they scarcely understood it and could tell me no more about it 
than I had acquired in the reading of it by myself alone?  For the 
book appeared to me to speak plainly enough about substances, such 
as a man; and of their qualities, such as the shape of a man, his 
kind, his stature, how many feet high, and his family 
relationship, his status, when born, whether he is sitting or 
standing, is shod or armed, or is doing something or having 
something done to him -- and all the innumerable things that are 
classified under these nine categories (of which I have given some 
examples) or under the chief category of substance.

     29.  What did all this profit me, since it actually hindered 
me when I imagined that whatever existed was comprehended within 
those ten categories?  I tried to interpret them, O my God, so 
that even thy wonderful and unchangeable unity could be understood 
as subjected to thy own magnitude or beauty, as if they existed in 
thee as their Subject -- as they do in corporeal bodies -- whereas 
thou art thyself thy own magnitude and beauty.  A body is not 
great or fair because it is a body, because, even if it were less 
great or less beautiful, it would still be a body.  But my 
conception of thee was falsity, not truth.  It was a figment of my 
own misery, not the stable ground of thy blessedness.  For thou 
hadst commanded, and it was carried out in me, that the earth 
should bring forth briars and thorns for me, and that with heavy 
labor I should gain my bread.[117] 

     30.  And what did it profit me that I could read and 
understand for myself all the books I could get in the so-called 
"liberal arts," when I was actually a worthless slave of wicked 
lust?  I took delight in them, not knowing the real source of what 
it was in them that was true and certain.  For I had my back 
toward the light, and my face toward the things on which the light 
falls, so that my face, which looked toward the illuminated 
things, was not itself illuminated.  Whatever was written in any 
of the fields of rhetoric or logic, geometry, music, or 
arithmetic, I could understand without any great difficulty and 
without the instruction of another man.  All this thou knowest, O 
Lord my God, because both quickness in understanding and acuteness 
in insight are thy gifts.  Yet for such gifts I made no thank 
offering to thee.  Therefore, my abilities served not my profit 
but rather my loss, since I went about trying to bring so large a 
part of my substance into my own power.  And I did not store up my 
strength for thee, but went away from thee into the far country to 
prostitute my gifts in disordered appetite.[118]  And what did 
these abilities profit me, if I did not put them to good use?  I 
did not realize that those arts were understood with great 
difficulty, even by the studious and the intelligent, until I 
tried to explain them to others and discovered that even the most 
proficient in them followed my explanations all too slowly.

     31.  And yet what did this profit me, since I still supposed 
that thou, O Lord God, the Truth, wert a bright and vast body and 
that I was a particle of that body?  O perversity gone too far!  
But so it was with me.  And I do not blush, O my God, to confess 
thy mercies to me in thy presence, or to call upon thee -- any 
more than I did not blush when I openly avowed my blasphemies 
before men, and bayed, houndlike, against thee.  What good was it 
for me that my nimble wit could run through those studies and 
disentangle all those knotty volumes, without help from a human 
teacher, since all the while I was erring so hatefully and with 
such sacrilege as far as the right substance of pious faith was 
concerned?  And what kind of burden was it for thy little ones to 
have a far slower wit, since they did not use it to depart from 
thee, and since they remained in the nest of thy Church to become 
safely fledged and to nourish the wings of love by the food of a 
sound faith.

     O Lord our God, under the shadow of thy wings let us hope -- 
defend us and support us.[119]  Thou wilt bear us up when we are 
little and even down to our gray hairs thou wilt carry us.  For 
our stability, when it is in thee, is stability indeed; but when 
it is in ourselves, then it is all unstable.  Our good lives 
forever with thee, and when we turn from thee with aversion, we 
fall into our own perversion.  Let us now, O Lord, return that we 
be not overturned, because with thee our good lives without 
blemish -- for our good is thee thyself.  And we need not fear 
that we shall find no place to return to because we fell away from 
it.  For, in our absence, our home -- which is thy eternity -- 
does not fall away.


                          BOOK FIVE

     A year of decision.  Faustus comes to Carthage and Augustine 
is disenchanted in his hope for solid demonstration of the truth 
of Manichean doctrine.  He decides to flee from his known troubles 
at Carthage to troubles yet unknown at Rome.  His experiences at 
Rome prove disappointing and he applies for a teaching post at 
Milan.  Here he meets Ambrose, who confronts him as an impressive 
witness for Catholic Christianity and opens out the possibilities 
of the allegorical interpretation of Scripture.  Augustine decides 
to become a Christian catechumen.  

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  Accept this sacrifice of my confessions from the hand of 
my tongue.  Thou didst form it and hast prompted it to praise thy 
name.  Heal all my bones and let them say, "O Lord, who is like 
unto thee?"[120]  It is not that one who confesses to thee 
instructs thee as to what goes on within him.  For the closed 
heart does not bar thy sight into it, nor does the hardness of our 
heart hold back thy hands, for thou canst soften it at will, 
either by mercy or in vengeance, "and there is no one who can hide 
himself from thy heat."[121]  But let my soul praise thee, that it 
may love thee, and let it confess thy mercies to thee, that it may 
praise thee.  Thy whole creation praises thee without ceasing: the 
spirit of man, by his own lips, by his own voice, lifted up to 
thee; animals and lifeless matter by the mouths of those who 
meditate upon them.  Thus our souls may climb out of their 
weariness toward thee and lean on those things which thou hast 
created and pass through them to thee, who didst create them in a 
marvelous way.  With thee, there is refreshment and true strength.  

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  Let the restless and the unrighteous depart, and flee 
away from thee.  Even so, thou seest them and thy eye pierces 
through the shadows in which they run.  For lo, they live in a 
world of beauty and yet are themselves most foul.  And how have 
they harmed thee?  Or in what way have they discredited thy power, 
which is just and perfect in its rule even to the last item in 
creation?  Indeed, where would they fly when they fled from thy 
presence?  Wouldst thou be unable to find them?  But they fled 
that they might not see thee, who sawest them; that they might be 
blinded and stumble into thee.  But thou forsakest nothing that 
thou hast made.  The unrighteous stumble against thee that they 
may be justly plagued, fleeing from thy gentleness and colliding 
with thy justice, and falling on their own rough paths.  For in 
truth they do not know that thou art everywhere; that no place 
contains thee, and that only thou art near even to those who go 
farthest from thee.  Let them, therefore, turn back and seek thee, 
because even if they have abandoned thee, their Creator, thou hast 
not abandoned thy creatures.  Let them turn back and seek thee -- 
and lo, thou art there in their hearts, there in the hearts of 
those who confess to thee.  Let them cast themselves upon thee, 
and weep on thy bosom, after all their weary wanderings; and thou 
wilt gently wipe away their tears.[122]  And they weep the more 
and rejoice in their weeping, since thou, O Lord, art not a man of 
flesh and blood.  Thou art the Lord, who canst remake what thou 
didst make and canst comfort them.  And where was I when I was 
seeking thee?  There thou wast, before me; but I had gone away, 
even from myself, and I could not find myself, much less thee.

                          CHAPTER III

     3.  Let me now lay bare in the sight of God the twenty-ninth 
year of my age.  There had just come to Carthage a certain bishop 
of the Manicheans, Faustus by name, a great snare of the devil; 
and many were entangled by him through the charm of his eloquence.  
Now, even though I found this eloquence admirable, I was beginning 
to distinguish the charm of words from the truth of things, which 
I was eager to learn.  Nor did I consider the dish as much as I 
did the kind of meat that their famous Faustus served up to me in 
it.  His fame had run before him, as one very skilled in an 
honorable learning and pre-eminently skilled in the liberal arts.

     And as I had already read and stored up in memory many of the 
injunctions of the philosophers, I began to compare some of their 
doctrines with the tedious fables of the Manicheans; and it struck 
me that the probability was on the side of the philosophers, whose 
power reached far enough to enable them to form a fair judgment of 
the world, even though they had not discovered the sovereign Lord 
of it all.  For thou art great, O Lord, and thou hast respect unto 
the lowly, but the proud thou knowest afar off.[123]  Thou drawest 
near to none but the contrite in heart, and canst not be found by 
the proud, even if in their inquisitive skill they may number the 
stars and the sands, and map out the constellations, and trace the 
courses of the planets.

     4.  For it is by the mind and the intelligence which thou 
gavest them that they investigate these things.  They have 
discovered much; and have foretold, many years in advance, the 
day, the hour, and the extent of the eclipses of those luminaries, 
the sun and the moon.  Their calculations did not fail, and it 
came to pass as they predicted.  And they wrote down the rules 
they had discovered, so that to this day they may be read and from 
them may be calculated in what year and month and day and hour of 
the day, and at what quarter of its light, either the moon or the 
sun will be eclipsed, and it will come to pass just as predicted.  
And men who are ignorant in these matters marvel and are amazed; 
and those who understand them exult and are exalted.  Both, by an 
impious pride, withdraw from thee and forsake thy light.  They 
foretell an eclipse of the sun before it happens, but they do not 
see their own eclipse which is even now occurring.  For they do 
not ask, as religious men should, what is the source of the 
intelligence by which they investigate these matters.  Moreover, 
when they discover that thou didst make them, they do not give 
themselves up to thee that thou mightest preserve what thou hast 
made.  Nor do they offer, as sacrifice to thee, what they have 
made of themselves.  For they do not slaughter their own pride -- 
as they do the sacrificial fowls -- nor their own curiosities by 
which, like the fishes of the sea, they wander through the unknown 
paths of the deep.  Nor do they curb their own extravagances as 
they do those of "the beasts of the field,"[124] so that thou, O 
Lord, "a consuming fire,"[125] mayest burn up their mortal cares 
and renew them unto immortality.  

     5.  They do not know the way which is thy word, by which thou 
didst create all the things that are and also the men who measure 
them, and the senses by which they perceive what they measure, and 
the intelligence whereby they discern the patterns of measure.  
Thus they know not that thy wisdom is not a matter of 
measure.[126]  But the Only Begotten hath been "made unto us 
wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification"[127] and hath been 
numbered among us and paid tribute to Caesar.[128]  And they do 
not know this "Way" by which they could descend from themselves to 
him in order to ascend through him to him.  They did not know this 
"Way," and so they fancied themselves exalted to the stars and the 
shining heavens.  And lo, they fell upon the earth, and "their 
foolish heart was darkened."[129]  They saw many true things about 
the creature but they do not seek with true piety for the Truth, 
the Architect of Creation, and hence they do not find him.  Or, if 
they do find him, and know that he is God, they do not glorify him 
as God; neither are they thankful but become vain in their 
imagination, and say that they themselves are wise, and attribute 
to themselves what is thine.  At the same time, with the most 
perverse blindness, they wish to attribute to thee their own 
quality -- so that they load their lies on thee who art the Truth, 
"changing the glory of the incorruptible God for an image of 
corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping 
things."[130]  "They exchanged thy truth for a lie, and worshiped 
and served the creature rather than the Creator."[131] 

     6.  Yet I remembered many a true saying of the philosophers 
about the creation, and I saw the confirmation of their 
calculations in the orderly sequence of seasons and in the visible 
evidence of the stars.  And I compared this with the doctrines of 
Mani, who in his voluminous folly wrote many books on these 
subjects.  But I could not discover there any account, of either 
the solstices or the equinoxes, or the eclipses of the sun and 
moon, or anything of the sort that I had learned in the books of 
secular philosophy.  But still I was ordered to believe, even 
where the ideas did not correspond with -- even when they 
contradicted -- the rational theories established by mathematics 
and my own eyes, but were very different.  

                          CHAPTER IV

     7.  Yet, O Lord God of Truth, is any man pleasing to thee 
because he knows these things?  No, for surely that man is unhappy 
who knows these things and does not know thee.  And that man is 
happy who knows thee, even though he does not know these things.  
He who knows both thee and these things is not the more blessed 
for his learning, for thou only art his blessing, if knowing thee 
as God he glorifies thee and gives thanks and does not become vain 
in his thoughts.

     For just as that man who knows how to possess a tree, and 
give thanks to thee for the use of it -- although he may not know 
how many feet high it is or how wide it spreads -- is better than 
the man who can measure it and count all its branches, but neither 
owns it nor knows or loves its Creator: just so is a faithful man 
who possesses the world's wealth as though he had nothing, and 
possesses all things through his union through thee, whom all 
things serve, even though he does not know the circlings of the 
Great Bear.  Just so it is foolish to doubt that this faithful man 
may truly be better than the one who can measure the heavens and 
number the stars and weigh the elements, but who is forgetful of 
thee "who hast set in order all things in number, weight, and 

                           CHAPTER V

     8.  And who ordered this Mani to write about these things, 
knowledge of which is not necessary to piety?  For thou hast said 
to man, "Behold, godliness is wisdom"[133] -- and of this he might 
have been ignorant, however perfectly he may have known these 
other things.  Yet, since he did not know even these other things, 
and most impudently dared to teach them, it is clear that he had 
no knowledge of piety.  For, even when we have a knowledge of this 
worldly lore, it is folly to make a _profession_ of it, when piety 
comes from _confession_ to thee.  From piety, therefore, Mani had 
gone astray, and all his show of learning only enabled the truly 
learned to perceive, from his ignorance of what they knew, how 
little he was to be trusted to make plain these more really 
difficult matters.  For he did not aim to be lightly esteemed, but 
went around trying to persuade men that the Holy Spirit, the 
Comforter and Enricher of thy faithful ones, was personally 
resident in him with full authority.  And, therefore, when he was 
detected in manifest errors about the sky, the stars, the 
movements of the sun and moon, even though these things do not 
relate to religious doctrine, the impious presumption of the man 
became clearly evident; for he not only taught things about which 
he was ignorant but also perverted them, and this with pride so 
foolish and mad that he sought to claim that his own utterances 
were as if they had been those of a divine person.

     9.  When I hear of a Christian brother, ignorant of these 
things, or in error concerning them, I can tolerate his uninformed 
opinion; and I do not see that any lack of knowledge as to the 
form or nature of this material creation can do him much harm, as 
long as he does not hold a belief in anything which is unworthy of 
thee, O Lord, the Creator of all.  But if he thinks that his 
secular knowledge pertains to the essence of the doctrine of 
piety, or ventures to assert dogmatic opinions in matters in which 
he is ignorant -- there lies the injury.  And yet even a weakness 
such as this, in the infancy of our faith, is tolerated by our 
Mother Charity until the new man can grow up "unto a perfect man," 
and not be "carried away with every wind of doctrine."[134]

     But Mani had presumed to be at once the teacher, author, 
guide, and leader of all whom he could persuade to believe this, 
so that all who followed him believed that they were following not 
an ordinary man but thy Holy Spirit.  And who would not judge that 
such great madness, when it once stood convicted of false 
teaching, should then be abhorred and utterly rejected?  But I had 
not yet clearly decided whether the alternation of day and night, 
and of longer and shorter days and nights, and the eclipses of sun 
and moon, and whatever else I read about in other books could be 
explained consistently with his theories.  If they could have been 
so explained, there would still have remained a doubt in my mind 
whether the theories were right or wrong.  Yet I was prepared, on 
the strength of his reputed godliness, to rest my faith on his 

                           CHAPTER VI

     10.  For almost the whole of the nine years that I listened 
with unsettled mind to the Manichean teaching I had been looking 
forward with unbounded eagerness to the arrival of this Faustus.  
For all the other members of the sect that I happened to meet, 
when they were unable to answer the questions I raised, always 
referred me to his coming.  They promised that, in discussion with 
him, these and even greater difficulties, if I had them, would be 
quite easily and amply cleared away.  When at last he did come, I 
found him to be a man of pleasant speech, who spoke of the very 
same things they themselves did, although more fluently and in a 
more agreeable style.  But what profit was there to me in the 
elegance of my cupbearer, since he could not offer me the more 
precious draught for which I thirsted?  My ears had already had 
their fill of such stuff, and now it did not seem any better 
because it was better expressed nor more true because it was 
dressed up in rhetoric; nor could I think the man's soul 
necessarily wise because his face was comely and his language 
eloquent.  But they who extolled him to me were not competent 
judges.  They thought him able and wise because his eloquence 
delighted them.  At the same time I realized that there is another 
kind of man who is suspicious even of truth itself, if it is 
expressed in smooth and flowing language.  But thou, O my God, 
hadst already taught me in wonderful and marvelous ways, and 
therefore I believed -- because it is true -- that thou didst 
teach me and that beside thee there is no other teacher of truth, 
wherever truth shines forth.  Already I had learned from thee that 
because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to 
be as necessarily true; nor because it is uttered with stammering 
lips should it be supposed false.  Nor, again, is it necessarily 
true because rudely uttered, nor untrue because the language is 
brilliant.  Wisdom and folly both are like meats that are 
wholesome and unwholesome, and courtly or simple words are like 
town-made or rustic vessels -- both kinds of food may be served in 
either kind of dish.

     11.  That eagerness, therefore, with which I had so long 
awaited this man, was in truth delighted with his action and 
feeling in a disputation, and with the fluent and apt words with 
which he clothed his ideas.  I was delighted, therefore, and I 
joined with others -- and even exceeded them -- in exalting and 
praising him.  Yet it was a source of annoyance to me that, in his 
lecture room, I was not allowed to introduce and raise any of 
those questions that troubled me, in a familiar exchange of 
discussion with him.  As soon as I found an opportunity for this, 
and gained his ear at a time when it was not inconvenient for him 
to enter into a discussion with me and my friends, I laid before 
him some of my doubts.  I discovered at once that he knew nothing 
of the liberal arts except grammar, and that only in an ordinary 
way.  He had, however, read some of Tully's orations, a very few 
books of Seneca, and some of the poets, and such few books of his 
own sect as were written in good Latin.  With this meager learning 
and his daily practice in speaking, he had acquired a sort of 
eloquence which proved the more delightful and enticing because it 
was under the direction of a ready wit and a sort of native grace.  
Was this not even as I now recall it, O Lord my God, Judge of my 
conscience?  My heart and my memory are laid open before thee, who 
wast even then guiding me by the secret impulse of thy providence 
and wast setting my shameful errors before my face so that I might 
see and hate them.

                         CHAPTER VII

     12.  For as soon as it became plain to me that Faustus was 
ignorant in those arts in which I had believed him eminent, I 
began to despair of his being able to clarify and explain all 
these perplexities that troubled me -- though I realized that such 
ignorance need not have affected the authenticity of his piety, if 
he had not been a Manichean.  For their books are full of long 
fables about the sky and the stars, the sun and the moon; and I 
had ceased to believe him able to show me in any satisfactory 
fashion what I so ardently desired: whether the explanations 
contained in the Manichean books were better or at least as good 
as the mathematical explanations I had read elsewhere.  But when I 
proposed that these subjects should be considered and discussed, 
he quite modestly did not dare to undertake the task, for he was 
aware that he had no knowledge of these things and was not ashamed 
to confess it.  For he was not one of those talkative people -- 
from whom I had endured so much -- who undertook to teach me what 
I wanted to know, and then said nothing.  Faustus had a heart 
which, if not right toward thee, was at least not altogether false 
toward himself; for he was not ignorant of his own ignorance, and 
he did not choose to be entangled in a controversy from which he 
could not draw back or retire gracefully.  For this I liked him 
all the more.  For the modesty of an ingenious mind is a finer 
thing than the acquisition of that knowledge I desired; and this I 
found to be his attitude toward all abstruse and difficult 

     13.  Thus the zeal with which I had plunged into the 
Manichean system was checked, and I despaired even more of their 
other teachers, because Faustus who was so famous among them had 
turned out so poorly in the various matters that puzzled me.  And 
so I began to occupy myself with him in the study of his own 
favorite pursuit, that of literature, in which I was already 
teaching a class as a professor of rhetoric among the young 
Carthaginian students.  With Faustus then I read whatever he 
himself wished to read, or what I judged suitable to his bent of 
mind.  But all my endeavors to make further progress in Manicheism 
came completely to an end through my acquaintance with that man.  
I did not wholly separate myself from them, but as one who had not 
yet found anything better I decided to content myself, for the 
time being, with what I had stumbled upon one way or another, 
until by chance something more desirable should present itself.  
Thus that Faustus who had entrapped so many to their death -- 
though neither willing nor witting it -- now began to loosen the 
snare in which I had been caught.  For thy hands, O my God, in the 
hidden design of thy providence did not desert my soul; and out of 
the blood of my mother's heart, through the tears that she poured 
out by day and by night, there was a sacrifice offered to thee for 
me, and by marvelous ways thou didst deal with me.  For it was 
thou, O my God, who didst it: for "the steps of a man are ordered 
by the Lord, and he shall choose his way."[135]  How shall we 
attain salvation without thy hand remaking what it had already 

                         CHAPTER VIII

     14.  Thou didst so deal with me, therefore, that I was 
persuaded to go to Rome and teach there what I had been teaching 
at Carthage.  And how I was persuaded to do this I will not omit 
to confess to thee, for in this also the profoundest workings of 
thy wisdom and thy constant mercy toward us must be pondered and 
acknowledged.  I did not wish to go to Rome because of the richer 
fees and the higher dignity which my friends promised me there -- 
though these considerations did affect my decision.  My principal 
and almost sole motive was that I had been informed that the 
students there studied more quietly and were better kept under the 
control of stern discipline, so that they did not capriciously and 
impudently rush into the classroom of a teacher not their own -- 
indeed, they were not admitted at all without the permission of 
the teacher.  At Carthage, on the contrary, there was a shameful 
and intemperate license among the students.  They burst in rudely 
and, with furious gestures, would disrupt the discipline which the 
teacher had established for the good of his pupils.  Many outrages 
they perpetrated with astounding effrontery, things that would be 
punishable by law if they were not sustained by custom.  Thus 
custom makes plain that such behavior is all the more worthless 
because it allows men to do what thy eternal law never will allow.  
They think that they act thus with impunity, though the very 
blindness with which they act is their punishment, and they suffer 
far greater harm than they inflict.

     The manners that I would not adopt as a student I was 
compelled as a teacher to endure in others.  And so I was glad to 
go where all who knew the situation assured me that such conduct 
was not allowed.  But thou, "O my refuge and my portion in the 
land of the living,"[136] didst goad me thus at Carthage so that I 
might thereby be pulled away from it and change my worldly 
habitation for the preservation of my soul.  At the same time, 
thou didst offer me at Rome an enticement, through the agency of 
men enchanted with this death-in-life -- by their insane conduct 
in the one place and their empty promises in the other.  To 
correct my wandering footsteps, thou didst secretly employ their 
perversity and my own.  For those who disturbed my tranquillity 
were blinded by shameful madness and also those who allured me 
elsewhere had nothing better than the earth's cunning.  And I who 
hated actual misery in the one place sought fictitious happiness 
in the other.

     15.  Thou knewest the cause of my going from one country to 
the other, O God, but thou didst not disclose it either to me or 
to my mother, who grieved deeply over my departure and followed me 
down to the sea.  She clasped me tight in her embrace, willing 
either to keep me back or to go with me, but I deceived her, 
pretending that I had a friend whom I could not leave until he had 
a favorable wind to set sail.  Thus I lied to my mother -- and 
such a mother! -- and escaped.  For this too thou didst mercifully 
pardon me -- fool that I was -- and didst preserve me from the 
waters of the sea for the water of thy grace; so that, when I was 
purified by that, the fountain of my mother's eyes, from which she 
had daily watered the ground for me as she prayed to thee, should 
be dried.  And, since she refused to return without me, I 
persuaded her, with some difficulty, to remain that night in a 
place quite close to our ship, where there was a shrine in memory 
of the blessed Cyprian.  That night I slipped away secretly, and 
she remained to pray and weep.  And what was it, O Lord, that she 
was asking of thee in such a flood of tears but that thou wouldst 
not allow me to sail?  But thou, taking thy own secret counsel and 
noting the real point to her desire, didst not grant what she was 
then asking in order to grant to her the thing that she had always 
been asking.

     The wind blew and filled our sails, and the shore dropped out 
of sight.  Wild with grief, she was there the next morning and 
filled thy ears with complaints and groans which thou didst 
disregard, although, at the very same time, thou wast using my 
longings as a means and wast hastening me on to the fulfillment of 
all longing.  Thus the earthly part of her love to me was justly 
purged by the scourge of sorrow.  Still, like all mothers -- 
though even more than others -- she loved to have me with her, and 
did not know what joy thou wast preparing for her through my going 
away.  Not knowing this secret end, she wept and mourned and saw 
in her agony the inheritance of Eve -- seeking in sorrow what she 
had brought forth in sorrow.  And yet, after accusing me of 
perfidy and cruelty, she still continued her intercessions for me 
to thee.  She returned to her own home, and I went on to Rome.

                          CHAPTER IX

     16.  And lo, I was received in Rome by the scourge of bodily 
sickness; and I was very near to falling into hell, burdened with 
all the many and grievous sins I had committed against thee, 
myself, and others -- all over and above that fetter of original 
sin whereby we all die in Adam.  For thou hadst forgiven me none 
of these things in Christ, neither had he abolished by his cross 
the enmity[137] that I had incurred from thee through my sins.  
For how could he do so by the crucifixion of a phantom, which was 
all I supposed him to be?  The death of my soul was as real then 
as the death of his flesh appeared to me unreal.  And the life of 
my soul was as false, because it was as unreal as the death of his 
flesh was real, though I believed it not.

     My fever increased, and I was on the verge of passing away 
and perishing; for, if I had passed away then, where should I have 
gone but into the fiery torment which my misdeeds deserved, 
measured by the truth of thy rule?  My mother knew nothing of 
this; yet, far away, she went on praying for me.  And thou, 
present everywhere, didst hear her where she was and had pity on 
me where I was, so that I regained my bodily health, although I 
was still disordered in my sacrilegious heart.  For that peril of 
death did not make me wish to be baptized.  I was even better 
when, as a lad, I entreated baptism of my mother's devotion, as I 
have already related and confessed.[138]  But now I had since 
increased in dishonor, and I madly scoffed at all the purposes of 
thy medicine which would not have allowed me, though a sinner such 
as I was, to die a double death.  Had my mother's heart been 
pierced with this wound, it never could have been cured, for I 
cannot adequately tell of the love she had for me, or how she 
still travailed for me in the spirit with a far keener anguish 
than when she bore me in the flesh.

     17.  I cannot conceive, therefore, how she could have been 
healed if my death (still in my sins) had pierced her inmost love.  
Where, then, would have been all her earnest, frequent, and 
ceaseless prayers to thee?  Nowhere but with thee.  But couldst 
thou, O most merciful God, despise the "contrite and humble 
heart"[139] of that pure and prudent widow, who was so constant in 
her alms, so gracious and attentive to thy saints, never missing a 
visit to church twice a day, morning and evening -- and this not 
for vain gossiping, nor old wives' fables, but in order that she 
might listen to thee in thy sermons, and thou to her in her 
prayers?  Couldst thou, by whose gifts she was so inspired, 
despise and disregard the tears of such a one without coming to 
her aid -- those tears by which she entreated thee, not for gold 
or silver, and not for any changing or fleeting good, but for the 
salvation of the soul of her son?  By no means, O Lord.  It is 
certain that thou wast near and wast hearing and wast carrying out 
the plan by which thou hadst predetermined it should be done.  Far 
be it from thee that thou shouldst have deluded her in those 
visions and the answers she had received from thee -- some of 
which I have mentioned, and others not -- which she kept in her 
faithful heart, and, forever beseeching, urged them on thee as if 
they had thy own signature.  For thou, "because thy mercy endureth 
forever,"[140] hast so condescended to those whose debts thou hast 
pardoned that thou likewise dost become a debtor by thy promises.

                           CHAPTER X

     18.  Thou didst restore me then from that illness, and didst 
heal the son of thy handmaid in his body, that he might live for 
thee and that thou mightest endow him with a better and more 
certain health.  After this, at Rome, I again joined those 
deluding and deluded "saints"; and not their "hearers" only, such 
as the man was in whose house I had fallen sick, but also with 
those whom they called "the elect." For it still seemed to me 
"that it is not we who sin, but some other nature sinned in us." 
And it gratified my pride to be beyond blame, and when _I_ did 
anything wrong not to have to confess that _I_ had done wrong -- 
"that thou mightest heal my soul because it had sinned against 
thee"[141] -- and I loved to excuse my soul and to accuse 
something else inside me (I knew not what) but which was not I.  
But, assuredly, it was I, and it was my impiety that had divided 
me against myself.  That sin then was all the more incurable 
because I did not deem myself a sinner.  It was an execrable 
iniquity, O God Omnipotent, that I would have preferred to have 
thee defeated in me, to my destruction, than to be defeated by 
thee to my salvation.  Not yet, therefore, hadst thou set a watch 
upon my mouth and a door around my lips that my heart might not 
incline to evil speech, to make excuse for sin with men that work 
iniquity.[142]  And, therefore, I continued still in the company 
of their "elect."

     19.  But now, hopeless of gaining any profit from that false 
doctrine, I began to hold more loosely and negligently even to 
those points which I had decided to rest content with, if I could 
find nothing better.  I was now half inclined to believe that 
those philosophers whom they call "The Academics"[143] were wiser 
than the rest in holding that we ought to doubt everything, and in 
maintaining that man does not have the power of comprehending any 
certain truth, for, although I had not yet understood their 
meaning, I was fully persuaded that they thought just as they are 
commonly reputed to do.  And I did not fail openly to dissuade my 
host from his confidence which I observed that he had in those 
fictions of which the works of Mani are full.  For all this, I was 
still on terms of more intimate friendship with these people than 
with others who were not of their heresy.  I did not indeed defend 
it with my former ardor; but my familiarity with that group -- and 
there were many of them concealed in Rome at that time[144] -- 
made me slower to seek any other way.  This was particularly easy 
since I had no hope of finding in thy Church the truth from which 
they had turned me aside, O Lord of heaven and earth, Creator of 
all things visible and invisible.  And it still seemed to me most 
unseemly to believe that thou couldst have the form of human flesh 
and be bounded by the bodily shape of our limbs.  And when I 
desired to meditate on my God, I did not know what to think of but 
a huge extended body -- for what did not have bodily extension did 
not seem to me to exist -- and this was the greatest and almost 
the sole cause of my unavoidable errors.

     20.  And thus I also believed that evil was a similar kind of 
substance, and that it had its own hideous and deformed extended 
body -- either in a dense form which they called the earth or in a 
thin and subtle form as, for example, the substance of the air, 
which they imagined as some malignant spirit penetrating that 
earth.  And because my piety -- such as it was -- still compelled 
me to believe that the good God never created any evil substance, 
I formed the idea of two masses, one opposed to the other, both 
infinite but with the evil more contracted and the good more 
expansive.  And from this diseased beginning, the other sacrileges 
followed after.

     For when my mind tried to turn back to the Catholic faith, I 
was cast down, since the Catholic faith was not what I judged it 
to be.  And it seemed to me a greater piety to regard thee, my God 
-- to whom I make confession of thy mercies -- as infinite in all 
respects save that one: where the extended mass of evil stood 
opposed to thee, where I was compelled to confess that thou art 
finite -- than if I should think that thou couldst be confined by 
the form of a human body on every side.  And it seemed better to 
me to believe that no evil had been created by thee -- for in my 
ignorance evil appeared not only to be some kind of substance but 
a corporeal one at that.  This was because I had, thus far, no 
conception of mind, except as a subtle body diffused throughout 
local spaces.  This seemed better than to believe that anything 
could emanate from thee which had the character that I considered 
evil to be in its nature.  And I believed that our Saviour himself 
also -- thy Only Begotten -- had been brought forth, as it were, 
for our salvation out of the mass of thy bright shining substance.  
So that I could believe nothing about him except what I was able 
to harmonize with these vain imaginations.  I thought, therefore, 
that such a nature could not be born of the Virgin Mary without 
being mingled with the flesh, and I could not see how the divine 
substance, as I had conceived it, could be mingled thus without 
being contaminated.  I was afraid, therefore, to believe that he 
had been born in the flesh, lest I should also be compelled to 
believe that he had been contaminated by the flesh.  Now will thy 
spiritual ones smile blandly and lovingly at me if they read these 
confessions.  Yet such was I.

                          CHAPTER XI

     21.  Furthermore, the things they censured in thy Scriptures 
I thought impossible to be defended.  And yet, occasionally, I 
desired to confer on various matters with someone well learned in 
those books, to test what he thought of them.  For already the 
words of one Elpidius, who spoke and disputed face to face against 
these same Manicheans, had begun to impress me, even when I was at 
Carthage; because he brought forth things out of the Scriptures 
that were not easily withstood, to which their answers appeared to 
me feeble.  One of their answers they did not give forth publicly, 
but only to us in private -- when they said that the writings of 
the New Testament had been tampered with by unknown persons who 
desired to ingraft the Jewish law into the Christian faith.  But 
they themselves never brought forward any uncorrupted copies.  
Still thinking in corporeal categories and very much ensnared and 
to some extent stifled, I was borne down by those conceptions of 
bodily substance.  I panted under this load for the air of thy 
truth, but I was not able to breathe it pure and undefiled.

                          CHAPTER XII

     22.  I set about diligently to practice what I came to Rome 
to do -- the teaching of rhetoric.  The first task was to bring 
together in my home a few people to whom and through whom I had 
begun to be known.  And lo, I then began to learn that other 
offenses were committed in Rome which I had not had to bear in 
Africa.  Just as I had been told, those riotous disruptions by 
young blackguards were not practiced here.  Yet, now, my friends 
told me, many of the Roman students -- breakers of faith, who, for 
the love of money, set a small value on justice -- would conspire 
together and suddenly transfer to another teacher, to evade paying 
their master's fees.  My heart hated such people, though not with 
a "perfect hatred"[145]; for doubtless I hated them more because I 
was to suffer from them than on account of their own illicit acts.  
Still, such people are base indeed; they fornicate against thee, 
for they love the transitory mockeries of temporal things and the 
filthy gain which begrimes the hand that grabs it; they embrace 
the fleeting world and scorn thee, who abidest and invitest us to 
return to thee and who pardonest the prostituted human soul when 
it does return to thee.  Now I hate such crooked and perverse men, 
although I love them if they will be corrected and come to prefer 
the learning they obtain to money and, above all, to prefer thee 
to such learning, O God, the truth and fullness of our positive 
good, and our most pure peace.  But then the wish was stronger in 
me for my own sake not to suffer evil from them than was my desire 
that they should become good for thy sake.

                         CHAPTER XIII

     23.  When, therefore, the officials of Milan sent to Rome, to 
the prefect of the city, to ask that he provide them with a 
teacher of rhetoric for their city and to send him at the public 
expense, I applied for the job through those same persons, drunk 
with the Manichean vanities, to be freed from whom I was going 
away -- though neither they nor I were aware of it at the time.  
They recommended that Symmachus, who was then prefect, after he 
had proved me by audition, should appoint me.

     And to Milan I came, to Ambrose the bishop, famed through the 
whole world as one of the best of men, thy devoted servant.  His 
eloquent discourse in those times abundantly provided thy people 
with the flour of thy wheat, the gladness of thy oil, and the 
sober intoxication of thy wine.[146]  To him I was led by thee 
without my knowledge, that by him I might be led to thee in full 
knowledge.  That man of God received me as a father would, and 
welcomed my coming as a good bishop should.  And I began to love 
him, of course, not at the first as a teacher of the truth, for I 
had entirely despaired of finding that in thy Church -- but as a 
friendly man.  And I studiously listened to him -- though not with 
the right motive -- as he preached to the people.  I was trying to 
discover whether his eloquence came up to his reputation, and 
whether it flowed fuller or thinner than others said it did.  And 
thus I hung on his words intently, but, as to his subject matter, 
I was only a careless and contemptuous listener.  I was delighted 
with the charm of his speech, which was more erudite, though less 
cheerful and soothing, than Faustus' style.  As for subject 
matter, however, there could be no comparison, for the latter was 
wandering around in Manichean deceptions, while the former was 
teaching salvation most soundly.  But "salvation is far from the 
wicked,"[147] such as I was then when I stood before him.  Yet I 
was drawing nearer, gradually and unconsciously.

                          CHAPTER XIV

     24.  For, although I took no trouble to learn what he said, 
but only to hear how he said it -- for this empty concern remained 
foremost with me as long as I despaired of finding a clear path 
from man to thee -- yet, along with the eloquence I prized, there 
also came into my mind the ideas which I ignored; for I could not 
separate them.  And, while I opened my heart to acknowledge how 
skillfully he spoke, there also came an awareness of how _truly_ 
he spoke -- but only gradually.  First of all, his ideas had 
already begun to appear to me defensible; and the Catholic faith, 
for which I supposed that nothing could be said against the 
onslaught of the Manicheans, I now realized could be maintained 
without presumption.  This was especially clear after I had heard 
one or two parts of the Old Testament explained allegorically -- 
whereas before this, when I had interpreted them literally, they 
had "killed" me spiritually.[148]  However, when many of these 
passages in those books were expounded to me thus, I came to blame 
my own despair for having believed that no reply could be given to 
those who hated and scoffed at the Law and the Prophets.  Yet I 
did not see that this was reason enough to follow the Catholic 
way, just because it had learned advocates who could answer 
objections adequately and without absurdity.  Nor could I see that 
what I had held to heretofore should now be condemned, because 
both sides were equally defensible.  For that way did not appear 
to me yet vanquished; but neither did it seem yet victorious.

     25.  But now I earnestly bent my mind to require if there was 
possible any way to prove the Manicheans guilty of falsehood.  If 
I could have conceived of a spiritual substance, all their 
strongholds would have collapsed and been cast out of my mind.  
But I could not.  Still, concerning the body of this world, nature 
as a whole -- now that I was able to consider and compare such 
things more and more -- I now decided that the majority of the 
philosophers held the more probable views.  So, in what I thought 
was the method of the Academics -- doubting everything and 
fluctuating between all the options -- I came to the conclusion 
that the Manicheans were to be abandoned.  For I judged, even in 
that period of doubt, that I could not remain in a sect to which I 
preferred some of the philosophers.  But I refused to commit the 
cure of my fainting soul to the philosophers, because they were 
without the saving name of Christ.  I resolved, therefore, to 
become a catechumen in the Catholic Church -- which my parents had 
so much urged upon me -- until something certain shone forth by 
which I might guide my course.


                          BOOK SIX

     Turmoil in the twenties.  Monica follows Augustine to Milan 
and finds him a catechumen in the Catholic Church. Both admire 
Ambrose but Augustine gets no help from him on his personal 
problems.  Ambition spurs and Alypius and Nebridius join him in a 
confused quest for the happy life.  Augustine becomes engaged, 
dismisses his first mistress, takes another, and continues his 
fruitless search for truth.  

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  O Hope from my youth,[149] where wast thou to me and 
where hadst thou gone away?[150]  For hadst thou not created me 
and differentiated me from the beasts of the field and the birds 
of the air, making me wiser than they?  And yet I was wandering 
about in a dark and slippery way, seeking thee outside myself and 
thus not finding the God of my heart.  I had gone down into the 
depths of the sea and had lost faith, and had despaired of ever 
finding the truth.

     By this time my mother had come to me, having mustered the 
courage of piety, following over sea and land, secure in thee 
through all the perils of the journey.  For in the dangers of the 
voyage she comforted the sailors -- to whom the inexperienced 
voyagers, when alarmed, were accustomed to go for comfort -- and 
assured them of a safe arrival because she had been so assured by 
thee in a vision.

     She found me in deadly peril through my despair of ever 
finding the truth.  But when I told her that I was now no longer a 
Manichean, though not yet a Catholic Christian, she did not leap 
for joy as if this were unexpected; for she had already been 
reassured about that part of my misery for which she had mourned 
me as one dead, but also as one who would be raised to thee.  She 
had carried me out on the bier of her thoughts, that thou mightest 
say to the widow's son, "Young man, I say unto you, arise!"[151] 
and then he would revive and begin to speak, and thou wouldst 
deliver him to his mother.  Therefore, her heart was not agitated 
with any violent exultation when she heard that so great a part of 
what she daily entreated thee to do had actually already been done 
-- that, though I had not yet grasped the truth, I was rescued 
from falsehood.  Instead, she was fully confident that thou who 
hadst promised the whole would give her the rest, and thus most 
calmly, and with a fully confident heart, she replied to me that 
she believed, in Christ, that before she died she would see me a 
faithful Catholic.  And she said no more than this to me.  But to 
thee, O Fountain of mercy, she poured out still more frequent 
prayers and tears that thou wouldst hasten thy aid and enlighten 
my darkness, and she hurried all the more zealously to the church 
and hung upon the words of Ambrose, praying for the fountain of 
water that springs up into everlasting life.[152]  For she loved 
that man as an angel of God, since she knew that it was by him 
that I had been brought thus far to that wavering state of 
agitation I was now in, through which she was fully persuaded I 
should pass from sickness to health, even though it would be after 
a still sharper convulsion which physicians call "the crisis."

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  So also my mother brought to certain oratories, erected 
in the memory of the saints, offerings of porridge, bread, and 
wine -- as had been her custom in Africa -- and she was forbidden 
to do so by the doorkeeper [ostiarius].  And as soon as she 
learned that it was the bishop who had forbidden it, she 
acquiesced so devoutly and obediently that I myself marveled how 
readily she could bring herself to turn critic of her own customs, 
rather than question his prohibition.  For winebibbing had not 
taken possession of her spirit, nor did the love of wine stimulate 
her to hate the truth, as it does too many, both male and female, 
who turn as sick at a hymn to sobriety as drunkards do at a 
draught of water.  When she had brought her basket with the 
festive gifts, which she would taste first herself and give the 
rest away, she would never allow herself more than one little cup 
of wine, diluted according to her own temperate palate, which she 
would taste out of courtesy.  And, if there were many oratories of 
departed saints that ought to be honored in the same way, she 
still carried around with her the same little cup, to be used 
everywhere.  This became not only very much watered but also quite 
tepid with carrying it about.  She would distribute it by small 
sips to those around, for she sought to stimulate their devotion, 
not pleasure.

     But as soon as she found that this custom was forbidden by 
that famous preacher and most pious prelate, even to those who 
would use it in moderation, lest thereby it might be an occasion 
of gluttony for those who were already drunken (and also because 
these funereal memorials were very much like some of the 
superstitious practices of the pagans), she most willingly 
abstained from it.  And, in place of a basket filled with fruits 
of the earth, she had learned to bring to the oratories of the 
martyrs a heart full of purer petitions, and to give all that she 
could to the poor -- so that the Communion of the Lord's body 
might be rightly celebrated in those places where, after the 
example of his Passion, the martyrs had been sacrificed and 
crowned.  But yet it seems to me, O Lord my God -- and my heart 
thinks of it this way in thy sight -- that my mother would 
probably not have given way so easily to the rejection of this 
custom if it had been forbidden by another, whom she did not love 
as she did Ambrose.  For, out of her concern for my salvation, she 
loved him most dearly; and he loved her truly, on account of her 
faithful religious life, in which she frequented the church with 
good works, "fervent in spirit."[153]  Thus he would, when he saw 
me, often burst forth into praise of her, congratulating me that I 
had such a mother -- little knowing what a son she had in me, who 
was still a skeptic in all these matters and who could not 
conceive that the way of life could be found out.

                          CHAPTER III

     3.  Nor had I come yet to groan in my prayers that thou 
wouldst help me.  My mind was wholly intent on knowledge and eager 
for disputation.  Ambrose himself I esteemed a happy man, as the 
world counted happiness, because great personages held him in 
honor.  Only his celibacy appeared to me a painful burden.  But 
what hope he cherished, what struggles he had against the 
temptations that beset his high station, what solace in adversity, 
and what savory joys thy bread possessed for the hidden mouth of 
his heart when feeding on it, I could neither 

     conjecture nor experience.  

     Nor did he know my own frustrations, nor the pit of my 
danger.  For I could not request of him what I wanted as I wanted 
it, because I was debarred from hearing and speaking to him by 
crowds of busy people to whose infirmities he devoted himself.  
And when he was not engaged with them -- which was never for long 
at a time -- he was either refreshing his body with necessary food 
or his mind with reading.  

     Now, as he read, his eyes glanced over the pages and his 
heart searched out the sense, but his voice and tongue were 
silent.  Often when we came to his room -- for no one was 
forbidden to enter, nor was it his custom that the arrival of 
visitors should be announced to him -- we would see him thus 
reading to himself.  After we had sat for a long time in silence 
-- for who would dare interrupt one so intent? -- we would then 
depart, realizing that he was unwilling to be distracted in the 
little time he could gain for the recruiting of his mind, free 
from the clamor of other men's business.  Perhaps he was fearful 
lest, if the author he was studying should express himself 
vaguely, some doubtful and attentive hearer would ask him to 
expound it or discuss some of the more abstruse questions, so that 
he could not get over as much material as he wished, if his time 
was occupied with others.  And even a truer reason for his reading 
to himself might have been the care for preserving his voice, 
which was very easily weakened.  Whatever his motive was in so 
doing, it was doubtless, in such a man, a good one.  

     4.  But actually I could find no opportunity of putting the 
questions I desired to that holy oracle of thine in his heart, 
unless it was a matter which could be dealt with briefly.  
However, those surgings in me required that he should give me his 
full leisure so that I might pour them out to him; but I never 
found him so.  I heard him, indeed, every Lord's Day, "rightly 
dividing the word of truth"[154] among the people.  And I became 
all the more convinced that all those knots of crafty calumnies 
which those deceivers of ours had knit together against the divine 
books could be unraveled.  

     I soon understood that the statement that man was made after 
the image of Him that created him[155] was not understood by thy 
spiritual sons -- whom thou hadst regenerated through the Catholic 
Mother[156] through grace -- as if they believed and imagined that 
thou wert bounded by a human form, although what was the nature of 
a spiritual substance I had not the faintest or vaguest notion.  
Still rejoicing, I blushed that for so many years I had bayed, not 
against the Catholic faith, but against the fables of fleshly 
imagination.  For I had been both impious and rash in this, that I 
had condemned by pronouncement what I ought to have learned by 
inquiry.  For thou, O Most High, and most near, most secret, yet 
most present, who dost not have limbs, some of which are larger 
and some smaller, but who art wholly everywhere and nowhere in 
space, and art not shaped by some corporeal form: thou didst 
create man after thy own image and, see, he dwells in space, both 
head and feet.

                          CHAPTER IV

     5.  Since I could not then understand how this image of thine 
could subsist, I should have knocked on the door and propounded 
the doubt as to how it was to be believed, and not have 
insultingly opposed it as if it were actually believed.  
Therefore, my anxiety as to what I could retain as certain gnawed 
all the more sharply into my soul, and I felt quite ashamed 
because during the long time I had been deluded and deceived by 
the [Manichean] promises of certainties, I had, with childish 
petulance, prated of so many uncertainties as if they were 
certain.  That they were falsehoods became apparent to me only 
afterward.  However, I was certain that they were uncertain and 
since I had held them as certainly uncertain I had accused thy 
Catholic Church with a blind contentiousness.  I had not yet 
discovered that it taught the truth, but I now knew that it did 
not teach what I had so vehemently accused it of.  In this 
respect, at least, I was confounded and converted; and I rejoiced, 
O my God, that the one Church, the body of thy only Son -- in 
which the name of Christ had been sealed upon me as an infant -- 
did not relish these childish trifles and did not maintain in its 
sound doctrine any tenet that would involve pressing thee, the 
Creator of all, into space, which, however extended and immense, 
would still be bounded on all sides -- like the shape of a human 

     6.  I was also glad that the old Scriptures of the Law and 
the Prophets were laid before me to be read, not now with an eye 
to what had seemed absurd in them when formerly I censured thy 
holy ones for thinking thus, when they actually did not think in 
that way.  And I listened with delight to Ambrose, in his sermons 
to the people, often recommending this text most diligently as a 
rule: "The letter kills, but the spirit gives life,"[157] while at 
the same time he drew aside the mystic veil and opened to view the 
spiritual meaning of what seemed to teach perverse doctrine if it 
were taken according to the letter.  I found nothing in his 
teachings that offended me, though I could not yet know for 
certain whether what he taught was true.  For all this time I 
restrained my heart from assenting to anything, fearing to fall 
headlong into error.  Instead, by this hanging in suspense, I was 
being strangled.[158]  For my desire was to be as certain of 
invisible things as I was that seven and three are ten.  I was not 
so deranged as to believe that _this_ could not be comprehended, 
but my desire was to have other things as clear as this, whether 
they were physical objects, which were not present to my senses, 
or spiritual objects, which I did not know how to conceive of 
except in physical terms.

     If I could have believed, I might have been cured, and, with 
the sight of my soul cleared up, it might in some way have been 
directed toward thy truth, which always abides and fails in 
nothing.  But, just as it happens that a man who has tried a bad 
physician fears to trust himself with a good one, so it was with 
the health of my soul, which could not be healed except by 
believing.  But lest it should believe falsehoods, it refused to 
be cured, resisting thy hand, who hast prepared for us the 
medicines of faith and applied them to the maladies of the whole 
world, and endowed them with such great efficacy.

                           CHAPTER V

     7.  Still, from this time forward, I began to prefer the 
Catholic doctrine.  I felt that it was with moderation and honesty 
that it commanded things to be believed that were not demonstrated 
-- whether they could be demonstrated, but not to everyone, or 
whether they could not be demonstrated at all.  This was far 
better than the method of the Manicheans, in which our credulity 
was mocked by an audacious promise of knowledge and then many 
fabulous and absurd things were forced upon believers _because_ 
they were incapable of demonstration.  After that, O Lord, little 
by little, with a gentle and most merciful hand, drawing and 
calming my heart, thou didst persuade me that, if I took into 
account the multitude of things I had never seen, nor been present 
when they were enacted -- such as many of the events of secular 
history; and the numerous reports of places and cities which I had 
not seen; or such as my relations with many friends, or 
physicians, or with these men and those -- that unless we should 
believe, we should do nothing at all in this life.[159]  Finally, 
I was impressed with what an unalterable assurance I believed 
which two people were my parents, though this was impossible for 
me to know otherwise than by hearsay.  By bringing all this into 
my consideration, thou didst persuade me that it was not the ones 
who believed thy books -- which with so great authority thou hast 
established among nearly all nations -- but those who did not 
believe them who were to be blamed.  Moreover, those men were not 
to be listened to who would say to me, "How do you know that those 
Scriptures were imparted to mankind by the Spirit of the one and 
most true God?"  For this was the point that was most of all to be 
believed, since no wranglings of blasphemous questions such as I 
had read in the books of the self-contradicting philosophers could 
once snatch from me the belief that thou dost exist -- although 
_what_ thou art I did not know -- and that to thee belongs the 
governance of human affairs.

     8.  This much I believed, some times more strongly than other 
times.  But I always believed both that thou art and that thou 
hast a care for us,[160] although I was ignorant both as to what 
should be thought about thy substance and as to which way led, or 
led back, to thee.  Thus, since we are too weak by unaided reason 
to find out truth, and since, because of this, we need the 
authority of the Holy Writings, I had now begun to believe that 
thou wouldst not, under any circumstances, have given such eminent 
authority to those Scriptures throughout all lands if it had not 
been that through them thy will may be believed in and that thou 
mightest be sought.  For, as to those passages in the Scripture 
which had heretofore appeared incongruous and offensive to me, now 
that I had heard several of them expounded reasonably, I could see 
that they were to be resolved by the mysteries of spiritual 
interpretation.  The authority of Scripture seemed to me all the 
more revered and worthy of devout belief because, although it was 
visible for all to read, it reserved the full majesty of its 
secret wisdom within its spiritual profundity.  While it stooped 
to all in the great plainness of its language and simplicity of 
style, it yet required the closest attention of the most serious-
minded -- so that it might receive all into its common bosom, and 
direct some few through its narrow passages toward thee, yet many 
more than would have been the case had there not been in it such a 
lofty authority, which nevertheless allured multitudes to its 
bosom by its holy humility.  I continued to reflect upon these 
things, and thou wast with me.  I sighed, and thou didst hear me.  
I vacillated, and thou guidedst me.  I roamed the broad way of the 
world, and thou didst not desert me.

                          CHAPTER VI

     9.  I was still eagerly aspiring to honors, money, and 
matrimony; and thou didst mock me.  In pursuit of these ambitions 
I endured the most bitter hardships, in which thou wast being the 
more gracious the less thou wouldst allow anything that was not 
thee to grow sweet to me.  Look into my heart, O Lord, whose 
prompting it is that I should recall all this, and confess it to 
thee.  Now let my soul cleave to thee, now that thou hast freed 
her from that fast-sticking glue of death.

     How wretched she was!  And thou didst irritate her sore wound 
so that she might forsake all else and turn to thee -- who art 
above all and without whom all things would be nothing at all -- 
so that she should be converted and healed.  How wretched I was at 
that time, and how thou didst deal with me so as to make me aware 
of my wretchedness, I recall from the incident of the day on which 
I was preparing to recite a panegyric on the emperor.  In it I was 
to deliver many a lie, and the lying was to be applauded by those 
who knew I was lying.  My heart was agitated with this sense of 
guilt and it seethed with the fever of my uneasiness.  For, while 
walking along one of the streets of Milan, I saw a poor beggar -- 
with what I believe was a full belly -- joking and hilarious.  And 
I sighed and spoke to the friends around me of the many sorrows 
that flowed from our madness, because in spite of all our 
exertions -- such as those I was then laboring in, dragging the 
burden of my unhappiness under the spur of ambition, and, by 
dragging it, increasing it at the same time -- still and all we 
aimed only to attain that very happiness which this beggar had 
reached before us; and there was a grim chance that we should 
never attain it!  For what he had obtained through a few coins, 
got by his begging, I was still scheming for by many a wretched 
and tortuous turning -- namely, the joy of a passing felicity.  He 
had not, indeed, gained true joy, but, at the same time, with all 
my ambitions, I was seeking one still more untrue.  Anyhow, he was 
now joyous and I was anxious.  He was free from care, and I was 
full of alarms.  Now, if anyone should inquire of me whether I 
should prefer to be merry or anxious, I would reply, "Merry." 
Again, if I had been asked whether I should prefer to be as he was 
or as I myself then was, I would have chosen to be myself; though 
I was beset with cares and alarms.  But would not this have been a 
false choice?  Was the contrast valid?  Actually, I ought not to 
prefer myself to him because I happened to be more learned than he 
was; for I got no great pleasure from my learning, but sought, 
rather, to please men by its exhibition -- and this not to 
instruct, but only to please.  Thus thou didst break my bones with 
the rod of thy correction.

     10.  Let my soul take its leave of those who say: "It makes a 
difference as to the object from which a man derives his joy.  The 
beggar rejoiced in drunkenness; you longed to rejoice in glory." 
What glory, O Lord?  The kind that is not in thee, for, just as 
his was no true joy, so was mine no true glory; but it turned my 
head all the more.  He would get over his drunkenness that same 
night, but I had slept with mine many a night and risen again with 
it, and was to sleep again and rise again with it, I know not how 
many times.  It does indeed make a difference as to the object 
from which a man's joy is gained.  I know this is so, and I know 
that the joy of a faithful hope is incomparably beyond such 
vanity.  Yet, at the same time, this beggar was beyond me, for he 
truly was the happier man -- not only because he was thoroughly 
steeped in his mirth while I was torn to pieces with my cares, but 
because he had gotten his wine by giving good wishes to the 
passers-by while I was following after the ambition of my pride by 
lying.  Much to this effect I said to my good companions, and I 
saw how readily they reacted pretty much as I did.  Thus I found 
that it went ill with me; and I fretted, and doubled that very 
ill.  And if any prosperity smiled upon me, I loathed to seize it, 
for almost before I could grasp it, it would fly away.

                          CHAPTER VII

     11.  Those of us who were living like friends together used 
to bemoan our lot in our common talk; but I discussed it with 
Alypius and Nebridius more especially and in very familiar terms.  
Alypius had been born in the same town as I; his parents were of 
the highest rank there, but he was a bit younger than I.  He had 
studied under me when I first taught in our town, and then 
afterward at Carthage.  He esteemed me highly because I appeared 
to him good and learned, and I esteemed him for his inborn love of 
virtue, which was uncommonly marked in a man so young.  But in the 
whirlpool of Carthaginian fashion -- where frivolous spectacles 
are hotly followed -- he had been inveigled into the madness of 
the gladiatorial games.  While he was miserably tossed about in 
this fad, I was teaching rhetoric there in a public school.  At 
that time he was not attending my classes because of some ill 
feeling that had arisen between me and his father.  I then came to 
discover how fatally he doted upon the circus, and I was deeply 
grieved, for he seemed likely to cast away his very great promise 
-- if, indeed, he had not already done so.  Yet I had no means of 
advising him, or any way of reclaiming him through restraint, 
either by the kindness of a friend or by the authority of a 
teacher.  For I imagined that his feelings toward me were the same 
as his father's.  But this turned out not to be the case.  Indeed, 
disregarding his father's will in the matter, he began to be 
friendly and to visit my lecture room, to listen for a while and 
then depart.

     12.  But it slipped my memory to try to deal with his 
problem, to prevent him from ruining his excellent mind in his 
blind and headstrong passion for frivolous sport.  But thou, O 
Lord, who holdest the helm of all that thou hast created,[161] 
thou hadst not forgotten him who was one day to be numbered among 
thy sons, a chief minister of thy sacrament.[162]  And in order 
that his amendment might plainly be attributed to thee, thou 
broughtest it about through me while I knew nothing of it.

     One day, when I was sitting in my accustomed place with my 
scholars before me, he came in, greeted me, sat himself down, and 
fixed his attention on the subject I was then discussing.  It so 
happened that I had a passage in hand and, while I was 
interpreting it, a simile occurred to me, taken from the 
gladiatorial games.  It struck me as relevant to make more 
pleasant and plain the point I wanted to convey by adding a biting 
gibe at those whom that madness had enthralled.  Thou knowest, O 
our God, that I had no thought at that time of curing Alypius of 
that plague.  But he took it to himself and thought that I would 
not have said it but for his sake.  And what any other man would 
have taken as an occasion of offense against me, this worthy young 
man took as a reason for being offended at himself, and for loving 
me the more fervently.  Thou hast said it long ago and written in 
thy Book, "Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you."[163]  Now I 
had not rebuked him; but thou who canst make use of everything, 
both witting and unwitting, and in the order which thou thyself 
knowest to be best -- and that order is right -- thou madest my 
heart and tongue into burning coals with which thou mightest 
cauterize and cure the hopeful mind thus languishing.  Let him be 
silent in thy praise who does not meditate on thy mercy, which 
rises up in my inmost parts to confess to thee.  For after that 
speech Alypius rushed up out of that deep pit into which he had 
willfully plunged and in which he had been blinded by its 
miserable pleasures.  And he roused his mind with a resolve to 
moderation.  When he had done this, all the filth of the 
gladiatorial pleasures dropped away from him, and he went to them 
no more.  Then he also prevailed upon his reluctant father to let 
him be my pupil.  And, at the son's urging, the father at last 
consented.  Thus Alypius began again to hear my lectures and 
became involved with me in the same superstition, loving in the 
Manicheans that outward display of ascetic discipline which he 
believed was true and unfeigned.  It was, however, a senseless and 
seducing continence, which ensnared precious souls who were not 
able as yet to reach the height of true virtue, and who were 
easily beguiled with the veneer of what was only a shadowy and 
feigned virtue.

                         CHAPTER VIII

     13.  He had gone on to Rome before me to study law -- which 
was the worldly way which his parents were forever urging him to 
pursue -- and there he was carried away again with an incredible 
passion for the gladiatorial shows.  For, although he had been 
utterly opposed to such spectacles and detested them, one day he 
met by chance a company of his acquaintances and fellow students 
returning from dinner; and, with a friendly violence, they drew 
him, resisting and objecting vehemently, into the amphitheater, on 
a day of those cruel and murderous shows.  He protested to them: 
"Though you drag my body to that place and set me down there, you 
cannot force me to give my mind or lend my eyes to these shows.  
Thus I will be absent while present, and so overcome both you and 
them." When they heard this, they dragged him on in, probably 
interested to see whether he could do as he said.  When they got 
to the arena, and had taken what seats they could get, the whole 
place became a tumult of inhuman frenzy.  But Alypius kept his 
eyes closed and forbade his mind to roam abroad after such 
wickedness.  Would that he had shut his ears also!  For when one 
of the combatants fell in the fight, a mighty cry from the whole 
audience stirred him so strongly that, overcome by curiosity and 
still prepared (as he thought) to despise and rise superior to it 
no matter what it was, he opened his eyes and was struck with a 
deeper wound in his soul than the victim whom he desired to see 
had been in his body.  Thus he fell more miserably than the one 
whose fall had raised that mighty clamor which had entered through 
his ears and unlocked his eyes to make way for the wounding and 
beating down of his soul, which was more audacious than truly 
valiant -- also it was weaker because it presumed on its own 
strength when it ought to have depended on Thee.  For, as soon as 
he saw the blood, he drank in with it a savage temper, and he did 
not turn away, but fixed his eyes on the bloody pastime, 
unwittingly drinking in the madness -- delighted with the wicked 
contest and drunk with blood lust.  He was now no longer the same 
man who came in, but was one of the mob he came into, a true 
companion of those who had brought him thither.  Why need I say 
more?  He looked, he shouted, he was excited, and he took away 
with him the madness that would stimulate him to come again: not 
only with those who first enticed him, but even without them; 
indeed, dragging in others besides.  And yet from all this, with a 
most powerful and most merciful hand, thou didst pluck him and 
taught him not to rest his confidence in himself but in thee -- 
but not till long after.

                          CHAPTER IX

     14.  But this was all being stored up in his memory as 
medicine for the future.  So also was that other incident when he 
was still studying under me at Carthage and was meditating at 
noonday in the market place on what he had to recite -- as 
scholars usually have to do for practice -- and thou didst allow 
him to be arrested by the police officers in the market place as a 
thief.  I believe, O my God, that thou didst allow this for no 
other reason than that this man who was in the future to prove so 
great should now begin to learn that, in making just decisions, a 
man should not readily be condemned by other men with reckless 

     For as he was walking up and down alone before the judgment 
seat with his tablets and pen, lo, a young man -- another one of 
the scholars, who was the real thief -- secretly brought a hatchet 
and, without Alypius seeing him, got in as far as the leaden bars 
which protected the silversmith shop and began to hack away at the 
lead gratings.  But when the noise of the hatchet was heard the 
silversmiths below began to call to each other in whispers and 
sent men to arrest whomsoever they should find.  The thief heard 
their voices and ran away, leaving his hatchet because he was 
afraid to be caught with it.  Now Alypius, who had not seen him 
come in, got a glimpse of him as he went out and noticed that he 
went off in great haste.  Being curious to know the reasons, he 
went up to the place, where he found the hatchet, and stood 
wondering and pondering when, behold, those that were sent caught 
him alone, holding the hatchet which had made the noise which had 
startled them and brought them there.  They seized him and dragged 
him away, gathering the tenants of the market place about them and 
boasting that they had caught a notorious thief.  Thereupon he was 
led away to appear before the judge.

     15.  But this is as far as his lesson was to go.  For 
immediately, O Lord, thou didst come to the rescue of his 
innocence, of which thou wast the sole witness.  As he was being 
led off to prison or punishment, they were met by the master 
builder who had charge of the public buildings.  The captors were 
especially glad to meet him because he had more than once 
suspected them of stealing the goods that had been lost out of the 
market place.  Now, at last, they thought they could convince him 
who it was that had committed the thefts.  But the custodian had 
often met Alypius at the house of a certain senator, whose 
receptions he used to attend.  He recognized him at once and, 
taking his hand, led him apart from the throng, inquired the cause 
of all the trouble, and learned what had occurred.  He then 
commanded all the rabble still around -- and very uproarious and 
full of threatenings they were -- to come along with him, and they 
came to the house of the young man who had committed the deed.  
There, before the door, was a slave boy so young that he was not 
restrained from telling the whole story by fear of harming his 
master.  And he had followed his master to the market place.  
Alypius recognized him, and whispered to the architect, who showed 
the boy the hatchet and asked whose it was.  "Ours," he answered 
directly.  And, being further questioned, he disclosed the whole 
affair.  Thus the guilt was shifted to that household and the 
rabble, who had begun to triumph over Alypius, were shamed.  And 
so he went away home, this man who was to be the future steward of 
thy Word and judge of so many causes in thy Church -- a wiser and 
more experienced man.

                           CHAPTER X

     16.  I found him at Rome, and he was bound to me with the 
strongest possible ties, and he went with me to Milan, in order 
that he might not be separated from me, and also that he might 
obtain some law practice, for which he had qualified with a view 
to pleasing his parents more than himself.  He had already sat 
three times as assessor, showing an integrity that seemed strange 
to many others, though he thought them strange who could prefer 
gold to integrity.  His character had also been tested, not only 
by the bait of covetousness, but by the spur of fear.  At Rome he 
was assessor to the secretary of the Italian Treasury.  There was 
at that time a very powerful senator to whose favors many were 
indebted, and of whom many stood in fear.  In his usual highhanded 
way he demanded to have a favor granted him that was forbidden by 
the laws.  This Alypius resisted.  A bribe was promised, but he 
scorned it with all his heart.  Threats were employed, but he 
trampled them underfoot -- so that all men marveled at so rare a 
spirit, which neither coveted the friendship nor feared the enmity 
of a man at once so powerful and so widely known for his great 
resources of helping his friends and doing harm to his enemies.  
Even the official whose counselor Alypius was -- although he was 
unwilling that the favor should be granted -- would not openly 
refuse the request, but passed the responsibility on to Alypius, 
alleging that he would not permit him to give his assent.  And the 
truth was that even if the judge had agreed, Alypius would have 
simply left the court.

     There was one matter, however, which appealed to his love of 
learning, in which he was very nearly led astray.  He found out 
that he might have books copied for himself at praetorian rates 
[i.e., at public expense].  But his sense of justice prevailed, 
and he changed his mind for the better, thinking that the rule 
that forbade him was still more profitable than the privilege that 
his office would have allowed him.  These are little things, but 
"he that is faithful in a little matter is faithful also in a 
great one."[164]  Nor can that possibly be void which was uttered 
by the mouth of Thy truth: "If, therefore, you have not been 
faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust 
the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in that which 
is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?"[165] 
Such a man was Alypius, who clung to me at that time and who 
wavered in his purpose, just as I did, as to what course of life 
to follow.

     17.  Nebridius also had come to Milan for no other reason 
than that he might live with me in a most ardent search after 
truth and wisdom.  He had left his native place near Carthage -- 
and Carthage itself, where he usually lived -- leaving behind his 
fine family estate, his house, and his mother, who would not 
follow him.  Like me, he sighed; like me, he wavered; an ardent 
seeker after the true life and a most acute analyst of the most 
abstruse questions.  So there were three begging mouths, sighing 
out their wants one to the other, and waiting upon thee, that thou 
mightest give them their meat in due season.[166]  And in all the 
vexations with which thy mercy followed our worldly pursuits, we 
sought for the reason why we suffered so -- and all was darkness!  
We turned away groaning and exclaiming, "How long shall these 
things be?"  And this we often asked, yet for all our asking we 
did not relinquish them; for as yet we had not discovered anything 
certain which, when we gave those others up, we might grasp in 
their stead.

                          CHAPTER XI

     18.  And I especially puzzled and wondered when I remembered 
how long a time had passed since my nineteenth year, in which I 
had first fallen in love with wisdom and had determined as soon as 
I could find her to abandon the empty hopes and mad delusions of 
vain desires.  Behold, I was now getting close to thirty, still 
stuck fast in the same mire, still greedy of enjoying present 
goods which fly away and distract me; and I was still saying, 
"Tomorrow I shall discover it; behold, it will become plain, and I 
shall see it; behold, Faustus will come and explain everything." 
Or I would say[167]:"O you mighty Academics, is there no certainty 
that man can grasp for the guidance of his life?  No, let us 
search the more diligently, and let us not despair.  See, the 
things in the Church's books that appeared so absurd to us before 
do not appear so now, and may be otherwise and honestly 
interpreted.  I will set my feet upon that step where, as a child, 
my parents placed me, until the clear truth is discovered.  But 
where and when shall it be sought?  Ambrose has no leisure -- we 
have no leisure to read.  Where are we to find the books?  How or 
where could I get hold of them?  From whom could I borrow them?  
Let me set a schedule for my days and set apart certain hours for 
the health of the soul.  A great hope has risen up in us, because 
the Catholic faith does not teach what we thought it did, and 
vainly accused it of.  Its teachers hold it as an abomination to 
believe that God is limited by the form of a human body.  And do I 
doubt that I should 'knock' in order for the rest also to be 
'opened' unto me?  My pupils take up the morning hours; what am I 
doing with the rest of the day?  Why not do this?  But, then, when 
am I to visit my influential friends, whose favors I need?  When 
am I to prepare the orations that I sell to the class?  When would 
I get some recreation and relax my mind from the strain of work?

     19.  "Perish everything and let us dismiss these idle 
triflings.  Let me devote myself solely to the search for truth.  
This life is unhappy, death uncertain.  If it comes upon me 
suddenly, in what state shall I go hence and where shall I learn 
what here I have neglected?  Should I not indeed suffer the 
punishment of my negligence here?  But suppose death cuts off and 
finishes all care and feeling.  This too is a question that calls 
for inquiry.  God forbid that it should be so.  It is not without 
reason, it is not in vain, that the stately authority of the 
Christian faith has spread over the entire world, and God would 
never have done such great things for us if the life of the soul 
perished with the death of the body.  Why, therefore, do I delay 
in abandoning my hopes of this world and giving myself wholly to 
seek after God and the blessed life?

     "But wait a moment.  This life also is pleasant, and it has a 
sweetness of its own, not at all negligible.  We must not abandon 
it lightly, for it would be shameful to lapse back into it again.  
See now, it is important to gain some post of honor.  And what 
more should I desire?  I have crowds of influential friends, if 
nothing else; and, if I push my claims, a governorship may be 
offered me, and a wife with some money, so that she would not be 
an added expense.  This would be the height of my desire.  Many 
men, who are great and worthy of imitation, have combined the 
pursuit of wisdom with a marriage life."

     20.  While I talked about these things, and the winds of 
opinions veered about and tossed my heart hither and thither, time 
was slipping away.  I delayed my conversion to the Lord; I 
postponed from day to day the life in thee, but I could not 
postpone the daily death in myself.  I was enamored of a happy 
life, but I still feared to seek it in its own abode, and so I 
fled from it while I sought it.  I thought I should be miserable 
if I were deprived of the embraces of a woman, and I never gave a 
thought to the medicine that thy mercy has provided for the 
healing of that infirmity, for I had never tried it.  As for 
continence, I imagined that it depended on one's own strength, 
though I found no such strength in myself, for in my folly I knew 
not what is written, "None can be continent unless thou dost grant 
it."[168]  Certainly thou wouldst have given it, if I had 
beseeched thy ears with heartfelt groaning, and if I had cast my 
care upon thee with firm faith.

                          CHAPTER XII

     21.  Actually, it was Alypius who prevented me from marrying, 
urging that if I did so it would not be possible for us to live 
together and to have as much undistracted leisure in the love of 
wisdom as we had long desired.  For he himself was so chaste that 
it was wonderful, all the more because in his early youth he had 
entered upon the path of promiscuity, but had not continued in it.  
Instead, feeling sorrow and disgust at it, he had lived from that 
time down to the present most continently.  I quoted against him 
the examples of men who had been married and still lovers of 
wisdom, who had pleased God and had been loyal and affectionate to 
their friends.  I fell far short of them in greatness of soul, 
and, enthralled with the disease of my carnality and its deadly 
sweetness, I dragged my chain along, fearing to be loosed of it.  
Thus I rejected the words of him who counseled me wisely, as if 
the hand that would have loosed the chain only hurt my wound.  
Moreover, the serpent spoke to Alypius himself by me, weaving and 
lying in his path, by my tongue to catch him with pleasant snares 
in which his honorable and free feet might be entangled.

     22.  For he wondered that I, for whom he had such a great 
esteem, should be stuck so fast in the gluepot of pleasure as to 
maintain, whenever we discussed the subject, that I could not 
possibly live a celibate life.  And when I urged in my defense 
against his accusing questions that the hasty and stolen delight, 
which he had tasted and now hardly remembered, and therefore too 
easily disparaged, was not to be compared with a settled 
acquaintance with it; and that, if to this stable acquaintance 
were added the honorable name of marriage, he would not then be 
astonished at my inability to give it up -- when I spoke thus, 
then he also began to wish to be married, not because he was 
overcome by the lust for such pleasures, but out of curiosity.  
For, he said, he longed to know what that could be without which 
my life, which he thought was so happy, seemed to me to be no life 
at all, but a punishment.  For he who wore no chain was amazed at 
my slavery, and his amazement awoke the desire for experience, and 
from that he would have gone on to the experiment itself, and then 
perhaps he would have fallen into the very slavery that amazed him 
in me, since he was ready to enter into "a covenant with 
death,"[169] for "he that loves danger shall fall into it."[170]

     Now, the question of conjugal honor in the ordering of a good 
married life and the bringing up of children interested us but 
slightly.  What afflicted me most and what had made me already a 
slave to it was the habit of satisfying an insatiable lust; but 
Alypius was about to be enslaved by a merely curious wonder.  This 
is the state we were in until thou, O Most High, who never 
forsakest our lowliness, didst take pity on our misery and didst 
come to our rescue in wonderful and secret ways.

                         CHAPTER XIII

     23.  Active efforts were made to get me a wife.  I wooed; I 
was engaged; and my mother took the greatest pains in the matter.  
For her hope was that, when I was once married, I might be washed 
clean in health-giving baptism for which I was being daily 
prepared, as she joyfully saw, taking note that her desires and 
promises were being fulfilled in my faith.  Yet, when, at my 
request and her own impulse, she called upon thee daily with 
strong, heartfelt cries, that thou wouldst, by a vision, disclose 
unto her a leading about my future marriage, thou wouldst not.  
She did, indeed, see certain vain and fantastic things, such as 
are conjured up by the strong preoccupation of the human spirit, 
and these she supposed had some reference to me.  And she told me 
about them, but not with the confidence she usually had when thou 
hadst shown her anything.  For she always said that she could 
distinguish, by a certain feeling impossible to describe, between 
thy revelations and the dreams of her own soul.  Yet the matter 
was pressed forward, and proposals were made for a girl who was as 
yet some two years too young to marry.[171]  And because she 
pleased me, I agreed to wait for her.

                          CHAPTER XIV

     24.  Many in my band of friends, consulting about and 
abhorring the turbulent vexations of human life, had often 
considered and were now almost determined to undertake a peaceful 
life, away from the turmoil of men.  This we thought could be 
obtained by bringing together what we severally owned and thus 
making of it a common household, so that in the sincerity of our 
friendship nothing should belong more to one than to the other; 
but all were to have one purse and the whole was to belong to each 
and to all.  We thought that this group might consist of ten 
persons, some of whom were very rich -- especially Romanianus, my 
fellow townsman, an intimate friend from childhood days.  He had 
been brought up to the court on grave business matters and he was 
the most earnest of us all about the project and his voice was of 
great weight in commending it because his estate was far more 
ample than that of the others.  We had resolved, also, that each 
year two of us should be managers and provide all that was 
needful, while the rest were left undisturbed.  But when we began 
to reflect whether this would be permitted by our wives, which 
some of us had already and others hoped to have, the whole plan, 
so excellently framed, collapsed in our hands and was utterly 
wrecked and cast aside.  From this we fell again into sighs and 
groans, and our steps followed the broad and beaten ways of the 
world; for many thoughts were in our hearts, but "Thy counsel 
standeth fast forever."[172]  In thy counsel thou didst mock ours, 
and didst prepare thy own plan, for it was thy purpose "to give us 
meat in due season, to open thy hand, and to fill our souls with 

                          CHAPTER XV

     25.  Meanwhile my sins were being multiplied.  My mistress 
was torn from my side as an impediment to my marriage, and my 
heart which clung to her was torn and wounded till it bled.  And 
she went back to Africa, vowing to thee never to know any other 
man and leaving with me my natural son by her.  But I, unhappy as 
I was, and weaker than a woman, could not bear the delay of the 
two years that should elapse before I could obtain the bride I 
sought.  And so, since I was not a lover of wedlock so much as a 
slave of lust, I procured another mistress -- not a wife, of 
course.  Thus in bondage to a lasting habit, the disease of my 
soul might be nursed up and kept in its vigor or even increased 
until it reached the realm of matrimony.  Nor indeed was the wound 
healed that had been caused by cutting away my former mistress; 
only it ceased to burn and throb, and began to fester, and was 
more dangerous because it was less painful.

                          CHAPTER XVI

     26.  Thine be the praise; unto thee be the glory, O Fountain 
of mercies.  I became more wretched and thou didst come nearer.  
Thy right hand was ever ready to pluck me out of the mire and to 
cleanse me, but I did not know it.  Nor did anything call me back 
from a still deeper plunge into carnal pleasure except the fear of 
death and of thy future judgment, which, amid all the waverings of 
my opinions, never faded from my breast.  And I discussed with my 
friends, Alypius and Nebridius, the nature of good and evil, 
maintaining that, in my judgment, Epicurus would have carried off 
the palm if I had not believed what Epicurus would not believe: 
that after death there remains a life for the soul, and places of 
recompense.  And I demanded of them: "Suppose we are immortal and 
live in the enjoyment of perpetual bodily pleasure, and that 
without any fear of losing it -- why, then, should we not be 
happy, or why should we search for anything else?"  I did not know 
that this was in fact the root of my misery: that I was so fallen 
and blinded that I could not discern the light of virtue and of 
beauty which must be embraced for its own sake, which the eye of 
flesh cannot see, and only the inner vision can see.  Nor did I, 
alas, consider the reason why I found delight in discussing these 
very perplexities, shameful as they were, with my friends.  For I 
could not be happy without friends, even according to the notions 
of happiness I had then, and no matter how rich the store of my 
carnal pleasures might be.  Yet of a truth I loved my friends for 
their own sakes, and felt that they in turn loved me for my own 

     O crooked ways!  Woe to the audacious soul which hoped that 
by forsaking thee it would find some better thing!  It tossed and 
turned, upon back and side and belly -- but the bed is hard, and 
thou alone givest it rest.[174]  And lo, thou art near, and thou 
deliverest us from our wretched wanderings and establishest us in 
thy way, and thou comfortest us and sayest, "Run, I will carry 
you; yea, I will lead you home and then I will set you free."[175]

                         BOOK SEVEN

     The conversion to Neoplatonism.  Augustine traces his growing 
disenchantment with the Manichean conceptions of God and evil and 
the dawning understanding of God's incorruptibility.  But his 
thought is still bound by his materialistic notions of reality.  
He rejects astrology and turns to the stud of Neoplatonism.  There 
follows an analysis of the differences between Platonism and 
Christianity and a remarkable account of his appropriation of 
Plotinian wisdom and his experience of a Plotinian ecstasy.  From 
this, he comes finally to the diligent study of the Bible, 
especially the writings of the apostle Paul.  His pilgrimage is 
drawing toward its goal, as he begins to know Jesus Christ and to 
be drawn to him in hesitant faith.  

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  Dead now was that evil and shameful youth of mine, and I 
was passing into full manhood.[176]  As I increased in years, the 
worse was my vanity.  For I could not conceive of any substance 
but the sort I could see with my own eyes.  I no longer thought of 
thee, O God, by the analogy of a human body.  Ever since I 
inclined my ear to philosophy I had avoided this error -- and the 
truth on this point I rejoiced to find in the faith of our 
spiritual mother, thy Catholic Church. Yet I could not see how 
else to conceive thee.  And I, a man -- and such a man! -- sought 
to conceive thee, the sovereign and only true God.  In my inmost 
heart, I believed that thou art incorruptible and inviolable and 
unchangeable, because -- though I knew not how or why -- I could 
still see plainly and without doubt that the corruptible is 
inferior to the incorruptible, the inviolable obviously superior 
to its opposite, and the unchangeable better than the changeable.

     My heart cried out violently against all fantasms,[177] and 
with this one clear certainty I endeavored to brush away the swarm 
of unclean flies that swarmed around the eyes of my mind.  But 
behold they were scarcely scattered before they gathered again, 
buzzed against my face, and beclouded my vision.  I no longer 
thought of God in the analogy of a human body, yet I was 
constrained to conceive thee to be some kind of body in space, 
either infused into the world, or infinitely diffused beyond the 
world -- and this was the incorruptible, inviolable, unchangeable 
substance, which I thought was better than the corruptible, the 
violable, and the changeable.[178]  For whatever I conceived to be 
deprived of the dimensions of space appeared to me to be nothing, 
absolutely nothing; not even a void, for if a body is taken out of 
space, or if space is emptied of all its contents (of earth, 
water, air, or heaven), yet it remains an empty space -- a 
spacious nothing, as it were.

     2.  Being thus gross-hearted and not clear even to myself, I 
then held that whatever had neither length nor breadth nor density 
nor solidity, and did not or could not receive such dimensions, 
was absolutely nothing.  For at that time my mind dwelt only with 
ideas, which resembled the forms with which my eyes are still 
familiar, nor could I see that the act of thought, by which I 
formed those ideas, was itself immaterial, and yet it could not 
have formed them if it were not itself a measurable entity.

     So also I thought about thee, O Life of my life, as stretched 
out through infinite space, interpenetrating the whole mass of the 
world, reaching out beyond in all directions, to immensity without 
end; so that the earth should have thee, the heaven have thee, all 
things have thee, and all of them be limited in thee, while thou 
art placed nowhere at all.  As the body of the air above the earth 
does not bar the passage of the light of the sun, so that the 
light penetrates it, not by bursting nor dividing, but filling it 
entirely, so I imagined that the body of heaven and air and sea, 
and even of the earth, was all open to thee and, in all its 
greatest parts as well as the smallest, was ready to receive thy 
presence by a secret inspiration which, from within or without 
all, orders all things thou hast created.  This was my conjecture, 
because I was unable to think of anything else; yet it was untrue.  
For in this way a greater part of the earth would contain a 
greater part of thee; a smaller part, a smaller fraction of thee.  
All things would be full of thee in such a sense that there would 
be more of thee in an elephant than in a sparrow, because one is 
larger than the other and fills a larger space.  And this would 
make the portions of thyself present in the several portions of 
the world in fragments, great to the great, small to the small.  
But thou art not such a one.  But as yet thou hadst not 
enlightened my darkness.

                          CHAPTER II

     3.  But it was not sufficient for me, O Lord, to be able to 
oppose those deceived deceivers and those dumb orators -- dumb 
because thy Word did not sound forth from them -- to oppose them 
with the answer which, in the old Carthaginian days, Nebridius 
used to propound, shaking all of us who heard it: "What could this 
imaginary people of darkness, which the Manicheans usually set up 
as an army opposed to thee, have done to thee if thou hadst 
declined the combat?"  If they replied that it could have hurt 
thee, they would then have made thee violable and corruptible.  
If, on the other hand, the dark could have done thee no harm, then 
there was no cause for any battle at all; there was less cause for 
a battle in which a part of thee, one of thy members, a child of 
thy own substance, should be mixed up with opposing powers, not of 
thy creation; and should be corrupted and deteriorated and changed 
by them from happiness into misery, so that it could not be 
delivered and cleansed without thy help.  This offspring of thy 
substance was supposed to be the human soul to which thy Word -- 
free, pure, and entire -- could bring help when it was being 
enslaved, contaminated, and corrupted.  But on their hypothesis 
that Word was itself corruptible because it is one and the same 
substance as the soul.

     And therefore if they admitted that thy nature -- whatsoever 
thou art -- is incorruptible, then all these assertions of theirs 
are false and should be rejected with horror.  But if thy 
substance is corruptible, then this is self-evidently false and 
should be abhorred at first utterance.  This line of argument, 
then, was enough against those deceivers who ought to be cast 
forth from a surfeited stomach -- for out of this dilemma they 
could find no way of escape without dreadful sacrilege of mind and 
tongue, when they think and speak such things about thee.

                          CHAPTER III

     4.  But as yet, although I said and was firmly persuaded that 
thou our Lord, the true God, who madest not only our souls but our 
bodies as well -- and not only our souls and bodies but all 
creatures and all things -- wast free from stain and alteration 
and in no way mutable, yet I could not readily and clearly 
understand what was the cause of evil.  Whatever it was, I 
realized that the question must be so analyzed as not to constrain 
me by any answer to believe that the immutable God was mutable, 
lest I should myself become the thing that I was seeking out.  And 
so I pursued the search with a quiet mind, now in a confident 
feeling that what had been said by the Manicheans -- and I shrank 
from them with my whole heart -- could not be true.  I now 
realized that when they asked what was the origin of evil their 
answer was dictated by a wicked pride, which would rather affirm 
that thy nature is capable of suffering evil than that their own 
nature is capable of doing it.  

     5.  And I directed my attention to understand what I now was 
told, that free will is the cause of our doing evil and that thy 
just judgment is the cause of our having to suffer from its 
consequences.  But I could not see this clearly.  So then, trying 
to draw the eye of my mind up out of that pit, I was plunged back 
into it again, and trying often was just as often plunged back 
down.  But one thing lifted me up toward thy light: it was that I 
had come to know that I had a will as certainly as I knew that I 
had life.  When, therefore, I willed or was unwilling to do 
something, I was utterly certain that it was none but myself who 
willed or was unwilling -- and immediately I realized that there 
was the cause of my sin.  I could see that what I did against my 
will I suffered rather than did; and I did not regard such actions 
as faults, but rather as punishments in which I might quickly 
confess that I was not unjustly punished, since I believed thee to 
be most just.  Who was it that put this in me, and implanted in me 
the root of bitterness, in spite of the fact that I was altogether 
the handiwork of my most sweet God?  If the devil is to blame, who 
made the devil himself?  And if he was a good angel who by his own 
wicked will became the devil, how did there happen to be in him 
that wicked will by which he became a devil, since a good Creator 
made him wholly a good angel?  By these reflections was I again 
cast down and stultified.  Yet I was not plunged into that hell of 
error -- where no man confesses to thee -- where I thought that 
thou didst suffer evil, rather than that men do it.

                          CHAPTER IV

     6.  For in my struggle to solve the rest of my difficulties, 
I now assumed henceforth as settled truth that the incorruptible 
must be superior to the corruptible, and I did acknowledge that 
thou, whatever thou art, art incorruptible.  For there never yet 
was, nor will be, a soul able to conceive of anything better than 
thee, who art the highest and best good.[179]  And since most 
truly and certainly the incorruptible is to be placed above the 
corruptible -- as I now admit it -- it followed that I could rise 
in my thoughts to something better than my God, if thou wert not 
incorruptible.  When, therefore, I saw that the incorruptible was 
to be preferred to the corruptible, I saw then where I ought to 
seek thee, and where I should look for the source of evil: that 
is, the corruption by which thy substance can in no way be 
profaned.  For it is obvious that corruption in no way injures our 
God, by no inclination, by no necessity, by no unforeseen chance 
-- because he is our God, and what he wills is good, and he 
himself is that good.  But to be corrupted is not good.  Nor art 
thou compelled to do anything against thy will, since thy will is 
not greater than thy power.  But it would have to be greater if 
thou thyself wert greater than thyself -- for the will and power 
of God are God himself.  And what can take thee by surprise, since 
thou knowest all, and there is no sort of nature but thou knowest 
it?  And what more should we say about why that substance which 
God is cannot be corrupted; because if this were so it could not 
be God? 

                           CHAPTER V

     7.  And I kept seeking for an answer to the question, Whence 
is evil?  And I sought it in an evil way, and I did not see the 
evil in my very search. I marshaled before the sight of my spirit 
all creation: all that we see of earth and sea and air and stars 
and trees and animals; and all that we do not see, the firmament 
of the sky above and all the angels and all spiritual things, for 
my imagination arranged these also, as if they were bodies, in 
this place or that.  And I pictured to myself thy creation as one 
vast mass, composed of various kinds of bodies -- some of which 
were actually bodies, some of those which I imagined spirits were 
like.  I pictured this mass as vast -- of course not in its full 
dimensions, for these I could not know -- but as large as I could 
possibly think, still only finite on every side.  But thou, O 
Lord, I imagined as environing the mass on every side and 
penetrating it, still infinite in every direction -- as if there 
were a sea everywhere, and everywhere through measureless space 
nothing but an infinite sea; and it contained within itself some 
sort of sponge, huge but still finite, so that the sponge would in 
all its parts be filled from the immeasurable sea.[180]

     Thus I conceived thy creation itself to be finite, and filled 
by thee, the infinite.  And I said, "Behold God, and behold what 
God hath created!"  God is good, yea, most mightily and 
incomparably better than all his works.  But yet he who is good 
has created them good; behold how he encircles and fills them.  
Where, then, is evil, and whence does it come and how has it crept 
in?  What is its root and what its seed?  Has it no being at all?  
Why, then, do we fear and shun what has no being?  Or if we fear 
it needlessly, then surely that fear is evil by which the heart is 
unnecessarily stabbed and tortured -- and indeed a greater evil 
since we have nothing real to fear, and yet do fear.  Therefore, 
either that is evil which we fear, or the act of fearing is in 
itself evil.  But, then, whence does it come, since God who is 
good has made all these things good?  Indeed, he is the greatest 
and chiefest Good, and hath created these lesser goods; but both 
Creator and created are all good.  Whence, then, is evil?  Or, 
again, was there some evil matter out of which he made and formed 
and ordered it, but left something in his creation that he did not 
convert into good?  But why should this be?  Was he powerless to 
change the whole lump so that no evil would remain in it, if he is 
the Omnipotent?  Finally, why would he make anything at all out of 
such stuff?  Why did he not, rather, annihilate it by his same 
almighty power?  Could evil exist contrary to his will?  And if it 
were from eternity, why did he permit it to be nonexistent for 
unmeasured intervals of time in the past, and why, then, was he 
pleased to make something out of it after so long a time?  Or, if 
he wished now all of a sudden to create something, would not an 
almighty being have chosen to annihilate this evil matter and live 
by himself -- the perfect, true, sovereign, and infinite Good?  
Or, if it were not good that he who was good should not also be 
the framer and creator of what was good, then why was that evil 
matter not removed and brought to nothing, so that he might form 
good matter, out of which he might then create all things?  For he 
would not be omnipotent if he were not able to create something 
good without being assisted by that matter which had not been 
created by himself.

     Such perplexities I revolved in my wretched breast, 
overwhelmed with gnawing cares lest I die before I discovered the 
truth.  And still the faith of thy Christ, our Lord and Saviour, 
as it was taught me by the Catholic Church, stuck fast in my 
heart.  As yet it was unformed on many points and diverged from 
the rule of right doctrine, but my mind did not utterly lose it, 
and every day drank in more and more of it.

                           CHAPTER VI

     8.  By now I had also repudiated the lying divinations and 
impious absurdities of the astrologers.  Let thy mercies, out of 
the depth of my soul, confess this to thee also, O my God.  For 
thou, thou only (for who else is it who calls us back from the 
death of all errors except the Life which does not know how to die 
and the Wisdom which gives light to minds that need it, although 
it itself has no need of light -- by which the whole universe is 
governed, even to the fluttering leaves of the trees?) -- thou 
alone providedst also for my obstinacy with which I struggled 
against Vindicianus, a sagacious old man, and Nebridius, that 
remarkably talented young man.  The former declared vehemently and 
the latter frequently -- though with some reservation -- that no 
art existed by which we foresee future things.  But men's surmises 
have oftentimes the help of chance, and out of many things which 
they foretold some came to pass unawares to the predictors, who 
lighted on the truth by making so many guesses.

     And thou also providedst a friend for me, who was not a 
negligent consulter of the astrologers even though he was not 
thoroughly skilled in the art either -- as I said, one who 
consulted them out of curiosity.  He knew a good, deal about it, 
which, he said, he had heard from his father, and he never 
realized how far his ideas would help to overthrow my estimation 
of that art.  His name was Firminus and he had received a liberal 
education and was a cultivated rhetorician.  It so happened that 
he consulted me, as one very dear to him, as to what I thought 
about some affairs of his in which his worldly hopes had risen, 
viewed in the light of his so-called horoscope.  Although I had 
now begun to learn in this matter toward Nebridius' opinion, I did 
not quite decline to speculate about the matter or to tell him 
what thoughts still came into my irresolute mind, although I did 
add that I was almost persuaded now that these were but empty and 
ridiculous follies.  He then told me that his father had been very 
much interested in such books, and that he had a friend who was as 
much interested in them as he was himself.  They, in combined 
study and consultation, fanned the flame of their affection for 
this folly, going so far as to observe the moment when the dumb 
animals which belonged to their household gave birth to young, and 
then observed the position of the heavens with regard to them, so 
as to gather fresh evidence for this so-called art.  Moreover, he 
reported that his father had told him that, at the same time his 
mother was about to give birth to him [Firminus], a female slave 
of a friend of his father's was also pregnant.  This could not be 
hidden from her master, who kept records with the most diligent 
exactness of the birth dates even of his dogs.  And so it happened 
to pass that -- under the most careful observations, one for his 
wife and the other for his servant, with exact calculations of the 
days, hours, and minutes -- both women were delivered at the same 
moment, so that both were compelled to cast the selfsame 
horoscope, down to the minute: the one for his son, the other for 
his young slave.  For as soon as the women began to be in labor, 
they each sent word to the other as to what was happening in their 
respective houses and had messengers ready to dispatch to one 
another as soon as they had information of the actual birth -- and 
each, of course, knew instantly the exact time.  It turned out, 
Firminus said, that the messengers from the respective houses met 
one another at a point equidistant from either house, so that 
neither of them could discern any difference either in the 
position of the stars or any other of the most minute points.  And 
yet Firminus, born in a high estate in his parents' house, ran his 
course through the prosperous paths of this world, was increased 
in wealth, and elevated to honors.  At the same time, the slave, 
the yoke of his condition being still unrelaxed, continued to 
serve his masters as Firminus, who knew him, was able to report.

     9.  Upon hearing and believing these things related by so 
reliable a person all my resistance melted away.  First, I 
endeavored to reclaim Firminus himself from his superstition by 
telling him that after inspecting his horoscope, I ought, if I 
could foretell truly, to have seen in it parents eminent among 
their neighbors, a noble family in its own city, a good birth, a 
proper education, and liberal learning.  But if that servant had 
consulted me with the same horoscope, since he had the same one, I 
ought again to tell him likewise truly that I saw in it the 
lowliness of his origin, the abjectness of his condition, and 
everything else different and contrary to the former prediction.  
If, then, by casting up the same horoscopes I should, in order to 
speak the truth, make contrary analyses, or else speak falsely if 
I made identical readings, then surely it followed that whatever 
was truly foretold by the analysis of the horoscopes was not by 
art, but by chance.  And whatever was said falsely was not from 
incompetence in the art, but from the error of chance.

     10.  An opening being thus made in my darkness, I began to 
consider other implications involved here.  Suppose that one of 
the fools -- who followed such an occupation and whom I longed to 
assail, and to reduce to confusion -- should urge against me that 
Firminus had given me false information, or that his father had 
informed him falsely.  I then turned my thoughts to those that are 
born twins, who generally come out of the womb so near the one to 
the other that the short interval between them -- whatever 
importance they may ascribe to it in the nature of things -- 
cannot be noted by human observation or expressed in those tables 
which the astrologer uses to examine when he undertakes to 
pronounce the truth.  But such pronouncements cannot be true.  For 
looking into the same horoscopes, he must have foretold the same 
future for Esau and Jacob,[181] whereas the same future did not 
turn out for them.  He must therefore speak falsely.  If he is to 
speak truly, then he must read contrary predictions into the same 
horoscopes.  But this would mean that it was not by art, but by 
chance, that he would speak truly.

     For thou, O Lord, most righteous ruler of the universe, dost 
work by a secret impulse -- whether those who inquire or those 
inquired of know it or not -- so that the inquirer may hear what, 
according to the secret merit of his soul, he ought to hear from 
the deeps of thy righteous judgment.  Therefore let no man say to 
thee, "What is this?" or, "Why is that?" Let him not speak thus, 
for he is only a man.

                          CHAPTER VII

     11.  By now, O my Helper, thou hadst freed me from those 
fetters.  But still I inquired, "Whence is evil?" -- and found no 
answer.  But thou didst not allow me to be carried away from the 
faith by these fluctuations of thought.  I still believed both 
that thou dost exist and that thy substance is immutable, and that 
thou dost care for and wilt judge all men, and that in Christ, thy 
Son our Lord, and the Holy Scriptures, which the authority of thy 
Catholic Church pressed on me, thou hast planned the way of man's 
salvation to that life which is to come after this death.

     With these convictions safe and immovably settled in my mind, 
I eagerly inquired, "Whence is evil?"  What torments did my 
travailing heart then endure!  What sighs, O my God!  Yet even 
then thy ears were open and I knew it not, and when in stillness I 
sought earnestly, those silent contritions of my soul were loud 
cries to thy mercy.  No man knew, but thou knewest what I endured.  
How little of it could I express in words to the ears of my 
dearest friends!  How could the whole tumult of my soul, for which 
neither time nor speech was sufficient, come to them?  Yet the 
whole of it went into thy ears, all of which I bellowed out in the 
anguish of my heart.  My desire was before thee, and the light of 
my eyes was not with me; for it was within and I was without.  Nor 
was that light in any place; but I still kept thinking only of 
things that are contained in a place, and could find among them no 
place to rest in.  They did not receive me in such a way that I 
could say, "It is sufficient; it is well." Nor did they allow me 
to turn back to where it might be well enough with me.  For I was 
higher than they, though lower than thou.  Thou art my true joy if 
I depend upon thee, and thou hadst subjected to me what thou didst 
create lower than I.  And this was the true mean and middle way of 
salvation for me, to continue in thy image and by serving thee 
have dominion over the body.  But when I lifted myself proudly 
against thee, and "ran against the Lord, even against his neck, 
with the thick bosses of my buckler,"[182] even the lower things 
were placed above me and pressed down on me, so that there was no 
respite or breathing space.  They thrust on my sight on every 
side, in crowds and masses, and when I tried to think, the images 
of bodies obtruded themselves into my way back to thee, as if they 
would say to me, "Where are you going, unworthy and unclean one?" 
And all these had sprung out of my wound, for thou hadst humbled 
the haughty as one that is wounded.  By my swelling pride I was 
separated from thee, and my bloated cheeks blinded my eyes.

                         CHAPTER VIII

     12.  But thou, O Lord, art forever the same, yet thou art not 
forever angry with us, for thou hast compassion on our dust and 
ashes.[183]  It was pleasing in thy sight to reform my deformity, 
and by inward stings thou didst disturb me so that I was impatient 
until thou wert made clear to my inward sight.  By the secret hand 
of thy healing my swelling was lessened, the disordered and 
darkened eyesight of my mind was from day to day made whole by the 
stinging salve of wholesome grief.

                          CHAPTER IX

     13.  And first of all, willing to show me how thou dost 
"resist the proud, but give grace to the humble,"[184] and how 
mercifully thou hast made known to men the way of humility in that 
thy Word "was made flesh and dwelt among men,"[185] thou didst 
procure for me, through one inflated with the most monstrous 
pride, certain books of the Platonists, translated from Greek into 
Latin.[186]  And therein I found, not indeed in the same words, 
but to the selfsame effect, enforced by many and various reasons 
that "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  
All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made 
that was made." That which was made by him is "life, and the life 
was the light of men.  And the light shined in darkness; and the 
darkness comprehended it not." Furthermore, I read that the soul 
of man, though it "bears witness to the light," yet itself "is not 
the light; but the Word of God, being God, is that true light that 
lights every man who comes into the world." And further, that "he 
was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world 
knew him not."[187]  But that "he came unto his own, and his own 
received him not.  And as many as received him, to them gave he 
power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on his 
name"[188] -- this I did not find there.

     14.  Similarly, I read there that God the Word was born "not 
of flesh nor of blood, nor of the will of man, nor the will of the 
flesh, but of God."[189]  But, that "the Word was made flesh, and 
dwelt among us"[190] -- I found this nowhere there.  And I 
discovered in those books, expressed in many and various ways, 
that "the Son was in the form of God and thought it not robbery to 
be equal in God,"[191] for he was naturally of the same substance.  
But, that "he emptied himself and took upon himself the form of a 
servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in 
fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto 
death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath 
highly exalted him" from the dead, "and given him a name above 
every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of 
things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 
and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to 
the glory of God the Father"[192] -- this those books have not.  I 
read further in them that before all times and beyond all times, 
thy only Son remaineth unchangeably coeternal with thee, and that 
of his fullness all souls receive that they may be blessed, and 
that by participation in that wisdom which abides in them, they 
are renewed that they may be wise.  But, that "in due time, Christ 
died for the ungodly" and that thou "sparedst not thy only Son, 
but deliveredst him up for us all"[193] -- this is not there.  
"For thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and 
hast revealed them unto babes"[194]; that they "that labor and are 
heavy laden" might "come unto him and he might refresh them" 
because he is "meek and lowly in heart."[195]  "The meek will he 
guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach his way; beholding 
our lowliness and our trouble and forgiving all our sins."[196]  
But those who strut in the high boots of what they deem to be 
superior knowledge will not hear Him who says, "Learn of me, for I 
am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest for your 
souls."[197]  Thus, though they know God, yet they do not glorify 
him as God, nor are they thankful.  Therefore, they "become vain 
in their imaginations; their foolish heart is darkened, and 
professing themselves to be wise they become fools."[198]

     15.  And, moreover, I also read there how "they changed the 
glory of thy incorruptible nature into idols and various images -- 
into an image made like corruptible man and to birds and four-
footed beasts, and creeping things"[199]: namely, into that 
Egyptian food[200] for which Esau lost his birthright; so that thy 
first-born people worshiped the head of a four-footed beast 
instead of thee, turning back in their hearts toward Egypt and 
prostrating thy image (their own soul) before the image of an ox 
that eats grass.  These things I found there, but I fed not on 
them.  For it pleased thee, O Lord, to take away the reproach of 
his minority from Jacob, that the elder should serve the younger 
and thou mightest call the Gentiles, and I had sought strenuously 
after that gold which thou didst allow thy people to take from 
Egypt, since wherever it was it was thine.[201]  And thou saidst 
unto the Athenians by the mouth of thy apostle that in thee "we 
live and move and have our being," as one of their own poets had 
said.[202]  And truly these books came from there.  But I did not 
set my mind on the idols of Egypt which they fashioned of gold, 
"changing the truth of God into a lie and worshiping and serving 
the creature more than the Creator."[203]

                           CHAPTER X

     16.  And being admonished by these books to return into 
myself, I entered into my inward soul, guided by thee.  This I 
could do because thou wast my helper.  And I entered, and with the 
eye of my soul -- such as it was -- saw above the same eye of my 
soul and above my mind the Immutable Light.  It was not the common 
light, which all flesh can see; nor was it simply a greater one of 
the same sort, as if the light of day were to grow brighter and 
brighter, and flood all space.  It was not like that light, but 
different, yea, very different from all earthly light whatever.  
Nor was it above my mind in the same way as oil is above water, or 
heaven above earth, but it was higher, because it made me, and I 
was below it, because I was made by it.  He who knows the Truth 
knows that Light, and he who knows it knows eternity.  Love knows 
it, O Eternal Truth and True Love and Beloved Eternity!  Thou art 
my God, to whom I sigh both night and day.  When I first knew 
thee, thou didst lift me up, that I might see that there was 
something to be seen, though I was not yet fit to see it.  And 
thou didst beat back the weakness of my sight, shining forth upon 
me thy dazzling beams of light, and I trembled with love and fear.  
I realized that I was far away from thee in the land of 
unlikeness, as if I heard thy voice from on high: "I am the food 
of strong men; grow and you shall feed on me; nor shall you change 
me, like the food of your flesh into yourself, but you shall be 
changed into my likeness." And I understood that thou chastenest 
man for his iniquity, and makest my soul to be eaten away as 
though by a spider.[204]  And I said, "Is Truth, therefore, 
nothing, because it is not diffused through space -- neither 
finite nor infinite?"  And thou didst cry to me from afar, "I am 
that I am."[205]  And I heard this, as things are heard in the 
heart, and there was no room for doubt.  I should have more 
readily doubted that I am alive than that the Truth exists -- the 
Truth which is "clearly seen, being understood by the things that 
are made."[206]

                          CHAPTER XI

     17.  And I viewed all the other things that are beneath thee, 
and I realized that they are neither wholly real nor wholly 
unreal.  They are real in so far as they come from thee; but they 
are unreal in so far as they are not what thou art.  For that is 
truly real which remains immutable.  It is good, then, for me to 
hold fast to God, for if I do not remain in him, neither shall I 
abide in myself; but he, remaining in himself, renews all things.  
And thou art the Lord my God, since thou standest in no need of my 

                          CHAPTER XII

     18.  And it was made clear to me that all things are good 
even if they are corrupted.  They could not be corrupted if they 
were supremely good; but unless they were good they could not be 
corrupted.  If they were supremely good, they would be 
incorruptible; if they were not good at all, there would be 
nothing in them to be corrupted.  For corruption harms; but unless 
it could diminish goodness, it could not harm.  Either, then, 
corruption does not harm -- which cannot be -- or, as is certain, 
all that is corrupted is thereby deprived of good.  But if they 
are deprived of all good, they will cease to be.  For if they are 
at all and cannot be at all corrupted, they will become better, 
because they will remain incorruptible.  Now what can be more 
monstrous than to maintain that by losing all good they have 
become better?  If, then, they are deprived of all good, they will 
cease to exist.  So long as they are, therefore, they are good.  
Therefore, whatsoever is, is good.  Evil, then, the origin of 
which I had been seeking, has no substance at all; for if it were 
a substance, it would be good.  For either it would be an 
incorruptible substance and so a supreme good, or a corruptible 
substance, which could not be corrupted unless it were good.  I 
understood, therefore, and it was made clear to me that thou 
madest all things good, nor is there any substance at all not made 
by thee.  And because all that thou madest is not equal, each by 
itself is good, and the sum of all of them is very good, for our 
God made all things very good.[207]

                         CHAPTER XIII

     19.  To thee there is no such thing as evil, and even in thy 
whole creation taken as a whole, there is not; because there is 
nothing from beyond it that can burst in and destroy the order 
which thou hast appointed for it.  But in the parts of creation, 
some things, because they do not harmonize with others, are 
considered evil.  Yet those same things harmonize with others and 
are good, and in themselves are good.  And all these things which 
do not harmonize with each other still harmonize with the inferior 
part of creation which we call the earth, having its own cloudy 
and windy sky of like nature with itself.  Far be it from me, 
then, to say, "These things should not be." For if I could see 
nothing but these, I should indeed desire something better -- but 
still I ought to praise thee, if only for these created things.  
For that thou art to be praised is shown from the fact that 
"earth, dragons, and all deeps; fire, and hail, snow and vapors, 
stormy winds fulfilling thy word; mountains, and all hills, 
fruitful trees, and all cedars; beasts and all cattle; creeping 
things, and flying fowl; things of the earth, and all people; 
princes, and all judges of the earth; both young men and maidens, 
old men and children,"[208] praise thy name!  But seeing also that 
in heaven all thy angels praise thee, O God, praise thee in the 
heights, "and all thy hosts, sun and moon, all stars and light, 
the heavens of heavens, and the waters that are above the 
heavens,"[209] praise thy name -- seeing this, I say, I no longer 
desire a better world, because my thought ranged over all, and 
with a sounder judgment I reflected that the things above were 
better than those below, yet that all creation together was better 
than the higher things alone.

                          CHAPTER XIV

     20.  There is no health in those who find fault with any part 
of thy creation; as there was no health in me when I found fault 
with so many of thy works.  And, because my soul dared not be 
displeased with my God, it would not allow that the things which 
displeased me were from thee.  Hence it had wandered into the 
notion of two substances, and could find no rest, but talked 
foolishly, And turning from that error, it had then made for 
itself a god extended through infinite space; and it thought this 
was thou and set it up in its heart, and it became once more the 
temple of its own idol, an abomination to thee.  But thou didst 
soothe my brain, though I was unaware of it, and closed my eyes 
lest they should behold vanity; and thus I ceased from 
preoccupation with self by a little and my madness was lulled to 
sleep; and I awoke in thee, and beheld thee as the Infinite, but 
not in the way I had thought -- and this vision was not derived 
from the flesh.

                          CHAPTER XV

     21.  And I looked around at other things, and I saw that it 
was to thee that all of them owed their being, and that they were 
all finite in thee; yet they are in thee not as in a space, but 
because thou holdest all things in the hand of thy truth, and 
because all things are true in so far as they are; and because 
falsehood is nothing except the existence in thought of what does 
not exist in fact.  And I saw that all things harmonize, not only 
in their places but also in their seasons.  And I saw that thou, 
who alone art eternal, didst not _begin_ to work after unnumbered 
periods of time -- because all ages, both those which are past and 
those which shall pass, neither go nor come except through thy 
working and abiding.

                          CHAPTER XVI

     22.  And I saw and found it no marvel that bread which is 
distasteful to an unhealthy palate is pleasant to a healthy one; 
or that the light, which is painful to sore eyes, is a delight to 
sound ones.  Thy righteousness displeases the wicked, and they 
find even more fault with the viper and the little worm, which 
thou hast created good, fitting in as they do with the inferior 
parts of creation.  The wicked themselves also fit in here, and 
proportionately more so as they become unlike thee -- but they 
harmonize with the higher creation proportionately as they become 
like thee.  And I asked what wickedness was, and I found that it 
was no substance, but a perversion of the will bent aside from 
thee, O God, the supreme substance, toward these lower things, 
casting away its inmost treasure and becoming bloated with 
external good.[210]

                         CHAPTER XVII

     23.  And I marveled that I now loved thee, and no fantasm in 
thy stead, and yet I was not stable enough to enjoy my God 
steadily.  Instead I was transported to thee by thy beauty, and 
then presently torn away from thee by my own weight, sinking with 
grief into these lower things.  This weight was carnal habit.  But 
thy memory dwelt with me, and I never doubted in the least that 
there was One for me to cleave to; but I was not yet ready to 
cleave to thee firmly.  For the body which is corrupted presses 
down the soul, and the earthly dwelling weighs down the mind, 
which muses upon many things.[211]  My greatest certainty was that 
"the invisible things of thine from the creation of the world are 
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even 
thy eternal power and Godhead."[212]  For when I inquired how it 
was that I could appreciate the beauty of bodies, both celestial 
and terrestrial; and what it was that supported me in making 
correct judgments about things mutable; and when I concluded, 
"This ought to be thus; this ought not" -- _then_ when I inquired 
how it was that I could make such judgments (since I did, in fact, 
make them), I realized that I had found the unchangeable and true 
eternity of truth above my changeable mind.

     And thus by degrees I was led upward from bodies to the soul 
which perceives them by means of the bodily senses, and from there 
on to the soul's inward faculty, to which the bodily senses report 
outward things -- and this belongs even to the capacities of the 
beasts -- and thence on up to the reasoning power, to whose 
judgment is referred the experience received from the bodily 
sense.  And when this power of reason within me also found that it 
was changeable, it raised itself up to its own intellectual 
principle,[213] and withdrew its thoughts from experience, 
abstracting itself from the contradictory throng of fantasms in 
order to seek for that light in which it was bathed.  Then, 
without any doubting, it cried out that the unchangeable was 
better than the changeable.  From this it follows that the mind 
somehow knew the unchangeable, for, unless it had known it in some 
fashion, it could have had no sure ground for preferring it to the 
changeable.  And thus with the flash of a trembling glance, it 
arrived at _that which is_.[214]  And I saw thy invisibility 
[invisibilia tua] understood by means of the things that are made.  
But I was not able to sustain my gaze.  My weakness was dashed 
back, and I lapsed again into my accustomed ways, carrying along 
with me nothing but a loving memory of my vision, and an appetite 
for what I had, as it were, smelled the odor of, but was not yet 
able to eat.

                         CHAPTER XVIII

     24.  I sought, therefore, some way to acquire the strength 
sufficient to enjoy thee; but I did not find it until I embraced 
that "Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus,"[215] 
"who is over all, God blessed forever,"[216] who came calling and 
saying, "I am the way, the truth, and the life,"[217] and mingling 
with our fleshly humanity the heavenly food I was unable to 
receive.  For "the Word was made flesh" in order that thy wisdom, 
by which thou didst create all things, might become milk for our 
infancy.  And, as yet, I was not humble enough to hold the humble 
Jesus; nor did I understand what lesson his weakness was meant to 
teach us.  For thy Word, the eternal Truth, far exalted above even 
the higher parts of thy creation, lifts his subjects up toward 
himself.  But in this lower world, he built for himself a humble 
habitation of our own clay, so that he might pull down from 
themselves and win over to himself those whom he is to bring 
subject to him; lowering their pride and heightening their love, 
to the end that they might go on no farther in self-confidence -- 
but rather should become weak, seeing at their feet the Deity made 
weak by sharing our coats of skin -- so that they might cast 
themselves, exhausted, upon him and be uplifted by his rising.

                          CHAPTER XIX

     25.  But I thought otherwise.  I saw in our Lord Christ only 
a man of eminent wisdom to whom no other man could be compared -- 
especially because he was miraculously born of a virgin -- sent to 
set us an example of despising worldly things for the attainment 
of immortality, and thus exhibiting his divine care for us.  
Because of this, I held that he had merited his great authority as 
leader.  But concerning the mystery contained in "the Word was 
made flesh," I could not even form a notion.  From what I learned 
from what has been handed down to us in the books about him -- 
that he ate, drank, slept, walked, rejoiced in spirit, was sad, 
and discoursed with his fellows -- I realized that his flesh alone 
was not bound unto thy Word, but also that there was a bond with 
the human soul and body.  Everyone knows this who knows the 
unchangeableness of thy Word, and this I knew by now, as far as I 
was able, and I had no doubts at all about it.  For at one time to 
move the limbs by an act of will, at another time not; at one time 
to feel some emotion, at another time not; at one time to speak 
intelligibly through verbal signs, at another, not -- these are 
all properties of a soul and mind subject to change.  And if these 
things were falsely written about him, all the rest would risk the 
imputation of falsehood, and there would remain in those books no 
saving faith for the human race.

     Therefore, because they were written truthfully, I 
acknowledged a perfect man to be in Christ -- not the body of a 
man only, nor, in the body, an animal soul without a rational one 
as well, but a true man.  And this man I held to be superior to 
all others, not only because he was a form of the Truth, but also 
because of the great excellence and perfection of his human 
nature, due to his participation in wisdom.

     Alypius, on the other hand, supposed the Catholics to believe 
that God was so clothed with flesh that besides God and the flesh 
there was no soul in Christ, and he did not think that a human 
mind was ascribed to him.[218]  And because he was fully persuaded 
that the actions recorded of him could not have been performed 
except by a living rational creature, he moved the more slowly 
toward Christian faith.[219]  But when he later learned that this 
was the error of the Apollinarian heretics, he rejoiced in the 
Catholic faith and accepted it.  For myself, I must confess that 
it was even later that I learned how in the sentence, "The Word 
was made flesh," the Catholic truth can be distinguished from the 
falsehood of Photinus.  For the refutation of heretics[220] makes 
the tenets of thy Church and sound doctrine to stand out boldly.  
"For there must also be heresies [factions] that those who are 
approved may be made manifest among the weak."[221]

                          CHAPTER XX

     26.  By having thus read the books of the Platonists, and 
having been taught by them to search for the incorporeal Truth, I 
saw how thy invisible things are understood through the things 
that are made.  And, even when I was thrown back, I still sensed 
what it was that the dullness of my soul would not allow me to 
contemplate.  I was assured that thou wast, and wast infinite, 
though not diffused in finite space or infinity; that thou truly 
art, who art ever the same, varying neither in part nor motion; 
and that all things are from thee, as is proved by this sure cause 
alone: that they exist.

     Of all this I was convinced, yet I was too weak to enjoy 
thee.  I chattered away as if I were an expert; but if I had not 
sought thy Way in Christ our Saviour, my knowledge would have 
turned out to be not instruction but destruction.[222]  For now 
full of what was in fact my punishment, I had begun to desire to 
seem wise.  I did not mourn my ignorance, but rather was puffed up 
with knowledge.  For where was that love which builds upon the 
foundation of humility, which is Jesus Christ?[223]  Or, when 
would these books teach me this?  I now believe that it was thy 
pleasure that I should fall upon these books before I studied thy 
Scriptures, that it might be impressed on my memory how I was 
affected by them; and then afterward, when I was subdued by thy 
Scriptures and when my wounds were touched by thy healing fingers, 
I might discern and distinguish what a difference there is between 
presumption and confession -- between those who saw where they 
were to go even if they did not see the way, and the Way which 
leads, not only to the observing, but also the inhabiting of the 
blessed country.  For had I first been molded in thy Holy 
Scriptures, and if thou hadst grown sweet to me through my 
familiar use of them, and if then I had afterward fallen on those 
volumes, they might have pushed me off the solid ground of 
godliness -- or if I had stood firm in that wholesome disposition 
which I had there acquired, I might have thought that wisdom could 
be attained by the study of those [Platonist] books alone.

                          CHAPTER XXI

     27.  With great eagerness, then, I fastened upon the 
venerable writings of thy Spirit and principally upon the apostle 
Paul.  I had thought that he sometimes contradicted himself and 
that the text of his teaching did not agree with the testimonies 
of the Law and the Prophets; but now all these doubts vanished 
away.  And I saw that those pure words had but one face, and I 
learned to rejoice with trembling.  So I began, and I found that 
whatever truth I had read [in the Platonists] was here combined 
with the exaltation of thy grace.  Thus, he who sees must not 
glory as if he had not received, not only the things that he sees, 
but the very power of sight -- for what does he have that he has 
not received as a gift?  By this he is not only exhorted to see, 
but also to be cleansed, that he may grasp thee, who art ever the 
same; and thus he who cannot see thee afar off may yet enter upon 
the road that leads to reaching, seeing, and possessing thee.  For 
although a man may "delight in the law of God after the inward 
man," what shall he do with that other "law in his members which 
wars against the law of his mind, and brings him into captivity 
under the law of sin, which is in his members"?[224]  Thou art 
righteous, O Lord; but we have sinned and committed iniquities, 
and have done wickedly.  Thy hand has grown heavy upon us, and we 
are justly delivered over to that ancient sinner, the lord of 
death.  For he persuaded our wills to become like his will, by 
which he remained not in thy truth.  What shall "wretched man" do?  
"Who shall deliver him from the body of this death,"[225] except 
thy grace through Jesus Christ our Lord; whom thou hast begotten, 
coeternal with thyself, and didst create in the beginning of thy 
ways[226] -- in whom the prince of this world found nothing worthy 
of death, yet he killed him -- and so the handwriting which was 
all against us was blotted out? 

     The books of the Platonists tell nothing of this.  Their 
pages do not contain the expression of this kind of godliness -- 
the tears of confession, thy sacrifice, a troubled spirit, a 
broken and a contrite heart, the salvation of thy people, the 
espoused City, the earnest of the Holy Spirit, the cup of our 
redemption.  In them, no man sings: "Shall not my soul be subject 
unto God, for from him comes my salvation?  He is my God and my 
salvation, my defender; I shall no more be moved."[227]  In them, 
no one hears him calling, "Come unto me all you who labor." They 
scorn to learn of him because he is "meek and lowly of heart"; for 
"thou hast hidden those things from the wise and prudent, and hast 
revealed them unto babes." For it is one thing to see the land of 
peace from a wooded mountaintop: and fail to find the way thither 
-- to attempt impassable ways in vain, opposed and waylaid by 
fugitives and deserters under their captain, the "lion" and 
"dragon"[228]; but it is quite another thing to keep to the 
highway that leads thither, guarded by the hosts of the heavenly 
Emperor, on which there are no deserters from the heavenly army to 
rob the passers-by, for they shun it as a torment.[229]  These 
thoughts sank wondrously into my heart, when I read that "least of 
thy apostles"[230] and when I had considered all thy works and 

                         BOOK EIGHT

     Conversion to Christ.  Augustine is deeply impressed by 
Simplicianus' story of the conversion to Christ of the famous 
orator and philosopher, Marius Victorinus.  He is stirred to 
emulate him, but finds himself still enchained by his incontinence 
and preoccupation with worldly affairs.  He is then visited by a 
court official, Ponticianus, who tells him and Alypius the stories 
of the conversion of Anthony and also of two imperial "secret 
service agents." These stories throw him into a violent turmoil, 
in which his divided will struggles against himself.  He almost 
succeeds in making the decision for continence, but is still held 
back.  Finally, a child's song, overheard by chance, sends him to 
the Bible; a text from Paul resolves the crisis; the conversion is 
a fact.  Alypius also makes his decision, and the two inform the 
rejoicing Monica.  

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  O my God, let me remember with gratitude and confess to 
thee thy mercies toward me.  Let my bones be bathed in thy love, 
and let them say: "Lord, who is like unto thee?[231]  Thou hast 
broken my bonds in sunder, I will offer unto thee the sacrifice of 
thanksgiving."[232]  And how thou didst break them I will declare, 
and all who worship thee shall say, when they hear these things: 
"Blessed be the Lord in heaven and earth, great and wonderful is 
his name."[233]

     Thy words had stuck fast in my breast, and I was hedged round 
about by thee on every side.  Of thy eternal life I was now 
certain, although I had seen it "through a glass darkly."[234]  
And I had been relieved of all doubt that there is an 
incorruptible substance and that it is the source of every other 
substance.  Nor did I any longer crave greater certainty about 
thee, but rather greater steadfastness in thee.

     But as for my temporal life, everything was uncertain, and my 
heart had to be purged of the old leaven.  "The Way" -- the 
Saviour himself -- pleased me well, but as yet I was reluctant to 
pass through the strait gate.

     And thou didst put it into my mind, and it seemed good in my 
own sight, to go to Simplicianus, who appeared to me a faithful 
servant of thine, and thy grace shone forth in him.  I had also 
been told that from his youth up he had lived in entire devotion 
to thee.  He was already an old man, and because of his great age, 
which he had passed in such a zealous discipleship in thy way, he 
appeared to me likely to have gained much wisdom -- and, indeed, 
he had.  From all his experience, I desired him to tell me -- 
setting before him all my agitations -- which would be the most 
fitting way for one who felt as I did to walk in thy way.

     2.  For I saw the Church full; and one man was going this way 
and another that.  Still, I could not be satisfied with the life I 
was living in the world.  Now, indeed, my passions had ceased to 
excite me as of old with hopes of honor and wealth, and it was a 
grievous burden to go on in such servitude.  For, compared with 
thy sweetness and the beauty of thy house -- which I loved -- 
those things delighted me no longer.  But I was still tightly 
bound by the love of women; nor did the apostle forbid me to 
marry, although he exhorted me to something better, wishing 
earnestly that all men were as he himself was.

     But I was weak and chose the easier way, and for this single 
reason my whole life was one of inner turbulence and listless 
indecision, because from so many influences I was compelled -- 
even though unwilling -- to agree to a married life which bound me 
hand and foot.  I had heard from the mouth of Truth that "there 
are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of 
Heaven's sake"[235] but, said he, "He that is able to receive it, 
let him receive it." Of a certainty, all men are vain who do not 
have the knowledge of God, or have not been able, from the good 
things that are seen, to find him who is good.  But I was no 
longer fettered in that vanity.  I had surmounted it, and from the 
united testimony of thy whole creation had found thee, our 
Creator, and thy Word -- God with thee, and together with thee and 
the Holy Spirit, one God -- by whom thou hast created all things.  
There is still another sort of wicked men, who "when they knew 
God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful."[236]  
Into this also I had fallen, but thy right hand held me up and 
bore me away, and thou didst place me where I might recover.  For 
thou hast said to men, "Behold the fear of the Lord, this is 
wisdom,"[237] and, "Be not wise in your own eyes,"[238] because 
"they that profess themselves to be wise become fools."[239]  But 
I had now found the goodly pearl; and I ought to have sold all 
that I had and bought it -- yet I hesitated.

                          CHAPTER II

     3.  I went, therefore, to Simplicianus, the spiritual father 
of Ambrose (then a bishop), whom Ambrose truly loved as a father.  
I recounted to him all the mazes of my wanderings, but when I 
mentioned to him that I had read certain books of the Platonists 
which Victorinus -- formerly professor of rhetoric at Rome, who 
died a Christian, as I had been told -- had translated into Latin, 
Simplicianus congratulated me that I had not fallen upon the 
writings of other philosophers, which were full of fallacies and 
deceit, "after the beggarly elements of this world,"[240] whereas 
in the Platonists, at every turn, the pathway led to belief in God 
and his Word.

     Then, to encourage me to copy the humility of Christ, which 
is hidden from the wise and revealed to babes, he told me about 
Victorinus himself, whom he had known intimately at Rome.  And I 
cannot refrain from repeating what he told me about him.  For it 
contains a glorious proof of thy grace, which ought to be 
confessed to thee: how that old man, most learned, most skilled in 
all the liberal arts; who had read, criticized, and explained so 
many of the writings of the philosophers; the teacher of so many 
noble senators; one who, as a mark of his distinguished service in 
office had both merited and obtained a statue in the Roman Forum 
-- which men of this world esteem a great honor -- this man who, 
up to an advanced age, had been a worshiper of idols, a 
communicant in the sacrilegious rites to which almost all the 
nobility of Rome were wedded; and who had inspired the people with 
the love of Osiris and

     "The dog Anubis, and a medley crew

     Of monster gods who 'gainst Neptune stand in arms 

     'Gainst Venus and Minerva, steel-clad Mars,"[241]

     whom Rome once conquered, and now worshiped; all of which old 
Victorinus had with thundering eloquence defended for so many 
years -- despite all this, he did not blush to become a child of 
thy Christ, a babe at thy font, bowing his neck to the yoke of 
humility and submitting his forehead to the ignominy of the cross.

     4.  O Lord, Lord, "who didst bow the heavens and didst 
descend, who didst touch the mountains and they smoked,"[242] by 
what means didst thou find thy way into that breast?  He used to 
read the Holy Scriptures, as Simplicianus said, and thought out 
and studied all the Christian writings most studiously.  He said 
to Simplicianus -- not openly but secretly as a friend -- "You 
must know that I am a Christian." To which Simplicianus replied, 
"I shall not believe it, nor shall I count you among the 
Christians, until I see you in the Church of Christ." Victorinus 
then asked, with mild mockery, "Is it then the walls that make 
Christians?"  Thus he often would affirm that he was already a 
Christian, and as often Simplicianus made the same answer; and 
just as often his jest about the walls was repeated.  He was 
fearful of offending his friends, proud demon worshipers, from the 
height of whose Babylonian dignity, as from the tops of the cedars 
of Lebanon which the Lord had not yet broken down, he feared that 
a storm of enmity would descend upon him.

     But he steadily gained strength from reading and inquiry, and 
came to fear lest he should be denied by Christ before the holy 
angels if he now was afraid to confess him before men.  Thus he 
came to appear to himself guilty of a great fault, in being 
ashamed of the sacraments of the humility of thy Word, when he was 
not ashamed of the sacrilegious rites of those proud demons, whose 
pride he had imitated and whose rites he had shared.  From this he 
became bold-faced against vanity and shamefaced toward the truth.  
Thus, suddenly and unexpectedly, he said to Simplicianus -- as he 
himself told me -- "Let us go to the church; I wish to become a 
Christian." Simplicianus went with him, scarcely able to contain 
himself for joy.  He was admitted to the first sacraments of 
instruction, and not long afterward gave in his name that he might 
receive the baptism of regeneration.  At this Rome marveled and 
the Church rejoiced.  The proud saw and were enraged; they gnashed 
their teeth and melted away!  But the Lord God was thy servant's 
hope and he paid no attention to their vanity and lying madness.

     5.  Finally, when the hour arrived for him to make a public 
profession of his faith -- which at Rome those who are about to 
enter into thy grace make from a platform in the full sight of the 
faithful people, in a set form of words learned by heart -- the 
presbyters offered Victorinus the chance to make his profession 
more privately, for this was the custom for some who were likely 
to be afraid through bashfulness.  But Victorinus chose rather to 
profess his salvation in the presence of the holy congregation.  
For there was no salvation in the rhetoric which he taught: yet he 
had professed that openly.  Why, then, should he shrink from 
naming thy Word before the sheep of thy flock, when he had not 
shrunk from uttering his own words before the mad multitude?

     So, then, when he ascended the platform to make his 
profession, everyone, as they recognized him, whispered his name 
one to the other, in tones of jubilation.  Who was there among 
them that did not know him?  And a low murmur ran through the 
mouths of all the rejoicing multitude: "Victorinus!  Victorinus!" 
There was a sudden burst of exaltation at the sight of him, and 
suddenly they were hushed that they might hear him.  He pronounced 
the true faith with an excellent boldness, and all desired to take 
him to their very heart -- indeed, by their love and joy they did 
take him to their heart.  And they received him with loving and 
joyful hands.

                          CHAPTER III

     6.  O good God, what happens in a man to make him rejoice 
more at the salvation of a soul that has been despaired of and 
then delivered from greater danger than over one who has never 
lost hope, or never been in such imminent danger?  For thou also, 
O most merciful Father, "dost rejoice more over one that repents 
than over ninety and nine just persons that need no 
repentance."[243]  And we listen with much delight whenever we 
hear how the lost sheep is brought home again on the shepherd's 
shoulders while the angels rejoice; or when the piece of money is 
restored to its place in the treasury and the neighbors rejoice 
with the woman who found it.[244]  And the joy of the solemn 
festival of thy house constrains us to tears when it is read in 
thy house: about the younger son who "was dead and is alive again, 
was lost and is found." For it is thou who rejoicest both in us 
and in thy angels, who are holy through holy love.  For thou art 
ever the same because thou knowest unchangeably all things which 
remain neither the same nor forever.

     7.  What, then, happens in the soul when it takes more 
delight at finding or having restored to it the things it loves 
than if it had always possessed them?  Indeed, many other things 
bear witness that this is so -- all things are full of witnesses, 
crying out, "So it is." The commander triumphs in victory; yet he 
could not have conquered if he had not fought; and the greater the 
peril of the battle, the more the joy of the triumph.  The storm 
tosses the voyagers, threatens shipwreck, and everyone turns pale 
in the presence of death.  Then the sky and sea grow calm, and 
they rejoice as much as they had feared.  A loved one is sick and 
his pulse indicates danger; all who desire his safety are 
themselves sick at heart; he recovers, though not able as yet to 
walk with his former strength; and there is more joy now than 
there was before when he walked sound and strong.  Indeed, the 
very pleasures of human life -- not only those which rush upon us 
unexpectedly and involuntarily, but also those which are voluntary 
and planned -- men obtain by difficulties.  There is no pleasure 
in caring and drinking unless the pains of hunger and thirst have 
preceded.  Drunkards even eat certain salt meats in order to 
create a painful thirst -- and when the drink allays this, it 
causes pleasure.  It is also the custom that the affianced bride 
should not be immediately given in marriage so that the husband 
may not esteem her any less, whom as his betrothed he longed for.

     8.  This can be seen in the case of base and dishonorable 
pleasure.  But it is also apparent in pleasures that are permitted 
and lawful: in the sincerity of honest friendship; and in him who 
was dead and lived again, who had been lost and was found.  The 
greater joy is everywhere preceded by the greater pain.  What does 
this mean, O Lord my God, when thou art an everlasting joy to 
thyself, and some creatures about thee are ever rejoicing in thee?  
What does it mean that this portion of creation thus ebbs and 
flows, alternately in want and satiety?  Is this their mode of 
being and is this all thou hast allotted to them: that, from the 
highest heaven to the lowest earth, from the beginning of the 
world to the end, from the angels to the worm, from the first 
movement to the last, thou wast assigning to all their proper 
places and their proper seasons -- to all the kinds of good things 
and to all thy just works?  Alas, how high thou art in the highest 
and how deep in the deepest!  Thou never departest from us, and 
yet only with difficulty do we return to thee.

                          CHAPTER IV

     9.  Go on, O Lord, and act: stir us up and call us back; 
inflame us and draw us to thee; stir us up and grow sweet to us; 
let us now love thee, let us run to thee.  Are there not many men 
who, out of a deeper pit of darkness than that of Victorinus, 
return to thee -- who draw near to thee and are illuminated by 
that light which gives those who receive it power from thee to 
become thy sons?  But if they are less well-known, even those who 
know them rejoice less for them.  For when many rejoice together 
the joy of each one is fuller, in that they warm one another, 
catch fire from each other; moreover, those who are well-known 
influence many toward salvation and take the lead with many to 
follow them.  Therefore, even those who took the way before them 
rejoice over them greatly, because they do not rejoice over them 
alone.  But it ought never to be that in thy tabernacle the 
persons of the rich should be welcome before the poor, or the 
nobly born before the rest -- since "thou hast rather chosen the 
weak things of the world to confound the strong; and hast chosen 
the base things of the world and things that are despised, and the 
things that are not, in order to bring to nought the things that 
are."[245]  It was even "the least of the apostles" by whose 
tongue thou didst sound forth these words.  And when Paulus the 
proconsul had his pride overcome by the onslaught of the apostle 
and he was made to pass under the easy yoke of thy Christ and 
became an officer of the great King, he also desired to be called 
Paul instead of Saul, his former name, in testimony to such a 
great victory.[246]  For the enemy is more overcome in one on whom 
he has a greater hold, and whom he has hold of more completely.  
But the proud he controls more readily through their concern about 
their rank and, through them, he controls more by means of their 
influence.  The more, therefore, the world prized the heart of 
Victorinus (which the devil had held in an impregnable stronghold) 
and the tongue of Victorinus (that sharp, strong weapon with which 
the devil had slain so many), all the more exultingly should Thy 
sons rejoice because our King hath bound the strong man, and they 
saw his vessels taken from him and cleansed, and made fit for thy 
honor and "profitable to the Lord for every good work."[247]

                           CHAPTER V

     10.  Now when this man of thine, Simplicianus, told me the 
story of Victorinus, I was eager to imitate him.  Indeed, this was 
Simplicianus' purpose in telling it to me.  But when he went on to 
tell how, in the reign of the Emperor Julian, there was a law 
passed by which Christians were forbidden to teach literature and 
rhetoric; and how Victorinus, in ready obedience to the law, chose 
to abandon his "school of words" rather than thy Word, by which 
thou makest eloquent the tongues of the dumb -- he appeared to me 
not so much brave as happy, because he had found a reason for 
giving his time wholly to thee.  For this was what I was longing 
to do; but as yet I was bound by the iron chain of my own will.  
The enemy held fast my will, and had made of it a chain, and had 
bound me tight with it.  For out of the perverse will came lust, 
and the service of lust ended in habit, and habit, not resisted, 
became necessity.  By these links, as it were, forged together -- 
which is why I called it "a chain" -- a hard bondage held me in 
slavery.  But that new will which had begun to spring up in me 
freely to worship thee and to enjoy thee, O my God, the only 
certain Joy, was not able as yet to overcome my former 
willfulness, made strong by long indulgence.  Thus my two wills -- 
the old and the new, the carnal and the spiritual -- were in 
conflict within me; and by their discord they tore my soul apart.

     11.  Thus I came to understand from my own experience what I 
had read, how "the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit 
against the flesh."[248]  I truly lusted both ways, yet more in 
that which I approved in myself than in that which I disapproved 
in myself.  For in the latter it was not now really I that was 
involved, because here I was rather an unwilling sufferer than a 
willing actor.  And yet it was through me that habit had become an 
armed enemy against me, because I had willingly come to be what I 
unwillingly found myself to be.

     Who, then, can with any justice speak against it, when just 
punishment follows the sinner?  I had now no longer my accustomed 
excuse that, as yet, I hesitated to forsake the world and serve 
thee because my perception of the truth was uncertain.  For now it 
was certain.  But, still bound to the earth, I refused to be thy 
soldier; and was as much afraid of being freed from all 
entanglements as we ought to fear to be entangled.

     12.  Thus with the baggage of the world I was sweetly 
burdened, as one in slumber, and my musings on thee were like the 
efforts of those who desire to awake, but who are still 
overpowered with drowsiness and fall back into deep slumber.  And 
as no one wishes to sleep forever (for all men rightly count 
waking better) -- yet a man will usually defer shaking off his 
drowsiness when there is a heavy lethargy in his limbs; and he is 
glad to sleep on even when his reason disapproves, and the hour 
for rising has struck -- so was I assured that it was much better 
for me to give myself up to thy love than to go on yielding myself 
to my own lust.  Thy love satisfied and vanquished me; my lust 
pleased and fettered me.[249]  I had no answer to thy calling to 
me, "Awake, you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ 
shall give you light."[250]  On all sides, thou didst show me that 
thy words are true, and I, convicted by the truth, had nothing at 
all to reply but the drawling and drowsy words: "Presently; see, 
presently.  Leave me alone a little while." But "presently, 
presently," had no present; and my "leave me alone a little while" 
went on for a long while.  In vain did I "delight in thy law in 
the inner man" while "another law in my members warred against the 
law of my mind and brought me into captivity to the law of sin 
which is in my members." For the law of sin is the tyranny of 
habit, by which the mind is drawn and held, even against its will.  
Yet it deserves to be so held because it so willingly falls into 
the habit.  "O wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from 
the body of this death" but thy grace alone, through Jesus Christ 
our Lord?[251]

                          CHAPTER VI

     13.  And now I will tell and confess unto thy name, O Lord, 
my helper and my redeemer, how thou didst deliver me from the 
chain of sexual desire by which I was so tightly held, and from 
the slavery of worldly business.[252]  With increasing anxiety I 
was going about my usual affairs, and daily sighing to thee.  I 
attended thy church as frequently as my business, under the burden 
of which I groaned, left me free to do so.  Alypius was with me, 
disengaged at last from his legal post, after a third term as 
assessor, and now waiting for private clients to whom he might 
sell his legal advice as I sold the power of speaking (as if it 
could be supplied by teaching).  But Nebridius had consented, for 
the sake of our friendship, to teach under Verecundus -- a citizen 
of Milan and professor of grammar, and a very intimate friend of 
us all -- who ardently desired, and by right of friendship 
demanded from us, the faithful aid he greatly needed.  Nebridius 
was not drawn to this by any desire of gain -- for he could have 
made much more out of his learning had he been so inclined -- but 
as he was a most sweet and kindly friend, he was unwilling, out of 
respect for the duties of friendship, to slight our request.  But 
in this he acted very discreetly, taking care not to become known 
to those persons who had great reputations in the world.  Thus he 
avoided all distractions of mind, and reserved as many hours as 
possible to pursue or read or listen to discussions about wisdom.

     14.  On a certain day, then, when Nebridius was away -- for 
some reason I cannot remember -- there came to visit Alypius and 
me at our house one Ponticianus, a fellow countryman of ours from 
Africa, who held high office in the emperor's court.  What he 
wanted with us I do not know; but we sat down to talk together, 
and it chanced that he noticed a book on a game table before us.  
He took it up, opened it, and, contrary to his expectation, found 
it to be the apostle Paul, for he imagined that it was one of my 
wearisome rhetoric textbooks.  At this, he looked up at me with a 
smile and expressed his delight and wonder that he had so 
unexpectedly found this book and only this one, lying before my 
eyes; for he was indeed a Christian and a faithful one at that, 
and often he prostrated himself before thee, our God, in the 
church in constant daily prayer.  When I had told him that I had 
given much attention to these writings, a conversation followed in 
which he spoke of Anthony, the Egyptian monk, whose name was in 
high repute among thy servants, although up to that time not 
familiar to me.  When he learned this, he lingered on the topic, 
giving us an account of this eminent man, and marveling at our 
ignorance.  We in turn were amazed to hear of thy wonderful works 
so fully manifested in recent times -- almost in our own -- 
occurring in the true faith and the Catholic Church. We all 
wondered -- we, that these things were so great, and he, that we 
had never heard of them.  

     15.  From this, his conversation turned to the multitudes in 
the monasteries and their manners so fragrant to thee, and to the 
teeming solitudes of the wilderness, of which we knew nothing at 
all.  There was even a monastery at Milan, outside the city's 
walls, full of good brothers under the fostering care of Ambrose 
-- and we were ignorant of it.  He went on with his story, and we 
listened intently and in silence.  He then told us how, on a 
certain afternoon, at Trier,[253] when the emperor was occupied 
watching the gladiatorial games, he and three comrades went out 
for a walk in the gardens close to the city walls.  There, as they 
chanced to walk two by two, one strolled away with him, while the 
other two went on by themselves.  As they rambled, these first two 
came upon a certain cottage where lived some of thy servants, some 
of the "poor in spirit" ("of such is the Kingdom of Heaven"), 
where they found the book in which was written the life of 
Anthony!  One of them began to read it, to marvel and to be 
inflamed by it.  While reading, he meditated on embracing just 
such a life, giving up his worldly employment to seek thee alone.  
These two belonged to the group of officials called "secret 
service agents."[254]  Then, suddenly being overwhelmed with a 
holy love and a sober shame and as if in anger with himself, he 
fixed his eyes on his friend, exclaiming: "Tell me, I beg you, 
what goal are we seeking in all these toils of ours?  What is it 
that we desire?  What is our motive in public service?  Can our 
hopes in the court rise higher than to be 'friends of the 
emperor'[255]?  But how frail, how beset with peril, is that 
pride!  Through what dangers must we climb to a greater danger?  
And when shall we succeed?  But if I chose to become a friend of 
God, see, I can become one now." Thus he spoke, and in the pangs 
of the travail of the new life he turned his eyes again onto the 
page and continued reading; he was inwardly changed, as thou didst 
see, and the world dropped away from his mind, as soon became 
plain to others.  For as he read with a heart like a stormy sea, 
more than once he groaned.  Finally he saw the better course, and 
resolved on it.  Then, having become thy servant, he said to his 
friend: "Now I have broken loose from those hopes we had, and I am 
determined to serve God; and I enter into that service from this 
hour in this place.  If you are reluctant to imitate me, do not 
oppose me." The other replied that he would continue bound in his 
friendship, to share in so great a service for so great a prize.  
So both became thine, and began to "build a tower", counting the 
cost -- namely, of forsaking all that they had and following 
thee.[256]  Shortly after, Ponticianus and his companion, who had 
walked with him in the other part of the garden, came in search of 
them to the same place, and having found them reminded them to 
return, as the day was declining.  But the first two, making known 
to Ponticianus their resolution and purpose, and how a resolve had 
sprung up and become confirmed in them, entreated them not to take 
it ill if they refused to join themselves with them.  But 
Ponticianus and his friend, although not changed from their former 
course, did nevertheless (as he told us) bewail themselves and 
congratulated their friends on their godliness, recommending 
themselves to their prayers.  And with hearts inclining again 
toward earthly things, they returned to the palace.  But the other 
two, setting their affections on heavenly things, remained in the 
cottage.  Both of them had affianced brides who, when they heard 
of this, likewise dedicated their virginity to thee.

                          CHAPTER VII

     16.  Such was the story Ponticianus told.  But while he was 
speaking, thou, O Lord, turned me toward myself, taking me from 
behind my back, where I had put myself while unwilling to exercise 
self-scrutiny.  And now thou didst set me face to face with 
myself, that I might see how ugly I was, and how crooked and 
sordid, bespotted and ulcerous.  And I looked and I loathed 
myself; but whither to fly from myself I could not discover.  And 
if I sought to turn my gaze away from myself, he would continue 
his narrative, and thou wouldst oppose me to myself and thrust me 
before my own eyes that I might discover my iniquity and hate it.  
I had known it, but acted as though I knew it not -- I winked at 
it and forgot it.

     17.  But now, the more ardently I loved those whose wholesome 
affections I heard reported -- that they had given themselves up 
wholly to thee to be cured -- the more did I abhor myself when 
compared with them.  For many of my years -- perhaps twelve -- had 
passed away since my nineteenth, when, upon the reading of 
Cicero's Hortensius, I was roused to a desire for wisdom.  And 
here I was, still postponing the abandonment of this world's 
happiness to devote myself to the search. For not just the finding 
alone, but also the bare search for it, ought to have been 
preferred above the treasures and kingdoms of this world; better 
than all bodily pleasures, though they were to be had for the 
taking.  But, wretched youth that I was -- supremely wretched even 
in the very outset of my youth -- I had entreated chastity of thee 
and had prayed, "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet." 
For I was afraid lest thou shouldst hear me too soon, and too soon 
cure me of my disease of lust which I desired to have satisfied 
rather than extinguished.  And I had wandered through perverse 
ways of godless superstition -- not really sure of it, either, but 
preferring it to the other, which I did not seek in piety, but 
opposed in malice.

     18.  And I had thought that I delayed from day to day in 
rejecting those worldly hopes and following thee alone because 
there did not appear anything certain by which I could direct my 
course.  And now the day had arrived in which I was laid bare to 
myself and my conscience was to chide me: "Where are you, O my 
tongue?  You said indeed that you were not willing to cast off the 
baggage of vanity for uncertain truth.  But behold now it is 
certain, and still that burden oppresses you.  At the same time 
those who have not worn themselves out with searching for it as 
you have, nor spent ten years and more in thinking about it, have 
had their shoulders unburdened and have received wings to fly 
away." Thus was I inwardly confused, and mightily confounded with 
a horrible shame, while Ponticianus went ahead speaking such 
things.  And when he had finished his story and the business he 
came for, he went his way.  And then what did I not say to myself, 
within myself?  With what scourges of rebuke did I not lash my 
soul to make it follow me, as I was struggling to go after thee?  
Yet it drew back.  It refused.  It would not make an effort.  All 
its arguments were exhausted and confuted.  Yet it resisted in 
sullen disquiet, fearing the cutting off of that habit by which it 
was being wasted to death, as if that were death itself.

                         CHAPTER VIII

     19.  Then, as this vehement quarrel, which I waged with my 
soul in the chamber of my heart, was raging inside my inner 
dwelling, agitated both in mind and countenance, I seized upon 
Alypius and exclaimed: "What is the matter with us?  What is this?  
What did you hear?  The uninstructed start up and take heaven, and 
we -- with all our learning but so little heart -- see where we 
wallow in flesh and blood!  Because others have gone before us, 
are we ashamed to follow, and not rather ashamed at our not 
following?"  I scarcely knew what I said, and in my excitement I 
flung away from him, while he gazed at me in silent astonishment.  
For I did not sound like myself: my face, eyes, color, tone 
expressed my meaning more clearly than my words.

     There was a little garden belonging to our lodging, of which 
we had the use -- as of the whole house -- for the master, our 
landlord, did not live there.  The tempest in my breast hurried me 
out into this garden, where no one might interrupt the fiery 
struggle in which I was engaged with myself, until it came to the 
outcome that thou knewest though I did not.  But I was mad for 
health, and dying for life; knowing what evil thing I was, but not 
knowing what good thing I was so shortly to become.

     I fled into the garden, with Alypius following step by step; 
for I had no secret in which he did not share, and how could he 
leave me in such distress?  We sat down, as far from the house as 
possible.  I was greatly disturbed in spirit, angry at myself with 
a turbulent indignation because I had not entered thy will and 
covenant, O my God, while all my bones cried out to me to enter, 
extolling it to the skies.  The way therein is not by ships or 
chariots or feet -- indeed it was not as far as I had come from 
the house to the place where we were seated.  For to go along that 
road and indeed to reach the goal is nothing else but the will to 
go.  But it must be a strong and single will, not staggering and 
swaying about this way and that -- a changeable, twisting, 
fluctuating will, wrestling with itself while one part falls as 
another rises.

     20.  Finally, in the very fever of my indecision, I made many 
motions with my body; like men do when they will to act but 
cannot, either because they do not have the limbs or because their 
limbs are bound or weakened by disease, or incapacitated in some 
other way.  Thus if I tore my hair, struck my forehead, or, 
entwining my fingers, clasped my knee, these I did because I 
willed it.  But I might have willed it and still not have done it, 
if the nerves had not obeyed my will.  Many things then I did, in 
which the will and power to do were not the same.  Yet I did not 
do that one thing which seemed to me infinitely more desirable, 
which before long I should have power to will because shortly when 
I willed, I would will with a single will.  For in this, the power 
of willing is the power of doing; and as yet I could not do it.  
Thus my body more readily obeyed the slightest wish of the soul in 
moving its limbs at the order of my mind than my soul obeyed 
itself to accomplish in the will alone its great resolve.

                          CHAPTER IX

     21.  How can there be such a strange anomaly?  And why is it?  
Let thy mercy shine on me, that I may inquire and find an answer, 
amid the dark labyrinth of human punishment and in the darkest 
contritions of the sons of Adam.  Whence such an anomaly?  And why 
should it be?  The mind commands the body, and the body obeys.  
The mind commands itself and is resisted.  The mind commands the 
hand to be moved and there is such readiness that the command is 
scarcely distinguished from the obedience in act.  Yet the mind is 
mind, and the hand is body.  The mind commands the mind to will, 
and yet though it be itself it does not obey itself.  Whence this 
strange anomaly and why should it be?  I repeat: The will commands 
itself to will, and could not give the command unless it wills; 
yet what is commanded is not done.  But actually the will does not 
will entirely; therefore it does not command entirely.  For as far 
as it wills, it commands.  And as far as it does not will, the 
thing commanded is not done.  For the will commands that there be 
an act of will -- not another, but itself.  But it does not 
command entirely.  Therefore, what is commanded does not happen; 
for if the will were whole and entire, it would not even command 
it to be, because it would already be.  It is, therefore, no 
strange anomaly partly to will and partly to be unwilling.  This 
is actually an infirmity of mind, which cannot wholly rise, while 
pressed down by habit, even though it is supported by the truth.  
And so there are two wills, because one of them is not whole, and 
what is present in this one is lacking in the other.

                           CHAPTER X 

     22.  Let them perish from thy presence, O God, as vain 
talkers, and deceivers of the soul perish, who, when they observe 
that there are two wills in the act of deliberation, go on to 
affirm that there are two kinds of minds in us: one good, the 
other evil.  They are indeed themselves evil when they hold these 
evil opinions -- and they shall become good only when they come to 
hold the truth and consent to the truth that thy apostle may say 
to them: "You were formerly in darkness, but now are you in the 
light in the Lord."[257]  But they desired to be light, not "in 
the Lord," but in themselves.  They conceived the nature of the 
soul to be the same as what God is, and thus have become a thicker 
darkness than they were; for in their dread arrogance they have 
gone farther away from thee, from thee "the true Light, that 
lights every man that comes into the world." Mark what you say and 
blush for shame; draw near to him and be enlightened, and your 
faces shall not be ashamed.[258]

     While I was deliberating whether I would serve the Lord my 
God now, as I had long purposed to do, it was I who willed and it 
was also I who was unwilling.  In either case, it was I.  I 
neither willed with my whole will nor was I wholly unwilling.  And 
so I was at war with myself and torn apart by myself.  And this 
strife was against my will; yet it did not show the presence of 
another mind, but the punishment of my own.  Thus it was no more I 
who did it, but the sin that dwelt in me -- the punishment of a 
sin freely committed by Adam, and I was a son of Adam.  

     23.  For if there are as many opposing natures as there are 
opposing wills, there will not be two but many more.  If any man 
is trying to decide whether he should go to their conventicle or 
to the theater, the Manicheans at once cry out, "See, here are two 
natures -- one good, drawing this way, another bad, drawing back 
that way; for how else can you explain this indecision between 
conflicting wills?"  But I reply that both impulses are bad -- 
that which draws to them and that which draws back to the theater.  
But they do not believe that the will which draws to them can be 
anything but good.  Suppose, then, that one of us should try to 
decide, and through the conflict of his two wills should waver 
whether he should go to the theater or to our Church. Would not 
those also waver about the answer here?  For either they must 
confess, which they are unwilling to do, that the will that leads 
to our church is as good as that which carries their own adherents 
and those captivated by their mysteries; or else they must imagine 
that there are two evil natures and two evil minds in one man, 
both at war with each other, and then it will not be true what 
they say, that there is one good and another bad.  Else they must 
be converted to the truth, and no longer deny that when anyone 
deliberates there is one soul fluctuating between conflicting 

     24.  Let them no longer maintain that when they perceive two 
wills to be contending with each other in the same man the contest 
is between two opposing minds, of two opposing substances, from 
two opposing principles, the one good and the other bad.  Thus, O 
true God, thou dost reprove and confute and convict them.  For 
both wills may be bad: as when a man tries to decide whether he 
should kill a man by poison or by the sword; whether he should 
take possession of this field or that one belonging to someone 
else, when he cannot get both; whether he should squander his 
money to buy pleasure or hold onto his money through the motive of 
covetousness; whether he should go to the circus or to the 
theater, if both are open on the same day; or, whether he should 
take a third course, open at the same time, and rob another man's 
house; or, a fourth option, whether he should commit adultery, if 
he has the opportunity -- all these things concurring in the same 
space of time and all being equally longed for, although 
impossible to do at one time.  For the mind is pulled four ways by 
four antagonistic wills -- or even more, in view of the vast range 
of human desires -- but even the Manicheans do not affirm that 
there are these many different substances.  The same principle 
applies as in the action of good wills.  For I ask them, "Is it a 
good thing to have delight in reading the apostle, or is it a good 
thing to delight in a sober psalm, or is it a good thing to 
discourse on the gospel?"  To each of these, they will answer, "It 
is good." But what, then, if all delight us equally and all at the 
same time?  Do not different wills distract the mind when a man is 
trying to decide what he should choose?  Yet they are all good, 
and are at variance with each other until one is chosen.  When 
this is done the whole united will may go forward on a single 
track instead of remaining as it was before, divided in many ways.  
So also, when eternity attracts us from above, and the pleasure of 
earthly delight pulls us down from below, the soul does not will 
either the one or the other with all its force, but still it is 
the same soul that does not will this or that with a united will, 
and is therefore pulled apart with grievous perplexities, because 
for truth's sake it prefers this, but for custom's sake it does 
not lay that aside.

                          CHAPTER XI

     25.  Thus I was sick and tormented, reproaching myself more 
bitterly than ever, rolling and writhing in my chain till it 
should be utterly broken.  By now I was held but slightly, but 
still was held.  And thou, O Lord, didst press upon me in my 
inmost heart with a severe mercy, redoubling the lashes of fear 
and shame; lest I should again give way and that same slender 
remaining tie not be broken off, but recover strength and enchain 
me yet more securely.

     I kept saying to myself, "See, let it be done now; let it be 
done now." And as I said this I all but came to a firm decision.  
I all but did it -- yet I did not quite.  Still I did not fall 
back to my old condition, but stood aside for a moment and drew 
breath.  And I tried again, and lacked only a very little of 
reaching the resolve -- and then somewhat less, and then all but 
touched and grasped it.  Yet I still did not quite reach or touch 
or grasp the goal, because I hesitated to die to death and to live 
to life.  And the worse way, to which I was habituated, was 
stronger in me than the better, which I had not tried.  And up to 
the very moment in which I was to become another man, the nearer 
the moment approached, the greater horror did it strike in me.  
But it did not strike me back, nor turn me aside, but held me in 

     26.  It was, in fact, my old mistresses, trifles of trifles 
and vanities of vanities, who still enthralled me.  They tugged at 
my fleshly garments and softly whispered: "Are you going to part 
with us?  And from that moment will we never be with you any more?  
And from that moment will not this and that be forbidden you 
forever?"  What were they suggesting to me in those words "this or 
that"?  What is it they suggested, O my God? Let thy mercy guard 
the soul of thy servant from the vileness and the shame they did 
suggest!  And now I scarcely heard them, for they were not openly 
showing themselves and opposing me face to face; but muttering, as 
it were, behind my back; and furtively plucking at me as I was 
leaving, trying to make me look back at them.  Still they delayed 
me, so that I hesitated to break loose and shake myself free of 
them and leap over to the place to which I was being called -- for 
unruly habit kept saying to me, "Do you think you can live without 

     27.  But now it said this very faintly; for in the direction 
I had set my face, and yet toward which I still trembled to go, 
the chaste dignity of continence appeared to me -- cheerful but 
not wanton, modestly alluring me to come and doubt nothing, 
extending her holy hands, full of a multitude of good examples -- 
to receive and embrace me.  There were there so many young men and 
maidens, a multitude of youth and every age, grave widows and 
ancient virgins; and continence herself in their midst: not 
barren, but a fruitful mother of children -- her joys -- by thee, 
O Lord, her husband.  And she smiled on me with a challenging 
smile as if to say: "Can you not do what these young men and 
maidens can?  Or can any of them do it of themselves, and not 
rather in the Lord their God?  The Lord their God gave me to them.  
Why do you stand in your own strength, and so stand not?  Cast 
yourself on him; fear not.  He will not flinch and you will not 
fall.  Cast yourself on him without fear, for he will receive and 
heal you." And I blushed violently, for I still heard the 
muttering of those "trifles" and hung suspended.  Again she seemed 
to speak: "Stop your ears against those unclean members of yours, 
that they may be mortified.  They tell you of delights, but not 
according to the law of the Lord thy God." This struggle raging in 
my heart was nothing but the contest of self against self.  And 
Alypius kept close beside me, and awaited in silence the outcome 
of my extraordinary agitation.

                          CHAPTER XII

     28.  Now when deep reflection had drawn up out of the secret 
depths of my soul all my misery and had heaped it up before the 
sight of my heart, there arose a mighty storm, accompanied by a 
mighty rain of tears.  That I might give way fully to my tears and 
lamentations, I stole away from Alypius, for it seemed to me that 
solitude was more appropriate for the business of weeping.  I went 
far enough away that I could feel that even his presence was no 
restraint upon me.  This was the way I felt at the time, and he 
realized it.  I suppose I had said something before I started up 
and he noticed that the sound of my voice was choked with weeping.  
And so he stayed alone, where we had been sitting together, 
greatly astonished.  I flung myself down under a fig tree -- how I 
know not -- and gave free course to my tears.  The streams of my 
eyes gushed out an acceptable sacrifice to thee.  And, not indeed 
in these words, but to this effect, I cried to thee: "And thou, O 
Lord, how long?  How long, O Lord?  Wilt thou be angry forever?  
Oh, remember not against us our former iniquities."[259]  For I 
felt that I was still enthralled by them.  I sent up these 
sorrowful cries: "How long, how long?  Tomorrow and tomorrow?  Why 
not now?  Why not this very hour make an end to my uncleanness?"

     29.  I was saying these things and weeping in the most bitter 
contrition of my heart, when suddenly I heard the voice of a boy 
or a girl I know not which -- coming from the neighboring house, 
chanting over and over again, "Pick it up, read it; pick it up, 
read it."[260]  Immediately I ceased weeping and began most 
earnestly to think whether it was usual for children in some kind 
of game to sing such a song, but I could not remember ever having 
heard the like.  So, damming the torrent of my tears, I got to my 
feet, for I could not but think that this was a divine command to 
open the Bible and read the first passage I should light upon.  
For I had heard[261] how Anthony, accidentally coming into church 
while the gospel was being read, received the admonition as if 
what was read had been addressed to him: "Go and sell what you 
have and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in 
heaven; and come and follow me."[262]  By such an oracle he was 
forthwith converted to thee.

     So I quickly returned to the bench where Alypius was sitting, 
for there I had put down the apostle's book when I had left there.  
I snatched it up, opened it, and in silence read the paragraph on 
which my eyes first fell: "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in 
chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on 
the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to 
fulfill the lusts thereof."[263]  I wanted to read no further, nor 
did I need to.  For instantly, as the sentence ended, there was 
infused in my heart something like the light of full certainty and 
all the gloom of doubt vanished away.[264]

     30.  Closing the book, then, and putting my finger or 
something else for a mark I began -- now with a tranquil 
countenance -- to tell it all to Alypius.  And he in turn 
disclosed to me what had been going on in himself, of which I knew 
nothing.  He asked to see what I had read.  I showed him, and he 
looked on even further than I had read.  I had not known what 
followed.  But indeed it was this, "Him that is weak in the faith, 
receive."[265]  This he applied to himself, and told me so.  By 
these words of warning he was strengthened, and by exercising his 
good resolution and purpose -- all very much in keeping with his 
character, in which, in these respects, he was always far 
different from and better than I -- he joined me in full 
commitment without any restless hesitation.

     Then we went in to my mother, and told her what happened, to 
her great joy.  We explained to her how it had occurred -- and she 
leaped for joy triumphant; and she blessed thee, who art "able to 
do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think."[266]  
For she saw that thou hadst granted her far more than she had ever 
asked for in all her pitiful and doleful lamentations.  For thou 
didst so convert me to thee that I sought neither a wife nor any 
other of this world's hopes, but set my feet on that rule of faith 
which so many years before thou hadst showed her in her dream 
about me.  And so thou didst turn her grief into gladness more 
plentiful than she had ventured to desire, and dearer and purer 
than the desire she used to cherish of having grandchildren of my 

                          BOOK NINE

     The end of the autobiography.  Augustine tells of his 
resigning from his professorship and of the days at Cassiciacum in 
preparation for baptism.  He is baptized together with Adeodatus 
and Alypius.  Shortly thereafter, they start back for Africa.  
Augustine recalls the ecstasy he and his mother shared in Ostia 
and then reports her death and burial and his grief.  The book 
closes with a moving prayer for the souls of Monica, Patricius, 
and all his fellow citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem.  

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  "O Lord, I am thy servant; I am thy servant and the son 
of thy handmaid.  Thou hast loosed my bonds.  I will offer to thee 
the sacrifice of thanksgiving."[267]  Let my heart and my tongue 
praise thee, and let all my bones say, "Lord, who is like unto 
thee?"  Let them say so, and answer thou me and say unto my soul, 
"I am your salvation."

     Who am I, and what is my nature?  What evil is there not in 
me and my deeds; or if not in my deeds, my words; or if not in my 
words, my will?  But thou, O Lord, art good and merciful, and thy 
right hand didst reach into the depth of my death and didst empty 
out the abyss of corruption from the bottom of my heart.  And this 
was the result: now I did not will to do what I willed, and began 
to will to do what thou didst will.

     But where was my free will during all those years and from 
what deep and secret retreat was it called forth in a single 
moment, whereby I gave my neck to thy "easy yoke" and my shoulders 
to thy "light burden," O Christ Jesus, "my Strength and my 
Redeemer"?  How sweet did it suddenly become to me to be without 
the sweetness of trifles!  And it was now a joy to put away what I 
formerly feared to lose.  For thou didst cast them away from me, O 
true and highest Sweetness.  Thou didst cast them away, and in 
their place thou didst enter in thyself -- sweeter than all 
pleasure, though not to flesh and blood; brighter than all light, 
but more veiled than all mystery; more exalted than all honor, 
though not to them that are exalted in their own eyes.  Now was my 
soul free from the gnawing cares of seeking and getting, of 
wallowing in the mire and scratching the itch of lust.  And I 
prattled like a child to thee, O Lord my God -- my light, my 
riches, and my salvation.

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  And it seemed right to me, in thy sight, not to snatch my 
tongue's service abruptly out of the speech market, but to 
withdraw quietly, so that the young men who were not concerned 
about thy law or thy peace, but with mendacious follies and 
forensic strifes, might no longer purchase from my mouth weapons 
for their frenzy.  Fortunately, there were only a few days before 
the "vintage vacation"[268]; and I determined to endure them, so 
that I might resign in due form and, now bought by thee, return 
for sale no more.

     My plan was known to thee, but, save for my own friends, it 
was not known to other men.  For we had agreed that it should not 
be made public; although, in our ascent from the "valley of tears" 
and our singing of "the song of degrees," thou hadst given us 
sharp arrows and hot burning coals to stop that deceitful tongue 
which opposes under the guise of good counsel, and devours what it 
loves as though it were food.

     3.  Thou hadst pierced our heart with thy love, and we 
carried thy words, as it were, thrust through our vitals.  The 
examples of thy servants whom thou hadst changed from black to 
shining white, and from death to life, crowded into the bosom of 
our thoughts and burned and consumed our sluggish temper, that we 
might not topple back into the abyss.  And they fired us 
exceedingly, so that every breath of the deceitful tongue of our 
detractors might fan the flame and not blow it out.

     Though this vow and purpose of ours should find those who 
would loudly praise it -- for the sake of thy name, which thou 
hast sanctified throughout the earth -- it nevertheless looked 
like a self-vaunting not to wait until the vacation time now so 
near.  For if I had left such a public office ahead of time, and 
had made the break in the eye of the general public, all who took 
notice of this act of mine and observed how near was the vintage 
time that I wished to anticipate would have talked about me a 
great deal, as if I were trying to appear a great person.  And 
what purpose would it serve that people should consider and 
dispute about my conversion so that my good should be evil spoken 

     4.  Furthermore, this same summer my lungs had begun to be 
weak from too much literary labor.  Breathing was difficult; the 
pains in my chest showed that the lungs were affected and were 
soon fatigued by too loud or prolonged speaking.  This had at 
first been a trial to me, for it would have compelled me almost of 
necessity to lay down that burden of teaching; or, if I was to be 
cured and become strong again, at least to take a leave for a 
while.  But as soon as the full desire to be still that I might 
know that thou art the Lord[269] arose and was confirmed in me, 
thou knowest, my God, that I began to rejoice that I had this 
excuse ready -- and not a feigned one, either -- which might 
somewhat temper the displeasure of those who for their sons' 
freedom wished me never to have any freedom of my own.

     Full of joy, then, I bore it until my time ran out -- it was 
perhaps some twenty days -- yet it was some strain to go through 
with it, for the greediness which helped to support the drudgery 
had gone, and I would have been overwhelmed had not its place been 
taken by patience.  Some of thy servants, my brethren, may say 
that I sinned in this, since having once fully and from my heart 
enlisted in thy service, I permitted myself to sit a single hour 
in the chair of falsehood.  I will not dispute it.  But hast thou 
not, O most merciful Lord, pardoned and forgiven this sin in the 
holy water[270] also, along with all the others, horrible and 
deadly as they were?

                          CHAPTER III

     5.  Verecundus was severely disturbed by this new happiness 
of mine, since he was still firmly held by his bonds and saw that 
he would lose my companionship.  For he was not yet a Christian, 
though his wife was; and, indeed, he was more firmly enchained by 
her than by anything else, and held back from that journey on 
which we had set out.  Furthermore, he declared he did not wish to 
be a Christian on any terms except those that were impossible.  
However, he invited us most courteously to make use of his country 
house so long as we would stay there.  O Lord, thou wilt 
recompense him for this "in the resurrection of the just,"[271] 
seeing that thou hast already given him "the lot of the 
righteous."[272]  For while we were absent at Rome, he was 
overtaken with bodily sickness, and during it he was made a 
Christian and departed this life as one of the faithful.  Thus 
thou hadst mercy on him, and not on him only, but on us as well; 
lest, remembering the exceeding kindness of our friend to us and 
not able to count him in thy flock, we should be tortured with 
intolerable grief.  Thanks be unto thee, our God; we are thine.  
Thy exhortations, consolations, and faithful promises assure us 
that thou wilt repay Verecundus for that country house at 
Cassiciacum -- where we found rest in thee from the fever of the 
world -- with the perpetual freshness of thy paradise in which 
thou hast forgiven him his earthly sins, in that mountain flowing 
with milk, that fruitful mountain -- thy own.

     6.  Thus Verecundus was full of grief; but Nebridius was 
joyous.  For he was not yet a Christian, and had fallen into the 
pit of deadly error, believing that the flesh of thy Son, the 
Truth, was a phantom.[273]  Yet he had come up out of that pit and 
now held the same belief that we did.  And though he was not as 
yet initiated in any of the sacraments of thy Church, he was a 
most earnest inquirer after truth.  Not long after our conversion 
and regeneration by thy baptism, he also became a faithful member 
of the Catholic Church, serving thee in perfect chastity and 
continence among his own people in Africa, and bringing his whole 
household with him to Christianity.  Then thou didst release him 
from the flesh, and now he lives in Abraham's bosom.  Whatever is 
signified by that term "bosom," there lives my Nebridius, my sweet 
friend, thy son by adoption, O Lord, and not a freedman any 
longer.  There he lives; for what other place could there be for 
such a soul?  There he lives in that abode about which he used to 
ask me so many questions -- poor ignorant one that I was.  Now he 
does not put his ear up to my mouth, but his spiritual mouth to 
thy fountain, and drinks wisdom as he desires and as he is able -- 
happy without end.  But I do not believe that he is so inebriated 
by that draught as to forget me; since thou, O Lord, who art the 
draught, art mindful of us.

     Thus, then, we were comforting the unhappy Verecundus -- our 
friendship untouched -- reconciling him to our conversion and 
exhorting him to a faith fit for his condition (that is, to his 
being married).  We tarried for Nebridius to follow us, since he 
was so close, and this he was just about to do when at last the 
interim ended.  The days had seemed long and many because of my 
eagerness for leisure and liberty in which I might sing to thee 
from my inmost part, "My heart has said to thee, I have sought thy 
face; thy face, O Lord, will I seek."[274]

                          CHAPTER IV

     7.  Finally the day came on which I was actually to be 
relieved from the professorship of rhetoric, from which I had 
already been released in intention.  And it was done.  And thou 
didst deliver my tongue as thou hadst already delivered my heart; 
and I blessed thee for it with great joy, and retired with my 
friends to the villa.[275]  My books testify to what I got done 
there in writing, which was now hopefully devoted to thy service; 
though in this pause it was still as if I were panting from my 
exertions in the school of pride.[276]  These were the books in 
which I engaged in dialogue with my friends, and also those in 
soliloquy before thee alone.[277]  And there are my letters to 
Nebridius, who was still absent.[278]

     When would there be enough time to recount all thy great 
blessings which thou didst bestow on us in that time, especially 
as I am hastening on to still greater mercies?  For my memory 
recalls them to me and it is pleasant to confess them to thee, O 
Lord: the inward goads by which thou didst subdue me and how thou 
broughtest me low, leveling the mountains and hills of my 
thoughts, straightening my crookedness, and smoothing my rough 
ways.  And I remember by what means thou also didst subdue 
Alypius, my heart's brother, to the name of thy only Son, our Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ -- which he at first refused to have 
inserted in our writings.  For at first he preferred that they 
should smell of the cedars of the schools[279] which the Lord hath 
now broken down, rather than of the wholesome herbs of the Church, 
hostile to serpents.[280]

     8.  O my God, how did I cry to thee when I read the psalms of 
David, those hymns of faith, those paeans of devotion which leave 
no room for swelling pride!  I was still a novice in thy true 
love, a catechumen keeping holiday at the villa, with Alypius, a 
catechumen like myself.  My mother was also with us -- in woman's 
garb, but with a man's faith, with the peacefulness of age and the 
fullness of motherly love and Christian piety.  What cries I used 
to send up to thee in those songs, and how I was enkindled toward 
thee by them!  I burned to sing them if possible, throughout the 
whole world, against the pride of the human race.  And yet, 
indeed, they are sung throughout the whole world, and none can 
hide himself from thy heat.  With what strong and bitter regret 
was I indignant at the Manicheans!  Yet I also pitied them; for 
they were ignorant of those sacraments, those medicines[281] -- 
and raved insanely against the cure that might have made them 
sane!  I wished they could have been somewhere close by, and -- 
without my knowledge -- could have seen my face and heard my words 
when, in that time of leisure, I pored over the Fourth Psalm.  And 
I wish they could have seen how that psalm affected me.[282]  
"When I called upon thee, O God of my righteousness, thou didst 
hear me; thou didst enlarge me when I was in distress.  Have mercy 
upon me and hear my prayer." I wish they might have heard what I 
said in comment on those words -- without my knowing that they 
heard, lest they should think that I was speaking it just on their 
account.  For, indeed, I should not have said quite the same 
things, nor quite in the same way, if I had known that I was heard 
and seen by them.  And if I had so spoken, they would not have 
meant the same things to them as they did to me when I spoke by 
and for myself before thee, out of the private affections of my 

     9.  By turns I trembled with fear and warmed with hope and 
rejoiced in thy mercy, O Father.  And all these feelings showed 
forth in my eyes and voice when thy good Spirit turned to us and 
said, "O sons of men, how long will you be slow of heart, how long 
will you love vanity, and seek after falsehood?"  For I had loved 
vanity and sought after falsehood.  And thou, O Lord, had already 
magnified thy Holy One, raising him from the dead and setting him 
at thy right hand, that thence he should send forth from on high 
his promised "Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth." Already he had sent 
him, and I knew it not.  He had sent him because he was now 
magnified, rising from the dead and ascending into heaven.  For 
till then "the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was 
not yet glorified."[283]  And the prophet cried out: "How long 
will you be slow of heart?  How long will you love vanity, and 
seek after falsehood?  Know this, that the Lord hath magnified his 
Holy One." He cries, "How long?"  He cries, "Know this," and I -- 
so long "loving vanity, and seeking after falsehood" -- heard and 
trembled, because these words were spoken to such a one as I 
remembered that I myself had been.  For in those phantoms which I 
once held for truth there was vanity and falsehood.  And I spoke 
many things loudly and earnestly -- in the contrition of my memory 
-- which I wish they had heard, who still "love vanity and seek 
after falsehood." Perhaps they would have been troubled, and have 
vomited up their error, and thou wouldst have heard them when they 
cried to thee; for by a real death in the flesh He died for us who 
now maketh intercession for us with thee.

     10.  I read on further, "Be angry, and sin not." And how 
deeply was I touched, O my God; for I had now learned to be angry 
with myself for the things past, so that in the future I might not 
sin.  Yes, to be angry with good cause, for it was not another 
nature out of the race of darkness that had sinned for me -- as 
they affirm who are not angry with themselves, and who store up 
for themselves dire wrath against the day of wrath and the 
revelation of thy righteous judgment.  Nor were the good things I 
saw now outside me, nor were they to be seen with the eyes of 
flesh in the light of the earthly sun.  For they that have their 
joys from without sink easily into emptiness and are spilled out 
on those things that are visible and temporal, and in their 
starving thoughts they lick their very shadows.  If only they 
would grow weary with their hunger and would say, "Who will show 
us any good?"  And we would answer, and they would hear, "O Lord, 
the light of thy countenance shines bright upon us." For we are 
not that Light that enlightens every man, but we are enlightened 
by thee, so that we who were formerly in darkness may now be 
alight in thee.  If only they could behold the inner Light Eternal 
which, now that I had tasted it, I gnashed my teeth because I 
could not show it to them unless they brought me their heart in 
their eyes -- their roving eyes -- and said, "Who will show us any 
good?"  But even there, in the inner chamber of my soul -- where I 
was angry with myself; where I was inwardly pricked, where I had 
offered my sacrifice, slaying my old man, and hoping in thee with 
the new resolve of a new life with my trust laid in thee -- even 
there thou hadst begun to grow sweet to me and to "put gladness in 
my heart." And thus as I read all this, I cried aloud and felt its 
inward meaning.  Nor did I wish to be increased in worldly goods 
which are wasted by time, for now I possessed, in thy eternal 
simplicity, other corn and wine and oil.

     11.  And with a loud cry from my heart, I read the following 
verse: "Oh, in peace!  Oh, in the Selfsame!"[284]  See how he says 
it: "I will lay me down and take my rest."[285]  For who shall 
withstand us when the truth of this saying that is written is made 
manifest: "Death is swallowed up in victory"[286]?  For surely 
thou, who dost not change, art the Selfsame, and in thee is rest 
and oblivion to all distress.  There is none other beside thee, 
nor are we to toil for those many things which are not thee, for 
only thou, O Lord, makest me to dwell in hope."

     These things I read and was enkindled -- but still I could 
not discover what to do with those deaf and dead Manicheans to 
whom I myself had belonged; for I had been a bitter and blind 
reviler against these writings, honeyed with the honey of heaven 
and luminous with thy light.  And I was sorely grieved at these 
enemies of this Scripture.

     12.  When shall I call to mind all that happened during those 
holidays?  I have not forgotten them; nor will I be silent about 
the severity of thy scourge, and the amazing quickness of thy 
mercy.  During that time thou didst torture me with a toothache; 
and when it had become so acute that I was not able to speak, it 
came into my heart to urge all my friends who were present to pray 
for me to thee, the God of all health.  And I wrote it down on the 
tablet and gave it to them to read.  Presently, as we bowed our 
knees in supplication, the pain was gone.  But what pain?  How did 
it go?  I confess that I was terrified, O Lord my God, because 
from my earliest years I had never experienced such pain.  And thy 
purposes were profoundly impressed upon me; and rejoicing in 
faith, I praised thy name.  But that faith allowed me no rest in 
respect of my past sins, which were not yet forgiven me through 
thy baptism.

                           CHAPTER V

     13.  Now that the vintage vacation was ended, I gave notice 
to the citizens of Milan that they might provide their scholars 
with another word-merchant.  I gave as my reasons my determination 
to serve thee and also my insufficiency for the task, because of 
the difficulty in breathing and the pain in my chest.

     And by letters I notified thy bishop, the holy man Ambrose, 
of my former errors and my present resolution.  And I asked his 
advice as to which of thy books it was best for me to read so that 
I might be the more ready and fit for the reception of so great a 
grace.  He recommended Isaiah the prophet; and I believe it was 
because Isaiah foreshows more clearly than others the gospel, and 
the calling of the Gentiles.  But because I could not understand 
the first part and because I imagined the rest to be like it, I 
laid it aside with the intention of taking it up again later, when 
better practiced in our Lord's words.

                          CHAPTER VI

     14.  When the time arrived for me to give in my name, we left 
the country and returned to Milan.  Alypius also resolved to be 
born again in thee at the same time.  He was already clothed with 
the humility that befits thy sacraments, and was so brave a tamer 
of his body that he would walk the frozen Italian soil with his 
naked feet, which called for unusual fortitude.  We took with us 
the boy Adeodatus, my son after the flesh, the offspring of my 
sin.  Thou hadst made of him a noble lad.  He was barely fifteen 
years old, but his intelligence excelled that of many grave and 
learned men.  I confess to thee thy gifts, O Lord my God, creator 
of all, who hast power to reform our deformities -- for there was 
nothing of me in that boy but the sin.  For it was thou who didst 
inspire us to foster him in thy discipline, and none other -- thy 
gifts I confess to thee.  There is a book of mine, entitled De 
Magistro.[287]  It is a dialogue between Adeodatus and me, and 
thou knowest that all things there put into the mouth of my 
interlocutor are his, though he was then only in his sixteenth 
year.  Many other gifts even more wonderful I found in him.  His 
talent was a source of awe to me.  And who but thou couldst be the 
worker of such marvels?  And thou didst quickly remove his life 
from the earth, and even now I recall him to mind with a sense of 
security, because I fear nothing for his childhood or youth, nor 
for his whole career.  We took him for our companion, as if he 
were the same age in grace with ourselves, to be trained with 
ourselves in thy discipline.  And so we were baptized and the 
anxiety about our past life left us.

     Nor did I ever have enough in those days of the wondrous 
sweetness of meditating on the depth of thy counsels concerning 
the salvation of the human race.  How freely did I weep in thy 
hymns and canticles; how deeply was I moved by the voices of thy 
sweet-speaking Church!  The voices flowed into my ears; and the 
truth was poured forth into my heart, where the tide of my 
devotion overflowed, and my tears ran down, and I was happy in all 
these things.

                          CHAPTER VII

     15.  The church of Milan had only recently begun to employ 
this mode of consolation and exaltation with all the brethren 
singing together with great earnestness of voice and heart.  For 
it was only about a year -- not much more -- since Justina, the 
mother of the boy-emperor Valentinian, had persecuted thy servant 
Ambrose on behalf of her heresy, in which she had been seduced by 
the Arians.  The devoted people kept guard in the church, prepared 
to die with their bishop, thy servant.  Among them my mother, thy 
handmaid, taking a leading part in those anxieties and vigils, 
lived there in prayer.  And even though we were still not wholly 
melted by the heat of thy Spirit, we were nevertheless excited by 
the alarmed and disturbed city.

     This was the time that the custom began, after the manner of 
the Eastern Church, that hymns and psalms should be sung, so that 
the people would not be worn out with the tedium of lamentation.  
This custom, retained from then till now, has been imitated by 
many, indeed, by almost all thy congregations throughout the rest 
of the world.[288]

     16.  Then by a vision thou madest known to thy renowned 
bishop the spot where lay the bodies of Gervasius and Protasius, 
the martyrs, whom thou hadst preserved uncorrupted for so many 
years in thy secret storehouse, so that thou mightest produce them 
at a fit time to check a woman's fury -- a woman indeed, but also 
a queen!  When they were discovered and dug up and brought with 
due honor to the basilica of Ambrose, as they were borne along the 
road many who were troubled by unclean spirits -- the devils 
confessing themselves -- were healed.  And there was also a 
certain man, a well-known citizen of the city, blind many years, 
who, when he had asked and learned the reason for the people's 
tumultuous joy, rushed out and begged his guide to lead him to the 
place.  When he arrived there, he begged to be permitted to touch 
with his handkerchief the bier of thy saints, whose death is 
precious in thy sight.  When he had done this, and put it to his 
eyes, they were immediately opened.  The fame of all this spread 
abroad; from this thy glory shone more brightly.  And also from 
this the mind of that angry woman, though not enlarged to the 
sanity of a full faith, was nevertheless restrained from the fury 
of persecution.

     Thanks to thee, O my God.  Whence and whither hast thou led 
my memory, that I should confess such things as these to thee -- 
for great as they were, I had forgetfully passed them over?  And 
yet at that time, when the sweet savor of thy ointment was so 
fragrant, I did not run after thee.[289]  Therefore, I wept more 
bitterly as I listened to thy hymns, having so long panted after 
thee.  And now at length I could breathe as much as the space 
allows in this our straw house.[290]

                         CHAPTER VIII 

     17.  Thou, O Lord, who makest men of one mind to dwell in a 
single house, also broughtest Evodius to join our company.  He was 
a young man of our city, who, while serving as a secret service 
agent, was converted to thee and baptized before us.  He had 
relinquished his secular service, and prepared himself for thine.  
We were together, and we were resolved to live together in our 
devout purpose.  

     We cast about for some place where we might be most useful in 
our service to thee, and had planned on going back together to 
Africa.  And when we had got as far as Ostia on the Tiber, my 
mother died.  

     I am passing over many things, for I must hasten.  Receive, O 
my God, my confessions and thanksgiving for the unnumbered things 
about which I am silent.  But I will not omit anything my mind has 
brought back concerning thy handmaid who brought me forth -- in 
her flesh, that I might be born into this world's light, and in 
her heart, that I might be born to life eternal.  I will not speak 
of her gifts, but of thy gift in her; for she neither made herself 
nor trained herself.  Thou didst create her, and neither her 
father nor her mother knew what kind of being was to come forth 
from them.  And it was the rod of thy Christ, the discipline of 
thy only Son, that trained her in thy fear, in the house of one of 
thy faithful ones who was a sound member of thy Church. Yet my 
mother did not attribute this good training of hers as much to the 
diligence of her own mother as to that of a certain elderly 
maidservant who had nursed her father, carrying him around on her 
back, as big girls carried babies.  Because of her long-time 
service and also because of her extreme age and excellent 
character, she was much respected by the heads of that Christian 
household.  The care of her master's daughters was also committed 
to her, and she performed her task with diligence.  She was quite 
earnest in restraining them with a holy severity when necessary 
and instructing them with a sober sagacity.  Thus, except at 
mealtimes at their parents' table -- when they were fed very 
temperately -- she would not allow them to drink even water, 
however parched they were with thirst.  In this way she took 
precautions against an evil custom and added the wholesome advice: 
"You drink water now only because you don't control the wine; but 
when you are married and mistresses of pantry and cellar, you may 
not care for water, but the habit of drinking will be fixed." By 
such a method of instruction, and her authority, she restrained 
the longing of their tender age, and regulated even the thirst of 
the girls to such a decorous control that they no longer wanted 
what they ought not to have.

     18.  And yet, as thy handmaid related to me, her son, there 
had stolen upon her a love of wine.  For, in the ordinary course 
of things, when her parents sent her as a sober maiden to draw 
wine from the cask, she would hold a cup under the tap; and then, 
before she poured the wine into the bottle, she would wet the tips 
of her lips with a little of it, for more than this her taste 
refused.  She did not do this out of any craving for drink, but 
out of the overflowing buoyancy of her time of life, which bubbles 
up with sportiveness and youthful spirits, but is usually borne 
down by the gravity of the old folks.  And so, adding daily a 
little to that little -- for "he that contemns small things shall 
fall by a little here and a little there"[291] -- she slipped into 
such a habit as to drink off eagerly her little cup nearly full of 

     Where now was that wise old woman and her strict prohibition?  
Could anything prevail against our secret disease if thy medicine, 
O Lord, did not watch over us?  Though father and mother and 
nurturers are absent, thou art present, who dost create, who 
callest, and who also workest some good for our salvation, through 
those who are set over us.  What didst thou do at that time, O my 
God?  How didst thou heal her?  How didst thou make her whole?  
Didst thou not bring forth from another woman's soul a hard and 
bitter insult, like a surgeon's knife from thy secret store, and 
with one thrust drain off all that putrefaction?  For the slave 
girl who used to accompany her to the cellar fell to quarreling 
with her little mistress, as it sometimes happened when she was 
alone with her, and cast in her teeth this vice of hers, along 
with a very bitter insult: calling her "a drunkard." Stung by this 
taunt, my mother saw her own vileness and immediately condemned 
and renounced it.

     As the flattery of friends corrupts, so often do the taunts 
of enemies instruct.  Yet thou repayest them, not for the good 
thou workest through their means, but for the malice they 
intended.  That angry slave girl wanted to infuriate her young 
mistress, not to cure her; and that is why she spoke up when they 
were alone.  Or perhaps it was because their quarrel just happened 
to break out at that time and place; or perhaps she was afraid of 
punishment for having told of it so late.

     But thou, O Lord, ruler of heaven and earth, who changest to 
thy purposes the deepest floods and controls the turbulent tide of 
the ages, thou healest one soul by the unsoundness of another; so 
that no man, when he hears of such a happening, should attribute 
it to his own power if another person whom he wishes to reform is 
reformed through a word of his.

                          CHAPTER IX

     19.  Thus modestly and soberly brought up, she was made 
subject to her parents by thee, rather more than by her parents to 
thee.  She arrived at a marriageable age, and she was given to a 
husband whom she served as her lord.  And she busied herself to 
gain him to thee, preaching thee to him by her behavior, in which 
thou madest her fair and reverently amiable, and admirable to her 
husband.  For she endured with patience his infidelity and never 
had any dissension with her husband on this account.  For she 
waited for thy mercy upon him until, by believing in thee, he 
might become chaste.

     Moreover, even though he was earnest in friendship, he was 
also violent in anger; but she had learned that an angry husband 
should not be resisted, either in deed or in word.  But as soon as 
he had grown calm and was tranquil, and she saw a fitting moment, 
she would give him a reason for her conduct, if he had been 
excited unreasonably.  As a result, while many matrons whose 
husbands were more gentle than hers bore the marks of blows on 
their disfigured faces, and would in private talk blame the 
behavior of their husbands, she would blame their tongues, 
admonishing them seriously -- though in a jesting manner -- that 
from the hour they heard what are called the matrimonial tablets 
read to them, they should think of them as instruments by which 
they were made servants.  So, always being mindful of their 
condition, they ought not to set themselves up in opposition to 
their lords.  And, knowing what a furious, bad-tempered husband 
she endured, they marveled that it had never been rumored, nor was 
there any mark to show, that Patricius had ever beaten his wife, 
or that there had been any domestic strife between them, even for 
a day.  And when they asked her confidentially the reason for 
this, she taught them the rule I have mentioned.  Those who 
observed it confirmed the wisdom of it and rejoiced; those who did 
not observe it were bullied and vexed.

     20.  Even her mother-in-law, who was at first prejudiced 
against her by the whisperings of malicious servants, she 
conquered by submission, persevering in it with patience and 
meekness; with the result that the mother-in-law told her son of 
the tales of the meddling servants which had disturbed the 
domestic peace between herself and her daughter-in-law and begged 
him to punish them for it.  In conformity with his mother's wish, 
and in the interest of family discipline to insure the future 
harmony of its members, he had those servants beaten who were 
pointed out by her who had discovered them; and she promised a 
similar reward to anyone else who, thinking to please her, should 
say anything evil of her daughter-in-law.  After this no one dared 
to do so, and they lived together with a wonderful sweetness of 
mutual good will.

     21.  This other great gift thou also didst bestow, O my God, 
my Mercy, upon that good handmaid of thine, in whose womb thou 
didst create me.  It was that whenever she could she acted as a 
peacemaker between any differing and discordant spirits, and when 
she heard very bitter things on either side of a controversy -- 
the kind of bloated and undigested discord which often belches 
forth bitter words, when crude malice is breathed out by sharp 
tongues to a present friend against an absent enemy -- she would 
disclose nothing about the one to the other except what might 
serve toward their reconciliation.  This might seem a small good 
to me if I did not know to my sorrow countless persons who, 
through the horrid and far-spreading infection of sin, not only 
repeat to enemies mutually enraged things said in passion against 
each other, but also add some things that were never said at all.  
It ought not to be enough in a truly humane man merely not to 
incite or increase the enmities of men by evil-speaking; he ought 
likewise to endeavor by kind words to extinguish them.  Such a one 
was she -- and thou, her most intimate instructor, didst teach her 
in the school of her heart.  

     22.  Finally, her own husband, now toward the end of his 
earthly existence, she won over to thee.  Henceforth, she had no 
cause to complain of unfaithfulness in him, which she had endured 
before he became one of the faithful.  She was also the servant of 
thy servants.  All those who knew her greatly praised, honored, 
and loved thee in her because, through the witness of the fruits 
of a holy life, they recognized thee present in her heart.  For 
she had "been the wife of one man,"[292] had honored her parents, 
had guided her house in piety, was highly reputed for good works, 
and brought up her children, travailing in labor with them as 
often as she saw them swerving from thee.  Lastly, to all of us, O 
Lord -- since of thy favor thou allowest thy servants to speak -- 
to all of us who lived together in that association before her 
death in thee she devoted such care as she might have if she had 
been mother of us all; she served us as if she had been the 
daughter of us all.

                           CHAPTER X

     23.  As the day now approached on which she was to depart 
this life -- a day which thou knewest, but which we did not -- it 
happened (though I believe it was by thy secret ways arranged) 
that she and I stood alone, leaning in a certain window from which 
the garden of the house we occupied at Ostia could be seen.  Here 
in this place, removed from the crowd, we were resting ourselves 
for the voyage after the fatigues of a long journey.

     We were conversing alone very pleasantly and "forgetting 
those things which are past, and reaching forward toward those 
things which are future."[293]  We were in the present -- and in 
the presence of Truth (which thou art) -- discussing together what 
is the nature of the eternal life of the saints: which eye has not 
seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of 
man.[294]  We opened wide the mouth of our heart, thirsting for 
those supernal streams of thy fountain, "the fountain of life" 
which is with thee,[295] that we might be sprinkled with its 
waters according to our capacity and might in some measure weigh 
the truth of so profound a mystery.

     24.  And when our conversation had brought us to the point 
where the very highest of physical sense and the most intense 
illumination of physical light seemed, in comparison with the 
sweetness of that life to come, not worthy of comparison, nor even 
of mention, we lifted ourselves with a more ardent love toward the 
Selfsame,[296] and we gradually passed through all the levels of 
bodily objects, and even through the heaven itself, where the sun 
and moon and stars shine on the earth.  Indeed, we soared higher 
yet by an inner musing, speaking and marveling at thy works.

     And we came at last to our own minds and went beyond them, 
that we might climb as high as that region of unfailing plenty 
where thou feedest Israel forever with the food of truth, where 
life is that Wisdom by whom all things are made, both which have 
been and which are to be.  Wisdom is not made, but is as she has 
been and forever shall be; for "to have been" and "to be 
hereafter" do not apply to her, but only "to be," because she is 
eternal and "to have been" and "to be hereafter" are not eternal.

     And while we were thus speaking and straining after her, we 
just barely touched her with the whole effort of our hearts.  Then 
with a sigh, leaving the first fruits of the Spirit bound to that 
ecstasy, we returned to the sounds of our own tongue, where the 
spoken word had both beginning and end.[297]  But what is like to 
thy Word, our Lord, who remaineth in himself without becoming old, 
and "makes all things new"[298]? 

     25.  What we said went something like this: "If to any man 
the tumult of the flesh were silenced; and the phantoms of earth 
and waters and air were silenced; and the poles were silent as 
well; indeed, if the very soul grew silent to herself, and went 
beyond herself by not thinking of herself; if fancies and 
imaginary revelations were silenced; if every tongue and every 
sign and every transient thing -- for actually if any man could 
hear them, all these would say, 'We did not create ourselves, but 
were created by Him who abides forever' -- and if, having uttered 
this, they too should be silent, having stirred our ears to hear 
him who created them; and if then he alone spoke, not through them 
but by himself, that we might hear his word, not in fleshly tongue 
or angelic voice, nor sound of thunder, nor the obscurity of a 
parable, but might hear him -- him for whose sake we love these 
things -- if we could hear him without these, as we two now 
strained ourselves to do, we then with rapid thought might touch 
on that Eternal Wisdom which abides over all.  And if this could 
be sustained, and other visions of a far different kind be taken 
away, and this one should so ravish and absorb and envelop its 
beholder in these inward joys that his life might be eternally 
like that one moment of knowledge which we now sighed after -- 
would not _this_ be the reality of the saying, 'Enter into the joy 
of thy Lord'[299]?  But when shall such a thing be?  Shall it not 
be 'when we all shall rise again,' and shall it not be that 'all 
things will be changed'[300]?"

     26.  Such a thought I was expressing, and if not in this 
manner and in these words, still, O Lord, thou knowest that on 
that day we were talking thus and that this world, with all its 
joys, seemed cheap to us even as we spoke.  Then my mother said: 
"Son, for myself I have no longer any pleasure in anything in this 
life.  Now that my hopes in this world are satisfied, I do not 
know what more I want here or why I am here.  There was indeed one 
thing for which I wished to tarry a little in this life, and that 
was that I might see you a Catholic Christian before I died.  My 
God hath answered this more than abundantly, so that I see you now 
made his servant and spurning all earthly happiness.  What more am 
I to do here?"

                          CHAPTER XI

     27.  I do not well remember what reply I made to her about 
this.  However, it was scarcely five days later -- certainly not 
much more -- that she was prostrated by fever.  While she was 
sick, she fainted one day and was for a short time quite 
unconscious.  We hurried to her, and when she soon regained her 
senses, she looked at me and my brother[301] as we stood by her, 
and said, in inquiry, "Where was I?"  Then looking intently at us, 
dumb in our grief, she said, "Here in this place shall you bury 
your mother." I was silent and held back my tears; but my brother 
said something, wishing her the happier lot of dying in her own 
country and not abroad.  When she heard this, she fixed him with 
her eye and an anxious countenance, because he savored of such 
earthly concerns, and then gazing at me she said, "See how he 
speaks." Soon after, she said to us both: "Lay this body anywhere, 
and do not let the care of it be a trouble to you at all.  Only 
this I ask: that you will remember me at the Lord's altar, 
wherever you are." And when she had expressed her wish in such 
words as she could, she fell silent, in heavy pain with her 
increasing sickness.

     28.  But as I thought about thy gifts, O invisible God, which 
thou plantest in the heart of thy faithful ones, from which such 
marvelous fruits spring up, I rejoiced and gave thanks to thee, 
remembering what I had known of how she had always been much 
concerned about her burial place, which she had provided and 
prepared for herself by the body of her husband.  For as they had 
lived very peacefully together, her desire had always been -- so 
little is the human mind capable of grasping things divine -- that 
this last should be added to all that happiness, and commented on 
by others: that, after her pilgrimage beyond the sea, it would be 
granted her that the two of them, so united on earth, should lie 
in the same grave.

     When this vanity, through the bounty of thy goodness, had 
begun to be no longer in her heart, I do not know; but I joyfully 
marveled at what she had thus disclosed to me -- though indeed in 
our conversation in the window, when she said, "What is there here 
for me to do any more?"  she appeared not to desire to die in her 
own country.  I heard later on that, during our stay in Ostia, she 
had been talking in maternal confidence to some of my friends 
about her contempt of this life and the blessing of death.  When 
they were amazed at the courage which was given her, a woman, and 
had asked her whether she did not dread having her body buried so 
far from her own city, she replied: "Nothing is far from God.  I 
do not fear that, at the end of time, he should not know the place 
whence he is to resurrect me." And so on the ninth day of her 
sickness, in the fifty-sixth year of her life and the thirty-third 
of mine,[302] that religious and devout soul was set loose from 
the body.

                          CHAPTER XII

     29.  I closed her eyes; and there flowed in a great sadness 
on my heart and it was passing into tears, when at the strong 
behest of my mind my eyes sucked back the fountain dry, and sorrow 
was in me like a convulsion.  As soon as she breathed her last, 
the boy Adeodatus burst out wailing; but he was checked by us all, 
and became quiet.  Likewise, my own childish feeling which was, 
through the youthful voice of my heart, seeking escape in tears, 
was held back and silenced.  For we did not consider it fitting to 
celebrate that death with tearful wails and groanings.  This is 
the way those who die unhappy or are altogether dead are usually 
mourned.  But she neither died unhappy nor did she altogether 
die.[303]  For of this we were assured by the witness of her good 
life, her "faith unfeigned,"[304] and other manifest evidence.

     30.  What was it, then, that hurt me so grievously in my 
heart except the newly made wound, caused from having the sweet 
and dear habit of living together with her suddenly broken?  I was 
full of joy because of her testimony in her last illness, when she 
praised my dutiful attention and called me kind, and recalled with 
great affection of love that she had never heard any harsh or 
reproachful sound from my mouth against her.  But yet, O my God 
who made us, how can that honor I paid her be compared with her 
service to me?  I was then left destitute of a great comfort in 
her, and my soul was stricken; and that life was torn apart, as it 
were, which had been made but one out of hers and mine 

     31.  When the boy was restrained from weeping, Evodius took 
up the Psalter and began to sing, with the whole household 
responding, the psalm, "I will sing of mercy and judgment unto 
thee, O Lord."[306]  And when they heard what we were doing, many 
of the brethren and religious women came together.  And while 
those whose office it was to prepare for the funeral went about 
their task according to custom, I discoursed in another part of 
the house, with those who thought I should not be left alone, on 
what was appropriate to the occasion.  By this balm of truth, I 
softened the anguish known to thee.  They were unconscious of it 
and listened intently and thought me free of any sense of sorrow.  
But in thy ears, where none of them heard, I reproached myself for 
the mildness of my feelings, and restrained the flow of my grief 
which bowed a little to my will.  The paroxysm returned again, and 
I knew what I repressed in my heart, even though it did not make 
me burst forth into tears or even change my countenance; and I was 
greatly annoyed that these human things had such power over me, 
which in the due order and destiny of our natural condition must 
of necessity happen.  And so with a new sorrow I sorrowed for my 
sorrow and was wasted with a twofold sadness.

     32.  So, when the body was carried forth, we both went and 
returned without tears.  For neither in those prayers which we 
poured forth to thee, when the sacrifice of our redemption was 
offered up to thee for her -- with the body placed by the side of 
the grave as the custom is there, before it is lowered down into 
it -- neither in those prayers did I weep.  But I was most 
grievously sad in secret all the day, and with a troubled mind 
entreated thee, as I could, to heal my sorrow; but thou didst not.  
I now believe that thou wast fixing in my memory, by this one 
lesson, the power of the bonds of all habit, even on a mind which 
now no longer feeds upon deception.  It then occurred to me that 
it would be a good thing to go and bathe, for I had heard that the 
word for bath [balneum] took its name from the Greek balaneion, 
because it washes anxiety from the mind.  Now see, this also I 
confess to thy mercy, "O Father of the fatherless"[307]: I bathed 
and felt the same as I had done before.  For the bitterness of my 
grief was not sweated from my heart.

     Then I slept, and when I awoke I found my grief not a little 
assuaged.  And as I lay there on my bed, those true verses of 
Ambrose came to my mind, for thou art truly,

          "Deus, creator omnium, 

     Polique rector, vestiens 

     Diem decoro lumine, 

     Noctem sopora gratia; 

          Artus solutos ut quies 

     Reddat laboris usui 

     Mentesque fessas allevet, 

     Luctusque solvat anxios."

     "O God, Creator of us all, 

     Guiding the orbs celestial, 

     Clothing the day with lovely light, 

     Appointing gracious sleep by night:

     Thy grace our wearied limbs restore

     To strengthened labor, as before,

     And ease the grief of tired minds

     From that deep torment which it finds."[308]

     33.  And then, little by little, there came back to me my 
former memories of thy handmaid: her devout life toward thee, her 
holy tenderness and attentiveness toward us, which had suddenly 
been taken away from me -- and it was a solace for me to weep in 
thy sight, for her and for myself, about her and about myself.  
Thus I set free the tears which before I repressed, that they 
might flow at will, spreading them out as a pillow beneath my 
heart.  And it rested on them, for thy ears were near me -- not 
those of a man, who would have made a scornful comment about my 
weeping.  But now in writing I confess it to thee, O Lord!  Read 
it who will, and comment how he will, and if he finds me to have 
sinned in weeping for my mother for part of an hour -- that mother 
who was for a while dead to my eyes, who had for many years wept 
for me that I might live in thy eyes -- let him not laugh at me; 
but if he be a man of generous love, let him weep for my sins 
against thee, the Father of all the brethren of thy Christ.

                         CHAPTER XIII

     34.  Now that my heart is healed of that wound -- so far as 
it can be charged against me as a carnal affection -- I pour out 
to thee, O our God, on behalf of thy handmaid, tears of a very 
different sort: those which flow from a spirit broken by the 
thoughts of the dangers of every soul that dies in Adam.  And 
while she had been "made alive" in Christ[309] even before she was 
freed from the flesh, and had so lived as to praise thy name both 
by her faith and by her life, yet I would not dare say that from 
the time thou didst regenerate her by baptism no word came out of 
her mouth against thy precepts.  But it has been declared by thy 
Son, the Truth, that "whosoever shall say to his brother, You 
fool, shall be in danger of hell-fire."[310]  And there would be 
doom even for the life of a praiseworthy man if thou judgedst it 
with thy mercy set aside.  But since thou dost not so stringently 
inquire after our sins, we hope with confidence to find some place 
in thy presence.  But whoever recounts his actual and true merits 
to thee, what is he doing but recounting to thee thy own gifts?  
Oh, if only men would know themselves as men, then "he that 
glories" would "glory in the Lord"[311]!

     35.  Thus now, O my Praise and my Life, O God of my heart, 
forgetting for a little her good deeds for which I give joyful 
thanks to thee, I now beseech thee for the sins of my mother.  
Hearken unto me, through that Medicine of our wounds, who didst 
hang upon the tree and who sittest at thy right hand "making 
intercession for us."[312]  I know that she acted in mercy, and 
from the heart forgave her debtors their debts.[313]  I beseech 
thee also to forgive her debts, whatever she contracted during so 
many years since the water of salvation.  Forgive her, O Lord, 
forgive her, I beseech thee; "enter not into judgment" with 
her.[314]  Let thy mercy be exalted above thy justice, for thy 
words are true and thou hast promised mercy to the merciful, that 
the merciful shall obtain mercy.[315]  This is thy gift, who hast 
mercy on whom thou wilt and who wilt have compassion on whom thou 
dost have compassion on.[316]

     36.  Indeed, I believe thou hast already done what I ask of 
thee, but "accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O 
Lord."[317]  For when the day of her dissolution was so close, she 
took no thought to have her body sumptuously wrapped or embalmed 
with spices.  Nor did she covet a handsome monument, or even care 
to be buried in her own country.  About these things she gave no 
commands at all, but only desired to have her name remembered at 
thy altar, where she had served without the omission of a single 
day, and where she knew that the holy sacrifice was dispensed by 
which that handwriting that was against us is blotted out; and 
that enemy vanquished who, when he summed up our offenses and 
searched for something to bring against us, could find nothing in 
Him, in whom we conquer.

     Who will restore to him the innocent blood?  Who will repay 
him the price with which he bought us, so as to take us from him?  
Thus to the sacrament of our redemption did thy hand maid bind her 
soul by the bond of faith.  Let none separate her from thy 
protection.  Let not the "lion" and "dragon" bar her way by force 
or fraud.  For she will not reply that she owes nothing, lest she 
be convicted and duped by that cunning deceiver.  Rather, she will 
answer that her sins are forgiven by Him to whom no one is able to 
repay the price which he, who owed us nothing, laid down for us 

     37.  Therefore, let her rest in peace with her husband, 
before and after whom she was married to no other man; whom she 
obeyed with patience, bringing fruit to thee that she might also 
win him for thee.  And inspire, O my Lord my God, inspire thy 
servants, my brothers; thy sons, my masters, who with voice and 
heart and writings I serve, that as many of them as shall read 
these confessions may also at thy altar remember Monica, thy 
handmaid, together with Patricius, once her husband; by whose 
flesh thou didst bring me into this life, in a manner I know not.  
May they with pious affection remember my parents in this 
transitory life, and remember my brothers under thee our Father in 
our Catholic mother; and remember my fellow citizens in the 
eternal Jerusalem, for which thy people sigh in their pilgrimage 
from birth until their return.  So be fulfilled what my mother 
desired of me -- more richly in the prayers of so many gained for 
her through these confessions of mine than by my prayers alone.  

                          BOOK TEN

     From autobiography to self-analysis.  Augustine turns from 
his memories of the past to the inner mysteries of memory itself.  
In doing so, he reviews his motives for these written 
"confessions," and seeks to chart the path by which men come to 
God.  But this brings him into the intricate analysis of memory 
and its relation to the self and its powers.  This done, he 
explores the meaning and mode of true prayer.  In conclusion, he 
undertakes a detailed analysis of appetite and the temptations to 
which the flesh and the soul are heirs, and comes finally to see 
how necessary and right it was for the Mediator between God and 
man to have been the God-Man.  

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  Let me know thee, O my Knower; let me know thee even as I 
am known.[318]  O Strength of my soul, enter it and prepare it for 
thyself that thou mayest have and hold it, without "spot or 
blemish."[319]  This is my hope, therefore have I spoken; and in 
this hope I rejoice whenever I rejoice aright.  But as for the 
other things of this life, they deserve our lamentations less, the 
more we lament them; and some should be lamented all the more, the 
less men care for them.  For see, "Thou desirest truth"[320] and 
"he who does the truth comes to the light."[321]  This is what I 
wish to do through confession in my heart before thee, and in my 
writings before many witnesses.

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  And what is there in me that could be hidden from thee, 
Lord, to whose eyes the abysses of man's conscience are naked, 
even if I were unwilling to confess it to thee?  In doing so I 
would only hide thee from myself, not myself from thee.  But now 
that my groaning is witness to the fact that I am dissatisfied 
with myself, thou shinest forth and satisfiest.  Thou art beloved 
and desired; so that I blush for myself, and renounce myself and 
choose thee, for I can neither please thee nor myself except in 
thee.  To thee, then, O Lord, I am laid bare, whatever I am, and I 
have already said with what profit I may confess to thee.  I do 
not do it with words and sounds of the flesh but with the words of 
the soul, and with the sound of my thoughts, which thy ear knows.  
For when I am wicked, to confess to thee means nothing less than 
to be dissatisfied with myself; but when I am truly devout, it 
means nothing less than not to attribute my virtue to myself; 
because thou, O Lord, blessest the righteous, but first thou 
justifiest him while he is yet ungodly.  My confession therefore, 
O my God, is made unto thee silently in thy sight -- and yet not 
silently.  As far as sound is concerned, it is silent.  But in 
strong affection it cries aloud.  For neither do I give voice to 
something that sounds right to men, which thou hast not heard from 
me before, nor dost thou hear anything of the kind from me which 
thou didst not first say to me.

                          CHAPTER III

     3.  What is it to me that men should hear my confessions as 
if it were they who were going to cure all my infirmities?  People 
are curious to know the lives of others, but slow to correct their 
own.  Why are they anxious to hear from me what I am, when they 
are unwilling to hear from thee what they are?  And how can they 
tell when they hear what I say about myself whether I speak the 
truth, since no man knows what is in a man "save the spirit of man 
which is in him"[322]?  But if they were to hear from thee 
something concerning themselves, they would not be able to say, 
"The Lord is lying." For what does it mean to hear from thee about 
themselves but to know themselves?  And who is he that knows 
himself and says, "This is false," unless he himself is lying?  
But, because "love believes all things"[323] -- at least among 
those who are bound together in love by its bonds -- I confess to 
thee, O Lord, so that men may also hear; for if I cannot prove to 
them that I confess the truth, yet those whose ears love opens to 
me will believe me.

     4.  But wilt thou, O my inner Physician, make clear to me 
what profit I am to gain in doing this?  For the confessions of my 
past sins (which thou hast "forgiven and covered"[324] that thou 
mightest make me blessed in thee, transforming my soul by faith 
and thy sacrament), when _they_ are read and heard, may stir up 
the heart so that it will stop dozing along in despair, saying, "I 
cannot"; but will instead awake in the love of thy mercy and the 
sweetness of thy grace, by which he that is weak is strong, 
provided he is made conscious of his own weakness.  And it will 
please those who are good to hear about the past errors of those 
who are now freed from them.  And they will take delight, not 
because they are errors, but because they were and are so no 
longer.  What profit, then, O Lord my God -- to whom my conscience 
makes her daily confession, far more confident in the hope of thy 
mercy than in her own innocence -- what profit is there, I ask 
thee, in confessing to men in thy presence, through this book, 
both what I am now as well as what I have been?  For I have seen 
and spoken of my harvest of things past.  But what am I _now_, at 
this very moment of making my confessions?  Many different people 
desire to know, both those who know me and those who do not know 
me.  Some have heard about me or from me, but their ear is not 
close to my heart, where I am whatever it is that I am.  They have 
the desire to hear me confess what I am within, where they can 
neither extend eye nor ear nor mind.  They desire as those willing 
to believe -- but will they understand?  For the love by which 
they are good tells them that I am not lying in my confessions, 
and the love in them believes me.

                          CHAPTER IV

     5.  But for what profit do they desire this?  Will they wish 
me happiness when they learn how near I have approached thee, by 
thy gifts?  And will they pray for me when they learn how much I 
am still kept back by my own weight?  To such as these I will 
declare myself.  For it is no small profit, O Lord my God, that 
many people should give thanks to thee on my account and that many 
should entreat thee for my sake.  Let the brotherly soul love in 
me what thou teachest him should be loved, and let him lament in 
me what thou teachest him should be lamented.  Let it be the soul 
of a brother that does this, and not a stranger -- not one of 
those "strange children, whose mouth speaks vanity, and whose 
right hand is the right hand of falsehood."[325]  But let my 
brother do it who, when he approves of me, rejoices for me, but 
when he disapproves of me is sorry for me; because whether he 
approves or disapproves, he loves me.  To such I will declare 
myself.  Let them be refreshed by my good deeds and sigh over my 
evil ones.  My good deeds are thy acts and thy gifts; my evil ones 
are my own faults and thy judgment.  Let them breathe expansively 
at the one and sigh over the other.  And let hymns and tears 
ascend in thy sight out of their brotherly hearts -- which are thy 
censers.[326]  And, O Lord, who takest delight in the incense of 
thy holy temple, have mercy upon me according to thy great mercy, 
for thy name's sake.  And do not, on any account whatever, abandon 
what thou hast begun in me.  Go on, rather, to complete what is 
yet imperfect in me.

     6.  This, then, is the fruit of my confessions (not of what I 
was, but of what I am), that I may not confess this before thee 
alone, in a secret exultation with trembling and a secret sorrow 
with hope, but also in the ears of the believing sons of men -- 
who are the companions of my joy and sharers of my mortality, my 
fellow citizens and fellow pilgrims -- those who have gone before 
and those who are to follow after, as well as the comrades of my 
present way.  These are thy servants, my brothers, whom thou 
desirest to be thy sons.  They are my masters, whom thou hast 
commanded me to serve if I desire to live with and in thee.  But 
this thy Word would mean little to me if it commanded in words 
alone, without thy prevenient action.  I do this, then, both in 
act and word.  I do this under thy wings, in a danger too great to 
risk if it were not that under thy wings my soul is subject to 
thee, and my weakness known to thee.  I am insufficient, but my 
Father liveth forever, and my Defender is sufficient for me.  For 
he is the Selfsame who didst beget me and who watcheth over me; 
thou art the Selfsame who art all my good.  Thou art the 
Omnipotent, who art with me, even before I am with thee.  To 
those, therefore, whom thou commandest me to serve, I will 
declare, not what I was, but what I now am and what I will 
continue to be.  But I do not judge myself.  Thus, therefore, let 
me be heard.

                           CHAPTER V

     7.  For it is thou, O Lord, who judgest me.  For although no 
man "knows the things of a man, save the spirit of the man which 
is in him,"[327] yet there is something of man which "the spirit 
of the man which is in him" does not know itself.  But thou, O 
Lord, who madest him, knowest him completely.  And even I -- 
though in thy sight I despise myself and count myself but dust and 
ashes -- even I know something about thee which I do not know 
about myself.  And it is certain that "now we see through a glass 
darkly," not yet "face to face."[328]  Therefore, as long as I 
journey away from thee, I am more present with myself than with 
thee.  I know that thou canst not suffer violence, but I myself do 
not know what temptations I can resist, and what I cannot.  But 
there is hope, because thou art faithful and thou wilt not allow 
us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist, but wilt with the 
temptation also make a way of escape that we may be able to bear 
it.  I would therefore confess what I know about myself; I will 
also confess what I do not know about myself.  What I do know of 
myself, I know from thy enlightening of me; and what I do not know 
of myself, I will continue not to know until the time when my 
"darkness is as the noonday"[329] in thy sight.

                          CHAPTER VI

     8.  It is not with a doubtful consciousness, but one fully 
certain that I love thee, O Lord.  Thou hast smitten my heart with 
thy Word, and I have loved thee.  And see also the heaven, and 
earth, and all that is in them -- on every side they tell me to 
love thee, and they do not cease to tell this to all men, "so that 
they are without excuse."[330]  Wherefore, still more deeply wilt 
thou have mercy on whom thou wilt have mercy, and compassion on 
whom thou wilt have compassion.[331]  For otherwise, both heaven 
and earth would tell abroad thy praises to deaf ears.

     But what is it that I love in loving thee?  Not physical 
beauty, nor the splendor of time, nor the radiance of the light -- 
so pleasant to our eyes -- nor the sweet melodies of the various 
kinds of songs, nor the fragrant smell of flowers and ointments 
and spices; not manna and honey, not the limbs embraced in 
physical love -- it is not these I love when I love my God.  Yet 
it is true that I love a certain kind of light and sound and 
fragrance and food and embrace in loving my God, who is the light 
and sound and fragrance and food and embracement of my inner man 
-- where that light shines into my soul which no place can 
contain, where time does not snatch away the lovely sound, where 
no breeze disperses the sweet fragrance, where no eating 
diminishes the food there provided, and where there is an embrace 
that no satiety comes to sunder.  This is what I love when I love 
my God.

     9.  And what is this God?  I asked the earth, and it 
answered, "I am not he"; and everything in the earth made the same 
confession.  I asked the sea and the deeps and the creeping 
things, and they replied, "We are not your God; seek above us." I 
asked the fleeting winds, and the whole air with its inhabitants 
answered, "Anaximenes[332] was deceived; I am not God." I asked 
the heavens, the sun, moon, and stars; and they answered, "Neither 
are we the God whom you seek." And I replied to all these things 
which stand around the door of my flesh: "You have told me about 
my God, that you are not he.  Tell me something about him." And 
with a loud voice they all cried out, "He made us." My question 
had come from my observation of them, and their reply came from 
their beauty of order.  And I turned my thoughts into myself and 
said, "Who are you?"  And I answered, "A man." For see, there is 
in me both a body and a soul; the one without, the other within.  
In which of these should I have sought my God, whom I had already 
sought with my body from earth to heaven, as far as I was able to 
send those messengers -- the beams of my eyes?  But the inner part 
is the better part; for to it, as both ruler and judge, all these 
messengers of the senses report the answers of heaven and earth 
and all the things therein, who said, "We are not God, but he made 
us." My inner man knew these things through the ministry of the 
outer man, and I, the inner man, knew all this -- I, the soul, 
through the senses of my body.[333]  I asked the whole frame of 
earth about my God, and it answered, "I am not he, but he made 

     10.  Is not this beauty of form visible to all whose senses 
are unimpaired?  Why, then, does it not say the same things to 
all?  Animals, both small and great, see it but they are unable to 
interrogate its meaning, because their senses are not endowed with 
the reason that would enable them to judge the evidence which the 
senses report.  But man can interrogate it, so that "the invisible 
things of him . . . are clearly seen, being understood by the 
things that are made."[334]  But men love these created things too 
much; they are brought into subjection to them -- and, as 
subjects, are not able to judge.  None of these created things 
reply to their questioners unless they can make rational 
judgments.  The creatures will not alter their voice -- that is, 
their beauty of form -- if one man simply sees what another both 
sees and questions, so that the world appears one way to this man 
and another to that.  It appears the same way to both; but it is 
mute to this one and it speaks to that one.  Indeed, it actually 
speaks to all, but only they understand it who compare the voice 
received from without with the truth within.  For the truth says 
to me, "Neither heaven nor earth nor anybody is your God." Their 
very nature tells this to the one who beholds[335] them.  "They 
are a mass, less in part than the whole." Now, O my soul, you are 
my better part, and to you I speak; since you animate the whole 
mass of your body, giving it life, whereas no body furnishes life 
to a body.  But your God is the life of your life.

                          CHAPTER VII

     11.  What is it, then, that I love when I love my God?  Who 
is he that is beyond the topmost point of my soul?  Yet by this 
very soul will I mount up to him.  I will soar beyond that power 
of mine by which I am united to the body, and by which the whole 
structure of it is filled with life.  Yet it is not by that vital 
power that I find my God.  For then "the horse and the mule, that 
have no understanding,"[336] also might find him, since they have 
the same vital power, by which their bodies also live.  But there 
is, besides the power by which I animate my body, another by which 
I endow my flesh with sense -- a power that the Lord hath provided 
for me; commanding that the eye is not to hear and the ear is not 
to see, but that I am to see by the eye and to hear by the ear; 
and giving to each of the other senses its own proper place and 
function, through the diversity of which I, the single mind, act.  
I will soar also beyond this power of mine, for the horse and mule 
have this too, for they also perceive through their bodily senses.

                         CHAPTER VIII

     12.  I will soar, then, beyond this power of my nature also, 
still rising by degrees toward him who made me.  And I enter the 
fields and spacious halls of memory, where are stored as treasures 
the countless images that have been brought into them from all 
manner of things by the senses.  There, in the memory, is likewise 
stored what we cogitate, either by enlarging or reducing our 
perceptions, or by altering one way or another those things which 
the senses have made contact with; and everything else that has 
been entrusted to it and stored up in it, which oblivion has not 
yet swallowed up and buried.

     When I go into this storehouse, I ask that what I want should 
be brought forth.  Some things appear immediately, but others 
require to be searched for longer, and then dragged out, as it 
were, from some hidden recess.  Other things hurry forth in 
crowds, on the other hand, and while something else is sought and 
inquired for, they leap into view as if to say, "Is it not we, 
perhaps?"  These I brush away with the hand of my heart from the 
face of my memory, until finally the thing I want makes its 
appearance out of its secret cell.  Some things suggest themselves 
without effort, and in continuous order, just as they are called 
for -- the things that come first give place to those that follow, 
and in so doing are treasured up again to be forthcoming when I 
want them.  All of this happens when I repeat a thing from memory.

     13.  All these things, each one of which came into memory in 
its own particular way, are stored up separately and under the 
general categories of understanding.  For example, light and all 
colors and forms of bodies came in through the eyes; sounds of all 
kinds by the ears; all smells by the passages of the nostrils; all 
flavors by the gate of the mouth; by the sensation of the whole 
body, there is brought in what is hard or soft, hot or cold, 
smooth or rough, heavy or light, whether external or internal to 
the body.  The vast cave of memory, with its numerous and 
mysterious recesses, receives all these things and stores them up, 
to be recalled and brought forth when required.  Each experience 
enters by its own door, and is stored up in the memory.  And yet 
the things themselves do not enter it, but only the images of the 
things perceived are there for thought to remember.  And who can 
tell how these images are formed, even if it is evident which of 
the senses brought which perception in and stored it up?  For even 
when I am in darkness and silence I can bring out colors in my 
memory if I wish, and discern between black and white and the 
other shades as I wish; and at the same time, sounds do not break 
in and disturb what is drawn in by my eyes, and which I am 
considering, because the sounds which are also there are stored 
up, as it were, apart.  And these too I can summon if I please and 
they are immediately present in memory.  And though my tongue is 
at rest and my throat silent, yet I can sing as I will; and those 
images of color, which are as truly present as before, do not 
interpose themselves or interrupt while another treasure which had 
flowed in through the ears is being thought about.  Similarly all 
the other things that were brought in and heaped up by all the 
other senses, I can recall at my pleasure.  And I distinguish the 
scent of lilies from that of violets while actually smelling 
nothing; and I prefer honey to mead, a smooth thing to a rough, 
even though I am neither tasting nor handling them, but only 
remembering them.  

     14.  All this I do within myself, in that huge hall of my 
memory.  For in it, heaven, earth, and sea are present to me, and 
whatever I can cogitate about them -- except what I have 
forgotten.  There also I meet myself and recall myself[337] -- 
what, when, or where I did a thing, and how I felt when I did it.  
There are all the things that I remember, either having 
experienced them myself or been told about them by others.  Out of 
the same storehouse, with these past impressions, I can construct 
now this, now that, image of things that I either have experienced 
or have believed on the basis of experience -- and from these I 
can further construct future actions, events, and hopes; and I can 
meditate on all these things as if they were present.  "I will do 
this or that" -- I say to myself in that vast recess of my mind, 
with its full store of so many and such great images -- "and this 
or that will follow upon it." "O that this or that could happen!" 
"God prevent this or that." I speak to myself in this way; and 
when I speak, the images of what I am speaking about are present 
out of the same store of memory; and if the images were absent I 
could say nothing at all about them.

     15.  Great is this power of memory, exceedingly great, O my 
God -- a large and boundless inner hall!  Who has plumbed the 
depths of it?  Yet it is a power of my mind, and it belongs to my 
nature.  But I do not myself grasp all that I am.  Thus the mind 
is far too narrow to contain itself.  But where can that part of 
it be which it does not contain?  Is it outside and not in itself?  
How can it be, then, that the mind cannot grasp itself?  A great 
marvel rises in me; astonishment seizes me.  Men go forth to 
marvel at the heights of mountains and the huge waves of the sea, 
the broad flow of the rivers, the vastness of the ocean, the 
orbits of the stars, and yet they neglect to marvel at themselves.  
Nor do they wonder how it is that, when I spoke of all these 
things, I was not looking at them with my eyes -- and yet I could 
not have spoken about them had it not been that I was actually 
seeing within, in my memory, those mountains and waves and rivers 
and stars which I have seen, and that ocean which I believe in -- 
and with the same vast spaces between them as when I saw them 
outside me.  But when I saw them outside me, I did not take them 
into me by seeing them; and the things themselves are not inside 
me, but only their images.  And yet I knew through which physical 
sense each experience had made an impression on me.

                          CHAPTER IX

     16.  And yet this is not all that the unlimited capacity of 
my memory stores up.  In memory, there are also all that one has 
learned of the liberal sciences, and has not forgotten -- removed 
still further, so to say, into an inner place which is not a 
place.  Of these things it is not the images that are retained, 
but the things themselves.  For what literature and logic are, and 
what I know about how many different kinds of questions there are 
-- all these are stored in my memory as they are, so that I have 
not taken in the image and left the thing outside.  It is not as 
though a sound had sounded and passed away like a voice heard by 
the ear which leaves a trace by which it can be called into memory 
again, as if it were still sounding in mind while it did so no 
longer outside.  Nor is it the same as an odor which, even after 
it has passed and vanished into the wind, affects the sense of 
smell -- which then conveys into the memory the _image_ of the 
smell which is what we recall and re-create; or like food which, 
once in the belly, surely now has no taste and yet does have a 
kind of taste in the memory; or like anything that is felt by the 
body through the sense of touch, which still remains as an image 
in the memory after the external object is removed.  For these 
things themselves are not put into the memory.  Only the images of 
them are gathered with a marvelous quickness and stored, as it 
were, in the most wonderful filing system, and are thence produced 
in a marvelous way by the act of remembering.

                           CHAPTER X

     17.  But now when I hear that there are three kinds of 
questions -- "Whether a thing is?  What it is?  Of what kind it 
is?" -- I do indeed retain the images of the sounds of which these 
words are composed and I know that those sounds pass through the 
air with a noise and now no longer exist.  But the things 
themselves which were signified by those sounds I never could 
reach by any sense of the body nor see them at all except by my 
mind.  And what I have stored in my memory was not their signs, 
but the things signified.

     How they got into me, let them tell who can.  For I examine 
all the gates of my flesh, but I cannot find the door by which any 
of them entered.  For the eyes say, "If they were colored, we 
reported that." The ears say, "If they gave any sound, we gave 
notice of that." The nostrils say, "If they smell, they passed in 
by us." The sense of taste says, "If they have no flavor, don't 
ask me about them." The sense of touch says, "If it had no bodily 
mass, I did not touch it, and if I never touched it, I gave no 
report about it."

     Whence and how did these things enter into my memory?  I do 
not know.  For when I first learned them, it was not that I 
believed them on the credit of another man's mind, but I 
recognized them in my own; and I saw them as true, took them into 
my mind and laid them up, so to say, where I could get at them 
again whenever I willed.  There they were, then, even before I 
learned them, but they were not in my memory.  Where were they, 
then?  How does it come about that when they were spoken of, I 
could acknowledge them and say, "So it is, it is true," unless 
they were already in the memory, though far back and hidden, as it 
were, in the more secret caves, so that unless they had been drawn 
out by the teaching of another person, I should perhaps never have 
been able to think of them at all? 

                          CHAPTER XI

     18.  Thus we find that learning those things whose images we 
do not take in by our senses, but which we intuit within ourselves 
without images and as they actually are, is nothing else except 
the gathering together of those same things which the memory 
already contains -- but in an indiscriminate and confused manner 
-- and putting them together by careful observation as they are at 
hand in the memory; so that whereas they formerly lay hidden, 
scattered, or neglected, they now come easily to present 
themselves to the mind which is now familiar with them.  And how 
many things of this sort my memory has stored up, which have 
already been discovered and, as I said, laid up for ready 
reference.  These are the things we may be said to have learned 
and to know.  Yet, if I cease to recall them even for short 
intervals of time, they are again so submerged -- and slide back, 
as it were, into the further reaches of the memory -- that they 
must be drawn out again as if new from the same place (for there 
is nowhere else for them to have gone) and must be collected 
[cogenda] so that they can become known.  In other words, they 
must be gathered up [colligenda] from their dispersion.  This is 
where we get the word cogitate [cogitare].  For cogo [collect] and 
cogito [to go on collecting] have the same relation to each other 
as ago [do] and agito [do frequently], and facio [make] and 
factito [make frequently].  But the mind has properly laid claim 
to this word [cogitate] so that not everything that is gathered 
together anywhere, but only what is collected and gathered 
together in the mind, is properly said to be "cogitated."

                          CHAPTER XII

     19.  The memory also contains the principles and the 
unnumbered laws of numbers and dimensions.  None of these has been 
impressed on the memory by a physical sense, because they have 
neither color nor sound, nor taste, nor sense of touch. I have 
heard the sound of the words by which these things are signified 
when they are discussed: but the sounds are one thing, the things 
another.  For the sounds are one thing in Greek, another in Latin; 
but the things themselves are neither Greek nor Latin nor any 
other language.  I have seen the lines of the craftsmen, the 
finest of which are like a spider's web, but mathematical lines 
are different.  They are not the images of such things as the eye 
of my body has showed me.  The man who knows them does so without 
any cogitation of physical objects whatever, but intuits them 
within himself.  I have perceived with all the senses of my body 
the numbers we use in counting; but the numbers by which we count 
are far different from these.  They are not the images of these; 
they simply are.  Let the man who does not see these things mock 
me for saying them; and I will pity him while he laughs at me.

                         CHAPTER XIII

     20.  All these things I hold in my memory, and I remember how 
I learned them.  I also remember many things that I have heard 
quite falsely urged against them, which, even if they are false, 
yet it is not false that I have remembered them.  And I also 
remember that I have distinguished between the truths and the 
false objections, and now I see that it is one thing to 
distinguish these things and another to remember that I did 
distinguish them when I have cogitated on them.  I remember, then, 
both that I have often understood these things and also that I am 
now storing away in my memory what I distinguish and comprehend of 
them so that later on I may remember just as I understand them 
now.  Therefore, I remember that I remembered, so that if 
afterward I call to mind that I once was able to remember these 
things it will be through the power of memory that I recall it.

                          CHAPTER XIV

     21.  This same memory also contains the feelings of my mind; 
not in the manner in which the mind itself experienced them, but 
very differently according to a power peculiar to memory.  For 
without being joyous now, I can remember that I once was joyous, 
and without being sad, I can recall my past sadness.  I can 
remember past fears without fear, and former desires without 
desire.  Again, the contrary happens.  Sometimes when I am joyous 
I remember my past sadness, and when sad, remember past joy.

     This is not to be marveled at as far as the body is 
concerned; for the mind is one thing and the body another.[338]  
If, therefore, when I am happy, I recall some past bodily pain, it 
is not so strange.  But even as this memory is experienced, it is 
identical with the mind -- as when we tell someone to remember 
something we say, "See that you bear this in mind"; and when we 
forget a thing, we say, "It did not enter my mind" or "It slipped 
my mind." Thus we call memory itself mind.

     Since this is so, how does it happen that when I am joyful I 
can still remember past sorrow?  Thus the mind has joy, and the 
memory has sorrow; and the mind is joyful from the joy that is in 
it, yet the memory is not sad from the sadness that is in it.  Is 
it possible that the memory does not belong to the mind?  Who will 
say so?  The memory doubtless is, so to say, the belly of the 
mind: and joy and sadness are like sweet and bitter food, which 
when they are committed to the memory are, so to say, passed into 
the belly where they can be stored but no longer tasted.  It is 
ridiculous to consider this an analogy; yet they are not utterly 

     22.  But look, it is from my memory that I produce it when I 
say that there are four basic emotions of the mind: desire, joy, 
fear, sadness.  Whatever kind of analysis I may be able to make of 
these, by dividing each into its particular species, and by 
defining it, I still find what to say in my memory and it is from 
my memory that I draw it out.  Yet I am not moved by any of these 
emotions when I call them to mind by remembering them.  Moreover, 
before I recalled them and thought about them, they were there in 
the memory; and this is how they could be brought forth in 
remembrance.  Perhaps, therefore, just as food is brought up out 
of the belly by rumination, so also these things are drawn up out 
of the memory by recall.  But why, then, does not the man who is 
thinking about the emotions, and is thus recalling them, feel in 
the mouth of his reflection the sweetness of joy or the bitterness 
of sadness?  Is the comparison unlike in this because it is not 
complete at every point?  For who would willingly speak on these 
subjects, if as often as we used the term sadness or fear, we 
should thereby be compelled to be sad or fearful?  And yet we 
could never speak of them if we did not find them in our memories, 
not merely as the sounds of the names, as their images are 
impressed on it by the physical senses, but also the notions of 
the things themselves -- which we did not receive by any gate of 
the flesh, but which the mind itself recognizes by the experience 
of its own passions, and has entrusted to the memory; or else 
which the memory itself has retained without their being entrusted 
to it.

                          CHAPTER XV

     23.  Now whether all this is by means of images or not, who 
can rightly affirm?  For I name a stone, I name the sun, and those 
things themselves are not present to my senses, but their images 
are present in my memory.  I name some pain of the body, yet it is 
not present when there is no pain; yet if there were not some such 
image of it in my memory, I could not even speak of it, nor should 
I be able to distinguish it from pleasure.  I name bodily health 
when I am sound in body, and the thing itself is indeed present in 
me.  At the same time, unless there were some image of it in my 
memory, I could not possibly call to mind what the sound of this 
name signified.  Nor would sick people know what was meant when 
health was named, unless the same image were preserved by the 
power of memory, even though the thing itself is absent from the 
body.  I can name the numbers we use in counting, and it is not 
their images but themselves that are in my memory.  I name the 
image of the sun, and this too is in my memory.  For I do not 
recall the image of that image, but that image itself, for the 
image itself is present when I remember it.  I name memory and I 
know what I name.  But where do I know it, except in the memory 
itself?  Is it also present to itself by its image, and not by 

                          CHAPTER XVI

     24.  When I name forgetfulness, and understand what I mean by 
the name, how could I understand it if I did not remember it?  And 
if I refer not to the sound of the name, but to the thing which 
the term signifies, how could I know what that sound signified if 
I had forgotten what the name means?  When, therefore, I remember 
memory, then memory is present to itself by itself, but when I 
remember forgetfulness then both memory and forgetfulness are 
present together -- the memory by which I remember the 
forgetfulness which I remember.  But what is forgetfulness except 
the privation of memory?  How, then, is that present to my memory 
which, when it controls my mind, I cannot remember?  But if what 
we remember we store up in our memory; and if, unless we 
remembered forgetfulness, we could never know the thing signified 
by the term when we heard it -- then, forgetfulness is contained 
in the memory.  It is present so that we do not forget it, but 
since it is present, we do forget.

     From this it is to be inferred that when we remember 
forgetfulness, it is not present to the memory through itself, but 
through its image; because if forgetfulness were present through 
itself, it would not lead us to remember, but only to forget.  Now 
who will someday work this out?  Who can understand how it is? 

     25.  Truly, O Lord, I toil with this and labor in myself.  I 
have become a troublesome field that requires hard labor and heavy 
sweat.  For we are not now searching out the tracts of heaven, or 
measuring the distances of the stars or inquiring about the weight 
of the earth.  It is I myself -- I, the mind -- who remember.  
This is not much to marvel at, if what I myself am is not far from 
me.  And what is nearer to me than myself?  For see, I am not able 
to comprehend the force of my own memory, though I could not even 
call my own name without it.  But what shall I say, when it is 
clear to me that I remember forgetfulness?  Should I affirm that 
what I remember is not in my memory?  Or should I say that 
forgetfulness is in my memory to the end that I should not forget?  
Both of these views are most absurd.  But what third view is 
there?  How can I say that the image of forgetfulness is retained 
by my memory, and not forgetfulness itself, when I remember it?  
How can I say this, since for the image of anything to be 
imprinted on the memory the thing itself must necessarily have 
been present first by which the image could have been imprinted?  
Thus I remember Carthage; thus, also, I remember all the other 
places where I have been.  And I remember the faces of men whom I 
have seen and things reported by the other senses.  I remember the 
health or sickness of the body.  And when these objects were 
present, my memory received images from them so that they remain 
present in order for me to see them and reflect upon them in my 
mind, if I choose to remember them in their absence.  If, 
therefore, forgetfulness is retained in the memory through its 
image and not through itself, then this means that it itself was 
once present, so that its image might have been imprinted.  But 
when it was present, how did it write its image on the memory, 
since forgetfulness, by its presence, blots out even what it finds 
already written there?  And yet in some way or other, even though 
it is incomprehensible and inexplicable, I am still quite certain 
that I also remember forgetfulness, by which we remember that 
something is blotted out.

                         CHAPTER XVII

     26.  Great is the power of memory.  It is a true marvel, O my 
God, a profound and infinite multiplicity!  And this is the mind, 
and this I myself am.  What, then, am I, O my God?  Of what nature 
am I?  A life various, and manifold, and exceedingly vast.  Behold 
in the numberless halls and caves, in the innumerable fields and 
dens and caverns of my memory, full without measure of numberless 
kinds of things -- present there either through images as all 
bodies are; or present in the things themselves as are our 
thoughts; or by some notion or observation as our emotions are, 
which the memory retains even though the mind feels them no 
longer, as long as whatever is in the memory is also in the mind 
-- through all these I run and fly to and fro.  I penetrate into 
them on this side and that as far as I can and yet there is 
nowhere any end.

     So great is the power of memory, so great the power of life 
in man whose life is mortal!  What, then, shall I do, O thou my 
true life, my God?  I will pass even beyond this power of mine 
that is called memory -- I will pass beyond it, that I may come to 
thee, O lovely Light.  And what art thou saying to me?  See, I 
soar by my mind toward thee, who remainest above me.  I will also 
pass beyond this power of mine that is called memory, desiring to 
reach thee where thou canst be reached, and wishing to cleave to 
thee where it is possible to cleave to thee.  For even beasts and 
birds possess memory, or else they could never find their lairs 
and nests again, nor display many other things they know and do by 
habit.  Indeed, they could not even form their habits except by 
their memories.  I will therefore pass even beyond memory that I 
may reach Him who has differentiated me from the four-footed 
beasts and the fowls of the air by making me a wiser creature.  
Thus I will pass beyond memory; but where shall I find thee, who 
art the true Good and the steadfast Sweetness?  But where shall I 
find thee?  If I find thee without memory, then I shall have no 
memory of thee; and how could I find thee at all, if I do not 
remember thee? 

                         CHAPTER XVIII

     27.  For the woman who lost her small coin[339] and searched 
for it with a light would never have found it unless she had 
remembered it.  For when it was found, how could she have known 
whether it was the same coin, if she had not remembered it?  I 
remember having lost and found many things, and I have learned 
this from that experience: that when I was searching for any of 
them and was asked: "Is this it? Is that it?"  I answered, "No," 
until finally what I was seeking was shown to me.  But if I had 
not remembered it -- whatever it was -- even though it was shown 
to me, I still would not have found it because I could not have 
recognized it.  And this is the way it always is when we search 
for and find anything that is lost.  Still, if anything is 
accidentally lost from sight -- not from memory, as a visible body 
might be -- its image is retained within, and the thing is 
searched for until it is restored to sight.  And when the thing is 
found, it is recognized by the image of it which is within.  And 
we do not say that we have found what we have lost unless we can 
recognize it, and we cannot recognize it unless we remember it.  
But all the while the thing lost to the sight was retained in the 

                          CHAPTER XIX

     28.  But what happens when the memory itself loses something, 
as when we forget anything and try to recall it?  Where, finally, 
do we search, but in the memory itself?  And there, if by chance 
one thing is offered for another, we refuse it until we meet with 
what we are looking for; and when we do, we recognize that this is 
it.  But we could not do this unless we recognized it, nor could 
we have recognized it unless we remembered it.  Yet we had indeed 
forgotten it.

     Perhaps the whole of it had not slipped out of our memory; 
but a part was retained by which the other lost part was sought 
for, because the memory realized that it was not operating as 
smoothly as usual and was being held up by the crippling of its 
habitual working; hence, it demanded the restoration of what was 

     For example, if we see or think of some man we know, and, 
having forgotten his name, try to recall it -- if some other thing 
presents itself, we cannot tie it into the effort to remember, 
because it was not habitually thought of in association with him.  
It is consequently rejected, until something comes into the mind 
on which our knowledge can rightly rest as the familiar and 
sought-for object.  And where does this name come back from, save 
from the memory itself?  For even when we recognize it by 
another's reminding us of it, still it is from the memory that 
this comes, for we do not believe it as something new; but when we 
recall it, we admit that what was said was correct.  But if the 
name had been entirely blotted out of the mind, we should not be 
able to recollect it even when reminded of it.  For we have not 
entirely forgotten anything if we can remember that we have 
forgotten it.  For a lost notion, one that we have entirely 
forgotten, we cannot even search for.

                           CHAPTER XX

     29.  How, then, do I seek thee, O Lord?  For when I seek 
thee, my God, I seek a happy life.  I will seek thee that my soul 
may live.[340]  For my body lives by my soul, and my soul lives by 
thee.  How, then, do I seek a happy life, since happiness is not 
mine till I can rightly say: "It is enough.  This is it." How do I 
seek it?  Is it by remembering, as though I had forgotten it and 
still knew that I had forgotten it?  Do I seek it in longing to 
learn of it as though it were something unknown, which either I 
had never known or had so completely forgotten as not even to 
remember that I had forgotten it?  Is not the happy life the thing 
that all desire, and is there anyone who does not desire it at 
all?[341]  But where would they have gotten the knowledge of it, 
that they should so desire it?  Where have they seen it that they 
should so love it?  It is somehow true that we have it, but how I 
do not know.

     There is, indeed, a sense in which when anyone has his desire 
he is happy.  And then there are some who are happy in hope.  
These are happy in an inferior degree to those that are actually 
happy; yet they are better off than those who are happy neither in 
actuality nor in hope.  But even these, if they had not known 
happiness in some degree, would not then desire to be happy.  And 
yet it is most certain that they do so desire.  How they come to 
know happiness, I cannot tell, but they have it by some kind of 
knowledge unknown to me, for I am very much in doubt as to whether 
it is in the memory.  For if it is in there, then we have been 
happy once on a time -- either each of us individually or all of 
us in that man who first sinned and in whom also we all died and 
from whom we are all born in misery.  How this is, I do not now 
ask; but I do ask whether the happy life is in the memory.  For if 
we did not know it, we should not love it.  We hear the name of 
it, and we all acknowledge that we desire the thing, for we are 
not delighted with the name only.  For when a Greek hears it 
spoken in Latin, he does not feel delighted, for he does not know 
what has been spoken.  But we are as delighted as he would be in 
turn if he heard it in Greek, because the thing itself is neither 
Greek nor Latin, this happiness which Greeks and Latins and men of 
all the other tongues long so earnestly to obtain.  It is, then, 
known to all; and if all could with one voice be asked whether 
they wished to be happy, there is no doubt they would all answer 
that they would.  And this would not be possible unless the thing 
itself, which we name "happiness," were held in the memory.

                          CHAPTER XXI

     30.  But is it the same kind of memory as one who having seen 
Carthage remembers it?  No, for the happy life is not visible to 
the eye, since it is not a physical object.  Is it the sort of 
memory we have for numbers?  No, for the man who has these in his 
understanding does not keep striving to attain more.  Now we know 
something about the happy life and therefore we love it, but still 
we wish to go on striving for it that we may be happy.  Is the 
memory of happiness, then, something like the memory of eloquence?  
No, for although some, when they hear the term eloquence, call the 
thing to mind, even if they are not themselves eloquent -- and 
further, there are many people who would like to be eloquent, from 
which it follows that they must know something about it -- 
nevertheless, these people have noticed through their senses that 
others are eloquent and have been delighted to observe this and 
long to be this way themselves.  But they would not be delighted 
if it were not some interior knowledge; and they would not desire 
to be delighted unless they had been delighted.  But as for a 
happy life, there is no physical perception by which we experience 
it in others.

     Do we remember happiness, then, as we remember joy?  It may 
be so, for I remember my joy even when I am sad, just as I 
remember a happy life when I am miserable.  And I have never, 
through physical perception, either seen, heard, smelled, tasted, 
or touched my joy.  But I have experienced it in my mind when I 
rejoiced; and the knowledge of it clung to my memory so that I can 
call it to mind, sometimes with disdain and at other times with 
longing, depending on the different kinds of things I now remember 
that I rejoiced in.  For I have been bathed with a certain joy 
even by unclean things, which I now detest and execrate as I call 
them to mind.  At other times, I call to mind with longing good 
and honest things, which are not any longer near at hand, and I am 
therefore saddened when I recall my former joy.

     31.  Where and when did I ever experience my happy life that 
I can call it to mind and love it and long for it?  It is not I 
alone or even a few others who wish to be happy, but absolutely 
everybody.  Unless we knew happiness by a knowledge that is 
certain, we should not wish for it with a will which is so 
certain.  Take this example: If two men were asked whether they 
wished to serve as soldiers, one of them might reply that he 
would, and the other that he would not; but if they were asked 
whether they wished to be happy, both of them would unhesitatingly 
say that they would.  But the first one would wish to serve as a 
soldier and the other would not wish to serve, both from no other 
motive than to be happy.  Is it, perhaps, that one finds his joy 
in this and another in that?  Thus they agree in their wish for 
happiness just as they would also agree, if asked, in wishing for 
joy.  Is this joy what they call a happy life?  Although one could 
choose his joy in this way and another in that, all have one goal 
which they strive to attain, namely, to have joy.  This joy, then, 
being something that no one can say he has not experienced, is 
therefore found in the memory and it is recognized whenever the 
phrase "a happy life" is heard.

                         CHAPTER XXII

     32.  Forbid it, O Lord, put it far from the heart of thy 
servant, who confesses to thee -- far be it from me to think I am 
happy because of any and all the joy I have.  For there is a joy 
not granted to the wicked but only to those who worship thee 
thankfully -- and this joy thou thyself art.  The happy life is 
this -- to rejoice to thee, in thee, and for thee.  This it is and 
there is no other.  But those who think there is another follow 
after other joys, and not the true one.  But their will is still 
not moved except by some image or shadow of joy.

                         CHAPTER XXIII

     33.  Is it, then, uncertain that all men wish to be happy, 
since those who do not wish to find their joy in thee -- which is 
alone the happy life -- do not actually desire the happy life?  
Or, is it rather that all desire this, but because "the flesh 
lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh," so 
that they "prevent you from doing what you would,"[342] you fall 
to doing what you are able to do and are content with that.  For 
you do not want to do what you cannot do urgently enough to make 
you able to do it.  

     Now I ask all men whether they would rather rejoice in truth 
or in falsehood.  They will no more hesitate to answer, "In 
truth," than to say that they wish to be happy.  For a happy life 
is joy in the truth.  Yet this is joy in thee, who art the Truth, 
O God my Light, "the health of my countenance and my God."[343]  
All wish for this happy life; all wish for this life which is the 
only happy one: joy in the truth is what all men wish.  

     I have had experience with many who wished to deceive, but 
not one who wished to be deceived.[344]  Where, then, did they 
ever know about this happy life, except where they knew also what 
the truth is?  For they love it, too, since they are not willing 
to be deceived.  And when they love the happy life, which is 
nothing else but joy in the truth, then certainly they also love 
the truth.  And yet they would not love it if there were not some 
knowledge of it in the memory.  

     Why, then, do they not rejoice in it?  Why are they not 
happy?  Because they are so fully preoccupied with other things 
which do more to make them miserable than those which would make 
them happy, which they remember so little about.  Yet there is a 
little light in men.  Let them walk -- let them walk in it, lest 
the darkness overtake them.  

     34.  Why, then, does truth generate hatred, and why does thy 
servant who preaches the truth come to be an enemy to them who 
also love the happy life, which is nothing else than joy in the 
truth -- unless it be that truth is loved in such a way that those 
who love something else besides her wish that to be the truth 
which they do love.  Since they are unwilling to be deceived, they 
are unwilling to be convinced that they have been deceived.  
Therefore, they hate the truth for the sake of whatever it is that 
they love in place of the truth.  They love truth when she shines 
on them; and hate her when she rebukes them.  And since they are 
not willing to be deceived, but do wish to deceive, they love 
truth when she reveals herself and hate her when she reveals them.  
On this account, she will so repay them that those who are 
unwilling to be exposed by her she will indeed expose against 
their will, and yet will not disclose herself to them.  

     Thus, thus, truly thus: the human mind so blind and sick, so 
base and ill-mannered, desires to lie hidden, but does not wish 
that anything should be hidden from it.  And yet the opposite is 
what happens -- the mind itself is not hidden from the truth, but 
the truth is hidden from it.  Yet even so, for all its 
wretchedness, it still prefers to rejoice in truth rather than in 
known falsehoods.  It will, then, be happy only when without other 
distractions it comes to rejoice in that single Truth through 
which all things else are true.

                         CHAPTER XXIV

     35.  Behold how great a territory I have explored in my 
memory seeking thee, O Lord!  And in it all I have still not found 
thee.  Nor have I found anything about thee, except what I had 
already retained in my memory from the time I learned of thee.  
For where I found Truth, there found I my God, who is the Truth.  
From the time I learned this I have not forgotten.  And thus since 
the time I learned of thee, thou hast dwelt in my memory, and it 
is there that I find thee whenever I call thee to remembrance, and 
delight in thee.  These are my holy delights, which thou hast 
bestowed on me in thy mercy, mindful of my poverty.

                          CHAPTER XXV

     36.  But where in my memory dost thou abide, O Lord?  Where 
dost thou dwell there?  What sort of lodging hast thou made for 
thyself there?  What kind of sanctuary hast thou built for 
thyself?  Thou hast done this honor to my memory to take up thy 
abode in it, but I must consider further in what part of it thou 
dost abide.  For in calling thee to mind, I soared beyond those 
parts of memory which the beasts also possess, because I did not 
find thee there among the images of corporeal things.  From there 
I went on to those parts where I had stored the remembered 
affections of my mind, and I did not find thee there.  And I 
entered into the inmost seat of my mind, which is in my memory, 
since the mind remembers itself also -- and thou wast not there.  
For just as thou art not a bodily image, nor the emotion of a 
living creature (such as we feel when we rejoice or are grief-
stricken, when we desire, or fear, or remember, or forget, or 
anything of that kind), so neither art thou the mind itself.  For 
thou art the Lord God of the mind and of all these things that are 
mutable; but thou abidest immutable over all.  Yet thou hast 
elected to dwell in my memory from the time I learned of thee.  
But why do I now inquire about the part of my memory thou dost 
dwell in, as if indeed there were separate parts in it?  
Assuredly, thou dwellest in it, since I have remembered thee from 
the time I learned of thee, and I find thee in my memory when I 
call thee to mind.

                         CHAPTER XXVI

     37.  Where, then, did I find thee so as to be able to learn 
of thee?  For thou wast not in my memory before I learned of thee.  
Where, then, did I find thee so as to be able to learn of thee -- 
save in thyself beyond me.[345]  Place there is none.  We go 
"backward" and "forward" and there is no place.  Everywhere and at 
once, O Truth, thou guidest all who consult thee, and 
simultaneously answerest all even though they consult thee on 
quite different things.  Thou answerest clearly, though all do not 
hear in clarity.  All take counsel of thee on whatever point they 
wish, though they do not always hear what they wish.  He is thy 
best servant who does not look to hear from thee what he himself 
wills, but who wills rather to will what he hears from thee.

                         CHAPTER XXVII

     38.  Belatedly I loved thee, O Beauty so ancient and so new, 
belatedly I loved thee.  For see, thou wast within and I was 
without, and I sought thee out there.  Unlovely, I rushed 
heedlessly among the lovely things thou hast made.  Thou wast with 
me, but I was not with thee.  These things kept me far from thee; 
even though they were not at all unless they were in thee.  Thou 
didst call and cry aloud, and didst force open my deafness.  Thou 
didst gleam and shine, and didst chase away my blindness.  Thou 
didst breathe fragrant odors and I drew in my breath; and now I 
pant for thee.  I tasted, and now I hunger and thirst.  Thou didst 
touch me, and I burned for thy peace.

                        CHAPTER XXVIII

     39.  When I come to be united to thee with all my being, then 
there will be no more pain and toil for me, and my life shall be a 
real life, being wholly filled by thee.  But since he whom thou 
fillest is the one thou liftest up, I am still a burden to myself 
because I am not yet filled by thee.  Joys of sorrow contend with 
sorrows of joy, and on which side the victory lies I do not know.

     Woe is me!  Lord, have pity on me; my evil sorrows contend 
with my good joys, and on which side the victory lies I do not 
know.  Woe is me!  Lord, have pity on me.  Woe is me!  Behold, I 
do not hide my wounds.  Thou art the Physician, I am the sick man; 
thou art merciful, I need mercy.  Is not the life of man on earth 
an ordeal?  Who is he that wishes for vexations and difficulties?  
Thou commandest them to be endured, not to be loved.  For no man 
loves what he endures, though he may love to endure.  Yet even if 
he rejoices to endure, he would prefer that there were nothing for 
him to endure.  In adversity, I desire prosperity; in prosperity, 
I fear adversity.  What middle place is there, then, between these 
two, where human life is not an ordeal?  There is woe in the 
prosperity of this world; there is woe in the fear of misfortune; 
there is woe in the distortion of joy.  There is woe in the 
adversities of this world -- a second woe, and a third, from the 
desire of prosperity -- because adversity itself is a hard thing 
to bear and makes shipwreck of endurance.  Is not the life of man 
upon the earth an ordeal, and that without surcease? 

                         CHAPTER XXIX

     40.  My whole hope is in thy exceeding great mercy and that 
alone.  Give what thou commandest and command what thou wilt.  
Thou commandest continence from us, and when I knew, as it is 
said, that no one could be continent unless God gave it to him, 
even this was a point of wisdom to know whose gift it was.[346]  
For by continence we are bound up and brought back together in the 
One, whereas before we were scattered abroad among the many.[347]  
For he loves thee too little who loves along with thee anything 
else that he does not love for thy sake, O Love, who dost burn 
forever and art never quenched.  O Love, O my God, enkindle me!  
Thou commandest continence; give what thou commandest, and command 
what thou wilt.

                          CHAPTER XXX

     41.  Obviously thou commandest that I should be continent 
from "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the 
pride of life."[348]  Thou commandest me to abstain from 
fornication, and as for marriage itself, thou hast counseled 
something better than what thou dost allow.  And since thou gavest 
it, it was done -- even before I became a minister of thy 
sacrament.  But there still exist in my memory -- of which I have 
spoken so much -- the images of such things as my habits had fixed 
there.  These things rush into my thoughts with no power when I am 
awake; but in sleep they rush in not only so as to give pleasure, 
but even to obtain consent and what very closely resembles the 
deed itself.  Indeed, the illusion of the image prevails to such 
an extent, in both my soul and my flesh, that the illusion 
persuades me when sleeping to what the reality cannot do when I am 
awake.  Am I not myself at such a time, O Lord my God?  And is 
there so much of a difference between myself awake and myself in 
the moment when I pass from waking to sleeping, or return from 
sleeping to waking? 

     Where, then, is the power of reason which resists such 
suggestions when I am awake -- for even if the things themselves 
be forced upon it I remain unmoved?  Does reason cease when the 
eyes close?  Is it put to sleep with the bodily senses?  But in 
that case how does it come to pass that even in slumber we often 
resist, and with our conscious purposes in mind, continue most 
chastely in them, and yield no assent to such allurements?  Yet 
there is at least this much difference: that when it happens 
otherwise in dreams, when we wake up, we return to peace of 
conscience.  And it is by this difference between sleeping and 
waking that we discover that it was not we who did it, while we 
still feel sorry that in some way it was done in us.

     42.  Is not thy hand, O Almighty God, able to heal all the 
diseases of my soul and, by thy more and more abundant grace, to 
quench even the lascivious motions of my sleep?  Thou wilt 
increase thy gifts in me more and more, O Lord, that my soul may 
follow me to thee, wrenched free from the sticky glue of lust so 
that it is no longer in rebellion against itself, even in dreams; 
that it neither commits nor consents to these debasing corruptions 
which come through sensual images and which result in the 
pollution of the flesh.  For it is no great thing for the 
Almighty, who is "able to do . . . more than we can ask or 
think,"[349] to bring it about that no such influence -- not even 
one so slight that a nod might restrain it -- should afford 
gratification to the feelings of a chaste person even when 
sleeping.  This could come to pass not only in this life but even 
at my present age.  But what I am still in this way of wickedness 
I have confessed unto my good Lord, rejoicing with trembling in 
what thou hast given me and grieving in myself for that in which I 
am still imperfect.  I am trusting that thou wilt perfect thy 
mercies in me, to the fullness of that peace which both my inner 
and outward being shall have with thee when death is swallowed up 
in victory.[350]

                         CHAPTER XXXI

     43.  There is yet another "evil of the day"[351] to which I 
wish I were sufficient.  By eating and drinking we restore the 
daily losses of the body until that day when thou destroyest both 
food and stomach, when thou wilt destroy this emptiness with an 
amazing fullness and wilt clothe this corruptible with an eternal 
incorruption.  But now the necessity of habit is sweet to me, and 
against this sweetness must I fight, lest I be enthralled by it.  
Thus I carry on a daily war by fasting, constantly "bringing my 
body into subjection,"[352] after which my pains are banished by 
pleasure.  For hunger and thirst are actual pain.  They consume 
and destroy like fever does, unless the medicine of food is at 
hand to relieve us.  And since this medicine at hand comes from 
the comfort we receive in thy gifts (by means of which land and 
water and air serve our infirmity), even our calamity is called 

     44.  This much thou hast taught me: that I should learn to 
take food as medicine.  But during that time when I pass from the 
pinch of emptiness to the contentment of fullness, it is in that 
very moment that the snare of appetite lies baited for me.  For 
the passage itself is pleasant; there is no other way of passing 
thither, and necessity compels us to pass.  And while health is 
the reason for our eating and drinking, yet a perilous delight 
joins itself to them as a handmaid; and indeed, she tries to take 
precedence in order that I may want to do for her sake what I say 
I want to do for health's sake.  They do not both have the same 
limit either.  What is sufficient for health is not enough for 
pleasure.  And it is often a matter of doubt whether it is the 
needful care of the body that still calls for food or whether it 
is the sensual snare of desire still wanting to be served.  In 
this uncertainty my unhappy soul rejoices, and uses it to prepare 
an excuse as a defense.  It is glad that it is not clear as to 
what is sufficient for the moderation of health, so that under the 
pretense of health it may conceal its projects for pleasure.  
These temptations I daily endeavor to resist and I summon thy 
right hand to my help and cast my perplexities onto thee, for I 
have not yet reached a firm conclusion in this matter.

     45.  I hear the voice of my God commanding: "Let not your 
heart be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness."[353]  
Drunkenness is far from me.  Thou wilt have mercy that it does not 
come near me.  But "surfeiting" sometimes creeps upon thy servant.  
Thou wilt have mercy that it may be put far from me.  For no man 
can be continent unless thou give it.[354]  Many things that we 
pray for thou givest us, and whatever good we receive before we 
prayed for it, we receive it from thee, so that we might afterward 
know that we did receive it from thee.  I never was a drunkard, 
but I have known drunkards made into sober men by thee.  It was 
also thy doing that those who never were drunkards have not been 
-- and likewise, it was from thee that those who have been might 
not remain so always.  And it was likewise from thee that both 
might know from whom all this came.

     I heard another voice of thine: "Do not follow your lusts and 
refrain yourself from your pleasures."[355]  And by thy favor I 
have also heard this saying in which I have taken much delight: 
"Neither if we eat are we the better; nor if we eat not are we the 
worse."[356]  This is to say that neither shall the one make me to 
abound, nor the other to be wretched.  I heard still another 
voice: "For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to 
be content.  I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. . . 
.  I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me."[357]  
See here a soldier of the heavenly army; not the sort of dust we 
are.  But remember, O Lord, "that we are dust"[358] and that thou 
didst create man out of the dust,[359] and that he "was lost, and 
is found."[360]  Of course, he [the apostle Paul] could not do all 
this by his own power.  He was of the same dust -- he whom I loved 
so much and who spoke of these things through the afflatus of thy 
inspiration: "I can," he said, "do all things through him who 
strengtheneth me." Strengthen me, that I too may be able.  Give 
what thou commandest, and command what thou wilt.  This man [Paul] 
confesses that he received the gift of grace and that, when he 
glories, he glories in the Lord.  I have heard yet another voice 
praying that he might receive.  "Take from me," he said, "the 
greediness of the belly."[361]  And from this it appears, O my 
holy God, that thou dost give it, when what thou commandest to be 
done is done.

     46.  Thou hast taught me, good Father, that "to the pure all 
things are pure"[362]; but "it is evil for that man who gives 
offense in eating"[363]; and that "every creature of thine is 
good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with 
thanksgiving"[364]; and that "meat does not commend us to 
God"[365]; and that "no man should judge us in meat or in 
drink."[366]  "Let not him who eats despise him who eats not, and 
let him that does not eat judge not him who does eat."[367]  These 
things I have learned, thanks and praise be to thee, O my God and 
Master, who knockest at my ears and enlightenest my heart.  
Deliver me from all temptation!

     It is not the uncleanness of meat that I fear, but the 
uncleanness of an incontinent appetite.  I know that permission 
was granted Noah to eat every kind of flesh that was good for 
food; that Elijah was fed with flesh; that John, blessed with a 
wonderful abstinence, was not polluted by the living creatures 
(that is, the locusts) on which he fed.  And I also know that Esau 
was deceived by his hungering after lentils and that David blamed 
himself for desiring water, and that our King was tempted not by 
flesh but by bread.  And, thus, the people in the wilderness truly 
deserved their reproof, not because they desired meat, but because 
in their desire for food they murmured against the Lord.

     47.  Set down, then, in the midst of these temptations, I 
strive daily against my appetite for food and drink.  For it is 
not the kind of appetite I am able to deal with by cutting it off 
once for all, and thereafter not touching it, as I was able to do 
with fornication.  The bridle of the throat, therefore, must be 
held in the mean between slackness and tightness.  And who, O 
Lord, is he who is not in some degree carried away beyond the 
bounds of necessity?  Whoever he is, he is great; let him magnify 
thy name.  But I am not such a one, "for I am a sinful man."[368]  
Yet I too magnify thy name, for he who hath "overcome the 
world"[369] intercedeth with thee for my sins, numbering me among 
the weak members of his body; for thy eyes did see what was 
imperfect in him, and in thy book all shall be written down.[370]

                         CHAPTER XXXII

     48.  I am not much troubled by the allurement of odors.  When 
they are absent, I do not seek them; when they are present, I do 
not refuse them; and I am always prepared to go without them.  At 
any rate, I appear thus to myself; it is quite possible that I am 
deceived.  For there is a lamentable darkness in which my 
capabilities are concealed, so that when my mind inquires into 
itself concerning its own powers, it does not readily venture to 
believe itself, because what already is in it is largely concealed 
unless experience brings it to light.  Thus no man ought to feel 
secure in this life, the whole of which is called an ordeal, 
ordered so that the man who could be made better from having been 
worse may not also from having been better become worse.  Our sole 
hope, our sole confidence, our only assured promise, is thy mercy.

                        CHAPTER XXXIII

     49.  The delights of the ear drew and held me much more 
powerfully, but thou didst unbind and liberate me.  In those 
melodies which thy words inspire when sung with a sweet and 
trained voice, I still find repose; yet not so as to cling to 
them, but always so as to be able to free myself as I wish.  But 
it is because of the words which are their life that they gain 
entry into me and strive for a place of proper honor in my heart; 
and I can hardly assign them a fitting one.  Sometimes, I seem to 
myself to give them more respect than is fitting, when I see that 
our minds are more devoutly and earnestly inflamed in piety by the 
holy words when they are sung than when they are not.  And I 
recognize that all the diverse affections of our spirits have 
their appropriate measures in the voice and song, to which they 
are stimulated by I know not what secret correlation.  But the 
pleasures of my flesh -- to which the mind ought never to be 
surrendered nor by them enervated -- often beguile me while 
physical sense does not attend on reason, to follow her patiently, 
but having once gained entry to help the reason, it strives to run 
on before her and be her leader.  Thus in these things I sin 
unknowingly, but I come to know it afterward.

     50.  On the other hand, when I avoid very earnestly this kind 
of deception, I err out of too great austerity.  Sometimes I go to 
the point of wishing that all the melodies of the pleasant songs 
to which David's Psalter is adapted should be banished both from 
my ears and from those of the Church itself.  In this mood, the 
safer way seemed to me the one I remember was once related to me 
concerning Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, who required the 
readers of the psalm to use so slight an inflection of the voice 
that it was more like speaking than singing.

     However, when I call to mind the tears I shed at the songs of 
thy Church at the outset of my recovered faith, and how even now I 
am moved, not by the singing but by what is sung (when they are 
sung with a clear and skillfully modulated voice), I then come to 
acknowledge the great utility of this custom.  Thus I vacillate 
between dangerous pleasure and healthful exercise.  I am inclined 
-- though I pronounce no irrevocable opinion on the subject -- to 
approve of the use of singing in the church, so that by the 
delights of the ear the weaker minds may be stimulated to a 
devotional mood.[371]  Yet when it happens that I am more moved by 
the singing than by what is sung, I confess myself to have sinned 
wickedly, and then I would rather not have heard the singing.  See 
now what a condition I am in!  Weep with me, and weep for me, 
those of you who can so control your inward feelings that good 
results always come forth.  As for you who do not act this way at 
all, such things do not concern you.  But do thou, O Lord, my God, 
give ear; look and see, and have mercy upon me; and heal me -- 
thou, in whose sight I am become an enigma to myself; this itself 
is my weakness.

                        CHAPTER XXXIV

     51.  There remain the delights of these eyes of my flesh, 
about which I must make my confession in the hearing of the ears 
of thy temple, brotherly and pious ears.  Thus I will finish the 
list of the temptations of carnal appetite which still assail me 
-- groaning and desiring as I am to be clothed upon with my house 
from heaven.[372]

     The eyes delight in fair and varied forms, and bright and 
pleasing colors.  Let these not take possession of my soul!  
Rather let God possess it, he who didst make all these things very 
good indeed.  He is still my good, and not these.  The pleasures 
of sight affect me all the time I am awake.  There is no rest from 
them given me, as there is from the voices of melody, which I can 
occasionally find in silence.  For daylight, that queen of the 
colors, floods all that we look upon everywhere I go during the 
day.  It flits about me in manifold forms and soothes me even when 
I am busy about other things, not noticing it.  And it presents 
itself so forcibly that if it is suddenly withdrawn it is looked 
for with longing, and if it is long absent the mind is saddened.

     52.  O Light, which Tobit saw even with his eyes closed in 
blindness, when he taught his son the way of life -- and went 
before him himself in the steps of love and never went 
astray[373]; or that Light which Isaac saw when his fleshly "eyes 
were dim, so that he could not see"[374] because of old age, and 
it was permitted him unknowingly to bless his sons, but in the 
blessing of them to know them; or that Light which Jacob saw, when 
he too, blind in old age yet with an enlightened heart, threw 
light on the nation of men yet to come -- presignified in the 
persons of his own sons -- and laid his hands mystically crossed 
upon his grandchildren by Joseph (not as their father, who saw 
them from without, but as though he were within them), and 
distinguished them aright[375]: this is the true Light; it is one, 
and all are one who see and love it.

     But that corporeal light, of which I was speaking, seasons 
the life of the world for her blind lovers with a tempting and 
fatal sweetness.  Those who know how to praise thee for it, "O 
God, Creator of Us All," take it up in thy hymn,[376] and are not 
taken over by it in their sleep.  Such a man I desire to be.  I 
resist the seductions of my eyes, lest my feet be entangled as I 
go forward in thy way; and I raise my invisible eyes to thee, that 
thou wouldst be pleased to "pluck my feet out of the net."[377]  
Thou dost continually pluck them out, for they are easily 
ensnared.  Thou ceasest not to pluck them out, but I constantly 
remain fast in the snares set all around me.  However, thou who 
"keepest Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."[378]

     53.  What numberless things there are: products of the 
various arts and manufactures in our clothes, shoes, vessels, and 
all such things; besides such things as pictures and statuary -- 
and all these far beyond the necessary and moderate use of them or 
their significance for the life of piety -- which men have added 
for the delight of the eye, copying the outward forms of the 
things they make; but inwardly forsaking Him by whom they were 
made and destroying what they themselves have been made to be!

     And I, O my God and my Joy, I also raise a hymn to thee for 
all these things, and offer a sacrifice of praise to my 
Sanctifier, because those beautiful forms which pass through the 
medium of the human soul into the artist's hands come from that 
beauty which is above our minds, which my soul sighs for day and 
night.  But the craftsmen and devotees of these outward beauties 
discover the norm by which they judge them from that higher 
beauty, but not the measure of their use.  Still, even if they do 
not see it, it is there nevertheless, to guard them from wandering 
astray, and to keep their strength for thee, and not dissipate it 
in delights that pass into boredom.  And for myself, though I can 
see and understand this, I am still entangled in my own course 
with such beauty, but thou wilt rescue me, O Lord, thou wilt 
rescue me, "for thy loving-kindness is before my eyes."[379]  For 
I am captivated in my weakness but thou in thy mercy dost rescue 
me: sometimes without my knowing it, because I had only lightly 
fallen; at other times, the rescue is painful because I was stuck 

                         CHAPTER XXXV

     54.  Besides this there is yet another form of temptation 
still more complex in its peril.  For in addition to the fleshly 
appetite which strives for the gratification of all senses and 
pleasures -- in which its slaves perish because they separate 
themselves from thee -- there is also a certain vain and curious 
longing in the soul, rooted in the same bodily senses, which is 
cloaked under the name of knowledge and learning; not having 
pleasure in the flesh, but striving for new experiences through 
the flesh.  This longing -- since its origin is our appetite for 
learning, and since the sight is the chief of our senses in the 
acquisition of knowledge -- is called in the divine language "the 
lust of the eyes."[380]  For seeing is a function of the eyes; yet 
we also use this word for the other senses as well, when we 
exercise them in the search for knowledge.  We do not say, "Listen 
how it glows," "Smell how it glistens," "Taste how it shines," or 
"Feel how it flashes," since all of these are said to be _seen_.  
And we do not simply say, "See how it shines," which only the eyes 
can perceive; but we also say, "See how it sounds, see how it 
smells, see how it tastes, see how hard it is." Thus, as we said 
before, the whole round of sensory experience is called "the lust 
of the eyes" because the function of seeing, in which the eyes 
have the principal role, is applied by analogy to the other senses 
when they are seeking after any kind of knowledge.

     55.  From this, then, one can the more clearly distinguish 
whether it is pleasure or curiosity that is being pursued by the 
senses.  For pleasure pursues objects that are beautiful, 
melodious, fragrant, savory, soft.  But curiosity, seeking new 
experiences, will even seek out the contrary of these, not with 
the purpose of experiencing the discomfort that often accompanies 
them, but out of a passion for experimenting and knowledge.

     For what pleasure is there in the sight of a lacerated 
corpse, which makes you shudder?  And yet if there is one lying 
close by we flock to it, as if to be made sad and pale.  People 
fear lest they should see such a thing even in sleep, just as they 
would if, when awake, someone compelled them to go and see it or 
if some rumor of its beauty had attracted them.

     This is also the case with the other senses; it would be 
tedious to pursue a complete analysis of it.  This malady of 
curiosity is the reason for all those strange sights exhibited in 
the theater.  It is also the reason why we proceed to search out 
the secret powers of nature -- those which have nothing to do with 
our destiny -- which do not profit us to know about, and 
concerning which men desire to know only for the sake of knowing.  
And it is with this same motive of perverted curiosity for 
knowledge that we consult the magical arts.  Even in religion 
itself, this prompting drives us to make trial of God when signs 
and wonders are eagerly asked of him -- not desired for any saving 
end, but only to make trial of him.

     56.  In such a wilderness so vast, crammed with snares and 
dangers, behold how many of them I have lopped off and cast from 
my heart, as thou, O God of my salvation, hast enabled me to do.  
And yet, when would I dare to say, since so many things of this 
sort still buzz around our daily lives -- when would I dare to say 
that no such motive prompts my seeing or creates a vain curiosity 
in me?  It is true that now the theaters never attract me, nor do 
I now care to inquire about the courses of the stars, and my soul 
has never sought answers from the departed spirits.  All 
sacrilegious oaths I abhor.  And yet, O Lord my God, to whom I owe 
all humble and singlehearted service, with what subtle suggestion 
the enemy still influences me to require some sign from thee!  But 
by our King, and by Jerusalem, our pure and chaste homeland, I 
beseech thee that where any consenting to such thoughts is now far 
from me, so may it always be farther and farther.  And when I 
entreat thee for the salvation of any man, the end I aim at is 
something more than the entreating: let it be that as thou dost 
what thou wilt, thou dost also give me the grace willingly to 
follow thy lead.

     57.  Now, really, in how many of the most minute and trivial 
things my curiosity is still daily tempted, and who can keep the 
tally on how often I succumb?  How often, when people are telling 
idle tales, we begin by tolerating them lest we should give 
offense to the sensitive; and then gradually we come to listen 
willingly!  I do not nowadays go to the circus to see a dog chase 
a rabbit, but if by chance I pass such a race in the fields, it 
quite easily distracts me even from some serious thought and draws 
me after it -- not that I turn aside with my horse, but with the 
inclination of my mind.  And unless, by showing me my weakness, 
thou dost speedily warn me to rise above such a sight to thee by a 
deliberate act of thought -- or else to despise the whole thing 
and pass it by -- then I become absorbed in the sight, vain 
creature that I am.

     How is it that when I am sitting at home a lizard catching 
flies, or a spider entangling them as they fly into her webs, 
oftentimes arrests me?  Is the feeling of curiosity not the same 
just because these are such tiny creatures?  From them I proceed 
to praise thee, the wonderful Creator and Disposer of all things; 
but it is not this that first attracts my attention.  It is one 
thing to get up quickly and another thing not to fall -- and of 
both such things my life is full and my only hope is in thy 
exceeding great mercy.  For when this heart of ours is made the 
depot of such things and is overrun by the throng of these 
abounding vanities, then our prayers are often interrupted and 
disturbed by them.  Even while we are in thy presence and direct 
the voice of our hearts to thy ears, such a great business as this 
is broken off by the inroads of I know not what idle thoughts.

                        CHAPTER XXXVI

     58.  Shall we, then, also reckon this vain curiosity among 
the things that are to be but lightly esteemed?  Shall anything 
restore us to hope except thy complete mercy since thou hast begun 
to change us?  Thou knowest to what extent thou hast already 
changed me, for first of all thou didst heal me of the lust for 
vindicating myself, so that thou mightest then forgive all my 
remaining iniquities and heal all my diseases, and "redeem my life 
from corruption and crown me with loving-kindness and tender 
mercies, and satisfy my desires with good things."[381]  It was 
thou who didst restrain my pride with thy fear, and bowed my neck 
to thy "yoke."[382]  And now I bear the yoke and it is "light" to 
me, because thou didst promise it to be so, and hast made it to be 
so.  And so in truth it was, though I knew it not when I feared to 
take it up.

     59.  But, O Lord -- thou who alone reignest without pride, 
because thou alone art the true Lord, who hast no Lord -- has this 
third kind of temptation left me, or can it leave me during this 
life: the desire to be feared and loved of men, with no other view 
than that I may find in it a joy that is no joy?  It is, rather, a 
wretched life and an unseemly ostentation.  It is a special reason 
why we do not love thee, nor devotedly fear thee.  Therefore "thou 
resistest the proud but givest grace to the humble."[383]  Thou 
thunderest down on the ambitious designs of the world, and "the 
foundations of the hills" tremble.[384]

     And yet certain offices in human society require the 
officeholder to be loved and feared of men, and through this the 
adversary of our true blessedness presses hard upon us, scattering 
everywhere his snares of "well done, well done"; so that while we 
are eagerly picking them up, we may be caught unawares and split 
off our joy from thy truth and fix it on the deceits of men.  In 
this way we come to take pleasure in being loved and feared, not 
for thy sake but in thy stead.  By such means as this, the 
adversary makes men like himself, that he may have them as his 
own, not in the harmony of love, but in the fellowship of 
punishment -- the one who aspired to exalt his throne in the 
north,[385] that in the darkness and the cold men might have to 
serve him, mimicking thee in perverse and distorted ways.

     But see, O Lord, we are thy little flock.  Possess us, 
stretch thy wings above us, and let us take refuge under them.  Be 
thou our glory; let us be loved for thy sake, and let thy word be 
feared in us.  Those who desire to be commended by the men whom 
thou condemnest will not be defended by men when thou judgest, nor 
will they be delivered when thou dost condemn them.  But when -- 
not as a sinner is praised in the wicked desires of his soul nor 
when the unrighteous man is blessed in his unrighteousness -- a 
man is praised for some gift that thou hast given him, and he is 
more gratified at the praise for himself than because he possesses 
the gift for which he is praised, such a one is praised while thou 
dost condemn him.  In such a case the one who praised is truly 
better than the one who was praised.  For the gift of God in man 
was pleasing to the one, while the other was better pleased with 
the gift of man than with the gift of God.

                        CHAPTER XXXVII

     60.  By these temptations we are daily tried, O Lord; we are 
tried unceasingly.  Our daily "furnace" is the human tongue.[386]  
And also in this respect thou commandest us to be continent.  Give 
what thou commandest and command what thou wilt.  In this matter, 
thou knowest the groans of my heart and the rivers of my eyes, for 
I am not able to know for certain how far I am clean of this 
plague; and I stand in great fear of my "secret faults,"[387] 
which thy eyes perceive, though mine do not.  For in respect of 
the pleasures of my flesh and of idle curiosity, I see how far I 
have been able to hold my mind in check when I abstain from them 
either by voluntary act of the will or because they simply are not 
at hand; for then I can inquire of myself how much more or less 
frustrating it is to me not to have them.  This is also true about 
riches, which are sought for in order that they may minister to 
one of these three "lusts," or two, or the whole complex of them.  
The mind is able to see clearly if, when it has them, it despises 
them so that they may be cast aside and it may prove itself.

     But if we desire to test our power of doing without praise, 
must we then live wickedly or lead a life so atrocious and 
abandoned that everyone who knows us will detest us?  What greater 
madness than this can be either said or conceived?  And yet if 
praise, both by custom and right, is the companion of a good life 
and of good works, we should as little forgo its companionship as 
the good life itself.  But unless a thing is absent I do not know 
whether I should be contented or troubled at having to do without 

     61.  What is it, then, that I am confessing to thee, O Lord, 
concerning this sort of temptation?  What else, than that I am 
delighted with praise, but more with the truth itself than with 
praise.  For if I were to have any choice whether, if I were mad 
or utterly in the wrong, I would prefer to be praised by all men 
or, if I were steadily and fully confident in the truth, would 
prefer to be blamed by all, I see which I should choose.  Yet I 
wish I were unwilling that the approval of others should add 
anything to my joy for any good I have.  Yet I admit that it does 
increase it; and, more than that, dispraise diminishes it.  Then, 
when I am disturbed over this wretchedness of mine, an excuse 
presents itself to me, the value of which thou knowest, O God, for 
it renders me uncertain.  For since it is not only continence that 
thou hast enjoined on us -- that is, what things to hold back our 
love from -- but righteousness as well -- that is, what to bestow 
our love upon -- and hast wished us to love not only thee, but 
also our neighbor, it often turns out that when I am gratified by 
intelligent praise I seem to myself to be gratified by the 
competence or insight of my neighbor; or, on the other hand, I am 
sorry for the defect in him when I hear him dispraise either what 
he does not understand or what is good.  For I am sometimes 
grieved at the praise I get, either when those things that 
displease me in myself are praised in me, or when lesser and 
trifling goods are valued more highly than they should be.  But, 
again, how do I know whether I feel this way because I am 
unwilling that he who praises me should differ from me concerning 
myself not because I am moved with any consideration for him, but 
because the good things that please me in myself are more pleasing 
to me when they also please another?  For in a way, I am not 
praised when my judgment of myself is not praised, since either 
those things which are displeasing to me are praised, or those 
things which are less pleasing to me are more praised.  Am I not, 
then, quite uncertain of myself in this respect? 

     62.  Behold, O Truth, it is in thee that I see that I ought 
not to be moved at my own praises for my own sake, but for the 
sake of my neighbor's good.  And whether this is actually my way, 
I truly do not know.  On this score I know less of myself than 
thou dost.  I beseech thee now, O my God, to reveal myself to me 
also, that I may confess to my brethren, who are to pray for me in 
those matters where I find myself weak.

     Let me once again examine myself the more diligently.  If, in 
my own praise, I am moved with concern for my neighbor, why am I 
less moved if some other man is unjustly dispraised than when it 
happens to me?  Why am I more irritated at that reproach which is 
cast on me than at one which is, with equal injustice, cast upon 
another in my presence?  Am I ignorant of this also?  Or is it 
still true that I am deceiving myself, and do not keep the truth 
before thee in my heart and tongue?  Put such madness far from me, 
O Lord, lest my mouth be to me "the oil of sinners, to anoint my 

                        CHAPTER XXXVIII

     63.  "I am needy and poor."[389]  Still, I am better when in 
secret groanings I displease myself and seek thy mercy until what 
is lacking in me is renewed and made complete for that peace which 
the eye of the proud does not know.  The reports that come from 
the mouth and from actions known to men have in them a most 
perilous temptation to the love of praise.  This love builds up a 
certain complacency in one's own excellency, and then goes around 
collecting solicited compliments.  It tempts me, even when I 
inwardly reprove myself for it, and this precisely because it is 
reproved.  For a man may often glory vainly in the very scorn of 
vainglory -- and in this case it is not any longer the scorn of 
vainglory in which he glories, for he does not truly despise it 
when he inwardly glories in it.

                        CHAPTER XXXIX

     64.  Within us there is yet another evil arising from the 
same sort of temptation.  By it they become empty who please 
themselves in themselves, although they do not please or displease 
or aim at pleasing others.  But in pleasing themselves they 
displease thee very much, not merely taking pleasure in things 
that are not good as if they were good, but taking pleasure in thy 
good things as if they were their own; or even as if they were 
thine but still as if they had received them through their own 
merit; or even as if they had them through thy grace, still 
without this grace with their friends, but as if they envied that 
grace to others.  In all these and similar perils and labors, thou 
perceivest the agitation of my heart, and I would rather feel my 
wounds being cured by thee than not inflicted by me on myself.

                          CHAPTER XL

     65.  Where hast thou not accompanied me, O Truth, teaching me 
both what to avoid and what to desire, when I have submitted to 
thee what I could understand about matters here below, and have 
sought thy counsel about them? 

     With my external senses I have viewed the world as I was able 
and have noticed the life which my body derives from me and from 
these senses of mine.  From that stage I advanced inwardly into 
the recesses of my memory -- the manifold chambers of my mind, 
marvelously full of unmeasured wealth.  And I reflected on this 
and was afraid, and could understand none of these things without 
thee and found thee to be none of them.  Nor did I myself discover 
these things -- I who went over them all and labored to 
distinguish and to value everything according to its dignity, 
accepting some things upon the report of my senses and questioning 
about others which I thought to be related to my inner self, 
distinguishing and numbering the reporters themselves; and in that 
vast storehouse of my memory, investigating some things, 
depositing other things, taking out still others.  Neither was I 
myself when I did this -- that is, that ability of mine by which I 
did it -- nor was it thou, for thou art that never-failing light 
from which I took counsel about them all; whether they were what 
they were, and what was their real value.  In all this I heard 
thee teaching and commanding me.  And this I often do -- and this 
is a delight to me -- and as far as I can get relief from my 
necessary duties, I resort to this kind of pleasure.  But in all 
these things which I review when I consult thee, I still do not 
find a secure place for my soul save in thee, in whom my scattered 
members may be gathered together and nothing of me escape from 
thee.  And sometimes thou introducest me to a most rare and inward 
feeling, an inexplicable sweetness.  If this were to come to 
perfection in me I do not know to what point life might not then 
arrive.  But still, by these wretched weights of mine, I relapse 
into these common things, and am sucked in by my old customs and 
am held.  I sorrow much, yet I am still closely held.  To this 
extent, then, the burden of habit presses us down.  I can exist in 
this fashion but I do not wish to do so.  In that other way I wish 
I were, but cannot be -- in both ways I am wretched.

                          CHAPTER XLI

     66.  And now I have thus considered the infirmities of my 
sins, under the headings of the three major "lusts," and I have 
called thy right hand to my aid.  For with a wounded heart I have 
seen thy brightness, and having been beaten back I cried: "Who can 
attain to it?  I am cut off from before thy eyes."[390]  Thou art 
the Truth, who presidest over all things, but I, because of my 
greed, did not wish to lose thee.  But still, along with thee, I 
wished also to possess a lie -- just as no one wishes to lie in 
such a way as to be ignorant of what is true.  By this I lost 
thee, for thou wilt not condescend to be enjoyed along with a lie.

                         CHAPTER XLII

     67.  Whom could I find to reconcile me to thee?  Should I 
have approached the angels?  What kind of prayer?  What kind of 
rites?  Many who were striving to return to thee and were not able 
of themselves have, I am told, tried this and have fallen into a 
longing for curious visions and deserved to be deceived.  Being 
exalted, they sought thee in their pride of learning, and they 
thrust themselves forward rather than beating their breasts.[391]  
And so by a likeness of heart, they drew to themselves the princes 
of the air,[392] their conspirators and companions in pride, by 
whom they were deceived by the power of magic.  Thus they sought a 
mediator by whom they might be cleansed, but there was none.  For 
the mediator they sought was the devil, disguising himself as an 
angel of light.[393]  And he allured their proud flesh the more 
because he had no fleshly body.

     They were mortal and sinful, but thou, O Lord, to whom they 
arrogantly sought to be reconciled, art immortal and sinless.  But 
a mediator between God and man ought to have something in him like 
God and something in him like man, lest in being like man he 
should be far from God, or if only like God he should be far from 
man, and so should not be a mediator.  That deceitful mediator, 
then, by whom, by thy secret judgment, human pride deserves to be 
deceived, had one thing in common with man, that is, his sin.  In 
another respect, he would seem to have something in common with 
God, for not being clothed with the mortality of the flesh, he 
could boast that he was immortal.  But since "the wages of sin is 
death,"[394] what he really has in common with men is that, 
together with them, he is condemned to death.

                         CHAPTER XLIII

     68.  But the true Mediator, whom thou in thy secret mercy 
hast revealed to the humble, and hast sent to them so that through 
his example they also might learn the same humility -- that 
"Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus,"[395] 
appeared between mortal sinners and the immortal Just One.  He was 
mortal as men are mortal; he was righteous as God is righteous; 
and because the reward of righteousness is life and peace, he 
could, through his righteousness united with God, cancel the death 
of justified sinners, which he was willing to have in common with 
them.  Hence he was manifested to holy men of old, to the end that 
they might be saved through faith in his Passion to come, even as 
we through faith in his Passion which is past.  As man he was 
Mediator, but as the Word he was not something in between the two; 
because he was equal to God, and God with God, and, with the Holy 
Spirit, one God.

     69.  How hast thou loved us, O good Father, who didst not 
spare thy only Son, but didst deliver him up for us wicked 
ones![396]  How hast thou loved us, for whom he who did not count 
it robbery to be equal with thee "became obedient unto death, even 
the death of the cross"[397]!  He alone was "free among the 
dead."[398]  He alone had power to lay down his life and power to 
take it up again, and for us he became to thee both Victor and 
Victim; and Victor because he was the Victim.  For us, he was to 
thee both Priest and Sacrifice, and Priest because he was the 
Sacrifice.  Out of slaves, he maketh us thy sons, because he was 
born of thee and did serve us.  Rightly, then, is my hope fixed 
strongly on him, that thou wilt "heal all my diseases"[399] 
through him, who sitteth at thy right hand and maketh intercession 
for us.[400]  Otherwise I should utterly despair.  For my 
infirmities are many and great; indeed, they are very many and 
very great.  But thy medicine is still greater.  Otherwise, we 
might think that thy word was removed from union with man, and 
despair of ourselves, if it had not been that he was "made flesh 
and dwelt among us."[401]

     70.  Terrified by my sins and the load of my misery, I had 
resolved in my heart and considered flight into the wilderness.  
But thou didst forbid me, and thou didst strengthen me, saying 
that "since Christ died for all, they who live should not 
henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for 
them."[402]  Behold, O Lord, I cast all my care on thee, that I 
may live and "behold wondrous things out of thy law."[403]  Thou 
knowest my incompetence and my infirmities; teach me and heal me.  
Thy only Son -- he "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom 
and knowledge"[404] -- hath redeemed me with his blood.  Let not 
the proud speak evil of me, because I keep my ransom before my 
mind, and eat and drink and share my food and drink.  For, being 
poor, I desire to be satisfied from him, together with those who 
eat and are satisfied: "and they shall praise the Lord that seek 

                         BOOK ELEVEN

     The eternal Creator and the Creation in time.  Augustine ties 
together his memory of his past life, his present experience, and 
his ardent desire to comprehend the mystery of creation.  This 
leads him to the questions of the mode and time of creation.  He 
ponders the mode of creation and shows that it was  de nihilo and 
involved no alteration in the being of God.  He then considers the 
question of the beginning of the world and time and shows that 
time and creation are cotemporal.  But what is time?  To this 
Augustine devotes a brilliant analysis of the subjectivity of time 
and the relation of all temporal process to the abiding eternity 
of God.  From this, he prepares to turn to a detailed 
interpretation of Gen. 1:1, 2.  

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  Is it possible, O Lord, that, since thou art in eternity, 
thou art ignorant of what I am saying to thee?  Or, dost thou see 
in time an event at the time it occurs?  If not, then why am I 
recounting such a tale of things to thee?  Certainly not in order 
to acquaint thee with them through me; but, instead, that through 
them I may stir up my own love and the love of my readers toward 
thee, so that all may say, "Great is the Lord and greatly to be 
praised." I have said this before[406] and will say it again: "For 
love of thy love I do it." So also we pray -- and yet Truth tells 
us, "Your Father knoweth what things you need before you ask 
him."[407]  Consequently, we lay bare our feelings before thee, 
that, through our confessing to thee our plight and thy mercies 
toward us, thou mayest go on to free us altogether, as thou hast 
already begun; and that we may cease to be wretched in ourselves 
and blessed in thee -- since thou hast called us to be poor in 
spirit, meek, mourners, hungering and athirst for righteousness, 
merciful and pure in heart.[408]  Thus I have told thee many 
things, as I could find ability and will to do so, since it was 
thy will in the first place that I should confess to thee, O Lord 
my God -- for "Thou art good and thy mercy endureth forever."[409]

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  But how long would it take for the voice of my pen to 
tell enough of thy exhortations and of all thy terrors and 
comforts and leadings by which thou didst bring me to preach thy 
Word and to administer thy sacraments to thy people?  And even if 
I could do this sufficiently, the drops of time[410] are very 
precious to me and I have for a long time been burning with the 
desire to meditate on thy law, and to confess in thy presence my 
knowledge and ignorance of it -- from the first streaks of thy 
light in my mind and the remaining darkness, until my weakness 
shall be swallowed up in thy strength.  And I do not wish to see 
those hours drained into anything else which I can find free from 
the necessary care of the body, the exercise of the mind, and the 
service we owe to our fellow men -- and what we give even if we do 
not owe it.

     3.  O Lord my God, hear my prayer and let thy mercy attend my 
longing.  It does not burn for itself alone but longs as well to 
serve the cause of fraternal love.  Thou seest in my heart that 
this is so.  Let me offer the service of my mind and my tongue -- 
and give me what I may in turn offer back to thee.  For "I am 
needy and poor"; thou art rich to all who call upon thee -- thou 
who, in thy freedom from care, carest for us.  Trim away from my 
lips, inwardly and outwardly, all rashness and lying.  Let thy 
Scriptures be my chaste delight.  Let me not be deceived in them, 
nor deceive others from them.  O Lord, hear and pity!  O Lord my 
God, light of the blind, strength of the weak -- and also the 
light of those who see and the strength of the strong -- hearken 
to my soul and hear it crying from the depths.[411]  Unless thy 
ears attend us even in the depths, where should we go?  To whom 
should we cry? 

     "Thine is the day and the night is thine as well."[412]  At 
thy bidding the moments fly by.  Grant me in them, then, an 
interval for my meditations on the hidden things of thy law, nor 
close the door of thy law against us who knock.  Thou hast not 
willed that the deep secrets of all those pages should have been 
written in vain.  Those forests are not without their stags which 
keep retired within them, ranging and walking and feeding, lying 
down and ruminating.[413]  Perfect me, O Lord, and reveal their 
secrets to me.  Behold, thy voice is my joy; thy voice surpasses 
in abundance of delights.  Give me what I love, for I do love it.  
And this too is thy gift.  Abandon not thy gifts and despise not 
thy "grass" which thirsts for thee.[414]  Let me confess to thee 
everything that I shall have found in thy books and "let me hear 
the voice of thy praise."[415]  Let me drink from thee and 
"consider the wondrous things out of thy law"[416] -- from the 
very beginning, when thou madest heaven and earth, and 
thenceforward to the everlasting reign of thy Holy City with thee.

     4.  O Lord, have mercy on me and hear my petition.  For my 
prayer is not for earthly things, neither gold nor silver and 
precious stones, nor gorgeous apparel, nor honors and power, nor 
fleshly pleasures, nor of bodily necessities in this life of our 
pilgrimage: all of these things are "added" to those who seek thy 
Kingdom and thy righteousness.[417]

     Observe, O God, from whence comes my desire.  The unrighteous 
have told me of delights but not such as those in thy law, O Lord.  
Behold, this is the spring of my desire.  See, O Father, look and 
see -- and approve!  Let it be pleasing in thy mercy's sight that 
I should find favor with thee -- that the secret things of thy 
Word may be opened to me when I knock.  I beg this of thee by our 
Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, the Man of thy right hand, the Son of 
Man; whom thou madest strong for thy purpose as Mediator between 
thee and us; through whom thou didst seek us when we were not 
seeking thee, but didst seek us so that we might seek thee; thy 
Word, through whom thou madest all things, and me among them; thy 
only Son, through whom thou hast called thy faithful people to 
adoption, and me among them.  I beseech it of thee through him who 
sitteth at thy right hand and maketh intercession for us, "in whom 
are hid all treasures of wisdom and knowledge."[418]  It is he I 
seek in thy books.  Moses wrote of him.  He tells us so himself; 
the Truth tells us so.

                          CHAPTER III

     5.  Let me hear and understand how in the beginning thou 
madest heaven and earth.[419]  Moses wrote of this; he wrote and 
passed on -- moving from thee to thee -- and he is now no longer 
before me.  If he were, I would lay hold on him and ask him and 
entreat him solemnly that in thy name he would open out these 
things to me, and I would lend my bodily ears to the sounds that 
came forth out of his mouth.  If, however, he spoke in the Hebrew 
language, the sounds would beat on my senses in vain, and nothing 
would touch my mind; but if he spoke in Latin, I would understand 
what he said.  But how should I then know whether what he said was 
true?  If I knew even this much, would it be that I knew it from 
him?  Indeed, within me, deep inside the chambers of my thought, 
Truth itself -- neither Hebrew, nor Greek, nor Latin, nor 
barbarian, without any organs of voice and tongue, without the 
sound of syllables -- would say, "He speaks the truth," and I 
should be assured by this.  Then I would confidently say to that 
man of thine, "You speak the truth."[420]  However, since I cannot 
inquire of Moses, I beseech thee, O Truth, from whose fullness he 
spoke truth; I beseech thee, my God, forgive my sins, and as thou 
gavest thy servant the gift to speak these things, grant me also 
the gift to understand them.

                          CHAPTER IV

     6.  Look around; there are the heaven and the earth.  They 
cry aloud that they were made, for they change and vary.  Whatever 
there is that has not been made, and yet has being, has nothing in 
it that was not there before.  This having something not already 
existent is what it means to be changed and varied.  Heaven and 
earth thus speak plainly that they did not make themselves: "We 
are, because we have been made; we did not exist before we came to 
be so that we could have made ourselves!"  And the voice with 
which they speak is simply their visible presence.  It was thou, O 
Lord, who madest these things.  Thou art beautiful; thus they are 
beautiful.  Thou art good, thus they are good.  Thou art; thus 
they are.  But they are not as beautiful, nor as good, nor as 
truly real as thou their Creator art.  Compared with thee, they 
are neither beautiful nor good, nor do they even exist.  These 
things we know, thanks be to thee.  Yet our knowledge is ignorance 
when it is compared with thy knowledge.

                           CHAPTER V

     7.  But _how_ didst thou make the heaven and the earth, and 
what was the tool of such a mighty work as thine?  For it was not 
like a human worker fashioning body from body, according to the 
fancy of his mind, able somehow or other to impose on it a form 
which the mind perceived in itself by its inner eye (yet how 
should even he be able to do this, if thou hadst not made that 
mind?).  He imposes the form on something already existing and 
having some sort of being, such as clay, or stone or wood or gold 
or such like (and where would these things come from if thou hadst 
not furnished them?).  For thou madest his body for the artisan, 
and thou madest the mind which directs the limbs; thou madest the 
matter from which he makes anything; thou didst create the 
capacity by which he understands his art and sees within his mind 
what he may do with the things before him; thou gavest him his 
bodily sense by which, as if he had an interpreter, he may 
communicate from mind to matter what he proposes to do and report 
back to his mind what has been done, that the mind may consult 
with the Truth which presideth over it as to whether what is done 
is well done.

     All these things praise thee, the Creator of them all.  But 
how didst thou make them?  How, O God, didst thou make the heaven 
and earth?  For truly, neither in heaven nor on earth didst thou 
make heaven and earth -- nor in the air nor in the waters, since 
all of these also belong to the heaven and the earth.  Nowhere in 
the whole world didst thou make the whole world, because there was 
no place where it could be made before it was made.  And thou 
didst not hold anything in thy hand from which to fashion the 
heaven and the earth,[421] for where couldst thou have gotten what 
thou hadst not made in order to make something with it?  Is there, 
indeed, anything at all except because thou art?  Thus thou didst 
speak and they were made,[422] and by thy Word thou didst make 
them all.

                          CHAPTER VI

     8.  But how didst thou speak?  Was it in the same manner in 
which the voice came from the cloud saying, "This is my beloved 
Son"[423]?  For that voice sounded forth and died away; it began 
and ended.  The syllables sounded and passed away, the second 
after the first, the third after the second, and thence in order, 
till the very last after all the rest; and silence after the last.  
From this it is clear and plain that it was the action of a 
creature, itself in time, which sounded that voice, obeying thy 
eternal will.  And what these words were which were formed at that 
time the outer ear conveyed to the conscious mind, whose inner ear 
lay attentively open to thy eternal Word.  But it compared those 
words which sounded in time with thy eternal word sounding in 
silence and said: "This is different; quite different!  These 
words are far below me; they are not even real, for they fly away 
and pass, but the Word of my God remains above me forever." If, 
then, in words that sound and fade away thou didst say that heaven 
and earth should be made, and thus _madest_ heaven and earth, then 
there was already some kind of corporeal creature _before_ heaven 
and earth by whose motions in time that voice might have had its 
occurrence in time.  But there was nothing corporeal before the 
heaven and the earth; or if there was, then it is certain that 
already, without a time-bound voice, thou hadst created whatever 
it was out of which thou didst make the time-bound voice by which 
thou didst say, "Let the heaven and the earth be made!"  For 
whatever it was out of which such a voice was made simply did not 
exist at all until it was made by thee.  Was it decreed by thy 
Word that a body might be made from which such words might come?

                          CHAPTER VII

     9.  Thou dost call us, then, to understand the Word -- the 
God who is God with thee -- which is spoken eternally and by which 
all things are spoken eternally.  For what was first spoken was 
not finished, and then something else spoken until the whole 
series was spoken; but all things, at the same time and forever.  
For, otherwise, we should have time and change and not a true 
eternity, nor a true immortality.

     This I know, O my God, and I give thanks.  I know, I confess 
to thee, O Lord, and whoever is not ungrateful for certain truths 
knows and blesses thee along with me.  We know, O Lord, this much 
we know: that in the same proportion as anything is not what it 
was, and is what it was not, in that very same proportion it 
passes away or comes to be.  But there is nothing in thy Word that 
passes away or returns to its place; for it is truly immortal and 
eternal.  And, therefore, unto the Word coeternal with thee, at 
the same time and always thou sayest all that thou sayest.  And 
whatever thou sayest shall be made is made, and thou makest 
nothing otherwise than by speaking.  Still, not all the things 
that thou dost make by speaking are made at the same time and 

                         CHAPTER VIII

     10.  Why is this, I ask of thee, O Lord my God?  I see it 
after a fashion, but I do not know how to express it, unless I say 
that everything that begins to be and then ceases to be begins and 
ceases when it is known in thy eternal Reason that it ought to 
begin or cease -- in thy eternal Reason where nothing begins or 
ceases.  And this is thy Word, which is also "the Beginning," 
because it also speaks to us.[424]  Thus, in the gospel, he spoke 
through the flesh; and this sounded in the outward ears of men so 
that it might be believed and sought for within, and so that it 
might be found in the eternal Truth, in which the good and only 
Master teacheth all his disciples.[425]  There, O Lord, I hear thy 
voice, the voice of one speaking to me, since he who teacheth us 
speaketh to us.  But he that doth not teach us doth not really 
speak to us even when he speaketh.  Yet who is it that teacheth us 
unless it be the Truth immutable?  For even when we are instructed 
by means of the mutable creation, we are thereby led to the Truth 
immutable.  There we learn truly as we stand and hear him, and we 
rejoice greatly "because of the bridegroom's voice,"[426] 
restoring us to the source whence our being comes.  And therefore, 
unless the Beginning remained immutable, there would then not be a 
place to which we might return when we had wandered away.  But 
when we return from error, it is through our gaining knowledge 
that we return.  In order for us to gain knowledge he teacheth us, 
since he is the Beginning, and speaketh to us.

                          CHAPTER IX

     11.  In this Beginning, O God, thou hast made heaven and 
earth -- through thy Word, thy Son, thy Power, thy Wisdom, thy 
Truth: all wondrously speaking and wondrously creating.  Who shall 
comprehend such things and who shall tell of it?  What is it that 
shineth through me and striketh my heart without injury, so that I 
both shudder and burn?  I shudder because I am unlike it; I burn 
because I am like it.  It is Wisdom itself that shineth through 
me, clearing away my fog, which so readily overwhelms me so that I 
faint in it, in the darkness and burden of my punishment.  For my 
strength is brought down in neediness, so that I cannot endure 
even my blessings until thou, O Lord, who hast been gracious to 
all my iniquities, also healest all my infirmities -- for it is 
thou who "shalt redeem my life from corruption, and crown me with 
loving-kindness and tender mercy, and shalt satisfy my desire with 
good things so that my youth shall be renewed like the 
eagle's."[427]  For by this hope we are saved, and through 
patience we await thy promises.  Let him that is able hear thee 
speaking to his inner mind.  I will cry out with confidence 
because of thy own oracle, "How wonderful are thy works, O Lord; 
in wisdom thou hast made them all."[428]  And this Wisdom is the 
Beginning, and in that Beginning thou hast made heaven and earth.

                           CHAPTER X

     12.  Now, are not those still full of their old carnal 
nature[429] who ask us: "What was God doing _before_ he made 
heaven and earth?  For if he was idle," they say, "and doing 
nothing, then why did he not continue in that state forever -- 
doing nothing, as he had always done?  If any new motion has 
arisen in God, and a new will to form a creature, which he had 
never before formed, how can that be a true eternity in which an 
act of will occurs that was not there before?  For the will of God 
is not a created thing, but comes before the creation -- and this 
is true because nothing could be created unless the will of the 
Creator came before it.  The will of God, therefore, pertains to 
his very Essence.  Yet if anything has arisen in the Essence of 
God that was not there before, then that Essence cannot truly be 
called eternal.  But if it was the eternal will of God that the 
creation should come to be, why, then, is not the creation itself 
also from eternity?"[430]

                          CHAPTER XI

     13.  Those who say these things do not yet understand thee, O 
Wisdom of God, O Light of souls.  They do not yet understand how 
the things are made that are made by and in thee.  They endeavor 
to comprehend eternal things, but their heart still flies about in 
the past and future motions of created things, and is still 
unstable.  Who shall hold it and fix it so that it may come to 
rest for a little; and then, by degrees, glimpse the glory of that 
eternity which abides forever; and then, comparing eternity with 
the temporal process in which nothing abides, they may see that 
they are incommensurable?  They would see that a long time does 
not become long, except from the many separate events that occur 
in its passage, which cannot be simultaneous.  In the Eternal, on 
the other hand, nothing passes away, but the whole is 
simultaneously present.  But no temporal process is wholly 
simultaneous.  Therefore, let it[431] see that all time past is 
forced to move on by the incoming future; that all the future 
follows from the past; and that all, past and future, is created 
and issues out of that which is forever present.  Who will hold 
the heart of man that it may stand still and see how the eternity 
which always stands still is itself neither future nor past but 
expresses itself in the times that are future and past?  Can my 
hand do this, or can the hand of my mouth bring about so difficult 
a thing even by persuasion?

                          CHAPTER XII

     14.  How, then, shall I respond to him who asks, "What was 
God doing _before_ he made heaven and earth?"  I do not answer, as 
a certain one is reported to have done facetiously (shrugging off 
the force of the question).  "He was preparing hell," he said, 
"for those who pry too deep." It is one thing to see the answer; 
it is another to laugh at the questioner -- and for myself I do 
not answer these things thus.  More willingly would I have 
answered, "I do not know what I do not know," than cause one who 
asked a deep question to be ridiculed -- and by such tactics gain 
praise for a worthless answer.

     Rather, I say that thou, our God, art the Creator of every 
creature.  And if in the term "heaven and earth" every creature is 
included, I make bold to say further: "Before God made heaven and 
earth, he did not make anything at all.  For if he did, what did 
he make unless it were a creature?"  I do indeed wish that I knew 
all that I desire to know to my profit as surely as I know that no 
creature was made before any creature was made.

                         CHAPTER XIII

     15.  But if the roving thought of someone should wander over 
the images of past time, and wonder that thou, the Almighty God, 
the All-creating and All-sustaining, the Architect of heaven and 
earth, didst for ages unnumbered abstain from so great a work 
before thou didst actually do it, let him awake and consider that 
he wonders at illusions.  For in what temporal medium could the 
unnumbered ages that thou didst not make pass by, since thou art 
the Author and Creator of all the ages?  Or what periods of time 
would those be that were not made by thee?  Or how could they have 
already passed away if they had not already been?  Since, 
therefore, thou art the Creator of all times, if there was any 
time _before_ thou madest heaven and earth, why is it said that 
thou wast abstaining from working?  For thou madest that very time 
itself, and periods could not pass by _before_ thou madest the 
whole temporal procession.  But if there was no time _before_ 
heaven and earth, how, then, can it be asked, "What wast thou 
doing then?"  For there was no "then" when there was no time.

     16.  Nor dost thou precede any given period of time by 
another period of time.  Else thou wouldst not precede all periods 
of time.  In the eminence of thy ever-present eternity, thou 
precedest all times past, and extendest beyond all future times, 
for they are still to come -- and when they have come, they will 
be past.  But "Thou art always the Selfsame and thy years shall 
have no end."[432]  Thy years neither go nor come; but ours both 
go and come in order that all separate moments may come to pass.  
All thy years stand together as one, since they are abiding.  Nor 
do thy years past exclude the years to come because thy years do 
not pass away.  All these years of ours shall be with thee, when 
all of them shall have ceased to be.  Thy years are but a day, and 
thy day is not recurrent, but always today.  Thy "today" yields 
not to tomorrow and does not follow yesterday.  Thy "today" is 
eternity.  Therefore, thou didst generate the Coeternal, to whom 
thou didst say, "This day I have begotten thee."[433]  Thou madest 
all time and before all times thou art, and there was never a time 
when there was no time.

                          CHAPTER XIV

     17.  There was no time, therefore, when thou hadst not made 
anything, because thou hadst made time itself.  And there are no 
times that are coeternal with thee, because thou dost abide 
forever; but if times should abide, they would not be times.

     For what is time?  Who can easily and briefly explain it?  
Who can even comprehend it in thought or put the answer into 
words?  Yet is it not true that in conversation we refer to 
nothing more familiarly or knowingly than time?  And surely we 
understand it when we speak of it; we understand it also when we 
hear another speak of it.

     What, then, is time?  If no one asks me, I know what it is.  
If I wish to explain it to him who asks me, I do not know.  Yet I 
say with confidence that I know that if nothing passed away, there 
would be no past time; and if nothing were still coming, there 
would be no future time; and if there were nothing at all, there 
would be no present time.

     But, then, how is it that there are the two times, past and 
future, when even the past is now no longer and the future is now 
not yet?  But if the present were always present, and did not pass 
into past time, it obviously would not be time but eternity.  If, 
then, time present -- if it be time -- comes into existence only 
because it passes into time past, how can we say that even this 
is, since the cause of its being is that it will cease to be?  
Thus, can we not truly say that time _is_ only as it tends toward 

                          CHAPTER XV

     18.  And yet we speak of a long time and a short time; but 
never speak this way except of time past and future.  We call a 
hundred years ago, for example, a long time past.  In like manner, 
we should call a hundred years hence a long time to come.  But we 
call ten days ago a short time past; and ten days hence a short 
time to come.  But in what sense is something long or short that 
is nonexistent?  For the past is not now, and the future is not 
yet.  Therefore, let us not say, "It _is_ long"; instead, let us 
say of the past, "It _was_ long," and of the future, "It _will be_ 
long." And yet, O Lord, my Light, shall not thy truth make mockery 
of man even here?  For that long time past: was it long when it 
was already past, or when it was still present?  For it might have 
been long when there was a period that could be long, but when it 
was past, it no longer was.  In that case, that which was not at 
all could not be long.  Let us not, therefore, say, "Time past was 
long," for we shall not discover what it was that was long 
because, since it is past, it no longer exists.  Rather, let us 
say that "time _present_ was long, because when it was present it 
_was_ long." For then it had not yet passed on so as not to be, 
and therefore it still was in a state that could be called long.  
But after it passed, it ceased to be long simply because it ceased 
to be.

     19.  Let us, therefore, O human soul, see whether present 
time can be long, for it has been given you to feel and measure 
the periods of time.  How, then, will you answer me? 

     Is a hundred years when present a long time?  But, first, see 
whether a hundred years can be present at once.  For if the first 
year in the century is current, then it is present time, and the 
other ninety and nine are still future.  Therefore, they are not 
yet.  But, then, if the second year is current, one year is 
already past, the second present, and all the rest are future.  
And thus, if we fix on any middle year of this century as present, 
those before it are past, those after it are future.  Therefore, a 
hundred years cannot be present all at once.

     Let us see, then, whether the year that is now current can be 
present.  For if its first month is current, then the rest are 
future; if the second, the first is already past, and the 
remainder are not yet.  Therefore, the current year is not present 
all at once.  And if it is not present as a whole, then the year 
is not present.  For it takes twelve months to make the year, from 
which each individual month which is current is itself present one 
at a time, but the rest are either past or future.

     20.  Thus it comes out that time present, which we found was 
the only time that could be called "long," has been cut down to 
the space of scarcely a single day.  But let us examine even that, 
for one day is never present as a whole.  For it is made up of 
twenty-four hours, divided between night and day.  The first of 
these hours has the rest of them as future, and the last of them 
has the rest as past; but any of those between has those that 
preceded it as past and those that succeed it as future.  And that 
one hour itself passes away in fleeting fractions.  The part of it 
that has fled is past; what remains is still future.  If any 
fraction of time be conceived that cannot now be divided even into 
the most minute momentary point, this alone is what we may call 
time present.  But this flies so rapidly from future to past that 
it cannot be extended by any delay.  For if it is extended, it is 
then divided into past and future.  But the present has no 
extension[434] whatever.

     Where, therefore, is that time which we may call "long"?  Is 
it future?  Actually we do not say of the future, "It is long," 
for it has not yet come to be, so as to be long.  Instead, we say, 
"It will be long." _When_ will it be?  For since it is future, it 
will not be long, for what may be long is not yet.  It will be 
long only when it passes from the future which is not as yet, and 
will have begun to be present, so that there can be something that 
may be long.  But in that case, time present cries aloud, in the 
words we have already heard, that it cannot be "long."

                          CHAPTER XVI

     21.  And yet, O Lord, we do perceive intervals of time, and 
we compare them with each other, and we say that some are longer 
and others are shorter.  We even measure how much longer or 
shorter this time may be than that time.  And we say that this 
time is twice as long, or three times as long, while this other 
time is only just as long as that other.  But we measure the 
passage of time when we measure the intervals of perception.  But 
who can measure times past which now are no longer, or times 
future which are not yet -- unless perhaps someone will dare to 
say that what does not exist can be measured?  Therefore, while 
time is passing, it can be perceived and measured; but when it is 
past, it cannot, since it is not.

                         CHAPTER XVII

     22.  I am seeking the truth, O Father; I am not affirming it.  
O my God, direct and rule me.

     Who is there who will tell me that there are not three times 
-- as we learned when boys and as we have also taught boys -- time 
past, time present, and time future?  Who can say that there is 
only time present because the other two do not exist?  Or do they 
also exist; but when, from the future, time becomes present, it 
proceeds from some secret place; and when, from times present, it 
becomes past, it recedes into some secret place?  For where have 
those men who have foretold the future seen the things foretold, 
if then they were not yet existing?  For what does not exist 
cannot be seen.  And those who tell of things past could not speak 
of them as if they were true, if they did not see them in their 
minds.  These things could in no way be discerned if they did not 
exist.  There are therefore times present and times past.

                         CHAPTER XVIII

     23.  Give me leave, O Lord, to seek still further.  O my 
Hope, let not my purpose be confounded.  For if there are times 
past and future, I wish to know where they are.  But if I have not 
yet succeeded in this, I still know that wherever they are, they 
are not there as future or past, but as present.  For if they are 
there as future, they are there as "not yet"; if they are there as 
past, they are there as "no longer." Wherever they are and 
whatever they are they exist therefore only as present.  Although 
we tell of past things as true, they are drawn out of the memory 
-- not the things themselves, which have already passed, but words 
constructed from the images of the perceptions which were formed 
in the mind, like footprints in their passage through the senses.  
My childhood, for instance, which is no longer, still exists in 
time past, which does not now exist.  But when I call to mind its 
image and speak of it, I see it in the present because it is still 
in my memory.  Whether there is a similar explanation for the 
foretelling of future events -- that is, of the images of things 
which are not yet seen as if they were already existing -- I 
confess, O my God, I do not know.  But this I certainly do know: 
that we generally think ahead about our future actions, and this 
premeditation is in time present; but that the action which we 
premeditate is not yet, because it is still future.  When we shall 
have started the action and have begun to do what we were 
premeditating, then that action will be in time present, because 
then it is no longer in time future.

     24.  Whatever may be the manner of this secret foreseeing of 
future things, nothing can be seen except what exists.  But what 
exists now is not future, but present.  When, therefore, they say 
that future events are seen, it is not the events themselves, for 
they do not exist as yet (that is, they are still in time future), 
but perhaps, instead, their causes and their signs are seen, which 
already do exist.  Therefore, to those already beholding these 
causes and signs, they are not future, but present, and from them 
future things are predicted because they are conceived in the 
mind.  These conceptions, however, exist _now_, and those who 
predict those things see these conceptions before them in time 

     Let me take an example from the vast multitude and variety of 
such things.  I see the dawn; I predict that the sun is about to 
rise.  What I see is in time present, what I predict is in time 
future -- not that the sun is future, for it already exists; but 
its rising is future, because it is not yet.  Yet I could not 
predict even its rising, unless I had an image of it in my mind; 
as, indeed, I do even now as I speak.  But that dawn which I see 
in the sky is not the rising of the sun (though it does precede 
it), nor is it a conception in my mind.  These two[435] are seen 
in time present, in order that the event which is in time future 
may be predicted.

     Future events, therefore, are not yet.  And if they are not 
yet, they do not exist.  And if they do not exist, they cannot be 
seen at all, but they can be predicted from things present, which 
now are and are seen.

                          CHAPTER XIX

     25.  Now, therefore, O Ruler of thy creatures, what is the 
mode by which thou teachest souls those things which are still 
future?  For thou hast taught thy prophets.  How dost thou, to 
whom nothing is future, teach future things -- or rather teach 
things present from the signs of things future?  For what does not 
exist certainly cannot be taught.  This way of thine is too far 
from my sight; it is too great for me, I cannot attain to it.[436]  
But I shall be enabled by thee, when thou wilt grant it, O sweet 
Light of my secret eyes.

                          CHAPTER XX

     26.  But even now it is manifest and clear that there are 
neither times future nor times past.  Thus it is not properly said 
that there are three times, past, present, and future.  Perhaps it 
might be said rightly that there are three times: a time present 
of things past; a time present of things present; and a time 
present of things future.  For these three do coexist somehow in 
the soul, for otherwise I could not see them.  The time present of 
things past is memory; the time present of things present is 
direct experience; the time present of things future is 
expectation.[437]  If we are allowed to speak of these things so, 
I see three times, and I grant that there are three.  Let it still 
be said, then, as our misapplied custom has it: "There are three 
times, past, present, and future." I shall not be troubled by it, 
nor argue, nor object -- always provided that what is said is 
understood, so that neither the future nor the past is said to 
exist now.  There are but few things about which we speak properly 
-- and many more about which we speak improperly -- though we 
understand one another's meaning.

                          CHAPTER XXI

     27.  I have said, then, that we measure periods of time as 
they pass so that we can say that this time is twice as long as 
that one or that this is just as long as that, and so on for the 
other fractions of time which we can count by measuring.

     So, then, as I was saying, we measure periods of time as they 
pass.  And if anyone asks me, "How do you know this?", I can 
answer: "I know because we measure.  We could not measure things 
that do not exist, and things past and future do not exist." But 
how do we measure present time since it has no extension?  It is 
measured while it passes, but when it has passed it is not 
measured; for then there is nothing that could be measured.  But 
whence, and how, and whither does it pass while it is being 
measured?  Whence, but from the future?  Which way, save through 
the present?  Whither, but into the past?  Therefore, from what is 
not yet, through what has no length, it passes into what is now no 
longer.  But what do we measure, unless it is a time of some 
length?  For we cannot speak of single, and double, and triple, 
and equal, and all the other ways in which we speak of time, 
except in terms of the length of the periods of time.  But in what 
"length," then, do we measure passing time?  Is it in the future, 
from which it passes over?  But what does not yet exist cannot be 
measured.  Or, is it in the present, through which it passes?  But 
what has no length we cannot measure.  Or is it in the past into 
which it passes?  But what is no longer we cannot measure.

                         CHAPTER XXII

     28.  My soul burns ardently to understand this most intricate 
enigma.  O Lord my God, O good Father, I beseech thee through 
Christ, do not close off these things, both the familiar and the 
obscure, from my desire.  Do not bar it from entering into them; 
but let their light dawn by thy enlightening mercy, O Lord.  Of 
whom shall I inquire about these things?  And to whom shall I 
confess my ignorance of them with greater profit than to thee, to 
whom these studies of mine (ardently longing to understand thy 
Scriptures) are not a bore?  Give me what I love, for I do love 
it; and this thou hast given me.  O Father, who truly knowest how 
to give good gifts to thy children, give this to me.  Grant it, 
since I have undertaken to understand it, and hard labor is my lot 
until thou openest it.  I beseech thee, through Christ and in his 
name, the Holy of Holies, let no man interrupt me.  "For I have 
believed, and therefore do I speak."[438]  This is my hope; for 
this I live: that I may contemplate the joys of my Lord.[439]  
Behold, thou hast made my days grow old, and they pass away -- and 
how I do not know.

     We speak of this time and that time, and these times and 
those times: "How long ago since he said this?"  "How long ago 
since he did this?"  "How long ago since I saw that?"  "This 
syllable is twice as long as that single short syllable." These 
words we say and hear, and we are understood and we understand.  
They are quite commonplace and ordinary, and still the meaning of 
these very same things lies deeply hid and its discovery is still 
to come.

                         CHAPTER XXIII

     29.  I once heard a learned man say that the motions of the 
sun, moon, and stars constituted time; and I did not agree.  For 
why should not the motions of all bodies constitute time?  What if 
the lights of heaven should cease, and a potter's wheel still turn 
round: would there be no time by which we might measure those 
rotations and say either that it turned at equal intervals, or, if 
it moved now more slowly and now more quickly, that some rotations 
were longer and others shorter?  And while we were saying this, 
would we not also be speaking in time?  Or would there not be in 
our words some syllables that were long and others short, because 
the first took a longer time to sound, and the others a shorter 
time?  O God, grant men to see in a small thing the notions that 
are common[440] to all things, both great and small.  Both the 
stars and the lights of heaven are "for signs and seasons, and for 
days and years."[441]  This is doubtless the case, but just as I 
should not say that the circuit of that wooden wheel was a day, 
neither would that learned man say that there was, therefore, no 

     30.  I thirst to know the power and the nature of time, by 
which we measure the motions of bodies, and say, for example, that 
this motion is twice as long as that.  For I ask, since the word 
"day" refers not only to the length of time that the sun is above 
the earth (which separates day from night), but also refers to the 
sun's entire circuit from east all the way around to east -- on 
account of which we can say, "So many days have passed" (the 
nights being included when we say, "So many days," and their 
lengths not counted separately) -- since, then, the day is ended 
by the motion of the sun and by his passage from east to east, I 
ask whether the motion itself is the day, or whether the day is 
the period in which that motion is completed; or both?  For if the 
sun's passage is the day, then there would be a day even if the 
sun should finish his course in as short a period as an hour.  If 
the motion itself is the day, then it would not be a day if from 
one sunrise to another there were a period no longer than an hour.  
But the sun would have to go round twenty-four times to make just 
one day.  If it is both, then that could not be called a day if 
the sun ran his entire course in the period of an hour; nor would 
it be a day if, while the sun stood still, as much time passed as 
the sun usually covered during his whole course, from morning to 
morning.  I shall, therefore, not ask any more what it is that is 
called a day, but rather what time is, for it is by time that we 
measure the circuit of the sun, and would be able to say that it 
was finished in half the period of time that it customarily takes 
if it were completed in a period of only twelve hours.  If, then, 
we compare these periods, we could call one of them a single and 
the other a double period, as if the sun might run his course from 
east to east sometimes in a single period and sometimes in a 
double period.

     Let no man tell me, therefore, that the motions of the 
heavenly bodies constitute time.  For when the sun stood still at 
the prayer of a certain man in order that he might gain his 
victory in battle, the sun stood still but time went on.  For in 
as long a span of time as was sufficient the battle was fought and 

     I see, then, that time is a certain kind of extension.  But 
do I see it, or do I only seem to?  Thou, O Light and Truth, wilt 
show me.

                          CHAPTER XXIV

     31.  Dost thou command that I should agree if anyone says 
that time is "the motion of a body"?  Thou dost not so command.  
For I hear that no body is moved but in time; this thou tellest 
me.  But that the motion of a body itself is time I do not hear; 
thou dost not say so.  For when a body is moved, I measure by time 
how long it was moving from the time when it began to be moved 
until it stopped.  And if I did not see when it began to be moved, 
and if it continued to move so that I could not see when it 
stopped, I could not measure the movement, except from the time 
when I began to see it until I stopped.  But if I look at it for a 
long time, I can affirm only that the time is long but not how 
long it may be.  This is because when we say, "How long?", we are 
speaking comparatively as: "This is as long as that," or, "This is 
twice as long as that"; or other such similar ratios.  But if we 
were able to observe the point in space where and from which the 
body, which is moved, comes and the point to which it is moved; or 
if we can observe its parts moving as in a wheel, we can say how 
long the movement of the body took or the movement of its parts 
from this place to that.  Since, therefore, the motion of a body 
is one thing, and the norm by which we measure how long it takes 
is another thing, we cannot see which of these two is to be called 
time.  For, although a body is sometimes moved and sometimes 
stands still, we measure not only its motion but also its rest as 
well; and both by time!  Thus we say, "It stood still as long as 
it moved," or, "It stood still twice or three times as long as it 
moved" -- or any other ratio which our measuring has either 
determined or imagined, either roughly or precisely, according to 
our custom.  Therefore, time is not the motion of a body.

                          CHAPTER XXV

     32.  And I confess to thee, O Lord, that I am still ignorant 
as to what time is.  And again I confess to thee, O Lord, that I 
know that I am speaking all these things in time, and that I have 
already spoken of time a long time, and that "very long" is not 
long except when measured by the duration of time.  How, then, do 
I know this, when I do not know what time is?  Or, is it possible 
that I do not know how I can express what I do know?  Alas for me!  
I do not even know the extent of my own ignorance.  Behold, O my 
God, in thy presence I do not lie.  As my heart is, so I speak.  
Thou shalt light my candle; thou, O Lord my God, wilt enlighten my 

                         CHAPTER XXVI

     33.  Does not my soul most truly confess to thee that I do 
measure intervals of time?  But what is it that I thus measure, O 
my God, and how is it that I do not know what I measure?  I 
measure the motion of a body by time, but the time itself I do not 
measure.  But, truly, could I measure the motion of a body -- how 
long it takes, how long it is in motion from this place to that -- 
unless I could measure the time in which it is moving? 

     How, then, do I measure this time itself?  Do we measure a 
longer time by a shorter time, as we measure the length of a 
crossbeam in terms of cubits?[444]  Thus, we can say that the 
length of a long syllable is measured by the length of a short 
syllable and thus say that the long syllable is double.  So also 
we measure the length of poems by the length of the lines, and the 
length of the line by the length of the feet, and the length of 
the feet by the length of the syllable, and the length of the long 
syllables by the length of the short ones.  We do not measure by 
pages -- for in that way we would measure space rather than time 
-- but when we speak the words as they pass by we say: "It is a 
long stanza, because it is made up of so many verses; they are 
long verses because they consist of so many feet; they are long 
feet because they extend over so many syllables; this is a long 
syllable because it is twice the length of a short one."

     But no certain measure of time is obtained this way; since it 
is possible that if a shorter verse is pronounced slowly, it may 
take up more time than a longer one if it is pronounced hurriedly.  
The same would hold for a stanza, or a foot, or a syllable.  From 
this it appears to me that time is nothing other than 
extendedness;[445] but extendedness of what I do not know.  This 
is a marvel to me.  The extendedness may be of the mind itself.  
For what is it I measure, I ask thee, O my God, when I say either, 
roughly, "This time is longer than that," or, more precisely, 
"This is _twice_ as long as that." I know that I am measuring 
time.  But I am not measuring the future, for it is not yet; and I 
am not measuring the present because it is extended by no length; 
and I am not measuring the past because it no longer is.  What is 
it, therefore, that I am measuring?  Is it time in its passage, 
but not time past [praetereuntia tempora, non praeterita]?  This 
is what I have been saying.

                         CHAPTER XXVII

     34.  Press on, O my mind, and attend with all your power.  
God is our Helper: "it is he that hath made us and not we 
ourselves."[446]  Give heed where the truth begins to dawn.[447]  
Suppose now that a bodily voice begins to sound, and continues to 
sound -- on and on -- and then ceases.  Now there is silence.  The 
voice is past, and there is no longer a sound.  It was future 
before it sounded, and could not be measured because it was not 
yet; and now it cannot be measured because it is no longer.  
Therefore, while it was sounding, it might have been measured 
because then there was something that could be measured.  But even 
then it did not stand still, for it was in motion and was passing 
away.  Could it, on that account, be any more readily measured?  
For while it was passing away, it was being extended into some 
interval of time in which it might be measured, since the present 
has no length.  Supposing, though, that it might have been 
measured -- then also suppose that another voice had begun to 
sound and is still sounding without any interruption to break its 
continued flow.  We can measure it only while it is sounding, for 
when it has ceased to sound it will be already past and there will 
not be anything there that can be measured.  Let us measure it 
exactly; and let us say how much it is.  But while it is sounding, 
it cannot be measured except from the instant when it began to 
sound, down to the final moment when it left off.  For we measure 
the time interval itself from some beginning point to some end.  
This is why a voice that has not yet ended cannot be measured, so 
that one could say how long or how briefly it will continue.  Nor 
can it be said to be equal to another voice or single or double in 
comparison to it or anything like this.  But when it is ended, it 
is no longer.  How, therefore, may it be measured?  And yet we 
measure times; not those which are not yet, nor those which no 
longer are, nor those which are stretched out by some delay, nor 
those which have no limit.  Therefore, we measure neither times 
future nor times past, nor times present, nor times passing by; 
and yet we do measure times.

     35.  Deus Creator omnium[448]: this verse of eight syllables 
alternates between short and long syllables.  The four short ones 
-- that is, the first, third, fifth, and seventh -- are single in 
relation to the four long ones -- that is, the second, fourth, 
sixth, and eighth.  Each of the long ones is double the length of 
each of the short ones.  I affirm this and report it, and common 
sense perceives that this indeed is the case.  By common sense, 
then, I measure a long syllable by a short one, and I find that it 
is twice as long.  But when one sounds after another, if the first 
be short and the latter long, how can I hold the short one and how 
can I apply it to the long one as a measure, so that I can 
discover that the long one is twice as long, when, in fact, the 
long one does not begin to sound until the short one leaves off 
sounding?  That same long syllable I do not measure as present, 
since I cannot measure it until it is ended; but its ending is its 
passing away.

     What is it, then, that I can measure?  Where is the short 
syllable by which I measure?  Where is the long one that I am 
measuring?  Both have sounded, have flown away, have passed on, 
and are no longer.  And still I measure, and I confidently answer 
-- as far as a trained ear can be trusted -- that this syllable is 
single and that syllable double.  And I could not do this unless 
they both had passed and were ended.  Therefore I do not measure 
them, for they do not exist any more.  But I measure something in 
my memory which remains fixed.

     36.  It is in you, O mind of mine, that I measure the periods 
of time.  Do not shout me down that it exists [objectively]; do 
not overwhelm yourself with the turbulent flood of your 
impressions.  In you, as I have said, I measure the periods of 
time.  I measure as time present the impression that things make 
on you as they pass by and what remains after they have passed by 
-- I do not measure the things themselves which have passed by and 
left their impression on you.  This is what I measure when I 
measure periods of time.  Either, then, these are the periods of 
time or else I do not measure time at all.

     What are we doing when we measure silence, and say that this 
silence has lasted as long as that voice lasts?  Do we not project 
our thought to the measure of a sound, as if it were then 
sounding, so that we can say something concerning the intervals of 
silence in a given span of time?  For, even when both the voice 
and the tongue are still, we review -- in thought -- poems and 
verses, and discourse of various kinds or various measures of 
motions, and we specify their time spans -- how long this is in 
relation to that -- just as if we were speaking them aloud.  If 
anyone wishes to utter a prolonged sound, and if, in forethought, 
he has decided how long it should be, that man has already in 
silence gone through a span of time, and committed his sound to 
memory.  Thus he begins to speak and his voice sounds until it 
reaches the predetermined end.  It has truly sounded and will go 
on sounding.  But what is already finished has already sounded and 
what remains will still sound.  Thus it passes on, until the 
present intention carries the future over into the past.  The past 
increases by the diminution of the future until by the consumption 
of all the future all is past.[449]

                          CHAPTER XXVIII

     37.  But how is the future diminished or consumed when it 
does not yet exist?  Or how does the past, which exists no longer, 
increase, unless it is that in the mind in which all this happens 
there are three functions?  For the mind expects, it attends, and 
it remembers; so that what it expects passes into what it 
remembers by way of what it attends to.  Who denies that future 
things do not exist as yet?  But still there is already in the 
mind the expectation of things still future.  And who denies that 
past things now exist no longer?  Still there is in the mind the 
memory of things past.  Who denies that time present has no 
length, since it passes away in a moment?  Yet, our attention has 
a continuity and it is through this that what is present may 
proceed to become absent.  Therefore, future time, which is 
nonexistent, is not long; but "a long future" is "a long 
expectation of the future." Nor is time past, which is now no 
longer, long; a "long past" is "a long memory of the past."

     38.  I am about to repeat a psalm that I know.  Before I 
begin, my attention encompasses the whole, but once I have begun, 
as much of it as becomes past while I speak is still stretched out 
in my memory.  The span of my action is divided between my memory, 
which contains what I have repeated, and my expectation, which 
contains what I am about to repeat.  Yet my attention is 
continually present with me, and through it what was future is 
carried over so that it becomes past.  The more this is done and 
repeated, the more the memory is enlarged -- and expectation is 
shortened -- until the whole expectation is exhausted.  Then the 
whole action is ended and passed into memory.  And what takes 
place in the entire psalm takes place also in each individual part 
of it and in each individual syllable.  This also holds in the 
even longer action of which that psalm is only a portion.  The 
same holds in the whole life of man, of which all the actions of 
men are parts.  The same holds in the whole age of the sons of 
men, of which all the lives of men are parts.

                         CHAPTER XXIX

     39.  But "since thy loving-kindness is better than life 
itself,"[450] observe how my life is but a stretching out, and how 
thy right hand has upheld me in my Lord, the Son of Man, the 
Mediator between thee, the One, and us, the many -- in so many 
ways and by so many means.  Thus through him I may lay hold upon 
him in whom I am also laid hold upon; and I may be gathered up 
from my old way of life to follow that One and to forget that 
which is behind, no longer stretched out but now pulled together 
again -- stretching forth not to what shall be and shall pass away 
but to those things that _are_ before me.  Not distractedly now, 
but intently, I follow on for the prize of my heavenly 
calling,[451] where I may hear the sound of thy praise and 
contemplate thy delights, which neither come to be nor pass away.

     But now my years are spent in mourning.[452]  And thou, O 
Lord, art my comfort, my eternal Father.  But I have been torn 
between the times, the order of which I do not know, and my 
thoughts, even the inmost and deepest places of my soul, are 
mangled by various commotions until I shall flow together into 
thee, purged and molten in the fire of thy love.

                          CHAPTER XXX

     40.  And I will be immovable and fixed in thee, and thy truth 
will be my mold.  And I shall not have to endure the questions of 
those men who, as if in a morbid disease, thirst for more than 
they can hold and say, "What did God make before he made heaven 
and earth?"  or, "How did it come into his mind to make something 
when he had never before made anything?"  Grant them, O Lord, to 
consider well what they are saying; and grant them to see that 
where there is no time they cannot say "never." When, therefore, 
he is said "never to have made" something -- what is this but to 
say that it was made in no time at all?  Let them therefore see 
that there could be no time without a created world, and let them 
cease to speak vanity of this kind.  Let them also be stretched 
out to those things which are before them, and understand that 
thou, the eternal Creator of all times, art before all times and 
that no times are coeternal with thee; nor is any creature, even 
if there is a creature "above time."

                         CHAPTER XXXI 

     41.  O Lord my God, what a chasm there is in thy deep secret!  
How far short of it have the consequences of my sins cast me?  
Heal my eyes, that I may enjoy thy light.  Surely, if there is a 
mind that so greatly abounds in knowledge and foreknowledge, to 
which all things past and future are as well known as one psalm is 
well known to me, that mind would be an exceeding marvel and 
altogether astonishing.  For whatever is past and whatever is yet 
to come would be no more concealed from him than the past and 
future of that psalm were hidden from me when I was chanting it: 
how much of it had been sung from the beginning and what and how 
much still remained till the end.  But far be it from thee, O 
Creator of the universe, and Creator of our souls and bodies -- 
far be it from thee that thou shouldst merely know all things past 
and future.  Far, far more wonderfully, and far more mysteriously 
thou knowest them.  For it is not as the feelings of one singing 
familiar songs, or hearing a familiar song in which, because of 
his expectation of words still to come and his remembrance of 
those that are past, his feelings are varied and his senses are 
divided.  This is not the way that anything happens to thee, who 
art unchangeably eternal, that is, the truly eternal Creator of 
minds.  As in the beginning thou knewest both the heaven and the 
earth without any change in thy knowledge, so thou didst make 
heaven and earth in their beginnings without any division in thy 
action.[453]  Let him who understands this confess to thee; and 
let him who does not understand also confess to thee!  Oh, exalted 
as thou art, still the humble in heart are thy dwelling place!  
For thou liftest them who are cast down and they fall not for whom 
thou art the Most High.[454]


                         BOOK TWELVE

     The mode of creation and the truth of Scripture.  Augustine 
explores the relation of the visible and formed matter of heaven 
and earth to the prior matrix from which it was formed.  This 
leads to an intricate analysis of "unformed matter" and the primal 
"possibility" from which God created, itself created  de nihilo.  
He finds a reference to this in the misconstrued Scriptural phrase 
"the heaven of heavens." Realizing that his interpretation of Gen. 
1:1, 2, is not self-evidently the only possibility, Augustine 
turns to an elaborate discussion of the multiplicity of 
perspectives in hermeneutics and, in the course of this, reviews 
the various possibilities of true interpretation of his Scripture 
text.  He emphasizes the importance of tolerance where there are 
plural options, and confidence where basic Christian faith is 

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  My heart is deeply stirred, O Lord, when in this poor 
life of mine the words of thy Holy Scripture strike upon it.  This 
is why the poverty of the human intellect expresses itself in an 
abundance of language.  Inquiry is more loquacious than discovery.  
Demanding takes longer than obtaining; and the hand that knocks is 
more active than the hand that receives.  But we have the promise, 
and who shall break it?  "If God be for us, who can be against 
us?"[455]  "Ask, and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; 
knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asks 
receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him that knocks, it shall 
be opened."[456]  These are thy own promises, and who need fear to 
be deceived when truth promises?

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  In lowliness my tongue confesses to thy exaltation, for 
thou madest heaven and earth.  This heaven which I see, and this 
earth on which I walk -- from which came this "earth" that I carry 
about me -- thou didst make.

     But where is that heaven of heavens, O Lord, of which we hear 
in the words of the psalm, "The heaven of heavens is the Lord's, 
but the earth he hath given to the children of men"?[457]  Where 
is the heaven that we cannot see, in relation to which all that we 
can see is earth?  For this whole corporeal creation has been 
beautifully formed -- though not everywhere in its entirety -- and 
our earth is the lowest of these levels.  Still, compared with 
that heaven of heavens, even the heaven of our own earth is only 
earth.  Indeed, it is not absurd to call each of those two great 
bodies[458] "earth" in comparison with that ineffable heaven which 
is the Lord's, and not for the sons of men.

                          CHAPTER III 

     3.  And truly this earth was invisible and unformed,[459] and 
there was an inexpressibly profound abyss[460] above which there 
was no light since it had no form.  Thou didst command it written 
that "darkness was on the face of the deep."[461]  What else is 
darkness except the absence of light?  For if there had been 
light, where would it have been except by being over all, showing 
itself rising aloft and giving light?  Therefore, where there was 
no light as yet, why was it that darkness was present, unless it 
was that light was absent?  Darkness, then, was heavy upon it, 
because the light from above was absent; just as there is silence 
where there is no sound.  And what is it to have silence anywhere 
but simply not to have sound?  Hast thou not, O Lord, taught this 
soul which confesses to thee?  Hast thou not thus taught me, O 
Lord, that before thou didst form and separate this formless 
matter there was _nothing_: neither color, nor figure, nor body, 
nor spirit?  Yet it was not absolutely nothing; it was a certain 
formlessness without any shape.

                          CHAPTER IV

     4.  What, then, should that formlessness be called so that 
somehow it might be indicated to those of sluggish mind, unless we 
use some word in common speech?  But what can be found anywhere in 
the world nearer to a total formlessness than the earth and the 
abyss?  Because of their being on the lowest level, they are less 
beautiful than are the other and higher parts, all translucent and 
shining.  Therefore, why may I not consider the formlessness of 
matter -- which thou didst create without shapely form, from which 
to make this shapely world -- as fittingly indicated to men by the 
phrase, "The earth invisible and unformed"? 

                           CHAPTER V

     5.  When our thought seeks something for our sense to fasten 
to [in this concept of unformed matter], and when it says to 
itself, "It is not an intelligible form, such as life or justice, 
since it is the material for bodies; and it is not a former 
perception, for there is nothing in the invisible and unformed 
which can be seen and felt" -- while human thought says such 
things to itself, it may be attempting either to know by being 
ignorant or by knowing how not to know.

                          CHAPTER VI

     6.  But if, O Lord, I am to confess to thee, by my mouth and 
my pen, the whole of what thou hast taught me concerning this 
unformed matter, I must say first of all that when I first heard 
of such matter and did not understand it -- and those who told me 
of it could not understand it either -- I conceived of it as 
having countless and varied forms.  Thus, I did not think about it 
rightly.  My mind in its agitation used to turn up all sorts of 
foul and horrible "forms"; but still they were "forms." And still 
I called it formless, not because it was unformed, but because it 
had what seemed to me a kind of form that my mind turned away 
from, as bizarre and incongruous, before which my human weakness 
was confused.  And even what I did conceive of as unformed was so, 
not because it was deprived of all form, but only as it compared 
with more beautiful forms.  Right reason, then, persuaded me that 
I ought to remove altogether all vestiges of form whatever if I 
wished to conceive matter that was wholly unformed; and this I 
could not do.  For I could more readily imagine that what was 
deprived of all form simply did not exist than I could conceive of 
anything between form and nothing -- something which was neither 
formed nor nothing, something that was unformed and nearly 

     Thus my mind ceased to question my spirit -- filled as it was 
with the images of formed bodies, changing and varying them 
according to its will.  And so I applied myself to the bodies 
themselves and looked more deeply into their mutability, by which 
they cease to be what they had been and begin to be what they were 
not.  This transition from form to form I had regarded as 
involving something like a formless condition, though not actual 

     But I desired to know, not to guess.  And, if my voice and my 
pen were to confess to thee all the various knots thou hast untied 
for me about this question, who among my readers could endure to 
grasp the whole of the account?  Still, despite this, my heart 
will not cease to give honor to thee or to sing thy praises 
concerning those things which it is not able to express.[463]

     For the mutability of mutable things carries with it the 
possibility of all those forms into which mutable things can be 
changed.  But this mutability -- what is it?  Is it soul?  Is it 
body?  Is it the external appearance of soul or body?  Could it be 
said, "Nothing was something," and "That which is, is not"?  If 
this were possible, I would say that this was it, and in some such 
manner it must have been in order to receive these visible and 
composite forms.[464]

                          CHAPTER VII

     7.  Whence and how was this, unless it came from thee, from 
whom all things are, in so far as they are?  But the farther 
something is from thee, the more unlike thee it is -- and this is 
not a matter of distance or place.

     Thus it was that thou, O Lord, who art not one thing in one 
place and another thing in another place but the Selfsame, and the 
Selfsame, and the Selfsame -- "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God 
Almighty"[465] -- thus it was that in the beginning, and through 
thy Wisdom which is from thee and born of thy substance, thou 
didst create something and that out of nothing.[466]  For thou 
didst create the heaven and the earth -- not out of thyself, for 
then they would be equal to thy only Son and thereby to thee.  And 
there is no sense in which it would be right that anything should 
be equal to thee that was not of thee.  But what else besides thee 
was there out of which thou mightest create these things, O God, 
one Trinity, and trine Unity?[467]  And, therefore, it was out of 
nothing at all that thou didst create the heaven and earth -- 
something great and something small -- for thou art Almighty and 
Good, and able to make all things good: even the great heaven and 
the small earth.  Thou wast, and there was nothing else from which 
thou didst create heaven and earth: these two things, one near 
thee, the other near to nothing; the one to which only thou art 
superior, the other to which nothing else is inferior.

                         CHAPTER VIII

     8.  That heaven of heavens was thine, O Lord, but the earth 
which thou didst give to the sons of men to be seen and touched 
was not then in the same form as that in which we now see it and 
touch it.  For then it was invisible and unformed and there was an 
abyss over which there was no light.  The darkness was truly 
_over_ the abyss, that is, more than just _in_ the abyss.  For 
this abyss of waters which now is visible has even in its depths a 
certain light appropriate to its nature, perceptible in some 
fashion to fishes and the things that creep about on the bottom of 
it.  But then the entire abyss was almost nothing, since it was 
still altogether unformed.  Yet even there, there was something 
that had the possibility of being formed.  For thou, O Lord, hadst 
made the world out of unformed matter, and this thou didst make 
out of nothing and didst make it into almost nothing.  From it 
thou hast then made these great things which we, the sons of men, 
marvel at.  For this corporeal heaven is truly marvelous, this 
firmament between the water and the waters which thou didst make 
on the second day after the creation of light, saying, "Let it be 
done," and it was done.[468]  This firmament thou didst call 
heaven, that is, the heaven of this earth and sea which thou 
madest on the third day, giving a visible shape to the unformed 
matter which thou hadst made before all the days.  For even before 
any day thou hadst already made a heaven, but that was the heaven 
of this heaven: for in the beginning thou hadst made heaven and 

     But this earth itself which thou hadst made was unformed 
matter; it was invisible and unformed, and darkness was over the 
abyss.  Out of this invisible and unformed earth, out of this 
formlessness which is almost nothing, thou didst then make all 
these things of which the changeable world consists -- and yet 
does not fully consist in itself[469] -- for its very 
changeableness appears in this, that its times and seasons can be 
observed and numbered.  The periods of time are measured by the 
changes of things, while the forms, whose matter is the invisible 
earth of which we have spoken, are varied and altered.

                          CHAPTER IX

     9.  And therefore the Spirit, the Teacher of thy 
servant,[470] when he mentions that "in the beginning thou madest 
heaven and earth," says nothing about times and is silent as to 
the days.  For, clearly, that heaven of heavens which thou didst 
create in the beginning is in some way an intellectual creature, 
although in no way coeternal with thee, O Trinity.  Yet it is 
nonetheless a partaker in thy eternity.  Because of the sweetness 
of its most happy contemplation of thee, it is greatly restrained 
in its own mutability and cleaves to thee without any lapse from 
the time in which it was created, surpassing all the rolling 
change of time.  But this shapelessness -- this earth invisible 
and unformed -- was not numbered among the days itself.  For where 
there is no shape or order there is nothing that either comes or 
goes, and where this does not occur there certainly are no days, 
nor any vicissitude of duration.

                           CHAPTER X

     10.  O Truth, O Light of my heart, let not my own darkness 
speak to me!  I had fallen into that darkness and was darkened 
thereby.  But in it, even in its depths, I came to love thee.  I 
went astray and still I remembered thee.  I heard thy voice behind 
me, bidding me return, though I could scarcely hear it for the 
tumults of my boisterous passions.  And now, behold, I am 
returning, burning and thirsting after thy fountain.  Let no one 
hinder me; here will I drink and so have life.  Let me not be my 
own life; for of myself I have lived badly.  I was death to 
myself; in thee I have revived.  Speak to me; converse with me.  I 
have believed thy books, and their words are very deep.

                          CHAPTER XI

     11.  Thou hast told me already, O Lord, with a strong voice 
in my inner ear, that thou art eternal and alone hast immortality.  
Thou art not changed by any shape or motion, and thy will is not 
altered by temporal process, because no will that changes is 
immortal.  This is clear to me, in thy sight; let it become 
clearer and clearer, I beseech thee.  In that light let me abide 
soberly under thy wings.

     Thou hast also told me, O Lord, with a strong voice in my 
inner ear, that thou hast created all natures and all substances, 
which are not what thou art thyself; and yet they do exist.  Only 
that which is nothing at all is not from thee, and that motion of 
the will away from thee, who art, toward something that exists 
only in a lesser degree -- such a motion is an offense and a sin.  
No one's sin either hurts thee or disturbs the order of thy rule, 
either first or last.  All this, in thy sight, is clear to me.  
Let it become clearer and clearer, I beseech thee, and in that 
light let me abide soberly under thy wings.

     12.  Likewise, thou hast told me, with a strong voice in my 
inner ear, that this creation -- whose delight thou alone art -- 
is not coeternal with thee.  With a most persevering purity it 
draws its support from thee and nowhere and never betrays its own 
mutability, for thou art ever present with it; and it cleaves to 
thee with its entire affection, having no future to expect and no 
past that it remembers; it is varied by no change and is extended 
by no time.

     O blessed one -- if such there be -- clinging to thy 
blessedness!  It is blest in thee, its everlasting Inhabitant and 
its Light.  I cannot find a term that I would judge more fitting 
for "the heaven of the heavens of the Lord" than "Thy house" -- 
which contemplates thy delights without any declination toward 
anything else and which, with a pure mind in most harmonious 
stability, joins all together in the peace of those saintly 
spirits who are citizens of thy city in those heavens that are 
above this visible heaven.

     13.  From this let the soul that has wandered far away from 
thee understand -- if now it thirsts for thee; if now its tears 
have become its bread, while daily they say to it, "Where is your 
God?"[471]; if now it requests of thee just one thing and seeks 
after this: that it may dwell in thy house all the days of its 
life (and what is its life but thee?  And what are thy days but 
thy eternity, like thy years which do not fail, since thou art the 
Selfsame?) -- from this, I say, let the soul understand (as far as 
it can) how far above all times thou art in thy eternity; and how 
thy house has never wandered away from thee; and, although it is 
not coeternal with thee, it continually and unfailingly clings to 
thee and suffers no vicissitudes of time.  This, in thy sight, is 
clear to me; may it become clearer and clearer to me, I beseech 
thee, and in this light may I abide soberly under thy wings.

     14.  Now I do not know what kind of formlessness there is in 
these mutations of these last and lowest creatures.  Yet who will 
tell me, unless it is someone who, in the emptiness of his own 
heart, wanders about and begins to be dizzy in his own fancies?  
Who except such a one would tell me whether, if all form were 
diminished and consumed, formlessness alone would remain, through 
which a thing was changed and turned from one species into 
another, so that sheer formlessness would then be characterized by 
temporal change?  And surely this could not be, because without 
motion there is no time, and where there is no form there is no 

                          CHAPTER XII

     15.  These things I have considered as thou hast given me 
ability, O my God, as thou hast excited me to knock, and as thou 
hast opened to me when I knock.  Two things I find which thou hast 
made, not within intervals of time, although neither is coeternal 
with thee.  One of them is so formed that, without any wavering in 
its contemplation, without any interval of change -- mutable but 
not changed -- it may fully enjoy thy eternity and immutability.  
The other is so formless that it could not change from one form to 
another (either of motion or of rest), and so time has no hold 
upon it.  But thou didst not leave this formless, for, before any 
"day" in the beginning, thou didst create heaven and earth -- 
these are the two things of which I spoke.

     But "the earth was invisible and unformed, and darkness was 
over the abyss." By these words its formlessness is indicated to 
us -- so that by degrees they may be led forward who cannot wholly 
conceive of the privation of all form without arriving at nothing.  
From this formlessness a second heaven might be created and a 
second earth -- visible and well formed, with the ordered beauty 
of the waters, and whatever else is recorded as created (though 
not without days) in the formation of this world.  And all this 
because such things are so ordered that in them the changes of 
time may take place through the ordered processes of motion and 

                         CHAPTER XIII

     16.  Meanwhile this is what I understand, O my God, when I 
hear thy Scripture saying, "In the beginning God made the heaven 
and the earth, but the earth was invisible and unformed, and 
darkness was over the abyss." It does not say on what day thou 
didst create these things.  Thus, for the time being I understand 
that "heaven of heavens" to mean the intelligible heaven, where to 
understand is to know all at once -- not "in part," not "darkly," 
not "through a glass" -- but as a simultaneous whole, in full 
sight, "face to face."[472]  It is not this thing now and then 
another thing, but (as we said) knowledge all at once without any 
temporal change.  And by the invisible and unformed earth, I 
understand that which suffers no temporal vicissitude.  Temporal 
change customarily means having one thing now and another later; 
but where there is no form there can be no distinction between 
this or that.  It is, then, by means of these two -- one thing 
well formed in the beginning and another thing wholly unformed, 
the one heaven (that is, the heaven of heavens) and the other one 
earth (but the earth invisible and unformed) -- it is by means of 
these two notions that I am able to understand why thy Scripture 
said, without mention of days, "In the beginning God created the 
heaven and the earth." For it immediately indicated which earth it 
was speaking about.  When, on the second day, the firmament is 
recorded as having been created and called heaven, this suggests 
to us which heaven it was that he was speaking about earlier, 
without specifying a day.

                           CHAPTER XIV

     17.  Marvelous is the depth of thy oracles.  Their surface is 
before us, inviting the little ones; and yet wonderful is their 
depth, O my God, marvelous is their depth!  It is a fearful thing 
to look into them: an awe of honor and a tremor of love.  Their 
enemies I hate vehemently.  Oh, if thou wouldst slay them with thy 
two-edged sword, so that they should not be enemies!  For I would 
prefer that they should be slain to themselves, that they might 
live to thee.  But see, there are others who are not critics but 
praisers of the book of Genesis; they say: "The Spirit of God who 
wrote these things by his servant Moses did not wish these words 
to be understood like this.  He did not wish to have it understood 
as you say, but as we say." To them, O God of us all, thyself 
being the judge, I give answer.

                           CHAPTER XV

     18.  "Will you say that these things are false which Truth 
tells me, with a loud voice in my inner ear, about the very 
eternity of the Creator: that his essence is changed in no respect 
by time and that his will is not distinct from his essence?  Thus, 
he doth not will one thing now and another thing later, but he 
willeth once and for all everything that he willeth -- not again 
and again; and not now this and now that.  Nor does he will 
afterward what he did not will before, nor does he cease to will 
what he had willed before.  Such a will would be mutable and no 
mutable thing is eternal.  But our God is eternal.

     "Again, he tells me in my inner ear that the expectation of 
future things is turned to sight when they have come to pass.  And 
this same sight is turned into memory when they have passed.  
Moreover, all thought that varies thus is mutable, and nothing 
mutable is eternal.  But our God is eternal." These things I sum 
up and put together, and I conclude that my God, the eternal God, 
hath not made any creature by any new will, and his knowledge does 
not admit anything transitory.

     19.  "What, then, will you say to this, you objectors?  Are 
these things false?"  "No," they say.  "What then?  Is it false 
that every entity already formed and all matter capable of 
receiving form is from him alone who is supremely good, because he 
is supreme?"  "We do not deny this, either," they say.  "What 
then?  Do you deny this: that there is a certain sublime created 
order which cleaves with such a chaste love to the true and truly 
eternal God that, although it is not coeternal with him, yet it 
does not separate itself from him, and does not flow away into any 
mutation of change or process but abides in true contemplation of 
him alone?"  If thou, O God, dost show thyself to him who loves 
thee as thou hast commanded -- and art sufficient for him -- then, 
such a one will neither turn himself away from thee nor turn away 
toward himself.  This is "the house of God." It is not an earthly 
house and it is not made from any celestial matter; but it is a 
spiritual house, and it partakes in thy eternity because it is 
without blemish forever.  For thou hast made it steadfast forever 
and ever; thou hast given it a law which will not be removed.  
Still, it is not coeternal with thee, O God, since it is not 
without beginning -- it was created.

     20.  For, although we can find no time before it (for wisdom 
was created before all things),[473] this is certainly not that 
Wisdom which is absolutely coeternal and equal with thee, our God, 
its Father, the Wisdom through whom all things were created and in 
whom, in the beginning, thou didst create the heaven and earth.  
This is truly the created Wisdom, namely, the intelligible nature 
which, in its contemplation of light, is light.  For this is also 
called wisdom, even if it is a created wisdom.  But the difference 
between the Light that lightens and that which is enlightened is 
as great as is the difference between the Wisdom that creates and 
that which is created.  So also is the difference between the 
Righteousness that justifies and the righteousness that is made by 
justification.  For we also are called thy righteousness, for a 
certain servant of thine says, "That we might be made the 
righteousness of God in him."[474]  Therefore, there is a certain 
created wisdom that was created before all things: the rational 
and intelligible mind of that chaste city of thine.  It is our 
mother which is above and is free[475] and "eternal in the 
heavens"[476] -- but in what heavens except those which praise 
thee, the "heaven of heavens"?  This also is the "heaven of 
heavens" which is the Lord's -- although we find no time before 
it, since what has been created before all things also precedes 
the creation of time.  Still, the eternity of the Creator himself 
is before it, from whom it took its beginning as created, though 
not in time (since time as yet was not), even though time belongs 
to its created nature.

     21.  Thus it is that the intelligible heaven came to be from 
thee, our God, but in such a way that it is quite another being 
than thou art; it is not the Selfsame.  Yet we find that time is 
not only not _before_ it, but not even _in_ it, thus making it 
able to behold thy face forever and not ever be turned aside.  
Thus, it is varied by no change at all.  But there is still in it 
that mutability in virtue of which it could become dark and cold, 
if it did not, by cleaving to thee with a supernal love, shine and 
glow from thee like a perpetual noon.  O house full of light and 
splendor!  "I have loved your beauty and the place of the 
habitation of the glory of my Lord,"[477] your builder and 
possessor.  In my wandering let me sigh for you; this I ask of him 
who made you, that he should also possess me in you, seeing that 
he hath also made me.  "I have gone astray like a lost sheep[478]; 
yet upon the shoulders of my Shepherd, who is your builder, I have 
hoped that I may be brought back to you."[479]

     22.  "What will you say to me now, you objectors to whom I 
spoke, who still believe that Moses was the holy servant of God, 
and that his books were the oracles of the Holy Spirit?  Is it not 
in this 'house of God' -- not coeternal with God, yet in its own 
mode 'eternal in the heavens' -- that you vainly seek for temporal 
change?  You will not find it there.  It rises above all extension 
and every revolving temporal period, and it rises to what is 
forever good and cleaves fast to God."

     "It is so," they reply.  "What, then, about those things 
which my heart cried out to my God, when it heard, within, the 
voice of his praise?  What, then, do you contend is false in them?  
Is it because matter was unformed, and since there was no form 
there was no order?  But where there was no order there could have 
been no temporal change.  Yet even this 'almost nothing,' since it 
was not altogether nothing, was truly from him from whom 
everything that exists is in whatever state it is." "This also," 
they say, "we do not deny."

                          CHAPTER XVI

     23.  Now, I would like to discuss a little further, in thy 
presence, O my God, with those who admit that all these things are 
true that thy Truth has indicated to my mind.  Let those who deny 
these things bark and drown their own voices with as much clamor 
as they please.  I will endeavor to persuade them to be quiet and 
to permit thy word to reach them.  But if they are unwilling, and 
if they repel me, I ask of thee, O my God, that thou shouldst not 
be silent to me.[480]  Speak truly in my heart; if only thou 
wouldst speak thus, I would send them away, blowing up the dust 
and raising it in their own eyes.  As for myself I will enter into 
my closet[481] and there sing to thee the songs of love, groaning 
with groanings that are unutterable now in my pilgrimage,[482] and 
remembering Jerusalem with my heart uplifted to Jerusalem my 
country, Jerusalem my mother[483]; and to thee thyself, the Ruler 
of the source of Light, its Father, Guardian, Husband; its chaste 
and strong delight, its solid joy and all its goods ineffable -- 
and all of this at the same time, since thou art the one supreme 
and true Good!  And I will not be turned away until thou hast 
brought back together all that I am from this dispersion and 
deformity to the peace of that dearest mother, where the first 
fruits of my spirit are to be found and from which all these 
things are promised me which thou dost conform and confirm 
forever, O my God, my Mercy.  But as for those who do not say that 
all these things which are true are false, who still honor thy 
Scripture set before us by the holy Moses, who join us in placing 
it on the summit of authority for us to follow, and yet who oppose 
us in some particulars, I say this: "Be thou, O God, the judge 
between my confessions and their gainsaying."

                         CHAPTER XVII

     24.  For they say: "Even if these things are true, still 
Moses did not refer to these two things when he said, by divine 
revelation, 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the 
earth.' By the term 'heaven' he did not mean that spiritual or 
intelligible created order which always beholds the face of God.  
And by the term 'earth' he was not referring to unformed matter."

     "What then do these terms mean?"

     They reply, "That man [Moses] meant what we mean; this is 
what he was saying in those terms." "What is that?"

     "By the terms of heaven and earth," they say, "he wished 
first to indicate universally and briefly this whole visible 
world; then after this, by an enumeration of the days, he could 
point out, one by one, all the things that it has pleased the Holy 
Spirit to reveal in this way.  For the people to whom he spoke 
were rude and carnal, so that he judged it prudent that only those 
works of God which were visible should be mentioned to them."

     But they do agree that the phrases, "The earth was invisible 
and unformed," and "The darkened abyss," may not inappropriately 
be understood to refer to this unformed matter -- and that out of 
this, as it is subsequently related, all the visible things which 
are known to all were made and set in order during those specified 

     25.  But now, what if another one should say, "This same 
formlessness and chaos of matter was first mentioned by the name 
of heaven and earth because, out of it, this visible world -- with 
all its entities which clearly appear in it and which we are 
accustomed to be called by the name of heaven and earth -- was 
created and perfected"?  And what if still another should say: 
"The invisible and visible nature is quite fittingly called heaven 
and earth.  Thus, the whole creation which God has made in his 
wisdom -- that is, in the beginning -- was included under these 
two terms.  Yet, since all things have been made, not from the 
essence of God, but from nothing; and because they are not the 
same reality that God is; and because there is in them all a 
certain mutability, whether they abide as the eternal house of God 
abides or whether they are changed as the soul and body of man are 
changed -- then the common matter of all things invisible and 
visible (still formless but capable of receiving form) from which 
heaven and earth were to be created (that is, the creature already 
fashioned, invisible as well as visible) -- all this was spoken of 
in the same terms by which the invisible and unformed earth and 
the darkness over the abyss would be called.  There was this 
difference, however: that the invisible and unformed earth is to 
be understood as having corporeal matter before it had any manner 
of form; but the darkness over the abyss was _spiritual_ matter, 
before its unlimited fluidity was harnessed, and before it was 
enlightened by Wisdom."

     26.  And if anyone wished, he might also say, "The entities 
already perfected and formed, invisible and visible, are not 
signified by the terms 'heaven and earth,' when it reads, 'In the 
beginning God created the heaven and the earth'; instead, the 
unformed beginning of things, the matter capable of receiving form 
and being made was called by these terms -- because the chaos was 
contained in it and was not yet distinguished by qualities and 
forms, which have now been arranged in their own orders and are 
called heaven and earth: the former a spiritual creation, the 
latter a physical creation."

                         CHAPTER XVIII

     27.  When all these things have been said and considered, I 
am unwilling to contend about words, for such contention is 
profitable for nothing but the subverting of the hearer.[484]  But 
the law is profitable for edification if a man use it lawfully: 
for the end of the law "is love out of a pure heart, and a good 
conscience, and faith unfeigned."[485]  And our Master knew it 
well, for it was on these two commandments that he hung all the 
Law and the Prophets.  And how would it harm me, O my God, thou 
Light of my eyes in secret, if while I am ardently confessing 
these things -- since many different things may be understood from 
these words, all of which may be true -- what harm would be done 
if I should interpret the meaning of the sacred writer differently 
from the way some other man interprets?  Indeed, all of us who 
read are trying to trace out and understand what our author wished 
to convey; and since we believe that he speaks truly we dare not 
suppose that he has spoken anything that we either know or suppose 
to be false.  Therefore, since every person tries to understand in 
the Holy Scripture what the writer understood, what harm is done 
if a man understands what thou, the Light of all truth-speaking 
minds, showest him to be true, although the author he reads did 
not understand this aspect of the truth even though he did 
understand the truth in a different meaning?[486]

                       CHAPTER XIX[487]

     28.  For it is certainly true, O Lord, that thou didst create 
the heaven and the earth.  It is also true that "the beginning" is 
thy wisdom in which thou didst create all things.  It is likewise 
true that this visible world has its own great division (the 
heaven and the earth) and these two terms include all entities 
that have been made and created.  It is further true that 
everything mutable confronts our minds with a certain lack of 
form, whereby it receives form, or whereby it is capable of taking 
form.  It is true, yet again, that what cleaves to the changeless 
form so closely that even though it is mutable it is not changed 
is not subject to temporal process.  It is true that the 
formlessness which is almost nothing cannot have temporal change 
in it.  It is true that that from which something is made can, in 
a manner of speaking, be called by the same name as the thing that 
is made from it.  Thus that formlessness of which heaven and earth 
were made might be called "heaven and earth." It is true that of 
all things having form nothing is nearer to the unformed than the 
earth and the abyss.  It is true that not only every created and 
formed thing but also everything capable of creation and of form 
were created by Thee, from whom all things are.[488]  It is true, 
finally, that everything that is formed from what is formless was 
formless before it was formed.

                          CHAPTER XX 

     29.  From all these truths, which are not doubted by those to 
whom thou hast granted insight in such things in their inner eye 
and who believe unshakably that thy servant Moses spoke in the 
spirit of truth -- from all these truths, then, one man takes the 
sense of "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" 
to mean, "In his Word, coeternal with himself, God made both the 
intelligible and the tangible, the spiritual and the corporeal 
creation." Another takes it in a different sense, that "In the 
beginning God created the heaven and the earth" means, "In his 
Word, coeternal with himself, God made the universal mass of this 
corporeal world, with all the observable and known entities that 
it contains." Still another finds a different meaning, that "In 
the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" means, "In his 
Word, coeternal with himself, God made the unformed matter of the 
spiritual and corporeal creation." Another can take the sense that 
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" means, "In 
his Word, coeternal with himself, God made the unformed matter of 
the physical creation, in which heaven and earth were as yet 
indistinguished; but now that they have come to be separated and 
formed, we can now perceive them both in the mighty mass of this 
world."[489]  Another takes still a further meaning, that "In the 
beginning God created heaven and earth" means, "In the very 
beginning of creating and working, God made that unformed matter 
which contained, undifferentiated, heaven and earth, from which 
both of them were formed, and both now stand out and are 
observable with all the things that are in them."

                          CHAPTER XXI

     30.  Again, regarding the interpretation of the following 
words, one man selects for himself, from all the various truths, 
the interpretation that "the earth was invisible and unformed and 
darkness was over the abyss" means, "That corporeal entity which 
God made was as yet the formless matter of physical things without 
order and without light." Another takes it in a different sense, 
that "But the earth was invisible and unformed, and darkness was 
over the abyss" means, "This totality called heaven and earth was 
as yet unformed and lightless matter, out of which the corporeal 
heaven and the corporeal earth were to be made, with all the 
things in them that are known to our physical senses." Another 
takes it still differently and says that "But the earth was 
invisible and unformed, and darkness was over the abyss" means, 
"This totality called heaven and earth was as yet an unformed and 
lightless matter, from which were to be made that intelligible 
heaven (which is also called 'the heaven of heavens') and the 
earth (which refers to the whole physical entity, under which term 
may be included this corporeal heaven) -- that is, He made the 
intelligible heaven from which every invisible and visible 
creature would be created." He takes it in yet another sense who 
says that "But the earth was invisible and unformed, and darkness 
was over the abyss" means, "The Scripture does not refer to that 
formlessness by the term 'heaven and earth'; that formlessness 
itself already existed.  This it called the invisible 'earth' and 
the unformed and lightless 'abyss,' from which -- as it had said 
before -- God made the heaven and the earth (namely, the spiritual 
and the corporeal creation)." Still another says that "But the 
earth was invisible and formless, and darkness was over the abyss" 
means, "There was already an unformed matter from which, as the 
Scripture had already said, God made heaven and earth, namely, the 
entire corporeal mass of the world, divided into two very great 
parts, one superior, the other inferior, with all those familiar 
and known creatures that are in them."

                         CHAPTER XXII

     31.  Now suppose that someone tried to argue against these 
last two opinions as follows: "If you will not admit that this 
formlessness of matter appears to be called by the term 'heaven 
and earth,' then there was something that God had not made out of 
which he did make heaven and earth.  And Scripture has not told us 
that God made _this_ matter, unless we understand that it is 
implied in the term 'heaven and earth' (or the term 'earth' alone) 
when it is said, 'In the beginning God created the heaven and 
earth.' Thus, in what follows -- 'the earth was invisible and 
unformed' -- even though it pleased Moses thus to refer to 
unformed matter, yet we can only understand by it that which God 
himself hath made, as it stands written in the previous verse, 
'God made heaven and earth.'" Those who maintain either one or the 
other of these two opinions which we have set out above will 
answer to such objections: "We do not deny at all that this 
unformed matter was created by God, from whom all things are, and 
are very good -- because we hold that what is created and endowed 
with form is a higher good; and we also hold that what is made 
capable of being created and endowed with form, though it is a 
lesser good, is still a good.  But the Scripture has not said 
specifically that God made this formlessness -- any more than it 
has said it specifically of many other things, such as the orders 
of 'cherubim' and 'seraphim' and those others of which the apostle 
distinctly speaks: 'thrones,' 'dominions,' 'principalities,' 
'powers'[490] -- yet it is clear that God made all of these.  If 
in the phrase 'He made heaven and earth' all things are included, 
what are we to say about the waters upon which the Spirit of God 
moved?  For if they are understood as included in the term 
'earth,' then how can unformed matter be meant by the term 'earth' 
when we see the waters so beautifully formed?  Or, if it be taken 
thus, why, then, is it written that out of the same formlessness 
the firmament was made and called heaven, and yet is it not 
specifically written that the waters were made?  For these waters, 
which we perceive flowing in so beautiful a fashion, are not 
formless and invisible.  But if they received that beauty at the 
time God said of them, 'Let the waters which are under the 
firmament be gathered together,'[491] thus indicating that their 
gathering together was the same thing as their reception of form, 
what, then, is to be said about the waters that are _above_ the 
firmament?  Because if they are unformed, they do not deserve to 
have a seat so honorable, and yet it is not written by what 
specific word they were formed.  If, then, Genesis is silent about 
anything that God hath made, which neither sound faith nor 
unerring understanding doubts that God hath made, let not any 
sober teaching dare to say that these waters were coeternal with 
God because we find them mentioned in the book of Genesis and do 
not find it mentioned when they were created.  If Truth instructs 
us, why may we not interpret that unformed matter which the 
Scripture calls the earth -- invisible and unformed -- and the 
lightless abyss as having been made by God from nothing; and thus 
understand that they are not coeternal with him, although the 
narrative fails to tell us precisely when they were made?"

                         CHAPTER XXIII

     32.  I have heard and considered these theories as well as my 
weak apprehension allows, and I confess my weakness to Thee, O 
Lord, though already thou knowest it.  Thus I see that two sorts 
of disagreements may arise when anything is related by signs, even 
by trustworthy reporters.  There is one disagreement about the 
truth of the things involved; the other concerns the meaning of 
the one who reports them.  It is one thing to inquire as to what 
is true about the formation of the Creation.  It is another thing, 
however, to ask what that excellent servant of thy faith, Moses, 
would have wished for the reader and hearer to understand from 
these words.  As for the first question, let all those depart from 
me who imagine that Moses spoke things that are false.  But let me 
be united with them in thee, O Lord, and delight myself in thee 
with those who feed on thy truth in the bond of love.  Let us 
approach together the words of thy book and make diligent inquiry 
in them for thy meaning through the meaning of thy servant by 
whose pen thou hast given them to us.

                         CHAPTER XXIV

     33.  But in the midst of so many truths which occur to the 
interpreters of these words (understood as they can be in 
different ways), which one of us can discover that single 
interpretation which warrants our saying confidently that Moses 
thought _thus_ and that in this narrative he wishes _this_ to be 
understood, as confidently as he would say that _this_ is true, 
whether Moses thought the one or the other.  For see, O my God, I 
am thy servant, and I have vowed in this book an offering of 
confession to thee,[492] and I beseech thee that by thy mercy I 
may pay my vow to thee.  Now, see, could I assert that Moses meant 
nothing else than _this_ [i.e., my interpretation] when he wrote, 
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," as 
confidently as I can assert that thou in thy immutable Word hast 
created all things, invisible and visible?  No, I cannot do this 
because it is not as clear to me that _this_ was in his mind when 
he wrote these things, as I see it to be certain in thy truth.  
For his thoughts might be set upon the very beginning of the 
creation when he said, "In the beginning"; and he might have 
wished it understood that, in this passage, "heaven and earth" 
refers to no formed and perfect entity, whether spiritual or 
corporeal, but each of them only newly begun and still formless.  
Whichever of these possibilities has been mentioned I can see that 
it might have been said truly.  But which of them he did actually 
intend to express in these words I do not clearly see.  However, 
whether it was one of these or some other meaning which I have not 
mentioned that this great man saw in his mind when he used these 
words I have no doubt whatever that he saw it truly and expressed 
it suitably.

                          CHAPTER XXV

     34.  Let no man fret me now by saying, "Moses did not mean 
what _you_ say, but what _I_ say." Now if he asks me, "How do you 
know that Moses meant what you deduce from his words?", I ought to 
respond calmly and reply as I have already done, or even more 
fully if he happens to be untrained.  But when he says, "Moses did 
not mean what _you_ say, but what _I_ say," and then does not deny 
what either of us says but allows that _both_ are true -- then, O 
my God, life of the poor, in whose breast there is no 
contradiction, pour thy soothing balm into my heart that I may 
patiently bear with people who talk like this!  It is not because 
they are godly men and have seen in the heart of thy servant what 
they say, but rather they are proud men and have not considered 
Moses' meaning, but only love their own -- not because it is true 
but because it is their own.  Otherwise they could equally love 
another true opinion, as I love what they say when what they speak 
is true -- not because it is theirs but because it is true, and 
therefore not theirs but true.  And if they love an opinion 
because it is true, it becomes both theirs and mine, since it is 
the common property of all lovers of the truth.[493]  But I 
neither accept nor approve of it when they contend that Moses did 
not mean what I say but what they say -- and this because, even if 
it were so, such rashness is born not of knowledge, but of 
impudence.  It comes not from vision but from vanity.

     And therefore, O Lord, thy judgments should be held in awe, 
because thy truth is neither mine nor his nor anyone else's; but 
it belongs to all of us whom thou hast openly called to have it in 
common; and thou hast warned us not to hold on to it as our own 
special property, for if we do we lose it.  For if anyone 
arrogates to himself what thou hast bestowed on all to enjoy, and 
if he desires something for his own that belongs to all, he is 
forced away from what is common to all to what is, indeed, his 
very own -- that is, from truth to falsehood.  For he who tells a 
lie speaks of his own thought.[494]

     35.  Hear, O God, best judge of all!  O Truth itself, hear 
what I say to this disputant.  Hear it, because I say it in thy 
presence and before my brethren who use the law rightly to the end 
of love.  Hear and give heed to what I shall say to him, if it 
pleases thee.

     For I would return this brotherly and peaceful word to him: 
"If we both see that what you say is true, and if we both say that 
what I say is true, where is it, I ask you, that we see this?  
Certainly, I do not see it in you, and you do not see it in me, 
but both of us see it in the unchangeable truth itself, which is 
above our minds."[495]  If, then, we do not disagree about the 
true light of the Lord our God, why do we disagree about the 
thoughts of our neighbor, which we cannot see as clearly as the 
immutable Truth is seen?  If Moses himself had appeared to us and 
said, "This is what I meant," it would not be in order that we 
should see it but that we should believe him.  Let us not, then, 
"go beyond what is written and be puffed up for the one against 
the other."[496]  Let us, instead, "love the Lord our God with all 
our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind, and our 
neighbor as ourself."[497]  Unless we believe that whatever Moses 
meant in these books he meant to be ordered by these two precepts 
of love, we shall make God a liar, if we judge of the soul of his 
servant in any other way than as he has taught us.  See now, how 
foolish it is, in the face of so great an abundance of true 
opinions which can be elicited from these words, rashly to affirm 
that Moses especially intended only one of these interpretations; 
and then, with destructive contention, to violate love itself, on 
behalf of which he had said all the things we are endeavoring to 

                         CHAPTER XXVI

     36.  And yet, O my God, thou exaltation of my humility and 
rest of my toil, who hearest my confessions and forgivest my sins, 
since thou commandest me to love my neighbor as myself, I cannot 
believe that thou gavest thy most faithful servant Moses a lesser 
gift than I should wish and desire for myself from thee, if I had 
been born in his time, and if thou hadst placed me in the position 
where, by the use of my heart and my tongue, those books might be 
produced which so long after were to profit all nations throughout 
the whole world -- from such a great pinnacle of authority -- and 
were to surmount the words of all false and proud teachings.  If I 
had been Moses -- and we all come from the same mass,[498] and 
what is man that thou art mindful of him?[499] -- if I had been 
Moses at the time that he was, and if I had been ordered by thee 
to write the book of Genesis, I would surely have wished for such 
a power of expression and such an art of arrangement to be given 
me, that those who cannot as yet understand _how_ God createth 
would still not reject my words as surpassing their powers of 
understanding.  And I would have wished that those who are already 
able to do this would find fully contained in the laconic speech 
of thy servant whatever truths they had arrived at in their own 
thought; and if, in the light of the Truth, some other man saw 
some further meaning, that too would be found congruent to my 

                         CHAPTER XXVII

     37.  For just as a spring dammed up is more plentiful and 
affords a larger supply of water for more streams over wider 
fields than any single stream led off from the same spring over a 
long course -- so also is the narration of thy minister: it is 
intended to benefit many who are likely to discourse about it and, 
with an economy of language, it overflows into various streams of 
clear truth, from which each one may draw out for himself that 
particular truth which he can about these topics -- this one that 
truth, that one another truth, by the broader survey of various 
interpretations.  For some people, when they read or hear these 
words,[500] think that God, like some sort of man or like some 
sort of huge body, by some new and sudden decision, produced 
outside himself and at a certain distance two great bodies: one 
above, the other below, within which all created things were to be 
contained.  And when they hear, "God said, 'Let such and such be 
done,' and it was done," they think of words begun and ended, 
sounding in time and then passing away, followed by the coming 
into being of what was commanded.  They think of other things of 
the same sort which their familiarity with the world suggests to 

     In these people, who are still little children and whose 
weakness is borne up by this humble language as if on a mother's 
breast, their faith is built up healthfully and they come to 
possess and to hold as certain the conviction that God made all 
entities that their senses perceive all around them in such 
marvelous variety.  And if one despises these words as if they 
were trivial, and with proud weakness stretches himself beyond his 
fostering cradle, he will, alas, fall away wretchedly.  Have pity, 
O Lord God, lest those who pass by trample on the unfledged 
bird,[501] and send thy angel who may restore it to its nest, that 
it may live until it can fly.

                        CHAPTER XXVIII

     38.  But others, to whom these words are no longer a nest 
but, rather, a shady thicket, spy the fruits concealed in them and 
fly around rejoicing and search among them and pluck them with 
cheerful chirpings: For when they read or hear these words, O God, 
they see that all times past and times future are transcended by 
thy eternal and stable permanence, and they see also that there is 
no temporal creature that is not of thy making.  By thy will, 
since it is the same as thy being, thou hast created all things, 
not by any mutation of will and not by any will that previously 
was nonexistent -- and not out of thyself, but in thy own 
likeness, thou didst make from nothing the form of all things.  
This was an unlikeness which was capable of being formed by thy 
likeness through its relation to thee, the One, as each thing has 
been given form appropriate to its kind according to its 
preordained capacity.  Thus, all things were made very good, 
whether they remain around thee or whether, removed in time and 
place by various degrees, they cause or undergo the beautiful 
changes of natural process.

     They see these things and they rejoice in the light of thy 
truth to whatever degree they can.

     39.  Again, one of these men[502] directs his attention to 
the verse, "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth," 
and he beholds Wisdom as the true "beginning," because it also 
speaks to us.  Another man directs his attention to the same 
words, and by "beginning" he understands simply the commencement 
of creation, and interprets it thus: "In the beginning he made," 
as if it were the same thing as to say, "At the first moment, God 
made . . ."  And among those who interpret "In the beginning" to 
mean that in thy wisdom thou hast created the heaven and earth, 
one believes that the matter out of which heaven and earth were to 
be created is what is referred to by the phrase "heaven and 
earth." But another believes that these entities were already 
formed and distinct.  Still another will understand it to refer to 
one formed entity -- a spiritual one, designated by the term 
"heaven" -- and to another unformed entity of corporeal matter, 
designated by the term "earth." But those who understand the 
phrase "heaven and earth" to mean the yet unformed matter from 
which the heaven and the earth were to be formed do not take it in 
a simple sense: one man regards it as that from which the 
intelligible and tangible creations are both produced; and another 
only as that from which the tangible, corporeal world is produced, 
containing in its vast bosom these visible and observable 
entities.  Nor are they in simple accord who believe that "heaven 
and earth" refers to the created things already set in order and 
arranged.  One believes that it refers to the invisible and 
visible world; another, only to the visible world, in which we 
admire the luminous heavens and the darkened earth and all the 
things that they contain.

                         CHAPTER XXIX

     40.  But he who understands "In the beginning he made" as if 
it meant, "At first he made," can truly interpret the phrase 
"heaven and earth" as referring only to the "matter" of heaven and 
earth, namely, of the prior universal, which is the intelligible 
and corporeal creation.  For if he would try to interpret the 
phrase as applying to the universe already formed, it then might 
rightly be asked of him, "If God first made this, what then did he 
do afterward?"  And, after the universe, he will find nothing.  
But then he must, however unwillingly, face the question, How is 
this the first if there is nothing afterward?  But when he said 
that God made matter first formless and then formed, he is not 
being absurd if he is able to discern what precedes by eternity, 
and what proceeds in time; what comes from choice, and what comes 
from origin.  In eternity, God is before all things; in the 
temporal process, the flower is before the fruit; in the act of 
choice, the fruit is before the flower; in the case of origin, 
sound is before the tune.  Of these four relations, the first and 
last that I have referred to are understood with much difficulty.  
The second and third are very easily understood.  For it is an 
uncommon and lofty vision, O Lord, to behold thy eternity 
immutably making mutable things, and thereby standing always 
before them.  Whose mind is acute enough to be able, without great 
labor, to discover how the sound comes before the tune?  For a 
tune is a formed sound; and an unformed thing may exist, but a 
thing that does not exist cannot be formed.  In the same way, 
matter is prior to what is made from it.  It is not prior because 
it makes its product, for it is itself made; and its priority is 
not that of a time interval.  For in time we do not first utter 
formless sounds without singing and then adapt or fashion them 
into the form of a song, as wood or silver from which a chest or 
vessel is made.  Such materials precede in time the forms of the 
things which are made from them.  But in singing this is not so.  
For when a song is sung, its sound is heard at the same time.  
There is not first a formless sound, which afterward is formed 
into a song; but just as soon as it has sounded it passes away, 
and you cannot find anything of it which you could gather up and 
shape.  Therefore, the song is absorbed in its own sound and the 
"sound" of the song is its "matter." But the sound is formed in 
order that it may be a tune.  This is why, as I was saying, the 
matter of the sound is prior to the form of the tune.  It is not 
"before" in the sense that it has any power of making a sound or 
tune.  Nor is the sound itself the composer of the tune; rather, 
the sound is sent forth from the body and is ordered by the soul 
of the singer, so that from it he may form a tune.  Nor is the 
sound first in time, for it is given forth together with the tune.  
Nor is it first in choice, because a sound is no better than a 
tune, since a tune is not merely a sound but a beautiful sound.  
But it is first in origin, because the tune is not formed in order 
that it may become a sound, but the sound is formed in order that 
it may become a tune.

     From this example, let him who is able to understand see that 
the matter of things was first made and was called "heaven and 
earth" because out of it the heaven and earth were made.  This 
primal formlessness was not made first in time, because the form 
of things gives rise to time; but now, in time, it is intuited 
together with its form.  And yet nothing can be related of this 
unformed matter unless it is regarded as if it were the first in 
the time series though the last in value -- because things formed 
are certainly superior to things unformed -- and it is preceded by 
the eternity of the Creator, so that from nothing there might be 
made that from which something might be made.

                          CHAPTER XXX

     41.  In this discord of true opinions let Truth itself bring 
concord, and may our God have mercy on us all, that we may use the 
law rightly to the end of the commandment which is pure love.  
Thus, if anyone asks me which of these opinions was the meaning of 
thy servant Moses, these would not be my confessions did I not 
confess to thee that I do not know.  Yet I do know that those 
opinions are true -- with the exception of the carnal ones -- 
about which I have said what I thought was proper.  Yet those 
little ones of good hope are not frightened by these words of thy 
Book, for they speak of high things in a lowly way and of a few 
basic things in many varied ways.  But let all of us, whom I 
acknowledge to see and speak the truth in these words, love one 
another and also love thee, our God, O Fountain of Truth -- as we 
will if we thirst not after vanity but for the Fountain of Truth.  
Indeed, let us so honor this servant of thine, the dispenser of 
this Scripture, full of thy Spirit, so that we will believe that 
when thou didst reveal thyself to him, and he wrote these things 
down, he intended through them what will chiefly minister both for 
the light of truth and to the increase of our fruitfulness.

                         CHAPTER XXXI

     42.  Thus, when one man says, "Moses meant what I mean," and 
another says, "No, he meant what I do," I think that I speak more 
faithfully when I say, "Why could he not have meant both if both 
opinions are true?"  And if there should be still a third truth or 
a fourth one, and if anyone should seek a truth quite different in 
those words, why would it not be right to believe that Moses saw 
all these different truths, since through him the one God has 
tempered the Holy Scriptures to the understanding of many 
different people, who should see truths in it even if they are 
different?  Certainly -- and I say this fearlessly and from my 
heart -- if I were to write anything on such a supreme authority, 
I would prefer to write it so that, whatever of truth anyone might 
apprehend from the matter under discussion, my words should re-
echo in the several minds rather than that they should set down 
one true opinion so clearly on one point that I should exclude the 
rest, even though they contained no falsehood that offended me.  
Therefore, I am unwilling, O my God, to be so headstrong as not to 
believe that this man [Moses] has received at least this much from 
thee.  Surely when he was writing these words, he saw fully and 
understood all the truth we have been able to find in them, and 
also much besides that we have not been able to discern, or are 
not yet able to find out, though it is there in them still to be 

                         CHAPTER XXXII

     43.  Finally, O Lord -- who art God and not flesh and blood 
-- if any man sees anything less, can anything lie hid from "thy 
good Spirit" who shall "lead me into the land of 
uprightness,"[503] which thou thyself, through those words, wast 
revealing to future readers, even though he through whom they were 
spoken fixed on only one among the many interpretations that might 
have been found?  And if this is so, let it be agreed that the 
meaning he saw is more exalted than the others.  But to us, O 
Lord, either point out the same meaning or any other true one, as 
it pleases thee.  Thus, whether thou makest known to us what thou 
madest known to that man of thine, or some other meaning by the 
agency of the same words, still do thou feed us and let error not 
deceive us.  Behold, O Lord, my God, how much we have written 
concerning these few words -- how much, indeed!  What strength of 
mind, what length of time, would suffice for all thy books to be 
interpreted in this fashion?[504]  Allow me, therefore, in these 
concluding words to confess more briefly to thee and select some 
one, true, certain, and good sense that thou shalt inspire, 
although many meanings offer themselves and many indeed are 
possible.[505]  This is the faith of my confession, that if I 
could say what thy servant meant, that is truest and best, and for 
that I must strive.  Yet if I do not succeed, may it be that I 
shall say at least what thy Truth wished to say to me through its 
words, just as it said what it wished to Moses.

                        BOOK THIRTEEN

     The mysteries and allegories of the days of creation.  
Augustine undertakes to interpret Gen. 1:2-31 in a mystical and 
allegorical fashion so as to exhibit the profundities of God's 
power and wisdom and love.  He is also interested in developing 
his theories of hermeneutics on his favorite topic: creation.  He 
finds the Trinity in the account of creation and he ponders the 
work of the Spirit moving over the waters.  In the firmament he 
finds the allegory of Holy Scripture and in the dry land and 
bitter sea he finds the division between the people of God and the 
conspiracy of the unfaithful.  He develops the theme of man's 
being made in the image and likeness of God.  He brings his survey 
to a climax and his confessions to an end with a meditation on the 
goodness of all creation and the promised rest and blessedness of 
the eternal Sabbath, on which God, who is eternal rest, "rested." 

                           CHAPTER I

     1.  I call on thee, my God, my Mercy, who madest me and didst 
not forget me, though I was forgetful of thee.  I call thee into 
my soul, which thou didst prepare for thy reception by the desire 
which thou inspirest in it.  Do not forsake me when I call on 
thee, who didst anticipate me before I called and who didst 
repeatedly urge with manifold calling that I should hear thee afar 
off and be turned and call upon thee, who callest me.  For thou, O 
Lord, hast blotted out all my evil deserts, not punishing me for 
what my hands have done; and thou hast anticipated all my good 
deserts so as to recompense me for what thy hands have done -- the 
hands which made me.  Before I was, thou wast, and I was not 
anything at all that thou shouldst grant me being.  Yet, see how I 
exist by reason of thy goodness, which made provision for all that 
thou madest me to be and all that thou madest me from.  For thou 
didst not stand in need of me, nor am I the kind of good entity 
which could be a help to thee, my Lord and my God.  It is not that 
I may serve thee as if thou wert fatigued in working, or as if thy 
power would be the less if it lacked my assistance.  Nor is the 
service I pay thee like the cultivation of a field, so that thou 
wouldst go untended if I did not tend thee.[506]  Instead, it is 
that I may serve and worship thee to the end that I may have my 
well-being from thee, from whom comes my capacity for well-being.

                          CHAPTER II

     2.  Indeed, it is from the fullness of thy goodness that thy 
creation exists at all: to the end that the created good might not 
fail to be, even though it can profit thee nothing, and is nothing 
of thee nor equal to thee -- since its created existence comes 
from thee.

     For what did the heaven and earth, which thou didst make in 
the beginning, ever deserve from thee?  Let them declare -- these 
spiritual and corporeal entities, which thou madest in thy wisdom 
-- let them declare what they merited at thy hands, so that the 
inchoate and the formless, whether spiritual or corporeal, would 
deserve to be held in being in spite of the fact that they tend 
toward disorder and extreme unlikeness to thee?  An unformed 
spiritual entity is more excellent than a formed corporeal entity; 
and the corporeal, even when unformed, is more excellent than if 
it were simply nothing at all.  Still, these formless entities are 
held in their state of being by thee, until they are recalled to 
thy unity and receive form and being from thee, the one sovereign 
Good.  What have they deserved of thee, since they would not even 
be unformed entities except from thee? 

     3.  What has corporeal matter deserved of thee -- even in its 
invisible and unformed state -- since it would not exist even in 
this state if thou hadst not made it?  And, if it did not exist, 
it could not merit its existence from thee.

     Or, what has that formless spiritual creation deserved of 
thee -- that it should flow lightlessly like the abyss -- since it 
is so unlike thee and would not exist at all if it had not been 
turned by the Word which made it that same Word, and, illumined by 
that Word, had been "made light"[507] although not as thy equal 
but only as an image of that Form [of Light] which is equal to 
thee?  For, in the case of a body, its being is not the same thing 
as its being beautiful; else it could not then be a deformed body.  
Likewise, in the case of a created spirit, living is not the same 
state as living wisely; else it could then be immutably wise.  But 
the true good of every created thing is always to cleave fast to 
thee, lest, in turning away from thee, it lose the light it had 
received in being turned by thee, and so relapse into a life like 
that of the dark abyss.

     As for ourselves, who are a spiritual creation by virtue of 
our souls, when we turned away from thee, O Light, we were in that 
former life of darkness; and we toil amid the shadows of our 
darkness until -- through thy only Son -- we become thy 
righteousness,[508] like the mountains of God.  For we, like the 
great abyss,[509] have been the objects of thy judgments.

                          CHAPTER III

     4.  Now what thou saidst in the beginning of the creation -- 
"Let there be light: and there was light" -- I interpret, not 
unfitly, as referring to the spiritual creation, because it 
already had a kind of life which thou couldst illuminate.  But, 
since it had not merited from thee that it should be a life 
capable of enlightenment, so neither, when it already began to 
exist, did it merit from thee that it should be enlightened.  For 
neither could its formlessness please thee until it became light 
-- and it became light, not from the bare fact of existing, but by 
the act of turning its face to the light which enlightened it, and 
by cleaving to it.  Thus it owed the fact that it lived, and lived 
happily, to nothing whatsoever but thy grace, since it had been 
turned, by a change for the better, toward that which cannot be 
changed for either better or worse.  Thou alone art, because thou 
alone art without complication.  For thee it is not one thing to 
live and another thing to live in blessedness; for thou art 
thyself thy own blessedness.

                          CHAPTER IV

     5.  What, therefore, would there have been lacking in thy 
good, which thou thyself art, even if these things had never been 
made or had remained unformed?  Thou didst not create them out of 
any lack but out of the plenitude of thy goodness, ordering them 
and turning them toward form,[510] but not because thy joy had to 
be perfected by them.  For thou art perfect, and their 
imperfection is displeasing.  Therefore were they perfected by 
thee and became pleasing to thee -- but not as if thou wert before 
that imperfect and had to be perfected in their perfection.  For 
thy good Spirit which moved over the face of the waters[511] was 
not borne up by them as if he rested on them.  For those in whom 
thy good Spirit is said to rest he actually causes to rest in 
himself.  But thy incorruptible and immutable will -- in itself 
all-sufficient for itself -- moved over that life which thou hadst 
made: in which living is not at all the same thing as living 
happily, since that life still lives even as it flows in its own 
darkness.  But it remains to be turned to him by whom it was made 
and to live more and more like "the fountain of life," and in his 
light "to see light,"[512] and to be perfected, and enlightened, 
and made blessed.

                           CHAPTER V 

     6.  See now,[513] how the Trinity appears to me in an enigma.  
And thou art the Trinity, O my God, since thou, O Father -- in the 
beginning of our wisdom, that is, in thy wisdom born of thee, 
equal and coeternal with thee, that is, thy Son -- created the 
heaven and the earth.  Many things we have said about the heaven 
of heavens, and about the earth invisible and unformed, and about 
the shadowy abyss -- speaking of the aimless flux of its being 
spiritually deformed unless it is turned to him from whom it has 
its life (such as it is) and by his Light comes to be a life 
suffused with beauty.  Thus it would be a [lower] heaven of that 
[higher] heaven, which afterward was made between water and 

     And now I came to recognize, in the name of God, the Father 
who made all these things, and in the term "the Beginning" to 
recognize the Son, through whom he made all these things; and 
since I did believe that my God was the Trinity, I sought still 
further in his holy Word, and, behold, "Thy Spirit moved over the 
waters." Thus, see the Trinity, O my God: Father, Son, and Holy 
Spirit, the Creator of all creation! 

                          CHAPTER VI

     7.  But why, O truth-speaking Light?  To thee I lift up my 
heart -- let it not teach me vain notions.  Disperse its shadows 
and tell me, I beseech thee, by that Love which is our mother; 
tell me, I beseech thee, the reason why -- after the reference to 
heaven and to the invisible and unformed earth, and darkness over 
the abyss -- thy Scripture should then at long last refer to thy 
Spirit?  Was it because it was appropriate that he should first be 
shown to us as "moving over"; and this could not have been said 
unless something had already been mentioned over which thy Spirit 
could be understood as "moving"?  For he did not "move over" the 
Father and the Son, and he could not properly be said to be 
"moving over" if he were "moving over" nothing.  Thus, what it was 
he was "moving over" had to be mentioned first and he whom it was 
not proper to mention otherwise than as "moving over" could then 
be mentioned.  But why was it not fitting that he should have been 
introduced in some other way than in this context of "moving 

                          CHAPTER VII

     8.  Now let him who is able follow thy apostle with his 
understanding when he says, "Thy love is shed abroad in our hearts 
by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us"[515] and who teacheth us 
about spiritual gifts[516] and showeth us a more excellent way of 
love; and who bows his knee unto thee for us, that we may come to 
the surpassing knowledge of the love of Christ.[517]  Thus, from 
the beginning, he who is above all was "moving over" the waters.

     To whom shall I tell this?  How can I speak of the weight of 
concupiscence which drags us downward into the deep abyss, and of 
the love which lifts us up by thy Spirit who moved over the 
waters?  To whom shall I tell this?  How shall I tell it?  For 
concupiscence and love are not certain "places" into which we are 
plunged and out of which we are lifted again.  What could be more 
like, and yet what more unlike?  They are both feelings; they are 
both loves.  The uncleanness of our own spirit flows downward with 
the love of worldly care; and the sanctity of thy Spirit raises us 
upward by the love of release from anxiety -- that we may lift our 
hearts to thee where thy Spirit is "moving over the waters." Thus, 
we shall have come to that supreme rest where our souls shall have 
passed through the waters which give no standing ground.[518]

                         CHAPTER VIII

     9.  The angels fell, and the soul of man fell; thus they 
indicate to us the deep darkness of the abyss, which would have 
still contained the whole spiritual creation if thou hadst not 
said, in the beginning, "Let there be light: and there was light" 
-- and if every obedient mind in thy heavenly city had not adhered 
to thee and had not reposed in thy Spirit, which moved immutable 
over all things mutable.  Otherwise, even the heaven of heavens 
itself would have been a dark shadow, instead of being, as it is 
now, light in the Lord.[519]  For even in the restless misery of 
the fallen spirits, who exhibit their own darkness when they are 
stripped of the garments of thy light, thou showest clearly how 
noble thou didst make the rational creation, for whose rest and 
beatitude nothing suffices save thee thyself.  And certainly it is 
not itself sufficient for its beatitude.  For it is thou, O our 
God, who wilt enlighten our darkness; from thee shall come our 
garments of light; and then our darkness shall be as the noonday.  
Give thyself to me, O my God, restore thyself to me!  See, I love 
thee; and if it be too little, let me love thee still more 
strongly.  I cannot measure my love so that I may come to know how 
much there is still lacking in me before my life can run to thy 
embrace and not be turned away until it is hidden in "the covert 
of thy presence."[520]  Only this I know, that my existence is my 
woe except in thee -- not only in my outward life, but also within 
my inmost self -- and all abundance I have which is not my God is 

                          CHAPTER IX

     10.  But was neither the Father nor the Son "moving over the 
waters"?  If we understand this as a motion in space, as a body 
moves, then not even the Holy Spirit "moved." But if we understand 
the changeless supereminence of the divine Being above every 
changeable thing, then Father, Son, and Holy Spirit "moved over 
the waters."

     Why, then, is this said of thy Spirit alone?  Why is it said 
of him only -- as if he had been in a "place" that is not a place 
-- about whom alone it is written, "He is thy gift"?  It is in thy 
gift that we rest.  It is there that we enjoy thee.  Our rest is 
our "place." Love lifts us up toward that place, and thy good 
Spirit lifts our lowliness from the gates of death.[521]  Our 
peace rests in the goodness of will.  The body tends toward its 
own place by its own gravity.  A weight does not tend downward 
only, but moves to its own place.  Fire tends upward; a stone 
tends downward.  They are propelled by their own mass; they seek 
their own places.  Oil poured under the water rises above the 
water; water poured on oil sinks under the oil.  They are moved by 
their own mass; they seek their own places.  If they are out of 
order, they are restless; when their order is restored, they are 
at rest.  My weight is my love.  By it I am carried wherever I am 
carried.  By thy gift,[522] we are enkindled and are carried 
upward.  We burn inwardly and move forward.  We ascend thy ladder 
which is in our heart, and we sing a canticle of degrees[523]; we 
glow inwardly with thy fire -- with thy good fire[524] -- and we 
go forward because we go up to the peace of Jerusalem[525]; for I 
was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the house of the 
Lord."[526]  There thy good pleasure will settle us so that we 
will desire nothing more than to dwell there forever.[527]

                           CHAPTER X

     11.  Happy would be that creature who, though it was in 
itself other than thou, still had known no other state than this 
from the time it was made, so that it was never without thy gift 
which moves over everything mutable -- who had been borne up by 
the call in which thou saidst, "Let there be light: and there was 
light."[528]  For in us there is a distinction between the time 
when we were darkness and the time when we were made light.  But 
we are not told what would have been the case with that creature 
if the light had not been made.  It is spoken of as though there 
had been something of flux and darkness in it beforehand so that 
the cause by which it was made to be otherwise might be evident.  
This is to say, by being turned to the unfailing Light it might 
become light.  Let him who is able understand this; and let him 
who is not ask of thee.  Why trouble me, as if I could "enlighten 
every man that comes into the world"[529]? 

                          CHAPTER XI

     12.  Who can understand the omnipotent Trinity?  And yet who 
does not speak about it, if indeed it is of it that he speaks?  
Rare is the soul who, when he speaks of it, also knows of what he 
speaks.  And men contend and strive, but no man sees the vision of 
it without peace.

     I could wish that men would consider three things which are 
within themselves.  These three things are quite different from 
the Trinity, but I mention them in order that men may exercise 
their minds and test themselves and come to realize how different 
from it they are.[530]

     The three things I speak of are: to be, to know, and to will.  
For I am, and I know, and I will.  I am a knowing and a willing 
being; I know that I am and that I will; and I will to be and to 
know.  In these three functions, therefore, let him who can see 
how integral a life is; for there is one life, one mind, one 
essence.  Finally, the distinction does not separate the things, 
and yet it is a distinction.  Surely a man has this distinction 
before his mind; let him look into himself and see, and tell me.  
But when he discovers and can say anything about any one of these, 
let him not think that he has thereby discovered what is immutable 
above them all, which _is_ immutably and _knows_ immutably and 
_wills_ immutably.  But whether there is a Trinity there because 
these three functions exist in the one God, or whether all three 
are in each Person so that they are each threefold, or whether 
both these notions are true and, in some mysterious manner, the 
Infinite is in itself its own Selfsame object -- at once one and 
many, so that by itself it is and knows itself and suffices to 
itself without change, so that the Selfsame is the abundant 
magnitude of its Unity -- who can readily conceive?  Who can in 
any fashion express it plainly?  Who can in any way rashly make a 
pronouncement about it? 

                          CHAPTER XII

     13.  Go forward in your confession, O my faith; say to the 
Lord your God, "Holy, holy, holy, O Lord my God, in thy name we 
have been baptized, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy 
Spirit." In thy name we baptize, in the name of the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Spirit.  For among us also God in his Christ 
made "heaven and earth," namely, the spiritual and carnal members 
of his Church. And true it is that before it received "the form of 
doctrine," our "earth"[531] was "invisible and unformed," and we 
were covered with the darkness of our ignorance; for thou dost 
correct man for his iniquity,[532] and "thy judgments are a great 
abyss."[533]  But because thy Spirit was moving over these waters, 
thy mercy did not forsake our wretchedness, and thou saidst, "Let 
there be light; repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at 
hand."[534]  Repent, and let there be light.  Because our soul was 
troubled within us, we remembered thee, O Lord, from the land of 
Jordan, and from the mountain[535] -- and as we became displeased 
with our darkness we turned to thee, "and there was light." And 
behold, we were heretofore in darkness, but now we are light in 
the Lord.[536]

                         CHAPTER XIII

     14.  But even so, we still live by faith and not by sight, 
for we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope.  Thus 
far deep calls unto deep, but now in "the noise of thy 
waterfalls."[537]  And thus far he who said, "I could not speak to 
you as if you were spiritual ones, but only as if you were 
carnal"[538] -- thus far even he does not count himself to have 
apprehended, but forgetting the things that are behind and 
reaching forth to the things that are before, he presses on to 
those things that are ahead,[539] and he groans under his burden 
and his soul thirsts after the living God as the stag pants for 
the water brooks,[540] and says, "When shall I come?"[541] -- 
"desiring to be further clothed by his house which is from 
heaven."[542]  And he called to this lower deep, saying, "Be not 
conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of 
your mind."[543]  And "be not children in understanding, although 
in malice be children," in order that "in understanding you may 
become perfect."[544]  "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched 
you?"[545]  But this is not now only in his own voice but in thy 
voice, who sent thy Spirit from above through Him who both 
"ascended up on high"[546] and opened up the floodgates of his 
gifts, that the force of his streams might make glad the city of 

     For that city and for him sighs the Bridegroom's friend,[548] 
who has now the first fruits of the Spirit laid up with him, but 
who is still groaning within himself and waiting for adoption, 
that is, the redemption of his body.[549]  To Him he sighs, for he 
is a member of the Bride[550]; for him he is jealous, not for 
himself, but because not in his own voice but in the voice of thy 
waterfalls he calls on that other deep, of which he is jealous and 
in fear; for he fears lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his 
subtlety, his mind should be corrupted from the purity which is in 
our Bridegroom, thy only Son.  What a light of beauty that will be 
when "we shall see him as he is"[551]! -- and when these tears 
shall pass away which "have been my meat day and night, while they 
continually say unto me, 'Where is your God?'"[552]

                          CHAPTER XIV

     15.  And I myself say: "O my God, where art thou?  See now, 
where art thou?"  In thee I take my breath for a little while, 
when I pour out my soul beyond myself in the voice of joy and 
praise, in the voice of him that keeps holyday.[553]  And still it 
is cast down because it relapses and becomes an abyss, or rather 
it feels that it still is an abyss.  My faith speaks to my soul -- 
the faith that thou dost kindle to light my path in the night: 
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted in 
me?  Hope in God."[554]  For his word is a lamp to your feet.[555]  
Hope and persevere until the night passes -- that mother of the 
wicked; until the Lord's wrath subsides -- that wrath whose 
children once we were, of whom we were beforehand in darkness, 
whose residue we still bear about us in our bodies, dead because 
of sin.[556]  Hope and endure until the day breaks and the shadows 
flee away.[557]  Hope in the Lord: in the morning I shall stand in 
his presence and keep watch[558]; I shall forever give praise to 
him.  In the morning I shall stand and shall see my God, who is 
the health of my countenance,[559] who also will quicken our 
mortal bodies by the Spirit that dwells in us,[560] because in 
mercy he was moving over our lightless and restless inner deep.  
From this we have received an earnest, even now in this 
pilgrimage, that we are now in the light, since already we are 
saved by hope and are children of the light and children of the 
day -- not children of the night, nor of the darkness,[561] which 
we have been hitherto.  Between those children of the night and 
ourselves, in this still uncertain state of human knowledge, only 
thou canst rightly distinguish -- thou who dost test the heart and 
who dost call the light day, and the darkness night.[562]  For who 
can see us clearly but thee?  What do we have that we have not 
received from thee, who madest from the same lump some vessels to 
noble, and others to ignoble, use[563]? 

                          CHAPTER XV

     16.  Now who but thee, our God, didst make for us that 
firmament of the authority of thy divine Scripture to be over us?  
For "the heaven shall be folded up like a scroll"[564]; but now it 
is stretched over us like a skin.  Thy divine Scripture is of more 
sublime authority now that those mortal men through whom thou 
didst dispense it to us have departed this life.  And thou 
knowest, O Lord, thou knowest how thou didst clothe men with skins 
when they became mortal because of sin.[565]  In something of the 
same way, thou hast stretched out the firmament of thy Book as a 
skin -- that is to say, thou hast spread thy harmonious words over 
us through the ministry of mortal men.  For by their very death 
that solid firmament of authority in thy sayings, spoken forth by 
them, stretches high over all that now drift under it; whereas 
while they lived on earth their authority was not so widely 
extended.  Then thou hadst not yet spread out the heaven like a 
skin; thou hadst not yet spread abroad everywhere the fame of 
their death.

     17.  Let us see, O Lord, "the heavens, the work of thy 
fingers,"[566] and clear away from our eyes the fog with which 
thou hast covered them.  In them[567] is that testimony of thine 
which gives wisdom even to the little ones.  O my God, out of the 
mouth of babes and sucklings, perfect thy praise.[568]  For we 
know no other books that so destroy man's pride, that so break 
down the adversary and the self-defender who resists thy 
reconciliation by an effort to justify his own sins.  I do not 
know, O Lord, I do not know any other such pure words that so 
persuade me to confession and make my neck submissive to thy yoke, 
and invite me to serve thee for nothing else than thy own sake.  
Let me understand these things, O good Father.  Grant this to me, 
since I am placed under them; for thou hast established these 
things for those placed under them.

     18.  There are other waters that are above this firmament, 
and I believe that they are immortal and removed from earthly 
corruption.  Let them praise thy name -- this super-celestial 
society, thy angels, who have no need to look up at this firmament 
or to gain a knowledge of thy Word by reading it -- let them 
praise thee.  For they always behold thy face and read therein, 
without any syllables in time, what thy eternal will intends.  
They read, they choose, they love.[569]  They are always reading, 
and what they read never passes away.  For by choosing and by 
loving they read the very immutability of thy counsel.  Their book 
is never closed, nor is the scroll folded up, because thou thyself 
art this to them, and art this to them eternally; because thou 
didst range them above this firmament which thou madest firm over 
the infirmities of the people below the heavens, where they might 
look up and learn thy mercy, which proclaims in time thee who 
madest all times.  "For thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and 
thy faithfulness reaches to the clouds."[570]  The clouds pass 
away, but the heavens remain.  The preachers of thy Word pass away 
from this life into another; but thy Scripture is spread abroad 
over the people, even to the end of the world.  Indeed, both 
heaven and earth shall pass away, but thy words shall never pass 
away.[571]  The scroll shall be rolled together, and the "grass" 
over which it was spread shall, with all its goodliness, pass 
away; but thy Word remains forever[572] -- thy Word which now 
appears to us in the dark image of the clouds and through the 
glass of heaven, and not as it really is.  And even if we are the 
well-beloved of thy Son, it has not yet appeared what we shall 
be.[573]  He hath seen us through the entanglement[574] of our 
flesh, and he is fair-speaking, and he hath enkindled us, and we 
run after his fragrance.[575]  But "when he shall appear, then we 
shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."[576]  As he is, 
O Lord, we shall see him -- although that time is not yet.

                          CHAPTER XVI

     19.  For just as thou art the utterly Real, thou alone dost 
fully know, since thou art immutably, and thou knowest immutably, 
and thou willest immutably.  And thy Essence knows and wills 
immutably.  Thy Knowledge is and wills immutably.  Thy Will is and 
knows immutably.  And it does not seem right to thee that the 
immutable Light should be known by the enlightened but mutable 
creature in the same way as it knows itself.  Therefore, to thee 
my soul is as a land where no water is[577]; for, just as it 
cannot enlighten itself by itself, so it cannot satisfy itself by 
itself.  Thus the fountain of life is with thee, and "in thy light 
shall we see light."[578]

                         CHAPTER XVII

     20.  Who has gathered the "embittered ones"[579] into a 
single society?  For they all have the same end, which is temporal 
and earthly happiness.  This is their motive for doing everything, 
although they may fluctuate within an innumerable diversity of 
concerns.  Who but thee, O Lord, gathered them together, thou who 
saidst, "Let the waters be gathered together into one place and 
let the dry land appear" -- athirst for thee?  For the sea also is 
thine, and thou madest it, and thy hands formed the dry land.[580]  
For it is not the bitterness of men's wills but the gathering 
together of the waters which is called "the sea"; yet thou dost 
curb the wicked lusts of men's souls and fix their bounds: how far 
they are allowed to advance, and where their waves will be broken 
against each other -- and thus thou makest it "a sea," by the 
providence of thy governance of all things.

     21.  But as for the souls that thirst after thee and who 
appear before thee -- separated from "the society of the [bitter] 
sea" by reason of their different ends -- thou waterest them by a 
secret and sweet spring, so that "the earth" may bring forth her 
fruit and -- thou, O Lord, commanding it -- our souls may bud 
forth in works of mercy after their kind.[581]  Thus we shall love 
our neighbor in ministering to his bodily needs, for in this way 
the soul has seed in itself after its kind when in our own 
infirmity our compassion reaches out to the relief of the needy, 
helping them even as we would desire to be helped ourselves if we 
were in similar need.  Thus we help, not only in easy problems (as 
is signified by "the herb yielding its seed") but also in the 
offering of our best strength in affording them the aid of 
protection (such as "the tree bearing its fruit").  This is to 
say, we seek to rescue him who is suffering injury from the hands 
of the powerful -- furnishing him with the sheltering protection 
which comes from the strong arm of a righteous judgment.[582]

                         CHAPTER XVIII

     22.  Thus, O Lord, thus I beseech thee: let it happen as thou 
hast prepared it, as thou givest joy and the capacity for joy.  
Let truth spring up out of the earth, and let righteousness look 
down from heaven,[583] and let there be lights in the 

     Let us break our bread with the hungry, let us bring the 
shelterless poor to our house; let us clothe the naked, and never 
despise those of our own flesh.[585]  See from the fruits which 
spring forth from the earth how good it is.  Thus let our temporal 
light break forth, and let us from even this lower level of 
fruitful action come to the joy of contemplation and hold on high 
the Word of Life.  And let us at length appear like "lights in the 
world,"[586] cleaving to the firmament of thy Scripture.

     For in it thou makest it plain to us how we may distinguish 
between things intelligible and things tangible, as if between the 
day and the night -- and to distinguish between souls who give 
themselves to things of the mind and others absorbed in things of 
sense.  Thus it is that now thou art not alone in the secret of 
thy judgment as thou wast before the firmament was made, and 
before thou didst divide between the light and the darkness.  But 
now also thy spiritual children, placed and ranked in this same 
firmament -- thy grace being thus manifest throughout the world -- 
may shed light upon the earth, and may divide between the day and 
night, and may be for the signs of the times[587]; because old 
things have passed away, and, lo, all things are become new[588]; 
and because our salvation is nearer than when we believed; and 
because "the night is far spent and the day is at hand"[589]; and 
because "thou crownest the year with blessing,"[590] sending the 
laborers into thy harvest, in which others have labored in the 
sowing and sending laborers also to make new sowings whose harvest 
shall not be until the end of time.  Thus thou dost grant the 
prayers of him who seeks, and thou dost bless the years of the 
righteous man.  But thou art always the Selfsame, and in thy years 
which fail not thou preparest a granary for our transient years.  
For by an eternal design thou spreadest the heavenly blessings on 
the earth in their proper seasons.

     23.  For "to one there is given by thy Spirit the word of 
wisdom"[591] (which resembles the greater light -- which is for 
those whose delight is in the clear light of truth -- as the light 
which is given for the ruling of the day[592]).  But to another 
the word of knowledge is given by the same Spirit (as it were, the 
"lesser light"); to another, faith; to another, the gift of 
healing; to another, the power of working miracles; to another, 
the gift of prophecy; to another, the discerning of spirits; to 
another, other kinds of tongues -- and all these gifts may be 
compared to "the stars." For in them all the one and selfsame 
Spirit is at work, dividing to every man his own portion, as He 
wills, and making stars to appear in their bright splendor for the 
profit of souls.  But the word of knowledge, scientia, in which is 
contained all the mysteries[593] which change in their seasons 
like the moon; and all the other promises of gifts, which when 
counted are like the stars -- all of these fall short of that 
splendor of Wisdom in which the day rejoices and are only for the 
ruling of the night.  Yet they are necessary for those to whom thy 
most prudent servant could not speak as to the spiritually mature, 
but only as if to carnal men -- even though he could speak wisdom 
among the perfect.[594]  Still the natural man -- as a babe in 
Christ, and a drinker of milk, until he is strong enough for solid 
meat, and his eye is able to look into the sun -- do not leave him 
in a lightless night.  Instead, let him be satisfied with the 
light of the moon and the stars.  In thy book thou dost discuss 
these things with us wisely, our God -- in thy book, which is thy 
"firmament" -- in order that we may be able to view all things in 
admiring contemplation, although thus far we must do so through 
signs and seasons and in days and years.

                         CHAPTER XIX

     24.  But, first, "wash yourselves and make you clean; put 
away iniquity from your souls and from before my eyes"[595] -- so 
that "the dry land" may appear.  "Learn to do well, judge the 
fatherless, plead for the widow,"[596] that the earth may bring 
forth the green herb for food and fruit-bearing trees.  "And come, 
let us reason together, saith the Lord"[597] -- that there may be 
lights in the firmament of heaven and that they may shine upon the 

     There was that rich man who asked of the good Teacher what he 
should do to attain eternal life.  Let the good Teacher (whom the 
rich man thought a man and nothing more) give him an answer -- he 
is good for he is God.  Let him answer him that, if he would enter 
into life, he must keep the commandments: let him put away from 
himself the bitterness of malice and wickedness; let him not kill, 
nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor bear false witness[598] -- 
that "the dry land" may appear and bring forth the honoring of 
fathers and mothers and the love of neighbor.  "All these," he 
replied, "I have kept." Where do so many thorns come from, if the 
earth is really fruitful?  uproot the brier patch of avarice; 
"sell what you have, and be filled with fruit by giving to the 
poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and follow" the Lord 
if you would be perfect and joined with those in whose midst he 
speaketh wisdom -- who know how to give rightly to the day and to 
the night -- and you will also understand, so that for you also 
there may be lights in the firmament of heaven -- which will not 
be there, however, unless your heart is there also.  And your 
heart will not be there unless your treasure is there,[599] as you 
have heard from the good Teacher.  But "the barren earth"[600] was 
grieved, and the briers choked the word.[601]

     25.  But you, O elect people, set in the firmament of the 
world,[602] who have forsaken all that you may follow the Lord: 
follow him now, and confound the mighty!  Follow him, O beautiful 
feet,[603] and shine in the firmament, that the heavens may 
declare his glory, dividing the light of the perfect ones[604] -- 
though not yet so perfect as the angels -- from the darkness of 
the little ones -- who are nevertheless not utterly despised.  
Shine over all the earth, and let the day be lighted by the sun, 
utter the Word of wisdom to the day ("day unto day utters 
speech"[605]) and let the night, lighted by the moon, display the 
Word of knowledge to the night.  The moon and the stars give light 
for the night; the night does not put them out, and they illumine 
in its proper mode.  For lo, it is as if God were saying, "Let 
there be lights in the firmament of the heaven": and suddenly 
there came a sound from heaven, as if it were a rushing mighty 
wind, and there appeared cloven tongues of fire, and they sat on 
each of them.[606]  And then they were made to be lights in the 
firmament of heaven, having the Word of life.  Run to and fro 
everywhere, you holy fires, you lovely fires, for you are the 
light of the world and you are not to be hid under a peck 
measure.[607]  He to whom you cleave is raised on high, and he 
hath raised you on high.  Run to and fro; make yourselves known 
among all the nations! 

                          CHAPTER XX

     26.  Also let the sea conceive and bring forth your works, 
and let the waters bear the moving creatures that have life.[608]  
For by separating the precious from the vile you are made the 
mouth of God[609] by whom he said, "Let the waters bring forth." 
This does not refer to the living creatures which the earth brings 
forth, but to the creeping creatures that have life and the fowls 
that fly over the earth.  For, by the ministry of thy holy ones, 
thy mysteries have made their way amid the buffeting billows of 
the world, to instruct the nations in thy name, in thy Baptism.  
And among these things many great and marvelous works have been 
wrought, which are analogous to the huge whales.  The words of thy 
messengers have gone flying over the earth, high in the firmament 
of thy Book which is spread over them as the authority beneath 
which they are to fly wheresoever they go.  For "there is no 
speech nor language where their voice is not heard," because 
"their sound has gone out through all the earth, and their words 
to the end of the world"[610] -- and this because thou, O Lord, 
hast multiplied these things by thy blessing.

     27.  Am I speaking falsely?  Am I mingling and confounding 
and not rightly distinguishing between the knowledge of these 
things in the firmament of heaven and those corporeal works in the 
swelling sea and beneath the firmament of heaven?  For there are 
those things, the knowledge of which is solid and defined.  It 
does not increase from generation to generation and thus they 
stand, as it were, as lights of wisdom and knowledge.  But there 
are many and varied physical processes that manifest these 
selfsame principles.  And thus one thing growing from another is 
multiplied by thy blessing, O God, who dost so refresh our easily 
wearied mortal senses that in our mental cognition a single thing 
may be figured and signified in many different ways by different 
bodily motions.

     "The waters" have brought forth these mysteries, but only at 
thy word.  The needs of the people who were alien to the eternity 
of thy truth have called them forth, but only in thy gospel, since 
it was these "waters" which cast them up -- the waters whose 
stagnant bitterness was the reason why they came forth through thy 

     28.  Now all the things that thou hast made are fair, and 
yet, lo, thou who didst make all things art inexpressibly fairer.  
And if Adam had not fallen away from thee, that brackish sea -- 
the human race -- so deeply prying, so boisterously swelling, so 
restlessly moving, would never have flowed forth from his belly.  
Thus, there would have been no need for thy ministers to use 
corporeal and tangible signs in the midst of many "waters" in 
order to show forth their mystical deeds and words.  For this is 
the way I interpret the phrases "creeping creatures" and "flying 
fowl." Still, men who have been instructed and initiated and made 
dependent on thy corporeal mysteries would not be able to profit 
from them if it were not that their soul has a higher life and 
unless, after the word of its admission, it did not look beyond 
toward its perfection.

                          CHAPTER XXI

     29.  And thus, in thy Word, it was not the depth of the sea 
but "the earth,"[611] separated from the brackishness of the 
water, that brought forth, not "the creeping and the flying 
creature that has life," but "the living soul" itself![612]

     And now this soul no longer has need of baptism, as the 
heathen had, or as it did when it was covered with the waters -- 
and there can be no other entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, 
since thou hast appointed that baptism should be the entrance.  
Nor does it seek great, miraculous works by which to buttress 
faith.  For such a soul does not refuse to believe unless it sees 
signs and marvels, now that "the faithful earth" is separated from 
"the waters" of the sea, which have been made bitter by 
infidelity.  Thus, for them, "tongues are for a sign, not to those 
who believe but to those who do not believe."[613]

     And the earth which thou hast founded above the waters does 
not stand in need of those flying creatures which the waters 
brought forth at thy word.  Send forth thy word into it by the 
agency of thy messengers.  For we only tell of their works, but it 
is thou who dost the works in them, so that they may bring forth 
"a living soul" in the earth.

     The earth brings forth "the living soul" because "the earth" 
is the cause of such things being done by thy messengers, just as 
the sea was the cause of the production of the creeping creatures 
having life and the flying fowl under the firmament of heaven.  
"The earth" no longer needs them, although it feeds on the Fish 
which was taken out of the deep,[614] set out on that table which 
thou preparest in the presence of those who believe.  To this end 
he was raised from the deep: that he might feed "the dry land." 
And "the fowl," even though they were bred in the sea, will yet be 
multiplied on the earth.  The preaching of the first evangelists 
was called forth by reason of man's infidelity, but the faithful 
also are exhorted and blessed by them in manifold ways, day by 
day.  "The living soul" has its origin from "the earth," because 
only to the faithful is there any profit in restraining themselves 
from the love of this world, so that their soul may live to thee.  
This soul was dead while it was living in pleasures -- in 
pleasures that bear death in them -- whereas thou, O Lord, art the 
living delight of the pure heart.

     30.  Now, therefore, let thy ministers do their work on "the 
earth" -- not as they did formerly in "the waters" of infidelity, 
when they had to preach and speak by miracles and mysteries and 
mystical expressions, in which ignorance -- the mother of wonder 
-- gives them an attentive ear because of its fear of occult and 
strange things.  For this is the entry into faith for the sons of 
Adam who are forgetful of thee, who hide themselves from thy face, 
and who have become a darkened abyss.  Instead, let thy ministers 
work even as on "the dry land," safe from the whirlpools of the 
abyss.  Let them be an example unto the faithful by living before 
them and stirring them up to imitation.

     For in such a setting, men will heed, not with the mere 
intent to hear, but also to act.  Seek the Lord and your soul 
shall live[615] and "the earth" may bring forth "the living soul." 
Be not conformed to this world;[616] separate yourselves from it.  
The soul lives by avoiding those things which bring death if they 
are loved.  Restrain yourselves from the unbridled wildness of 
pride, from the indolent passions of luxury, and from what is 
falsely called knowledge.[617]  Thus may the wild beast be tamed, 
the cattle subdued, and the serpent made harmless.  For, in 
allegory, these figures are the motions of our mind: that is to 
say, the haughtiness of pride, the delight of lust, and the poison 
of curiosity are motions of the dead soul -- not so dead that it 
has lost all motion, but dead because it has deserted the fountain 
of life, and so has been taken up by this transitory world and 
conformed to it.

     31.  But thy Word, O God, is a fountain of life eternal, and 
it does not pass away.  Therefore, this desertion is restrained by 
thy Word when it says to us, "Be not conformed to this world," to 
the end that "the earth" may bring forth a "living soul" in the 
fountain of life -- a soul disciplined by thy Word, by thy 
evangelists, by the following of the followers of thy Christ.  For 
this is the meaning of "after his kind." A man tends to follow the 
example of his friend.  Thus, he [Paul] says, "Become as I am, 
because I have become as you are."[618]

     Thus, in this "living soul" there shall be good beasts, 
acting meekly.  For thou hast commanded this, saying: "Do your 
work in meekness and you shall be loved by all men."[619]  And the 
cattle will be good, for if they eat much they shall not suffer 
from satiety; and if they do not eat at all they will suffer no 
lack.  And the serpents will be good, not poisonous to do harm, 
but only cunning in their watchfulness -- exploring only as much 
of this temporal nature as is necessary in order that the eternal 
nature may "be clearly seen, understood through the things that 
have been made."[620]  For all these animals will obey reason 
when, having been restrained from their death-dealing ways, they 
live and become good.

                         CHAPTER XXII

     32.  Thus, O Lord, our God, our Creator, when our affections 
have been turned from the love of the world, in which we died by 
living ill; and when we began to be "a living soul" by living 
well; and when the word, "Be not conformed to this world," which 
thou didst speak through thy apostle, has been fulfilled in us, 
then will follow what thou didst immediately add when thou saidst, 
"But be transformed by the renewing of your mind."[621]  This will 
not now be "after their kind," as if we were following the 
neighbor who went before us, or as if we were living after the 
example of a better man -- for thou didst not say, "Let man be 
made after his kind," but rather, "Let us make man in our own 
image and our own likeness,"[622] so that then we may be able to 
prove what thy will is.

     This is why thy minister -- begetting children by the gospel 
so that he might not always have them babes whom he would have to 
feed with milk and nurse as children -- this is why he said, "Be 
transformed by the renewing of your minds, that you may prove what 
is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God."[623]  
Therefore thou didst not say, "Let man be made," but rather, "Let 
us make man." And thou didst not say, "After his kind," but after 
"our image" and "likeness." Indeed, it is only when man has been 
renewed in his mind, and comes to behold and apprehend thy truth, 
that he does not need another man as his director, to show him how 
to imitate human examples.  Instead, by thy guidance, he proves 
what is thy good and acceptable and perfect will.  And thou dost 
teach him, now that he is able to understand, to see the trinity 
of the Unity and the unity of the Trinity.

     This is why the statement in the plural, "Let us make man," 
is also connected with the statement in the singular, "And God 
made man." Thus it is said in the plural, "After our likeness," 
and then in the singular, "After the image of God." Man is thus 
transformed in the knowledge of God, according to the image of Him 
who created him.  And now, having been made spiritual, he judges 
all things -- that is, all things that are appropriate to be 
judged -- and he himself is judged of no man.[624]

                         CHAPTER XXIII

     33.  Now this phrase, "he judges all things," means that man 
has dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the 
air, and over all cattle and wild beasts, and over all the earth, 
and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.  And he 
does this by the power of reason in his mind by which he perceives 
"the things of the Spirit of God."[625]  But, when man was put in 
this high office, he did not understand what was involved and thus 
was reduced to the level of the brute beasts, and made like 

     Therefore in thy Church, O our God, by the grace thou hast 
given us -- since we are thy workmanship, created in good works 
(not only those who are in spiritual authority but also those who 
are spiritually subject to them) -- thou madest man male and 
female.  Here all are equal in thy spiritual grace where, as far 
as sex is concerned, there is neither male nor female, just as 
there is neither Jew nor Greek, nor bond nor free.  Spiritual men, 
therefore, whether those who are in authority or those who are 
subject to authority, judge spiritually.  They do not judge by the 
light of that spiritual knowledge which shines in the firmament, 
for it is inappropriate for them to judge by so sublime an 
authority.  Nor does it behoove them to judge concerning thy Book 
itself, although there are some things in it which are not clear.  
Instead, we submit our understanding to it and believe with 
certainty that what is hidden from our sight is still rightly and 
truly spoken.  In this way, even though a man is now spiritual and 
renewed by the knowledge of God according to the image of him who 
created him, he must be a doer of the law rather than its 
judge.[627]  Neither does the spiritual man judge concerning that 
division between spiritual and carnal men which is known to thy 
eyes, O God, and which may not, as yet, be made manifest to us by 
their external works, so that we may know them by their fruits; 
yet thou, O God, knowest them already and thou hast divided and 
called them secretly, before the firmament was made.  Nor does a 
man, even though he is spiritual, judge the disordered state of 
society in this world.  For what business of his is it to judge 
those who are without, since he cannot know which of them may 
later on come into the sweetness of thy grace, and which of them 
may continue in the perpetual bitterness of their impiety? 

     34.  Man, then, even if he was made after thy own image, did 
not receive the power of dominion over the lights of heaven, nor 
over the secret heaven, nor over the day and the night which thou 
calledst forth before the creation of the heaven, nor over the 
gathering together of the waters which is the sea.  Instead, he 
received dominion over the fish of the sea, and the fowls of the 
air; and over all cattle, and all the earth; and over all creeping 
things which creep on the earth.

     Indeed, he judges and approves what he finds right and 
disapproves what he finds amiss, whether in the celebration of 
those mysteries by which are initiated those whom thy mercy hast 
sought out in the midst of many waters; or in that sacrament in 
which is exhibited the Fish itself[628] which, being raised from 
the depths, the pious "earth"[629] feeds upon; or, in the signs 
and symbols of words, which are subject to the authority of thy 
Book -- such signs as burst forth and sound from the mouth, as if 
it were "flying" under the firmament, interpreting, expounding, 
discoursing, disputing, blessing, invoking thee, so that the 
people may answer, "Amen."[630]  The reason that all these words 
have to be pronounced vocally is because of the abyss of this 
world and the blindness of our flesh in which thoughts cannot be 
seen directly,[631] but have to be spoken aloud in our ears.  
Thus, although the flying fowl are multiplied on the earth, they 
still take their origins from the waters.

     The spiritual man also judges by approving what is right and 
reproving what he finds amiss in the works and morals of the 
faithful, such as in their almsgiving, which is signified by the 
phrase, "The earth bringing forth its fruit." And he judges of the 
"living soul," which is then made to live by the disciplining of 
her affections in chastity, in fasting, and in holy meditation.  
And he also judges concerning all those things which are perceived 
by the bodily senses.  For it can be said that he should judge in 
all matters about which he also has the power of correction.

                         CHAPTER XXIV

     35.  But what is this; what kind of mystery is this?  Behold, 
O Lord, thou dost bless men in order that they may be "fruitful 
and multiply, and replenish the earth." In this art thou not 
making a sign to us that we may understand something 
[allegorically]?  Why didst thou not also bless the light, which 
thou calledst "the day," nor the firmament of heaven, nor the 
lights, nor the stars, nor the earth, nor the sea?  I might reply, 
O our God, that thou in creating us after thy own image -- I might 
reply that thou didst will to bestow this gift of blessing upon 
man alone, if thou hadst not similarly blessed the fishes and the 
whales, so that they too should be fruitful and multiply and 
replenish the waters of the sea; and also the fowls, so that they 
should be multiplied on the earth.  In like fashion, I might say 
that this blessing properly belonged only to such creatures as are 
propagated from their own kind, if I could find it given also as a 
blessing to trees, and plants, and the beasts of the earth.  But 
this "increase and multiply" was not said to plants or trees or 
beasts or serpents -- although all of these, along with fishes and 
birds and men, do actually increase by propagation and so preserve 
their species.

     36.  What, then, shall I say, O Truth, O my Life: that it was 
idly and vainly said?  Surely not this, O Father of piety; far be 
it from a servant of thy Word to say anything like this!  But if I 
do not understand what thou meanest by that phrase, let those who 
are better than I -- that is, those more intelligent than I -- 
interpret it better, in the degree that thou hast given each of us 
the ability to understand.

     But let also my confession be pleasing in thy eyes, for I 
confess to thee that I believe, O Lord, that thou hast not spoken 
thus in vain.  Nor will I be silent as to what my reading has 
suggested to me.  For it is valid, and I do not see anything to 
prevent me from thus interpreting the figurative sayings in thy 
books.  For I know that a thing that is understood in only one way 
in the mind may be expressed in many different ways by the body; 
and I know that a thing that has only one manner of expression 
through the body may be understood in the mind in many different 
ways.  For consider this single example -- the love of God and of 
our neighbor -- by how many different mysteries and countless 
languages, and, in each language, by how many different ways of 
speaking, this is signified corporeally!  In similar fashion, the 
"young fish" in "the waters" increase and multiply.  On the other 
hand, whoever you are who reads this, observe and behold what 
Scripture declares, and how the voice pronounces it _in only one 
way_, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth."[632]  Is 
this not understood in many different ways by different kinds of 
true interpretations which do not involve the deceit of error?  
Thus the offspring of men are fruitful and do multiply.[633]

     37.  If, then, we consider the nature of things, in their 
strictly literal sense, and not allegorically, the phrase, "Be 
fruitful and multiply," applies to all things that are begotten by 
seed.  But if we treat these words figuratively, as I judge that 
the Scripture intended them to be -- since it cannot be for 
nothing that this blessing is attributed only to the offspring of 
marine life and man -- then we discover that the characteristic of 
fecundity belongs also to the spiritual and physical creations 
(which are signified by "heaven and earth"), and also in righteous 
and unrighteous souls (which are signified by "light and 
darkness") and in the sacred writers through whom the law is 
uttered (who are signified by "the firmament established between 
the waters and the waters"); and in the earthly commonwealth still 
steeped in their bitterness (which is signified by "the sea"); and 
in the zeal of holy souls (signified by "the dry land"); and the 
works of mercy done in this present life (signified by "the seed-
bearing herbs and fruit-bearing trees"); and in spiritual gifts 
which shine out for our edification (signified by "the lights of 
heaven"); and to human affections ruled by temperance (signified 
by "the living soul").  In all these instances we meet with 
multiplicity and fertility and increase; but the particular way in 
which "Be fruitful and multiply" can be exemplified differs 
widely.  Thus a single category may include many things, and we 
cannot discover them except through their signs displayed 
corporeally and by the things being excogitated by the mind.

     We thus interpret the phrase, "The generation of the waters," 
as referring to the corporeally expressed signs [of fecundity], 
since they are made necessary by the degree of our involvement in 
the flesh.  But the power of human generation refers to the 
process of mental conception; this we see in the fruitfulness of 
reason.  Therefore, we believe that to both of these two kinds it 
has been said by thee, O Lord, "Be fruitful and multiply." In this 
blessing, I recognize that thou hast granted us the faculty and 
power not only to express what we understand by a single idea in 
many different ways but also to understand in many ways what we 
find expressed obscurely in a single statement.  Thus the waters 
of the sea are replenished, and their waves are symbols of diverse 
meanings.  And thus also the earth is also replenished with human 
offspring.  Its dryness is the symbol of its thirst for truth, and 
of the fact that reason rules over it.

                          CHAPTER XXV

     38.  I also desire to say, O my Lord God, what the following 
Scripture suggests to me.  Indeed, I will speak without fear, for 
I will speak the truth, as thou inspirest me to know what thou 
dost will that I should say concerning these words.  For I do not 
believe I can speak the truth by any other inspiration than thine, 
since thou art the Truth, and every man a liar.[634]  Hence, he 
that speaks a lie, speaks out of himself.  Therefore, if I am to 
speak the truth, I must speak of thy truth.

     Behold, thou hast given us for our food every seed-bearing 
herb on the face of the earth, and all trees that bear in 
themselves seed of their own kind; and not to us only, but to all 
the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field and all creeping 
things.[635]  Still, thou hast not given these things to the 
fishes and great whales.  We have said that by these fruits of the 
earth the works of mercy were signified and figured forth in an 
allegory: thus, from the fruitful earth, things are provided for 
the necessities of life.  Such an "earth" was the godly 
Onesiphorus, to whose house thou gavest mercy because he often 
refreshed Paul and was not ashamed of his bonds.[636]  This was 
also the way of the brethren from Macedonia, who bore such fruit 
and supplied to him what he lacked.  But notice how he grieves for 
certain "trees," which did not give him the fruit that was due, 
when he said, "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all 
men forsook me: I pray God, that it be not laid up to their 
charge."[637]  For we owe "fruits" to those who minister spiritual 
doctrine to us through their understanding of the divine 
mysteries.  We owe these to them as men.  We owe these fruits, 
also, to "the living souls" since they offer themselves as 
examples for us in their own continence.  And, finally, we owe 
them likewise to "the flying creatures" because of their blessings 
which are multiplied on the earth, for "their sound has gone forth 
into all the earth."[638]

                         CHAPTER XXVI

     39.  Those who find their joy in it are fed by these 
"fruits"; but those whose god is their belly find no joy in them.  
For in those who offer these fruits, it is not the fruit itself 
that matters, but the spirit in which they give them.  Therefore, 
he who serves God and not his own belly may rejoice in them, and I 
plainly see why.  I see it, and I rejoice with him greatly.  For 
he [Paul] had received from the Philippians the things they had 
sent by Epaphroditus; yet I see why he rejoiced.  He was fed by 
what he found his joy in; for, speaking truly, he says, "I rejoice 
in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me has 
flourished again, in which you were once so careful, but it had 
become a weariness to you.[639]  These Philippians, in their 
extended period of weariness in well-doing, had become weak and 
were, so to say, dried up; they were no longer bringing forth the 
fruits of good works.  And now Paul rejoices in them -- and not 
just for himself alone -- because they were flourishing again in 
ministering to his needs.  Therefore he adds: "I do not speak in 
respect of my want, for I have learned in whatsoever state I am 
therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased and how to 
abound; everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be 
full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can 
do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me."[640]

     40.  Where do you find joy in all things, O great Paul?  What 
is the cause of your joy?  On what do you feed, O man, renewed now 
in the knowledge of God after the image of him who created you, O 
living soul of such great continence -- O tongue like a winged 
bird, speaking mysteries?  What food is owed such creatures; what 
is it that feeds you?  It is joy!  For hear what follows: 
"Nevertheless, you have done well in that you have shared with me 
in my affliction."[641]  This is what he finds his joy in; this is 
what he feeds on.  They have done well, not merely because his 
need had been relieved -- for he says to them, "You have opened my 
heart when I was in distress" -- but because he knew both how to 
abound and how to suffer need, in thee who didst strengthen him.  
And so he said, "You [Philippians] know also that in the beginning 
of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared 
with me in regard to giving and receiving, except you only.  For 
even in Thessalonica you sent time and time again, according to my 
need."[642]  He now finds his joy in the fact that they have 
returned once again to these good works, and he is made glad that 
they are flourishing again, as a fruitful field when it recovers 
its fertility.

     41.  Was it on account of his own needs alone that he said, 
"You have sent me gifts according to my needs?"  Does he find joy 
in that?  Certainly not for that alone.  But how do we know this?  
We know it because he himself adds, "Not because I desire a gift, 
but because I desire fruit."[643]

     Now I have learned from thee, O my God, how to distinguish 
between the terms "gift" and "fruit." A "gift" is the thing 
itself, given by one who bestows life's necessities on another -- 
such as money, food, drink, clothing, shelter, and aid.  But "the 
fruit" is the good and right will of the giver.  For the good 
Teacher not only said, "He that receives a prophet," but he added, 
"In the name of a prophet." And he did not say only, "He who 
receives a righteous man," but added, "In the name of a righteous 
man."[644]  Thus, surely, the former shall receive the reward of a 
prophet; the latter, that of a righteous man.  Nor did he say 
only, "Whoever shall give a cup of cold water to one of these 
little ones to drink," but added, "In the name of a disciple"; and 
concluded, "Truly I tell you he shall not lose his reward." The 
"gift" involves receiving a prophet, receiving a righteous man, 
handing a cup of cold water to a disciple: but the "fruit" is to 
do all this in the name of a prophet, in the name of a righteous 
man, in the name of a disciple.  Elijah was fed by the widow with 
"fruit," for she knew that she was feeding a man of God and this 
is why she fed him.  But he was fed by the raven with a "gift." 
The inner man of Elijah was not fed by this "gift," but only the 
outer man, which otherwise might have perished from the lack of 
such food.

                         CHAPTER XXVII

     42.  Therefore I will speak before thee, O Lord, what is 
true, in order that the uninstructed[645] and the infidels, who 
require the mysteries of initiation and great works of miracles -- 
which we believe are signified by the phrase, "Fishes and great 
whales" -- may be helped in being gained [for the Church] when 
they endeavor to provide that thy servants are refreshed in body, 
or otherwise aided in this present life.  For they do not really 
know why this should be done, and to what end.  Thus the former do 
not feed the latter, and the latter do not feed the former; for 
neither do the former offer their "gifts" through a holy and right 
intent, nor do the others rejoice in the gifts of those who do not 
as yet see the "fruit." For it is on the "fruit" that the mind is 
fed, and by which it is gladdened.  And, therefore, fishes and 
whales are not fed on such food as the earth alone brings forth 
when they have been separated and divided from the bitterness of 
"the waters" of the sea.

                        CHAPTER XXVIII

     43.  And thou, O God, didst see everything that thou hadst 
made and, behold, it was very good.[646]  We also see the whole 
creation and, behold, it is all very good.  In each separate kind 
of thy work, when thou didst say, "Let them be made," and they 
were made, thou didst see that it was good.  I have counted seven 
times where it is written that thou didst see what thou hadst made 
was "good." And there is the eighth time when thou didst see _all_ 
things that thou hadst made and, behold, they were not only good 
but also _very_ good; for they were now seen as a totality.  
Individually they were only good; but taken as a totality they 
were both good and very good.  Beautiful bodies express this 
truth; for a body which consists of several parts, each of which 
is beautiful, is itself far more beautiful than any of its 
individual parts separately, by whose well-ordered union the whole 
is completed even though these parts are separately beautiful.

                         CHAPTER XXIX

     44.  And I looked attentively to find whether it was seven or 
eight times that thou didst see thy works were good, when they 
were pleasing to thee, but I found that there was no "time" in thy 
seeing which would help me to understand in what sense thou hadst 
looked so many "times" at what thou hadst made.  And I said: "O 
Lord, is not this thy Scripture true, since thou art true, and thy 
truth doth set it forth?  Why, then, dost thou say to me that in 
thy seeing there are no times, while this Scripture tells me that 
what thou madest each day thou didst see to be good; and when I 
counted them I found how many 'times'?"  To these things, thou 
didst reply to me, for thou art my God, and thou dost speak to thy 
servant with a strong voice in his inner ear, my deafness, and 
crying: "O man, what my Scripture says, I say.  But it speaks in 
terms of time, whereas time does not affect my Word -- my Word 
which exists coeternally with myself.  Thus the things you see 
through my Spirit, I see; just as what you say through my Spirit, 
I say.  But while you see those things in time, I do not see them 
in time; and when you speak those things in time, I do not speak 
them in time."

                          CHAPTER XXX

     45.  And I heard this, O Lord my God, and drank up a drop of 
sweetness from thy truth, and understood that there are some men 
to whom thy works are displeasing, who say that many of them thou 
didst make under the compulsion of necessity -- such as the 
pattern of the heavens and the courses of the stars -- and that 
thou didst not make them out of what was thine, but that they were 
already created elsewhere and from other sources.  It was thus 
[they say] that thou didst collect and fashion and weave them 
together, as if from thy conquered enemies thou didst raise up the 
walls of the universe; so that, built into the ramparts of the 
building, they might not be able a second time to rebel against 
thee.  And, even of other things, they say that thou didst neither 
make them nor arrange them -- for example, all flesh and all the 
very small living creatures, and all things fastened to the earth 
by their roots.  But [they say] a hostile mind and an alien nature 
-- not created by thee and in every way contrary to thee -- begot 
and framed all these things in the nether parts of the world.[647] 
They who speak thus are mad [insani], since they do not see thy 
works through thy Spirit, nor recognize thee in them.

                         CHAPTER XXXI

     46.  But for those who see these things through thy Spirit, 
it is thou who seest them in them.  When, therefore, they see that 
these things are good, it is thou who seest that they are good; 
and whatsoever things are pleasing because of thee, it is thou who 
dost give us pleasure in those things.  Those things which please 
us through thy Spirit are pleasing to thee in us.  "For what man 
knows the things of a man except the spirit of a man which is in 
him?  Even so, no man knows the things of God, but the Spirit of 
God.  Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the 
Spirit of God, that we might know the things that are freely given 
to us from God."[648]  And I am admonished to say: "Yes, truly.  
No man knows the things of God, but the Spirit of God: but how, 
then, do we also know what things are given us by God?"  The 
answer is given me: "Because we know these things by his Spirit; 
for no one knows but the Spirit of God." But just as it is truly 
said to those who were to speak through the Spirit of God, "It is 
not you who speak," so it is also truly said to them who know 
through the Spirit of God, "It is not you yourselves who know," 
and just as rightly it may be said to those who perceive through 
the Spirit of God that a thing is good; it is not they who see, 
but God who seeth that it is good.

     It is, therefore, one thing to think like the men who judge 
something to be bad when it is good, as do those whom we have 
already mentioned.  It is quite another thing that a man should 
see as good what is good -- as is the case with many whom thy 
creation pleases because it is good, yet what pleases them in it 
is not thee, and so they would prefer to find their joy in thy 
creatures rather than to find their joy in thee.  It is still 
another thing that when a man sees a thing to be good, God should 
see in him that it is good -- that truly he may be loved in what 
he hath made, he who cannot be loved except through the Holy 
Spirit which he hath given us: "Because the love of God is shed 
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given to us."[649]  
It is by him that we see whatever we see to be good in any degree, 
since it is from him, who doth not exist in any particular degree 
but who simply is what he is.[650]

                         CHAPTER XXXII

     47.  Thanks be to thee, O Lord!  We see the heaven and the 
earth, either the corporeal part -- higher and lower -- or the 
spiritual and physical creation.  And we see the light made and 
divided from the darkness for the adornment of these parts, from 
which the universal mass of the world or the universal creation is 
constituted.  We see the firmament of heaven, either the original 
"body" of the world between the spiritual (higher) waters and the 
corporeal (lower) waters[651] or the expanse of air -- which is 
also called "heaven" -- through which the fowls of heaven wander, 
between the waters which move in clouds above them and which drop 
down in dew on clear nights, and those waters which are heavy and 
flow along the earth.  We see the waters gathered together in the 
vast plains of the sea; and the dry land, first bare and then 
formed, so as to be visible and well-ordered; and the soil of 
herbs and trees.  We see the light shining from above -- the sun 
to serve the day, the moon and the stars to give cheer in the 
night; and we see by all these that the intervals of time are 
marked and noted.  We see on every side the watery elements, 
fruitful with fishes, beasts, and birds -- and we notice that the 
density of the atmosphere which supports the flights of birds is 
increased by the evaporation of the waters.  We see the face of 
the earth, replete with earthly creatures; and man, created in thy 
image and likeness, in the very image and likeness of thee -- that 
is, having the power of reason and understanding -- by virtue of 
which he has been set over all irrational creatures.  And just as 
there is in his soul one element which controls by its power of 
reflection and another which has been made subject so that it 
should obey, so also, physically, the woman was made for the man; 
for, although she had a like nature of rational intelligence in 
the mind, still in the sex of her body she should be similarly 
subject to the sex of her husband, as the appetite of action is 
subjected to the deliberation of the mind in order to conceive the 
rules of right action.  These things we see, and each of them is 
good; and the whole is very good!

                        CHAPTER XXXIII

     48.  Let thy works praise thee, that we may love thee; and 
let us love thee that thy works may praise thee -- those works 
which have a beginning and an end in time -- a rising and a 
setting, a growth and a decay, a form and a privation.  Thus, they 
have their successions of morning and evening, partly hidden, 
partly plain.  For they were made from nothing by thee, and not 
from thyself, and not from any matter that is not thine, or that 
was created beforehand.  They were created from concreated matter 
-- that is, matter that was created by thee at the same time that 
thou didst form its formlessness, without any interval of time.  
Yet, since the matter of heaven and earth is one thing and the 
form of heaven and earth is another thing, thou didst create 
matter out of absolutely nothing (de omnino nihilo), but the form 
of the world thou didst form from formless matter (de informi 
materia).  But both were done at the same time, so that form 
followed matter with no delaying interval.

                         CHAPTER XXXIV

     49.  We have also explored the question of what thou didst 
desire to figure forth, both in the creation and in the 
description of things in this particular order.  And we have seen 
that things taken separately are good, and all things taken 
together are very good, both in heaven and earth.  And we have 
seen that this was wrought through thy Word, thy only Son, the 
head and the body of the Church, and it signifies thy 
predestination before all times, without morning and evening.  But 
when, in time, thou didst begin to unfold the things destined 
before time, so that thou mightest make hidden things manifest and 
mightest reorder our disorders -- since our sins were over us and 
we had sunk into profound darkness away from thee, and thy good 
Spirit was moving over us to help us in due season -- thou didst 
justify the ungodly and also didst divide them from the wicked; 
and thou madest the authority of thy Book a firmament between 
those above who would be amenable to thee and those beneath who 
would be subject to them.  And thou didst gather the society of 
unbelievers[652] into a conspiracy, in order that the zeal of the 
faithful might become manifest and that they might bring forth 
works of mercy unto thee, giving their earthly riches to the poor 
to obtain heavenly riches.  Then thou didst kindle the lights in 
the firmament, which are thy holy ones, who have the Word of Life 
and who shine with an exalted authority, warranted to them by 
their spiritual gifts.  And then, for the instruction of the 
unbelieving nations, thou didst out of physical matter produce the 
mysteries and the visible miracles and the sounds of words in 
harmony with the firmament of thy Book, through which the faithful 
should be blessed.  After this thou didst form "the living soul" 
of the faithful, through the ordering of their passions by the 
strength of continence.  And then thou didst renew, after thy 
image and likeness, the mind which is faithful to thee alone, 
which needs to imitate no human authority.  Thus, thou didst 
subordinate rational action to the higher excellence of 
intelligence, as the woman is subordinate to the man.  Finally, in 
all thy ministries which were needed to perfect the faithful in 
this life, thou didst will that these same faithful ones should 
themselves bring forth good things, profitable for their temporal 
use and fruitful for the life to come.  We see all these things, 
and they are very good, because thou seest them thus in us -- thou 
who hast given us thy Spirit, by which we may see them so and love 
thee in them.

                         CHAPTER XXXV

     50.  O Lord God, grant us thy peace -- for thou hast given us 
all things.  Grant us the peace of quietness, the peace of the 
Sabbath, the peace without an evening.  All this most beautiful 
array of things, all so very good, will pass away when all their 
courses are finished -- for in them there is both morning and 

     51.  But the seventh day is without an evening, and it has no 
setting, for thou hast sanctified it with an everlasting duration.  
After all thy works of creation, which were very good, thou didst 
rest on the seventh day, although thou hadst created them all in 
unbroken rest -- and this so that the voice of thy Book might 
speak to us with the prior assurance that after our works -- and 
they also are very good because thou hast given them to us -- we 
may find our rest in thee in the Sabbath of life eternal.[653]

                        CHAPTER XXXVII

     52.  For then also thou shalt so rest in us as now thou 
workest in us; and, thus, that will be thy rest through us, as 
these are thy works through us.  But thou, O Lord, workest 
evermore and art always at rest.  Thou seest not in time, thou 
movest not in time, thou restest not in time.  And yet thou makest 
all those things which are seen in time -- indeed, the very times 
themselves -- and everything that proceeds in and from time.

                        CHAPTER XXXVIII

     53.  We can see all those things which thou hast made because 
they are -- but they are because thou seest them.[654]  And we see 
with our eyes that they are, and we see with our minds that they 
are good.  But thou sawest them as made when thou sawest that they 
would be made.

     And now, in this present time, we have been moved to do well, 
now that our heart has been quickened by thy Spirit; but in the 
former time, having forsaken thee, we were moved to do evil.[655]  
But thou, O the one good God, hast never ceased to do good!  And 
we have accomplished certain good works by thy good gifts, and 
even though they are not eternal, still we hope, after these 
things here, to find our rest in thy great sanctification.  But 
thou art the Good, and needest no rest, and art always at rest, 
because thou thyself art thy own rest.

     What man will teach men to understand this?  And what angel 
will teach the angels?  Or what angels will teach men?  We must 
ask it of thee; we must seek it in thee; we must knock for it at 
thy door.  Only thus shall we receive; only thus shall we find; 
only thus shall thy door be opened.[656]


[1] He had no models before him, for such earlier writings as the 
Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and the autobiographical sections 
in Hilary of Poitiers and Cyprian of Carthage have only to be 
compared with the Confessions to see how different they are.
[2] Gen. 1:1.
[3] Gen. 2:2.
[4] Notice the echo here of Acts 9:1.
[5] Ps. 100:3.
[6] Cf. Ps. 145:3 and Ps. 147:5.
[7] Rom. 10:14.
[8] Ps. 22:26.
[9] Matt. 7:7.
[10] A reference to Bishop Ambrose of Milan; see Bk. V, Ch. XIII; 
Bk. VIII, Ch. 11, 3.
[11] Ps. 139:8.
[12] Jer. 23:24.
[13] Cf. Ps. 18:31.
[14] Ps. 35:3.
[15] Cf. Ps. 19:12, 13.
[16] Ps. 116:10.
[17] Cf. Ps. 32:5.
[18] Cf. Job 9:2.
[19] Ps. 130:3.
[20] Ps. 102:27.
[21] Ps. 102:27.
[22] Cf. Ps. 92:1.
[23] Cf. Ps. 51:5.
[24] In baptism which, Augustine believed, established the 
effigiem Christi in the human soul.
[25] Cf. Ps. 78:39.
[26] Cf. Ps. 72:27.
[27] Aeneid, VI, 457
[28] Cf. Aeneid, II.
[29] Lignum is a common metaphor for the cross; and it was often 
joined to the figure of Noah's ark, as the means of safe transport 
from earth to heaven.
[30] This apostrophe to "the torrent of human custom" now switches 
its focus to the poets who celebrated the philanderings of the 
gods; see De civ. Dei, II, vii-xi; IV, xxvi-xxviii.
[31] Probably a contemporary disciple of Cicero (or the Academics) 
whom Augustine had heard levy a rather common philosopher's 
complaint against Olympian religion and the poetic myths about it.  
Cf. De Labriolle, I, 21 (see Bibl.).
[32] Terence, Eunuch., 584-591; quoted again in De civ. Dei, II, 
[33] Aeneid, I, 38.
[34] Cf. Ps. 103:8 and Ps. 86:15.
[35] Ps. 27:8.
[36] An interesting mixed reminiscence of Enneads, I, 5:8 and Luke 
[37] Ps. 123:1.
[38] Matt. 19:14.
[39] Another Plotinian echo; cf. Enneads, III, 8:10.
[40] Yet another Plotinian phrase; cf. Enneads, I, 6, 9:1-2.
[41] Cf. Gen. 3:18 and De bono conjugali, 8-9, 39-35 (N-PNF, III, 
[42] 1 Cor. 7:28.
[43] 1 Cor. 7:1.
[44] 1 Cor. 7:32, 33.
[45] Cf. Matt. 19:12.
[46] Twenty miles from Tagaste, famed as the birthplace of 
Apuleius, the only notable classical author produced by the 
province of Africa.
[47] Another echo of the De profundis (Ps. 130:1) -- and the most 
explicit statement we have from Augustine of his motive and aim in 
writing these "confessions."
[48] Cf. 1 Cor. 3:9.
[49] Ps. 116:16.
[50] Cf. Jer. 51:6; 50:8.
[51] Cf. Ps. 73:7.
[52] Cicero, De Catiline, 16.
[53] Deus summum bonum et bonum verum meum.
[54] Avertitur, the opposite of convertitur: the evil will turns 
the soul _away_ from God; this is sin.  By grace it is turned _to_ 
God; this is _conversion_.
[55] Ps. 116:12.
[56] Ps. 19:12.
[57] Cf. Matt. 25:21.
[58] Cf. Job 2:7, 8.
[59] 2 Cor. 2:16.
[60] Eversores, "overturners," from overtere, to overthrow or 
ruin.  This was the nickname of a gang of young hoodlums in 
Carthage, made up largely, it seems, of students in the schools.
[61] A minor essay now lost.  We know of its existence from other 
writers, but the only fragments that remain are in Augustine's 
works: Contra Academicos, III, 14:31; De beata vita, X; 
Soliloquia, I, 17; De civitate Dei, III, 15; Contra Julianum, IV, 
15:78; De Trinitate, XIII, 4:7, 5:8; XIV, 9:12, 19:26; Epist. 
CXXX, 10.
[62] Note this merely parenthetical reference to his father's 
death and contrast it with the account of his mother's death in 
Bk. IX, Chs. X-XII.
[63] Col. 2:8, 9.
[64] I.e., Marcus Tullius Cicero.
[65] These were the Manicheans, a pseudo-Christian sect founded by 
a Persian religious teacher, Mani (c. A.D. 216-277).  They 
professed a highly eclectic religious system chiefly distinguished 
by its radical dualism and its elaborate cosmogony in which good 
was co-ordinated with light and evil with darkness.  In the sect, 
there was an esoteric minority called perfecti, who were supposed 
to obey the strict rules of an ascetic ethic; the rest were 
auditores, who followed, at a distance, the doctrines of the 
perfecti but not their rules.  The chief attraction of Manicheism 
lay in the fact that it appeared to offer a straightforward, 
apparently profound and rational solution to the problem of evil, 
both in nature and in human experience.  Cf. H.C. Puech, Le 
Manicheisme, son fondateur -- sa doctrine (Paris, 1949); F.C. 
Burkitt, The Religion of the Manichees (Cambridge, 1925); and 
Steven Runciman, The Medieval Manichee (Cambridge, 1947).
[66] James 1:17.
[67] Cf. Plotinus, Enneads, V, 3:14.
[68] Cf. Luke 15:16.
[69] Cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses, VII, 219-224.
[70] For the details of the Manichean cosmogony, see Burkitt, op. 
cit., ch. 4.
[71] Prov. 9:18.
[72] Cf. Prov. 9:17; see also Prov. 9:13 (Vulgate text).
[73] Cf. Enchiridion, IV.
[74] Cf. Matt. 22:37-39.
[75] Cf. 1 John 2:16.  And see also Bk. X, Chs. XXX-XLI, for an 
elaborate analysis of them.
[76] Cf. Ex. 20:3-8; Ps. 144:9.  In Augustine's Sermon IX, he 
points out that in the Decalogue _three_ commandments pertain to 
God and _seven_ to men.
[77] Acts 9:5.
[78] An example of this which Augustine doubtless had in mind is 
God's command to Abraham to offer up his son Isaac as a human 
sacrifice.  Cf. Gen. 22:1, 2.
[79] Electi sancti.  Another Manichean term for the perfecti, the 
elite and "perfect" among them.
[80] Ps. 144:7.
[81] Dedocere me mala ac docere bona; a typical Augustinian 
[82] Ps. 50:14.
[83] Cf. John 6:27.
[84] Ps. 74:21.
[85] Cf. Ps. 4:2.
[86] The rites of the soothsayers, in which animals were killed, 
for auguries and propitiation of the gods.
[87] Cf. Hos. 12:1.
[88] Ps. 41:4.
[89] John 5:14.
[90] Ps. 51:17.
[91] Vindicianus; see below, Bk. VII, Ch. VI, 8.
[92] James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5.
[93] Rom. 5:5.
[94] Cf. Ps. 106:2.
[95] Cf. Ps. 42:5; 43:5.
[96] Ibid.
[97] Cf. Ovid, Tristia, IV, 4:74.
[98] Cf. Horace, Ode I, 3:8, where he speaks of Virgil, et serves 
animae dimidium meae.  Augustine's memory changes the text here to 
dimidium animae suae.
[99] 2 Tim. 4:3.
[100] Ps. 119:142.
[101] Ps. 80:3.
[102] That is, our physical universe.
[103] Ps. 19:5.
[104] John 1:10.
[105] De pulchro et apto; a lost essay with no other record save 
echoes in the rest of Augustine's aesthetic theories.  Cf. The 
Nature of the Good Against the Manicheans, VIII-XV; City of God, 
XI, 18; De ordine, I, 7:18; II, 19:51; Enchiridion, III, 10; I, 5.
[106] Eph. 4:14.
[107] Ps. 72:18.
[108] Ps. 18:28.
[109] John 1:16.
[110] John 1:9.
[111] Cf. James 1:17.
[112] Cf. James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5.
[113] Ps. 78:39.
[114] Cf. Jer. 25:10; 33:11; John 3:29; Rev. 18:23.
[115] Cf. Ps. 51:8.
[116] The first section of the Organon, which analyzes the problem 
of predication and develops "the ten categories" of essence and 
the nine "accidents." This existed in a Latin translation by 
Victorinus, who also translated the Enneads of Plotinus, to which 
Augustine refers infra, Bk. VIII, Ch. II, 3.
[117] Cf. Gen. 3:18.
[118] Again, the Prodigal Son theme; cf. Luke 15:13.
[119] Cf. Ps. 17:8.
[120] Ps. 35:10.
[121] Cf. Ps. 19:6.
[122] Cf. Rev. 21:4.
[123] Cf. Ps. 138:6.
[124] Ps. 8:7.
[125] Heb. 12:29.
[126] An echo of the opening sentence, Bk. I, Ch. I, 1.
[127] Cf. 1 Cor. 1:30.
[128] Cf. Matt. 22:21.
[129] Cf. Rom. 1:21ff.
[130] Cf. Rom. 1:23.
[131] Cf. Rom. 1:25.
[132] Wis. 11:20.
[133] Cf. Job 28:28.
[134] Eph. 4:13, 14.
[135] Ps. 36:23 (Vulgate).
[136] Ps. 142:5.
[137] Cf. Eph. 2:15.
[138] Bk. I, Ch. XI, 17.
[139] Cf. Ps. 51:17.
[140] A constant theme in The Psalms and elsewhere; cf. Ps. 136.
[141] Cf. Ps. 41:4.
[142] Cf. Ps 141:3f.
[143] Followers of the skeptical tradition established in the 
Platonic Academy by Arcesilaus and Carneades in the third century 
B.C.  They taught the necessity of suspended judgment in all 
questions of truth, and would allow nothing more than the consent 
of probability.  This tradition was known in Augustine's time 
chiefly through the writings of Cicero; cf. his Academica.  This 
kind of skepticism shook Augustine's complacency severely, and he 
wrote one of his first dialogues, Contra Academicos, in an effort 
to clear up the problem posed thereby.
[144] The Manicheans were under an official ban in Rome.
[145] Ps. 139:22.
[146] A mixed figure here, put together from Ps. 4:7; 45:7; 
104:15; the phrase sobriam vini ebrietatem is almost certainly an 
echo of a stanza of one of Ambrose's own hymns, Splendor paternae 
gloriae, which Augustine had doubtless learned in Milan: "Bibamus 
sobriam ebrietatem spiritus." Cf. W.I. Merrill, Latin Hymns 
(Boston, 1904), pp. 4, 5.
[147] Ps. 119:155.
[148] Cf. 2 Cor. 3:6.  The discovery of the allegorical method of 
interpretation opened new horizons for Augustine in Biblical 
interpretation and he adopted it as a settled principle in his 
sermons and commentaries; cf. M. Pontet, L'Exegese de Saint 
Augustin predicateur (Lyons, 1946).
[149] Cf. Ps. 71:5.
[150] Cf. Ps. 10:1.
[151] Cf. Luke 7:11-17.
[152] Cf. John 4:14.
[153] Rom. 12:11.
[154] 2 Tim. 2:15.
[155] Cf. Gen. 1:26f.
[156] The Church.
[157] 2 Cor. 3:6.
[158] Another reference to the Academic doctrine of suspendium; 
cf. Bk. V, Ch. X, 19, and also Enchiridion, VII, 20.
[159] Nisi crederentur, omnino in hac vita nihil ageremus, which 
should be set alongside the more famous nisi crederitis, non 
intelligetis (Enchiridion, XIII, 14).  This is the basic 
assumption of Augustine's whole epistemology.  See Robert E. 
Cushman, "Faith and Reason in the Thought of St. Augustine," in 
Church History (XIX, 4, 1950), pp. 271-294.
[160] Cf. Heb. 11:6.
[161] Cf. Plato, Politicus, 273 D.
[162] Alypius was more than Augustine's close friend; he became 
bishop of Tagaste and was prominent in local Church affairs in the 
province of Africa.
[163] Prov. 9:8.
[164] Luke 16:10.
[165] Luke 16:11, 12.
[166] Cf. Ps. 145:15.
[167] Here begins a long soliloquy which sums up his turmoil over 
the past decade and his present plight of confusion and 
[168] Cf. Wis. 8:21 (LXX).
[169] Isa. 28:15.
[170] Ecclus. 3:26.
[171] The normal minimum legal age for marriage was twelve!  Cf. 
Justinian, Institutiones, I, 10:22.
[172] Cf. Ps. 33:11.
[173] Cf. Ps. 145:15, 16.
[174] A variation on "restless is our heart until it comes to find 
rest in Thee," Bk. I, Ch. I, 1.
[175] Isa. 46:4.
[176] Thirty years old; although the term "youth" (juventus) 
normally included the years twenty to forty.
[177] Phantasmata, mental constructs, which may be internally 
coherent but correspond to no reality outside the mind.
[178] Echoes here of Plato's Timaeus and Plotinus' Enneads, 
although with no effort to recall the sources or elaborate the 
ontological theory.
[179] Cf. the famous "definition" of God in Anselm's ontological 
argument: "that being than whom no greater can be conceived." Cf. 
Proslogium, II-V.
[180] This simile is Augustine's apparently original improvement 
on Plotinus' similar figure of the net in the sea; Enneads, IV, 
[181] Gen. 25:21 to 33:20.
[182] Cf. Job 15:26 (Old Latin version).
[183] Cf. Ps. 103:9-14.
[184] James 4:6.
[185] Cf. John 1:14.
[186] It is not altogether clear as to which "books" and which 
"Platonists" are here referred to.  The succeeding analysis of 
"Platonism" does not resemble any single known text closely enough 
to allow for identification.  The most reasonable conjecture, as 
most authorities agree, is that the "books" here mentioned were 
the Enneads  of Plotinus, which Marius Victorinus (q.v. infra, Bk. 
VIII, Ch. II, 3-5) had translated into Latin several years before; 
cf. M.P. Garvey, St. Augustine: Christian or Neo-Platonist 
(Milwaukee, 1939).  There is also a fair probability that 
Augustine had acquired some knowledge of the Didaskalikos of 
Albinus; cf. R.E. Witt, Albinus and the History of Middle 
Platonism (Cambridge, 1937).
[187] Cf. this mixed quotation of John 1:1-10 with the Fifth 
Ennead and note Augustine's identification of Logos, in the Fourth 
Gospel, with Nous in Plotinus.
[188] John 1:11, 12
[189] John 1:13.
[190] John 1:14.
[191] Phil. 2:6.
[192] Phil. 2:7-11.
[193] Rom. 5:6; 8:32.
[194] Luke 10:21.
[195] Cf. Matt. 11:28, 29.
[196] Cf. Ps. 25:9, 18.
[197] Matt. 11:29.
[198] Rom. 1:21, 22.
[199] Rom. 1:23.
[200] An echo of Porphyry's De abstinentia ab esu animalium.
[201] The allegorical interpretation of the Israelites' despoiling 
the Egyptians (Ex. 12:35, 36) made it refer to the liberty of 
Christian thinkers in appropriating whatever was good and true 
from the pagan philosophers of the Greco-Roman world.  This was a 
favorite theme of Clement of Alexandria and Origen and was quite 
explicitly developed in Origen's Epistle to Gregory Thaumaturgus  
(ANF, IX, pp. 295, 296); cf. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, II, 
[202] Cf. Acts 17:28.
[203] Cf. Rom. 1:25.
[204] Cf. Ps. 39:11.
[205] Some MSS. add "immo vero" ("yea, verily"), but not the best 
ones; cf. De Labriolle, op. cit., I, p. 162.
[206] Rom. 1:20.
[207] A locus classicus of the doctrine of the privative character 
of evil and the positive character of the good.  This is a 
fundamental premise in Augustine's metaphysics: it reappears in 
Bks. XII-XIII, in the Enchiridion, and elsewhere (see note, infra, 
p. 343).  This doctrine of the goodness of all creation is taken 
up into the scholastic metaphysics; cf. Confessions, Bks. XII-
XIII, and Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentes, II: 45.
[208] Ps. 148:7-12.
[209] Ps. 148:1-5.
[210] "The evil which overtakes us has its source in self-will, in 
the entry into the sphere of process and in the primal assertion 
of the desire for self-ownership" (Plotinus, Enneads, V, 1:1).
[211] "We have gone weighed down from beneath; the vision is 
frustrated" (Enneads, VI, 9:4).
[212] Rom. 1:20.
[213] The Plotinian Nous.
[214] This is an astonishingly candid and plain account of a 
Plotinian ecstasy, the pilgrimage of the soul from its absorption 
in things to its rapturous but momentary vision of the One; cf. 
especially the Sixth Ennead, 9:3-11, for very close parallels in 
thought and echoes of language.  This is one of two ecstatic 
visions reported in the Confessions ; the other is, of course, the 
last great moment with his mother at Ostia (Bk. IX, Ch. X, 23-25).  
One comes before the "conversion" in the Milanese garden (Bk. 
VIII, Ch. XII, 28-29); the other, after.  They ought to be 
compared with particular interest in their _similarities_ as well 
as their significant differences.  Cf. also K.E. Kirk, The Vision 
of God (London, 1932), pp. 319-346.
[215] 1 Tim. 2:5.
[216] Rom. 9:5.
[217] John 14:6.
[218] An interesting reminder that the Apollinarian heresy was 
condemned but not extinct.
[219] It is worth remembering that both Augustine and Alypius were 
catechumens and had presumably been receiving doctrinal 
instruction in preparation for their eventual baptism and full 
membership in the Catholic Church. That their ideas on the 
incarnation, at this stage, were in such confusion raises an 
interesting problem.
[220] Cf. Augustine's The Christian Combat as an example of "the 
refutation of heretics."
[221] Cf. 1 Cor. 11:19.
[222] Non peritus, sed periturus essem.
[223] Cf. 1 Cor. 3:11f.
[224] Rom. 7:22, 23.
[225] Rom. 7:24, 25.
[226] Cf. Prov. 8:22 and Col. 1:15.  Augustine is here identifying 
the figure of Wisdom in Proverbs with the figure of the Logos in 
the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel.  In the Arian controversy both 
these references to God's Wisdom and Word as "created" caused 
great difficulty for the orthodox, for the Arians triumphantly 
appealed to them as proof that Jesus Christ was a "creature" of 
God.  But Augustine was a Chalcedonian before Chalcedon, and there 
is no doubt that he is here quoting familiar Scripture and filling 
it with the interpretation achieved by the long struggle of the 
Church to affirm the coeternity and consubstantiality of Jesus 
Christ and God the Father.
[227] Cf. Ps. 62:1, 2, 5, 6.
[228] Cf. Ps. 91:13.
[229] A figure that compares the dangers of the solitary traveler 
in a bandit-infested land and the safety of an imperial convoy on 
a main highway to the capital city.
[230] Cf. 1 Cor. 15:9.
[231] Ps. 35:10.
[232] Cf. Ps. 116:16, 17.
[233] Cf. Ps. 8:1.
[234] 1 Cor. 13:12.
[235] Matt. 19:12.
[236] Rom. 1:21.
[237] Job 28:28.
[238] Prov. 3:7.
[239] Rom. 1:22.
[240] Col. 2:8.
[241] Virgil, Aeneid, VIII, 698.
[242] Ps. 144:5.
[243] Luke 15:4.
[244] Cf. Luke, ch. 15.
[245] 1 Cor. 1:27.
[246] A garbled reference to the story of the conversion of 
Sergius Paulus, proconsul of Cyprus, in Acts 13:4-12.
[247] 2 Tim. 2:21.
[248] Gal. 5:17.
[249] The text here is a typical example of Augustine's love of 
wordplay and assonance, as a conscious literary device: tuae 
caritati me dedere quam meae cupiditati cedere; sed illud  
placebat et vincebat, hoc libebat et vinciebat.
[250] Eph. 5:14.
[251] Rom. 7:22-25.
[252] The last obstacles that remained.  His intellectual 
difficulties had been cleared away and the intention to become a 
Christian had become strong.  But incontinence and immersion in 
his career were too firmly fixed in habit to be overcome by an act 
of conscious resolution.
[253] Treves, an important imperial town on the Moselle; the 
emperor referred to here was probably Gratian.  Cf. E.A. Freeman, 
"Augusta Trevororum," in the British Quarterly Review (1875), 62, 
pp. 1-45.
[254] Agentes in rebus, government agents whose duties ranged from 
postal inspection and tax collection to espionage and secret 
police work.  They were ubiquitous and generally dreaded by the 
populace; cf. J.S. Reid, "Reorganization of the Empire," in 
Cambridge Medieval History, Vol. I, pp. 36-38.
[255] The inner circle of imperial advisers; usually rather 
informally appointed and usually with precarious tenure.
[256] Cf. Luke 14:28-33.
[257] Eph. 5:8.
[258] Cf. Ps. 34:5.
[259] Cf. Ps. 6:3; 79:8.
[260] This is the famous Tolle, lege; tolle, lege. 
[261] Doubtless from Ponticianus, in their earlier conversation.
[262] Matt. 19:21.
[263] Rom. 13:13.
[264] Note the parallels here to the conversion of Anthony and the 
agentes in rebus. 
[265] Rom. 14:1.
[266] Eph. 3:20.
[267] Ps. 116:16, 17.
[268] An imperial holiday season, from late August to the middle 
of October.
[269] Cf. Ps. 46:10.
[270] His subsequent baptism; see below, Ch. VI.
[271] Luke 14:14.
[272] Ps. 125:3.
[273] The heresy of Docetism, one of the earliest and most 
persistent of all Christological errors.
[274] Cf. Ps. 27:8.
[275] The group included Monica, Adeodatus (Augustine's fifteen-
year-old son), Navigius (Augustine's brother), Rusticus and 
Fastidianus (relatives), Alypius, Trygetius, and Licentius (former 
[276] A somewhat oblique acknowledgment of the fact that none of 
the Cassiciacum dialogues has any distinctive or substantial 
Christian content  This has often been pointed to as evidence that 
Augustine's conversion thus far had brought him no farther than to 
a kind of Christian Platonism; cf. P. Alfaric, L'Evolution 
intellectuelle de Saint Augustin (Paris, 1918).
[277] The dialogues written during this stay at Cassiciacum: 
Contra Academicos, De beata vita, De ordine, Soliloquia.  See, in 
this series, Vol. VI, pp. 17-63, for an English translation of the 
[278] Cf. Epistles II and III.
[279] A symbolic reference to the "cedars of Lebanon"; cf. Isa. 
2:12-14; Ps. 29:5.
[280] There is perhaps a remote connection here with Luke 10:18-
[281] Ever since the time of Ignatius of Antioch who referred to 
the Eucharist as "the medicine of immortality," this had been a 
popular metaphor to refer to the sacraments; cf. Ignatius, 
Ephesians 20:2.
[282] Here follows (8-11) a brief devotional commentary on Ps. 4.
[283] John 7:39.
[284] Idipsum -- the oneness and immutability of God.
[285] Cf. v. 9.
[286] 1 Cor. 15:54.
[287] Concerning the Teacher; cf. Vol. VI of this series, pp. 64-
[288] This was apparently the first introduction into the West of 
antiphonal chanting, which was already widespread in the East.  
Ambrose brought it in; Gregory brought it to perfection.
[289] Cf. S. of Sol. 1:3, 4.
[290] Cf. Isa. 40:6; 1 Peter 1:24: "All flesh is grass." See Bk. 
XI, Ch. II, 3.
[291] Ecclus. 19:1.
[292] 1 Tim. 5:9.
[293] Phil. 3:13.
[294] Cf. 1 Cor. 2:9.
[295] Ps. 36:9.
[296] Idipsum.
[297] Cf. this report of a "Christian ecstasy" with the Plotinian 
ecstasy recounted in Bk. VII, Ch. XVII, 23, above.
[298] Cf. Wis. 7:21-30; see especially v. 27: "And being but one, 
she [Wisdom] can do all things: and remaining in herself the same, 
she makes all things new."
[299] Matt. 25:21.
[300] 1 Cor. 15:51.
[301] Navigius, who had joined them in Milan, but about whom 
Augustine is curiously silent save for the brief and unrevealing 
references in De beata vita-, I, 6, to II, 7, and De ordine, I, 2-
[302] A.D. 387.
[303] Nec omnino moriebatur.  Is this an echo of Horace's famous 
memorial ode, Exegi monumentum aere perennius . . . non omnis 
moriar?  Cf. Odes, Book III, Ode XXX.
[304] 1 Tim. 1:5.
[305] Cf. this passage, as Augustine doubtless intended, with the 
story of his morbid and immoderate grief at the death of his 
boyhood friend, above, Bk. IV, Chs. IV, 9, to VII, 12.
[306] Ps. 101:1.
[307] Ps. 68:5.
[308] Sir Tobie Matthew (adapted).  For Augustine's own analysis 
of the scansion and structure of this hymn, see De musica, VI, 
2:2-3; for a brief commentary on the Latin text, see A.S. Walpole, 
Early Latin Hymns (Cambridge, 1922), pp. 44-49.
[309] 1 Cor. 15:22.
[310] Matt. 5:22.
[311] 2 Cor. 10:17.
[312] Rom. 8:34.
[313] Cf. Matt. 6:12.
[314] Ps. 143:2.
[315] Matt. 5:7.
[316] Cf. Rom. 9:15.
[317] Ps. 119:108.
[318] Cf. 1 Cor. 13:12.
[319] Eph. 5:27.
[320] Ps. 51:6.
[321] John 3:21.
[322] 1 Cor. 2:11.
[323] 1 Cor. 13:7.
[324] Ps. 32:1.
[325] Ps. 144:7, 8.
[326] Cf. Rev. 8:3-5.  "And the smoke of the incense with the 
prayers of the saints went up before God out of the angel's hand" 
(v. 4).
[327] 1 Cor. 2:11.
[328] 1 Cor. 13:12.
[329] Isa. 58:10.
[330] Rom. 1:20.
[331] Cf. Rom. 9:15.
[332] One of the pre-Socratic "physiologer." Cf. Cicero's On the 
Nature of the Gods (a likely source for Augustine's knowledge of 
early Greek philosophy), I, 10: "After Anaximander comes 
Anaximenes, who taught that the air is God. . . ."
[333] An important text for Augustine's conception of sensation 
and the relation of body and mind.  Cf. On Music, VI, 5:10; The 
Magnitude of the Soul, 25:48; On the Trinity, XII, 2:2; see also 
F. Coplestone, A History of Philosophy (London, 1950), II, 51-60, 
and E. Gilson, Introduction a l'etude de Saint Augustin, pp. 74-
[334] Rom. 1:20.
[335] Reading videnti (with De Labriolle) instead of vident (as in 
[336] Ps. 32:9.
[337] The notion of the soul's immediate self-knowledge is a basic 
conception in Augustine's psychology and epistemology; cf. the 
refutation of skepticism, Si fallor, sum in On Free Will, II, 3:7; 
see also the City of God, XI, 26.
[338] Again, the mind-body dualism typical of the Augustinian 
tradition.  Cf. E. Gilson, The Spirit of Medieval Philosophy  
(Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1940), pp. 173-188; and E. 
Gilson, The Philosophy of Saint Bonaventure (Sheed & Ward, New 
York, 1938), ch. XI.
[339] Luke 15:8.
[340] Cf. Isa. 55:3.
[341] Cf. the early dialogue "On the Happy Life" in Vol. I of The 
Fathers of the Church (New York, 1948).
[342] Gal. 5:17.
[343] Ps. 42:11.
[344] Cf. Enchiridion, VI, 19ff.
[345] When he is known at all, God is known as the Self-evident.  
This is, of course, not a doctrine of innate ideas but rather of 
the necessity, and reality, of divine illumination as the dynamic 
source of all our knowledge of divine reality.  Cf. Coplestone, 
op. cit., ch. IV, and Cushman, op. cit.
[346] Cf. Wis. 8:21.
[347] Cf. Enneads, VI, 9:4.
[348] 1 John 2:16.
[349] Eph. 3:20.
[350] 1 Cor. 15:54.
[351] Cf. Matt. 6:34.
[352] 1 Cor. 9:27.
[353] Cf. Luke 21:34.
[354] Cf. Wis. 8:21.
[355] Ecclus. 18:30.
[356] 1 Cor. 8:8.
[357] Phil. 4:11-13.
[358] Ps. 103:14.
[359] Cf. Gen. 3:19.
[360] Luke 15:24.
[361] Ecclus. 23:6.
[362] Titus 1:15.
[363] Rom. 14:20.
[364] 1 Tim. 4:4.
[365] 1 Cor. 8:8.
[366] Cf. Col. 2:16.
[367] Rom. 14:3.
[368] Luke 5:8.
[369] John 16:33.
[370] Cf. Ps. 139:16.
[371] Cf. the evidence for Augustine's interest and proficiency in 
music in his essay De musica, written a decade earlier.
[372] Cf. 2 Cor. 5:2.
[373] Cf. Tobit, chs. 2 to 4.
[374] Gen. 27:1; cf. Augustine's Sermon IV, 20:21f.
[375] Cf. Gen., ch. 48.
[376] Again, Ambrose, Deus, creator omnium, an obvious favorite of 
Augustine's.  See above, Bk. IX, Ch. XII, 32.
[377] Ps. 25:15.
[378] Ps. 121:4.
[379] Ps. 26:3.
[380] 1 John 2:16.
[381] Cf. Ps. 103:3-5.
[382] Cf. Matt. 11:30.
[383] 1 Peter 5:5.
[384] Cf. Ps. 18:7, 13.
[385] Cf. Isa. 14:12-14.
[386] Cf. Prov. 27:21.
[387] Cf. Ps. 19:12.
[388] Cf. Ps. 141:5.
[389] Ps. 109:22.
[390] Ps. 31:22.
[391] Cf. the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, Luke 18:9-
[392] Cf. Eph. 2:2.
[393] 2 Cor. 11:14.
[394] Rom. 6:23.
[395] 1 Tim. 2:5.
[396] Cf. Rom. 8:32.
[397] Phil. 2:6-8.
[398] Cf. Ps. 88:5; see Ps. 87:6 (Vulgate).
[399] Ps. 103:3.
[400] Cf. Rom. 8:34.
[401] John 1:14.
[402] 2 Cor. 5:15.
[403] Ps. 119:18.
[404] Col. 2:3.
[405] Cf. Ps. 21:27 (Vulgate).
[406] In the very first sentence of Confessions, Bk. I, Ch. I.  
Here we have a basic and recurrent motif of the Confessions from 
beginning to end: the celebration and praise of the greatness and 
goodness of God -- Creator and Redeemer.  The repetition of it 
here connects this concluding section of the Confessions, Bks. XI-
XIII, with the preceding part.
[407] Matt. 6:8.
[408] The "virtues" of the Beatitudes, the reward for which is 
blessedness; cf. Matt. 5:1-11.
[409] Ps. 118:1; cf. Ps. 136.
[410] An interesting symbol of time's ceaseless passage; the 
reference is to a water clock (clepsydra).
[411] Cf. Ps. 130:1, De profundis.
[412] Ps. 74:16.
[413] This metaphor is probably from Ps. 29:9.
[414] A repetition of the metaphor above, Bk. IX, Ch. VII, 16.
[415] Ps. 26:7.
[416] Ps. 119:18.
[417] Cf. Matt. 6:33.
[418] Col. 2:3.
[419] Augustine was profoundly stirred, in mind and heart, by the 
great mystery of creation and the Scriptural testimony about it.  
In addition to this long and involved analysis of time and 
creation which follows here, he returned to the story in Genesis 
repeatedly: e.g., De Genesi contra Manicheos; De Genesi ad 
litteram, liber imperfectus (both written _before_ the Confessions 
); De Genesi ad litteram, libri  XII and De civitate Dei, XI-XII 
(both written _after_ the Confessions ).
[420] The final test of truth, for Augustine, is self-evidence and 
the final source of truth is the indwelling Logos.
[421] Cf. the notion of creation in Plato's Timaeus (29D-30C; 48E-
50C), in which the Demiurgos (craftsman) fashions the universe 
from pre-existent matter and imposes as much form as the 
Receptacle will receive.  The notion of the world fashioned from 
pre-existent matter of some sort was a universal idea in Greco-
Roman cosmology.
[422] Cf. Ps. 33:9.
[423] Matt. 3:17.
[424] Cf. the Vulgate of John 8:25.
[425] Cf. Augustine's emphasis on Christ as true Teacher in De 
[426] Cf. John 3:29.
[427] Cf. Ps. 103:4, 5 (mixed text).
[428] Ps. 104:24.
[429] Pleni vetustatis suae.  In Sermon CCLXVII, 2 (PL 38, c. 
1230), Augustine has a similar usage.  Speaking of those who pour 
new wine into old containers, he says: Carnalitas vetustas est, 
gratia novitas est, "Carnality is the old nature; grace is the 
new"; cf. Matt. 9:17.
[430] The notion of the eternity of this world was widely held in 
Greek philosophy, in different versions, and was incorporated into 
the Manichean rejection of the Christian doctrine of creatio ex 
nihilo which Augustine is citing here.  He returns to the 
question, and his answer to it, again in De civitate Dei, XI, 4-8.
[431] The unstable "heart" of those who confuse time and eternity.
[432] Cf. Ps. 102:27.
[433] Ps. 2:7.
[434] Spatium, which means extension either in space or time.
[435] The breaking light and the image of the rising sun.  
[436] Cf. Ps. 139:6.
[437] Memoria, contuitus, and expectatio: a pattern that 
corresponds vaguely to the movement of Augustine's thought in the 
Confessions: from direct experience back to the supporting 
memories and forward to the outreach of hope and confidence in 
God's provident grace.
[438] Cf. Ps. 116:10.
[439] Cf. Matt. 25:21, 23.
[440] Communes notitias, the universal principles of "common 
sense." This idea became a basic category in scholastic 
[441] Gen. 1:14.
[442] Cf. Josh. 10:12-14.
[443] Cf. Ps. 18:28.
[444] Cubitum, literally the distance between the elbow and the 
tip of the middle finger; in the imperial system of weights and 
measures it was 17.5 inches.
[445] Distentionem, "spread-out-ness"; cf. Descartes' notion of 
res extensae, and its relation to time.
[446] Ps. 100:3.
[447] Here Augustine begins to summarize his own answers to the 
questions he has raised in his analysis of time.
[448] The same hymn of Ambrose quoted above, Bk. IX, Ch. XII, 39, 
and analyzed again in De musica, VI, 2:2.
[449] This theory of time is worth comparing with its most notable 
restatement in modern poetry, in T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets and 
especially "Burnt Norton."
[450] Ps. 63:3.
[451] Cf. Phil. 3:12-14.
[452] Cf. Ps. 31:10.
[453] Note here the preparation for the transition from this 
analysis of time in Bk. XI to the exploration of the mystery of 
creation in Bks. XII and XIII.
[454] Celsitudo, an honorific title, somewhat like "Your 
[455] Rom. 8:31.
[456] Matt. 7:7, 8.
[457] Vulgate, Ps. 113:16 (cf. Ps. 115:16, K.J.; see also Ps. 
148:4, both Vulgate and K.J.): Caelum caeli domino, etc.  
Augustine finds a distinction here for which the Hebrew text gives 
no warrant.  The Hebrew is a typical nominal sentence and means 
simply "The heavens are the heavens of Yahweh"; cf. the Soncino 
edition of The Psalms, edited by A. Cohen; cf. also R.S.V., Ps. 
115:16.  The LXX reading seems to rest on a variant Hebrew text.  
This idiomatic construction does not mean "the heavens of the 
heavens" (as it is too literally translated in the LXX), but 
rather "highest heaven." This is a familiar way, in Hebrew, of 
emphasizing a superlative (e.g., "King of kings," "Song of 
songs").  The singular thing can be described superlatively only 
in terms of itself! 
[458] Earth and sky.
[459] It is interesting that Augustine should have preferred the 
invisibilis et incomposita of the Old Latin version of Gen. 1:2 
over the inanis et vacua of the Vulgate, which was surely 
accessible to him.  Since this is to be a key phrase in the 
succeeding exegesis this reading can hardly have been the casual 
citation of the old and familiar version.  Is it possible that 
Augustine may have had the sensibilities and associations of his 
readers in mind -- for many of them may have not known Jerome's 
version or, at least, not very well?
[460] Abyssus, literally, the unplumbed depths of the sea, and as 
a constant meaning here, "the depths beyond measure."
[461] Gen. 1:2.
[462] Augustine may not have known the Platonic doctrine of 
nonbeing (cf. Sophist, 236C-237B), but he clearly is deeply 
influenced here by Plotinus; cf. Enneads, II, 4:8f., where matter 
is analyzed as a substratum without quantity or quality; and 4:15: 
"Matter, then, must be described as toapeiron (the indefinite). . 
. .  Matter is indeterminateness and nothing else." In short, 
materia informis is sheer possibility; not anything and not 
[463] Dictare: was Augustine dictating his Confessions? It is very 
[464] Visibiles et compositas, the opposite of "invisible and 
[465] Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8.
[466] De nihilo.
[467] Trina unitas.
[468] Cf. Gen. 1:6.
[469] Constat et non constat, the created earth really exists but 
never is self-sufficient.
[470] Moses.
[471] Ps. 42:3, 10.
[472] Cor. 13:12.
[473] Cf. Ecclus. 1:4.
[474] 2 Cor. 5:21.
[475] Cf. Gal. 4:26.
[476] 2 Cor. 5:1.
[477] Cf. Ps. 26:8.
[478] Ps. 119:176.
[479] To "the house of God."
[480] Cf. Ps. 28:1.
[481] Cubile, i.e., the heart.
[482] Cf. Rom. 8:26.
[483] The heavenly Jerusalem of Gal. 4:26, which had become a 
favorite Christian symbol of the peace and blessedness of heaven; 
cf. the various versions of the hymn "Jerusalem, My Happy Home" in 
Julian's Dictionary of Hymnology, pp. 580-583.  The original text 
is found in the Liber meditationum, erroneously ascribed to 
Augustine himself.
[484] Cf. 2 Tim. 2:14.
[485] 1 Tim. 1:5.
[486] This is the basis of Augustine's defense of allegory as both 
legitimate and profitable in the interpretation of Scripture.  He 
did not mean that there is a plurality of literal truths in 
Scripture but a multiplicity of perspectives on truth which 
amounted to different levels and interpretations of truth.  This 
gave Augustine the basis for a positive tolerance of varying 
interpretations which did hold fast to the essential common 
premises about God's primacy as Creator; cf. M. Pontet, L'Exegese 
de Saint Augustin predicateur (Lyons, 1944), chs. II and III.
[487] In this chapter, Augustine summarizes what he takes to be 
the Christian consensus on the questions he has explored about the 
relation of the intellectual and corporeal creations.
[488] Cf. 1 Cor. 8:6.
[489] Mole mundi.
[490] Cf. Col. 1:16.
[491] Gen. 1:9.
[492] Note how this reiterates a constant theme in the Confessions 
as a whole; a further indication that Bk. XII is an integral part 
of the single whole.
[493] Cf. De libero arbitrio, II, 8:20, 10:28.
[494] Cf. John 8:44.
[495] The essential thesis of the De Magistro; it has important 
implications both for Augustine's epistemology and for his theory 
of Christian nurture; cf. the De catechizandis rudibus.
[496] 1 Cor. 4:6.
[497] Cf. Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18; see also Matt. 22:37, 39.
[498] Cf. Rom. 9:21.
[499] Cf. Ps. 8:4.
[500] "In the beginning God created," etc.
[501] An echo of Job 39:13-16.
[502] The thicket denizens mentioned above.
[503] Cf. Ps. 143:10.
[504] Something of an understatement!  It is interesting to note 
that Augustine devotes more time and space to these opening verses 
of Genesis than to any other passage in the entire Bible -- and he 
never commented on the _full_ text of Genesis.  Cf. Karl Barth's 
274 pages devoted to Gen., chs. 1;2, in the Kirchliche Dogmatik, 
III, I, pp. 103-377.
[505] Transition, in preparation for the concluding book (XIII), 
which undertakes a constructive resolution to the problem of the 
analysis of the mode of creation made here in Bk. XII.
[506] This is a compound -- and untranslatable -- Latin pun: neque 
ut sic te colam quasi terram, ut sis uncultus si non te colam.
[507] Cf. Enneads, I, 2:4: "What the soul now sees, it certainly 
always possessed, but as lying in the darkness. . . .  To dispel 
the darkness and thus come to knowledge of its inner content, it 
must thrust toward the light." Compare the notions of the 
initiative of such movements in the soul in Plotinus and 
[508] Cf. 2 Cor. 5:21.
[509] Cf. Ps. 36:6 and see also Augustine's Exposition on the 
Psalms, XXXVI, 8, where he says that "the great preachers 
[receivers of God's illumination] are the mountains of God," for 
they first catch the light on their summits.  The abyss he called 
"the depth of sin" into which the evil and unfaithful fall.
[510] Cf. Timaeus, 29D-30A, "He [the Demiurge-Creator] was good: 
and in the good no jealousy . . . can ever arise.  So, being 
without jealousy, he desired that all things should come as near 
as possible to being like himself. . . .  He took over all that is 
visible . . . and brought it from order to order, since he judged 
that order was in every way better" (F. M. Cornford, Plato's 
Cosmology, New York, 1937, p. 33).  Cf. Enneads, V, 4:1, and 
Athanasius, On the Incarnation, III, 3.
[511] Cf. Gen. 1:2.
[512] Cf. Ps. 36:9.
[513] In this passage in Genesis on the creation.
[514] Cf. Gen. 1:6.
[515] Rom. 5:5.
[516] 1 Cor. 12:1.
[517] Cf. Eph. 3:14, 19.
[518] Cf. the Old Latin version of Ps. 123:5.
[519] Cf. Eph. 5:8.
[520] Cf. Ps. 31:20.
[521] Cf. Ps. 9:13.
[522] The Holy Spirit.
[523] Canticum graduum.  Psalms 119 to 133 as numbered in the 
Vulgate were regarded as a single series of ascending steps by 
which the soul moves up toward heaven; cf. The Exposition on the 
Psalms, loc. cit.
[524] Tongues of fire, symbol of the descent of the Holy Spirit; 
cf. Acts 2:3, 4.
[525] Cf. Ps. 122:6.
[526] Ps. 122:1.
[527] Cf. Ps. 23:6.
[528] Gen. 1:3.
[529] John 1:9.
[530] Cf. the detailed analogy from self to Trinity in De 
Trinitate, IX-XII.
[531] I.e., the Church.
[532] Cf. Ps. 39:11.
[533] Ps. 36:6.
[534] Gen. 1:3 and Matt. 4:17; 3:2.
[535] Cf. Ps. 42:5, 6.
[536] Cf. Eph. 5:8.
[537] Ps. 42:7.
[538] Cf. 1 Cor. 3:1.
[539] Cf. Phil. 3:13.
[540] Cf. Ps. 42:1.
[541] Ps. 42:2.
[542] Cf. 2 Cor. 5:1-4.
[543] Rom. 12:2.
[544] 1 Cor. 14:20.
[545] Gal. 3:1.
[546] Eph. 4:8, 9.
[547] Cf. Ps. 46:4.
[548] Cf. John 3:29.
[549] Cf. Rom. 8:23.
[550] I.e., the Body of Christ.
[551] 1 John 3:2.
[552] Ps. 42:3.
[553] Cf. Ps. 42:4.
[554] Ps. 43:5.
[555] Cf. Ps. 119:105.
[556] Cf. Rom. 8:10.
[557] Cf. S. of Sol. 2:17.
[558] Cf. Ps. 5:3.
[559] Ps. 43:5.
[560] Cf. Rom. 8:11.
[561] 1 Thess. 5:5.
[562] Cf. Gen. 1:5.
[563] Cf. Rom. 9:21.
[564] Isa. 34:4.
[565] Cf. Gen. 3:21.
[566] Ps. 8:3.
[567] "The heavens," i.e. the Scriptures.
[568] Cf. Ps. 8:2.
[569] Legunt, eligunt, diligunt.
[570] Ps. 36:5.
[571] Cf. Matt. 24:35.
[572] Cf. Isa. 40:6-8.
[573] Cf. 1 John 3:2.
[574] Retia, literally "a net"; such as those used by retiarii, 
the gladiators who used nets to entangle their opponents.
[575] Cf. S. of Sol. 1:3, 4.
[576] 1 John 3:2.
[577] Cf. Ps. 63:1.
[578] Ps. 36:9.
[579] Amaricantes, a figure which Augustine develops both in the 
Exposition of the Psalms and The City of God.  Commenting on Ps. 
65, Augustine says: "For the sea, by a figure, is used to indicate 
this world, with its bitter saltiness and troubled storms, where 
men with perverse and depraved appetites have become like fishes 
devouring one another." In The City of God, he speaks of the 
bitterness of life in the civitas terrena; cf. XIX, 5.
[580] Cf. Ps. 95:5.
[581] Cf. Gen. 1:10f.
[582] In this way, Augustine sees an analogy between the good 
earth bearing its fruits and the ethical "fruit-bearing" of the 
Christian love of neighbor.
[583] Cf. Ps. 85:11.
[584] Cf. Gen. 1:14.
[585] Cf. Isa. 58:7.
[586] Cf. Phil. 2:15.
[587] Cf. Gen. 1:19.
[588] Cf. 2 Cor. 5:17.
[589] Cf. Rom. 13:11, 12.
[590] Ps. 65:11.
[591] For this whole passage, cf. the parallel developed here with 
1 Cor. 12:7-11.
[592] In principio diei, an obvious echo to the Vulgate ut 
praesset diei of Gen. 1:16.  Cf. Gibb and Montgomery, p. 424 (see 
Bibl.), for a comment on in principio diei and in principio 
noctis, below.
[593] Sacramenta; but cf. Augustine's discussion of sacramenta in 
the Old Testament in the Exposition of the Psalms, LXXIV, 2: "The 
sacraments of the Old Testament promised a Saviour; the sacraments 
of the New Testament give salvation."
[594] Cf. 1 Cor. 3:1; 2:6.
[595] Isa. 1:16.
[596] Isa. 1:17.
[597] Isa. 1:18.
[598] Cf. for this syntaxis, Matt. 19:16-22 and Ex. 20:13-16.
[599] Cf. Matt. 6:21.
[600] I.e., the rich young ruler.
[601] Cf. Matt. 13:7.
[602] Cf. Matt. 97 Reading here, with Knoll and the Sessorianus, 
in firmamento mundi.
[603] Cf. Isa. 52:7.
[604] Perfectorum.  Is this a conscious use, in a Christian 
context, of the distinction he had known so well among the 
Manicheans -- between the perfecti and the auditores?
[605] Ps. 19:2.
[606] Cf. Acts 2:2, 3.
[607] Cf. Matt. 5:14, 15.
[608] Cf. Gen. 1:20.
[609] Cf. Jer. 15:19.
[610] Ps. 19:4.
[611] That is, the Church.
[612] An allegorical ideal type of the perfecti in the Church.
[613] 1 Cor. 14:22.
[614] The fish was an early Christian rebus for "Jesus Christ." 
The Greek word for fish, was arranged acrostically to make the 
phrase Jesus Christ, GodÕs Son, Saviour; cf. Smith and Cheetham, 
Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, pp. 673f.; see also Cabrol, 
Dictionnaire d'archeologie chretienne, Vol. 14, cols. 1246-1252, 
for a full account of the symbolism and pictures of early 
[615] Cf. Ps. 69:32.
[616] Cf. Rom. 12:2.
[617] Cf. 1 Tim. 6:20.
[618] Gal. 4:12.
[619] Cf. Ecclus. 3:19.
[620] Rom. 1:20.
[621] Rom. 12:2.
[622] Gen. 1:26.
[623] Rom. 12:2 (mixed text).
[624] Cf. 1 Cor. 2:15.
[625] 1 Cor. 2:14.
[626] Cf. Ps. 49:20.
[627] Cf. James 4:11.
[628] See above, Ch. XXI, 30.
[629] I.e., the Church.
[630] Cf. 1 Cor. 14:16.
[631] Another reminder that, ideally, knowledge is immediate and 
[632] Here, again, as in a coda, Augustine restates his central 
theme and motif in the whole of his "confessions": the primacy of 
God, His constant creativity, his mysterious, unwearied, 
unfrustrated redemptive love.  All are summed up in this mystery 
of creation in which the purposes of God are announced and from 
which all Christian hope takes its premise.
[633] That is, from basic and essentially simple ideas, they 
proliferate multiple -- and valid -- implications and corollaries.
[634] Cf. Rom. 3:4.
[635] Cf. Gen. 1:29, 30.
[636] Cf. 2 Tim. 1:16.
[637] 2 Tim. 4:16.
[638] Cf. Ps. 19:4.
[639] Phil. 4:10 (mixed text).
[640] Phil. 4:11-13.
[641] Phil. 4:14.
[642] Phil. 4:15-17.
[643] Phil. 4:17.,
[644] Cf. Matt. 10:41, 42.
[645] Idiotae: there is some evidence that this term was used to 
designate pagans who had a nominal connection with the Christian 
community but had not formally enrolled as catechumens.  See Th. 
Zahn in Neue kirkliche Zeitschrift (1899), pp. 42-43.
[646] Gen. 1:31.
[647] A reference to the Manichean cosmogony and similar dualistic 
doctrines of "creation."
[648] 1 Cor. 2:11, 12.
[649] Rom. 5:5.
[650] Sed quod est, est.  Note the variant text in Skutella, op. 
cit.: sed est, est.  This is obviously an echo of the Vulgate Ex. 
3:14: ego sum qui sum.
[651] Augustine himself had misgivings about this passage.  In the 
Retractations, he says that this statement was made "without due 
consideration." But he then adds, with great justice: "However, 
the point in question is very obscure" (res autem in abdito est 
valde); cf. Retract., 2:6.
[652] See above, amaricantes, Ch. XVII, 20.
[653] Cf. this requiescamus in te with the requiescat in te in Bk. 
I, Ch. I.
[654] Cf. The City of God, XI, 10, on Augustine's notion that the 
world exists as a thought in the mind of God.
[655] Another conscious connection between Bk. XIII and Bks. I-X.
[656] This final ending is an antiphon to Bk. XII, Ch. I, 1 above. 



                   On Faith, Hope, and Love



                       Saint Augustine




                          CHAPTER I


          The Occasion and Purpose of this "Manual"


     1.  I cannot say, my dearest son Laurence, how much your 
learning pleases me, and how much I desire that you should be wise 
-- though not one of those of whom it is said: "Where is the wise?  
Where is the scribe?  Where is the disputant of this world?  Hath 
not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?"[1]  Rather, you 
should be one of those of whom it is written, "The multitude of 
the wise is the health of the world"[2]; and also you should be 
the kind of man the apostle wishes those men to be to whom he 
said,[3] "I would have you be wise in goodness and simple in 

     2.  Human wisdom consists in piety.  This you have in the 
book of the saintly Job, for there he writes that Wisdom herself 
said to man, "Behold, piety is wisdom."[5]  If, then, you ask what 
kind of piety she was speaking of, you will find it more 
distinctly designated by the Greek term qeosebeia, literally, "the 
service of God." The Greek has still another word for "piety," 
ensebeia, which also signifies "proper service." This too refers 
chiefly to the service of God.  But no term is better than 
qeosebeia, which clearly expresses the idea of the man's service 
of God as the source of human wisdom.

     When you ask me to be brief, you do not expect me to speak of 
great issues in a few sentences, do you?  Is not this rather what 
you desire: a brief summary or a short treatise on the proper mode 
of worshipping [serving] God? 

     3.  If I should answer, "God should be worshipped in faith, 
hope, love," you would doubtless reply that this was shorter than 
you wished, and might then beg for a brief explication of what 
each of these three means: What should be believed, what should be 
hoped for, and what should be loved?  If I should answer these 
questions, you would then have everything you asked for in your 
letter.  If you have kept a copy of it, you can easily refer to 
it.  If not, recall your questions as I discuss them.

     4.  It is your desire, as you wrote, to have from me a book, 
a sort of enchiridion,[6] as it might be called -- something to 
have "at hand" -- that deals with your questions.  What is to be 
sought after above all else?  What, in view of the divers 
heresies, is to be avoided above all else?  How far does reason 
support religion; or what happens to reason when the issues 
involved concern faith alone; what is the beginning and end of our 
endeavor?  What is the most comprehensive of all explanations?  
What is the certain and distinctive foundation of the catholic 
faith?  You would have the answers to all these questions if you 
really understood what a man should believe, what he should hope 
for, and what he ought to love.  For these are the chief things -- 
indeed, the only things -- to seek for in religion.  He who turns 
away from them is either a complete stranger to the name of Christ 
or else he is a heretic.  Things that arise in sensory experience, 
or that are analyzed by the intellect, may be demonstrated by the 
reason.  But in matters that pass beyond the scope of the physical 
senses, which we have not settled by our own understanding, and 
cannot -- here we must believe, without hesitation, the witness of 
those men by whom the Scriptures (rightly called divine) were 
composed, men who were divinely aided in their senses and their 
minds to see and even to foresee the things about which they 

     [5].  But, as this faith, which works by love,[7] begins to 
penetrate the soul, it tends, through the vital power of goodness, 
to change into sight, so that the holy and perfect in heart catch 
glimpses of that ineffable beauty whose full vision is our highest 
happiness.  Here, then, surely, is the answer to your question 
about the beginning and the end of our endeavor.  We begin in 
faith, we are perfected in sight.[8]  This likewise is the most 
comprehensive of all explanations.  As for the certain and 
distinctive foundation of the catholic faith, it is Christ.  "For 
other foundation," said the apostle, "can no man lay save that 
which has been laid, which is Christ Jesus."[9]  Nor should it be 
denied that this is the distinctive basis of the catholic faith, 
just because it appears that it is common to us and to certain 
heretics as well.  For if we think carefully about the meaning of 
Christ, we shall see that among some of the heretics who wish to 
be called Christians, the _name_ of Christ is held in honor, but 
the reality itself is not among them.  To make all this plain 
would take too long -- because we would then have to review all 
the heresies that have been, the ones that now exist, and those 
which could exist under the label "Christian," and we would have 
to show that what we have said of all is true of each of them.  
Such a discussion would take so many volumes as to make it seem 

     6.  You have asked for an enchiridion, something you could 
carry around, not just baggage for your bookshelf.  Therefore we 
may return to these three ways in which, as we said, God should be 
served: faith, hope, love.  It is easy to _say_ what one ought to 
believe, what to hope for, and what to love.  But to defend our 
doctrines against the calumnies of those who think differently is 
a more difficult and detailed task.  If one is to have this 
wisdom, it is not enough just to put an enchiridion in the hand.  
It is also necessary that a great zeal be kindled in the heart.


                          CHAPTER II


      The Creed and the Lord's Prayer as Guides to the 

                    Interpretation of the 

        Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love


     7.  Let us begin, for example, with the Symbol[11] and the 
Lord's Prayer.  What is shorter to hear or to read?  What is more 
easily memorized?  Since through sin the human race stood 
grievously burdened by great misery and in deep need of mercy, a 
prophet, preaching of the time of God's grace, said, "And it shall 
be that all who invoke the Lord's name will be saved."[12]  Thus, 
we have the Lord's Prayer.  Later, the apostle, when he wished to 
commend this same grace, remembered this prophetic testimony and 
promptly added, "But how shall they invoke him in whom they have 
not believed?"[13]  Thus, we have the Symbol.  In these two we 
have the three theological virtues working together: faith 
believes; hope and love pray.  Yet without faith nothing else is 
possible; thus faith prays too.  This, then, is the meaning of the 
saying, "How shall they invoke him in whom they have not 

     8.  Now, is it possible to hope for what we do not believe 
in?  We can, of course, believe in something that we do not hope 
for.  Who among the faithful does not believe in the punishment of 
the impious?  Yet he does not hope for it, and whoever believes 
that such a punishment is threatening him and draws back in horror 
from it is more rightly said to fear than to hope.  A poet, 
distinguishing between these two feelings, said,


       "Let those who dread be allowed to hope,"[14]

but another poet, and a better one, did not put it rightly:


     "Here, if I could have hoped for [i.e., foreseen]

               such a grievous blow..." [15]

Indeed, some grammarians use this as an example of inaccurate 
language and comment, "He said 'to hope' when he should have said 
'to fear.'"

     Therefore faith may refer to evil things as well as to good, 
since we believe in both the good and evil.  Yet faith is good, 
not evil.  Moreover, faith refers to things past and present and 
future.  For we believe that Christ died; this is a past event.  
We believe that he sitteth at the Father's right hand; this is 
present.  We believe that he will come as our judge; this is 
future.  Again, faith has to do with our own affairs and with 
those of others.  For everyone believes, both about himself and 
other persons -- and about things as well -- that at some time he 
began to exist and that he has not existed forever.  Thus, not 
only about men, but even about angels, we believe many things that 
have a bearing on religion.

     But hope deals only with good things, and only with those 
which lie in the future, and which pertain to the man who 
cherishes the hope.  Since this is so, faith must be distinguished 
from hope: they are different terms and likewise different 
concepts.  Yet faith and hope have this in common: they refer to 
what is not seen, whether this unseen is believed in or hoped for.  
Thus in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which is used by the 
enlightened defenders of the catholic rule of faith, faith is said 
to be "the conviction of things not seen."[16]  However, when a 
man maintains that neither words nor witnesses nor even arguments, 
but only the evidence of present experience, determine his faith, 
he still ought not to be called absurd or told, "You have seen; 
therefore you have not believed." For it does not follow that 
unless a thing is not seen it cannot be believed.  Still it is 
better for us to use the term "faith," as we are taught in "the 
sacred eloquence,"[17] to refer to things not seen.  And as for 
hope, the apostle says: "Hope that is seen is not hope.  For if a 
man sees a thing, why does he hope for it?  If, however, we hope 
for what we do not see, we then wait for it in patience."[18]  
When, therefore, our good is believed to be future, this is the 
same thing as hoping for it.

     What, then, shall I say of love, without which faith can do 
nothing?  There can be no true hope without love.  Indeed, as the 
apostle James says, "Even the demons believe and tremble."[19] 

     Yet they neither hope nor love.  Instead, believing as we do 
that what we hope for and love is coming to pass, they tremble.  
Therefore, the apostle Paul approves and commends the faith that 
works by love and that cannot exist without hope.  Thus it is that 
love is not without hope, hope is not without love, and neither 
hope nor love are without faith.


                         CHAPTER III


                   God the Creator of All;

               and the Goodness of All Creation


     9.  Wherefore, when it is asked what we ought to believe in 
matters of religion, the answer is not to be sought in the 
exploration of the nature of things [rerum natura], after the 
manner of those whom the Greeks called "physicists."[20]  Nor 
should we be dismayed if Christians are ignorant about the 
properties and the number of the basic elements of nature, or 
about the motion, order, and deviations of the stars, the map of 
the heavens, the kinds and nature of animals, plants, stones, 
springs, rivers, and mountains; about the divisions of space and 
time, about the signs of impending storms, and the myriad other 
things which these "physicists" have come to understand, or think 
they have.  For even these men, gifted with such superior insight, 
with their ardor in study and their abundant leisure, exploring 
some of these matters by human conjecture and others through 
historical inquiry, have not yet learned everything there is to 
know.  For that matter, many of the things they are so proud to 
have discovered are more often matters of opinion than of verified 

     For the Christian, it is enough to believe that the cause of 
all created things, whether in heaven or on earth, whether visible 
or invisible, is nothing other than the goodness of the Creator, 
who is the one and the true God.[21]  Further, the Christian 
believes that nothing exists save God himself and what comes from 
him; and he believes that God is triune, i.e., the Father, and the 
Son begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeding from 
the same Father, but one and the same Spirit of the Father and the 

     10.  By this Trinity, supremely and equally and immutably 
good, were all things created.  But they were not created 
supremely, equally, nor immutably good.  Still, each single 
created thing is good, and taken as a whole they are very good, 
because together they constitute a universe of admirable beauty.

     11.  In this universe, even what is called evil, when it is 
rightly ordered and kept in its place, commends the good more 
eminently, since good things yield greater pleasure and praise 
when compared to the bad things.  For the Omnipotent God, whom 
even the heathen acknowledge as the Supreme Power over all, would 
not allow any evil in his works, unless in his omnipotence and 
goodness, as the Supreme Good, he is able to bring forth good out 
of evil.  What, after all, is anything we call evil except the 
privation of good?  In animal bodies, for instance, sickness and 
wounds are nothing but the privation of health.  When a cure is 
effected, the evils which were present (i.e., the sickness and the 
wounds) do not retreat and go elsewhere.  Rather, they simply do 
not exist any more.  For such evil is not a substance; the wound 
or the disease is a defect of the bodily substance which, as a 
substance, is good.  Evil, then, is an accident, i.e., a privation 
of that good which is called health.  Thus, whatever defects there 
are in a soul are privations of a natural good.  When a cure takes 
place, they are not transferred elsewhere but, since they are no 
longer present in the state of health, they no longer exist at 


                          CHAPTER IV


                      The Problem of Evil


     12.  All of nature, therefore, is good, since the Creator of 
all nature is supremely good.  But nature is not supremely and 
immutably good as is the Creator of it.  Thus the good in created 
things can be diminished and augmented.  For good to be diminished 
is evil; still, however much it is diminished, something must 
remain of its original nature as long as it exists at all.  For no 
matter what kind or however insignificant a thing may be, the good 
which is its "nature" cannot be destroyed without the thing itself 
being destroyed.  There is good reason, therefore, to praise an 
uncorrupted thing, and if it were indeed an incorruptible thing 
which could not be destroyed, it would doubtless be all the more 
worthy of praise.  When, however, a thing is corrupted, its 
corruption is an evil because it is, by just so much, a privation 
of the good.  Where there is no privation of the good, there is no 
evil.  Where there is evil, there is a corresponding diminution of 
the good.  As long, then, as a thing is being corrupted, there is 
good in it of which it is being deprived; and in this process, if 
something of its being remains that cannot be further corrupted, 
this will then be an incorruptible entity [natura 
incorruptibilis], and to this great good it will have come through 
the process of corruption.  But even if the corruption is not 
arrested, it still does not cease having some good of which it 
cannot be further deprived.  If, however, the corruption comes to 
be total and entire, there is no good left either, because it is 
no longer an entity at all.  Wherefore corruption cannot consume 
the good without also consuming the thing itself.  Every actual 
entity [natura] is therefore good; a greater good if it cannot be 
corrupted, a lesser good if it can be.  Yet only the foolish and 
unknowing can deny that it is still good even when corrupted.  
Whenever a thing is consumed by corruption, not even the 
corruption remains, for it is nothing in itself, having no 
subsistent being in which to exist.

     13.  From this it follows that there is nothing to be called 
evil if there is nothing good.  A good that wholly lacks an evil 
aspect is entirely good.  Where there is some evil in a thing, its 
good is defective or defectible.  Thus there can be no evil where 
there is no good.  This leads us to a surprising conclusion: that, 
since every being, in so far as it is a being, is good, if we then 
say that a defective thing is bad, it would seem to mean that we 
are saying that what is evil is good, that only what is good is 
ever evil and that there is no evil apart from something good.  
This is because every actual entity is good [omnis natura bonum 
est].  Nothing evil exists _in itself_, but only as an evil aspect 
of some actual entity.  Therefore, there can be nothing evil 
except something good.  Absurd as this sounds, nevertheless the 
logical connections of the argument compel us to it as inevitable.  
At the same time, we must take warning lest we incur the prophetic 
judgment which reads: "Woe to those who call evil good and good 
evil: who call darkness light and light darkness; who call the 
bitter sweet and the sweet bitter."[23]  Moreover the Lord himself 
saith: "An evil man brings forth evil out of the evil treasure of 
his heart."[24]  What, then, is an evil man but an evil entity 
[natura mala], since man is an entity?  Now, if a man is something 
good because he is an entity, what, then, is a bad man except an 
evil good?  When, however, we distinguish between these two 
concepts, we find that the bad man is not bad because he is a man, 
nor is he good because he is wicked.  Rather, he is a good entity 
in so far as he is a man, evil in so far as he is wicked.  
Therefore, if anyone says that simply to be a man is evil, or that 
to be a wicked man is good, he rightly falls under the prophetic 
judgment: "Woe to him who calls evil good and good evil." For this 
amounts to finding fault with God's work, because man is an entity 
of God's creation.  It also means that we are praising the defects 
in this particular man _because_ he is a wicked person.  Thus, 
every entity, even if it is a defective one, in so far as it is an 
entity, is good.  In so far as it is defective, it is evil.

     14.  Actually, then, in these two contraries we call evil and 
good, the rule of the logicians fails to apply.[25]  No weather is 
both dark and bright at the same time; no food or drink is both 
sweet and sour at the same time; no body is, at the same time and 
place, both white and black, nor deformed and well-formed at the 
same time.  This principle is found to apply in almost all 
disjunctions: two contraries cannot coexist in a single thing.  
Nevertheless, while no one maintains that good and evil are not 
contraries, they can not only coexist, but the evil cannot exist 
at all without the good, or in a thing that is not a good.  On the 
other hand, the good can exist without evil.  For a man or an 
angel could exist and yet not be wicked, whereas there cannot be 
wickedness except in a man or an angel.  It is good to be a man, 
good to be an angel; but evil to be wicked.  These two contraries 
are thus coexistent, so that if there were no good in what is 
evil, then the evil simply could not be, since it can have no mode 
in which to exist, nor any source from which corruption springs, 
unless it be something corruptible.  Unless this something is 
good, it cannot be corrupted, because corruption is nothing more 
than the deprivation of the good.  Evils, therefore, have their 
source in the good, and unless they are parasitic on something 
good, they are not anything at all.  There is no other source 
whence an evil thing can come to be.  If this is the case, then, 
in so far as a thing is an entity, it is unquestionably good.  If 
it is an incorruptible entity, it is a great good.  But even if it 
is a corruptible entity, it still has no mode of existence except 
as an aspect of something that is good.  Only by corrupting 
something good can corruption inflict injury.

     15.  But when we say that evil has its source in the good, do 
not suppose that this denies our Lord's judgment: "A good tree 
cannot bear evil fruit."[26]  This cannot be, even as the Truth 
himself declareth: "Men do not gather grapes from thorns," since 
thorns cannot bear grapes.  Nevertheless, from good soil we can 
see both vines and thorns spring up.  Likewise, just as a bad tree 
does not grow good fruit, so also an evil will does not produce 
good deeds.  From a human nature, which is good in itself, there 
can spring forth either a good or an evil will.  There was no 
other place from whence evil could have arisen in the first place 
except from the nature -- good in itself -- of an angel or a man.  
This is what our Lord himself most clearly shows in the passage 
about the trees and the fruits, for he said: "Make the tree good 
and the fruits will be good, or make the tree bad and its fruits 
will be bad."[27]  This is warning enough that bad fruit cannot 
grow on a good tree nor good fruit on a bad one.  Yet from that 
same earth to which he was referring, both sorts of trees can 


                          CHAPTER V


               The Kinds and Degrees of Error


     16.  This being the case, when that verse of Maro's gives us 


     "Happy is he who can understand the causes of things,"[28]

it still does not follow that our felicity depends upon our 
knowing the causes of the great physical processes in the world, 
which are hidden in the secret maze of nature,


     "Whence earthquakes, whose force swells the sea to flood, 

     so that they burst their bounds and then subside again,"[29]

and other such things as this.

     But we ought to know the causes of good and evil in things, 
at least as far as men may do so in this life, filled as it is 
with errors and distress, in order to avoid these errors and 
distresses.  We must always aim at that true felicity wherein 
misery does not distract, nor error mislead.  If it is a good 
thing to understand the causes of physical motion, there is 
nothing of greater concern in these matters which we ought to 
understand than our own health.  But when we are in ignorance of 
such things, we seek out a physician, who has seen how the secrets 
of heaven and earth still remain hidden from us, and what patience 
there must be in unknowing.

     17.  Although we should beware of error wherever possible, 
not only in great matters but in small ones as well, it is 
impossible not to be ignorant of many things.  Yet it does not 
follow that one falls into error out of ignorance alone.  If 
someone thinks he knows what he does not know, if he approves as 
true what is actually false, this then is error, in the proper 
sense of the term.  Obviously, much depends on the question 
involved in the error, for in one and the same question one 
naturally prefers the instructed to the ignorant, the expert to 
the blunderer, and this with good reason.  In a complex issue, 
however, as when one man knows one thing and another man knows 
something else, if the former knowledge is more useful and the 
latter is less useful or even harmful, who in this latter case 
would not prefer ignorance?  There are some things, after all, 
that it is better not to know than to know.  Likewise, there is 
sometimes profit in error -- but on a journey, not in morals.[30]  
This sort of thing happened to us once, when we mistook the way at 
a crossroads and did not go by the place where an armed gang of 
Donatists lay in wait to ambush us.  We finally arrived at the 
place where we were going, but only by a roundabout way, and upon 
learning of the ambush, we were glad to have erred and gave thanks 
to God for our error.  Who would doubt, in such a situation, that 
the erring traveler is better off than the unerring brigand?  This 
perhaps explains the meaning of our finest poet, when he speaks 
for an unhappy lover:


          "When I saw [her] I was undone, 

          and fatal error swept me away,"[31]

for there is such a thing as a fortunate mistake which not only 
does no harm but actually does some good.

     But now for a more careful consideration of the truth in this 
business.  To err means nothing more than to judge as true what is 
in fact false, and as false what is true.  It means to be certain 
about the uncertain, uncertain about the certain, whether it be 
certainly true or certainly false.  This sort of error in the mind 
is deforming and improper, since the fitting and proper thing 
would be to be able to say, in speech or judgment: "Yes, yes.  No, 
no."[32]  Actually, the wretched lives we lead come partly from 
this: that sometimes if they are not to be entirely lost, error is 
unavoidable.  It is different in that higher life where Truth 
itself is the life of our souls, where none deceives and none is 
deceived.  In this life men deceive and are deceived, and are 
actually worse off when they deceive by lying than when they are 
deceived by believing lies.  Yet our rational mind shrinks from 
falsehood, and naturally avoids error as much as it can, so that 
even a deceiver is unwilling to be deceived by somebody else.[33]  
For the liar thinks he does not deceive himself and that he 
deceives only those who believe him.  Indeed, he does not err in 
his lying, if he himself knows what the truth is.  But he is 
deceived in this, that he supposes that his lie does no harm to 
himself, when actually every sin harms the one who commits it more 
that it does the one who suffers it.


                          CHAPTER VI


                     The Problem of Lying


     18.  Here a most difficult and complex issue arises which I 
once dealt with in a large book, in response to the urgent 
question whether it is ever the duty of a righteous man to 
lie.[34]  Some go so far as to contend that in cases concerning 
the worship of God or even the nature of God, it is sometimes a 
good and pious deed to speak falsely.  It seems to me, however, 
that every lie is a sin, albeit there is a great difference 
depending on the intention and the topic of the lie.  He does not 
sin as much who lies in the attempt to be helpful as the man who 
lies as a part of a deliberate wickedness.  Nor does one who, by 
lying, sets a traveler on the wrong road do as much harm as one 
who, by a deceitful lie, perverts the way of a life.  Obviously, 
no one should be adjudged a liar who speaks falsely what he 
sincerely supposes is the truth, since in his case he does not 
deceive but rather is deceived.  Likewise, a man is not a liar, 
though he could be charged with rashness, when he incautiously 
accepts as true what is false.  On the other hand, however, that 
man is a liar in his own conscience who speaks the truth supposing 
that it is a falsehood.  For as far as his soul is concerned, 
since he did not say what he believed, he did not tell the truth, 
even though the truth did come out in what he said.  Nor is a man 
to be cleared of the charge of lying whose mouth unknowingly 
speaks the truth while his conscious intention is to lie.  If we 
do not consider the things spoken of, but only the intentions of 
the one speaking, he is the better man who unknowingly speaks 
falsely -- because he judges his statement to be true -- than the 
one who unknowingly speaks the truth while in his heart he is 
attempting to deceive.  For the first man does not have one 
intention in his heart and another in his word, whereas the other, 
whatever be the facts in his statement, still "has one thought 
locked in his heart, another ready on his tongue,"[35] which is 
the very essence of lying.  But when we do consider the things 
spoken of, it makes a great difference in what respect one is 
deceived or lies.  To be deceived is a lesser evil than to lie, as 
far as a man's intentions are concerned.  But it is far more 
tolerable that a man should lie about things not connected with 
religion than for one to be deceived in matters where faith and 
knowledge are prerequisite to the proper service of God.  To 
illustrate what I mean by examples: If one man lies by saying that 
a dead man is alive, and another man, being deceived, believes 
that Christ will die again after some extended future period -- 
would it not be incomparably better to lie in the first case than 
to be deceived in the second?  And would it not be a lesser evil 
to lead someone into the former error than to be led by someone 
into the latter? 

     19.  In some things, then, we are deceived in great matters; 
in others, small.  In some of them no harm is done; in others, 
even good results.  It is a great evil for a man to be deceived so 
as not to believe what would lead him to life eternal, or what 
would lead to eternal death.  But it is a small evil to be 
deceived by crediting a falsehood as the truth in a matter where 
one brings on himself some temporal setback which can then be 
turned to good use by being borne in faithful patience -- as for 
example, when someone judges a man to be good who is actually bad, 
and consequently has to suffer evil on his account.  Or, take the 
man who believes a bad man to be good, yet suffers no harm at his 
hand.  He is not badly deceived nor would the prophetic 
condemnation fall on him: "Woe to those who call evil good." For 
we should understand that this saying refers to the things in 
which men are evil and not to the men themselves.  Hence, he who 
calls adultery a good thing may be rightly accused by the 
prophetic word.  But if he calls a man good supposing him to be 
chaste and not knowing that he is an adulterer, such a man is not 
deceived in his doctrine of good and evil, but only as to the 
secrets of human conduct.  He calls the man good on the basis of 
what he supposed him to be, and this is undoubtedly a good thing.  
Moreover, he calls adultery bad and chastity good.  But he calls 
this particular man good in ignorance of the fact that he is an 
adulterer and not chaste.  In similar fashion, if one escapes an 
injury through an error, as I mentioned before happened to me on 
that journey, there is even something good that accrues to a man 
through his mistakes.  But when I say that in such a case a man 
may be deceived without suffering harm therefrom, or even may gain 
some benefit thereby, I am not saying that error is not a bad 
thing, nor that it is a positively good thing.  I speak only of 
the evil which did not happen or the good which did happen, 
through the error, which was not caused by the error itself but 
which came out of it.  Error, in itself and by itself, whether a 
great error in great matters or a small error in small affairs, is 
always a bad thing.  For who, except in error, denies that it is 
bad to approve the false as though it were the truth, or to 
disapprove the truth as though it were falsehood, or to hold what 
is certain as if it were uncertain, or what is uncertain as if it 
were certain?  It is one thing to judge a man good who is actually 
bad -- this is an error.  It is quite another thing not to suffer 
harm from something evil if the wicked man whom we supposed to be 
good actually does nothing harmful to us.  It is one thing to 
suppose that this particular road is the right one when it is not.  
It is quite another thing that, from this error -- which is a bad 
thing -- something good actually turns out, such as being saved 
from the onslaught of wicked men.


                         CHAPTER VII


             Disputed Questions about the Limits 

        of Knowledge and Certainty in Various Matters


     20.  I do not rightly know whether errors of this sort should 
be called sins -- when one thinks well of a wicked man, not 
knowing what his character really is, or when, instead of our 
physical perception, similar perceptions occur which we experience 
in the spirit (such as the illusion of the apostle Peter when he 
thought he was seeing a vision but was actually being liberated 
from fetters and chains by the angel[36]) Or in perceptual 
illusions when we think something is smooth which is actually 
rough, or something sweet which is bitter, something fragrant 
which is putrid, that a noise is thunder when it is actually a 
wagon passing by, when one takes this man for that, or when two 
men look alike, as happens in the case of twins -- whence our poet 
speaks of "a pleasant error for parents"[37] -- I say I do not 
know whether these and other such errors should be called sins.

     Nor am I at the moment trying to deal with that knottiest of 
questions which baffled the most acute men of the Academy, whether 
a wise man ought ever to affirm anything positively lest he be 
involved in the error of affirming as true what may be false, 
since all questions, as they assert, are either mysterious 
[occulta] or uncertain.  On these points I wrote three books in 
the early stages of my conversion because my further progress was 
being blocked by objections like this which stood at the very 
threshold of my understanding.[38]  It was necessary to overcome 
the despair of being unable to attain to truth, which is what 
their arguments seemed to lead one to.  Among them every error is 
deemed a sin, and this can be warded off only by a systematic 
suspension of positive assent.  Indeed they say it is an error if 
someone believes in what is uncertain.  For them, however, nothing 
is certain in human experience, because of the deceitful likeness 
of falsehood to the truth, so that even if what appears to be true 
turns out to be true indeed, they will still dispute it with the 
most acute and even shameless arguments.

     Among us, on the other hand, "the righteous man lives by 
faith."[39]  Now, if you take away positive affirmation,[40] you 
take away faith, for without positive affirmation nothing is 
believed.  And there are truths about things unseen, and unless 
they are believed, we cannot attain to the happy life, which is 
nothing less than life eternal.  It is a question whether we ought 
to argue with those who profess themselves ignorant not only about 
the eternity yet to come but also about their present existence, 
for they [the Academics] even argue that they do not know what 
they cannot help knowing.  For no one can "not know" that he 
himself is alive.  If he is not alive, he cannot "not know" about 
it or anything else at all, because either to know or to "not 
know" implies a living subject.  But, in such a case, by not 
positively affirming that they are alive, the skeptics ward off 
the appearance of error in themselves, yet they do make errors 
simply by showing themselves alive; one cannot err who is not 
alive.  That we live is therefore not only true, but it is 
altogether certain as well.  And there are many things that are 
thus true and certain concerning which, if we withhold positive 
assent, this ought not to be regarded as a higher wisdom but 
actually a sort of dementia.

     21.  In those things which do not concern our attainment of 
the Kingdom of God, it does not matter whether they are believed 
in or not, or whether they are true or are supposed to be true or 
false.  To err in such questions, to mistake one thing for 
another, is not to be judged as a sin or, if it is, as a small and 
light one.  In sum, whatever kind or how much of an error these 
miscues may be, it does not involve the way that leads to God, 
which is the faith of Christ which works through love.  This way 
of life was not abandoned in that error so dear to parents 
concerning the twins.[41]  Nor did the apostle Peter deviate from 
this way when he thought he saw a vision and so mistook one thing 
for something else.  In his case, he did not discover the actual 
situation until after the angel, by whom he was freed, had 
departed from him.  Nor did the patriarch Jacob deviate from this 
way when he believed that his son, who was in fact alive, had been 
devoured by a wild beast.  We may err through false impressions of 
this kind, with our faith in God still safe, nor do we thus leave 
the way that leads us to him.  Nevertheless, such mistakes, even 
if they are not sins, must still be listed among the evils of this 
life, which is so readily subject to vanity that we judge the 
false for true, reject the true for the false, and hold as 
uncertain what is actually certain.  For even if these mistakes do 
not affect that faith by which we move forward to affirm truth and 
eternal beatitude, yet they are not unrelated to the misery in 
which we still exist.  Actually, of course, we would be deceived 
in nothing at all, either in our souls or our physical senses, if 
we were already enjoying that true and perfected happiness.

     22.  Every lie, then, must be called a sin, because every man 
ought to speak what is in his heart -- not only when he himself 
knows the truth, but even when he errs and is deceived, as a man 
may be.  This is so whether it be true or is only supposed to be 
true when it is not.  But a man who lies says the opposite of what 
is in his heart, with the deliberate intent to deceive.  Now 
clearly, language, in its proper function, was developed not as a 
means whereby men could deceive one another, but as a medium 
through which a man could communicate his thought to others.  
Wherefore to use language in order to deceive, and not as it was 
designed to be used, is a sin.

     Nor should we suppose that there is any such thing as a lie 
that is not a sin, just because we suppose that we can sometimes 
help somebody by lying.  For we could also do this by stealing, as 
when a secret theft from a rich man who does not feel the loss is 
openly given to a pauper who greatly appreciates the gain.  Yet no 
one would say that such a theft was not a sin.  Or again, we could 
also "help" by committing adultery, if someone appeared to be 
dying for love if we would not consent to her desire and who, if 
she lived, might be purified by repentance.  But it cannot be 
denied that such an adultery would be a sin.  If, then, we hold 
chastity in such high regard, wherein has truth offended us so 
that although chastity must not be violated by adultery, even for 
the sake of some other good, yet truth may be violated by lying?  
That men have made progress toward the good, when they will not 
lie save for the sake of human values, is not to be denied.  But 
what is rightly praised in such a forward step, and perhaps even 
rewarded, is their good will and not their deceit.  The deceit may 
be pardoned, but certainly ought not to be praised, especially 
among the heirs of the New Covenant to whom it has been said, "Let 
your speech be yes, yes; no, no: for what is more than this comes 
from evil."[42]  Yet because of what this evil does, never ceasing 
to subvert this mortality of ours, even the joint heirs of Christ 
themselves pray, "Forgive us our debts."[43]


                         CHAPTER VIII


              The Plight of Man After the Fall


     23.  With this much said, within the necessary brevity of 
this kind of treatise, as to what we need to know about the causes 
of good and evil -- enough to lead us in the way toward the 
Kingdom, where there will be life without death, truth without 
error, happiness without anxiety -- we ought not to doubt in any 
way that the cause of everything pertaining to our good is nothing 
other than the bountiful goodness of God himself.  The cause of 
evil is the defection of the will of a being who is mutably good 
from the Good which is immutable.  This happened first in the case 
of the angels and, afterward, that of man.

     24.  This was the primal lapse of the rational creature, that 
is, his first privation of the good.  In train of this there crept 
in, even without his willing it, ignorance of the right things to 
do and also an appetite for noxious things.  And these brought 
along with them, as their companions, error and misery.  When 
these two evils are felt to be imminent, the soul's motion in 
flight from them is called fear.  Moreover, as the soul's 
appetites are satisfied by things harmful or at least inane -- and 
as it fails to recognize the error of its ways -- it falls victim 
to unwholesome pleasures or may even be exhilarated by vain joys.  
From these tainted springs of action -- moved by the lash of 
appetite rather than a feeling of plenty -- there flows out every 
kind of misery which is now the lot of rational natures.

     25.  Yet such a nature, even in its evil state, could not 
lose its appetite for blessedness.  There are the evils that both 
men and angels have in common, for whose wickedness God hath 
condemned them in simple justice.  But man has a unique penalty as 
well: he is also punished by the death of the body.  God had 
indeed threatened man with death as penalty if he should sin.  He 
endowed him with freedom of the will in order that he might rule 
him by rational command and deter him by the threat of death.  He 
even placed him in the happiness of paradise in a sheltered nook 
of life [in umbra vitae] where, by being a good steward of 
righteousness, he would rise to better things.

     26.  From this state, after he had sinned, man was banished, 
and through his sin he subjected his descendants to the punishment 
of sin and damnation, for he had radically corrupted them, in 
himself, by his sinning.  As a consequence of this, all those 
descended from him and his wife (who had prompted him to sin and 
who was condemned along with him at the same time) -- all those 
born through carnal lust, on whom the same penalty is visited as 
for disobedience -- all these entered into the inheritance of 
original sin.  Through this involvement they were led, through 
divers errors and sufferings (along with the rebel angels, their 
corruptors and possessors and companions), to that final stage of 
punishment without end.  "Thus by one man, sin entered into the 
world and death through sin; and thus death came upon all men, 
since all men have sinned."[44]  By "the world" in this passage 
the apostle is, of course, referring to the whole human race.

     27.  This, then, was the situation: the whole mass of the 
human race stood condemned, lying ruined and wallowing in evil, 
being plunged from evil into evil and, having joined causes with 
the angels who had sinned, it was paying the fully deserved 
penalty for impious desertion.  Certainly the anger of God rests, 
in full justice, on the deeds that the wicked do freely in blind 
and unbridled lust; and it is manifest in whatever penalties they 
are called on to suffer, both openly and secretly.  Yet the 
Creator's goodness does not cease to sustain life and vitality 
even in the evil angels, for were _this_ sustenance withdrawn, 
they would simply cease to exist.  As for mankind, although born 
of a corrupted and condemned stock, he still retains the power to 
form and animate his seed, to direct his members in their temporal 
order, to enliven his senses in their spatial relations, and to 
provide bodily nourishment.  For God judged it better to bring 
good out of evil than not to permit any evil to exist.  And if he 
had willed that there should be no reformation in the case of men, 
as there is none for the wicked angels, would it not have been 
just if the nature that deserted God and, through the evil use of 
his powers, trampled and transgressed the precepts of his Creator, 
which could have been easily kept -- the same creature who 
stubbornly turned away from His Light and violated the image of 
the Creator in himself, who had in the evil use of his free will 
broken away from the wholesome discipline of God's law -- would it 
not have been just if such a being had been abandoned by God 
wholly and forever and laid under the everlasting punishment which 
he deserved?  Clearly God would have done this if he were only 
just and not also merciful and if he had not willed to show far 
more striking evidence of his mercy by pardoning some who were 
unworthy of it.


                          CHAPTER IX


           The Replacement of the Fallen Angels By

      Elect Men (28-30); The Necessity of Grace (30-32)


     28.  While some of the angels deserted God in impious pride 
and were cast into the lowest darkness from the brightness of 
their heavenly home, the remaining number of the angels persevered 
in eternal bliss and holiness with God.  For these faithful angels 
were not descended from a single angel, lapsed and damned.  Hence, 
the original evil did not bind them in the fetters of inherited 
guilt, nor did it hand the whole company over to a deserved 
punishment, as is the human lot.  Instead, when he who became the 
devil first rose in rebellion with his impious company and was 
then with them prostrated, the rest of the angels stood fast in 
pious obedience to the Lord and so received what the others had 
not had -- a sure knowledge of their everlasting security in his 
unfailing steadfastness.

     29.  Thus it pleased God, Creator and Governor of the 
universe, that since the whole multitude of the angels had not 
perished in this desertion of him, those who had perished would 
remain forever in perdition, but those who had remained loyal 
through the revolt should go on rejoicing in the certain knowledge 
of the bliss forever theirs.  From the other part of the rational 
creation -- that is, mankind -- although it had perished as a 
whole through sins and punishments, both original and personal, 
God had determined that a portion of it would be restored and 
would fill up the loss which that diabolical disaster had caused 
in the angelic society.  For this is the promise to the saints at 
the resurrection, that they shall be equal to the angels of 

     Thus the heavenly Jerusalem, our mother and the commonwealth 
of God, shall not be defrauded of her full quota of citizens, but 
perhaps will rule over an even larger number.  We know neither the 
number of holy men nor of the filthy demons, whose places are to 
be filled by the sons of the holy mother, who seemed barren in the 
earth, but whose sons will abide time without end in the peace the 
demons lost.  But the number of those citizens, whether those who 
now belong or those who will in the future, is known to the mind 
of the Maker, "who calleth into existence things which are not, as 
though they were,"[46] and "ordereth all things in measure and 
number and weight."[47]

     30.  But now, can that part of the human race to whom God 
hath promised deliverance and a place in the eternal Kingdom be 
restored through the merits of their own works?  Of course not!  
For what good works could a lost soul do except as he had been 
rescued from his lostness?  Could he do this by the determination 
of his free will?  Of course not!  For it was in the evil use of 
his free will that man destroyed himself and his will at the same 
time.  For as a man who kills himself is still alive when he kills 
himself, but having killed himself is then no longer alive and 
cannot resuscitate himself after he has destroyed his own life -- 
so also sin which arises from the action of the free will turns 
out to be victor over the will and the free will is destroyed.  
"By whom a man is overcome, to this one he then is bound as 
slave."[48]  This is clearly the judgment of the apostle Peter.  
And since it is true, I ask you what kind of liberty can one have 
who is bound as a slave except the liberty that loves to sin? 

     He serves freely who freely does the will of his master.  
Accordingly he who is slave to sin is free to sin.  But thereafter 
he will not be free to do right unless he is delivered from the 
bondage of sin and begins to be the servant of righteousness.  
This, then, is true liberty: the joy that comes in doing what is 
right.  At the same time, it is also devoted service in obedience 
to righteous precept.

     But how would a man, bound and sold, get back his liberty to 
do good, unless he could regain it from Him whose voice saith, "If 
the Son shall make you free, then you will be free indeed"[49]?  
But before this process begins in man, could anyone glory in his 
good works as if they were acts of his free will, when he is not 
yet free to act rightly?  He could do this only if, puffed up in 
proud vanity, he were merely boasting.  This attitude is what the 
apostle was reproving when he said, "By grace you have been saved 
by faith."[50]

     31.  And lest men should arrogate to themselves saving faith 
as their own work and not understand it as a divine gift, the same 
apostle who says somewhere else that he had "obtained mercy of the 
Lord to be trustworthy"[51] makes here an additional comment: "And 
this is not of yourselves, rather it is a gift of God -- not 
because of works either, lest any man should boast."[52]  But 
then, lest it be supposed that the faithful are lacking in good 
works, he added further, "For we are his workmanship, created in 
Christ Jesus to good works, which God hath prepared beforehand for 
us to walk in them."[53]

     We are then truly free when God ordereth our lives, that is, 
formeth and createth us not as men -- this he hath already done -- 
but also as good men, which he is now doing by his grace, that we 
may indeed be new creatures in Christ Jesus.[54]  Accordingly, the 
prayer: "Create in me a clean heart, O God."[55]  This does not 
mean, as far as the natural human heart is concerned, that God 
hath not already created this.

     32.  Once again, lest anyone glory, if not in his own works, 
at least in the determination of his free will, as if some merit 
had originated from him and as if the freedom to do good works had 
been bestowed on him as a kind of reward, let him hear the same 
herald of grace, announcing: "For it is God who is at work in you 
both to will and to do according to his good will."[56]  And, in 
another place: "It is not therefore a matter of man's willing, or 
of his running, but of God's showing mercy."[57]  Still, it is 
obvious that a man who is old enough to exercise his reason cannot 
believe, hope, or love unless he wills it, nor could he run for 
the prize of his high calling in God without a decision of his 
will.  In what sense, therefore, is it "not a matter of human 
willing or running but of God's showing mercy," unless it be that 
"the will itself is prepared by the Lord," even as it is 
written?[58]  This saying, therefore, that "it is not a matter of 
human willing or running but of God's showing mercy," means that 
the action is from both, that is to say, from the will of man and 
from the mercy of God.  Thus we accept the dictum, "It is not a 
matter of human willing or running but of God's showing mercy," as 
if it meant, "The will of man is not sufficient by itself unless 
there is also the mercy of God." By the same token, the mercy of 
God is not sufficient by itself unless there is also the will of 
man.  But if we say rightly that "it is not a matter of human 
willing or running but of God's showing mercy," because the will 
of man alone is not enough, why, then, is not the contrary rightly 
said, "It is not a matter of God's showing mercy but of a man's 
willing," since the mercy of God by itself alone is not enough?  
Now, actually, no Christian would dare to say, "It is not a matter 
of God's showing mercy but of man's willing," lest he explicitly 
contradict the apostle.  The conclusion remains, therefore, that 
this saying: "Not man's willing or running but God's showing 
mercy," is to be understood to mean that the whole process is 
credited to God, who both prepareth the will to receive divine aid 
and aideth the will which has been thus prepared.[59]

     For a man's good will comes before many other gifts from God, 
but not all of them.  One of the gifts it does not antedate is -- 
just itself!  Thus in the Sacred Eloquence we read both, "His 
mercy goes before me,"[60] and also, "His mercy shall follow 
me."[61]  It predisposes a man before he wills, to prompt his 
willing.  It follows the act of willing, lest one's will be 
frustrated.  Otherwise, why are we admonished to pray for our 
enemies,[62] who are plainly not now willing to live piously, 
unless it be that God is even now at work in them and in their 
wills?[63]  Or again, why are we admonished to ask in order to 
receive, unless it be that He who grants us what we will is he 
through whom it comes to pass that we will?  We pray for enemies, 
therefore, that the mercy of God should go before them, as it goes 
before us; we pray for ourselves that his mercy shall follow us.


                          CHAPTER X


                  Jesus Christ the Mediator


     33.  Thus it was that the human race was bound in a just doom 
and all men were children of wrath.  Of this wrath it is written: 
"For all our days are wasted; we are ruined in thy wrath; our 
years seem like a spider's web."[64]  Likewise Job spoke of this 
wrath: "Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble."[65]  
And even the Lord Jesus said of it: "He that believes in the Son 
has life everlasting, but he that believes not does not have life.  
Instead, the wrath of God abides in him."[66]  He does not say, 
"It will come," but, "It now abides." Indeed every man is born 
into this state.  Wherefore the apostle says, "For we too were by 
nature children of wrath even as the others."[67]  Since men are 
in this state of wrath through original sin -- a condition made 
still graver and more pernicious as they compounded more and worse 
sins with it -- a Mediator was required; that is to say, a 
Reconciler who by offering a unique sacrifice, of which all the 
sacrifices of the Law and the Prophets were shadows, should allay 
that wrath.  Thus the apostle says, "For if, when we were enemies, 
we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, even more now 
being reconciled by his blood we shall be saved from wrath through 
him."[68]  However, when God is said to be wrathful, this does not 
signify any such perturbation in him as there is in the soul of a 
wrathful man.  His verdict, which is always just, takes the name 
"wrath" as a term borrowed from the language of human feelings.  
This, then, is the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord -- 
that we are reconciled to God through the Mediator and receive the 
Holy Spirit so that we may be changed from enemies into sons, "for 
as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of 

     34.  It would take too long to say all that would be truly 
worthy of this Mediator.  Indeed, men cannot speak properly of 
such matters.  For who can unfold in cogent enough fashion this 
statement, that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,"[70] so 
that we should then believe in "the only Son of God the Father 
Almighty, born of the Holy Spirit and Mary the Virgin." Yet it is 
indeed true that the Word was made flesh, the flesh being assumed 
by the Divinity, not the Divinity being changed into flesh.  Of 
course, by the term "flesh" we ought here to understand "man," an 
expression in which the part signifies the whole, just as it is 
said, "Since by the works of the law no flesh shall be 
justified,"[71] which is to say, no _man_ shall be justified.  Yet 
certainly we must say that in that assumption nothing was lacking 
that belongs to human nature.

     But it was a nature entirely free from the bonds of all sin.  
It was not a nature born of both sexes with fleshly desires, with 
the burden of sin, the guilt of which is washed away in 
regeneration.  Instead, it was the kind of nature that would be 
fittingly born of a virgin, conceived by His mother's faith and 
not her fleshly desires.  Now if in his being born, her virginity 
had been destroyed, he would not then have been born of a virgin.  
It would then be false (which is unthinkable) for the whole Church 
to confess him "born of the Virgin Mary." This is the Church 
which, imitating his mother, daily gives birth to his members yet 
remains virgin.  Read, if you please, my letter on the virginity 
of Saint Mary written to that illustrious man, Volusianus, whom I 
name with honor and affection.[72]

     35.  Christ Jesus, Son of God, is thus both God and man.  He 
was God before all ages; he is man in this age of ours.  He is God 
because he is the Word of God, for "the Word was God."[73]  Yet he 
is man also, since in the unity of his Person a rational soul and 
body is joined to the Word.

     Accordingly, in so far as he is God, he and the Father are 
one.  Yet in so far as he is man, the Father is greater than he.  
Since he was God's only Son -- not by grace but by nature -- to 
the end that he might indeed be the fullness of all grace, he was 
also made Son of Man -- and yet he was in the one nature as well 
as in the other, one Christ.  "For being in the form of God, he 
judged it not a violation to be what he was by nature, the equal 
of God.  Yet he emptied himself, taking on the form of a 
servant,"[74] yet neither losing nor diminishing the form of 
God.[75]  Thus he was made less and remained equal, and both these 
in a unity as we said before.  But he is one of these because he 
is the Word; the other, because he was a man.  As the Word, he is 
the equal of the Father; as a man, he is less.  He is the one Son 
of God, and at the same time Son of Man; the one Son of Man, and 
at the same time God's Son.  These are not two sons of God, one 
God and the other man, but _one_ Son of God -- God without origin, 
man with a definite origin -- our Lord Jesus Christ.


                          CHAPTER XI


              The Incarnation as Prime Example 

                of the Action of God's Grace


     36.  In this the grace of God is supremely manifest, 
commended in grand and visible fashion; for what had the human 
nature in the man Christ merited, that it, and no other, should be 
assumed into the unity of the Person of the only Son of God?  What 
good will, what zealous strivings, what good works preceded this 
assumption by which that particular man deserved to become one 
Person with God?  Was he a man before the union, and was this 
singular grace given him as to one particularly deserving before 
God?  Of course not!  For, from the moment he began to be a man, 
that man began to be nothing other than God's Son, the only Son, 
and this because the Word of God assuming him became flesh, yet 
still assuredly remained God.  Just as every man is a personal 
unity -- that is, a unity of rational soul and flesh -- so also is 
Christ a personal unity: Word and man.

     Why should there be such great glory to a human nature -- and 
this undoubtedly an act of grace, no merit preceding unless it be 
that those who consider such a question faithfully and soberly 
might have here a clear manifestation of God's great and sole 
grace, and this in order that they might understand how they 
themselves are justified from their sins by the selfsame grace 
which made it so that the man Christ had no power to sin?  Thus 
indeed the angel hailed his mother when announcing to her the 
future birth: "Hail," he said, "full of grace." And shortly 
thereafter, "You have found favor with God."[76]  And this was 
said of her, that she was full of grace, since she was to be 
mother of her Lord, indeed the Lord of all.  Yet, concerning 
Christ himself, when the Evangelist John said, "And the Word 
became flesh and dwelt among us," he added, "and we beheld his 
glory, a glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and 
truth."[77]  When he said, "The Word was made flesh," this means, 
"Full of grace." When he also said, "The glory of the only 
begotten of the Father," this means, "Full of truth." Indeed it 
was Truth himself, God's only begotten Son -- and, again, this not 
by grace but by nature -- who, by grace, assumed human nature into 
such a personal unity that he himself became the Son of Man as 

     37.  This same Jesus Christ, God's one and only Son our Lord, 
was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.  Now obviously 
the Holy Spirit is God's gift, a gift that is itself equal to the 
Giver; wherefore the Holy Spirit is God also, not inferior to the 
Father and the Son.  Now what does this mean, that Christ's birth 
in respect to his human nature was of the Holy Spirit, save that 
this was itself also a work of grace? 

     For when the Virgin asked of the angel the manner by which 
what he announced would come to pass (since she had known no man), 
the angel answered: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the 
power of the Most High shall overshadow you; therefore the Holy 
One which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of 
God."[78]  And when Joseph wished to put her away, suspecting 
adultery (since he knew she was not pregnant by him), he received 
a similar answer from the angel: "Do not fear to take Mary as your 
wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy 
Spirit"[79] -- that is, "What you suspect is from another man is 
of the Holy Spirit."


                         CHAPTER XII


                The Role of the Holy Spirit


     38.  Are we, then, to say that the Holy Spirit is the Father 
of Christ's human nature, so that as God the Father generated the 
Word, so the Holy Spirit generated the human nature, and that from 
both natures Christ came to be one, Son of God the Father as the 
Word, Son of the Holy Spirit as man?  Do we suppose that the Holy 
Spirit is his Father through begetting him of the Virgin Mary?  
Who would dare to say such a thing?  There is no need to show by 
argument how many absurd consequences such a notion has, when it 
is so absurd in itself that no believer's ear can bear to hear it.  
Actually, then, as we confess our Lord Jesus Christ, who is God 
from God yet born as man of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, 
there is in each nature (in both the divine and the human) the 
only Son of God the Father Almighty, from whom proceeds the Holy 

     How, then, do we say that Christ is born of the Holy Spirit, 
if the Holy Spirit did not beget him?  Is it because he made him?  
This might be, since through our Lord Jesus Christ -- in the form 
of God -- all things were made.  Yet in so far as he is man, he 
himself was made, even as the apostle says: "He was made of the 
seed of David according to the flesh."[80]  But since that 
creature which the Virgin conceived and bore, though it was 
related to the Person of the Son alone, was made by the whole 
Trinity -- for the works of the Trinity are not separable -- why 
is the Holy Spirit named as the One who made it?  Is it, perhaps, 
that when any One of the Three is named in connection with some 
divine action, the whole Trinity is to be understood as involved 
in that action?  This is true and can be shown by examples, but we 
should not dwell too long on this kind of solution.

     For what still concerns us is how it can be said, "Born of 
the Holy Spirit," when he is in no wise the Son of the Holy 
Spirit?  Now, just because God made [fecit] this world, one could 
not say that the world is the son of God, or that it is "born" of 
God.  Rather, one says it was "made" or "created" or "founded" or 
"established" by him, or however else one might like to speak of 
it.  So, then, when we confess, "Born of the Holy Spirit and the 
Virgin Mary," the sense in which he is not the Son of the Holy 
Spirit and yet is the son of the Virgin Mary, when he was born 
both of him and of her, is difficult to explain.  But there is no 
doubt as to the fact that he was not born from him as Father as he 
was born of her as mother.

     39.  Consequently we should not grant that whatever is born 
of something should therefore be called the son of that thing.  
Let us pass over the fact that a son is "born" of a man in a 
different sense than a hair is, or a louse, or a maw worm -- none 
of these is a son.  Let us pass over these things, since they are 
an unfitting analogy in so great a matter.  Yet it is certain that 
those who are born of water and of the Holy Spirit would not 
properly be called sons of the water by anyone.  But it does make 
sense to call them sons of God the Father and of Mother Church. 
Thus, therefore, the one born of the Holy Spirit is the son of God 
the Father, not of the Holy Spirit.

     What we said about the hair and the other things has this 
much relevance, that it reminds us that not everything which is 
"born" of something is said to be "son" to him from which it is 
"born." Likewise, it does not follow that those who are called 
sons of someone are always said to have been born of him, since 
there are some who are adopted.  Even those who are called "sons 
of Gehenna" are not born _of_ it, but have been destined _for_ it, 
just as the sons of the Kingdom are destined for that.

     40.  Wherefore, since a thing may be "born" of something 
else, yet not in the fashion of a "son," and conversely, since not 
everyone who is called son is born of him whose son he is called 
-- this is the very mode in which Christ was "born" of the Holy 
Spirit (yet not as a son), and of the Virgin Mary as a son -- this 
suggests to us the grace of God by which a certain human person, 
no merit whatever preceding, at the very outset of his existence, 
was joined to the Word of God in such a unity of person that the 
selfsame one who is Son of Man should be Son of God, and the one 
who is Son of God should be Son of Man.  Thus, in his assumption 
of human nature, grace came to be natural to that nature, allowing 
no power to sin.  This is why grace is signified by the Holy 
Spirit, because he himself is so perfectly God that he is also 
called God's Gift.  Still, to speak adequately of this -- even if 
one could -- would call for a very long discussion.


                          CHAPTER XIII


                    Baptism and Original Sin


     41.  Since he was begotten and conceived in no pleasure of 
carnal appetite -- and therefore bore no trace of original sin -- 
he was, by the grace of God (operating in a marvelous and an 
ineffable manner), joined and united in a personal unity with the 
only-begotten Word of the Father, a Son not by grace but by 
nature.  And although he himself committed no sin, yet because of 
"the likeness of sinful flesh"[81] in which he came, he was 
himself called sin and was made a sacrifice for the washing away 
of sins.

     Indeed, under the old law, sacrifices for sins were often 
called sins.[82]  Yet he of whom those sacrifices were mere 
shadows was himself actually made sin.  Thus, when the apostle 
said, "For Christ's sake, we beseech you to be reconciled to God," 
he straightway added, "Him, who knew no sin, he made to be sin for 
us that we might be made to be the righteousness of God in 
him."[83]  He does not say, as we read in some defective copies, 
"He who knew no sin did sin for us," as if Christ himself 
committed sin for our sake.  Rather, he says, "He [Christ] who 
knew no sin, he [God] made to be sin for us." The God to whom we 
are to be reconciled hath thus made him the sacrifice for sin by 
which we may be reconciled.

     He himself is therefore sin as we ourselves are righteousness 
-- not our own but God's, not in ourselves but in him.  Just as he 
was sin -- not his own but ours, rooted not in himself but in us 
-- so he showed forth through the likeness of sinful flesh, in 
which he was crucified, that since sin was not in him he could 
then, so to say, die to sin by dying in the flesh, which was "the 
likeness of sin." And since he had never lived in the old manner 
of sinning, he might, in his resurrection, signify the new life 
which is ours, which is springing to life anew from the old death 
in which we had been dead to sin.

     42.  This is the meaning of the great sacrament of baptism, 
which is celebrated among us.  All who attain to this grace die 
thereby to sin -- as he himself is said to have died to sin 
because he died in the flesh, that is, "in the likeness of sin" -- 
and they are thereby alive by being reborn in the baptismal font, 
just as he rose again from the sepulcher.  This is the case no 
matter what the age of the body.

     43.  For whether it be a newborn infant or a decrepit old man 
-- since no one should be barred from baptism -- just so, there is 
no one who does not die to sin in baptism.  Infants die to 
original sin only; adults, to all those sins which they have 
added, through their evil living, to the burden they brought with 
them at birth.

      44.  But even these are frequently said to die to sin, when 
without doubt they die not to one but to many sins, and to all the 
sins which they have themselves already committed by thought, 
word, and deed.  Actually, by the use of the singular number the 
plural number is often signified, as the poet said, 


     	"And they fill the belly with the armed warrior,"[84] 


     although they did this with many warriors.  And in our own 
Scriptures we read: "Pray therefore to the Lord that he may take 
from us the serpent."[85]  It does not say "serpents," as it 
might, for they were suffering from many serpents.  There are, 
moreover, innumerable other such examples.  

     Yet, when the original sin is signified by the use of the 
plural number, as we say when infants are baptized "unto the 
remission of sins," instead of saying "unto the remission of sin," 
then we have the converse expression in which the singular is 
expressed by the plural number.  Thus in the Gospel, it is said of 
Herod's death, "For they are dead who sought the child's 
life"[86]; it does not say, "He is dead." And in Exodus: "They 
made," [Moses] says, "to themselves gods of gold," when they had 
made one calf.  And of this calf, they said: "These are thy gods, 
O Israel, which brought you out of the land of Egypt,"[87] here 
also putting the plural for the singular.  

     45.  Still, even in that one sin -- which "entered into the 
world by one man and so spread to all men,"[88] and on account of 
which infants are baptized -- one can recognize a plurality of 
sins, if that single sin is divided, so to say, into its separate 
elements.  For there is pride in it, since man preferred to be 
under his own rule rather than the rule of God; and sacrilege too, 
for man did not acknowledge God; and murder, since he cast himself 
down to death; and spiritual fornication, for the integrity of the 
human mind was corrupted by the seduction of the serpent; and 
theft, since the forbidden fruit was snatched; and avarice, since 
he hungered for more than should have sufficed for him -- and 
whatever other sins that could be discovered in the diligent 
analysis of that one sin.

     46.  It is also said -- and not without support -- that 
infants are involved in the sins of their parents, not only of the 
first pair, but even of their own, of whom they were born.  
Indeed, that divine judgment, "I shall visit the sins of the 
fathers on their children,"[89] definitely applies to them before 
they come into the New Covenant by regeneration.  This Covenant 
was foretold by Ezekiel when he said that the sons should not bear 
their fathers' sins, nor the proverb any longer apply in Israel, 
"Our fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are 
set on edge."[90]

     This is why each one of them must be born again, so that he 
may thereby be absolved of whatever sin was in him at the time of 
birth.  For the sins committed by evil-doing after birth can be 
healed by repentance -- as, indeed, we see it happen even after 
baptism.  For the new birth [regeneratio] would not have been 
instituted except for the fact that the first birth [generatio] 
was tainted -- and to such a degree that one born of even a lawful 
wedlock said, "I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my 
mother nourish me in her womb."[91]  Nor did he say "in iniquity" 
or "in sin," as he might have quite correctly; rather, he 
preferred to say "iniquities" and "sins," because, as I explained 
above, there are so many sins in that one sin -- which has passed 
into all men, and which was so great that human nature was changed 
and by it brought under the necessity of death -- and also because 
there are other sins, such as those of parents, which, even if 
they cannot change our nature in the same way, still involve the 
children in guilt, unless the gracious grace and mercy of God 

     47.  But, in the matter of the sins of one's other parents, 
those who stand as one's forebears from Adam down to one's own 
parents, a question might well be raised: whether a man at birth 
is involved in the evil deeds of all his forebears, and their 
multiplied original sins, so that the later in time he is born, 
the worse estate he is born in; or whether, on this very account, 
God threatens to visit the sins of the parents as far as -- but no 
farther than -- the third and fourth generations, because in his 
mercy he will not continue his wrath beyond that.  It is not his 
purpose that those not given the grace of regeneration be crushed 
under too heavy a burden in their eternal damnation, as they would 
be if they were bound to bear, as original guilt, all the sins of 
their ancestors from the beginning of the human race, and to pay 
the due penalty for them.  Whether yet another solution to so 
difficult a problem might or might not be found by a more diligent 
search and interpretation of Holy Scripture, I dare not rashly 


                          CHAPTER XIV


            The Mysteries of Christ's Mediatorial

            Work (48-49) and Justification (50-55)


     48.  That one sin, however, committed in a setting of such 
great happiness, was itself so great that by it, in one man, the 
whole human race was originally and, so to say, radically 
condemned.  It cannot be pardoned and washed away except through 
"the one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,"[92] 
who alone could be born in such a way as not to need to be reborn.

     49.  They were not reborn, those who were baptized by John's 
baptism, by which Christ himself was baptized.[93]  Rather, they 
were _prepared_ by the ministry of this forerunner, who said, 
"Prepare a way for the Lord,"[94] for Him in whom alone they could 
be reborn.

     For his baptism is not with water alone, as John's was, but 
with the Holy Spirit as well.  Thus, whoever believes in Christ is 
reborn by that same Spirit, of whom Christ also was born, needing 
not to be reborn.  This is the reason for the Voice of the Father 
spoken over him at his baptism, "Today have I begotten thee,"[95] 
which pointed not to that particular day on which he was baptized, 
but to that "day" of changeless eternity, in order to show us that 
this Man belonged to the personal Unity of the Only Begotten.  For 
a day that neither begins with the close of yesterday nor ends 
with the beginning of tomorrow is indeed an eternal "today."

     Therefore, he chose to be baptized in water by John, not 
thereby to wash away any sin of his own, but to manifest his great 
humility.  Indeed, baptism found nothing in him to wash away, just 
as death found nothing to punish.  Hence, it was in authentic 
justice, and not by violent power, that the devil was overcome and 
conquered: for, as he had most unjustly slain Him who was in no 
way deserving of death, he also did most justly lose those whom he 
had justly held in bondage as punishment for their sins.  
Wherefore, He took upon himself both baptism and death, not out of 
a piteous necessity but through his own free act of showing mercy 
-- as part of a definite plan whereby One might take away the sin 
of the world, just as one man had brought sin into the world, that 
is, the whole human race.

     50.  There is a difference, however.  The first man brought 
sin into the world, whereas this One took away not only that one 
sin but also all the others which he found added to it.  Hence, 
the apostle says, "And the gift [of grace] is not like the effect 
of the one that sinned: for the judgment on that one trespass was 
condemnation; but the gift of grace is for many offenses, and 
brings justification."[96]  Now it is clear that the one sin 
originally inherited, even if it were the only one involved, makes 
men liable to condemnation.  Yet grace justifies a man for many 
offenses, both the sin which he originally inherited in common 
with all the others and also the multitude of sins which he has 
committed on his own.

     51.  However, when he [the apostle] says, shortly after, 
"Therefore, as the offense of one man led all men to condemnation, 
so also the righteousness of one man leads all men to the life of 
justification,"[97] he indicates sufficiently that everyone born 
of Adam is subject to damnation, and no one, unless reborn of 
Christ, is free from such a damnation.

     52.  And after this discussion of punishment through one man 
and grace through the Other, as he deemed sufficient for that part 
of the epistle, the apostle passes on to speak of the great 
mystery of holy baptism in the cross of Christ, and to do this so 
that we may understand nothing other in the baptism of Christ than 
the likeness of the death of Christ.  The death of Christ 
crucified is nothing other than the likeness of the forgiveness of 
sins -- so that in the very same sense in which the death is real, 
so also is the forgiveness of our sins real, and in the same sense 
in which his resurrection is real, so also in us is there 
authentic justification.

     He asks: "What, then, shall we say?  Shall we continue in 
sin, that grace may abound?"[98] -- for he had previously said, 
"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."[99]  And 
therefore he himself raised the question whether, because of the 
abundance of grace that follows sin, one should then continue in 
sin.  But he answers, "God forbid!"  and adds, "How shall we, who 
are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"[100]  Then, to show 
that we are dead to sin, "Do you not know that all we who were 
baptized in Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?"[101]

     If, therefore, the fact that we are baptized into the death 
of Christ shows that we are dead to sin, then certainly infants 
who are baptized in Christ die to sin, since they are baptized 
into his own death.  For there is no exception in the saying, "All 
we who are baptized into Christ Jesus are baptized into his 
death." And the effect of this is to show that we are dead to sin.

     Yet what sin do infants die to in being reborn except that 
which they inherit in being born?  What follows in the epistle 
also pertains to this: "Therefore we were buried with him by 
baptism into death; that, as Christ was raised up from the dead by 
the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the 
newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in the 
likeness of his death, we shall be also united with him in the 
likeness of his resurrection, knowing this, that our old man is 
crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that 
henceforth we should not serve sin.  For he that is dead is freed 
from sin.  Now if we are dead with Christ, we believe that we 
shall also live with him: knowing that Christ, being raised from 
the dead, dies no more; death has no more dominion over him.  For 
the death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he 
lives, he lives unto God.  So also, reckon yourselves also to be 
dead to sin, but alive unto God through Christ Jesus."[102]

     Now, he had set out to prove that we should not go on 
sinning, in order that thereby grace might abound, and had said, 
"If we have died to sin, how, then, shall we go on living in it?"   
And then to show that we were dead to sin, he had added, "Know you 
not, that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were 
baptized into his death?"  Thus he concludes the passage as he 
began it.  Indeed, he introduced the death of Christ in order to 
say that even he died to sin.  To what sin, save that of the flesh 
in which he existed, not as sinner, but in "the likeness of sin" 
and which was, therefore, called by the name of sin?  Thus, to 
those baptized into the death of Christ -- into which not only 
adults but infants as well are baptized -- he says, "So also you 
should reckon yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in 
Christ Jesus."

     53.  Whatever was done, therefore, in the crucifixion of 
Christ, his burial, his resurrection on the third day, his 
ascension into heaven, his being seated at the Father's right hand 
-- all these things were done thus, that they might not only 
signify their mystical meanings but also serve as a model for the 
Christian life which we lead here on the earth.  Thus, of his 
crucifixion it was said, "And they that are Jesus Christ's have 
crucified their own flesh, with the passions and lusts 
thereof"[103]; and of his burial, "For we are buried with Christ 
by baptism into death"; of his resurrection, "Since Christ is 
raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also 
should walk with him in newness of life"; of his ascension and 
session at the Father's right hand: "But if you have risen again 
with Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ is 
sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things 
above, not on things on the earth.  For you are dead, and your 
life is hid with Christ in God."[104]

     54.  Now what we believe concerning Christ's future actions, 
since we confess that he will come again from heaven to judge the 
living and the dead, does not pertain to this life of ours as we 
live it here on earth, because it belongs not to his deeds already 
done, but to what he will do at the close of the age.  To this the 
apostle refers and goes on to add, "When Christ, who is your life, 
shall appear, you shall then also appear with him in glory."[105]

     55.  There are two ways to interpret the affirmation that he 
"shall judge the living and the dead." On the one hand, we may 
understand by "the living" those who are not yet dead but who will 
be found living in the flesh when he comes; and we may understand 
by "the dead" those who have left the body, or who shall have left 
it before his coming.  Or, on the other hand, "the living" may 
signify "the righteous," and "the dead" may signify "the 
unrighteous" -- since the righteous are to be judged as well as 
the unrighteous.  For sometimes the judgment of God is passed upon 
the evil, as in the word, "But they who have done evil [shall come 
forth] to the resurrection of judgment."[106]  And sometimes it is 
passed upon the good, as in the word, "Save me, O God, by thy 
name, and judge me in thy strength."[107]  Indeed, it is by the 
judgment of God that the distinction between good and evil is 
made, to the end that, being freed from evil and not destroyed 
with the evildoers, the good may be set apart at his right 
hand.[108]  This is why the psalmist cried, "Judge me, O God," 
and, as if to explain what he had said, "and defend my cause 
against an unholy nation."[109]


                          CHAPTER XV


         The Holy Spirit (56) and the Church (57-60)


     56.  Now, when we have spoken of Jesus Christ, the only Son 
of God our Lord, in the brevity befitting our confession of faith, 
we go on to affirm that we believe also in the Holy Spirit, as 
completing the Trinity which is God; and after that we call to 
mind our faith "in holy Church." By this we are given to 
understand that the rational creation belonging to the free 
Jerusalem ought to be mentioned in a subordinate order to the 
Creator, that is, the supreme Trinity.  For, of course, all that 
has been said about the man Christ Jesus refers to the unity of 
the Person of the Only Begotten.

     Thus, the right order of the Creed demanded[110] that the 
Church be made subordinate to the Trinity, as a house is 
subordinate to him who dwells in it, the temple to God, and the 
city to its founder.  By the Church here we are to understand the 
whole Church, not just the part that journeys here on earth from 
rising of the sun to its setting, praising the name of the 
Lord[111] and singing a new song of deliverance from its old 
captivity, but also that part which, in heaven, has always, from 
creation, held fast to God, and which never experienced the evils 
of a fall.  This part, composed of the holy angels, remains in 
blessedness, and it gives help, even as it ought, to the other 
part still on pilgrimage.  For both parts together will make one 
eternal consort, as even now they are one in the bond of love -- 
the whole instituted for the proper worship of the one God.[112]  
Wherefore, neither the whole Church nor any part of it wishes to 
be worshiped as God nor to be God to anyone belonging to the 
temple of God -- the temple that is being built up of "the gods" 
whom the uncreated God created.[113]  Consequently, if the Holy 
Spirit were creature and not Creator, he would obviously be a 
rational creature, for this is the highest of the levels of 
creation.  But in this case he would not be set in the rule of 
faith _before_ the Church, since he would then belong _to_ the 
Church, in that part of it which is in heaven.  He would not have 
a temple, for he himself would be a temple.  Yet, in fact, he hath 
a temple of which the apostle speaks, "Know you not that your body 
is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have 
from God?"[114]  In another place, he says of this body, "Know you 
not that your bodies are members of Christ?"[115]  How, then, is 
he not God who has a temple?  Or how can he be less than Christ 
whose members are his temple?  It is not that he has one temple 
and God another temple, since the same apostle says: "Know you not 
that you are the temple of God," and then, as if to prove his 
point, added, "and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

     God therefore dwelleth in his temple, not the Holy Spirit 
only, but also Father and Son, who saith of his body -- in which 
he standeth as Head of the Church on earth "that in all things he 
may be pre-eminent"[116] -- "Destroy this temple and in three days 
I will raise it up again."[117]  Therefore, the temple of God- -- 
that is, of the supreme Trinity as a whole -- is holy Church, the 
Universal Church in heaven and on the earth.

     57.  But what can we affirm about that part of the Church in 
heaven, save that in it no evil is to be found, nor any apostates, 
nor will there be again, since that time when "God did not spare 
the sinning angels" -- as the apostle Peter writes -- "but casting 
them out, he delivered them into the prisons of darkness in hell, 
to be reserved for the sentence in the Day of Judgment"[118]?

     58.  Still, how is life ordered in that most blessed and 
supernal society?  What differences are there in rank among the 
angels, so that while all are called by the general title "angels" 
-- as we read in the Epistle to the Hebrews, "But to which of the 
angels said he at any time, 'Sit at my right hand'?"[119]; this 
expression clearly signifies that all are angels without exception 
-- yet there are archangels there as well?  Again, should these 
archangels be called "powers" [virtutes], so that the verse, 
"Praise him all his angels; praise him, all his powers,"[120] 
would mean the same thing as, "Praise him, all his angels; praise 
him, all his archangels"?  Or, what distinctions are implied by 
the four designations by which the apostle seems to encompass the 
entire heavenly society, "Be they thrones or dominions, 
principalities, or powers"[121]?  Let them answer these questions 
who can, if they can indeed prove their answers.  For myself, I 
confess to ignorance of such matters.  I am not even certain about 
another question: whether the sun and moon and all the stars 
belong to that same heavenly society -- although they seem to be 
nothing more than luminous bodies, with neither perception nor 

     59.  Furthermore, who can explain the kind of bodies in which 
the angels appeared to men, so that they were not only visible, 
but tangible as well?  And, again, how do they, not by impact of 
physical stimulus but by spiritual force, bring certain visions, 
not to the physical eyes but to the spiritual eyes of the mind, or 
speak something, not to the ears, as from outside us, but actually 
from within the human soul, since they are present within it too?  
For, as it is written in the book of the Prophets: "And the angel 
that spoke in me, said to me . . ."[122]  He does not say, "Spoke 
_to_ me" but "Spoke _in_ me." How do they appear to men in sleep, 
and communicate through dreams, as we read in the Gospel: "Behold, 
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, 
saying..."[123]?  By these various modes of presentation, the 
angels seem to indicate that they do not have tangible bodies.  
Yet this raises a very difficult question: How, then, did the 
patriarchs wash the angels' feet?[124]  How, also, did Jacob 
wrestle with the angel in such a tangible fashion?[125]

     To ask such questions as these, and to guess at the answers 
as one can, is not a useless exercise in speculation, so long as 
the discussion is moderate and one avoids the mistake of those who 
think they know what they do not know.


                         CHAPTER XVI


             Problems About Heavenly and Earthly

                   Divisions of the Church


     60.  It is more important to be able to discern and tell when 
Satan transforms himself as an angel of light, lest by this 
deception he should seduce us into harmful acts.  For, when he 
deceives the corporeal senses, and does not thereby turn the mind 
from that true and right judgment by which one leads the life of 
faith, there is no danger to religion.  Or if, feigning himself to 
be good, he does or says things that would fit the character of 
the good angels, even if then we believe him good, the error is 
neither dangerous nor fatal to the Christian faith.  But when, by 
these alien wiles, he begins to lead us into his own ways, then 
great vigilance is required to recognize him and not follow after.  
But how few men are there who are able to avoid his deadly 
stratagems, unless God guides and preserves them!  Yet the very 
difficulty of this business is useful in this respect: it shows 
that no man should rest his hopes in himself, nor one man in 
another, but all who are God's should cast their hopes on him.  
And that this latter is obviously the best course for us no pious 
man would deny.

     61.  This part of the Church, therefore, which is composed of 
the holy angels and powers of God will become known to us as it 
really is only when, at the end of the age, we are joined to it, 
to possess, together with it, eternal bliss.  But the other part 
which, separated from this heavenly company, wanders through the 
earth is better known to us because we are in it, and because it 
is composed of men like ourselves.  This is the part that has been 
redeemed from all sin by the blood of the sinless Mediator, and 
its cry is: "If God be for us, who is against us?  He that spared 
not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all. . . ."[126]  Now 
Christ did not die for the angels.  But still, what was done for 
man by his death for man's redemption and his deliverance from 
evil was done for the angels also, because by it the enmity caused 
by sin between men and the angels is removed and friendship 
restored.  Moreover, this redemption of mankind serves to repair 
the ruins left by the angelic apostasy.

     62.  Of course, the holy angels, taught by God -- in the 
eternal contemplation of whose truth they are blessed -- know how 
many of the human race are required to fill up the full census of 
that commonwealth.  This is why the apostle says "that all things 
are restored to unity in Christ, both those in heaven and those on 
the earth in him."[127]  The part in heaven is indeed restored 
when the number lost from the angelic apostasy are replaced from 
the ranks of mankind.  The part on earth is restored when those 
men predestined to eternal life are redeemed from the old state of 

     Thus by the single sacrifice, of which the many victims of 
the law were only shadows, the heavenly part is set at peace with 
the earthly part and the earthly reconciled to the heavenly.  
Wherefore, as the same apostle says: "For it pleased God that all 
plenitude of being should dwell in him and by him to reconcile all 
things to himself, making peace with them by the blood of his 
cross, whether those things on earth or those in heaven."[128]

     63.  This peace, as it is written, "passes all 
understanding." It cannot be known by us until we have entered 
into it.  For how is the heavenly realm set at peace, save 
together with us; that is, by concord with us?  For in that realm 
there is always peace, both among the whole company of rational 
creatures and between them and their Creator.  This is the peace 
that, as it is said, "passes all understanding." But obviously 
this means _our_ understanding, not that of those who always see 
the Father's face.  For no matter how great our understanding may 
be, "we know in part, and we see in a glass darkly."[129]  But 
when we shall have become "equal to God's angels,"[130] then, even 
as they do, "we shall see face to face."[131]  And we shall then 
have as great amity toward them as they have toward us; for we 
shall come to love them as much as we are loved by them.

     In this way their peace will become known to us, since ours 
will be like theirs in kind and measure -- nor will it then 
surpass our understanding.  But the peace of God, which is there, 
will still doubtless surpass our understanding and theirs as well.  
For, of course, in so far as a rational creature is blessed, this 
blessedness comes, not from himself, but from God.  Hence, it 
follows that it is better to interpret the passage, "The peace of 
God which passes all understanding," so that from the word "all" 
not even the understanding of the holy angels should be excepted.  
Only God's understanding is excepted; for, of course, his peace 
does not surpass his own understanding.


                         CHAPTER XVII


              Forgiveness of Sins in the Church


     64.  The angels are in concord with us even now, when our 
sins are forgiven.  Therefore, in the order of the Creed, after 
the reference to "holy Church" is placed the reference to 
"forgiveness of sins." For it is by this that the part of the 
Church on earth stands; it is by this that "what was lost and is 
found again"[132] is not lost again.  Of course, the gift of 
baptism is an exception.  It is an antidote given us against 
original sin, so that what is contracted by birth is removed by 
the new birth -- though it also takes away actual sins as well, 
whether of heart, word, or deed.  But except for this great 
remission -- the beginning point of a man's renewal, in which all 
guilt, inherited and acquired, is washed away -- the rest of life, 
from the age of accountability (and no matter how vigorously we 
progress in righteousness), is not without the need for the 
forgiveness of sins.  This is the case because the sons of God, as 
long as they live this mortal life, are in a conflict with death.  
And although it is truly said of them, "As many as are led by the 
Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,"[133] yet even as they 
are being led by the Spirit of God and, as sons of God, advance 
toward God, they are also being led by their own spirits so that, 
weighed down by the corruptible body and influenced by certain 
human feelings, they thus fall away from themselves and commit 
sin.  But it matters _how much_.  Although every crime is a sin, 
not every sin is a crime.  Thus we can say of the life of holy men 
even while they live in this mortality, that they are found 
without crime.  "But if we say that we have no sin," as the great 
apostle says, "we deceive even ourselves, and the truth is not in 

     65.  Nevertheless, no matter how great our crimes, their 
forgiveness should never be despaired of in holy Church for those 
who truly repent, each according to the measure of his sin.  And, 
in the act of repentance,[135] where a crime has been committed of 
such gravity as also to cut off the sinner from the body of 
Christ, we should not consider the measure of time as much as the 
measure of sorrow.  For, "a contrite and humbled heart God will 
not despise."[136]

     Still, since the sorrow of one heart is mostly hid from 
another, and does not come to notice through words and other such 
signs -- even when it is plain to Him of whom it is said, "My 
groaning is not hid from thee"[137] -- times of repentance have 
been rightly established by those set over the churches, that 
satisfaction may also be made in the Church, in which the sins are 
forgiven.  For, of course, outside her they are not forgiven.  For 
she alone has received the pledge of the Holy Spirit,[138] without 
whom there is no forgiveness of sins.  Those forgiven thus obtain 
life everlasting.

     66.  Now the remission of sins has chiefly to do with the 
future judgment.  In this life the Scripture saying holds true: "A 
heavy yoke is on the sons of Adam, from the day they come forth 
from their mother's womb till the day of their burial in the 
mother of us all."[139]  Thus we see even infants, after the 
washing of regeneration, tortured by divers evil afflictions.  
This helps us to understand that the whole import of the 
sacraments of salvation has to do more with the hope of future 
goods than with the retaining or attaining of present goods.

     Indeed, many sins seem to be ignored and go unpunished; but 
their punishment is reserved for the future.  It is not in vain 
that the day when the Judge of the living and the dead shall come 
is rightly called the Day of Judgment.  Just so, on the other 
hand, some sins are punished here, and, if they are forgiven, will 
certainly bring no harm upon us in the future age.  Hence, 
referring to certain temporal punishments, which are visited upon 
sinners in this life, the apostle, speaking to those whose sins 
are blotted out and not reserved to the end, says: "For if we 
judge ourselves truly we should not be judged by the Lord.  But 
when we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we may not 
be condemned along with this world."[140]


                      CHAPTER XVIII[141]


                       Faith and Works


     67.  There are some, indeed, who believe that those who do 
not abandon the name of Christ, and who are baptized in his laver 
in the Church, who are not cut off from it by schism or heresy, 
who may then live in sins however great, not washing them away by 
repentance, nor redeeming them by alms -- and who obstinately 
persevere in them to life's last day -- even these will still be 
saved, "though as by fire." They believe that such people will be 
punished by fire, prolonged in proportion to their sins, but still 
not eternal.

     But those who believe thus, and still are Catholics, are 
deceived, as it seems to me, by a kind of merely human 
benevolence.  For the divine Scripture, when consulted, answers 
differently.  Moreover, I have written a book about this question, 
entitled Faith and Works,[142] in which, with God's help, I have 
shown as best I could that, according to Holy Scripture, the faith 
that saves is the faith that the apostle Paul adequately describes 
when he says, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails 
anything, nor uncircumcision, but the faith which works through 
love."[143]  But if faith works evil and not good, then without 
doubt, according to the apostle James "it is dead in itself."[144]  
He then goes on to say, "If a man says he has faith, yet has not 
works, can his faith be enough to save him?"[145]

     Now, if the wicked man were to be saved by fire on account of 
his faith only, and if this is the way the statement of the 
blessed Paul should be understood -- "But he himself shall be 
saved, yet so as by fire"[146] -- then faith without works would 
be sufficient to salvation.  But then what the apostle James said 
would be false.  And also false would be another statement of the 
same Paul himself: "Do not err," he says; "neither fornicators, 
nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor the unmanly, nor homosexuals, 
nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor 
extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God."[147]  Now, if 
those who persist in such crimes as these are nevertheless saved 
by their faith in Christ, would they not then be in the Kingdom of 

     68.  But, since these fully plain and most pertinent 
apostolic testimonies cannot be false, that one obscure saying 
about those who build on "the foundation, which is Christ, not 
gold, silver, and precious stones, but wood, hay, and 
stubble"[148] -- for it is about these it is said that they will 
be saved as by fire, not perishing on account of the saving worth 
of their foundation -- such a statement must be interpreted so 
that it does not contradict these fully plain testimonies.

     In fact, wood and hay and stubble may be understood, without 
absurdity, to signify such an attachment to those worldly things 
-- albeit legitimate in themselves -- that one cannot suffer their 
loss without anguish in the soul.  Now, when such anguish "burns," 
and Christ still holds his place as foundation in the heart -- 
that is, if nothing is preferred to him and if the man whose 
anguish "burns" would still prefer to suffer loss of the things he 
greatly loves than to lose Christ -- then one is saved, "by fire." 
But if, in time of testing, he should prefer to hold onto these 
temporal and worldly goods rather than to Christ, he does not have 
him as foundation -- because he has put "things" in the first 
place -- whereas in a building nothing comes before the 

     Now, this fire, of which the apostle speaks, should be 
understood as one through which both kinds of men must pass: that 
is, the man who builds with gold, silver, and precious stones on 
this foundation and also the man who builds with wood, hay, and 
stubble.  For, when he had spoken of this, he added: "The fire 
shall try every man's work, of what sort it is.  If any man's work 
abides which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  
If any man's work burns up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself 
shall be saved, yet so as by fire."[149]  Therefore the fire will 
test the work, not only of the one, but of both.

     The fire is a sort of trial of affliction, concerning which 
it is clearly written elsewhere: "The furnace tries the potter's 
vessels and the trial of affliction tests righteous men."[150]  
This kind of fire works in the span of this life, just as the 
apostle said, as it affects the two different kinds of faithful 
men.  There is, for example, the man who "thinks of the things of 
God, how he may please God." Such a man builds on Christ the 
foundation, with gold, silver, and precious stones.  The other man 
"thinks about the things of the world, how he may please his 
wife"[151]; that is, he builds upon the same foundation with wood, 
hay, and stubble.  The work of the former is not burned up, since 
he has not loved those things whose loss brings anguish.  But the 
work of the latter is burned up, since things are not lost without 
anguish when they have been loved with a possessive love.  But 
because, in this second situation, he prefers to suffer the loss 
of these things rather than losing Christ, and does not desert 
Christ from fear of losing such things -- even though he may 
grieve over his loss -- "he is saved," indeed, "yet so as by 
fire." He "burns" with grief, for the things he has loved and 
lost, but this does not subvert nor consume him, secured as he is 
by the stability and the indestructibility of his foundation.

     69.  It is not incredible that something like this should 
occur after this life, whether or not it is a matter for fruitful 
inquiry.  It may be discovered or remain hidden whether some of 
the faithful are sooner or later to be saved by a sort of 
purgatorial fire, in proportion as they have loved the goods that 
perish, and in proportion to their attachment to them.  However, 
this does not apply to those of whom it was said, "They shall not 
possess the Kingdom of God,"[152] unless their crimes are remitted 
through due repentance.  I say "due repentance" to signify that 
they must not be barren of almsgiving, on which divine Scripture 
lays so much stress that our Lord tells us in advance that, on the 
bare basis of fruitfulness in alms, he will impute merit to those 
on his right hand; and, on the same basis of unfruitfulness, 
demerit to those on his left -- when he shall say to the former, 
"Come, blessed of my Father, receive the Kingdom," but to the 
latter, "Depart into everlasting fire."[153]


                         CHAPTER XIX


                 Almsgiving and Forgiveness


     70.  We must beware, however, lest anyone suppose that 
unspeakable crimes such as they commit who "will not possess the 
Kingdom of God" can be perpetrated daily and then daily redeemed 
by almsgiving.  Of course, life must be changed for the better, 
and alms should be offered as propitiation to God for our past 
sins.  But he is not somehow to be bought off, as if we always had 
a license to commit crimes with impunity.  For, "he has given no 
man a license to sin"[154] -- although, in his mercy, he does blot 
out sins already committed, if due satisfaction for them is not 

     71.  For the passing and trivial sins of every day, from 
which no life is free, the everyday prayer of the faithful makes 
satisfaction.  For they can say, "Our Father who art in heaven," 
who have already been reborn to such a Father "by water and the 
Spirit."[155]  This prayer completely blots out our minor and 
everyday sins.  It also blots out those sins which once made the 
life of the faithful wicked, but from which, now that they have 
changed for the better by repentance, they have departed.  The 
condition of this is that just as they truly say, "Forgive us our 
debts" (since there is no lack of debts to be forgiven), so also 
they truly say, "As we forgive our debtors"[156]; that is, if what 
is said is also done.  For to forgive a man who seeks forgiveness 
is indeed to give alms.

     72.  Accordingly, what our Lord says -- "Give alms and, 
behold, all things are clean to you"[157] -- applies to all useful 
acts of mercy.  Therefore, not only the man who gives food to the 
hungry, drink to the thirsty, clothing to the naked, hospitality 
to the wayfarer, refuge to the fugitive; who visits the sick and 
the prisoner, redeems the captive, bears the burdens of the weak, 
leads the blind, comforts the sorrowful, heals the sick, shows the 
errant the right way, gives advice to the perplexed, and does 
whatever is needful for the needy[158] -- not only does this man 
give alms, but the man who forgives the trespasser also gives alms 
as well.  He is also a giver of alms who, by blows or other 
discipline, corrects and restrains those under his command, if at 
the same time he forgives from the heart the sin by which he has 
been wronged or offended, or prays that it be forgiven the 
offender.  Such a man gives alms, not only in that he forgives and 
prays, but also in that he rebukes and administers corrective 
punishment, since in this he shows mercy.

     Now, many benefits are bestowed on the unwilling, when their 
interests and not their preferences are consulted.  And men 
frequently are found to be their own enemies, while those they 
suppose to be their enemies are their true friends.  And then, by 
mistake, they return evil for good, when a Christian ought not to 
return evil even for evil.  Thus, there are many kinds of alms, by 
which, when we do them, we are helped in obtaining forgiveness of 
our own sins.

     73.  But none of these alms is greater than the forgiveness 
from the heart of a sin committed against us by someone else.  It 
is a smaller thing to wish well or even to do well to one who has 
done you no evil.  It is far greater -- a sort of magnificent 
goodness -- to love your enemy, and always to wish him well and, 
as you can, _do_ well to him who wishes you ill and who does you 
harm when he can.  Thus one heeds God's command: "Love your 
enemies, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that 
persecute you."[159]

     Such counsels are for the perfect sons of God.  And although 
all the faithful should strive toward them and through prayer to 
God and earnest endeavor bring their souls up to this level, still 
so high a degree of goodness is not possible for so great a 
multitude as we believe are heard when, in prayer, they say, 
"Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Accordingly, it 
cannot be doubted that the terms of this pledge are fulfilled if a 
man, not yet so perfect that he already loves his enemies, still 
forgives from the heart one who has sinned against him and who now 
asks his forgiveness.  For he surely seeks forgiveness when he 
asks for it when he prays, saying, "As we forgive our debtors." 
For this means, "Forgive us our debts when we ask for forgiveness, 
as we also forgive our debtors when they ask for forgiveness."

     74.  Again, if one seeks forgiveness from a man against whom 
he sinned -- moved by his sin to seek it -- he should no longer be 
regarded as an enemy, and it should not now be as difficult to 
love him as it was when he was actively hostile.

     Now, a man who does not forgive from the heart one who asks 
forgiveness and is repentant of his sins can in no way suppose 
that his own sins are forgiven by the Lord, since the Truth cannot 
lie, and what hearer and reader of the gospel has not noted who it 
was who said, "I am the Truth"[160]?  It is, of course, the One 
who, when he was teaching the prayer, strongly emphasized this 
sentence which he put in it, saying: "For if you forgive men their 
trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you your 
trespasses.  But if you will not forgive men, neither will your 
Father forgive you your offenses."[161]  He who is not awakened by 
such great thundering is not asleep, but dead.  And yet such a 
word has power to awaken even the dead.


                          CHAPTER XX


                     Spiritual Almsgiving


     75.  Now, surely, those who live in gross wickedness and take 
no care to correct their lives and habits, who yet, amid their 
crimes and misdeeds, continue to multiply their alms, flatter 
themselves in vain with the Lord's words, "Give alms; and, behold, 
all things are clean to you." They do not understand how far this 
saying reaches.  In order for them to understand, let them notice 
to whom it was that he said it.  For this is the context of it in 
the Gospel: "As he was speaking, a certain Pharisee asked him to 
dine with him.  And he went in and reclined at the table.  And the 
Pharisee began to wonder and ask himself why He had not washed 
himself before dinner.  But the Lord said to him: 'Now you 
Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but within 
you are still full of extortion and wickedness.  Foolish ones!  
Did not He who made the outside make the inside too?  
Nevertheless, give for alms what remains within; and, behold, all 
things are clean to you.'"[162] Should we interpret this to mean 
that to the Pharisees, who had not the faith of Christ, all things 
are clean if only they give alms, as they deem it right to give 
them, even if they have not believed in him, nor been reborn of 
water and the Spirit?  But all are unclean who are not made clean 
by the faith of Christ, of whom it is written, "Cleansing their 
hearts by faith."[163]  And as the apostle said, "But to them that 
are unclean and unbelieving nothing is clean; both their minds and 
consciences are unclean."[164]  How, then, should all things be 
clean to the Pharisees, even if they gave alms, but were not 
believers?  Or, how could they be believers, if they were 
unwilling to believe in Christ and to be born again in his grace?  
And yet, what they heard is true: "Give alms; and behold, all 
things are clean to you."

     76.  He who would give alms as a set plan of his life should 
begin with himself and give them to himself.  For almsgiving is a 
work of mercy, and the saying is most true: "Have mercy upon your 
own soul, pleasing God."[165]  The purpose of the new birth is 
that we should become pleasing to God, who is justly displeased 
with the sin we contracted in birth.  This is the first 
almsgiving, which we give to ourselves -- when through the mercy 
of a merciful God we come to inquire about our wretchedness and 
come to acknowledge the just verdict by which we were put in need 
of that mercy, of which the apostle says, "Judgment came by that 
one trespass to condemnation."[166]  And the same herald of grace 
then adds (in a word of thanksgiving for God's great love), "But 
God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet 
sinners, Christ died for us."[167]  Thus, when we come to a valid 
estimate of our wretchedness and begin to love God with the love 
he himself giveth us, we then begin to live piously and 

     But the Pharisees, while they gave as alms a tithing of even 
the least of their fruits, disregarded this "judgment and love of 
God." Therefore, they did not begin their almsgiving with 
themselves, nor did they, first of all, show mercy toward 
themselves.  In reference to this right order of self-love, it was 
said, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."[168]

     Therefore, when the Lord had reproved the Pharisees for 
washing themselves on the outside while inwardly they were still 
full of extortion and wickedness, he then admonished them also to 
give those alms which a man owes first to himself -- to make clean 
the inner man: "However," he said, "give what remains as alms, 
and, behold, all things are clean to you." Then, to make plain the 
import of his admonition, which they had ignored, and to show them 
that he was not ignorant of their kind of almsgiving, he adds, 
"But woe to you, Pharisees"[169] -- as if to say, "I am advising 
you to give the kind of alms which shall make all things clean to 
you." "But woe to you, for you tithe mint and rue and every herb" 
-- "I know these alms of yours and you need not think I am 
admonishing you to give them up" -- "and then neglect justice and 
the love of God." "_This_ kind of almsgiving would make you clean 
from all inward defilement, just as the bodies which you wash are 
made clean by you." For the word "all" here means both "inward" 
and "outward" -- as elsewhere we read, "Make clean the inside, and 
the outside will become clean."[170]

     But, lest it appear that he was rejecting the kind of alms we 
give of the earth's bounty, he adds, "These things you should do" 
-- that is, pay heed to the judgment and love of God -- and "not 
omit the others" -- that is, alms done with the earth's bounty.

     77.  Therefore, let them not deceive themselves who suppose 
that by giving alms -- however profusely, and whether of their 
fruits or money or anything else -- they purchase impunity to 
continue in the enormity of their crimes and the grossness of 
their wickedness.  For not only do they do such things, but they 
also love them so much that they would always choose to continue 
in them -- if they could do so with impunity.  "But he who loves 
iniquity hates his own soul."[171]  And he who hates his own soul 
is not merciful but cruel to it.  For by loving it after the 
world's way he hates it according to God's way of judging.  
Therefore, if one really wished to give alms to himself, that all 
things might become clean to him, he would hate his soul after the 
world's way and love it according to God's way.  No one, however, 
gives any alms at all unless he gives from the store of Him who 
needs not anything.  "Accordingly," it is said, "His mercy shall 
go before me."[172]


                         CHAPTER XXI


                   Problems of Casuistry


     78.  What sins are trivial and what are grave, however, is 
not for human but for divine judgment to determine.  For we see 
that, in respect of some sins, even the apostle, by pardoning 
them, has conceded this point.  Such a case is seen in what the 
venerable Paul says to married folks: "Do not deprive one another, 
except by consent for a time to give yourselves to prayer, and 
then return together lest Satan tempt you at the point of self-
control."[173]  One could consider that it is not a sin for a 
married couple to have intercourse, not only for the sake of 
procreating children -- which is the good of marriage -- but also 
for the sake of the carnal pleasure involved.  Thus, those whose 
self-control is weak could avoid fornication, or adultery, and 
other kinds of impurity too shameful to name, into which their 
lust might drag them through Satan's tempting.  Therefore one 
could, as I said, consider this not a sin, had the apostle not 
added, "But I say this as a concession, not as a rule." Who, then, 
denies that it is a sin when he agrees that apostolic authority 
for doing it is given only by "concession"? 

     Another such case is seen where he says, "Dare any of you, 
having a case against another, bring it to be judged before the 
unrighteous and not the saints?"[174]  And a bit later: "If, 
therefore, you have cases concerning worldly things," he says, 
"you appoint those who are contemptible in the Church's eyes.  I 
say this to shame you.  Can it be that there is not a wise man 
among you, who could judge between his brethren?  But brother goes 
to law with brother, and that in the presence of 
unbelievers."[175]  And here it might be thought that it was not a 
sin to bring suit against a brother, and that the only sin 
consisted in wishing it judged outside the Church, if the apostle 
had not added immediately, "Now therefore the whole fault among 
you is that you have lawsuits with one another."[176]  Then, lest 
someone excuse himself on this point by saying that he had a just 
cause and was suffering injustice which he wished removed by 
judicial sentence, the apostle directly resists such thoughts and 
excuses by saying: "Why not rather suffer iniquity?  Why not 
rather be defrauded?"[177]  Thus we are brought back to that 
saying of the Lord: "If anyone would take your tunic and contend 
in court with you, let go your cloak also."[178]  And in another 
place: "If a man takes away your goods, seek them not back."[179]  
Thus, he forbids his own to go to court with other men in secular 
suits.  And it is because of this teaching that the apostle says 
that this kind of action is "a fault." Still, when he allows such 
suits to be decided in the Church, brothers judging brothers, yet 
sternly forbids such a thing outside the Church, it is clear that 
some concession is being made here for the infirmities of the 

     Because of these and similar sins -- and of others even less 
than these, such as offenses in words and thoughts -- and because, 
as the apostle James confesses, "we all offend in many 
things,"[180] it behooves us to pray to the Lord daily and often, 
and say, "Forgive us our debts," and not lie about what follows 
this petition, "As we also forgive our debtors."

     79.  There are, however, some sins that could be deemed quite 
trifling if the Scriptures did not show that they are more serious 
than we think.  For who would suppose that one saying to his 
brother, "You fool," is "in danger of hell-fire," if the Truth had 
not said it?  Still, for the hurt he immediately supplied a 
medicine, adding the precept of brotherly reconciliation: "If, 
therefore, you are offering a gift at the altar, and remember 
there that your brother has something against you,"[181] etc.

     Or who would think how great a sin it is to observe days and 
months and years and seasons -- as those people do who will or 
will not begin projects on certain days or in certain months or 
years, because they follow vain human doctrines and suppose that 
various seasons are lucky or unlucky -- if we did not infer the 
magnitude of this evil from the apostle's fear, in saying to such 
men, "I fear for you, lest perhaps I have labored among you in 

     80.  To this one might add those sins, however grave and 
terrible, which, when they come to be habitual, are then believed 
to be trivial or no sins at all.  And so far does this go that 
such sins are not only not kept secret, but are even proclaimed 
and published abroad -- cases of which it is written, "The sinner 
is praised in the desires of his soul; and he that works iniquity 
is blessed."[183]

     In the divine books such iniquity is called a "cry" (clamor).  
You have such a usage in the prophet Isaiah's reference to the 
evil vineyard: "I looked that he should perform justice, yet he 
did iniquity; not justice but a cry."[184]  So also is that 
passage in Genesis: "The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is 
multiplied,"[185] for among these people such crimes were not only 
unpunished, but were openly committed, as if sanctioned by law.

     So also in our times so many evils, even if not like those 
[of old], have come to be public customs that we not only do not 
dare excommunicate a layman; we do not dare degrade a clergyman 
for them.  Thus, several years ago, when I was expounding the 
Epistle to the Galatians, where the apostle says, "I fear for you, 
lest perchance I have labored in vain among you," I was moved to 
exclaim: "Woe to the sins of men!  We shrink from them only when 
we are not accustomed to them.  As for those sins to which we are 
accustomed -- although the blood of the Son of God was shed to 
wash them away -- although they are so great that the Kingdom of 
God is wholly closed to them, yet, living with them often we come 
to tolerate them, and, tolerating them, we even practice some of 
them!  But grant, O Lord, that we do not practice any of them 
which we could prohibit!"  I shall someday know whether immoderate 
indignation moved me here to speak rashly.


                         CHAPTER XXII


                    The Two Causes of Sin


     81.  I shall now mention what I have often discussed before 
in other places in my short treatises.[186]  We sin from two 
causes: either from not seeing what we ought to do, or else from 
not doing what we have already seen we ought to do.  Of these two, 
the first is ignorance of the evil; the second, weakness.

     We must surely fight against both; but we shall as surely be 
defeated unless we are divinely helped, not only to see what we 
ought to do, but also, as sound judgment increases, to make our 
love of righteousness victor over our love of those things because 
of which -- either by desiring to possess them or by fearing to 
lose them -- we fall, open-eyed, into known sin.  In this latter 
case, we are not only sinners -- which we are even when we sin 
through ignorance -- but also lawbreakers: for we do not do what 
we should, and we do what we know already we should not.

     Accordingly, we should pray for pardon if we have sinned, as 
we do when we say, "Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our 
debtors." But we should also pray that God should guide us away 
from sin, and this we do when we say, "Lead us not into 
temptation" -- and we should make our petitions to Him of whom it 
is said in the psalm, "The Lord is my light and my 
salvation"[187]; that, as Light, he may take away our ignorance, 
as Salvation, our weakness.

     82.  Now, penance itself is often omitted because of 
weakness, even when in Church custom there is an adequate reason 
why it should be performed.  For shame is the fear of displeasing 
men, when a man loves their good opinion more than he regards 
judgment, which would make him humble himself in penitence.  
Wherefore, not only for one to repent, but also in order that he 
may be enabled to do so, the mercy of God is prerequisite.  
Otherwise, the apostle would not say of some men, "In case God 
giveth them repentance."[188]  And, similarly, that Peter might be 
enabled to weep bitterly, the Evangelist tells, "The Lord looked 
at him."[189]

     83.  But the man who does not believe that sins are forgiven 
in the Church, who despises so great a bounty of the divine gifts 
and ends, and persists to his last day in such an obstinacy of 
mind -- that man is guilty of the unpardonable sin against the 
Holy Spirit, in whom Christ forgiveth sins.[190]  I have discussed 
this difficult question, as clearly as I could, in a little book 
devoted exclusively to this very point.[191]


                        CHAPTER XXIII


              The Reality of the Resurrection


     84.  Now, with respect to the resurrection of the body -- and 
by this I do not mean the cases of resuscitation after which 
people died again, but a resurrection to eternal life after the 
fashion of Christ's own body -- I have not found a way to discuss 
it briefly and still give satisfactory answers to all the 
questions usually raised about it.  Yet no Christian should have 
the slightest doubt as to the fact that the bodies of all men, 
whether already or yet to be born, whether dead or still to die, 
will be resurrected.

     85.  Once this fact is established, then, first of all, comes 
the question about abortive fetuses, which are indeed "born" in 
the mother's womb, but are never so that they could be "reborn." 
For, if we say that there is a resurrection for them, then we can 
agree that at least as much is true of fetuses that are fully 
formed.  But, with regard to undeveloped fetuses, who would not 
more readily think that they perish, like seeds that did not 

     But who, then, would dare to deny -- though he would not dare 
to affirm it either -- that in the resurrection day what is 
lacking in the forms of things will be filled out?  Thus, the 
perfection which time would have accomplished will not be lacking, 
any more than the blemishes wrought by time will still be present.  
Nature, then, will be cheated of nothing apt and fitting which 
time's passage would have brought, nor will anything remain 
disfigured by anything adverse and contrary which time has 
wrought.  But what is not yet a whole will become whole, just as 
what has been disfigured will be restored to its full figure.

     86.  On this score, a corollary question may be most 
carefully discussed by the most learned men, and still I do not 
know that any man can answer it, namely: When does a human being 
begin to live in the womb?  Is there some form of hidden life, not 
yet apparent in the motions of a living thing?  To deny, for 
example, that those fetuses ever lived at all which are cut away 
limb by limb and cast out of the wombs of pregnant women, lest the 
mothers die also if the fetuses were left there dead, would seem 
much too rash.  But, in any case, once a man begins to live, it is 
thereafter possible for him to die.  And, once dead, wheresoever 
death overtook him, I cannot find the basis on which he would not 
have a share in the resurrection of the dead.

     87.  By the same token, the resurrection is not to be denied 
in the cases of monsters which are born and live, even if they 
quickly die, nor should we believe that they will be raised as 
they were, but rather in an amended nature and free from faults.  
Far be it from us to say of that double-limbed man recently born 
in the Orient -- about whom most reliable brethren have given 
eyewitness reports and the presbyter Jerome, of holy memory, has 
left a written account[193] -- far be it from us, I say, to 
suppose that at the resurrection there will be one double man, and 
not rather two men, as there would have been if they had actually 
been born twins.  So also in other cases, which, because of some 
excess or defect or gross deformity, are called monsters: at the 
resurrection they will be restored to the normal human 
physiognomy, so that every soul will have its own body and not two 
bodies joined together, even though they were born this way.  
Every soul will have, as its own, all that is required to complete 
a whole human body.

     88.  Moreover, with God, the earthly substance from which the 
flesh of mortal man is produced does not perish.  Instead, whether 
it be dissolved into dust or ashes, or dispersed into vapors and 
the winds, or converted into the substance of other bodies (or 
even back into the basic elements themselves), or has served as 
food for beasts or even men and been turned into their flesh -- in 
an instant of time this matter returns to the soul that first 
animated it, and that caused it to become a man, to live and to 

     89.  This earthly matter which becomes a corpse upon the 
soul's departure will not, at the resurrection, be so restored 
that the parts into which it was separated and which have become 
parts of other things must necessarily return to the same parts of 
the body in which they were situated -- though they do return to 
the body from which they were separated.  Otherwise, to suppose 
that the hair recovers what frequent clippings have taken off, or 
the nails get back what trimming has pared off, makes for a wild 
and wholly unbecoming image in the minds of those who speculate 
this way and leads them thus to disbelieve in the resurrection.  
But take the example of a statue made of fusible metal: if it were 
melted by heat or pounded into dust, or reduced to a shapeless 
mass, and an artist wished to restore it again from the mass of 
the same material, it would make no difference to the wholeness of 
the restored statue which part of it was remade of what part of 
the metal, so long as the statue, as restored, had been given all 
the material of which it was originally composed.  Just so, God -- 
an artist who works in marvelous and mysterious ways -- will 
restore our bodies, with marvelous and mysterious celerity, out of 
the whole of the matter of which it was originally composed.  And 
it will make no difference, in the restoration, whether hair 
returns to hair and nails to nails, or whether the part of this 
original matter that had perished is turned back into flesh and 
restored to other parts of the body.  The main thing is that the 
providence of the [divine] Artist takes care that nothing 
unbecoming will result.

     90.  Nor does it follow that the stature of each person will 
be different when brought to life anew because there were 
differences in stature when first alive, nor that the lean will be 
raised lean or the fat come back to life in their former obesity.  
But if this is in the Creator's plan, that each shall retain his 
special features and the proper and recognizable likeness of his 
former self -- while an equality of physical endowment will be 
preserved -- then the matter of which each resurrection body is 
composed will be so disposed that none shall be lost, and any 
defect will be supplied by Him who can create out of nothing as he 

     But if in the bodies of those rising again there is to be an 
intelligible inequality, such as between voices that fill out a 
chorus, this will be managed by disposing the matter of each body 
so to bring men into their place in the angelic band and impose 
nothing on their senses that is inharmonious.  For surely nothing 
unseemly will be there, and whatever is there will be fitting, and 
this because the unfitting will simply not be.

     91.  The bodies of the saints, then, shall rise again free 
from blemish and deformity, just as they will be also free from 
corruption, encumbrance, or handicap.  Their facility [facilitas] 
will be as complete as their felicity [felicitas].  This is why 
their bodies are called "spiritual," though undoubtedly they will 
be bodies and not spirits.  For just as now the body is called 
"animate" [animale], though it is a body and not a "spirit" 
[anima], so then it will be a "spiritual body," but still a body 
and not a spirit.

     Accordingly, then, as far as the corruption which weighs down 
the soul and the vices through which "the flesh lusts against the 
spirit"[194] are concerned, there will be no "flesh," but only 
body, since there are bodies that are called "heavenly 
bodies."[195]  This is why it is said, "Flesh and blood shall not 
inherit the Kingdom of God," and then, as if to expound what was 
said, it adds, "Neither shall corruption inherit 
incorruption."[196]  What the writer first called "flesh and 
blood" he later called "corruption," and what he first called "the 
Kingdom of God" he then later called "incorruption."

     But, as far as the substance of the resurrection body is 
concerned, it will even then still be "flesh." This is why the 
body of Christ is called "flesh" even after the resurrection.  
Wherefore the apostle also says, "What is sown a natural body 
[corpus animale] rises as a spiritual body [corpus 
spirituale]."[197]  For there will then be such a concord between 
flesh and spirit -- the spirit quickening the servant flesh 
without any need of sustenance therefrom -- that there will be no 
further conflict within ourselves.  And just as there will be no 
more external enemies to bear with, so neither shall we have to 
bear with ourselves as enemies within.

     92.  But whoever are not liberated from that mass of 
perdition (brought to pass through the first man) by the one 
Mediator between God and man, they will also rise again, each in 
his own flesh, but only that they may be punished together with 
the devil and his angels.  Whether these men will rise again with 
all their faults and deformities, with their diseased and deformed 
members -- is there any reason for us to labor such a question?  
For obviously the uncertainty about their bodily form and beauty 
need not weary us, since their damnation is certain and eternal.  
And let us not be moved to inquire how their body can be 
incorruptible if it can suffer -- or corruptible if it cannot die.  
For there is no true life unless it be lived in happiness; no true 
incorruptibility save where health is unscathed by pain.  But 
where an unhappy being is not allowed to die, then death itself, 
so to say, dies not; and where pain perpetually afflicts but never 
destroys, corruption goes on endlessly.  This state is called, in 
the Scripture, "the second death."[198]

     93.  Yet neither the first death, in which the soul is 
compelled to leave its body, nor the second death, in which it is 
not allowed to leave the body undergoing punishment, would have 
befallen man if no one had sinned.  Surely, the lightest of all 
punishments will be laid on those who have added no further sin to 
that originally contracted.  Among the rest, who have added 
further Sins to that one, they will suffer a damnation somewhat 
more tolerable in proportion to the lesser degree of their 


                         CHAPTER XXIV


       The Solution to Present Spiritual Enigmas to Be 

           Awaited in the Life of the World To Come


     94.  And thus it will be that while the reprobated angels and 
men go on in their eternal punishment, the saints will go on 
learning more fully the blessings which grace has bestowed upon 
them.  Then, through the actual realities of their experience, 
they will see more clearly the meaning of what is written in The 
Psalms: "I will sing to thee of mercy and judgment, O Lord"[199] 
-- since no one is set free save by unmerited mercy and no one is 
damned save by a merited condemnation.

     95.  Then what is now hidden will not be hidden: when one of 
two infants is taken up by God's mercy and the other abandoned 
through God's judgment -- and when the chosen one knows what would 
have been his just deserts in judgment -- why was the one chosen 
rather than the other, when the condition of the two was the same?  
Or again, why were miracles not wrought in the presence of certain 
people who would have repented in the face of miraculous works, 
while miracles were wrought in the presence of those who were not 
about to believe.  For our Lord saith most plainly: "Woe to you, 
Chorazin; woe to you, Bethsaida.  For if in Tyre and Sidon had 
been wrought the miracles done in your midst, they would have 
repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."[200]  Now, obviously, 
God did not act unjustly in not willing their salvation, even 
though they could have been saved, if he willed it so.[201]

     Then, in the clearest light of wisdom, will be seen what now 
the pious hold by faith, not yet grasping it in clear 
understanding -- how certain, immutable, and effectual is the will 
of God, how there are things he can do but doth not will to do, 
yet willeth nothing he cannot do, and how true is what is sung in 
the psalm: "But our God is above in heaven; in heaven and on earth 
he hath done all things whatsoever that he would."[202]  This 
obviously is not true, if there is anything that he willed to do 
and did not do, or, what were worse, if he did not do something 
because man's will prevented him, the Omnipotent, from doing what 
he willed.  Nothing, therefore, happens unless the Omnipotent 
wills it to happen.  He either allows it to happen or he actually 
causes it to happen.

     96.  Nor should we doubt that God doth well, even when he 
alloweth whatever happens ill to happen.  For he alloweth it only 
through a just judgment -- and surely all that is just is good.  
Therefore, although evil, in so far as it is evil, is not good, 
still it is a good thing that not only good things exist but evil 
as well.  For if it were not good that evil things exist, they 
would certainly not be allowed to exist by the Omnipotent Good, 
for whom it is undoubtedly as easy not to allow to exist what he 
does not will, as it is for him to do what he does will.

     Unless we believe this, the very beginning of our Confession 
of Faith is imperiled -- the sentence in which we profess to 
believe in God the Father Almighty.  For he is called Almighty for 
no other reason than that he can do whatsoever he willeth and 
because the efficacy of his omnipotent will is not impeded by the 
will of any creature.

     97.  Accordingly, we must now inquire about the meaning of 
what was said most truly by the apostle concerning God, "Who 
willeth that all men should be saved."[203]  For since not all -- 
not even a majority -- _are_ saved, it would indeed appear that 
the fact that what God willeth to happen does not happen is due to 
an embargo on God's will by the human will.

     Now, when we ask for the reason why not all are saved, the 
customary answer is: "Because they themselves have not willed it." 
But this cannot be said of infants, who have not yet come to the 
power of willing or not willing.  For, if we could attribute to 
their wills the infant squirmings they make at baptism, when they 
resist as hard as they can, we would then have to say that they 
were saved against their will.  But the Lord's language is clearer 
when, in the Gospel, he reproveth the unrighteous city: "How 
often," he saith, "would I have gathered your children together, 
as a hen gathers her chicks, and you would not."[204]  This sounds 
as if God's will had been overcome by human wills and as if the 
weakest, by not willing, impeded the Most Powerful so that he 
could not do what he willed.  And where is that omnipotence by 
which "whatsoever he willed in heaven and on earth, he has done," 
if he willed to gather the children of Jerusalem together, and did 
not do so?  Or, is it not rather the case that, although Jerusalem 
did not will that her children be gathered together by him, yet, 
despite her unwillingness, God did indeed gather together those 
children of hers whom he would?  It is not that "in heaven and on 
earth" he hath willed and done some things, and willed other 
things and not done them.  Instead, "all things whatsoever he 
willed, he hath done."


                         CHAPTER XXV


           Predestination and the Justice of God


     98.  Furthermore, who would be so impiously foolish as to say 
that God cannot turn the evil wills of men -- as he willeth, when 
he willeth, and where he willeth -- toward the good?  But, when he 
acteth, he acteth through mercy; when he doth not act, it is 
through justice.  For, "he hath mercy on whom he willeth; and whom 
he willeth, he hardeneth."[205]

     Now when the apostle said this, he was commending grace, of 
which he had just spoken in connection with the twin children in 
Rebecca's womb: "Before they had yet been born, or had done 
anything good or bad, in order that the electing purpose of God 
might continue -- not through works but through the divine calling 
-- it was said of them, 'The elder shall serve the younger.' 
"[206] Accordingly, he refers to another prophetic witness, where 
it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau have I hated."[207]  Then, 
realizing how what he said could disturb those whose understanding 
could not penetrate to this depth of grace, he adds: "What 
therefore shall we say to this?  Is there unrighteousness in God?  
God forbid!"[208]  Yet it does seem unfair that, without any merit 
derived from good works or bad, God should love the one and hate 
the other.  Now, if the apostle had wished us to understand that 
there were future good deeds of the one, and evil deeds of the 
other -- which God, of course, foreknew -- he would never have 
said "not of good works" but rather "of _future_ works." Thus he 
would have solved the difficulty; or, rather, he would have left 
no difficulty to be solved.  As it is, however, when he went on to 
exclaim, "God forbid!" -- that is, "God forbid that there should 
be unfairness in God" -- he proceeds immediately to add (to prove 
that no unfairness in God is involved here), "For he says to 
Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will 
show pity to whom I will show pity.'"[209] Now, who but a fool 
would think God unfair either when he imposes penal judgment on 
the deserving or when he shows mercy to the undeserving?  Finally, 
the apostle concludes and says, "Therefore, it is not a question 
of him who wills nor of him who runs but of God's showing 

     Thus, both the twins were "by nature children of wrath,"[211] 
not because of any works of their own, but because they were both 
bound in the fetters of damnation originally forged by Adam.  But 
He who said, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," loved 
Jacob in unmerited mercy, yet hated Esau with merited justice.  
Since this judgment [of wrath] was due them both, the former 
learned from what happened to the other that the fact that he had 
not, with equal merit, incurred the same penalty gave him no 
ground to boast of his own distinctive merits -- but, instead, 
that he should glory in the abundance of divine grace, because "it 
is not a question of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of 
God's showing mercy."[212]  And, indeed, the whole visage of 
Scripture and, if I may speak so, the lineaments of its 
countenance, are found to exhibit a mystery, most profound and 
salutary, to admonish all who carefully look thereupon "that he 
who glories, should glory in the Lord."[213]

     99.  Now, after the apostle had commended God's mercy in 
saying, "So then, there is no question of him who wills nor of him 
who runs, but of God's showing mercy," next in order he intends to 
speak also of his judgment -- for where his mercy is not shown, it 
is not unfairness but justice.  For with God there is no 
injustice.  Thus, he immediately added, "For the Scripture says to 
Pharaoh, 'For this very purpose I raised you up, that I may show 
through you my power, and that my name may be proclaimed in all 
the earth."[214]  Then, having said this, he draws a conclusion 
that looks both ways, that is, toward mercy and toward judgment: 
"Therefore," he says, "he hath mercy on whom he willeth, and whom 
he willeth he hardeneth." He showeth mercy out of his great 
goodness; he hardeneth out of no unfairness at all.  In this way, 
neither does he who is saved have a basis for glorying in any 
merit of his own; nor does the man who is damned have a basis for 
complaining of anything except what he has fully merited.  For 
grace alone separates the redeemed from the lost, all having been 
mingled together in the one mass of perdition, arising from a 
common cause which leads back to their common origin.  But if any 
man hears this in such a way as to say: "Why then does he find 
fault?  For who resists his will?"[215] -- as if to make it seem 
that man should not therefore be blamed for being evil _because_ 
God "hath mercy on whom he willeth and whom he willeth he 
hardeneth" -- God forbid that we should be ashamed to give the 
same reply as we see the apostle giving: "O man, who are you to 
reply to God?  Does the molded object say to the molder, 'Why have 
you made me like this?'  Or is not the potter master of his clay, 
to make from the same mass one vessel for honorable, another for 
ignoble, use?"[216]

     There are some stupid men who think that in this part of the 
argument the apostle had no answer to give; and, for lack of a 
reasonable rejoinder, simply rebuked the audacity of his 
gainsayer.  But what he said -- "O man, who are you?" -- has 
actually great weight and in an argument like this recalls man, in 
a single word, to consider the limits of his capacity and, at the 
same time, supplies an important explanation.

     For if one does not understand these matters, who is he to 
talk back to God?  And if one does understand, he finds no better 
ground even then for talking back.  For if he understands, he sees 
that the whole human race was condemned in its apostate head by a 
divine judgment so just that not even if a single member of the 
race were ever saved from it, no one could rail against God's 
justice.  And he also sees that those who are saved had to be 
saved on such terms that it would show -- by contrast with the 
greater number of those not saved but simply abandoned to their 
wholly just damnation -- what the whole mass deserved and to what 
end God's merited judgment would have brought them, had not his 
undeserved mercy interposed.  Thus every mouth of those disposed 
to glory in their own merits should be stopped, so that "he that 
glories may glory in the Lord."[217]


                         CHAPTER XXVI


            The Triumph of God's Sovereign Good Will


     100.  These are "the great works of the Lord, well-considered 
in all his acts of will"[218] -- and so wisely well-considered 
that when his angelic and human creation sinned (that is, did not 
do what he willed, but what it willed) he could still accomplish 
what he himself had willed and this through the same creaturely 
will by which the first act contrary to the Creator's will had 
been done.  As the Supreme Good, he made good use of evil deeds, 
for the damnation of those whom he had justly predestined to 
punishment and for the salvation of those whom he had mercifully 
predestined to grace.

     For, as far as they were concerned, they did what God did not 
will that they do, but as far as God's omnipotence is concerned, 
they were quite unable to achieve their purpose.  In their very 
act of going against his will, his will was thereby accomplished.  
This is the meaning of the statement, "The works of the Lord are 
great, well-considered in all his acts of will" -- that in a 
strange and ineffable fashion even that which is done against his 
will is not done without his will.  For it would not be done 
without his allowing it -- and surely his permission is not 
unwilling but willing -- nor would he who is good allow the evil 
to be done, unless in his omnipotence he could bring good even out 
of evil.

     101.  Sometimes, however, a man of good will wills something 
that God doth not will, even though God's will is much more, and 
much more certainly, good -- for under no circumstances can it 
ever be evil.  For example, it is a good son's will that his 
father live, whereas it is God's good will that he should die.  
Or, again, it can happen that a man of evil will can will 
something that God also willeth with a good will -- as, for 
example, a bad son wills that his father die and this is also 
God's will.  Of course, the former wills what God doth not will, 
whereas the latter does will what God willeth.  Yet the piety of 
the one, though he wills not what God willeth, is more consonant 
with God's will than is the impiety of the other, who wills the 
same thing that God willeth.  There is a very great difference 
between what is fitting for man to will and what is fitting for 
God -- and also between the ends to which a man directs his will 
-- and this difference determines whether an act of will is to be 
approved or disapproved.  Actually, God achieveth some of his 
purposes -- which are, of course, all good -- through the evil 
wills of bad men.  For example, it was through the ill will of the 
Jews that, by the good will of the Father, Christ was slain for us 
-- a deed so good that when the apostle Peter would have nullified 
it he was called "Satan" by him who had come in order to be 
slain.[219]  How good seemed the purposes of the pious faithful 
who were unwilling that the apostle Paul should go to Jerusalem, 
lest there he should suffer the things that the prophet Agabus had 
predicted![220]  And yet God had willed that he should suffer 
these things for the sake of the preaching of Christ, and for the 
training of a martyr for Christ.  And this good purpose of his he 
achieved, not through the good will of the Christians, but through 
the ill will of the Jews.  Yet they were more fully his who did 
not will what he willed than were those who were willing 
instruments of his purpose -- for while he and the latter did the 
very same thing, he worked through them with a good will, whereas 
they did his good will with their ill will.

     102.  But, however strong the wills either of angels or of 
men, whether good or evil, whether they will what God willeth or 
will something else, the will of the Omnipotent is always 
undefeated.  And this will can never be evil, because even when it 
inflicts evils, it is still just; and obviously what is just is 
not evil.  Therefore, whether through pity "he hath mercy on whom 
he willeth," or in justice "whom he willeth, he hardeneth," the 
omnipotent God never doth anything except what he doth will, and 
doth everything that he willeth.


                        CHAPTER XXVII


          Limits of God's Plan for Human Salvation


     103.  Accordingly, when we hear and read in sacred Scripture 
that God "willeth that all men should be saved,"[221] although we 
know well enough that not all men are saved, we are not on that 
account to underrate the fully omnipotent will of God.  Rather, we 
must understand the Scripture, "Who will have all men to be 
saved," as meaning that no man is saved unless God willeth his 
salvation: not that there is no man whose salvation he doth not 
will, but that no one is saved unless He willeth it.  Moreover, 
his will should be sought in prayer, because if he willeth, then 
what he willeth must necessarily be.  And, indeed, it was of 
prayer to God that the apostle was speaking when he made that 
statement.  Thus, we are also to understand what is written in the 
Gospel about Him "who enlighteneth every man."[222]  This means 
that there is no man who is enlightened except by God.

     In any case, the word concerning God, "who will have all men 
to be saved," does not mean that there is no one whose salvation 
he doth not will -- he who was unwilling to work miracles among 
those who, he said, would have repented if he had wrought them -- 
but by "all men" we are to understand the whole of mankind, in 
every single group into which it can be divided: kings and 
subjects; nobility and plebeians; the high and the low; the 
learned and unlearned; the healthy and the sick; the bright, the 
dull, and the stupid; the rich, the poor, and the middle class; 
males, females, infants, children, the adolescent, young adults 
and middle-aged and very old; of every tongue and fashion, of all 
the arts, of all professions, with the countless variety of wills 
and minds and all the other things that differentiate people.  For 
from which of these groups doth not God will that some men from 
every nation should be saved through his only begotten Son our 
Lord?  Therefore, he doth save them since the Omnipotent cannot 
will in vain, whatsoever he willeth.

     Now, the apostle had enjoined that prayers should be offered 
"for all men"[223] and especially "for kings and all those of 
exalted station,"[224] whose worldly pomp and pride could be 
supposed to be a sufficient cause for them to despise the humility 
of the Christian faith.  Then, continuing his argument, "for this 
is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour"[225]-- 
that is, to pray even for such as these [kings] -- the apostle, to 
remove any warrant for despair, added, "Who willeth that all men 
be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth."[226]  Truly, 
then, God hath judged it good that through the prayers of the 
lowly he would deign to grant salvation to the exalted -- a 
paradox we have already seen exemplified.  Our Lord also useth the 
same manner of speech in the Gospel, where he saith to the 
Pharisees, "You tithe mint and rue and every herb."[227]  
Obviously, the Pharisees did not tithe what belonged to others, 
nor all the herbs of all the people of other lands.  Therefore, 
just as we should interpret "every herb" to mean "every kind of 
herb," so also we can interpret "all men" to mean "all kinds of 
men." We could interpret it in any other fashion, as long as we 
are not compelled to believe that the Omnipotent hath willed 
anything to be done which was not done.  "He hath done all things 
in heaven and earth, whatsoever he willed,"[228] as Truth sings of 
him, and surely he hath not willed to do anything that he hath not 
done.  There must be no equivocation on this point.


                        CHAPTER XXVIII


                      The Destiny of Man


     104.  Consequently, God would have willed to preserve even 
the first man in that state of salvation in which he was created 
and would have brought him in due season, after the begetting of 
children, to a better state without the intervention of death -- 
where he not only would have been unable to sin, but would not 
have had even the will to sin -- if he had foreknown that man 
would have had a steadfast will to continue without sin, as he had 
been created to do.  But since he did foreknow that man would make 
bad use of his free will -- that is, that he would sin -- God 
prearranged his own purpose so that he could do good to man, even 
in man's doing evil, and so that the good will of the Omnipotent 
should be nullified by the bad will of men, but should nonetheless 
be fulfilled.

     105.  Thus it was fitting that man should be created, in the 
first place, so that he could will both good and evil -- not 
without reward, if he willed the good; not without punishment, if 
he willed the evil.  But in the future life he will not have the 
power to will evil; and yet this will not thereby restrict his 
free will.  Indeed, his will will be much freer, because he will 
then have no power whatever to serve sin.  For we surely ought not 
to find fault with such a will, nor say it is no will, or that it 
is not rightly called free, when we so desire happiness that we 
not only are unwilling to be miserable, but have no power 
whatsoever to will it.

     And, just as in our present state, our soul is unable to will 
unhappiness for ourselves, so then it will be forever unable to 
will iniquity.  But the ordered course of God's plan was not to be 
passed by, wherein he willed to show how good the rational 
creature is that is able not to sin, although one unable to sin is 
better.[229]  So, too, it was an inferior order of immortality -- 
but yet it was immortality -- in which man was capable of not 
dying, even if the higher order which is to be is one in which man 
will be incapable of dying.[230]

     106.  Human nature lost the former kind of immortality 
through the misuse of free will.  It is to receive the latter 
through grace -- though it was to have obtained it through merit, 
if it had not sinned.  Not even then, however, could there have 
been any merit without grace.  For although sin had its origin in 
free will alone, still free will would not have been sufficient to 
maintain justice, save as divine aid had been afforded man, in the 
gift of participation in the immutable good.  Thus, for example, 
the power to die when he wills it is in a man's own hands -- since 
there is no one who could not kill himself by not eating (not to 
mention other means).  But the bare will is not sufficient for 
maintaining life, if the aids of food and other means of 
preservation are lacking.

     Similarly, man in paradise was capable of self-destruction by 
abandoning justice by an act of will; yet if the life of justice 
was to be maintained, his will alone would not have sufficed, 
unless He who made him had given him aid.  But, after the Fall, 
God's mercy was even more abundant, for then the will itself had 
to be freed from the bondage in which sin and death are the 
masters.  There is no way at all by which it can be freed by 
itself, but only through God's grace, which is made effectual in 
the faith of Christ.  Thus, as it is written, even the will by 
which "the will itself is prepared by the Lord"[231] so that we 
may receive the other gifts of God through which we come to the 
Gift eternal -- this too comes from God.  

     107.  Accordingly, even the life eternal, which is surely the 
wages of good works, is called a _gift_ of God by the apostle.  
"For the wages of sin," he says, "is death; but the gift of God is 
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."[232]  Now, wages for 
military service are paid as a just debit, not as a gift.  Hence, 
he said "the wages of sin is death," to show that death was not an 
unmerited pun ishment for sin but a just debit.  But a gift, 
unless it be gratuitous, is not grace.  We are, therefore, to 
understand that even man's merited goods are gifts from God, and 
when life eternal is given through them, what else do we have but 
"grace upon grace returned"[233]?

     Man was, therefore, made upright, and in such a fashion that 
he could either continue in that uprightness -- though not without 
divine aid -- or become perverted by his own choice.  Whichever of 
these two man had chosen, God's will would be done, either by man 
or at least _concerning_ him.  Wherefore, since man chose to do 
his own will instead of God's, God's will _concerning_ him was 
done; for, from the same mass of perdition that flowed out of that 
common source, God maketh "one vessel for honorable, another for 
ignoble use"[234]; the ones for honorable use through his mercy, 
the ones for ignoble use through his judgment; lest anyone glory 
in man, or -- what is the same thing -- in himself.  

     108.  Now, we could not be redeemed, even through "the one 
Mediator between God and man, Man himself, Christ Jesus,"[235] if 
he were not also God.  For when Adam was made -- being made an 
upright man -- there was no need for a mediator.  Once sin, 
however, had widely separated the human race from God, it was 
necessary for a mediator, who alone was born, lived, and was put 
to death without sin, to reconcile us to God, and provide even for 
our bodies a resurrection to life eternal -- and all this in order 
that man's pride might be exposed and healed through God's 
humility.  Thus it might be shown man how far he had departed from 
God, when by the incarnate God he is recalled to God; that man in 
his contumacy might be furnished an example of obedience by the 
God-Man; that the fount of grace might be opened up; that even the 
resurrection of the body -- itself promised to the redeemed -- 
might be previewed in the resurrection of the Redeemer himself; 
that the devil might be vanquished by that very nature he was 
rejoicing over having deceived -- all this, however, without 
giving man ground for glory in himself, lest pride spring up anew.  
And if there are other advantages accruing from so great a mystery 
of the Mediator, which those who profit from them can see or 
testify -- even if they cannot be described -- let them be added 
to this list.


                         CHAPTER XXIX


                       "The Last Things"


     109.  Now, for the time that intervenes between man's death 
and the final resurrection, there is a secret shelter for his 
soul, as each is worthy of rest or affliction according to what it 
has merited while it lived in the body.

     110.  There is no denying that the souls of the dead are 
benefited by the piety of their living friends, when the sacrifice 
of the Mediator is offered for the dead, or alms are given in the 
church. But these means benefit only those who, when they were 
living, have merited that such services could be of help to them.  
For there is a mode of life that is neither so good as not to need 
such helps after death nor so bad as not to gain benefit from them 
after death.  There is, however, a good mode of life that does not 
need such helps, and, again, one so thoroughly bad that, when such 
a man departs this life, such helps avail him nothing.  It is 
here, then, in this life, that all merit or demerit is acquired 
whereby a man's condition in the life hereafter is improved or 
worsened.  Therefore, let no one hope to obtain any merit with God 
after he is dead that he has neglected to obtain here in this 

     So, then, those means which the Church constantly uses in 
interceding for the dead are not opposed to that statement of the 
apostle when he said, "For all of us shall stand before the 
tribunal of Christ, so that each may receive according to what he 
has done in the body, whether good or evil."[236]  For each man 
has for himself while living in the body earned the merit whereby 
these means can benefit him [after death].  For they do not 
benefit all.  And yet why should they not benefit all, unless it 
be because of the different kinds of lives men lead in the body?  
Accordingly, when sacrifices, whether of the altar or of alms, are 
offered for the baptized dead, they are thank offerings for the 
very good, propitiations for the not-so-very-bad [non valde 
malis], and, as for the very bad -- even if they are of no help to 
the dead -- they are at least a sort of consolation to the living.  
Where they are of value, their benefit consists either in 
obtaining a full forgiveness or, at least, in making damnation 
more tolerable.

     111.  After the resurrection, however, when the general 
judgment has been held and finished, the boundary lines will be 
set for the two cities: the one of Christ, the other of the devil; 
one for the good, the other for the bad -- both including angels 
and men.  In the one group, there will be no will to sin, in the 
other, no power to sin, nor any further possibility of dying.  The 
citizens of the first commonwealth will go on living truly and 
happily in life eternal.  The second will go on, miserable in 
death eternal, with no power to die to it.  The condition of both 
societies will then be fixed and endless.  But in the first city, 
some will outrank others in bliss, and in the second, some will 
have a more tolerable burden of misery than others.

     112.  It is quite in vain, then, that some -- indeed very 
many -- yield to merely human feelings and deplore the notion of 
the eternal punishment of the damned and their interminable and 
perpetual misery.  They do not believe that such things will be.  
Not that they would go counter to divine Scripture -- but, 
yielding to their own human feelings, they soften what seems harsh 
and give a milder emphasis to statements they believe are meant 
more to terrify than to express the literal truth.  "God will not 
forget," they say, "to show mercy, nor in his anger will he shut 
up his mercy." This is, in fact, the text of a holy psalm.[237]  
But there is no doubt that it is to be interpreted to refer to 
those who are called "vessels of mercy,"[238] those who are freed 
from misery not by their own merits but through God's mercy.  Even 
so, if they suppose that the text applies to all men, there is no 
ground for them further to suppose that there can be an end for 
those of whom it is said, "Thus these shall go into everlasting 
punishment."[239]  Otherwise, it can as well be thought that there 
will also be an end to the happiness of those of whom the 
antithesis was said: "But the righteous into life eternal."

     But let them suppose, if it pleases them, that, for certain 
intervals of time, the punishments of the damned are somewhat 
mitigated.  Even so, the wrath of God must be understood as still 
resting on them.  And this is damnation -- for this anger, which 
is not a violent passion in the divine mind, is called "wrath" in 
God.  Yet even in his wrath -- his wrath resting on them -- he 
does not "shut up his mercy." This is not to put an end to their 
eternal afflictions, but rather to apply or interpose some little 
respite in their torments.  For the psalm does not say, "To put an 
end to his wrath," or, "_After_ his wrath," but, "_In_ his wrath." 
Now, if this wrath were all there is [in man's damnation], and 
even if it were present only in the slightest degree conceivable 
-- still, to be lost out of the Kingdom of God, to be an exile 
from the City of God, to be estranged from the life of God, to 
suffer loss of the great abundance of God's blessings which he has 
hidden for those who fear him and prepared for those who hope in 
him[240] -- this would be a punishment so great that, if it be 
eternal, no torments that we know could be compared to it, no 
matter how many ages they continued.

     113.  The eternal death of the damned -- that is, their 
estrangement from the life of God -- will therefore abide without 
end, and it will be common to them all, no matter what some 
people, moved by their human feelings, may wish to think about 
gradations of punishment, or the relief or intermission of their 
misery.  In the same way, the eternal life of the saints will 
abide forever, and also be common to all of them no matter how 
different the grades of rank and honor in which they shine forth 
in their effulgent harmony.


                         CHAPTER XXX


     The Principles of Christian Living: Faith and Hope


     114.  Thus, from our confession of _faith_, briefly 
summarized in the Creed (which is milk for babes when pondered at 
the carnal level but food for strong men when it is considered and 
studied spiritually), there is born the good _hope_ of the 
faithful, accompanied by a holy _love_.[241]  But of these 
affirmations, all of which ought _faithfully_ to be believed, only 
those which have to do with _hope_ are contained in the Lord's 
Prayer.  For "cursed is everyone," as the divine eloquence 
testified, "who rests his hope in man."[242]  Thus, he who rests 
his hope in himself is bound by the bond of this curse.  
Therefore, we should seek from none other than the Lord God 
whatever it is that we hope to do well, or hope to obtain as 
reward for our good works.

     115.  Accordingly, in the Evangelist Matthew, the Lord's 
Prayer may be seen to contain seven petitions: three of them ask 
for eternal goods, the other four for temporal goods, which are, 
however, necessary for obtaining the eternal goods.

     For when we say: "Hallowed be thy name.  Thy Kingdom come.  
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven"[243] -- this last 
being wrongly interpreted by some as meaning "in body and spirit" 
-- these blessings will be retained forever.  They begin in this 
life, of course; they are increased in us as we make progress, but 
in their perfection -- which is to be hoped for in the other life 
-- they will be possessed forever!  But when we say: "Give us this 
day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our 
debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from 
evil,"[244] who does not see that all these pertain to our needs 
in the present life?  In that life eternal -- where we all hope to 
be -- the hallowing of God's name, his Kingdom, and his will, in 
our spirit and body will abide perfectly and immortally.  But in 
this life we ask for "daily bread" because it is necessary, in the 
measure required by soul and body, whether we take the term in a 
spiritual or bodily sense, or both.  And here too it is that we 
petition for forgiveness, where the sins are committed; here too 
are the temptations that allure and drive us to sinning; here, 
finally, the evil from which we wish to be freed.  But in that 
other world none of these things will be found.

     116.  However, the Evangelist Luke, in his version of the 
Lord's Prayer, has brought together, not seven, but five 
petitions.  Yet, obviously, there is no discrepancy here, but 
rather, in his brief way, the Evangelist has shown us how the 
seven petitions should be understood.  Actually, God's name is 
even now hallowed in the spirit, but the Kingdom of God is yet to 
come in the resurrection of the body.  Therefore, Luke was seeking 
to show that the third petition ["Thy will be done"] is a 
repetition of the first two, and makes this better understood by 
omitting it.  He then adds three other petitions, concerning daily 
bread, forgiveness of sins, and avoidance of temptation.[245]  
However, what Matthew puts in the last place, "But deliver us from 
evil," Luke leaves out, in order that we might understand that it 
was included in what was previously said about temptation.  This 
is, indeed, why Matthew said, "_But_ deliver us," instead of, 
"_And_ deliver us," as if to indicate that there is only one 
petition -- "Will not this, but that" -- so that anyone would 
realize that he is being delivered from evil in that he is not 
being led into temptation.


                         CHAPTER XXXI




     117.  And now regarding _love_, which the apostle says is 
greater than the other two -- that is, faith and hope -- for the 
more richly it dwells in a man, the better the man in whom it 
dwells.  For when we ask whether someone is a good man, we are not 
asking what he believes, or hopes, but what he loves.  Now, beyond 
all doubt, he who loves aright believes and hopes rightly.  
Likewise, he who does not love believes in vain, even if what he 
believes is true; he hopes in vain, even if what he hopes for is 
generally agreed to pertain to true happiness, unless he believes 
and hopes for this: that he may through prayer obtain the gift of 
love.  For, although it is true that he cannot hope without love, 
it may be that there is something without which, if he does not 
love it, he cannot realize the object of his hopes.  An example of 
this would be if a man hopes for life eternal -- and who is there 
who does not love that? -- and yet does not love _righteousness_, 
without which no one comes to it.

     Now this is the true faith of Christ which the apostle 
commends: faith that works through love.  And what it yet lacks in 
love it asks that it may receive, it seeks that it may find, and 
knocks that it may be opened unto it.[246]  For faith achieves 
what the law commands [fides namque impetrat quod lex imperat].  
And, without the gift of God -- that is, without the Holy Spirit, 
through whom love is shed abroad in our hearts -- the law may bid 
but it cannot aid [jubere lex poterit, non juvare].  Moreover, it 
can make of man a transgressor, who cannot then excuse himself by 
pleading ignorance.  For appetite reigns where the love of God 
does not.[247]

     118.  When, in the deepest shadows of ignorance, he lives 
according to the flesh with no restraint of reason -- this is the 
primal state of man.[248]  Afterward, when "through the law the 
knowledge of sin"[249] has come to man, and the Holy Spirit has 
not yet come to his aid -- so that even if he wishes to live 
according to the law, he is vanquished -- man sins knowingly and 
is brought under the spell and made the slave of sin, "for by 
whatever a man is vanquished, of this master he is the 
slave"[250].  The effect of the knowledge of the law is that sin 
works in man the whole round of concupiscence, which adds to the 
guilt of the first transgression.  And thus it is that what was 
written is fulfilled: "The law entered in, that the offense might 
abound."[251]  This is the _second_ state of man.[252]

     But if God regards a man with solicitude so that he then 
believes in God's help in fulfilling His commands, and if a man 
begins to be led by the Spirit of God, then the mightier power of 
love struggles against the power of the flesh.[253]  And although 
there is still in man a power that fights against him -- his 
infirmity being not yet fully healed -- yet he [the righteous man] 
lives by faith and lives righteously in so far as he does not 
yield to evil desires, conquering them by his love of 
righteousness.  This is the _third_ stage of the man of good hope.

     A final peace is in store for him who continues to go forward 
in this course toward perfection through steadfast piety.  This 
will be perfected beyond this life in the repose of the spirit, 
and, at the last, in the resurrection of the body.

     Of these four different stages of man, the first is before 
the law, the second is under the law, the third is under grace, 
and the fourth is in full and perfect peace.  Thus, also, the 
history of God's people has been ordered by successive temporal 
epochs, as it pleased God, who "ordered all things in measure and 
number and weight."[254]  The first period was before the law; the 
second under the law, which was given through Moses; the next, 
under grace which was revealed through the first Advent of the 
Mediator."[255]  This grace was not previously absent from those 
to whom it was to be imparted, although, in conformity to the 
temporal dispensations, it was veiled and hidden.  For none of the 
righteous men of antiquity could find salvation apart from the 
faith of Christ.  And, unless Christ had also been known to them, 
he could not have been prophesied to us -- sometimes openly and 
sometimes obscurely -- through their ministry.

     119.  Now, in whichever of these four "ages" -- if one can 
call them that -- the grace of regeneration finds a man, then and 
there all his past sins are forgiven him and the guilt he 
contracted in being born is removed by his being reborn.  And so 
true is it that "the Spirit breatheth where he willeth"[256] that 
some men have never known the second "age" of slavery under the 
law, but begin to have divine aid directly under the new 

     120.  Yet, before a man can receive the commandment, he must, 
of course, live according to the flesh.  But, once he has been 
imbued with the sacrament of rebirth, no harm will come to him 
even if he then immediately depart this life -- "Wherefore on this 
account Christ died and rose again, that he might be the Lord of 
both the living and the dead."'[257] Nor will the kingdom of death 
have dominion over him for whom He, who was "free among the 
dead,"[258] died.


                        CHAPTER XXXII


                    The End of All the Law


     121.  All the divine precepts are, therefore, referred back 
to _love_, of which the apostle says, "Now the end of the 
commandment is love, out of a pure heart, and a good conscience 
and a faith unfeigned."[259]  Thus every commandment harks back to 
love.  For whatever one does either in fear of punishment or from 
some carnal impulse, so that it does not measure up to the 
standard of love which the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in our hearts 
-- whatever it is, it is not yet done as it should be, although it 
may seem to be.  Love, in this context, of course includes both 
the love of God and the love of our neighbor and, indeed, "on 
these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets"[260] -- 
and, we may add, the gospel and the apostles, for from nowhere 
else comes the voice, "The end of the commandment is love,"[261] 
and, "God is love."[262]

     Therefore, whatsoever things God commands (and one of these 
is, "Thou shalt not commit adultery"[263]) and whatsoever things 
are not positively ordered but are strongly advised as good 
spiritual counsel (and one of these is, "It is a good thing for a 
man not to touch a woman"[264]) -- all of these imperatives are 
rightly obeyed only when they are measured by the standard of our 
love of God and our love of our neighbor in God [propter Deum].  
This applies both in the present age and in the world to come.  
Now we love God in faith; then, at sight.  For, though mortal men 
ourselves, we do not know the hearts of mortal men.  But then "the 
Lord will illuminate the hidden things in the darkness and will 
make manifest the cogitations of the heart; and then shall each 
one have his praise from God"[265] -- for what will be praised and 
loved in a neighbor by his neighbor is just that which, lest it 
remain hidden, God himself will bring to light.  Moreover, passion 
decreases as love increases[266] until love comes at last to that 
fullness which cannot be surpassed, "for greater love than this no 
one has, that a man lay down his life for his friends."[267]  Who, 
then, can explain how great the power of love will be, when there 
will be no passion [cupiditas] for it to restrain or overcome?  
For, then, the supreme state of true health [summa sanitas] will 
have been reached, when the struggle with death shall be no more.


                        CHAPTER XXXIII




     122.  But somewhere this book must have an end.  You can see 
for yourself whether you should call it an Enchiridion, or use it 
as one.  But since I have judged that your zeal in Christ ought 
not to be spurned and since I believe and hope for good things for 
you through the help of our Redeemer, and since I love you greatly 
as one of the members of his body, I have written this book for 
you -- may its usefulness match its prolixity! -- on Faith, Hope, 
and Love.


[1] 1 Cor. 1:20.
[2] Wis. 6:26 (Vulgate).
[3] Rom. 16:19.
[4] A later interpolation, not found in the best MSS., adds, "As 
no one can exist from himself, so also no one can be wise in 
himself save only as he is enlightened by Him of whom it is 
written, 'All wisdom is from God' [Ecclus. 1:1]."
[5] Job 28:28. 
[6] A transliteration of the Greek, literally, a handbook or 
[7] Cf. Gal. 5:6.
[8] Cf. 1 Cor. 13:10, 11.
[9] 1 Cor. 3:11.
[10] Already, very early in his ministry (397), Augustine had 
written De agone Christiano, in which he had reviewed and refuted 
a full score of heresies threatening the orthodox faith.
[11] The Apostles' Creed.  Cf. Augustine's early essay On Faith 
and the Creed.
[12] Joel 2:32.
[13] Rom. 10:14.
[14] Lucan, Pharsalia, II, 15.
[15] Virgil, Aeneid, IV, 419.  The context of this quotation is 
Dido's lament over Aeneas' prospective abandonment of her.  She is 
saying that if she could have foreseen such a disaster, she would 
have been able to bear it.  Augustine's criticism here is a 
literalistic quibble.
[16] Heb. 11:1.
[17] Sacra eloquia -- a favorite phrase of Augustine's for the 
[18] Rom. 8:24, 25 (Old Latin).
[19] James 2:19.
[20] One of the standard titles of early Greek philosophical 
treatises would translate into Latin as De rerum natura.  This is, 
in fact, the title of Lucretius' famous poem, the greatest 
philosophical work written in classical Latin.
[21] This basic motif appears everywhere in Augustine's thought as 
the very foundation of his whole system.
[22] This section (Chs. III and IV) is the most explicit statement 
of a major motif which pervades the whole of Augustinian 
metaphysics.  We see it in his earliest writings, Soliloquies, 1, 
2, and De ordine, II, 7.  It is obviously a part of the 
Neoplatonic heritage which Augustine appropriated for his 
Christian philosophy.  The good is positive, constructive, 
essential; evil is privative, destructive, parasitic on the good.  
It has its origin, not in nature, but in the will.  Cf. 
Confessions, Bk. VII, Chs. III, V, XII-XVI; On Continence, 14-16; 
On the Gospel of John, Tractate XCVIII, 7; City of God, XI, 17; 
XII, 7-9.
[23] Isa. 5:20.
[24] Matt. 12:35.
[25] This refers to Aristotle's well-known principle of "the 
excluded middle." 
[26] Matt. 7:18.
[27] Cf. Matt. 12:33.
[28] Virgil, Georgios, II, 490.
[29] Ibid., 479.
[30] Sed in via pedum, non in via morum.
[31] Virgil, Eclogue, VIII, 42.  The context of the passage is 
Damon's complaint over his faithless Nyssa; he is here remembering 
the first time he ever saw her -- when he was twelve!  Cf. 
Theocritus, II, 82.
[32] Cf. Matt. 5:37.
[33] Cf. Confessions, Bk. X, Ch. XXIII.
[34] Ad consentium contra mendacium, CSEL (J. Zycha, ed.), Vol. 
41, pp. 469-528; also Migne, PL, 40, c. 517-548; English 
translation by H.B. Jaffee in Deferrari, St. Augustine: Treatises 
on Various Subjects (The Fathers of the Church, New York, 1952), 
pp. 113-179.  This had been written about a year earlier than the 
Enchiridion.  Augustine had also written another treatise On Lying 
much earlier, c. 395; see De mendacio in CSEL (J. Zycha, ed.), 
Vol. 41, pp. 413-466; Migne, PL, 40, c. 487-518; English 
translation by M.S. Muldowney in Deferrari, op. cit., pp. 47-109.  
This summary of his position here represents no change of view 
whatever on this question.
[35] Sallust, The War with Catiline, X, 6-7.
[36] Cf. Acts 12:9.
[37] Virgil, Aeneid, X, 392.
[38] This refers to one of the first of the Cassiciacum dialogues, 
Contra Academicos.  The gist of Augustine's refutation of 
skepticism is in III, 23ff.  Throughout his whole career he 
continued to maintain this position: that certain knowledge begins 
with self-knowledge.  Cf. Confessions, Bk. V, Ch. X, 19; see also 
City of God, XI, xxvii.
[39] Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17.
[40] A direct contrast between suspensus assenso -- the watchword 
of the Academics -- and assensio, the badge of Christian 
[41] See above, VII, 90.
[42] Matt. 5:37.
[43] Matt. 6:12.
[44] Rom. 5:12.
[45] Cf. Luke 20:36.
[46] Rom. 4:17.
[47] Wis. 11:20.
[48] 2 Peter 2:19.
[49] John 8:36.
[50] Eph. 2:8.
[51] 1 Cor. 7:25.
[52] Eph. 2:8, 9.
[53] Eph. 2:10.
[54] Cf. Gal. 6:15; I1 Cor. 5:17.
[55] Ps. 51:10.
[56] Phil. 2:13.
[57] Rom. 9:16.
[58] Prov. 8:35 (LXX).
[59] From the days at Cassiciacum till the very end, Augustine 
toiled with the mystery of the primacy of God's grace and the 
reality of human freedom.  Of two things he was unwaveringly sure, 
even though they involved him in a paradox and the appearance of 
confusion.  The first is that God's grace is not only primary but 
also sufficient as the ground and source of human willing.  And 
against the Pelagians and other detractors from grace, he did not 
hesitate to insist that grace is irresistible and inviolable.  Cf. 
On Grace and Free Will, 99, 41-43; On the Predestination of the 
Saints, 19:10; On the Gift of Perseverance, 41; On the Soul and 
Its Origin, 16; and even the Enchiridion, XXIV, 97.
	But he never drew from this deterministic emphasis the 
conclusion that man is unfree and everywhere roundly rejects the 
not illogical corollary of his theonomism, that man's will counts 
for little or nothing except as passive agent of God's will.  He 
insists on responsibility on man's part in responding to the 
initiatives of grace.  For this emphasis, which is 
characteristically directed to the faithful themselves, see On the 
Psalms, LXVIII, 7-8; On the Gospel of John, Tractate, 53:6-8; and 
even his severest anti-Pelagian tracts: On Grace and Free Will, 6-
8, 10, 31 and On Admonition and Grace, 2-8.
[60] Ps. 58:11 (Vulgate).
[61] Ps. 23:6.
[62] Cf. Matt. 5:44.
[63] The theme that he had explored in Confessions, Bks. I-IX.  
See especially Bk. V, Chs. X, XIII; Bk. VII, Ch. VIII; Bk. IX, Ch. 
[64] Cf. Ps. 90:9.
[65] Job 14:1.
[66] John 3:36.
[67] Eph. 2:3.
[68] Rom. 5:9, 10.
[69] Rom. 8:14. 
[70] John 1:14.
[71] Rom. 3:20.
[72] Epistle CXXXVII, written in 412 in reply to a list of queries 
sent to Augustine by the proconsul of Africa.
[73] John 1:1.
[74] Phil. 2:6, 7.
[75] These metaphors for contrasting the "two natures" of Jesus 
Christ were favorite figures of speech in Augustine's 
Christological thought.  Cf. On the Gospel of John, Tractate 78; 
On the Trinity, I, 7; II, 2; IV, 19-20; VII, 3; New Testament 
Sermons, 76, 14.
[76] Luke 1:28-30.
[77] John 1:14.
[78] Luke 1:35.
[79] Matt. 1:20.
[80] Rom. 1:3.
[81] Rom. 8:3.
[82] Cf. Hos. 4:8.
[83] I1 Cor. 5:20, 21.
[84] Virgil, Aeneid, II, 1, 20.
[85] Num. 21:7 (LXX).
[86] Matt. 2:20.
[87] Ex. 32:4.
[88] Rom. 5:12.
[89] Deut. 5:9.
[90] Ezek. 18:2.
[91] Ps. 51:5.
[92] 1 Tim. 2:5.
[93] Matt. 3:13.
[94] Luke 3:4; Isa. 40:3.
[95] Ps. 2:7; Heb. 5:5; cf. Mark 1:9-11.
[96] Rom. 5:16.
[97] Rom. 5:18.
[98] Rom. 6:1.
[99] Rom. 5:20.
[100] Rom. 6:2.
[101] Rom. 6:3.
[102] Rom. 6:4-11.
[103] Gal. 5:24.
[104] Col. 3:1-3.
[105] Col. 3:4.
[106] John 5:29.
[107] Ps. 54:1.
[108] Cf. Matt. 25:32, 33.
[109] Ps. 43:1.
[110] Reading the classical Latin form poscebat (as in Scheel and 
PL) for the late form poxebat (as in Riviere and many old MSS.).
[111] Cf. Ps. 113:3.
[112] Here reading unum deum (with Riviere and PL) against deum 
(in Scheel).
[113] A hyperbolic expression referring to "the saints." 
Augustine's Scriptural backing for such an unusual phrase is Ps. 
82:6 and John 10:34f.  But note the firm distinction between ex 
diis quos facit and non factus Deus.
[114] 1 Cor. 6:19.
[115] 1 Cor. 6:15.
[116] Col. 1:18.
[117] John 2:19.
[118] 2 Peter 2:4 (Old Latin).
[119] Heb. 1:13.
[120] Ps. 148:2 (LXX).
[121] Col. 1:16.
[122] Zech. 1:9.
[123] Matt. 1:20.
[124] Gen. 18:4; 19:2.
[125] Gen. 32:24.
[126] Rom. 8:31, 32.
[127] Cf. Eph. 1:10.
[128] Col. 1:19, 20.
[129] Cf. 1 Cor. 13:9, 12
[130] Cf. Luke 20:36.
[131] 1 Cor. 13:12.
[132] Cf. Luke 15:24.
[133] Rom. 8:14.
[134] 1 John 1:8.
[135] In actione poenitentiae; cf. Luther's similar conception of 
poenitentiam agite in the 95 Theses and in De poenitentia.
[136] Ps. 51:17.
[137] Ps. 38:9.
[138] I1 Cor. 1:22.
[139] Ecclus. 40:1 (Vulgate).
[140] 1 Cor. 11:31, 32.
[141] This chapter supplies an important clue to the date of the 
Enchiridion and an interesting side light on Augustine's 
inclination to re-use "good material." In his treatise on The 
Eight Questions of Dulcitius (De octo Dulcitii quaestionibus), 1: 
10-13, Augustine quotes this entire chapter as a part of his 
answer to the question whether those who sin after baptism are 
ever delivered from hell.  The date of the De octo is 422 or, 
possibly, 423; thus we have a terminus ad quem for the date of the 
Enchiridion.  Still the best text of De octo is Migne, PL, 40, c. 
147-170, and the best English translation is in Deferrari, St. 
Augustine: Treatises on Various Subjects (The Fathers of the 
Church, New York, 1952), pp. 427-466.
[142] A short treatise, written in 413, in which Augustine seeks 
to combine the Pauline and Jacobite emphases by analyzing what 
kind of faith and what kind of works are _both_ essential to 
salvation. The best text is that of Joseph Zycha in CSEL, Vol. 41, 
pp. 35-97; but see also Migne, PL, 40, c. 197-230.  There is an 
English translation by C.L. Cornish in A Library of Fathers of the 
Holy Catholic Church; Seventeen Short Treatises, pp. 37-84.
[143] Gal. 5:6.
[144] James 2:17.
[145] James 2:14.
[146] 1 Cor. 3:15.
[147] 1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
[148] 1 Cor. 3:11, 12.
[149] 1 Cor. 3:11-15.
[150] Ecclus. 27:5.
[151] Cf. 1 Cor. 7:32, 33
[152] See above, XVIII, 67.
[153] Matt. 25:34, 41.
[154] Ecclus. 15:20.
[155] John 3:5.
[156] Matt. 6:9-12.
[157] Cf. Luke 11 :41.
[158] This is a close approximation of the medieval lists of "The 
Seven Works of Mercy." Cf. J.T. McNeill, A History of the Cure of 
Souls, pp. 155, 161.  (Harper & Brothers, 1951, New York.)
[159] Matt. 5:44.
[160] John 14:6.
[161] Matt. 6:14, 15.
[162] Luke 11:37-41.
[163] Acts 15:9.
[164] Titus 1:15.
[165] Ecclus. 30:24 (Vulgate).
[166] Rom. 5:16.
[167] Rom. 5:8.
[168] Luke 10:27.
[169] Luke 11:42.
[170] Matt. 23:26.
[171] Ps. 10:6 (Vulgate).
[172] Ps. 58:11 (Vulgate); cf. Ps. 59:10 (R.S.V.).
[173] 1 Cor. 7:5 (mixed text).
[174] 1 Cor. 6:1.
[175] 1 Cor. 6:4-6.
[176] 1 Cor. 6:7a.
[177] 1 Cor. 6:7b.
[178] Matt. 5:40.
[179] Luke 6:30.
[180] James 3:2 (Vulgate).
[181] Matt. 5:22, 23.
[182] Gal. 4:11 (Vulgate).
[183] Ps. 10:3 (Vulgate).
[184] Isa. 5:7 (LXX).
[185] Gen. 18:20 (Vulgate with one change).
[186] For example, Contra Faust., XXII, 78; De pecc. meritis et 
remissione, I, xxxix, 70; ibid., II, xxii, 26; Quaest. in 
Heptateuch, 4:24; De libero arbitrio, 3:18, 55; De div. quaest., 
83:26; De natura et gratia, 67:81; Contra duas ep. Pelag., I:3, 7; 
[187] Ps. 27:1.
[188] 2 Tim. 2:25 (mixed text).
[189] Cf. Luke 22:61.
[190] Cf. John 20:22, 23.
[191] This libellus is included in Augustine's Sermons (LXXI, PL, 
38, col. 445-467), to which Possidius gave the title De blasphemia 
in Spiritum Sanctum.  English translation in N-PNF, 1st Series, 
Vol. VI, Sermon XXI, pp. 318-332.
[192] Sicut semina quae concepta non fuerint.
[193] Jerome, Epistle to Vitalis, Ep. LXXII, 2; PL, 22, 674.  
Augustine also refers to similar phenomena in The City of God, 
XVI. viii, 2.
[194] Gal. 5:17.
[195] 1 Cor. 15:40.
[196] 1 Cor. 15:50.
[197] 1 Cor. 15:44.
[198] Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14.
[199] Ps. 100:1 (Vulgate); cf. Ps. 101:1 (R.S.V.).
[200] Matt. 11:21.
[201] This is one of the rare instances in which a textual variant 
in Augustine's text affects a basic issue in the interpretation of 
his doctrine.  All but one of the major old editions, up to and 
including Migne, here read: Nec utique deus injuste noluit salvos 
fiere eum possent salvi esse SI VELLENT (if _they_ willed it).  
This would mean the attribution of a decisive role in human 
salvation to the human will and would thus stand out in bold 
relief from his general stress in the rest of the Enchiridion and 
elsewhere on the primacy and even irresistibility of grace.  The 
Jansenist edition of Augustine, by Arnauld in 1648, read SI VELLET 
(if _He_ willed it) and the reading became the subject of 
acrimonious controversy between the Jansenists and the Molinists.  
The Maurist edition reads si vellet, on the strength of much 
additional MS. evidence that had not been available up to that 
time.  In modern times, the si vellet reading has come to have the 
overwhelming support of the critical editors, although Riviere 
still reads si vellent.  Cf. Scheel, 76-77 (See Bibl.); Riviere, 
402-403; J.G. Krabinger, S. Aurelii Augustini Enchiridion 
(Tubingen, 1861 ), p. 116; Faure-Passaglia, S. Aurelii Augustini 
Enchiridion (Naples, 1847), p. 178; and H. Hurter, Sanctorum 
Patrum opuscula selecta (Innsbruck, 1895), p. 123.
[202] Cf. Ps. 113:11 (a mixed text; composed inexactly from Ps. 
115:3 and Ps. 135:6; an interesting instance of Augustine's sense 
of liberty with the texts of Scripture.  Here he is doubtless 
quoting from memory).
[203] 1 Tim. 2:4.
[204] Matt. 23:37.
[205] Rom. 9:18.
[206] Rom. 9:11, 12.
[207] Cf. Mal. 1:2, 3 and Rom. 9:13.
[208] Rom. 9:14.
[209] Rom. 9:15.
[210] Rom. 9:15; see above, IX, 32.
[211] Eph. 2:3.
[212] Rom. 9:16.
[213] 1 Cor. 1 :31; cf. Jer. 9:24.  The _religious_ intention of 
Augustine's emphasis upon divine sovereignty and predestination is 
never so much to account for the doom of the wicked as to 
underscore the sheer and wonderful gratuity of salvation.
[214] Rom. 9:17; cf. Ex. 9:16.
[215] Rom. 9:19.
[216] Rom. 9:20, 21.
[217] 1 Cor. 1:31.
[218] Ps. 110:2 (Vulgate).
[219] Matt. 16:23.
[220] Acts 21:10-12.
[221] 1 Tim. 2:4.
[222] John 1:9.
[223] 1 Tim. 2:1. 
[224] 1 Tim. 2:2.
[225] 1 Tim. 2:3.
[226] 1 Tim. 2:4.
[227] Luke 11:42.
[228] Ps. 135:6.
[229] Another example of Augustine's wordplay.  Man's original 
capacities included both the power not to sin and the power to sin 
(posse non peccare et posse peccare).  In Adam's original sin, man 
lost the posse non peccare (the power not to sin) and retained the 
posse peccare (the power to sin) -- which he continues to 
exercise.  In the fulfillment of grace, man will have the posse 
peccare taken away and receive the highest of all, the power not 
to be able to sin, non posse peccare.  Cf. On Correction and Grace 
[230] Again, a wordplay between posset non mori and non possit 
[231] Prov. 8:35 (LXX).
[232] Rom. 6:23.
[233] Cf. John 1:16.
[234] Rom. 9:21.
[235] 1 Tim. 2:5 (mixed text).
[236] Rom. 14:10; I1 Cor. 5:10.
[237] Cf. Ps. 77:9.
[238] Rom. 9:23.
[239] Matt. 25:46.
[240] Cf. Ps. 31:19.
[241] Note the artificial return to the triadic scheme of the 
treatise: faith, hope, and love.
[242] Jer. 17:5.
[243] Matt. 6:9, 10.
[244] Matt. 6:11-13.
[245] Luke 11:2-4.
[246] Matt. 7:7.
[247] Another wordplay on cupiditas and caritas.
[248] An interesting resemblance here to Freud's description of 
the Id, the primal core of our unconscious life.
[249] Rom. 3:20.
[250] 2 Peter 2:19.
[251] Rom. 5:20.
[252] Compare the psychological notion of the effect of external 
moral pressures and their power to arouse guilt feelings, as in 
Freud's notion of "superego."
[253] Gal. 5:17.
[254] Wis. 11:21 (Vulgate).
[255] Cf. John 1:17.
[256] John 3:8.
[257] Rom. 14:9.
[258] Cf. Ps. 88:5.
[259] 1 Tim. 1:5.
[260] Matt. 22:40.
[261] 1 Tim. 1:5.
[262] 1 John 4:16.
[263] Ex. 20:14; Matt. 5:27; etc.
[264] 1 Cor. 7:1.
[265] 1 Cor. 4:5.
[266] Minuitur autem cupiditas caritate crescente.
[267] John 15:23.



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