Augustine's <i>Confessions</i>


Saint Augustine, Confessions, translated by Edward B. Pusey. E-text source: Christian Classics Ethereal Library.Book I

  • Chapter I He Proclaims the Greatness of God, Whom He Desires to Seek and Invoke, Being Awakened by Him.
  • Chapter II That the God Whom We Invoke is in Us, and We in Him.
  • Chapter III Everywhere God Wholly Filleth All Things, But Neither Heaven nor Earth Containeth Him.
  • Chapter IV The Majesty of God is Supreme, and His Virtues Inexplicable
  • Chapter V He Seeks Rest in God, and Pardon of His Sins.
  • Chapter VI He Describes His Infancy, and Lauds the Protection and Eternal Providence of God.
  • Chapter VII He Shows by Example That Even Infancy is Prone to Sin.
  • Chapter VIII That When a Boy he Learned to Speak, not by any set Method, but From the Acts and Words of His Parents.
  • Chapter IX Concerning the Hatred of Learning, the Love of Play, and the Fear of Being Whipped Noticeable in Boys: and of the Folly of our Elders and Masters.
  • Chapter X Through a Love of Ball-Playing and Shows, He Neglects His Studies and the Injunctions of His Parents
  • Chapter XI Siezed by Disease, His Mother Being Troubled, He Earnestly Demands Baptism, Which on Recovery is Postponed—His Father not as yet Believing in Christ.
  • Chapter XII Being Compelled, He Gave His Attention to Learning; But Fully Acknowledges That This was the Work of God.
  • Chapter XIII He Delighted in Latin Studies and the Empty Fables of the Poets, but Hated the Elementss of Literature and the Greek Language.
  • Chapter XIV Why he Despised Greek Literature, and Easily Learned Latin.
  • Chapter XV He Entreats God, that Whatever Useful Things he Learned as a Boy May be Dedicated to Him.
  • Chapter XVI He Disapproves of the Mode of Educating Youth, and he Points out why Wickedness is Attributed to the Gods by the Poets.
  • Chapter XVII He Continues on the Unhappy Method of Training Youth in Literary Subjects.
  • Chapter XVIII Men Desire to Observe the Rules of Learning, but Neglect the Eternal Rules of Everlasting Safety.
Book II
  • Chapter I He Deplores the Wickedness of His Youth.
  • Chapter II Stricken With Exceeding Grief, He Remembers the Dissolute Passions in Which, in His Sixteenth Year, He Used to Indulge.
  • Chapter III Concerning His Father, a Freeman of Thagaste, the Assister of His Son's Studies, and on the Admonitions of His Mother on the Preservation of Chastitiy.
  • Chapter IV He Commits Theft With His Companions, Not Urged on by Poverty, but From a Certain Distaste of Well-Doing
  • Chapter V Concerning the Motives to Sin, Which are not in the Love of Evil, but in the Desire of Obtaining the Property of Others.
  • Chapter VI Whe He Delighted in that Theft, When all Things Which Under the Appearance of Good Invite to Vice are True and Perfect in God Alone.
  • Chapter VII He Gives Thanks to God for the Remission of His Sins, and Reminds Everyone that the Supreme God mya have Preserved Us from Greater Sins.
  • Chapter VIII In His Theft He Loved the Company of his Fellow-Sinners.
  • Chapter IX It was a Pleasure to Him Also to Laugh When Seriously Deceiving Others.
  • Chapter X With God There is True Rest and Life Unchanging.
Book III
  • Chapter I Deluded by an Insane Love, He, Though Foul and Dishonourable, Desires to be Thought Elegant and Urbane.
  • Chapter II In Public Spectacles He is Moved by an Empty Compassion. He is Attacked by a Troublesome Spiritual Disease.
  • Chapter III Not Even When at Church Does he Suppress His Desires. In the School of Rhetoric He Abhors the Acts of the Subverters.
  • Chapter IV In the Nineteenth Year of His Age (His Father Having Died Two Years Before) He is Led by the “Hortensius” of Cicero to “Philosophy,” to God, and a Better Mode of Thinking.
  • Chapter V He Rejects the Sacred Scriptures as too Simple, and as not to be Compared With the Dignity of Tully.
  • Chapter VI Deceived by His Own Fault, He Falls Into the Errors of the Manichaeans, who Gloried in the True Knowledge of God and in a Thorough Examination of Things.
  • Chapter VII He Attacks the Doctrine of the Manichaeans Concerning Evil, God, and the Righteousness of the Patriarchs.
  • Chapter VIII He Argues Against the Same as to the Reason of Offences.
  • Chapter IX That the Judgment of God and Men, as to Human Acts of Violence, is Different.
  • Chapter X He Reproves the Triflings of the Manichæans as to the Fruits of the Earth.
  • Chapter XI He Refers to the Tears, and the Memorable Dream Concerning Her Son, Granted by God to His Mother.
  • Chapter XII The Excellent Answer of the Bishop When Referred to by His Mother as to the Conversion of Her Son.
Book IV
  • Chapter I Concerning that Most Unhappy Time in Which He, Being Deceived, Deceived Others; and Concerning the Mockers of His Confession.
  • Chapter II He Teaches Rhetoric, the Only Thing He Loved, and Scorns the Soothsayer, who Promised Him Victory.
  • Chapter III Not Even the Most Experienced Men Could Persuade Him of the Vanity of Astrology, to Which He was Devoted.
  • Chapter IV Sorely Distressed by Weeping at the Death of His Friend, He Provides Consolation for Himself.
  • Chapter V Why Weeping is Pleasant to the Wretched.
  • Chapter VI His Friend Being Snatched Away by Death, He Imagines that He Remains Only as Half.
  • Chapter VII Troubled by Restlessness and Grief, He Leaves His Country a Second Time for Carthage.
  • Chapter VIII That His Grief Ceased by Time, and the Consolation of Friends.
  • Chapter IX That the Love of a Human Being, However Constant in Loving and Returning Love, Perishes; While He who Loves God Never Loses a Friend
  • Chapter X That All Things Exist That They may Perish, and That we are not Safe Unless God Watches Over Us.
  • Chapter XI That Portions of the World are not to be Loved; but that God, Their Author, is Immutable, and His Word Eternal.
  • Chapter XII Love is not Condemned, but Love in God, in Whom There is Rest Through Jesus Christ, is to be Preferred.
  • Chapter XIII Love Originates From Grace, and Beauty Enticing Us.
  • Chapter XIV Concerning the Books Which He Wrote “On the Fair and Fit,” Dedicated to Hierius.
  • Chapter XV While Writing, Being Blinded by Corporeal Images, He Failed to Recognise the spiritual Nature of God.
  • Chapter XVI He Very Easily Understood the Liberal Arts and the Categories of Aristotle, but Without True Fruit.
Book V
  • Chapter I That It Becomes the Soul to Praise God, and to Confess Unto Him.
  • Chapter II On the Vanity of Those Who Wished to Escape the Omnipotent God.
  • Chapter III Heaving Heard Faustus, the Most Learned Bishop of the Manichaeans, He Discerns that God, the Author both of Things Animate and Inanimate, Chiefly has Care for the Humble.
  • Chapter IV That the Knowledge of terrestrial and Celestial Things does not Give Happiness, but the Knowledge of God Only.
  • Chapter V Of Manichaeus Pertinaciously Teaching False Doctrines, and Proudly Arrogating to Himself the Holy Spirit.
  • Chapter VI Faustus was Indeed an Elegant Speaker, but knew Nothing of the Liberal Sciences.
  • Chapter VII Clearly seeing the fallacies of the Manichaeans, he retires from them, being remarkably aided by God.
  • Chapter VIII He sets out for Rome, his mother in vain lamenting it.
  • Chapter IX Being attacked by fever, he is in great danger
  • Chapter X When he had left the Manichaeans, he retained his depraved opinions concerning sin and the origin of the saviour.
  • Chapter XI Helpidius disputed well against the Manichaeans as to the authenticity of the New Testament.
  • Chapter XII Professing rhetoric at Rome, he discovers the fraud of his scholars.
  • Chapter XIII He is sent to Milan, that he, about to teach rhetoric, may be known by Ambrose.
  • Chapter XIV Having heard the bishop, he percieves the force of the Catholic faith, yet doubts, after the manner of the modern academics.
Book VI
  • Chapter I His mother having followed him to Milan, declares that she will not die before her son shall have embraced the Catholic faith.
  • Chapter II She, on the prohibition of Ambrose, abstains from honouring the memory of the Martyrs.
  • Chapter III As Ambrose was occupied with business and study, Augustin could seldom consult him concerning the Holy Scriptures.
  • Chapter IV He recognises the falsity of his own opinions, and commits to memory the saying of Ambrose.
  • Chapter V Faith is the basis of human life; man cannot discover that truth which holy scripture has disclosed.
  • Chapter VI On the source and cause of true joy,—the example of the joyous beggar being adduced.
  • Chapter VII He leads to reformation his friend Alypius, seized with madness for the Circensian games.
  • Chapter VIII The same when at Rome, being led by others into the Amphitheatre, is delighted with the Gladitorial games.
  • Chapter IX Innocent Alypius, being apprehended as a thief, is st at liberty by the cleverness of an architecht.
  • Chapter X The wonderful integrity of Alypius in judgment. the lasting friendship of Nebridius with Augustin.
  • Chapter XI Being troubled by his grievous errors, he meditates entering on a new life.
  • Chapter XII Discussion with Alypius concerning a life of celibacy.
  • Chapter XIII Being urged by his mother to take a wife, he sought a maiden that was pleasing unto him.
  • Chapter XIV The design of establishing a common household with his friends is speedily hindered.
  • Chapter XV He dismisses one mistress, and chooses another.
  • Chapter XVI The fear of death and judgment called him, believing in the immortality of the soul, back from his wickedness, him who aforetime believed in the opinions of Epicurus.
Book VII
  • Chapter I He regarded not god indeed under the form of a human body, but as a corporeal substance diffused through space.
  • Chapter II The disputation of Nebridius against the Manichaeans, on the question “Whether God be corruptible or incorruptible.”
  • Chapter III That the cause of evil is the free judgment of the will.
  • Chapter IV That God is not corruptible, who, if he were, would not be God at all.
  • Chapter V Questions concerning the origin of evil in regard to God, who, since he is the chief god, cannot be the cause of evil.
  • Chapter VI He refutes the Divinations of the astrologers, deduced from the constellations.
  • Chapter VII He is severely exercised as to the origin of evil.
  • Chapter VIII By God's assistance he by degrees arrives at the truth.
  • Chapter IX He compares the doctrine of the Platonists concerning the Logos with the much more excellent doctrine of Christianity.
  • Chapter X Divine things are the more clearly manifested to him who withdraws into the recesses of his heart.
  • Chapter XI That creatures are mutable and God alone immutable.
  • Chapter XII Whatever things the good God has created are very good.
  • Chapter XIII It is meet to praise the creator for the good things which are made in Heaven and Earth.
  • Chapter XIV Being displeased with some part of God's creation, he conceives of two original substances.
  • Chapter XV Whatever is, owes its being to God.
  • Chapter XVI Evil arises not from a substance, but from the perversion of the will.
  • Chapter XVII Above his changeable mind, he discovers the unchangeable author of truth.
  • Chapter XVIII Jesus Christ, the mediator, is the only way of safety.
  • Chapter XIX He does not yet fully understand the saying of John, that “the word was made flesh.”
  • Chapter XX He Rejoices that he proceeded from Plato to the HOly Scriptures, and not the reverse.
  • Chapter XXI What he found in the sacred books which are not to be found in Plato.
Book VIII
  • Chapter I He, now given to divine things, and yet entangled by the lusts of love, consults simplicanus in reference to the renewing of his mind.
  • Chapter II The pious old man rejoices that he read plato and the scriptures, and tells him of the rhetorician victorinus having been converted to the faith through the reading of the sacred books
  • Chapter III That God and the Angels rejoice more on the return of one sinner than of many just persons.
  • Chapter IV He shows by the example of victorinus that there is more joy In the conversion of nobles.
  • Chapter V Of the causes which alienate us from God.
  • Chapter VI Pontitainus’ account of Antony, the founder of monachism, and of some who imitated him.
  • Chapter VII He deplores his wretchedness, that having been born thirty-two years, he had not yet found out the truth.
  • Chapter VIII The conversation with Alypius being ended, he retires to the garden whither his friend follows him.
  • Chapter IX That the mind commandeth the mind, but it willeth not entirely.
  • Chapter X He refutes the opinion of the Manichaeans as to two kinds of minds,—one good and the other evil.
  • Chapter XI In what manner the spirit struggled with the flesh, that it might be freed from the bondage of vanity.
  • Chapter XII Having prayed to God, he pours forth a shower of tears, and, admonished by a voice, he opens the book and reads the words in Rom. XIII. 13; by which, being changed in his whole soul, he discloses the divine favour to his friend and his mother.
Book IX
  • Chapter I He praises God, the author of safety, and Jesus Christ, the redeemer, acknowledging his own wickedness.
  • Chapter II As his lungs were affected, he meditates withdrawing himself from public favour.
  • Chapter III He retires to the villa of his friend Verecundus, who was not yet a Christian, and refers to his conversion and death, as well as that of Nebridius.
  • Chapter IV In the country he gives his attention to literature, and explains the Fourth Psalm in connection with the happy conversion of Alypius. He is troubled with toothache.
  • Chapter V at the recommendation of Ambrose, he reads the prophecies of Isaiah, but does not understand them.
  • Chapter VI He is baptized at Milan with Alypius and his son Adeodatus. the book “De Magistro.”
  • Chapter VII Of the Church hymns instituted at Milan; of the Ambrosian Persecution raised by Justina; and of the discovery of the bodies of two martyrs.
  • Chapter VIII Of the conversion of Evodius, and the death of his mother whin returning with him to Africa; and whose education he tenderly relates.
  • Chapter IX He describes the praiseworthy habits of his mother; her kindness towards her husband and her sons.
  • Chapter X A conversation he had with his mother concerning the kindom of heaven.
  • Chapter XI His mother, attacked by fever, dies at Ostia.
  • Chapter XII How he mourned his dead mother.
  • Chapter XIII He entreats God for her sins, and admonishes his readers to remember her piously.
Book X
  • Chapter I In God alone is the hope and joy of man.
  • Chapter II That all things are manifest to God. That confession unto him is not made by the words of the flesh, but of the soul, and the cry of reflection.
  • Chapter III He who confesseth rightly unto God best knoweth himself.
  • Chapter IV That in his confessions he may do good, he considers others.
  • Chapter V That man knoweth not himself wholly.
  • Chapter VI The love of God, in his nature superior to all creatures, is acquired by the knowledge of the senses and the exercise of reason.
  • Chapter VII That God is to be found neither from the powers of the body nor of the soul.
  • Chapter VIII Of the nature and the amazing power of memory.
  • Chapter IX Not only things, but also literature and images, are taken from the memory, and are brought forth by the act of remembering.
  • Chapter X Literature is not introduced to the memory through the senses, but is brought forth from its more secret places.
  • Chapter XI What it is to learn and to think.
  • Chapter XII on the recollection of things mathematical.
  • Chapter XIII Memory retains all things.
  • Chapter XIV Concerning the manner in which joy and sadness may be brought back to the mind and memory.
  • Chapter XV In memory there are also images of things which are absent.
  • Chapter XVI The privation of memory is forgetfulness.
  • Chapter XVII God cannot be attained unto by the power of memory, which beasts and birds possess.
  • Chapter XVIII A thing when lost could not be found unless it were retained in the memory.
  • Chapter XIX What it is to remember.
  • Chapter XX We should not seek for God and the Happy life unless we had known it.
  • Chapter XXi How a happy life may be retained in the memory.
  • Chapter XXII A happy life is to rejoice in God, and for God.
  • Chapter XXIII All wish to rejoice in the truth.
  • Chapter XXIV He who finds truth, finds God.
  • Chapter XXV He is glad that God dwells in his memory.
  • Chapter XXVI God everywhere answers those who take counsel of him.
  • Chapter XXVII He grieves that he was so long without God.
  • Chapter XXVIII On the misery of human life.
  • Chapter XXIX All hope is in the mercy of God.
  • Chapter XXX Of the perverse images of dreams, which he wishes to have taken away.
  • Chapter XXXI About to speak of the temptations of the lust of the flesh, he first complains of the lust of eating and drinking.
  • Chapter XXXII Of the charms of perfumes which are more easily overcome.
  • Chapter XXXIII He Overcame the pleasures of the ear, although in the church he frequently delighted in the song, not in the thing sung.
  • Chapter XXXIV Of the very dangerous allurements of the eyes; on account of beauty of form, God, the creator, is to be praised.
  • Chapter XXXV Another kind of temptation is curiosity, which is stimulated by the lust of the eyes.
  • Chapter XXXVI A third kind is “pride,” which is pleasing to man, not to God.
  • Chapter XXXVII He is forcibly goaded on by the love of praise.
  • Chapter XXXVIII Vain-glory is the highest danger.
  • Chapter XXXIX Of the vice of those who, while pleasing themselves, displease God.
  • Chapter XL The only safe resting-place for the soul is to be found in God.
  • Chapter XLI Having conquered his triple desire, he arrives at salvation.
  • Chapter XLII In what manner many sought the mediator.
  • Chapter XLIII That Jesus Christ, at the same time God and man, is the true and most efficacious mediator.
Book XI
  • Chapter I By confession he desires to stimulate towards God his own love and that of his readers.
  • Chapter II He begs of God that through the Holy Scriptures he may be led to truth.
  • Chapter III He begins from the creation of the world—not understanding the Hebrew text.
  • Chapter IV Heaven and Earth cry out that they have been created by God.
  • Chapter V God created the world not from any certain matter, but In his own word.
  • Chapter VI He did not, however, create it by sounding and passing word.
  • Chapter VII By his co-eternal word he speaks, and all things are done.
  • Chapter VIII That word itself is the beginning of all things, in the which we are instructed as to evangeelical truth.
  • Chapter IX Wisdom and the beginning.
  • Chapter X The rashness of those who inquire what God did before he created Heaven and Earth.
  • Chapter XI They who ask this have not as yet known the eternity of God, which is exempt from the relation of time.
  • Chapter XII What God did before the creation of the world.
  • Chapter XIII Before the times created by God, times were not.
  • Chapter XIV Neither time past nor future, but the present only, really is.
  • Chapter XV There is only a moment of present time.
  • Chapter XVI Time can only be perceived or measured while it is passing.
  • Chapter XVII Nevertheless there is time past and future.
  • Chapter XVIII Past and future times cannot be thought of but as present.
  • Chapter XIX We are ignorant in what manner God teaches future things.
  • Chapter XX In what manner time may properly be designated.
  • Chapter XXI How time may be measured.
  • Chapter XXII He prays God that he would explain this most entangled enigma.
  • Chapter XXIII That time is a certain extension.
  • Chapter XXIV That time is not a motion of a body which we measure by time.
  • Chapter XXV He calls on God to enlighten his mind.
  • Chapter XXVI We measure longer events by shorter in time.
  • Chapter XXVII Times are measured in proportion as they pass by.
  • Chapter XXVIII Time in the human mind, which expects, considers, and remembers.
  • Chapter XXIX That human life is a distraction, but that through the mercy of God he was intent on the prize of his heavenly calling.
  • Chapter XXX Again he refutes the empty qquestion, “What did God before the creation of the world?”
  • Chapter XXXI How the Knowledge of God differs from that of Man.
Book XII
  • Chapter I The Discovery of Truth is Difficult, but God Has promised that he who seeks shall find.
  • Chapter II Of the double heaven,—the visible, and the heaven of heavens.
  • Chapter III Of the Darkness upon the deep, and of the invisible and formless earth.
  • Chapter IV From the Formlessness of matter, the beautiful world has arisen.
  • Chapter V What may have been the form of matter.
  • Chapter VI He confesses that at one time he himself thought erroneously of matter.
  • Chapter VII Out of nothing God made heaven and earth.
  • Chapter VIII Heaven and Earth were made “In the beginning;” afterwards the world, during six days, from shapeless matter.
  • Chapter IX That the Heaven of Heavens was an Intellectual creature, but that the Earth was invisible and formless before the days that it was made.
  • Chapter X He begs of God that he may live in the true light, and may be instructed as to the mysteries of the sacred books.
  • Chapter Xi What may be discovered to him by God.
  • Chapter XII From the formless Earth God created another Heaven and a visible and formed Earth.
  • Chapter XIII Of the intellectual Heaven and formless Earth, out of which, on another day, the firmament was formed.
  • Chapter XIV Of the depth of the Sacred Scripture, and itS enemies.
  • Chapter XV He argues against adversaries concerning the Heaven of Heavens.
  • Chapter XVI He wishes to have no intercourse with those who deny divine truth.
  • Chapter XVII He mentions five explanations of the words of Genesis I.
  • Chapter XVIII What error is harmless in sacred scripture.
  • Chapter XIX He enumerates the things concerning which all agree.
  • Chapter XX Of the words, “in the beginning,” Variously understood.
  • Chapter XXI Of the explanation of the words, “The Earth was invisible.”
  • Chapter XXII He discusses whether matter was from eternity, or was made by God.
  • Chapter XXIII Two kinds of disagreements in the books to be explained.
  • Chapter XXIV Out of the many true things, it is not asserted confidently that Moses understood this or that.
  • Chapter XXV It behoves interpreters, when disagreeing concerning obscure places, to regard God the author of truth, and the rule of charity.
  • Chapter XXVI What he might have asked of God had he been enjoined to write the Book of Genesis.
  • Chapter XXVII The style of speaking in the Book of Genesis is simple and clear.
  • Chapter XXVIII The words, “In the beginning,” and, “The Heaven and the Earth,” are differently understood.
  • Chapter XXIX Concerning the opinion of those who explain it “At first he made.”
  • Chapter XXX In the great diversity of opinions, it becomes all to unite charity and divine truth.
  • Chapter XXXI Moses is supposed to have perceived whatever of truth can be discovered in his words.
  • Chapter XXXII First, the sense of the writer is to be discovered, then that is to be brought out which divine truth intended.
Book XIII
  • Chapter I He calls upon God, and proposes to himself to worship him.
  • Chapter II All creatures subsist from the plenitude of divine goodnss.
  • Chapter III Genesis I. 3,—of “Light,”—He understands as it is seen in the spiritual creature.
  • Chapter IV All things have been created by the grace of God, and are not of him as standing need of created things.
  • Chapter V He recognises the Trinity in the first two verses of Genesis.
  • Chapter VI Why the Holy Ghost should have been mentioned after the mention of Heaven and Earth.
  • Chapter VII That the Holy Spirit brings us to God.
  • Chapter VIII That nothing whatever, short of God, can yield to the rational creature a happy rest.
  • Chapter IX Why the Holy Spirit was only “Borne over” the waters.
  • Chapter X That nothing arose save by the gift of God.
  • Chapter XI That the symbols of the Trinity in man, to be, to know, and to will, are never thoroughly examined.
  • Chapter XII Allegorical explanation of Genesis, Chapter I, concerning the origin of the church and its worship.
  • Chapter XIII That the renewal of man is not completed in this world.
  • Chapter XIV that out of the children of the night and of the darkness, childred of the light and day are made.
  • Chapter XV Allegorical explanation of the firmament and upper works, Ver. 6.
  • Chapter XVI That no one but the unchangeable light kows himself.
  • Chapter XVII Allegorical explanation of the sea and the fruit-bearing earth—verses 9 and 11.
  • Chapter XVIII Of the lights and stars of Heaven—of day and night, ver. 14.
  • Chapter XIX All men should become lights in the firmament of Heaven.
  • Chapter XX Concerning reptiles and flying creatures (ver. 20),—the sacrament of baptism being regarded.
  • Chapter XXI Concerning the living soul, birds, and fishes (Ver. 24),—the sacrament of the eucharist being regarded.
  • Chapter XXII He explains the divine image (ver. 26.) of the renewal of the mind.
  • Chapter XXIII That to have power over all things (ver. 26) is to judge spiritually of all.
  • Chapter XXIV Why God has blessed men, fishes, flying creatures, and not herbs and the other animals.
  • Chapter XXV He explains the fruits of the Earth (ver. 29) of Works of mercy.
  • Chapter XXVI In the confessing of benefits, computation is made not as to the “gift,” but as to the “fruit,”—that is, the good and right will of the giver.
  • Chapter XXVII Many are ignorant as to this, and ask for miracles, which are signified under the names of “fishes” and “Whales.”
  • Chapter XXVIII He proceeds to the last verse, “All things are very good,”—that is, the work being altogether good.
  • Chapter XXIX Although it is said eight times that “God saw that it was good,” yet time has no relation to God and his word.
  • Chapter XXX He refutes the opinions of the Manichaeans and the Gnostics concerning the origin of the world.
  • Chapter XXXI We do not see “That it was Good,” but through the spirit of God, which is in us.
  • Chapter XXXII Of the particular works of God, more especially of man.
  • Chapter XXXIII The world was created by God out of Nothing.
  • Chapter XXXIV He briefly repeats the allegorical interpretation of Genesis (Chapter 1), and confesses that we see it by the Divine Spirit.
  • Chapter XXXV He prays God for that peace of rest which hath no evening.
  • Chapter XXXVI The seventh day, without evening and setting, the image of eternal life and rest in God.
  • Chapter XXXVII Of rest in God, who ever worketh, and yet is ever at rest.
  • Chapter XXXVIII Of the Difference between the knowledge of God and of men, and of the repose which is to be sought from God only.
Book IChapter IGreat art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and Thy wisdom infinite. And Thee would man praise; man, but a particle of Thy creation; man, that bears about him his mortality, the witness of his sin, the witness that Thou resistest the proud: yet would man praise Thee; he, but a particle of Thy creation. Thou awakest us to delight in Thy praise; for Thou madest us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it repose in Thee. Grant me, Lord, to know and understand which is first, to call on Thee or to praise Thee? and, again, to know Thee or to call on Thee? for who can call on Thee, not knowing Thee? for he that knoweth Thee not, may call on Thee as other than Thou art. Or, is it rather, that we call on Thee that we may know Thee? but how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe without a preacher? and they that seek the Lord shall praise Him: for they that seek shall find Him, and they that find shall praise Him. I will seek Thee, Lord, by calling on Thee; and will call on Thee, believing in Thee; for to us hast Thou been preached. My faith, Lord, shall call on Thee, which Thou hast given me, wherewith Thou hast inspired me, through the Incarnation of Thy Son, through the ministry of the Preacher.Chapter IIAnd how shall I call upon my God, my God and Lord, since, when I call for Him, I shall be calling Him to myself? and what room is there within me, whither my God can come into me? whither can God come into me, God who made heaven and earth? is there, indeed, O Lord my God, aught in me that can contain Thee? do then heaven and earth, which Thou hast made, and wherein Thou hast made me, contain Thee? or, because nothing which exists could exist without Thee, doth therefore whatever exists contain Thee? Since, then, I too exist, why do I seek that Thou shouldest enter into me, who were not, wert Thou not in me? Why? because I am not gone down in hell, and yet Thou art there also. For if I go down into hell, Thou art there. I could not be then, O my God, could not be at all, wert Thou not in me; or, rather, unless I were in Thee, of whom are all things, by whom are all things, in whom are all things? Even so, Lord, even so. Whither do I call Thee, since I am in Thee? or whence canst Thou enter into me? for whither can I go beyond heaven and earth, that thence my God should come into me, who hath said, I fill the heaven and the earth.Chapter IIIDo the heaven and earth then contain Thee, since Thou fillest them? or dost Thou fill them and yet overflow, since they do not contain Thee? And whither, when the heaven and the earth are filled, pourest Thou forth the remainder of Thyself? or hast Thou no need that aught contain Thee, who containest all things, since what Thou fillest Thou fillest by containing it? for the vessels which Thou fillest uphold Thee not, since, though they were broken, Thou wert not poured out. And when Thou art poured out on us, Thou art not cast down, but Thou upliftest us; Thou art not dissipated, but Thou gatherest us. But Thou who fillest all things, fillest Thou them with Thy whole self? or, since all things cannot contain Thee wholly, do they contain part of Thee? and all at once the same part? or each its own part, the greater more, the smaller less? And is, then one part of Thee greater, another less? or, art Thou wholly every where, while nothing contains Thee wholly?Chapter IVWhat art Thou then, my God? what, but the Lord God? For who is Lord but the Lord? or who is God save our God? Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong, stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all-changing; never new, never old; all-renewing, and bringing age upon the proud, and they know it not; ever working, ever at rest; still gathering, yet nothing lacking; supporting, filling, and overspreading; creating, nourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things. Thou lovest, without passion; art jealous, without anxiety; repentest, yet grievest not; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy works, Thy purpose unchanged; receivest again what Thou findest, yet didst never lose; never in need, yet rejoicing in gains; never covetous, yet exacting usury. Thou receivest over and above, that Thou mayest owe; and who hath aught that is not Thine? Thou payest debts, owing nothing; remittest debts, losing nothing. And what had I now said, my God, my life, my holy joy? or what saith any man when he speaks of Thee? Yet woe to him that speaketh not, since mute are even the most eloquent.Chapter VOh! that I might repose on Thee! Oh! that Thou wouldest enter into my heart, and inebriate it, that I may forget my ills, and embrace Thee, my sole good! What art Thou to me? In Thy pity, teach me to utter it. Or what am I to Thee that Thou demandest my love, and, if I give it not, art wroth with me, and threatenest me with grievous woes? Is it then a slight woe to love Thee not? Oh! for Thy mercies’ sake, tell me, O Lord my God, what Thou art unto me. Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. So speak, that I may hear. Behold, Lord, my heart is before Thee; open Thou the ears thereof, and say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. After this voice let me haste, and take hold on Thee. Hide not Thy face from me. Let me die—lest I die—only let me see Thy face.Narrow is the mansion of my soul; enlarge Thou it, that Thou mayest enter in. It is ruinous; repair Thou it. It has that within which must offend Thine eyes; I confess and know it. But who shall cleanse it? or to whom should I cry, save Thee? Lord, cleanse me from my secret faults, and spare Thy servant from the power of the enemy. I believe, and therefore do I speak. Lord, Thou knowest. Have I not confessed against myself my transgressions unto Thee, and Thou, my God, hast forgiven the iniquity of my heart? I contend not in judgment with Thee, who art the truth; I fear to deceive myself; lest mine iniquity lie unto itself. Therefore I contend not in judgment with Thee; for if Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall abide it?Chapter VIYet suffer me to speak unto Thy mercy, me, dust and ashes. Yet suffer me to speak, since I speak to Thy mercy, and not to scornful man. Thou too, perhaps, despisest me, yet wilt Thou return and have compassion upon me. For what would I say, O Lord my God, but that I know not whence I came into this dying life (shall I call it?) or living death. Then immediately did the comforts of Thy compassion take me up, as I heard (for I remember it not) from the parents of my flesh, out of whose substance Thou didst sometime fashion me. Thus there received me the comforts of woman's milk. For neither my mother nor my nurses stored their own breasts for me; but Thou didst bestow the food of my infancy through them, according to Thine ordinance, whereby Thou distributest Thy riches through the hidden springs of all things. Thou also gavest me to desire no more than Thou gavest; and to my nurses willingly to give me what Thou gavest them. For they, with a heaven-taught affection, willingly gave me what they abounded with from Thee. For this my good from them, was good for them. Nor, indeed, from them was it, but through them; for from Thee, O God, are all good things, and from my God is all my health. This I since learned, Thou, through these Thy gifts, within me and without, proclaiming Thyself unto me. For then I knew but to suck; to repose in what pleased, and cry at what offended my flesh; nothing more.Afterwards I began to smile; first in sleep, then waking: for so it was told me of myself, and I believed it; for we see the like in other infants, though of myself I remember it not. Thus, little by little, I became conscious where I was; and to have a wish to express my wishes to those who could content them, and I could not; for the wishes were within me, and they without; nor could they by any sense of theirs enter within my spirit. So I flung about at random limbs and voice, making the few signs I could, and such as I could, like, though in truth very little like, what I wished. And when I was not presently obeyed (my wishes being hurtful or unintelligible), then I was indignant with my elders for not submitting to me, with those owing me no service, for not serving me; and avenged myself on them by tears. Such have I learnt infants to be from observing them; and that I was myself such, they, all unconscious, have shown me better than my nurses who knew it.And, lo! my infancy died long since, and I live. But Thou, Lord, who for ever livest, and in whom nothing dies: for before the foundation of the worlds, and before all that can be called “before,” Thou art, and art God and Lord of all which Thou hast created: in Thee abide, fixed for ever, the first causes of all things unabiding; and of all things changeable, the springs abide in Thee unchangeable: and in Thee live the eternal reasons of all things unreasoning and temporal. Say, Lord, to me, Thy suppliant; say, all-pitying, to me, Thy pitiable one; say, did my infancy succeed another age of mine that died before it? was it that which I spent within my mother's womb? for of that I have heard somewhat, and have myself seen women with child? and what before that life again, O God my joy, was I any where or any body? For this have I none to tell me, neither father nor mother, nor experience of others, nor mine own memory. Dost Thou mock me for asking this, and bid me praise Thee and acknowledge Thee, for that I do know?I acknowledge Thee, Lord of heaven and earth, and praise Thee for my first rudiments of being, and my infancy, whereof I remember nothing; for Thou hast appointed that man should from others guess much as to himself; and believe much on the strength of weak females. Even then I had being and life, and (at my infancy's close) I could seek for signs whereby to make known to others my sensations. Whence could such a being be, save from Thee, Lord? Shall any be his own artificer? or can there elsewhere be derived any vein, which may stream essence and life into us, save from thee, O Lord, in whom essence and life are one? for Thou Thyself art supremely Essence and Life. For Thou art most high, and art not changed, neither in Thee doth to-day come to a close; yet in Thee doth it come to a close; because all such things also are in Thee. For they had no way to pass away, unless Thou upheldest them. And since Thy years fail not, Thy years are one to-day. How many of ours and our fathers’ years have flowed away through Thy “to-day,” and from it received the measure and the mould of such being as they had; and still others shall flow away, and so receive the mould of their degree of being. But Thou art still the same, and all things of tomorrow, and all beyond, and all of yesterday, and all behind it, Thou hast done to-day. What is it to me, though any comprehend not this? Let him also rejoice and say, What thing is this? Let him rejoice even thus! and be content rather by not discovering to discover Thee, than by discovering not to discover Thee.Chapter VIIHear, O God. Alas, for man's sin! So saith man, and Thou pitiest him; for Thou madest him, but sin in him Thou madest not. Who remindeth me of the sins of my infancy? for in Thy sight none is pure from sin, not even the infant whose life is but a day upon the earth. Who remindeth me? doth not each little infant, in whom I see what of myself I remember not? What then was my sin? was it that I hung upon the breast and cried? for should I now so do for food suitable to my age, justly should I be laughed at and reproved. What I then did was worthy reproof; but since I could not understand reproof, custom and reason forbade me to be reproved. For those habits, when grown, we root out and cast away. Now no man, though he prunes, wittingly casts away what is good. Or was it then good, even for a while, to cry for what, if given, would hurt? bitterly to resent, that persons free, and its own elders, yea, the very authors of its birth, served it not? that many besides, wiser than it, obeyed not the nod of its good pleasure? to do its best to strike and hurt, because commands were not obeyed, which had been obeyed to its hurt? The weakness then of infant limbs, not its will, is its innocence. Myself have seen and known even a baby envious; it could not speak, yet it turned pale and looked bitterly on its foster-brother. Who knows not this? Mothers and nurses tell you that they allay these things by I know not what remedies. Is that too innocence, when the fountain of milk is flowing in rich abundance, not to endure one to share it, though in extremest need, and whose very life as yet depends thereon? We bear gently with all this, not as being no or slight evils, but because they will disappear as years increase; for, though tolerated now, the very same tempers are utterly intolerable when found in riper years.Thou, then, O Lord my God, who gavest life to this my infancy, furnishing thus with senses (as we see) the frame Thou gavest, compacting its limbs, ornamenting its proportions, and, for its general good and safety, implanting in it all vital functions, Thou commandest me to praise Thee in these things, to confess unto Thee, and sing unto Thy name, Thou most Highest. For Thou art God, Almighty and Good, even hadst Thou done nought but only this, which none could do but Thou: whose Unity is the mould of all things; who out of Thy own fairness makest all things fair; and orderest all things by Thy law. This age then, Lord, whereof I have no remembrance, which I take on others’ word, and guess from other infants that I have passed, true though the guess be, I am yet loth to count in this life of mine which I live in this world. For no less than that which I spent in my mother's womb, is it hid from me in the shadows of forgetfulness. But if I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me, where, I beseech Thee, O my God, where, Lord, or when, was I Thy servant guiltless? But, lo! that period I pass by; and what have I now to do with that, of which I can recall no vestige?Chapter VIIIPassing hence from infancy, I came to boyhood, or rather it came to me, displacing infancy. Nor did that depart,—(for whither went it?)—and yet it was no more. For I was no longer a speechless infant, but a speaking boy. This I remember; and have since observed how I learned to speak. It was not that my elders taught me words (as, soon after, other learning) in any set method; but I, longing by cries and broken accents and various motions of my limbs to express my thoughts, that so I might have my will, and yet unable to express all I willed, or to whom I willed, did myself, by the understanding which Thou, my God, gavest me, practise the sounds in my memory. When they named any thing, and as they spoke turned towards it, I saw and remembered that they called what they would point out by the name they uttered. And that they meant this thing and no other was plain from the motion of their body, the natural language, as it were, of all nations, expressed by the countenance, glances of the eye, gestures of the limbs, and tones of the voice, indicating the affections of the mind, as it pursues, possesses, rejects, or shuns. And thus by constantly hearing words, as they occurred in various sentences, I collected gradually for what they stood; and having broken in my mouth to these signs, I thereby gave utterance to my will. Thus I exchanged with those about me these current signs of our wills, and so launched deeper into the stormy intercourse of human life, yet depending on parental authority and the beck of elders.Chapter IXO God my God, what miseries and mockeries did I now experience, when obedience to my teachers was proposed to me, as proper in a boy, in order that in this world I might prosper, and excel in tongue-science, which should serve to the “praise of men,” and to deceitful riches. Next I was put to school to get learning, in which I (poor wretch) knew not what use there was; and yet, if idle in learning, I was beaten. For this was judged right by our forefathers; and many, passing the same course before us, framed for us weary paths, through which we were fain to pass; multiplying toil and grief upon the sons of Adam. But, Lord, we found that men called upon Thee, and we learnt from them to think of Thee (according to our powers) as of some great One, who, though hidden from our senses, couldest hear and help us. For so I began, as a boy, to pray to Thee, my aid and refuge; and broke the fetters of my tongue to call on Thee, praying Thee, though small, yet with no small earnestness, that I might not be beaten at school. And when Thou heardest me not (not thereby giving me over to folly), my elders, yea my very parents, who yet wished me no ill, mocked my stripes, my then great and grievous ill.Is there, Lord, any of soul so great, and cleaving to Thee with so intense affection (for a sort of stupidity will in a way do it); but is there any one who, from cleaving devoutly to Thee, is endued with so great a spirit, that he can think as lightly of the racks and hooks and other torments (against which, throughout all lands, men call on Thee with extreme dread), mocking at those by whom they are feared most bitterly, as our parents mocked the torments which we suffered in boyhood from our masters? For we feared not our torments less; nor prayed we less to Thee to escape them. And yet we sinned, in writing or reading or studying less than was exacted of us. For we wanted not, O Lord, memory or capacity, whereof Thy will gave enough for our age; but our sole delight was play; and for this we were punished by those who yet themselves were doing the like. But elder folks’ idleness is called “business”; that of boys, being really the same, is punished by those elders; and none commiserates either boys or men. For will any of sound discretion approve of my being beaten as a boy, because, by playing a ball, I made less progress in studies which I was to learn, only that, as a man, I might play more unbeseemingly? and what else did he who beat me? who, if worsted in some trifling discussion with his fellow-tutor, was more embittered and jealous than I when beaten at ball by a play-fellow?Chapter XAnd yet, I sinned herein, O Lord God, the Creator and Disposer of all things in nature, of sin the Disposer only, O Lord my God, I sinned in transgressing the commands of my parents and those of my masters. For what they, with whatever motive, would have me learn, I might afterwards have put to good use. For I disobeyed, not from a better choice, but from love of play, loving the pride of victory in my contests, and to have my ears tickled with lying fables, that they might itch the more; the same curiosity flashing from my eyes more and more, for the shows and games of my elders. Yet those who give these shows are in such esteem, that almost all wish the same for their children, and yet are very willing that they should be beaten, if those very games detain them from the studies, whereby they would have them attain to be the givers of them. Look with pity, Lord, on these things, and deliver us who call upon Thee now; deliver those too who call not on Thee yet, that they may call on Thee, and Thou mayest deliver them.Chapter XIAs a boy, then, I had already heard of an eternal life, promised us through the humility of the Lord our God stooping to our pride; and even from the womb of my mother, who greatly hoped in Thee, I was sealed with the mark of His cross and salted with His salt. Thou sawest, Lord, how while yet a boy, being seized on a time with sudden oppression of the stomach, and like near to death—Thou sawest, my God (for Thou wert my keeper), with what eagerness and what faith I sought, from the pious care of my mother and Thy Church, the mother of us all, the baptism of Thy Christ, my God and Lord. Whereupon the mother my flesh, being much troubled (since, with a heart pure in Thy faith, she even more lovingly travailed in birth of my salvation), would in eager haste have provided for my consecration and cleansing by the health-giving sacraments, confessing Thee, Lord Jesus, for the remission of sins, unless I had suddenly recovered. And so, as if I must needs be again polluted should I live, my cleansing was deferred, because the defilements of sin would, after that washing, bring greater and more perilous guilt. I then already believed: and my mother, and the whole household, except my father: yet did not he prevail over the power of my mother's piety in me, that as he did not yet believe, so neither should I. For it was her earnest care that Thou my God, rather than he, shouldest be my father; and in this Thou didst aid her to prevail over her husband, whom she, the better, obeyed, therein also obeying Thee, who hast so commanded.I beseech Thee, my God, I would fain know, if so Thou willest, for what purpose my baptism was then deferred? was it for my good that the rein was laid loose, as it were, upon me, for me to sin? or was it not laid loose? If not, why does it still echo in our ears on all sides, “Let him alone, let him do as he will, for he is not yet baptised?” but as to bodily health, no one says, “Let him be worse wounded, for he is not yet healed.” How much better then, had I been at once healed; and then, by my friends’ and my own, my soul's recovered health had been kept safe in Thy keeping who gavest it. Better truly. But how many and great waves of temptation seemed to hang over me after my boyhood! These my mother foresaw; and preferred to expose to them the clay whence I might afterwards be moulded, than the very cast, when made.Chapter XIIIn boyhood itself, however (so much less dreaded for me than youth), I loved not study, and hated to be forced to it. Yet I was forced; and this was well done towards me, but I did not well; for, unless forced, I had not learnt. But no one doth well against his will, even though what he doth, be well. Yet neither did they well who forced me, but what was well came to me from Thee, my God. For they were regardless how I should employ what they forced me to learn, except to satiate the insatiate desires of a wealthy beggary, and a shameful glory. But Thou, by whom the very hairs of our head are numbered, didst use for my good the error of all who urged me to learn; and my own, who would not learn, Thou didst use for my punishment—a fit penalty for one, so small a boy and so great a sinner. So by those who did not well, Thou didst well for me; and by my own sin Thou didst justly punish me. For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every inordinate affection should be its own punishment.Chapter XIIIBut why did I so much hate the Greek, which I studied as a boy? I do not yet fully know. For the Latin I loved; not what my first masters, but what the so-called grammarians taught me. For those first lessons, reading, writing and arithmetic, I thought as great a burden and penalty as any Greek. And yet whence was this too, but from the sin and vanity of this life, because I was flesh, and a breath that passeth away and cometh not again? For those first lessons were better certainly, because more certain; by them I obtained, and still retain, the power of reading what I find written, and myself writing what I will; whereas in the others, I was forced to learn the wanderings of one Aeneas, forgetful of my own, and to weep for dead Dido, because she killed herself for love; the while, with dry eyes, I endured my miserable self dying among these things, far from Thee, O God my life.For what more miserable than a miserable being who commiserates not himself; weeping the death of Dido for love to Aeneas, but weeping not his own death for want of love to Thee, O God. Thou light of my heart, Thou bread of my inmost soul, Thou Power who givest vigour to my mind, who quickenest my thoughts, I loved Thee not. I committed fornication against Thee, and all around me thus fornicating there echoed “Well done! well done!” for the friendship of this world is fornication against Thee; and “Well done! well done!” echoes on till one is ashamed not to he thus a man. And for all this I wept not, I who wept for Dido slain, and “seeking by the sword a stroke and wound extreme,” myself seeking the while a worse extreme, the extremest and lowest of Thy creatures, having forsaken Thee, earth passing into the earth. And if forbid to read all this, I was grieved that I might not read what grieved me. Madness like this is thought a higher and a richer learning, than that by which I learned to read and write.But now, my God, cry Thou aloud in my soul; and let Thy truth tell me, “Not so, not so. Far better was that first study.” For, lo, I would readily forget the wanderings of Aeneas and all the rest, rather than how to read and write. But over the entrance of the Grammar School is a vail drawn! true; yet is this not so much an emblem of aught recondite, as a cloak of error. Let not those, whom I no longer fear, cry out against me, while I confess to Thee, my God, whatever my soul will, and acquiesce in the condemnation of my evil ways, that I may love Thy good ways. Let not either buyers or sellers of grammar-learning cry out against me. For if I question them whether it be true that Aeneas came on a time to Carthage, as the poet tells, the less learned will reply that they know not, the more learned that he never did. But should I ask with what letters the name “Aeneas” is written, every one who has learnt this will answer me aright, as to the signs which men have conventionally settled. If, again, I should ask which might be forgotten with least detriment to the concerns of life, reading and writing or these poetic fictions? who does not foresee what all must answer who have not wholly forgotten themselves? I sinned, then, when as a boy I preferred those empty to those more profitable studies, or rather loved the one and hated the other. “One and one, two”; “two and two, four”; this was to me a hateful singsong: “the wooden horse lined with armed men,” and “the burning of Troy,” and “Creusa's shade and sad similitude,” were the choice spectacle of my vanity.Chapter XIVWhy then did I hate the Greek classics, which have the like tales? For Homer also curiously wove the like fictions, and is most sweetlyvain, yet was he bitter to my boyish taste. And so I suppose would Virgil be to Grecian children, when forced to learn him as I was Homer. Difficulty, in truth, the difficulty of a foreign tongue, dashed, as it were, with gall all the sweetness of Grecian fable. For not one word of it did I understand, and to make me understand I was urged vehemently with cruel threats and punishments. Time was also (as an infant) I knew no Latin; but this I learned without fear or suffering, by mere observation, amid the caresses of my nursery and jests of friends, smiling and sportively encouraging me. This I learned without any pressure of punishment to urge me on, for my heart urged me to give birth to its conceptions, which I could only do by learning words not of those who taught, but of those who talked with me; in whose ears also I gave birth to the thoughts, whatever I conceived. No doubt, then, that a free curiosity has more force in our learning these things, than a frightful enforcement. Only this enforcement restrains the rovings of that freedom, through Thy laws, O my God, Thy laws, from the master's cane to the martyr's trials, being able to temper for us a wholesome bitter, recalling us to Thyself from that deadly pleasure which lures us from Thee.Chapter XVHear, Lord, my prayer; let not my soul faint under Thy discipline, nor let me faint in confessing unto Thee all Thy mercies, whereby Thou hast drawn me out of all my most evil ways, that Thou mightest become a delight to me above all the allurements which I once pursued; that I may most entirely love Thee, and clasp Thy hand with all my affections, and Thou mayest yet rescue me from every temptation, even unto the end. For lo, O Lord, my King and my God, for Thy service be whatever useful thing my childhood learned; for Thy service, that I speak, write, read, reckon. For Thou didst grant me Thy discipline, while I was learning vanities; and my sin of delighting in those vanities Thou hast forgiven. In them, indeed, I learnt many a useful word, but these may as well be learned in things not vain; and that is the safe path for the steps of youth.Chapter XVIBut woe is thee, thou torrent of human custom! Who shall stand against thee? how long shalt thou not be dried up? how long roll the sons of Eve into that huge and hideous ocean, which even they scarcely overpass who climb the cross? Did not I read in thee of Jove the thunderer and the adulterer? both, doubtless, he could not be; but so the feigned thunder might countenance and pander to real adultery. And now which of our gowned masters lends a sober ear to one who from their own school cries out, “These were Homer's fictions, transferring things human to the gods; would he had brought down things divine to us!” Yet more truly had he said, “These are indeed his fictions; but attributing a divine nature to wicked men, that crimes might be no longer crimes, and whoso commits them might seem to imitate not abandoned men, but the celestial gods.”And yet, thou hellish torrent, into thee are cast the sons of men with rich rewards, for compassing such learning; and a great solemnity is made of it, when this is going on in the forum, within sight of laws appointing a salary beside the scholar's payments; and thou lashest thy rocks and roarest, “Hence words are learnt; hence eloquence; most necessary to gain your ends, or maintain opinions.” As if we should have never known such words as “golden shower,” “lap,” “beguile,” “temples of the heavens,” or others in that passage, unless Terence had brought a lewd youth upon the stage, setting up Jupiter as his example of seduction.“Viewing a picture, where the tale was drawn,Of Jove's descending in a golden showerTo Danae's lap a woman to beguile.”And then mark how he excites himself to lust as by celestial authority: “And what God? Great Jove,Who shakes heaven's highest temples with his thunder,And I, poor mortal man, not do the same!I did it, and with all my heart I did it.”Not one whit more easily are the words learnt for all this vileness; but by their means the vileness is committed with less shame. Not that I blame the words, being, as it were, choice and precious vessels; but that wine of error which is drunk to us in them by intoxicated teachers; and if we, too, drink not, we are beaten, and have no sober judge to whom we may appeal. Yet, O my God (in whose presence I now without hurt may remember this), all this unhappily I learnt willingly with great delight, and for this was pronounced a hopeful boy.Chapter XVIIBear with me, my God, while I say somewhat of my wit, Thy gift, and on what dotages I wasted it. For a task was set me, troublesome enough to my soul, upon terms of praise or shame, and fear of stripes, to speak the words of Juno, as she raged and mourned that she could not“This Trojan prince from Latinum turn.”Which words I had heard that Juno never uttered; but we were forced to go astray in the footsteps of these poetic fictions, and to say in prose much what he expressed in verse. And his speaking was most applauded, in whom the passions of rage and grief were most preeminent, and clothed in the most fitting language, maintaining the dignity of the character. What is it to me, O my true life, my God, that my declamation was applauded above so many of my own age and class? is not all this smoke and wind? and was there nothing else whereon to exercise my wit and tongue? Thy praises, Lord, Thy praises might have stayed the yet tender shoot of my heart by the prop of Thy Scriptures; so had it not trailed away amid these empty trifles, a defiled prey for the fowls of the air. For in more ways than one do men sacrifice to the rebellious angels.Chapter XVIIIBut what marvel that I was thus carried away to vanities, and went out from Thy presence, O my God, when men were set before me as models, who, if in relating some action of theirs, in itself not ill, they committed some barbarism or solecism, being censured, were abashed; but when in rich and adomed and well-ordered discourse they related their own disordered life, being bepraised, they gloried? These things Thou seest, Lord, and holdest Thy peace; long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Wilt Thou hold Thy peace for ever? and even now Thou drawest out of this horrible gulf the soul that seeketh Thee, that thirsteth for Thy pleasures, whose heart saith unto Thee, I have sought Thy face; Thy face, Lord, will I seek. For darkened affections is removal from Thee. For it is not by our feet, or change of place, that men leave Thee, or return unto Thee. Or did that Thy younger son look out for horses or chariots, or ships, fly with visible wings, or journey by the motion of his limbs, that he might in a far country waste in riotous living all Thou gavest at his departure? a loving Father, when Thou gavest, and more loving unto him, when he returned empty. So then in lustful, that is, in darkened affections, is the true distance from Thy face.Behold, O Lord God, yea, beho