William Greenough Thayer Shedd Saint Augustine (Bishop of Hippo.).

The confessions of Augustine online

. (page 22 of 31)
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291



under thorn. Be Thou our glory; let ub be loved
for Thee, and Thy word feared in as. He who
would bo praised of men when Thou blamest, will
not be defended of men when Thou judgest; nor
delivered when Thou oondemnest But when, —
not the simier is praised in the desires of his sotdf^
nor he blessed who doth ungodly? but, — a man is
praised for some gift whieh Thou hnst given himi
and he rojoiees more at the praise for himself than
tliat ho hath the gift for whieh he is praised, he also
is praised, while Thou dispraisest ; and better is he
who pi-aised than he who is praised. For the one
took pleasure in the gift of Ood in roan ; the other
was better pleased with the gift of man, than of
God.

XXXVII. 60. By these temptations we are as^
sailed daily, 0, Lord ; without eeasing we are assailed,
Our AM\y furnace^ is the tongue of men. And in this
way, also, Thou commandest us self-denial. Give
what Tliou enjoinest, and enjoin what Thou wilt
Thou knowest on this matter the groans of my heart,
and the floods of mine eyes. For I eannot learn how
far I am cleansed from this plague, and I much fear
my secret sins* which Thine eyes know, mine do not.
For in other kinds of temptations I have some sort of
means of examining myself; in this, scarce any. For,
in reihiiniug my mind from the pleasures of the flesh,
and idle curiosity, I see how much I have attained
to, when I do without them ; foregoing, or not liaving
them. For then I ask myself how much more or less

irB.lx.29. Vnlg. SFl.z.8. « Pror. xxrli 21. 4rjkxiz.U.



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292 Limits within which

troublesome it is to me, not to have them ? Thus,
riches, which iire desired that they may serve to some
one or two or all of the three concupiscences/ if the
soul cannot discern whether, when it hath them it de-
spbeth them, they may be cast aside, that so it may
prove itself. But how can we divest ourselves of
pi'aise, and try ourselves in this respect i Must we
live ill, yea so abandonedly and atrociously, that no
one should know us without detesting us? What
greater madness can be uttered, or thought of? But
if praise b wont, and ought, to accompany a good life
and good works, we ought as little to forego its oom^
pany, as good life itself. Yet I know not whether I
can contentedly or discontentedly bo without any
thing, unless it bo absent.

61. What then do I confess unto Thee in this kind of
temptation, O Lord ? What, but that I am delighted
with praise, but with truth itself more than with
praise ? For were it proposed to me, whether I would,
being frenEiod in error on all things, be praised by
all men, or being consistent and most settled in the
truth, be blamed by all, I see which I should choose.
Yet fain would I, that the approbation of another
should not even increase my joy for any good in me.
Yet I own, it doth increase it, and not so only, but
dispraise doth diminish it. And when I am troubled
at this my misery, ah excuse occurs to me, which of
what value it is, Thou God knowest, for it loaves mo
uncertain. For since Thou hast commanded us not
continency^ alone, that is, from what things to refrain

>lJobnll.l6.



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the lave of praise is aUouxiNe. 293

our love, bat righteousnesB also, that is, whereon to
bestow it, and hast willed ns to love not Thee only,
but our neighbor also, often, when pleased with intel-
ligent prniso, I seem to myself to be pleased with the
profieieiicy or towardliness of my neighbor, or to be
grieved for evil in him, when I hear him dispraise
either what he understands not, or is good. For
sometimes I am grieved at my own praise, either
when those things be praised in me, in which I mislike
myself^ or even lesser and slight excellences jare more
esteemed than they ought to be. But, again, how
do I know whether I am not thus affected, because
I would not have him who praises me, differ from me
about myself; not as being influenced by concern for
him, but because those same good thmgs which please
me in myself please me more when they please
another also ? For somehow I am not praised when
my judgment of myself is not praised ; forasmuch as
cither those things are praised, which displease me ;
or those more, which please me less. Am I then
doubtful of myself in this matter?

62. Behold, in Thee, O Truth, I see, that I ought
not to bo moved at my own praises, for my own sake,
but for the good of my neighbor. And whether it be
80 with me, I know not. For herein I know less of
myself than of Thee. I beseech now, my Qod,
discover to me myself also, that I may confess unto
my brethren, who are to pray for me, wherein I find
myself maimed. Let me examine myself again more
diligently. If in my praise I am moved with the
good of my neighbor, why am I less moved if another



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^91 Cor\f$9BeB man?s inabHUy

be unjuBtly dispraised (ban if it bo mjrsclf ? Wby
am I more stung by reproach cast upon myself than
at that cast upon anotlier, with the same injustice be-
fore me? Know I not this also ? or is it at last that
I deceive mynelf} and do not the truth before Thee i^
ray heart and tongue? This madness put fiir from m^
O Lord, lost mine own mouth be to me the »innei^$
oil to make fat my head? I am poor and needy;* yet
)>esty while in hidden groanings I mortify myself and
seek Thy mercy, until what b lacking in my dcfectiTQ
state be renewed and perfected, even to that pea^Q
which the eye of the proud knoweth not

XXXVm. 68. Yet the word, which comcth out of
the mouth, and deeds known to men, bring with tl^em
a most dangerous temptation through tlio love of
praise; which, to establish a certain excellency of our
own, solicit and collect men's suffrages. It temptSi
Qven when it is reproved by myself in myself on the
very ground that it is reproved ; and often glomes
more vainly of the very contempt of vain-glory; and
so it b no longer contempt of vain-glory, whereof \i
glories ; for it doth not contemn when it g1orieth«

XXTX. 64. Within also, within is another evil, aris-
ing out of a like temptation ; whereby men become
vain, pleasing themselves in themselves, though they
please not, or displease, or care not to please, others.
But pleasing themselves, they much displease Thee,
not only taking pleasure in things not good, as if good,
but in Thy good things, as if they were their own;
or even if as Thine, yet as ^hough for their own mer-

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i^ 5 pr even if as though from Thy grace, yet not with
brotherly rejoicing, but gnidging that grace to others,
In all these and the like perik and travails, Thou s^es^
the trembling of my heart; and X rather feel my
wounds to be oured by Thee, than not inflicted bjr
me,

XL, 65. Where hast Thou not valkcd with me, O
Truth, teaching me what to beware, and what to de*
sire, when I referred to Thee what I could discover
hero below, and consulted Thee? With my outwf^i4
senses, as I might, I surveyed the world, and observed
the life which my body hath from me, and these my
senses. Thence entered I the recesses of my mem*
ory, those manifold and spacious chambers, wonder*^
fully furnished with innumerable stores ; and I considi-
ered, and stood aghast ; being able to discern nothing
of thcRo things without Thee, and finding none of
them to be Thee. Nor was it I myself who found
out these things, who went over them all, and labored
to distinguish and to value every thing according
to its dignity, taking some things upon the report of
my senses, questioning about others which I felt to be
mixed up with myself, numbering and distinguishing
Uho reporters themselves, and in the large treasure^
I house of my memory, revolving some things, storing
up others, drawing out others, — nor was it I myself \
who did this : that is, it was not my power whereby '
I did it. Neitlier was it Thou, for Thou art the)
abiding light, which I consulted concerning all
these, whether they were, what they were, and how
to be valued ; and I heard Thee directing and com*



^^:XL



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896 There must be a Mediator

■I ■iipii H IIP — ■ ■ I ■ 11 11 m

manding mo ; and this I often do, ibis delights me,
and as far as I maybe freed from necessary duties, nnto
this pleasure have I reeonrse. Nor in all these, which
I ran over consulting Thee, can I find any safe place
for my soul, but in Thee ; whither my scattered mem*
bers may bo gathered, and nothing of nie depart
^m Thee. And sometimes Thou admittcst me to
an affection, very unusual, in my inmost soul ; rising
to a strange sweetness, which if it were ]>erfected
lA me, I know not what in it would not belong to the
life to come. But through my miserable encum-
brances I sink down again into these lower things,
and am swept back by former custom, and am held,
and greatly weep, but am greatly held. So much
doth the bui*den of a bad custom weigh us down.
Here I can stay, but would not; there I would, but
cannot; both ways, miserable.

XLI. 66. Thus then have I considered the sick-
nesses of my sins in that threefold concupiscence,
and have called Thy right hand to my help. For
with a wounded heart have I beheld Thy brightness,
and stricken back I said, ^ Who can attain thither?
lam cast a\ony from Vie sight of thine eyes} Thou
art the Truth who presidest over all, but I, through
my covetonsness, would not indeed forego Thee, but
would with Thee possess a falsehood, just as no man
would speak fal;Mly, in such a way, and to such a de-
gree, as to wholly lose the knowledge of trutlu So
then I lost Thee, because Thou vouchsafest not to be
possessed along with a falsehood.''

1 Pft. xxxi. n.



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between Ood and man.



297



XLIL 67. Whom could I find to reconcile tnd to
Thee ? was I to have recourse to angels ? bj what
prayers? by what sacraments ? Many endeavoring
to return unto Tlice, and of themselves unable, have, as
I hear, tried this, and fallen into tlie desire of curious
visions, and been accounted worthy to be deludedi
For they, being high-minded, sought Thee by the
pride of learning, swelling out their breasts, ratheir
than smiting upon them, and so by the agreement of
their heart, drew unto themselves the jmncea qf the
air^ the fellow-conspirators of their pride, by whom^
through magical influences, they were deceived, seek*
ing a mediator by whom they might be purged, and
there was none. For the devil it was, transforming
himself into a^i Angd of Light* And it much enticed
proud flesh, that he had no body of flesh. For they
wore mortal, and sinners; but Thou Lord, to whom
they proudly sought to be reconciled, ai't immortal^
and without sin. But a mediator betwoon God and
man must have something like to God, something
like to men ; lest being in both like to man, he should
be far from God ; or if in both like God, too unlike
man ; and so not be a mediator. That deceitful m^
diator, then, by whom in Thy secret judgments pride
deserved to be deluded, hath one thing in common
witl) man, that is sin ; another he would seem to
have in common with God ; and not being clothed
with the mortality of flesh, would vaunt himself to be
immoitnl. But since the wages of sin is deatJif this



1 F4>li. il. 8.



s2Cor.xi.i4.



3 itom. Yi. 90.



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£98 Chri$t a sufficient MedicUor.

hath h^ in comm6n with men, that with them ho
should be condemned to death.

XLlir. 68. But the true Mediator, Whom in Thy
Secret mercy Thou hast showed to the humble, and
sentest, that by Hb example also they might learn
that same humility, that Mediator between (rod and
fnaiit the Man Christ Jesus}^ appeared betwixt mor-
tal sinners and the Immortal Just One ; mortal with
men, just with Gh>d ; that, because the wages of right-
eousness is life and peace, He might, by a i-ighteons^
ness conjoined with Gh>d, make void that death of
sinnet^ now justified, which He willed to have in
common with them. Hence He was showed forth to
holy men of old, that so they, through faith in Hia
Passion to come, as we through &ith in it passed,
might be saved. For as Man, He was a Mediator;*
but as the Word, he was not in the middle (Media-
tor) between Gbd and man, because he was equal to
God, and God with God, and together one God.

69. How hast Thou loved us, good Father, who
sparedst not 17une only Son^ but ddiveredst IRm up
for us ungodly f* How hast Thou loved us, for whom
Ife that thought it no robbery to be equal with Thee^
was made sulffect even to the death of the cross^^ He
alone /ree among the deadf having power to Uiy down
Ms life, and power to take it again :^ for us, to Thee^
both Victor and Victim, and therefore Victor, because
the Victim I for us, to Thee, Priest and Sacrifice, and

llTtfil.li.9D.

S B«th6r« M Ood-HBMf mara Iramaoltr i^ not «iii the middle botweeo
God and nun.** ~ Ed.
S Rom. Till. 82. 4 Fhll. 11. 0, 8. f Pb. IxxztIU. b. « John z. IB.



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Christ a &uffi,cient Mdicttor.



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therefore Priest i>ecaU86 the Saorifice $ making us, to
Tfaee, of servants, sons, by beirig bora of Thee, Imd
serving us« Deservedly then is my hope strong m
Ilim, that Thou wiU lieal all my v^miitieB^ by Him
Whd sitteth at TViy right hand and fnakei/i intef^
cessio7i for us ;' else should I despair. Foi" many and |
gr^t are my infirmities, matiy they are and great;
but Thy medicine is mightier; We might imagine
that Thy Word W(ks fiir front liny union with man,
and, despair of onn^elves^ unless lie had been mads
jksh and dwelt among usf

70. Affrighted with my bins, and ttie burden ot*my
misery, I had thought in hiy heart, aud had purposed^
to flee to the wUdemess:^ but Thou forbaddest me,
and strengthenedst me, saying. Therefore Christ died
for aUy t/uU they which live may novo no longer live
unto thnnsdves^ hut unto Him that died for tliamf
Sec, Lord, least my care upon Theef that I may live,
and consider tdotidrous things cut of Thy law/ Thou
knowest my unskilfulness, and my infirmities ; ieach
me, and heal me. He, Thine only son, in Whom are
hid all tJie treaswHs of wisdom and knowledge? hath
redeemed me with His blood. Let not the proud
speak evil of fne;^ because I meditate on my Ran-
som, and cat and drink, and appropriate \i\ and poor,
desire to bd satisfied from Him, amongst those that
eat and are satisfied Af id they shatt praise the Lord
wh6 seek Bimfi



1 ri oiii. 8.

t Rom. viU. 84.
8 John 1. 11
4 V, Iv. 7.



1 2 Cor. T. 15.
• Vb, It. 22.
rFft.oxix.18.



8 Col. «. 8.

1*8. oxix. 128. Ytilg.
10 Ph. xxlL 86.



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I. 1. Lord, since eternity is Thine, art Thon igno-
rant of what I say to Thee ? or dost Thou see in
time, what passeth in time ? Why then do I lay in
order before Thee so many relations? Not, of a
truth, that Thou mightest learn them through me,
but to stir up mine own, and my readers' devotions
towards Thee, that we may all say, Chreal is the
Xordy and greatly to be praised} I have said al-
ready, and again will say, for. love of Thy love do I
this. For we pray, abo ; and yet Truth hath said,
Your Father knoioeth what you have need of, btfore
you ask} It is then our affections whicli we lay
op^n unto Thee, confessing our own misencs, and
Thy mercies upon us, that Thou mayest free us

1 rs. xovi. 4. t M»tt Tl. 8



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AugusH'M prays to be 'kept from error. 801

wholly, since Thoa hast begun, that we may cease to
be wretched in ourselves, and be blessed in Thee ;
seeing Thou host called us, to become />oor in spirit^
and meeky and mourners^ and hungering and athirst
after rigJUeousness^ and merc\ful^ and pure in hearty
and peace-makers} See, I have told Thee many
things, as I could and as I would, because Thou first
wouldest that I should confess unto Thee, my Lord
Qod. jPbr Thou art good^fcr Thy mercy endureth
forever.*

II. 2. But how shall I suffice with the tongue of
my pen to utter all Thy exhortations, and all Thy
terrors, and comforts, and guidances, whereby Thou
broughtest me to preach Thy Word, and dispense
Thy Sacrament to Thy people ? And if I suffice to
utter them in order, the drops of time are precious
with mo ; and long have I burned to meditate in
Thy law^ and therein to confess to Thee my skiU
and unskilfuluess, the day-break of Thy enlightening
and the remnants of my darkness, until infirmity be
swallowed up by strength. And I would not have
aught besides steal away those hours, which I find
free from the necessities of refreshing my body and
the powci-s of my mind, and the service which we owe
to men, or which, though we owe not, we yet pay.

8. Lord my Qod, give ear unto my prayer, and
let Thy mercy hearken unto my desire : because it is
anxious, not for myself alone, but would serve
brotherly charity ; and Thou seest my heart, that so
it is. I would sacrifice to Thee the sci-vice of my



iiutt.T.a-9.



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t Fft. osix. 97.



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802 Augustine prays for ligfU

thonght and tongue ; do Thoa give me what I may
offer Thee. For I am poor and needy ^ Thou rich to
aU that call upon Thee;^ and, inaccessible to care,
carest for us. Circumcise from all rashness and all
lying both my inward and outward lips ; let Thy
Scriptures be my pure delights ; let me not be de-
ceived in them, nor deceive out of them. Lord,
hearken and pity, O Lord my God, Light of the
blind, and Strength of the weak ; yea, also, Light of
those that see, and Strength of the strong : hearken
unto my soul, and hear it crying out of the depths}
For if Thine ears be not with us in the depths also,
whither shall we go? whither cry? 27ie day is
Thine^ and the night is Thine; at Tliy Iieck the
moments flee by. Grant thereof a space for our
meditations in the hidden things of Thy lato^ and
close it not against us who knock. For not in vain
wouldest Thou have the darksome secrets of so
many pages written ; nor are those forests without
their harts, which retire therein and range and walk,
feed, lie down, and ruminate. Perfect me, O Lord,
and reveal them unto me. Behold, Thy voice is my
joy ; Thy voice exceedeth the abundance of pleas-
ures. Give what I love : for I do love ; and this
hast Thou given. Forsake not Thy own gifts, nor
despise Thy green herb that thirsteth. Let me con-
fess unto Thee whatsoever I shall find in Tliy books,
and hear the voice of praise^ and drink in Tliee, and
meditate on the wonderful things out of Thy law;
even from the beginning^ wherein Thou modest the

1 Fi. xl. 17, IzxzTi 6. t Fft. ezxz. 1.



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and true knowledge.



808



heaven and the earthy unto the everlasting reigning
of Thy holy city with Thee.

4 Xordy have mercy on me^ and hear my desire.
For it is not, I deem, desire of tlie earth, not of gold
and silver and precious stones, or gorgeous apparel,
or honors and oflices, or the pleasures of tlie flesh, or
necessaries for the body and for this life of our pil-
grimage, — aU which shaU be added unto those that
seek Thy kingdom and Thy righteousness. Behold,
Lord my God, wherein is my desire. The wicked
have told me of delights, but not such as Thy lawj
Lord, Behold wherein is my desire. Behold,
Father, behold, and see and approve; and be it
pleasing in the sight of Thy mercy, that I may find
grace before Thee, that the inward parts of Thy
words be opened to me knocking. I beseech by our
Lord Jesus Christ, Tliy Son, the Man of Thy right
hand, the Son of Man, whom Thou hast estaUisfied
for Thyself, as Thy Mediator and ours, through
Whom Thou soughtest us who did not seek Thee,
but soughtest us that we might seek Thee; Thy

Word, through Whom Thou madest all things, and
among them, me also ; Thy Only Begotten, through
whom Thou calledst to adoption the believing peo-
ple, and therein mo also, — I beseech Thee by Him,
who sitteth at Thy right hand, and intercedeth wit/i

Thee for us, in Whom are hidden aU the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge. Him do I seek in Thy
books. Of Him did Moses write. This saith He
Himself; this saith the Truth.^

lJobnT.49.



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804c The meaning of Moses.

m. 6. I would hear and understand how, <<In the
Beginning Thou madest the heaven and earth.**
Moses wrote this, wrote and departed, passed hence
from Thee to Thee. Nor is he now before me ; for
if he were, I would hold him, and ask him, and
beseech liim by Thee to open these things unto me,
and would lay the ears of my body to the sounds
bursting out of his mouth. And should he speak
Hebrew, in vain will it strike on my senses, nor
would aught of it touch my mind ; but if Latin, I
should know what he said. But whence should I
know whether he spake the truth? Yea, and if
I knew this also, should I know it from him ? Truly
within mc, within, in the chamber of my thoughts.
Truth, "Who is neither Hebrew, nor Greek, nor
Latin, nor barbarian, without organs of voice or
tongue, or sound of syllables, would say, ^It is
truth;" and I forthwith should say confidently to
that man of Thine, "Thou sayest truly.'' Whereas,
then, I cannot inquire of Moses, Thee, Thee I be-
seech, O Tiiith, being filled with Whom, he spake
truth, Thee, my God, I beseech, forpve my sins ; and
Thou, who gavest him to speak these things, ^ve to
me also to understand them.

rV. 6. Behold, the heavens and the earth are;
they proclaim that they were created; for they
change and vary. Whereas whatsoever hath not
been made, and yet is, hath nothing in it which it
had not before ; and this it is, to change and vary.
They proclaim, also, that they made not themselves ;
** We are, because we have been made ; we were not,



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Qod does not creaUfircm eoBMting materiah. 806

therefore, before we were, so as to make ourselves/
Now the evidence of the thing is the voice of the
speakers. Thou, therefore, Lord, madest them ; who
art beautiful, for they ore beautiful ; who art good,
for they are good ; who art, for they are ; yet are
they not beautiful, nor good, as Thou art, nor are
they as Thou their Creator art; compared with
Whom, they are neither beautiful, nor good, nor are.
This we know, thanks be to Thee. And our knowl-
edge, compared with Thy knowledge, is ignorance.

y. 7. But how didst Thou make the heaven and
the earth f and what was the engine of Thy so
mighty fabric ? For it was not as a human artificer,
forming one body from another, according to the dis*
cretion of his mind, which can in some way invest
with such a form, as it seeth in itself by its inward
eye. And whence should ho be able to do this, un»
less Thou hadst made that mind? for he invests
with a form what already exists and has a being, as
clay, or stone, or wood, or gold, or the like. And
whence should they be, hadst not Thou appointed
them ? Thou madest the artificer's body ; his mind
commanding his limbs; the matter whereof he
makes anything; the apprehension whereby to take
in his art, and see within, what he doth without; th<»,
sense of his body, whereby, as by an interpreter, he
may from mind to matter convey that which he
doth, and report to his mind what is done ; that his
mind may consult the truth, which presideth over it,
whether it be well done or no. All these praise
Thee, the Creator of all. But how dost Thou make



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d06 Qod does not create from exieting materials.

them ? how, O God, didst Thou make heaven and
earth? Verily, neither in the heaven, nor in the
earth, didst Thou maJce heaven and earth : nor in
the air, or waters, seeing these also belong to the
heaven and the earth ; nor in the whole world didst
Thou make the whole world ; because there was no
place where to make it, before it was made, that it
might be. Nor didst Thou hold anything in Thy
hand, whereof to make heaven and earth. For
whence shouldest Thou have this, which Thou hadst
not made, thereof to make anything ? For what is,



Online LibraryWilliam Greenough Thayer Shedd Saint Augustine (Bishop of Hippo.)The confessions of Augustine → online text (page 22 of 31)