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St. Augustine

St. Augustine (354 - 430)

Read freely text sermons and articles by the speaker St. Augustine in text and pdf format. Was an early Christian theologian and philosopher [5] whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius in north Africa and is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Era. Among his most important works are The City of God and Confessions.

When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Church as a spiritual City of God, distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. The segment of the Church that adhered to the concept of the Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople closely identified with Augustine's On the Trinity.

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CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 th ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 n ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 pre ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 comma ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 w ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 t ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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-- ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 woul ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 be ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 u ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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 o ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK I - 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. ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK II - 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, ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK II - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK II - 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 matt ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK II - 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 t ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK II - 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 o ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK II - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK II - 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 pea ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK II - 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 th ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK II - 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 insatia ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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 lookin ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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 spect ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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 obedie ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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 cours ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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 censor ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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 det ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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 tr ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK III - 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, ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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 draggin ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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 ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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 ou ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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. Beho ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK IV - 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 fir ... read more

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