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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 XI - CHAPTER XXX
      40. And I will be immovable and fixed in thee, and thy truth will be my mold. And I shall not have to endure the questions of those men who, as if in a morbid disease, thirst for more than they can hold and say, "What did God make before he made heaven a ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XI - CHAPTER XXXI
      41. O Lord my God, what a chasm there is in thy deep secret! How far short of it have the consequences of my sins cast me? Heal my eyes, that I may enjoy thy light. Surely, if there is a mind that so greatly abounds in knowledge and foreknowledge, to whic ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER I
      1. My heart is deeply stirred, O Lord, when in this poor life of mine the words of thy Holy Scripture strike upon it. This is why the poverty of the human intellect expresses itself in an abundance of language. Inquiry is more loquacious than discovery. D ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER II
      2. In lowliness my tongue confesses to thy exaltation, for thou madest heaven and earth. This heaven which I see, and this earth on which I walk--from which came this "earth" that I carry about me--thou didst make. But where is that heaven of heavens ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER III
      3. And truly this earth was invisible and unformed,[459] and there was an inexpressibly profound abyss[460] above which there was no light since it had no form. Thou didst command it written that "darkness was on the face of the deep."[461] What else is ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER IV
      4. What, then, should that formlessness be called so that somehow it might be indicated to those of sluggish mind, unless we use some word in common speech? But what can be found anywhere in the world nearer to a total formlessness than the earth and the ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER IX
      9. And therefore the Spirit, the Teacher of thy servant,[470] when he mentions that "in the beginning thou madest heaven and earth," says nothing about times and is silent as to the days. For, clearly, that heaven of heavens which thou didst create in t ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER V
      5. When our thought seeks something for our sense to fasten to [in this concept of unformed matter], and when it says to itself, "It is not an intelligible form, such as life or justice, since it is the material for bodies; and it is not a former percept ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER VI
      6. But if, O Lord, I am to confess to thee, by my mouth and my pen, the whole of what thou hast taught me concerning this unformed matter, I must say first of all that when I first heard of such matter and did not understand it--and those who told me of i ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER VII
      7. Whence and how was this, unless it came from thee, from whom all things are, in so far as they are? But the farther something is from thee, the more unlike thee it is--and this is not a matter of distance or place. Thus it was that thou, O Lord, who ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER VIII
      8. That heaven of heavens was thine, O Lord, but the earth which thou didst give to the sons of men to be seen and touched was not then in the same form as that in which we now see it and touch it. For then it was invisible and unformed and there was an a ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER X
      10. O Truth, O Light of my heart, let not my own darkness speak to me! I had fallen into that darkness and was darkened thereby. But in it, even in its depths, I came to love thee. I went astray and still I remembered thee. I heard thy voice behind me, bi ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XI
      11. Thou hast told me already, O Lord, with a strong voice in my inner ear, that thou art eternal and alone hast immortality. Thou art not changed by any shape or motion, and thy will is not altered by temporal process, because no will that changes is imm ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XII
      15. These things I have considered as thou hast given me ability, O my God, as thou hast excited me to knock, and as thou hast opened to me when I knock. Two things I find which thou hast made, not within intervals of time, although neither is coeternal w ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XIII
      16. Meanwhile this is what I understand, O my God, when I hear thy Scripture saying, "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth, but the earth was invisible and unformed, and darkness was over the abyss." It does not say on what day thou didst ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XIV
      17. Marvelous is the depth of thy oracles. Their surface is before us, inviting the little ones; and yet wonderful is their depth, O my God, marvelous is their depth! It is a fearful thing to look into them: an awe of honor and a tremor of love. Their ene ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XIX
      28. For it is certainly true, O Lord, that thou didst create the heaven and the earth. It is also true that "the beginning" is thy wisdom in which thou didst create all things. It is likewise true that this visible world has its own great division (the ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XV
      18. "Will you say that these things are false which Truth tells me, with a loud voice in my inner ear, about the very eternity of the Creator: that his essence is changed in no respect by time and that his will is not distinct from his essence? Thus, he ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XVI
      23. Now, I would like to discuss a little further, in thy presence, O my God, with those who admit that all these things are true that thy Truth has indicated to my mind. Let those who deny these things bark and drown their own voices with as much clamor ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XVII
      24. For they say: "Even if these things are true, still Moses did not refer to these two things when he said, by divine revelation, `In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.' By the term `heaven' he did not mean that spiritual or intellig ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XVIII
      27. When all these things have been said and considered, I am unwilling to contend about words, for such contention is profitable for nothing but the subverting of the hearer.[484] But the law is profitable for edification if a man use it lawfully: for th ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XVIII
      38. But others, to whom these words are no longer a nest but, rather, a shady thicket, spy the fruits concealed in them and fly around rejoicing and search among them and pluck them with cheerful chirpings: For when they read or hear these words, O God, t ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XX
      29. From all these truths, which are not doubted by those to whom thou hast granted insight in such things in their inner eye and who believe unshakably that thy servant Moses spoke in the spirit of truth--from all these truths, then, one man takes the se ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XXI
      30. Again, regarding the interpretation of the following words, one man selects for himself, from all the various truths, the interpretation that "the earth was invisible and unformed and darkness was over the abyss" means, "That corporeal entity which ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XXII
      31. Now suppose that someone tried to argue against these last two opinions as follows: "If you will not admit that this formlessness of matter appears to be called by the term `heaven and earth,' then there was something that God had not made out of wh ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XXIII
      32. I have heard and considered these theories as well as my weak apprehension allows, and I confess my weakness to Thee, O Lord, though already thou knowest it. Thus I see that two sorts of disagreements may arise when anything is related by signs, even ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XXIV
      33. But in the midst of so many truths which occur to the interpreters of these words (understood as they can be in different ways), which one of us can discover that single interpretation which warrants our saying confidently that Moses thought thus and ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XXIX
      40. But he who understands "In the beginning he made" as if it meant, "At first he made," can truly interpret the phrase "heaven and earth" as referring only to the "matter" of heaven and earth, namely, of the prior universal, which is the intelli ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XXV
      34. Let no man fret me now by saying, "Moses did not mean what you say, but what I say." Now if he asks me, "How do you know that Moses meant what you deduce from his words?", I ought to respond calmly and reply as I have already done, or even more fu ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XXVI
      36. And yet, O my God, thou exaltation of my humility and rest of my toil, who hearest my confessions and forgivest my sins, since thou commandest me to love my neighbor as myself, I cannot believe that thou gavest thy most faithful servant Moses a lesser ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XXVII
      37. For just as a spring dammed up is more plentiful and affords a larger supply of water for more streams over wider fields than any single stream led off from the same spring over a long course--so also is the narration of thy minister: it is intended t ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XXX
      41. In this discord of true opinions let Truth itself bring concord, and may our God have mercy on us all, that we may use the law rightly to the end of the commandment which is pure love. Thus, if anyone asks me which of these opinions was the meaning of ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XXXI
      42. Thus, when one man says, "Moses meant what I mean," and another says, "No, he meant what I do," I think that I speak more faithfully when I say, "Why could he not have meant both if both opinions are true?" And if there should be still a third t ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XII - CHAPTER XXXII
      43. Finally, O Lord--who art God and not flesh and blood--if any man sees anything less, can anything lie hid from "thy good Spirit" who shall "lead me into the land of uprightness,"[503] which thou thyself, through those words, wast revealing to futu ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER
      46. But for those who see these things through thy Spirit, it is thou who seest them in them. When, therefore, they see that these things are good, it is thou who seest that they are good; and whatsoever things are pleasing because of thee, it is thou who ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER I
      1. I call on thee, my God, my Mercy, who madest me and didst not forget me, though I was forgetful of thee. I call thee into my soul, which thou didst prepare for thy reception by the desire which thou inspirest in it. Do not forsake me when I call on the ... read more

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

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER III
      4. Now what thou saidst in the beginning of the creation--"Let there be light: and there was light"--I interpret, not unfitly, as referring to the spiritual creation, because it already had a kind of life which thou couldst illuminate. But, since it had ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER IV
      5. What, therefore, would there have been lacking in thy good, which thou thyself art, even if these things had never been made or had remained unformed? Thou didst not create them out of any lack but out of the plenitude of thy goodness, ordering them an ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER IX
      10. But was neither the Father nor the Son "moving over the waters"? If we understand this as a motion in space, as a body moves, then not even the Holy Spirit "moved." But if we understand the changeless supereminence of the divine Being above every ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER V
      6. See now,[513] how the Trinity appears to me in an enigma. And thou art the Trinity, O my God, since thou, O Father--in the beginning of our wisdom, that is, in thy wisdom born of thee, equal and coeternal with thee, that is, thy Son--created the heaven ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER VI
      7. But why, O truth-speaking Light? To thee I lift up my heart--let it not teach me vain notions. Disperse its shadows and tell me, I beseech thee, by that Love which is our mother; tell me, I beseech thee, the reason why--after the reference to heaven an ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER VII
      8. Now let him who is able follow thy apostle with his understanding when he says, "Thy love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is given to us"[515] and who teacheth us about spiritual gifts[516] and showeth us a more excellent way of ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER VIII
      9. The angels fell, and the soul of man fell; thus they indicate to us the deep darkness of the abyss, which would have still contained the whole spiritual creation if thou hadst not said, in the beginning, "Let there be light: and there was light"--and ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER X
      11. Happy would be that creature who, though it was in itself other than thou, still had known no other state than this from the time it was made, so that it was never without thy gift which moves over everything mutable--who had been borne up by the call ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER XI
      12. Who can understand the omnipotent Trinity? And yet who does not speak about it, if indeed it is of it that he speaks? Rare is the soul who, when he speaks of it, also knows of what he speaks. And men contend and strive, but no man sees the vision of i ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER XII
      13. Go forward in your confession, O my faith; say to the Lord your God, "Holy, holy, holy, O Lord my God, in thy name we have been baptized, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." In thy name we baptize, in the name of the Father, the Son, a ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER XIII
      14. But even so, we still live by faith and not by sight, for we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope. Thus far deep calls unto deep, but now in "the noise of thy waterfalls."[537] And thus far he who said, "I could not speak to you as ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER XIV
      15. And I myself say: "O my God, where art thou? See now, where art thou?" In thee I take my breath for a little while, when I pour out my soul beyond myself in the voice of joy and praise, in the voice of him that keeps holyday.[553] And still it is ca ... read more

CONFESSIONS - BOOK XIII - CHAPTER XIX
      24. But, first, "wash yourselves and make you clean; put away iniquity from your souls and from before my eyes"[595]--so that "the dry land" may appear. "Learn to do well, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow,"[596] that the earth may bring for ... read more

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