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On Christian Doctrine In Four Books by St. Augustine

Chapter 13. Further still, the educated man observes that those sections which the Greeks call |kommata|à

13. Further still, the educated man observes that those sections which the Greeks call |kommata|, and the clauses and periods of which I spoke a short time ago, being intermingled in the most beautiful variety, make up the whole form and features (so to speak) of that diction by which even the unlearned are delighted and affected. For, from the place where I commenced to quote, the passage consists of periods: the first the smallest possible, consisting of two members; for a period cannot have less than two members, though it may have more: |I say again, let no man think me a fool.| The next has three members: |if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.| The third has four members: |That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.| The fourth has two: |Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.| And the fifth has two: |For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.| The sixth again has two members: |for ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage.| Then follow three sections (caesa): |if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself.| Next three clauses (membra): if |a man smite you on the face. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak.| Then is subjoined a period of three members: |Howbeit, whereinsoever any is bold (I speak foolishly), I am bold also.| After this, certain separate sections being put in the interrogatory form, separate sections are also given as answers, three to three: |Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.| But a fourth section being put likewise in the interrogatory form, the answer is given not in another section (caesum) but in a clause (membrum): |Are they the ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool.) I am more.| Then the next four sections are given continuously, the interrogatory form being most elegantly suppressed: |in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.| Next is interposed a short period; for, by a suspension of the voice, |of the Jews five times| is to be marked off as constituting one member, to which is joined the second, |received I forty stripes save one.| Then he returns to sections, and three are set down: |Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck.| Next comes a clause: |a night and a day I have been in the deep.| Next fourteen sections burst forth with a vehemence which is most appropriate: |In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.| After this comes in a period of three members: |Besides those things which are without, that which comets upon me daily, the care of all the churches.| And to this he adds two clauses in a tone of inquiry: |Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?| In fine, this whole passage, as if panting for breath, winds up with a period of two members: |If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.| And I cannot sufficiently express how beautiful and delightful it is when after this outburst he rests himself, and gives the hearer rest, by interposing a slight narrative. For he goes on to say: |The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.| And then he tells, very briefly the danger he had been in, and the way he escaped it.

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