Early Church Fathers
1 Adv. Academicos, 1. ii. c. 2, § 5: "Etiam mihi ipsi de me incredibile incendium concitarunt." And in several passages of the Civitas Dei (viii. 3-12 xxii. 27) he speaks very favourably of Plato, and also of Aristotle, and thus broke the way for the high authority of the Aristotelian philosophy with the scholastics of the middle age.
2 He died, according to the Chronicle of his friend and pupil Prosper Aquitanus, the 28th of August, 430 (in the third month of the siege of Hippo by the Vandals); according to his biographer Possidius he lived seventy-six years. The day of his birth Augustin states himself, De vita beata, § 6 (tom. i. 300): "Idibus Novemoris mihi natalis dies erat."
3 He received baptism shortly before his death.
1 Conf. i. 1: "Fecisti nos ad Te, et inquietum est cor nostrum, donec requiescat in Te." In all his aberrations, which we would hardly know, if it were not from his own free confession, he never sunk to anything mean, but remained, like Paul in his Jewish fanaticism, a noble intellect and an honorable character, with burning love for the true and the good.
2 For particulars respecting the course of Augustin's life, see my work above cited, and other monographs. Comp. also the fine remarks of Dr. Baur in his posthumous Lectures on Doctrine-History (1866), vol. i. Part ii. p. 26 sqq. He compares the development of Augustin with the course of Christianity from the beginning to his time, and draws a parallel between Augustin and Origen.
3 Conf. ix. c. 8: "Quae me parturivit et carne, ut in hanc temporalem, et carde, ut in aeternam lucem nascerer." L. v. 9: "Non enim satis eloquor, quid erga me habebat anima, et quanto majore sollicitudine nie partur iebat spiritu, quam carne pepererat." In De dono persev. c. 20, he ascribes his conversion under God "to the faithful and dairy tears" of his mother.
4 Conf. l. ix. c. 11: "Tantum illud vos rogo, ut ad Domini altare memineritis mei, ubs fuertis." This must be explained from the already prevailing custom of offering prayers for the dead, which, however, had rather the form of thanksgiving for the mercy of God shown to them, than the later form of intercession for them.
5 He is still known among the inhabitants of the place as "the great Christian" (Rumi Kebir). Gibbon (ch. xxxiii. ad ann. 430) thus describes the place which became so famous through Augustin: "The maritime colony of Hippo, about two hundred miles westward of Carthage, had formerly acquired the distinguishing epithet of Regius, from the residence of the Numidian kings; and some remains of trade and populousness still adhere to the modern city, which is known in Europe by the corrupted name of Bona." Sallust mentions Hippo once in his history of the Jugurthine War. A part of the wealth with which Sallust built and beautified his splendid mansion and gardens in Rome, was extorted from this and other towns of North Africa while governor of Numidia. Since the French conquest of Algiers Hippo Regius was rebuilt under the name of Bona and is now one of the finest towns in North Africa, numbering over 10,000 inhabitants, French, Moors, and Jews.
6 He mentions a sister, "soror mea, sancta proposita" [monasterii], without naming her, Epist. 211, n. 4 (ed. Bened.), alias Ep. 109. He also had a brother by the name of Navigius.
7 Possidius says, in his Vita Aug.: "Caeterum episcopatu suscepto multo instantius ac ferventius, majore auctoritate, non in una tantum regione, sed ubicunque rogatus venisset, verbum satutis alacriter, ac suaviter pullulante atque crescente Domini ecclesia, praedicavit."
8 Possidius, c. 28, gives a vivid picture of the ravages of the Vandals, which have become proverbial. Comp. also Gibbon, ch. xxxiii.
9 I freely combine several passages.
10 Comp. Opera, tom. vi. p. 117 (Append.); Daniel: Thesaurus hymnol. i. 116 sqq., and iv. 203 sq., and Mone: Lat. Hymner, i. 422 sqq., Mone ascribes the poem to an unknown writer of the sixth century, but Trench (Sacred Latin Poetry, 2d ed., 315) and others attribute it to Cardinal Peter Damiani, the friend of Pope Hildebrand (d. 1072). Augustin wrote his poetry in prose.
11 Possidius says, Vita, c. 31: "Testamentum nullum fecit, guia unde faceret, pauper Dei non habuit. Ecclesiae bibliothecam omnesgue codices diligenter posteris custodiendos semper jubebat."
12 The inhabitants escaped to the sea. There appears no bishop of Hippo after Augustin. In the seventh century the old city was utterly destroyed by the Arabians, but two miles from it Bona was built of its ruins. Comp. Tillemont, xiii. 945, and Gibbon, ch. xxxiii. Gibbon says, that Bona, "in the sixteenth century, contained about three hundred families of industrious, but turbulent manufacturers. The adjacent territory is renowned for a pure air, a fertile soil, and plenty of exquisite fruits." Since the French conquest of Algiers, Bona was rebuilt in 1832, and is gradually assuming a French aspect. It is now one of the finest towns in Algeria, the key to the province of Constantine, has a public garden, several schools, considerable commerce, and a population of over ten thousand of French, Moors, and Jews, the great majority of whom are foreigners. The relics of St. Augustin have been recently transferred from Pavia to Bona. See the letters of abbé Sibour to Poujoulat sur la translation de ia relique de saint Augustin de Pavie à Hippone, in Poujoulat's Histoire de saint Augustin, tom. i. p. 413 sqq.
13 Even in Africa Augustin's spirit reappeared from time to time notwithstanding the barbarian confusion, as a light in darkness, first in Vigilius, bishop of Thapsus, who, at the close of the fifth century, ably defended the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity and the person of Christ, and to whom the authorship of the so-called Athanasian Creed has sometimes been ascribed; in Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe, one of the chief opponents of Semi-Pelagianism, and the later Arianism, who with sixty catholic bishops of Africa was banished for several years by the Arian Vandals to the island of Sardinia, and who was called the Augustin of the sixth century (died 533); and in Facundus of Hermiane (died 570), and Fulgentius Ferrandus, and Liberatus, two deacons of Carthage, who took a prominent part in the Three Chapter controversy.
14 Or, as he wrote to a friend about the year 410, Epist. 120, C. 1, § 2 (tom. ii. p. 347, ed. Bened. Venet.; in older ed., Ep. 122): "Ut quod credis intelligas...non ut fidem resinas, sed ea quae fidei firmitate jam tenes, etiam rationis luce conspicias." He continues, ibid. c. 3: "Absit namque, ut hoc in nobis Deus oderit, in quo nos reliquis animalibus exccellentiores creavit. Absit, inquam, ut ideo credamus, ne rationem accipiamus vel quaeramus; cum etiam credere non possemns, nisi rationales animas haberemus." In one of his earliest works, Contra Academ. l. iii. c. 20, § 43, he says of himself: "Ita sum affectus, ut quid sit verum non credendo solum, sed etiam intelligendo apprehendere impatienter desiderem."
15 Ea'n mh' pisteu/shte, on/de' mh' sunte. But the proper translation of the Hebrew is: "If ye will not believe [in me, yeb@;
], surely ye shall not be established (or, not remain)."
16 Comp. De praed. sanct. cap. 2, § 5 (tom. x. p. 792): "Ipsum credere nihil aliud est quam cum assensione cogiitare. Nom enim omnis qui cogitat, credit, cum ideo cogitant, plerique ne credant: sed cpgitat omnis qui credit, et credendo cogitat et cogitando credit. Fides si non cogitetur, nulia est." Ep. 120, cap. 1, § 3 (tom. ii. 347), and Ep. 137, c. 4, § 15 (tom. ii. 408): "Intellectui fides aditum aperit, infidelitas claudit." Augustin's view of faith and knowledge is discussed at large by Gangauf, Metaphysische Psychologie des heil. Augustinus, i. pp. 31-76, and by Nourrisson, La phliosophie de saint Augustin, tom. ii. 282-290.
17 Prosper Aquitanus collected in the year 450 or 451 from the works of Augustin 392 sentences (see the Appendix to the tenth vol. of the Bened. ed. p. 223 sqq., and in Migne's ed. of Prosper Aquitanus, col. 427-496), with reference to theological purport and the Pelagian controversies. We recall some of the best which he has omitted:
"Novum Testamentum in Vetere latet, Vetus in Novo pates."
"Distingue tempora, et concordabit Scriptura."
"Cor nostrum inquietum est, donec requiescat in Te."
"Da quod jubes, et jube quod vis."
"Non vincit nisi veritas, victoria veritatis est caritas."
"Ubi amor, ibi trinitas."
"Fides praecedit intellectum."
"Deo servire vera libertas est."
"Nulia infelicitas frangit, quem felicitas nulla corrumpit."
The famous maxim of ecclesiastical harmony: "In necessarlis unitas, in dublis (or, non ccessarlis) libertas, in omnibus (in utrisque) caritas,"-which is often ascribed to Augustin, dates in this form not from him, but from a much later period. Dr. Lucke (in a special treatise on the antiquity of the author, the original form, etc., of this sentence, Göttingen, 1850) traces the authorship to Rupert Meldenius, an irenical German theologian of the seventeenth century. Baxter, also, who lived during the intense conflict of English Puritanism and Episcopacy, and grew weary of the "fury of theologians," adopted a similar sentiment. The sentence is held by many who differ widely in the definition of what is "necessary" and what is "doubtful." The meaning of "charity in all things" is above doubt, and a moral duty of every Christian, though practically violated by too many in all denominations.
18 Vorlesungen über die christl. Dogmengeschichte, vol. 1. P. 11. p. 30 sq.
19 It is sometimes asserted that he had no knowledge at all of the Greek. So Gibbon, for example, says (ch. xxxiii.): "The superficial learning of Augustin was confined to the Latin language." But this is a mistake. In his youth he had a great aversion to the glorious language of Hellas because he had a bad teacher and was forced to it (Confi. i. 14). He read the writings of Plato in a Latin translation (vii. 9). But after his baptism, during his second residence in Rome, he resumed the study of Greek with greater zest, for the sake of his biblical studies. In Hippo he had, while presbyter, good opportunity to advance in it, since his bishop, Aurelius, a native Greek, understood his mother tongue much better than the Latin. In his books he occasionally makes reference to the Greek. In his work Contra Jul. i. c. 6 § 21 (tom. x. 510), he corrects the Pelagian Julian in a translation from Chrysostom, quoting the original. "Ego ipsa verba Graeca quae a Joanne dicta sunt ponam dia' tou=to kai' ta' paidia baptizomen, kai/toi a/marth/mata ou'k e_xonta, quod est Latine: Ideo et infantes baptizamus, quamvis peccata non habentes." Julian had freely rendered this: "cum non sint coinquinati peccato," and had drawn the inference: "Sanctus Joannes Constantinopolitanus [John Chrysostom] negat esse in parvulis originale peccatum." Augustin helps himself out of the pinch by arbitrarily supplying propria to a/marth/mata, so that the idea of sin inherited from another is not excluded. The Greek fathers, however, did not consider hereditary corruption to be proper sin or guilt at all, but only defect, weakness, or disease. In the City of God, lib. xix. c. 23, he quotes a passage from Porphyry's e'k logiwn filosofia, and in book xviii. 23, he explains the Greek monogram ixun/j. He gives the derivation of several Greek words, and correctly distinguishes between such synonyms as genna/w and tiktw, eu/xh/ and proseuxh/, pnoh/ and pneu=ma. It is probable that he read Plotin, and the Panarion of Epiphanius or the summary of it, in Greek (while the Church History of Eusebius he knew only in the translation of Rufinus). But in his exegetical and other works he very rarely consults the Septuagint or Greek Testament, and was content with the very imperfect Itala, or the improved version of Jerome (the Vulgate). The Benedictine editors overestimate his knowledge of Greek. He himself frankly confesses that he knew very little of it. De Trinit. 1. iii Procaem. ("Graaecae linguae non sit nobis tantus habitus, ut talium rerum libris legendis et intelligendis ullo modo reperiamur idonei"), and Contra literas Petiliani (written in 400),1. ii. c. 38 ("Et ego quidem Graecae linguae perparum assecutus sum, et prope nihil"). On the philosophical learning of Augustin may be compared Nourrissonl. c. ii. p. 92 sqq.
20 Ellies Dupin (Bibliothégue ecclésiastique, tom. iii. 1 partie, p. 818) and Nourrisson (l. c. tom. ii. p. 449) apply to Augustin the term magnus opinator, which Cicero used of himself. There is, however, this important difference that Augustin, along with his many opinions on speculative questions in philosophy and theology, had very positive convictions in all essential doctrines, while Cicero was a mere eclectic in philosophy.
21 He was not "intoxicated with the exuberance of his own verbosity," as a modern English statesman (Lord Beaconsfield) charged his equally distinguished rival (Mr. Gladstone) in Parliament.
22 In his Retractations, he himself reviews ninety-three of his works (embracing two hundred and thirty-two books, see ii. 67), in chronological order: in the first book those which he wrote while a layman and presbyter, in the second those which he wrote when a bishop. See also the extended chronological index in Schönemann's Biblioth. historico-literaria Patrum Latinorum, vol. ii (Lips, 1794), p. 340 sqq. (reprinted in the supplemental volume, xii., of Migne's ed. of the Opera, p. 24 sqq.); and other systematic and alphabetical lists in the eleventh volume of the Bened. ed (p. 494 sqq., ed. Venet.), and in Migne, tom. xi.
23 For this reason the Benedictine editors have placed the Retractations and the Confessions at the head of his works.
24 He himself says of them, Retract. 1. ii. c. 6: "Maltis fratribus eos [Confessionum libros tredecim] multum placuisse et, placere scio." Comp. De donon perseverantiae, c. 20: "Quid autem meorum opusculorum freguentius et deleciabilius innotescere potuit qam libri Confessionum mearum?" Comp. Ep.. 231 Dario comiti.
25 Schönnemann (in the supplemental volume of Migne's ed. of Augustin, p. 134 sqq.) cites a multitude of separate editions of the Confessions in Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, and German, from A.D. 1475 to 1776. Since that time several new editions have been added. One of the best Latin editions is that of Karl von Raumer (Stuttgart, 1856), who used to read the Confessions with his students at Erlangen once a week for many years. In his preface he draws a comparison between them and Rousseau's Confessions and Hamann's Gedanken über meinen Lebenslauf. English and German translations are noticed above in the Lit. Dr. Shedd (in his ed., Pref. p. xxvii) calls the Confessions the best commentary yet written upon the seventh and eighth chapters of Romans. "That quickening of the human spirit, which puts it again into vital and sensitive relations to the holy and eternal; that illumination of the mind, whereby it is enabled to perceive with clearness the real nature of truth and righteousness; that empowering of the will, to the conflict of victory-the entire process of restoring the Divine image in the soul of man-is delineated in this book, with a vividness and reality never exceeded by the uninspired mind."... "It is the life of God in the soul of a strong man, rushing and rippling with the freedom of the life of nature. He who watches can almost see the growth; he who listens can hear the perpetual motion; and he who is in sympathy will be swept along."
26 We mean his sexual sins. He kept a concubine for sixteen years, the mother of his only child, Adeodatus, and after her separation he formed for a short time a similar connection in Milan; but in both cases he was faithful. Conf. IV. 2 (unam habebam...servans tori fidem): VI. 15. Erasmus thought very leniently of this sin as contrasted with the conduct of the priests and abbots of his time. Augustin himself deeply repented of it, and devoted his life to celibacy.
27 Nourrisson(1. c. tom. i. p. 19) calls the Confessions "cet ouvrage unique, souvent imité, toujours parodié, où il s'accuse, se condamne et s'humilie, priére ardente, récit entrainant, metaphysique incomparable, histoire de tout un monde qui se refléte dans l'histoire d' une ame." Comp. also an article on the Confessions in "The Contemporary Review" for June, 1867, pp 133-160.
28 Prov. x. 19. This verse (ex multiloquio non effugies peccatum) the Semi-Pelagian Gennadius (De viris illustr. sub Aug.) applies against Augustin in excuse for his erroneous doctrines of freedom and predestination.
29 Matt. xii. 36.
30 I Cor. xi. 31. Comp. his Prologus to the two books of Retractationes.
31 J. Morell Mackenzie (in W Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. i. p. 422) happily calls the Retractations of Augustin "one of the noblest sacrifices ever laid upon the altar of truth by a majestic intellect acting in obedience to the purest conscientiousness."
32 In tom. i. of the ed. Bened., immediately after the Retractationes and Confessiones, and at the close of the volume. On these philosophical writings, see Brucker: Historia critica philosophiae, Lips. 1766, tom. iii. pp. 485-507: H Ritter: Geschichte der Philosphie, vol. vi. p. 153 sqq.; Ueberweg, History of Philosophy, I. 333-346 (Am. ed.): Erdmann, Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, I. 231-240: Bindemann, l. c. I. 282 sqq. Huber, l. c. I. 242 sqq.; Gangauf, l. c. p. 25 sqq., and Nouerisson, l. c. ch. i. and ii. Nourrisson makes the just remark (i. p. 53): "Si la philosophie est la recherché de la verité, jamais sans douse il ne s'est rencontre une ame plus philosophe que celle de saint Augustin. Car jamais ame n'a supporté avec plus d' impatience les anxiétés du doute et n'a fait plus d' efforts pour dissiper les fantomes de l'erreur."
33 Or on the question: "Utrum omnia bona et mala divinae providentie ordo contineat?" Comp. Retract. i. 3.
34 Augustin, in his Confessions (l. ix. c. 6), expresses himself in this touching way about this son of his illicit love: "We took with us [on returning from the country to Milan to receive the sacrament of baptism] also the boy Adeodatus, the son of my carnal sin, Thou hadst formed him well. He was but just fifteen years old, and he was superior in mind to many grave and learned men. I acknowledge Thy gifts, O Lord, my God, who createst all, and who canst reform our deformities: for I had no part in that boy but sin. And when we brought him up in Thy nurture, Thou, only Thou, didst prompt us to it; I acknowledge Thy gifts. There is my book entitled, De magistro: he speaks with me there. Thou knowest that all things there put into his mouth were in his mind when he was sixteen years of age. That maturity of mind was a terror to me; and who but Thou is the artificer of such wonders? Soon Thou didst take his life from the earth; and I think more quietly of him now, fearing no more for his boyhood, nor his youth, nor his whole life. We took him to ourselves as one of the same age in Thy grace, to be trained in Thy nurture; and we were baptised together; and all trouble about the past fled from us." He refers to him also in De vita beata, § 6: "There was also with us, in age the youngest of all, but whose talents, if affection deceives me not, promise something great, my son Adeodatus." In the same book (§ 18), he mentions an answer of his: "He is truly chaste who waits on God, and keeps himself to Him only."
35 The books on grammar, dialectics, rhetoric, and the ten Categories of Aristotle, in the Appendix to the first volume of the Bened. ed., are spurious. For the genuine works of Augustin on these subjects were written in a different form (the dialogue) and for a higher purpose, and were lost in his own day. Comp. Retract. i. c. 6. In spite of this, Prantl. (Geschichte der Logik in Abendlande, pp. 665-674, cited by Huber, l. c. p. 240) has advocated the genuineness of the Principia dialecticae, and Huber inclines to agree. Gangauf, l. c. p. 5, and Nourrisson, i. p. 37, consider them spurious.
36 =H ma/uhsij on0k a_llo ti h0 a0na/msij. On this Plato, in the Phaedo, as is well known, rests his doctrine of pre-existence. Augustin was at first in favor of the idea, Solit. ii. co, n. 35; afterwards he rejected it, Retract. i. 4, § 4: but after all he assumes in his anthropology a sort on unconscious, yet responsible, pre-existence of the whole human race in Adam as its organic head, and hence taught a universal fall in Adam's fall.
37 History of Philosophy, vol. i. 333 sq., translated by Pro. Geo. S. Morris.
38 In the Bened. ed. tom. vii. Comp. Retract. ii. 43, and Ch. Hist. III. § 12. The City of God and the Confessions are the only writings of Augustin which Gibbon thought worth while to read (chap. xxxiii.). Huber (l. c. p. 315) says: "Augustin's philosophy of history, as he presents it in his Civitas Dei, has remained to this hour the standard philosophy of history for the church orthodoxy, the bounds of which this orthodoxy, unable to perceive in the motions of the modern spirit the fresh morning air of a higher day of history, is scarcely able to transcend." Nourrisson devotes a special chapter to the consideration of the two cities of Augustin, the City of the World and the City of God (tom. ii. 43-88). Compare also the Introduction to Saisset's Traduction de la Cité de Dieu, Par. 1855, and Reinken's (old Cath. Bishop), Geschichtsphilosophie des heil. Aug. 1866. Engl. translation of the City of God by Dr. Marcus Dods, Edinburgh, 1872, 2 vols., and in the second vol. of this Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers.
39 Separately edited by Krabinger, Tubingen, 1861.
40 This work is also incorporated in the Corpus haereseoloicum of Fr. Oehler, tom. i. pp. 192-225.
41 Contra Epist. Manichaei quam vocant fundamenti, 1. i. 2.
42 The earliest anti-Manichaean writings (De libero arbitrio; De moribus eccl. cath. et de Moribus Manich.) are in tom. i. ed. Bened.; the latter in tom viii.