Early Church Fathers
1561 Reference is here made to the laws of Honorius against idolatry, passed in A.D. 399. See below in sec. 3.
1562 1 Cor. i. 23-25.
1563 Referring to his birth at Tagaste (not far distant from Madaura), and to Madaura as the scene of the studies of his boyhood.
1564 See p. 268, note 6.
1565 Possidius, a disciple of Augustin, spoken of in Letter CI. sec. 1, p. 412 was the Bishop of Calama who made the narrow escape recorded in Letter XCI. sec. 8, p. 379. He was for forty years an intimate friend of Augustin, was with him at his death, and wrote his biography.
1566 1 Cor. vii. 32-34.
1567 1 Cor. xi. 5-13.
1568 1 Cor. x. 20.
1569 2 Cor. vi. 15.
1570 Probably the Bishop of Nurco, named Auxilius, who was present at the conference in Carthage in 411.
1571 Matt. xvi. 19.
1572 Ezek. xviii. 14.
1573 Ps. vi. 8, LXX.
1574 Ps. vi. 3.
1575 Jas. i. 20.
1576 This noble vindication of Christian liberty merits quotation in the original:-"Illud plane non temere dixerim, quod si quisquam fidelium fuerit anathematus injuste, ei potius oberit qui faciet quam ei qui hanc patietur injuriam. Spiritus enim sanctus habitans in sanctis, per quem quisque ligatur aut solvitur, immeritam nulli paenam ingerit: per eum quippe diffunditur charitas in cordibus nostria quae non agit perperam."
1577 The maiden referred to was an orphan whom a magistrate (vir spectabilis) had requested Augustin to bring up as a ward of the Church. Four letters written by him concerning her have been preserved, viz. the 252d, in which he intimates to Felix that he can decide nothing in regard to her without consulting the friend by whom she had been placed under his guardianship; the 253d, expressing to Benenatus his surprise that he should propose for her a marriage which would not strengthen the Church: the 254th, addressed also to Benenatus, which we have translated as a specimen of the series; and the 255th, in which, writing to Rusticus, a Pagan who had sought her hand for his son, Augustin bluntly denies his request, referring him for the grounds of the refusal to his correspondence with Benenatus.
Two Catholic bishops named Benenatus attended the conference with the Donatists at Carthage in 412; the one who belonged to Hospsti, in Numidia, is supposed to be Augustin's correspondent.
1578 The hesitation which Augustin here indicates in regard to accepting this gift may be understood from the following sentences of one of his sermons:-"Let no one give me a present of clothing, whether linen, or tunic, or any other article of dress, except as a gift to be used in common by my brethren and myself. I will accept nothing for myself which is not to be of service to our community because, I do not wish to have anything which does not equally belong to all the rest. Wherefore I request you, my brethren, to offer me no gift of apparel which may not be worn by the others as suitably as by me. A gift of costly raiment, for example, may sometimes be presented to me as becoming apparel for a bishop to wear; but it is not becoming for Augustin, who is poor, and who is the son of poor parents. Would you have men say that in the Church I found means to obtain richer clothing than I could have had in my father's house, or in the pursuit of secular employment? That would be a shame to me! The clothing worn by me must be such that I can give it to my brethren if they require it. I do not wish anything which would not be suitable for a presbyter, a deacon, or a sub-deacon, for I receive everything in common with them. If gifts of more costly apparel be given to me, I shall sell them, as has been my custom hitherto, in order that, if the dress be not available for all, the money realized by the sale may be a common benefit. I sell them accordingly, and distribute their price among the poor. Wherefore if any wish me to wear articles of clothing presented to me as gifts let them give such clothing as shall not make me blush when I use it. For I assure you that a costly dress makes me blush, because it is not in harmony with my profession, or with such exhortations as I now give to you, and ill becomes one whose frame is bent, and whose locks are whitened, as you see, by age."-Sermon 356, Bened. edition, vol. v. col. 1389, quoted by Tillemont, xiii. p. 222.
1579 For requiritur the Benedictine editors suggest recurrit, as a conjectural emendation of the text. We propose, and adopt in the translation, a simpler and perhaps more probable alteration, and read requiruntur.
1580 Sursum sit cor et sicci erunt oculi.
1581 In the Latin word sapere here employed, there is an allusion to her name (Sapida), which he has with a view to this repeated immediately before.
1582 1 Thess. iv. 12.
1583 John xi. 19-35.
1584 Ecclus. xxxviii. 16-18.
1585 Ps. xli. 8, LXX.
1586 Luke xxi. 18.
1587 Matt. xxii. 29.
1588 This letter, probably one of the latest from the pen of Augustin, is the last of his letters in the Benedictine edition; the only remaining one, the 270th, was not written by Augustin, but addressed to him by an unknown correspondant.