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The Confessions of Saint Augustine by Saint Augustine

Part 3 out of 5

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I not sought Thy way in Christ our Saviour, I had proved to be, not
skilled, but killed. For now I had begun to wish to seem wise, being
filled with mine own punishment, yet I did not mourn, but rather
scorn, puffed up with knowledge. For where was that charity building
upon the foundation of humility, which is Christ Jesus? or when should
these books teach me it? Upon these, I believe, Thou therefore
willedst that I should fall, before I studied Thy Scriptures, that
it might be imprinted on my memory how I was affected by them; and
that afterwards when my spirits were tamed through Thy books, and my
wounds touched by Thy healing fingers, I might discern and distinguish
between presumption and confession; between those who saw whither they
were to go, yet saw not the way, and the way that leadeth not to
behold only but to dwell in the beatific country. For had I first been
formed in Thy Holy Scriptures, and hadst Thou in the familiar use of
them grown sweet unto me, and had I then fallen upon those other
volumes, they might perhaps have withdrawn me from the solid ground of
piety, or, had I continued in that healthful frame which I had
thence imbibed, I might have thought that it might have been
obtained by the study of those books alone.

Most eagerly then did I seize that venerable writing of Thy
Spirit; and chiefly the Apostle Paul. Whereupon those difficulties
vanished away, wherein he once seemed to me to contradict himself, and
the text of his discourse not to agree with the testimonies of the Law
and the Prophets. And the face of that pure word appeared to me one
and the same; and I learned to rejoice with trembling. So I began; and
whatsoever truth I had read in those other books, I found here amid
the praise of Thy Grace; that whoso sees, may not so glory as if he
had not received, not only what he sees, but also that he sees (for
what hath he, which he hath not received?), and that he may be not
only admonished to behold Thee, who art ever the same, but also
healed, to hold Thee; and that he who cannot see afar off, may yet
walk on the way, whereby he may arrive, and behold, and hold Thee.
For, though a man be delighted with the law of God after the inner
man, what shall he do with that other law in his members which warreth
against the law of his mind, and bringeth him into captivity to the
law of sin which is in his members? For, Thou art righteous, O Lord,
but we have sinned and committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and
Thy hand is grown heavy upon us, and we are justly delivered over unto
that ancient sinner, the king of death; because he persuaded our
will to be like his will whereby he abode not in Thy truth. What shall
wretched man do? who shall deliver him from the body of his death, but
only Thy Grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, whom Thou hast begotten
co-eternal, and formedst in the beginning of Thy ways, in whom the
prince of this world found nothing worthy of death, yet killed he Him;
and the handwriting, which was contrary to us, was blotted out? This
those writings contain not. Those pages present not the image of
this piety, the tears of confession, Thy sacrifice, a troubled spirit,
a broken and a contrite heart, the salvation of the people, the Bridal
City, the earnest of the Holy Ghost, the Cup of our Redemption. No man
sings there, Shall not my soul be submitted unto God? for of Him
cometh my salvation. For He is my God and my salvation, my guardian, I
shall no more be moved. No one there hears Him call, Come unto Me, all
ye that labour. They scorn to learn of Him, because He is meek and
lowly in heart; for these things hast Thou hid from the wise and
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. For it is one thing,
from the mountain's shaggy top to see the land of peace, and to find
no way thither; and in vain to essay through ways unpassable,
opposed and beset by fugitives and deserters, under their captain
the lion and the dragon: and another to keep on the way that leads
thither, guarded by the host of the heavenly General; where they spoil
not who have deserted the heavenly army; for they avoid it, as very
torment. These things did wonderfully sink into my bowels, when I read
that least of Thy Apostles, and had meditated upon Thy works, and
trembled exceedingly.


O my God, let me, with thanksgiving, remember, and confess unto Thee
Thy mercies on me. Let my bones be bedewed with Thy love, and let them
say unto Thee, Who is like unto Thee, O Lord? Thou hast broken my
bonds in sunder, I will offer unto Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
And how Thou hast broken them, I will declare; and all who worship
Thee, when they hear this, shall say, "Blessed be the Lord, in
heaven and in earth, great and wonderful is his name. " Thy words
had stuck fast in my heart, and I was hedged round about on all
sides by Thee. Of Thy eternal life I was now certain, though I saw
it in a figure and as through a glass. Yet I had ceased to doubt
that there was an incorruptible substance, whence was all other
substance; nor did I now desire to be more certain of Thee, but more
steadfast in Thee. But for my temporal life, all was wavering, and
my heart had to be purged from the old leaven. The Way, the Saviour
Himself, well pleased me, but as yet I shrunk from going through its
straitness. And Thou didst put into my mind, and it seemed good in
my eyes, to go to Simplicianus, who seemed to me a good servant of
Thine; and Thy grace shone in him. I had heard also that from his very
youth he had lived most devoted unto Thee. Now he was grown into
years; and by reason of so great age spent in such zealous following
of Thy ways, he seemed to me likely to have learned much experience;
and so he had. Out of which store I wished that he would tell me
(setting before him my anxieties) which were the fittest way for one
in my case to walk in Thy paths.

For, I saw the church full; and one went this way, and another
that way. But I was displeased that I led a secular life; yea now that
my desires no longer inflamed me, as of old, with hopes of honour
and profit, a very grievous burden it was to undergo so heavy a
bondage. For, in comparison of Thy sweetness, and the beauty of Thy
house which I loved, those things delighted me no longer. But still
I was enthralled with the love of woman; nor did the Apostle forbid me
to marry, although he advised me to something better, chiefly
wishing that all men were as himself was. But I being weak, chose
the more indulgent place; and because of this alone, was tossed up and
down in all beside, faint and wasted with withering cares, because
in other matters I was constrained against my will to conform myself
to a married life, to which I was given up and enthralled. I had heard
from the mouth of the Truth, that there were some eunuchs which had
made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake: but, saith
He, let him who can receive it, receive it. Surely vain are all men
who are ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things which
are seen, find out Him who is good. But I was no longer in that
vanity; I had surmounted it; and by the common witness of all Thy
creatures had found Thee our Creator, and Thy Word, God with Thee, and
together with Thee one God, by whom Thou createdst all things. There
is yet another kind of ungodly, who knowing God, glorified Him not
as God, neither were thankful. Into this also had I fallen, but Thy
right hand upheld me, and took me thence, and Thou placedst me where I
might recover. For Thou hast said unto man, Behold, the fear of the
Lord is wisdom, and, Desire not to seem wise; because they who
affirmed themselves to be wise, became fools. But I had now found
the goodly pearl, which, selling all that I had, I ought to have
bought, and I hesitated.

To Simplicianus then I went, the father of Ambrose (a Bishop now) in
receiving Thy grace, and whom Ambrose truly loved as a father. To
him I related the mazes of my wanderings. But when I mentioned that
I had read certain books of the Platonists, which Victorinus, sometime
Rhetoric Professor of Rome (who had died a Christian, as I had heard),
had translated into Latin, he testified his joy that I had not
fallen upon the writings of other philosophers, full of fallacies
and deceits, after the rudiments of this world, whereas the Platonists
many ways led to the belief in God and His Word. Then to exhort me
to the humility of Christ, hidden from the wise, and revealed to
little ones, he spoke of Victorinus himself, whom while at Rome he had
most intimately known: and of him he related what I will not
conceal. For it contains great praise of Thy grace, to be confessed
unto Thee, how that aged man, most learned and skilled in the
liberal sciences, and who had read, and weighed so many works of the
philosophers; the instructor of so many noble Senators, who also, as a
monument of his excellent discharge of his office, had (which men of
this world esteem a high honour) both deserved and obtained a statue
in the Roman Forum; he, to that age a worshipper of idols, and a
partaker of the sacrilegious rites, to which almost all the nobility
of Rome were given up, and had inspired the people with the love of

Anubis, barking Deity, and all
The monster Gods of every kind, who fought
'Gainst Neptune, Venus, and Minerva:

whom Rome once conquered, now adored, all which the aged Victorinus
had with thundering eloquence so many years defended; -he now
blushed not to be the child of Thy Christ, and the new-born babe of
Thy fountain; submitting his neck to the yoke of humility, and
subduing his forehead to the reproach of the Cross.

O Lord, Lord, Which hast bowed the heavens and come down, touched
the mountains and they did smoke, by what means didst Thou convey
Thyself into that breast? He used to read (as Simplicianus said) the
holy Scripture, most studiously sought and searched into all the
Christian writings, and said to Simplicianus (not openly, but
privately and as a friend), "Understand that I am already a
Christian." Whereto he answered, "I will not believe it, nor will I
rank you among Christians, unless I see you in the Church of
Christ." The other, in banter, replied, "Do walls then make
Christians?" And this he often said, that he was already a
Christian; and Simplicianus as often made the same answer, and the
conceit of the "walls" was by the other as often renewed. For he
feared to offend his friends, proud daemon-worshippers, from the
height of whose Babylonian dignity, as from cedars of Libanus, which
the Lord had not yet broken down, he supposed the weight of enmity
would fall upon him. But after that by reading and earnest thought
he had gathered firmness, and feared to be denied by Christ before the
holy angels, should he now be afraid to confess Him before men, and
appeared to himself guilty of a heavy offence, in being ashamed of the
Sacraments of the humility of Thy Word, and not being ashamed of the
sacrilegious rites of those proud daemons, whose pride he had imitated
and their rites adopted, he became bold-faced against vanity, and
shame-faced towards the truth, and suddenly and unexpectedly said to
Simplicianus (as himself told me), "Go we to the Church; I wish to
be made a Christian." But he, not containing himself for joy, went
with him. And having been admitted to the first Sacrament and become a
Catechumen, not long after he further gave in his name, that he
might be regenerated by baptism, Rome wondering, the Church rejoicing.
The proud saw, and were wroth; they gnashed with their teeth, and
melted away. But the Lord God was the hope of Thy servant, and he
regarded not vanities and lying madness.

To conclude, when the hour was come for making profession of his
faith (which at Rome they, who are about to approach to Thy grace,
deliver, from an elevated place, in the sight of all the faithful,
in a set form of words committed to memory), the presbyters, he
said, offered Victorinus (as was done to such as seemed likely through
bashfulness to be alarmed) to make his profession more privately:
but he chose rather to profess his salvation in the presence of the
holy multitude. "For it was not salvation that he taught in
rhetoric, and yet that he had publicly professed: how much less then
ought he, when pronouncing Thy word, to dread Thy meek flock, who,
when delivering his own words, had not feared a mad multitude!"
When, then, he went up to make his profession, all, as they knew
him, whispered his name one to another with the voice of
congratulation. And who there knew him not? and there ran a low murmur
through all the mouths of the rejoicing multitude, Victorinus!
Victorinus! Sudden was the burst of rapture, that they saw him;
suddenly were they hushed that they might hear him. He pronounced
the true faith with an excellent boldness, and all wished to draw
him into their very heart; yea by their love and joy they drew him
thither, such were the hands wherewith they drew him.

Good God! what takes place in man, that he should more rejoice at
the salvation of a soul despaired of, and freed from greater peril,
than if there had always been hope of him, or the danger had been
less? For so Thou also, merciful Father, dost more rejoice over one
penitent than over ninety-nine just persons that need no repentance.
And with much joyfulness do we hear, so often as we hear with what joy
the sheep which had strayed is brought back upon the shepherd's
shoulder, and the groat is restored to Thy treasury, the neighbours
rejoicing with the woman who found it; and the joy of the solemn
service of Thy house forceth to tears, when in Thy house it is read of
Thy younger son, that he was dead, and liveth again; had been lost,
and is found. For Thou rejoicest in us, and in Thy holy angels, holy
through holy charity. For Thou art ever the same; for all things which
abide not the same nor for ever, Thou for ever knowest in the same

What then takes place in the soul, when it is more delighted at
finding or recovering the things it loves, than if it had ever had
them? yea, and other things witness hereunto; and all things are
full of witnesses, crying out, "So is it." The conquering commander
triumpheth; yet had he not conquered unless he had fought; and the
more peril there was in the battle, so much the more joy is there in
the triumph. The storm tosses the sailors, threatens shipwreck; all
wax pale at approaching death; sky and sea are calmed, and they are
exceeding joyed, as having been exceeding afraid. A friend is sick,
and his pulse threatens danger; all who long for his recovery are sick
in mind with him. He is restored, though as yet he walks not with
his former strength; yet there is such joy, as was not, when before he
walked sound and strong. Yea, the very pleasures of human life men
acquire by difficulties, not those only which fall upon us unlooked
for, and against our wills, but even by self-chosen, and
pleasure-seeking trouble. Eating and drinking have no pleasure, unless
there precede the pinching of hunger and thirst. Men, given to
drink, eat certain salt meats, to procure a troublesome heat, which
the drink allaying, causes pleasure. It is also ordered that the
affianced bride should not at once be given, lest as a husband he
should hold cheap whom, as betrothed, he sighed not after.

This law holds in foul and accursed joy; this in permitted and
lawful joy; this in the very purest perfection of friendship; this, in
him who was dead, and lived again; had been lost and was found.
Every where the greater joy is ushered in by the greater pain. What
means this, O Lord my God, whereas Thou art everlastingly joy to
Thyself, and some things around Thee evermore rejoice in Thee? What
means this, that this portion of things thus ebbs and flows
alternately displeased and reconciled? Is this their allotted measure?
Is this all Thou hast assigned to them, whereas from the highest
heavens to the lowest earth, from the beginning of the world to the
end of ages, from the angel to the worm, from the first motion to
the last, Thou settest each in its place, and realisest each in
their season, every thing good after its kind? Woe is me! how high art
Thou in the highest, and how deep in the deepest! and Thou never
departest, and we scarcely return to Thee.

Up, Lord, and do; stir us up, and recall us; kindle and draw us;
inflame, grow sweet unto us, let us now love, let us run. Do not many,
out of a deeper hell of blindness than Victorinus, return to Thee,
approach, and are enlightened, receiving that Light, which they who
receive, receive power from Thee to become Thy sons? But if they be
less known to the nations, even they that know them, joy less for
them. For when many joy together, each also has more exuberant joy for
that they are kindled and inflamed one by the other. Again, because
those known to many, influence the more towards salvation, and lead
the way with many to follow. And therefore do they also who preceded
them much rejoice in them, because they rejoice not in them alone. For
far be it, that in Thy tabernacle the persons of the rich should be
accepted before the poor, or the noble before the ignoble; seeing
rather Thou hast chosen the weak things of the world to confound the
strong; and the base things of this world, and the things despised
hast Thou chosen, and those things which are not, that Thou mightest
bring to nought things that are. And yet even that least of Thy
apostles, by whose tongue Thou soundedst forth these words, when
through his warfare, Paulus the Proconsul, his pride conquered, was
made to pass under the easy yoke of Thy Christ, and became a
provincial of the great King; he also for his former name Saul, was
pleased to be called Paul, in testimony of so great a victory. For the
enemy is more overcome in one, of whom he hath more hold; by whom he
hath hold of more. But the proud he hath more hold of, through their
nobility; and by them, of more through their authority. By how much
the more welcome then the heart of Victorinus was esteemed, which
the devil had held as an impregnable possession, the tongue of
Victorinus, with which mighty and keen weapon he had slain many; so
much the more abundantly ought Thy sons to rejoice, for that our
King hath bound the strong man, and they saw his vessels taken from
him and cleansed, and made meet for Thy honour; and become serviceable
for the Lord, unto every good work.

But when that man of Thine, Simplicianus, related to me this of
Victorinus, I was on fire to imitate him; for for this very end had he
related it. But when he had subjoined also, how in the days of the
Emperor Julian a law was made, whereby Christians were forbidden to
teach the liberal sciences or oratory; and how he, obeying this law,
chose rather to give over the wordy school than Thy Word, by which
Thou makest eloquent the tongues of the dumb; he seemed to me not more
resolute than blessed, in having thus found opportunity to wait on
Thee only. Which thing I was sighing for, bound as I was, not with
another's irons, but by my own iron will. My will the enemy held,
and thence had made a chain for me, and bound me. For of a forward
will, was a lust made; and a lust served, became custom; and custom
not resisted, became necessity. By which links, as it were, joined
together (whence I called it a chain) a hard bondage held me
enthralled. But that new will which had begun to be in me, freely to
serve Thee, and to wish to enjoy Thee, O God, the only assured
pleasantness, was not yet able to overcome my former wilfulness,
strengthened by age. Thus did my two wills, one new, and the other
old, one carnal, the other spiritual, struggle within me; and by their
discord, undid my soul.

Thus, I understood, by my own experience, what I had read, how the
flesh lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh.
Myself verily either way; yet more myself, in that which I approved in
myself, than in that which in myself I disapproved. For in this
last, it was now for the more part not myself, because in much I
rather endured against my will, than acted willingly. And yet it was
through me that custom had obtained this power of warring against
me, because I had come willingly, whither I willed not. And who has
any right to speak against it, if just punishment follow the sinner?
Nor had I now any longer my former plea, that I therefore as yet
hesitated to be above the world and serve Thee, for that the truth was
not altogether ascertained to me; for now it too was. But I still
under service to the earth, refused to fight under Thy banner, and
feared as much to be freed of all incumbrances, as we should fear to
be encumbered with it. Thus with the baggage of this present world was
I held down pleasantly, as in sleep: and the thoughts wherein I
meditated on Thee were like the efforts of such as would awake, who
yet overcome with a heavy drowsiness, are again drenched therein.
And as no one would sleep for ever, and in all men's sober judgment
waking is better, yet a man for the most part, feeling a heavy
lethargy in all his limbs, defers to shake off sleep, and though
half displeased, yet, even after it is time to rise, with pleasure
yields to it, so was I assured that much better were it for me to give
myself up to Thy charity, than to give myself over to mine own
cupidity; but though the former course satisfied me and gained the
mastery, the latter pleased me and held me mastered. Nor had I any
thing to answer Thee calling to me, Awake, thou that sleepest, and
arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. And when Thou
didst on all sides show me that what Thou saidst was true, I,
convicted by the truth, had nothing at all to answer, but only those
dull and drowsy words, "Anon, anon," "presently," "leave me but a
little." But "presently, presently," had no present, and my "little
while" went on for a long while; in vain I delighted in Thy law
according to the inner man, when another law in my members rebelled
against the law of my mind, and led me captive under the law of sin
which was in my members. For the law of sin is the violence of custom,
whereby the mind is drawn and holden, even against its will; but
deservedly, for that it willingly fell into it. Who then should
deliver me thus wretched from the body of this death, but Thy grace
only, through Jesus Christ our Lord?

And how Thou didst deliver me out of the bonds of desire,
wherewith I was bound most straitly to carnal concupiscence, and out
of the drudgery of worldly things, I will now declare, and confess
unto Thy name, O Lord, my helper and my redeemer. Amid increasing
anxiety, I was doing my wonted business, and daily sighing unto
Thee. I attended Thy Church, whenever free from the business under the
burden of which I groaned. Alypius was with me, now after the third
sitting released from his law business, and awaiting to whom to sell
his counsel, as I sold the skill of speaking, if indeed teaching can
impart it. Nebridius had now, in consideration of our friendship,
consented to teach under Verecundus, a citizen and a grammarian of
Milan, and a very intimate friend of us all; who urgently desired, and
by the right of friendship challenged from our company, such
faithful aid as he greatly needed. Nebridius then was not drawn to
this by any desire of advantage (for he might have made much more of
his learning had he so willed), but as a most kind and gentle
friend, he would not be wanting to a good office, and slight our
request. But he acted herein very discreetly, shunning to become known
to personages great according to this world, avoiding the
distraction of mind thence ensuing, and desiring to have it free and
at leisure, as many hours as might be, to seek, or read, or hear
something concerning wisdom.

Upon a day then, Nebridius being absent (I recollect not why), to,
there came to see me and Alypius, one Pontitianus, our countryman so
far as being an African, in high office in the Emperor's court. What
he would with us, I know not, but we sat down to converse, and it
happened that upon a table for some game, before us, he observed a
book, took, opened it, and contrary to his expectation, found it the
Apostle Paul; for he thought it some of those books which I was
wearing myself in teaching. Whereat smiling, and looking at me, he
expressed his joy and wonder that he had on a sudden found this
book, and this only before my eyes. For he was a Christian, and
baptised, and often bowed himself before Thee our God in the Church,
in frequent and continued prayers. When then I had told him that I
bestowed very great pains upon those Scriptures, a conversation
arose (suggested by his account) on Antony the Egyptian monk: whose
name was in high reputation among Thy servants, though to that hour
unknown to us. Which when he discovered, he dwelt the more upon that
subject, informing and wondering at our ignorance of one so eminent.
But we stood amazed, hearing Thy wonderful works most fully
attested, in times so recent, and almost in our own, wrought in the
true Faith and Church Catholic. We all wondered; we, that they were so
great, and he, that they had not reached us.

Thence his discourse turned to the flocks in the monasteries, and
their holy ways, a sweet-smelling savour unto Thee, and the fruitful
deserts of the wilderness, whereof we knew nothing. And there was a
monastery at Milan, full of good brethren, without the city walls,
under the fostering care of Ambrose, and we knew it not. He went on
with his discourse, and we listened in intent silence. He told us then
how one afternoon at Triers, when the Emperor was taken up with the
Circensian games, he and three others, his companions, went out to
walk in gardens near the city walls, and there as they happened to
walk in pairs, one went apart with him, and the other two wandered
by themselves; and these, in their wanderings, lighted upon a
certain cottage, inhabited by certain of Thy servants, poor in spirit,
of whom is the kingdom of heaven, and there they found a little book
containing the life of Antony. This one of them began to read, admire,
and kindle at it; and as he read, to meditate on taking up such a
life, and giving over his secular service to serve Thee. And these two
were of those whom they style agents for the public affairs. Then
suddenly, filled with a holy love, and a sober shame, in anger with
himself cast his eyes upon his friend, saying, "Tell me, I pray
thee, what would we attain by all these labours of ours? what aim we
at? what serve we for? Can our hopes in court rise higher than to be
the Emperor's favourites? and in this, what is there not brittle,
and full of perils? and by how many perils arrive we at a greater
peril? and when arrive we thither? But a friend of God, if I wish
it, I become now at once." So spake he. And in pain with the travail
of a new life, he turned his eyes again upon the book, and read on,
and was changed inwardly, where Thou sawest, and his mind was stripped
of the world, as soon appeared. For as he read, and rolled up and down
the waves of his heart, he stormed at himself a while, then discerned,
and determined on a better course; and now being Thine, said to his
friend, "Now have I broken loose from those our hopes, and am resolved
to serve God; and this, from this hour, in this place, I begin upon.
If thou likest not to imitate me, oppose not." The other answered,
he would cleave to him, to partake so glorious a reward, so glorious a
service. Thus both being now Thine, were building the tower at the
necessary cost, the forsaking all that they had, and following Thee.
Then Pontitianus and the other with him, that had walked in other
parts of the garden, came in search of them to the same place; and
finding them, reminded them to return, for the day was now far
spent. But they relating their resolution and purpose, and how that
will was begun and settled in them, begged them, if they would not
join, not to molest them. But the others, though nothing altered
from their former selves, did yet bewail themselves (as he
affirmed), and piously congratulated them, recommending themselves
to their prayers; and so, with hearts lingering on the earth, went
away to the palace. But the other two, fixing their heart on heaven,
remained in the cottage. And both had affianced brides, who when
they heard hereof, also dedicated their virginity unto God.

Such was the story of Pontitianus; but Thou, O Lord, while he was
speaking, didst turn me round towards myself, taking me from behind my
back where I had placed me, unwilling to observe myself; and setting
me before my face, that I might see how foul I was, how crooked and
defiled, bespotted and ulcerous. And I beheld and stood aghast; and
whither to flee from myself I found not. And if I sought to turn
mine eye from off myself, he went on with his relation, and Thou again
didst set me over against myself, and thrustedst me before my eyes,
that I might find out mine iniquity, and hate it. I had known it,
but made as though I saw it not, winked at it, and forgot it.

But now, the more ardently I loved those whose healthful
affections I heard of, that they had resigned themselves wholly to
Thee to be cured, the more did I abhor myself, when compared with
them. For many of my years (some twelve) had now run out with me since
my nineteenth, when, upon the reading of Cicero's Hortensius, I was
stirred to an earnest love of wisdom; and still I was deferring to
reject mere earthly felicity, and give myself to search out that,
whereof not the finding only, but the very search, was to be preferred
to the treasures and kingdoms of the world, though already found,
and to the pleasures of the body, though spread around me at my
will. But I wretched, most wretched, in the very commencement of my
early youth, had begged chastity of Thee, and said, "Give me
chastity and continency, only not yet." For I feared lest Thou
shouldest hear me soon, and soon cure me of the disease of
concupiscence, which I wished to have satisfied, rather than
extinguished. And I had wandered through crooked ways in a
sacrilegious superstition, not indeed assured thereof, but as
preferring it to the others which I did not seek religiously, but
opposed maliciously.

And I had thought that I therefore deferred from day to day to
reject the hopes of this world, and follow Thee only, because there
did not appear aught certain, whither to direct my course. And now was
the day come wherein I was to be laid bare to myself, and my
conscience was to upbraid me. "Where art thou now, my tongue? Thou
saidst that for an uncertain truth thou likedst not to cast off the
baggage of vanity; now, it is certain, and yet that burden still
oppresseth thee, while they who neither have so worn themselves out
with seeking it, nor for often years and more have been thinking
thereon, have had their shoulders lightened, and received wings to fly
away." Thus was I gnawed within, and exceedingly confounded with a
horrible shame, while Pontitianus was so speaking. And he having
brought to a close his tale and the business he came for, went his
way; and I into myself. What said I not against myself? with what
scourges of condemnation lashed I not my soul, that it might follow
me, striving to go after Thee! Yet it drew back; refused, but
excused not itself. All arguments were spent and confuted; there
remained a mute shrinking; and she feared, as she would death, to be
restrained from the flux of that custom, whereby she was wasting to

Then in this great contention of my inward dwelling, which I had
strongly raised against my soul, in the chamber of my heart,
troubled in mind and countenance, I turned upon Alypius. "What ails
us?" I exclaim: "what is it? what heardest thou? The unlearned start
up and take heaven by force, and we with our learning, and without
heart, to, where we wallow in flesh and blood! Are we ashamed to
follow, because others are gone before, and not ashamed not even to
follow?" Some such words I uttered, and my fever of mind tore me
away from him, while he, gazing on me in astonishment, kept silence.
For it was not my wonted tone; and my forehead, cheeks, eyes,
colour, tone of voice, spake my mind more than the words I uttered.
A little garden there was to our lodging, which we had the use of,
as of the whole house; for the master of the house, our host, was
not living there. Thither had the tumult of my breast hurried me,
where no man might hinder the hot contention wherein I had engaged
with myself, until it should end as Thou knewest, I knew not. Only I
was healthfully distracted and dying, to live; knowing what evil thing
I was, and not knowing what good thing I was shortly to become. I
retired then into the garden, and Alypius, on my steps. For his
presence did not lessen my privacy; or how could he forsake me so
disturbed? We sate down as far removed as might be from the house. I
was troubled in spirit, most vehemently indignant that I entered not
into Thy will and covenant, O my God, which all my bones cried out
unto me to enter, and praised it to the skies. And therein we enter
not by ships, or chariots, or feet, no, move not so far as I had
come from the house to that place where we were sitting. For, not to
go only, but to go in thither was nothing else but to will to go,
but to will resolutely and thoroughly; not to turn and toss, this
way and that, a maimed and half-divided will, struggling, with one
part sinking as another rose.

Lastly, in the very fever of my irresoluteness, I made with my
body many such motions as men sometimes would, but cannot, if either
they have not the limbs, or these be bound with bands, weakened with
infirmity, or any other way hindered. Thus, if I tore my hair, beat my
forehead, if locking my fingers I clasped my knee; I willed, I did it.
But I might have willed, and not done it; if the power of motion in my
limbs had not obeyed. So many things then I did, when "to will" was
not in itself "to be able"; and I did not what both I longed
incomparably more to do, and which soon after, when I should will, I
should be able to do; because soon after, when I should will, I should
will thoroughly. For in these things the ability was one with the
will, and to will was to do; and yet was it not done: and more
easily did my body obey the weakest willing of my soul, in moving
its limbs at its nod, than the soul obeyed itself to accomplish in the
will alone this its momentous will.

Whence is this monstrousness? and to what end? Let Thy mercy gleam
that I may ask, if so be the secret penalties of men, and those
darkest pangs of the sons of Adam, may perhaps answer me. Whence is
this monstrousness? and to what end? The mind commands the body, and
it obeys instantly; the mind commands itself, and is resisted. The
mind commands the hand to be moved; and such readiness is there,
that command is scarce distinct from obedience. Yet the mind is
mind, the hand is body. The mind commands the mind, its own self, to
will, and yet it doth not. Whence this monstrousness? and to what end?
It commands itself, I say, to will, and would not command, unless it
willed, and what it commands is not done. But it willeth not entirely:
therefore doth it not command entirely. For so far forth it
commandeth, as it willeth: and, so far forth is the thing commanded,
not done, as it willeth not. For the will commandeth that there be a
will; not another, but itself. But it doth not command entirely,
therefore what it commandeth, is not. For were the will entire, it
would not even command it to be, because it would already be. It is
therefore no monstrousness partly to will, partly to nill, but a
disease of the mind, that it doth not wholly rise, by truth upborne,
borne down by custom. And therefore are there two wills, for that
one of them is not entire: and what the one lacketh, the other hath.

Let them perish from Thy presence, O God, as perish vain talkers and
seducers of the soul: who observing that in deliberating there were
two wills, affirm that there are two minds in us of two kinds, one
good, the other evil. Themselves are truly evil, when they hold
these evil things; and themselves shall become good when they hold the
truth and assent unto the truth, that Thy Apostle may say to them,
Ye were sometimes darkness, but now light in the Lord. But they,
wishing to be light, not in the Lord, but in themselves, imagining the
nature of the soul to be that which God is, are made more gross
darkness through a dreadful arrogancy; for that they went back farther
from Thee, the true Light that enlightened every man that cometh
into the world. Take heed what you say, and blush for shame: draw near
unto Him and be enlightened, and your faces shall not be ashamed.
Myself when I was deliberating upon serving the Lord my God now, as
I had long purposed, it was I who willed, I who nilled, I, I myself. I
neither willed entirely, nor nilled entirely. Therefore was I at
strife with myself, and rent asunder by myself. And this rent befell
me against my will, and yet indicated, not the presence of another
mind, but the punishment of my own. Therefore it was no more I that
wrought it, but sin that dwelt in me; the punishment of a sin more
freely committed, in that I was a son of Adam.

For if there he so many contrary natures as there be conflicting
wills, there shall now be not two only, but many. If a man
deliberate whether he should go to their conventicle or to the
theatre, these Manichees cry out, Behold, here are two natures: one
good, draws this way; another bad, draws back that way. For whence
else is this hesitation between conflicting wills? But I say that both
be bad: that which draws to them, as that which draws back to the
theatre. But they believe not that will to be other than good, which
draws to them. What then if one of us should deliberate, and amid
the strife of his two wills be in a strait, whether he should go to
the theatre or to our church? would not these Manichees also be in a
strait what to answer? For either they must confess (which they fain
would not) that the will which leads to our church is good, as well as
theirs, who have received and are held by the mysteries of theirs:
or they must suppose two evil natures, and two evil souls
conflicting in one man, and it will not be true, which they say,
that there is one good and another bad; or they must be converted to
the truth, and no more deny that where one deliberates, one soul
fluctuates between contrary wills.

Let them no more say then, when they perceive two conflicting
wills in one man, that the conflict is between two contrary souls,
of two contrary substances, from two contrary principles, one good,
and the other bad. For Thou, O true God, dost disprove, check, and
convict them; as when, both wills being bad, one deliberates whether
he should kill a man by poison or by the sword; whether he should
seize this or that estate of another's, when he cannot both; whether
he should purchase pleasure by luxury, or keep his money by
covetousness; whether he go to the circus or the theatre, if both be
open on one day; or thirdly, to rob another's house, if he have the
opportunity; or, fourthly, to commit adultery, if at the same time
he have the means thereof also; all these meeting together in the same
juncture of time, and all being equally desired, which cannot at one
time be acted: for they rend the mind amid four, or even (amid the
vast variety of things desired) more, conflicting wills, nor do they
yet allege that there are so many divers substances. So also in
wills which are good. For I ask them, is it good to take pleasure in
reading the Apostle? or good to take pleasure in a sober Psalm? or
good to discourse on the Gospel? They will answer to each, "it is
good." What then if all give equal pleasure, and all at once? Do not
divers wills distract the mind, while he deliberates which he should
rather choose? yet are they all good, and are at variance till one
be chosen, whither the one entire will may be borne, which before
was divided into many. Thus also, when, above, eternity delights us,
and the pleasure of temporal good holds us down below, it is the
same soul which willeth not this or that with an entire will; and
therefore is rent asunder with grievous perplexities, while out of
truth it sets this first, but out of habit sets not that aside.

Thus soul-sick was I, and tormented, accusing myself much more
severely than my wont, rolling and turning me in my chain, till that
were wholly broken, whereby I now was but just, but still was, held.
And Thou, O Lord, pressedst upon me in my inward parts by a severe
mercy, redoubling the lashes of fear and shame, lest I should again
give way, and not bursting that same slight remaining tie, it should
recover strength, and bind me the faster. For I said with myself,
"Be it done now, be it done now." And as I spake, I all but enacted
it: I all but did it, and did it not: yet sunk not back to my former
state, but kept my stand hard by, and took breath. And I essayed
again, and wanted somewhat less of it, and somewhat less, and all
but touched, and laid hold of it; and yet came not at it, nor
touched nor laid hold of it; hesitating to die to death and to live to
life: and the worse whereto I was inured, prevailed more with me
than the better whereto I was unused: and the very moment wherein I
was to become other than I was, the nearer it approached me, the
greater horror did it strike into me; yet did it not strike me back,
nor turned me away, but held me in suspense.

The very toys of toys, and vanities of vanities, my ancient
mistresses, still held me; they plucked my fleshy garment, and
whispered softly, "Dost thou cast us off? and from that moment shall
we no more be with thee for ever? and from that moment shall not
this or that be lawful for thee for ever?" And what was it which
they suggested in that I said, "this or that," what did they
suggest, O my God? Let Thy mercy turn it away from the soul of Thy
servant. What defilements did they suggest! what shame! And now I much
less than half heard them, and not openly showing themselves and
contradicting me, but muttering as it were behind my back, and privily
plucking me, as I was departing, but to look back on them. Yet they
did retard me, so that I hesitated to burst and shake myself free from
them, and to spring over whither I was called; a violent habit
saying to me, "Thinkest thou, thou canst live without them?"

But now it spake very faintly. For on that side whither I had set my
face, and whither I trembled to go, there appeared unto me the
chaste dignity of Continency, serene, yet not relaxedly, gay, honestly
alluring me to come and doubt not; and stretching forth to receive and
embrace me, her holy hands full of multitudes of good examples:
there were so many young men and maidens here, a multitude of youth
and every age, grave widows and aged virgins; and Continence herself
in all, not barren, but a fruitful mother of children of joys, by Thee
her Husband, O Lord. And she smiled on me with a persuasive mockery,
as would she say, "Canst not thou what these youths, what these
maidens can? or can they either in themselves, and not rather in the
Lord their God? The Lord their God gave me unto them. Why standest
thou in thyself, and so standest not? cast thyself upon Him, fear
not He will not withdraw Himself that thou shouldest fall; cast
thyself fearlessly upon Him, He will receive, and will heal thee." And
I blushed exceedingly, for that I yet heard the muttering of those
toys, and hung in suspense. And she again seemed to say, "Stop thine
ears against those thy unclean members on the earth, that they may
be mortified. They tell thee of delights, but not as doth the law of
the Lord thy God." This controversy in my heart was self against
self only. But Alypius sitting close by my side, in silence waited the
issue of my unwonted emotion.

But when a deep consideration had from the secret bottom of my
soul drawn together and heaped up all my misery in the sight of my
heart; there arose a mighty storm, bringing a mighty shower of
tears. Which that I might pour forth wholly, in its natural
expressions, I rose from Alypius: solitude was suggested to me as
fitter for the business of weeping; so I retired so far that even
his presence could not be a burden to me. Thus was it then with me,
and he perceived something of it; for something I suppose I had
spoken, wherein the tones of my voice appeared choked with weeping,
and so had risen up. He then remained where we were sitting, most
extremely astonished. I cast myself down I know not how, under a
certain fig-tree, giving full vent to my tears; and the floods of mine
eyes gushed out an acceptable sacrifice to Thee. And, not indeed in
these words, yet to this purpose, spake I much unto Thee: and Thou,
O Lord, how long? how long, Lord, wilt Thou be angry for ever?
Remember not our former iniquities, for I felt that I was held by
them. I sent up these sorrowful words: How long, how long, "to-morrow,
and tomorrow?" Why not now? why not is there this hour an end to my

So was I speaking and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my
heart, when, lo! I heard from a neighbouring house a voice, as of
boy or girl, I know not, chanting, and oft repeating, "Take up and
read; Take up and read. " Instantly, my countenance altered, I began
to think most intently whether children were wont in any kind of
play to sing such words: nor could I remember ever to have heard the
like. So checking the torrent of my tears, I arose; interpreting it to
be no other than a command from God to open the book, and read the
first chapter I should find. For I had heard of Antony, that coming in
during the reading of the Gospel, he received the admonition, as if
what was being read was spoken to him: Go, sell all that thou hast,
and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come
and follow me: and by such oracle he was forthwith converted unto
Thee. Eagerly then I returned to the place where Alypius was
sitting; for there had I laid the volume of the Apostle when I arose
thence. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my
eyes first fell: Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and
wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, in concupiscence. No
further would I read; nor needed I: for instantly at the end of this
sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all
the darkness of doubt vanished away.

Then putting my finger between, or some other mark, I shut the
volume, and with a calmed countenance made it known to Alypius. And
what was wrought in him, which I knew not, he thus showed me. He asked
to see what I had read: I showed him; and he looked even further
than I had read, and I knew not what followed. This followed, him that
is weak in the faith, receive; which he applied to himself, and
disclosed to me. And by this admonition was he strengthened; and by
a good resolution and purpose, and most corresponding to his
character, wherein he did always very far differ from me, for the
better, without any turbulent delay he joined me. Thence we go in to
my mother; we tell her; she rejoiceth: we relate in order how it
took place; she leaps for joy, and triumpheth, and blesseth Thee,
Who are able to do above that which we ask or think; for she perceived
that Thou hadst given her more for me, than she was wont to beg by her
pitiful and most sorrowful groanings. For thou convertedst me unto
Thyself, so that I sought neither wife, nor any hope of this world,
standing in that rule of faith, where Thou hadst showed me unto her in
a vision, so many years before. And Thou didst convert her mourning
into joy, much more plentiful than she had desired, and in a much more
precious and purer way than she erst required, by having grandchildren
of my body.


O Lord, I am Thy servant; I am Thy servant, and the son of Thy
handmaid: Thou hast broken my bonds in sunder. I will offer to Thee
the sacrifice of Let my heart and my tongue praise Thee; yea, let
all my bones say, O Lord, who is like unto Thee? Let them say, and
answer Thou me, and say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. Who am I,
and what am I? What evil have not been either my deeds, or if not my
deeds, my words, or if not my words, my will? But Thou, O Lord, are
good and merciful, and Thy right hand had respect unto the depth of my
death, and from the bottom of my heart emptied that abyss of
corruption. And this Thy whole gift was, to nill what I willed, and to
will what Thou willedst. But where through all those years, and out of
what low and deep recess was my free-will called forth in a moment,
whereby to submit my neck to Thy easy yoke, and my shoulders unto
Thy light burden, O Christ Jesus, my Helper and my Redeemer? How sweet
did it at once become to me, to want the sweetnesses of those toys!
and what I feared to be parted from, was now a joy to part with. For
Thou didst cast them forth from me, Thou true and highest sweetness.
Thou castest them forth, and for them enteredst in Thyself, sweeter
than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood; brighter than all
light, but more hidden than all depths, higher than all honour, but
not to the high in their own conceits. Now was my soul free from the
biting cares of canvassing and getting, and weltering in filth, and
scratching off the itch of lust. And my infant tongue spake freely
to Thee, my brightness, and my riches, and my health, the Lord my God.

And I resolved in Thy sight, not tumultuously to tear, but gently to
withdraw, the service of my tongue from the marts of lip-labour:
that the young, no students in Thy law, nor in Thy peace, but in lying
dotages and law-skirmishes, should no longer buy at my mouth arms
for their madness. And very seasonably, it now wanted but very few
days unto the Vacation of the Vintage, and I resolved to endure
them, then in a regular way to take my leave, and having been
purchased by Thee, no more to return for sale. Our purpose then was
known to Thee; but to men, other than our own friends, was it not
known. For we had agreed among ourselves not to let it out abroad to
any: although to us, now ascending from the valley of tears, and
singing that song of degrees, Thou hadst given sharp arrows, and
destroying coals against the subtle tongue, which as though advising
for us, would thwart, and would out of love devour us, as it doth
its meat.

Thou hadst pierced our hearts with Thy charity, and we carried Thy
words as it were fixed in our entrails: and the examples of Thy
servants, whom for black Thou hadst made bright, and for dead,
alive, being piled together in the receptacle of our thoughts, kindled
and burned up that our heavy torpor, that we should not sink down to
the abyss; and they fired us so vehemently, that all the blasts of
subtle tongues from gainsayers might only inflame us the more
fiercely, not extinguish us. Nevertheless, because for Thy Name's sake
which Thou hast hallowed throughout the earth, this our vow and
purpose might also find some to commend it, it seemed like ostentation
not to wait for the vacation now so near, but to quit beforehand a
public profession, which was before the eyes of all; so that all
looking on this act of mine, and observing how near was the time of
vintage which I wished to anticipate, would talk much of me, as if I
had desired to appear some great one. And what end had it served me,
that people should repute and dispute upon my purpose, and that our
good should be evil spoken of.

Moreover, it had at first troubled me that in this very summer my
lungs began to give way, amid too great literary labour, and to
breathe deeply with difficulty, and by the pain in my chest to show
that they were injured, and to refuse any full or lengthened speaking;
this had troubled me, for it almost constrained me of necessity to lay
down that burden of teaching, or, if I could be cured and recover,
at least to intermit it. But when the full wish for leisure, that I
might see how that Thou art the Lord, arose, and was fixed, in me;
my God, Thou knowest, I began even to rejoice that I had this
secondary, and that no feigned, excuse, which might something moderate
the offence taken by those who, for their sons' sake, wished me
never to have the freedom of Thy sons. Full then of such joy, I
endured till that interval of time were run; it may have been some
twenty days, yet they were endured manfully; endured, for the
covetousness which aforetime bore a part of this heavy business, had
left me, and I remained alone, and had been overwhelmed, had not
patience taken its place. Perchance, some of Thy servants, my
brethren, may say that I sinned in this, that with a heart fully set
on Thy service, I suffered myself to sit even one hour in the chair of
lies. Nor would I be contentious. But hast not Thou, O most merciful
Lord, pardoned and remitted this sin also, with my other most horrible
and deadly sins, in the holy water?

Verecundus was worn down with care about this our blessedness, for
that being held back by bonds, whereby he was most straitly bound,
he saw that he should be severed from us. For himself was not yet a
Christian, his wife one of the faithful; and yet hereby, more
rigidly than by any other chain, was he let and hindered from the
journey which we had now essayed. For he would not, he said, be a
Christian on any other terms than on those he could not. However, he
offered us courteously to remain at his country-house so long as we
should stay there. Thou, O Lord, shalt reward him in the
resurrection of the just, seeing Thou hast already given him the lot
of the righteous. For although, in our absence, being now at Rome,
he was seized with bodily sickness, and therein being made a
Christian, and one of the faithful, he departed this life; yet hadst
Thou mercy not on him only, but on us also: lest remembering the
exceeding kindness of our friend towards us, yet unable to number
him among Thy flock, we should be agonised with intolerable sorrow.
Thanks unto Thee, our God, we are Thine: Thy suggestions and
consolations tell us, Faithful in promises, Thou now requitest
Verecundus for his country-house of Cassiacum, where from the fever of
the world we reposed in Thee, with the eternal freshness of Thy
Paradise: for that Thou hast forgiven him his sins upon earth, in that
rich mountain, that mountain which yieldeth milk, Thine own mountain.

He then had at that time sorrow, but Nebridius joy. For although
he also, not being yet a Christian, had fallen into the pit of that
most pernicious error, believing the flesh of Thy Son to be a phantom:
yet emerging thence, he believed as we did; not as yet endued with any
Sacraments of Thy Church, but a most ardent searcher out of truth.
Whom, not long after our conversion and regeneration by Thy Baptism,
being also a faithful member of the Church Catholic, and serving
Thee in perfect chastity and continence amongst his people in
Africa, his whole house having through him first been made
Christian, didst Thou release from the flesh; and now he lives in
Abraham's bosom. Whatever that be, which is signified by that bosom,
there lives my Nebridius, my sweet friend, and Thy child, O Lord,
adopted of a freed man: there he liveth. For what other place is there
for such a soul? There he liveth, whereof he asked much of me, a
poor inexperienced man. Now lays he not his ear to my mouth, but his
spiritual mouth unto Thy fountain, and drinketh as much as he can
receive, wisdom in proportion to his thirst, endlessly happy. Nor do I
think that he is so inebriated therewith, as to forget me; seeing
Thou, Lord, Whom he drinketh, art mindful of us. So were we then,
comforting Verecundus, who sorrowed, as far as friendship permitted,
that our conversion was of such sort; and exhorting him to become
faithful, according to his measure, namely, of a married estate; and
awaiting Nebridius to follow us, which, being so near, he was all
but doing: and so, lo! those days rolled by at length; for long and
many they seemed, for the love I bare to the easeful liberty, that I
might sing to Thee, from my inmost marrow, My heart hath said unto
Thee, I have sought Thy face: Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

Now was the day come wherein I was in deed to be freed of my
Rhetoric Professorship, whereof in thought I was already freed. And it
was done. Thou didst rescue my tongue, whence Thou hadst before
rescued my heart. And I blessed Thee, rejoicing; retiring with all
mine to the villa. What I there did in writing, which was now enlisted
in Thy service, though still, in this breathing-time as it were,
panting from the school of pride, my books may witness, as well what I
debated with others, as what with myself alone, before Thee: what with
Nebridius, who was absent, my Epistles bear witness. And when shall
I have time to rehearse all Thy great benefits towards us at that
time, especially when hasting on to yet greater mercies? For my
remembrance recalls me, and pleasant is it to me, O Lord, to confess
to Thee, by what inward goads Thou tamedst me; and how Thou hast
evened me, lowering the mountains and hills of my high imaginations,
straightening my crookedness, and smoothing my rough ways; and how
Thou also subduedst the brother of my heart, Alypius, unto the name of
Thy Only Begotten, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which he would
not at first vouchsafe to have inserted in our writings. For rather
would he have them savour of the lofty cedars of the Schools, which
the Lord hath now broken down, than of the wholesome herbs of the
Church, the antidote against serpents.

Oh, in what accents spake I unto Thee, my God, when I read the
Psalms of David, those faithful songs, and sounds of devotion, which
allow of no swelling spirit, as yet a Catechumen, and a novice in
Thy real love, resting in that villa, with Alypius a Catechumen, my
mother cleaving to us, in female garb with masculine faith, with the
tranquillity of age, motherly love, Christian piety! Oh, what
accents did I utter unto Thee in those Psalms, and how was I by them
kindled towards Thee, and on fire to rehearse them, if possible,
through the whole world, against the pride of mankind! And yet they
are sung through the whole world, nor can any hide himself from Thy
heat. With what vehement and bitter sorrow was I angered at the
Manichees! and again I pitied them, for they knew not those
Sacraments, those medicines, and were mad against the antidote which
might have recovered them of their madness. How I would they had
then been somewhere near me, and without my knowing that they were
there, could have beheld my countenance, and heard my words, when I
read the fourth Psalm in that time of my rest, and how that Psalm
wrought upon me: When I called, the God of my righteousness heard
me; in tribulation Thou enlargedst me. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, and
hear my prayer. Would that what I uttered on these words, they could
hear, without my knowing whether they heard, lest they should think
I spake it for their sakes! Because in truth neither should I speak
the same things, nor in the same way, if I perceived that they heard
and saw me; nor if I spake them would they so receive them, as when
I spake by and for myself before Thee, out of the natural feelings
of my soul.

I trembled for fear, and again kindled with hope, and with rejoicing
in Thy mercy, O Father; and all issued forth both by mine eyes and
voice, when Thy good Spirit turning unto us, said, O ye sons of men,
how long slow of heart? why do ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?
For I had loved vanity, and sought after leasing. And Thou, O Lord,
hadst already magnified Thy Holy One, raising Him from the dead, and
setting Him at Thy right hand, whence from on high He should send
His promise, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth. And He had already
sent Him, but I knew it not; He had sent Him, because He was now
magnified, rising again from the dead, and ascending into heaven.
For till then, the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet
glorified. And the prophet cries out, How long, slow of heart? why
do ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Know this, that the Lord
hath magnified His Holy One. He cries out, How long? He cries out,
Know this: and I so long, not knowing, loved vanity, and sought
after leasing: and therefore I heard and trembled, because it was
spoken unto such as I remembered myself to have been. For in those
phantoms which I had held for truths, was there vanity and leasing;
and I spake aloud many things earnestly and forcibly, in the
bitterness of my remembrance. Which would they had heard, who yet love
vanity and seek after leasing! They would perchance have been
troubled, and have vomited it up; and Thou wouldest hear them when
they cried unto Thee; for by a true death in the flesh did He die
for us, who now intercedeth unto Thee for us.

I further read, Be angry, and sin not. And how was I moved, O my
God, who had now learned to be angry at myself for things past, that I
might not sin in time to come! Yea, to be justly angry; for that it
was not another nature of a people of darkness which sinned for me, as
they say who are not angry at themselves, and treasure up wrath
against the day of wrath, and of the revelation of Thy just
judgment. Nor were my good things now without, nor sought with the
eyes of flesh in that earthly sun; for they that would have joy from
without soon become vain, and waste themselves on the things seen
and temporal, and in their famished thoughts do lick their very
shadows. Oh that they were wearied out with their famine, and said,
Who will show us good things? And we would say, and they hear, The
light of Thy countenance is sealed upon us. For we are not that
light which enlighteneth every man, but we are enlightened by Thee;
that having been sometimes darkness, we may be light in Thee. Oh
that they could see the eternal Internal, which having tasted, I was
grieved that I could not show It them, so long as they brought me
their heart in their eyes roving abroad from Thee, while they said,
Who will show us good things? For there, where I was angry within
myself in my chamber, where I was inwardly pricked, where I had
sacrificed, slaying my old man and commencing the purpose of a new
life, putting my trust in Thee,- there hadst Thou begun to grow
sweet unto me, and hadst put gladness in my heart. And I cried out, as
I read this outwardly, finding it inwardly. Nor would I be
multiplied with worldly goods; wasting away time, and wasted by
time; whereas I had in Thy eternal Simple Essence other corn, and
wine, and oil.

And with a loud cry of my heart I cried out in the next verse, O
in peace, O for The Self-same! O what said he, I will lay me down
and sleep, for who shall hinder us, when cometh to pass that saying
which is written, Death is swallowed up in victory? And Thou
surpassingly art the Self-same, Who art not changed; and in Thee is
rest which forgetteth all toil, for there is none other with Thee, nor
are we to seek those many other things, which are not what Thou art:
but Thou, Lord, alone hast made me dwell in hope. I read, and kindled;
nor found I what to do to those deaf and dead, of whom myself had
been, a pestilent person, a bitter and a blind bawler against those
writings, which are honied with the honey of heaven, and lightsome
with Thine own light: and I was consumed with zeal at the enemies of
this Scripture.

When shall I recall all which passed in those holy-days? Yet neither
have I forgotten, nor will I pass over the severity of Thy scourge,
and the wonderful swiftness of Thy mercy. Thou didst then torment me
with pain in my teeth; which when it had come to such height that I
could not speak, it came into my heart to desire all my friends
present to pray for me to Thee, the God of all manner of health. And
this I wrote on wax, and gave it them to read. Presently so soon as
with humble devotion we had bowed our knees, that pain went away.
But what pain? or how went it away? I was affrighted, O my Lord, my
God; for from infancy I had never experienced the like. And the
power of Thy Nod was deeply conveyed to me, and rejoicing in faith,
I praised Thy Name. And that faith suffered me not to be at ease about
my past sins, which were not yet forgiven me by Thy baptism.

The vintage-vacation ended, I gave notice to the Milanese to provide
their scholars with another master to sell words to them; for that I
had both made choice to serve Thee, and through my difficulty of
breathing and pain in my chest was not equal to the Professorship. And
by letters I signified to Thy Prelate, the holy man Ambrose, my former
errors and present desires, begging his advice what of Thy
Scriptures I had best read, to become readier and fitter for receiving
so great grace. He recommended Isaiah the Prophet: I believe,
because he above the rest is a more clear foreshower of the Gospel and
of the calling of the Gentiles. But I, not understanding the first
lesson in him, and imagining the whole to be like it, laid it by, to
be resumed when better practised in our Lord's own words.

Thence, when the time was come wherein I was to give in my name,
we left the country and returned to Milan. It pleased Alypius also
to be with me born again in Thee, being already clothed with the
humility befitting Thy Sacraments; and a most valiant tamer of the
body, so as, with unwonted venture, to wear the frozen ground of Italy
with his bare feet. We joined with us the boy Adeodatus, born after
the flesh, of my sin. Excellently hadst Thou made him. He was not
quite fifteen, and in wit surpassed many grave and learned men. I
confess unto Thee Thy gifts, O Lord my God, Creator of all, and
abundantly able to reform our deformities: for I had no part in that
boy, but the sin. For that we brought him up in Thy discipline, it was
Thou, none else, had inspired us with it. I confess unto Thee Thy
gifts. There is a book of ours entitled The Master; it is a dialogue
between him and me. Thou knowest that all there ascribed to the person
conversing with me were his ideas, in his sixteenth year. Much
besides, and yet more admirable, I found in him. That talent struck
awe into me. And who but Thou could be the workmaster of such wonders?
Soon didst Thou take his life from the earth: and I now remember him
without anxiety, fearing nothing for his childhood or youth, or his
whole self. Him we joined with us, our contemporary in grace, to he
brought up in Thy discipline: and we were baptised, and anxiety for
our past life vanished from us. Nor was I sated in those days with the
wondrous sweetness of considering the depth of Thy counsels concerning
the salvation of mankind. How did I weep, in Thy Hymns and
Canticles, touched to the quick by the voices of Thy sweet-attuned
Church! The voices flowed into mine ears, and the Truth distilled into
my heart, whence the affections of my devotion overflowed, and tears
ran down, and happy was I therein.

Not long had the Church of Milan begun to use this kind of
consolation and exhortation, the brethren zealously joining with
harmony of voice and hearts. For it was a year, or not much more, that
Justina, mother to the Emperor Valentinian, a child, persecuted Thy
servant Ambrose, in favour of her heresy, to which she was seduced
by the Arians. The devout people kept watch in the Church, ready to
die with their Bishop Thy servant. There my mother Thy handmaid,
bearing a chief part of those anxieties and watchings, lived for
prayer. We, yet unwarmed by the heat of Thy Spirit, still were stirred
up by the sight of the amazed and disquieted city. Then it was first
instituted that after the manner of the Eastern Churches, Hymns and
Psalms should be sung, lest the people should wax faint through the
tediousness of sorrow: and from that day to this the custom is
retained, divers (yea, almost all) Thy congregations, throughout other
parts of the world following herein.

Then didst Thou by a vision discover to Thy forenamed Bishop where
the bodies of Gervasius and Protasius the martyrs lay hid (whom Thou
hadst in Thy secret treasury stored uncorrupted so many years), whence
Thou mightest seasonably produce them to repress the fury of a
woman, but an Empress. For when they were discovered and dug up, and
with due honour translated to the Ambrosian Basilica, not only they
who were vexed with unclean spirits (the devils confessing themselves)
were cured, but a certain man who had for many years been blind, a
citizen, and well known to the city, asking and hearing the reason
of the people's confused joy, sprang forth desiring his guide to
lead him thither. Led thither, he begged to be allowed to touch with
his handkerchief the bier of Thy saints, whose death is precious in
Thy sight. Which when he had done, and put to his eyes, they were
forthwith opened. Thence did the fame spread, thence Thy praises
glowed, shone; thence the mind of that enemy, though not turned to the
soundness of believing, was yet turned back from her fury of
persecuting. Thanks to Thee, O my God. Whence and whither hast Thou
thus led my remembrance, that I should confess these things also
unto Thee? which great though they be, I had passed by in
forgetfulness. And yet then, when the odour of Thy ointments was so
fragrant, did we not run after Thee. Therefore did I more weep among
the singing of Thy Hymns, formerly sighing after Thee, and at length
breathing in Thee, as far as the breath may enter into this our
house of grass.

Thou that makest men to dwell of one mind in one house, didst join
with us Euodius also, a young man of our own city. Who being an
officer of Court, was before us converted to Thee and baptised: and
quitting his secular warfare, girded himself to Thine. We were
together, about to dwell together in our devout purpose. We sought
where we might serve Thee most usefully, and were together returning
to Africa: whitherward being as far as Ostia, my mother departed
this life. Much I omit, as hastening much. Receive my confessions
and thanksgivings, O my God, for innumerable things whereof I am
silent. But I will not omit whatsoever my soul would bring forth
concerning that Thy handmaid, who brought me forth, both in the flesh,
that I might be born to this temporal light, and in heart, that I
might be born to Light eternal. Not her gifts, but Thine in her, would
I speak of; for neither did she make nor educate herself. Thou
createdst her; nor did her father and mother know what a one should
come from them. And the sceptre of Thy Christ, the discipline of Thine
only Son, in a Christian house, a good member of Thy Church,
educated her in Thy fear. Yet for her good discipline was she wont
to commend not so much her mother's diligence, as that of a certain
decrepit maid-servant, who had carried her father when a child, as
little ones used to be carried at the backs of elder girls. For
which reason, and for her great age, and excellent conversation, was
she, in that Christian family, well respected by its heads. Whence
also the charge of her master's daughters was entrusted to her, to
which she gave diligent heed, restraining them earnestly, when
necessary, with a holy severity, and teaching them with a grave
discretion. For, except at those hours wherein they were most
temporately fed at their parents' table, she would not suffer them,
though parched with thirst, to drink even water; preventing an evil
custom, and adding this wholesome advice: "Ye drink water now, because
you have not wine in your power; but when you come to be married,
and be made mistresses of cellars and cupboards, you will scorn water,
but the custom of drinking will abide." By this method of instruction,
and the authority she had, she refrained the greediness of
childhood, and moulded their very thirst to such an excellent
moderation that what they should not, that they would not.

And yet (as Thy handmaid told me her son) there had crept upon her a
love of wine. For when (as the manner was) she, as though a sober
maiden, was bidden by her parents to draw wine out of the hogshed,
holding the vessel under the opening, before she poured the wine
into the flagon, she sipped a little with the tip of her lips; for
more her instinctive feelings refused. For this she did, not out of
any desire of drink, but out of the exuberance of youth, whereby it
boils over in mirthful freaks, which in youthful spirits are wont to
be kept under by the gravity of their elders. And thus by adding to
that little, daily littles (for whoso despiseth little things shall
fall by little and little), she had fallen into such a habit as
greedily to drink off her little cup brim-full almost of wine. Where
was then that discreet old woman, and that her earnest countermanding?
Would aught avail against a secret disease, if Thy healing hand, O
Lord, watched not over us? Father, mother, and governors absent,
Thou present, who createdst, who callest, who also by those set over
us, workest something towards the salvation of our souls, what didst
Thou then, O my God? how didst Thou cure her? how heal her? didst Thou
not out of another soul bring forth a hard and a sharp taunt, like a
lancet out of Thy secret store, and with one touch remove all that
foul stuff? For a maid-servant with whom she used to go to the cellar,
falling to words (as it happens) with her little mistress, when
alone with her, taunted her with this fault, with most bitter
insult, calling her wine-bibber. With which taunt she, stung to the
quick, saw the foulness of her fault, and instantly condemned and
forsook it. As flattering friends pervert, so reproachful enemies
mostly correct. Yet not what by them Thou doest, but what themselves
purposed, dost Thou repay them. For she in her anger sought to vex her
young mistress, not to amend her; and did it in private, either for
that the time and place of the quarrel so found them; or lest
herself also should have anger, for discovering it thus late. But
Thou, Lord, Governor of all in heaven and earth, who turnest to Thy
purposes the deepest currents, and the ruled turbulence of the tide of
times, didst by the very unhealthiness of one soul heal another;
lest any, when he observes this, should ascribe it to his own power,
even when another, whom he wished to be reformed, is reformed
through words of his.

Brought up thus modestly and soberly, and made subject rather by
Thee to her parents, than by her parents to Thee, so soon as she was
of marriageable age, being bestowed upon a husband, she served him
as her lord; and did her diligence to win him unto Thee, preaching
Thee unto him by her conversation; by which Thou ornamentedst her,
making her reverently amiable, and admirable unto her husband. And she
so endured the wronging of her bed as never to have any quarrel with
her husband thereon. For she looked for Thy mercy upon him, that
believing in Thee, he might be made chaste. But besides this, he was
fervid, as in his affections, so in anger: but she had learnt not to
resist an angry husband, not in deed only, but not even in word.
Only when he was smoothed and tranquil, and in a temper to receive it,
she would give an account of her actions, if haply he had
overhastily taken offence. In a word, while many matrons, who had
milder husbands, yet bore even in their faces marks of shame, would in
familiar talk blame their husbands' lives, she would blame their
tongues, giving them, as in jest, earnest advice: "That from the
time they heard the marriage writings read to them, they should
account them as indentures, whereby they were made servants; and so,
remembering their condition, ought not to set themselves up against
their lords." And when they, knowing what a choleric husband she
endured, marvelled that it had never been heard, nor by any token
perceived, that Patricius had beaten his wife, or that there had
been any domestic difference between them, even for one day, and
confidentially asking the reason, she taught them her practice above
mentioned. Those wives who observed it found the good, and returned
thanks; those who observed it not, found no relief, and suffered.

Her mother-in-law also, at first by whisperings of evil servants
incensed against her, she so overcame by observance and persevering
endurance and meekness, that she of her own accord discovered to her
son the meddling tongues whereby the domestic peace betwixt her and
her daughter-in-law had been disturbed, asking him to correct them.
Then, when in compliance with his mother, and for the well-ordering of
the family, he had with stripes corrected those discovered, at her
will who had discovered them, she promised the like reward to any who,
to please her, should speak ill of her daughter-in-law to her: and
none now venturing, they lived together with a remarkable sweetness of
mutual kindness.

This great gift also thou bestowedst, O my God, my mercy, upon
that good handmaid of Thine, in whose womb Thou createdst me, that
between any disagreeing and discordant parties where she was able, she
showed herself such a peacemaker, that hearing on both sides most
bitter things, such as swelling and indigested choler uses to break
out into, when the crudities of enmities are breathed out in sour
discourses to a present friend against an absent enemy, she never
would disclose aught of the one unto the other, but what might tend to
their reconcilement. A small good this might appear to me, did I not
to my grief know numberless persons, who through some horrible and
wide-spreading contagion of sin, not only disclose to persons mutually
angered things said in anger, but add withal things never spoken,
whereas to humane humanity, it ought to seem a light thing not to
toment or increase ill will by ill words, unless one study withal by
good words to quench it. Such was she, Thyself, her most inward
Instructor, teaching her in the school of the heart.

Finally, her own husband, towards the very end of his earthly
life, did she gain unto Thee; nor had she to complain of that in him
as a believer, which before he was a believer she had borne from
him. She was also the servant of Thy servants; whosoever of them
knew her, did in her much praise and honour and love Thee; for that
through the witness of the fruits of a holy conversation they
perceived Thy presence in her heart. For she had been the wife of
one man, had requited her parents, had govemed her house piously,
was well reported of for good works, had brought up children, so often
travailing in birth of them, as she saw them swerving from Thee.
Lastly, of all of us Thy servants, O Lord (whom on occasion of Thy own
gift Thou sufferest to speak), us, who before her sleeping in Thee
lived united together, having received the grace of Thy baptism, did
she so take care of, as though she had been mother of us all; so
served us, as though she had been child to us all.

The day now approaching whereon she was to depart this life (which
day Thou well knewest, we knew not), it came to pass, Thyself, as I
believe, by Thy secret ways so ordering it, that she and I stood
alone, leaning in a certain window, which looked into the garden of
the house where we now lay, at Ostia; where removed from the din of
men, we were recruiting from the fatigues of a long journey, for the
voyage. We were discoursing then together, alone, very sweetly; and
forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto
those things which are before, we were enquiring between ourselves
in the presence of the Truth, which Thou art, of what sort the eternal
life of the saints was to be, which eye hath not seen, nor ear
heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man. But yet we gasped
with the mouth of our heart, after those heavenly streams of Thy
fountain, the fountain of life, which is with Thee; that being bedewed
thence according to our capacity, we might in some sort meditate
upon so high a mystery.

And when our discourse was brought to that point, that the very
highest delight of the earthly senses, in the very purest material
light, was, in respect of the sweetness of that life, not only not
worthy of comparison, but not even of mention; we raising up ourselves
with a more glowing affection towards the "Self-same," did by
degrees pass through all things bodily, even the very heaven whence
sun and moon and stars shine upon the earth; yea, we were soaring
higher yet, by inward musing, and discourse, and admiring of Thy
works; and we came to our own minds, and went beyond them, that we
might arrive at that region of never-failing plenty, where Thou
feedest Israel for ever with the food of truth, and where life is
the Wisdom by whom all these things are made, and what have been,
and what shall be, and she is not made, but is, as she hath been,
and so shall she be ever; yea rather, to "have been," and "hereafter
to be," are not in her, but only "to be," seeing she is eternal. For
to "have been," and to "be hereafter," are not eternal. And while we
were discoursing and panting after her, we slightly touched on her
with the whole effort of our heart; and we sighed, and there we
leave bound the first fruits of the Spirit; and returned to vocal
expressions of our mouth, where the word spoken has beginning and end.
And what is like unto Thy Word, our Lord, who endureth in Himself
without becoming old, and maketh all things new?

We were saying then: If to any the tumult of the flesh were
hushed, hushed the images of earth, and waters, and air, hushed also
the pole of heaven, yea the very soul be hushed to herself, and by not
thinking on self surmount self, hushed all dreams and imaginary
revelations, every tongue and every sign, and whatsoever exists only
in transition, since if any could hear, all these say, We made not
ourselves, but He made us that abideth for ever- If then having
uttered this, they too should be hushed, having roused only our ears
to Him who made them, and He alone speak, not by them but by
Himself, that we may hear His Word, not through any tongue of flesh,
nor Angel's voice, nor sound of thunder, nor in the dark riddle of a
similitude, but might hear Whom in these things we love, might hear
His Very Self without these (as we two now strained ourselves, and
in swift thought touched on that Eternal Wisdom which abideth over
all); -could this be continued on, and other visions of kind far
unlike be withdrawn, and this one ravish, and absorb, and wrap up
its beholder amid these inward joys, so that life might be for ever
like that one moment of understanding which now we sighed after;
were not this, Enter into thy Master's joy? And when shall that be?
When we shall all rise again, though we shall not all be changed?

Such things was I speaking, and even if not in this very manner, and
these same words, yet, Lord, Thou knowest that in that day when we
were speaking of these things, and this world with all its delights
became, as we spake, contemptible to us, my mother said, "Son, for
mine own part I have no further delight in any thing in this life.
What I do here any longer, and to what I am here, I know not, now that
my hopes in this world are accomplished. One thing there was for which
I desired to linger for a while in this life, that I might see thee
a Catholic Christian before I died. My God hath done this for me
more abundantly, that I should now see thee withal, despising
earthly happiness, become His servant: what do I here?"

What answer I made her unto these things, I remember not. For scarce
five days after, or not much more, she fell sick of a fever; and in
that sickness one day she fell into a swoon, and was for a while
withdrawn from these visible things. We hastened round her; but she
was soon brought back to her senses; and looking on me and my
brother standing by her, said to us enquiringly, "Where was I?" And
then looking fixedly on us, with grief amazed: "Here," saith she,
"shall you bury your mother." I held my peace and refrained weeping;
but my brother spake something, wishing for her, as the happier lot,
that she might die, not in a strange place, but in her own land.
Whereat, she with anxious look, checking him with her eyes, for that
he still savoured such things, and then looking upon me: "Behold,"
saith she, "what he saith": and soon after to us both, "Lay," she
saith, "this body any where; let not the care for that any way
disquiet you: this only I request, that you would remember me at the
Lord's altar, wherever you be." And having delivered this sentiment in
what words she could, she held her peace, being exercised by her
growing sickness.

But I, considering Thy gifts, Thou unseen God, which Thou instillest
into the hearts of Thy faithful ones, whence wondrous fruits do
spring, did rejoice and give thanks to Thee, recalling what I before
knew, how careful and anxious she had ever been as to her place of
burial, which she had provided and prepared for herself by the body of
her husband. For because they had lived in great harmony together, she
also wished (so little can the human mind embrace things divine) to
have this addition to that happiness, and to have it remembered
among men, that after her pilgrimage beyond the seas, what was earthly
of this united pair had been permitted to be united beneath the same
earth. But when this emptiness had through the fulness of Thy goodness
begun to cease in her heart, I knew not, and rejoiced admiring what
she had so disclosed to me; though indeed in that our discourse also
in the window, when she said, "What do I here any longer?" there
appeared no desire of dying in her own country. I heard afterwards
also, that when we were now at Ostia, she with a mother's
confidence, when I was absent, one day discoursed with certain of my
friends about the contempt of this life, and the blessing of death:
and when they were amazed at such courage which Thou hadst given to
a woman, and asked, "Whether she were not afraid to leave her body
so far from her own city?" she replied, "Nothing is far to God; nor
was it to be feared lest at the end of the world, He should not
recognise whence He were to raise me up." On the ninth day then of her
sickness, and the fifty-sixth year of her age, and the
three-and-thirtieth of mine, was that religious and holy soul freed
from the body.

I closed her eyes; and there flowed withal a mighty sorrow into my
heart, which was overflowing into tears; mine eyes at the same time,
by the violent command of my mind, drank up their fountain wholly dry;
and woe was me in such a strife! But when she breathed her last, the
boy Adeodatus burst out into a loud lament; then, checked by us all,
held his peace. In like manner also a childish feeling in me, which
was, through my heart's youthful voice, finding its vent in weeping,
was checked and silenced. For we thought it not fitting to solemnise
that funeral with tearful lament, and groanings; for thereby do they
for the most part express grief for the departed, as though unhappy,
or altogether dead; whereas she was neither unhappy in her death,
nor altogether dead. Of this we were assured on good grounds, the
testimony of her good conversation and her faith unfeigned.

What then was it which did grievously pain me within, but a fresh
wound wrought through the sudden wrench of that most sweet and dear
custom of living together? I joyed indeed in her testimony, when, in
that her last sickness, mingling her endearments with my acts of duty,
she called me "dutiful," and mentioned, with great affection of
love, that she never had heard any harsh or reproachful sound
uttered by my mouth against her. But yet, O my God, Who madest us,
what comparison is there betwixt that honour that I paid to her, and
her slavery for me? Being then forsaken of so great comfort in her, my
soul was wounded, and that life rent asunder as it were, which, of
hers and mine together, had been made but one.

The boy then being stilled from weeping, Euodius took up the
Psalter, and began to sing, our whole house answering him, the
Psalm, I will sing of mercy and judgments to Thee, O Lord. But hearing
what we were doing, many brethren and religious women came together;
and whilst they (whose office it was) made ready for the burial, as
the manner is, I (in a part of the house, where I might properly),
together with those who thought not fit to leave me, discoursed upon
something fitting the time; and by this balm of truth assuaged that
torment, known to Thee, they unknowing and listening intently, and
conceiving me to be without all sense of sorrow. But in Thy ears,
where none of them heard, I blamed the weakness of my feelings, and
refrained my flood of grief, which gave way a little unto me; but
again came, as with a tide, yet not so as to burst out into tears, nor
to change of countenance; still I knew what I was keeping down in my
heart. And being very much displeased that these human things had such
power over me, which in the due order and appointment of our natural
condition must needs come to pass, with a new grief I grieved for my
grief, and was thus worn by a double sorrow.

And behold, the corpse was carried to the burial; we went and
returned without tears. For neither in those prayers which we poured
forth unto Thee, when the Sacrifice of our ransom was offered for her,
when now the corpse was by the grave's side, as the manner there is,
previous to its being laid therein, did I weep even during those
prayers; yet was I the whole day in secret heavily sad, and with
troubled mind prayed Thee, as I could, to heal my sorrow, yet Thou
didst not; impressing, I believe, upon my memory by this one instance,
how strong is the bond of all habit, even upon a soul, which now feeds
upon no deceiving Word. It seemed also good to me to go and bathe,
having heard that the bath had its name (balneum) from the Greek
Balaneion for that it drives sadness from the mind. And this also I
confess unto Thy mercy, Father of the fatherless, that I bathed, and
was the same as before I bathed. For the bitterness of sorrow could
not exude out of my heart. Then I slept, and woke up again, and
found my grief not a little softened; and as I was alone in my bed,
I remembered those true verses of Thy Ambrose. For Thou art the

"Maker of all, the Lord,
And Ruler of the height,
Who, robing day in light, hast poured
Soft slumbers o'er the night,
That to our limbs the power
Of toil may be renew'd,
And hearts be rais'd that sink and cower,
And sorrows be subdu'd."

And then by little and little I recovered my former thoughts of Thy
handmaid, her holy conversation towards Thee, her holy tenderness
and observance towards us, whereof I was suddenly deprived: and I
was minded to weep in Thy sight, for her and for myself, in her behalf
and in my own. And I gave way to the tears which I before
restrained, to overflow as much as they desired; reposing my heart
upon them; and it found rest in them, for it was in Thy ears, not in
those of man, who would have scornfully interpreted my weeping. And
now, Lord, in writing I confess it unto Thee. Read it, who will, and
interpret it, how he will: and if he finds sin therein, that I wept my
mother for a small portion of an hour (the mother who for the time was
dead to mine eyes, who had for many years wept for me that I might
live in Thine eyes), let him not deride me; but rather, if he be one
of large charity, let him weep himself for my sins unto Thee, the
Father of all the brethren of Thy Christ.

But now, with a heart cured of that wound, wherein it might seem
blameworthy for an earthly feeling, I pour out unto Thee, our God,
in behalf of that Thy handmaid, a far different kind of tears, flowing
from a spirit shaken by the thoughts of the dangers of every soul that
dieth in Adam. And although she having been quickened in Christ,
even before her release from the flesh, had lived to the praise of Thy
name for her faith and conversation; yet dare I not say that from what
time Thou regeneratedst her by baptism, no word issued from her
mouth against Thy Commandment. Thy Son, the Truth, hath said,
Whosoever shall say unto his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of
hell fire. And woe be even unto the commendable life of men, if,
laying aside mercy, Thou shouldest examine it. But because Thou art
not extreme in enquiring after sins, we confidently hope to find
some place with Thee. But whosoever reckons up his real merits to
Thee, what reckons he up to Thee but Thine own gifts? O that men would
know themselves to be men; and that he that glorieth would glory in
the Lord.

I therefore, O my Praise and my Life, God of my heart, laying
aside for a while her good deeds, for which I give thanks to Thee with
joy, do now beseech Thee for the sins of my mother. Hearken unto me, I
entreat Thee, by the Medicine of our wounds, Who hung upon the tree,
and now sitting at Thy right hand maketh intercession to Thee for
us. I know that she dealt mercifully, and from her heart forgave her
debtors their debts; do Thou also forgive her debts, whatever she
may have contracted in so many years, since the water of salvation.
Forgive her, Lord, forgive, I beseech Thee; enter not into judgment
with her. Let Thy mercy be exalted above Thy justice, since Thy
words are true, and Thou hast promised mercy unto the merciful;
which Thou gavest them to be, who wilt have mercy on whom Thou wilt
have mercy; and wilt have compassion on whom Thou hast had compassion.

And, I believe, Thou hast already done what I ask; but accept, O
Lord, the free-will offerings of my mouth. For she, the day of her
dissolution now at hand, took no thought to have her body
sumptuously wound up, or embalmed with spices; nor desired she a
choice monument, or to be buried in her own land. These things she
enjoined us not; but desired only to have her name commemorated at Thy
Altar, which she had served without intermission of one day: whence
she knew the holy Sacrifice to be dispensed, by which the hand-writing
that was against us is blotted out; through which the enemy was
triumphed over, who summing up our offences, and seeking what to lay
to our charge, found nothing in Him, in Whom we conquer. Who shall
restore to Him the innocent blood? Who repay Him the price wherewith
He bought us, and so take us from Him? Unto the Sacrament of which our
ransom, Thy handmaid bound her soul by the bond of faith. Let none
sever her from Thy protection: let neither the lion nor the dragon
interpose himself by force or fraud. For she will not answer that
she owes nothing, lest she be convicted and seized by the crafty
accuser: but she will answer that her sins are forgiven her by Him, to
Whom none can repay that price which He, Who owed nothing, paid for

May she rest then in peace with the husband before and after whom
she had never any; whom she obeyed, with patience bringing forth fruit
unto Thee, that she might win him also unto Thee. And inspire, O
Lord my God, inspire Thy servants my brethren, Thy sons my masters,
whom with voice, and heart, and pen I serve, that so many as shall
read these Confessions, may at Thy Altar remember Monnica Thy
handmaid, with Patricius, her sometimes husband, by whose bodies
Thou broughtest me into this life, how I know not. May they with
devout affection remember my parents in this transitory light, my
brethren under Thee our Father in our Catholic Mother, and my
fellow-citizens in that eternal Jerusalem which Thy pilgrim people
sigheth after from their Exodus, even unto their return thither.
That so my mother's last request of me, may through my confessions,
more than through my prayers, be, through the prayers of many, more
abundantly fulfilled to her.


Let me know Thee, O Lord, who knowest me: let me know Thee, as I
am known. Power of my soul, enter into it, and fit it for Thee, that
Thou mayest have and hold it without spot or wrinkle. This is my hope,
therefore do I speak; and in this hope do I rejoice, when I rejoice
healthfully. Other things of this life are the less to be sorrowed
for, the more they are sorrowed for; and the more to be sorrowed
for, the less men sorrow for them. For behold, Thou lovest the
truth, and he that doth it, cometh to the light. This would I do in my
heart before Thee in confession: and in my writing, before many

And from Thee, O Lord, unto whose eyes the abyss of man's conscience
is naked, what could be hidden in me though I would not confess it?
For I should hide Thee from me, not me from Thee. But now, for that my
groaning is witness, that I am displeased with myself, Thou shinest
out, and art pleasing, and beloved, and longed for; that I may be
ashamed of myself, and renounce myself, and choose Thee, and neither
please Thee nor myself, but in Thee. To Thee therefore, O Lord, am I
open, whatever I am; and with what fruit I confess unto Thee, I have
said. Nor do I it with words and sounds of the flesh, but with the
words of my soul, and the cry of the thought which Thy ear knoweth.
For when I am evil, then to confess to Thee is nothing else than to be
displeased with myself; but when holy, nothing else than not to
ascribe it to myself: because Thou, O Lord, blessest the godly, but
first Thou justifieth him when ungodly. My confession then, O my
God, in Thy sight, is made silently, and not silently. For in sound,
it is silent; in affection, it cries aloud. For neither do I utter any
thing right unto men, which Thou hast not before heard from me; nor
dost Thou hear any such thing from me, which Thou hast not first
said unto me.

What then have I to do with men, that they should hear my
confessions- as if they could heal all my infirmities- a race, curious
to know the lives of others, slothful to amend their own? Why seek
they to hear from me what I am; who will not hear from Thee what
themselves are? And how know they, when from myself they hear of
myself, whether I say true; seeing no man knows what is in man, but
the spirit of man which is in him? But if they hear from Thee of
themselves, they cannot say, "The Lord lieth." For what is it to
hear from Thee of themselves, but to know themselves? and who
knoweth and saith, "It is false," unless himself lieth? But because
charity believeth all things (that is, among those whom knitting
unto itself it maketh one), I also, O Lord, will in such wise
confess unto Thee, that men may hear, to whom I cannot demonstrate
whether I confess truly; yet they believe me, whose ears charity
openeth unto me.

But do Thou, my inmost Physician, make plain unto me what fruit I
may reap by doing it. For the confessions of my past sins, which
Thou hast forgiven and covered, that Thou mightest bless me in Thee,
changing my soul by Faith and Thy Sacrament, when read and heard, stir
up the heart, that it sleep not in despair and say "I cannot," but
awake in the love of Thy mercy and the sweetness of Thy grace, whereby
whoso is weak, is strong, when by it he became conscious of his own
weakness. And the good delight to hear of the past evils of such as
are now freed from them, not because they are evils, but because
they have been and are not. With what fruit then, O Lord my God, to
Whom my conscience daily confesseth, trusting more in the hope of
Thy mercy than in her own innocency, with what fruit, I pray, do I
by this book confess to men also in Thy presence what I now am, not
what I have been? For that other fruit I have seen and spoken of.
But what I now am, at the very time of making these confessions,
divers desire to know, who have or have not known me, who have heard
from me or of me; but their ear is not at my heart where I am,
whatever I am. They wish then to hear me confess what I am within;
whither neither their eye, nor ear, nor understanding can reach;
they wish it, as ready to believe- but will they know? For charity,
whereby they are good, telleth them that in my confessions I lie
not; and she in them, believeth me.

But for what fruit would they hear this? Do they desire to joy
with me, when they hear how near, by Thy gift, I approach unto Thee?
and to pray for me, when they shall hear how much I am held back by my
own weight? To such will I discover myself For it is no mean fruit,
O Lord my God, that by many thanks should be given to Thee on our
behalf, and Thou be by many entreated for us. Let the brotherly mind
love in me what Thou teachest is to be loved, and lament in me what
Thou teachest is to be lamented. Let a brotherly, not a stranger,
mind, not that of the strange children, whose mouth talketh of vanity,
and their right hand is a right hand of iniquity, but that brotherly
mind which when it approveth, rejoiceth for me, and when it
disapproveth me, is sorry for me; because whether it approveth or
disapproveth, it loveth me. To such will I discover myself: they
will breathe freely at my good deeds, sigh for my ill. My good deeds
are Thine appointments, and Thy gifts; my evil ones are my offences,
and Thy judgments. Let them breathe freely at the one, sigh at the
other; and let hymns and weeping go up into Thy sight, out of the
hearts of my brethren, Thy censers. And do Thou, O Lord, he pleased
with the incense of Thy holy temple, have mercy upon me according to
Thy great mercy for Thine own name's sake; and no ways forsaking
what Thou hast begun, perfect my imperfections.

This is the fruit of my confessions of what I am, not of what I have
been, to confess this, not before Thee only, in a secret exultation
with trembling, and a secret sorrow with hope; but in the ears also of
the believing sons of men, sharers of my joy, and partners in my
mortality, my fellow-citizens, and fellow-pilgrims, who are gone
before, or are to follow on, companions of my way. These are Thy
servants, my brethren, whom Thou willest to be Thy sons; my masters,
whom Thou commandest me to serve, if I would live with Thee, of
Thee. But this Thy Word were little did it only command by speaking,
and not go before in performing. This then I do in deed and word, this
I do under Thy wings; in over great peril, were not my soul subdued
unto Thee under Thy wings, and my infirmity known unto Thee. I am a
little one, but my Father ever liveth, and my Guardian is sufficient
for me. For He is the same who begat me, and defends me: and Thou
Thyself art all my good; Thou, Almighty, Who are with me, yea,
before I am with Thee. To such then whom Thou commandest me to serve
will I discover, not what I have been, but what I now am and what I
yet am. But neither do I judge myself. Thus therefore I would be

For Thou, Lord, dost judge me: because, although no man knoweth
the things of a man, but the spirit of a man which is in him, yet is
there something of man, which neither the spirit of man that is in
him, itself knoweth. But Thou, Lord, knowest all of him, Who hast made
him. Yet I, though in Thy sight I despise myself, and account myself
dust and ashes; yet know I something of Thee, which I know not of
myself. And truly, now we see through a glass darkly, not face to face
as yet. So long therefore as I be absent from Thee, I am more
present with myself than with Thee; and yet know I Thee that Thou
art in no ways passible; but I, what temptations I can resist, what
I cannot, I know not. And there is hope, because Thou art faithful,
Who wilt not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able; but
wilt with the temptation also make a way to escape, that we may be
able to bear it. I will confess then what I know of myself, I will
confess also what I know not of myself. And that because what I do
know of myself, I know by Thy shining upon me; and what I know not
of myself, so long know I not it, until my darkness be made as the
noon-day in Thy countenance.

Not with doubting, but with assured consciousness, do I love Thee,
Lord. Thou hast stricken my heart with Thy word, and I loved Thee. Yea
also heaven, and earth, and all that therein is, behold, on every side
they bid me love Thee; nor cease to say so unto all, that they may
be without excuse. But more deeply wilt Thou have mercy on whom Thou
wilt have mercy, and wilt have compassion on whom Thou hast had
compassion: else in deaf ears do the heaven and the earth speak Thy
praises. But what do I love, when I love Thee? not beauty of bodies,
nor the fair harmony of time, nor the brightness of the light, so
gladsome to our eyes, nor sweet melodies of varied songs, nor the
fragrant smell of flowers, and ointments, and spices, not manna and
honey, not limbs acceptable to embracements of flesh. None of these
I love, when I love my God; and yet I love a kind of light, and
melody, and fragrance, and meat, and embracement when I love my God,
the light, melody, fragrance, meat, embracement of my inner man: where
there shineth unto my soul what space cannot contain, and there
soundeth what time beareth not away, and there smelleth what breathing
disperseth not, and there tasteth what eating diminisheth not, and
there clingeth what satiety divorceth not. This is it which I love
when I love my God.

And what is this? I asked the earth, and it answered me, "I am not
He"; and whatsoever are in it confessed the same. I asked the sea
and the deeps, and the living creeping things, and they answered,
"We are not thy God, seek above us." I asked the moving air; and the
whole air with his inhabitants answered, "Anaximenes was deceived, I
am not God. " I asked the heavens, sun, moon, stars, "Nor (say they)
are we the God whom thou seekest." And I replied unto all the things
which encompass the door of my flesh: "Ye have told me of my God, that
ye are not He; tell me something of Him." And they cried out with a
loud voice, "He made us. " My questioning them, was my thoughts on
them: and their form of beauty gave the answer. And I turned myself
unto myself, and said to myself, "Who art thou?" And I answered, "A
man." And behold, in me there present themselves to me soul, and body,
one without, the other within. By which of these ought I to seek my
God? I had sought Him in the body from earth to heaven, so far as I
could send messengers, the beams of mine eyes. But the better is the
inner, for to it as presiding and judging, all the bodily messengers
reported the answers of heaven and earth, and all things therein,
who said, "We are not God, but He made us." These things did my
inner man know by the ministry of the outer: I the inner knew them; I,
the mind, through the senses of my body. I asked the whole frame of
the world about my God; and it answered me, "I am not He, but He
made me.

Is not this corporeal figure apparent to all whose senses are
perfect? why then speaks it not the same to all? Animals small and
great see it, but they cannot ask it: because no reason is set over
their senses to judge on what they report. But men can ask, so that
the invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by
the things that are made; but by love of them, they are made subject
unto them: and subjects cannot judge. Nor yet do the creatures
answer such as ask, unless they can judge; nor yet do they change
their voice (i.e., their appearance), if one man only sees, another
seeing asks, so as to appear one way to this man, another way to that,
but appearing the same way to both, it is dumb to this, speaks to
that; yea rather it speaks to all; but they only understand, who
compare its voice received from without, with the truth within. For
truth saith unto me, "Neither heaven, nor earth, nor any other body is
thy God." This, their very nature saith to him that seeth them:
"They are a mass; a mass is less in a part thereof than in the whole."
Now to thee I speak, O my soul, thou art my better part: for thou
quickenest the mass of my body, giving it life, which no body can give
to a body: but thy God is even unto thee the Life of thy life.

What then do I love, when I love my God? who is He above the head of
my soul? By my very soul will I ascend to Him. I will pass beyond that
power whereby I am united to my body, and fill its whole frame with
life. Nor can I by that power find my God; for so horse and mule
that have no understanding might find Him; seeing it is the same
power, whereby even their bodies live. But another power there is, not
that only whereby I animate, but that too whereby I imbue with sense
my flesh, which the Lord hath framed for me: commanding the eye not to
hear, and the ear not to see; but the eye, that through it I should
see, and the ear, that through it I should hear; and to the other
senses severally, what is to each their own peculiar seats and
offices; which, being divers, I the one mind, do through them enact. I
will pass beyond this power of mine also; for this also have the
horse, and mule, for they also perceive through the body.

I will pass then beyond this power of my nature also, rising by
degrees unto Him Who made me. And I come to the fields and spacious
palaces of my memory, where are the treasures of innumerable images,
brought into it from things of all sorts perceived by the senses.
There is stored up, whatsoever besides we think, either by enlarging
or diminishing, or any other way varying those things which the
sense hath come to; and whatever else hath been committed and laid up,
which forgetfulness hath not yet swallowed up and buried. When I enter
there, I require what I will to be brought forth, and something
instantly comes; others must be longer sought after, which are
fetched, as it were, out of some inner receptacle; others rush out
in troops, and while one thing is desired and required, they start
forth, as who should say, "Is it perchance I?" These I drive away with
the hand of my heart, from the face of my remembrance; until what I
wish for be unveiled, and appear in sight, out of its secret place.
Other things come up readily, in unbroken order, as they are called
for; those in front making way for the following; and as they make
way, they are hidden from sight, ready to come when I will. All
which takes place when I repeat a thing by heart.

There are all things preserved distinctly and under general heads,
each having entered by its own avenue: as light, and all colours and
forms of bodies by the eyes; by the ears all sorts of sounds; all
smells by the avenue of the nostrils; all tastes by the mouth; and
by the sensation of the whole body, what is hard or soft; hot or cold;
or rugged; heavy or light; either outwardly or inwardly to the body.
All these doth that great harbour of the memory receive in her
numberless secret and inexpressible windings, to be forthcoming, and
brought out at need; each entering in by his own gate, and there
laid up. Nor yet do the things themselves enter in; only the images of
the things perceived are there in readiness, for thought to recall.
Which images, how they are formed, who can tell, though it doth
plainly appear by which sense each hath been brought in and stored up?
For even while I dwell in darkness and silence, in my memory I can
produce colours, if I will, and discern betwixt black and white, and
what others I will: nor yet do sounds break in and disturb the image
drawn in by my eyes, which I am reviewing, though they also are there,
lying dormant, and laid up, as it were, apart. For these too I call
for, and forthwith they appear. And though my tongue be still, and
my throat mute, so can I sing as much as I will; nor do those images
of colours, which notwithstanding be there, intrude themselves and
interrupt, when another store is called for, which flowed in by the
ears. So the other things, piled in and up by the other senses, I
recall at my pleasure. Yea, I discern the breath of lilies from
violets, though smelling nothing; and I prefer honey to sweet wine,
smooth before rugged, at the time neither tasting nor handling, but
remembering only.

These things do I within, in that vast court of my memory. For there
are present with me, heaven, earth, sea, and whatever I could think on
therein, besides what I have forgotten. There also meet I with myself,
and recall myself, and when, where, and what I have done, and under
what feelings. There be all which I remember, either on my own
experience, or other's credit. Out of the same store do I myself
with the past continually combine fresh and fresh likenesses of things
which I have experienced, or, from what I have experienced, have
believed: and thence again infer future actions, events and hopes, and
all these again I reflect on, as present. "I will do this or that,"
say I to myself, in that great receptacle of my mind, stored with
the images of things so many and so great, "and this or that will
follow." "O that this or that might be!" "God avert this or that!"
So speak I to myself: and when I speak, the images of all I speak of
are present, out of the same treasury of memory; nor would I speak
of any thereof, were the images wanting.

Great is this force of memory, excessive great, O my God; a large
and boundless chamber! who ever sounded the bottom thereof? yet is
this a power of mine, and belongs unto my nature; nor do I myself
comprehend all that I am. Therefore is the mind too strait to
contain itself. And where should that be, which it containeth not of
itself? Is it without it, and not within? how then doth it not
comprehend itself? A wonderful admiration surprises me, amazement
seizes me upon this. And men go abroad to admire the heights of
mountains, the mighty billows of the sea, the broad tides of rivers,
the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, and pass
themselves by; nor wonder that when I spake of all these things, I did
not see them with mine eyes, yet could not have spoken of them, unless
I then actually saw the mountains, billows, rivers, stars which I
had seen, and that ocean which I believe to be, inwardly in my memory,
and that, with the same vast spaces between, as if I saw them
abroad. Yet did not I by seeing draw them into myself, when with
mine eyes I beheld them; nor are they themselves with me, but their
images only. And I know by what sense of the body each was impressed
upon me.

Yet not these alone does the unmeasurable capacity of my memory
retain. Here also is all, learnt of the liberal sciences and as yet
unforgotten; removed as it were to some inner place, which is yet no
place: nor are they the images thereof, but the things themselves.
For, what is literature, what the art of disputing, how many kinds
of questions there be, whatsoever of these I know, in such manner
exists in my memory, as that I have not taken in the image, and left
out the thing, or that it should have sounded and passed away like a
voice fixed on the ear by that impress, whereby it might be
recalled, as if it sounded, when it no longer sounded; or as a smell
while it passes and evaporates into air affects the sense of smell,
whence it conveys into the memory an image of itself, which
remembering, we renew, or as meat, which verily in the belly hath
now no taste, and yet in the memory still in a manner tasteth; or as
any thing which the body by touch perceiveth, and which when removed
from us, the memory still conceives. For those things are not
transmitted into the memory, but their images only are with an
admirable swiftness caught up, and stored as it were in wondrous
cabinets, and thence wonderfully by the act of remembering, brought

But now when I hear that there be three kinds of questions, "Whether
the thing be? what it is? of what kind it is? I do indeed hold the
images of the sounds of which those words be composed, and that
those sounds, with a noise passed through the air, and now are not.
But the things themselves which are signified by those sounds, I never
reached with any sense of my body, nor ever discerned them otherwise
than in my mind; yet in my memory have I laid up not their images, but
themselves. Which how they entered into me, let them say if they
can; for I have gone over all the avenues of my flesh, but cannot find
by which they entered. For the eyes say, "If those images were
coloured, we reported of them." The ears say, "If they sound, we
gave knowledge of them." The nostrils say, "If they smell, they passed
by us." The taste says, "Unless they have a savour, ask me not." The
touch says, "If it have not size, I handled it not; if I handled it
not, I gave no notice of it." Whence and how entered these things into
my memory? I know not how. For when I learned them, I gave not
credit to another man's mind, but recognised them in mine; and
approving them for true, I commended them to it, laying them up as
it were, whence I might bring them forth when I willed. In my heart
then they were, even before I learned them, but in my memory they were
not. Where then? or wherefore, when they were spoken, did I
acknowledge them, and said, "So is it, it is true," unless that they
were already in the memory, but so thrown back and buried as it were
in deeper recesses, that had not the suggestion of another drawn
them forth I had perchance been unable to conceive of them?

Wherefore we find, that to learn these things whereof we imbibe
nor the images by our senses, but perceive within by themselves,
without images, as they are, is nothing else, but by conception, to
receive, and by marking to take heed that those things which the
memory did before contain at random and unarranged, be laid up at hand
as it were in that same memory where before they lay unknown,
scattered and neglected, and so readily occur to the mind familiarised
to them. And how many things of this kind does my memory bear which
have been already found out, and as I said, placed as it were at hand,
which we are said to have learned and come to know which were I for
some short space of time to cease to call to mind, they are again so
buried, and glide back, as it were, into the deeper recesses, that
they must again, as if new, he thought out thence, for other abode
they have none: but they must be drawn together again, that they may
be known; that is to say, they must as it were be collected together
from their dispersion: whence the word "cogitation" is derived. For
cogo (collect) and cogito (re-collect) have the same relation to
each other as ago and agito, facio and factito. But the mind hath
appropriated to itself this word (cogitation), so that, not what is
"collected" any how, but what is "recollected," i.e., brought
together, in the mind, is properly said to be cogitated, or thought

The memory containeth also reasons and laws innumerable of numbers
and dimensions, none of which hath any bodily sense impressed;
seeing they have neither colour, nor sound, nor taste, nor smell,
nor touch. I have heard the sound of the words whereby when
discussed they are denoted: but the sounds are other than the
things. For the sounds are other in Greek than in Latin; but the
things are neither Greek, nor Latin, nor any other language. I have
seen the lines of architects, the very finest, like a spider's thread;
but those are still different, they are not the images of those
lines which the eye of flesh showed me: he knoweth them, whosoever
without any conception whatsoever of a body, recognises them within
himself. I have perceived also the numbers of the things with which we
number all the senses of my body; but those numbers wherewith we
number are different, nor are they the images of these, and
therefore they indeed are. Let him who seeth them not, deride me for
saying these things, and I will pity him, while he derides me.

All these things I remember, and how I learnt them I remember.
Many things also most falsely objected against them have I heard,
and remember; which though they be false, yet is it not false that I
remember them; and I remember also that I have discerned betwixt those
truths and these falsehoods objected to them. And I perceive that
the present discerning of these things is different from remembering
that I oftentimes discerned them, when I often thought upon them. I
both remember then to have often understood these things; and what I
now discern and understand, I lay up in my memory, that hereafter I
may remember that I understand it now. So then I remember also to have
remembered; as if hereafter I shall call to remembrance, that I have
now been able to remember these things, by the force of memory shall I
call it to remembrance.

The same memory contains also the affections of my mind, not in
the same manner that my mind itself contains them, when it feels them;
but far otherwise, according to a power of its own. For without
rejoicing I remember myself to have joyed; and without sorrow do I
recollect my past sorrow. And that I once feared, I review without
fear; and without desire call to mind a past desire. Sometimes, on the
contrary, with joy do I remember my fore-past sorrow, and with sorrow,
joy. Which is not wonderful, as to the body; for mind is one thing,
body another. If I therefore with joy remember some past pain of body,
it is not so wonderful. But now seeing this very memory itself is mind
(for when we give a thing in charge, to be kept in memory, we say,
"See that you keep it in mind"; and when we forget, we say, "It did
not come to my mind," and, "It slipped out of my mind," calling the
memory itself the mind); this being so, how is it that when with joy I
remember my past sorrow, the mind hath joy, the memory hath sorrow;
the mind upon the joyfulness which is in it, is joyful, yet the memory
upon the sadness which is in it, is not sad? Does the memory perchance
not belong to the mind? Who will say so? The memory then is, as it
were, the belly of the mind, and joy and sadness, like sweet and
bitter food; which, when committed to the memory, are as it were
passed into the belly, where they may be stowed, but cannot taste.
Ridiculous it is to imagine these to be alike; and yet are they not
utterly unlike.

But, behold, out of my memory I bring it, when I say there be four
perturbations of the mind, desire, joy, fear, sorrow; and whatsoever I
can dispute thereon, by dividing each into its subordinate species,
and by defining it, in my memory find I what to say, and thence do I
bring it: yet am I not disturbed by any of these perturbations, when
by calling them to mind, I remember them; yea, and before I recalled
and brought them back, they were there; and therefore could they, by
recollection, thence be brought. Perchance, then, as meat is by
chewing the cud brought up out of the belly, so by recollection
these out of the memory. Why then does not the disputer, thus
recollecting, taste in the mouth of his musing the sweetness of joy,
or the bitterness of sorrow? Is the comparison unlike in this, because
not in all respects like? For who would willingly speak thereof, if so
oft as we name grief or fear, we should be compelled to be sad or
fearful? And yet could we not speak of them, did we not find in our
memory, not only the sounds of the names according to the images
impressed by the senses of the body, but notions of the very things
themselves which we never received by any avenue of the body, but
which the mind itself perceiving by the experience of its own
passions, committed to the memory, or the memory of itself retained,
without being committed unto it.

But whether by images or no, who can readily say? Thus, I name a
stone, I name the sun, the things themselves not being present to my
senses, but their images to my memory. I name a bodily pain, yet it is
not present with me, when nothing aches: yet unless its image were
present to my memory, I should not know what to say thereof, nor in
discoursing discern pain from pleasure. I name bodily health; being

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