By Saint Augustine, Henry Chadwick
The son of a pagan father and a Christian mom, Saint Augustine spent his early years torn among conflicting faiths and international perspectives. His Confessions, written while he was once in his forties, recount how, slowly and painfully, he got here to show clear of his younger rules and licentious way of life, to turn into in its place a staunch suggest of Christianity and certainly one of its such a lot influential thinkers. A remarkably sincere and revealing religious autobiography, the Confessions also tackle primary problems with Christian doctrine, and plenty of of the prayers and meditations it comprises are nonetheless a vital part of the perform of Christianity today.
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Extra info for Confessions
The earth was invisible and without form, and darkness reigned over the deep’ – ‘Heaven’ here means the spiritual creation, the Heaven of Heavens, and ‘earth’ the formless matter of which the material world was to be made, whereas the heaven above our earth is the firmament which God created on the second day – On the third day he made the earth and the sea by giving form to the formless matter which he had created before the first day – How the Heaven of Heavens differs from the material creation – A discussion of other interpretations of the verse: ‘In the Beginning God made heaven and earth’ BOOK XIII An allegorical interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis The light which God created on the first day is the spiritual creation, which became light by the reflection of God's glory – The darkness, which God divided from the light, represents the soul still without God's light The firmament which separates the waters above from the waters below is a figure of the Scriptures, which are like a shield held above us for our protection – Above it are the angels, safe in the presence of God On the third day the waters of earth were gathered together to form the sea, and God commanded the dry land to appear – The ‘sea’ means the human race, embittered by estrangement from God, and the ‘dry land’ which stands out from the sea represents the good soul – The dry land produces plants and trees which bear fruit in works of mercy and charity The lights which God set to shine in the firmament on the fourth day are wisdom and knowledge given to men so that those who possess them also shine like lights in the world On the fifth day God commanded the waters to bring forth moving creatures, that is, signs and sacraments by which men are convinced of the truth and are helped to overcome the temptations of the world – The winged things, which the waters were also commanded to produce, are the teachers who bring God's message to man On the sixth day the earth was told to produce the living soul, that is, the soul which lives because it has faith and keeps itself intact from the love of the world – Man was made in the likeness of God in that he was given the gift of reason by which he might understand God's truth – His rule over the animals is a symbol of this and of the power of spiritual judgement given to the Church – The plants given to man for his food represent works of charity which nourish the soul On the seventh day God rested, as we too shall rest in eternity when our work in the world is done Introduction THE life of Saint Augustine has a special appeal because he was a great sinner who became a great saint, and greatness is all the more admirable if it is achieved against odds.
In the Confessions he paints so black a picture of his past that the reader may easily lose sight of the good qualities which he certainly possessed as a young man. Whether he was a greater sinner than others living in the notorious city of Carthage we cannot tell, but whatever his vices, they were not without compensating virtues. Some of the most striking passages in the book are those in which he writes of his mother, and it is clear that he was always a good and affectionate son, although he may not have appreciated Saint Monica's true worth until after his own conversion.
372 Birth of Augustine's son Adeodatus. 375 Augustine teaches rhetoric at Thagaste. 376–83 Teaching in Carthage. 383 The voyage to Rome. 384 Augustine goes to Milan as professor of rhetoric and meets Ambrose. 385 Monica arrives in Milan. 386 February: the persecution of Justina. June: discovery of the bodies of the martyrs Gervasius and Protasius. July: Augustine's talks with Simplicianus. August: the episode in the garden and Augustine's conversion. He goes to Cassiciacum (now Cassago in Brianza, near Como).
Confessions by Saint Augustine, Henry Chadwick