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Saint Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430) was a Roman citizen born in Africa. His writings created the foundations of the Medieval Christian church. Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
Saint Augustine quotes
Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.
The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works Therefore do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that thou mayest understand.
I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden.
It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.
What do I love when I love my God?
Such great and wonderful things would never have been done for us by God, if the life of the soul were to end with the death of the body. Why then do I delay? Why do I not abandon my hopes of this world and devote myself entirely to the search for God and for the happy life?
I will plant my feet on that step where my parents put me as a child, until self-evident truth comes to light.
O Lord my God, tell me what you are to me. Say to my soul, I am your salvation. Say it so that I can hear it. My heart is listening, Lord; open the ears of my heard and say to my soul, I am your salvation. Let me run toward this voice and seize hold of you. Do not hide your face from me: let me die so that I may see it, for not to see it would be death to me indeed.
Give me yourself, O my God, give yourself back to me. Lo, I love you, but if my love is too mean, let me love more passionately. I cannot gauge my love, nor know how far it fails, how much more love I need for my life to set its course straight into your arms, never swerving until hidden in the covert of your face. This alone I know, that without you all to me is misery, woe outside myself and woe within, and all wealth but penury, if it is not my God.
God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering.
Love the sinner and hate the sin.
Theft is punished by Your law, O Lord, and by the law written in men’s hearts, which iniquity itself cannot blot out. For what thief will suffer a thief? Even a rich thief will not suffer him who is driven to it by want. Yet had I a desire to commit robbery, and did so, compelled neither by hunger, nor poverty through a distaste for well-doing, and a lustiness of iniquity. For I pilfered that of which I had already sufficient, and much better. Nor did I desire to enjoy what I pilfered, but the theft and sin itself. There was a pear-tree close to our vineyard, heavily laden with fruit, which was tempting neither for its colour nor its flavour. To shake and rob this some of us wanton young fellows went, late one night (having, according to our disgraceful habit, prolonged our games in the streets until then), and carried away great loads, not to eat ourselves, but to fling to the very swine, having only eaten some of them; and to do this pleased us all the more because it was not permitted.Behold my heart, O my God; behold my heart, which You had pity upon when in the bottomless pit. Behold, now, let my heart tell You what it was seeking there, that I should be gratuitously wanton, having no inducement to evil but the evil itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved to perish. I loved my own error— not that for which I erred, but the error itself. Base soul, falling from Your firmament to utter destruction— not seeking anything through the shame but the shame itself!
You are not the mind itself. For You are the Lord God of the mind. All these things are liable to change, but You remain immutable above all things.
O God, who is ever at work and ever at rest. May I be ever at work and ever at rest.
Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.
This alone I know, that without you all to me is misery, woe outside myself and woe within, and all wealth but penury, if it is not my God.
I held my heart back from positively accepting anything, since I was afraid of another fall, and in this condition of suspense I was being all the more killed.
Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.
To seek the highest good is to live well.
Our bodies are shaped to bear children, and our lives are a working out of the processes of creation. All our ambitions and intelligence are beside that great elemental point.
The mind commands the body and is instantly obeyed. The mind commands itself and meets resistance. The mind commands the hand to move, and it so easy that one hardly distinguishes the order from its execution. Yet mind is mind and hand is body. The mind orders the mind to will. The recipient of the order is itself, yet it does not perform it.
The punishment of every disordered mind is its own disorder.
The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them.
You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You. Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us. Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.
For a sentence is not complete unless each word, once its syllables have been pronounced, gives way to make room for the next…They are set up on the course of their existence, and the faster they climb towards its zenith, the more they hasten towards the point where they exist no more.
Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.
How high a price we pay for the burden of habit! I am fitted for life here where I do not want to be, I want to live there but am unfit for it, and on both counts I am miserable.
No longer was he the man who had joined the crowd; he was now one of the crowd he had joined, and a genuine companion of those who had led him there.
The happy life is this – to rejoice to thee, in thee, and for thee.
An unjust law is no law at all. It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.
To wisdom belongs the intellectual apprehension of things eternal; to knowledge, the rational apprehension of things temporal.
Already I had learned from thee that because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true; nor because it is uttered with stammering lips should it be supposed false. Nor, again, is it necessarily true because rudely uttered, nor untrue because the language is brilliant. and folly both are like meats that are wholesome and unwholesome, and courtly or simple words are like town-made or rustic vessels — both kinds of food may be served in either kind of dish.
I snatched it up, opened it, and in silence read the paragraph on which my eyes first fell: “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:13). I wanted to read no further, nor did I need to. For instantly, as the sentence ended, there was infused in my heart something like the light of full certainty and all the gloom of doubt vanished away.
COMMENTS on St. Augustine
My life is meaningless without God is the theme that runs through Augustine, but this is a supposition, not even a theory, and only a hypothesis at best. To say that at times he felt his life was meaningless without God could be accurate, but the absolute statement becomes an overwrought assertion.
Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation. This is a personal observation, and it functions well for me too, but I would assert that it is an assertion of a truth and not necessarily a truth. My problem with it is that it laid the foundation for the absolutist-style thinking that came about in large part because of Augustine’s excellent way of stating ideas. He says it better than I, Already I had learned from thee that because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true; nor because it is uttered with stammering lips should it be supposed false.
St. Augustine’s moment of conversion is based on opening a bible, with the intent of following the first thing his eyes fell upon. I snatched it up, opened it, and in silence read the paragraph on which my eyes first fell: “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:13). I wanted to read no further, nor did I need to. For instantly, as the sentence ended, there was infused in my heart something like the light of full certainty and all the gloom of doubt vanished away. But this isn’t the way a rational person comes to decisions, and it shouldn’t be a foundational moment upon which a great world religion is based. The method is magical bibliomancy, the use of books for divination, and is no more valid for basing major decisions on than is magical readings of animal entrails or cloud formations.
Augustine said Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
With that concept it becomes possible to convince people of unknowable and untestable assertions, and with the pomp and beauty of the church it becomes a glorious feeling to accept the orations.