The Ancient Library

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deny that they open a very important chapter in the history of human nature. When Augustin was still very young, he fell into a dangerous dis­order, which induced him to wish for baptism ; but on his recovery, the rite was delayed. He tells us that he was exceedingly delighted, from his childhood, with the fabulous stories of the Latin poets; but the difficulty of learning Greek inspired him with a great disgust for that language. He was sent, during his boyhood, to be educated at the neighbouring town of Madaura, and after­wards removed to Carthage in order to prosecute the study of rhetoric. Here he fell into vicious practices; and before he was eighteen, his concu­bine bore him a son, whom he named Adeodatus. He applied, however, with characteristic ardour, to the study of the great masters of rhetoric and phi­losophy. In particular, he describes in strong terms the beneficial effect produced upon him by reading the Hortensius of Cicero. Soon after this, he embraced the Manichaean heresy,—a wild and visionary system, repugnant alike to sound reason and to Scripture, but not without strong fascina­tions for an ardent and imaginative mind undisci­plined in the lessons of practical religion. To this pernicious doctrine he adhered for nine years, dxir-ing which he unhappily seduced others into the adoption of the same errors.

After teaching grammar for some time at his native place, he returned to Carthage^ having lost a friend whose death affected him very deeply. At Carthage he became a teacher of rhetoric, and in his twenty-seventh year published his first work, entitled, " de apto et pulchro," which he dedicated to Hierius, a Roman orator, known to him only by his high reputation. Of the fate of this work the author seems to have been singu­larly careless; for when he wrote his Confessions, he had lost sight of it altogether, and says he does not remember whether it was in two or three books. We agree with Lord Jeffery (Encycl. Brit. art. Beauty) in lamenting the disappearance of this treatise, which was probably defective enough in strict scientific analysis, but could not fail to abound in ingenious disquisition and vigorous elo­quence.

About this time Augustin began to distrust the baseless creed of the Manichaeans, and the more so that he found no satisfaction from the reasonings of their most celebrated teacher, Faustus, with whom he frequently conversed. In the year 383, he went, against the wishes of his mother, to Rome, intending to exercise his profession as a teacher of rhetoric there. For this step, he assigns as his reason that the students in Rome behaved with greater decorum than those of Carthage, where the schools were often scenes of gross and irrepressible disorder. At Rome he had a danger­ous illness, from which however he soon recovered; and after - teaching rhetoric for a few months, he left the imperial city, in disgust at the fraudulent conduct of some of his students, and went to Milan, designing to pursue his profession in that city. At that time Ambrose was bishop of Milan, and his conversation and preaching made a good impression upon Augustin. He was not, however, converted to Christianity at once, but fell, for a time, into a state of general uncertainty and scep­ticism. The great mystery of all, the origin of evil, especially perplexed and tormented him. By degrees his mind acquired a healthier tone, and



the reading of some of the Platonic philosophers (not in the original Greek, but in a Latin version) disposed him still more favourably towards the Christian system. From these he turned, with a delight unfelt before, to the Holy Scriptures, in the perusal of which his earlier doubts and difficulties gave way before the self-evidencing light of divine truth. He was greatly benefited by the religious conversations which he held with Simplician, a Christian presbyter, who had formerly instructed Ambrose himself in theology. After deep consi­deration, and many struggles of feeling (of which he has given an interesting record in the eighth and ninth books of his Confessions), he resolved on making a public profession of Christianity, and was baptized by Ambrose at Milan on the 25th of April, a. d. 387. His fellow-townsman and inti­mate friend, Alypius, and his natural son, Adeo­datus, of whose extraordinary genius he speaks with fond enthusiasm, were baptized on the same occasion. His mother Monnica, who had followed him to Milan, rejoiced over this happy event as the completion of all her desires on earth. She did not long survive it; for shortly after his conversion, Augustin set out with her to return to Africa, and at Ostia, on the banks of the Tiber, his mother died, after an illness of a few days, in the fifty-sixth year of her age. Her son has given, in the ninth book of his Confessions (cc. 8-11) a brief but deeply interesting account of this excellent woman. Augustin remained at Rome some time after his mother's death, and composed his treatises de Moribus Ecclesiae Catholicae et de Moribus Manichaeoritm, de Quantitate Animae^ and de Libero Arbitrio. The latter, however, was not finished until some years after.

In the latter part of the year 388, Augustin re­turned by way of Carthage to Tagaste. He sold the small remains of his paternal property, and gave the proceeds to the poor; and passed the next three years in seclusion, devoting himself to religious exercises. At this period of his life he wrote his treatises de Genesi contra Manicliaeos^ de Musica, de Magistro^ (addressed to his son Adeodatus), and de Vera Reliyione. The reputation of these works and of their author's personal excellence seems to have been speedily diffused, for in the year 391, Angus-tin, against his own wishes, was ordained a priest by Valerius, then bishop of Hippo. On this, he spent some time in retirement, in order to qualify himself by the special study of the Bible for the work of preaching. When he entered on this public duty, he discharged it with great acceptance and success. He did not, however, abandon his labours as an author, but wrote his tractate de Utilitate credendi^ inscribed to his friend Honoratus, and another en» titled de duabus Animabus contra Manichaeos. He also published an account of his disputation with Fortunatus, a distinguished teacher of th<^ Manichaean doctrine. In the year 393, he was. appointed, though still only a presbyter, to deliver a discourse upon the creed before the council of Hippo. This discourse, which is still extant, waa, published at the solicitation of his friends.

In the year 395, Valerius exerted himself to ob­tain Augustin as his colleague in the episcopal charge; and though Augustin at first urged his unwillingness with great sincerity, his scruples Avere overcome, and he was ordained bishop of Hippo. He performed the duties of his new office with zealous fidelity, and yet foun<i time amidst

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