Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A couple from Augustin(e)

You stir us up to take delight in your praise; for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless till it finds its rest in you.

...seeking to gain nothing through my disgrace but disgrace alone.

Through my desires I suffered the most bitter struggles, and you looked mercifully upon me--all the more so in that you did not allow me to find sweetness in anything that was not you.

Woe to my reckless soul, which hoped, if it departed from you, to gain something better! It tossed and turned on to its back, its sides, its stomach, but the bed was hard throughout, and you alone are rest.

Free will (is) the reason why we commit evil, and your righteous judgment the reason why we suffer it.

Let no man say to him, "What is this?" or "Why is this?" Let him not say it. Let him not say it. He is a man.

All that is, then, is good. As for evil, whose origin I was seeking, it is not a substance, since if it were a substance, it would be good.

Virtue and vice are not the same, even if they undergo the same torment. The fire which makes the gold shine makes the chaff smoke; the same flail breaks up the straw, and clears the grain; and oil is not mistaken for lees because both are forced out by the same press...the wicked, under pressure of affliction, execrate God and blaspheme; the good, in the same affliction, offer up prayers and praises.

I am certain of this, that no one has died who was not going to die at some time, and the end of life reduces the longest life to the same condition as the shortest...The only thing that makes death an evil is what comes after death. Those who must inevitably die ought not to worry overmuch about what accident will cause their death, but about their destination after dying.

Thus you refuse to be held responsible for the evil that you do, while you hold the Christian era responsible for the evil which you suffer!...Prosperity depraved you, and adversity could not reform have become the most wretched, and you have remained the most worthless, of mankind.

Stupidity glories in never yielding to the force of truth.

"Grant me chastity and continence", I had said, "but please, not yet."

How sweet it suddenly was to me to be deprived of all the sweets of frivolity, and what a joy to throw away what I had feared to lose.

And woe even to men who live a praiseworthy life, if you should sift them without mercy! But as you do not enquire relentlessly into our sins, we hope and trust to have some place in you. Bit if one should enumerate before you his true good deeds, what is he enumerating but your gifts to him? Would that men would learn that they are men, and that "he who boasts would boast in the Lord!"

We may pass over the speculations about the nature and origin of the human race that have been put forward by men who do not know what they are talking about.

No one therefore must try to get to know from me what I know that I do not know, unless, it may be, in order to learn not to know what must be known to be incapable of being known.


rebec said...

Thanks for posting these, Jesse.

Ben said...

This is my favorite,

"Grant me chastity and continence", I had said, "but please, not yet."

Wodehousian Fun