Augustine: Rhetorician, Sinner, and Saint

Augustine on


“These things I did not understand at that time, and I loved those inferior beauties [that is, inferior to God’s beauty], and I was sinking down to the very depths.  And I said to my friends:  “Do We love anything but the beautiful?  What then is the beautiful?  And what is beauty?  What is it that allures and unites us to the things we love; for unless there were a grace and beauty in them, they could not possibly attract us to them?”  And I reflected on this and saw that in the objects themselves there is a kind of beauty which comes from their forming a whole and another kind of beauty that comes from mutual fitness–as the harmony of one part of the body with its whole, or a shoe with a foot, and so on.  And this idea sprung up in my mind out of my inmost heart, and I wrote some books–two or three, I think–On the Beautiful and the Fitting. You know them,  O Lord; they have escaped my memory.  I no longer have them somehow they have been mislaid….  But I had not seen how the main point in these great issues lay really in your craftsmenship, O Omnipotent One, “who alone does great wonders.” (ps. 72:18)

Augustine on his blindness to the Scriptures prior to the Holy Spirit’s work

“I resolved, therefore, to direct my mind to the Holy Scriptures, that I might see what they were.  And behold, I saw something not comprehended by the proud, not disclosed to children, something lowly in the hearing, but sublime in the doing, and veiled in mysteries.  Yet I was not of the number of those who could enter into it or bend my neck to follow its steps.  For then it was quite different from what I now feel.  When I then turned toward the Scriptures, they appeared to me to be quite unworthy to be compared to the dignity of Tully.  For my inflated pride was repelled by their style, nor could the sharpness of my wit penetrate their meaning.  Truly they were of a sort to aid the growth of little ones, but I scorned to be a little one and, swollen with pride, I looked upon myself as fully-grown.”


One comment on “Augustine: Rhetorician, Sinner, and Saint

  1. ZDENNY says:

    i LOVE THIS!! Beaseuty belongs to those who love

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