Augustine – Quotes from the Confessions

Cover of Confessions (Oxford World's Classics)

The church book club have just gone through the first 5 books (chapters) of Augustine’s Confessions. We intend to read through to book 9 as a group but I’d like read right through them. I’ve previously dipped very briefly into a few on-line versions but never actually read through them. There’s nothing – in my opinion – quite like having a book to read. The translation we are using is by Henry Chadwick and is proving to be very readable in terms of text. I’m really enjoying the book. Before we quote – and comment – from the text, two preliminary observations might be in order. i) Augustine noted what we might call the mundane or ordinary and sees God at work in these in a very powerful and humbling way. ii) Some of the things could have been written yesterday as comment on human behaviour. People are still the same, nothing has changed except maybe the clothes!

A few choice quotes

Book iv (30) p. 70. ‘I had my back to the light and my face towards the things which are illuminated. So my face, by which I was enabled to see the things lit up, was not itself illuminated’

People look out on creation and see its wonders but completely fail to be themselves enlightened at all. Or even to see the beauty of Jesus but again it’s not their own illumination and are still in their sins. And as Augustine said previously ‘…while travelling away from the truth I thought I was going towards it. Book iii (12) p. 43.

Augustine was given amazing insight into his own soul and into ours too. It’s no wonder this book is a classic. Augustine was taken in by the Manichees cult for about 9 years and Faustus one of their most able leaders came on the scene.  Augustine was beginning to question the truthfulness of their teachings to which he writes (Book iv section iv 10 p. 77 & 76):

‘When he came, I found him gracious and pleasant with words. He said the things they usually say, but put it much more agreeably. But what should the most presentable waiter do for my thirst by offering precious cups? My ears were already satiated with this kind of talk, which did not seem better to me because more elegantly expressed. Fine style does not make something true, nor has a man a wise soul because he has a handsome face and well chosen eloquence. They who promised he would be so good were not good judges. He seemed so prudent and wise because he charmed them by the way he talked.’

A quotation with his view of God (Book i p.4 & 5, iv (4).

‘Who then are you my God? What, I ask, but God who is Lord? For ‘who is the Lord but the Lord’, or ‘who is God but our God? (Psalm 17:32). Most high, utterly good, utterly powerful, most omnipotent, most merciful and most just, deeply hidden yet intimately present, perfection of beauty and strength, stable and incomprehensible, immutable and yet changing all things, never new, never old….’

Finally, Book i p. 5, v (5):

‘…’Say to my soul, I am your salvation‘ (Psalm 34:3). Speak to me so that I might hear.’

7 thoughts on “Augustine – Quotes from the Confessions

  1. Hi Mike,

    After I showed you interisting point about trinity, I was surprise that you Disabled The COMMENTS”, on your post BBC ‘Life of Mohammed’ Observations Part 2

    Dont be Afread of the TRUTH, just open your brain, We dont follow relegion because our fathers did but because our heart open for it.

    In your last post before you disbled the comment you said:

    “The doctrine of the Trinity is not illogical as you suggest”

    I didnt comment that it was illogical but I commented about you sayin trinity is difficult to understand – incomprehensible even.

    As god will be not fair If he asks people to beleive in a difficult principle, especially if you know that the first followers of prophets are not the elite but the poor and farmers that never gone to schools because they dont have an ego to stop them from following the truth.

    I Travel in Africa and saw how much money the church is taking from poor people in the name of Jesus, give 10% of it to some hungry people and for the rest, go visit the castles in Vatican and you will understand that it turned in to a corporation.

    I dont Accept anyone between me and My Lord, either he want to be in the middle because he wants to make money or good intention.

    And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.

    1. Hi Waalid.

      Sadly Christians can do bad things. Do Muslims do bad things? BTW it was Part 1 I disabled not Part 2.

      I disabled comments because it seemed that particular discussion was going nowhere because you will not accept that what the Koran says about the Trinity is incorrect – that’s my point. And since you raise it I could charge you with the same – you should not be afraid of the Truth. Would you be afraid to leave Islam and become a Christian? If you are not saying it was illogical why use the logic of 3 = 1. I’ll ask you again have you read the Athanasian Creed – I doubt it. In fact I doubt you read anything other than your own religious writing & perhaps ‘Christian’ heresies that I would happily condemn with you. I’d like you to prove me wrong. I’m not a Catholic so I agree with you on that one. That is not what we are talking about. I’ll refer you to my two options again:

      there are only two options. Option 1, either Islam or Christianity is true, there can only be one. Or, option 2, neither of them is true. If it is option 2, we should all find something better to do with our lives. But if it’s option 1; we need to think about which one is true. That’s not being Islamophobic that’s being a seeker after Truth.

      The Truth is only found in Jesus Christ, the only Saviour for sinners. I know that Jesus loves me and has paid the price for my sins (that doesn’t make me perfect) on the Cross and has in fact done everything necessary for my Salvation and will take me home to be with Him in Heaven. Why on earth would I want to become a Muslim with Jesus as my Saviour. Can Mohammed save anyone – no he can’t. Did Mohammed die for the sins of anyone – no he didn’t. You can’t even be sure your own (fictional) God will save you so why would any thinking person using their brain (unless deceived) even give Islam a second thought.

      Jesus told the Truth when He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) If only you were to turn to The Lord Jesus Christ for Salvation – you would then find Him (Jesus) to be your all in all. You would know the immense blessing, and relief, of not having to work your way to heaven and you would be joining many ex Muslims that have found The TRUTH to be found Only in Jesus Christ. Will you not consider Christ? Will you not turn to Him? I pray that you will.

      Do you believe the words of Jesus? if you do – turn to Him and put your faith in Him alone.

    2. Hi again Waalid,

      I just realised what an interesting post this was to leave a comment on.

      Did you know that one of Augustines major pieces of writing was On The Trinity (De Trinitate). Augustine (354-430). You will notice this was many years before Mohammed (570-632) came on the scene!

      Here is a link to Augustine The Trinity: a Summary: http://www.piney.com/Trinity.Augustine.html

      and here’s another (Readable summary) link: http://thriceholy.net/Texts/augustinef.html

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