Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Augustinus, Aurelius
A. Early Life.—§§ 1, 2, Name, Materials for biography; § 3. Early life; § 4. Manicheism; § 5. Philosophical period; § 6. Conversion; § 7. Early Christian life: (a) as layman, (b) as presbyter.
issues; § 11. Augustine and Greek Christendom; § 12. Augustine and the hierarchy: (a) Church authority and episcopate, (b) Equality of episcopate, (c) Rome and the episcopate: Case of Apiarius, (d) Rome and doctrinal authority, (e) Ultimate authority; § 13. Death and character.
C. Influence.—§ 14. Writings; § 15. Asceticism and the "Rule": The Church and property; § 16. Intellectual influence: (a) Philosophic Theism, (b) Ecclesiasticism, (c) Predestinarianism; § 17. Bibliography.
A. Early Life.—§ 1. Name.—Orosius, Hist. adv. Pagan. I. 4; Prosper, Car. de Ingrat. i. 3, and Chron. ad ann. 430; Claudian Mamert. de Stat. An. ii. 10; Bede, Vit. St. Cuthb., give the name as above. The name Aurelius is not given by Possidius, nor is it ever used by Augustine himself nor by any of his correspondents. But the Benedictine editors find it in the earliest MS. titles of his works, and it is probably authentic.
§ 2. Materials for Biography.—These are exceptionally ample. For his first thirty-three years we have, in the Confessions, the most perfect of religious autobiographies (see below, § 8, ad init.). The word "Confessions" includes not only the idea of self-accusation, but also that of thanksgiving (see IX. vi. confiteor tibi dona tua, and the use of confiteor in the Vulgate Psalter). For his career as a Christian and a bishop, we possess an admirably simple and graphic life by his pupil and friend Possidius, bp. of Calamis. The writings and correspondence of Augustine himself copiously supplement the narrative. The Benedictine editors have worked up the whole of the material into a very accurate biography in eight books. It fills 513 columns of the Patr. Lat., and leaves little to be added by others. (See below, § 17.)
§ 3. Birth and Early Years (354‒373).—Augustine was born at Thagaste in Numidia Proconsularis, on Nov. 13, 354 (for evidence as to this date, see Bened. Life in Patr. Lat. I. 118). His father Patricius, a jovial, sensual, passionate man, and till near the end of his life a heathen, was one of the curiales of the town, but without large means. His mother Monnica was a Christian by parentage, conviction, and character. Augustine acknowledged (de Vit. Beat. i. 6) that he owed his all to her; conversely we can trace to her anxious care for her son's spiritual well-being a distinct deepening of her own character (see Conf. II. iii. sub fin.; IX. viii. ix.). From his mother he received the elements of Christian teaching, and, as he tells us, a devotion to the very name of Jesus Christ which his later spiritual wanderings never wholly extinguished, and which forbade him to find satisfaction in any writings which lacked it (Conf. III. iv. 3). As a child he had a severe illness, and demanded baptism. His mother had agreed to allow it; but when he recovered, in accordance with the then prevailing dread of post-baptismal sin, she put off his baptism to riper years. Augustine was one of several children (we read of his brother Navigius, Conf. IX. xi., de Beat. Vit. i. 6; a sister, Ep. 2114; nieces, Possid. xxvi.; nephew Patricius and nieces, Serm. 3563, see Bened. Life, I. i. 4). He early shewed signs of pre-eminent ability, and his parents, both of whom entertained the ordinary parental ambitions, found means to send him to school at the neighbouring town of Madaura. Here, though he found the study of Greek distasteful, he made good progress; in fact it became clear that he was ripe for the higher schools of Carthage, and he was withdrawn from Madaura. The difficulty of providing the means for his studies at the more expensive and distant capital kept him at home for a year (369‒370). He laments bitterly the company he kept and the habits into which he fell at this period. The boyish freak of robbing a pear-tree with his companions weighed heavily on his mind in later years (Conf. II. iv. ix.). He tells us, however, with shame, that in order not to be outdone by his companions he boasted of licentious acts which he had not committed. This may modify our natural inferences from the self-accusing language of the Confessions.
At last, aided by their wealthy and benevolent neighbour Romanianus, his parents were able to send him to Carthage. Here, at the age of sixteen, Augustine began his "university" life, as a student of Rhetoric. Again he speaks with an agony of remorse of his life as a student. It is certain that he contracted an irregular union, and in 372 he became the father of a son, Adeodatus. But he remained faithful to his mistress until the very eve of his conversion, and watched over his son's education and character. Eventually father and son were baptized together (see below, § 6; also cf. Conf. VI. xv. 25). We must infer that his life was on the whole above the average level of student life in Carthage. He tells us that the "best set" among them were given to brutal horse-play, directed especially against shy freshmen; but although he associated with these "eversores," he took no part in their wild doings.
In 371 his father had died, but, aided once more by the kindness of Romanianus, Monnica was able still to keep her son at Carthage. Ambition for social success, and for a future career at the bar, rather than any deeper motive, led him to pursue his studies with ardour. But in his nineteenth year, while reading Cicero's Hortensius, he became deeply impressed with the supreme value of Wisdom, as contrasted with the vain hopes and fleeting opinions of the world. From this time onward he is a restless seeker after Truth (Conf. III. iv.). His first impulse was toward the Scriptures, but their simplicity repelled him; "they seemed to me to be far inferior to the dignity of Tully."
§ 4. Manicheism (373‒383).—A baffled inquirer, he was attracted by the Manichean system, which appears to have been actively pushed in Africa at this period. This is not the place for a description of Manicheism. From Augustine's many allusions to its tenets, it appears to have been a strange medley of dualism and materialism, asceticism and licence, theosophy and rationalism, free-thought and superstition. What specially attracted Augustine appears to have been the high moral pretensions of the sect, their criticism of Scripture difficulties, and their explanation of the origin of evil by the assumption of an independent evil principle. For nine years (373‒382, Conf. IV. i., de Util. Cred. 2) Augustine was an ardent Manichean. He brought over his friends Alypius and Honoratus, and his patron Romanianus, to the same convictions, and delighted in controversy with Catholics. He remained an "auditor" only. The "electi" were bound to strict continence, and Augustine was increasingly conscious of the chasm between his ideal and his practice. "Make me chaste, but not yet," was his prayer during this period of his life (Conf. VIII. vii.). Augustine completed his studies, and returned to Thagaste as a teacher of grammar. His mother, overwhelmed with horror at his new opinions, refused to receive him at home. At first, therefore, he lived with Romanianus. Monnica's prayers were answered by a consoling dream (Conf. III. xi.) and a friend, a bishop, himself a convert from Manicheism, whom she entreated to argue with her son, while wisely refusing her request, dismissed her with the words, "It cannot be that the son of those tears of yours should be lost." She accepted the words as a voice from Heaven, and received Augustine into her household. The death of a dear friend—Augustine was a man of warm friendships (Conf. IV. ix.)—moved him to leave Thagaste, and return, as a teacher of Rhetoric, to Carthage. Here he studied zealously, devoting attention to the "liberal arts," astronomy, and other subjects, and lived a life of cultivated society and successful literary effort. He tells us of a prize poem which won a crown in the theatre from the proconsul Vindicianus, a wise old physician who convinced him (but see Conf. VII. vi.) of the futility of astrology (Conf. IV. iii.; this apparently occurred at Carthage). About this time he wrote a work in two or three books, de Pulcro et Apto, which he inscribed to Hierius, a professor of Rhetoric at Rome, whom he had come to admire by reputation. These books he did not preserve; they appear to have been his first. Meanwhile, he began to be less satisfied with the Manichean view of existence; these misgivings were intensified by disillusion in regard to the morals of the electi (de Moribus Man. 68 sqq.). But his Manichean friends urged him to await the arrival at Carthage of Faustus, a "bishop" of the sect, who enjoyed a reputation for brilliant ability and learning, and who could be trusted to resolve all his doubts. But when the great Faustus appeared, Augustine soon discovered him to be a very ordinary person, "of charming manner and pleasant address, who said just what the others used to say, but in a much more agreeable style" (Conf. V. iii. 6). When, after his addresses to the crowd, Augustine laid before him some of his doubts, his mediocrity was transparent. "He knew that he did not know, and was not ashamed to confess the fact . . . and for this I liked him all the better." But he liked the system all the less; and without formally separating from the Manicheans, he adopted an "academic" suspense of judgment in regard to the opinions he had hitherto adopted; henceforth he held them provisionally, pending the discovery of something better (de Vit. Beat. i. 4). § 5. Rome. Philosophy (383‒386).—Mainly in disgust at the rough and disorderly students of Carthage (Conf. V. viii.), Augustine now migrated to Rome. With bitter self-reproach he tells us of the deceit by means of which he left his mother, who had followed him to Carthage, behind (Conf. V. viii.). At Rome, his host was a Manichean, Alypius and other Manichean friends surrounded him, and in a severe illness he received the greatest kindness from them all. But the students of Rome disappointed Augustine. They were less rude, but also less honest, than those of Carthage, especially in the matter of payment of their fees (Conf. V. xi.). Presently (about the summer of 384) Symmachus, the Praefectus Urbi, was commissioned by the Milanese to find them a professor of Rhetoric. Augustine, by the aid of his Manichean friends, obtained the post, and travelled, at the public expense, to Milan. Here he was attracted by the eloquence of Ambrose, then at the height of his fame, and soon made his acquaintance. "I began to love him, not at first as a teacher of the truth, which I despaired of finding in Thy Church, but as a fellow-creature who was kind to me." Contemptuous of the subject-matter of his sermons, Augustine listened to them as an interested professional critic. "I cared not to understand what he said, but only to hear how he said it." But it was impossible to keep form and substance wholly apart, and by degrees he began to realize that the case for Catholic Christianity was not wholly beneath discussion. This was especially the case with regard to the O.T., a principal target for Manichean ridicule. The allegorical method of exegesis by which Ambrose explained every difficulty struck away the substratum of literalism upon which Manichean objections were based. "For while I read those Scriptures in the letter, I was slain in the spirit." But though one main foundation of his Manicheism was thus giving way, the materialistic presuppositions remained. "Had I been able to conceive of a spiritual substance, all their devices would have been broken, but this as yet I found impossible." He remained in a state of suspense: his philosophic position was that of the "New Academy," one of pure negation. However, pending further light, he resumed the position he had occupied in boyhood of a catechumen in the Catholic church (Conf. V. xiv.). Alypius, who was in legal practice, had accompanied him to Milan, and presently their friend Nebridius joined them. Monnica, probably accompanied by his brother Navigius, soon followed her son to Milan (Conf. VI. ix.). The friends appear (Conf. VIII. viii.) to have hired a roomy house and garden. Augustine's worldly prospects seemed excellent, a career of official distinction was opening before him (Conf. VI, xii.); his mother, hoping that it would lead to his baptism, encouraged him in the selection of a wife. But two years had to pass before the lady was of age (Conf. VI. xiii.). Meanwhile his mistress was dismissed (ib. xv.), to his and her great grief, and Augustine took another.
Augustine was now thirty years of age. He had almost wholly shaken off Manicheism, and was, as his mother saw, steadily gravitating towards the Catholic church. His successful and interesting work, honourable position, and delightful social surroundings made his lot outwardly enviable. But he pronounces, and apparently with some truth, that at this period he touched his lowest moral level (Conf. VI. xvii., VII. i., VIII. v.). At any rate the contrast between his actual life and his habitual idealism was never more painfully realized. His ideal was the philosophic life, and but for his matrimonial plans and his still active ambition, he would probably have joined his friends in founding a small philosophic community with a common purse and household (Conf. VI. xiv.; c. Academ. II. ii. 4, de Beat. Vit. i. 4, ne in philosophiae gremium celeriter advolarem, uxoris honorisque illecebra detinebar). But his enthusiasm burned low (c. Acad. II. ii. 5), until it was kindled afresh by his study of the Platonic philosophy. A friend (apparently Theodorus, who became consul in 399—see Retr. I. ii. Displicet autem, etc., and Conf. VII. ix. immanissimo typho turgidum) put into his hands (Conf. VII. ix., de Beat. Vit. i. 4) some translations of the neo-Platonist authors, probably by Victorinus. The effect was rapid and profound. Much Christian truth he found there, but not inward peace: the eternal Word, but not Christ the Word made flesh. But his flagging idealism was braced, he was once for all lifted out of materialism, and his tormenting doubts as to the origin of evil were laid to rest by the conviction that evil has its origin in the will, that evil is but the negation of good, and that good alone has a substantive existence (Conf. VII. vii. xiv.). His first impulse was to give up all earthly ties ("omnes illas ancoras," Vit. Beat. 4), resign his professorship, and live for philosophy alone. But this he delayed to do, until, after his conversion, a serious lung-attack gave him what was now a welcome excuse (Conf. IX. ii., cf. Solil. I. i. 1; c. Acad. I. i. 3; de Beat. Vit. i. 4). Meanwhile he read with care the Epistles of St. Paul, in which he found a provision for the disease of sin, which he had vainly sought in the Platonic books. But his life remained unregenerate, and his distress thickened. He then laid his case before Simplicianus, the spiritual adviser, and eventually the successor, of Ambrose. Simplicianus described to him the conversion of the aged Victorinus, to whose translation of the Platonists he had owed so much (Conf. VIII. ii.). Augustine longed to follow the example of his public profession of faith, but the flesh still held him back, like a man heavy with drowsiness who sinks back to sleep though he knows that the hour for rising has struck. So he went on with his usual life.
§ 6. Conversion (386‒387).—One day a Christian fellow-townsman, Pontitianus, who held an appointment at court, called to visit Alypius. Observing with pleasure a volume of St. Paul's Epistles, he went on to talk to his friends of the wonderful history of the hermit Anthony, whose ascetic life had begun from hearing in church a passage of the gospel (Matt. xix. 21), on which he had promptly acted; he then described the spread of the monastic movement, and informed his astonished hearers that even at Milan there was a monastery in existence. As Pontitianus told his tale, Augustine was filled with self-reproach. Conscience shamed him that after ten years of study he was still carrying a burden which men wearied by no research had already cast aside. When Pontitianus had gone, he poured out his incoherent feelings to the astonished Alypius, and then, followed by his friend, fled into the garden. "Let it be now—let it be now," he said to himself: but the vanities of his life plucked at his clothes and whispered, "Do you think you can live without us?" Then again the continence of the monks and virgins confronted him with the question, "Can you not do as these have done?" Alypius watched him in silence. At last he broke down and, in a torrent of tears, left his friend alone. He threw himself down under a fig-tree, crying passionately, "Lord, how long?—to-morrow and to-morrow!—why not now?" Suddenly he heard a child's voice from the next house repeating, in a sing-song voice, "Take and read" (tolle, lege). He tried to think whether the words were used in any kind of children's game; but no, it must be a divine command to open the Bible and read the first verse that he should happen upon. He thought of Anthony and the lesson in church. He ran back to Alypius and opened "the Apostle" at Rom. xii. 13, 14, "Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof." "No further would I read, nor was it necessary." The peace of God was in his heart, and the shadows of doubt melted away. He marked the passage and told Alypius, the friends exchanged confidences, and Alypius applied to himself the words, a little further on, "Him that is weak in the faith receive" (Rom. xv. 1). They went in, and filled the heart of Monnica with joy at the news (Conf. VIII. viii.). It was now the beginning of the autumn vacation. Augustine decided to resign his chair before the next term, and meanwhile wrote to Ambrose to announce his desire for baptism. His friend Verecundus, who was himself on the eve of conversion, lent his country house at Cassiciacum, near Milan, to Augustine and his party; there they spent the vacation and the months which were to elapse before baptism (winter 386‒387). At Cassiciacum he spent a restful, happy time with his mother and brother, his son Adeodatus, Alypius, and his two pupils, Licentius and Trygetius, the former a son of his old patron Romanianus. He wrote several short books here, "in a style which, though already enlisted in Thy service, still breathed, in that time of waiting, the pride of the School" (Conf. IX. iv.). These were the three books contra Academicos, two de Ordine, the de Beata Vita, and two books of Soliloquies; to this period also belong letters 1‒4, of which 3 and 4 are the beginning of his correspondence with Nebridius (Conf. IX. iii.). Ambrose had, in answer to his request for advice, recommended him to read Isaiah. But he found the first chapter so hard that he put it aside till he should be more able to enter into its meaning. The Psalms, however, kindled his heart at this time. To him, as to many in most diverse conditions, they seemed to interpret the depths of his soul and the inmost experiences of his life (Conf. IX. iv.). But Augustine's main intellectual interest was still philosophical. Except when engaged upon the classics with his pupils, or on fine days in country pursuits ("in rebus rusticis ordinandis," c. Acad. I. v. 14; cf. II. iv. 10), the time was spent in discussing the philosophy of religion and life. The above-mentioned books, of which those de Ordine are perhaps the most characteristic, are, excepting of course the Soliloquies, in the form of notes of these discussions. The time to give in his name for baptism was approaching, and the party returned to Milan. Augustine was baptized by Ambrose, along with his heart's friend Alypius, and his son Adeodatus. The church music, which Milan, first of all the Western churches, had recently adopted from the East, struck deep into his soul: "The tide of devotion swelled high within me, and the tears ran down, and there was gladness in those tears."
§ 7. (a) Early Christian Life. Death of Monnica. Return to Africa. Life as a Layman (387‒391).—While waiting for baptism at Milan, Augustine had written a short book, de Immortalitate Animae, and the first part, de Grammatica, of a work on the "liberal arts": the latter, though included by Possidius in his list of Augustine's literary remains, was early lost by him (Retr. I. vi.). After the baptism, Augustine, with Alypius, and Evodius, a fellow-townsman, converted before Augustine himself, who had joined him at Milan, set out for Africa, with the intention of continuing their common life. But at Ostia, Monnica was seized with fever, and died "in the fifty-sixth year of her age, and the thirty-third of mine." Augustine's account of her life and character, and of his conversations with her, shortly before her death, on Eternal Life, forms perhaps the most exquisite and touching part of the Confessions (IX. viii.‒xiii.). He prayed for her soul, believing that what he prayed for was already performed. "Let none have power to drag her away from Thy protection. . . . For she will not answer that she owes nothing, lest she should be confuted and seized by the crafty accuser; but she will answer that her debt has been forgiven by Him, to Whom none can give back the ransom which He paid on our behalf, though He owed it not." Augustine now remained in Rome till the autumn of 388 ("jam post Maximi tyranni mortem," c. lit. Petil. III. 30, cf. Retr. I. vii.‒ix.). Of his life there, the two books de Moribus Ecclesiae Catholicae et de Moribus Manichaeorum, the de Quantitate Animae, and the first of his three books de Libero Arbitrio, are the monument. From them we gather that he lived with Evodius a life of "abundant leisure," entirely given to the studies begun at Cassiciacum. The book on the morals of the Manicheans, founded on his former converse with them at Rome (see above, § 5), was reserved for completion and publication in Africa (xii. 26). At last Augustine crossed with Alypius to Carthage (de Civ. XXII. viii.), and returned to Thagaste. A work composed by him here, de Magistro (Conf. IX. vi.; Retr. I. xii.), is in the form of a dialogue with Adeodatus, and Augustine assures us that the substance of the words was really from the lips of his son at the age of sixteen, i.e. not later than 388. The boy died young, full of piety and promise; we do not know the date, but he was present at Monnica's death (Conf. IX. xi.), and very probably lived to accompany his father to Africa. At Thagaste Augustine and his friends lived on his paternal estate for nearly three years, a quiet, industrious, and prayerful life. Nebridius (Ep. 5) condoles with him for having to give so much time to the negotia civium; but evidently there was plenty of leisure for study. We saw above (§ 6) that Augustine's studies were, up to the present, philosophical rather than Biblical. His ordination found him still but little versed in Scripture (Ep. 213). His continued correspondence with Nebridius (Epp. 5‒14) shews the continued predominance of philosophical interest; the same may be said of the writings of the period, de Genesi adv. Manichaeos, de Musica, de Magistro, de Vera Religione, and parts of the Liber de Diversis Quaestionibus LXXXIII. The de Musica was a portion of the above-named unfinished work on the "liberal arts": he wrote it at the request of an African bishop. It is interesting as giving one side of Augustine's view of secular culture, for which he claims, in the spirit of Plato, that if rightly used, it leads up to God, the underlying Truth of all things. The other works of this period are still pervaded with the Manichean controversy. This is the origin of the de Vera Religione, one of Augustine's ablest works; years later (about 414) he refers Evodius to it for the theistic argument (Ep. 162, 2). There is a difference of opinion as to the exact time at which Augustine sold his father's estate, and as to the monastic or lay character of the life at Thagaste. The Benedictine Life (III. ii.‒v.), maintaining that Augustine's settlement at Thagaste was strictly monastic, accounts for the fact that he lived on his patrimony by supposing that he did so as a tenant of the purchaser. Of this there is no evidence whatever. The most probable inference from the crucial passage (Serm. 355, 2) combined with the statements of Possidius, is briefly as follows:—Augustine and his friends lived at his home in Thagaste, realizing approximately the ideal, formed already at Milan (Conf. VI. xiv.), and partially realized at Cassiciacum, of a common life of study and detachment from worldly cares. The tendency to a monastic ideal was there, and as time went on, Augustine determined to sell his property, and find a home more suitable for a monastery. Possibly the importunate demands of his fellow-citizens upon his kindness (see above) made Thagaste itself unsuitable. Hand in hand with the question of the place went the question of recruits. Augustine travelled to different places in search of a suitable site—avoiding towns where the see was vacant, for he knew that his growing fame might lead men to think of him. Among other places, he came to Hippo (Bona), where he knew of a young official whom he hoped to enlist for his monastery ("juvenis veni ad istam civitatem, quaerebam ubi constituerem monasterium . . . veni ad istam civitatem propter videndum amicum quem putabam lucrari me posse Deo ut nobiscum esset in monasterio." The monasterium is clearly prospective). This was probably early in 391. Augustine had come to Hippo intending to stay no time, "with nothing but his clothes"; but as it happened, he entered the church just as Valerius, the aged bishop, was addressing the people on the necessity of choosing a new presbyter. Valerius, by birth a Greek (Possid. v. "homo natura Graecus"), wanted a fluent Latin preacher. Augustine's reputation had come before him. With one accord the people seized Augustine, and presented him to Valerius for ordination. With sincere reluctance and many tears Augustine yielded; Hippo became his home, and the Christian ministry his calling. Knowing of his plans, Valerius gave him a monasterium in the episcopal gardens. He had possibly already sold his small estate at Thagaste; if not, he did so now: the proceeds were spent on the poor of that place, and the people of Hippo approved and felt no jealousy (see Ep. 1267, 15739). He assembled in his monastery a number of brethren like-minded, each with nothing of his own and all things common; above all, the common aim, "commune nobis ut esset magnum et uberrinum praedium ipse Deus."
(b) Augustine a Presbyter of Hippo (391‒395).—Augustine at the time of his ordination as presbyter (he does not appear to have passed, as Ambrose had formally done, through the diaconate) was a Christian Platonist. His temper was absolutely Christian, his stock of ideas wholly Platonic. He had used the Bible devotionally rather than worked at its theology. Fully conscious of this, he obtained from his bishop a short period of leisure in order to master the minimum of Scriptural knowledge necessary for the discharge of his office (Ep. 21). At Easter, 391, he was entrusted with the traditio symboli. His addresses to the candidates for baptism on that occasion are still extant (Serm. 214‒216). He was, in fact, soon full of work. His monastery, the first in Africa (see below, § 15), became a training-school for clergy. Possidius tells us of ten bishops who proceeded from it. Among the earliest were Alypius, who in 394 went to Thagaste, and Evodius, to Uzala. Possidius himself became bp. of Calamus, but appears to have spent much of his time at Hippo, which was only some forty miles away. Moreover, the example of the monastic life spread rapidly (Ep. 24, sub fin.); before Augustine died, there were at least three monasteries in Hippo alone (Vit. Ben. III. v. 4). Of his life as a presbyter we know few details. He corresponds with Aurelius, the new bp. of Carthage, with a view to putting down the disorderly feasts over the tombs of the martyrs (Epp. 22, 29; Conf. V. ii.). At the end of Aug. 392, he held a public discussion for two days with Fortunatus, a Manichean presbyter, the notes of which remain. Possidius tells us that as the result Fortunatus left Hippo and never returned. In 393 a general council of African bishops met at Hippo, and Augustine preached to them de Fide et Symbolo (one of his best-known shorter works); he also mentions (Retr. I. 23) a stay at Carthage which must have been of some length, as it was there that he held his epoch-marking discussions of difficulties in the Ep. to the Romans, and at the request of his friends committed the results to writing (see below, § 10). We know that a council was held at Carthage in 394: possibly that may have been the occasion of his presence. The Manichean controversy still claimed his energies. In addition to the public discussions already referred to, he wrote at this time the famous tract de Utilitate Credendi; another, de Duabus Animabus, a tract against the Manichean Adimantus; and the imperfect work de Genesi ad Literam, a work which he abandoned, as he felt his novice-hand unequal to the task (Retr. I. xviii.; see below, § 14). A new task, imposed upon him by his official responsibilities, was the controversy with the Donatists (see below, § 8). Early in his presbyterate he wrote to a neighbouring bishop of that sect to remonstrate with him for rebaptizing (Ep. 23). He also composed, for popular use, an acrostic song in refutation of the sect (about 394: Psalmus contra partem Donati), and a tract, now lost, contra Epistolam Donati. To this period, lastly, belong a group of exegetical works which shew a rapid advance in the command of Holy Scripture, the fruit of systematic study: an exposition of the Sermon on the Mount, a commentary on Galatians, some of the Quaestiones LXXXIII. (supra, § 7a), and the above-mentioned notes on Romans. He began a continuous commentary on the Epistle, but only succeeded in completing the Salutation. The de Mendacio (see Retr. I. xxvii.) was also written at this period, but its issue was deferred till about 420, when the contra Mend. was also published (Retr. II. Ix.). Generally speaking, the works of this transition period are remarkable for the supersession of the philosophical form of the older works by Biblical, and to a great extent Pauline, categories. The philosophical substratum of Platonism remains, but Augustine is now a Biblical and ecclesiastical theologian. (For a detailed analysis of the ideas distinctive of this and the preceding periods respectively, see the masterly article of Loofs, mentioned at the end of this article, pp. 270‒276.) Lastly, it was as a presbyter that he completed his three books de Libero Arbitrio (supra, § 7 a): they were directed against the Manichean theory of the origin of evil (supra, § 4), and vindicate the moral responsibility of man against the theory of a physical principle of evil. To the position taken up in these books the Pelagians (infra, § 10) appealed, against Augustine's later doctrine of irresistible grace. Augustine has no difficulty in shewing that he had even at this early date refuted them by anticipation. But it was less easy to meet the appeal of the so-called semi-Pelagians (see below, § 10 d), who were on the side of the church against Pelagius, but demurred to positions taken up by Augustine later in life. Of personal interest is Augustine's correspondence with the saintly Paulinus of Nola, to whom he sent the books on Free Will. Paulinus had heard of the growing fame of Augustine, and sought his acquaintance by letters addressed to Alypius and to Augustine himself (Epp. 24‒27, 30‒32). Augustine at this period also began to correspond with Jerome (Ep. 28); in a letter of about this date he indignantly rejects the theory that the scene at Antioch between SS. Paul and Peter was to be explained patrocinium mendacii suscipiendo.
B. Episcopate (from 395).—§ 8. The Donatist Controversy. (a) Origin.—Valerius was old and infirm, and had marked out Augustine as his successor. But he daily feared that some other church might elect him as bishop, and that he would therefore be lost to Hippo. So, with the eager consent of his flock, he took a step then almost without precedent, and, unconsciously breaking the letter of the eighth canon of Nicaea, induced Megalius of Calama, the "primae sedis Episcopus," i.e. bishop senior by consecration in Numidia, to consecrate Augustine as his coadjutor with right of succession. Valerius had (Possid. viii.) privately gained the consent of Aurelius, bp. of Carthage; Megalius made some personal objections, which he subsequently withdrew (references in Vit. Ben. IV. i. 2). Valerius did not long survive the fulfilment of his hopes and prayers; for nearly thirty-five years Augustine was bp. of Hippo. His episcopate was occupied by grave controversies, and productive of monumental works; but it was not eventful as regards Augustine's personal history. It will be best, therefore, to deal with it, not by annalistic narrative, but by considering in turn the great questions with which Augustine had to deal. We have spoken sufficiently of the Manichean controversy. As a bishop (about 397‒400) Augustine wrote against these heretics the tracts c. Ep. Fundamenti and de Agone Christiano. The Confessions, written about this time, give an insight into Augustine's personal experiences of Manicheism (see above, §§ 2, 4). About 400 he refuted, in thirty-three short books, a treatise by his old Manichean friend Faustus; at the end of 404 (Retr. II. viii., cf. Ep. 29) he held a public discussion with a Manichean named Felix, and as a result penned the short tract de Natura Boni. Somewhat later he was brought into controversy with the Manichean "auditor" Secundianus. Of his reply he says, "omnibus, quae adversus illam pestem scribere potui, facile praepono." These are writings drawn out by occasional contact with a controversy which Augustine had outgrown. It was otherwise with the Donatist struggle, which pressed continually upon him for the first twenty years of his episcopate. As we have seen, it claimed some of his energy already as a presbyter. But it may fairly be called the one great question of his earlier episcopate. According to Possidius, the Donatists were at the time of Augustine's ordination a majority among the Christians of the African provinces; at Hippo they were a very large majority, and terrorized the Catholics by exclusive dealing (c. Duas Lit. Petil. II. 184). The schism had existed since about 311, when Caecilianus was elected bp. of Carthage. Personal dislike to the election found a pretext for denying its validity. Felix of Aptunga, his consecrator, was alleged to have been a traditor—i.e. to have given up the sacred books during persecution. This, it was argued, vitiated his power to give valid Orders. For to communicate with an offender is to take part in his offence; and Felix's offence, ipso facto, cut him off from the church. Like Cyprian, the opponents of Caecilianus denied the validity of any sacrament conferred outside the church. These two principles, then, were involved: firstly, the old Cyprianic denial of the validity of sacraments conferred by heretical (or schismatical) hands; secondly, the nullity of sacraments performed by unworthy ministers: "oleum peccatoris non impinguet caput meum" (Ps. cxl. 5, Vulg.). The question at issue, then, was really that of the essential nature of the church as a holy society (see Reuter, pp. 236 sqq, note 2). The Catholics, in reply, insist on the fact that the church throughout the world is on their side, and that the Donatists are, by their separation, offenders against the bond of charity which maintains the peace and unity of the church: "Una est columba mea, speciosa mea" (Cant. vi. 9).
(b) Earlier History of Donatists.—It is not necessary here to detail the phases through which the controversy had passed in the nearly three generations which preceded the episcopate of Augustine, nor to unravel the intricate charges and counter-charges which encumber the real principles at issue. The principal landmarks in the question were: (1) The appeal to Constantine, apparently first made by the Donatists, which resulted in the adverse decisions of the councils of Rome (313) and Arles (314). (2) The consecration of Majorinus as bp. of Carthage in opposition to Caecilianus (311). He died in 315, and was succeeded by Donatus, a man of great energy, to whom the schism probably owes its name. (3) Imperial persecution of the Donatists, first by Constantine in 316, and then, after an attempt to bribe the Donatists into submission (340), a ruthless suppression by Constans in 347. This was successful in producing temporary submission, but it intensified the feeling of protest; moreover, the fanatical ferocity of the "Circumcellions," which Constantine's first persecuting edict had evoked, was smouldering in readiness to break out again. (4) Return of the Donatists under Julian. In 361, agreeably to his general policy of the restoration of ecclesiastical exiles, Julian repealed his predecessor's measures against the Donatists, and during his short reign they exercised a violent supremacy in Africa. (5) Optatus and Parmenian. Donatus had died in exile, and was now succeeded by Parmenianus, an able and comparatively moderate man. With him begins the first phase of the literary debate between Donatists and Catholics. The opponent of Parmenianus was Optatus of Milevis, who was still living after 384. His work on the Donatist schism is a rich mine of materials for its history. It is to be noted that Parmenianus and Optatus both believe in the visible unity of the church. But Parmenianus, insisting on the holiness of the church, identifies it with the separatist body in Africa, while Optatus insists upon the Catholicity of the church, and upon its Apostolicity as tested by communion with the chair of St. Peter and with the seven churches of the Apocalypse. (6) Disintegration of Donatism. This began to be apparent in the Mauretanian schism of Rogatus, whose followers unchurched the other Donatists, and repudiated the Circumcellions; in the moderate Donatism of Tyconius (the author of a work on exegesis, of which Augustine speaks highly, de Doctr. Chr. III. xxx.), who exposed the inconsistencies of the Donatist position, and was consequently excommunicated by Parmenianus; and lastly, in the formidable Maximianist schism of 393, which resulted in the election of a second Donatist bishop, Maximianus, at Carthage, in opposition to Primianus, the successor of Parmenianus. Over 100 bishops sided with Maximianus; a council of 310 Donatist bishops in 394 decided against him. The civil authority was then invoked against the dissidents, who were persecuted with the usual severity.
Meanwhile the council of Hippo in 393 (supra, § 7 b) had, by judicious reforms and conciliatory provisions, paved the way back to the church for any Donatists who might be disillusioned by the inward breakdown of the sect. But its external position was still imposing. Edicts issued against the Donatists (since 373, Cod. Theod. XVI. vi.) by Valentinian and Gratian had had, owing to the state of the empire, but little effect. The edict of Theodosius against heretics (392, Cod. Theod. XVI. v.) was not enforced against them; in fact, from some time previous to the death of Theodosius in 395 till 398 the imperial writ did not run in the African provinces.
(c) Augustine and Donatism.—When Stilicho recovered Africa for Honorius from the usurper Gildo, Augustine had been a bishop seven years. He had preached, corresponded, and written actively against the Donatists, who had heard his sermons and read his tracts in great numbers. Their leaders had realized that they were now opposed by a champion of unexampled power, and endeavoured to keep their publications from falling into his hands. His earliest episcopal work, contra Partem Donati, is lost. But in 400 he wrote a reply to an old letter of Parmenianus, and the seven books de Bapt. c. Donat. In 401 and 402 he replied to a letter of Petilianus, the Donatist bp. of Cirta, and wrote his letter to the Catholics, de Unitate Ecclesiae, an important contribution to the controversy. In 403 the Catholic bishops in synod at Carthage agreed to propose a decisive conference; the Donatists declined, and in 404 the Catholic synod determined to ask for a revival of the imperial laws against the schism. From 405‒409 the remedy of force was once more tried, with very partial success. In the latter year the Catholic synod petitioned Honorius to order a conference, and as the Donatists were now understood to agree, Marcellinus, a "tribune," was specially commissioned to arrange for the meeting. At the conference Augustine naturally played the principal part on the Catholic side. Marcellinus closed the proceedings by giving judgment in favour of the Catholics, and in 412 this was followed up by an imperial edict of drastic severity.
During this period Augustine wrote, in addition to twenty-one extant letters on the controversy, and four lost works, the following, which we still have: four books contra Cresconium; one de Unico Baptismo, the Breviculus Collationis (a report of the conference mentioned above), and a book contra Donatistas post Collationem. After 412, physical force had to some extent diminished the need for argument. A few more letters—an address to the people at Caesarea (Algiers), a public discussion with Emeritus, on Sept. 20, 418, two books contra Gaudentium (a Donatist bishop, c. 420),—are the remains of a waning controversy. For a fuller account of the history, and of the contents of some of Augustine's anti-Donatist writings, see art. Donatism, D. C. B. (4-vol. ed.).
It remains to gather up briefly the importance of the controversy in Augustine's life and thought. So far as Donatism fell before argument, its fall was the work of Augustine. But what was the reflex effect of the controversy upon Augustine himself? Augustine was the first Christian writer who made the church, as such, the subject of systematic thought. But this was not wholly the result of the Donatist crisis. He fought Donatism in part with arguments which had been current for over two generations of the controversy, and which we find less lucidly formulated in Optatus, partly with conceptions which his own personal history and reflections had impressed upon his mind before he came into the conflict. The utmost that can justly be said—but that much is important—is that the Donatist conflict crystallized ideas which needed a shock of the kind to bring them into clear shape and form. It was beside the purpose to insist, as Cyprian had done, upon the episcopate, which the Donatists possessed, or upon the unity of the church, which they claimed for themselves. The question at issue went behind these points to the spiritual conditions necessary to the saving efficacy of means of grace. This exists, argued Augustine, only in the Catholic church. The baptism and orders of the Donatists were valid sacramentally, but useless spiritually. In a sense, the Holy Spirit operates in schismatical sacraments, so that a convert to the Catholic church will not be re-baptized or re-ordained. But it is only in the Catholic church that the Spirit operates, as the Spirit of peace and love. "Non autem habent Dei caritatem qui ecclesiae non diligunt unitatem; ac per hoc recte intelligitur dici non accipi nisi in Catholica Spiritus Sanctus" (de Bapt. III. xvi.). Augustine formulates with a clearness not found in any previous writer the distinction between what in later times was called the "gratis gratis data," which confers status only (the indelible "character" of a "baptizatus" or a priest), without any necessary change in the moral or spiritual character; and "gratia gratum faciens," which makes a man not only a member of the visible church, but a real member of Christ, not merely a priest, but a good priest. This distinction was hardly perceived by Cyprian (see Cypr. Epp. 65‒67, esp. 66: "credere quod indigni . . . sint qui ordinantur quid aliud est quam contendere quod non a Deo. . . . sacerdotes ejus in ecclesia constituantur? " ), who regarded a deposed bishop as a mere layman with but "the empty name and shadow" of priesthood. The recognition of the validity of Donatist orders and sacraments was imposed upon Augustine by the settled judgment of the Catholic church, especially of the council of Arles, in 314 (Can. xiii., cf. viii., rejecting the Cyprianic view). But he clearly found it difficult to grasp habitually the distinction between the "Spiritus Sanctus," the agent in every "valid" sacrament (="gratia gratis data"), and the "Spiritus caritatis," which makes the sacrament a means of grace ("gratum faciens") to the Catholic recipient. His frequent denials that "the Holy Spirit" could be possessed outside the visible unity of the church relate really to the latter, though there are passages which seem to extend to the former. But on the whole his mind is clear. He distinguishes sharply between Office and Person; between the sacramental act and its benefit to the soul. The former can exist outside the Catholic church, the latter only within it. In this respect Augustine is an uncompromising assertor of Cyprian's axiom, extra ecclesiam nulla salus. But it must be observed that he subordinates the institutional to the spiritual conception of the church. The Donatists are wrong, because they have broken the bond of caritas which unites the Catholic society. It is this, and not the mere fact, necessary though it be, of the episcopal succession, that unites Catholics with the Apostolic churches and through them by an "inconcussa series" with the Apostles themselves. (See below, § 16, b, c; also Gore, The Church and the Ministry, latter part of c, iii.; Hatch, Organisation, v.; Reuter, pp. 231‒283, an able and thorough discussion.)
§ 9. Augustine and the Heathen. Philosophy of History.—Augustine tells us (de Civ. Dei, XVIII. liii. 2) of an oracle current among the heathen, that the Christian religion would last 365 years, and then come to an end. He reckons that this time expired in the year 399. As a matter of fact, the year in question was marked by a widespread destruction of pagan temples throughout the Roman world (Vit. Bened. IV. xvi.). In this year apparently the counts Gaudentius and Jovius arrived in Africa to execute an imperial decree for the dismantling of the temples. At Carthage the splendid temple of Dea Coelestis, which had been closed, as it seems, since the law of 391 (Cod. Th. XVI. x. 10), and was already overgrown with weeds and bushes, was taken possession of by the Christians. But in 421 it was razed to the ground (Prosper, de Praed. III. xxxviii.). In some places images were hidden to preserve them from destruction. Heathen customs, as we gather from a sermon of Augustine (Serm. 62, 4), were still secretly observed even by some Christians. A council at Carthage in 401 petitioned the emperor to abolish public feasts and games which were, in spite of a previous imperial prohibition (Cod. Th. ib. 17), occasions of heathenish observances. The destruction of a statue of Hercules at Colonia Suffectana (? Sufetula) was the cause of a riot in which sixty Christians lost their lives (Ep. 50). In 407‒408 a sweeping law, confiscating temples and ordering the destruction of altars, images, etc., was issued (Cod. Th. ib. 19, cf. Vit. Bened. VI. iv. 2, v. 3). Its promulgation was attended by most serious riots at Calama, where the church was repeatedly wrecked by the heathen (Ep. 90, 91, 103, 104). The murder of Stilicho (Sept. 408), and the rumours that the laws against the heathen and the Donatists passed during his life lapsed with his death, caused a further widespread outburst of heathen violence in Africa (cf. Cod. Th. App. Sirm. XIV.; Aug. Ep. 97). A stringent law, passed apparently at the instance of the provincial council at Carthage, of which Augustine was not a member, ordered rigorous penalties against all the offenders, and against conniving officials. Alarmed by the state of the empire, the ministers of Honorius appear to have relaxed for a time the rigour of the laws against paganism and heresy alike, but at the urgent request of the African bishops they were again strictly enforced. On the whole, Augustine's tone and attitude towards the pagans is dignified and conciliatory (Epp. 133, etc.), but he shares in the general responsibility for persecution which must be allotted to the churchmen of this degenerate age.
In 408 and 409 the Goths, under Alaric, had laid siege to Rome, and after long and fruitless negotiations, the city was taken and sacked on Aug. 24, 410. The sack of Rome, in its direct effects, was but an incident in the profound abasement of the empire in the miserable reign of Honorius. But the downfall of the "Eternal City" struck awe into the minds of men who failed to appreciate the material and moral exhaustion which the disaster merely symbolized. Augustine's friend Marcellinus, the imperial officer who had been in charge of the conference with the Donatists introduced him to a distinguished ("illustris") official, Volusianus, who was kept back from the Christian faith by difficulties relating to the Old Testament, the Incarnation, and the incompatibility of some principles of the Gospel with civil life and the public good (Epp. 135‒138, cf. 132). The last-named question naturally connected itself with the prevalent heathen explanation of the fall of Rome, as due to the desertion of the old gods and the progress of Christianity. Augustine, unable at the time to discuss this question except in passing (Ep. 1381, 9‒16, cf. 1363), presently began a more thorough consideration of it. This is his famous treatise de Civitate Dei, begun about the end of 412, and not completed until 426. The first two books are addressed to Marcellinus, who was put to death, Sept. 13, 413; with a third book, they were published before 415. In this year, about Lent, he wrote two more (Ep. 1691) In 416‒417, when he was advising Orosius to write his Historia adversus Paganos, Augustine had published ten books, and was at work on the eleventh. By 420 he had published fourteen; the eighteenth was finished "nearly thirty years" after the consulate of Theodorus (399), i.e. hardly earlier than 426. The work then was continued amid interruptions, and the plan widened out from a refutation of the heathen calumny (Retr. II. xliii.) to a comprehensive explanation of the course of human affairs—a religious philosophy of history.
The problem was one of terrible actuality. The ancient world and its civilization were in real truth breaking up, and the end of Rome seemed like a giving way of the solid earth beneath men's feet. Lesser men were moved to write: Orosius, mentioned above, in 417, and Salvian, whose lurid indictment of the sins of the Christian world (de Gubernatione Dei) was penned in 451, four years before the sack of Rome by Gaiseric. But it was Augustine who brought the problem under a single master-idea. This idea (which occurs already in de Catech. Rud., written as early as A.D. 400) is that of the two civitates, which, after a refutation of paganism as useless alike in this world (I.‒V.) and in the next (VI.‒X.), are treated of constructively in the remainder of the work, in respect of their origin (XI.‒XIV.), history (XV.‒XVIII.), and destiny (XIX.‒XXII.). The work would have gained by condensation, but as it stands, with all the marks of discontinuous production, it is a priceless legacy of Augustine's most characteristic thoughts (on Ep. 102, which illustrates the de Civ., and was written about 409, see below, § 16a). By the word civitas, commonly rendered "city," Augustine means rather a bond of union, or citizenship (cf. Philipp. iii. 20 Gk., "duo quaedam genera humanae societatatis" XIV. i., the "civitas" takes visible form in the shape of a government, but its essential character is in the spirit that animates it). There are then two, and only two, civitates, the one heavenly, the other earthly. The civitas terrena began with the fall of the angels, was continued by that of man, in the history of the Cainites, of Babel, and of the great world-empires. The civitas Dei began with Creation; its earthly realization is traceable in the history of the Sethites, of Noah, Abraham, Israel, of Christ, and of His people. The one is rooted in love of God, usque ad contemptum sui; the other in love of self, usque ad contemptum Dei. The chief good of the one is the pax coelestis (XIX. 13), that of the other, the pax terrena. The great empires are, in their genesis, the State is per se (remota justitia), "latrocinium magnum" (IV. 4). So that, looked upon in the abstract, since there are but two civitates, the state is the civitas diaboli, the church the civitas Dei.
But this conclusion is not, thus baldly stated, that of Augustine. To begin with, his conception of the church (see §§ 8, 16, b, c) is not consistent. Does he mean the visible church, the communio externa, or the communio sanctorum, the number of those predestined to life, to which not all belong who are members of the visible church, and to which some belong who are not? Augustine's language on this point is not always uniform. But at the time when he wrote the de Civitate, the predestinarian idea was growing upon him, and the two civitates tend to coincide with the predestined on the one hand, and, on the other, the rest of mankind. Again, the visible church, even apart from its merely nominal members, is but part of a larger whole, but the empirical shadow of a transcendent reality, the civitas superna, which includes angels as well as redeemed humanity (XI. 7). And in its earthly visible existence the church borrows the form of the earthly state (XV. 2). Again, historically, the two civitates are mingled together and interpenetrate. Moreover, the church needs the pax terrena, and is dependent for it on the civitas terrena (XIX. 17, cf. "per jura regum possidentur possessiones," in Joh. Tr. VI. 15); practically for all civil purposes the churchman must obey the law. But, on the other hand, the civitas terrena cannot attain its chief good, the pax terrena, unless heavenly motives are brought to bear; for the social bond of caritas, for the elementary requisite of justitia, it is dependent upon the civitas Dei.
The destiny of the civitas terrena, therefore, when at the judgment the two are finally separated, is the destruction of its social bond; it will cease to be a civitas at all. There is, then, if we look at things in their eternal aspect, only one civitas, and, applying the ideal to the empirical, the state (qua good, i.e. if Christian) is in the church. Optatus had said (de Schism. III. 3) "Ecclesia in Imperio." Augustine reverses this relation: "Dominus jugo suo in gremio ecclesiae toto orbe diffuso omnia terrena regna subjecit." The state is in the church, and is bound to carry out the church's aims. The subject of "Church and State" was not the theme of the book, and it is not easy to extract from it a strictly consistent theory of their relations (see Reuter, pp. 125‒150, 380‒392). But these relations were the question of the future, and in the de Civitate Augustine laid the theoretical foundation for the medieval system (see also below, § 16 ad fin.). The modifying ideas alluded to above were not forgotten, but their assertion was the work of the opponents of the medieval hierocracy; and Dante, de Monarchia, is practically a reversal of the characteristic doctrine of the de Civitate Dei, after that doctrine, tested by being put into practice, has been found to lead to unchristian results. One unchristian corollary of Augustine's doctrine was the persecution of heretics as a duty of the Christian state. In his earlier days Augustine disapproved of this (contr. Ep. Man. 1‒3; Ep. 23, 7; 93, 2, 5, etc.); but the stress of the Donatist controversy changed his mind; in the interest of the doubtful, the weak, the generations to come, he found a sanction for persecution in St. Luke xiv. 23: Cogite intrare.
§ 10. The Pelagian Controversy (412‒430).—Augustine, in his first days as a Christian, held the common view that, while the grace of God is necessary to the salvation of man, the first step, the act of faith, by which man gains access to grace, is the act of man, and not itself the gift of God (de Praed. III. 7). This view is manifest in the Expos. Propos. in Rom. 13‒18, 55, etc., and traceable in de Quaest. LXXXIII., qu. 68 and 83). He came to see that faith itself is the gift of God, and that the very first step to Godward must be of God's doing, not of our own. This conviction was not due to reaction against Pelagianism; on the contrary, Pelagius himself was roused to contradiction by Augustine's language in his Confessions: "Domine da quod jubes" (see de Don. Persev. 53). Augustine's change of mind was directly and wholly due to his study of St. Paul (see above, § 7 b); partly his wrestling with the difficulties of the Ep. to the Romans; but especially his reflection on St. Paul's question (I. Cor. iv. 7), "What hast thou that thou hast not received? " coupled with Rom. ix. 16. The change may be assigned to the year 396 when, in the first book, he wrote as a bishop (de Divers. Quaest. ad Simplic. I.), as he says (Retr. II. i. 1), "to solve this question, we laboured in the cause of the freedom of the human will, but the grace of God won the day" (cf. de Don. Pers. 52, plenius sapere coepi). To Simplicianus he says, I. ii. 13: "If it is in man's own power not to obey the call, it would be equally correct to say, 'Therefore it is not of God that sheweth mercy, but of man that runs and wills,' because the mercy of Him that calls does not suffice, unless the obedience of him who is called results. . . . God shows mercy on no man in vain; but on whom He has mercy, him He calls in such sort as He knows to be fitted for him [congruere], so that He does not reject him that calleth." Here we have the essential of the "Augustinian" doctrine of grace, the distinction of the vocatio congrua and vocatio non congrua ("Illi enim electi qui congruenter vocati " ), formulated more than fifteen years before the Pelagian controversy began (see also Loofs, pp. 279‒280, who shows in detail that Augustine's whole later position is virtually contained in de Div. Quaest. ad Simplician.). For the details of this controversy, see the church histories; D. C. B. (4-vol. ed.), s.v.; Bright, Introd. to Anti-Pelagian Treatises, and other authorities. (A lucid summary in Gibson, XXXIX. Articles, art. ix.) It will suffice here to mention the main outlines.
(a) 410‒417.—Pelagius, offended at a passage in Augustine's Confessions (see above), began at Rome (405‒409) to express his disapproval of such an insistence upon Divine grace as should undermine human responsibility. Before the siege of Rome (supra, § 9) he left with his friend Coelestius for Africa; there Pelagius left Coelestius, and went to Palestine. Coelestius sought ordination at Carthage, and thus attracted additional attention to his doctrines. A council of bishops in 412 condemned him; he went away to Ephesus, and there he was ordained. Subsequently he went to Constantinople and (417) to Rome. Meanwhile, opposed by Jerome in Palestine, Pelagius was found not guilty of heresy by John, bp. of Jerusalem, and by councils at Jerusalem and Diospolis (415). He dispatched to Rome (417) a confession of faith to be submitted to Innocentius: it arrived after that bishop's death. Coelestius shortly afterwards (still in 417) arrived at Rome, and submitted his confession of faith to the new bp. Zosimus. Augustine appears to have been partly aware of the opinions of Pelagius before his arrival in Africa (see de Gest. Pel. 46; also probably through Paulinus of Nola, see de Grat. Christi, 38), but he appears to have attached little importance to them at the time; and the arrival of Pelagius found him in the very thick of other questions (see above, §§ 8, 9). He alludes to the Pelagian doctrines (without any mention of names) in preaching (Serm. 170, 174, 175), but took no part in the proceedings at Carthage in 412. But his friend Marcellinus (supra, § 9) pressed him for his opinion upon the questions there discussed, and his first anti-Pelagian writings (A.D. 412, de Pecc. Meritis et Remiss. lib. III., and de Spiritu et Litera) were addressed to him. In 415 he wrote de Natura et Gratia, and probably the tract, in the form of a letter to Eutropius and Paulus, de Perfectione Justitiae Hominis, in refutation of the propositions of Coelestius in 412; in 417 he wrote de Gestis Pelagii, a discussion of the proceedings in Palestine above referred to. Augustine and the African bishops, who had been represented in Palestine not only by Jerome, but by Orosius, fresh from Hippo, were naturally dismayed at what had happened there. They knew that Pelagius and Coelestius were likely to address themselves to Rome, where they had a strong following (Ep. 177, 2). Accordingly councils at Carthage and at Milevis, at the latter of which Augustine was present, wrote to urge Innocentius to support them against the "alleged" decision of the Palestinian councils, either by reclaiming the heretics or by adding the authority of his see to their condemnation. A letter carefully explaining the doctrinal issue was also sent by Aurelius of Carthage, Augustine, Alypius, Possidius, and Evodius (see above, §§ 6, 7). Augustine certainly drew up the latter two (Epp. 176, 177), and his inspiration is also manifest in the Carthaginian letter. Innocent, unable to conceal his satisfaction at so important an appeal to his authority (he assumes that the African bishops, though they do not refer to them, are not unacquainted with the "instituta patrum," which direct that nothing shall be done in any province of the church without reference to the Apostolic See; Epp. 1811, 1812; see below, § 12, c), responded cordially with a prompt condemnation of Pelagianism, root and branch. Augustine was triumphant. The unfortunate proceedings of Diospolis were more than neutralized. Preaching on Sunday, Sept. 23, 417, he says: "Jam enim de hac causa duo concilia missa sunt ad sedem Apostolicam, inde etiam rescripta venerunt. Causa finita est; utinam aliquando finiatur error" (Serm. 131). But the author of the rescripta was already dead six months before, and there was need of another council. The cause was not "finished" yet.
(b) Zosimus. Julian (418‒430).—Zosimus, the new bp. of Rome (see D. C. B. 4-vol. ed. s.v.), was favourably impressed with the confessions of faith submitted by Pelagius and Coelestius, as well as by their deference to his authority. He pronounced them orthodox, and twice wrote indignantly to Aurelius and the Africans for their hasty condemnation of the accused in their absence. He adds that he has admonished Coelestius and others to abstain from curious and unedifying questions. But the original accusers of Pelagius were unmoved. After some correspondence with Zosimus they held a plenary council at Carthage (May 418), in which they passed nine dogmatic canons condemning the characteristic Pelagian theses. Meanwhile, Aurelius had been taking more practical steps. A rescript in the emperor's name (Honorius was here, as in the Donatist question, the passive instrument of his advisers, probably count Valerius, whose ear Aurelius gained—"secuta est clementia nostra judicium sanctitatis tuae," Honorius writes in 419) ordered the banishment of Pelagius, Coelestius, and all their adherents. Zosimus at once came round to the side of the Africans. In a circular letter (tractoria) he condemned Coelestius and Pelagianism alike, and required all the bishops of his jurisdiction to signify their adhesion. Thus ended the official support of Pelagius in the West. (On Augustine's view of Zosimus, see Reuter, pp. 312‒322, and below, § 12 d. On the whole question, see Garnier in Marii Mercat. opp. I p. 19. Zosimus appears to have imperfectly grasped the points at issue, and in this case, as in that of Apiarius in the same year (infra, § 12, c), and in that of the metropolitan rights of Arles, he appears to have been in a greater hurry to assert the claims of his see than to ascertain the merits of the question in debate.
The most able advocate of Pelagianism now appears in the person of Julian, bp. of Eclanum in Southern Italy. He refused to sign the tractoria, accused Zosimus of changing his front under imperial pressure ( "jussionis terrore perculsos," c. Duas Epp. Pelag. ii. 3), and appealed to a general council. This appeal came to nothing (ib. iv. 34). Julian was deposed by Zosimus, banished by the Government, and took refuge in the East. He is said to have found a friend in Theodore of Mopsuestia. At any rate, in 431 the Westerns secured the condemnation of Pelagianism (without specification of its tenets) along with Nestorianism at the council of Ephesus, on the ground of the kindred nature of the two heresies. This was not without substantial reason. The two heresies rest upon the same fundamental idea of the benefit which the redemptive work of Christ brings to man—viz. moral improvement by perfect teaching and example, rather than atonement for an inherently guilty race ( "ut vel sero redamaremus eum," Julian in Op. Imperf. I. xciv.). Augustine continued to write against Pelagianism. In 418 he wrote two books, de Gratia Christi et de Peccato Originali; in the two following years the two books de Nuptiis et Concupiscentia, and four de Anima ejusque Origine. These works bore on the transmission of original sin, and the difficult collateral question of the origin of the soul, whether by direct creation or ex traduce. Tertullian had roundly maintained tradux animae, tradux peccati. Pelagius denied both. Augustine cannot decide the question; he half leans to creation, but his theory appears to require the other alternative (see below, § 15). Julian attacked the de Nuptiis hotly. Augustine's four books, contra Duas Epp. Pelagianorum (420) are in reply to Julian on this as well as on the historical questions; they were followed by six books contra Julianum (about 421). Julian replied with vigour, and Augustine at the time of his death had only finished six books of a rejoinder which he intended to be complete (Opus Imperfectum).
(c) The semi-Pelagians (from about 426).—In the combat with Pelagianism, Augustine cannot be said to have changed his views (supra, § 10, sub init.); but he stated, with increasing clearness and sharper consistency, opinions which he had gathered from his study of St. Paul long before the combat began. These opinions were new to most churchmen, although reaction from the paradoxes of Pelagius, and Augustine's immense authority throughout the Latin church, gained them widespread acceptance. But there were, especially in monastic circles, grave misgivings as to their soundness. The three points to which most serious objection was felt were the doctrines of the total depravity of fallen man, of irresistible grace, and of absolute predestination, not on the ground of foreseen merit. The Christian, as taught by Augustine, received instruction, baptism, the subsequent beneficia gratiae which went to build up the Christian life and train the soul for its eternal home. But the success or failure, the permanent value of the whole process, depended upon the crowning beneficium gratiae, the Donum Perseverantiae, which even at the very moment of death decides whether the soul departs in Christ or falls from Him. This awful gift, which alone decides between the saved and the lost, may be withheld from many who have lived as good and sincere Christians: it may be granted to those whose lives have been far from Christ. Its giving or withholding depends upon the Divine predestination only; God's foreknowledge of those who will "persevere" is but His own foreknowledge of what He Himself will give or withhold. Only the foreknown in this sense are called with vocatio congrua. If these doctrines were true, if free will was by itself entirely powerless to accept the Divine call or to reject the vocatio congrua, if man's salvation at bottom depended simply and solely upon the Divine predestination, what appeal was possible to the conscience of the wicked (correptio)? Was not preaching deprived of its raison d’étre?
This was the view of John Cassian, the father of Western monachism, and of Vincent and other monks of Lerins on the southern coast of Gaul. These "semi-Pelagians," who may with equal justice be called "semi-Augustinians," were not a sect outside the church, but a party of dissentient Catholics. Excepting the above-mentioned points and certain obvious corollaries, such as the doctrine of "particular" redemption, they accepted the entire Augustinian position. The controversy, which is in reality insoluble, lasted long after Augustine's death. Temporarily laid to rest at Orange (where a modified Augustinianism was adopted by a small council in 529), it burst out again in the Gottschalk troubles in the 9th cent., it ranged the Scotists against the Thomists in the 13th, the Arminians against the Calvinists, the Jesuits against the Jansenists in the 17th. Intellectually it is a case of an "antinomy," in which from obvious truths we are led by irresistible logic to incompatible conclusions. Morally, our crux is to insist on human responsibility while excluding human merit. The religious instinct of deep and genuine self-accusation is not easy to combine with the unreserved acknowledgment that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves. We must, with Cassian, appeal to free will from the pulpit, but Augustine is with us in the secret sanctuary of prayer.
Augustine's attention was drawn to these difficulties by Hilary and Prosper of Aquitaine, the latter the most active, and indeed bitter, opponent of the Ingrati, as he calls Cassian and his friends. The works de Gratis et Libero Arbitrio and de Correptione et Gratia (426‒427) relate to the moral issues of the question, while the de Praedest. Sanctorum and de Dono Perseverantiae (428, 9) are in direct controversy with the "brethren" of Southern Gaul.
(d) The Doctrinal Issues.—Pelagianism split upon the rock of infant baptism. Had this practice not become general by the time when Pelagius arose, Augustine would have had to combat him by arguments which churchmen at large would have found difficulty in following. As it was, to the question, "Why"—if Adam's sin directly affected himself only, and extended to his descendants non propagine sed exemplo—"why, then, are infants baptized? " Pelagius had no satisfactory reply. His answer, that the unbaptized infant is excluded, not from eternal life, but only from the kingdom of heaven, was a relic of Milleniarism with which the Eastern church had even less sympathy than the West. Pelagius allowed that man can do no good thing without the grace of God. But his conception of grace was loose and shallow; practically it went back to the general providence of God, which supplies our temporal and spiritual wants alike. His assertion that a sinless life was not only possible, but was actually lived by many of the holy men of the Bible, was in direct conflict with the promptings of a deep religious sense (de Nat. et Grat. xxxvi. 42). His conception of the beneficium Christi (supra, b, c) was shallow and unsatisfying. Pelagius was an ardent churchman, a strict ascetic, and a believer in sacramental grace. The earlier church had reflected but little on the questions raised by him. "Unde factum est ut de gratia Dei quid sentirent breviter ac transeuntes attingerent." Free will equipped with sacraments, the Christian religion a "New Law," predestination founded upon prescience, fairly represent the implicit pre-Augustinian view of the Christian life and its relation to the mystery of Divine election. Augustine pressed Pelagius with the implications of sacramental grace. If free will is as complete as Pelagius believed, sacraments are in reality superfluous as means of grace. If sacramental grace is as real as Pelagius admitted it to be, then man depends for his salvation not upon his own free will, but upon the gift of God. Augustine, assuming the church doctrine of sacramental grace, gave it a deeper meaning and a wider context, and brought it into close relation with the almost forgotten Pauline categories of sin, faith, justification, and the gratia Christi (see Reuter, pp. 40‒45). It was formerly thought (by Baur and others) that Augustine's antagonism to Pelagius was dictated by his conception of the church and the sacraments, especially of baptism. This we have seen to be incorrect. As a matter of fact, Pelagius was, as the proceedings at Diospolis shew, hard to convict of heresy on merely ecclesiastical grounds. The theological principles which Augustine brought to the analysis of ecclesiastical practice, and to the refutation of Pelagianism, he had learned from St. Paul at first hand. Pelagius appealed to the naïve language of churchmen before him, who as Augustine says, "Pelagianis nondum litigantibus securius loquebantur." Augustine shewed that the accord was superficial, and that if Pelagius were right, the church and the positive religion of Christ had only a relative value. Moreover, it was impossible for the Pelagians to argue out their case without exposing themselves to an array of damaging quotations from recognized Fathers of the church (c. Julian. I. II.). And it is impossible to deny that Augustine, in the points at issue with the semi-Pelagians, was following out the strict logical consequences of the elementary truths which Pelagius and Julian denied. He admits frankly, in this as in some other questions, that he had changed his mind, plenius sapere coepi, but he again and again protests that he is merely defending the doctrine which nunquam Ecclesia Christi non habuit (i.e. predestination, de Don. Persev. xiv. 36, etc.).
This is certainly sincere, but also certainly incorrect, so far as concerns the formal assertion of absolute predestination, irresistible grace, and total depravity. And it must further be noted that the doctrine of predestination is, logically at least, as subversive of the worth of church and sacraments as is the Pelagian doctrine of human nature (see below, § 16, c). Probably neither Augustine nor the Pelagians were conscious of the full consequences of their position—the naturalism of the one and the transcendentalism of the other were alike tempered by common church teaching. But the ecclesiastical instinct has generally been (in spite of the rapier-thrusts of a Pascal) to seek some illogical via media between the Augustinian and the semi-Pelagian (itself an illogical) position. Instinct in such a matter is perhaps a safer guide than logic. But it is important to bear in mind that in rejecting Pelagianism the whole church, Augustinian and semi-Pelagian alike, were as one. [ Pelagianism.]
§ 11. Augustine and Greek Christendom.—The last sentence may seem questionable so far as the Greek-speaking churches were concerned. But we must remember that Coelestius found no welcome at Constantinople, that Augustine not only wrote (Ep. 179) to bp. John of Jerusalem to warn him of Pelagius's errors, but also quotes John's arguments as decisive against Pelagianism (Ep. 18636, de Gest. Pel. 37 seq., "sanctus Johannes" ), and that Pelagianism was formally condemned at the council of Ephesus. But Augustine is somewhat biased in his review of the proceedings in Palestine by the assumption, which it never occurred to him to question, of the absolute doctrinal homogeneity of the East and West. Accordingly he explains the acquittal of Pelagius by the difficulty of language, and by the evasive answers of Pelagius, without allowing for the strangeness to Greek theology of the very categories of the question at issue. The catholicity of the church, he argues against the Donatists, is to be tested by communion, not only with the apostolic see of Rome, but with the other apostolic churches, and with Jerusalem, the common source of all (ad Don. Post Collat. xxix. 50; de Unit. x. xi.; Ep. 523). In Augustine's time the first symptoms of the coming rift between the Greek and Latin churches had indeed appeared, but few realized their meaning. Augustine certainly did not. He meets the arguments of Julian, who claimed the Greek Fathers for his side, by an appeal to the Greek text of Chrysostom. On the other hand, he does not, even in the de Trinitate (written 400‒416: "juvenis inchoavi senex edidi" ), spontaneously build much upon Greek theology. The Nicene Creed, which he accepted of course ex animo, is but seldom referred to in that work; of the "Constantinopolitan" Creed he shews no knowledge. The de Trinitate is Western in the texture of its thought, true to the original sense of the ὁμοούσιον, a formula imposed on the Eastern church at Nicaea by Western influences (see the present writer's Prolegomena to Athanasius in Nic. Lib. IV. p. xxxii., etc.) in the interest of the Divine Unity. Augustine paves the way, by his insistence on the doctrine of the One Personal God, for the scholastic doctrine of the Una Res, the specifically Western product of Trinitarian theology. The same holds good of Christology. At Chalcedon, Leo's tome, which shews the profound influence of Augustine, carried the day in the teeth of the dominant tone of Greek Christology; and it is interesting to find Theodoret, who of all Greek churchmen had most reason to welcome the result, quoting Ambrose and Augustine as authorities in his dogmatic Dialogues—an exception to the general indifference of the East to Latin theologians. Another exception, due in part to independent controversial reasons, is the protest of Leontius and the "Scythic monks," under Justinian, against the "semi-Pelagianism" of Faustus of Reii; Leontius shews some knowledge, direct or second-hand, of Augustine (Loofs's Leontius, pp. 231 ff.). Augustine's influence, then, on Greek Christianity has been very slight. But although he has powerfully contributed to the divergence in thought and feeling of Latin Christianity from Greek, he is personally unconscious of any such tendency. Of his own knowledge of Greek he speaks slightingly; Gibbon (c. xxiii.28) and others take him strictly at his word, but Reuter (pp. 179, etc.) shews that we must rate it somewhat more highly than Augustine himself does.
§ 12. Augustine and the Constitution of the Church. The Roman See.—Augustine's view of the relation of the church to the civil power (see above, § 9) prepared the way for the medieval system. But in Augustine's hands the theory lacked elements indispensable for its practical application. Not only did his conception of the church hover between the transcendental spiritual ideal and the empirical, tangible organization, but his conception of the organization of the visible church itself lacked that practical precision without which the church could assert no effective claim to control the secular arm. To the authority of the church he surrendered himself with passionate affection. "I should not believe in the Gospel," he wrote in the early days of his episcopate, "did not the authority of the Catholic church compel me" (c. Ep. Fund. 6, in A.D. 397). But this was the immanent authority which the church by her life, creed, and worship exercised upon his soul, rather than her official decisions. These, again, he accepted with all his heart. But what was the ultimate organ of the church's authority? Where was its centre? What was the final standard of appeal? To these questions it is hard to obtain from Augustine a definite answer. Augustine was not an ecclesiastical statesman. His interest was above all in personal religion, and therefore, in a secondary degree, in doctrine and discipline. Although he takes for granted the Cyprianic view of the episcopal office, he does not insist upon it with special emphasis; he emphasises, on the other hand, in a marked manner, the universal priesthood of Christians. His insistence on the indelible character of the priestly ordination is not in the interest of "sacerdotalism," but as against the spiritual value of valid but schismatical orders (supra, § 8, c). He accepts the authority of Nicaea (the only strictly general council known to him), but as to the authority of other councils his language is ambiguous. He disallows Julian's appeal to a general council on the ground that "the cause is finished" by "a competent judgment of bishops" (c. Jul. III. 5). But in another passage (supra, § 10, a, fin.) he is understood to say, "the cause is finished" by two African councils, plus "rescripts from the apostolic see." What is his real view of the supreme organ of church authority?
(a) The Apostles in their lifetime were the leaders, "principes" (Ps. lxvii.26 Vulg.; see Enarr. in loc.), and "patres" (Ps. lxiv.17 and Enarr.); now that they are gone, we have their filii in their place, the bishops, who are principes super omnem terram. The Apostles still live on in the bishops, who are accordingly the vehicle of the supreme authority of the church. The Donatist bishops cannot claim this status (Ep. 533, etc.), because they are out of communion with the apostolic churches. Hence (b) the unity and continuity of the episcopate are essential to its Apostolic rank. In this unity even mali praepositi are authoritative, "non enim sua sunt quae dicunt, sed Dei, qui in cathedra unitatis doctrinam posuit veritatis" (Ep. 10516). This is the old Cyprianic doctrine, which Augustine, like Cyprian, finds in the symbolic foundation of the Church upon Peter, who represents the whole body. All bishops are equal; there is no Episcopus episcoporum (de Bapt. III. 5, VI. 9, quoting Cyprian). But as Peter represented his co-equal colleagues, the Apostles, so his successors in the Roman see represent their co-equal colleagues the bishops (cf. ad Classic. in Ep. 250, ad fin. . . . "in concilio nostro agere cupio, et si opus fuerit ad Sedem Apost. scribere, ut . . . quid sequi debeamus communi omnium auctoritate . . . firmetur"). All bishops alike hold the cathedra unitatis, all alike trace their succession to one or other of the Apostles. This is more easily traceable in some cases (i.e. the churches quibus Apostoli scripserunt) than in others, but most obvious in the Roman see, whose bishops, from the sedes (i.e. episcopate, c. Ep. Fund. 5; cf. "primae sedis episcopus," supra, § 8; init.) of Peter himself, have followed one another in a succession known to all (Psalm c. Donat. sub fin., Ep. 533). The successio sacerdotum at Rome and the successiones episcoporum generally (de Util. Cred. xvii. 35) are, to Augustine, co-ordinate and convertible ideas. Even with regard to the authority of councils, there is no real finality. Earlier councils are subject to correction by later (de Bapt. II. iii. 4). This is the position of Julius I. (see below, § 16, and the present writer's Roman Claims to Supremacy, iii. fin.).
(c) The Episcopate and the Roman See.—The Roman see was Apostolica sedes, not exclusively (c. Faust. xi. x.; de Doct. Christ. II. viii. 12), but conspicuously. This implied a pre-eminence of rank, at any rate over sees not "Apostolic" (Ep. 434, "Rom. ecclesiae, in qua semper Apostolicae Cathedrae viguit principatus "; c. Jul. I. iv. 13, prior loco; c. Dual Epp. Pel. I. i. 2 [to pope Bonifatius], "quamvis ipse in ea [sc. communi specula pastorali] praeemineas celsiore fastigio," and ib. I. "qui non alta sapis quamvis altius praesideas ". But in none of the passages where this is fully recognized is any definite authority assigned to the "apostolic see." Peter was first of the Apostles, superior to any bishop (even to Cyprian, de Bapt. III. i.‒2); but he is simply the representative of the Apostles, nor does Augustine ascribe to him authority over the others (see Serm. 4630), and the same applies to his estimate of Peter's successors.
Augustine's own instinct towards Rome is one of unbounded respect. Towards the end of his life (about 423) he had to remove, for obvious unfitness, Antonius, the bishop of the newly-created see of Fussala, a daughter-church of Hippo (Ep. 209). Antonius, like Apiarius (of whom presently), and possibly encouraged, like others (ib.8), by his example, decided to try his fortune at Rome. He obtained from the senior bp. of Numidia a favourable verdict and an introduction to Bonifatius, who was, prima facie, inclined to take up his cause, and wrote to that effect. But Bonifatius died (422), and his successor Coelestinus had to deal with the case. Rumours reached Fussala that he would insist on the restoration of Antonius, and that the Government would support him by military force. Augustine, in fear lest the people of Fussala should go back en masse to the Donatists, writes to Coelestinus to entreat his support. He entreats him by the memory of St. Peter, "who warned the praepositi of Christian peoples not to domineer over their brethren" (ib. 9). The case is an interesting one, but it loses some of its importance in view of the fact that the African church was then still bound by voluntary promise, pending inquiry into the genuineness of an alleged Nicene canon to that effect, to allow appeals to Rome by bishops. The promise arose out of the famous case of Apiarius. This presbyter was deposed by Augustine's friend and pupil Urbanus, bp. of Sicca, and appealed to Zosimus, bp. of Rome. Zosimus had hastily taken his side and ordered his restoration. Urbanus refused, both on the merits of the case, which he knew and Zosimus did not, and also on the ground that Zosimus had no right to interfere. This was the real question at issue. Zosimus first wrote (418), basing his right to interfere on the canons of Nicaea. As the African bishops found no such provision in their copy of the canons, they postponed the matter for further verification of the true text, promising meanwhile (paulisper) to act (without prejudice) on the assumption that the alleged canon was genuine. In reply, Zosimus sent three legates—Faustinus, bp. of Potentia in Picenum, and the presbyters Philip and Asellus—to Carthage, with written and oral instructions. The written instructions (commonitorium) comprised four points (Bruns Canones, I. 197): (1) the right of the Roman See to receive appeals from bishops (see Can. Sard. Lat. 3, 4); (2) bishops not to go over the sea to court (i.e. from Africa) "importune " (ib. 8); (3) presbyters and deacons excommunicated by their bishop to have an appeal to finitimi episcopi (ib. 17); (4) Urbanus to be excommunicated, "or even cited to Rome." Of these points, (2) betrays the soreness of Zosimus at the way in which Aurelius had forced his hand (supra, § 10, b); (4) hangs upon (1); (3) is necessary in order to bring the case of Apiarius, who was not a bishop, somehow under the scope of the pretended Nicene canon relating to (1); the case of Apiarius would become a factor in that of Urbanus, which Zosimus would, by stretching the right of receiving appeals to a right of evocatio, claim to deal with under (1). A reference to the Sardican canons will shew how flimsy a foundation they offer for the claims founded upon them. But what is important to observe is that Zosimus, like Innocentius (supra, § 10, a), bases his right to interfere simply upon canonical authority. On neither side is there any notion of jurisdiction inherent in the Roman see prior to ecclesiastical legislation. If the alleged canon was genuinely Nicene, it established the jurisdiction; if not, the jurisdiction fell to the ground.
When Faustinus and his colleagues reached Africa, Zosimus had been succeeded by Bonifatius. They were received by the plenary council of the African provinces at Carthage (419). Alypius and Augustine were there, and joined in the proceedings (Bruns, pp. 155 ff.). The council cut short the verbal instructions of Faustinus (ib. p. 197), and insisted upon hearing the commonitorium. When it was read, and the canon on episcopal appeals was quoted, Alypius undertook the invidious duty of pointing out that the Latin and the Greek copies of the Nicene canons accessible at Carthage contained no such canon. He suggested that both sides should obtain authentic copies from the bps. of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch. Meanwhile, the copies above referred to should be placed on the minutes; but the alleged canon should be observed donec integra exemplaria veniant. Augustine proposed a like action with regard to (3); the proposals were unanimously carried, and accepted, though with no good grace, by Faustinus. The council wrote to Bonifatius intimating their action (Bruns, pp. 196 f.), stating how they had dealt with Apiarius, and complaining with dignity and firmness of the insolence of Faustinus, which, they add, they believe and hope they will not, under the new Roman bishop, be called upon to suffer. The signatures include those of Augustine and Alypius. Six years later (425) an African council (Bruns, p. 200) receive Faustinus once again. Coelestinus, now bp. of Rome, writes that "he has been rejoiced by the coming of Apiarius," and with Faustinus, Apiarius once more reappears at Carthage. But not only did the culprit finally and ignominiously break down before the council: the replies from the Eastern churches had come in, with authentic copies of the Nicene canons; and the canons put forward by Zosimus and his successors were not there. [It must be noted that, although Gratus of Carthage was possibly present at Sardica in 343 (see Nicene Lib. vol. 4, Athanasius, p. 147), the African church knew nothing of the canons passed there. They only knew Sardica by repute as an "Arian" synod, and friendly to the Donatists (Ep. 446; c. Crescon. IV. xliv. 52). The canons of Sardica had not passed into the generally accepted rules of the church.] The council press the ignominious exposure, which makes a clean sweep of papal jurisdiction in Africa, with a firm but respectful hand. They are content to ask Coelestinus to observe the canons, not to receive appellants, not to send legates tanquam a latere, and, above all, not to inflict Faustinus upon them anymore. The Roman chancery did not learn from this painful experience not to tamper with the canons (see the present writer's Roman Claims to Supremacy, iv., S.P.C.K. 1896), but the incident is decisive as to the mind of the African church. Though Reuter, in his scrupulous desire to be fair, minimizes the part taken by Augustine in the case (pp. 306 seq.), there is nothing to shew that in this matter he was in other than perfect accord with Aurelius and the African bishops. On the contrary, he says, late in his life, of clergy who merely evade his own rigorous diocesan rule: "interpellet contra me mille concilia, naviget contra me quo voluerit, adjuvabit me Deus ut ubi ego episcopus sum, ille clericus esse non possit." This tone implies that the Apiarius case is now matter of history (Serm. 1561). But Reuter is probably right in his view that Augustine's interest in constitutional questions was small compared to his concern for doctrine.
(d) The Roman See and the Final Doctrinal Authority.—Augustine shews no jealousy of the power and prestige of the Roman see. On the contrary, he regarded it as, in a special degree, the depository of apostolic tradition. What degree of dogmatic authority did this imply? The principal data for answering this question are connected with the Pelagian controversy (supra, § 10, a, b). Innocentius certainly reads into the letters of the Africans (Aug. Epp. 175‒177, see 181‒183) a hyper-Sardican attitude towards his chair of which they were innocent. But it is clear that the Africans attach the greatest importance to his approbation of their decision, only they do not treat the doctrinal issue as at all doubtful or subject to papal decision; on the contrary, in the private letter (Ep. 1773, 6‒9) which Augustine sends to ensure that Innocentius shall not lack full information on the merits of the case, he takes for granted that the ecclesiastica et apostolica veritas is already certain. He assumes (with probable historical correctness) that the African church owes its original tradition to Rome (ib.19); but both have their source ("ex eodem capite") in the Apostolic tradition itself (see Reuter, pp. 307‒311). Augustine refers to Innocentius's reply in a letter to Paulinus of Nola (Ep. 186). He treats it not as a doctrinal decision, but as a splendid confirmation of a doctrine already certain (see Reuter, p. 311). As a result, the Pelagians have definitely lost their case: "causa finita est." Augustine uses this phrase twice: once (§ 10, a, fin.) with reference to the African councils and the reply of Innocentius; once (see beginning of this section) in 421 of the condemnation of Pelagianism by the judicium episcoporum. With the latter passage we must compare Ep. 19022 (written in 418), where the "adjutorium Salvatoris qui suam tuetur ecclesiam" is connected with the "conciliorum episcoporum vigilantia," not with the action of popes Innocentius and Zosimus. At a much later date (426), reviewing the controversy as a whole, he speaks of the whole cause as having been dealt with conciliis episcopalibus; the letters of the Roman bishops are not dignified with separate mention (Ep. 2145). On the whole, these utterances are homogeneous. The prominence, if any, assigned to the rescripta over the concilia in Serm. 131, 10 (supra, § 10, a, fin.) is relative to a passing phase of the question. Its sense is, moreover, wholly altered in the utterance invented for Augustine by some Roman Catholic apologists: Roma locuta est, et causa finita est. It occurred to no one in those days to put any bishop, even of an apostolic see, above a council, although there are signs at Rome of a tendency to work the Sardican canons in that direction. Augustine experienced, as we have seen, a signal, and to him especially galling, papal blunder in the action of Zosimus with reference to the Pelagians. The brunt of the correspondence with Zosimus at this painful crisis apparently fell upon Aurelius and the bishops of his province (Afri. c. Duas Epp. Pel. II. iii. 5), rather than upon Numidia, Augustine's own province. Augustine, as compared with the African bishops, distinctly minimizes the indictment. Zosimus had pronounced the libellus of Coelestius catholic. Augustine explains this favourably, as referring not to his doctrine, but to his profession of submission to correction; "voluntas emendationis, non falsitas dogmatis approbata est." The action of Zosimus was well meant, even if too lenient (lenius actum est. See also de Pecc. Orig. vi. 7, vii. 8). The letter of the Afri, which was stern and menacing in tone ("Constituimus . . . per venerabilem . . . Innocentium . . . prolatam manere sententiam," Prosp. adv. Coll. v. 15) put an end to all hopes of compromise. Zosimus, however (c. Duas Epp., u.s.), "never by a word, in the whole course of the proceedings," denied original sin. His faith was consistent throughout. Coelestius deceived him for a time, but illam sedem usque ad finem fallere non potuit (de Pecc. Orig. xxi. 24). "The Roman church, where he was so well known, he could not deceive permanently" (ib. viii. 9). But there had been danger. "Supposing—which God forbid!—the Roman church had gone back upon the sentence of Innocentius and approved the dogmata condemned by him, then it would be necessary rather [potius] to brand the Roman clergy with the note of praevaricatio." Even in contemplating the repellent possibility that the action of Rome had been worse than he will allow, Augustine evidently shrinks from pushing the conclusion to its full consequences to the extent of censuring Zosimus by name. "Rather" he would brand "the Roman clergy" in confuso. But this reserve must not be misconstrued as an anticipation of later Roman infallibilism; not even St. Peter was strictly infallible in Augustine's eyes (refs. in Reuter, pp. 326 ff.), much less his successors', none of whom "Petri apostolatui conferendus est" (de Bapt. VI. ii. 3).
(e) Conclusion.—Augustine has no consistent theory of the ultimate organ of church authority, whether legislative, disciplinary, or dogmatic. This authority resides in the Episcopate, its content is the catholica veritas, and in practical matters the consuetudo or traditio. These are to be interpreted by the bishops acting in concert—especially in councils. The "regional" council is subordinate to the "plenary," the plenary council of the province to that of the whole church (de Bapt. V. xvii., VII., liii.; Ep. 43, 9; de Bapt. II. iii. 4); while of the latter, the earlier are subject to amendment by later councils. Even, then, with regard to the authority of councils there is no real finality; Augustine sees, like Julius of Rome in 340 (see the writer's Roman Claims to Supremacy, iii. ad fin.), no remedy but the revision of earlier councils by later. Clearly we have here no complete system of thought. Augustine falls back on the sensus catholicus, a real and valuable criterion, but not easy to bring within a logical definition. The church is infallible, but he cannot point to an absolutely infallible organ of her authority. By his very vagueness on this point, Augustine practically paved the way for the future centralization of infallible authority in the papacy (on the whole question, see Reuter, pp. 329‒355; and below, § 16, b).
§ 13. Death and Character.—Augustine died on Aug 28, 430. Clouds were thickening over his country and church. The Vandals, invited by the error, too late discovered, of Augustine's friend count Bonifatius (see Ep. 220), welcomed by the fierce Moors and the persecuted Donatists, had swept Numidia and Africa. Carthage, Cirta, and Hippo alone remained untaken (Possid. xxviii.). Bonifatius, routed by Gaiseric, was besieged by him in Hippo itself. Augustine had exhorted all bishops, so long as they had any flocks to minister to, to remain at their posts (Ep. 228; Possid. xxx.); but many, whose dioceses were swept away, took refuge, like Possidius himself, at Hippo. Up to the time of his death, during three months of the siege, Augustine was working at his unfinished refutation of Julian. He prayed, so he told his friends at table, that God would either see fit to deliver the city, or fortify His servants to bear His will, or at any rate would take him out of this world to Himself. In the third month he was attacked by fever. Now, as on other marked occasions (Possid. xxix.), his prayer was heard. He healed a sick man who came to him as he lay upon his death-bed. He had a copy of the Penitential Psalms written out, and fixed to the wall opposite his bed. For ten days, at his special request, he was left alone, except when the physician came or food was brought. He spent his whole time in prayer, and died in the presence of his praying friends, in a green old age, with hearing, sight, and all his bodily faculties unimpaired. The Sacrifice was offered and he was buried. He left no will, nor any personal property. His books he had given to the church to be kept for ever; fortunately, they survived when Hippo was destroyed by the Vandals; his writings, says Possidius, "will for ever keep his character fresh in the minds of his readers, yet not even they will supply, to those who knew him, the place of his voice and his presence. For he was one who fulfilled the word of St. James: 'So speak ye, and so do.' " He had lived 76 years, and nearly 40 in the ranks of the clergy. Till his last illness he had preached regularly. His arbitration was greatly in request, on the part both of churchmen and non-churchmen. He gladly aided all, taking opportunity when he could to speak to them for the good of their souls. For criminals, he would intercede with discrimination and tact, and rarely without success. He attended councils whenever he could, and in these, as in the ordination of bishops and clergy, he was conspicuously conscientious. In dress and furniture he followed a just mean between luxury and shabbiness; his table was spare, his diet mainly vegetarian, though meat was there for visitors or for infirmiores. Wine he always drank. His spoons were silver, but his other vessels wood, earthenware, or marble. His hospitality never failed: his meals were made enjoyable, not by feasting and carousing, but by reading or conversation. Ill-natured gossip he sternly repressed. He had this motto conspicuously displayed:
Quisquis amat dictis absentem rodere vitam,
Hanc mensam indignam noverit esse sibi.
He sharply rebuked even bishops for breaches of this excellent rule. He freely spent upon the poor both the income of his see and the alms of the faithful. To ill-natured grumblings about the wealth of his see, he replied that he would gladly resign all the episcopal estates, if the people would support him and his brethren wholly by their offerings. "Sed nunquam id laici suscipere voluerunt." The whole management of the property of the see was entrusted to the more capable clergy in rotation, subject only to an annual report to himself. He would never increase the estate by purchase, but he accepted bequests. Only he refused them if he thought they entailed hardship upon the natural heirs. He felt but little interest in such affairs—his part was that of Mary, not that of Martha. Even building he left to his clergy, only interfering if the plans seemed extravagant. If the annual accounts shewed a deficit, he would announce to the Christian people that he had nothing left to spend on the poor. Sometimes he would have church plate melted to relieve the poor or ransom prisoners. His clergy lived with him, and no one who joined them was permitted to retain any property of his own. If one of them swore at table, one of the regulation number of cups of wine (these were strictly limited, even for visitors) was cut off by way of fine. Women, even near relatives, were excluded. He never would speak to them solus cum solis. He was prompt in visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and the sick. But he would never visit the feminarum monasteria except under urgent necessity. In regard to death, he was fond of quoting the dying Ambrose, who replied to his friend's entreaty that he would ask God for a respite of life: "I have not so lived as to be ashamed to remain with you; but neither do I fear to die, for we have a gracious God." To this artless picture, drawn by Possidius, it seems impertinent to add supplementary touches. Possidius, as Loofs has excellently remarked, shews himself saturated by the consciousness that he is erecting a lasting memorial to a great historical personage.
Without doubt Augustine is the most commanding religious personality of the early church. No Christian writer since the apostolic age has bequeathed to us so deep an insight into the working of a character penetrated with the love of God, none has struck deeper into the heart of religion in man.
C. Influence.—§ 14. Retractations and Other Writings.—Shortly before his last illness (Possid. xxviii.) he went over all his writings, noting points, especially in the earlier books, which he would wish amended. The result is his two books of Retractationes, which, from the chronological order, and the mention of the circumstances which elicited the several writings, places the literary history of St. Augustine on an exceptionally sure footing. He enumerates, characterizes, and identifies by the first words, two hundred and thirty-two books. His letters and sermons he mentions collectively, but he did not live to reconsider them in detail. Possidius includes most of them in the indiculus of Augustine's works appended to the Life; but it is not always easy to identify them by the titles he employs. Some of the letters, however, are counted as "books" in the Retractations, while the books de Unitate Ecclesiae, de Bono Viduitatis ad Julianum, and de Perfectione Justitiae are passed over (being reckoned as letters) in the Retractations. The Sermons are not chronologically arranged in the Bened. ed.; some are duplicate recensions of the same discourse. Augustine preached extempore, but with careful preparation (de Cat. Rud. 2, 3); his words were taken down by shorthand, or else dictated by himself. On one occasion we read (Possid. xv.) that he abandoned his prepared matter and spoke on another subject, with the result of the conversion of a Manichean who happened to be present. His homilies (tractatus) on St. John, and on the "Epistle of John to the Parthians" (i.e. 1 John), belong to the ripest period of his theological power, about 416; these and the somewhat later Enarrationes in Psalmos are his most important exegetical works.
Many of his works have been already mentioned in connexion with the occasion of their production. For a full list of other writings, see D. C. B. (4-vol. ed.), s.v., and the art. of Loofs referred to below. But one or two of special importance must be briefly characterized. He accomplished by 415 the task, his first attempt at which had failed, of a commentary on Genesis ad literam (Retr. II. xxiv.; cf. I. xviii., and supra, § 7, b). But even now, he claims to have reached only problematical results. The de Catechizandis Rudibus (c. 400) gives a syllabus of the course for catechumens, with hints as to effective method in their instruction. It is full of wisdom, and suggestive to all engaged in teaching. The de Spiritu et Litera (supra, § 10) was supplemented (c. 413) by the book de Fide et Operibus, in which he deals with the obligations of the Christian life, insisting that faith cannot save us without charity. Here occurs the often quoted reference to the Lord's Prayer as the quotidiana medela for sins not demanding public penance (xxvi. 48), nor even fraternal rebuke (correptio, Matt. xviii. 15, cl. Serm. 352). The Encheiridion (c. 421) is Augustine's most complete attempt at a brief summary of Christian doctrine. Nominally it is based on the triple scheme of Fides, Spes, Charitas. But the latter two are very briefly treated at the end; practically the whole comes under the head of Fides, and is an exposition of the Creed and its corollaries. It should be compared with the much earlier tract de Fide et Symbolo (supra, § 7, b). On the de Trinitate, see above, § 11. The last work to be specially mentioned is the de Doctrina Christiana (written in 397 as far as III. xxv.), which contains Augustine's principles of Scriptural exposition, and a discussion of the exegetical "rule" of Tyconius. Bk. iv. (added in 426) is on the method and spirit in which the sense of Scripture should be taught. It supplements the more special "pedagogics" of the de Catech. Rudibus.
Of Augustine as a writer, Gibbon says: "His style, though sometimes animated by the eloquence of passion, is usually clouded by false and affected rhetoric." This verdict would gain in justice if the words "usually" and "sometimes" were transposed. Augustine had indeed learned and taught rhetoric to some purpose; but tried by Aristotle's criterion—the revelation of character—Augustine stands far above the category of rhetorical writers. He rarely or never spends words upon mere effect. He is always intent upon bringing home to his hearers or readers things which he feels to be momentously real. He handles subjects of intimate and vital interest to the human spirit. And whether he is right or wrong, his deep feeling cannot fail to kindle the hearts of those who read him.
§ 15. Asceticism. Estimate of Poverty and Riches.—Among the attractions which Manicheism had for Augustine in his youth, the strict continency supposed to prevail among the perfecti (supra, § 4) had been prominent. His whole early experience had led him to regard sexual temptation as the great ordeal of life. Disillusioned with the perfecti, he was fired with the ideals of Catholic monasticism (§ 6), and one of his earliest resolves at the time of his conversion was to forswear for ever even lawful marriage. The whole drift of Christian feeling at that period was in this direction. The influence of Ambrose, the horror of representative churchmen at the anti-monastic tenets of Jovinian and Vigilantius, the low tone even of nominally Christian society in an age of degenerate civilization, all tended to fix in him the conviction, exemplified in his last letter to count Bonifatius, that practically the one escape from an immoral life was in the vow of monastic continence. He is aware of the difficulties of the questions raised, and endeavours to face them in his books de Bono Conjugali, de Virginitate (401, against Jovinian), and de Continentia. He is specially anxious not to depreciate marriage; but in his attempt to explain the transmission of original sin, not merely by the fact "that the human embryo grows from the very first in a soil positively sinful," but by the assumption that the mode of ordinary human generation is inevitably sinful, he fairly lays himself open to the charge of doing so (de Nupt. II. 15; Enchir. xii. 34; de Civ. XIV. xvi.‒xxi.). The orthodox theology of original sin has by common consent dropped this element of the Augustinian theory, which shifts the fundamental Christian condemnation of sensuality from the basis of moral insight to that of semi-Manichean dualism. But Julian was wrong in setting it down wholly to Augustine's Manichean past. This may at most account for a bias, which neither his subsequent philosophical studies nor the atmosphere of the church were likely to eradicate. Augustine only exaggerates an instinct not dominant, but really present (Matt. xix. 12; I. Cor. vii. 1, 26) in the Christian religion from the first, strengthened by the influences of the times, especially that of the Christian Platonism , and by the end of the 4th cent, elevated to unassailable supremacy. In that cent. the influx of heathen society into the church threatened her distinctive character as a holy society. The monastic ideal of life, with its corollary of a double standard of Christian morality—baleful as the latter was in its effects—was probably the church's then only possible response to the challenge of a momentous peril. Augustine introduced monachism into North Africa, and its spread there was rapid. In Hippo it was compulsory for the clergy. At first, Augustine permitted a "secular" clergy, but toward the end of his life the permission was revoked. With celibacy went the common life and the obligation of absolute personal poverty. We saw above (§ 7, a) how Augustine had followed, early in his Christian career, the example of Anthony. He took the communism of Acts iv. 32 as the normal ideal of Christian life (Enarr. in Ps. cxxxi. 5), and his community wad modelled upon it (supra, § 13). At the same time, in the book de Opere Monachorum (c. 400), he insists that monks must work, and not idly rely upon the alms of the faithful. He shews an almost prophetic appreciation of monastic abuses (cf. what he says of the Euchites, de Haer. lvii.). He regards poverty as a consilium (de Bono Conj. xxiii. 30, Ep. 15729), not a praeceptum. Worldly possessions are allowed to the good as well as to the evil, "et a malis habetur et a bonis; tanto melius habetur quanto minus amatur" (Ep. 15326, cf. de Civ. XVIII. liv.). The Pelagians, who naturally insisted on human effort as a condition of salvation, took a severer view of wealth than did Augustine (Epp. 157, 18632, divites baptizatos, sqq.). He combats them on Biblical grounds: Dives and Lazarus, the rich Abraham, the rich young man, the camel and the needle's eye, St. Paul's charge to the rich in this world; but his treatment of the question is not constructively built on first principles. He perceives that it is the spirit, not the mere fact of riches or poverty that is all-important; even a rich man may be poor in spirit and ready to suffer not only the loss of all, but martyrdom itself, for Christ's sake (see Serm. 505, 14; Ep. 157,29, 34, 36, etc.; de Virg. 14). Yet riches—and this is the reflection towards which he gravitates—are, as a matter of experience, a great hindrance; the rich are as a rule the chief offenders "difficile est ut non plura peccata contrahant" (in Psalm. cxxxii. 4), therefore "abstineamus nos, fratres, a possessione rei privatae . . . fac locum domino" (ib. cxxxi.6); the counsel of poverty is the safe course. Augustine bases this on the temptation to misuse of wealth; this would tend to place the man who uses his wealth well and wisely, overcoming temptation, in God's service, higher than him who evades the trial. But the drift of church feeling was too strong for this thought to prevail. Augustine and Pelagius were agreed that monks as a class must rank above "secular" Christians; widely removed as Augustine was from the Pelagian idea of merit, yet practically he often subordinates the importance of the inward to the outward, of character to works. But monks must live, and, as we have seen, Augustine would have them work. To "take no thought for the morrow" means to seek first the Kingdom of God; not improvidence or laziness, but singleness of aim is the note of the Christian life (in Serm. in Mont. II. 56).
Augustine had occasion (Ep. 211) to address a long letter to his nuns, giving directions for the abatement of evils incidental to the common life, and for the regulation of their prayers, food, costume, and other details. This letter, a model of good sense and right-mindedness, is the basis of the "Regula" for monks printed among his works. This Rule is therefore an adaptation of Augustine's actual counsels, but can hardly be from his own hand. It has been much valued by monastic reformers, and was the basis of the rules of St. Norbet, of St. Dominic (1216), and of the different communities of "canons regular" and friars which have borne the title of "Augustinian" (from 1244).
It will be noticed that Augustine's theory of property is vitiated by the assumption that Acts iv. 32 implies a permanent condemnation of private property. This was even more conspicuously the case with St. Ambrose, who speaks very strongly of the duty of Christians to treat their possessions as the property of the poor. Augustine, in a passage not wholly consistent with some referred to above, speaks similarly of the private property of Christians as the common property of all; to treat it otherwise is damnabilis usurpatio (Ep. 10535). This "Christian communism," it may be remarked in passing, differs from that of Proudhon ("la propriété c’est le vol") as the duty to give differs from the right to take. In one point Augustine takes the opposite view to Ambrose, namely, in the theory of church property. Ambrose, in his resistance to the action of the empress Justina, who attempted to transfer the church at Milan to the Arian bishop, anticipated the medieval theory of the absolute right of the church to ecclesiastical property, a right with which the emperor, who is intra ecclesiam, may not presume to tamper. This agrees perfectly with principles laid down by Augustine in the de Civitate Dei (supra, § 9: imperium in ecclesia, etc.). But Augustine, defending the action of Honorius (or his ministers) in transferring to the Catholics the church property of the Donatists, strongly maintains that all rights to property are created by the State. The church's external power, and property are hers by indirect Divine right, i.e. because they are conferred on her by the ordinatissima potestas of the sovereign power (Ep. 1055, 6). "Per jura regum possidentur possessiones" (in Joh. Tr. vi. 25); the Donatist objects to state interference with religion, but "Noli dicere Quid mihi et Regi! Quid tibi et possessioni? " (ib. 15). As one side of Augustine's theory of the church prepares the way for the Gregorian system (§ 9), so here we have that conception of Apostolic poverty consistently applied to church property, which underlies so much medieval reaction against the Gregorian system from Arnold of Brescia onwards.
§ 16. Intellectual Influence on Christian Posterity.—The diverse influences which met in Augustine, held together rather than fused into unison by the strength of his superb personality, parted in after-times into often conflicting streams. It has been said with truth (Loofs) that three primary elements determine Augustine's complex realm of ideas: his neo-Platonist philosophical training (supra, § 5), his profound Biblical studies (§§ 7, b, 10, init.), and his position as an officer of the church. In combinations which we can in part analyse, these elements, given the Augustine of A.D. 387, go to constitute Augustine as he became—the greatest of the Latin doctors, the pioneer of modern Christianity—in his threefold significance for the church of all time. Augustine is (a) the prince of theists, (b) the incomparable type of reasoned devotion to the Catholic church, and (c) the founder of the theology of sin and grace.
(a) Theistic Transcendentalism.—The passion of theism was the core of his personal religion. His was an experimental theism, a theism of the heart. The often quoted words, "Tu Domine fecisti nos ad te, et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te" (Conf. I. i.), sum up his inmost personal experience. This is, above all, what Augustine found in the Psalms, which were his introduction to the deeper study of Scripture (supra, § 6). "Mihi autem adhaerere Deo bonum est" (Ps. lxxii. 28, Vulg.) is the immovable centre upon which his whole religion and theology turns. But his theism was also speculative and metaphysical, and intimately bound up with the philosophical framework of his theology. God, though not beyond our apprehension ("ex minima quidem parte, sed tamen sine dubitatione," c. Ep. Fund. 5), is beyond our knowledge; "ego sum qui sum quae mens potest capere?" (in Joh. Tr. viii. 8). To be, to be good, to be one, are correlative attributes; they belong to God alone. All things that exist, do so by "participation" of God (in Joh. Tr. xxxix. 8—the Platonic doctrine of μέθεξις; but by comparison with God they are non-existent (Enarr. in Ps. xxxviii. 22, cxxxiv. 4). Real being is incommutable being, which belongs to God only. Reality, then, can only be found out of time: "ut ergo et tu sis, transcende tempus" (in Joh. Tr. xxxviii. 10); anything mutable is not really existent—it is in process, has been, is to be, but is not in being: "praesens quaero, nihil stat" (ib.). Absolute good is therefore the only reality, namely, God. Absolute evil is the non-existent. All created existence, so far as it has reality ("Deus fecit hominem, substantiam [i.e. aliquid esse] fecit," Enarr. in Ps. lxviii. 5), is good ("in quantum sumus, boni sumus," de Doctr. I. 35). There is no "natura tenebrarum," no evil substance (Conf. IV. xv. 24). Sin has its roots in the evil will; it is negative ("non est substantia," Ps. lxviii. 3, Vulg.); the evil will consists in "inordinate moveri, bona inferiora superioribus praeponendo" (de Gen. ad lit. xi. 17); sin is therefore an inclinatio in nihilum; yet the sinner "non penitus perit, sed in infimis ordinatur" (Enarr. in Ps. viii. 19)—even Satan, in that he exists, has something of the good, though he is worse than the worst we know. "In quantum mali sumus, in tantum etiam minus sumas" (de Doctr., u.s.). It is easy to see that this idealism, taken by itself, tends to lower the importance of everything that takes place in time, of everything empirical and historical, in comparison with the transcendent being and unchangeable will of God, in which nothing "takes place," but all is eternally, immovably real. In Augustine this idealism did not stand alone; but under all his passionate appreciation of the church and the historical elements of Christianity there is in the background, as a limiting influence, the appeal to the view of things sub specie aeterni; and the drift of his theological reflection strengthened this element in his view of ultimate problems.
From this point of view we can partly understand Augustine's famous conception of the universality of the Christian Religion. This he insists on in his letter to Deogratias (Ep. 102) contra Paganos. At all times, he writes, since the world began, the same faith has been revealed to men, at one time more obscurely, at another more plainly, as the circumstances altered; but what we now call the Christian religion is but the clearest revelation of a religion as old as the world. Never has its offer of salvation been withheld from those who were worthy of it (see references, Reuter, p. 91 n), even though they may not be (like Job, etc.) mentioned in the sacred record. Such men, who followed His commands (however unconsciously), were implicit believers in Christ. The changing (and therefore semi-real) form represents the one constant reality, the saving grace of God, revealed through the passion and resurrection of Christ (Ep. 18915).
(b) Catholic Churchmanship.—Of this we have already spoken (§ 8). Augustine was not the first to formulate belief in the Holy Catholic Church; but no one before him had reflected so deeply, or expressed himself with such inimitable tenderness and devotion, on the church as the nurse and home of the Christian life, and the saving virtue of her means of grace. The church to him is the society of the saints, the Kingdom of God on earth. With the whole drift of contemporary churchmanship, asceticism, miracles, relics the incipient cultus of saints (he believes in their intercession, but strongly dissuades from "placing our hope" in them: "noli facere"; if we pray to God alone, we shall be the more likely to benefit by their intercession: "non solum tibi non succensebunt; sed tunc amabunt, tunc magis favebunt"; but Augustine is evidently correcting a known tendency to invocation, Serm. 4617), he is in entire sympathy. It is unnecessary to multiply examples of what every page of his writings abundantly illustrates. But it must be noted that his interest throughout is in the spiritual life rather than in the external system; the latter is but the means to the former. Augustine, first of all extant Christian writers, identifies the Kingdom of God (so far as it exists on earth; its full realization, in common with all Christian antiquity, he reserves for the end) with the Catholic church: but not in respect of its government or organization. It is the Kingdom of Christ in so far as Christ reigns in His saints and they (even on earth, in a sense) reign with Him. From this point of view, we may trace the negative influence of Augustine's idealism (supra, a) upon his view of the church. We saw above (§ 15, e) his inability to complete his theory of church authority by the essential feature of an infallible organ of authority. Councils are authoritative, but earlier councils are subject to later ones, there is no final expression of absolute positive truth (of course there is relative truth; the church will never rehabilitate Arianism nor Pelagianism inferiora superiosibus praeponendo, see above, a). Truth is, ideally, perceived by the reason (de Util. Cred. 34); infallibility is an ideal attribute of the church, its realization now is subject to the semi-reality which is the condition of all things on earth. She has catholica veritas, but never as ultimate truth that man can explicitly grasp. To the church, as to the individual, it may be said, "ut et tu sis, transcende tempus." Ideally, authority is but the "door" to reason; authority is for the babes, the stulti, who are not the type of mature Christian growth. The intelligendi vivacitas is for the paucissimi, the credendi simplicitas is safest for the turba (c. Ep. Fund. 5). But Augustine does not press these thoughts to their full issue. "Alia est ratio verum tacendi, alia verum dicendi necessitas . . . ne pejores faciamus eos qui non intelligunt dum volumus eos qui intelligunt facere doctiores" (de Dono Persev. 40). Practically they operate negatively, by leaving in the vague the question of an infallible organ of authority, while the positive conception of the church is left unaffected. In the sphere of transcendent reality, the decrees of councils may be provisional only; but in practice any authoritative decision is final, even the appeal to a general council (supra, § 10, b, Julian) may be ignored, "causa finita est" (supra, 15, d). Medieval ecclesiasticism accepted Augustine's homage to the external fabric of the church, and concerned itself little with his metaphysical conception of Reality (see references to Gregory VII., in Reuter, pp. 499 seq.).
(c) Influence of his Doctrine of Grace.—Augustine's conception of the church, little as it was modified in practice by his transcendental theory of "Being" taken by itself, was more seriously affected by his predestinarian doctrine, which his transcendentalism certainly tended to reinforce. Augustine had first found salvation in the Catholic church (c. Ep. Fund. 6) in self-surrender to the authority of Christ (c. Acad. III. 43: "mihi autem certum est nusquam prorsus ab auctoritate Christi discedere," etc.). His whole religious thought, founded upon his experience of the Catholic church, turned upon Christ as its fountain-head and centre (see the passages collected by Reuter, pp. 19‒25). His whole being, and that of the church, was owing to the grace of Christ ("gratia Dei per Christum, propter Christum," etc.); the gratia Christi is the central idea of his theology. We saw above (§ 10) by what steps he was led, from the inward recognition of the sovereignty of grace in his personal life, to the logical conclusion that salvation depends upon the Divine will irrespective of merit or of anything which takes place on earth. Membership of the church, a holy life, use of the means of grace, may be indispensable to the predestined; but they are in no sense conditions of predestination, which is absolute. They depend on it, not it on them. Even the historical work of Christ is secondary to the Divine purpose to save some and "pass over" the rest of mankind. Hence, on the one hand, the doctrine of particular redemption (for none perish for whom Christ died, Ep. 1694, while those predestined ad interitum are "non ad vitam aeternam sui sanguinis pretio comparati"—in Joh. Tr. xlvii. 11, 4), on the other hand, a tendency to make the atonement not an efficient cause of redemption but a proof (to the elect) of God's love: "ut ostenderet Deus dilectionem suam," etc. (de Catech. Rud. 4; cf. Ep. 17715: "gratia Dei quae revelata est per passionem et resurrectionem Christi"). The number of the predestined is irrevocably fixed, and this certus numerus constitute the church as it will be in the perfect Kingdom of God. The church on earth, viewed as it is in God's sight, in its true "being," consists of the elect and of them alone. The old Catholic axiom extra ecclesiam nulla salus thus acquires a new and unlooked-for meaning: out of the number of the elect there is no salvation. This is the Augustinian doctrine of the communion of saints, which stands in contrast with the externa communio or visible church as the invisible reality with the semi-real phenomenon. The distinction is not quite identical with the familiar distinction of wheat and tares, nominal and real Christians; for even real Christians have no certainty that they are "elect." The donum perseverantiae, which is as absolutely unmerited as that of faith, and is, in fact, the turning-point of the whole predestinarian scheme, may fail them (supra, § 10, c). In that case they are, after all, vessels of wrath; while again it may be vouchsafed to others who are now but nominal Christians, or not even that. When Augustine identifies the church with the Kingdom of God, it is really of the communio sanctorum that he is thinking. The logical incompatibility of the predestinarian and the Catholic view of the church is obvious, and Augustine never effected their reconciliation. The obvious reconciliation, upon which he often appears to fall back, is that although the church contains many who are not "elect," it yet contains all the elect. But this is to assume that the Divine election is absolutely bound to external means, which Augustine does not really hold. On the contrary, his conception of the universality of the One Religion of Christ (supra, a, sub fin.) brings in Job, the Sibyl, and doubtless many others "qui secundem Deum vixerunt eique placuerunt, pertinentes ad spiritalem Hierusalem" (de Civ. XVIII. xlvii.). Again, there are the unjustly excommunicated, who have nothing of the character of schismatics: "hos coronat in occulto Pater," etc. (de Vera Relig. ii. cf. de Bapt. I. 26, Epp. 78. 3, 250, fragm. ad. fin.). But practically Augustine passes to and fro between the thought of the numerus praedestinatorum and that of the visible church without being careful to distinguish them, and he freely applies to the latter the exalted and ideal prerogatives which are theoretically proper to the former.
To this side of Augustine's teaching applies the remark of Gibbon, that "the rigid system of Christianity which he framed or restored has been entertained with public applause and secret reluctance by the Latin church." In fact, as the ecclesiastical side of Augustine's thought supplied the inspiration for the medieval theocracy, so his predestinarian idea of the church furnished the theological foundation for most of the medieval counter-movements, especially those of Marsilius, of Wyclif, and of Hus; and the Zwinglian idea of an invisible church is little more than an isolation of this doctrine from the Catholic context which surrounded it in Augustine's own theology.
§ 17. Select Bibliography. (1) History of Publication.—Augustine's Retractationes, coupled with the Indiculus of Possidius, give a practically complete list of his authentic works and of the occasions of their composition and publication. During his lifetime they were widely multiplied in Latin Christendom (Possid. vii.); the Emendatiora Exempla, revised by himself, and bequeathed to the church of Hippo, were preserved through the disasters which overtook the town (ib. xviii.). The history of the study and literary influence of Augustine in after-times must be read in the histories of Christian doctrine. For the 11th cent. we have a useful investigation by Mirbt (pupil of Reuter), Die Stellung Augustins in der Publizistik des Gregorianischen Kirchenstreits (Leipz. 1888). The history of manuscript transmission may be read in the prefatory notes to the several treatises in the Benedictine ed., and in the Prolegomena to the instalments of Augustine's works that have so far been published in the Vienna Corpus Script. Eccles. Latinorum. The list of editions since the first by Amerbach (Basel, 1506) may be found in the article by Loofs (infra). The standard ed. is that by the Benedictines of St. Maur (see Kukula and Rottmanner in Hist. Phil. Transactions of the Vienna Academy, 1890‒1892, and Tassin, Hist. lit. de la Congrég. de S. Maur., Brux. 1770), completed in 1690. The edition was by several hands, and was attacked fiercely by the opponents of Jansenism. This was perhaps inevitable in the attempt to make Augustine speak for himself. The principal points of attack were the Preface, by Mabillon, to the Tenth Volume, which its author revised under pressure, and the Index. The latter is a marvel of completeness, and many of its articles are in substance theological treatises. The Vita, mainly by Vaillant, is largely indebted to the contemporary work of Tillemont, the thirteenth vol. of whose Mémoires, a Life of St. Augustine, in 1075 pp., appeared after his death (1698). The Bened. ed. was reprinted at Venice, 1729‒1735. The eleven vols. in folio were replaced in the next reprints (Venice, 1756‒1769, Bassano, 1797‒1807) by eighteen in quarto. The Paris reprint of Gaume (1836‒1839) and that of Migne (in the Patr. Lat., vols. 32‒46) return to the arrangement of eleven vols.; but in Migne some of the vols. are subdivided, and a twelfth of supplementary matter (Patr. Lat. 47) is added. This edition is better printed than many of the series, and is the most convenient for reference. Its text should be superseded by that of the Vienna Corpus; but at present only a portion of Augustine's works have appeared in this series (Confessions, de Civ. Dei, Letters, 1‒133, Speculum, several exegetical works, anti-Manichean treatises, various anti-Pelagian works, and a vol. containing de Fid. et Symb., the Retractationes, and other works (1900); also the excerpts of Eugippius, an edition important for the light thrown by it on the text of Augustine).
(2) Editions of Separate Works.—We have a good edition of the de Civitate Dei, by Dombart (Trübner, 1863), and a more recent one of bks. xi. and xii., with intro., literal trans., and notes by Rev. H. Gee (Bell, 5s.), who has also ed. In Joannis Evang. Tract. xxiv.‒xxvii. and lxvii.-lxxix. (1s. 6d. each, Bell), with trans. by Canon H. Brown; a number of smaller tracts, and the de Trinitate in the SS. Patr. Opusc. Selecta, by H. Hurter, S.J. (Innsbruck, Wagner); Anti-Pelagian Treatises, with valuable Introduction by Dr. Bright (Clarendon Press, 1880); de Catechiz. Rud., by Krüger (in his Quellenschriften, 4, Frieburg, 1891); Confessions, by Pusey (Oxf. 1838), and Gaume (Paris, 1836, 12mo). The new ed. of Tract. in Joh. lxvii.-lxxix., by H. F. Stewart (Camb. 1900), has a translation and some admirably digested introductory matter.
(3) Translations.—The translations in the Oxford Library of the Fathers, and in Clark's series (Edin. 1866‒1872), are incorporated and supplied with useful introductory matter in the Post-Nicene Library (ser. 1), ed. by Dr. Philip Schaff (Buffalo, 1886‒8). Three Anti-Pelagian Treatises, by Woods and Johnston (D. Nutt, 1887). The Confessions, bks. i.‒ix., are translated by Dr. Charles Bigg (Methuen, 1897, with a most interesting Introduction). The extracts in this article follow this translation. Another ed. by Temple Scott, with intro. by Mrs. Meynell, is pub. by Mowbray (7s. 6d. net.), and follows Dr. Pusey's trans. Dr. Hutchings trans. and ed. the Confessions (Longmans, 2s. 6d.). Preaching and Teaching acc. to S. Aug. is a new trans. of the de Doct. Christ. bk. iv., and de Rudibus Catech. with 3 intro. essays by Rev. W. J. V. Baker and C. Bickersteth and a preface by Bp. Gore (Mowbray, 2s. 6d.).
(4) Biographies.—In addition to that of Possidius, and those of the Benedictines and Tillemont mentioned above, see Remy Ceillier, Auteurs Sacrés, vols. 11 and 12; Acta Sanctorum: Aug. vol. 6; Poujoulat, Hist. de Saint Aug. (Paris, 1843); Böhringer, Aur. Aug. (2 ed., Stuttg. 1878); Naville, St. Aug.: Etude sur le développement de sa pensée, etc. (Geneva, 1872); Bindemann, der h. Aug. (3 vols., Berlin. 1844‒1869); Harnack, Augustin's Confessionem (Giessen, 1888). The greater Church Histories, and works on Christian literature, deal fully with Augustine. A brochure, S. Augustine and African Church Divisions by the Rev. W. J. Sparrow Simpson, was pub. by Longmans in 1910. Of articles in Dictionaries, etc., we may mention those of de Pressensé, in D. C. B. (4-vol. ed.), which gives a very useful list of the contents of the several vols. of his works in the great Benedictine edition, and Loofs, in Herzog-Hauck's Real-Encyclopädie (Leipz. 1897), an article worthy of the writer's high reputation, and much used in the present article.
(5) Doctrinal and General.—For older literature, see the references to fuller bibliographies at the end. The Augustinische Studien of Hermann Reuter (Gotha, 1887), so frequently quoted above, are beyond comparison for thoroughness and impartiality, and indispensable. The histories of doctrine should be consulted. Harnack's treatment of Augustine (in his Dogmengeschichte, vol. 3) is among the most sympathetic and powerful portions of that work; the writer's instinctive appreciation of a great religious personality is nowhere more apparent than here. Loofs's Leitfaden is also most useful. Mozley, The Augustinian Doctrine of Predestination (3rd. ed. 1883); Nourrisson, La Philosophie de St. Augustin (Paris, 1886, 2 vols.); Bright, Lessons from the Lives of Three Great Fathers (ed. 2, Oxf. 1891); Cunningham, St. Austin (Hulsean Lectures, 1886); Bigg, Christian Platonists of Alexandria (Bampton Lectures, 1886; comparison of Aug. with Origen, etc.); Robertson, Regnum Dei (Bampton Lectures, No. 5); Dorner, Augustinus (Berlin, 1873); Gibb and Montgomery's ed. of the Confessions in the Camb. Patristic Texts, 1908, a valuable critical ed. with Introduction.
The above list is a mere selection. For more complete bibliography see Loofs (u.s.); Bardenhewer's Patrology, Dr. Shahan's trans. 1908, pub. by Herder, Freiburg i/B. and St. Louis, Mo.; Potthast, Bibliotheca Hist. Medii Aevi (ed. 2, 1896), vol. ii. p. 1187 ; Chevallier, Répertoire des sources historiques; de Pressensé (u.s.); Nicene and Post-Nicene Libr., ser. 1, vol. i. A short popular Life of St. Augustine is pub. in their Fathers for Eng. Readers, by S.P.C.K., who also pub. an Eng. trans. of the Treatise on the City of God, by F. R. M. Hitchcock. Cheap trans. of the Confessions and the City of God (2 vols.) are in A. and M. Theol. Lib. (Griffith).