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AUGUSTINE

he took up a position of free criticism with regard to the Biblical narratives, he held fast to the traditional faith. His works on theology (Dogmengeschichte, 1805; 4th ed., 1835) are simple statements of fact; they do not attempt a speculative treatment of their subjects. In 1809 he published in conjunction with W. M. L. de Wette a new translation of the Old Testament. Mention should also be made of his Grundriss einer historischkritischen Einleitung ins Alte Testament (1806), his Exegetisches Handbuch des Alten Testaments (1797–1800), and his edition of Die Apokryphen des A. T. (1804). In addition to these, his most important writings are the Denkwürdigkeiten aus der Christlichen Archäologie, 12 vols. (1817–1831), a partially digested mass of materials, and the Handbuch der Christ. Archäologie, 3 vols. (1836–1837), which gives the substance of the larger work in a more compact and systematic form.

AUGUSTINE, SAINT (354–430), one of the four great fathers of the Latin Church. Augustinus—the praenomen Aurelius is used indeed by his disciples Orosius and Prosper, and is found in the oldest Augustine MSS., but is not used by himself, nor in the letters addressed to him—was born at Tagaste, a town of Numidia, now Suk Ahras in Constantine, on the 13th of November 354. His father, Patricius, was a burgess of Tagaste and still a pagan at the time of his son’s birth. His mother, Monica, was not only a Christian, but a woman of the most tender and devoted piety, whose beautiful faith and enthusiasm and patient prayer for both her husband and son (at length crowned with success in both cases) have made her a type of womanly saintliness for all ages. She early instructed her son in the faith and love of Jesus Christ, and for a time he seems to have been impressed by her teaching. Falling ill, he wished to be baptized; but when the danger was past, the rite was deferred and, in spite of his mother’s admonitions and prayers, Augustine grew up without any profession of Christian piety or any devotion to Christian principles.

Inheriting from his father a passionate nature, he formed while still a mere youth an irregular union with a girl, by whom he became the father of a son, whom in a fit of pious emotion he named Adeodatus (“by God given”), and to whom he was passionately attached. In his Confessions he afterwards described this period of his life in the blackest colours; for in the light of his conversion he saw behind him only shadows. Yet, whatever his youthful aberrations, Augustine was from the first an earnest student. His father, noticing his early promise, destined him for the brilliant and lucrative career of a rhetorician, for which he spared no expense in training him. Augustine studied at his native town and afterwards at Madaura and Carthage, especially devoting himself to the works of the Latin poets, many traces of his love for which are to be found in his writings. His acquaintance with Greek literature was much more limited, and, indeed, it has been doubted, though without sufficient reason, whether he could use the Greek scriptures in the original. Cicero’s Hortensius, which he read in his nineteenth year, first awakened in his mind the spirit of speculation and the impulse towards the knowledge of the truth. But he passed from one phase of thought to another, unable to find satisfaction in any. Manichaeism, that mixed product of Zoroastrian and Christian-gnostic elements, first enthralled him. He became a fervent member of the sect, and was admitted into the class of auditors or “hearers.” Manichaeism seemed to him to solve the mysteries of the world, and of his own experiences by which he was perplexed. His insatiable imagination drew congenial food from the fanciful religious world of the Manichaeans, decked out as this was with the luxuriant wealth of Oriental myth. His strongly developed sense of a need of salvation sought satisfaction in the contest of the two principles of Good and Evil, and found peace, at least for the moment, in the conviction that the portions of light present in him would be freed from the darkness in which they were immersed. The ideal of chastity and self-restraint, which promised a foretaste of union with God, amazed him, bound as he was in the fetters of sensuality and for ever shaking at these fetters. But while his moral force was not sufficient for the attainment of this ideal, gradually everything else which Manichaeism seemed to offer him dissolved before his criticism. Increasingly occupied with the exact sciences, he learnt the incompatibility of the Manichaean astrology with the facts. More and more absorbed in the problems of psychology, he realized the insufficiency of dualism, which did not solve the ultimate questions but merely set them back. The Manichaean propaganda seemed to him invertebrate and lacking in force, and a discussion which he had with Faustus, a distinguished Manichaean bishop and controversialist, left him greatly disappointed.

Meanwhile nine years had passed. Augustine, after finishing his studies, had returned to Tagaste, where he became a teacher of grammar. He must have been an excellent master, who knew how to influence the whole personality of his pupils. It was then that Alypius, who in the later stages of Augustine’s life proved a true friend and companion, attached himself to him. He remained in his native town little more than a year, during which time he lived with his mother, who was comforted by the bishop for the estrangement of her son from the Catholic faith (“a son of so many tears cannot be lost”: Confess. III. xii. § 21), comforted also, and above all, by the famous vision, which Augustine thus describes: “She saw herself standing on a certain wooden rule, and a shining youth coming towards her, cheerful and smiling upon her the while she grieved, and was consumed with grief: and when he had inquired of her the causes of her grief and daily tears (for the sake, as is their wont, of teaching, not of learning) and she had made answer that she was bewailing my perdition, he bade her be at ease, and advised her to look and observe, ‘That where she was, there was I also.’ And when she looked there, she saw me standing by her on the same rule” (Confess. III. xi.). Augustine now returned for a second time to Carthage, where he devoted himself zealously to work. Thence, probably in the spring of 383, he migrated to Rome. His Manichaean friends urged him to take this step, which was rendered easier by the licentious lives of the students at Carthage. His stay at Rome may have lasted about a year, no agreeable time for Augustine, since his patrons and friends belonged to just those Manichaean circles with which he had in the meantime entirely lost all intellectual touch. He, therefore, accepted an invitation from Milan, where the people were in search of a teacher of rhetoric.

At Milan the conflict within his mind in search of truth still continued. It was now that he separated himself openly from the Manichaean sect. As a thinker he came entirely under the influence of the New Academy; he professed the Sceptic philosophy, without being able to find in it the final conclusion of wisdom. He was, however, not far from the decision. Two things determined his further development. He became acquainted with the Neo-Platonic philosophy; its monism replaced the dualism, its intellectualized world of ideas the materialism of Manichaeism. Here he found the admonition to seek for truth outside the material world, and from created things he learnt to recognize the invisible God; he attained the certainty that this God is, and is eternal, always the same, subject to change neither in his parts nor in his motions. And while thus Augustine’s metaphysical convictions were being slowly remodelled, he met, in Ambrose, bishop of Milan, a man in whom complete worldly culture and the nobility of a ripe Christian personality were wonderfully united. He heard him preach; but at first it was the orator and not the contents of the sermons that enchained him. He sought an opportunity of conversation with him, but this was not easily found. Ambrose had no leisure for philosophic discussion. He was accessible to all who sought him, but never for a moment free from study or the cares of duty. Augustine, as he himself tells us, used to enter without being announced, as all persons might; but after staying for a while, afraid of interrupting him, he would depart again. He continued, however, to hear Ambrose preach, and gradually the gospel of divine truth and grace was received into his heart. He was busy with his friend Alypius in studying the Pauline epistles; certain words were driven home with irresistible force to his conscience. His struggle of mind became more and more intolerable, the thought of divine purity fighting in his heart