Augustine (354-430)

The writings of Augustine in italics and my comments in bold:

In the summer of 386, after having read an account of the life of St Anthony of the desert which greatly inspired him, Augustine underwent a profound personal crisis, which led him to convert to Christianity, abandon his career in rhetoric, quit his teaching position in Milan, give up any ideas of marriage, and devote himself entirely to serving God and to the practices of priesthood, which included celibacy. Key to this conversion was a childlike voice he heard telling him in a sing-song voice, tolle, lege (“take up and read”):

I cast myself down I know not how, under a certain fig-tree, giving full vent to my tears; and the floods of mine eyes gushed out an acceptable sacrifice to Thee. And, not indeed in these words, yet to this purpose, spake I much unto Thee: and Thou, O Lord, how long? how long, Lord, wilt Thou be angry for ever? Remember not our former iniquities, for I felt that I was held by them. I sent up these sorrowful words: How long, how long, “to-morrow, and tomorrow?” Why not now? why not is there this hour an end to my uncleanness? So was I speaking and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when, lo! I heard from a neighbouring house a voice, as of boy or girl, I know not, chanting, and oft repeating, “Take up and read; Take up and read. ” Consider Yeshua who took the book from the Father and read. For He was full of grace and truth and the Spirit of the Father was upon Him. Look unto Yeshua. Instantly, my countenance altered, I began to think most intently whether children were wont in any kind of play to sing such words: nor could I remember ever to have heard the like. So checking the torrent of my tears, I arose; interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book, and read the first chapter I should find. For I had heard of Antony, that coming in during the reading of the Gospel, he received the admonition, as if what was being read was spoken to him: Go, sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me: and by such oracle he was forthwith converted unto Thee. My question is did ne see Yeshua the Meshiach forsaking all of heaven above, and giving to the poor and following the Father to the cross. This I do not know. For if I man give up everything as works of righteouness to obtain favor with God it is all as dung. Eagerly then I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting; for there had I laid the volume of the Apostle when I arose thence. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: 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, in concupiscence. Again, the one trure gospel preached declares the Meshiach, Yeshua, death for our sins according to the Tanach, His burial and His resurrection the third day according to the Tanach. No further would I read; nor needed I: for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.
The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Book VIII, Paragraphs 28 and 29.

Augustine had heard a childlike voice singing from a nearby house. Oh, let the child like voices be the words of the one true gospel preached and God giving grace by His will alone.  He paused to give thought to how and why such a child would sing those words and then left his garden and returned to his house. At his house he picked up a book written by the Apostle Paul Epistles to the Romans and opened it and instantly read : (Romans 13: 13-14) “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, in concupiscence.”[20] He would detail his spiritual journey in his famous Confessions, which became a classic of both Christian theology and world literature. Ambrose baptized Augustine, along with his son, Adeodatus, on Easter Vigil in 387 in Milan, and soon thereafter in 388 he returned to Africa.[13] If God gives grace to a man to accept the one true gospel who can afterward forbid that man water- to be dipped in Yeshua’a name.

I cannot tell you for certain by what is written of Augustine’s conversion. I do not know. But I do not see the gospel preached.  I do not put nothing pass the exploits of men disciplined in the flesh who outwardly conform to a godliness, but inwardly they are barren of the grace of God. If you must, read my entry of Wesley over to see what men will do, and what will be written of them. What troubles me much about Augustine’s writings is the abundance of doctrine and the scarcity of the one true gospel. This is what is written and language has its gaps though the centuries of time. I do not know about his conversion. There seems to be an uncertainty and a finding out of where the voice comes from. I see no uncertainty in the conversion of Paul.  I do not know about his abundant doctrine. Doctrine is good as it comes forth from the preaching of the one true gospel, and the gospel is not subjected to doctrine for the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. God knows what is true here, but we have a more sure word of prophecy than the audible voice of God on the mount of transfiguration- the one true gospel. What men highly reguard, God considers an abomination. And the gates of sheol shall not prevail against the assembly of the living God.

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