C. C. Martindale, S.J.
The <Confessions> of St Augustine have possibly, next to the New Testament, exercised a greater influence on the religion of all Europe than any other book. We may, perhaps, except the Psalms; and we do not forget the <Imitation of Christ>. Still, the Psalms are obscure, and thoroughly Hebraic: the <Imitation> has spoken to but five centuries, where Augustine has moulded fifteen. A Kempis remains ever the ascetic, pre-eminently the monk; and, for all his wide sympathy and tenderly penetrating insight, cannot but influence, almost exclusively, the interior and spiritual life.
Augustine vindicates, by almost every title, the attention and admiration of the historian, the psychologist, the philosopher, the theologian, the practical ruler of men, the recluse; above all, of the struggling soul "made for God, and restless until it rests in Him." "He could express," writes Harnack, "the sense of consolation for the misery of sin with a strength of feeling and in words of an overwhelming force such as no one before him ever displayed; nay, more: he managed by what he wrote to go so straight to the souls of millions, to describe so precisely their inner condition, and so impressively and overpoweringly to put the consolation before them, that what he felt has been felt again and again for 1500 years. Up to the very day in which we live, so far as Catholic Christians are concerned, inward and vivid religious fervour, and the expression which it takes, are in their whole character Augustinian." Indeed, he lays down the spirit of Augustine as the third essential constituent of Roman Catholicism; and declares that "nowhere in the religious history of the West is a man to be found who for importance and for influence can be compared with him." Mr. Cunningham says of him that "he still towers as a master of Christian thought above all who have followed him in Western Christendom there has been no crisis of religious history in later days when men have not turned to him for direction." And Dom Leclercq concludes his splendid appreciation of Augustine by asserting:
"Only with difficulty we can grasp all the subjects he was able to set forth, and we have to remember that he had, moreover, to conceive them first. That is enough to stamp his greatness. His qualities of heart did not fall short of his intelligence; and he is probably the man who, since his death has been more than all others admired and loved. He is also, perhaps, the one man who has the most fully understood Christianity, who has felt it the most passionately; and, in the twenty centuries of its history, we can see none but St Paul to whom he may be compared."
In the limits of this lecture, where almost any one fact or citation might be paralleled by a hundred others probably quite as valuable, we shall try, in our bald exposition of Augustine's doctrine, to insist on those points where he drew away from the East, or has influenced Western history, or is in special contact with modern thought.
At Tagaste, a tiny market-town of Numidia, Aurelius Augustine was born on 13th November, 354. Son of a mixed marriage, he received from his mother Monnica the Christian education which his father Patritius scorned. Yet baptism was not conferred on him, though, in a dangerous illness, he begged for it.
Patritius cherished high dreams for his son's future, and strained his resources to educate a mind keen from the first, but frivolous. Augustine's reminiscences of this period are touched with a pathetic humour. He prayed hard, but to avoid floggings; games of ball made havoc of his studies, though his curiosity already went towards the sports and shows of grown men. And so, behind the flapping curtain which alone screened off the schoolroom from the street, he stood in the row of boys, droning the loathsome sing-song "one and one make two," loving his Latin, weeping over Dido's suicide, thrilled already by the melancholy grandeur of the <AEneid>, excited to think AEneas really came to Carthage, but detesting beyond description his Greek.
Strangely enough, besides the conviction of an unseen Providence to be prayed to, and a fear of judgment, the sweetness of the name of Jesus thrilled him, and literature which lacked it seemed insipid. The neighbouring town of Madaura completed, by exercises in rhetoric and literary discussion, the first part of his education, and in his sixteenth year he returned to Tagaste, and here (for his father could not economize fast enough to send him at once to the University town of Carthage) he spent the year in a fatal idleness, flinging himself into dissipation so inevitable to the hot African blood that even Christians shrugged their shoulders, repeating the proverb, "Let him do as he likes: he is not yet baptized ! "In 370, assisted by Romanianus, the Maecenas of Tagaste, he made his way to Carthage. Here sensual pleasure reigned supreme; Augustine became its delighted slave. Tertullian and Cyprian, the two earlier of that great African triad, had passed that way. In Carthage, where the obscene processions of the Mother of the Gods, or the Heavenly Virgin, still disgraced the streets, where even business turned on the fabrication of rich stuffs and <objets de luxe>, where favourite jockeys or ballet dancers or gladiators occasioned recurring riots, and sea-monsters and captured gorillas (believed to be savage women) made for popular excitements, Augustine held himself "abject, if innocent; despicable, if pure "; he "banqueted upon iniquity," and "to feel shame was the greatest shame of all." Yet even while he joined the wildest and most riotous young men of Carthagethe <eversores> was their nicknamethe prayer, "Give me chastity, but not yet," haunted his soul.
In 372 a son, Adeodatus, whom he passionately loved, was born of a mother to whom he consecrated, for fifteen years, at least "fidelity in sin."
The first stage in Augustine's conversion seems strange enough. Fragments alone survive of Cicero's dialogue, the <Hortensius>, which fell, at this moment, into his hands. Its glowing panegyric of Philosophy fired his intellectual imagination. Already soul-sick of wantonness, his hopes began to turn to the conquest of immortality through wisdom. "I was beginning to rise that I might return to Thee." But though the stately Ciceronian periods lacked that grace of the name of Christ, the majestic march of the Latin and his early love for the golden cadences of Vergil turned him, for the time, even further from the Scriptures, with their contempt for form rendered still harsher in the crabbed versions of his day. Yet even this literary sensitiveness he later on "baptized "; and uniting in himself the elaborate oratory of Africa, where Tertullian had been disciple of the prismatic prose of Apuleius, with an Italian ambition to mould classical Latin to Christian use, he combined those two styles in "proportions which, throughout the Middle Ages, form the accepted language of Latin Christianity."
For the time, however, conversion seemed indefinitely distant. Augustine, in this same year 373, joined the Manichean sect. Mani, a Persian, born about 215 A.D., taught materialistic dualism. Light <is> substantial Good; Darkness, Evil. Light was a kingdom, headed by a spirit, God; Darkness, a godless kingdom which produced Satan. In our world a ceaseless battle rages between these elements. Particularly in man the principles of Light and Dark fight for mastery: <he> is not responsible for the evil in him. Satan engendered Adam, in whose descendants light, however, survives-in women, barely a spark. Prophets and preachers, including Christ (not the historical Jesus, but a contemporary spirit) and Paul, are sent to free the imprisoned light, till it reconstitutes its unmixed kingdom above a lake of Darkness. Hence a rigid asceticism, and abstention from all that held elements of Darknessflesh meat, wine, sexual desire, and marriage. The few who assumed these austerities were the "Elect," or "Perfect," and could intercede and merit for, and practically redeem the many who were "Catechumens." We need not detail the hierarchy and ritual of the Western Manichean Church, which were closely modeled on the Christian. Religiously, it offered a very simple, though false, solution to the problem of Evil, which tormented the conscience of the second and third centuries of our era. Its morality appeared lofty, its worship spiritual, its promises sublime; it flattered the educated by subordinating authority to reason. It survived long in the Far East, yielding in Central Asia to the Mongol invasions. The Vandals extirpated it in Africa though it continued to inspire, at least indirectly, heretical sects as late as the thirteenth-century Albigenses.
To this sect Augustine abandoned himself for nine years, flattered, as he tells us (40(66)) by its intellectualism, greedy for its boasted scientific lore, puzzled by Biblical difficulties which its rejection of the Old Testament evaded (38(336)), dazzled by its parade of purity, and consciencedrugged by the thought that not he, but darkness in him, was the real sinner. Passionately he warred against Catholicism: eagerly he made proselytes. A brilliant period of successes now opened, first at Tagaste, then at Carthage itself ; and the dazzling and irregular life culminated in his public coronation by the proconsul for triumph in a joust of versifying.
Monnica meanwhile, in her first horror of grief, had forbidden the apostate her house and table. Soon she received him back: a bishop, of Tagaste doubtless, had assured her that the "son of her tears never could be lost," and the words, since that time, have comforted the aching heart of many a mother.
And, indeed, Augustine kept back something in his self-surrender. He never joined the "elect," but remained a "hearer." Nervously subconscious that the Manicheans destroyed, but built up nothing (42(60)), he saw that they failed, for all that, to disprove even the Scripture arguments of the Catholics (32(716), 42(69), 33(272)). Their flagrant immorality clashed shockingly with their boasted continence (32(1372-8)). Above all, Faustus of Mileve, their famous bishop and protagonist, to whose solutions Augustine had been referred in every difficulty, proved, on acquaintance, a shallow rhetorician who took his science second hand. Disgusted and disillusioned, Augustine left Carthage secretly for Rome in 383.
At Rome he fell dangerously ill, but never asked for baptism. He recovered, and resumed his private classes. But his pupils, less turbulent than those of Carthage, were also less generous. Augustine, with no reputation but many rivals, could not make a living: he must leave Rome. The office of professor of oratory in the public schools of Milan at this moment fell vacant. Augustine obtained an introduction to the greatest orator of the time, the pagan Symmachus, prefect of Rome, who, enchanted with his talent, sent him in an imperial carriage to Milan, whither Monnica soon followed him.
Here, between 383 and 386, he passed through three distinct phases. In his reaction from Manicheism he fell into universal skepticismthe "Academic Doubt," as it was still called. But in the midst of this fearful spiritual isolation he met Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, one of the most influential personages in the whole empire at that time.
The Bishop, flooded with business of all sorts, his palace thronged with clients, could give Augustine but little time; but, in Ambrose's sermons, the young professor for the first time heard Christian doctrine exposed in literary form and with mystical interpretations of the Scriptures, and he eagerly followed them. Still, he doubted; "a catechumen till some gleam of certainty should dawn." And all the while "I grew more wretched, and Thou more near." It was at this moment that Augustine was given some books of Plato (the <Timaeus> ?), and no doubt of Plotinus. A phase followed of wild enthusiasm for that Neoplatonist religion, and, indeed, Platonism coloured the whole future thought of Augustine, and thus this gift of Plato's writings set a current in the thought of Western Christendom.
We may at once indicate the Platonistic element in Augustine's doctrine. He believes that Plato lifted him to a true and almost worthy knowledge of God. Early in his Christian career (32957) he declares:
"My decision is never at all to recede from Christ's authority I can find none more cogent. But this we must follow up with all possible subtlety of reasoning; for my mood now is, that I eagerly desire to apprehend what Truth is, not only by believing, but by understanding; meanwhile I am convinced that I shall discover among the Platonists nothing repugnant to our religion."
The Platonists are, therefore, the only serious antagonistsjust because they need so slight a change to make them Christians ! (32(740-955), 33(441-8)).
That the aim of all philosophy was to know, to copy, and lovingly to exult in God, he learnt then from Plato and never forgot; the spirituality of God, and our consequent duty of checking the imagination and silencing the senses if we would reach Himthe sublime synthesis according to which God is ultimate Being, Truth, and Goodness, and source of these created qualities in the universe ; the unification therein of his three great theoriesof Creation, of Revelation by the Word (the expression of God's Self to our intelligences), and of our Elevation, by Grace, to the unific vision of that supreme Good after which we strain; and his division of philosophy, on this basis into physical, logic, and moral, all this he learnt first and most thoroughly from Plato. And many a formula of Platonic ethics have passed, through Augustine, into Christian literature.
Relentlessly, however, he rejected many an aberration of Plato or his schoolthe eternal and inevitable emanation or generation of the world from the divine substance; the hierarchy of intermediate beings presiding over the birth of its several stages; and metempsychosis. In short he separated himself from Plato mainly in his doctrine of God; from the Neo-Platonists, in his doctrine of the Universe.
He might have gone further. Doubtful whether the Trinity were really indicated in Plato, he hesitated not to recognize in him, in a fullness which neither philosophy nor history can tolerate, the Catholic doctrine of the Word, His nature, His creative office, His relation to man's soul. But, after rehearsing St John's sublime exordium, when he reaches the Word's humiliations and man's exaltation in the suffering Man Christ Jesus, he confesses (32(740)):
"Now in those books I found that He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. But that He came unto His own, and His own received Him not; while unto as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become sons of God, believing in His Namenot <there> read I. . . . And in those writings I traced it stated in manifold wise that the Son is in the form of the Father, thinking it not robbery to be equal to God, because by nature that is what He is. But that He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, and in habit was found as man, and humiliated Himself, being made obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross . . . those books have not I . . . For thou hast hidden these things from the wise, and revealed them unto little ones, that unto Him the labouring and the heavy burdened might come, and He refresh them, because He is meek and humble of heart . . . and to the gentle teacheth He His ways, seeing our lowliness and our labour, and forgiving us all our sins" (Conf. viu. c. 9).
Yet he was always grateful he had discovered Plato before Paul, lest, had he grown first to love the writings of the New Testament, he had been tempted to read into Plato what really was not there. Like a man, he says, on a woodland knoll, Plato might catch the blessed vision of peace, the Father-country. He could not, passionately as he desired it, attain thereto. Christ's highway, safe and clear, leads now to that same goal: man has the light and the strength for his journey: the dream is become life.
Had Augustine done nothing but hand on to Western Europe, at an hour when all links with the priceless past were snapping, the majestic Latin tongue, and the treasures of Plato, our debt would already be incalculable.
Augustine's deliverance was not, however, immediate. Yet a power was drawing him, and to resist was agony. Above all, conscience clamoured against the life which he had, by the departure of Adeodatus's mother, momentarily abandoned, but resumed with another companion. Intellectually, Augustine believed himself convinced. "I had found the goodly pearl: and, at the price of all I had, I should have bought it; and I hesitated." His two wills, "one old, one new ; one of the flesh, one of the spirit, fought angrily together, and my soul was on the rack." The Life of St Antonius, read to him by a friend, marked a crisis:
"Thou, Lord, in his words wast twisting me back to myself . . . wast setting me before my face, that I might see how foul I was, how distorted and filthy, how soiled and ulcered. And I saw, and shuddered, and could flee myself now hither. And if I tried to turn my gaze from myself, the reader went on reading, and Thou placedst me once more before my own face, and thrustedst me before my own eyes, that I might find my iniquity and loathe it.... The day had come when I lay naked to myself.... With what scourge of argument lashed I not my soul, that she should follow me who sought to follow Thee ! But she struggled and refused, and made no excuse. For all her reasonings had been consumed and defeated: only a dumb shrinking still remained" (32(756)).
Augustine, on reaching home, sought the garden, with his friend, Alypius, terrified, at his side. The "merciful severity" of the Lord was there, scourging him to the snapping of the last meshes of sin.
"And I kept saying in my heart, ' Let it be now ! Let it be now ! ' And as I spoke, I made towards the resolve I was all but doing it, and I did it not: yet I stepped not wholly back, but I would stand still hard by, and draw breath. And again I would try: and by a little less I was there, and again by a little less; all butall butI reached and I held; and lo, I was not there, and reached not, and held not, hesitating to die to death. . . . The empty trifles, and the vanities of vanities, my loves of yore, still held me back, plucking softly at my robe of flesh, and softly whispering, ' Wilt thou dismiss us ? And from this moment shall not this and that be allowed to thee any more for ever ? From this moment shall we be with thee never any more for ever ? . . . Thinkest thou to do without these things ? . . .' But from the other side behold a vision of the chaste dignity of Continence, serene in cheer . . . smiling and calling me,"
It was the army of the pure, boys and girls, men and women, virgin equally. "What they could do, cannot you?" The words came back and back. Bursting into a storm of tears, Augustine tore himself from Alypius, ran to the furthest part of the garden, flung himself on his face beneath a fig-tree, and sobbed and prayed. A child's voice reached him, singing from the neighbouring house some trifling rhyme: "<Take it, read it !
Take it, read it>!" Half dazed, Augustine rose, returned to Alypius, opened his scroll and read: "Not in riotings and drunkenness, not in chamberings and impurities, not in contention and envy. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its lusts" (Rom. 131' l'). In calm and silence, the miracle was worked. His will was healed, he went direct to Monnica, and the old life dropped from him like a garment. Of this appalling moral struggle the <Confessions> are the unique and priceless document. The agony, the calm, and the exultation following are told with a human poignancy that not diversity of race, or circumstance, or century can ever blunt. A fellow-professor, Verecundus, put at Augustine's disposal his country-house of Cassiciacum, situated in the exquisite lake-country of North Italy. Thither, with a number of his younger relatives and friends, and also Adeodatus and Monnica, Augustine retired to prepare for baptism. Nothing, however, could be less true than to picture a semi-monastic retreat all silence, penance, and prayer. For now began his gigantic correspondence, in part surviving. He managed the estate, studied, wrote, commented on the pagan authors which, before his conversion, had grown so tedious; lectured one day on a whole book of Vergil before dinner; held, above allwith his younger companions, and Monnica always there to interpose a shrewd remarkset debates upon all sorts of philosophical subjects. In fine weather, these took place on the wooded hillside; when it was wet, in the vast bathing-hall, always with a shorthand writer present to fix the flying argument.
Always the thought of God and Christianity dominates these discussions; the Scriptures are reread with doubled care; prayer mounts to ecstasy; repentance and selfcontempt are still intense, but with never an accent of the old despair.
During the Lent of 387, Augustine, Adeodatus, and Alypius prepared for baptism, which they received probably on Easter Saturday. In the autumn Augustine went to Rome with the purpose of retiring to a hermit's life in Africa, when, at the port of Ostia, Monnica fell ill.
In the incomparable chapters of the 9th book of his <Confessions>, Augustine relates how, alone with his mother, he stood looking forth through a window upon the garden at Ostia, while she spoke with him of the eternal life of the saints; and how, in the hush of all creation, their souls were rapt in God.
Monnica, whose last wish had been to see her son baptized, careless now of her old anxiety to be buried near her husband"nothing is far from God"died peacefully a few days after, asking nothing but a daily <memento> at that altar "from which she knew the sacred victim, whereby the handwriting against us is blotted out, was dispensed."
Augustine ends his own exquisite prayer for his mother by begging his readers to remember her too at the altar: "Let them remember, with tender affection, my parents in this transitory light, and my brothers under Thee, my Father, in my mother the Catholic Church, and my fellowcitizens in the Eternal Jerusalem, whereunto sighs the pilgrimage of thy people from their setting forth even to their return; that her last petition to me may be the more fully granted, by the prayers of many, through these my confessions, than through my own poor prayers." In 388 Augustine reached Tagaste, sold his valuables, retired with his friends into a monastic seclusion, and there remained till 39I. In that year, during a visit to Hippo, a popular outburst of enthusiasm acclaimed him priest. On the property of Valerius, who ordained him, he founded a second monastery. The office of preaching, in Africa (deplorably enough, Jerome says) reserved to bishops, was by an exception extended to him. His literary and controversial activity had been from the outset prodigious; he took an influential part in more than one council; he abolished with infinite difficulty, the pagan survival of feasting on the martyrs' tombs; he fought various heresies by writing and in public conference, especially the Manichean, whose leading exponent, Fortunnatus, actually fled from Hippo. Probably in 396, the inevitable episcopate (first in coadjutorship to Valerius) was thrust upon Augustine.
From this point we shall leave the historical consideration of Augustine's life for that of his doctrinal writings and influence, which arose, however, from the necessity imposed on him of combating the several heresies active during his stormy episcopate.
I. Manicheism.<Augustine's Doctrine of Faith and Reason>.From his very conversion Augustine had not ceased to combat Manicheism; as bishop he continued his polemic, but most gently, remembering the anguish of his own deliverance (42(174)).
Here, recalling the Manichean idolatry of reason, we shall but outline his treatment of those fundamental and most modern of problems, Certainty, Reason, Authority, Faith, and their mutual relations.
Better than Descartes, he established a Doctrine of Certainty on the personal realization of the Principle of Contradiction<I doubt, therefore I am>against the universal skepticism significant of his decadent age. From the platform of personal existence he springs straight to God: the finite and mutable self proves, with certainty, the Absolute.
But again and again he affirms in all thingseven in Natural Philosophya heart of mystery. "Know what thou knowest not, lest thou know nought at all." Hence his bold assertion of the <Will's> prime place in gaining certainty: Religion, even Philosophy, is not only doctrine, but Life: Love seeks: Purity sees. The bearing of this on the most modern of controversies is obvious.
Harnack hold Augustine to have been the first to recognize and struggle to solve the problem which comes first in all questions of Dogmatic Religionthe relation of Reason to Authority.
Reason comes ever first, and proves the credibility of the witnesses to that in which our Faith is asked. Even when they testify to what outstrips Reason, a <quantulacumque ratio> (33(453)), "some minimum of Reason," must still precede, to make it reasonable for us to submit our reason. Even in believing, Faith never quite forgets her grounds of trust: but before we gain full intelligence of Truth, Faith must have appeared.
"Understand to believe; then, believe to understand," is his anticipation of Anselm's famous postulate of a Faith which seeks Understanding (38(258)) "Though no one," he cries, "unless he understand somewhat, can believe in God, yet that very faith whereby he believes gives him health to understand more fully. For there is that which, if we understand it not, we cannot believe; and that which, unless we believe it, we cannot understand" (37(1552)).
Christian Apologetics must ensure to us this preliminary understanding. They show Authority reasonable, and refute objections. They assume a Guiding Providence, for chance, or arbitrary interference, would stultify reasoning. Augustine's argument travels through proof from miracles to (better) prophecies fulfilled, or the his favourite there, the standing miracle of the Church, her world-conquest, her moral transformation of man.
Tradition and Bible are sources of our knowledge, but derive their value from the living voice of the Church. The Church gives us the Scriptures, tells us what they are, and how to interpret them; she offers the Book, but with it the Creed. "I should not believe the Gospel," he roundly asserts, "did not the authority of the Catholic Church impel me" (42)(176))).
But of his teaching on Scripture we have spoken (p. 5), and of his ecclesiology we shall speak below (p. 17).
II. Donatism.<The Church and Sacraments>.When Augustine came to Hippo, the Donatist schism had existed for about a century.
The main theological points of difference were, whether the sacraments depended for their validity on the faith and even moral state of the minister; and whether a sinner was at once excluded by his sin from the Catholic Church. The illegitimate deposing of the Bishop of Carthage, and the setting up of a rival bishop, in 312, marked the immediate declaration of the sect, By 330 A.D. it could convene a synod of 270 bishops.
Meanwhile, the Emperorthe Donatists were the first to appeal, in this struggle, to the secular arm, and the first also to declare their entire independence from the imperial power when it turned against themalternately repressed and tolerated a movement which soon became a serious focus of anarchy. For the Donatists gathered round them fanatical bands of brigands, responsible for recurrent outbreaks of arson, pillage, and bloodshed directed against the Catholics. To throw corrosives in their adversaries' eyes seems to have been a favourite tactic with these men, who are best comparable to the revolutionary sects of the Middle Ages. Indeed, Harnack, Dollinger, and Leclercq see here an assertion of African nationality against the Empire.
Augustine's earlier influence was all for toleration. He sought for friendly discussions and interviews; he inspired conciliar decisions mitigating the disabilities of Donatist converts; he begged the Pope to admit their children to candidature for ordination. The Donatists redoubled their violence, refused all discussion, and attempted to murder the Bishops of Calama and Bagaia, and even Augustine himself.
In 404 Augustine tells us that the violence of these rebels decided him to alter his tactics. A series of imperial edicts provoked further resistance: in Augustine's correspondence we can watch the progress of the struggle, the constant stream of converts, the severe measures tempered always by the Bishop's prayer that death be never the punishment of heresy alone (33(366); cf. (302), etc.).
The famous conference of 411 between 286 Catholic and 279 Donatist bishops was ordered by decree of the Emperor Honorius. Marcellinus, the Imperial delegate, gave the victory at all points to Augustine's irrefutable argument. From this time conversions were rapid, but repression was still severe: more than once Augustine begged for more gentleness. Not until the Vandal invasions did Donatism, like Manicheism, vanish from North Africa.
(<a>) The practical genius of the West had naturally left metaphysics to the Greeks, and occupied itself with the moral life and Law: <sin> was the problem for the Christian conscience there, and Church government a main pre-occupation. The specialized form which the Donatist schism gave to these questions in Africa occasioned the elaboration of Augustine's theory of Church, priesthood, sacraments, and holiness.
It was founded, however, on the natural law recognized by East and West alike, that man is essentially "political," and that all human life must express itself in terms of social organism. The individualistic religion of the Reform would have been as unintelligible to Augustine as any theory which denied the state would have been to Plato or Aristotle, and as revolting to his instinct as anarchy ever was to Rome.
Never forgetful, then, that the Church was one thing with Christ, in her alone, he taught, the Christian could find life. As he was Adam, she was Eve; God is our Father, she our mother; when Christ was incarnate in Mary's womb, then she was espoused to Him. "One thing I commend to your prayers," he preached. "From one not a Catholic turn away your thoughts, turn away your ears, so that you may have strength to grasp the remission of sins, resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting through the one true and holy Catholic Church" (38(1070)). Outside the Church, the Donatist can have all but salvation. "He can have rank, he can have the sacraments; he can sing Alleluia, and answer Amen; he can hold and preach the faith in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; but salvation nowhere shall he be able to find save in the Catholic Church" (43(695)). Such is the covenanted scheme. But God, absolute master of His graces, works miracles of mercy where and as He wills. Beyond the visible Church, without her sacraments, without her priests, the Omnipotent Lord of sanctification can act directly and where He chooses. Only, woe to those who know and slight the covenant .
"We know that invisible sanctification has been present and profitable unto some without the visible sacraments; but not for that may the visible sacrament be scorned: for the scorner of the visible can never in any wise invisibly be sanctified "(34"').
And, by virtue of the marriage bond between Christ and Christian, in both sacrament and priest "Christ heals, Christ purifies, Christ justifies" (38(1324)).
Yet between priest and layman, ordination cleaves as utter a division as by baptism exists between Christian and heathen. No sin can efface the awful stamp and sacrament which has ordained a man to be a priest for ever. Augustine mentions all the degrees of orders, and at the head is set the Roman Pontiff, no mere symbol of the unity of the Church, but as a chief represents and as a monarch rules his people.
"What holds me in the Church," he wrote, "is the succession of priests from the very See of Peter the Apostle, to whom the Lord commended the feeding of His sheep . . .unto the present Bishop "(42(175)). "It is in the Roman Church that the principate of the Apostolic chair has ever thriven "(33(163)); and in Peter, to whom Cyprian, in martyrdom, was equal, "the primacy, however, of the Apostles stands forth pre-eminent by a favour so transcendant . . . for who is ignorant that that principate of the Apostleship must be preferred to any bishopric whatsoever?" (43(127)).
This Church, building herself up, through sin and grace, to glory, is even now doctrinally infallible (36(122), etc.); she speaks authoritatively in her councils (43(114), etc.), and, with complete finality, through the Pope. Augustine's actions, and constant recourse to the Apostolic See for counsel, corroboration, ratification, especially in the Pelagian controversy, are even more cogent than his words. Still, we may add the often misquoted but invaluable sentence:
"Concerning this cause two embassies were sent to the Apostolic See. Thence, too, came rescripts. The cause is finished. Would that the error might some day. too, be finished" (38(734)). (b) Augustine was, perhaps, the first to disengage the notions constituent of the whole idea of <sacrament> so minutely circumscribed by the twelfth century though his use of the <word> is still wide (it includes, e.g., the Lord's Prayer). Besides being <signs>, and <links>, and <rites> of religion, they have, as the Donatist schism caused him to elaborate, intrinsic efficacy; they confer the grace which the signs of the Old Testament prophesied (42(355-356)); Christ's working in them is not nullified by the imperfection of ministers: always the Church, the mystic dove, baptizes, even when the heretic "hawk "administers the sacrament (43(149)). If a heretic's baptism confers no grace, that is because of the bad will of the baptized. Let him repent: the obstacle is gone, and grace is given (42(119)). It is true that the fluid terminology of his day, not yet Aristotelianized, accounts for a few inaccuracies discoverable among Augustine's references to the Eucharist. Still, the incidentally ambiguous must be explained by the mass of what is certain. Loofs, who is for denying that Augustine taught the Christ's Eucharistic Presence save in a figurative sense, owns that in his time the Church at large, and in Africa pre-eminently, was all for the "realists," while Augustine contains no hint of disagreement with his predecessors or contemporaries, and they on their side evidently had no suspicion that the Bishop of Hippo's doctrine was not theirs. Ambrose, again, had taught a Real Presence (6(405)) in unequivocal terms, which Augustine, who owned in all things to Ambrose as his father in the faith, not only never impugned, but actually copied, when (explaining (37(1264)) the words of the psalm" and adore the footstool of His feet ") he asks how God's footstool, the earth, can be adored without impiety.
"In my hesitation I turn to Christ, and find how earth may be adored without impiety.... His flesh is earth, and of the flesh of Mary He received flesh; and because in that self-same flesh He walked here, and that self-same flesh gave to us to eat for our salvationnow that flesh no one eateth unless he have first adoredthus it hath been found how such a Footstool should be adored, and that not only we sin not by adoring, but that by not adoring we should sin." And again (36(306)) he asks how the seemingly unintelligible words of Ps. xxxiii (LXX), "and he was borne in his own hands," could be interpreted. And he understands it of Christ, "for Christ was being carried in His own hands, when, commending His own body itself, He said, ' This is my body,' for in His own hands He was carrying it."
On the Sacrament of Penance, dealing directly as it did with the practical needs of the Western conscience, Augustine's doctrine is unmistakable. Helped by his clear-cut distinction between hell-meriting mortal sins and the venial offenses which coexist with grace, he elaborated his doctrine of the Triple Penance<Baptismal>, which blots out all sin equally; <Daily>, by which through prayer, alms, fasting, etc., the venial offenses of life are effaced; <Great>, to be obtained, for greater faults, from the Keys of the Church (39(1535-60), 40(636), etc.). No false rigorism survives: <all> sins can be forgiven (40(242), 35(2100)), but recourse to these Keys is the only and necessary and certain way to win forgiveness. All mortal sins, but not venial, were to be submitted to the Keys; "Confessions of devotion "seemingly had no existence: and anyhow it seems fairly certain that only for graver sins and public scandals was public penance imposed. Confession itself was apparently secret (38(511)), and probably only to the bishop or his delegate. So distinct is the grace of penance from that of baptism, and so emphasized the priest's role as <judge>, that Harnack (<Lehrbuch>, iii, p. 146 n.) can assert that Augustine was the first to give herein an intellectual ground to the sacramental theory of Penance.
III. Pelagianism<Grace, Predestination, Freewill>.The intricacy of these problems may justify the baldness of our account of the doctrine which won Augustine his supreme title, Doctor of Grace. Morgan (Pelagius), a Scotch or Irish monk, and his lawyer friend Caelestius, taught a doctrine rooted in Stoicism, influenced by Theodore of Mopsuestia, and evolved in opposition to Manicheism. Man is lord of his will; evil is unnecessary. Man of <himself> can fulfill all justice, obey all commands, avoid all sin. To <will> and to <work> (44(362)) are wholly man's; the mere <power> to do so is from God. "By the freedom of his will," said Julian of Eclanum, "man is emancipate from God," who, as Neander sees, is thus "shut up in His Eternity," an august spectator of the human drama. Hence, <Naturalism>: what room, indeed, is left for the supernatural ? Humanity of itself can achieve an end connatural to it. And again, <Rigorism>: all sins are equalized, all mortal, all excommunicating; while perfection being possible is obligatory. Man <can>, therefore <must>. Pelagian "grace "is merely the gift of existence, or the promulgated Law, or <external> helps; or, if internal to the will, at least merited by man's own powers.
From Rome, after its sack (410) the heretics fled to Jerusalem, met Augustine for a moment at Carthage, and received a kindly letter from him. In 411 Carthage, however, could already condemn six of Caelestius's propositions. He appealed to Rome, fled to Ephesus, and was ordained. In 412-4l5 Augustine fought the heresy, with customary delicacy never actually naming Pelagius. John, Bishop of Jerusalem, was protecting Pelagius, whose ambiguous and indeed hypocritical defense won him acquittal at Diospolis in 415. In 416 Carthage and Mileve reaffirmed the condemnation, and appealed to Innocent I, to whom Augustine also wrote against Diospolis. In 417 three letters from the Pope reassured the African bishops and confirmed the excommunication. But Pope Zosimus, who succeeded in that year, elaborately deceived by two "Professions of Faith "from the two heretics, accepted these, accused the Africans of precipitancy and summoned the accusers of Pelagius to Rome. Carthage and Augustine appealed anew; Zosimus replaced affairs <in statu quo>. In 418 a general synod of Carthage (over 214 bishops) put out eight (nine ?) canons against Pelagianism. But Zosimus in that year not only saw through Caelestius's trickery, but, in an encyclical subscribed by the bishops of the whole world, confirmed the African councils, condemned Caelestius and Pelagius, and defined the dogma of Original Sin and the universal necessity of grace. We need not trace the death-struggle of the heresy. Manicheism originated the problem in Augustine's mind: What is evil ? How reconcile liberty with Providence ? with Christ's doctrine that "without Me ye can do nothing" ? with Paul's theory of Predestination and Grace ? Already in 393 (40(71)) Augustine formulates the Catholic doctrine clearly save that he does not yet see man to be incapable of the <initial> act of supernatural conversion. Yet in 397 his system is complete. His <De diversis quaestionibus ad Simplicianum> of that year is the key to all his doctrine; he constantly refers inquirers to this book; he never advanced beyond it, and treats his solution there given as a revelation (32(629), 44(966)),
Augustine declared God's "most omnipotent power" over the human will (44(943), 38(598)). Grace precedes freewill; <all> actions of supernatural value are its fruits; every virtue even the naturally good acts of pagans (33(591), etc.), flow from God, unique and necessary source of good. Yet the absolutely certain triumph of efficacious grace is but infallible, not irresistible (32(621), etc.). In his earlier works he never asserts the <death> of man's freewill, but only its disease in his latest he never retracts this doctrine, and to the end proclaims man's liberty (45(1520), 44(968), etc.). He seeks to conciliate grace and liberty by reaffirming that God infallibly, yet freely, gains His ends, because man's will necessarily decides, even when freely, from <motives>; but God is absolute master of all motives (32(1307)), and master too of all <first thoughts> (34(403)), and by presenting what in His foreknowledge He sees will be efficacious, attains His ends. Thus, by a "moral "call, not violence (35(1609)), He "prepares the will," (44(968)), in "marvelous and hidden ways" (cf. 45(1005)) known to the Eternal Presence (38(598)). God's help is universally necessary not because we <cannot> will, but because we <will> not will in consequence of our original fall in Adam, whose splendid and supernatural state Augustine exalts against Pelagian naturalism. Pelagianism alone led him to insist on the culpability of man in original sin; the Greek fathers had insisted on the <penalty>. Further, in this penalty concupiscenceman's disorderly affectionis supreme. Augustine often calls it, as he does death and ignorance, <sin>. Still, it is but an effect peculiarly allied to that original sin which in baptism is uprooted, not merely lopped level (44(562)); concupiscence remains. False, therefore, is it to declare that the sombre Augustinian pessimism regarded this fleshrevolt as sin: it is but a <reatus>, or a sad consequence of the <realitas>, sin (32(598)). While we are "solid with Adam," God sees concupiscence with disgust: fault once remitted, it is guiltless, though it flows from, and leads to sin (44(852)).
Semi-Pelagians taught that God predestined all alike; to all gave equal graces; freewill alone differentiated fates; they thought Augustine held (what Calvin really did) that God predestined some to heaven, some to hell, and neither could resist. Really he formulated the Catholic dogma. God eternally and gratuitously elects some souls to heaven; but genuinely, yet not absolutely, wills the salvation of all, and so to all leaves liberty. Foreseeing all graces and all possible responses, God chose <this> world exactly, electing His own by immutable (44(940)) eternal decree. And why ? Here, with Paul, "O Altitudo !" Mystery ! is his final answer (44(241), 34(434)), Again and again he insists that man stays free (32(599), 44(114), 37(1614), 36(356)). Even to the elect He gives paradise not gratuitously, though gratuitously He gives the graces which He knows the elect will use to gain it.
Upon this mystery of sin and gracethe darkest, it may seem to many, of the Christian schemehow many have made shipwreck ! Calvin outside the Church, and, within, Baius, Jansen, du Verger, and Quesnel; the episode of Port Royal and the Jesuits, the quarrels of Bafiez and Molina, have made sad the souls of men. Today, environment and heredity replace predestinationism; Pelagius finds successors in the prophets of man's perfectibility, and the assailants of the "characteristically Catholic" dogma that he is sinful. IV. <Doctrine of God and the Trinity.>Before touching on Augustine's <City of God>, which, in a true sense, sums up and crowns his work, we must outline that doctrine of the Creator and the creature, and of Christ who reconciled the One with the other which underlies Augustine's religious life and writing and, owing to them, took on a peculiar colouring. (<a>) Providentially, he teaches, save in the case of a few souls, utterly depraved or through passion thinking themselves atheists, the existence of God is so manifest, that though none can know Him as He is, yet none can be ignorant of Him. They find Him by no innate idea, nor by direct intuition, but by the old-fashioned human method of rising from the ordered visible world to the Invisible Orderer, better still by acknowledging that Humanity cannot force itself to deny Him; best of all, by soaring from the mutable and finite to immutable infinity; recognizing that if human intellect, the crown of creation, can (as it does) acknowledge that there must still be somewhat more perfect than itself, that Something must be God, or lead, at least, to Him. None can forget the sublime passages in the <Confessions>, where the soul mounts across creation, and sea and earth and heavens cry aloud, "It is not we that made us: seek beyond us"; nor (32(870)) the prayer, of an exaltation almost intolerable, with which the <Soliloquies> open. The limitations of our knowledge of God are a favourite theme with himfar as he was from all agnosticism. "If thou <understandest>," he cries to theorists, "it is not God!" (38(663)). And, regretting even the use of the word <substance> in His regardfor <essence>, in view of His ultimate and absolute simplicity, had been truerhe finds in this same simplicity the solution of such problems as flow from His Eternity and Foreknowledge. (<b>) We fear that is it scarcely possible, though for the scope of this paper it may not be necessary, to write at any length of Augustine's doctrine of the Trinity, which, in Schwane's opinion, merits him as high a rank as does his system of grace. From the outset it was, however, clear that Greek speculation having triumphantly vindicated the divinity of Son and Holy Spirit, Augustine would turn to the congenial task of emphasizing the unity of the Three Divine Persons. Fr. Portalie well singles out the following characteristics of the Latin view, and of the progress accomplished under the influence of Augustine: I. The Greek and Eastern writers had primarily fixed their attention on the Divine Persons, on the Father, the only God (o Oeos) ; on the Son, God of God; on the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and therefore through the Son. On this system all pre-Athanasian creeds were built. Hence the Unity of the Three Persons was reached secondarily, and by reflection, and by "recapitulating "the Son and Spirit in the Father; and the Greek fathers were exposed to constant taunts of Tritheism. Augustine started at once from the notion <God>, the Divine Essence not conceived as directly signifying the Father, but the one Nature, now revealed as existing (without succession of time or nature, but not without order of origin) as Trine. Hence (carefully guarding against all danger of a <quaternity>Divinity pre-existing to the Three Persons, as against the <fusion> of the Persons), Augustine from the outset avoided the peculiar difficulties in which the Greeks were involved, inspired the formulae of the <Quicumque>, and directed the plan of all theological thought in the West.
2 The Greeks again seemed to reserve exclusively to each of the Three Divine Persons one special function or role, assigning in particular the Old Testament Theophanies to the Son: only by reflection did they affirm the unity of activity in God. Augustine's insistence on the activity of the <whole> Trinity in all the Divine operations equally, avoided a multitude of misapprehensions, and prepositional formulae difficult to translate. 3. Finally, his subtle analysis of psychological phenomena, his recognition of the traces of the Trinity in all creation, but especially in the human soul, laid the foundation of that superb description of the Generation of the Son and the Procession of the Spirit, in terms of intellect and love, which, carried on by Anselm, reached perfection in St Thomas Aquinas. V. <Christology>.The band which bound Augustine to Christ had shown itself, as Harnack finely says like a crimson thread unbroken even through the years when he wandered far from Him; and though we would not, with the same author, suggest that first since Paul and Ignatius, Augustine reintroduced this "contemplation of Christ "as sovereign explanation of life, yet assuredly, at the centre of Augustine's theology and piety and view of human history, even as at the beginning and end of his own life, is the Incarnate Word. "The fact, which is now called the Christian Religion," he boldly says, with the earlier Apologists, "existed among the ancients, and was never lacking from the origin of the human race" (32(603); cf . 41(609), 40(787)).
The totality of the dogma of Christ's person is set forth as fully, though perhaps not as luminously, as by St Cyril, nor need we pause on this. The practical work of Christ was what Augustine naturally turned to, and where he has been most misunderstood.
Abelard thought Augustine preached a Christ merely <morally> onea pure man united by grace to the Divinity, who redeemed mankind, accordingly, by influence and example only. Calvinists and Lutherans, as long as they believed in the divinity of the Saviour, read in Augustine, like the Catholics, the true doctrine of salvationthe expiation of sin by a substituted victim. Now that the Divinity is denied, his modern critics seek to read out of Augustine all hint of expiation; redemption, if mentioned, means ransom paid to devil; Christ died <for> us, if you will, in virtue of human solidarity, but not <instead> of us. Harnack, recognizing the true dogma in Augustine, nullifies it, by teaching that the ransom paid to Satan is more important in him than the reconciliation with God; negative forgiveness than positive justification; the supreme lesson of humility than all other elements.
On the contrary, Augustine's "redemption" is a vicarious and expiatory sacrifice offered by Christ to His Father (38(824)); throughout he presupposes that sin is a real outrage upon God; for it satisfaction is due: this satisfaction was vicariously assumed by Christ. "Our punishment Christ took upon Himself guiltless, that our guilt thereby He might annul, and our punishment have an end" (42(297)). "The carnal man . . ." he cries (35(1881)), "perceives not . . . what riches of grace Christ's cross confers upon believers; he thinks that this was accomplished on the cross merely to give us . . . an example to imitate." To the invincible doctrine of Scripture Augustine appeals; and what Tertullian and Cyprian had formulated long before Augustine's minute investigation, should not have been attributed by Cremer, Ritschl, and Protestant commentators after them to Anselm. Christ's redeeming act is His death on the cross; a true sacrifice (42(899)), unique and prefigured (36(955)), perpetuated on the altar (41(198)). But though this death was decreed by God, there is no trace of the Calvinist "despair of Jesus," or of the Protestant deduction that God's curse was on Him, a notion responsible (Gretillat, <Dogmatique>, iv. 298) for much of the unpopularity of the doctrine of expiation. Hereby all sins are expiated, even post-baptismal; all captives ransomed, even children dead unbaptized (44(732)); <because> Christ died for all, with no exception whatsoever, all had been dead in sin with no exception whatsoever (41(665)).
"The blood of thy Lord, if <thou wilt>, was given for thee; if thou shalt have refused, it was not given for thee" (39(1315)). "The apostolic and true doctrine is that Christ is Saviour of all men" (38(1322)).
Gregory of Nazianzos (P.G. 36(654)) had already rebuked the Oriental gnosticism which suggested that Christ's blood was the price paid not to God, but to the devil. In two highly rhetorical passages, describing the devil's defeat by the Cross, Augustine's words make a <prima facie> difficulty. But nowhere does he hint that Christ treated with or paid His Blood to the devil, or mediated between man and devil. Our deliverance from the devil is <merely the consequence> of our reconciliation with God.
He is but God's executioner; by slaying the innocent upon the Cross, he defeated himself (42(1026)): and, in fine, Augustine often says that Christ "ransomed" us from sin, and hell, and death.
Augustine's doctrine reaches its sublime synthesis in the <City of God>, a work inspired by the fall of Rome in 410. In that year the anaemic youth Honorius, Emperor of the West, had watched, from the melancholy fens around Ravenna, the raid of Alaric towards Rome, and had turned back, indolent, to feed his poultry. The incredible happened. The aboriginal dogma, the rock of the old world's creed"Rome Eternal"crumbled. The prophecies and the visions of the poets, and, more potent still, the undefinable mystery, the Fortuna Urbis, dominating popular imagination and educated intellect, had proved to be illusions; a phantom had been worshipped as the Mother-Empress of the world. Sternly repressed since Theodosius, the pagan worship, imperial in the city, a strange chaos still of prehistoric naturecults and antique superstitions in the lonely hills and moors, sprang into passionate outcry: The Christians had done thisChrist came, and has ruined all things. While we sacrificed, Rome stood, Rome prospered: Now she is nothing! Crowds of emigrantshumble folks, clinging with anguish to the old departing worships; high lords, with the greatest names of the greatest of all histories, tenacious of each tradition of their aristocracypoured into Africa and inspired a terrible reaction against Christ. It was the death-struggle of the old civilization, savagely butchered before it had time to die of inanition. Even the Christians were scandalized.
Augustine, implored, from all parts of the empire, to give some explanation of the break-up of the old world in spite of the coming of Christ, rose in a moment to the vision of the supreme City, the better Rome, the holiest Jerusalem, which is the Catholic Church, over against which is set the earthly city of the devil, the empire of the enemies of God. With infinite labour, during the years 413-426, Augustine compiled his colossal work.
In the first, the apologetic part (bks. 1-10) , he explains, in the historical method proper to his age, that not Polytheism made or kept Rome great, and not Philosophy could assure a future happiness. Books 11 to 22 expose God's providential plan: Christianity is the key; through all ages the cities of God and Earth have moved side by side, each to its destiny. Digressions, philosophical and historical, including the first Theory of Empire, mark scenes in the stupendous pageant: one divine light illumines and explains the history of humanity. This book, in a true sense, marks "the beginning of what St Augustine for the first time called by the name which has ever since adhered to it, of the Middle Age." And, what even Augustine scarcely, it may be, dreamed, the heart of the Divine City, still incarnate, the greatest of "sacraments," beats in the old imperial Rome which seemed for ever ruined. "We may turn," concludes Mr. Cunningham (<op. cit.>, p. 115), "from the grandest modern account of the evolution of human progressturn from Hegel himselfto St Austin, and feel that the historical system of the ancient father is more perfect and complete; inasmuch as he had a clearer conception of the beginning, and a more definite perception of the final end towards which the whole creation moves."
On 18th August, 430, just before the Vandals took Hippo, with the Penitential Psalms, written large, hanging by his bed, Augustine died, according to his prayer. The barbarians broke up the world in which he had lived, but the Christian life flowed on, and of it Europe lived, "just as she was about to be gathered in silence to Assyria and Babylon." Augustine, therefore, shifts the theological centre of gravity from East to West.
Handing on what religious heritage the East bequeathed, rescuing the riches of old and newer Greece, he Romanized the double treasure; he translated speculation into life and thereby set the current of genuine Catholic mysticism; he infused Christian activity with thought, and thus inspired a true scholasticism. Indeed, it is the power of his own <life>, where to know was to love, where search for truth was passionate, that alone explains his unequaled influx into the life of Christianity. Even Aquinas, six centuries after him, will only share, not replace, his influence.
1 <What is Christianity>? 1904, p 263.
2 <What is Christianity>? pp 260-265.
3 <Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte>, iii p, 92, 1890.
4 <St Austin and his Place in Christian Thought>, 1886 (Hulsean Lectures for
5 <L'Afrique chretienne>, Lecoffre, 1904, ii, p. 5.
6 We trust to be Forgiven, if we illustrate (not prove) our assertions, by referring not to the separate works of Augustine, cumbrous in title and numbering, but to the volume and column of the revised Patrology of Migne, in which, indeed he is most easily available. We are at every turn indebted to M. Portalie's exhaustive articles on "Augustine "in the <Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique>, i, cols. 2268-2472; (and (shorter) in the <Catholic Encyclopedia>, ii), "The Augustinian Rule," <ib>., 2472-2483; "Historical Development of Augustinism," 2501-2561.
7 Aen. ii. 772 haunted him; a memory too beautiful to be exorcised.
8 Professor Mackail, <Latin Literature>, p. 249. As for the Scriptures, Haraack has said that Augustine's influence, even more than Jerome's Vulgate, lifted the Bible, in the West, to a position it had never held in the East. His assertion of the canonicity of the Deuterocanonic books (Jerome still hesitated) became authoritative there. Catholics have however altogether abandoned his belief that the Septuagint is inspired, and that <all> the meanings which a careful reader could read into the text were its legitimate interpretation, and directly intended by the Holy Ghost. His African passion, his astounding ingenuity, his practical and often polemical aim, his fondness for allegory, and determination to create a biblical "concordism," led him into exegetic extravagances where none can follow him. Yet, "an admirable example of his wellordered liberty," writes Fr. Portalie appears in his thesis on the simultaneous creation of the universe, and the gradual development of the world under the action of the natural forces which were placed in it. ' But Augustine's doctrine of the primitive "confused and nebulous mass," ' containing the germs of future evolution, does not mean that he held the fluidity of species, nor the transformation of homogeneity into the heterogeneous. He constantly proclaimed creation <ex nihilo>, and though all things, plants, animals, even Adam and Eve (34(343)) existed from the very beginning "invisibly, potentially, in their causes," yet God will have intervened directly more than once, notably for the making of man's body, and always for the creation and infusion into the body of the human soul (34(368,405)), <cf. inf.>, p. 28 n.
9 At Tagaste he taught grammar; at Carthage rhetoric.
10 Though scorning magic, he fled to astrology, to make sure of moral irresponsibility "The stars," he argued, "rule our lives." Not reason or ridicule, but the divergent fortunes of two children, born, however, in an identical conjunction of the stars, were to deliver him from this abdication of his selfhood.
11 Augustine found that his zeal for Platonism left him withith many statements to modify, most of which are mentioned in his first <Book of Retractations>. Thus the Platonic horror of matter led him falsely to conceive, and practically to deny the Resurrection of the body (32(590-601)); to the soul, on the other hand, he had been inclined to concede pre-natal existence, and to explain its ideas by its memory of that state cf. Lect. xii, p. 10), and had hesitated whether there might not be one soul for all (32(587), etc.). He had yielded to the fascination of the World-Soul doctrine, and had dreamt of the One Mind moving through the universe (32(602)). To the end he seems to have hesitated as to the nature of those mysterious spiritual beingsangels, souls, demonswith which, like Plato, he peopled his world (32(602-610)).
12 See J. Martin, S. <Aug.>, 1901, 373-388, a study of the saint's theory of toleration (cf. 33(792)).
13 Augustine's unimpassioned words, "<Securus iudicat orbis terrarum>," by which he set aside the slight element of theology involved in the political and social ebullition of Donatism, were applied in the <Dublin Review> of August, 1839, by Wiseman to the Anglican position condemned by isolation. In Newman's conscience the words reverberated long. Not only "by those great words of the ancient Father, the theory of the <Via Media> was absolutely pulverized . . . (but) I had seen the shadow of a hand upon the wall. . . . He who has seen a ghost, cannot be as if he had never seen it. The heavens had opened and closed again. The thought for the moment had been, ' The Church of Rome will be found right after all' "(<Apologia>, 1864, pp. 212-213).
14 Nothing can he stranger than the complete <volte face> of non-Catholic criticism within less than the last half century, as to the hearing of Augustine's theory on this point. The Confession of Augsburg, Melanchthon, and in a less measure Luther, and, till relatively recently, most historians of the Reformation claimed Augustine as the prophet of its doctrines. To-day, Reuter (<Augustinische Studien>, p. 697) writes: "In my view Augustine is the founder of Roman Catholicism in the West . ., Neander, Julius Kostlin, Dorner, Schmidt, etc., have recognized this long ago."
15 As for the <character> stamped by Baptism and Ordination on the soul, Reuter declares Augustine to be responsible for that term: while, in the ninth and tenth centuries it was on Augustine that the Catholic theologians relied to prove the indelibility of the sacerdotal "character "and the validity of ordinations by heretical bishops.
16 This is modeled on Ambrose (16(828)). "And so by the Footstool the earth is understood, and by the earth the flesh of Christ, which to-day too in the mysteries we adore, and which the Apostles in the Lord Jesus adored."
17 The difficulties alleged against our contention are thoroughly treated in Portalie, <art. cit.>, cols. 2422-2426. We acknowledge that Augustine, whom we de not claim as having here advanced in any notable way a doctrine already sufficiently clear and understood in his day, frequently and sometimes confusingly laid the mystic doctrine of our unity in Christ and the Church beside the primary dogma.
18 He abolished completely the vagueness which had hitherto confused this subject (34(994)), he lucidly distinguished Christ's counsels from His precepts (32(855), 33(691), etc.), and this occasioned his remarkably complete elaboration of the dogma of Purgatory. This "gradation of virtues and vice," and its consequences, are by Harnack reckoned as placing Augustine most definitely in the Catholic ranks, and certainly set him in sharp antagonism to the Stoics and Jovinianus's disciples, who asserted the equality of all sins and virtues, and to the many non-Catholic writers-Protestant and Rationalist-who, incredible as it may seem, still follow them.
19 Fr. H. Casey, S.J. (<Notes on a History of Auricular Confession>, Philadelphia, 1899, pp. 68-78), discusses the really stupefying thesis of Dr. C. Lea (<A History of Aur. Conf., etc., in the Latin Church>, 1896, I, 116-118, Philadelphia), that Augustine denied this sacramental power.
20 Augustine's development of the doctrine of marriage did much to establish its clearly sacramental character. Note that his use of the word "sacrament "does not necessarily imply that the subject under discussion is such in the present technical sense; nor need his not using it imply that it is not. The fact is proclaimed when he asserts (l) that it was instituted as a sign by Christ ; and (2) that it confers grace. He began and ended (though once he hesitated (40(221))) by definitely affirming that marriage was essentially indissoluble; to this, God, who had exalted a natural indissolubility to being the very <substance (res)> of the sacrament, could no more grant exceptions (40(394), 34(1249)).
21 The semi-Pelagianism of the Hadrumetan monks, and still more of Marseilles, combated by Augustine and his disciple Prosper, and extinguished by the second Council of Orange, would have it that man, his own will, can merit, <de condigno> (as we would say), the initial gift of faith; and, again that of final perseverance. Neither assertion is Catholic.
22 Caelestius also taught that Adam's fall hurt no one but himself, nor caused death to all humanity, since Christ died not for all: that children are born to-day in Adam's unfallen state, and, if dead unbaptized have eternal life.
23 Hence the "opposition "(by semi-Pelagians already) of his earlier to his later books; hence too many inaccurate formulae, later to be corrected (<Retr>., 32(621-628)).
24 His doctrine of the Church developed separately. Not sacerdotalism inspired his condemnation of mere nature.
25 <How> God foresees the contingent results of all possible graces, was a problem which assumed gigantic proportions in the sixteenth century.
26 Nor need we see in Augustine's reasonings any adequate solution of <how> God's grace gains its ends without predetermining the will. In fact, O. Rottmanner, O.S.B. (<Augustinismus>, Munich, 1892), argues almost convincingly that Augustine ended in sheer predestinationism.
27 Yet will we not deny that his reiterated denunciation of concupiscence lends itself to easy misinterpretation. His doctrine of the condemned mass-the human nature incapable, without grace, of seeing God-and even of the fate of children dying unbaptized, too stem (<e.g.>, 38(1337)), yet far less cruel than supposed-their pains are exceeding gentle (40(275)) exceeding light (44(809))-is, in essence, unimpeachable. But, though he asserts 'the eternal consequences of original sin to be, at least, other than those of personal, yet none would now subject the children to any but the technical "pain of loss." St Thomas (in 2 Sent., d. 33, q. 2, a. 2) censures any suggestion of a temporary mitigation of the eternal punishments of hell. Indeed, it is in his eschatology that A. has least been followed.
28 Augustine leaves alone the later question, Does God elect <before> or <after> the considerations of man's merits? Cunningham (pp. 82-86 and reference there) shows how distant is Augustine from the really ghastly doctrines of Calvin upon man's depravity, and the fate of infants.
29 Cf. "The Over-Emphasis of Sin," Rev. A. Brown, <Hibbert Journal>, April, 1909.
30 This at once throws Augustine's argument <a posteriori>, and differentiates him from St Anselm.
31 Augustine's psychology pervades his general work and is inseparable from it. Still, in his explicit discussion of its problems, he is happier than in his <Angelology> in which sister branch of his spiritual philosophy he said little new and much that has been at once abandoned. Relying overmuch on Platonic proofs for the soul's spirituality and simplicity, he yet sees that it is not in the body as in tomb or prison, but with it forms <one man> though not one "<stuff>." To the end he doubted of its origin. Certain that it neither emanated from the Godhead (44(497)) nor evolved from material germ or animal soul (34(372)), nor had lived a pre-corporal sinful life to be punished here (33(717), etc.), he held four opinions tolerable yet difficult. Are souls handed on to us from our parents' souls ? If so, how save personality ? Or separately created ? How then account for original sin ? And if created, when ? If from the beginning, what of that long idle pre-existence ? If, when the body was ready to receive them, how save God's seventh-day rest ? To the end he hesitated; and Christ's soul and Adam's had for him special difficulties.
32 <Summa Theol.>, 1, q. xxvii, a. 2, 3. We acknowledge that to some (cf. Fr. de Regnon, <La Ste Trinite>, i, 341-364, 1892) the Greek method seems preferable. <See> Lect. xxii, p. 12. Cf., however, Duchesne, <Eglises separees>, 1905, pp. 83-87.
33 Loofs (<Leitfaden>, ed iii, p 273) and Harnack, who studies Anselm's doctrine of satisfaction in <Lehrbuch>, iii pp 341-357, at least do justice to Augustine here.
34 In all this section we have done little more than follow Portalie, colls. 2366-2372 Augustine died a year before the Council of Ephesus, but the corollary of his Christology anticipated the proclamation of Mary's supreme title, <Mother of God> and he is as clear as Cyril. "The humility," he cries, "whereby God was born of a woman is the supreme medicine for our pride ' (42(952)) Into the role of redemption Mary is caught up by Christ, and with Him inseparably connected. He insists on the great mystery . . . that not only are both natures, male and female, freed, but that as <through> both, both fell, so <through> both is freedom won (40(303)). As Mary's destiny was unique, so too were her prerogatives. Pelagius had rehearsed the long roll of patriarchs and holy prophets whom he held to have been sinless, and among them he placed Mary, "to confess whom sinless our piety exacts." "Ah," cries Augustine, "with the exception of the holy Virgin Mary, of whom when we are dealing with sins, for the honour of the Lord I absolutely refuse that any question be raised, not one of them had we asked them, but would have owned his sinfulness "(44(267)). And when Julian strove to refute Augustine's doctrine of original sin by asserting that thereby he made over to the devil, by law of birth even the Virgin Mother, the aged saint indignantly denied: "No, we make not over Mary to the devil by law of birth; and why ? because that very law was annulled by a grace of second birth" (45(1413)). Is this a declaration of the Immaculate Conception? The Protestant scholar Schaff would have it so; the Benedictine Rottmanner disagrees; Harnack thinks that this passage by itself is inconclusive Yet, if we admit any sense other than that in her very conception Mary was excepted from the law of sin, the argument against Julian seems to fail, and Augustine reduces her in conception if not in life to the level of those Christians who, though regenerate certainly were once, as he would grant to Julian, "made over to the devil." The austere Latin of his sermons, fervent in her praise as they were, does not, however, flame into the ecstatic panegyrics of his Greek contemporaries and predecessors.
35 Mackail, <op. cit.>, p. 277.
36 G. K. Chesterton, <Orthodoxy>.