Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo

Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo
354
430

Latin-speaking Philosopher and Theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province whose writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity

Author Quotes

Hence, a devout Christian must avoid astrologers and all impious soothsayers, especially when they tell the truth, for fear of leading his soul into error by consorting with demons and entangling himself with the bonds of such association.

I recall how miserable I was, and how one day you brought me to a realization of my miserable state. I was preparing to deliver a eulogy upon the emperor in which I would tell plenty of lies with the object of winning favor with the well-informed by my lying; so my heart was panting with anxiety and seething with feverish, corruptive thoughts. As I passed through a certain district in Milan I noticed a poor beggar, drunk, as I believe, and making merry. I groaned and pointed out to the friends who were with me how many hardships our idiotic enterprises entailed. Goaded by greed, I was dragging my load of unhappiness along, and feeling it all the heavier for being dragged. Yet while all our efforts were directed solely to the attainment of unclouded joy, it appeared that this beggar had already beaten us to the goal, a goal which we would perhaps never reach ourselves. With the help of the few paltry coins he had collected by begging this man was enjoying the temporal happiness for which I strove by so bitter, devious and roundabout a contrivance. His joy was no true joy, to be sure, but what I was seeking in my ambition was a joy far more unreal; and he was undeniably happy while I was full of foreboding; he was carefree, I apprehensive. If anyone had questioned me as to whether I would rather be exhilarated or afraid, I would of course have replied, Exhilarated; but if the questioner had pressed me further, asking whether I preferred to be like the beggar, or to be as I was then, I would have chosen to be myself, laden with anxieties and fears. Surely that would have been no right choice, but a perverse one? I could not have preferred my condition to his on the grounds that I was better educated, because that fact was not for me a source of joy but only the means by which I sought to curry favor with human beings: I was not aiming to teach them but only to win their favor.

In doing what we ought we deserve no praise, because it is our duty.

It is the function of perfection to make one know one's imperfection.

Love, and do what you like.

Nothing is so much to be shunned as sex relations.

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.

The argument is at an end.

The soul is torn apart in a painful condition as long as it prefers the eternal because of its Truth but does not discard the temporal because of familiarity.

There is one case of death-bed repentance recorded, that of the penitent thief, that none should despair; and only one that none should presume.

To the divine providence it has seemed good to prepare in the world to come for the righteous good things, which the unrighteous shall not enjoy; and for the wicked evil things, by which the good shall not be tormented. But as for the good things of this life, and its ills, God has willed that these should be common to both; that we might not too eagerly covet the things which wicked men are seen equally to enjoy, nor shrink with an unseemly fear from the ills which even good men often suffer. There is, too, a very great difference in the purpose served both by those events which we call adverse and those called prosperous. For the good man is neither uplifted with the good things of time, nor broken by its ills; but the wicked man, because he is corrupted by this world’s happiness, feels himself punished by its unhappiness.

What difference, if you are mistaken? For if I am mistaken, I am. For he who is not, assuredly cannot be mistaken; and therefore I am, if I am mistaken. Therefore because I am if I am mistaken, how am I mistaken that I am, when it is sure that I am, if I am mistaken.'

When you suddenly command some unusual, unexpected course of action, then even if it is something you have hitherto forbidden, even if for the time being you conceal the reason for your behest, and even if it contravenes the accepted norms of a human society, can we doubt that it is right to obey, seeing that a human society is just precisely insofar as it serves you? Blessed are they who know that you have commanded them. Everything that is done by your servants is done either to make plain what needs to be revealed at present, or to foreshadow the future.

You can also offer your prayers, obedience, and endurance of dryness to Our Lord, for the good of other souls, and then you have practiced intercession. Never mind if it all seems for the time very second-hand. The less you get out of it, the nearer it approaches to being something worth offering; and the humiliation of not being able to feel as devout as we want to be, is excellent for most of us. Use vocal prayer... very slowly, trying to realize the meaning with which it is charged and remember that... you are only a unit in the Chorus of the Church, so that the others will make good the shortcomings you cannot help.

Hope has two beautiful daughters - their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.

I too have sworn heedlessly and all the time, I have had this most repulsive and death-dealing habit. I’m telling your graces; from the moment I began to serve God, and saw what evil there is in forswearing oneself, I grew very afraid indeed, and out of fear I applied the brakes to this old, old, habit.

In goodness of will is our peace.

It would have been more profitable to love the sun in the sky, which at least our eyes perceive truly, than those chimeras offered to a mind that had been led astray through its eyes.

Lust is an appetite by which temporal goods are preferred to eternal goods.

Nothing whatever pertaining to godliness and real holiness can be accomplished without grace.

Pray not for a lighter load, but for stronger shoulders.

The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them.

The soul, which is spirit, cannot dwell in dust; it is carried along to dwell in the blood.

Therefore do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that thou mayest understand.

To what place can I invite you, then, since I am in you? Or where could you come from, in order to come into me? To what place outside heaven and earth could I travel, so that my God could come to me there, the God who said, I fill heaven and Earth?

Author Picture
First Name
Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo
Birth Date
354
Death Date
430
Bio

Latin-speaking Philosopher and Theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province whose writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity