Translated by J.G. Pilkington. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 1. Edited by Philip Schaff.
Chapter 1. He Praises God, the Author of Safety, and Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, Acknowledging His Own Wickedness.
Chapter 2. As His Lungs Were Affected, He Meditates Withdrawing Himself from Public Favour.
Chapter 3. He Retires to the Villa of His Friend Verecundus, Who Was Not Yet a Christian, and Refers to His Conversion and Death, as Well as that of Nebridius.
Chapter 4. In the Country He Gives His Attention to Literature, and Explains the Fourth Psalm in Connection with the Happy Conversion of Alypius. He is Troubled with Toothache.
Chapter 5. At the Recommendation of Ambrose, He Reads the Prophecies of Isaiah, But Does Not Understand Them.
Chapter 6. He is Baptized at Milan with Alypius and His Son Adeodatus. The Book De Magistro.
Chapter 7. Of the Church Hymns Instituted at Milan; Of the Ambrosian Persecution Raised by Justina; And of the Discovery of the Bodies of Two Martyrs.
Chapter 8. Of the Conversion of Evodius, and the Death of His Mother When Returning with Him to Africa; And Whose Education He Tenderly Relates.
Chapter 9. He Describes the Praiseworthy Habits of His Mother; Her Kindness Towards Her Husband and Her Sons.
Chapter 10. A Conversation He Had with His Mother Concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.
Chapter 11. His Mother, Attacked by Fever, Dies at Ostia.
Chapter 12. How He Mourned His Dead Mother.
Chapter 13. He Entreats God for Her Sins, and Admonishes His Readers to Remember Her Piously.
|The Confessions (Book IX)He speaks of his design of forsaking the profession of rhetoric; of the death of his friends, Nebridius and Verecundus; of having received baptism in the thirty-third year of his age; and of the virtues and death of his mother, Monica.|
|[9.1.1]0 Domine, ego seruus tuus, ego seruus tuus et filius ancillae tuae: dirupisti vincula mea, tibi sacrificabo hostiam laudis. Laudet te cor meum et lingua mea, et omnia ossa mea dicant, 'domine, quis similis tibi?, dicant, et responde mihi et dic animae meae, 'salus tua ego sum.' Quis ego et qualis ego? Quid non mali aut facta mea aut, si non facta, dicta mea aut, si non dicta, voluntas mea fuit? Tu autem, Domine, bonus et misericors, et dextera tua respiciens profunditatem mortis meae et a fundo cordis mei exhauriens abyssum corruptionis. Et hoc erat totum, nolle quod volebam et velle quod volebas. Sed ubi erat tam annoso tempore et de quo imo altoque secreto euocatum est in momento liberum arbitrium meum, quo subderem ceruicem leni iugo tuo et umeros levi sarcinae tuae, Christe Iesu, adiutor meus et redemptor meus? Quam suave mihi subito factum est carere suavitatibus nugarum, et quas amittere metus fuerat iam dimittere gaudium erat. Eiciebas enim eas a me, vera tu et summa suavitas, eiciebas et intrabas pro eis omni voluptate dulcior, sed non carni et sanguini, omni luce clarior, sed omni secreto interior, omni honore sublimior, sed non sublimibus in se. Iam liber erat animus meus a curis mordacibus ambiendi et adquirendi et volutandi atque scalpendi scabiem libidinum, et garriebam tibi, claritati meae et divitiis meis et saluti meae, Domino Deo meo.||1. O Lord, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, and the son of Your handmaid: You have loosed my bonds. I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Let my heart and my tongue praise You, and let all my bones say, Lord, who is like You? Let them so say, and answer Thou me, and say unto my soul, I am Your salvation. Who am I, and what is my nature? How evil have not my deeds been; or if not my deeds, my words; or if not my words, my will? But You, O Lord, art good and merciful, and Your right hand had respect unto the profoundness of my death, and removed from the bottom of my heart that abyss of corruption. And this was the result, that I willed not to do what I willed, and willed to do what you willed. But where, during all those years, and out of what deep and secret retreat was my free will summoned forth in a moment, whereby I gave my neck to Your easy yoke, and my shoulders to Your light burden, Matthew 11:30 O Christ Jesus, my strength and my Redeemer? How sweet did it suddenly become to me to be without the delights of trifles! And what at one time I feared to lose, it was now a joy to me to put away. For Thou cast them away from me, Thou true and highest sweetness. Thou cast them away, and instead of them entered in Yourself, — sweeter than all pleasure, though not to flesh and blood; brighter than all light, but more veiled than all mysteries; more exalted than all honour, but not to the exalted in their own conceits. Now was my soul free from the gnawing cares of seeking and getting, and of wallowing and exciting the itch of lust. And I babbled unto You my brightness, my riches, and my health, the Lord my God.|
|[9.2.2]Et placuit mihi in conspectu tuo non tumultuose abripere sed leniter subtrahere ministerium linguae meae nundinis loquacitatis, ne ulterius pueri meditantes non legem tuam, non pacem tuam, sed insanias mendaces et bella forensia, mercarentur ex ore meo arma furori suo. Et opportune iam paucissimi dies supererant ad vindemiales ferias, et statui tolerare illos, ut sollemniter abscederem et redemptus a te iam non redirem venalis. Consilium ergo nostrum erat coram te, coram hominibus autem nisi nostris non erat. Et convenerat inter nos ne passim cuiquam effunderetur, quamquam tu nobis a conualle plorationis ascendentibus et cantantibus canticum graduum dederas sagittas acutas et carbones uastatores adversus linguam subdolam, velut consulendo contradicentem et, sicut cibum adsolet, amando consumentem.||2. And it seemed good to me, as before You, not tumultuously to snatch away, but gently to withdraw the service of my tongue from the talker's trade; that the young, who thought not on Your law, nor on Your peace, but on mendacious follies and forensic strifes, might no longer purchase at my mouth equipments for their vehemence. And opportunely there wanted but a few days unto the Vacation of the Vintage; and I determined to endure them, in order to leave in the usual way, and, being redeemed by You, no more to return for sale. Our intention then was known to You; but to men— excepting our own friends— was it not known. For we had determined among ourselves not to let it get abroad to any; although You had given to us, ascending from the valley of tears, and singing the song of degrees, sharp arrows, and destroying coals, against the deceitful tongue, which in giving counsel opposes, and in showing love consumes, as it is wont to do with its food.|
|[9.2.3]Sagittaveras tu cor nostrum caritate tua et gestabamus verba tua transfixa visceribus. Et exempla seruorum tuorum, quos de nigris lucidos et de mortuis vivos feceras, congesta in sinum cogitationis nostrae urebant et absumebant gravem torporem, ne in ima vergeremus, et accendebant nos valide, ut omnis ex lingua subdola contradictionis flatus inflammare nos acrius posset, non extinguere. Verum tamen quia propter nomen tuum, quod sanctificasti per terras, etiam laudatores utique haberet votum et propositum nostrum, iactantiae simile videbatur non opperiri tam proximum feriarum tempus, sed de publica professione atque ante oculos omnium sita ante discedere, ut conversa in factum meum ora cunctorum, intuentium quam vicinum vindemialium diem praevenire voluerim, multa dicerent, quod quasi appetissem magnus videri. Et quo mihi erat istuc, ut putaretur et disputaretur de animo meo et blasphemaretur bonum nostrum?||3. You had penetrated our hearts with Your charity, and we carried Your words fixed, as it were, in our bowels; and the examples of Your servant, whom of black You had made bright, and of dead, alive, crowded in the bosom of our thoughts, burned and consumed our heavy torpor, that we might not topple into the abyss; and they enkindled us exceedingly, that every breath of the deceitful tongue of the gainsayer might inflame us the more, not extinguish us. Nevertheless, because for Your name's sake which You have sanctified throughout the earth, this, our vow and purpose, might also find commenders, it looked like a vaunting of oneself not to wait for the vacation, now so near, but to leave beforehand a public profession, and one, too, under general observation; so that all who looked on this act of mine, and saw how near was the vintage-time I desired to anticipate, would talk of me a great deal as if I were trying to appear to be a great person. And what purpose would it serve that people should consider and dispute about my intention, and that our good should be evil spoken of? Romans 14:16|
|[9.2.4]Quin etiam quod ipsa aestate litterario labori nimio pulmo meus cedere coeperat et difficulter trahere suspiria doloribusque pectoris testari se saucium vocemque clariorem productioremue recusare, primo perturbaverat me quia magisterii illius sarcinam paene iam necessitate deponere cogebat aut, si curari et conualescere potuissem, certe intermittere. Sed ubi plena voluntas uacandi et videndi quoniam tu es Dominus oborta mihi est atque firmata (nosti, Deus meus), etiam gaudere coepi quod haec quoque suberat non mendax excusatio, quae offensionem hominum temperaret, qui propter liberos suos me liberum esse numquam volebant. Plenus igitur tali gaudio tolerabam illud interuallum temporis donec decurreret (nescio utrum vel viginti dies erant), sed tamen fortiter tolerabantur quia recesserat cupiditas, quae mecum solebat ferre grave negotium, et ego premendus remanseram nisi patientia succederet. Peccasse me in hoc quisquam seruorum tuorum, fratrum meorum, dixerit, quod iam pleno corde militia tua passus me fuerim vel una hora sedere in cathedra mendacii, at ego non contendo. Sed tu, Domine misericordissime, nonne et hoc peccatum cum caeteris horrendis et funereis in aqua sancta ignovisti et remisisti mihi?||4. Furthermore, this very summer, from too great literary labour, my lungs began to be weak, and with difficulty to draw deep breaths; showing by the pains in my chest that they were affected, and refusing too loud or prolonged speaking. This had at first been a trial to me, for it compelled me almost of necessity to lay down that burden of teaching; or, if I could be cured and become strong again, at least to leave it off for a while. But when the full desire for leisure, that I might see that You are the Lord, arose, and was confirmed in me, my God, You know I even began to rejoice that I had this excuse ready—and that not a feigned one—which might somewhat temper the offense taken by those who for their sons' good wished me never to have the freedom of sons. Full, therefore, with such joy, I bore it till that period of time had passed—perhaps it was some twenty days—yet they were bravely borne; for the cupidity which was wont to sustain part of this weighty business had departed, and I had remained overwhelmed had not its place been supplied by patience. Some of Your servants, my brethren, may perchance say that I sinned in this, in that having once fully, and from my heart, entered on Your warfare, I permitted myself to sit a single hour in the seat of falsehood. I will not contend. But hast not Thou, O most merciful Lord, pardoned and remitted this sin also, with my others, so horrible and deadly, in the holy water?|
|[9.3.5]Macerabatur anxitudine Verecundus de isto nostro bono, quod propter vincula sua, quibus tenacissime tenebatur, deseri se nostro consortio videbat. Nondum christianus, coniuge fideli, ea ipsa tamen artiore prae caeteris compede ab itinere quod aggressi eramus retardabatur, nec christianum esse alio modo se velle dicebat quam illo quo non poterat. Benigne sane obtulit ut, quamdiu ibi essemus, in re eius essemus. Retribues illi, Domine, in resurrectione iustorum, quia iam ipsam sortem retribuisti ei. Quamvis enim absentibus nobis, cum Romae iam essemus, corporali aegritudine correptus et in ea christianus et fidelis factus ex hac vita emigravit. Ita misertus es non solum eius sed etiam nostri, ne cogitantes egregiam erga nos amici humanitatem nec eum in grege tuo numerantes dolore intolerabili cruciaremur. Gratias tibi, Deus noster! Tui sumus. Indicant hortationes et consolationes tuae: fidelis promissor reddis Verecundo pro rure illo eius Cassiciaco, ubi ab aestu saeculi requievimus in te, amoenitatem sempiterne virentis paradisi tui, quoniam dimisisti ei peccata super terram in monte incaseato, monte tuo, monte uberi.||5. Verecundus was wasted with anxiety at that our happiness, since he, being most firmly held by his bonds, saw that he would lose our fellowship. For he was not yet a Christian, though his wife was one of the faithful; and yet hereby, being more firmly enchained than by anything else, was he held back from that journey which we had commenced. Nor, he declared, did he wish to be a Christian on any other terms than those that were impossible. However, he invited us most courteously to make use of his country house so long as we should stay there. You, O Lord, wilt recompense him for this at the resurrection of the just, Luke 14:14 seeing that You have already given him the lot of the righteous. For although, when we were absent at Rome, he, being overtaken with bodily sickness, and therein being made a Christian, and one of the faithful, departed this life, yet had Thou mercy on him, and not on him only, but on us also; Philippians 2:27 lest, thinking on the exceeding kindness of our friend to us, and unable to count him in Your flock, we should be tortured with intolerable grief. Thanks be unto You, our God, we are Yours. Your exhortations, consolations, and faithful promises assure us that Thou now repayest Verecundus for that country house at Cassiacum, where from the fever of the world we found rest in You, with the perpetual freshness of Your Paradise, in that You have forgiven him his earthly sins, in that mountain flowing with milk, that fruitful mountain—Your own.|
|[9.3.6]Angebatur ergo tunc ipse, Nebridius autem collaetabatur. Quamvis enim et ipse nondum christianus in illam foveam perniciosissimi erroris inciderat ut veritatis filii tui carnem phantasma crederet, tamen inde emergens sic sibi erat, nondum imbutus ullis ecclesiae tuae sacramentis, sed inquisitor ardentissimus veritatis. Quem non multo post conversionem nostram et regenerationem per baptismum tuum ipsum etiam fidelem catholicum, castitate perfecta atque continentia tibi seruientem in Africa apud suos, cum tota domus eius per eum christiana facta esset, carne solvisti. Et nunc ille vivit in sinu Abraham. Quidquid illud est quod illo significatur sinu, ibi Nebridius meus vivit, dulcis amicus meus, tuus autem, Domine, adoptivus ex liberto filius: ibi vivit. Nam quis alius tali animae locus? Ibi vivit unde me multa interrogabat homuncionem inexpertum. Iam non ponit aurem ad os meum sed spiritale os ad fontem tuum, et bibit quantum potest sapientiam pro aviditate sua sine fine felix. Nec eum sic arbitror inebriari ex ea ut obliviscatur mei, cum tu, Domine, quem potat ille, nostri sis memor. Sic ergo eramus, Verecundum consolantes tristem salua amicitia de tali conversione nostra et exhortantes ad fidem gradus sui, vitae scilicet coniugalis, Nebridium autem opperientes, quando se quere tur, quod de tam proximo pote rat. Et erat iam iamque facturus, cum ecce euoluti sunt dies illi tandem. Nam longi et multi videbantur prae amore libertatis otiosae ad cantandum de medullis omnibus. Tibi dixit cor meum, 'quaesivi uultum tuum; uultum tuum, Domine, requiram.'||6. He then was at that time full of grief; but Nebridius was joyous. Although he also, not being yet a Christian, had fallen into the pit of that most pernicious error of believing Your Son to be a phantasm, yet, coming out thence, he held the same belief that we did; not as yet initiated in any of the sacraments of Your Church, but a most earnest inquirer after truth. Whom, not long after our conversion and regeneration by Your baptism, he being also a faithful member of the Catholic Church, and serving You in perfect chastity and continency among his own people in Africa, when his whole household had been brought to Christianity through him, You released from the flesh; and now he lives in Abraham's bosom. Whatever that may be which is signified by that bosom, there lives my Nebridius, my sweet friend, Your son, O Lord, adopted of a freedman; there he lives. For what other place could there be for such a soul? There lives he, concerning which he used to ask me much—me, an inexperienced, feeble one. Now he puts not his ear unto my mouth, but his spiritual mouth unto Your fountain, and drinks as much as he is able, wisdom according to his desire—happy without end. Nor do I believe that he is so inebriated with it as to forget me, seeing Thou, O Lord, whom he drinks, art mindful of us. Thus, then, were we comforting the sorrowing Verecundus (our friendship being untouched) concerning our conversion, and exhorting him to a faith according to his condition, I mean, his married state. And tarrying for Nebridius to follow us, which being so near, he was just about to do, when, behold, those days passed over at last; for long and many they seemed, on account of my love of easeful liberty, that I might sing unto You from my very marrow. My heart said unto You—I have sought Your face; Your face, Lord, will I seek.|
|[9.4.7]Et venit dies quo etiam actu soluerer a professione rhetorica, unde iam cogitatu solutus eram, et factum est. Eruisti linguam meam unde iam erueras cor meum, et benedicebam tibi gaudens, profectus in villam cum meis omnibus. Ibi quid egerim in litteris iam quidem seruientibus tibi, sed adhuc superbiae scholam tamquam in pausatione anhelantibus, testantur libri disputati cum praesentibus et cum ipso me solo coram te; quae autem cum absente Nebridio, testantur epistulae. Et quando mihi sufficiat tempus commemorandi omnia magna erga nos beneficia tua in illo tempore, praesertim ad alia maiora properanti? Reuocat enim me recordatio mea, et dulce mihi fit, Domine, confiteri tibi quibus internis me stimulis perdomueris, et quemadmodum me complanaveris humilitatis montibus et collibus cogitationum mearum et tortuosa mea direxeris et aspera lenieris, quoque modo ipsum etiam Alypium, fratrem cordis mei, subegeris nomini unigeniti tui, Domini et saluatoris nostri Iesu Christi, quod primo dedignabatur inseri litteris nostris. Magis enim eas volebat redolere gymnasiorum cedros, quas iam contrivit Dominus, quam salubres herbas ecclesiasticas adversas serpentibus.||7. And the day arrived on which, in very deed, I was to be released from the Professorship of Rhetoric, from which in intention I had been already released. And done it was; and Thou delivered my tongue whence You had already delivered my heart; and full of joy I blessed You for it, and retired with all mine to the villa. What I accomplished here in writing, which was now wholly devoted to Your service, though still, in this pause as it were, panting from the school of pride, my books testify, — those in which I disputed with my friends, and those with myself alone before You; and what with the absent Nebridius, my letters testify. And when can I find time to recount all Your great benefits which You bestowed upon us at that time, especially as I am hasting on to still greater mercies? For my memory calls upon me, and pleasant it is to me, O Lord, to confess unto You, by what inward goads You subdued me, and how Thou made me low, bringing down the mountains and hills of my imaginations, and straightened my crookedness, and smooth my rough ways; Luke 3:5 and by what means Thou also subdued that brother of my heart, Alypius, unto the name of Your only-begotten, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which he at first refused to have inserted in our writings. For he rather desired that they should savour of the cedars of the schools, which the Lord has now broken down, than of the wholesome herbs of the Church, hostile to serpents.|
|[9.4.8]Quas tibi, Deus meus, voces dedi, cum legerem psalmos David, cantica fidelia, sonos pietatis excludentes turgidum spiritum, rudis in germano amore tuo, catechumenus in villa cum catechumeno Alypio feriatus, matre adhaerente nobis muliebri habitu, virili fide, anili securitate, materna caritate, christiana pietate! Quas tibi voces dabam in psalmis illis, et quomodo in te inflammabar ex eis et accendebar eos recitare, si possem, toto orbi terrarum adversus typhum generis humani! Et tamen toto orbe cantantur, et non est qui se abscondat a calore tuo. Quam uehementi et acri dolore indignabar manichaeis et miserabar eos rursus, quod illa sacramenta, illa medicamenta nescirent et insani essent adversus antidotum quo sani esse potuissent! Vellem ut alicubi iuxta essent tunc et, me nesciente quod ibi essent, intuerentur faciem meam et audirent voces meas quando legi quartum psalmum in illo tunc otio. Quid de me fecerit ille psalmus ('cum inuocarem, exaudivit me Deus iustitiae meae; in tribulatione dilatasti mihi. Miserere mei, Domine, et exaudi orationem meam') audirent ignorante me utrum audirent, ne me propter se illa dicere putarent quae inter haec verba dixerim, quia et re vera nec ea dicerem nec sic ea dicerem, si me ab eis audiri viderique sentirem, nec, si dicerem, sic acciperent quomodo mecum et mihi coram te de familiari affectu animi mei.||8. What utterances sent I up unto You, my God, when I read the Psalms of David, those faithful songs and sounds of devotion which exclude all swelling of spirit, when new to Your true love, at rest in the villa with Alypius, a catechumen like myself, my mother cleaving unto us—in woman's garb truly, but with a man's faith, with the peacefulness of age, full of motherly love and Christian piety! What utterances used I to send up unto You in those Psalms, and how was I inflamed towards You by them, and burned to rehearse them, if it were possible, throughout the whole world, against the pride of the human race! And yet they are sung throughout the whole world, and none can hide himself from Your heat. With what vehement and bitter sorrow was I indignant at the Manichćans; whom yet again I pitied, for that they were ignorant of those sacraments, those medicaments, and were mad against the antidote which might have made them sane! I wished that they had been somewhere near me then, and, without my being aware of their presence, could have beheld my face, and heard my words, when I read the fourth Psalm in that time of my leisure—how that Psalm wrought upon me. When I called upon You, Thou heard me, O God of my righteousness; You have enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. Oh that they might have heard what I uttered on these words, without my knowing whether they heard or no, lest they should think that I spoke it because of them! For, of a truth, neither should I have said the same things, nor in the way I said them, if I had perceived that I was heard and seen by them; and had I spoken them, they would not so have received them as when I spoke by and for myself before You, out of the private feelings of my soul.|
|[9.4.9]Inhorrui timendo ibidemque inferbui sperando et exultando in tua misericordia, pater. Et haec omnia exibant per oculos et vocem meam, cum conversus ad nos spiritus tuus bonus ait nobis, 'filii hominum, quousque graves corde? Ut quid diligitis uanitatem et quaeritis mendacium?' dilexeram enim uanitatem et quaesieram mendacium, et tu, Domine, iam magnificaveras sanctum tuum, suscitans eum a mortuis et collocans ad dexteram tuam, unde mitteret ex alto promissionem suam, paracletum, spiritum veritatis. Et miserat eum iam, sed ego nesciebam. Miserat eum, quia iam magnificatus erat resurgens a mortuis et ascendens in caelum. Ante autem spiritus nondum erat datus, quia Iesus nondum erat clarificatus. Et clamat prophetia, 'quousque graves corde? Ut quid diligitis uanitatem et quaeritis mendacium? Et scitote quoniam Dominus magnificavit sanctum suum.' Clamat 'quousque', clamat 'scitote', et ego tamdiu nesciens uanitatem dilexi et mendacium quaesivi, et ideo audivi et contremui, quoniam talibus dicitur qualem me fuisse reminiscebar. In phantasmatis enim quae pro veritate tenueram uanitas erat et mendacium. Et insonui multa graviter ac fortiter in dolore recordationis meae. Quae utinam audissent qui adhuc usque diligunt uanitatem et quaerunt mendacium: forte conturbarentur et euomuissent illud, et exaudires eos cum clamarent ad te, quoniam vera morte carnis mortuus est pro nobis qui te interpellat pro nobis.||9. I alternately quaked with fear, and warmed with hope, and with rejoicing in Your mercy, O Father. And all these passed forth, both by my eyes and voice, when Your good Spirit, turning unto us, said, O you sons of men, how long will you be slow of heart? How long will you love vanity, and seek after leasing? For I had loved vanity, and sought after leasing. And You, O Lord, had already magnified Your Holy One, raising Him from the dead, and setting Him at Your right hand, Ephesians 1:20 whence from on high He should send His promise, Luke 24:49 the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth. John 14:16-17 And He had already sent Him, Acts 2:1-4 but I knew it not; He had sent Him, because He was now magnified, rising again from the dead, and ascending into heaven. For till then the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:39 And the prophet cries out, How long will you be slow of heart? How long will you love vanity, and seek after leasing? Know this, that the Lord has magnified His Holy One. He cries out, How long? He cries out, Know this, and I, so long ignorant, loved vanity, and sought after leasing. And therefore I heard and trembled, because these words were spoken unto such as I remembered that I myself had been. For in those phantasms which I once held for truths was there vanity and leasing. And I spoke many things loudly and earnestly, in the sorrow of my remembrance, which, would that they who yet love vanity and seek after leasing had heard! They would perchance have been troubled, and have vomited it forth, and You would hear them when they cried unto You; for by a true death in the flesh He died for us, who now makes intercession for us Romans 8:34 with You.|
|[9.4.10]Legebam, 'irascimini et nolite peccare,' et quomodo movebar, Deus meus, qui iam didiceram irasci mihi de praeteritis, ut de caetero non peccarem, et merito irasci, quia non alia natura gentis tenebrarum de me peccabat, sicut dicunt qui sibi non irascuntur et thesaurizant sibi iram in die irae et reuelationis iusti iudicii tui! Nec iam bona mea foris erant nec oculis carneis in isto sole quaerebantur. Volentes enim gaudere forinsecus facile uanescunt et effunduntur in ea quae videntur et temporalia sunt, et imagines eorum famelica cogitatione lambiunt. Et o si fatigentur inedia et dicant, 'quis ostendet nobis bona?' et dicamus, et audiant, 'signatum est in nobis lumen uultus tui, Domine.' Non enim lumen nos sumus quod illuminat omnem hominem, sed illuminamur a te ut, qui fuimus aliquando tenebrae, simus lux in te. O si viderent internum aeternum, quod ego quia gustaveram, frendebam, quoniam non eis poteram ostendere, si afferent ad me cor in oculis suis foris a te et dicerent, 'quis ostendet nobis bona?' ibi enim ubi mihi iratus eram, intus in cubili ubi compunctus eram, ubi sacrificaveram mactans uetustatem meam et inchoata meditatione renouationis meae sperans in te, ibi mihi dulcescere coeperas et dederas laetitiam in corde meo. Et exclamabam legens haec foris et agnoscens intus, nec volebam multiplicari terrenis bonis, Deuorans tempora et Deuoratus temporibus, cum haberem in aeterna simplicitate aliud frumentum et vinum et oleum.||10. I read further, Be angry, and sin not. Ephesians 4:26 And how was I moved, O my God, who had now learned to be angry with myself for the things past, so that in the future I might not sin! Yea, to be justly angry; for that it was not another nature of the race of darkness which sinned for me, as they affirm it to be who are not angry with themselves, and who treasure up to themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and of the revelation of Your righteous judgment. Romans 2:5 Nor were my good things now without, nor were they sought after with eyes of flesh in that sun; for they that would have joy from without easily sink into oblivion, and are wasted upon those things which are seen and temporal, and in their starving thoughts do lick their very shadows. Oh, if only they were wearied out with their fasting, and said, Who will show us any good? And we would answer, and they hear, O Lord. The light of Your countenance is lifted up upon us. For we are not that Light, which lights every man, John 1:9 but we are enlightened by You, that we, who were sometimes darkness, may be light in You. Ephesians 5:8 Oh that they could behold the internal Eternal, which having tasted I gnashed my teeth that I could not show It to them, while they brought me their heart in their eyes, roaming abroad from You, and said, Who will show us any good? But there, where I was angry with myself in my chamber, where I was inwardly pricked, where I had offered my sacrifice, slaying my old man, and beginning the resolution of a new life, putting my trust in You, — there had Thou begun to grow sweet unto me, and to put gladness in my heart. And I cried out as I read this outwardly, and felt it inwardly. Nor would I be increased with worldly goods, wasting time and being wasted by time; whereas I possessed in Your eternal simplicity other grain, and wine, and oil.|
|[9.4.11]Et clamabam in consequenti versu clamore alto cordis mei, 'o in pace! O in idipsum!' o quid dixit? 'obdormiam et somnum capiam!' quoniam quis resistet nobis, cum fiet sermo qui scriptus est, 'absorpta est mors in victoriam'? Et tu es idipsum valde, qui non mutaris, et in te requies obliviscens laborum omnium, quoniam nullus alius tecum nec ad alia multa adipiscenda quae non sunt quod tu, sed tu, Domine, singulariter in spe constituisti me. Legebam et ardebam, nec inveniebam quid facerem surdis mortuis ex quibus fueram, pestis, latrator amarus et caecus adversus litteras de melle caeli melleas et de lumine tuo luminosas, et super inimicis scripturae huius tabescebam.||11. And with a loud cry from my heart, I called out in the following verse, Oh, in peace! and the self-same! Oh, what said he, I will lay me down and sleep! For who shall hinder us, when shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory? 1 Corinthians 15:54 And You are in the highest degree the self-same, who changest not; and in You is the rest which forgets all labour, for there is no other beside You, nor ought we to seek after those many other things which are not what You are; but Thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in hope. These things I read, and was inflamed; but discovered not what to do with those deaf and dead, of whom I had been a pestilent member—a bitter and a blind declaimer against the writings be-honied with the honey of heaven and luminous with Your own light; and I was consumed on account of the enemies of this Scripture.|
|[9.4.12]Quando recordabor omnia dierum illorum feriatorum? Sed nec oblitus sum nec silebo flagelli tui asperitatem et misericordiae tuae mirabilem celeritatem. Dolore dentium tunc excruciabas me, et cum in tantum ingravesceret ut non valerem loqui, ascendit in cor meum admonere omnes meos qui aderant ut deprecarentur te pro me, Deum salutis omnimodae. Et scripsi hoc in cera et dedi ut eis legeretur. Mox ut genua supplici affectu fiximus, fugit dolor ille. Sed quis dolor? Aut quomodo fugit? Expavi, fateor, Domine meus Deus meus. Nihil enim tale ab ineunte aetate expertus fueram, et insinuati sunt mihi in profundo nutus tui. Et gaudens in fide laudavi nomen tuum, et ea fides me securum esse non sinebat de praeteritis peccatis meis, quae mihi per baptismum tuum remissa nondum erant.||12. When shall I call to mind all that took place in those holidays? Yet neither have I forgotten, nor will I be silent about the severity of Your scourge, and the amazing quickness of Your mercy. Thou at that time tortured me with toothache; and when it had become so exceeding great that I was not able to speak, it came into my heart to urge all my friends who were present to pray for me to You, the God of all manner of health. And I wrote it down on wax, and gave it to them to read. Presently, as with submissive desire we bowed our knees, that pain departed. But what pain? Or how did it depart? I confess to being much afraid, my Lord my God, seeing that from my earliest years I had not experienced such pain. And Your purposes were profoundly impressed upon me; and, rejoicing in faith, I praised Your name. And that faith suffered me not to be at rest in regard to my past sins, which were not yet forgiven me by Your baptism.|
|[9.5.13]Renuntiavi peractis vindemialibus ut scholasticis suis Mediolanenses venditorem verborum alium providerent, quod et tibi ego seruire delegissem et illi professioni prae difficultate spirandi ac dolore pectoris non sufficerem. Et insinuavi per litteras antistiti tuo, viro sancto Ambrosio, pristinos errores meos et praesens votum meum, ut moneret quid mihi potissimum de libris tuis legendum esset, quo percipiendae tantae gratiae paratior aptiorque fierem. At ille iussit Esaiam prophetam, credo, quod prae caeteris euangelii vocationisque gentium sit praenuntiator apertior. Verum tamen ego primam huius lectionem non intellegens totumque talem arbitrans distuli repetendum exercitatior in Dominico eloquio.||13. The vintage vacation being ended, I gave the citizens of Milan notice that they might provide their scholars with another seller of words; because both of my election to serve You, and my inability, by reason of the difficulty of breathing and the pain in my chest, to continue the Professorship. And by letters I notified to Your bishop, the holy man Ambrose, my former errors and present resolutions, with a view to his advising me which of Your books it was best for me to read, so that I might be readier and fitter for the reception of such great grace. He recommended Isaiah the Prophet; I believe, because he foreshows more clearly than others the gospel, and the calling of the Gentiles. But I, not understanding the first portion of the book, and imagining the whole to be like it, laid it aside, intending to take it up hereafter, when better practised in our Lord's words.|
|[9.6.14]Inde ubi tempus advenit quo me nomen dare oporteret, relicto rure Mediolanium remeavimus. Placuit et Alypio renasci in te mecum iam induto humilitate sacramentis tuis congrua et fortissimo domitori corporis, usque ad Italicum solum glaciale nudo pede obterendum insolito ausu. Adiunximus etiam nobis puerum Adeodatum ex me natum carnaliter de peccato meo. Tu bene feceras eum. Annorum erat ferme quindecim et ingenio praeveniebat multos graves et doctos viros. Munera tua tibi confiteor, Domine Deus meus, creator omnium et multum potens formare nostra deformia, nam ego in illo puero praeter delictum non habebam. Quod enim et nutriebatur a nobis in disciplina tua, tu inspiraveras nobis, nullus alius. Munera tua tibi confiteor. Est liber noster qui inscribitur 'de magistro': ipse ibi mecum loquitur. Tu scis illius esse sensa omnia quae inseruntur ibi ex persona collocutoris mei, cum esset in annis sedecim. Multa eius alias mirabiliora expertus sum: horrori mihi erat illud ingenium. Et quis praeter te talium miraculorum opifex? Cito de terra abstulisti vitam eius, et securior eum recordor non timens quicquam pueritiae nec adulescentiae nec omnino homini illi. Sociavimus eum coaeuum nobis in gratia tua, educandum in disciplina tua. Et baptizati sumus et fugit a nobis sollicitudo vitae praeteritae. Nec satiabar illis diebus dulcedine mirabili considerare altitudinem consilii tui super salutem generis humani. Quantum flevi in hymnis et canticis tuis, suave sonantis ecclesiae tuae vocibus commotus acriter! Voces illae influebant auribus meis, et eliquabatur veritas in cor meum, et exaestuabat inde affectus pietatis, et currebant lacrimae, et bene mihi erat cum eis.||14. Thence, when the time had arrived at which I was to give in my name, having left the country, we returned to Milan. Alypius also was pleased to be born again with me in You, being now clothed with the humility appropriate to Your sacraments, and being so brave a tamer of the body, as with unusual fortitude to tread the frozen soil of Italy with his naked feet. We took into our company the boy Adeodatus, born of me carnally, of my sin. Well had Thou made him. He was barely fifteen years, yet in wit excelled many grave and learned men. I confess unto You Your gifts, O Lord my God, Creator of all, and of exceeding power to reform our deformities; for of me was there naught in that boy but the sin. For that we fostered him in Your discipline, You inspired us, none other—Your gifts I confess unto You. There is a book of ours, which is entitled The Master. It is a dialogue between him and me. You know that all things there put into the mouth of the person in argument with me were his thoughts in his sixteenth year. Many others more wonderful did I find in him. That talent was a source of awe to me. And who but Thou could be the worker of such marvels? Quickly did You remove his life from the earth; and now I recall him to mind with a sense of security, in that I fear nothing for his childhood or youth, or for his whole self. We took him coeval with us in Your grace, to be educated in Your discipline; and we were baptized, and solicitude about our past life left us. Nor was I satiated in those days with the wondrous sweetness of considering the depth of Your counsels concerning the salvation of the human race. How greatly did I weep in Your hymns and canticles, deeply moved by the voices of Your sweet-speaking Church! The voices flowed into mine ears, and the truth was poured forth into my heart, whence the agitation of my piety overflowed, and my tears ran over, and blessed was I therein.|
|[9.7.15]Non longe coeperat Mediolanensis ecclesia genus hoc consolationis et exhortationis celebrare magno studio fratrum concinentium vocibus et cordibus. Nimirum annus erat aut non multo amplius, cum Iustina, Valentiniani regis pueri mater, hominem tuum Ambrosium persequeretur haeresis suae causa, qua fuerat seducta ab arrianis. Excubabat pia plebs in ecclesia, mori parata cum episcopo suo, seno tuo. Ibi mea mater, ancilla tua, sollicitudinis et vigiliarum primas tenens, orationibus vivebat. Nos adhuc frigidi a calore spiritus tui excitabamur tamen civitate attonita atque turbata. Tunc hymni et psalmi ut canerentur secundum morem orientalium partium, ne populus maeroris taedio contabesceret, institutum est, ex illo in hodiernum retentum multis iam ac paene omnibus gregibus tuis et per caetera orbis imitantibus.||15. Not long had the Church of Milan begun to employ this kind of consolation and exhortation, the brethren singing together with great earnestness of voice and heart. For it was about a year, or not much more, since Justina, the mother of the boy-Emperor Valentinian, persecuted Your servant Ambrose in the interest of her heresy, to which she had been seduced by the Arians. The pious people kept guard in the church, prepared to die with their bishop, Your servant. There my mother, Your handmaid, bearing a chief part of those cares and watchings, lived in prayer. We, still unmelted by the heat of Your Spirit, were yet moved by the astonished and disturbed city. At this time it was instituted that, after the manner of the Eastern Church, hymns and psalms should be sung, lest the people should pine away in the tediousness of sorrow; which custom, retained from then till now, is imitated by many, yea, by almost all of Your congregations throughout the rest of the world.|
|[9.7.16]Tunc memorato antistiti tuo per visum aperuisti quo loco laterent martyrum corpora Protasii et Geruasii, quae per tot annos incorrupta in thesauro secreti tui reconderas, unde opportune promeres ad cohercendam rabiem femineam sed regiam. Cum enim propalata et effossa digno cum honore transferrentur ad ambrosianam basilicam, non solum quos immundi uexabant spiritus confessis eisdem daemonibus sanabantur, verum etiam quidam plures annos caecus civis civitatique notissimus, cum populi tumultuante laetitia causam quaesisset atque audisset, exilivit eoque se ut duceret suum ducem rogavit, quo perductus impetravit admitti ut sudario tangeret feretrum pretiosae in conspectu tuo mortis sanctorum tuorum; quod ubi fecit atque admovit oculis, confestim aperti sunt. Inde fama discurrens, inde laudes tuae feruentes, lucentes, inde illius inimicae animus etsi ad credendi sanitatem non applicatus, a persequendi tamen furore compressus est. Gratias tibi, Deus meus! Unde et quo duxisti recordationem meam, ut haec etiam confiterer tibi, quae magna oblitus praeterieram? Et tamen tunc, cum ita fragraret odor unguentorum tuorum, non currebamus post te. Ideo plus flebam inter cantica hymnorum tuorum, olim suspirans tibi et tandem respirans, quantum patet aura in domo faenea.||16. Then Thou by a vision made known to Your renowned bishop the spot where lay the bodies of Gervasius and Protasius, the martyrs (whom You had in Your secret storehouse preserved uncorrupted for so many years), whence You might at the fitting time produce them to repress the feminine but royal fury. For when they were revealed and dug up and with due honour transferred to the Ambrosian Basilica, not only they who were troubled with unclean spirits (the devils confessing themselves) were healed, but a certain man also, who had been blind many years, a well-known citizen of that city, having asked and been told the reason of the people's tumultuous joy, rushed forth, asking his guide to lead him there. Arrived there, he begged to be permitted to touch with his handkerchief the bier of Your saints, whose death is precious in Your sight. When he had done this, and put it to his eyes, they were immediately opened. Thence did the fame spread; thence did Your praises burn—shine; thence was the mind of that enemy, though not yet enlarged to the wholeness of believing, restrained from the fury of persecuting. Thanks be to You, O my God. Whence and whither have You thus led my remembrance, that I should confess these things also unto You—great, though I, forgetful, had passed them over? And yet then, when the savour of Your ointments was so fragrant, did we not run after You. Song of Songs 1:3-4 And so I did the more abundantly weep at the singing of Your hymns, formerly panting for You, and at last breathing in You, as far as the air can play in this house of grass.|
|[9.8.18]Qui habitare facis unanimes in domo, consociasti nobis et Euodium ivuenem ex nostro municipio. Qui cum agens in rebus militaret, prior nobis ad te conversus est et baptizatus et relicta militia saeculari accinctus in tua. Simul eramus, simul habitaturi placito sancto. Quaerebamus quisnam locus nos utilius haberet seruientes tibi; pariter remeabamus in Africam. Et cum apud Ostia Tiberina essemus, mater defuncta est. Multa praetereo, quia multum festino: accipe confessiones me as et gratiarum actiones, Deus meus, de rebus innumerabilibus etiam in silentio. Sed non praeteribo quidquid mihi anima parturit de illa famula tua, quae me parturivit et carne, ut in hanc temporalem, et corde, ut in aeternam lucem nascerer. Non eius sed tua dicam dona in eam, neque enim se ipsa fecerat aut educaverat se ipsam. Tu creasti eam (nec pater nec mater sciebat qualis ex eis fieret) et erudivit eam in timore tuo virga Christi tui, regimen unici tui, in domo fideli, bono membro ecclesiae tuae. Nec tantam erga suam disciplinam diligentiam matris praedicabat quantam famulae cuiusdam decrepitae, quae patrem eius infantem portaverat, sicut dorso grandiuscularum puellarum paruuli portari solent. Cuius rei gratia et propter senectam ac mores optimos in domo christiana satis a Dominis honorabatur. Unde etiam curam Dominicarum filiarum commissam diligenter gerebat et erat in eis cohercendis, cum opus esset, sancta seueritate uehemens atque in docendis sobria prudentia. Nam eas, praeter illas horas quibus ad mensam parentum moderatissime alebantur, etiamsi exardescerent siti, nec aquam bibere sinebat, praecavens consuetudinem malam et addens verbum sanum: 'modo aquam bibitis, quia in potestate vinum non habetis; cum autem ad maritos veneritis factae Dominae apothecarum et cellariorum, aqua sordebit, sed mos potandi praeualebit.' Hac ratione praecipiendi et auctoritate imperandi frenabat aviditatem tenerioris aetatis et ipsam puellarum sitim formabat ad honestum modum, ut iam nec liberet quod non deceret.||17. You, who makest men to dwell of one mind in a house, associated with us Evodius also, a young man of our city, who, when serving as an agent for Public Affairs, was converted unto You and baptized prior to us; and relinquishing his secular service, prepared himself for Yours. We were together, and together were we about to dwell with a holy purpose. We sought for some place where we might be most useful in our service to You, and were going back together to Africa. And when we were at the Tiberine Ostia my mother died. Much I omit, having much to hasten. Receive my confessions and thanksgivings, O my God, for innumerable things concerning which I am silent. But I will not omit anything that my soul has brought forth as to that Your handmaid who brought me forth—in her flesh, that I might be born to this temporal light, and in her heart, that I might be born to life eternal. I will speak not of her gifts, but Yours in her; for she neither made herself nor educated herself. You created her, nor did her father nor her mother know what a being was to proceed from them. And it was the rod of Your Christ, the discipline of Your only Son, that trained her in Your fear, in the house of one of Your faithful ones, who was a sound member of Your Church. Yet this good discipline did she not so much attribute to the diligence of her mother, as that of a certain decrepid maid-servant, who had carried about her father when an infant, as little ones are wont to be carried on the backs of elder girls. For which reason, and on account of her extreme age and very good character, was she much respected by the heads of that Christian house. Whence also was committed to her the care of her master's daughters, which she with diligence performed, and was earnest in restraining them when necessary, with a holy severity, and instructing them with a sober sagacity. For, excepting at the hours in which they were very temperately fed at their parents' table, she used not to permit them, though parched with thirst, to drink even water; thereby taking precautions against an evil custom, and adding the wholesome advice, You drink water only because you have not control of wine; but when you have come to be married, and made mistresses of storeroom and cellar, you will despise water, but the habit of drinking will remain. By this method of instruction, and power of command, she restrained the longing of their tender age, and regulated the very thirst of the girls to such a becoming limit, as that what was not seemly they did not long for.|
|[9.8.18]Et subrepserat tamen, sicut mihi filio famula tua narrabat, subrepserat ei vinulentia. Nam cum de more tamquam puella sobria iuberetur a parentibus de cupa vinum depromere, submisso poculo qua desuper patet, priusquam in lagunculam funderet merum, primoribus labris sorbebat exiguum, quia non poterat amplius sensu recusante. Non enim ulla temulenta cupidine faciebat hoc, sed quibusdam superfluentibus aetatis excessibus, qui ludicris motibus ebulliunt et in puerilibus animis maiorum pondere premi solent. Itaque ad illud modicum cotidiana modica addendo (quoniam qui modica spernit, paulatim decidit) in eam consuetudinem lapsa erat ut prope iam plenos mero caliculos inhianter hauriret. Ubi tunc sagax anus et uehemens illa prohibitio? Numquid valebat aliquid adversus latentem morbum, nisi tua medicina, Domine, vigilaret super nos? Absente patre et matre et nutritoribus tu praesens, qui creasti, qui vocas, qui etiam per praepositos homines boni aliquid agis ad animarum salutem. Quid tunc egisti, Deus meus? Unde curasti? Unde sanasti? Nonne protulisti durum et acutum ex altera anima conuicium tamquam medicinale ferrum ex occultis provisionibus tuis et uno ictu putredinem illam praecidisti? Ancilla enim, cum qua solebat accedere ad cupam, litigans cum Domina minore, ut fit, sola cum sola, obiecit hoc crimen amarissima insultatione vocans 'meribibulam'. Quo illa stimulo percussa respexit foeditatem suam confestimque damnavit atque exuit. Sicut amici adulantes peruertunt, sic inimici litigantes plerumque corrigunt. Nec tu quod per eos agis, sed quod ipsi voluerunt, retribuis eis. Illa enim irata exagitare appetivit minorem Dominam, non sanare, et ideo clanculo, aut quia ita eas invenerat locus et tempus litis, aut ne forte et ipsa periclitaretur, quod tam sero prodidisset. At tu, Domine, rector caelitum et terrenorum, ad usus tuos contorquens profunda torrentis, fluxum saeculorum ordinate turbulentum, etiam de alterius animae insania sanasti alteram, ne quisquam cum hoc advertit, potentiae suae tribuat, si verbo eius alius corrigatur quem uult corrigi.||18. And yet— as Your handmaid related to me, her son— there had stolen upon her a love of wine. For when she, as being a sober maiden, was as usual bidden by her parents to draw wine from the cask, the vessel being held under the opening, before she poured the wine into the bottle, she would wet the tips of her lips with a little, for more than that her inclination refused. For this she did not from any craving for drink, but out of the overflowing buoyancy of her time of life, which bubbles up with sportiveness, and is, in youthful spirits, wont to be repressed by the gravity of elders. And so unto that little, adding daily littles (for he that despises small things shall fall little by little), she contracted such a habit as, to drink off eagerly her little cup nearly full of wine. Where, then, was the sagacious old woman with her earnest restraint? Could anything prevail against a secret disease if Your medicine, O Lord, did not watch over us? Father, mother, and nurturers absent, Thou present, who hast created, who callest, who also by those who are set over us work some good for the salvation of our souls, what did Thou do at that time, O my God? How did You heal her? How did You make her whole? Did You not out of another woman's soul evoke a hard and bitter insult, as a surgeon's knife from Your secret store, and with one thrust remove all that putrefaction? For the maidservant who used to accompany her to the cellar, falling out, as it happens, with her little mistress, when she was alone with her, cast in her teeth this vice, with very bitter insult, calling her a wine-bibber. Stung by this taunt, she perceived her foulness, and immediately condemned and renounced it. Even as friends by their flattery pervert, so do enemies by their taunts often correct us. Yet You render not unto them what You do by them, but what was proposed by them. For she, being angry, desired to irritate her young mistress, not to cure her; and did it in secret, either because the time and place of the dispute found them thus, or perhaps lest she herself should be exposed to danger for disclosing it so late. But You, Lord, Governor of heavenly and earthly things, who convertest to Your purposes the deepest torrents, and disposest the turbulent current of the ages, healest one soul by the unsoundness of another; lest any man, when he remarks this, should attribute it unto his own power if another, whom he wishes to be reformed, is so through a word of his.|
|[9.9.19]Educata itaque pudice ac sobrie potiusque a te subdita parentibus quam a parentibus tibi, ubi plenis annis nubilis facta est, tradita viro seruivit veluti Domino et sategit eum lucrari tibi, loquens te illi moribus suis, quibus eam pulchram faciebas et reuerenter amabilem atque mirabilem viro. Ita autem toleravit cubilis iniurias ut nullam de hac re cum marito haberet umquam simultatem. Expectabat enim misericordiam tuam super eum, ut in te credens castificaretur. Erat vero ille praeterea sicut benivolentia praecipuus, ita ira feruidus. Sed noverat haec non resistere irato viro, non tantum facto sed ne verbo quidem. Iam vero refractum et quietum cum opportunum viderat, rationem facti sui reddebat, si forte ille inconsideratius commotus fuerat. Denique cum matronae multae, quarum viri mansuetiores erant, plagarum uestigia etiam dehonestata facie fererent, inter amica colloquia illae arguebant maritorum vitam, haec earum linguam, veluti per iocum graviter admonens, ex quo illas tabulas quae matrimoniales vocantur recitari audissent, tamquam instrumenta quibus ancillae factae essent deputare debuisse; proinde memores condicionis superbire adversus Dominos non oportere. Cumque mirarentur illae, scientes quam ferocem coniugem sustineret, numquam fuisse auditum aut aliquo indicio claruisse quod Patricius ceciderit uxorem aut quod a se invicem vel unum diem domestica lite dissenserint, et causam familiariter quaererent, docebat illa institutum suum, quod supra memoravi. Quae observabant, expertae gratulabantur; quae non observabant, subiectae uexabantur.||19. Being thus modestly and soberly trained, and rather made subject by You to her parents, than by her parents to You, when she had arrived at a marriageable age, she was given to a husband whom she served as her lord. And she busied herself to gain him to You, preaching You unto him by her behaviour; by which You made her fair, and reverently amiable, and admirable unto her husband. For she so bore the wronging of her bed as never to have any dissension with her husband on account of it. For she waited for Your mercy upon him, that by believing in You he might become chaste. And besides this, as he was earnest in friendship, so was he violent in anger; but she had learned that an angry husband should not be resisted, neither in deed, nor even in word. But so soon as he was grown calm and tranquil, and she saw a fitting moment, she would give him a reason for her conduct, should he have been excited without cause. In short, while many matrons, whose husbands were more gentle, carried the marks of blows on their dishonoured faces, and would in private conversation blame the lives of their husbands, she would blame their tongues, monishing them gravely, as if in jest: That from the hour they heard what are called the matrimonial tablets read to them, they should think of them as instruments whereby they were made servants; so, being always mindful of their condition, they ought not to set themselves in opposition to their lords. And when they, knowing what a furious husband she endured, marvelled that it had never been reported, nor appeared by any indication, that Patricius had beaten his wife, or that there had been any domestic strife between them, even for a day, and asked her in confidence the reason of this, she taught them her rule, which I have mentioned above. They who observed it experienced the wisdom of it, and rejoiced; those who observed it not were kept in subjection, and suffered.|
|[9.9.20]Socrum etiam suam primo susurris malarum ancillarum adversus se inritatam sic vicit obsequiis, perseuerans tolerantia et mansuetudine, ut illa ultro filio suo medias linguas famularum proderet, quibus inter se et nurum pax domestica turbabatur, expeteretque vindictam. Itaque posteaquam ille et matri obtemperans et curans familiae disciplinam et concordiae suorum consulens proditas ad prodentis arbitrium verberibus cohercuit, promisit illa talia de se praemia sperare debere, quaecumque de sua nuru sibi, quo placeret, mali aliquid loqueretur, nullaque iam audente memorabili inter se benivolentiae suavitate vixerunt.||20. Her mother-in-law, also, being at first prejudiced against her by the whisperings of evil-disposed servants, she so conquered by submission, persevering in it with patience and meekness, that she voluntarily disclosed to her son the tongues of the meddling servants, whereby the domestic peace between herself and her daughter-in-law had been agitated, begging him to punish them for it. When, therefore, he had— in conformity with his mother's wish, and with a view to the discipline of his family, and to ensure the future harmony of its members— corrected with stripes those discovered, according to the will of her who had discovered them, she promised a similar reward to any who, to please her, should say anything evil to her of her daughter-in-law. And, none now daring to do so, they lived together with a wonderful sweetness of mutual good-will.|
|[9.9.21]Hoc quoque illi bono mancipio tuo, in cuius utero me creasti, Deus meus, misericordia mea, munus grande donaveras, quod inter dissidentesque atque discordes quaslibet animas, ubi poterat, tam se praebebat pacificam ut cum ab utraque multa de invicem audiret amarissima, qualia solet eructare turgens atque indigesta discordia, quando praesenti amicae de absente inimica per acida colloquia cruditas exhalatur odiorum, nihil tamen alteri de altera proderet nisi quod ad eas reconciliandas valeret. Paruum hoc bonum mihi videretur, nisi turbas innumerabiles tristis experirer (nescio qua horrenda pestilentia peccatorum latissime peruagante) non solum iratorum inimicorum iratis inimicis dicta prodere, sed etiam quae non dicta sunt addere, cum contra homini humano parum esse debeat inimicitias hominum nec excitare nec augere male loquendo, nisi eas etiam extinguere bene loquendo studuerit: qualis illa erat docente te magistro intimo in schola pectoris.||21. This great gift You bestowed also, my God, my mercy, upon that good handmaid of Yours, out of whose womb You created me, even that, whenever she could, she showed herself such a peacemaker between any differing and discordant spirits, that when she had heard on both sides most bitter things, such as swelling and undigested discord is wont to give vent to, when the crudities of enmities are breathed out in bitter speeches to a present friend against an absent enemy, she would disclose nothing about the one unto the other, save what might avail to their reconcilement. A small good this might seem to me, did I not know to my sorrow countless persons, who, through some horrible and far-spreading infection of sin, not only disclose to enemies mutually enraged the things said in passion against each other, but add some things that were never spoken at all; whereas, to a generous man, it ought to seem a small thing not to incite or increase the enmities of men by ill-speaking, unless he endeavour likewise by kind words to extinguish them. Such a one was she—Thou, her most intimate Instructor, teaching her in the school of her heart.|
|[9.9.22]Denique etiam virum suum iam in extrema vita temporali eius lucrata est tibi, nec in eo iam fideli planxit quod in nondum fideli toleraverat: erat etiam serva seruorum tuorum. Quisquis eorum noverat eam, multum in ea laudabat et honorabat et diligebat te, quia sentiebat praesentiam tuam in corde eius sanctae conversationis fructibus testibus. Fuerat enim unius viri uxor, mutuam vicem parentibus reddiderat, domum suam pie tractaverat, in operibus bonis testimonium habebat. Nutrierat filios, totiens eos parturiens quotiens abs te Deviare cernebat. Postremo nobis, Domine, omnibus, quia ex munere tuo sinis loqui, seruis tuis, qui ante dormitionem eius in te iam consociati vivebamus percepta gratia baptismi tui, ita curam gessit quasi omnes genuisset, ita seruivit quasi ab omnibus genita fuisset.||22. Finally, her own husband, now towards the end of his earthly existence, did she gain over unto You; and she had not to complain of that in him, as one of the faithful, which, before he became so, she had endured. She was also the servant of Your servants. Whosoever of them knew her, did in her much magnify, honour, and love You; for that through the testimony of the fruits of a holy conversation, they perceived You to be present in her heart. For she had been the wife of one man, had requited her parents, had guided her house piously, was well-reported of for good works, had brought up children, as often travailing in birth of them Galatians 4:19 as she saw them swerving from You. Lastly, to all of us, O Lord (since of Your favour Thou sufferest Your servants to speak), who, before her sleeping in You, 1 Thessalonians 4:14 lived associated together, having received the grace of Your baptism, did she devote, care such as she might if she had been mother of us all; served us as if she had been child of all.|
|[9.10.23]Impendente autem die quo ex hac vita erat exitura (quem diem tu noveras ignorantibus nobis), provenerat, ut credo, procurante te occultis tuis modis, ut ego et ipsa soli staremus, incumbentes ad quandam fenestram unde hortus intra domum quae nos habebat prospectabatur, illic apud Ostia Tiberina, ubi remoti a turbis post longi itineris laborem instaurabamus nos navigationi. Conloquebamur ergo soli valde dulciter et, praeterita obliviscentes in ea quae ante sunt extenti, quaerebamus inter nos apud praesentem veritatem, quod tu es, qualis futura esset vita aeterna sanctorum, quam nec oculus vidit nec auris audivit nec in cor hominis ascendit. Sed inhiabamus ore cordis in superna fluenta fontis tui, fontis vitae, qui est apud te, ut inde pro captu nostro aspersi quoquo modo rem tantam cogitaremus.||23. As the day now approached on which she was to depart this life (which day Thou knew, we did not), it fell out— Thou, as I believe, by Your secret ways arranging it— that she and I stood alone, leaning in a certain window, from which the garden of the house we occupied at Ostia could be seen; at which place, removed from the crowd, we were resting ourselves for the voyage, after the fatigues of a long journey. We then were conversing alone very pleasantly; and, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, Philippians 3:13 we were seeking between ourselves in the presence of the Truth, which You are, of what nature the eternal life of the saints would be, which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man. But yet we opened wide the mouth of our heart, after those supernal streams of Your fountain, the fountain of life, which is with You; that being sprinkled with it according to our capacity, we might in some measure weigh so high a mystery.|
|[9.10.24]Cumque ad eum finem sermo perduceretur, ut carnalium sensuum delectatio quantalibet, in quantalibet luce corporea, prae illius vitae iucunditate non comparatione sed ne commemoratione quidem digna videretur, erigentes nos ardentiore affectu in idipsum, perambulavimus gradatim cuncta corporalia et ipsum caelum, unde sol et luna et stellae lucent super terram. Et adhuc ascendebamus interius cogitando et loquendo et mirando opera tua. Et venimus in mentes nostras et transcendimus eas, ut attingeremus regionem ubertatis indeficientis, ubi pascis Israhel in aeternum veritate pabulo, et ibi vita sapientia est, per quam fiunt omnia ista, et quae fuerunt et quae futura sunt, et ipsa non fit, sed sic est ut fuit, et sic erit semper. Quin potius fuisse et futurum esse non est in ea, sed esse solum, quoniam aeterna est: nam fuisse et futurum esse non est aeternum. Et dum loquimur et inhiamus illi, attingimus eam modice toto ictu cordis. Et suspiravimus et reliquimus ibi religatas primitias spiritus et remeavimus ad strepitum oris nostri, ubi verbum et incipitur et finitur. Et quid simile verbo tuo, Domino nostro, in se permanenti sine uetustate atque innouanti omnia?||24. And when our conversation had arrived at that point, that the very highest pleasure of the carnal senses, and that in the very brightest material light, seemed by reason of the sweetness of that life not only not worthy of comparison, but not even of mention, we, lifting ourselves with a more ardent affection towards the Selfsame, did gradually pass through all corporeal things, and even the heaven itself, whence sun, and moon, and stars shine upon the earth; yea, we soared higher yet by inward musing, and discoursing, and admiring Your works; and we came to our own minds, and went beyond them, that we might advance as high as that region of unfailing plenty, where You feed Israel for ever with the food of truth, and where life is that Wisdom by whom all these things are made, both which have been, and which are to come; and she is not made, but is as she has been, and so shall ever be; yea, rather, to have been, and to be hereafter, are not in her, but only to be, seeing she is eternal, for to have been and to be hereafter are not eternal. And while we were thus speaking, and straining after her, we slightly touched her with the whole effort of our heart; and we sighed, and there left bound the first-fruits of the Spirit; Romans 8:23 and returned to the noise of our own mouth, where the word uttered has both beginning and end. And what is like Your Word, our Lord, who remains in Himself without becoming old, and makes all things new? Wisdom 7:27|
|[9.10.25]Dicebamus ergo, 'si cui sileat tumultus carnis, sileant phantasiae terrae et aquarum et aeris, sileant et poli, et ipsa sibi anima sile at et transe at se non se cogitand o, sile ant somnia et imaginariae reuelationes, omnis lingua et omne signum, et quidquid transeundo fit si cui sileat omnino (quoniam si quis audiat, dicunt haec omnia, "non ipsa nos fecimus, sed fecit nos qui manet in aeternum"), his dictis si iam taceant, quoniam erexerunt aurem in eum qui fecit ea, et loquatur ipse solus non per ea sed per se ipsum, ut audiamus verbum eius, non per linguam carnis neque per vocem angeli nec per sonitum nubis nec per aenigma similitudinis, sed ipsum quem in his amamus, ipsum sine his audiamus (sicut nunc extendimus nos et rapida cogitatione attingimus aeternam sapientiam super omnia manentem), si continvetur hoc et subtrahantur aliae visiones longe imparis generis et haec una rapiat et absorbeat et recondat in interiora gaudia spectatorem suum, ut talis sit sempiterna vita quale fuit hoc momentum intellegentiae cui suspiravimus, nonne hoc est: "intra in gaudium Domini tui"? Et istud quando? An cum omnes resurgimus, sed non omnes immutabimur?'||25. We were saying, then, If to any man the tumult of the flesh were silenced—silenced the phantasies of earth, waters, and air—silenced, too, the poles; yea, the very soul be silenced to herself, and go beyond herself by not thinking of herself—silenced fancies and imaginary revelations, every tongue, and every sign, and whatsoever exists by passing away, since, if any could hearken, all these say, We created not ourselves, but were created by Him who abides for ever: If, having uttered this, they now should be silenced, having only quickened our ears to Him who created them, and He alone speak not by them, but by Himself, that we may hear His word, not by fleshly tongue, nor angelic voice, nor sound of thunder, nor the obscurity of a similitude, but might hear Him— Him whom in these we love— without these, like as we two now strained ourselves, and with rapid thought touched on that Eternal Wisdom which remains over all. If this could be sustained, and other visions of a far different kind be withdrawn, and this one ravish, and absorb, and envelope its beholder amid these inward joys, so that his life might be eternally like that one moment of knowledge which we now sighed after, were not this Enter into the joy of Your Lord? Matthew 25:21 And when shall that be? When we shall all rise again; but all shall not be changed.|
|[9.10.26]Dicebam talia, etsi non isto modo et his verbis, tamen, Domine, tu scis, quod illo die, cum talia loqueremur et mundus iste nobis inter verba vilesceret cum omnibus delectationibus suis, tunc ait illa, 'fili, quantum ad me attinet, nulla re iam delector in hac vita. Quid hic faciam adhuc et cur hic sim, nescio, iam consumpta spe huius saeculi. Unum erat propter quod in hac vita aliquantum immorari cupiebam, ut te christianum catholicum viderem priusquam morerer. Cumulatius hoc mihi Deus meus praestitit, ut te etiam contempta felicitate terrena seruum eius videam. Quid hic facio?'||26. Such things was I saying; and if not after this manner, and in these words, yet, Lord, You know, that in that day when we were talking thus, this world with all its delights grew contemptible to us, even while we spoke. Then said my mother, Son, for myself, I have no longer any pleasure in anything in this life. What I want here further, and why I am here, I know not, now that my hopes in this world are satisfied. There was indeed one thing for which I wished to tarry a little in this life, and that was that I might see you a Catholic Christian before I died. My God has exceeded this abundantly, so that I see you despising all earthly felicity, made His servant—what do I here?|
|[9.11.27]Ad haec ei quid responderim non satis recolo, cum intere a vix intra quinque dies aut non multo amplius decubuit febribus. Et cum aegrotaret, quodam die defectum animae passa est et paululum subtracta a praesentibus. Nos concurrimus, sed cito reddita est sensui et aspexit astantes me et fratrem meum, et ait nobis quasi quaerenti similis, 'ubi eram?' deinde nos intuens maerore attonitos: 'ponitis hic', inquit, 'matrem uestram.' Ego silebam et fletum frenabam, frater autem meus quiddam locutus est, quo eam non in peregre, sed in patria defungi tamquam felicius optaret. Quo audito illa uultu anxio reuerberans eum oculis, quod talia saperet, atque inde me intuens: 'uide', ait, 'quid dicit.' Et mox ambobus: 'ponite', inquit, 'hoc corpus ubicumque. Nihil vos eius cura conturbet. Tantum illud vos rogo, Ut ad Domini altare memineritis mei, ubiubi fueritis.' Cumque hanc sententiam verbis quibus poterat explicasset, conticuit et ingravescente morbo exercebatur.||27. What reply I made unto her to these things I do not well remember. However, scarcely five days after, or not much more, she was prostrated by fever; and while she was sick, she one day sank into a swoon, and was for a short time unconscious of visible things. We hurried up to her; but she soon regained her senses, and gazing on me and my brother as we stood by her, she said to us inquiringly, Where was I? Then looking intently at us stupefied with grief, Here, says she, shall you bury your mother. I was silent, and refrained from weeping; but my brother said something, wishing her, as the happier lot, to die in her own country and not abroad. She, when she heard this, with anxious countenance arrested him with her eye, as savouring of such things, and then gazing at me, Behold, says she, what he says; and soon after to us both she says, Lay this body anywhere, let not the care for it trouble you at all. This only I ask, that you will remember me at the Lord's altar, wherever you be. And when she had given forth this opinion in such words as she could, she was silent, being in pain with her increasing sickness.|
|[9.11.28]Ego vero cogitans dona tua, Deus inuisibilis, quae immittis in corda fidelium tuorum, et proveniunt inde fruges admirabiles, gaudebam et gratias tibi agebam, recolens quod noveram, quanta cura semper aestuasset de sepulchro quod sibi providerat et praeparaverat iuxta corpus viri sui. Quia enim valde concorditer vixerant, id etiam volebat, ut est animus humanus minus capax divinorum, adiungi ad illam felicitatem et commemorari ab hominibus, concessum sibi esse post transmarinam peregrinationem ut coniuncta terra amborum coniugum terra tegeretur. Quando autem ista inanitas plenitudine bonitatis tuae coeperat in eius corde non esse, nesciebam et laetabar, admirans quod sic mihi apparuisset (quamquam et in illo sermone nostro ad fenestram, cum dixit, 'iam quid hic facio?', non apparuit desiderare in patria mori). Audivi etiam postea quod iam cum Ostiis essemus cum quibusdam amicis meis materna fiducia colloquebatur quodam die de contemptu vitae huius et bono mortis, ubi ipse non aderam, illisque stupentibus virtutem feminae (quoniam tu dederas ei) quaerentibusque utrum non formidaret tam longe a sua civitate corpus relinquere, 'nihil', inquit, 'longe est Deo, neque timendum est, ne ille non agnoscat in fine saeculi unde me resuscitet.' Ergo die nono aegritudinis suae, quinquagesimo et sexto anno aetatis suae, tricesimo et tertio aetatis meae, anima illa religiosa et pia corpore soluta est.||28. But, as I reflected on Your gifts, O you invisible God, which Thou instillest into the hearts of Your faithful ones, whence such marvellous fruits do spring, I did rejoice and give thanks unto You, calling to mind what I knew before, how she had ever burned with anxiety respecting her burial-place, which she had provided and prepared for herself by the body of her husband. For as they had lived very peacefully together, her desire had also been (so little is the human mind capable of grasping things divine) that this should be added to that happiness, and be talked of among men, that after her wandering beyond the sea, it had been granted her that they both, so united on earth, should lie in the same grave. But when this uselessness had, through the bounty of Your goodness, begun to be no longer in her heart, I knew not, and I was full of joy admiring what she had thus disclosed to me; though indeed in that our conversation in the window also, when she said, What do I here any longer? she appeared not to desire to die in her own country. I heard afterwards, too, that at the time we were at Ostia, with a maternal confidence she one day, when I was absent, was speaking with certain of my friends on the contemning of this life, and the blessing of death; and when they— amazed at the courage which You had given to her, a woman— asked her whether she did not dread leaving her body at such a distance from her own city, she replied, Nothing is far to God; nor need I fear lest He should be ignorant at the end of the world of the place whence He is to raise me up. On the ninth day, then, of her sickness, the fifty-sixth year of her age, and the thirty-third of mine, was that religious and devout soul set free from the body.|
|[9.12.29]Premebam oculos eius, et confluebat in praecordia mea maestitudo ingens et transfluebat in lacrimas, ibidemque oculi mei violento animi imperio resorbebant fontem suum usque ad siccitatem, et in tali luctamine valde male mihi erat. Tum vero ubi efflavit extremum, puer Adeodatus exclamavit in planctu atque ab omnibus nobis cohercitus tacuit. Hoc modo etiam meum quiddam puerile, quod labebatur in fletus, ivuenali voce cordis cohercebatur et tacebat. Neque enim decere arbitrabamur funus illud questibus lacrimosis gemitibusque celebrare, quia his plerumque solet deplorari quaedam miseria morientium aut quasi omnimoda extinctio. At illa nec misere moriebatur nec omnino moriebatur. Hoc et documentis morum eius et fide non ficta rationibusque certis tenebamus.||29. I closed her eyes; and there flowed a great sadness into my heart, and it was passing into tears, when my eyes at the same time, by the violent control of my mind, sucked back the fountain dry, and woe was me in such a struggle! But, as soon as she breathed her last the boy Adeodatus burst out into wailing, but, being checked by us all, he became quiet. In like manner also my own childish feeling, which was, through the youthful voice of my heart, finding escape in tears, was restrained and silenced. For we did not consider it fitting to celebrate that funeral with tearful plaints and groanings; for on such wise are they who die unhappy, or are altogether dead, wont to be mourned. But she neither died unhappy, nor did she altogether die. For of this were we assured by the witness of her good conversation, her faith unfeigned, 1 Timothy 1:5 and other sufficient grounds.|
|[9.12.30]Quid erat ergo quod intus mihi graviter dolebat, nisi ex consuetudine simul vivendi, dulcissima et carissima, repente dirupta uulnus recens? Gratulabar quidem testimonio eius, quod in ea ipsa ultima aegritudine obsequiis meis interblandiens appellabat me pium et commemorabat grandi dilectionis affectu numquam se audisse ex ore meo iaculatum in se durum aut contumeliosum sonum. Sed tamen quid tale, Deus meus, qui fecisti nos, quid comparabile habebat honor a me delatus illi et seruitus ab illa mihi? Quoniam itaque deserebar tam magno eius solacio, sauciabatur anima et quasi dilaniabatur vita, quae una facta erat ex mea et illius.||3o. What, then, was that which did grievously pain me within, but the newly-made wound, from having that most sweet and dear habit of living together suddenly broken off? I was full of joy indeed in her testimony, when, in that her last illness, flattering my dutifulness, she called me kind, and recalled, with great affection of love, that she had never heard any harsh or reproachful sound come out of my mouth against her. But yet, O my God, who made us, how can the honour which I paid to her be compared with her slavery for me? As, then, I was left destitute of so great comfort in her, my soul was stricken, and that life torn apart as it were, which, of hers and mine together, had been made but one.|
|[9.12.31]Cohibito ergo a fletu illo puero, psalterium arripuit Euodius et cantare coepit psalmum. Cui respondebamus omnis domus, 'misericordiam et iudicium cantabo tibi, Domine.' Audito autem quid ageretur, convenerunt multi fratres ac religiosae feminae et, de more illis quorum officium erat funus curantibus, ego in parte, ubi decenter poteram, cum eis qui me non deserendum esse censebant, quod erat tempori congruum disputabam eoque fomento veritatis mitigabam cruciatum tibi notum, illis ignorantibus et intente audientibus et sine sensu doloris me esse arbitrantibus. At ego in auribus tuis, ubi eorum nullus audiebat, increpabam mollitiam affectus mei et constringebam fluxum maeroris, cedebatque mihi paululum. Rursusque impetu suo ferebatur non usque ad eruptionem lacrimarum nec usque ad uultus mutationem, sed ego sciebam quid corde premerem. Et quia mihi uehementer displicebat tantum in me posse haec humana, quae ordine debito et sorte conditionis nostrae accidere necesse est, alio dolore dolebam dolorem et duplici tristitia macerabar.||31. The boy then being restrained from weeping, Evodius took up the Psalter, and began to sing— the whole house responding— the Psalm, I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto You, O Lord. But when they heard what we were doing, many brethren and religious women came together; and while they whose office it was were, according to custom, making ready for the funeral, I, in a part of the house where I conveniently could, together with those who thought that I ought not to be left alone, discoursed on what was suited to the occasion; and by this alleviation of truth mitigated the anguish known unto You— they being unconscious of it, listened intently, and thought me to be devoid of any sense of sorrow. But in Your ears, where none of them heard, did I blame the softness of my feelings, and restrained the flow of my grief, which yielded a little unto me; but the paroxysm returned again, though not so as to burst forth into tears, nor to a change of countenance, though I knew what I repressed in my heart. And as I was exceedingly annoyed that these human things had such power over me, which in the due order and destiny of our natural condition must of necessity come to pass, with a new sorrow I sorrowed for my sorrow, and was wasted by a twofold sadness.|
|[9.12.32]Cum ecce corpus elatum est, imus, redimus sine lacrimis. Nam neque in eis precibus quas tibi fudimus, cum offerretur pro ea sacrificium pretii nostri iam iuxta sepulchrum, posito cadavere priusquam deponeretur, sicut illic fieri solet, nec in eis ergo precibus flevi, sed toto die graviter in occulto maestus eram et mente turbata rogabam te, ut poteram, quo sanares dolorem meum, nec faciebas, credo commendans memoriae meae vel hoc uno documento omnis consuetudinis vinculum etiam adversus mentem, quae iam non fallaci verbo pascitur. Visum etiam mihi est ut irem lauatum, quod audieram inde balneis nomen inditum quia graeci balanion dixerint, quod anxietatem pellat ex animo. Ecce et hoc confiteor misericordiae tuae, pater orphanorum, quoniam lavi et talis eram qualis priusquam lavissem, neque enim exudavit de corde meo maeroris amaritudo. Deinde dormivi et evigilavi, et non pana ex parte mitigatum inveni dolorem meum atque, ut eram in lecto meo solus, recordatus sum veridicos versus Ambrosii tui: ...Tu es enim deus, creator omnium polique rector uestiens diem decoro lumine, noctem sopora gratia, artus solutos ut quies reddat laboris usui||32. So, when the body was carried forth, we both went and returned without tears. For neither in those prayers which we poured forth unto You when the sacrifice of our redemption was offered up unto You for her—the dead body being now placed by the side of the grave, as the custom there is, prior to its being laid therein—neither in their prayers did I shed tears; yet was I most grievously sad in secret all the day, and with a troubled mind entreated You, as I was able, to heal my sorrow, but You did not; fixing, I believe, in my memory by this one lesson the power of the bonds of all habit, even upon a mind which now feeds not upon a fallacious word. It appeared to me also a good thing to go and bathe, I having heard that the bath [balneum] took its name from the Greek ßa?a?e???, because it drives trouble from the mind. Lo, this also I confess unto Your mercy, Father of the fatherless, that I bathed, and felt the same as before I had done so. For the bitterness of my grief exuded not from my heart. Then I slept, and on awaking found my grief not a little mitigated; and as I lay alone upon my bed, there came into my mind those true verses of Your Ambrose, for You are— Deus creator omnium, Polique rector, vestiens Diem decora lumine, Noctem sopora gratia; Artus solutos ut quies Reddat laboris usui, Mentesque fessas allevet, Luctusque solvat anxios.|
|[9.12.33]Atque inde paulatim reducebam in pristinum sensum ancillam tuam conversationemque eius piam in te et sancte in nos blandam atque morigeram, qua subito destitutus sum, et libuit flere in conspectu tuo de illa et pro illa, de me et pro me. Et dimisi lacrimas quas continebam, ut efffluerent quantum vellent, substernens eas cordi meo. Et requievit in eis, quoniam ibi erant aures tuae, non cuiusquam hominis superbe interpretantis ploratum meum. Et nunc, Domine, confiteor tibi in litteris: legat qui volet, et interpretetur ut volet, et si peccatum invenerit, flevisse me matrem exigua parte horae, matrem oculis meis interim mortuam quae me multos annos fleuerat ut oculis tuis viverem, non inrideat sed potius, si est grandi caritate, pro peccatis meis fleat ipse ad te, patrem omnium fratrum Christi tui.||33. And then little by little did I bring back my former thoughts of Your handmaid, her devout conversation towards You, her holy tenderness and attentiveness towards us, which was suddenly taken away from me; and it was pleasant to me to weep in Your sight, for her and for me, concerning her and concerning myself. And I set free the tears which before I repressed, that they might flow at their will, spreading them beneath my heart; and it rested in them, for Your ears were near me—not those of man, who would have put a scornful interpretation on my weeping. But now in writing I confess it unto You, O Lord! Read it who will, and interpret how he will; and if he finds me to have sinned in weeping for my mother during so small a part of an hour—that mother who was for a while dead to my eyes, who had for many years wept for me, that I might live in Your eyes—let him not laugh at me, but rather, if he be a man of a noble charity, let him weep for my sins against You, the Father of all the brethren of Your Christ.|
|[9.13.34]Ego autem, iam sanato corde ab illo uulnere in quo poterat redargui carnalis affectus, fundo tibi, Deus noster, pro illa famula tua longe aliud lacrimarum genus, quod manat de concusso spiritu consideratione periculorum omnis animae quae in Adam moritur. Quamquam illa in Christo vivificata etiam nondum a carne resoluta sic vixerit, ut laudetur nomen tuum in fide moribusque eius, non tamen audeo dicere, ex quo eam per baptismum regenerasti, nullum verbum exisse ab ore eius contra praeceptum tuum. Et dictum est a veritate filio tuo, 'si quis dixerit fratri suo, "fatue", reus erit gehennae ignis'; et uae etiam laudabili vitae hominum, si remota misericordia discutias eam! Quia vero non exquiris delicta uehementer, fiducialiter speramus aliquem apud te locum. Quisquis autem tibi enumerat vera merita sua, quid tibi enumerat nisi munera tua? O si cognoscant se homines homines, et qui gloriatur, in Domino glorietur!||34. But—my heart being now healed of that wound, in so far as it could be convicted of a carnal Romans 8:7 affection—I pour out unto You, O our God, on behalf of that Your handmaid, tears of a far different sort, even that which flows from a spirit broken by the thoughts of the dangers of every soul that dies in Adam. And although she, having been made alive in Christ even before she was freed from the flesh had so lived as to praise Your name both by her faith and conversation, yet dare I not say that from the time You regenerated her by baptism, no word went forth from her mouth against Your precepts. Matthew 12:36 And it has been declared by Your Son, the Truth, that Whosoever shall say to his brother, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Matthew 5:22 And woe even unto the praiseworthy life of man, if, putting away mercy, You should investigate it. But because Thou dost not narrowly inquire after sins, we hope with confidence to find some place of indulgence with You. But whosoever recounts his true merits to You, what is it that he recounts to You but Your own gifts? Oh, if men would know themselves to be men; and that he that glories would glory in the Lord! 2 Corinthians 10:17|
|[9.13.35]Ego itaque, laus mea et vita mea, Deus cordis mei, sepositis paulisper bonis eius actibus, pro quibus tibi gaudens gratias ago, nunc pro peccatis matris meae deprecor te. Exaudi me per medicinam uulnerum nostrorum, quae pependit in ligno et sedens ad dexteram tuam te interpellat pro nobis. Scio misericorditer operatam et ex corde dimisisse debita debitoribus suis. Dimitte illi et tu debita sua, si qua etiam contraxit per tot annos post aquam salutis. Dimitte, Domine, dimitte, obsecro, ne intres cum ea in iudicium. Superexultet misericordia iudicio, quoniam eloquia tua vera sunt et promisisti misericordiam misericordibus. Quod ut essent tu dedisti eis, qui misereberis cui misertus eris, et misericordiam praestabis cui misericors fueris.||35. I then, O my Praise and my Life, Thou God of my heart, putting aside for a little her good deeds, for which I joyfully give thanks to You, do now beseech You for the sins of my mother. Hearken unto me, through that Medicine of our wounds who hung upon the tree, and who, sitting at Your right hand, makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34 I know that she acted mercifully, and from the heart Matthew 18:35 forgave her debtors their debts; do Thou also forgive her debts, whatever she contracted during so many years since the water of salvation. Forgive her, O Lord, forgive her, I beseech You; enter not into judgment with her. Let Your mercy be exalted above Your justice, James 2:13 because Your words are true, and You have promised mercy unto the merciful; Matthew 5:7 which You gave them to be who wilt have mercy on whom You will have mercy, and wilt have compassion on whom You have had compassion. Romans 9:15|
|[9.13.36]Et credo, iam feceris quod te rogo, sed voluntaria oris mei approba, Domine. Namque illa imminente die resolutionis suae non cogitavit suum corpus sumptuose contegi aut condiri aromatis aut monumentum electum concupivit aut curavit sepulchrum patrium. Non ista mandavit nobis, sed tantummodo memoriam sui ad altare tuum fieri desideravit, cui nullius diei praetermissione seruierat, unde sciret dispensari victimam sanctam qua deletum est chirographum quod erat contrarium nobis, qua triumphatus est hostis computans delicta nostra et quaerens quid obiciat, et nihil inveniens in illo, in quo vincimus. Quis ei refundet innocentem sanguinem? Quis ei restituet pretium quo nos emit, ut nos auferat ei? Ad cuius pretii nostri sacramentum ligavit ancilla tua animam suam vinculo fidei. Nemo a protectione tua dirumpat eam; non se interponat nec vi nec insidiis leo et draco. Neque enim respondebit illa nihil se debere, ne conuincatur et obtineatur ab accusatore callido, sed respondebit dimissa debita sua ab eo cui nemo reddet, quod pro nobis non debens reddidit.||36. And I believe You have already done that which I ask You; but accept the free-will offerings of my mouth, O Lord. For she, when the day of her dissolution was near at hand, took no thought to have her body sumptuously covered, or embalmed with spices; nor did she covet a choice monument, or desire her paternal burial-place. These things she entrusted not to us, but only desired to have her name remembered at Your altar, which she had served without the omission of a single day; whence she knew that the holy sacrifice was dispensed, by which the handwriting that was against us is blotted out; Colossians 2:14 by which the enemy was triumphed over, who, summing up our offenses, and searching for something to bring against us, found nothing in Him John 14:30 in whom we conquer. Who will restore to Him the innocent blood? Who will repay Him the price with which He bought us, so as to take us from Him? Unto the sacrament of which our ransom did Your handmaid bind her soul by the bond of faith. Let none separate her from Your protection. Let not the lion and the dragon introduce himself by force or fraud. For she will not reply that she owes nothing, lest she be convicted and got the better of by the wily deceiver; but she will answer that her sins are forgiven Matthew 9:2 by Him to whom no one is able to repay that price which He, owing nothing, laid down for us.|
|[9.13.37]Sit ergo in pace cum viro, ante quem nulli et post quem nulli nupta est, cui seruivit fructum tibi afferens cum tolerantia, ut eum quoque lucraretur tibi. Et inspira, Domine meus, Deus meus, inspira seruis tuis, fratribus meis, filiis tuis, Dominis meis, quibus et corde et voce et litteris seruio, ut quotquot haec legerint, meminerint ad altare tuum Monnicae, famulae tuae, cum Patricio, quondam eius coniuge, per quorum carnem introduxisti me in hanc vi tam, quemadmod um nescio. Meminerint cum affectu pio parentum meorum in hac luce transitoria, et fratrum meorum sub te patre in matre catholica, et civium meorum in aeterna Hierusalem, cui suspirat peregrinatio populi tui ab exitu usque ad reditum, ut quod a me illa poposcit extremum uberius ei praestetur in multorum orationibus per confessiones quam per orationes meas.||37. May she therefore rest in peace with her husband, before or after whom she married none; whom she obeyed, with patience bringing forth fruit Luke 8:15 unto You, that she might gain him also for You. And inspire, O my Lord my God, inspire Your servants my brethren, Your sons my masters, who with voice and heart and writings I serve, that so many of them as shall read these confessions may at Your altar remember Monica, Your handmaid, together with Patricius, her sometime husband, by whose flesh You introduced me into this life, in what manner I know not. May they with pious affection be mindful of my parents in this transitory light, of my brethren that are under You our Father in our Catholic mother, and of my fellow citizens in the eternal Jerusalem, which the wandering of Your people sighs for from their departure until their return. That so my mother's last entreaty to me may, through my confessions more than through my prayers, be more abundantly fulfilled to her through the prayers of many.|
THE LOGIC MUSEUM II