The greatest spiritual autobiography of all time, this classic work is a literary and theological masterpiece. Although written 1500 years ago, it reads fresh and new to this very day. John K. Ryan's masterful translation brings out the luster of Augustine's unmatched tale of his soul's journey to God.Confessions by St. Augustine of Hippo
"By common consent the work known as the Confessions of St. Augustine has a special place among the world's great books. Autobiographical in character, it is not an attempt to tell the story of all the years of the writer's life, least of all of the outward events of those years. But no writer ever went deeper into his own character and deeds, passed keener judgements upon himself, or revealed himself more fully and more humbly to others…His book is not only a most penetrating psychological study and a unique document for understanding the spiritual and ascetical life, but it is also a storehouse of thought for the philosopher and the theologian, and for others as well.
"Because of such things it is not to be wondered that this unique book should immediately have found many readers and that more than 1500 years after its publication it still attracts countless readers and affects them deeply. It is assuredly a great book, one of the greatest indeed, great in authorship, great in its diverse but unified subject matter, great in the form into which that subject matter has been cast, great in the end for which it was written, and great in the good effects that it has unfailingly produced…To become familiar with St. Augustine's Confessions is to make one's own, to some extent at least, an inexhaustible source of intellectual stimulation, of esthetic delight, of moral help, and of spiritual enlightenment." -Translator's Introduction
Augustine of Hippo was the son of a pagan father who converted on his death bed, and of Saint Monica, a devout Christian. Raised a Christian, he lost his faith in youth and led a wild life. Lived with a Carthaginian woman from the age of 15 through 30. Fathered a son whom he named Adeotadus, which means the gift of God. Taught rhetoric at Carthage and Milan, Italy. After investigating and experimenting with several philosophies, he became a Manichaean for several years; it taught of a great struggle between good and evil, and featured a lax moral code. A summation of his thinking at the time comes from his Confessions: “God, give me chastity and continence – but not just now.”
Augustine finally broke with the Manichaeans and was converted by the prayers of his mother and the help of Saint Ambrose of Milan, who baptized him. On the death of his mother he returned to Africa, sold his property, gave the proceeds to the poor, and founded a monastery. Monk. Priest. Preacher. Bishop of Hippo in 396. Founded religious communities. Fought Manichaeism, Donatism, Pelagianism and other heresies. Oversaw his church and his see during the fall of the Roman Empire to the Vandals. Doctor of the Church. His later thinking can also be summed up in a line from his writings: Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in you.