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The Confessions of Saint Augustine

Book V
Accept the sacrifice of my confessions from the ministry of my tongue, which Thou hast
formed and stirred up to confess unto Thy name. Heal Thou all my bones, and let them
say, O Lord, who is like unto Thee? For he who confesses to Thee doth not teach Thee
what takes place within him; seeing a closed heart closes not out Thy eye, nor can man's
hard-heartedness thrust back Thy hand: for Thou dissolvest it at Thy will in pity or in
vengeance, and nothing can hide itself from Thy heat. But let my soul praise Thee, that it
may love Thee; and let it confess Thy own mercies to Thee, that it may praise Thee. Thy
whole creation ceaseth not, nor is silent in Thy praises; neither the spirit of man with
voice directed unto Thee, nor creation animate or inanimate, by the voice of those who
meditate thereon: that so our souls may from their weariness arise towards Thee, leaning
on those things which Thou hast created, and passing on to Thyself, who madest them
wonderfully; and there is refreshment and true strength.
Let the restless, the godless, depart and flee from Thee; yet Thou seest them, and dividest
the darkness. And behold, the universe with them is fair, though they are foul. And how
have they injured Thee? or how have they disgraced Thy government, which, from the
heaven to this lowest earth, is just and perfect? For whither fled they, when they fled
from Thy presence? or where dost not Thou find them? But they fled, that they might not
see Thee seeing them, and, blinded, might stumble against Thee (because Thou forsakest
nothing Thou hast made); that the unjust, I say, might stumble upon Thee, and justly be
hurt; withdrawing themselves from thy gentleness, and stumbling at Thy uprightness, and
falling upon their own ruggedness. Ignorant, in truth, that Thou art every where, Whom
no place encompasseth! and Thou alone art near, even to those that remove far from
Thee. Let them then be turned, and seek Thee; because not as they have forsaken their
Creator, hast Thou forsaken Thy creation. Let them be turned and seek Thee; and behold,
Thou art there in their heart, in the heart of those that confess to Thee, and cast
themselves upon Thee, and weep in Thy bosom, after all their rugged ways. Then dost
Thou gently wipe away their tears, and they weep the more, and joy in weeping; even for
that Thou, Lord, -not man of flesh and blood, but -Thou, Lord, who madest them, re-
makest and comfortest them. But where was I, when I was seeking Thee? And Thou wert
before me, but I had gone away from Thee; nor did I find myself, how much less Thee!
I would lay open before my God that nine-and-twentieth year of mine age. There had
then come to Carthage a certain Bishop of the Manichees, Faustus by name, a great snare
of the Devil, and many were entangled by him through that lure of his smooth language:
which though I did commend, yet could I separate from the truth of the things which I
was earnest to learn: nor did I so much regard the service of oratory as the science which
this Faustus, so praised among them, set before me to feed upon. Fame had before
bespoken him most knowing in all valuable learning, and exquisitely skilled in the liberal
sciences. And since I had read and well remembered much of the philosophers, I
compared some things of theirs with those long fables of the Manichees, and found the
former the more probable; even although they could only prevail so far as to make
judgment of this lower world, the Lord of it they could by no means find out. For Thou
 
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