The Confessions of Saint Augustine HTML version

I call upon Thee, O my God, my mercy, Who createdst me, and forgottest not me,
forgetting Thee. I call Thee into my soul which, by the longing Thyself inspirest into her,
Thou preparest for Thee. Forsake me not now calling upon Thee, whom Thou
preventedst before I called, and urgedst me with much variety of repeated calls, that I
would hear Thee from afar, and be converted, and call upon Thee, that calledst after me;
for Thou, Lord, blottedst out all my evil deservings, so as not to repay into my hands,
wherewith I fell from Thee; and Thou hast prevented all my well deservings, so as to
repay the work of Thy hands wherewith Thou madest me; because before I was, Thou
wert; nor was I any thing, to which Thou mightest grant to be; and yet behold, I am, out
of Thy goodness, preventing all this which Thou hast made me, and whereof Thou hast
made me. For neither hadst Thou need of me, nor am I any such good, as to be helpful
unto Thee, my Lord and God; not in serving Thee, as though Thou wouldest tire in
working; or lest Thy power might be less, if lacking my service: nor cultivating Thy
service, as a land, that must remain uncultivated, unless I cultivated Thee: but serving and
worshipping Thee, that I might receive a well-being from Thee, from whom it comes,
that I have a being capable of well-being.
For of the fulness of Thy goodness, doth Thy creature subsist, that so a good, which
could no ways profit Thee, nor was of Thee (lest so it should be equal to Thee), might yet
be since it could be made of Thee. For what did heaven and earth, which Thou madest in
the Beginning, deserve of Thee? Let those spiritual and corporeal natures which Thou
madest in Thy Wisdom, say wherein they deserved of Thee, to depend thereon (even in
that their several inchoate and formless state, whether spiritual or corporeal, ready to fall
away into an immoderate liberty and far-distant unlikeliness unto Thee; -the spiritual,
though without form, superior to the corporeal though formed, and the corporeal though
without form, better than were it altogether nothing), and so to depend upon Thy Word,
as formless, unless by the same Word they were brought back to Thy Unity, indued with
form and from Thee the One Sovereign Good were made all very good. How did they
deserve of Thee, to be even without form, since they had not been even this, but from
How did corporeal matter deserve of Thee, to be even invisible and without form? seeing
it were not even this, but that Thou madest it, and therefore because it was not, could not
deserve of Thee to be made. Or how could the inchoate spiritual creature deserve of
Thee, even to ebb and flow darksomely like the deep, -unlike Thee, unless it had been by
the same Word turned to that, by Whom it was created, and by Him so enlightened,
become light; though not equally, yet conformably to that Form which is equal unto
Thee? For as in a body, to be, is not one with being beautiful, else could it not be
deformed; so likewise to a created spirit to live, is not one with living wisely; else should
it be wise unchangeably. But good it is for it always to hold fast to Thee; lest what light it
hath obtained by turning to Thee, it lose by turning from Thee, and relapse into life
resembling the darksome deep. For we ourselves also, who as to the soul are a spiritual
creature, turned away from Thee our light, were in that life sometimes darkness; and still