Saturday, February 19, 2005

Book I, Chap. 14-20

Augustine continues with the description of his boyhood, the sins of his boyhood,
and praising God. In the final chapter, we get a sense of the Augustinian emphasis on the love of God over love of one another. Of course, in Christianity, love of God must come first. What kind of religon would it be if love of humankind came first? It's just that with statements of the Augustinian love of God to the exclusion of all else, at times, it seems to be stated with hostility towards the else.

Augustine hated Greek literature, which he was forced to study. He concludes that free curiosity is a more powerful aid to the learning of languages than a forced discipline. He continues to talk of the Greek stories of the gods and of the lust and adultery contained within them. Though Augustine considers these stories and actions sinful, he acknowleges that he did learn some good from his studies in teh form of vocabulary, grammar, and I would assume, critical thinking skills. After a while, Augustine is considered a promising student, though he was still potentially liable for beatings if he did poorly. Augustine praises God for his intelligence, but confesses to devoting too much time to stupidities. Augustine considers himself as having been cast out into a foul abyss. He says that in God's eyes he was disgusting. He confesses to petty thievery, cheating, gluttony and pride.

He seems to sum up his childhood sinning as:

"For my sin was in this--that I looked for pleasures, exaltations, truths not in God Himself but in his creatures (myself and the rest), and so I fell straight into sorrows, confusions, and mistakes. I thank you my sweetness and my glory and my confidence, my God, I thank you for your gifts."

Throught the last section Augustine praises God, praises him for His gifts, and prays that they continue and be perfected in him. He finished Book I with, "...for my very being is your gift."

If only every Christian would know that the being of each is a gift from God. If only every Christian would consciously and actively know that every human being is a gift of God, from the moment of conception until death.


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