venam igitur amicitiae coinquinabam sordibus concupiscentiae candoremque eius obnubilabam de tartaro libidinis, et tamen foedus atque inhonestus, elegans et urbanus esse gestiebam abundanti vanitate. I befouled, therefore, the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence, and I dimmed its lustre with the hell of lustfulness; and yet, foul and dishonourable as I was, I craved, through an excess of vanity, to be thought elegant and urbane. Colossians 2:8-9 And since at that time (as Thou, O Light of my heart, know) the words of the apostle were unknown to me, I was delighted with that exhortation, in so far only as I was thereby stimulated, and enkindled, and inflamed to love, seek, obtain, hold, and embrace, not this or that sect, but wisdom itself, whatever it were; and this alone checked me thus ardent, that the name of Christ was not in it. He "ran wild in the shadowy jungle of erotic adventures." And yet he wishes, as a spectator, to experience from them a sense of grief, and in this very grief his pleasure consists. DE CIVITATE DEI Epistula de libris de civitate dei. You heard her, and despised not her tears, when, pouring down, they watered the earth under her eyes in every place where she prayed; yea, You heard her. For nearly nine years passed in which I wallowed in the slime of that deep pit and the darkness of falsehood, striving often to rise, but being all the more heavily dashed down. et ecce video rem non compertam superbis neque nudatam pueris, sed incessu humilem, successu excelsam et velatam mysteriis. No_Favorite. Proverbs 9:18 — toiling and turmoiling through want of Truth, when I sought after You, my God — to You I confess it, who had mercy on me when I had not yet confessed, — sought after You not according to the understanding of the mind, in which You desired that I should excel the beasts, but according to the sense of the flesh! Upon what unseemly iniquities did I wear myself out, following a sacrilegious curiosity, that, having deserted You, it might drag me into the treacherous abyss, and to the beguiling obedience of devils, unto whom I immolated my wicked deeds, and in all which You scourged me! quid est nisi mirabilis insania? You were more inward to me than my most inward part; and higher than my highest. But was it life, O my God? quo fluit? My God, my mercy, with how much bitterness did You, out of Your infinite goodness, besprinkle for me that sweetness! sed hoc vindicas quod in se homines perpetrant, quia etiam cum in te peccant, impie faciunt in animas suas, et mentitur iniquitas sibi sive corrumpendo ac pervertendo naturam suam, quam tu fecisti et ordinasti, vel immoderate utendo concessis rebus, vel in non concessa flagrando in eum usum qui est contra naturam. quod illa ubi attendit, vidit me iuxta se in eadem regula stantem. at ego tunc miser dolere amabam, et quaerebam ut esset quod dolerem, quando mihi in aerumna aliena et falsa et saltatoria ea magis placebat actio histrionis meque alliciebat vehementius qua mihi lacrimae excutiebantur. [III.10-18] Still burning for truth, Augustine began to fall in with the pseudo-Christian sect known as the Manichees (followers of the self-declared prophet Mani). Yet the art itself by which I composed had not different principles for these different cases, but comprised all in one. Surely all men desire to rejoice? They met my eyes on every side, and I saw them not. For within me I had a dearth of that inward food, Yourself, my God, though that dearth caused me no hunger; but I remained without all desire for incorruptible food, not because I was already filled thereby, but the more empty I was the more I loathed it. And there are some which resemble offenses of infamy or violence, and yet are not sins, because they neither offend You, our Lord God, nor social custom: when, for example, things suitable for the times are provided for the use of life, and we are uncertain whether it be out of a lust of having; or when acts are punished by constituted authority for the sake of correction, and we are uncertain whether it be out of a lust of hurting. Or when in some house he sees a servant take something in his hand which the butler is not permitted to touch, or something done behind a stable which would be prohibited in the dining-room, and should be indignant that in one house, and one family, the same thing is not distributed everywhere to all. violatur quippe ipsa societas quae cum deo nobis esse debet cum eadem natura cuius ille auctor est libidinis perversitate polluitur. St. Augustine’s Confessions and the theaters of desire: Books III, IV, V REVIEW. 13. But yet that chaste, pious, and sober widow (such as You love), now more buoyed up with hope, though no whit less zealous in her weeping and mourning, desisted not, at all the hours of her supplications, to bewail my case unto You. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more all for only $19.99... Of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth years of his age, passed at Carthage, when, having completed his course of studies, he is caught in the snares of a licentious passion, and falls into the errors of the Manichæans. Prof. O'Donnell's introduction and commentary may be found at the original site: The Confessions of Augustine: An Electronic Edition. And meanwhile You granted her another answer, which I recall; for much I pass over, hastening on to those things which the more strongly impel me to confess unto You, and much I do not remember.