St. Augustine’s Journey In Confessions Essay, Research Paper
In the narration of The Confessions of St. Augustine, Augustine is seeking, proving and rebuting different ways of the universe through which he seeks felicity and contentment. Along his journey are several experiences that wholly alter the way of his class: the decease of his friend and soulmate, which brings complete resentment and melancholy upon all his former pleasances ; the empty fluency of Faustus, the adult male revered by all the Manichees as supremely wise ; and his journey to Milan where he meets Bishop Ambrose and discovers that the Christian religion can so be defended upon logical evidences. The concluding turning point is the most of import, for it marks the beginning of Augustine s transition to the Christian religion, a complete turning over of his will to God. Ambivalence and affinity for secular pleasances make this transition a long and painful 1 that culminates with a psychotherapeutic sloughing of cryings.
Augustine makes his manner to Rome in order to happen pupils serious in their surveies, non prone to insurgent behaviour in the schoolroom ; he finds the pupils at that place serious as reported but prone to an every bit exasperating defect: hedging the fees of their scholarship. When the chance arises to do manner for Milan and make full a place for professor of rhetoric, Augustine snatches the opportunity and begins yet another journey. Here he meets Bishop Ambrose, who he finds can support the unlogical nature of Bible and do it reasonable and logical. The beginning of monumental alteration in the Saint s life Begins:
Though I did non recognize it, I was led to him [ Ambrose ] by you so that, with full realisation, I might be led to you by him. That adult male of God welcomed me as a male parent and, in the capacity of bishop, was sort adequate to O.K. of my coming at that place I was pulling bit by bit nigher ( p. 108 ) .
Through the influence of Ambrose Augustine decides to abandon the Manichees wholly, positive if nil else of the futility and false belief of their complex system.
With Manichaeanism discarded, our low storyteller and hero finds himself despairing of of all time detecting the truth ( p. 111 ) . Though surely intrigued by the call of Christian religion, Augustine finds it was the same with me as with a adult male who, holding one time had a bad physician, is afraid of swearing himself even to a good one ( p. 117 ) . The pleasances of the flesh and his secular aspiration, those Sirens upon the sea of the universe, occupy much of Augustine s clip and energy and curtail him to the cognition that first you [ God ] exist and secondly, that the authorities of human personal businesss was in your custodies ( p. 118 ) . Possibly ; yet at this point it is Augustine s will, towards secular chases and an ultimate cognition of the metaphysical nature of God, that keeps his custodies steadfastly in the manner of God s, tampering with His governmental legal power.
Not one to scant on intensive ego contemplation and inquiring, Augustine finds his unsteady nature challenged by the sight of a mendicant in the thick of a pleasant rummy. The issue of agencies to happiness and contentment is brought to the head of his head: while he has long been prosecuting these qualities with his aspiration for universe fame, systematically ungratified and discontented, the adult male he confronts achieves merely such desirable qualities through the drink. Yet if I were asked next whether I would prefer to be a adult male like the mendicant or a adult male like I so was myself, I should take to be myself, worn out with my attentions and frights. Be this non absurd? ( p. 120 ) . Possibly, but it draws a important differentiation between Augustine and the mendicant: a sense of intent and a hunt for significance. The fugitive felicity of a rummy is in its kernel meaningless, merely deprecating one s rational mentality on life in the terminal. The accomplishment of felicity through apprehension or religion holds far greater value, for it has permanency and is reached through single attempt, non the effortless by-product of a liquid. Though his psyche is in a province of crisis and disrepair, Augustine recognizes this cardinal difference between himself and the mendicant and confirms the worthiness of his apparently hopeless hunt.
A powerful and persuasive fuel of Augustine s ambivalency is his love for sex, the quenchless lecherousness within his nature. Unable to understand or accept the advice of his chaste friend Alypius, Augustine takes a instead morbid position of accustomed fornication: I was the captive of this disease of the flesh and of its deathly sugariness, and I dragged my concatenation about with me, fearing the thought of its being loosed ( p. 130 ) . This realisation is intensified when his lover is forced to go in order to do his approaching matrimony respectable. While she returns to Africa and leads a chaste life, Augustine is compelled to take another lover in order to sate his go oning desire for sex ; shame and self-deprecation are the lone responses he can pull off to attach to his demand to kip with another. His relation to sex and adult females in general is of the all or nil assortment ; he wants it all the clip or a complete abstention, as his ulterior actions will demo. Augustine excessively clearly perceives that even within the bonds of matrimony God would hold to be satisfied with nil, yet his programs for the nuptials remain fixed and his temper heavy and boring.
It is non wholly surprising that a adult male emerged in feelings of such a negative quality should oppugn the nature of good and evil and inquire where their beginnings lie. Reflecting that the Manichean enquiry into immorality is in itself evil, Augustine searches for its cause in his ain manner. He
sees his will playing an active function in the immorality of his life, the free will of adult male that has independent picks to do. Bing merely as certain that I had a will as that I had a life ( p. 138 ) Augustine resolves that the act of willing was mine and non anybody else s, and I was now acquiring near to the decision that here was the cause of my wickedness ( p. 138 ) . Arriving at this logical measure, he is confronted by a perplexing job: for if God is all good and creates merely good things, how could He make animals to will evil and endure merely penalty for their immorality?
Enter the bequest of Plato s signifiers, those lovable unchanging kernels that remain fixed for infinity. Viewing God as the ultimate look of the signifier, Augustine grabs the incorruptible facet of His nature and runs with it: that s why God is all good and powerful, he can t be corrupted. On the other manus we animals of this transient, of all time altering universe are non signifiers or kernels ( physically ) and hence find ourselves wholly susceptible to a assortment of corruptness and decay. Evil, hence, is simply the corruptness of the good, which is everything ; the will, if it so chooses to disregard the higher will of God, voluntaries itself for a great mixture of these corruptnesss, including the several that Augustine faces.
Therefore, all things that are, are good, and as to that immorality, the beginning of which I was seeking for, it is non a substance, since, if it were a substance, it would be good. For it would either hold to be an incorruptible substance ( which is the highest signifier of goodness ) or else a bribable substance ( which, unless it had good in it, could non be bribable ) ( p. 151 ) .
A rewarding and satisfactory decision for Augustine to make, stoping a great philosophical job and uncluttering the way that Ambrose began moreover. Unfortunately, our hero discovers another job of an wholly different nature. What have all these computations accomplished? Surely they have broadened his cognition and clarified his relation to God ; yet his discontentedness and restlessness linger on. The job, Augustine comes to state us, is non in the logic of his tax write-offs ( fuelled by the Platonists ) but in the method as a whole. For while this method sees the Godhead with extreme lucidity, it doesn t ballad hold upon him, interact with him. The Platonist method deficiencies and even contempts what is, for Augustine, a important and concluding measure: Their pages make no reference of the face and expression of commiseration, the cryings of confession, your sacrifice-a troubled spirit, a broken and remorseful bosom, the earnest of the Holy Ghost, the cup of our salvation ( p. 158 ) . Pride in the achievement of visual perception is a wickedness in the Christian morality, for it ignores the God who bestows the ability to see ; this is the cardinal split between Augustine and the Platonists.
What is left for our baronial, retentive and thorough hero to carry through? Merely the hardest and most exhausting portion of the full journey: the complete resignation of his will, the full entry of it to God. Possibly aesthetically inclined to do this painful transition in a topographic point of beauty, the scene occurs in a lovely garden with Augustine s close friend Alypius. Here he finally confronts his divided nature, the different attractive forces of the layman and spiritual careers, and Lashkar-e-Taibas free the immense storm within me conveying with it a immense cloudburst of cryings ( p. 182-3 ) . He knows, in the surging of his accrued misery and wretchedness, the clip for pick is at manus.
I flung myself down on the land someway under a fig tree and gave free reign to my cryings ; they streamed and flooded from my eyes, an acceptable forfeit to Thee. And I kept stating to you, non possibly in these words, but with this sense: And Thou, O Lord, how long? How long, Lord ; wilt Thou be angry everlastingly? Remember non our former wickednesss Why non now? Why non complete this really hr with my dirtiness? ( p. 182 ) .
This experience is followed by a mystical way from the oral cavity of a kid, directing Augustine to Take it and read it. He comes upon a transition in the book of Apostle pressing him to set ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. The katharsis is complete and the hard, painful part of our hero s journey is behind him: For you converted me to you in such a manner that I no longer sought a married woman nor any other worldly hope ( p. 183 ) .
Of the assortment of turning points throughout The Confessions of St. Augustine, none is so influential to his journey as his trip to Milan and debut to Bishop Ambrose. In this important measure lie the seeds to his long, weaving way of complete devotedness to Christ and the resignation of his will to God. What follows this turning point is a series of three stairss frontward, two stairss back that conveying our adult male to the topographic point where he comes to cognize, within his bosom and psyche, he wants to be. The hindsight afforded to him in the authorship of The Confessions possibly lends a little more godly intercession than the recorded minutes held ; that, nevertheless, is wholly based upon one s perceptual experience of things. Whether it is truly necessary to release the pleasances of sex, profession and close friendly relationship to achieve an seemingly enviable relationship with God is a inquiry that everyone must reply for themselves ; Augustine s personality and the period he lived in required the rejection of all such secular things. At any rate, the seed lain by Ambrose has grown into a monumental tree. The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost couldn T have asked for a more relentless and finally committed follower of their spirit and tenet than in St. Augustine of Hippo.