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Augustinus (354-430 CE), son of a pagan, Patricius of Tagaste in North Africa, and his Christian wife Monica, while studying in Africa to become a rhetorician, plunged into a turmoil of philosophical and psychological doubts in search of truth, joining for a time the Manichaean society. He became a teacher of grammar at Tagaste, and lived much under the influence of his mother and his friend Alypius. About 383 he went to Rome and soon after to Milan as a teacher of rhetoric, being now attracted by the philosophy of the Sceptics and of the Neo-Platonists. His studies of Paul's letters with Alypius and the preaching of Bishop Ambrose led in 386 to his rejection of all sensual habits and to his famous conversion from mixed beliefs to Christianity. He returned to Tagaste and there founded a religious community. In 395 or 396 he became Bishop of Hippo, and was henceforth engrossed with duties, writing and controversy. He died at Hippo during the successful siege by the Vandals.From Augustine's large output the Loeb Classical Library offers that great autobiography the Confessions (in two volumes); City of God (seven volumes), which unfolds God's action in the progress of the world's history, and propounds the superiority of Christian beliefs over pagan in adversity; and a selection of Letters which are important for the study of ecclesiastical history and Augustine's relations with other theologians.… (mere)
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The following excerpts are from a letter written by St. Augustine a year before his death at age 75. They provide a glimpse of the type of person St. Augustine was and the general theme and tone of the select letters.

On Praise

For when good men are praised, the praise confers a benefit on those who bestow it, not on those who receive it. For as far as concerns the good, the fact that they are good is sufficient, but the others, whose interest it is to imitate the good, are to be congratulated when they bestow praise on the good, since by doing so they show that they are pleased by those whom they praise in sincerity. ... Why should I not therefore find pleasure in being praised by you, when you are (unless I am mistaken in you) a good man and bestow your praise upon the things which you admire and which it is profitable and wholesome for you to admire, even if they be lacking in me? This benefits not only you, but me too, for if they are lacking in me, it is wholesome for me to be shamed and inflamed with desire to acquire them. And so the qualities I recognize in your praises as my own I rejoice in possessing and in having you love them and me for their sake; those on the other hand that I fail to recognize as mine I yearn to acquire, not only in order to possess them for myself, but also to keep those who have a genuine love for me from being deluded when they praise me.

On His Confessions

Take them, my son, take, excellent Sir, Christian that you are not on the surface only, but with Christian love--take, I repeat, those books of my Confessions that you asked for; in them behold me, so that you praise me not beyond what I am; in them give your belief to me, not to others who speak of me; in them observe me and see what I was of myself, by myself, and if anything in me gives you pleasure, join me in praising for it Him Whom I desired to have praise from me, and not myself; for "He hath made us and not we ourselves" --indeed we had destroyed ourselves, but He Who made us, re-made us. And when in them you find me, pray for me that I may not suffer defeat, but may be made complete; pray my son, pray.
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Augustinus (354-430 CE), son of a pagan, Patricius of Tagaste in North Africa, and his Christian wife Monica, while studying in Africa to become a rhetorician, plunged into a turmoil of philosophical and psychological doubts in search of truth, joining for a time the Manichaean society. He became a teacher of grammar at Tagaste, and lived much under the influence of his mother and his friend Alypius. About 383 he went to Rome and soon after to Milan as a teacher of rhetoric, being now attracted by the philosophy of the Sceptics and of the Neo-Platonists. His studies of Paul's letters with Alypius and the preaching of Bishop Ambrose led in 386 to his rejection of all sensual habits and to his famous conversion from mixed beliefs to Christianity. He returned to Tagaste and there founded a religious community. In 395 or 396 he became Bishop of Hippo, and was henceforth engrossed with duties, writing and controversy. He died at Hippo during the successful siege by the Vandals.From Augustine's large output the Loeb Classical Library offers that great autobiography the Confessions (in two volumes); City of God (seven volumes), which unfolds God's action in the progress of the world's history, and propounds the superiority of Christian beliefs over pagan in adversity; and a selection of Letters which are important for the study of ecclesiastical history and Augustine's relations with other theologians.

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