Augustine, taken from "The Leaves of St.
Conversion of St. Augustine — Midwest Augustinians
But a great intellectual and moral crisis stifled for a time all these Christian sentiments. The heart was the first point of attack. Patricius, proud of his son's success in the schools of Tagaste and Madaura determined to send him to Carthage to prepare for a forensic career. But, unfortunately, it required several months to collect the necessary means, and Augustine had to spend his sixteenth year at Tagaste in an idleness which was fatal to his virtue; he gave himself up to pleasure with all the vehemence of an ardent nature. At first he prayed, but without the sincere desire of being heard, and when he reached Carthage, towards the end of the year 370, every circumstance tended to draw him from his true course: the many seductions of the great city that was sill half pagan, the licentiousness of other students, the theatres, the intoxication of his literary success, and a proud desire always to be first, even in evil. Before long he was obliged to confess to Monica that he had formed a sinful liaison with the person who bore him a son (372), "the son of his sin" -- an entanglement from which he only delivered himself at Milan after fifteen years of its thralldom. Two extremes are to be avoided in the appreciation of this crisis. Some, like Mommsen, misled perhaps by the tone of grief in the "Confessions," have exaggerated it: in the "Realencyklopädie" (3d ed., II, 268) Loofs reproves Mommsen on this score, and yet he himself is to lenient towards Augustine, when he claims that in those days, the Church permitted concubinage. The "Confessions" alone prove that Loofs did not understand the 17th canon of Toledo. However, it may be said that, even in his fall, Augustine maintained a certain dignity and felt a compunction which does him honour, and that, from the age of nineteen, he had a genuine desire to break the chain. In fact, in 373, an entirely new inclination manifested itself in his life, brought about by the reading Cicero's "Hortensius" whence he imbibed a love of the wisdom which Cicero so eloquently praises. Thenceforward Augustine looked upon rhetoric merely as a profession; his heart was in philosophy.
Conversion of St Augustine | Augustine Of Hippo | …
St. Augustine’s love for truth often brought him into contention with various heresies. For instance, the main heresies he spoke and wrote against were the Manicheans, to which sect he had formerly belonged; the Donatist schismatics who had broken away from the church; and, for the remaining twenty years of his life, the Pelegians, who overstated the role of free will to the neglect of the role of grace in saving humanity. St. Augustine wrote much on the importance of the role of grace in our salvation, and later won the title in the Church of doctor of grace especially because of his dealings with the Pelegians. In this vein, he wrote much as well on original sin and its effects, infant baptism, and predestination.