Augustine, Confessions

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Book I

binding: "broke the fetters of my tongue to call on Thee"

"rein was laid loose" to allow him to sin

Book II

friendship is "eneared witha sweet tie, by reason of the unity formed of many souls

wishes someone "had put a bound to their [fleeting beauties] pleasurableness"

"And that I might cleave the faster to its very centre, the invisible enemy trod me down, and seduced me, for that I was easy to be seduced."

mother encourages him "to restrain within the bounds of conjugal affection"; "the reins, meantime, were slackened to me, beyond all temper of due severity"

stealing of the pears: friends bind him to sin, as well as to the good

Book III

comes to Carthage

binding: "safety I hated, and a way without snares"; "wherein I longed to be ensnared"; he "was with joy fettered with sorrow-bringing bond"

  • "Thou cleansest us from our evil habits, and art merciful to their sins who confess, and hearest the groaning of the prisoner, and loosest us from the chains which we made for ourselves"

Book IV

binding of friendship: "true it cannot be, unless in such as Thou cementest together, cleaving unto Thee"

friend dies, falls into despair; "I became a great riddle to myself"

binding: "Wretched I was; and wretched is every soul bound by the friendship of perishable things."; God helps him "plucking my feet out of the snare"

language: "And even thus is our speech completed by signs giving forth a sound: but this again is not perfected unless one word pass away when it hath sounded its part, that another may succeed."

binding of the body: "For the sense of the flesh is slow, because it is the sense of the flesh; and thereby is it bounded."

binding: "Entrust Truth, whatsoever thou hast from the Truth, and thou shalt lose nothing; and they decay shall bloom again, and all they diseases be healed, and they mortal parts be reformed and renewed, and bound around thee: nor shall they lay thee whither themselves descend; but they shall stand fast with thee, and abide for ever before God, Who abideth and standeth fast for ever."

Book V

enthralled by Bishop of the Manichees, Faustus

"cleaving unto Thee"

binding: Faustus snares him; "Thus, that Faustus, to so many a snare of death, had now neither willing nor witting it, begun to loosen that wherein I was taken."

"that bond of original sin"

"I joined myself to those deciving and decived 'holy ones'"

"a door of safe keeping around my lips"

binding: is God bound by a body?

  • "it seemed to me very unseemly to believe Thee to have the shape of human flesh, and to be bounded by the bodily lineaments of our members."
  • "I was constrained to confess Thee bounded; than if on all sides I should imagine thee to be bounded by the form of a human body."

Book VI

Ambrose: "But when he was reading, his eye glided over the pages, and his heart searched out the sense, but his voice and tongue were at rest." -- might have done it to "preserve his voice" (which was weak")

see also this book on the boundaries of God's body

reading; "For now what things, sounding strangely in the Scripture, were wont to offend me, having heard divers of them expounded satisfactorily, I referred to the depth of the mysteries, and its authority appeared to me the more venerable, and more worthy of religious credence, in that, while it lay open to all to read, it reserved the majesty of its mysteries within its profounder meaning, stooping to all in the great plainness of its words and lowliness of its style, yet calling forth the intensest application of such as are not light of heart; that so it might receive all in its open bosom, and through narrow passages waft over towards Thee some few, yet many more than if it stood not aloft on such a height of authority, nor drew multitudes within its bosom by its holy lowliness."

binding: "Let my soul cleave unto Thee, now that Thou hast freed it fro that fast-holding birdlime of death."

example of the student Alypius who resists going to gladiator show with his friends; once there, though, becomes as bloodthirsty as them; later is mistakenly accused of being a thief

binding: Alypius cleaves to Augustin "by a most strong tie"

binding: "Alypius indeed kept me from marrying; alleging that so could we by no means with undistracted leisure live together in the love of wisdom, as we had long desired. For himself was even then most pure in this point, so that it was wonderful; and that the more, since in the outset of his youth he had entered into that course, but had not stuck fast therein; rather had he felt remorse and revolting at it, living thenceforth until now most continently. But I opposed him with the examples of those who as married men had cherished wisdom, and served God acceptably, and retained their friends, and loved them faithfully. Of whose greatness of spirit I was far short; and bound with the disease of the flesh, and its deadly sweetness, drew along my chain, dreading to be loosed, and as if my wound had been fretted, put back his good persuasions, as it were the hand of one that would unchain me. Moreover, by me did the serpent speak unto Alypius himself, by my tongue weaving and laying in his path pleasurable snares, wherein his virtuous and free feet might be entangled."

wants to get married; Alypius doesn't want him to; but Augustine describes himself as "bound with the disease of the flesh" and "drew along my chain, dreading to be loosed, and as if my would had been fretted, put back his good persuasions, as it were the hand of one that would unchain me.";

doesn't want to get "entangled" again in the "snares" of pleasure; Alypius is "free from that chain" and therefore "amazed at my thraldom"

"insatiable appetite" for sex held Augustine captive; "an admiring wonder"/curiosity was leading Alypius captive

Augustine's concubine is "torn from my side" and "my heart which clave unto her was torn and wounded and bleeding"

Book VII

"that this offspring of Thy Substance was the soul, which being enthralled, defiled, corrupted, Thy Word, free, pure, and whole, might relieve"


"Now then, O my Helper, hadst Thou loosed me from those fetters"

whence is evil?

looks inward, finds eye of soul

"It is good then for me to hold fast unto God; for if I remain not in Him, I cannot in myself; but He remaining in Himself, reneweth all things."

"And I looked back on other things; and I saw that they owed their being to Thee; and were all bounded in Thee: but in a different way; not as being in space; but because Thou containest all things in Thine hand in Thy Truth; and all things are true so far as they nor is there any falsehood, unless when that is thought to be, which is not."

"For, though a man be delighted with the law of God after the inner man, what shall he do with that other law in his members which warreth against the law of his mind, and bringeth him into captivity to the law of sin which is in his members?"



"Thou hast broken my bonds in sunder, I will offer unto Thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving."

enthralled to married life

"Which thing I was sighing for, bound as I was, not with another's irons, but by my own iron will. My will the enemy held, and thence had made a chain for me, and bound me."

"For the law of sin is the violence of custom, whereby the mind is drawn and holden, even against its will; but deservedly, for that it willingly fell into it. Who then should deliver me thus wretched from the body of this death, but Thy grace only, through Jesus Christ our Lord? And how Thou didst deliver me out of the bonds of desire, wherewith I was bound most straitly to carnal concupiscence, and out of the drudgery of worldly things, I will now declare, and confess unto Thy name, O Lord, my helper and my redeemer."

meets Pontitianus; he hopes to serve God rather than the Emperor; says "Now have i broken loose from those our hopes, and am resolved to serve God; and this, from this hour, in this place, I begin upon."

binds his limbs around himself

what is the will?

"Thus also, when, above, eternity delights us, and the pleasure of temporal good holds us down below, it is the same soul which willeth not this or that with an entire will; and therefore is rent asunder with grievous perplexities, while out of truth it sets this first, but out of habit sets not that aside. Thus soul-sick was I, and tormented, accusing myself much more severely than my wont, rolling and turning me in my chain, till that were wholly broken, whereby I now was but just, but still was, held. And Thou, O Lord, pressedst upon me in my inward parts by a severe mercy, redoubling the lashes of fear and shame, lest I should again give way, and not bursting that same slight remaining tie, it should recover strength, and bind me the faster."

binding as casting off; can you live without the sins you think you need?

weeping, he hears children chanting "Take up and read, take up and read"; takes up the book

Book IX

"Verecundus was worn down with care about this our blessedness, for that being held back by bonds, whereby he was most straitly bound, he saw that he should be severed from us. For himself was not yet a Christian, his wife one of the faithful; and yet hereby, more rigidly than by any other chain, was he let and hindered from the journey which we had now essayed."

mother passes away

  • "Unto the Sacrament of which our ransom, Thy handmaid bound her soul by the bond of faith"

Book X

mind as "deep and boundless"

"By continency verily are we bound up and brought back into One, whence we were dissipated into many."

Book XI

Book XII


"Itself a bound unto Itself within Itself, yet unbounded"