History of Philosophy and Christian Thought - Lesson 25

Augustine's Life

Augustine is a Latin church father, is considered by many to be one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity.

Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
Lesson 25
Watching Now
Augustine's Life

Augustinian Philosophy

Part 1

I. His Early Life and Conversion

A. Opening Prayer of Confessions

B. Places

1. Thagaste

2. Carthage

3. Hippo Regius

4. Milan

5. Rome

C. People

1. Monica - His Mother

2. Adeodatus - His Son

3. Alypius - His Friend

4. Ambrose - Bishop of Milan

D. Worldviews

1. Christianity

2. Manicheanism

3. Skepticism

4. Neoplatonism

E. Major Events

1. Born in North Africa - 354

2. First visit to Carthage - 371

3. Takes a mistress - 372

4. Adeodatus is born - 373

5. Begins a nine-year attachment to Manicheanism - 373

6. Crosses the sea to Rome - 383

7. Becomes public orator at Milan - 384

8. Conversion - 386

  • Thales and Anaximander were two philosophers in the sixth century BC that lived in Miletus.

  • Heraclitus and Pythagoras lived into the 5th century BC.

  • Any worldview addresses the subjects of God, ultimate reality, human knowledge, ethics and human persons.

  • Fundamental beliefs of a naturalistic worldview is that nothing exists outside the physical universe and that all things evolved.

  • Plato was a student of Socrates and lived into the fourth century BC. He opposed hedonism, empiricism, relativism, materialism, atheism and naturalism.

  • Plato described the universe as having three levels: the world of particulars, the world of forms, and the form of the good.

  • Plato's view of the universe was dualistic.

  • One of Plato's fundamental arguments is that the human soul is immortal.

  • Evaluation of Plato's arguments and comparison of Plato's philosophy with biblical theology.

  • Empiricism teaches that all human knowledge arises from sense experience. Rationalism teaches that some human knowledge does not arise from sense. experience

  • Aristotle was a student of Plato and lived in the fourth century BC.

  • Aristotle rejected Plato's doctrine of two worlds.

  • Discussion of Aristotelian philosophy as it relates to the incarnation.

  • Aristotle's philosophy as it relates to attributes of God and fundamental assumptions about psychology.

  • Aristotle made a distinction between passive intellect and active intellect.

  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of the law of non-contradiction.

  • Discussion of the nature and substance of matter.

  • Hellenistic philosophy was an approach that was popular from the fourth century BC to the fifth century AD.

  • Stoics were determinists who believed in living according to nature.

  • Hedonism emphasized pleasure as the greatest good. "Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we might be dead."

  • Philo's philosophy was based on a synthesis of Stoicism and Platonism.

  • Implicit "Logos" Christianity is an underlying theme in the book of Hebrews.

  • Plotinus lived in the third century AD and is considered the founder of Neoplatonism.

  • Augustine is a Latin church father, is considered by many to be one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity.

  • Augustine wrote Confessions as an autobiographical work to record his experience as a sinful youth and his experience becoming a follower of Christ.

  • Augustine wrote to refute some heresies of the day by focusing on the concepts of faith and reason.

  • Augustine writes about the problem of evil and describes evil as the absence of good.

  • Augustine writes to refute Pelagianism by focusing on the biblical teaching about sin.

  • Augustine writes to refute Donatism.

  • The fundamental idea of skepticism is that no one can know anything. Augustine this statement contradicts itself because the skeptic is claiming that you can know that you can't know anything.

  • When Augustine wrote "The City of God," he had a linear view of history.

  • In Augustine's theory of knowledge, he says that eternal reason and human reason are two different levels of reason.

  • Augustine was personally convinced of the importance of divine illumination.

  • The intellectual background of Thomas Aquinas was influenced by the discovery of ancient manuscripts, the rise of universities, the rise of religious brotherhoods and the rise of Muslim philosophy.

  • Aquinas describes faith as whatever a human can know through special revelation, and reason as whatever a human can know outside of special revelation.

  • Aquinas attempts to prove God's existence.

  • Aquinas describes four kinds of law as eternal, divine, natural and positive.

  • The rationalists and empiricists set the stage for Kant and other philosophers of the modern era.

  • Kant argued that moral requirements are based on a standard of rationality he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative."

  • Kants two worlds are the phenomenal world and the noumenal world.

  • Discussion of criticisms and questions about Kant's ideas.

  • Similarities between Kant's ideas and postmodernism.

  • The dialectic is a central idea in Hegel's philosophy.

  • Ideally, Marxism begins with class struggle, then revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat, withering away of the state, and a utopian classless society.

  • Discussion of four faces of Marxism.

  • Nietzsche proclaimed that, "God is dead." His cure was to live life knowing there is no ultimate meaning. Kierkegaard emphasized a worldview based on true faith.

In this class, you will explore the rich history of philosophy and its relationship with Christian thought. The course begins with an introduction to the definition and importance of philosophy in Christian theology. You will then delve into the evolution of philosophical thought from the Pre-Socratic era, through the Classical Greek philosophers, and into the Hellenistic period. As you progress, you will discover how early Christian thought emerged and developed during the Patristic period, with a special focus on Augustine. The class continues with an examination of medieval Christian thinkers, such as Anselm and Thomas Aquinas, and concludes with an analysis of modern philosophers like Descartes, Kant, and Kierkegaard, and their influence on contemporary Christian thought.

Dr. Ronald Nash
History of Philosophy and Christian Thought
Augustine's Life
Lesson Transcript


When I preach this as a sermon, I tell people that I will not give my text until the sermon is almost over. I describe my text. And don't you dare open your Bibles. This is what I tell my congregations. My text will be Romans Chapter 13, The last two verses. But you cannot I forbid you to look at this text. And you know what happens. That's the only time people look at their text in the church, in a Baptist church service. When you tell them they can't look at that text, they will do it. Why? Because they're sinners. All right. So for those of you who are going to be preachers, if you want people to read the text, tell them they can't. And I guarantee they will. It's the last two verses of Chapter 13. I would I would hold my finger in there. But I I'll just I'll put a piece of paper in there. Okay. The major theme of Augustine's confessions is a prayer is a prayer that appears on the first page. Notice that I. I have memorized this particular translation. This is the best translation of this prayer, which is why I don't particularly care for the translation that's in your trance that appears in your text. Oh, God. Thou hast made us for thyself. And our hearts are restless till they rest in thee. Oh, God. Thou hast made us for thyself. In our hearts are restless till they rest in the. Let me put that over here, because we're going to cite that at the end. Okay. Now, Augustine was born in 354.


[00:02:28] He died in 430 A.D.. He wrote many books, in fact, in the Nicene Post, Nicene Fathers. I think there are six volumes that are devoted to just a small part of Augustine's enormous writings. Okay, here are some maps. First of all, this lower map. This is the territory in North Africa that Augustine lived in right here. But the contemporary name is Souk Ross. But the name when Augustine was alive was to gassed. There is a small village south of to Gast, where he went to school for one year. Way over here is Carthage, which was the leading city of the Carthaginian empire before the Carthaginians were defeated by the Romans. And then way over here is Hippo Regius, which today still exists. I have no overwhelming desire to go visit these places today for some reason. But apparently, this area, this lined area here would be the whole territory of North Africa. Over which Augustan. Who was the Roman? Who was, I'm sorry, the Catholic Bishop of Hippo Regius. I'll explain what that means next week. That would be the territory of his church in Hippo. Okay. Now, Carthage was the major seaport for that area, So if we move to my upper map, you see a line between Carthage down here and Ostia, which was the seaport for Rome. And then way up here in northern Rome and northern. What is today? Northern Italy. You have the road system that takes you to Milan, which is where Augustine lived for a year or two. So that gives you something of the map area. Carthage to Gast is today a city in Algeria, used to be under French control, of course, today. There are a lot of a lot of radical Muslims in Algeria, and that's probably not a particularly safe area to visit.


[00:04:53] Carthage is actually in present day Tunisia. Somewhere in here that the the border of Tunisia passes west of Carthage. If you want an idea of what the landscape in Tunisia looks like, let me mention a couple of movies that were filmed in Tunisia. The first Indiana Jones movie. What was that? Raiders of the Lost Ark. A lot of that the desert scenes were filmed in Tunisia and also the first Star Wars movie. I just you know, you may you may say to your wife, I want us to look at the the terrain of than Augustine lived in. And so we're going to we're going to view Indiana Jones or the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now, there were four major places, and Augustine's life there was to gas. That was his birthplace. That's where he grew up, except for one teenage. Well, one early year when he when he went to school in that other village, then Carthage, which is where he went as a 17 year old to study mental in the university where he became a rhetorician, where he first taught rhetoric. Then he went to Rome under circumstances that I'll describe. And then he went to Milan. Then he returned to Rome, where he was converted outside of Rome. And then he returned to North Africa. So four major places in Augustine's life. I suggest you remember those four places for next week. There were four major people in Augustine's life. One of those major persons was his mother, Monica. Today, Roman Catholics refer to her as Saint Monica. Roman Catholics refer to Augustine as Saint Augustine. For those of you who don't know this, there are two ways you can become a saint. There is the Roman Catholic way of becoming a saint.


[00:06:59] There is one problem with the Roman Catholic way of becoming a saint. You got to die first, okay? And moreover, there have got to be miracles associated with your grave. All right. If you don't have a lot of crutches left behind at your grave, you're never going to become a Roman Catholic saint. So there's the Roman Catholic way there in the Bible way of becoming a saint. They're totally different. The biblical way of becoming a saint is to get born again. And when you read the Bible, the biblical way is to become born again. And if you read the Pauline Epistles in every one of his letters, he's addressing those epistles to the saints in Rome, and they're still alive and the saints in Corinth. Now, admittedly, there weren't a whole lot of saints in Corinth. There were a lot of worldly people in Corinth and so on. So there's my children refer to their mother as Saint Betty Jane. That's biblical. One of these days I'm going to ask my children why they never refer to me as Saint Ronald. They don't. Never in the history of our family has any one of my. I got to. I got to brainwash my grandchildren here. So the next time they visit me, they say, how is Saint Ronald doing today? The second important person, Augustine's life was his son. His one and only son named a Dear Dallas. If I remember correctly that the Latin there means gift from God. Dad Adams was the the son of a carnal relationship that the unsaved Augustine had with a nameless mistress or concubine. I'll explain that later. Olympias was his dearest friend who was also with him in the garden, in the garden outside of Rome the day he was converted.


[00:09:05] And then the fourth important person in his life was Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan. I will have more to say about all of those people later on. There were also four major world views in Augustine's life. Christianity was one of those four worldviews. I didn't put that on the screen here. The second worldview was a worldview that he adopted. As soon as he got away from his mother's influence, as soon as he went to Carthage, he became a manichean. There were two basic ways in which many three basic ideas of Manichean ism that have afflicted him. One was the belief that the whole problem of evil. Augustine kept telling his mother that the one reason he couldn't be a Christian was because Christians didn't have an answer to the problem of evil. But manikins did. He said. And the Manichean solution to the problem of evil was this There were two got a good God light and a bad God. Darkness Manichean ism is still alive in the West. All you have to do around Halloween time is watch any movie on television. Okay. This idea of dualism, a kind of incarnate, evil Hollywood movies, dualism Manichean also had another belief that affected Augustine. They denigrated faith. They ridiculed faith. They said no educated man or woman will ever have any room in his life for faith. We manikins only follow reason, not faith. We'll say more about that a little bit later on. Augustine was a follower of Manichean ism in all about ten years. The last ten years of his the last few years of his relationship with Manichean ism. He'd become he'd become a back slider. It was only a nominal relationship. And soon, by the time he gets into the area of Rome and Milan, he has basically abandoned Manichean ism and he has become a skeptic.


[00:11:22] If you remember those five Hellenistic worldviews that I put on the board a week or two ago, skepticism was one of those five Hellenistic systems. Well, Augustine bit into that. Hook, line and sinker. And we'll say a little bit more about his views of skepticism next week. The fourth worldview that Augustine subscribed to see. First, he was a manichean. Then he abandoned it. Then he became briefly a skeptic in which he said no one can know anything. And we'll refute that next week. And then he became a follower of Plotinus. But ironically here, his commitment to Neoplatonism, or the worldview of Plotinus, even though it was paganism, it helped prepare him for his eventual conversion to the Christian faith, because among the other things that he absorbed from Plotinus was a kind of solution to the existence of evil, which helped him understand how the Christian response to evil was correct. That's one of the ways in which Plotinus influenced Augustine. He helped give Augustine a foundation in a worldview that would eventually prepare him to accept the biblical answer to the existence of evil. All right. Now, in your book, I have a chart of the major events in Augustine's life. If you will turn to that chart and follow me, we'll just go down it and I'll basically go through the confessions, because the first nine books in the Confessions are an interesting autobiography. Augustine's mother is a godly woman named Monica. I've already mentioned that his father, Petrakis, was neither was neither a Christian nor a faithful husband, nor a good father. Augustine says as little about his father as is necessary. Obviously, the dominant person in his entire life is his mother. Even though for most of his mature life before his eventual conversion, he was running away from his mother's Christianity and he was running away from the Christian God.


[00:14:00] Now, Monica was a godly woman, but she was a lot like, well, she might say there was a little streak of what we might call a Jewish mother in Plotinus in Monica. Now, let me explain that. And if any Jewish people are listening, I. I don't mean that disrespectfully. All right. But what Monica did was literally drive Augustine crazy. Did you brush your teeth, Augustine? Did you pray today? When are you going to get baptized? Augustine Incidentally. A lot of errors in the church at this time. And one of the errors was the belief that baptism would save. The horrible heretical belief in baptismal regeneration had taken over large pockets of Christendom at this time. And for that reason, a lot of people, especially men, delayed their baptism until as close to their death as possible in the belief that the later your baptism came, the closer your baptism came to your death, the fewer sins you would die with. You see, because baptism would cleanse your soul of sin. And so Monica would keep saying to Augustine, When are you going to get baptized? When are you going get baptized? Nobody in this crap in this room believes in baptismal regeneration. I trust. If you do, please make an appointment with me for the fruit, you know, 11:00. And let's get that taken care of now. Monica also liked to tip the bottle. Okay? She liked to get into the kegs of wine, and sometimes it's a good thing she didn't drive. Of course, you know, they wouldn't let women drive the chariots anyway, but she'd need an appointed driver. She had a little trouble tipping the bottle, but she would also drive her priest nuts. Nagging after a gust and ran off and was living with a woman who was not his wife and was living in sin and was going to the Manichean study groups and all of the rest.


[00:16:14] She'd visiter priest and she'd say, When is Agustin going to be safe? And he got to the point where he didn't want to see Monica coming down the street. So if he was on the street and saw him, he'd duck into a side road, you know, but one, you know, And she'd knock on his door and he'd say, Oh, my goodness, there's Monica again. Until finally his patience wore thin and he uttered these words to Monica, hoping that she would never come back and bother him again. Now, he loved the woman. You understand that? But you've we've all known people like this. Maybe every family has to have somebody like this. Okay? He said, Monica, listen to me once and for all. It is impossible that the son of such tears should be lost. Really? Didn't I just say it? You mean it's impossible for a ghost? And even though it looks like he's going to hell, you're telling me that I can trust in God's grace that my son will be saved? Yes. Now, Augustine got in trouble in his youth. He hung around. Hung around? Hanged around what? Hung out with a group of juvenile delinquents. And they were especially mischievous on Halloween night. Know like that? You know, Halloween was invented by people like Augustine's juvenile delinquents, just too. So one night, he and his buddies sneaked into that right? Sneak snuck snack. They sneaked into a garden into Gast. Incidentally, there are three major gardens in the confessions. There is, first of all, the Garden of Eden, where the human race went wrong. Secondly, there is the garden into gas, where Augustine committed his really first evil act. And then there is the garden in outside of Rome, where he has his conversion.


[00:18:31] Augustine was not a great writer and a great rhetorician for nothing. Okay, now, what happened in the case of the garden into gas was this He and his friends stole some pears. Now there's a terrible a terrible book out there called A History Philosophy by W.T. Jones. It's the same book that I cite in my chapter on naturalism, because at least two and least W.T. Jones gets the atom. He gets the atomism right. But in his chapter on Christianity, W.T. Jones has a kind of attack of cynicism. He has nothing good to say about Christianity. He he makes all of the kinds of false claims about Christianity that I refute in the gospel, in the Greeks. But in the case of Augustine, he says what Augustine needed when he was 16 years old was a good psychiatrist. He says, Can you imagine of a teenage boy knowing everything we know about adolescence who has a little childish prank? He and some buddies steal a few apples, pears, rather, steals a few pears, and that that obsesses him for the rest of his life. Get this to a psychologist. W.T. Jones says, Let me tell you something. Trust Augustine here and ignore W.T. Jones. Augustine recognized that there was something really rotten in Denmark. I mean it, Gast. Something really rotten into Gaston. That meant that what he and his friends did was. Was, was, was terrible. Here's why Those pears didn't look good. They weren't attractive. They didn't smell good. They were rotten. They were all they were good for was feeding those pears to the pigs. Augustine said What was wrong with my sin was not that I stole it. Was that what I stole wasn't worth stealing. Therefore, Augustine says what troubles me to this day, and that could have been true of the day before he died, is that I stole because I loved to steal.


[00:20:51] Do you know teenagers like that? Do you know adult human beings like their. Every Monday before I come here at about 630, I'm at IHOP International House of Pancakes, trying to fortify my body and my mind for this draining physical experience. And for some reason, they put me in a booth next to two. All right. And if you guys listen to this, you might as well hear it before you two idiots. All right. Two hyperactive males with all kinds of fixations that I will not mention who have to talk about their latest conquests while I'm trying to be eat my German pancakes. All right. I don't know why they put me in that booth. And all I can think of is these two over hyperactive males. And thinking about Augusta. What I got to do is buy two copies of the confessions. And as they're talking, throw them over the wall behind me. Okay, That's what I ought to do with the pages. Overturn where they ought to read. Oh, I mean, these are really two disgusting guys. All right, Now, you're just, um. Fortunately, any sensible woman would know that these two guys are pigs and would stake, you know? But I listen to these guys and I'm saying, Is this what American males have come to? Well, anyway, this is forgotten. He stole for the sake of stealing. It was a really rotten deed. In fact, his sin. And maybe later on, I'll get back to it. Really vile emulated the example of of Adam in the garden. Augusta reaches the age of 17. He goes to the big city. And you know what happens when a kid from the country goes to the big city? When I lived in Kentucky, I used to say, Can you imagine someone from Quicksand, Kentucky? That's a that's a real place.


[00:22:59] Spend your vacation there sometime. It's right next to rattlesnake Kentucky. Okay. These aren't there on the map. Can you imagine a kid from rattlesnake Kentucky and he goes up to Louisville, the big city for the first time, where that's what happened to Augusta. Listen to what he says in book three of the confessions. He says, I came to Carthage. I came to Louisville. I came to ov0. This is the big city where a cauldron of unholy loves with seething and bubbling all around me. Louisville. Louisville is not too far away from Fort Knox. This could be a 17 year old kid who's just become a buck private in the army, and he goes up to Louisville for the weekend. A cauldron of unholy loves with seething and bubbling all around me. I was not in love as yet, but I was in love with love. And from a hidden hunger. I hated myself for not feeling more intensely a sense of hunger. I was looking for something to love for. I was in love with loving. Hey, listen, there is tremendous preaching material here. Every human being wants something to love. If you don't have it, your life is meaningless. It's purposeless, and every human being wants to be loved. This is what Augustine was looking for. Let me see if I can put this in the words of a of a new song. I was looking for love in all the wrong places. Someday I'm going to write a country music song with those words in it, looking for love in all the wrong places. I won't describe the kinds of places he was looking. Okay. But he clearly falls into grievous sin of a sexual sort. There's even some hint here of homosexuality, too.


[00:25:10] But he meets a young woman who is never named, and he shacks up with her. He shacks up. Okay. Now, that's horrible language, but it describes what's going on in Augustine's life. He and this woman, whom he never names, begin to live together. And soon she's pregnant. And soon she's delivered of a young son whom they name a dear Dallas, who becomes the joy of Augustine's life. He loves that young man with all of his heart and soul. I'm sure he loves that woman. He becomes a teacher of rhetoric. And so he's living in sin. He's following a false religion. He's in love with money and fame. And Monica is going nuts. So Monica moves to Carthage in order to drive her son nuts. Okay. She's saying, why should I be the only unhappy person in this country? So finally, Augustine is full of Carthage. He can't take it anymore because his students are rowdy. They come in late. Often come in late. They don't know how to write complete sentences on their midterm exam and they don't pay their bills. So he he decides, he tells his mistress, his concubine, that he's going to move to Rome at night, but he's not going to tell his mother because she'll go nutsy. So Monica comes and she says, Augusten, I hear you're moving to Rome. He says, Mother, I would never do that. Would I lie to you? We're not going to Rome. And that night they left. And the next morning, Monica comes to the door singing. Oh, no, no, no, no, no singing. Hi, ho, Hi ho. It's off to work. I go or something like that. And she knocks on the door and there's no answer. And the neighbor said, Oh, don't you know? Augustine and his family sailed to Rome last night.


[00:27:18] Now Monica loses it because her son not only did that, but he lied to her. He lied to her. You understand that? He lied. And even Augustine says in the confessions, he said, I lied to my mother and to such a mother. So she went down to the seaport and she said, Which is the next ship leaving for Rome. And the captain was there. And he said, Well, we're supposed to go, but there's a bad storm coming. It's called Michele, where we're trying to get out of here. And Augustine said, You're going to Rome right now, but there's a storm. I don't. And he preferred to face the storm than to face Monica. See? And during that whole storm, with the ship going up and down, she was in the bow of the ship pointing to Rome the whole trip. Now, Augustine does not tell us what they discussed when she knocked on his door in Rome. Well, by this time, Augustine is giving up on Manichean ism. It's a pretty it was a pretty dumb worldview. We'll talk about it next week or sometime. But his friends, his Manichean friends get him a very prestigious and well-paying job. He becomes rhetorician of the whole Roman Empire. He becomes court rhetorician of the year of the Roman Emperor. But because it's summertime and the summer palace is in Milan, Augustine goes to Milan, where I think his only task was to write one poem or speech a year and to give it on a particular day. The greatest rhetorician in the whole Roman Empire is the Bishop of Milan, and his name is Ambrose. Ambrose was quite a man. He once stood up to the Emperor and said, You can't use you can't use my church for some kind of lousy secular purpose.


[00:29:18] He stood in the door and defied. The emperor is a brave man, great speaker. And Augustine found himself going to hear Ambrose preach because he wanted to watch his use of rhetoric. See? And Augustine wanted to become a friend of Ambrose. But Ambrose had seen a lot of young men try to. Cater to him and get into his circles and catch a glimpse of his fame and all of that. So Ambrose wasn't the least bit friendly to Agustin, but one day they were walking. One day there were. Incidentally, Ambrose is, we're told, the first man in history ever to read silently without moving his lips. A good quiz question for next week that tells you something about the world in those days. All right. First man in history, we're told to read silently without moving his lips. So Augustine and Ambrose are walking one day, and Ambrose, who's not the you know, this is tough love. Ambrose is not the least bit kind to Augustine in those respects. Ambrose kind of my hero. No, I'm just kidding. Just kidding. Ambrose says to Augustine. Hey, what's this guy? Why aren't you a Christian? What? The world is a matter with you, Augustine. What are you going to grow up? Give me one reason why you're not a Christian. Then Augustine said, Well, you know I'm not a Christian because you Christians worship a God who has a body. Pretty lame excuse, Ambrose's Augustine. Where do you get that crazy idea from? He says it's in your Bible in the Book of Genesis. The Bible said your book. Your Bible says that God came walking in the garden in the cool of the day, Ambrose said. What do you do for a living, Augustine? He says, I teach rhetoric.


[00:31:25] You ever heard of non-literal language? Oh. Oh, you mean those words aren't literal? No, dummy. And whatever led you to think they were. Okay. Now what? What Ambrose did was to help Augustine recognize that he had rejected the Bible for a whole ton of irrelevant reasons. He didn't know what the Bible was all about. And all of a sudden, down comes another obstacle between Augustine in the Christian faith. This is what's been going on here were these obstacles between Augustine in the Christian faith Manichean ism that's gone. An inability to understand the Bible. Suddenly that's gone. These misrepresentations of Christian belief. They're gone. And all of a sudden, Augustine recognizes that the only obstacle now between him and becoming a Christian is his commitment to sin. Ooh. Monica decides it's time for Augusta to marry. They arrange a marriage and August and tells his mistress of now eight, nine, ten years that she's got to go back to Africa. Now, this is a this was a custom of the Roman Empire. Young men who were not ready to marry would shack up with someone, maybe even have children. And when the day for their final marriage came, they would cast aside this nameless woman, keep whatever children. Or maybe that was their decision, and they'd shipped the woman back to her home territory. So Augustine takes this woman down to Ostia, the seaport at Rome, with his young, beloved son, who at this time is probably five, six years older than that, I guess. And if I were a movie producer, if I were Steven Spielberg and I were making a movie of Augustine's life, and I don't know why no one has ever done that, because this could be a successful movie. I mean, think of the sex in this thing, All right? That alone, this.


[00:33:31] You could make an R-rated movie about Saint Augustine, for Pete's sake. But if I were making a G-rated movie about Augustine, I'd film this partying scene. I would show the ship pulling away from the from the port. And I would see this nameless woman weeping as she knows she's seeing her son for the last time in her life. What a horrible thing to do to this lady. But then I would show his son in silhouette. That's that's the word I was looking for, black silhouette. And you would see Augustine with his shadows hunched over in guilt. This guy knows what he's doing to that woman is foul and dirty and unkind. And I would show him clasping the hand of little Lydia Davis. And the little boy is looking up in silhouette. And, you know, he's saying, Where is my mommy? Go away. I tell you, there wouldn't be a dry eye in the theater. I'm weeping right now. So Augustine ships her off. But there's a problem with his wedding plans. He can't get married for a whole year because his fiancee, the young daughter of a very wealthy Roman family. Incidentally, there's money here, so his fiancee can't get married for a whole year because she's only 12 years old. Now, doesn't this sound like something out of Kentucky or Arkansas? Doesn't it really? I'm serious. Wow. So you know what Augustine does? He's just shipped off his mistress of ten years, the mother of his child, and he can't get married for a year. So he shacks up with another bimbo. This guy has no self-control. Finally, he and Olympias are in a garden in Rome and a guston's guilt level has just, you know, all the while he just can't. So he and olympias now Olympias had a sin too.


[00:35:42] For Augustine, it was sex. One of them was sex. For Olympias, it was the Roman games. Olympias was was seduced and captive to the thrill of watching the bloody murders in the Roman Coliseum. So they're both suffering from guilt and they're talking and they're commiserating with each other. And one of them is one of them says to the other, What's the matter with you and me, Augustan? All over the Roman Empire, People who aren't worthy to tie our shoes, people who haven't had one ounce of the education and the culture that you and I have are coming to the Kingdom of God every day. And you and I are sitting here like two bumps on a log, looking at each other in this garden and saying, What's wrong with us? Well, I'll tell you what's wrong with us. And then all of a sudden, they hear the voice of a little girl on the wall. They're in a garden. They hear a voice from a little girl on the other side of the wall. And that little girl is uttering one Latin word, total leg. Total leg, which means take up and read, take up and read. And Augusten looks at Olympias and he says, What? I've never heard children say that before. Is this some kind of game? What are we supposed to take up and read? And Agustin says, I think that's a message from God that you and I are to quit talking to each other and listen to the Word of God. Where's the nearest Bible? And Augustine walks across the garden and picks up a Bible. And then he exercises what I call the Baptist method of biblical hermeneutics. This is the way Baptists get their preaching texts. Okay. He allows the Bible to open itself by chance.


[00:37:39] Only I'm not. I'm not trusting Chance here. Okay, Now, this is where I tell my congregation. You may now read my text. I've already talked for 2 hours, but now I'm giving them my text. Augusten Not only does he allow the book Bible open to open by chance, but he then closes his eyes and puts his finger down. And that's the first verse he chooses to read. Okay. None of you Presbyterians do this, and it's the last two verses of Romans 13. Here it is. Boom. Can you imagine? He just opens his eyes, and this is what he reads. Let us behave decently as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness. O not in sexual immorality and debauchery. He's sweating. It's hard to breathe. Not in dissension and jealousy. Rather close yourselves, clothed yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. And it just encloses the Bible with his finger there. And he says, That's it. God's got my number. Olympias I'm repenting right now. I am believing right now I'm crossing that line. And Olympias says, quoting Robert, Sure. He says, Wow. He says, Read the next verse. If just opening the Bible. Now, listen, don't do this with the Bible, you get in real trouble. You know, I can see somebody saying Judas went out and hanged himself. Go down and do likewise. We could have it'd be bad stuff. So fortunate by chance. See, this is Augustine. Later on he becomes a Calvinist. But right now he's an Armenian. He. He opens the Bible back to where he had put his finger. And this is the verse he reads to Olympias him. That is, weaken the faith, accept him.


[00:40:06] Olympia says, Praise God, that's me. If ever there was anybody who's weak in the faith, that's me. So they rush and find Monica and tell her that she they have become Christians and she rejoices with them. Now, I have a little question here. Because I'm a little cynical. No one has ever asked this question but me. Where was Monica when Agustin heard that little girl's voice? Where was Monica? Tall, lanky. Tall, I guess. Nobody knows. And Agustin is too slow to put two and two together here. I think I know where Monica was. After a little while, they go back to Rome. They go back to the seaport. They're going to head back to North Africa. And Monica and Agustin share a magnificent, mystical vision. A vision of heaven. And, you know, if you can understand the circumstances and understand what for God to give Monica and Agustin that vision of heaven on the last day that she would be alive. But she gets sick, they can't leave. And in a couple of days, actually, she dies. And people have just found her her tomb in Austria. It has her name on it. Monica did not fight, dying. And the reason I don't think she fought dying was because she had nothing more to live for. God had given her her heart's desire. All of her life. The thing that she had wanted most was the salvation of her son. And God gave her that, and she went home.