Monday, 28 August
Augustine of Hippo
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1
Hymn: God of Love, God of Joy
God of Love, God of Joy
Father of light, I come before you
May the peace that transcends all understanding
Guard my heart and my mind
Protect my heart protect my mind
In Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Whatever is true, whatever is right,
Whaterever is pure, and worthy of praise.
May such beauty fill my mind.
Love the Lord with all of your heart,
With all of your soul, with all of your mind.
May the God peace go with you.
May the God peace go with you.
God of love, God of you
Father of light, I come before You.
May the peace that transcends all understanding
Guard my heart and my mind.
Protect my heart, protect my mind
In Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Singers: Calvary Chorale
Words: Larry Nickel
Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.
Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
The Lord is glorious in his saints: Come let us adore him.
Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.
Know this: The Lord himself is God;
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.
1 Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, *
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2 Their delight is in the law of the LORD, *
and they meditate on his law day and night.
3 They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; *
everything they do shall prosper.
4 It is not so with the wicked; *
they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, *
nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, *
but the way of the wicked is doomed.
1 Why are the nations in an uproar? *
Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
2 Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt,
and the princes plot together, *
against the LORD and against his Anointed?
3 "Let us break their yoke," they say; *
"let us cast off their bonds from us."
4 He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; *
the Lord has them in derision.
5 Then he speaks to them in his wrath, *
and his rage fills them with terror.
6 "I myself have set my king *
upon my holy hill of Zion."
7 Let me announce the decree of the LORD: *
he said to me, "You are my Son;
this day have I begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance *
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
9 You shall crush them with an iron rod *
and shatter them like a piece of pottery."
10 And now, you kings, be wise; *
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
11 Submit to the LORD with fear, *
and with trembling bow before him;
12 Lest he be angry and you perish; *
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
13 Happy are they all *
who take refuge in him!
1 LORD, how many adversaries I have! *
how many there are who rise up against me!
2 How many there are who say of me, *
"There is no help for him in his God."
3 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me; *
you are my glory, the one who lifts up my head.
4 I call aloud upon the LORD, *
and he answers me from his holy hill;
5 I lie down and go to sleep; *
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
6 I do not fear the multitudes of people *
who set themselves against me all around.
7 Rise up, O LORD; set me free, O my God; *
surely, you will strike all my enemies across the face,
you will break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Deliverance belongs to the LORD. *
Your blessing be upon your people!
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen. Amen.
5Now Adonijah son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, 'I will be king'; he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 6His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, 'Why have you done that?' He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. 7He conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with the priest Abiathar, and they supported Adonijah. 8But the priest Zadok, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the prophet Nathan, and Shimei, and Rei, and David's own warriors did not side with Adonijah.
9Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fatted cattle by the stone Zoheleth, which is beside En-rogel, and he invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, 10but he did not invite the prophet Nathan or Benaiah or the warriors or his brother Solomon.
11Then Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, 'Have you not heard that Adonijah son of Haggith has become king and our lord David does not know it? 12Now therefore come, let me give you advice, so that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. 13Go in at once to King David, and say to him, "Did you not, my lord the king, swear to your servant, saying: Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne? Why then is Adonijah king?" 14Then while you are still there speaking with the king, I will come in after you and confirm your words.'
15So Bathsheba went to the king in his room. The king was very old; Abishag the Shunammite was attending the king. 16Bathsheba bowed and did obeisance to the king, and the king said, 'What do you wish?' 17She said to him, 'My lord, you swore to your servant by the Lord your God, saying: Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne. 18But now suddenly Adonijah has become king, though you, my lord the king, do not know it. 19He has sacrificed oxen, fatted cattle, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the children of the king, the priest Abiathar, and Joab the commander of the army; but your servant Solomon he has not invited. 20But you, my lord the kingthe eyes of all Israel are on you to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. 21Otherwise it will come to pass, when my lord the king sleeps with his ancestors, that my son Solomon and I will be counted offenders.'
22While she was still speaking with the king, the prophet Nathan came in. 23The king was told, 'Here is the prophet Nathan.' When he came in before the king, he did obeisance to the king, with his face to the ground. 24Nathan said, 'My lord the king, have you said, "Adonijah shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne"? 25For today he has gone down and has sacrificed oxen, fatted cattle, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king's children, Joab the commander of the army, and the priest Abiathar, who are now eating and drinking before him, and saying, "Long live King Adonijah!" 26But he did not invite me, your servant, and the priest Zadok, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon. 27Has this thing been brought about by my lord the king and you have not let your servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?'
28King David answered, 'Summon Bathsheba to me.' So she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king. 29The king swore, saying, 'As the Lord lives, who has saved my life from every adversity, 30as I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel, "Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne in my place", so will I do this day.' 31Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground, and did obeisance to the king, and said, 'May my lord King David live for ever!'
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Canticle 9 The First Song of Isaiah
Surely, it is God who saves me;*
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense,*
and he will be my Savior.
Therefore you shall draw water with rejoicing *
from the springs of salvation.
And on that day you shall say,*
Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name;
Make his deeds known among the peoples;*
see that they remember that his Name is exalted.
Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things,*
and this is known in all the world.
Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy,*
for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Agrippa said to Paul, 'You have permission to speak for yourself.' Then Paul stretched out his hand and began to defend himself:
2'I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am to make my defence today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3because you are especially familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews; therefore I beg of you to listen to me patiently.
4'All the Jews know my way of life from my youth, a life spent from the beginning among my own people and in Jerusalem. 5They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I have belonged to the strictest sect of our religion and lived as a Pharisee. 6And now I stand here on trial on account of my hope in the promise made by God to our ancestors, 7a promise that our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship day and night. It is for this hope, your Excellency, that I am accused by Jews! 8Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?
9'Indeed, I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10And that is what I did in Jerusalem; with authority received from the chief priests, I not only locked up many of the saints in prison, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being condemned to death. 11By punishing them often in all the synagogues I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was so furiously enraged at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities.
12'With this in mind, I was travelling to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13when at midday along the road, your Excellency, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. 14When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts you to kick against the goads." 15I asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The Lord answered, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16But get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you. 17I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentilesto whom I am sending you 18to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me."
19'After that, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance. 21For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22To this day I have had help from God, and so I stand here, testifying to both small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would take place: 23that the Messiah must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.'
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Canticle 19 The Song of the Redeemed
Magna et mirabilia
O ruler of the universe, Lord God,
great deeds are they that you have done,*
surpassing human understanding.
Your ways are ways of righteousness and truth,*
O King of all the ages
Who can fail to do you homage, Lord
and sing the praises of your Name
for you only are the Holy One.
All nations will draw near and fall down before you
because your just and holy works have been revealed.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
14'But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; 15someone on the housetop must not go down or enter the house to take anything away; 16someone in the field must not turn back to get a coat. 17Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! 18Pray that it may not be in winter. 19For in those days there will be suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, no, and never will be. 20And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut short those days. 21And if anyone says to you at that time, "Look! Here is the Messiah!" or "Look! There he is!"do not believe it. 22False messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23But be alert; I have already told you everything.
24'But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give itslight,
25 and the stars will be falling fromheaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26Then they will see "the Son of Man coming in clouds" with great power and glory. 27Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Augustine of Hippo 28 August 430
Augustine (Aurelius Augustinus) was one of the greatest theologians of Western Christianity. (In his day the Mediterranean world consisted of an Eastern, Greek-speaking half and a Western, Latin-speaking half, with different ways of looking at things, and different habits of thought.)
Augustine was born 13 November 354 in North Africa, about 45 miles south of the Mediterranean, in the town of Tagaste (36:14 N 8:00 E) in Numidia (now Souk-Ahras in Algeria), near ancient Carthage (modern Tunis, 36:50 N 10:13 E). His mother, Monnica, was a Christian, and his father for many years a pagan (although he became a Christian before his death). His mother undertook to bring him up as a Christian, and on one level he always found something attractive about Christ, but in the short run he was more interested in the attractions of sex, fame, and pride in his own cleverness. After a moderate amount of running around as a teen-ager, he took a mistress, who bore him a son when he was about eighteen. Theirs was a long-term relationship, apparently with faithfulness on both sides, and the modern reader is left wondering why he did not simply marry the girl. He never tells us this (and in fact never tells us her name), so that we can only guess. It seems likely that she was a freedwoman, and the laws forbade marriage between a free-born Roman citizen and a slave, or an ex-slave.
When He was 19 and a student at Carthage, he read a treatise by Cicero that opened his eyes to the delights of philosophy.
He was from the beginning a brilliant student, with an eager intellectual curiousity, but he never mastered Greek -- he tells us that his first Greek teacher was a brutal man who constantly beat his students, and Augustine rebelled and vowed never to learn Greek. By the time he realized that he really needed to know Greek, it was too late; and although he acquired a smattering of the language, he was never really at home in it. However, his mastery of Latin was another matter. He became an expert both in the eloquent use of the language and in the use of clever arguments to make his points. He became a teacher of rhetoric [see Definitions, right] in Carthage, but was dissatisfied. It was the custom for students to pay their fees to the professor on the last day of the term, and many students attended faithfully all term, and then did not pay. In his late twenties, Augustine decided to leave Africa and seek his fortune in Rome (41:53 N 12:30 E).
For a long time Augustine was attracted by the teachings of Manicheeism, named for Mani, a Persian who had preached kind of synthesis of Christianity with Zoroastrianism, the dominant religion of Persia (around 32 N 54 E). Zoroaster had taught the existence of a power of light, God, the supreme Creator, and of a dark and evil power that opposed him. On the Zoroastrian (Parsi [see Definitions, right]) view, the dark power was a rebel against his creator, and doomed to ultimate defeat. Mani, on the other hand, was a thoroughgoing dualist [see Definitions, right], who taught that there are two gods of equal power and eternity, and that the universe is the scene of an unending battle between light and darkness, good and evil, knowledge and ignorance, soul and body, etc.
The Manichees as they moved west into the Roman Empire adopted many traits of what is generically called Gnosticism. In particular, they advertised themselves as being not an alternative to Christianity but as the advanced version of Christianity, as the faith for the spiritually mature, the intellectually gifted. They claimed that their beliefs were based on reason rather than authority, and that they had answers for everything, at least as soon as the learner was sufficiently advanced to comprehend them. They differed from the classical Gnostics by not contrasting spirit with matter. On their view, everything was composed of material particles, but these were either light or dark. Since the mind was composed of light particles, imprisoned in the body, a cage made of dark particles, something like the Gnostic contrast between spirit and matter was there. Members were divided into an inner circle, the "elect," who were expected to be celibate and vegetarian, so as to avoid all those dark particles, and the "learners," of whom considerably less was expected. Augustine signed up as a learner. He was at first completely captivated, but then met with a series of disappointments. The rank and file of the movement did not seem to be very clear thinkers. He met the leaders, who were advertised as the Towering Intellects of the Ages, and was not impressed.
Augustine prospered in Rome, and was eventually appointed chief professor of rhetoric for the city of Milan (45:28 N 9:12 E), at that time the capital city of the Empire in the West. It should be noted that this was an extremely prestigious appointment. In classical times, when laws were often made and issues voted on by huge public assemblies, when even juries typically had several hundred members, and when a man's public influence, or even on occasion his life, depended on his ability to sway large audiences, rhetoric -- the art of manipulating an audience -- was a skill that few men thought they could afford to neglect. (Socrates was one of the few, and we know what happened to him!) The art, at first intensely practical, had by Augustine's day become a display form admired for its own sake. However, the admiration was there. Every lawyer, arguing a case, was expected to give an eloquent speech, full of classical allusions [see Definitions, right] and standard rhetorical flourishes. And Augustine was at the top of the field.
In Milan, Augustine met the bishop Ambrose, and was startled to find in him a reasonableness of mind and belief, a keenness of thought, and an integrity of character far in excess of what he had found elsewhere. For the first time, Augustine saw Christianity as a religion fit for a philosopher.
Soon after his arrival in Milan, Augustine was plunged into two crises.
First, his mother arrived from Africa, and persuaded him that he ought to give up his mistress and get married. He agreed to a betrothal to a suitable young lady; but his betrothed was too young for immediate marriage, and so the actual wedding was postponed for two years. Meanwhile the mistress had been sent back to Africa. Augustine, not ready for two years of sexual abstinence, lapsed back into promiscuity.
The second crisis was that Augustine became a neo-Platonist [see Definitions, right]. Plato, as interpreted by his later spokesmen, in particular by Plotinus, taught that only God is fully real, and that all other things are degenerations in varying degrees from the One--things are progressively less good, less spiritual, and less real as one goes rung by rung down the cosmic ladder. By contemplating spiritual realities, directing one's attention first to one's own mind and then moving up the ladder rung by one to the contemplation of God, one acquires true wisdom, true self-fulfilment, true spirituality, and union with God, or the One. Augustine undertook this approach, and believed that he had in fact had an experience of the presence of God, but found that this only made him more aware of the gulf between what he was and what he realized that he ought to be.
Meanwhile, he continued to hear Bishop Ambrose. And finally, partly because Ambrose had answers for his questions, partly because he admired Ambrose personally, and chiefly (or so he believed) because God touched his heart, he was converted to Christianity in 386 and was baptised by Ambrose at Easter of 387. About 12 years later he wrote an account of his life up to a time shortly after his conversion, a book called the Confessions. Ostensibly an autobiography, it is more an outpouring of penitence and thanksgiving.
In a well-known chapter, Augustine describes his conversion. His intellectual objections had lost their force, and he was at a point where the difficulty was that he seemed unable to make a commitment to living chastely, or unable to make a commitment, period. He heard of a group of young men, Christians, one of whom decided to become a desert hermit, whereupon the others, one at a time, made the same commitment, encouraged and inspired by the examples of those in the group who had already done so. (In many circles at that time, becoming a desert hermit had the same overtones as joining the Peace Corps did for many young persons in the 1960's, or joining the armed forces for many in the weeks immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor.) Augustine went aside to ponder the question, "How is it that these young men can make so drastic a commitment, and I cannot take even the first step of declaring myself a Christian?" He heard what seemed to be a child's voice coming from next door, saying over and over, "Tolle, lege; tolle, lege," or, "Pick up and read; pick up and read." Since he could not think of any reason why a child would be saying that, he took it as an omen, and picked up a copy of Paul's Epistle to the Romans. As he opened it, his eye fell on the end of the thirteenth chapter:
The night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
As he read, he experienced this as God speaking directly to him, convicting him of his past sins, and offering him forgiveness; calling him to amend his life, and promising him the grace and power to do it. He burst into tears, and surrendered. Later, he wrote:
Late have I loved Thee, O Lord; and behold, Thou wast within and I without, and there I sought Thee. Thou was with me when I was not with Thee. Thou didst call, and cry, and burst my deafness. Thou didst gleam, and glow, and dispell my blindness. Thou didst touch me, and I burned for Thy peace. For Thyself Thou hast made us, and restless our hearts until in Thee they find their ease. Late have I loved Thee, Thou Beauty ever old and ever new. Thou hast burst my bonds asunder; unto Thee will I offer up an offering of praise.
Although written as an account of his life, the Confessions keeps digressing into speculations about the nature of time, the nature of causality, the nature of free will, the motives of human action, etc.
Louis deWohl has written a novel about Augustine, based mostly on the Confessions, called The Restless Flame. It is an excellent introduction to the Augustine.
After his conversion, Augustine went back to his native Africa in 387, where he was ordained a priest in 391 and consecrated bishop of Hippo in 396. It was not his intention to become a priest. He was visiting the town of Hippo (or Hippo Regius, now Annaba, 36:55 N 7:47 E), was in church hearing a sermon, and the bishop, without warning, said, "This congregation is in need of more priests, and I believe that the ordination of Augustine would be to the glory of God." Willing hands dragged Augustine forward, and the bishop together with his council of priests laid hands on Augustine and ordained him to the priesthood. (The experience may have colored Augustine's perception of such questions as, "Does a man come to God because he has chosen to do so, or because God has chosen him, and drawn him to Himself?") A few years later, when the Bishop of Hippo died, Augustine was chosen to succeed him.
He was a diligent shepherd of his flock, but he also found time to write extensively. He was an admirer of Jerome, and wrote him a letter hoping to establish a friendship, but the letter went astray. (In those days there was no public post office, and if you wanted to send a letter to a friend in Athens, you entrusted it to someone you knew who was travelling to Athens, or at least in that general direction, with instructions to deliver it or pass it on to someone else who would oblige.) Jerome did not get the letter, and the contents became public knowledge before he heard of it. Augustine, in addition to saying how much he admired Jerome, had offered some criticisms of something Jerome had written. Jerome was furious, and came close to writing Augustine off altogether. However, Augustine wrote him a second letter, apologizing and explaining what had happened, and Jerome was mollified. They had a long and intellectually substantial correspondence.
Augustine's written output was vast. His surviving works (and it is assumed that the majority did not survive) include 113 books and treatises, over 200 letters, and over 500 sermons. His work greatly influenced Luther and Calvin, to the point where for a while Roman Catholic speakers and writers were wary of quoting him lest they be suspected of Protestant tendencies.
We have already mentioned his Confessions. A second great work of his is the book, De Civitate Dei (The City of God). This was written after Rome had been sacked by invaders led by Alaric the Visigoth. It is a reply to those who said that the Roman Empire was falling apart because the Christians had taken over; he discusses the work of God in history, and the relation between the Christian as citizen of an earthly commonwealth and the Christian as citizen of Heaven.
His third great work is his De Trinitate (On the Trinity). Here, he discusses the doctrine of the Trinity [see Definitions, right] by undertaking to compare the mind of man with the mind of God, since man is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Augustine begins by pointing out a Trinitarian structure in the act of knowing something. He continues by pointing out a Trinitarian structure in the act of self-awareness. He concludes by pointing out a Trinitarian structure in the act of religious contemplation by which man sees himself as made in the image of God.
Augustine and the Donatists
Almost a century before Augustine was born, the Church in Africa had been torn apart by the Donatist controversy. During the persecution of the Church by the Emperor Decius, some Christian clergymen in Africa, or so it was alleged, had stood firm against threat of torture, imprisonment and death more consistently and nobly than others. The Donatists maintained that their clergy derived their ordinations from clergy with very good records of constancy under persecution, and that they were the Church of the Martyrs, as opposed to the Church of the Sell-outs, which was everybody else. They further held that sacraments received at the hands of unworthy ministers were of no value.
Or at least it seems that they held this. Augustine had a long correspondence and controversy with them, and at one point they apparently replied that they did not hold this, to which Augustine replied, "In that case, will you kindly tell me what the controversy is all about, and what you and I have been debating for the last eighteen months, and what your bishops and ours have been out of fellowship with each other about for the last century?" The controversy dragged on, with part of the dispute historical (whether Bishop so-and-so, now seventy years dead, had really done what he was accused of doing), and part theological. It seems clear that the Donatists, at least most of the time, argued that the holiness of the Church depended on the holiness of its members, especially its clergy. Against them, Augustine maintained that the holiness of the Church is not derived from the average level of virtue of its individual members, but is derived from the Holiness of its Head, who is Christ.
Augustine and the Pelagians
In Augustine's day, a man from Britain named Morgan, or in Latin Pelagius (means "islander" -- consider the words "pelagic" and "archipelago" [for both, see Definitions, right]), began to preach, denouncing what he saw as a slackening of moral standards. He saw professed Christians living less than exemplary lives, and offering human frailty as an excuse. His reply was: "Nonsense. God has given you free will. You can choose to follow the example of Adam, or you can choose to follow the example of Christ. God has given everyone the grace he needs to be good. If you are not good, you simply need to try harder." Augustine asked him about original sin, and he replied that there is no such thing. Augustine asked him why, in that case, it was the universal custom to baptize infants, and he had no answer. Augustine saw the teaching of Pelagius as totally undermining the doctrine that God is the ultimate source of all good, and encouraging the virtuous and well-behaved Christian to feel that he had earned God's approval by his own efforts. Pelagius was condemned by Pope Innocent I, and then re-instated by Pope Zosimus. Augustine refused to accept the judgement of Zosimus, and ultimately won the day.
Near the end of his life, the Vandals, a barbarian people with a reputation for wanton destructiveness (hence our modern term "vandal"), who had earlier invaded Spain from the north and settled down there (hence the province of Spain called "Andalusia"), became involved in a civil war in Northern Africa, and their troops invaded Africa in huge numbers. The leader of the losing side took refuge in the town of Hippo, and the Vandals were besieging the town (which they ultimately captured) when Augustine, bishop of Hippo, died 28 August 430, aged 75.
written by James Kiefer
Lord God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the hearts that serve you: Help us, following the example of your servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Alternate Psalm and Readings
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.
Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
Govern and uphold them, now and always.
Day by day we bless you;
We praise your name for ever.
Lord, keep us from all sin today;
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope;
And we shall never hope in vain.
Collect of the Day: Pentecost, proper 16
Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirt, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We pray for the people of Burkina Faso.
We pray for our sisters and brothers members of the Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia.
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
To my humble supplication
Lord, give ear and acceptation
Save thy servant, that hath none
Help nor hope but Thee alone. Amen.
Let us pray now for our own needs and those of others.
O God, the creator and preserver of all, we humbly beseech you for all sorts and conditions of people; that you would be pleased to make your ways known unto them, your saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for your holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by your good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to your fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; that it may please you to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God, whose Son had nowhere to lay his head: Grant that those who live alone may not be lonely in their solitude, but that, following in his steps, they may find fulfillment in loving you and their neighbors; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hymn: Come to us, creative Spirit
Come to us, creative Spirit,
in our Father's house,
every human talent hallow,
hidden skills arouse,
that, within our earthly temple,
wise and simple
Poet, painter, music maker,
all your treasures bring;
craftsman, actor, graceful dancer,
make your offering:
join your hands in celebration!
shout and sing!
Word from God eternal springing,
fill our minds, we pray,
and in all artistic vision
May the flame within us burning
day by day.
In all places and forever,
glory be expressed
to the Son, with God the Father
and the Spirit blessed.
In our worship and our living
keep us striving
for the best.
Lyrics: David Mowbray
Music: Edwin G. Monk
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God be with you till we meet again;
By his counsels guide, uphold you;
With his sheep securely fold you.
God be with you till we meet again.
Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus' feet,
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.