Augustine’s Confessions is his written testimony of salvation being recounted to God. This excerpt is taken as he recounts how God delivered him from sexual sin. It picks up in the middle of Book 8. Augustine has just finished recounting how the conversion of a man named Victorinus (an influential and intelligent man like Augustine) played a role in his coming to faith. Simplicianus is a friend who is talking with Augustine and has just finished telling him of the conversion of Victorinus.
The blocked texts in this article are meant to guide you in a personal reflection during your reading of Augustine’s struggle with sexual sin. It is hoped that whatever sin (life-dominating or otherwise) you are struggling with, this article will encourage and instruct you. It is not being proposed that Augustine’s story is the model for everyone, but merely that Augustine is vividly honest about his struggle and, in doing so, illustrates many excellent truths of Scripture about how people change.
Only minor changes have been made to the original text as translated by Albert Outler. (1) Old English words were exchanged for their modern equivalents – “didst” changed to “did.” (2) Scripture references were added into the text instead of being given as endnotes. (3) Chapter subtitles were added to help the reader pick up in the middle of Augustine’s book. (4) Bold face emphasis was added in several places to highlight aspects of the writing particularly applicable to the purpose of this article.
To help you read this article, remember that Augustine dictated this text and expected it to be read aloud. Reading silently was not common at that time. For this reason, it may take you a few paragraphs to adjust to a syntax that was prepared for an oral audience.
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It can be helpful to listen through a reading of this portion of Augustine’s reflection as you seek to remember and implement this article. An excellent version is available narrated by Max McLean through The Listener’s Bible Company.