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Beginning with the praises of God, he traces his life from its earliest stages up to the age of fifteen years. He acknowledges the sins

of infancy and childhood; and confesses how he was then more fond of play and boyish amusements than of study.


He desires to praise God, being awakened by Him.


REAT art Thou, O Lord, and highly to be praised." "Great is Thy Power, and Thy Wisdom is infinite." "2 And man, but a fraction of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee; man-encompassed with his mortality, bearing about with him an evidence of his sin, an evidence, too, that "Thou resistest the proud,"3-yet even man, but a fraction of Thy creation, desires to praise Thee. Thou dost stir us up to delight in praising Thee; for Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart can find no rest until it rests in Thee. Grant me, O Lord, to know and understand which should be the first, whether to call upon Thee or to praise Thee; and again, whether to know Thee or to call upon Thee. But who can call upon Thee, not knowing Thee? For he who does not know Thee may call upon Thee, having a mistaken idea of Thee. Or should we not rather call upon Thee in order to know Thee? But "how then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? or how shall they

Ps. cxlv. 3. 2 Ps. cxlvii. 5. 3 Jam. iv. 6; 1 Pet. v. 5.




And "they shall praise
For they that seek,

believe without a preacher ?" the Lord that seek Him." "2 shall find Him,"3 and those who find shall praise Him. I will seek Thee, O Lord, calling upon Thee; and I will call upon Thee, believing in Thee; for Thou hast been preached to us. My faith, O Lord, calls on Thee, that faith which Thou hast given to me, with which Thou hast inspired me, through the Incarnation of Thy Son, through the ministry of Thy preacher.4


That the God Whom he invokes is in him, and
that he is in God.

AND how shall I call upon my God, my God and

Lord? For when I shall call upon Him, I shall be calling Him to come to me. And what room is there in me, where my God may come into me? where God may come into me, the God Who made heaven and earth? Is there, then, O Lord my God, anything in me, that can contain Thee? Do heaven, indeed, and earth, which Thou hast made, and in which Thou hast made me, contain Thee? or, because whatever exists cannot exist without Thee, does it follow that whatever exists contains Thee? Since, then, I also exist, why do I ask Thee to come to me, when I could have no being, unless Thou wert already in me? For I am not now in hell, and yet Thou art even there. For "if I go down into hell, Thou art 3 Matt. vii. 7.

1 Rom. x. 14.

2 Ps. xxii. 27.

4 He refers to the preaching of S. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. See Bk. V. chap. xiii.

there." I



Therefore I could not exist, O my God, I could not have any being, unless Thou wert in me; or, rather, I could not have any being, unless I were in Thee, "of Whom are all things, by Whom are all things, in Whom are all things."2 Even so, O Lord, even so. Whither then do I call Thee, when I am in Thee? or, whence canst Thou come to me? For whither can I withdraw myself beyond heaven and earth, that there may be intervening space through which my God may come to me, Who hath said, “I fill heaven and earth"? 3


God is so wholly everywhere, that nothing
contains him wholly.

O heaven and earth contain Thee, since Thou fillest them? or, dost Thou fill them, without exhausting Thyself, since they do not contain Thee? And when heaven and earth are filled, where dost Thou pour what remains of Thee? or, hast Thou no need to be contained by anything, Who containest all things, seeing that what Thou fillest, Thou fillest by containing it? For the vessels which are filled by Thee, do not sustain Thee; since, although they were broken, Thou wouldst not be poured forth. And when Thou art "poured out "4 upon us, Thou art not cast down, but Thou raisest us up; neither art Thou Thyself scattered, but Thou gatherest us. But Thou Who fillest all things, fillest Thou all things with Thy whole self? or, since 1 Ps. cxxxix. 8.

3 Jer. xxiii. 24.

2 Rom. xi. 36.

4 Acts ii. 18.



all things cannot contain Thee wholly, do they contain a part of Thee, and all at once the same part? or, does each enclose its own part, the greater more, the smaller less? Then is there one part of Thee greater, and another less. Or art Thou wholly everywhere, and does nothing contain Thee wholly?


The Majesty of God and His Perfections, are
beyond description.



HAT art Thou then, my God? what, I ask, but the Lord God? "For who is Lord but the Lord? or who is God save our God?" O most High, most Good, most Powerful, most Omnipotent, most Merciful and most Just, most Hidden and most Present, most Beautiful and most Strong, Stable yet Incomprehensible; changeless Thyself, yet changing all things; never old, never new; making all things new, and "making old the proud, and they know it not; " ever working, ever at rest; gathering, and not needing; upholding, and filling, and overshadowing; creating and nourishing and perfecting; seeking, yet never lacking anything. Thou lovest, without passion; Thou art jealous, without alarm; Thou repentest, without sorrow; Thou art angry, without emotion; Thou changest Thy works, without ever altering Thy design; Thou receivest back what Thou findest, without ever having lost; Thou art never poor, yet rejoicing in gains; never avaricious, yet exacting usury;3 Thou receivest over and above, that Thou 1 Ps. xviii. 31. 2 Job ix. 5. 3 Matt. XXV. 27.

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