Seventh-day Adventists believe the Book of Revelation is especially relevant to believers in the days preceding the second coming of Jesus Christ. The "two witnesses" spoken of are Muhammad and Ali. The Book of Mormon states that John the Apostle is the author of Revelation and that he was foreordained by God to write it.
Doctrine and Covenants , section 77, postulates answers to specific questions regarding the symbolism contained in the Book of Revelation. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that the warning contained in Revelation —19  does not refer to the biblical canon as a whole. Christian Gnostics, however, are unlikely to be attracted to the teaching of Revelation because the doctrine of salvation through the sacrificed Lamb, which is central to Revelation, is repugnant to Gnostics.
Christian Gnostics "believed in the Forgiveness of Sins, but in no vicarious sacrifice for sin James Morgan Pryse was an esoteric gnostic who saw Revelation as a western version of the Hindu theory of the Chakra. He began his work, "The purpose of this book is to show that the Apocalypse is a manual of spiritual development and not, as conventionally interpreted, a cryptic history or prophecy. But Christopher Rowland argues: "there are always going to be loose threads which refuse to be woven into the fabric as a whole.
The presence of the threads which stubbornly refuse to be incorporated into the neat tapestry of our world-view does not usually totally undermine that view. The radical discipleship interpretation asserts that the Book of Revelation is best understood as a handbook for radical discipleship; i.
In this interpretation the primary agenda of the book is to expose as impostors the worldly powers that seek to oppose the ways of God and God's Kingdom. Many literary writers and theorists have contributed to a wide range of theories about the origins and purpose of the Book of Revelation. Some of these writers have no connection with established Christian faiths but, nevertheless, found in Revelation a source of inspiration.
Revelation has been approached from Hindu philosophy and Jewish Midrash. Others have pointed to aspects of composition which have been ignored such as the similarities of prophetic inspiration to modern poetic inspiration, or the parallels with Greek drama. In recent years, theories have arisen which concentrate upon how readers and texts interact to create meaning and which are less interested in what the original author intended.
His lasting contribution has been to show how much more meaningful prophets, such as the scribe of Revelation, are when treated as poets first and foremost. He thought this was a point often lost sight of because most English bibles render everything in prose. Had he done so, he would have had to use their Hebrew poetry whereas he wanted to write his own.
Torrey insisted Revelation had originally been written in Aramaic. This was why the surviving Greek translation was written in such a strange idiom. It was a literal translation that had to comply with the warning at Revelation that the text must not be corrupted in any way. According to Torrey, the story is that "The Fourth Gospel was brought to Ephesus by a Christian fugitive from Palestine soon after the middle of the first century. It was written in Aramaic. Subsequently, this John was banished by Nero and died on Patmos after writing Revelation.
Torrey argued that until AD 80, when Christians were expelled from the synagogues,  the Christian message was always first heard in the synagogue and, for cultural reasons, the evangelist would have spoken in Aramaic, else "he would have had no hearing. Christina Rossetti was a Victorian poet who believed the sensual excitement of the natural world found its meaningful purpose in death and in God.
In her view, what Revelation has to teach is patience. The relevance of John's visions  belongs to Christians of all times as a continuous present meditation. Such matters are eternal and outside of normal human reckoning. Winter that returns not to spring Recently, aesthetic and literary modes of interpretation have developed, which focus on Revelation as a work of art and imagination, viewing the imagery as symbolic depictions of timeless truths and the victory of good over evil.
John's book is a vision of a just world, not a vengeful threat of world-destruction. Her view that Revelation's message is not gender-based has caused dissent. She says we are to look behind the symbols rather than make a fetish out of them. In contrast, Tina Pippin states that John writes " horror literature " and "the misogyny which underlies the narrative is extreme.
Lawrence took an opposing, pessimistic view of Revelation in the final book he wrote, Apocalypse. Instead, he wanted to champion a public-spirited individualism which he identified with the historical Jesus supplemented by an ill-defined cosmic consciousness against its two natural enemies.
One of these he called "the sovereignty of the intellect"  which he saw in a technology-based totalitarian society. The other enemy he styled "vulgarity"  and that was what he found in Revelation. And nowhere does this happen so splendiferously than in Revelation. His specific aesthetic objections to Revelation were that its imagery was unnatural and that phrases like "the wrath of the Lamb" were "ridiculous. In the first, there was a scheme of cosmic renewal in "great Chaldean sky-spaces", which he quite liked.
After that, Lawrence thought, the book became preoccupied with the birth of the baby messiah and "flamboyant hate and simple lust Modern biblical scholarship attempts to understand Revelation in its 1st-century historical context within the genre of Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature. Under this interpretation, assertions that "the time is near" are to be taken literally by those communities. Consequently, the work is viewed as a warning to not conform to contemporary Greco-Roman society which John "unveils" as beastly, demonic, and subject to divine judgment.
Although the acceptance of Revelation into the canon has from the beginning been controversial, it has been essentially similar to the career of other texts.
Scholar Barbara Whitlock pointed out a similarity between the consistent destruction of thirds depicted in the Book of Revelation a third of mankind by plagues of fire, smoke, and brimstone, a third of the trees and green grass, a third of the sea creatures and a third of the ships at sea, etc. Whitlock wrote: "Zoroastrianism, the state religion of the Roman Empire's main rival, was part of the intellectual millieu in which Christianity came into being, just as were Judaism, the Greek-Roman religion, and the worship of Isis and Mithras.
A Zoroastrian influence is completely plausible". Much of Revelation employs ancient sources, primarily but not exclusively from the Old Testament. For example, Howard-Brook and Gwyther  regard the Book of Enoch 1 Enoch as an equally significant but contextually different source. There is an angel ascending in both accounts 1 En ; Rev —19 and both accounts have three messages 1 En —9; Rev — Academics showed little interest in this topic until recently. For example, an anonymous Scottish commentary of  prefaces Revelation 4 with the Little Apocalypse of Mark 13, places Malachi "Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord" within Revelation 11 and writes Revelation side-by-side with the role of "the Satan" in the Book of Job.
The message is that everything in Revelation will happen in its previously appointed time. Steve Moyise uses the index of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament to show that "Revelation contains more Old Testament allusions than any other New Testament book, but it does not record a single quotation. Revelation concentrates on Isaiah, Psalms, and Ezekiel, while neglecting, comparatively speaking, the books of the Pentateuch that are the dominant sources for other New Testament writers. Methodological objections have been made to this course as each allusion may not have an equal significance.
To counter this, G. Beale sought to develop a system that distinguished 'clear', 'probable', and 'possible' allusions. A clear allusion is one with almost the same wording as its source, the same general meaning, and which could not reasonably have been drawn from elsewhere. A probable allusion contains an idea which is uniquely traceable to its source. Possible allusions are described as mere echoes of their putative sources.
Yet, with Revelation, the problems might be judged more fundamental. The author seems to be using his sources in a completely different way to the originals. For example, he borrows the 'new temple' imagery of Ezekiel 40—48 but uses it to describe a New Jerusalem which, quite pointedly, no longer needs a temple because it is God's dwelling. Ian Boxall  writes that Revelation "is no montage of biblical quotations that is not John's way but a wealth of allusions and evocations rewoven into something new and creative.
He sets out a comparative table listing the chapters of Revelation in sequence and linking most of them to the structurally corresponding chapter in Ezekiel. The interesting point is that the order is not the same. John, on this theory, rearranges Ezekiel to suit his own purposes. Some commentators argue that it is these purposes — and not the structure — that really matter. Beale believes that, however much John makes use of Ezekiel, his ultimate purpose is to present Revelation as a fulfillment of Daniel 7.
For example, Ezekiel's encounter with God is in reverse order as John's encounter with God Ezek —28; Rev —7; note both accounts have beings with faces of a lion, ox or calf, man, and eagle Ezek ; Rev , both accounts have an expanse before the throne Ezek ; Rev The chariot's horses in Zechariah's are the same colors as the four horses in Revelation Zech —8; Rev —8.
The nesting of the seven marches around Jericho by Joshua is reenacted by Jesus nesting the seven trumpets within the seventh seal Josh —10; Rev —17; —; — The description of the beast in Revelation is taken directly out of Daniel see Dan —8; Rev —7. The method that John used allowed him to use the Hebrew Scriptures as the source and also use basic techniques of parallel formation, thereby alluding to the Hebrew Scriptures.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 3 July This article is about the book in the New Testament. For other uses, see Book of Revelation disambiguation. Matthew Mark Luke John. Apostle Beloved disciple Evangelist Patmos Presbyter.
Apocryphon Acts Signs Gospel. Main article: Authorship of the Johannine works. Further information: Development of the New Testament canon. After them is to be placed, if it really seem proper, the Apocalypse of John, concerning which we shall give the different opinions at the proper time. These then belong among the accepted writings [Homologoumena]. Among the rejected [Kirsopp. Lake translation: "not genuine"] writings must be reckoned, as I said, the Apocalypse of John, if it seem proper, which some, as I said, reject, but which others class with the accepted books.
Main article: Events of Revelation. See also: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Contrasting beliefs. The Millennium. Biblical texts. Key terms. Main article: Historicist interpretations of the Book of Revelation. Further information: higher criticism and apocalyptic literature. Christianity portal. An Introduction to the New Testament 2nd ed. Further it is said: If a traveler encounters danger by land or sea, he shall, when there is no other help to hope for, pray this Psalm seven times, and each time with full confidence in the mighty and sure help of the Almighty, and add thereto: Jeschajah , Lord of help!
Hear me for the sake of thy great and most holy name, for thine is the power and the help. Psalm 7. EE: "Al bam, and the letters must be transposed. S misreads IDNI. The prayer is as follows: Oh, Eel Elijon! Eel Elion , mine enemy, N. After this prayer, pour the water upon a spot at your enemy's residence, or at a place where he must pass over it, and by doing this you will overcome him.
If you have a case to decide before the court, and you have reasons to fear an unfavorable or partial verdict, then pray this Psalm slowly before you appear in the presence of the judge, thinking at the same time of Eel Elijon and of the righteousness of your cause, and as you approach the judge pray as follows: Oh, Eel Elijon! Give unto my words power and strength and let me find favor. Psalm 8. The prayer reads as follows: May it please thee, Oh Rechmial Eel to grant that I may obtain love, grace, and favor in the eyes of men according to thy holy will.
Psalm 9. This Psalm should also be prayed against the power and malignity of enemies. In the first instance write this Psalm, with its holy name, upon pure parchment, with a new pen, and hang it around the patient's neck. Make him whole in soul, body, and mind, and release him during his life from all plagues, injury, and danger, and be thou his helper. EE: Haojeff. Psalm The closing prayer may be as follows: Adorable, mighty and holy God Pele!
Turn away from me all that is evil, and protect me from the persecution of evil men, for the sake of the great name Pele. The prayer is as follows: Almighty Father, my God Awieel! Amen — Selah. According to tradition this Psalm is also a good cure for dangerous and painful diseases of the eyes. The patient must procure a plant that is good for the eyes, and with this must pray this Psalm with a suitable prayer, trusting firmly in the certain help of the mighty Essiel, and then bind the plant upon his eyes.
The prayer is as follows: "May it please thee, Oh Eel emmet , to grant me grace, love and favor with all men whose help I need. Hear me for the sake of thy name. The prayer which must be repeated during the process of washing, is as follows: May it be thy will, O God, to restore N. He who otherwise prays this Psalm with reverence will be generally received with great favor. The prayer is as follows: Let it be thy will, Eel Chai , the Living God to make known the name of the thief, who stole from me here name that which was stolen. Grant that the name of the thief, if it is among the names, may arise before thy eyes, and thus be made known to mine and all others who are present, that thy name may be glorified: grant it for the sake of thy holy name.
Finally, it is said, that the daily praying of this Psalm will change enemies into friends, and will disperse all pain and sorrow. TEXT Psalm The prayer is as follows: May it be thy holy will, Oh, Jah, Jenora, to make my journey prosperous, to lead me in pleasant paths, to protect me from all evil, and to bring me safely back to my loved ones, for thy mighty and adorable name's sake.
The prayer is the following: "Mighty, all-merciful and compassionate God, Eel Jah! Hear me for the sake of thy most holy name, Eel Jah. The prayer is as follows: Lord of heaven and earth! May it please thee graciously to be with this parturient, N. Finally, it is claimed that this Psalm is effectual in driving away evil spirits. It is necessary, however, to pray this Psalm, with the holy name and an appropriate prayer, seven times over the person possessed of the evil spirit.
EE: Hashamaijim v. Are you summoned to appear before the judge in person, in a judicial trial, you should avail yourself of the above means shortly beforehand, and by so doing you will surely be justified and depart without restraint. The prayer in the last case is as follows: Lord and judge of all the World! Thou holdest the hearts of all men in thy power and movest them according to thy holy will; grant that I may find grace and favor in the sight of my judges and those placed above me in power, and dispose their hearts to my best interests.
Grant that I may be favored with a reasonable and favorable verdict, that I may be justified by it, and that I may freely go from hence. Thou rulest the pride of the foaming and roaring sea, and calmest the terrible noise of the waves. Should he travel by water neither pirates nor storms can harm him, and if he travels by land he will be safe from harm, by beasts and men. The EE, following Scheible, reads "33", but this is actually verse 32 according to the Hebrew numbering — the last word of the Psalm. EE: Napschi. EE: Aasch Bechar. Psalms 24 and Whoever repeats these Psalms daily in the morning with feelings of devotion, will escape from the greatest danger, and the devastating flood will not harm him.
Remark by the Translator. Since the author has neither a holy name nor prayer for the above Psalm, it may be presumed that the frequent repetition of the Psalm is sufficient for all purposes intended. Remarks by the Translator. With this Psalm also there is no prescribed prayer given. This Psalm and the following are also without a prescribed prayer. With this Psalm will be found neither holy name nor prayer.
At the time of a general famine, the inhabitants of the afflicted district should pray this Psalm with united hearts and powers, and they will surely be heard. EE: Hejozer. Even so this Psalm is highly recommended to each traveler, for if he prays it diligently he will surely finish his journey in safety.
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Psalms 38 and Pray these Psalms and their holy name seven times with great devotion, and fast the entire day. Psalms 41 to Your enemies will be put to shame and you will be unscathed. The 42nd Psalm possesses this peculiar characteristic. Psalms 45 and The saying is, namely: Whoever has a scolding wife, let him pronounce the 45th Psalm over pure olive oil, and anoint his body with it, when his wife, in the future, will be more lovable and friendly.
Psalms 49 and EE: Schimma. EE: Adaw. EE: Wikas. EE omits the rest of the sentence. It is asserted that whosoever wears the 50th Psalm, written as above described, upon his person, will be safe from all danger, and escape from all the machinations of robbers. Psalms 53 to The prayer is as follows: Lord, my Father and the Father of mine, mighty God!
May it please thee for the sake of thy great, holy, and adorable name, Paltioel , to release me from the Jezer Harra from my evil desires and passions and from all evil thoughts and acts , as thou didst the author of this Psalm when he prayed to thee.
As for the rest, neither holy name nor especial prayer have been considered necessary. Psalm lxix. Psalms 67 and The first should be prayed in a protracted case of fever, or in severe imprisonment. The second, on the contrary, should be prayed over a vessel filled with water upon which the Sun never shone, in a low voice, and in the name of the patient, and then work his body with the water, and the evil spirit will depart from him.
Psalms 69 and After having prayed this Psalm over the water he should drink of it. The second should be prayed by him who desires to conquer his enemies. Neither of these two Psalms have prescribed holy name or prayer. Psalms 73 to The 73rd Psalm should be repeated reverently seven times daily by those who are compelled to sojourn in a heathen, idolatrous or infidel country, and by doing so, no one need feel afraid that he will be induced to deny his faith.
The frequent and earnest prayer of the 74th Psalm is said to defeat the persecution embittered by enemies, and will frustrate the oppressions of the self-mighty, wealth-seeking, hard-hearted people, and will at the same time bring them to a terrible end. The devout prayer of the 75th Psalm 54 will effect the forgiveness of sins. The 76th Psalm is said to be the quickest and most effective defense against danger from fire and water.
Whosoever prays the 77th Psalm daily will not be overtaken by want or danger. Whosoever prays the 78th Psalm earnestly and often, will be beloved and respected by kings and princes and will receive favor from them. The frequent prayer of the 79th Psalm , it is said, is fatal to enemies and opponents.
The constant and industrious prayer of 80th and 81st Psalms is said to be a happy means of saving men from falling into unbelief and saves them also from other errors. You should write the 83rd Psalm properly, upon pure parchment, and suspend it around your neck, and by so doing you will abide safely in war, avoiding defeat and captivity. If you should, however, be overcome, your captors will not harm you, for even in captivity no harm can befall you.
S: Vajischeiha. EE omits this entire paragraph. Psalms 86 to But you will be still more secure when such a danger should arise, if you pray the following 91st Psalm in connection with the 90th, at one and the same time. EE omits the rest of this paragraph. These last two words are also from verse 1. Wilt thou presently send him health and let him be perfectly restored.
Hear his prayer as thou once did that of thy servant Moses when he prayed this Psalm. Again write this Psalm in connection with the last verse of the previous Psalm upon clean parchment, and conceal it behind the door of your house, and you will be secure from all evil accidents.
Kabbalists ascribe to this Psalm when taken in connection with the above verse, the most wonderful virtue, when it is used in accordance with the nature of existing circumstances, and when it is combined with other scriptural passages, holy names of angels, characters and prayers, it is said, for example:. Prayer through which all distress, danger and suffering may be turned aside. The vow may consist in fasting, giving alms, or in the daily reading of several chapters of the Holy Scriptures, Psalms, of the Zohar, 68 or of the Talmud, releasing of captives, nursing the sick and burying the dead.
Praised art thou, Jehovah , thou who hearest prayer. S: Jehovah Adonei. S does not transcribe this name, and EE omits the name entirely. S: des Sohars; EE: Sohar. And now, whoever will punctually observe the foregoing instructions three days in succession, in full trust in the mighty help of God, he may rest assured of the assistance which he desires. The following are the names: Veaa,. And now, he who observes all these things to the very letter, and who can keep in his memory all the letters, points, or vowels, he shall be safe from all danger, and shall be as strong as steel, so that no firearms can harm him.
The extraordinary powers ascribed to the 91st Psalm may all be right and proper enough, but it is to be regretted that the reader cannot avail himself of its benefits, especially in the last experiment, because all the recorded holy names consist of the first letter of all the words of the 91st Psalm, and likewise of the 23rd and 28th verses of Exodus, chapter xii. It is, therefore, impossible to pronounce this name properly, neither can it be translated into English or into any other language. If any one, notwithstanding the difficulties attending the use of this Psalm, should desire to avail himself of its virtues, then he must undertake the burdensome task of learning the Hebrew language, or he must write it, and wear it upon his heart as an amulet.
He will also, in a wonderful mariner, advance from one post of honor to another. The proper use of this Psalm, it is said will surely win him his cause. Let my prayer arise to thee as did the sweet smell of incense from the altar of incense, and let me behold thy wonderful power.
Psalms 96 and Whosoever will pray these two Psalms three times daily, will cause his family great joy and contentment. EE: Hawn. S omits the transcription of this name, and EE omits it entirely. EE: Aetodah. Psalms and Remarks of the Translator. Generally, however, the Jews understood the term to mean the Devil, and with its connections in this place the word must mean original sin and the propensity to commit sin.
Psalms to Be careful, however that you do not sprinkle a single drop upon yourself when in the act of pouring it out. TEXT Psalms and Through praying the th Psalm a man may acquire many friends without the necessity of keeping constantly in mind any special holy name.
Neither of these Psalms has a peculiar holy name. If you desire success in your trade or business, write this Psalm with its appropriate holy name upon clean parchment, and carry it about your person constantly in a small bag prepared especially for this purpose. If any one has made a vow, which has become burdensome to fulfill, it will be easy for him to keep his promise.
Schuwniel , turn me, again, mighty God! Mupiel means: Out of the mouth of the mighty God namely, let me attend upon the decrees of thy laws, as if I heard and received them from the mouth of God himself. Finally, the following must also be written upon the egg: Open and enlarge my heart and understanding, that I may hear and comprehend everything that I read, and that I may never forget it. All this must be done on a Thursday evening, after fasting the entire day, and then the egg must be inserted whole into the mouth, and when it is eaten, the four first verses of this division must be repeated three times in succession.
On the other hand, however, if a man must avail himself of the advice and assistance of many persons in order to accomplish an undertaking successfully, he should repeat this division ten times. A sinful being, who has become so much accustomed to commit sin and vice, that he cannot refrain from them, notwithstanding his best resolutions, should write these eight verses upon parchment prepared from a clean deer skin, or cause them thus to be written, place it in a bag prepared for this purpose and hang it around his neck, so that he will carry it continually upon his breast.
If you have been led into an undertaking that promises evil results, through the misrepresentations of evil counsellors, repeat this division eighteen times, and you will find means to withdraw from the undertaking without injury to yourself. Pronounce these eight verses properly, specially, and reverently over the sick person and he will convalesce.
These eight verses should be pronounced in a low and conjuring voice over a quantity of rose-oil and the injury anointed with the oil. Finally, it is stated at the end of this Psalm, that whosoever is afflicted with a tearing pain in both arms, in the sides, and in the legs at one and the same time, should repeat this whole Psalm in the following order: 1. The eight verses of the letter Aleph; of Tau and Beth. Those of the letter Schin.
The division of the letter Gimmel. The eight verses of the letter Resh. The division of the letter Daleth. That of the letter Kuf. The eight verses of the letter He. Those of the letter Zain. The division of the letter Vau. The eight verses of the letter Pe. The division of the letter Zain. The division of the letter Ain. The eight verses of the letter Cheth. Those of the letter Tamech. Those of the letter Teth. Of Nun. The eight verses of the letter Jud, and finally, This remedy has been tried, and has proved infallible.
Should any one become afflicted with tearing pains in the loins, make for him, at the conclusion of this Psalm, knots, combinations, or magical knots in water, with or under the names of: Adam, Seth, Enoch, Canaan, Mahalleel, Jared, Methusaleh, Lamech, Noah, Shem. Also, pray this Psalm each time that you are present in church, and you will obtain a blessing. A heavy sleep will overcome them, so that they will not be conscious of your presence. His pride will receive a certain check. Finally, the author adds the following as a supplement: I.
Whoever prays the five appended verses daily and hourly to God, will receive grace from God and man, and will obtain prosperity and blessing in all his undertakings. The verses must be spoken in the following order: Psalm cxxi. A truly mysterious wonder-working formula is contributed by the celebrated Kabbalist Raf Amram, which is said to possess the especial virtue to protect and defend him, who, after the morning prayer, prays it with proper reverence during a whole day of twenty-four hours, whether at home or on a journey, from all evil power or accident, from robbery, murder, and injury by guns, or other weapons.
No man will be able to attack him or to injure him, and no gun can harm him. This wonderful saying is as follows: See and know, that I am He! I am He, and besides me there is no other God. I am He, who can kill and make alive; I wound, and I am he that can heal, and no one can escape my hand or my power. For I stretch out my hand toward heaven that is, I swear by heaven , and say: I am He that liveth forever.
Who is like unto thee; a people whose help is Jehovah. He is the breastplate of thy help, and the strong sword of thy pride. Thy enemies will deny themselves before thee that is, will hide themselves or retreat from thee , but thou wilt stand in their high places. Lord of the earth let it be agreeable to thy holy will to command thy angels to protect me and defend me in all my ways.
EE: Taftian. The above Hebrew words are Kabbalistic names of angels, and are very hard to understand, and yet harder to translate. According to this, there are under the power of this field-general all cannons, howitzers, mortars, guns, rifles, pistols, all lances, spears, sabers, swords, and dirks in the whole world, and whenever he thinks proper, none of these will be able to do the least harm. Whoever, therefore, knows how to obtain the favor of the mighty Alimon , 4 it will be very easy for him to make himself invulnerable against gun-shot wounds and against sharp instruments of all kinds.
The words Riwtip 5 and Tafthia 6 are also full of mysterious meaning and are the names of two angels who are servants of Alimon.
This means has been tried and tested, says the author, "and I have tried it myself on occasions and at places where my life and limbs were in danger, and at each trial, with the help of God, I escaped without injury. It is truly a blessed remedy! THE REMEDY IS: After you have offered your devoted traveling prayer to God, early before commencing your journey, leave your lodging or dwelling, and when you arrive on the highway upon which you intend to travel, stand still and cover your eyes with the fingers of your right hand in the following manner: Lay the index finger on the right eye, the middle finger on the nose, and the third finger on the left eye, and then say three times.
Through the word of Almighty God. But then also the following passages from the holy scriptures, Genesis, chap. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host, and he called the name of that place Mahanaim," that is, two hosts or camps, namely, God's and his own. Deuteronomy, chap, xxxii. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass. And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee.
And when it rested, he said, Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel. All that were mustered of the camp of Ephraim were a hundred thousand, and eight thousand and a hundred throughout their armies, and they shall go forward in the third rank. Here is another mysterious means of protection for travelers furnished by this author, but in a different manner.
In the Scheible edition German language but published in New York this section has 12 sections: sections being on pp. From Dr. Vienna: Das Transcendentale, Magie und magische Heilarten im Talmud , 8. Wien, He was a prominent Jewish scholar and physician. EE mistakenly reads Brechee. That the Cosmos constitutes an organic whole, whose separate parts operate upon and in opposition to each other, was well known to the ancients. Man, as the highest individuality on the earth, which served the ancients as the centre of the universe, reflects in his being as a microcosm, the macrocosm.
In that place it is said: Three principal letters, Aleph, Mem, Schin , correspond in the earth with air, water and fire; in man with the breast, belly, and head; in the year with mild temperature, cold and heat. The remaining twelve simple letters correspond in the world with Aries, the Bull, the Twins, the Crab, the Lion, the Virgin, the Balance, the Scorpion, the Bowman, the Goat, the Waterman, the Fishes; in man, the organs of sight, hearing, smelling, speaking, tasting, copulating, to put things in motion the hands , to feel anger, to laugh, and to sleep; and in the year to the twelve months.
The spheres of the stars is like a king in the country; the heart of man is like unto a king in battle. S: Das Buch Jezira. EE: Jeziro. This is one of the earliest and most important of the books of the Kabbalah. While it is not a section of the Talmud, it is mentioned therein Sanhedrin 65b. The Tali, the ecliptic, and the heart, are the points of concentration and digression of the primum movens 3 of the Macro- 4 and Microcosm. The Tali, already mentioned, is declared by all the ancients, and among others by Rabbi Jehuda Hallewi, 5 "to be the Dragon known in astronomy which the Arabs call Goshar.
The Gymnosophists termed the distance of the Moon at the point of her intersection in the ecliptic, Patona Chandera: "The offended dragon" which, however, seems impossible, for the book of Yetzirah gives the Tali as the primum movens First Mover of the whole universe. Accordingly the Tali can be nothing else than the world serpent Seschat Adiseschen Wasughi 7 of the ancient Hindus, which served them as a symbol of the Divine protection and of eternity.
EE: Primum mevens. EE follows S in reading "Makro. Jehuda Hallewi Jewish poet, physician, and philosopher. EE: Hallawi. EE: Bashar. Also spelled "Vasuki. EE: Adischen Wasughl. We have much less to do with the question how man as the Microcosm, through his spiritual powers, which he can bring into action through his will and through the mighty word operates on the whole universe, than with the physical and especially with the magical influence of the whole universe upon man as the part of nature. Admitting this constant struggle of man with surrounding nature, the book of Yetzirah compares as already stated, the heart, as the fountain of life, to a king in battle, who in the beginning overpowers and subdues his enemies, but who notwithstanding, succumbs to the strife in the end.
Among these may be classed, menstruation in women, the different phases of worm diseases according to the different phases of the Moon, the increase and decrease of certain cutaneous diseases, etc. Reil 9 mentions, that the influence of the Moon in causing dysentery has been recognized by many eminent physicians, who, it is said, have observed that the attacks of dysentery are more frequent in new moon and full moon than at any other periods.
The Brahmins also give warning against the new moon. Kant says: "It is a strong argument in favor of the hypothesis, that the Moon influences diseases, from the fact that the deaths from fever in Bengal were greatly multiplied during an eclipse of the Sun, etc. The influence of the light of the Sun and the Moon upon humanity must have been evident in the earliest period, and it was soon admitted that it affected mightily both the well-being of man, and his frame of mind, as well as the exhibitions of the various temperaments.
Acknowledging the injurious effects of the Sun and Moon, the Psalmist says: "The Sun will not harm by day, neither the Moon by night. Abaii 11 says: The prophet speaks of the healing Sun, for the rays of the Sun possess healing powers.
Sepher Shimmush Tehillim;
The Talmud says: "God hung a precious stone around the neck of Abraham; all they that were sick and gazed thereon became well. But the Ancients also recognized a physical influence of the rest of the planets and the whole host of stars upon man. God said: No, thy son shall be thy heir. Then spake God and said: Get thee away from thy astrology, the Israelite is not subjected to the constellations. On the writing table of Rabbi Jehoschua ben Levi 13 was found written, says the Talmud: "Whoever is born on Sunday will be distinguished above others. Light and darkness were created on the Sabbath.
He who is born on Monday will always be a passionate man, for on this day the waters were divided. Whoever is born on Tuesday will become rich and given to pleasure; on this day all herbs were created. Whoever is born on Wednesday will be wise and happy: on this day the stars of the firmament were created.
He who is born oh Thursday will be constantly employed in works of love. Whoever is born on Friday will become active in good works. Whoever is born oft the Sabbath will also die on the Sabbath, because the Sabbath was desecrated on his account. Raba, the son of 14 Rabbi Schila adds: He will be called holy. Rabbi Chanina 15 said to his pupils: Go to the son of Levi, and say: Not the constellation of the day has an influence but the stars of the hour of birth.
He that is born under the influence of the Sun is gifted with beauty, eats and drinks of his own possessions, but his secrets will become known; should he become a thief, he will be unlucky. He who is born under the influence of the Moon will learn to bear hardships. He builds and moves in, moves in and builds, eat and drinks of the possessions of the stranger; his secrets remain hidden, and as a thief he will be fortunate.
He who is born under Saturn 16 will find all his plans perverted and defeated. The plans of others against him, however, will also be defeated. Whoever is born under the influence of Jupiter will become a just man. He who is born under the influence of Mars will become a shedder of blood.
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Rabbi Asche asserts this. He will either become a robber or a butcher. Abaii 17 adds, "or a judge. S: Rabbi Jehoschna ben Lewi. EE: Rabbi Jeheschna. EE omits "son of". EE reads "Chancna," omitting the "Rabbi". EE: Mercury! EE: Abam. We observe that the Talmud regards the sidereal nature of man as a hypostatic 18 being of itself. The most distinguished persons were their own star, and thus, according to the Talmud, the star of the field-general Sisra was called Meroz.
Judges v. The siderealism of the proselytes was present at Sinai. Upon the constellation, says Raba, depend — the blessing of children, longevity, success in life. Job cursed his constellations. Since the fate of man is fixed beforehand by the constellation, no injury can take effect upon him, neither can an accidental death come upon him. If, therefore, a man meets serpents or scorpions by which he is attacked, if he destroys them, then let him be assured that they were predestined to be destroyed by him, although he may regard the act as a miracle.
The Talmud even sets up a problem from these premises as to whether such persons have the same marks, as moles, for instance. The conjunction of the planets, eclipse of the Sun and Moon, exercise a great influence upon vegetables and upon man. The first hour of Saturday evening between six and seven o'clock is that of Mercury. The second is that of the Moon. The third that of Saturn. The fourth that of Jupiter. The fifth that of, Mars. The sixth that of the Sun. The seventh that of Venus.
The eighth hour, again, is that of Mercury, etc.
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The Rabbis teach: That an eclipse of the Sun is an evil sign for all people. Rabbi Meir taught, that eclipses of the heavenly bodies were an evil sign, for the Israelites especially, because they were accustomed to misfortune. If the master enters the school with a rod in his hand, who is afraid? The Rabbis teach, that an eclipse of the Sun is an evil sign also for the rest of the nations; an eclipse of Moon for the Israelites, for they reckon their time from the Moon and other nations from the Sun.
When the Sun appears blood red it portends war. If the Sun has a grayish appearance it is a sign of famine. When an eclipse occurs at sundown it is a sign that the Judgment is yet far off; if at sunrise, it is an omen of the near approach of the Judgment. According to others, these omens signify the reverse of what is stated above. A general calamity never overtakes a people in which their heavenly prince protecting spirit does not suffer defeat with them.
If, however, Israel walks according to the will of God, it will have nothing to fear of this kind. The other heavenly lights will be darkened on account of the making of counterfeit money; on account of false witness; when forcible possession is taken of a stranger's property, or when fruit trees are unnecessarily cut down. Dies nefasti Lat.
These were days on which no public business could be transacted. Samuel teaches, that the time for blessing is Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday a man should not be bled, because on this day Mars rules the hour. The paired exact number is likewise an ominous omen, since with it the demons have power Pessach , and accidents are imminent. The order of hours in which they rule, begins with the creation of the heavenly lights, namely, in the first hour Wednesday with us between six and seven o'clock. In this hour Saturn rules, in the second Jupiter; in the third, Mars, etc.
This cycle continues forever. According to this order we find that the planets rule in the first hour of each night in the following order: Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Sun, Moon, Mars, namely, in the first hour at the close of Sunday. Mercury, the first hour of the night on Monday; Jupiter, etc. According to this order, in the first hours of the week days are ruled further by the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn. The first hour, on Sunday morning is ruled by the Sun; the first hour on Monday by the Moon, and Tuesday morning by Mars. Mars will rule again on the same day in the eighth hour, a direct hour.
On other days his rule will not occur on a direct hour, but only during the night when it is not customary to be bled. The last rules also in the sixth hour, upon follows the answer, that on Saturday many people are in the habit of being bled, and "God protects the simple. EE: Mars. EE: "Only he who can enjoy the savings of his parents EE: Racht.
So likewise on a fourth, which has no four after it, that is, on a Wednesday after which no four days will intervene until new moon. At new moon, and three days thereafter, bleeding is enervating; on the third day after new moon it is known to be dangerous. As in the ancient world diseases were regarded as the work of the angry gods and malicious demons, so there were, as in the present day by nations in a state of nature, but few magical remedies employed to secure the assistance of demons or to render them harmless.
Sanchuniaton 23 declares that the children of the Kabirists could heal the venomous bite by their songs. The Brahmins regarded diseases as a punishment for sins committed in the present life or in earlier life. The cures consisted of expiation through prayer, alms, exorcisms, but also rational means. All diseases, says the Brahmin, are the result of evil demons, and can only be healed by purification, through sorcery.
Ormuzd awakened the great prophet Hom, from whom all the Magi 24 originated. The medical heroes of the Grecian primitive world were at the same time poets, lawgivers, generals, and astronomers. S: die Magier. EE: magicians. Haoma is both a spiritual being Yazad and a plant which has healing properties and is used for ritual purposes both in Zoroastrian and Hindu orthopraxy.
The Sanskrit equivalent is "Soma. Of the cures of spiritual men and prophets we have already spoken. The prophets were unanimous in applying natural means, prayer, and blessing. Rabbi Yitzchak 26 said: Four things destroy the evil passions of man, namely, alms, prayer, change of name, and repentance. According to other authors, also, change of place.
He made use of a root that was recommended by King Solomon as being effectual against demoniacal disease, when the root was inserted into the nose of the patient, at the same time pronouncing the name of Solomon and the magical formula which this king taught. The Gnostics herein followed the example of the prophets. We have had occasion in the notes to refer to the Unseen Universe. It is curious, in connection with this part of our subject, to note Edition: current; Page: [ 32 ] that in leading up to the conclusion at which he arrives, M.
Saisset quotes a passage from the City of God, 1 which contains an adumbration of the theory of the above work in regard to the eternity of the invisible universe. We have already, in a previous paragraph, briefly adverted to the influence Christianity and Paganism had one on the other. The history of Christianity has been a steady advance on Paganism and Pagan philosophy; but it can hardly be denied that in this advance there has been an absorption—and in some periods in no small degree—of some of their elements.
As these matters have been examined in the notes, we need not do more than refer the reader to the Index of Subjects for the evidence to be obtained in this respect from the Confessions on such matters as Baptism, False Miracles, and Prayers for the Dead. There is one feature in the Confessions which we should not like to pass unnoticed. A reference to the Retractations 4 will show that Augustin highly appreciated the spiritual use to which the book might be put in the edification of the brethren.
We believe that it will prove most useful in this way; and spiritual benefit will accrue in proportion to the steadiness of its use. We would venture to suggest that Book X. It only remains to call attention to the principles on which this translation and its annotations have been made. The text of the Benedictine edition has been followed; but the head-lines of the chapters are taken from the edition of Bruder, as being the more definite and full.
After carefully translating the whole of the book, it has been compared, line by line, with the translation of Watts 9 one of the most nervous translations of the seventeenth century , and that of Dr. Pusey, which is confessedly founded upon that of Watts. Reference has also been made, in the case of obscure passages, to the French translation of Du Bois, and the English translation of the first Ten Books alluded to in the note on Bk.
The references to Scripture are in the words of the Authorized Version wherever the sense will bear it; and whenever noteworthy variations from our version occur, they are indicated by references to the old Italic version, or to the Vulgate. In some cases, where Augustin has clearly referred to the LXX. Two exceptions, however, must be made. Out of upwards of four hundred notes, some forty are taken from the annotations in Pusey and Watts, but in every case these have been indicated by the initials E.
These annotations are very copious, and Dr. Augustin out of himself had been already adopted by M. Du Bois in his Latin edition. The far greater part of these illustrations are taken from that edition. A Textual Index has been added, for the first time, to this edition, and both it and the Index of Subjects have been prepared with the greatest possible care. And, as far as pertaineth unto me, they wrought this in me when they were written, and this they work when they are read. What some think of them they may have seen, but that they have given much pleasure, and do give pleasure, to many brethren I know.
And in the Thirteenth Book chap. In these behold me that you may not praise me more than I deserve; there believe what is said of me, not by others, but by myself; there mark me, and see what I have been in myself, by myself; and if anything in me please you, join me in praising Him to whom, and not to myself, I desired praise to be given. Indeed, we had destroyed ourselves, but He who made us has made us anew qui fecit, refecit. When, however, you find me in these books, pray for me that I may not fail, but be perfected ne deficiam, sed perficiar.
Pray, my son, pray. I feel what I say; I know what I ask. Which words of mine, Pelagius at Rome, when they were mentioned in his presence by a certain brother and fellow-bishop of mine, could not bear. Moreover in those same books. I showed that I was granted to the faithful and daily tears of my mother, that I should not perish. There certainly I declared that God by His grace converted the will of men to the true faith, not only when they had been turned away from it, but even when they were opposed to it.
Great art Thou, O Lord, and greatly to be praised; great is Thy power, and of Thy wisdom there is no end. But who is there that calls upon Thee without knowing Thee? For he that knows Thee not may call upon Thee as other than Thou art. Or perhaps we call on Thee that we may know Thee. Let me seek Thee, Lord, in calling on Thee, and call on Thee in believing in Thee; for Thou hast been preached unto us. O Lord, my faith calls on Thee,—that faith which Thou hast imparted to me, which Thou hast breathed into me through the incarnation of Thy Son, through the ministry of Thy preacher.
And how shall I call upon my God—my God and my Lord? For when I call on Him I ask Him to come into me. And what place is there in me into which my God can come—into which God can come, even He who made heaven and earth? Is there anything in me, O Lord my God, that can contain Thee? Do indeed the very heaven and the earth, which Thou hast made, and in which Thou hast made me, Edition: current; Page: [ 46 ] contain Thee?
Or, as nothing could exist without Thee, doth whatever exists contain Thee? Why, then, do I ask Thee to come into me, since I indeed exist, and could not exist if Thou wert not in me? Or should I not rather say, that I could not exist unless I were in Thee from whom are all things, by whom are all things, in whom are all things? Where do I call Thee to, since Thou art in me, or whence canst Thou come into me?
Since, then, Thou fillest heaven and earth, do they contain Thee? Or, as they contain Thee not, dost Thou fill them, and yet there remains something over? And where dost Thou pour forth that which remaineth of Thee when the heaven and earth are filled? Or, indeed, is there no need that Thou who containest all things shouldest be contained of any, since those things which Thou fillest Thou fillest by containing them? For the vessels which Thou fillest do not sustain Thee, since should they even be broken Thou wilt not be poured forth.
And when Thou art poured forth on us, 4 Thou art not cast down, but we are uplifted; nor art Thou dissipated, but we are drawn together. But, as Thou fillest all things, dost Thou fill them with Thy whole self, or, as even all things cannot altogether contain Thee, do they contain a part, and do all at once contain the same part? Or has each its own proper part—the greater more, the smaller less? Is, then, one part of Thee greater, another less? Or is it that Thou art wholly everywhere whilst nothing altogether contains Thee? For who is Lord but the Lord?
Thou lovest, and burnest not; art jealous, yet free from care; repentest, and hast no sorrow; art angry, yet serene; changest Thy ways, leaving unchanged Thy plans; recoverest what Thou findest, having yet never lost; art never in want, whilst Thou rejoicest in gain; never covetous, though requiring usury. Thou payest debts while owing nothing; and when Thou forgivest debts, losest nothing. Yet, O my God, my life, my holy joy, what is this that I have said?
And what saith any man when He speaks of Thee? Yet woe to them that keep silence, seeing that even they who say most are as the dumb. Who will send Thee into my heart to inebriate it, so that I may forget my woes, and embrace Thee, my only good?
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What art Thou to me? Have compassion on me, that I may speak. What am I to Thee that Thou demandest my love, and unless I give it Thee art angry, and threatenest me with great sorrows? Is it, then, a light sorrow not to love Thee? Hide not Thy face from me. Let me die, lest I die, if only I may see Thy face.
Cramped is the dwelling of my soul; do Thou expand it, that Thou mayest enter in. It is in ruins, restore Thou it. There is that about it which must offend Thine eyes; I confess and Edition: current; Page: [ 47 ] know it, but who will cleanse it? Cleanse me from my secret sins, 1 O Lord, and keep Thy servant from those of other men.
I believe, and therefore do I speak; 2 Lord, Thou knowest. Have I not confessed my transgressions unto Thee, O my God; and Thou hast put away the iniquity of my heart? Yet perhaps even Thou deridest me; but when Thou art turned to me Thou wilt have compassion on me. Yet, as I have heard from my parents, from whose substance Thou didst form me,—for I myself cannot remember it,—Thy merciful comforts sustained me. For Thou didst cause me not to want more than Thou gavest, and those who nourished me willingly to give me what Thou gavest them.
For they, by an instinctive affection, were anxious to give me what Thou hadst abundantly supplied. It was, in truth, good for them that my good should come from them, though, indeed, it was not from them, but by them; for from Thee, O God, are all good things, and from my God is all my safety. For at that time I knew how to suck, to be satisfied when comfortable, and to cry when in pain—nothing beyond.
Afterwards I began to laugh,—at first in sleep, then when waking. For this I have heard mentioned of myself, and I believe it though I cannot remember it , for we see the same in other infants. And now little by little I realized where I was, and wished to tell my wishes to those who might satisfy them, but I could not; for my wants were within me, while they were without, and could not by any faculty of theirs enter into my soul.
So I cast about limbs and voice, making the few and feeble signs I could, like, though indeed not much like, unto what I wished; and when I was not satisfied—either not being understood, or because it would have been injurious to me—I grew indignant that my elders were not subject unto me, and that those on whom I had no claim did not wait on me, and avenged myself on them by tears. That infants are such I have been able to learn by watching them; and they, though unknowing, have better shown me that I was such an one than my nurses who knew it.
And, behold, my infancy died long ago, and I live. For of that something has been made known to me, and I have myself seen women with child. And what, O God, my joy, preceded that life? Was I, indeed, anywhere, or anybody? For no one can tell me these things, neither father nor mother, nor the experience of others, nor my own memory. Dost Thou laugh at me for asking such things, and command me to praise and confess Thee for what I know? I give thanks to Thee, Lord of heaven and earth, giving praise to Thee for that my first being and infancy, of which I have no memory; for Thou hast granted to man that from others he should come to conclusions as to himself, and that he should believe many things concerning himself on the authority of feeble women.
Even then I had life and being; and Edition: current; Page: [ 48 ] as my infancy closed I was already seeking for signs by which my feelings might be made known to others. Whence could such a creature come but from Thee, O Lord? Or shall any man be skilful enough to fashion himself? What is it to me if any understand not? Hearken, O God!
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Alas for the sins of men! Man saith this, and Thou dost compassionate him; for Thou didst create him, but didst not create the sin that is in him. Who bringeth to my remembrance the sin of my infancy? For before Thee none is free from sin, not even the infant which has lived but a day upon the earth.
Who bringeth this to my remembrance? Doth not each little one, in whom I behold that which I do not remember of myself? In what, then, did I sin? Is it that I cried for the breast? If I should now so cry,—not indeed for the breast, but for the food suitable to my years,—I should be most justly laughed at and rebuked. What I then did deserved rebuke; but as I could not understand those who rebuked me, neither custom nor reason suffered me to be rebuked. For as we grow we root out and cast from us such habits.
Or was it good, even for a time, to strive to get by crying that which, if given, would be hurtful—to be bitterly indignant that those who were free and its elders, and those to whom it owed its being, besides many others wiser than it, who would not give way to the nod of its good pleasure, were not subject unto it—to endeavour to harm, by struggling as much as it could, because those commands were not obeyed which only could have been obeyed to its hurt?
I myself have seen and known an infant to be jealous though it could not speak. It became pale, and cast bitter looks on its foster-brother. Who is ignorant of this? Mothers and nurses tell us that they appease these things by I know not what remedies; and may this be taken for innocence, that when the fountain of milk is flowing fresh and abundant, one who has need should not be allowed to share it, though needing that nourishment to sustain life?
Yet we look leniently on these things, not because they are not faults, nor because the faults are small, but because they will vanish as age increases. For although you may allow these things now, you could not bear them with equanimity if found in an older person. But behold, I pass by that time, for what have I to do with that, the memories of which I cannot recall? Did I not, then, growing out of the state of infancy, come to boyhood, or rather did it not come to me, and succeed to infancy? Nor did my infancy depart for whither went it? I remember this, and I afterwards observed how I first learned to speak, for my elders did not teach me words in any set method, as they did letters afterwards; but I myself, when I was unable to say all I wished and to whomsoever I desired, by means of the whimperings and broken utterances and various motions of my limbs, which I used to enforce my wishes, repeated the sounds in my memory by the mind, O my God, which Thou gavest me.
When they called anything by name, and moved the body towards it while they spoke, I saw and gathered that the thing they wished to point out was called by the name they then uttered; and that they did mean this was made plain by the motion of the body, even by the natural language of all nations expressed by the countenance, glance of the eye, movement of other members, and by the sound of the voice indicating the affections of the mind, as it seeks, possesses, rejects, or avoids.
So it was that by frequently hearing words, in duly placed sentences, I gradually gathered what things they were the signs of; and having formed my mouth to the utterance of these signs, I thereby expressed my will. O my God! After that I was put to school to get learning, of which I worthless as I was knew not what use there was; and yet, if slow to learn, I was flogged! For this was deemed praiseworthy by our forefathers; and many before us, passing the same course, had appointed beforehand for us these troublesome ways by which we were compelled to pass, multiplying labour and sorrow upon the sons of Adam.
But we found, O Lord, men praying to Thee, and we learned from them to conceive of Thee, according to our ability, to be some Great One, who was able though not visible to our senses to hear and help us. And when Thou heardedst me not, giving me not over to folly thereby, 4 my elders, yea, and my own parents too, who wished me no ill, laughed at my stripes, my then great and grievous ill.
Is there any one, Lord, with so high a spirit, cleaving to Thee with so strong an affection—for even a kind of obtuseness may do that much—but is there, I say, any one who, by cleaving devoutly to Thee, is endowed with so great a courage that he can esteem lightly those racks and hooks, and varied tortures of the same sort, against which, throughout the whole world, men supplicate Thee with great fear, deriding those who most bitterly fear them, just as our parents derided the torments with which our masters punished us when we were boys?
For we were no less afraid of our pains, nor did we pray less to Thee to avoid them; and yet we sinned, in writing, or reading, or reflecting upon our lessons less than was required of us. For we wanted not, O Lord, memory or capacity,—of which, by Thy will, we possessed enough for our age,—but we delighted only in play; and we were punished for this by those who were doing the same things themselves.
But the idleness of our elders they call business, whilst boys who do the like are punished by those same elders, and yet neither boys nor men find any pity. For will any one of good sense approve of my being whipped because, as a boy, I played ball, and so was hindered from learning quickly those lessons by means of which, as a man, I should play more unbecomingly? And did he by whom I was beaten do other than this, who, when he was overcome in any little controversy with a co-tutor, was more tormented by anger and envy than I when beaten by a playfellow in a match at ball?
And yet I erred, O Lord God, the Creator and Disposer of all things in Nature,—but of sin the Disposer only,—I erred, O Lord my God, in doing contrary to the wishes of my parents and of those masters; for this learning which they no matter for what motive wished me to acquire, I might have put to good account afterwards. For I disobeyed them not because I had chosen a better way, but from a fondness for play, loving the honour of victory in the matches, and to have my ears tickled with lying fables, in order that they might itch the more furiously—the same curiosity beaming more and more in my eyes for the shows and sports of my elders.
Yet those who give these entertainments are held in such high repute, that almost all desire the same for their children, whom they are still willing should be beaten, if so be these same games keep them from the studies by which they desire them to arrive at being the givers of them. Look down upon these things, O Lord, with compassion, and deliver us who now call upon Thee; deliver those also who do not call upon Thee, that they may call upon Thee, and that Thou mayest deliver them.
Even as a boy I had heard of eternal life promised to us through the humility of the Lord our God condescending to our pride, and I was signed with the sign of the cross, and was seasoned with His salt 1 even from the womb of my mother, who greatly trusted in Thee. Thou sawest, O Lord, how at one time, while yet a boy, being suddenly seized with pains in the stomach, and being at the point of death—Thou sawest, O my God, for even then Thou wast my keeper, with what emotion of mind and with what faith I solicited from the piety of my mother, and of Thy Church, the mother of us all, the baptism of Thy Christ, my Lord and my God.
On which, the mother of my flesh being much troubled,—since she, with a heart pure in Thy faith, travailed in birth 2 more lovingly for my eternal salvation,—would, had I not quickly recovered, have without delay provided for my initiation and washing by Thy life-giving sacraments, confessing Thee, O Lord Jesus, for the remission of sins.
So my cleansing was deferred, as if I must needs, should I live, be further polluted; because, indeed, the guilt contracted by sin would, after baptism, be greater and more perilous. For she was desirous that Thou, O my God, shouldst be my Father rather than he; and in this Thou didst aid her to overcome her husband, to whom, though the better of the two, she yielded obedience, because in this she yielded obedience to Thee, who dost so command.
I beseech Thee, my God, I would gladly know, if it be Thy will, to what end my baptism was then deferred? Was it for my good that the reins were slackened, as it were, upon me for me to sin? Or were they not slackened? Better, in truth. But how numerous and great waves of temptation appeared to hang over me after my childhood! These were foreseen by my mother; and she preferred that the unformed clay should be exposed to them rather than the image itself. But in this my childhood which was far less dreaded for me than youth I had no love of learning, and hated to be forced to it, yet was I forced to it notwithstanding; and this was well done towards me, but I did not well, for I would not have learned had I not been compelled.
For no man doth well against his will, even if that which he doth be well. Neither did they who forced me do well, but Edition: current; Page: [ 51 ] the good that was done to me came from Thee, my God. For they considered not in what way I should employ what they forced me to learn, unless to satisfy the inordinate desires of a rich beggary and a shameful glory. But Thou, by whom the very hairs of our heads are numbered, 1 didst use for my good the error of all who pressed me to learn; and my own error in willing not to learn, didst Thou make use of for my punishment—of which I, being so small a boy and so great a sinner, was not unworthy.
Thus by the instrumentality of those who did not well didst Thou well for me; and by my own sin didst Thou justly punish me. For it is even as Thou hast appointed, that every inordinate affection should bring its own punishment. But what was the cause of my dislike of Greek literature, which I studied from my boyhood, I cannot even now understand.
For the Latin I loved exceedingly—not what our first masters, but what the grammarians teach; for those primary lessons of reading, writing, and ciphering, I considered no less of a burden and a punishment than Greek. Yet whence was this unless from the sin and vanity of this life? Well done! This sort of madness is considered a more honourable and more fruitful learning than that by which I learned to read and write. But it is true that over the entrance of the grammar school there hangs a vail; 6 but this is not so much a sign of the majesty of the mystery, as of a covering for error.
Let not them exclaim against me of whom I am no longer in fear, whilst I confess to Thee, my God, that which my soul desires, and acquiesce in reprehending my evil ways, that I may love Thy good ways. Neither let those cry out against me who buy or sell grammar-learning. Again, if I should ask which, if forgotten, would cause the greatest inconvenience in our life, reading and writing, or these poetical fictions, who does not see what every one would answer who had not entirely forgotten himself?
I erred, then, when as a boy I preferred those vain studies to those more profitable ones, or rather loved the one and hated the other. But why, then, did I dislike Greek learning, Edition: current; Page: [ 52 ] which was full of like tales? I believe Virgil, indeed, would be the same to Grecian children, if compelled to learn him, as I was Homer.
The difficulty, in truth, the difficulty of learning a foreign language mingled as it were with gall all the sweetness of those fabulous Grecian stories. For not a single word of it did I understand, and to make me do so, they vehemently urged me with cruel threatenings and punishments. There was a time also when as an infant I knew no Latin; but this I acquired without any fear or tormenting, by merely taking notice, amid the blandishments of my nurses, the jests of those who smiled on me, and the sportiveness of those who toyed with me.
I learnt all this, indeed, without being urged by any pressure of punishment, for my own heart urged me to bring forth its own conceptions, which I could not do unless by learning words, not of those who taught me, but of those who talked to me; into whose ears, also, I brought forth whatever I discerned. From this it is sufficiently clear that a free curiosity hath more influence in our learning these things than a necessity full of fear.
But this last restrains the overflowings of that freedom, through Thy laws, O God,—Thy laws, from the ferule of the schoolmaster to the trials of the martyr, being effective to mingle for us a salutary bitter, calling us back to Thyself from the pernicious delights which allure us from Thee. Hear my prayer, O Lord; let not my soul faint under Thy discipline, nor let me faint in confessing unto Thee Thy mercies, whereby Thou hast saved me from all my most mischievous ways, that Thou mightest become sweet to me beyond all the seductions which I used to follow; and that I may love Thee entirely, and grasp Thy hand with my whole heart, and that Thou mayest deliver me from every temptation, even unto the end.
For when I learned vain things, Thou didst grant me Thy discipline; and my sin in taking delight in those vanities, Thou hast forgiven me. I learned, indeed, in them many useful words; but these may be learned in things not vain, and that is the safe way for youths to walk in.
But woe unto thee, thou stream of human custom! Who shall stay thy course? How long shall it be before thou art dried up? How long wilt thou carry down the sons of Eve into that huge and formidable ocean, which even they who are embarked on the cross lignum can scarce pass over? And the two verily he could not be; but it was that, while the fictitious thunder served as a cloak, he might have warrant to imitate real adultery.
I could have wished him to transfer divine things to us. And yet, thou stream of hell, into thee are cast the sons of men, with rewards for learning these things; and much is made of it when this is going on in the forum in the sight of laws which grant a salary over and above the rewards.
And see how he excites himself to lust, as if by celestial authority, when he says:—. Not one whit more easily are the words learnt for this vileness, but by their means is the vileness perpetrated with more confidence. I do not blame the words, they being, as it were, choice and precious vessels, but the wine of error which was drunk in them to us by inebriated teachers; and unless we drank, we were beaten, without liberty of appeal to any sober judge. And yet, O my God,—in whose presence I can now with security recall this,—did I, unhappy one, learn these things willingly, and with delight, and for this was I called a boy of good promise.
Bear with me, my God, while I speak a little of those talents Thou hast bestowed upon me, and on what follies I wasted them. For a lesson sufficiently disquieting to my soul was given me, in hope of praise, and fear of shame or stripes, to speak the words of Juno, as she raged and sorrowed that she could not.
Yet were we compelled to stray in the footsteps of these poetic fictions, and to turn that into prose which the poet had said in verse. And his speaking was most applauded in whom, according to the reputation of the persons delineated, the passions of anger and sorrow were most strikingly reproduced, and clothed in the most suitable language. But what is it to me, O my true Life, my God, that my declaiming was applauded above that of many who were my contemporaries and fellow-students? Behold, is not all this smoke and wind? Was there nothing else, too, on which I could exercise my wit and tongue?
Thy praise, Lord, Thy praises might have supported the tendrils of my heart by Thy Scriptures; so had it not been dragged away by these empty trifles, a shameful prey of 4 the fowls of the air. For there is more than one way in which men sacrifice to the fallen angels. But what matter of surprise is it that I was thus carried towards vanity, and went forth from Thee, O my God, when men were proposed to me to imitate, who, should they in relating any acts of theirs—not in themselves evil—be guilty of a barbarism or solecism, when censured for it became confounded; but when they made a full and ornate oration, in well-chosen words, concerning their own licentiousness, and were applauded for it, they boasted?
Wilt Thou keep silence for ever? For it is not by our feet, nor by change of place, that we either turn from Thee or return to Thee. Or, indeed, did that younger son look out for horses, or chariots, or ships, or fly away with visible wings, or journey by the motion of his limbs, that he might, in a far country, prodigally waste all that Thou gavest him when he set out? A kind Father when Thou gavest, and kinder still when he returned destitute!
Behold, O Lord God, and behold patiently, as Thou art wont to do, how diligently the sons of men observe the conventional rules of letters and syllables, received from those who spoke prior to them, and yet neglect the eternal rules of everlasting salvation received from Thee, insomuch that he who practises or teaches the hereditary rules of pronunciation, if, contrary to grammatical usage, he should say, without aspirating the first letter, a uman being, will offend men more than if, in opposition to Thy commandments, he, a human being, were to hate a human being.
As if, indeed, any man should feel that an enemy could be more destructive to him than that hatred with which he is excited against him, or that he could destroy more utterly him whom he persecutes than he destroys his own soul by his enmity. And of a truth, there is no science of letters more innate than the writing of conscience—that he is doing unto another what he himself would not suffer.
When a man seeking for the reputation of eloquence stands before a human judge while Edition: current; Page: [ 54 ] a thronging multitude surrounds him, inveighs against his enemy with the most fierce hatred, he takes most vigilant heed that his tongue slips not into grammatical error, but takes no heed lest through the fury of his spirit he cut off a man from his fellow-men. These were the customs in the midst of which I, unhappy boy, was cast, and on that arena it was that I was more fearful of perpetrating a barbarism than, having done so, of envying those who had not.
These things I declare and confess unto Thee, my God, for which I was applauded by them whom I then thought it my whole duty to please, for I did not perceive the gulf of infamy wherein I was cast away from Thine eyes. In this play, likewise, I often sought dishonest victories, I myself being conquered by the vain desire of pre-eminence.
And what could I so little endure, or, if I detected it, censured I so violently, as the very things I did to others, and, when myself detected I was censured, preferred rather to quarrel than to yield? Is this the innocence of childhood? For these same sins, as we grow older, are transferred from governors and masters, from nuts, and balls, and sparrows, to magistrates and kings, to gold, and lands, and slaves, just as the rod is succeeded by more severe chastisements.
But yet, O Lord, to Thee, most excellent and most good, Thou Architect and Governor of the universe, thanks had been due unto Thee, our God, even hadst Thou willed that I should not survive my boyhood. For I existed even then; I lived, and felt, and was solicitous about my own well-being,—a trace of that most mysterious unity 4 from whence I had my being; I kept watch by my inner sense over the wholeness of my senses, and in these insignificant pursuits, and also in my thoughts on things insignificant, I learnt to take pleasure in truth. I was averse to being deceived, I had a vigorous memory, was provided with the power of speech, was softened by friendship, shunned sorrow, meanness, ignorance.
In such a being what was not wonderful and praiseworthy? But all these are gifts of my God; I did not give them to myself; and they are good, and all these constitute myself. Good, then, is He that made me, and He is my God; and before Him will I rejoice exceedingly for every good gift which, as a boy, I had. For in this lay my sin, that not in Him, but in His creatures—myself and the rest—I sought for pleasures, honours, and truths, falling thereby into sorrows, troubles, and errors.
Thanks be to Thee, my joy, my pride, my confidence, my God—thanks be to Thee for Thy gifts; but preserve Thou them to me. For thus wilt Thou preserve me; and those things which Thou hast given me shall be developed and perfected, and I myself shall be with Thee, for from Thee is my being.
I will now call to mind my past foulness, and the carnal corruptions of my soul, not because I love them, but that I may love Thee, O my God. For love of Thy love do I it, recalling, in the very bitterness of my remembrance, my most vicious ways, that Thou mayest grow sweet to me,—Thou sweetness without deception! Thou sweetness happy and assured! For I even longed in my youth formerly to be satisfied with worldly things, and I dared to grow wild again with various and shadowy loves; my form consumed away, 1 and I became corrupt in Thine eyes, pleasing myself, and eager to please in the eyes of men.
But what was it that I delighted in save to love and to be beloved? But I held it not in moderation, mind to mind, the bright path of friendship, but out of the dark concupiscence of the flesh and the effervescence of youth exhalations came forth which obscured and overcast my heart, so that I was unable to discern pure affection from unholy desire. Both boiled confusedly within me, and dragged away my unstable youth into the rough places of unchaste desires, and plunged me into a gulf of infamy. Thy anger had overshadowed me, and I knew it not. Thou then didst hold Thy peace, and I wandered still farther from Thee, into more and more barren seed-plots of sorrows, with proud dejection and restless lassitude.
Oh for one to have regulated my disorder, and turned to my profit the fleeting beauties of the things around me, and fixed a bound to their sweetness, so that the tides of my youth might have spent themselves upon the conjugal shore, if so be they could not be tranquillized and satisfied within the object of a family, as Thy law appoints, O Lord,—who thus formest the offspring of our death, being able also with a tender hand to blunt the thorns which were excluded from Thy paradise!
But I, poor fool, seethed as does the sea, and, forsaking Thee, followed the violent course of my own stream, and exceeded all Thy limitations; nor did I escape Thy scourges. But Thou wert always by me, mercifully angry, and dashing with the bitterest vexations all my illicit pleasures, in order that I might seek pleasures free from vexation.
But where I could meet with such except in Thee, O Lord, I could not find,—except in Thee, who teachest by sorrow, 8 and Edition: current; Page: [ 56 ] woundest us to heal us, and killest us that we may not die from Thee. Those about me meanwhile took no care to save me from ruin by marriage, their sole care being that I should learn to make a powerful speech, and become a persuasive orator. And for that year my studies were intermitted, while after my return from Madaura 2 a neighbouring city, whither I had begun to go in order to learn grammar and rhetoric , the expenses for a further residence at Carthage were provided for me; and that was rather by the determination than the means of my father, who was but a poor freeman of Thagaste.
To whom do I narrate this? Not unto Thee, my God; but before Thee unto my own kind, even to that small part of the human race who may chance to light upon these my writings. And to what end? That I and all who read the same may reflect out of what depths we are to cry unto Thee.