Augustine, Confessions

a selection from 1.1.1 and 1.2.2. translation my own.

Great are you, Lord, and very worthy of praise. Great is your power and of your wisdom there is no limit. And man longs to praise you, for he is a part of your creation–man, bearing around his own mortality, bearing the witness of his sin and the sign that you resist the proud–and yet man longs to praise you, for he is a part of your creation.

You awaken us, that to praise you may be a delight. For you have made us for yourself, and unquiet are our hearts until they rest in you.

Let me, Lord, know and understand whether I first called upon you, or praised you. Did I know you first, or did I call on you before I knew you? (But how could one call on someone he does not know? Unknowing, he might invoke one thing in place of another.) Or are you called so that you may be then known?

How can men call upon one in whom they have not first believed–and how shall they believe without hearing a proclaimer of the one they call? And yet they who seek the Lord will praise him: for the searchers find him, and finding him, they praise him. Let me seek you, Lord, and let me call you, that calling upon you, I may believe in you: for you have been proclaimed to us.

My faith, Lord, calls upon you, that faith which you have given me, which you have breathed into me through the humanity of your son, through the ministry of your proclaimers.

And how shall I invoke my God, my God and my Lord, since certainly in invoking him, I shall call him into myself? For what place is there in me into which my God could come, come into me–whence shall my God come in me, God who has made heaven and earth?

How is it to be so, O Lord my God? Is there anything in me that could hold you? In truth, do heaven and earth, which you have made and in which you have made me, hold you? For since nothing that is would exist without you, how could anything which is hold you? And since I also exist, why should I ask you to come into me, I who would not be at all except for you dwelling within me?

For I am no longer in hell, and yet you are also there; for although I should descend into the depths, you are there. Therefore I should not be, my God–I would not be at all–except that you are in me.

In Latin if you want to compare:

magnus es, domine, et laudabilis valde. magna virtus tua et sapientiae tuae non est numerus. et laudare te vult homo, aliqua portio creaturae tuae, et homo circumferens mortalitatem suam, circumferens testimonium peccati sui et testimonium quia superbis resistis; et tamen laudare te delected, quia fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor notsrum donec requiescat in te. da mihi, domine, scire et intelleger utrum sit prius invocare te an laudare te, et scire te prius sit an invocare te. sed quis te invocat nesciens te? aliud pro alio potest invocare nesciens. an potius invocaris ut sciaris? quomodo autem invocabunt, in quem non crediderunt? aut quomodo credent sine praedicante? et laudabunt dominum qui requirunt eum: quaerentes enim inveniunt eum et invenientes laudabunt eum. quaeram te, domine, invocans te et invocem te credens in te: praedicatus enim es nobis. invocat te, domine, fides mea, quam dedisti mihi, quam inspirasti mihi per humanitatem filii tui, per ministerium praedicatoris tui.

et quomodo invocabo deum meum, deum et dominum meum? quoniam utique in me ipsum eum vocabo, cum invocabo eum? et quis locus est in me quo veniat in me deus meus, quo deus veniat in me, deus qui fecit caelum et terram? itane, domine deus meus? est quicquam in me quod capiat te? an vero caelum et terra quae fecisti, et in quibus me fecisti, capiunt te? an quia sine te non esset quidquid est, fit ut quidquid est capiat te? quoniam itaque et ego sum, quid peto ut venias in me, qui non essem nisi esses in me? non enim ego iam inferi, et tamen etiam ibi es, nam etsi descendero in infernum, ades. non ergo essem, deus meus, non omnino essem, nisi esses in me.

May your unquiet heart find its quiet in the one who made heaven and earth, and when you are deep in sin and death, may you know that he is there with you, for he has made heaven and earth and made you in them and dwells in you.


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