On Christian Doctrine, in Four Books
On Christian Doctrine, in Four Books
Saint Augustine

Table of Contents


Title Page

INTRODUCTORY NOTE BY THE EDITOR

CONTENTS OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE

ON CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE

Preface

BOOK I.

Chapter 1. There are two things on which all interpretation of Scripture depends…

Chapter 2. All instruction is either about things or about signs…

Chapter 3. There are some things, then, which are to be enjoyed…

Chapter 4. For to enjoy a thing is to rest with satisfaction in it for its…

Chapter 5. The TRUE objects of enjoyment, then, are the Father and the Son and the…

Chapter 6. Have I spoken of God, or uttered His praise…

Chapter 7. For when the one supreme God of gods is thought of…

Chapter 8. And since all who think about God think of Him as living…

Chapter 9. Now, no one is so egregiously silly as to ask…

Chapter 10. Wherefore, since it is our duty fully to enjoy the truth which lives unchangeably…

Chapter 11. But of this we should have been wholly incapable…

Chapter 12. Not then in the sense of traversing space…

Chapter 13. Moreover, as the use of remedies is the way to health…

Chapter 14. The belief of the resurrection of our Lord from the dead…

Chapter 15. For the Church is His body, as the apostle's teaching shows us…

Chapter 16. Further, when we are on the way, and that not a way that lies…

Chapter 17. He has given, therefore, the keys to His Church…

Chapter 18. Furthermore, as there is a kind of death of the soul…

Chapter 19. Now he whose soul does not die to this world and begin here to…

Chapter 20. Among all these things, then, those only are the TRUE objects of enjoyment which…

Chapter 21. Neither ought any one to have joy in himself…

Chapter 22. Those things which are objects of use are not all…

Chapter 23. Moreover, it thinks it has attained something very great if it is able to…

Chapter 24. No man, then, hates himself. On this point…

Chapter 25. Those, on the other hand, who do this in a perverse spirit…

Chapter 26. Man, therefore, ought to be taught the due measure of loving…

Chapter 27. Seeing, then, that there is no need of a command that every man should…

Chapter 28. Now he is a man of just and holy life who forms an unprejudiced…

Chapter 29. Further, all men are to be loved equally.…

Chapter 30. Now of all who can with us enjoy God…

Chapter 31. There arises further in this connection a question about angels.…

Chapter 32. And so also the Apostle Paul teaches when he says…

Chapter 33. But now, if every one to whom we ought to show…

Chapter 34. And on this ground, when we say that we enjoy only that which we…

Chapter 35. But neither does He use after our fashion of using.…

Chapter 36. For if we find our happiness complete in one another…

Chapter 37. But when you have joy of a man in God…

Chapter 38. And mark that even when He who is Himself the Truth and the Word…

Chapter 39. Of all, then, that has been said since we entered upon the discussion about…

Chapter 40. Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures…

Chapter 41. Whoever takes another meaning out of Scripture than the writer intended…

Chapter 42. But sight shall displace faith; and hope shall be swallowed up in that perfect…

Chapter 43. And thus a man who is resting upon faith…

Chapter 44. And, therefore, if a man fully understands that "the end of the commandment is…

Book 2

Chapter 1. As when I was writing about things, I introduced the subject with a warning…

Chapter 2. Now some signs are natural, others conventional. Natural signs are those which…

Chapter 3. Conventional signs, on the other hand, are those which living beings mutually exchange for…

Chapter 4. Of the signs, then, by which men communicate their thoughts to one another…

Chapter 5. But because words pass away as soon as they strike upon the air…

Chapter 6. And hence it happened that even Holy Scripture…

Chapter 7. But hasty and careless readers are led astray by many and manifold obscurities and…

Chapter 8. But why I view them with greater delight under that aspect than if no…

Chapter 9. First of all, then, it is necessary that we should be led by the…

Chapter 10. After these two steps of fear and piety…

Chapter 11. And when, to the extent of his power…

Chapter 12. But let us now go back to consider the third step here mentioned…

Chapter 13. Now the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to…

Chapter 14. In all these books those who fear God and are of a meek and…

Chapter 15. Now there are two causes which prevent what is written from being understood…

Chapter 16. The great remedy for ignorance of proper signs is knowledge of languages.…

Chapter 17. And this circumstance would assist rather than hinder the understanding of Scripture…

Chapter 18. And very often a translator, to whom the meaning is not well known…

Chapter 19. But since we do not clearly see what the actual thought is which the…

Chapter 20. And men are easily offended in a matter of this kind…

Chapter 21. About ambiguous signs, however, I shall speak afterwards.…

Chapter 22. Now among translations themselves the Italian Itala is to be preferred to the others…

Chapter 23. In the case of figurative signs, again, if ignorance of any of them should…

Chapter 24. Ignorance of things, too, renders figurative expressions obscure…

Chapter 25. Ignorance of numbers, too, prevents us from understanding things that are set down in…

Chapter 26. Not a few things, too, are closed against us and obscured by ignorance of…

Chapter 27. For we must not listen to the falsities of heathen superstition…

Chapter 28. But whether the fact is as Varro has related…

Chapter 29. But to explain more fully this whole topic for it is one that cannot…

Chapter 30. All the arrangements made by men to the making and worshipping of idols are…

Chapter 31. To these we may add thousands of the most frivolous practices…

Chapter 32. Nor can we exclude from this kind of superstition those who were called genethliaci…

Chapter 33. But to desire to predict the characters, the acts…

Chapter 34. Nor is it to the point to say that the very smallest and briefest…

Chapter 35. For in this way it comes to pass that men who lust after evil…

Chapter 36. All arts of this sort, therefore, are either nullities…

Chapter 37. And all these omens are of force just so far as has been arranged…

Chapter 38. But when all these have been cut away and rooted out of the mind…

Chapter 39. But in regard to pictures and statues, and other works of this kind…

Chapter 40. This whole class of human arrangements, which are of convenience for the necessary intercourse…

Chapter 41. But, coming to the next point, we are not to reckon among human institutions…

Chapter 42. Anything, then, that we learn from history about the chronology of past times assists…

Chapter 43. As to the utility of history, moreover, passing over the Greeks…

Chapter 44. And even when in the course of an historical narrative former institutions of men…

Chapter 45. There is also a species of narrative resembling description…

Chapter 46. The knowledge of the stars, again, is not a matter of narration…

Chapter 47. Further, as to the remaining arts, whether those by which something is made which…

Chapter 48. There remain those branches of knowledge which pertain not to the bodily senses…

Chapter 49. There are also valid processes of reasoning which lead to FALSE conclusions…

Chapter 50. And yet the validity of logical sequences is not a thing devised by men…

Chapter 51. In this passage, however, where the argument is about the resurrection…

Chapter 52. Therefore it is one thing to know the laws of inference…

Chapter 53. Again, the science of definition, of division, and of partition…

Chapter 54. There are also certain rules for a more copious kind of argument…

Chapter 55. This art, however, when it is learnt, is not to be used so much…

Chapter 56. Coming now to the science of number, it is clear to the dullest apprehension…

Chapter 57. The man, however, who puts so high a value on these things as to…

Chapter 58. Accordingly, I think that it is well to warn studious and able young men…

Chapter 59. What, then, some men have done in regard to all words and names found…

Chapter 60. Moreover, if those who are called philosophers, and especially the Platonists…

Chapter 61. And what else have many good and faithful men among our brethren done? Do…

Chapter 62. But when the student of the Holy Scriptures…

Chapter 63. But just as poor as the store of gold and silver and garments which…

Book 3

Chapter 1. The man who fears God seeks diligently in Holy Scripture for a knowledge of…

Chapter 2. But when proper words make Scripture ambiguous, we must see in the first place…

Chapter 3. Now look at some examples. The heretical pointing…

Chapter 4. But the following ambiguity of punctuation does not go against the faith in either…

Chapter 5. Where, however, the ambiguity cannot be cleared up…

Chapter 6. And all the directions that I have given about ambiguous punctuations are to be…

Chapter 7. There is, again, an ambiguity arising out of the doubtful sound of syllables…

Chapter 8. And not only these, but also those ambiguities that do not relate either to…

Chapter 9. But the ambiguities of metaphorical words, about which I am next to speak…

Chapter 10. This bondage, however, in the case of the Jewish people…

Chapter 11. Now it is not recorded that any of the Gentile churches did this…

Chapter 12. Accordingly the liberty that comes by Christ took those whom it found under bondage…

Chapter 13. Now he is in bondage to a sign who uses…

Chapter 14. But in addition to the foregoing rule, which guards us against taking a metaphorical…

Chapter 15. But as men are prone to estimate sins…

Chapter 16. I mean by charity that affection of the mind which aims at the enjoyment…

Chapter 17. Every severity, therefore, and apparent cruelty, either in word or deed…

Chapter 18. Those things, again, whether only sayings or whether actual deeds…

Chapter 19. We must, therefore, consider carefully what is suitable to times and places and persons…

Chapter 20. Now the saints of ancient times were, under the form of an earthly kingdom…

Chapter 21. Whatever, then, is in accordance with the habits of those with whom we are…

Chapter 22. But when men unacquainted with other modes of life than their own meet with…

Chapter 23. The tyranny of lust being thus overthrown, charity reigns through its supremely just laws…

Chapter 24. If the sentence is one of command, either forbidding a crime or vice…

Chapter 25. Again, it often happens that a man who has attained…

Chapter 26. We must also be on our guard against supposing that what in the Old…

Chapter 27. For, if it was possible for one man to use many wives with chastity…

Chapter 28. But those who, giving the rein to lust…

Chapter 29. But these same men might say that it is not right even to honour…

Chapter 30. For if they had been under the influence of any such passion…

Chapter 31. And with what moderation and self-restraint those men used their wives appears chiefly in…

Chapter 32. Therefore, although all, or nearly all, the transactions recorded in the Old Testament are…

Chapter 33. And when he reads of the sins of great men…

Chapter 34. The chief thing to be inquired into, therefore…

Chapter 35. But as there are many ways in which things show a likeness to each…

Chapter 36. Now the rule in regard to this variation has two forms.…

Chapter 37. And in the same way other objects are not single in their signification…

Chapter 38. When, again, not some one interpretation, but two or more interpretations are put upon…

Chapter 39. When, however, a meaning is evolved of such a kind that what is doubtful…

Chapter 40. Moreover, I would have learned men to know that the authors of our Scriptures…

Chapter 41. It would be tedious to go over all the rest in this way…

Chapter 42. One Tichonius, who, although a Donatist himself, has written most triumphantly against the Donatists…

Chapter 43. The author himself, however, when commending these rules…

Chapter 44. The first is about the Lord and His body…

Chapter 45. The second rule is about the twofold division of the body of the Lord…

Chapter 46. The third rule relates to the promises and the law…

Chapter 47. The fourth rule of Tichonius is about species and genus.…

Chapter 48. Now the species is not always overstepped, for things are often said of such…

Chapter 49. This spiritual Israel, therefore, is distinguished from the carnal Israel which is of one…

Chapter 50. The fifth rule Tichonius lays down is one he designates of times…

Chapter 51. In the next place, our author calls those numbers legitimate which Holy Scripture more…

Chapter 52. The sixth rule Tichonius calls the recapitulation, which…

Chapter 53. In the same book, again, when the generations of the sons of Noah are…

Chapter 54. This recapitulation is found in a still more obscure form…

Chapter 55. The seventh rule of Tichonius and the last…

Chapter 56. Now all these rules, except the one about the promises and the law…

Book 4

Chapter 1. This work of mine, which is entitled On Christian Doctrine…

Chapter 2. In the first place, then, I wish by this preamble to put a stop…

Chapter 3. Now, the art of rhetoric being available for the enforcing either of truth or…

Chapter 4. But the theories and rules on this subject to which…

Chapter 5. And, therefore, as infants cannot learn to speak except by learning words and phrases…

Chapter 6. It is the duty, then, of the interpreter and teacher of Holy Scripture…

Chapter 7. And all the methods I have mentioned are constantly used by nearly every one…

Chapter 8. Now it is especially necessary for the man who is bound to speak wisely…

Chapter 9. Here, perhaps, some one inquires whether the authors whose divinely-inspired writings constitute the canon…

Chapter 10. I could, however, if I had time, show those men who cry up their…

Chapter 11. For who would not see what the apostle meant to say…

Chapter 12. In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, again…

Chapter 13. Further still, the educated man observes that those sections which the Greeks call "kommata"…

Chapter 14. It would be tedious to pursue the matter further…

Chapter 15. But perhaps some one is thinking that I have selected the Apostle Paul because…

Chapter 16. When, then, this rustic, or quondam rustic prophet…

Chapter 17. For what is there that sober ears could wish changed in this speech? In…

Chapter 18. And then the future captivity under an oppressive king is announced as approaching…

Chapter 19. Next he reproaches them with their luxury in seeking pleasure for the sense of…

Chapter 20. But now as to the sentence which follows all these…

Chapter 21. And a number of other points bearing on the laws of eloquence could be…

Chapter 22. But although I take some examples of eloquence from those writings of theirs which…

Chapter 23. For there are some passages which are not understood in their proper force…

Chapter 24. Now a strong desire for clearness sometimes leads to neglect of the more polished…

Chapter 25. And this must be insisted on as necessary to our being understood…

Chapter 26. For teaching, of course, TRUE eloquence consists, not in making people like what they…

Chapter 27. Accordingly a great orator has truly said that "an eloquent man must speak so…

Chapter 28. If however, they do not yet know this…

Chapter 29. But for the sake at those who are so fastidious that they do not…

Chapter 30. And so much labour has been spent by men on the beauty of expression…

Chapter 31. In a serious assembly, moreover, such as is spoken of when it is said…

Chapter 32. And so our Christian orator, while he says what is just…

Chapter 33. Now if any one says that we need not direct men how or what…

Chapter 34. He then who, in speaking, aims at enforcing what is good…

Chapter 35. Now the author I have quoted could have exemplified these three directions…

Chapter 36. And when the apostle spoke about trials in regard to secular affairs and what…

Chapter 37. Of course, if we were giving men advice as to how they ought to…

Chapter 38. And yet, while our teacher ought to speak of great matters…

Chapter 39. But now to come to something more definite.…

Chapter 40. In the following words of the apostle we have the temperate style…

Chapter 41. And, indeed, I must confess that our authors are very defective in that grace…

Chapter 42. The majestic style of speech differs from the temperate style just spoken of…

Chapter 43. And in the same way, writing to the Romans…

Chapter 44. Again, in writing to the Galatians, although the whole epistle is written in the…

Chapter 45. But these writings of the apostles, though clear…

Chapter 46. St. Ambrose also, though dealing with a question of very great importance…

Chapter 47. An example of the temperate style is the celebrated encomium on virginity from Cyprian…

Chapter 48. Ambrose also uses the temperate and ornamented style when he is holding up before…

Chapter 49. But I shall select examples of the majestic style from their treatment of a…

Chapter 50. Ambrose again, inveighing against such practices, says: "Hence arise these incentives to vice…

Chapter 51. But we are not to suppose that it is against rule to mingle these…

Chapter 52. Now it is a matter of importance to determine what style should be alternated…

Chapter 53. If frequent and vehement applause follows a speaker…

Chapter 54. The quiet style, too, has made a change in many…

Chapter 55. From all this we may conclude, that the end arrived at by the two…

Chapter 56. Now in regard to the three conditions I laid down a little while ago…

Chapter 57. Eloquence of the temperate style, also, must, in the case of the Christian orator…

Chapter 58. Again, when it becomes necessary to stir and sway the hearer's mind by the…

Chapter 59. But whatever may be the majesty of the style…

Chapter 60. Now these men do good to many by preaching what they themselves do not…

Chapter 61. Such a teacher as is here described may…

Chapter 62. There are, indeed, some men who have a good delivery…

Chapter 63. But whether a man is going to address the people or to dictate what…

Chapter 64. This book has extended to a greater length than I expected or desired.…




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