Augustine was perhaps one of the greatest contributors when it came to apologies of the Christian faith in the early years of the Church. His areas of expertise included Latin and Philosophy which contributed to him being able to articulate points that were of significant interest to the church on a grand scale. Augustine’s contributions to the faith include; more than 95 works in which he explains the circumstances and settings of his day, which influenced his theology. Additional sources of material from Augustine are available in the form of writings and letters. Of the works of Augustine that are available today, the most significant body of work is Augustine’s “Confessions”, which is the first spiritual autobiography in Christianity.
Confessions is such an appealing body of work because of its analysis of sin and human nature and can be described in three ways; a confession of sin, a profession of faith, and as a praise of God. Augustine was born in Tagaste, which is a small commercial city in North Africa, the son of a Christian mother who was a saint and a pagan father who was baptized into the faith shortly before his death. During his early student years Augustine was fascinated by philosophy and took up the cause without gravitating toward any specific area. Later on Augustine would point his interest in the direction of Manichaeism before becoming attracted to what Astrology and Magic seemingly had to offer, ultimately returning back to his Christian roots after going to hear Bishop Ambrose preach.
Augustine’s conversion did not actually occur until, while in a garden contemplating his moral failure, he heard a young child in a nearby house voice the words in a song “pick up and read” which led him to pick up a book of the letters of Paul. In the book he read instruction on how to live a Holy life before God, namely Romans 13-13-14: “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature”. Augustine had an epiphany of sorts and at that moment was converted. What can be learned about and from the conversion of Augustine, who is one of the most contributing of the Apostolic Fathers, is that genuine faith and salvation is well described by the analogy within scripture of the kingdom of heaven being like a seed which is sown that is watered until it sprouts yielding fruit in due season.
Augustine’s faith was given by God after being ministered to by Bishop Ambrose and the presbyter Simplicianus setting the conditions for the events that took place in the garden. In other words Augustine’s conversion happen in due season and on God’s timetable as is the case with all conversions, some soon than later and vice versa. The seed was sown from a very early age with his mother being a Christian and the influence that this surely would have brought, which is another contributing factor to his conversion.
God’s blessings in Jesus Christ