Lessons of St. Augustine


St. Augustine, De Spiritu et littera, lviii

But "God wills all men to be saved to come and to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy, ii, 4); not, however, so as to take away their will, for the good or bad use of which they are most justly judged. When this happens it is true that unbelievers act contrary to God's will, when thy do not believe in His Gospel; but that does not mean that they conquer God, but that they deprive themselves of the great good and involve themselves in evils as their reward, afterwards to experience in their punishment His power whose mercies they despised in His gifts."

"Sinners do not hope for the pardon of the sins of which they repent: but they hope that, though they continue to commit sin, God will have mercy upon them: and thus they make the mercy of God serve as a motive for continuing to offend Him. This hope will make God hasten the execution of His vengeance: for surely a master will not defer the punishment of servants who offend him because he is good. God is good: I will do what I please!"--St. Augustine

We can be guilty of no greater folly than to delay our preparation for death, repentance, the reception of the sacraments, and the amendment of our life, from day to day, from the time of health to the time of illness, and in illness to the very last moments, thinking that even then we can obtain pardon. St. Augustine observes: "It is very dangerous to postpone the performance of a duty on which our whole eternity depends to the most inconvenient time, the last hour."

"Let no one say to himself. I do penance to God in private. I do it before God. Is it then in vain that Christ hath said: 'Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven?' Is it in vain that the keys have been given to the Church? Do we make void the Gospel? void the words of Christ?"--St. Augustine
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