Augustine Conversion According to The Confessions of St. Augustine


Augustine was blessed with a mother who was a prayer warrior. Through all of Augustine’s rebelliousness, resistance to God, placing emphasis on philosophy, joining a false religion and issues with sexual immorality, she prayed him through.

            At last, Augustine seemed interested in spiritual things, however he joined a sect with a form of Godliness known as Monichee. “A key belief in Manichaeism is that there is no omnipotent good power. This claim addresses a theoretical part of the problem of evil by denying the infinite perfection of God…”[1] But Augustine could not deny the emptiness that he was still feeling even after joining this sect.

            On chapter 1 of book VIII Augustine starts by stating, “He, now given to divine things, and yet entangled by the lust of love. Consults Simplicianus in reference to the renewing of the his mind.” Noticed that even as he feels that through this sect he have given himself to divine things, he is still struggling with the renewal of his own mind.

            It was obvious that by now he was convinced of the existence of God; it was obvious that he was not as interested in material things and status as he was before and it was obvious that he was reading the Bible and was fairly familiar with Scripture. Nevertheless, we can see, through this book, his personal struggle to surrender to God.

            Simplicianus was the Father of Ambrose and a key person in planting seeds in Augustine’s hearts. Simplicianus shared the powerful testimony of Victorious with Augustine. This was a powerful and intellectual man, who gave his life to the Lord and later died a Martyr. This testimony impacted Augustine greatly; he wanted to be like this man, nevertheless, he was not willing to give up his lust.

            As I read Augustine’s word, as he describe his struggle and desire for salvation, I can’t help but to be thankful to God for reaching out to me, for we don’t even have the ability to save ourselves. Augustine states,

            “O my God, let me with gratitude remember and confess unto Thee Thy mercies   bestowed upon me. Let my bones be steeped in Thy love, and let them say, who is         like unto Thee, O Lord?”[2]

            I have heard many times how lost people insist in cleaning certain things in their lives before coming to the feet of Jesus, not knowing that 1) Jesus will receive them as they are and, 2) only God has the power to transform their lives. At one point Augustine actually is quoted saying, “Leave me a little while.”[3] Later he states, “Grant me chastity and continency, but not yet.”[4]

            Finally Augustine met the end of his road, the place of desperation. I have never seen anybody come to the feet of Jesus when everything is going good. Here now Augustine’s language is changing, now he is saying, “Lo, let it be done now, let it be done now.”[5]

            As Augustine finds himself weeping in the presence of God, he continues crying out to God by saying, “How long, Lord? Wilt Thou be angry forever?”[6] (Psalm 79:5). As he heard the voice of a child encouraging him to open the book, he did open the Bible on Romans 13:13-14.[7] We don’t know if this was an actual child or an angel or a vision, but he heard this child singing.[8] The power of God unto salvation was finally upon Augustine, but not only him. As he shared his experience with his long-time friend Alypius, he also surrendered to Christ.

            From here until the end of his life, Augustine, who struggled with lust for decades, was now free. Augustine raised a son he had with a concubine during his days as a sinner. He left the concubine and put an end to that relationship; he never mentioned her by name in any of his writings. Augustine never pursued any other relationship.

            We can say that his conversion was radical. True salvation will indeed bring forth fruit; we are still enjoying the fruits of this extraordinary man of God. It is my prayer that we be able to leave a spiritual legacy for our children, grand children and generations to come.

[1] The World Encyclopedia, http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Manichaeism

[2] The Confessions of St. Augustine, 116

[3] Ibid. 121

[4] Ibid 124

[5] Ibid. 126

[6] Ibid. 127

[7] Ibid 128

[8] Ibid. 127

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