Let me examine myself again more diligently. Who would credit it? For in sound, it is silent; in affection, it cries aloud. thou incomprehensible inveigler of the soul, thou greediness to do mischief out of mirth and wantonness, thou thirst of others' loss, without lust of my own gain or revenge: but when it is said, "Let's go, let's do it," we are ashamed not to be shameless. Nor can I by that power find my God; for so horse and mule that have no understanding might find Him; seeing it is the same power, whereby even their bodies live. For thus I conjecture, recalling, as well as I may, the disposition of my parents. This would I do in my heart before Thee in confession: and in my writing, before many witnesses. For since I learnt Thee, I have not forgotten Thee. And in this way also Thou commandest us continence. Yet I own, it doth increase it, and not so only, but dispraise doth diminish it. For behold, Thou lovest the truth, and he that doth it, cometh to the light. But what is nearer to me than myself? Yet alone I had not done it: such was I then, I remember, alone I had never done it. Behold, Thy servant, fleeing from his Lord, and obtaining a shadow. For who would willingly speak thereof, if so oft as we name grief or fear, we should be compelled to be sad or fearful? because they are more strongly taken up with other things which have more power to make them miserable, than that which they so faintly remember to make them happy. Where is he who, reflecting upon his own infirmity, dares to ascribe his chastity and innocency to his own strength, so that he should love You the less, as if he had been in less need of Your mercy, whereby You forgive the transgressions of those that turn to You? REGISTER TO VOTE! But in my mother's breast Thou hadst already begun Thy temple, and the foundation of Thy holy habitation, whereas my father was as yet but a Catechumen, and that but recently. Thou hast given this honour to my memory, to reside in it; but in what quarter of it Thou residest, that am I considering. Yet even thus miserable, it had rather joy in truths than in falsehoods. I will pass then beyond this power of my nature also, rising by degrees unto Him Who made me. Behold with what companions I walked the streets of Babylon, and wallowed in the mire thereof, as if in a bed of spices and precious ointments. THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE (401 AD) Translated by Edward Bouverie Pusey. I asked the earth, and it answered me, "I am not He"; and whatsoever are in it confessed the same. But men can ask, so that the invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; but by love of them, they are made subject unto them: and subjects cannot judge. For hunger and thirst are in a manner pains; they burn and kill like a fever, unless the medicine of nourishments come to our aid. Those pears truly were pleasant to the sight; but it was not for them that my miserable soul lusted, for I had abundance of better, but those I plucked simply that I might steal. Did I wish, if only by artifice, to act contrary to Your law, because by power I could not, so that, being a captive, I might imitate an imperfect liberty by doing with impunity things which I was not allowed to do, in obscured likeness of Your omnipotency? Anger seeks revenge; who avenges more justly than You? For who did not extol and praise my father, in that he went even beyond his means to supply his son with all the necessaries for a far journey for the sake of his studies? Thou makest to us a precept out of trouble, so that trouble itself shall be a precept to us, i.e. For whosoever, called by Thee, followed Thy voice, and avoided those things which he reads me recalling and confessing of myself, let him not scorn me, who being sick, was cured by that Physician, through whose aid it was that he was not, or rather was less, sick: and for this let him love Thee as much, yea and more; since by whom he sees me to have been recovered from such deep consumption of sin, by Him he sees himself to have been from the like consumption of sin preserved.

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