The State of Spiritual Ascent of Bishop Augustine:

As Disclosed in His Meditation of the Memory of God in Confessions X

 

Kiven Choy

Jian Dao 13 (Dec 1999): 153-82.

 

I. Introduction

 

              What is the role of Book X in Confessions? Henry Chadwick comments, ¡§Some of the profoundest analyses in Confessions appear in the treatment of memory in the tenth book.¡¨[1] It seems puzzling that after nine books of confessing his past life, Augustine turns the confessions into an investigation of memory. Willinger, Courcelle, and O¡¦Meara argues that Book X is the fruit of the second thoughts.[2] Nevertheless, there is no external evidence to support this thesis. In contrast, Chadwick argues that Book X in Confessions provides an important clue to master Augustine¡¦s teachings in Confessions. Chadwick says, ¡§The last four books actually carry the clue to the whole.¡¨[3] Vernon J. Bourke also points out that this book ¡§is pivotal in the development of his philosophical thinking.¡¨[4] In this paper, I would like to demonstrate that Book X is a key transition between the first nine Books and the last three Books.  Book X is an integral part of Augustine¡¦s plan in Confessions. It is pivotal in his purpose of writing Confessions as a Bishop.

 

              On the scholarship about Augustine¡¦s discussion of memory, basically there are five main approaches. First, many works are devoted in pursuing how to relate Augustine¡¦s idea of memory with his theory of illumination.[5] One of the key issues is to investigate the relationship between the last four books and the first nine books of Confessions.[6] Second, some scholars use Augustine¡¦s discussion of memory to investigate Augustine¡¦s relationship with Neoplatonism.[7] Robert O¡¦Connell claims, ¡§What marks the core of Augustine¡¦s  view as Plotinian, however, is the salvific function he accords to ¡¥memory,¡¦ the firm connection he established between that function and ¡¥erudition¡¦ in the liberal disciplines.¡¨[8] Third, Augustine¡¦s theory on empirical memory is challenged.[9] In this aspect, Bruce Bubacz provides a significant defense of Augustine¡¦s theory. Bubacz argues, ¡§Memoria is central to and crucial in Augustine¡¦s epistemology¡¨ and ¡§Augustine¡¦s view that all knowledge claims are grounded in memory seems readily defensible.¡¨[10] Fourth, Augustine¡¦s use of memory as the image of God is investigated.[11] Fifth, the topic is treated in a psychological approach.[12]

 

              After reviewing the extensive scholarship on this topic, I find that there is a crucial deficiency. Scholars in general do not treat Augustine¡¦s own claim seriously. In Book X, Bishop Augustine, after the confessions of his past sins and errors in first nine books, reviews the purpose of writing Book X and Confessions:

 

As for the good, they take delight in hearing of the past errors of such as are now freed from them; and they delight, not because they are errors, but because they have been and are so no longer. For what fruit, then, O Lord my God, to whom my conscience maketh her daily confession, more confident in the hope of Thy mercy than in her own innocence,--for what fruit, I beseech Thee, do I confess even to men in Thy presence by this book what I am at this time, not what I have been?[13]

 

Here Augustine emphasizes that the main focus is about his present state of spiritual ascent. This I believe is the key in understanding Book X and its role in Confessions. The first nine Books is the autobiography of his past erroneous spiritual pursuit and his conversion before Augustine became the Bishop of Hippo.  The last three Books lays out the teaching of Bishop Augustine.  There through a spiritual interpretation of the Genesis, Bishop Augustine teaches his congregation the key of spiritual ascent. In Book X, we find many allusions to his past spiritual pursuits, which provide evidences of the connection between the first nine books and Book X. Book X is the key transition and the link between the past spiritual pursuits of the Bishop and the teaching of the Bishop. Book X reveals the present state of spiritual ascent of the Bishop. A correct understanding of Book X will enrich our comprehension of Augustine¡¦s Confessions and of his idea of the ascent of the soul. In this paper I would analyze the texts of Book X carefully in order to investigate how and why Augustine meditates on memory in Book X. Through this exercise, the rationale of Augustine¡¦s use of memory will be plainly disclosed, the role of Book X in Confessions will be recognizably revealed and the link provided by Book X will be clearly observed.[14]

 

 

II. The Context and the Introduction in Confessions X[15]

 

              In the first nine books of Confessions Augustine recalls and confesses his past failure and his conversion. Augustine ends the confession of his previous pursuits by the famous ascent at Ostia and the recollection of the piety of her mother at the end of Book IX. In Book X Augustine tries to link up his past spiritual journey with his present state as a Bishop. In X.1.1-7.11, the introduction of Book X, Augustine provides many clues for the understanding of the purpose of both Book X and Confessions as a whole. Here Augustine provides clearly his aim in writing Confessions. In this section, Augustine praises God for His grace and command, especially His Word and Sacrament,[16] discloses the purpose of his writing of Confessions, asks God¡¦s blessings on this work, and points out to his audience the proper way of reading Confessions. These elements are beautifully echoed and form an inclusio at the end of the Book in X.42.67-43.70. In X.4.6, Augustine begins to speak as a bishop addressing both to God and his congregations:

 

This is the fruit of my confessions, not of what I was, but of what I am, that I may confess this not before Thee only, in a secret sorrow with hope, but in the ears also of the believing sons of men,--partakers of my joy, and sharers of my mortality, my fellow-citizens and the companions of my pilgrimage, those who are gone before, and those that are to follow after, and the comrades of my way. . . . To such, therefore, whom Thou commandest me to serve will I declare, not what I was but what I now am, and what I still am.[17]

 

After the confessions of his past spiritual pursuits, Bishop Augustine aims to use Book X to confess to his congregations his present state of spiritual ascent, a decade after his conversion. Augustine is sensitive that some people are very curious about his present state of spiritual ascent as a bishop and do not read him with a loving heart. He knows that some are critical about his present state. Augustine deeply believes that only those hearts which are moved by God¡¦s mercy will appreciate and believe his confessions. Augustine wrote Confessions not only for the confession to God, but also for the revelation of his present spiritual status to his congregation and other ¡§believers¡¨ whom God commanded him to serve.[18] He earnestly asks God¡¦s protection and mercy and requests his readers to believe him and not to judge him.  

 

              One of the key convictions of Augustine is that God alone knows him entirely and only people moved by God will appreciate his confessions of his ascent. Beginning Book X, Augustine starts with a confession: ¡§I shall know Thee, O Knower of mine, I shall know Thee even as I am known.¡¨[19] Through the mediation on memory, Bishop Augustine demonstrates the thesis that we do not know ourselves fully. We know only the part of us which God reveals to us. We need the grace of God for our spiritual ascent. And the grace of God is in His Word and Sacrament, which is to be preached and distributed by Augustine, as a Bishop.

 

 

III. Bishop Augustine¡¦s State of Ascent Demonstrated by His Meditation on Memory

 

              The confession of the ascent in Book X may be divided into three main parts: the Creation, the Fall, and the Redemption. The first two are very brief. The third is located in his ascent through the meditation on the memory. In the order of meditation, many discussion on memory may be indirectly referred to Augustine¡¦s past spiritual pursuits, both erroneous and proper ones. Augustine begins the ascent through the creation order.[20] In X.5.7 Augustine first confesses that he  knows part of himself only to the extent of God¡¦s enlightenment. In X.6.8 Augustine confesses that he certainly loves God after he was pierced by God¡¦s word. This may refer to his conversion experience in VIII.12.29. Then he starts his journey in finding his love, that is God. And all things of the whole exterior physical creation order tell him that they are not God. The first truth he learns is that God is not physical and God is the creator of all things. This probably alludes to his wandering in Manichean ideas.

 

              His second ascent is to turn inward towards himself by his natural capacity. He sees in himself  ¡§a body and a soul, one external, the other internal.¡¨[21] He realizes, ¡§What is inward is superior.¡¨[22] He observes the difference between animals and human beings. Human beings initially can have sound mind and exercise judgment, but he laments and alludes the fall, ¡§Yet by love of created things they are subdued by them, and being thus made subject become incapable of exercising judgment.¡¨[23] Here Augustine touches on the image of God in man and the fall, maybe also alluding to his own fall. He then appreciates the importance to compare the voice of the creation with the truth within themselves. He confesses,

 

Truth says to me: ¡§Your God is not earth or heaven or any physical body.¡¨ . . . In that respect, my soul, I tell you that you are already superior. For you animate the mass of your body and provide it with life, since no body is capable of doing that for another body. But your God is for you the life of your life.[24]

 

              In the third ascent, Augustine reaches the vast field of memory. There are at least three levels of memory: ¡§either by means of images as in case of all bodies, or by means of their presence as in the case of the arts, or by means of some sort of notions or impressions as in the case of the feelings of the mind.¡¨[25]

 

              In X.8.12-15, Augustine first investigate the power of the memory of the images of perceived objects. He is amazed to find that the memory is immensely vast and all things in it are distinctly kept and classified. The creation order which he has experienced is available. The objects themselves do not enter but their images are properly stored and ready for recalling. Either he has seen them or he believes them on the report of others. Augustine emphasizes the inwardness of these activities: ¡§I do this inside, in the immense palace of my memory.¡¨[26] In this he finds himself and senses the fluidity of time-factor of the memory. He says,

 

Out of the same abundance in store, I combine with past events images of various things, whether experienced directly or believed on the basis of what I have experienced; and on this basis I reason about future actions and events and hopes, and again think of all these things in the present.[27]

 

Here the ¡§past¡¨ events, the ¡§future¡¨ actions, and the ¡§present¡¨ moment are all the ¡§present images¡¨ of the memory. He learns the ¡§present¡¨ nature of the memory. Augustine probably is very aware of this present nature of the memory during his recalling labor in Confessions. The past, the future, and the present seem to come together. Augustine will elaborate this idea in Book XI.

 

              Secondly, in X.9.16-12.19, Augustine focuses on the memory of the skills of liberal arts. This, as Bourke calls it, is ¡§the theory of imageless thought.¡¨[28] Augustine emphasizes that he does not carry images of these, but the things themselves.[29] Using the examples of three standard philosophical questions, he demonstrates that the ideas themselves are stored in the memory. Augustine searches and finds that they do not enter through the senses. He wonders how did these things enter his memory. He says, ¡§I do not know.¡¨[30] He emphasizes that he learned them by recognition and approval: ¡§When I have learned these things, I did not believe in another man¡¦s heart; rather, I recognize them in my own and approved them as true.¡¨[31] He struggles to understand how! On the one hand, he finds that ¡§they were there even before I learned them.¡¨ On the other hand, ¡§they were not in the memory.¡¨ Augustine concludes,

 

Where, then, and why did I know them when they were spoken, saying: ¡§It is so, it is true,¡¨ unless because they were already in memory, but so far removed, buried in its deeper enclosures, that, unless they had been dug out by something that suggested them, I should perhaps have been unable to think them.[32]

 

He also finds that these ideas were originally ¡§hidden, scattered, and neglected.¡¨[33] These are re-organized after the learning process and stored back into the same memory. He calls this re-organization of ideas as learning and knowing. Then Augustine suggests the solution of the problem of forgetting things previously known. He argues that they are not totally forgotten, but sink into remote recesses of the memory.  They are learned again as if they ¡§were new.¡¨[34] Augustine starts to understand the depth and multiple layers of memory. Augustine probably also uses this to allude to his early training in liberal arts. Augustine discusses also the memory of ¡§the innumerable reasons and laws of numbers and dimensions.¡¨[35] He emphasizes, ¡§A person knows them within himself.¡¨ ¡§They really exist.¡¨[36] On the issue of the memory of false objects, Augustine argues that this memory of false objections is an example of the existence of reason in the memory. One may find this ascent indirectly referring to Augustine¡¦s search for truth in his youth.

 

              Thirdly, Augustine goes on to discuss the objects of feelings or emotions in memory. He puzzles about the issue--¡¨how is it that, when I remember with joy my past sorrow, my mind possesses joy and my memory sorrow?¡¨[37] This he compares the memory to the stomach of the mind. while the stomach stores bitter and sweet food, it cannot taste.  The memory has no affections unless it is recalled by the mind. Considering the four basic emotions of classical Stoic thoughts--desire, joy, fear, and sorrow, Augustine points out the dissimilarity of the analogy that in reminiscing we are not compelled to experience the same affection. This discussion reminds us Augustine¡¦s confession of his struggle with lust. The joy of the past lust becomes the sorrow of the Bishop. In addition, the notions of the things themselves are entrusted by the mind to memory through its experience of its passions. Augustine finds out some of them, like the sun and feelings, which he recalls through the medium of images, and some other like the numbers, through the things themselves.

 

              After all these, Augustine tackles the ¡§memory¡¨ itself. He wonders, ¡§Now, could it be present to itself through its own image, and not through itself.¡¨[38] After this, he tackles the more complex question of oblivion. He asks, ¡§What would be the source of my recognition if it did not remember it?¡¨ This seems very complicated and in some sense contradictory: to remember something that cannot be remembered. He laments, ¡§Now, who will eventually work this out? Who will understand how it is.¡¨[39] He finds that he cannot totally understand himself. He confesses, ¡§And, notice, the power of my memory is not understood by me, yet, at the same time, I cannot speak of myself without it.¡¨[40] It is incomprehensible and inexplicable that the object we remember, namely oblivion itself, destroy what we remember! Augustine confesses,

 

Great is the power of memory; its deep and boundless multiplicity is something fearful, O my God! And this is the mind and I am this myself. What, then, am I, O my God? What is my nature? A life of many aspects and many ways, strikingly immeasurable.[41]

 

Augustine is amazed that the memory is innumerable and has no limit. Augustine considers to pass over the memory to cleave to God, but he wonders, ¡§But, if I find Thee without memory, I am without remembrance of Thee. And how, indeed, may I find Thee, if I am without remembrance of Thee?¡¨[42] Using the example in Luke 15:8 of a woman searching her drachma, Augustine argues that something lost cannot be found unless one retains some remembrance of it. He says, ¡§And, when it is found, it is recognized from the image which is within. . . . It disappeared, indeed, from before our eyes, but it was retained in memory.¡¨[43] Similarly in the case of recalling a name of a man, we have not altogether forgotten what we lose in the memory. This discussion of oblivion is significant because it provides Augustine an important insight of a theological understanding of an universal drive to seek God. If we refer his discussion in III.4.8, we will find that Augustine¡¦s discussion in Book X has close relationship with previous nine books. In III.4.8, Augustine says,

 

One thing alone put a brake on my intense enthusiasm--that the name of Christ was not contained in the book. This name, by your mercy Lord, this name of my Savior your Son, my infant heart had piously drunk in with my mother¡¦s milk, and at a deep level I retained the memory. Any book which lacked this name, however well written or polished or true, could not entirely grip me.[44]

 

              With these preparation, Augustine goes to the main issue of the book: to find God. He first considers the seeking of the blessed life [beata vita]. [45] Augustine points out that everyone desires the blessed life. He shows that there are three decreasing levels of happiness: one who has it temporarily, one is blessed in hope, and one is blessed neither in reality nor in hope.[46] Even in this third kind, people still possessed it in some way. Otherwise, they would not desire it. Of the three kinds mentioned, Augustine may allude to himself and her mother among those in the first group who have experience of the blessed life in their experience in Ostia. His congregation may be those with hope. The unregenerate are in the third group. Augustine points out the significance:

 

My problem concerning this is whether it may be in the memory; for, if it is there, then we were at one time, blessed, either all individually, or all in that man who was the first to sin, in whom also we all died, from whom we are born amidst unhappiness. I do not ask this question now, but I do ask whether the blessed life is in the memory.[47]

 

He concludes, ¡§This would be impossible, unless the thing itself, of which this is the name, were kept in their memory.¡¨[48] Accordingly Augustine raises the main question of this pursuit,

 

Where, then, and when did I experience my blessed life that I should now remember, love, and desire it? Not just I  alone, or in the company of a few people, but absolutely all people want to be happy. Unless we knew it with certain knowledge, we would not will it with such a certain act of will. But, how is this?[49]

 

Augustine concludes that this one thing, blessed life, is recognized as found in the memory. Then Augustine elaborates and defines ¡§blessed life¡¨ as  enjoying God, the true joy:

 

For, there is a joy which is not given to the wicked, but rather to them who serve Thee for Thine own sake; for such people, Thou Thyself art Joy. And this is the blessed life, to rejoice unto Thee, from Thee, on account of Thee: this it is and there is none other.[50]

 

Quoting Gal. 5:7, Augustine comments that many do not desire the true joy, the blessed life, and they lack the strength because of the lust in the flesh. Using the issue of loving truth, Augustine points out that though many wish to deceive, but none wishes to be deceived. This shows that they surely love truth. The problem is: ¡§They love truth when it enlightens; they hate it when it reproves.¡¨[51] He concludes that the human mind ¡§is not hidden before the truth, but the truth is hidden before it.¡¨[52] It will be blessed until one finds God, the only Truth itself. Probably referring his conversion and ascent in Ostia, Augustine confesses,

 

Therefore, from the time that I learned about Thee, Thou dost dwell in my memory, and there do I find Thee when I remember Thee and delight in Thee. These are my holy delights which Thou hast given me in Thy mercy, having regarding to my poverty.[53]

 

              After Augustine confesses that God dwells in his memory, he further investigates, ¡§Where dost Thou dwell in my memory?¡¨ He cannot find God among the images of bodily things, nor mental feelings, nor the seat of his own mind. He concludes, ¡§Thou art not the mind itself. For, Thou art the Lord God of the mind, and all these things are mutable, but Thou dwellest as an immutable Being above them all.¡¨[54] This helps him to appreciate the omnipresence of God. There is no place where he can find God but yet God does answer in the same time all who counsel with Him. He confesses that God was within and he was without and looked for God outwardly and wrongly from His creation. He says, ¡§Thou wert with me, yet I was not with Thee.¡¨[55] He recalls God¡¦s grace on him and now desires more for His peace. He desires to be wholly filled with God. He believes, ¡§Through continence, in fact, we are gathered in and returned to the One from whom we have flowed out into the many.¡¨[56] He then prays the famous prayer, ¡§O Charity, my God, kindle me! Thou dost commandest continence; grant what Thou dost command and command what Thou wilt.¡¨[57]

 

              After this, in X.30.41-41.66, Augustine deals with the three forms of lust mentioned in 1 John 2:16 which he struggles during his present daily Christian life. He quotes many verses of the Bible as to confess how God uses His words to heal him and lead him. Augustine concludes Book X in X.42.67-43.70 by praising God for sending the true Mediator, the God-man, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word, [58] for our redemption to unite with God. Augustine confesses that he initially wants to live in solitude but God commanded him to serve. Concluding this Book, Augustine prays and confesses beautifully by applying the words of God to himself:

 

See, Lord, I cast my anxiety on you that I may live, and I will consider the wonders from your law. You know my inexperience and weakness. Teach me and heal me. Your only Son in whom are hid all treasures of wisdom and knowledge had redeemed me by his blood. Let not the proud speak evil of me, for I think upon the price of my redemption, and I eat and drink it, and distribute it. In my poverty I desire to be satisfied from it together with those who eat and are satisfied. And they shall praise the Lord who seek him.[59]

 

In biblical phrases, Augustine echoes what he says in the introduction of this Book concerning God¡¦s Word and Sacrament, and forms a beautiful inclusio of the confession of his present spiritual status as a Bishop.

 

 

IV. The Place of This Meditation of Memory in Confessions

 

              In his own words, Augustine comments on his Confessions: ¡§The first ten books were written about myself; the last three about Holy Scripture.¡¨ He also says, ¡§The thirteen books of my Confessions praise the just and good God for my evil and good acts, and lift up the understanding and affection of men to him. At least, as far as I am concerned, they had this effect on me while I was writing them and they continue to have it when I am reading them.¡¨[60] In section III, we demonstrated frequently that Augustine¡¦s discussion on memory may allude to many events of his past spiritual pursuit recalled by Augustine in the first nine books of Confessions. During the process of writing, Augustine must have gone through a lot of memory searching. The meditation of the memory as a statement of his present state of spiritual ascent fits perfectly his belief in inward spiritual search for God. The timeless aspect of memory provides him tools to comprehend both his past and his present in his spiritual ascent. It also reveals the ground of inward spiritual ascent towards God. Through the exercise of the meditation on memory, Augustine argues that we have the seed of divinity deep in soul which is not totally forgotten even after the fall. And when God presents Himself clearly before us, the hidden seed helps us to say Amen, to recognize that God is God. This deep insight encompasses the doctrines of creation, of the fall and of the redemption. It provides a meditation exercise as a showcase for his teaching of spiritual interpretation in the last three Books of Confessions. The meditation on memory is an integral part in Augustine¡¦s Confessions.

 

              Augustine takes his call as a teacher and a pastor to his congregation seriously. Book X provides his audience brief notes on many key Christian doctrines and ends with the necessity of the mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ. In Book X, Augustine also provides the key elements for the ascent towards the blessed life: the forsaking of worldly delights, the step by step climbing beyond all corporeal objects, the entering into one¡¦s own mind, and the tasting of the eternal presence. These elements are also included in his past experience and in his experience at Ostia shown in past nine books. Book X may also acts as a philosophical explanation to his congregation of his experience at Ostia. This matches well with the declaration of his purpose: ¡§they wish to learn about my inner self.¡¨[61] Book X is an important treatise in his whole project of Confessions. This guides his audience to the inward spiritual route which Augustine thinks is necessary in order to seek God. Augustine also demonstrates that only through God¡¦s mercy we can truly know ourselves and only in God we can find true rest and joy. This matches the plan of Confessions which Augustine discloses in the beginning of Confessions:

 

You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. . . . My faith, Lord, calls upon you. It is your gift to me. You breathed it into me by the humanity of your Son, by the ministry of your preacher.[62]

 

What he received from the Word and learned from Bishop Ambrose, Bishop Augustine tries to communicate to the sheep the Almighty God has assigned to him. The sense of divinity within us may be dim because of the fall, but it is never totally forgotten.[63] The heart cannot rest until it rests in God, the true and eternal rest.

 

              Book X in Confessions and the discussion on memory is not an excursus. Book X is an essential piece of Confessions. Without this, the Bishop has not disclosed the secrets of his present state of spiritual ascent. Without this, the Bishop has not fulfilled his duty as a pastor his congregation. Without this, the Bishop¡¦s confessions are incomplete. Book X provides beautiful echoes to what Bishop Augustine has learned in the past as shown in the first nine books and presents the readers the secrets of his present state of spiritual ascent. Bishop Augustine writes Confessions to teach his congregation to seek true rest in God, who guided him in the past and in the first nine books, is guiding him now and in Book X, and will keep guiding him until he reaches the eternal rest which he teaches in Book XIII. Confessions is the experience, the witness, the confession, the praise, the teaching and the prayer of Bishop Augustine for his congregation.



[1]Augustine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), 69.

[2]Eduard Willinger, ¡§Der Aufbau der Konfessionen Augustins,¡¨ Zeitschrif für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 28 (1929):81-106; Pierre Courcelle, Les ¡§Confessions¡¨ de Saint Augustin dans la tradition littéraire antécédents et posterité (Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1963); O¡¦Meara, Studies in Augustine and Eriugena; cf. James J. O¡¦Donnell, ¡§Introduction,¡¨ in Confessions, (Oxford: Clarendon, 1992), xxxii, n. 34.

[3]Augustine, 68.

[4]Augustine¡¦s Love of Wisdom: An Introspective Philosophy (West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 1992), 117.

[5] Robert J. O¡¦Connell, St. Augustine¡¦s Confessions: The Odyssey of Soul (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1969); Robert McMahon, Augustine¡¦s Prayerful Ascent: An Essay on the Literary Form of Confessions (London: University of Georgia Press, 1989); Von Klaus Kienzler, ¡§¡¥Memoria¡¦ im X. Buch der ¡¥Confessiones¡¦ des Augustinus,¡¨ in Alltag und Transzendenz, ed. Berhard Casper and Walter Sparn (München: Alber, 1992), 113-34; Colin Starnes, ¡§The Place and the Purpose of the Tenth Book of the Confessions,¡¨ in Studia Ephemerids ¡§Augustinianum¡¨ 25 (1987); John Mourant, Saint Augustine on Memory (Villanova, Pa.: Villanova University Press, 1980); Paul J. Archambault, ¡§Augustine, Memory, and the Development of Autobiography,¡¨ Augustinian Studies 13 (1982): 23-30; Jaroslav Pelikan, The Mystery of Continuity: Time and History, Memory and Eternity in the Thought of St. Augustine (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1986); Bourke, Augustine¡¦s Love of Wisdom; C. E. Schuetzinger, The German Controversy on Saint Augustine¡¦s Illumination Theory (New York: Pageant Press, 1960); John M. Rist, Augustine: Ancient Thought Baptized (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 73-85; Etienne Gilson, The Christian Philosophy of Saint Augustine, trans. L. E. M. Lynch (London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1961); Ronald N. Nash, The Light of the Mind: St. Augustine¡¦s Theory of Knowledge (Lexington, Kentucy: University Press of Kentucky, 1969); Dom Cuthbert Butler, Western Mysticism: The Teaching of St. Augustine, Gregory and Bernard on Contemplation and the Contemplative Life, 2 ed. (London: E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1926), 19-62; Frederick Van Fleteren and others eds., Collectanea Augustiniana: Augustine, Mystic and Mystagogue (NY: Peter Lang, 1994).

[6]For general structure and issues in Confessions, please refer William A. Stephany, ¡§Thematic Structure in Augustine¡¦s Confessions,¡¨ Augustinian Studies 20 (1989): 129-42; Joseph C. Schnaubelt and Frederick Van Fleteran, eds., Collectanea Augustiniana: Augustine: ¡§Second Founder of the Faith¡¨ (NY: Peter Lang, 1990), 2-204; Henry Chadwick, ¡§Introduction,¡¨ in his translation of Confessions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), ix-xxvi.

[7]Robert J. O¡¦Connell, St,. Augustine¡¦s Early Theory of Man, A.D. 386-391 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968);  O¡¦Connell, ¡§Plotinus and Augustine¡¦s Final Theory of Soul,¡¨ in The Origin of the Soul in St. Augustine¡¦s Later Works (New York: Fordham University Press, 1987), 337-50; O¡¦Connell, ¡§Faith, Reason, and Ascent to Vision to St. Augustine,¡¨ in Augustinian Studies 21 (1990): 83-126; O¡¦Connell, ¡§Where the Difference Still Lies,¡¨ in Augustinian Studies 21 (1990): 139-52; Frederick Van Fleteren, ¡§A Reply to Martin and J. A. Richmond, eds., From Augustine, to Eriugena: Essays on Neoplatonism and Christianity in Honor to John O¡¦Meara (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1991); John O¡¦Meara, The Young Augustine: The Growth of St. Augustine¡¦s Mind up to His Conversion (London: Longman, 1954); John O¡¦Meara, Studies in Augustine and Eriugena, ed. Thomas Halton (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of American Press, 1992); E. Kevane, ¡§Philosophy, Education, and the Controversy on Saint Augustine¡¦s Conversion,¡¨ Studies in Philosophy and the History of Philosophy 2 (1963):61-103; Kenneth B. Steinhauser, ¡§The Literary Unity of the Confessions,¡¨ in Augustine: From Rhetor to Theologian, ed. J. McWilliam (Waterloo, On.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1992), 15-30.

[8]St. Augustine¡¦s Early Theory of Man, 191.

[9]George B. Matthews, ¡§Augustine on Speaking from Memory,¡¨ American Philosophical Quarterly 2/2 (1965): 1-4.

[10]St. Augustine¡¦s Theory of Knowledge: A Contemporary Analysis (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1981), 61, 83.

[11]Guido Maertens, ¡§Augustine¡¦s Image of Man,¡¨ in Images of Man in Ancient and Medieval Thought, ed. F. Bossier and others (Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press, 1976), 175-98; John Edward Sullivan, The Image of God: The Doctrine of St. Augustine and Its Influence (Dubuque, Iowa: The Priority Press, 1963).

[12]J. G. Kristo, Looking For God in Time and Memory: Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Augustine¡¦s Confessions (New York: University Press of America, 1991).

[13]Confessions, X.3.4, in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, ed. Philip Schaff, First Series, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1994), bold mine.

[14]Other than Confessions (A.D. 397-401), Augustine discusses ¡§memory¡¨ also in Soliloquia, Letter VII, De Libero Arbitrio, De Trinitate X-XV, and Retractationes.  Augustine also touches on the issue of illumination and the image of God in his commentaries on Psalms, Gospel of John and Genesis.

[15]For a survey of the recent scholarship on Confessions, c.f. James J. O¡¦Donnell¡¦s ¡§Introduction¡¨ of his edition of Confessions, xx-xxxii.

[16]Confessions, X.2.2, 3.4, 4.6

[17]Confessions X.4.6; bold mine; cf. Chadwick, ¡§Introduction,¡¨ in Confessions, xxv.

[18]Confessions, X.4.6; XI.1.1.

[19]Confessions, X.1.1 In general, the English version by B. J. Bourke will be used in this paper. Cf. Fathers of Church Series, vol. 21 (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of American Press, 1953), 263-301. The versions of Rex Warner, Henry Chadwick and NPNF will also be used occasionally. For the Latin text I follow the reprinted edition from The Confessions of Augustine, ed. John Gibb and William Montgomery (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 272-305.

[20]Paul Rigby proposes a seven-stage ascent description of Book X in his Original Sin in Augustine¡¦s Confessions (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 1987), 89-101.

[21]Confessions, X.6.9.

[22]Confessions, X.6.9.

[23]Confessions, X.6.10.

[24]Confessions, X.6.10.

[25]Confessions, X.17.26.

[26]Confessions, X.8.14.

[27]Confessions, X.8.14, bold mine.

[28]Bourke, Augustine¡¦s Love of Wisdom, 151.

[29]Confessions, X.9.16: ¡§nec eorum imagines, sed res ipsas gero.¡¨

[30]Confessions, X.10.17.

[31]Confessions, X.10.17.

[32]Confessions, X.10.17.

[33]Confessions, X.11.18.

[34]Confessions, X.11.18.

[35]Confessions, X.12.19.

[36]Confessions, X.12.19.

[37]Confessions, X.14.21.

[38]Confessions, X.15.23.

[39]Confessions, X.16.24.

[40]Confessions, X.16.25.

[41]Confessions, X.17.26.

[42]Confessions, X.17.26.

[43]Confessions, X.18.27.

[44]Confessions, III.4.8, bold mine.

[45]Some translate it as ¡§happy life.¡¨ I prefer to translate it as ¡§blessed life¡¨ to indicate the connotation of eternal bliss in Augustine¡¦s usage.

[46]Confessions, X.18.27: ¡§nec re nec spe beati sunt.¡¨

[47]Confessions, X.18.27.

[48]Confessions, X.18.27.

[49]Confessions, X.21.31.

[50]Confessions, X.22.32.

[51]Confessions, X.23.34.

[52]Confessions, X.23.34.

[53]Confessions, X.24.35.

[54]Confessions, X.25.36.

[55]Confessions, X.27.38.

[56]Confessions, X.29.40.

[57]Confessions, X.29.40.

[58]The ¡§Word¡¨ contrasts beautifully with ¡§words¡¨ in the beginning of the Book: ¡§Nor do I it with words and sounds of the flesh, but with words of the soul, and that cry of reflection which Thine ear knoweth.¡¨ Confessions, X.2.2.

[59]Confessions, X.43.70.

[60]Retractationes, 2:6, bold mine.

[61]Confessions, X.3.4.

[62]Confessions, I.1.1.

[63] Similar teaching can be found in the beginning chapters of Calvin¡¦s Institutes.