Augustine’s Moment of Conversion (II) [Awakening Faith]
From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)
As I was saying these things and weeping with the most bitter remorse in my heart, I suddenly heard the voice of a child coming from a neighboring house, chanting and repeating the words, “Take up and read; take up and read.” Immediately my face changed, and I asked myself if the words were part of a song or child’s game, since I could not recall ever having heard them.
So, restraining my tears, I rose up, believing it to be a command to me from heaven to open the book and read the first chapter to which I turned. For I had heard the story of Antony [a prominent monk who helped spread monasticism, who by chance came in while the gospel was being read, and received the admonition as if it were addressed directly to him: “Go and sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me” (Matt. 19:21). And by this miracle he was immediately converted to you.
So quickly I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting, for I had left my volume of the New Testament there when I ran off. I grabbed and opened the book and in silence read the paragraph on which my eyes first fell: “Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and pleasure-seeking, not in strife and envying; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Rom. 13:13 – 14). I read no further when instantly, just as the sentence ended, when something like a light of security pierced my heart, and the gloom of doubt vanished. [Continued in next entry . . . ]
Awakening Faith: Daily Devotionals from the Early Church
by James Stuart Bell and Patrick J. Kelly
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