Well, if you’ve already read Confessions Book 10, you will have realized that Augustine’s subject matter has begun to veer off from what it has been up until this point. The part of Augustine’s Confessions that deals with his own life and experiences has now come to an end. From here on out, he gets abstract. As a result, I don’t feel like I can review these books in the same way that I’ve reviewed the earlier ones. Especially considering the fact that I’m supposed to be wrapping this book up today.
So, rather than spend a long post on each of these last chapters, I’m going to toss out a few thoughts, a few quotes, and I’ll leave it at that.
However, if something really jumped out at you in these chapters, comment and let us know! I’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts on Augustine’s reflections here.
Confessions Book 10: Reflections on Memory
This book contained a lot of quotes that I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, he sort of rambles through this book, leaving it less than cohesive. He opens it up by reflecting on why he’s writing to begin with. Then, he recognizes how God has revealed himself in creation. He reflects on the way that memory works and ultimately concludes, “in the end, who can fathom this matter, who understands how the mind works?”
Do not, I entreat you, do not abandon your unfinished work, but bring to perfection all that is wanting in me.
Remembering His Sins…
After meditating on these things, he brings up the sins that he remembers from his past, dividing them up into three categories: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (see 1 John 2:16). Throughout this, he notes a number of interesting thoughts that are worth meditating on.
I love you, Lord, with no doubtful mind but with absolute certainty. You pierced my heart with your word, and I fell in love with you.
Amazing, Empowering Grace
For example, several times he says, “Give what you command, and then command whatever you will.” What a description of God’s grace at work in our lives! God empowers us to choose him and then asks that we would. He empowers us to say ‘no’ to sin, and then commands us to. God’s grace does not merely forgive. It empowers. This is an important fact that must be remembered again and again. We do not serve God and live holy because it is in our power alone. We do it because God has, through grace, enabled us to.
People go to admire lofty mountains, and huge breakers at sea, and crashing waterfalls, and vast stretches of ocean, and the dance of the stars, but they leave themselves behind out of sight.
Showing Love to the Apocrypha
At this point it’s also worth noting the fact that Augustine brings up and quotes from the Apocrypha a number of times. Not only in this book but throughout Confessions. I spent some time working through the Apocrypha last year and though I don’t consider it canonical, I do consider it worth reading.
A joy there is that is not granted to the godless, but to those only who worship you without looking for a reward, because you yourself are their joy.
As he draws this book to a close – with his sins now exposed – Augustine asks an important question: “Whom could I find to reconcile me to you?” He shares some thoughts on this question and then points to Jesus.
This is the happy life, and this alone: to rejoice in you, about you, and because of you.
“This Mediator between God and humankind, the man Christ Jesus, appeared to stand between mortal sinners and the God who is immortal and just: like us he was mortal, but like God he was just.” He ends this book by declaring the love of God over and over.
Many and grave are those infirmities, many and grave; but wider reaching is your healing power.
And what a love God has revealed through his Son, Jesus. I think Augustine says it best: “You know how stupid and weak I am: teach me and heal me. Your only Son, in whom are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge, has redeemed me with his blood.”
Thank God for his Son.
If you had a favorite quote or thought as you read, comment below and let us know what it was.
I can’t wait to hear what all of you are thinking about Confessions Book 10!
Oh, and by the way, there’s currently a digital, modern language edition of Augustine’s Confessions available from Amazon for only $3.99!
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