Nicene and Post Nicene-Fathers, Vol. I:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Confessions: Chapter XII
Chapter XII.—Being Compelled, He Gave His Attention to Learning; But Fully Acknowledges that This Was the Work of God.
19. But in this my childhood (which was far less dreaded for me than youth) I had no love of learning, and hated to be forced to it, yet was I forced to it notwithstanding; and this was well done towards me, but I did not well, for I would not have learned had I not been compelled. For no man doth well against his will, even if that which he doth be well. Neither did they who forced me do well, but p. 51 the good that was done to me came from Thee, my God. For they considered not in what way I should employ what they forced me to learn, unless to satisfy the inordinate desires of a rich beggary and a shameful glory. But Thou, by whom the very hairs of our heads are numbered, 164 didst use for my good the error of all who pressed me to learn; and my own error in willing not to learn, didst Thou make use of for my punishment—of which I, being so small a boy and so great a sinner, was not unworthy. Thus by the instrumentality of those who did not well didst Thou well for me; and by my own sin didst Thou justly punish me. For it is even as Thou hast appointed, that every inordinate affection should bring its own punishment. 165
See note, v. sec. 2, below.
Next: Chapter XIII
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