>   books  >   en  >   ecf  >   101  >   books  >   en  >   ecf  >   101

Nicene and Post Nicene-Fathers, Vol. I:
The Confessions: Chapter VI

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VI.—He is Baptized at Milan with Alypius and His Son Adeodatus. The Book “De Magistro.”

14. Thence, when the time had arrived at which I was to give in my name, 753 having left the country, we returned to Milan. Alypius also was pleased to be born again with me in Thee, being now clothed with the humility appropriate to Thy sacraments, and being so brave a tamer of the body, as with unusual fortitude to tread the frozen soil of Italy with his naked feet. We took into our company the boy Adeodatus, born of me carnally, of my sin. Well hadst Thou made him. He was barely p. 134 fifteen years, yet in wit excelled many grave and learned men. 754 I confess unto Thee Thy gifts, O Lord my God, Creator of all, and of exceeding power to reform our deformities; for of me was there naught in that boy but the sin. For that we fostered him in Thy discipline, Thou inspiredst us, none other,—Thy gifts I confess unto Thee. There is a book of ours, which is entitled The Master755 It is a dialogue between him and me. Thou knowest that all things there put into the mouth of the person in argument with me were his thoughts in his sixteenth year. Many others more wonderful did I find in him. That talent was a source of awe to me. And who but Thou could be the worker of such marvels? Quickly didst Thou remove his life from the earth; and now I recall him to mind with a sense of security, in that I fear nothing for his childhood or youth, or for his whole self. We took him coeval with us in Thy grace, to be educated in Thy discipline; and we were baptized, 756 and solicitude about our past life left us. Nor was I satiated in those days with the wondrous sweetness of considering the depth of Thy counsels concerning the salvation of the human race. How greatly did I weep in Thy hymns and canticles, deeply moved by the voices of Thy sweet-speaking Church! The voices flowed into mine ears, and the truth was poured forth into my heart, whence the agitation of my piety overflowed, and my tears ran over, and blessed was I therein.



“They were baptized at Easter, and gave up their names before the second Sunday in Lent, the rest of which they were to spend in fasting, humility, prayer, and being examined in the scrutinies (Tertull. Lib. de Bapt. c. 20). Therefore went they to Milan, that the bishop might see their preparation. Adjoining to the cathedrals were there certain lower houses for them to lodge and be exercised in, till the day of baptism” (Euseb. x. 4).—W. W. See also Bingham, x. 2, sec. 6; and above, note 4, p. 89; note 4, p. 118, and note 8, p. 118.


In his De Vita Beata, sec. 6, he makes a similar illusion to the genius of Adeodatus.


This book, in which he and his son are the interlocutors, will be found in vol. i. of the Benedictine edition, and is by the editors assumed to be written about A.D. 389. Augustin briefly gives its argument in his Retractations, i. 12. He says: “There it is disputed, sought, and discovered that there is no master who teaches man knowledge save God, as it is written in the gospel (Matt. 23.10), ‘One is your Master, even Christ.’”


He was baptized by Ambrose, and tradition says, as he came out of the water, they sang alternate verses of the Te Deum (ascribed by some to Ambrose), which, in the old offices of the English Church is called “The Song of Ambrose and Augustin.” In his Con. Julian. Pelag. i. 10, he speaks of Ambrose as being one whose devoted labours and perils were known throughout the whole Roman world, and says: “In Christo enim Jesu per evangelium ipse me genuit, et eo Christi ministro lavacrum regenerationis accepti.” See also the last sec. of his De Nupt. et Concup., and Ep. cxlvii. 23. In notes 3, p. 50, and 4, p. 89, will be found references to the usages of the early Church as to baptism.

Next: Chapter VII