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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Soul and its Origin.: Chapter 1

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 1 [I.]—Augustin’s Purpose in Writing.

As to that which I have thought it my duty to write to you, my much-loved son Victor, I would have you to entertain this above all other thoughts in your mind, if I seemed to despise you, that it was certainly not my intention to do so. At the same time I must beg of you not to abuse our condescension in such a way as to suppose that you possess my approval merely because you have not my contempt. For it is not to follow, but to correct you, that I give you my love; and since I by no means despair of the possibility of your amendment, I do not want you to be surprised at my inability to despise the man who has my love. Now, since it was my bounden duty to love you before you had united with us, in order that you might become a catholic; how much more ought I now to love you since your union with us, to prevent your becoming a new heretic, and that you may become so firm a catholic that no heretic may be able to withstand you! So far as appears from the mental endowments which God has largely bestowed upon you, you would be undoubtedly a wise man if you only did not believe that you were one already, and begged of Him who maketh men wise, with a pious, humble, and earnest prayer, that you might become one, and preferred not to be led astray with error rather than to be honoured with the flattery of those who go astray.

Next: Chapter 2