Augustine, from the prologue of de doctrina christiana « Church Latin

Augustine, from the prologue of de doctrina christiana « Church Latin

“If anyone believe that these accounts are false, I am not going to argue violently about it.  Certainly, since my case deals with Christians who rejoice that they understand Sacred Scripture without human instruction (and if this is so, they rejoice in a true and by no means insignificant blessing), they must concede that any one of us has learned his own language simply from hearing it habitually from childhood, and that we have acquired a knowledge of any other language — Greek, Hebrew, or any one of the others similarly — either by hearing them or by some person’s instruction.  Now then are we to admonish all our brethren not to train their children in these subjects, since in a single instant the Apostles, filled with grace by the coming of the Holy Ghost, spoke in the tongues of all peoples; or are we to admonish anyone who has not enjoyed such privileges to think that he is not a Christian or to doubt that he has received the Holy Ghost?  On the contrary, let whatever should be acquired through human means be acquired humbly, and let anyone who is instructing another pass on to him whatever he has received without haughtiness or grudging.  Let us not tempt Him whom we have believed, lest, deceived by such cunning of the Devil and by our own stubbornness, we may even decline to go to church to listen to the Gospel itself or to learn about it, or to refuse to read a book, or to pay attention to a reader or a preacher, but expect, as the Apostle says, to be caught ‘up to the third heaven … whether in the body or out of the body,’ and there hear ’secret words that man may not repeat,’ or there see the Lord Jesus Christ and learn the Gospel from Him rather than from men.**”

*Text taken from Migne’s Patrologia Latina (De Doctrina Christiana, Pr. 5)
**Trans. John J. Gavigan, O.S.A., Ph.D.


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