how then doth it not comprehend itself? But for what fruit would they hear this? For herein I know less of myself than of Thee. WOW! As we remember numbers then? Worldy honour hath also its grace, and the power of overcoming, and of mastery; whence springs also the thirst of revenge. Jeremiah 2:27. What then did wretched I so love in thee, thou theft of mine, thou deed of darkness, in that sixteenth year of my age? For what thief will suffer a thief?
For were it proposed to me, whether I would, being frenzied in error on all things, be praised by all men, or being consistent and most settled in the truth be blamed by all, I see which I should choose. From this disease of curiosity are all those strange sights exhibited in the theatre. when, or where, or whither, or by whom? Let not the proud speak evil of me; because I meditate on my ransom, and eat and drink, and communicate it; and poor, desired to be satisfied from Him, amongst those that eat and are satisfied, and they shall praise the Lord who seek Him. My confession then, O my God, in Thy sight, is made silently, and not silently. And whether it be so with me, I know not. Translated by J.G. The reins, meantime, were slackened towards me beyond the restraint of due severity, that I might play, yea, even to dissoluteness, in whatsoever I fancied.
Or, desiring to learn it as a thing unknown, either never having known, or so forgotten it, as not even to remember that I had forgotten it? What, then, was it that I loved in that theft? Nor have I found any thing concerning Thee, but what I have kept in memory, ever since I learnt Thee. Animals small and great see it, but they cannot ask it: because no reason is set over their senses to judge on what they report. For at one time I seem to myself to give them more honour than is seemly, feeling our minds to be more holily and fervently raised unto a flame of devotion, by the holy words themselves when thus sung, than when not; and that the several affections of our spirit, by a sweet variety, have their own proper measures in the voice and singing, by some hidden correspondence wherewith they are stirred up.
For whosoever, called by Thee, followed Thy voice, and avoided those things which he reads me recalling and confessing of myself, let him not scorn me, who being sick, was cured by that Physician, through whose aid it was that he was not, or rather was less, sick: and for this let him love Thee as much, yea and more; since by whom he sees me to have been recovered from such deep consumption of sin, by Him he sees himself to have been from the like consumption of sin preserved. Hence also, if with that same end of perverted knowledge magical arts be enquired by. Lovely thou wert not, because thou wert theft. The enticements of the wanton would fain be deemed love; and yet is naught more enticing than Your charity, nor is anything loved more healthfully than that, Your truth, bright and beautiful above all. I will confess then what I know of myself, I will confess also what I know not of myself. who shall comprehend how it is? He confesses to have received, and when he glorieth, in the Lord he glorieth. Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads. The reins, meantime, were slackened to me, beyond all temper of due severity, to spend my time in sport, yea, even unto dissoluteness in whatsoever I affected. For that passing, is pleasure, nor is there any other way to pass thither, whither we needs must pass. where have they known it, that they so will it? so long said I "No," until that were offered me which I sought. But while in that my sixteenth year I lived with my parents, leaving all school for a while (a season of idleness being interposed through the narrowness of my parents' fortunes), the briers of unclean desires grew rank over my head, and there was no hand to root them out. Or, had not the whole escaped us, but by the part whereof we had hold, was the lost part sought for; in that the memory felt that it did not carry on together all which it was wont, and maimed, as it were, by the curtailment of its ancient habit, demanded the restoration of what it missed? Thou givest and wilt give me to follow Thee willingly, doing what Thou wilt. Truly we have it, how, I know not.
Wow! And yet, in whatever way, although that way be past conceiving and explaining, yet certain am I that I remember forgetfulness itself also, whereby what we remember is effaced.
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