An Inspired Invocation

Near the beginning of his  Soliloquiorum duo libri, Augustine offers an invocation to God. I call it “inspired” because of the density of Scriptural quotations and allusions. Those who view Augustine primarily as a Neoplatonic philosopher ought to consider the exegetical undercurrent that runs through all his works, even in this early philosophical one. I count at least nine Scriptural references in this portion of the invocation:

God, through whom we conquer the enemy, it is you whom I beseech; God through whom it has been granted us that we should not perish utterly; God by whom we are reminded so that we might remain on guard; God through whom we separate good from evil; God through whom we flee evil and pursue good … God through whom ‘death is swallowed up in victory’; God who converts us; God who strips us of that which is not and clothes us with that which is; God who makes it possible for us to be heard; God who fortifies us; God who leads us into all truth … God, who sees to it that ‘to those who knock it will be opened’; God who gives us the ‘bread of life’; God through whom we thirst to drink, and after that drink we will thirst no more; God who brings to the world the knowledge of sin, and of justice, and of judgement; God through whom we condemn the error of those who think that there is no merit in souls before your eyes; God, through whom we are not enslaved to ‘weak and needy elements’; God, who cleanses us and prepares us for our heavenly reward: come to me in your kindness.” (Sol. 1.3; trans. by Lewis Ayres)

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Published in: on March 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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