Augustine’s own portrayal of his conversion is one that every Christian should ponder. It cuts through the maze of altar calls, decision cards, raised hands, and insipid prayers to “ask Jesus into one’s heart.” Continue reading . . .
Augustine’s own portrayal of his conversion is one that every Christian should ponder. It cuts through the maze of altar calls, decision cards, raised hands, and insipid prayers to “ask Jesus into one’s heart.” My journey through his Confessions has once again brought me to Book IX where he describes how his resistance to the gospel was overcome by sovereign joy, the name he gave to divine grace.
The precise phrasing depends on which of the many translations of the Confessions one is reading. An abbreviated paraphrase of his words is the one we most often encounter:
“How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose . . . ! You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure. . . . O Lord my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation.”
But a more accurate and much fuller rendering is found in the translation provided by Maria Boulding:
“How sweet did it suddenly seem to me to shrug off those sweet frivolities, and how glad I now was to get rid of them – I who had been loath to let them go! For it was you who cast them out from me, you, our real and all-surpassing sweetness. You cast them out and entered yourself to take their place, you who are lovelier than any pleasure, though not to flesh and blood, more lustrous than any light, yet more inward than is any secret intimacy, loftier than all honor, yet not to those who look for loftiness in themselves. My mind was free at last from the gnawing need to seek advancement a