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Of the following Work, Books IV. XVII. and XVIII. have been translated by the Rev. GEORGE Wilson, Glenluce; Books V. VI. VII. and VIII. by
the Rev. J. J. SMITH.
Augustine censures the pagans, who attributed the calamities of the
world, and especially the sack of Rome by the Goths, to the Chris-
A review of the calamities suffered by the Romans before the time of
Christ, showing that their gods had plunged them into corruption
The external calamities of Rome,
of the ancient Romans,
Of Varro's threefold division of theology, and of the inability of the
gods to contribute anything to the happiness of the future life,
Of the "select gods” of the civil theology, and that eternal life is not
obtained by worshipping them,
Some account of the Socratic and Platonic philosophy, and a refuta-
tion of the doctrine of Apuleius that the demons should be wor.
Porphyry's doctrine of redemption,
progress, and destinies of the earthly and heavenly cities are dis-
Of the creation of angels and men, and of the origin of evil,
That death is penal, and had its origin in Adam's sin,
OME having been stormed and sacked by the Goths
under Alaric their king, the worshippers of false gods, or pagans, as we commonly call them, made an attempt to attribute this calamity to the Christian religion, and began to blaspheme the true God with even more than their wonted bitterness and acerbity. It was this which kindled my zeal for the house of God, and prompted me to undertake the defence of the city of God against the charges and misrepresentations of its assailants. This work was in my hands for several years, owing to the interruptions occasioned by many other affairs which had a prior claim on my attention, and which I could not defer. However, this great undertaking was at last completed in twenty-two books. Of these, the first five refute those who fancy that the polytheistic worship is necessary in order to secure worldly prosperity, and that all these overwhelming calamities have befallen us in consequence of its prohibition. In the following five books I address myself to those who admit that such calamities have at all times attended, and will at all times attend, the human race, and that they constantly recur in forms more or less disastrous, varying only in the scenes, occasions, and persons on whom they light, but, while admitting this, maintain that the worship of the gods is advantageous for the life to come. In these ten books, then, I refute these two opinions, which are as groundless as they are antagonistic to the Christian religion.
“But that no one might have occasion to say, that though I had refuted the tenets of other men, I had omitted to establish my own, I devote to this object the second part of this work, which comprises twelve books, although I have not scrupled, as occasion offered, either to advance my own
1 A.D. 410.
opinions in the first ten books, or to demolish the arguments TH! of my opponents in the last twelve. Of these twelve books,
the first four contain an account of the origin of these two i cities — the city of God, and the city of the world. The 1° second four treat of their history or progress; the third and 3° last four, of their deserved destinies. And so, though all
these twenty-two books refer to both cities, yet I have named them after the better city, and called them The City of God.”
Such is the account. given by Augustine himself of the occasion and plan of this his greatest work. But in addition to this explicit information, we learn from the correspondence? of Augustine, that it was due to the importunity of his friend Marcellinus that this defence of Christianity extended beyond the limits of a few letters. Shortly before the fall of Rome, Marcellinus had been sent to Africa by the Emperor Honorius to arrange a settlement of the differences between the Donatists and the Catholics. This brought him into contact not only with Augustine, but with Volusian, the proconsul of Africa, and a man of rare intelligence and candour. Finding that Volusian, though as yet a pagan, took an interest in the Christian religion, Marcellinus set his heart on converting him to the true faith. The details of the subsequent significant intercourse between the learned and courtly bishop and the two imperial statesmen, are unfortunately almost entirely lost to us; but the impression conveyed by the extant correspondence is, that Marcellinus was the means of bringing his two friends into communication with one another. The first overture was on Augustine's part, in the shape of a simple and manly request that Volusian would carefully peruse the Scriptures, accompanied by a frank offer to do his best to solve any difficulties that might arise in such a course of inquiry. Volusian accordingly enters into correspondence with Augustine; and in order to illustrate the kind of difficulties experienced by men in his position, he gives some graphic notes of a conversation in which he had recently 1 Retractations, ii. 43.
· Letters 132-8.