When reading the collection of books “Confessions,” it becomes clear the Saint Augustine struggles immensely with the uncertainty of his faith. It is quite apparent that his purpose is to seek God and accept him into his life however possible, while also suggesting others to the same. Perhaps Augustine was attempting to fill a missing piece or a void throughout his life, or maybe he was undergoing certain issues in his relationships with others that he believed God could help provide guidance for. Whatever the reason, he was in search of some stability from God and religion. ‘Confessions’ is extremely well known throughout history due to its extensive insight into the comprehension of God’s mercy that is shown. The collection of books serves to motivate others to seek a relationship with God, and provides different suggestions for how to do so. Augustine understands that God has always watched over and counseled him in time of need, so he uses his own life experiences and applies them to others’ struggles with finding room for God in their life. Augustine begins each book in “Confessions” with a prayer, proving that he glorifies God and truly believes in God’s assistance to a path of forgiveness and righteousness. He writes, “you have broken the chains that bound me, I will sacrifice your honor” ( ) suggesting that he accepts God’s grace and will help others to do the same.
Throughout the collection “Confessions,” St. Augustine attempts to inform others about the various enjoyments life has to offer. His big argument is that people can attain true happiness by accepting God into their lives, and refrain from participating in worldly pleasures. He believes that rejecting the temptations of all worldly pleasures is essential in developing a true and fulfilling life devoted to God. The argument to be had here is that some could debate that Augustine’s strict views of steering clear of the pleasures our world has to offer is excessive and can prevent him from attaining a balanced lifestyle. Society views overeating as outrageous and unhealthy, and the same could be said for Augustine’s belief of self restraint. Some could say that Augustine’s pleasure levels are insufficient and his practice of willpower and self discipline is excessive. He has chosen a direction of virtue and understands the suffering he must endure to achieve it by refraining from secular enjoyment. Aristotle says, “The eye is attracted to beautiful objects, by gold and silver and all such things. There is great pleasure, too, in feeling something agreeable to the touch, and material things have various qualities to please each of the other senses. Our ambition to obtain all these things must not lead us astray” (p.48). This is showing Augustine’s understanding that life’s pleasures are wonderful, but surrendering to them leads to immoral actions and unrighteousness. However, Augustine does not recommend indulging in worldly pleasures in moderation and keeping a balance. Instead, he argues that eliminating earthly possessions and secular pleasures all together will bring those closer to God.
In the collection of books “Confessions,” Augustine is attempting to find the personal truth about his life. He presumes that this self journey he his on is a mere representation on how he is perceived secularly or non-spiritually. The fact that St. Augustine feels that his journey of self transformation is God’s way of showing acceptance, leads him also to the presupposition that his identity of himself lies all within God’s being because God is the perpetual existence and is the definition of eternity. Further more, Augustine understands that all the events and pieces that come together make his individual journey significant and worthwhile may not give him the instantaneous gratification one may be looking for. Instead, these pieces and events lead to the complete transformation of himself into an eternal being closely resembling God. He strongly believes that it is our responsibility as people to accomplish this change on Earth because it will lead us to find the truth in ourselves and the actual meaning of our personal transformations.
Throughout the collection of books, “Confessions” one can see that St. Augustine’s writings have a tendency to lean towards believing and having faith instead of toward facts and understanding. He feels that many beliefs have to be built on trust and that we cannot see everything we are to believe. He emphasizes the fact that in order to understand, we must believe. His epistemological goals are not to prove our beliefs about worldly issues that are tangible without any shed of doubt. In fact, he wants us to use our intuition and faith in God to see what is there. Augustine believes it is most important to inform people of another epistemological view, which is the idea that we as people need a God in our lives in order to survive and prosper. He feels that humans cannot live with just a body and no soul, and God is what helps form and mold our souls. Furthermore, Augustine is quite dependent on one’s self awareness. His epistemological view that we should seek God through the understanding of ourselves. At the beginning of “Confessions” he is attempting to find God, and questioning if God can be found if there is no awareness of God’s existence. Augustine believes that this question lies in our memory. He feels that answering the ultimate question if God really exists can be achieved by us thinking carefully about our character and our motives through our memories. Augustine says, “So great is the power of memory, so great is the force of life in a human being whose life is mortal. (Confessions 10.17.26). Augustine refers to memory as much more than just being able to recall specific events in the past. He emphasizes that memory is much more, including our life experiences, our awareness, our passions, our visions, our aspirations, etc. Our knowledge of ourselves is intwined in our memory.