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Saint Augustine

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These are summaries of Chapters 1-6 of Book III





Chapter 1:
 
This chapter starts out with Augustine going to Carthage.  He is going to Carthage to persue his academics as shown in the last book.  He reflects on his attitude in Carthage.  Augustine realizes that he wanted to be loved by all of his friends, but he was not willing to show love for others.  He talks about how he "defiled" friendships because he focused on himself and his own pride rather than the relationship.  Then Augustine brings up the importance of the actions of God, showing him that love is a joyful act instead of a selfish act. 
Important Quotation:  "But in my hoy I was bound about with painful chains of iron, so that I might be scourged by burning rods of jealousy, and suspicion, and fear, and anger, and quarreling."





Chpater 2:
 
This chapter starts off with Augustine talking about theatrical plays.  He talks about how wrong it is for man to be moved by these plays, because it takes away from true emotion.  If a person wastes sorrow or pity on something like a play it does not give the true emotion is due, because it is being cheapened by false events.  He also speaks about how if you evoke these emotions too often then you build up a tolerance.  Therefore, if you went to a lot of plays, eventually you would build up a tolerance to pity and then you would not feel pity in the real world.  (Analagous to today's criticism of popular culture with the normalcy of violence in the media, and how it is harder for people to accept violence as being wrong, because they witness it so frequently).  Then Augustine goes on about where true pity should be delivered to, and is reflecting no longer from his childhood view.  Then he finishes the chapter going back to his childhood, speaking about how as a boy he loved to feel sorrow and pity.  He attended plays so that he could cry, because it pleased him, and he realizes now how wrong that was. 
Important Quotation:  "I loved to feel sorrow, and I sought out opportunities for sorrow.  In the false misery of another man as it was mimicked on the stage, that actor's playing pleased me most and had the strongest attraction for me which struck tears from my eyes."



Chapter 3:
 
In this chapter Augustine reflects on his life as a student.  He tells us that he was in search of worldly knowledge, and that it was wrong to do such a thing.  We find out that he was at the top of his class for rhetoric, and that he was proud of it, he was: "swollen up with vanity."  He says that he should have been punished much more in life for the way in which he lived when he was at Carthage, and he thanks God for his mercy.  Then Augustine talks about his classmates, who he called, "wreckers."  He called them this because they were the people who took immense pride in their worldly education and felt no shame for their pride.  He comments on the wreckers by saying, "Nothing is more like the acts of demons than their conduct."
Important Quotation:  "So great is the blindness of men, who even glory in their blindness!"

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Chapter 4:
 
Chapter 4 talks about Augustine's transformation away from his current path.  He is introduced to Cicero's Hortensius, and the book changes his life.  He says, "It turned my prayers to you, Lord, and caused me to have different purposes and desires."  We also find out that Augustine is 19 at this point, and that his father had died when he was 17 years old.  Augustine continues talking about his new found love for God, and how he wants to depart from his current life and become closer to God.  Augustine is afraid that God will not accept him, because of all the wrongdoings in his life so far, but God accepts him, like he accepts all people.  Then at the end of the chapter he thanks God and all of his mercy for allowing him to become close to God.
Important Quotation:  "O my God, how I burned with desire to fly away from earthly things and upwards to you and yet I did not know what you would do with me!"



Chapter 5:
 
Chapter 5 talks about Augustine's first introduction to scripture.  He has been exteremely moved by the works of Cicero, and he decides that he wants to read and understand the scriptures.  Augustine's impression of the scriptures was that they could not compare to Cicero, because the scriptures were so humble, and Cicero was so noble.  Augustine believed that he was a great man, and he was not ready to be made humble, and so his pride held him back from the scriptures, and he was not able to find the true meanings within them.
Important Quotation:  "I disdained to be a little child and, puffed up with prdie, I considered myself to be a great fellow."



Chapter 6:
 
Augustine becomes associated with a group of "religious" men who are known as the Manichees.  Augustine talks about how they were all based in pride, not the way a true religious sect should be.  He begins to describe some of the faults of the Manichees, specifically about how they misuse God's name.  Augustine says, "your spiritual works are aboe those corporeal things, bright and heavenly" which show that the Manichees did not give God total credit for His works.  Augustine says that as he was sorrounded by these people he began to practice their ideas; however, they would not fulfill his existence.  This demonstrated that Augustine realized that the ideals of the Manichees were wrong, which brings Augustine to his next point.  Augustine then talks about how becoming associated with the Manichees separated himself from God.  He was separated because he was given false ideas about God, and he believed them (for a while).  Augustine describes his search for God not as humans, through intellectual understanding, but he acted like a brute beast according to a carnal sense.
Important Quotation:  "Yet because I thought that they were you, I fed upon them, not avidly indeed, because you did not taste in my mouth as you are in truth-for you were not those empty figments-nor did I recieve nourishment from them, but rather was I myself exhausted by them."