When the “Day Star” Arose

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Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. –Romans 13:13-14

In the spring of the year 372…

…a young man, we are told, in the thirty-first year of his age, in evident distress of mind, entered his garden near Milan. The sins of his youth—a youth spent in sensuality and impiety—weighed heavily on his soul. Lying under a fig-tree, moaning and pouring out abundant tears, he heard from a neighboring house a young voice saying, and repeating in rapid succession, “Take and read! Take and read!” Receiving this as a Divine admonition, he procured the roll of Paul’s epistles. Describing the scene, he says: “I opened it, and read in silence the chapter on which my eyes first lighted (it was the thirteenth of Romans). ‘Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.'”

All was decided by a word. He did not desire to read any more; nor was there any need—every doubt had vanished, and the Day Star had risen in his heart. And the grand career of Augustine, one of the greatest theologians of the Christian church, then commenced.

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage:  Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430), was an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius (modern-day Annaba, Algeria), located in Numidia (Roman province of Africa). He is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in the Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Era. Among his most important works are City of God and Confessions.

According to his contemporary, Jerome, Augustine “established anew the ancient Faith.” In his early years, he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterward by the Neo-Platonism of Plotinus. After his baptism and conversion to Christianity in 387, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and perspectives. Believing that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he helped formulate the doctrine of original sin and made seminal contributions to the development of just war theory. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview.