‪Lamp In The Dark:Untold History of the Bible ~ Full Documentary‬‏

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Papal Inquisition forbade biblical translation, threatening imprisonment and death to those who disobeyed. Learn the stories of valiant warriors of the faith, such as John Wycliffe, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, the ancient Waldenses, Albigenses and others who hazarded their lives for the sake of sharing the Gospel light with a world drowning in darkness.

Once the common people were able to read the Bible, the world was turned upside down through the Protestant Reformation. The Reformers subdued whole kingdoms by preaching the grace of God, and exposing the unbiblical doctrines of Rome. In response, the Vatican would launch a Counter Reformation to destroy the work of the Reformers, including the bibles they produced.

VIDEO by amy2x

 

Augustine: Confessions (a must read)

If you’ve never read this book, here’s your chance to read it online. You can access it by clicking on the image below (icon holding open book) It is 216 pages long, and in my opinion, a very easy read for adults and young people alike.This particular, public domain online edition is translated and edited by ALBERT C. OUTLER, Ph.D.,D.D., Professor of Theology at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. He writes in the Introduction:

LIKE A COLOSSUS BESTRIDING TWO WORLDS, Augustine stands as the last patristic and the first medieval father of Western Christianity. He gathered together and conserved all the main motifs of Latin Christianity from Tertullian to Ambrose; he appropriated the heritage of Nicene orthodoxy; he was a Chalcedonian before Chalcedon–and he drew all this into an unsystematic synthesis which is still our best mirror of the heart and mind of the Christian community in the Roman Empire. More than this, he freely received and deliberately reconsecrated the religious philosophy of the Greco-Roman world to a new apologetic use in maintaining the intelligibility of the Christian proclamation. Yet, even in his role as summator of tradition, he was no mere eclectic. The center of his “system” is in the Holy Scriptures, as they ordered and moved his heart and mind. It was in Scripture that, first and last, Augustine found the focus of his religious authority.

At the same time, it was this essentially conservative genius who recast the patristic tradition into the new pattern by which European Christianity would be largely shaped and who, with relatively little interest in historical detail, wrought out the first comprehensive “philosophy of history.” Augustine regarded himself as much less an innovator than a summator. He was less a reformer of the Church than the defender of the Church’s faith. His own self-chosen project was to save Christianity from the disruption of heresy and the calumnies of the pagans, and, above everything else, to renew and exalt the faithful hearing of the gospel of man’s utter need and God’s abundant grace. But the unforeseen result of this enterprise was to furnish the motifs of the Church’s piety and doctrine for the next thousand years and more. Wherever one touches the Middle Ages, he finds the marks of Augustine’s influence, powerful and pervasive.

Augustine was baptized by Ambrose at Milan during Eastertide, A.D. 387. A short time later his mother, Monica, died at Ostia on the journey back to Africa. A year later, Augustine was back in Roman Africa living in a monastery at Tagaste, his native town. In 391, he was ordained presbyter in the church of Hippo Regius (a small coastal town nearby). Here in 395–with grave misgivings on his own part (cf. Sermon CCCLV, 2) and in actual violation of the eighth canon of Nicea (cf. Mansi, Sacrorum conciliorum, II, 671, and IV, 1167)–he was consecrated assistant bishop to the aged Valerius, whom he succeeded the following year. Shortly after heentered into his episcopal duties he began his Confessions, completing themprobably in 398.

The Confessions are not Augustine’s autobiography. They are, instead, a deliberate effort, in the permissive atmosphere of God’s felt presence, to recall those crucial episodes and events in which he can now see and celebrate the mysterious actions of God’s prevenient and provident grace. Thus he follows the windings of his
memory as it re-presents the upheavals of his youth and the stages of his disorderly quest for wisdom. He omits very much indeed. Yet he builds his successive climaxes so skillfully that the denouement in Book VIII is a vivid and believable convergence of influences, reconstructed and “placed” with consummate dramatic skill. We see how Cicero’s Hortensius first awakened his thirst for wisdom, how the Manicheans deluded him with their promise of true wisdom, and how the Academics upset his confidence in certain knowledge–how they loosed him from the dogmatism of the Manicheans only to confront him with the opposite threat that all knowledge is uncertain. He shows us (Bk. V, Ch. X, 19) that almost the sole cause of his intellectual perplexity in religion was his stubborn, materialistic prejudice that if God existed he had to exist in a body, and thus had to have extension, shape, and finite relation. He remembers how the “Platonists” rescued him from this “materialism” and taught him how to think of spiritual and immaterial reality–and so to become able to conceive of God in non-dualistic categories. We can follow him in his extraordinarily candid and plain report of his Plotinian ecstasy, and his momentary communion with the One (Book VII). The “Platonists” liberated him from error, but they could not loose him from the fetters of incontinence. Thus, with a divided will, he continues to seek a stable peace in the Christian faith while he stubbornly clings to his pride and appetence.

We can observe two separate stages in Augustine’s “conversion.” The first was the dramatic striking off of the slavery of incontinence and pride which had so long held him from decisive commitment to the Christian faith. The second was the development of an adequate understanding of the Christian faith itself and his baptismal confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. The former was achieved in the Milanese garden. The latter came more slowly and had no “dramatic moment.” The dialogues that Augustine wrote at Cassiciacum the year following his conversion show few substantial signs of a theological understanding, decisively or distinctively Christian. But by the time of his ordination to the presbyterate we can see the basic lines of a comprehensive and orthodox theology firmly laid out.

One does not read far in the Confessions before he recognizes that the term “confess” has a double range of meaning. On the one hand, it obviously refers to the free acknowledgment, before God, of the truth one knows about oneself–and this obviously meant, for Augustine, the “confession of sins.” But, at the same time, and
more importantly, confiteri means to acknowledge, to God, the truth one knows about God. To confess, then, is to praise and glorify God; it is an exercise in selfknowledge and true humility in the atmosphere of grace and reconciliation.

Thus the Confessions are by no means complete when the personal history is concluded at the end of Book IX. There are two more closely related problems to be explored: First, how does the finite self find the infinite God (or, how is it found of him?)? And, secondly, how may we interpret God’s action in producing this created
world in which such personal histories and revelations do occur? Book X, therefore, is an exploration of man’s way to God, a way which begins in sense experience but swiftly passes beyond it, through and beyond the awesome mystery of memory, to the ineffable encounter between God and the soul in man’s inmost subject-self. But such a journey is not complete until the process is reversed and man has looked as deeply as may be into the mystery of creation, on which all our history and experience depend. In Book XI, therefore, we discover why time is such a problem and how “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” is the basic formula of a massive Christian metaphysical world view. In Books XII and XIII, Augustine elaborates, in loving patience and with considerable allegorical license, the mysteries of creation–exegeting the first chapter of Genesis, verse by verse, until he is able to relate the whole round of creation to the point where we can view the drama of God’s enterprise in human history on the vast stage of the cosmos itself. The Creator is the Redeemer! Man’s end and the beginning meet at a single point!

The Enchiridion is a briefer treatise on the grace of God and represents Augustine’s fully matured theological perspective–after the magnificent achievements of the De Trinitate and the greater part of the De civitate Dei, and after the tremendous turmoil of the Pelagian controversy in which the doctrine of grace was the exact epicenter. Sometime in 421, Augustine received a request from one Laurentius, a Christian layman who was the brother of the tribune Dulcitius (for whom Augustine wrote the De octo dulcitii quaestionibus in 423-425). This Laurentius wanted a handbook (enchiridion) that would sum up the essential Christian teaching in the briefest possible form. Augustine dryly comments that the shortest complete summary of the Christian faith is that God is to be served by man in faith, hope, and love. Then, acknowledging that this answer might indeed be too brief, he proceeds to expand it in an essay in which he tries unsuccessfully to subdue his natural digressive manner by imposing on it a patently artificial schematism. Despite its awkward form, however, the Enchiridion is one of the most important of all of Augustine’s writings, for it is a conscious effort of the theological magistrate of the Western Church to stand on final ground of testimony to the Christian truth.

Taken together, the Confessions and the Enchiridion give us two very important vantage points from which to view the Augustinian perspective as a whole, since they represent both his early and his mature formulation. From them, we can gain a competent–though by no means complete–introduction to the heart and mind of this great Christian saint and sage. There are important differences between the two works, and these ought to be noted by the careful reader. But all the main themes of Augustinian Christianity appear in them, and through them we can penetrate to its inner dynamic core.

Below, a lecture on

Augustine given by John Piper 12/31/2011 

Here are some excerpts from the book itself.

To read the book online click on the image below:

AUGUSTINE: CONFESSIONS

and here’s a few paragraphs from the beginning of Book I. (A.D. 427)

My Confessions, in thirteen books, praise the righteous and good God as they speak either of my evil or good, and they are meant to excite men’s minds and affections toward him. At least as far as I am concerned, this is what they did for me when they were being written and they still do this when read. What some people think of them is their own affair; but I do know that they have given pleasure to many of my brethren and still do so. The first through the tenth books were written about myself; the other three about Holy Scripture, from what is written there…

Thus, my son, take the books of my Confessions and use them as a good man should–not superficially, but as a Christian in Christian charity. Here see me as I am and do not praise me for more than I am. Here believe nothing else about me than my own testimony. Here observe what I have been in myself and through myself. And if something in me pleases you, here praise Him with me–him whom I desire to be praised on my account and not myself.

2. And how shall I call upon my God–my God and my Lord? For when I call on him I ask him to come into me. And what place is there in me into which my God can come? How could God, the God who made both heaven and earth, come into me? Is there anything in me, O Lord my God, that can contain thee? Do even the heaven and the earth, which thou hast made, and in which thou didst make me, contain thee? Is it possible that, since without thee nothing would be which does exist, thou didst make it so that whatever exists has some capacity to receive thee?

3. Since, then, thou dost fill the heaven and earth, do they contain thee? Or, dost thou fill and overflow them, because they cannot contain thee? And where dost thou pour out what remains of thee after heaven and earth are full? Or, indeed, is there no need that thou, who dost contain all things, shouldst be contained by any, since those things which thou dost fill thou fillest by containing them?

6. The house of my soul is too narrow for thee to come in to me; let it be enlarged by thee. It is in ruins; do thou restore it. There is much about it which must offend thy eyes; I confess and know it. But who will cleanse it? Or, to whom shall I cry but to thee? “Cleanse thou me from my secret faults,” O Lord, “and keep back thy servant from strange sins.”

Book II

Chapter 3-5 To whom am I narrating all this? Not to thee, O my God, but to my own kind in thy presence–to that small part of the human race who may chance to come upon these writings. And to what end? That I and all who read them may understand what depths there are from which we are to cry unto thee. For what is more surely heard in thy ear than a confessing heart and a faithful life?

6. During that sixteenth year of my age, I lived with my parents, having a holiday from school for a time–this idleness imposed upon me by my parents’ straitened finances. The thornbushes of lust grew rank about my head, and there
was no hand to root them out. Indeed, when my father saw me one day at the baths and perceived that I was becoming a man, and was showing the signs of adolescence, he joyfully told my mother about it as if already looking forward to grandchildren, rejoicing in that sort of inebriation in which the world so often forgets thee, its Creator, and falls in love with thy creature instead of thee–the inebriation of that invisible wine of a perverted will which turns and bows down to infamy. But in my mother’s breast thou hadst already begun to build thy temple and the foundation of thy holy habitation–whereas my father was only a catechumen, and that but recently. She was, therefore, startled with a holy fear and trembling: for though I had not yet been baptized, she feared those crooked ways in which they walk who turn their backs to thee and not their faces.

7. Woe is me! Do I dare affirm that thou didst hold thy peace, O my God, while I wandered farther away from thee? Didst thou really then hold thy peace? Then whose words were they but thine which by my mother, thy faithful handmaid, thou didst pour into my ears? None of them, however, sank into my heart to make me do anything. She deplored and, as I remember, warned me privately with great solicitude, “not to commit fornication; but above all things never to defile another man’s wife.” These appeared to me but womanish counsels, which I would have blushed to obey. Yet they were from thee, and I knew it not. I thought that thou wast silent and that it was only she who spoke. Yet it was through her that thou didst not keep silence toward me; and in rejecting her counsel I was rejecting thee–
I, her son, “the son of thy handmaid, thy servant.”49 But I did not realize this, and rushed on headlong with such blindness that, among my friends, I was ashamed to be less shameless than they, when I heard them boasting of their disgraceful exploits–yes, and glorying all the more the worse their baseness was. What is worse, I took pleasure in such exploits, not for the pleasure’s sake only but mostly for praise. What is worthy of vituperation except vice itself? Yet I made myself out worse than I was, in order that I might not go lacking for praise. And when in anything I had not sinned as the worst ones in the group, I would still say that I had done what I had not done, in order not to appear contemptible because I was more innocent than they; and not to drop in their esteem because I was more chaste.

8. Behold with what companions I walked the streets of Babylon! I rolled in its mire and lolled about on it, as if on a bed of spices and precious ointments. And, drawing me more closely to the very center of that city, my invisible enemy trod me down and seduced me, for I was easy to seduce. My mother had already fled out of the midst of Babylon50 and was progressing, albeit slowly, toward its outskirts. For in counseling me to chastity, she did not bear in mind what her husband had told her about me. And although she knew that my passions were destructive even then and dangerous for the future, she did not think they should be restrained by the bonds of conjugal affection–if, indeed, they could not be cut away to the quick. She took no heed of this, for she was afraid lest a wife should prove a hindrance and a burden to my hopes. These were not her hopes of the world to come, which my mother had in thee, but the hope of learning, which both my parents were too anxious that I should acquire–my father, because he had little or no thought of thee, and only vain thoughts for me; my mother, because she thought that the usual course of study would not only be no hindrance but actually a furtherance toward my eventual return to thee.

9. Theft is punished by thy law, O Lord, and by the law written in men’s hearts, which not even ingrained wickedness can erase. For what thief will tolerate another thief stealing from him? Even a rich thief will not tolerate a poor thief who
is driven to theft by want. Yet I had a desire to commit robbery, and did so, compelled to it by neither hunger nor poverty, but through a contempt for welldoing and a strong impulse to iniquity. For I pilfered something which I already had in sufficient measure, and of much better quality. I did not desire to enjoy what I stole, but only the theft and the sin itself. There was a pear tree close to our own vineyard, heavily laden with fruit, which was not tempting either for its color or for its flavor. Late one night–having prolonged our games in the streets until then, as our bad habit was–a group of young scoundrels, and I among them, went to shake and rob this tree. We carried off a huge load of pears, not to eat ourselves, but to dump out to the hogs, after barely tasting some of them ourselves. Doing this pleased us all the more because it was forbidden. Such was my heart, O God, such was my heart–which thou didst pity even in that bottomless pit. Behold, now let my heart confess to thee what it was seeking there, when I was being gratuitously wanton, having no inducement to evil but the evil itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved my own undoing. I loved my error–not that for which I erred but the error itself. A depraved soul, falling away from security in thee to destruction in itself, seeking nothing from the shameful deed but shame itself.

10. Now there is a comeliness in all beautiful bodies, and in gold and silver and all things. The sense of touch has its own power to please and the other senses find their proper objects in physical sensation. Worldly honor also has its own glory, and so do the powers to command and to overcome: and from these there springs up the desire for revenge. Yet, in seeking these pleasures, we must not depart from thee, O Lord, nor deviate from thy law. The life which we live here has its own peculiar attractiveness because it has a certain measure of comeliness of its own and a harmony with all these inferior values. The bond of human friendship has a sweetness of its own, binding many souls together as one. Yet because of these values, sin is committed, because we have an inordinate preference for these goods of a lower order and neglect the better and the higher good–neglecting thee, O our Lord God, and thy truth and thy law. For these inferior values have their delights, but not at all equal to my God, who hath made them all.

15. “What shall I render unto the Lord”55 for the fact that while my memory recalls these things my soul no longer fears them? I will love thee, O Lord, and thank thee, and confess to thy name, because thou hast put away from me such wicked and evil deeds. To thy grace I attribute it and to thy mercy, that thou hast melted away my sin as if it were ice. To thy grace also I attribute whatsoever of evil I did not commit–for what might I not have done, loving sin as I did, just for the sake of sinning? Yea, all the sins that I confess now to have been forgiven me, both those which I committed willfully and those which, by thy providence, I did not commit. What man is there who, when reflecting upon his own infirmity, dares to ascribe his chastity and innocence to his own powers, so that he should love thee less–as if he were in less need of thy mercy in which thou forgivest the transgressions of those that return to thee?

From Book III Augustine’s student days at Carthage:

1. I came to Carthage, where a caldron of unholy loves was seething and bubbling all around me. I was not in love as yet, but I was in love with love; and, from a hidden hunger, I hated myself for not feeling more intensely a sense of
hunger. I was looking for something to love, for I was in love with loving, and I hated security and a smooth way, free from snares.

To love and to be loved was sweet to me, and all the more when I gained the enjoyment of the body of the person I loved. Thus I polluted the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence and I dimmed its luster with the slime of lust. Yet, foul and unclean as I was, I still craved, in excessive vanity, to be thought elegant and urbane. And I did fall precipitately into the love I was longing for. My God, my mercy, with how much bitterness didst thou, out of thy infinite goodness, flavor that sweetness for me! For I was not only beloved but also I secretly reached the climax of enjoyment; and yet I was joyfully bound with troublesome tics, so that I could be scourged with the burning iron rods of jealousy, suspicion, fear, anger, and strife.

5. And still thy faithful mercy hovered over me from afar. In what unseemly iniquities did I wear myself out, following a sacrilegious curiosity, which, having deserted thee, then began to drag me down into the treacherous abyss, into the
beguiling obedience of devils, to whom I made offerings of my wicked deeds. O thou my greatest mercy, my God, my refuge from those terrible dangers in which I wandered with stiff neck, receding farther from thee, loving my own ways and not thine–loving a vagrant liberty!

9. I resolved, therefore, to direct my mind to the Holy Scriptures, that I might see what they were. And behold, I saw something not comprehended by the proud, not disclosed to children, something lowly in the hearing, but sublime in the doing, and veiled in mysteries. Yet I was not of the number of those who could enter into it or bend my neck to follow its steps. For then it was quite different from what I now feel. When I then turned toward the Scriptures, they appeared to me to be quite unworthy to be compared with the dignity of Tully.64 For my inflated pride was repelled by their style, nor could the sharpness of my wit penetrate their inner meaning. Truly they were of a sort to aid the growth of little ones, but I scorned to be a little one and, swollen with pride, I looked upon myself as fully grown.

10. Thus I fell among men, delirious in their pride, carnal and voluble, whose mouths were the snares of the devil–a trap made out of a mixture of the syllables of thy name and the names of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the Paraclete.65 These names were never out of their mouths, but only as sound and the clatter of tongues, for their heart was empty of truth. Still they cried, “Truth, Truth,” and were forever speaking the word to me. But the thing itself was not in them. Indeed, they spoke falsely not only of thee–who truly art the Truth–but also about the basic elements of this world, thy creation. And, indeed, I should have passed by the philosophers themselves even when they were speaking truth concerning thy creatures…

11. Where, then, wast thou and how far from me? Far, indeed, was I wandering away from thee, being barred even from the husks of those swine whom I fed with husks.

These excerpts are taken from the first 35 pages (of 216 pp.) nad from the first 2 Books (chapters) out of a total of 13. You can access the online book here or you can click on the photo at the top of the post.

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