Augustine: Christianity in History

Augustine of Hippo, a catholic, was an esteemed writer of his century (late 4th, early 5th century). He wrote City of God, an extremely popular book in his time. In his writings, he taught the same message throughout, that is what I will be telling you about here.

Augustine preached in his sermons that the world will, and is, failing. Soon, Judgement Day will be upon us. It is up to us whether we will save our souls by converting to Christianity, or die and burn in everlasting fire. He believed that the world won’t heal economically or socially. However, he does make a point that the world can get better morally if Christians convert more population. But there is no mention or belief in Augustine for social reform, or, societies becoming healthier.

He gave hope to Christians: the meek have a city in heaven, that is, the city of God. He is sovereign over history, he does his will; and He will protect his followers amidst the raging seas and storms, and lift them out of destruction. Augustine encouraged martyrs with a message: as for persecutors, do not fear them; for they can only destroy the body, yet the soul will live on. The persecutors will die in the end, but the Christian, the meek, has hope for eternity. For the meek love the law of God, they love God and worship Him.

On a heavier note, Augustine said that everyone will die. Everyone dies eventually. Those of God’s number are spared from His wrath and will live in paradise. But the rest of humanity will perish in the fires of hell. So, Augustine wanted the Christians to have hope for eternity and try to minister unto “wolves”, or, unbelievers. Since the world is dying, we must leave it behind, cling to Christ, he said, in order that we might not be tempted. Temptation can be avoided if the meek rejoice for the city of God, and not establish their desires in a short mortal life.

Another message: God is sovereign. He will carry out what he has planned, and in this Christians should put their faith in.

As written above, the meek and lowly have a place in heaven. Their bodies will pass away, but their souls will rest in God’s city, not man’s. For man’s city is on earth, it is fading and dying. There will be no healing it, no reformation, no economical or social betterment. Societies can, at best, maintain their rank. But there can be an upgrade of the morals of the general population by converting more wolves. Fear not the wolves, the persecutors; they can only damage the outside, they cannot touch your soul. They will perish in eternity. Love God and His law, and he will oversee your necessities and protect you from darkness.

Augustine was clear on his messages. He taught these things, morbid though some of them are and was popular across the world of christendom.


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