Augustine Quotations

Augustine of Hippo / 354–430 AD / Roman Province of Numidia (in modern Algeria) / Rhetorician, Christian prelate, Bishop of Hippo Regius


Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient and ever new! Late have I loved you! And, behold, you were within me, and I out of myself, and there I searched for you.

Source: Confessions, Book X.

Beauty grows in you to the extent that love grows, because charity itself is the soul’s beauty.

Source: Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Ninth Homily.


Nowhere in the Gospel do we read that the Lord said: “I am sending you a Paraclete who will teach you about the course of the sun and moon.” For He wanted to make Christians, not mathematicians.

Source: A Debate with Felix the Manichean.


The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.

Source: Tractates on the Gospel of John, Tractate XII on John 3:6–21.

Faith and Understanding

Therefore do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that thou mayest understand.

Source: Tractates on the Gospel of John, Tractate XXIX on John 7:14–18.


Therefore the good man, although he is a slave, is free; but the bad man, even if he reigns, is a slave, and that not of one man, but, what is far more grievous, of as many masters as he has vices.

Source: City of God, Book IV.


You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

Source: Confessions, Book I.


In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.

Source: The Literal Meaning of Genesis.


We both are, and know that we are, and delight in our being, and our knowledge of it. Moreover, in these three things no true-seeming illusion disturbs us; for we do not come into contact with these by some bodily sense, as we perceive the things outside of us of all which sensible objects it is the images resembling them, but not themselves which we perceive in the mind and hold in the memory, and which excite us to desire the objects. But, without any delusive representation of images or phantasms, I am most certain that I am, and that I know and delight in this. In respect of these truths, I am not at all afraid of the arguments of the Academicians, who say, What if you are deceived? For if I am deceived, I am. 

Source: City of God, Book XI.

Doubt is the origin of wisdom.

Source: City of God, Book XV.


An unjust law is no law at all.

Source: On the Free Choice of the Will.


 I was not yet in love, yet I loved to love…I sought what I might love, in love with loving.

Source: Confessions, Book II.

As a youth I prayed, “Give me chastity and continence, but not right now.”

Source: Confessions, Book VIII.


People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.

Source: Confessions, Book X.

Political Authority

Without justice what are kingdoms but great bands of robbers? And what is a band of robbers but such a kingdom in miniature?

Source: City of God, Book IV.

Political Community

A people is an assemblage of reasonable beings bound together by a common agreement as to the objects of their love, 

Source: City of God, Book XIX.


God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.

Source: Enchiridion [Manual], Chapter 27.


What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.

Source: Confessions, Book XI.


If there is something more excellent than the truth, then that is God; if not, then truth itself is God.

Source: On the Free Choice of the Will.

The Will

Will is to grace as the horse is to the rider.

Source: On the Free Choice of the Will.