Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 272: Boniface as African General
Boniface as African General
Boniface desired to go beyond Augustine’s advice.1 He had been married with at least one daughter who was married to Count Sebastianus.2 Nevertheless worldly vanity horrified him and he desired to retire, live as a monk, and serve God alone.3 He was lonely after his wife’s death. He met Augustine and Alypius shortly thereafter. He recounted to them his desire to leave secular affairs and spend his life in holy solitude, fighting his demons in the quiet of the company of Christ’s soldiers.
Alypius and Augustine did not encourage this plan. They indicated he was more useful to the Church in his present state, provided he would use his arms in behalf of the republic to further peace by repressing the barbarian incursions. In this world he should seek only the necessities of life for himself and the nation. He should happily receive goods of this world when offered, but ought not to seek them when refused or taken away. Otherwise through love of earthly goods he might possibly commit grave evil. To fortify himself with spiritual weapons he should observe continence. Boniface resolved to remain in the world and embrace continence. He lived at Tubunes.4 Two cities with this name exist, one in Numidia and the other in Caesarean Mauretania. The former is more naturally understood as his place of residence. The modern town is unknown.
Augustine and Alypius gave Boniface this counsel because they...