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The Life of Augustine of Hippo

Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)

Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren

The seventeenth century was the century of Saint Augustine. In 1695, Louis Sébastien, Le Nain de Tillemont, finished volume 13 of his Mémoires ecclésiastique, entitled La vie de saint Augustin. The volume consisted of approximately 1200 pages wherein Louis Sébastien gathered from the works of Augustine and elsewhere all extant passages relevant to the biography of Augustine of Hippo. Completed in 1695, the biography was published posthumously in 1700. The work lies in the tradition of Jansenism from Port-Royal and the Leuven. Though an ascetic recluse on the family estate for the last twenty years of his life, he was in touch with important French scholars and the ecclesiastical movements of his time. Louis’ work is the first modern biography of Augustine and the most comprehensive of all Augustinian biographies, even today. Modern authors consult him and frequently adopt his theories without citation. His method exercises influence on contemporary Parisian scholarship on Augustine. This English translation has been divided into three volumes covering three time periods: part 1: birth to episcopal consecration (354–396); part 2: the Donatist controversy (396–411); part 3: the Pelagian controversy (411–430).
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Article 321: Cure of Two Children (1)

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ARTICLE 321

Cure of Two Children (1)

In 425 Easter apparently was celebrated in Hippo on March 22. The miraculous cure of Paul and Palladia occurred on that occasion. This miracle was no greater than many others but it was so public and brilliant no one in Hippo was ignorant of it nor could it ever be forgotten.1

A family of ten children, seven boys and three girls, was living In Caesarean Cappadocia.2 Paul was the sixth child and his sister Palladia the seventh.3 They were from a good family.4 Their father died and their mother was a widow.5 Apparently soon after the father’s death the eldest child began to calumniate his mother and quarrel with her.6 The other children witnessed her pain, but said nary a word.

This afflicted mother could not withstand this outrage.7 She was moved to anger and resolved to avenge herself with her eldest son by cursing him.8 Early one morning she went to the baptismal fount to wish God’s curse upon him. She met the devil under the guise of her brother-in-law who asked where she was going. She responded she was going to curse her son because of the outrage committed against her. The enemy found her heart open to suggestion. He counseled her to curse the entire family. Animated by this counsel, she rent her hair and uncovered her breasts to prostrate herself at the foot of the sacred founts. She embraced her breasts...

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