Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Article 334: Count Boniface (4)
Count Boniface (4)
Augustine did not dare write Boniface during his time of peril lest he expose a courier to danger.2 Augustine did not want a letter condemning the count’s conduct to fall into enemy hands. He was content to pray for Boniface’s delivery from his visible enemies. Upon discovering Paul the deacon, a trustworthy man whom Boniface esteemed, Augustine wrote Boniface out of love in the hope of finding him wise enough to profit from his counsel.
Augustine considered the evils Africa was suffering from this war far less dangerous than did others since he knew men must look to higher causes and attribute their sufferings to their own sins. Because Augustine loved the count, he desired Boniface not be numbered among those whom God uses to punish sin temporally and in turn punishes themselves eternally. In Augustine’s mind, several people were capable of advising Boniface concerning his salvation. However, a difficulty arose in finding an occasion to speak to Boniface on these matters. Thus Augustine did not wish to squander an opportunity presented through Paul.
In his letter Augustine first places before Boniface’s eyes the piety of his previous life, his desire to leave the secular world, and his promise of continence. Next Augustine showed him the unhappy state in which his second marriage, the war he waged, sins he committed, and sins of others because of him had placed him. Augustine insinuated he could not be secure...