Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 349: Sermons during the Vandal Invasion
Sermons during the Vandal Invasion2
430 is the last year of Augustine’s life. He finished it as always, defending Christian truth and wisdom and persisting gloriously in confessing Christ’s grace.3 He stopped working on the books against Julian only at his death.4
God purified him by a last affliction of seeing the evils the Vandals were causing in Africa. His affliction doubled when he saw Hippo under siege. Amid misfortunes, he continued preaching God’s word firmly and vigorously up to his last illness with as much spirit and wisdom as ever he did.5
Baronius believes he preached Sermo 3, classified under Sermones de tempore according to the title, on the Thursday after Passion Sunday.6 It is an exhortation to profit from temporal misfortune in appeasing God’s justice by a true change of life. Baronius recommends it as Augustine’s last extant sermon. For this reason he placed it whole and entire in his Annales. However the style and the facts in it give reason to believe it is not Augustine’s. For a long time, capable scholars have doubted its authenticity. The Benedictines have placed in the appendix, judging it to be from Caesarius of Arles.
The sermon entitled De tempore barbarico was preached some days after the feast of St. Perpetua during the Vandal invasion in a city not yet vanquished. Bellarmine places this sermon among those having no proof of authenticity, ← 403 | 404 → although...
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