Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)
Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren
Article 352: Augustine’s Death
Surely Possidius wished to report during Augustine’s last illness what he wrote somewhat later.1 A man came with his sick son to find Augustine, himself sick and bed-ridden. The man begged Augustine to lay his hands on his child to heal him. Augustine responded that if he had such a power he would use it on himself. This man said to Augustine he had a dream where it was said to him: “Go find bishop Augustine. Beg him to lay his hands on your son and he will recover his health.” When Augustine heard this, he quickly did what was asked of him. The Lord heard him and the sick child was immediately cured. By this miracle at the end of his life God willed to approve the sanctity of his life and his learned and pious writings.2 Possidius writes: “I know when he was a priest and later when he was a bishop people came to him asking his prayers for the possessed. When Augustine offered his prayers and tears to God these people were often delivered from the demons.” Other exterior miracles are unknown.
Augustine often said to his friends in intimate conversation that either the simple faithful who have lived morally since their baptism or bishops and other ministers must take care not to leave this world without true penitence proportioned to their sins.3 He followed his own counsel in his last illness. He ordered the penitential...