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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
By Saint Augustine (354–430)
From ‘The Confessions

SO was I speaking, and weeping, in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when lo! I heard from a neighboring house a voice, as of boy or girl (I could not tell which), chanting and oft repeating, “Take up and read; take up and read.” Instantly my countenance altered, and I began to think most intently whether any were wont in any kind of play to sing such words, nor could I remember ever to have heard the like. So, checking the torrent of my tears, I arose; interpreting it to be no other than a command from God, to open the book and read the first chapter I should find. Eagerly then I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting; for there had I laid the volume of the Epistles when I arose thence. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell:—“Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” No further would I read; nor heeded I, for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light, as it were, of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.  1
  Then putting my finger between (or some other mark), I shut the volume, and with a calmed countenance, made it known to Alypius. And what was wrought in him, which I know not, he thus shewed me. He asked to see what I had read; I shewed him, and he looked even farther than I had read, and I knew not what followed. This followed: “Him that is weak in the faith, receive ye”; which he applied to himself and disclosed to me. And by this admonition was he strengthened; and by a good resolution and purpose, and most corresponding to his character, wherein he did always far differ from me for the better, without any turbulent delay he joined me. Thence we go to my mother: we tell her; she rejoiceth: we relate in order how it took place; she leapeth for joy, and triumpheth and blesseth thee, “who art able to do above all that we ask or think”: for she perceived that thou hadst given her more for me than she was wont to beg by her pitiful and most sorrowful groanings.  2

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