Augustine’s Confessions is a spiritual autobiography that describes the Saint’s
life and suffering, focusing on his spiritual development and conversion to
Book 4 Outline
I-III Searching for Deliverance
Augustine is in a conflicted state of mind where he desires the truth and wants to
approach God but continues to act sinfully.
He narrates how he studied liberal arts or Manicheism and explains that he led a public
and private life based on deception. Deep down he recognized that this was inglorious.
He describes how he was a teacher of Rhetorics and was driven by his aspirations
committing sinful actions such as treating trickery. He mentions how he shares his life with
a woman he has an unwanted child with. Although he was faithful to her, their relationship
was driven by mutual pleasure and not real love. He begins to see the sin in his life and
his consciousness is unrested.
He identifies astrology to be contrary to Christianity but still practices it. Astrology denies
that sin derives from the individual. He recognizes that the individual must ask for
forgiveness. He meets a wise man who tells him he should not believe in astrology as it is
nonsense and fake.
IV-IX Loss of a Friend
In recounting the death of his beloved friend, Augustine not only distinguishes
transience from permanence in terms of grief and faith, but also discovers the
meaning of a true friendship.
After his beloved friend died prematurely from an illness, Augustine was overcome with
intense grief and mourning. He decided that he felt grief ONLY because he was attached
to this “mortal,” temporary friend.
Augustine was unwilling to surrender his own life for his dying friend because the more he
loved his friend, the more he feared that death would destroy their relationship. In the end,
Augustine states that he feared death. He contrasts this situation with Orestes and
Orestes and Pylades “wanted to die for each other and both together, because for either
life without the other was worse than death” (Augustine 61). Chapter VII - VIII
Augustine’s misery after his friend’s death would not cease because he had no “firm and
solid” idea of God at the time. He concludes that only God can relieve one’s misery.
Because of his grief, Augustine learned many lessons about friendship. In order to have a
good friendship, one must give affection in order to receive it back.
Finally, Augustine reaches the definition of friendship: expecting nothing from a friend
except affection. He also declares that affection is