Recently I have re-visited a handful of Saint Augustine’s works. For my undergraduate studies I was fortunate enough to take a course on Saint Augustine taught by Dr. Chris Bounds (fantastic course, fantastic teacher), but once again I have found the happy pleasure of marching through Augustine’s Confessions and Christian Teaching, and the experience has been, yet again, quite uplifting.
I find his writings utterly compelling. When I read his writings I feel as though they have been written and addressed to me. This feeling is similar to the way I feel on the Lord’s Day; I am sitting in a pew, I am listening to the sermon, and I feel as though the Pastor has peered into my soul and addressed my very own sin.
So, in addition to that, what is it exactly that I find to be so compelling about Saint Augustine? If I had to pin it down, I would emphasize three points: First, his hermeneutic of love; second, his pastoral concern; and third, his ability to write with the utmost emotion and sincerity. Pastor D.M. Lloyd-Jones once commented that the “lightning and thunder” of a pastor is oftentimes lost in a written text, but, with Saint Augustine, “lightning and thunder” is commonplace. His ability to communicate in love with livelihood is absolutely gripping.