Guide On the Profit of Believing

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Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. I used them interchangeably. But, when I began to dig a little deeper, I realized there is a difference between the two, albeit very subtle. A verb is a part of speech which indicates action. It can either be used as a supporting verb or a linking verb.

Believing from the sidelines | WEBTOON

A noun on the other hand, is a part of speech which refers to a person, place or thing, but it can also refer to an object, state, action or concept. It may seem like I am parsing words here and this it nothing more than a lesson in semantics — but let me use an example to clarify. Fill in the blank…. Either word fits, but the meaning is different.

Trust is a feeling or a general sense. It has to do with the way you perceive another person or source of information. Which speech of theirs I always thought to be most weak, even at the time that I was their hearer: nor I alone, but you also, for I well remember, and all of us, who essayed to exercise a little more care in forming a judgment than the crowd of hearers.

But now, after that many things have been expounded and made clear to me, which used chiefly to move me: those I mean, wherein their discourse for the most part boasts itself, and expatiates the more freely, the more safely it can do so as having no opponent; it seems to me that there is no assertion of theirs more shameless, or to use a milder phrase more careless and weak than that the divine Scriptures have been corrupted; whereas there are no copies in existence , in a matter of so recent date, whereby they can prove it.

For were they to assert, that they thought not that they ought thoroughly to receive them, because they had been written by persons , who they thought had not written the truth ; any how their refusal would be more right, or their error more natural. For this is what they have done in the case of the Book which is inscribed the Acts of the Apostles.

And this device of theirs, when I consider with myself, I cannot enough wonder at. For it is not the want of wisdom in the men that I complain of in this matter, but the want of ordinary understanding. For that book has so great matters, which are like what they receive, that it seems to me great folly to refuse to receive this book also, and if any thing offend them there to call it false and inserted. Or, if such language is shameless, as it is why in the Epistles of Paul , why in the four books of the Gospel , do they think that they are of any avail, in which I am not sure but that there are in proportion many more things, than could be in that book, which they will have believed to have been interpolated by falsifiers.

But forsooth this is what I believe to be the case, and I ask of you to consider it with me with as calm and serene a judgment as possible. Therefore, were they to receive those Acts of the Apostles, in which the coming of the Holy Spirit is plainly set forth, they could not find how to say that it was interpolated. But concerning the Holy Spirit we will speak somewhat more plainly in another place. Now let us return to my purpose. This generation, says He, seeks a sign, and there shall not be given it save the sign of Jonas the prophet.

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so also shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. For why should I speak of the Apostle Paul , who in his first Epistle to the Corinthians shows that even the very history of the Exodus was an allegory of the future Christian People.

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But I would not that you should be ignorant , brethren, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and were all baptized into Moses , in the cloud, and in the sea, and did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of the spiritual Rock that followed with them; and that Rock was Christ.

But in the more part of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. But these things were figures of us, that we be not lustful of evil things, as they also lusted. Neither let us worship idols , as certain of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as certain of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand men. Neither let us tempt Christ, as certain of them tempted, and perished of serpents. Neither murmur we, as certain of them murmured, and perished of the destroyer.

But all these things happened unto them in a figure. But they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world have come. There is also in the Apostle a certain allegory, which indeed greatly relates to the cause in hand, for this reason that they themselves are wont to bring it forward, and make a display of it in disputing. For the same Paul says to the Galatians, For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one of a bond-maid, and one of a free woman. But he who was of the bond-maid was born after the flesh: but he who was of the free woman , by promise: which things were spoken by way of allegory.

For these are the two Testaments, one of Mount Sinai gendering unto bondage, which is Agar: for Sinai is a mount in Arabia, which borders upon that Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But that Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Here therefore these men too evil , while they essay to make void the Law, force us to approve these Scriptures. For they mark what is said, that they who are under the Law are in bondage, and they keep flying above the rest that last saying, You are made empty of Christ , as many of you as are justified in the Law; you have fallen from Grace. We grant that all these things are true , and we say that the Law is not necessary, save for them unto whom bondage is yet profitable: and that the Law was on this account profitably enacted, in that men, who could not be recalled from sins by reason, needed to be restrained by such a Law, that is to say, by the threats and terrors of those punishments which can be seen by fools: from which when the Grace of Christ sets us free, it condemns not that Law, but invites us at length to yield obedience to its love , not to be slaves to the fear of the Law.

Itself is Grace, that is free gift, which they understand not to have come to them from God , who still desire to be under the bonds of the Law. Whom Paul deservedly rebukes as unbelievers, because they do not believe that now through our Lord Jesus they have been set free from that bondage, under which they were placed for a certain time by the most just appointment of God.

Hence is that saying of the same Apostle, For the Law was our schoolmaster in Christ. He therefore gave to men a schoolmaster to fear , Who after gave a Master to love. And yet in these precepts and commands of the Law, which now it is not allowed Christians to use, such as either the Sabbath , or Circumcision, or Sacrifices, and if there be any thing of this kind, so great mysteries are contained, as that every pious person may understand, there is nothing more deadly than that whatever is there be understood to the letter, that is, to the word: and nothing more healthful than that it be unveiled in the Spirit.

Hence it is: The letter kills, but the Spirit quickens. Hence it is, That same veil remains in the reading of the Old Testament , which veil is not taken away; since it is made void in Christ. For there is made void in Christ , not the Old Testament , but its veil: that so through Christ that may be understood, and, as it were, laid bare, which without Christ is obscure and covered. Forasmuch as the same Apostle straightway adds, But when you shall have passed over to Christ , the veil shall be taken away.

For he says not, the Law shall be taken away, or, the Old Testament. Not therefore through the Grace of the Lord, as though useless things were there hidden, have they been taken away; but rather the covering whereby useful things were covered. In this manner all they are dealt with, who earnestly and piously, not disorderly and shamelessly, seek the sense of those Scriptures, and they are carefully shown both the order of events, and the causes of deeds and words, and so great agreement of the Old Testament with the New, that there is left no jot that agrees not; and so great secrets of figures, that all the things that are drawn forth by interpretation force them to confess that they are wretched, who will to condemn these before they learn them.

But, passing over in the mean while the depth of knowledge , to deal with you as I think I ought to deal with my intimate friend; that is, as I have myself power, not as I have wondered at the power of very learned men; there are three kinds of error , whereby men err , when they read anything.

I will speak of them one by one. The first kind is, wherein that which is false is thought true , whereas the writer thought otherwise. A second kind, although not so extensive, yet not less hurtful, when that, which is false, is thought true , yet the thought is the same as that of the writer. A third kind, when from the writing of another some truth is understood, whereas the writer understood it not.

In which kind there is no little profit, rather, if you consider carefully, the whole entire fruit of reading. An instance of the first kind is, as if any one, for example, should say and believe that Rhadamanthus hears and judges the causes of the dead in the realms below, because he has so read in the strain of Maro. For this one errs in two ways: both in that he believes a thing not to be believed , and also in that he, whom he reads, is not to be thought to have believed it. The second kind may be thus noticed: if one, because Lucretius writes that the soul is formed of atoms, and that after death it is dissolved into the same atoms and perishes, were to think this to be true and what he ought to believe.

For this one also is not less wretched, if, in a matter of so great moment, he has persuaded himself of that which is false, as certain; although Lucretius, by whose books he has been deceived, held this opinion. For what does it profit this one to be assured of the meaning of the author, whereas he has chosen him to himself not so as through him to escape error , but so as with him to err. An instance suited to the third kind is, if one, after having read in the books of Epicurus some place wherein he praises continence, were to assert that he had made the chief good to consist in virtue , and that therefore he is not to be blamed.

For how is this man injured by the error of Epicurus , what though Epicurus believe that bodily pleasure is the chief good of man: whereas he has not surrendered up himself to so base and hurtful an opinion, and is pleased with Epicurus for no other reason, than that he thinks him not to have held sentiments which ought not to be holden.

This error is not only natural to man , but often also most worthy of a man. For what, if word were brought to me, concerning some one whom I loved, that, when now he was of bearded age, he had said, in the hearing of many, that he was so pleased with boyhood and childhood, as even to swear that he wished to live after the same fashion, and that that was so proved to me, as that I should be shameless to deny it: I should not, should I, seem worthy of blame, if I thought that, in saying this, he wished to show, that he was pleased with the innocence, and with the temper of mind alien from those desires in which the race of man is wrapped up, and from this circumstance should love him yet more and more, than I used to love him before; although perhaps he had been foolish enough to love in the age of children a certain freedom in play and food, and an idle ease?

For suppose that he had died after this report had reached me, and that I had been unable to make any inquiry of him, so as for him to open his meaning; would there be any one so shameless as to be angry with me, for praising the man's purpose and wish, through those very words which I had heard? What, that even a just judge of matters would not hesitate perhaps to praise my sentiment and wish, in that both I was pleased with innocence, and, as man of man , in a matter of doubt , preferred to think well, when it was in my power also to think ill?

And, this being so, hear also just so many conditions and differences of the same Scriptures. For it must be that just so many meet us. For either any one has written profitably, and is not profitably understood by some one: or both take place unprofitably: or the reader understands profitably, whereas he, who is read, has written contrariwise. Of these the first I blame not, the last I regard not. For neither can I blame the man, who without any fault of his own has been ill understood; nor can I be distressed at any one being read, who has failed to see the truth , when I see that the readers are no way injured.


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There is then one kind most approved, and as it were most cleansed, when both the things written are well, and are taken in a good sense by the readers. And yet that also is still further divided into two: for it does not altogether shut out error. For it generally comes to pass, that, when a writer has held a good sense, the reader also holds a good sense; still other than he, and often better, often worse, yet profitably.

But when both we hold the same sense as he whom we read, and that is every way suited to right conduct of life, there is the fullest possible measure of truth , and there is no place opened for error from any other quarter. And this kind is altogether very rare, when what we read is matter of extreme obscurity: nor can it, in my opinion, be clearly known , but only believed. For by what proofs shall I so gather the will of a man who is absent or dead, as that I can swear to it: when, even if he were questioned being present, there might be many things, which, if he were no ill man, he would most carefully hide?

But I think that it has nothing to do towards learning the matter of fact, of what character the writer was; yet is he most fairly believed good, whose writings have benefited the human race and posterity. Wherefore I would that they would tell me, in what kind they place the, supposed, error of the Catholic Church. If in the first, it is altogether a grave charge; but it needs not a far-fetched defense: for it is enough to deny that we so understand, as the persons , who inveigh against us, suppose.

If in the second, the charge is not less grave; but they shall be refuted by the same saying. If in the third, it is no charge at all. Proceed, and next consider the Scriptures themselves. For what objection do they raise against the books of what is called the Old Testament? Is it that they are good, but are understood by us in an ill sense? But they themselves do not receive them. Or is it that they are neither good, nor are well understood? But our defense above is enough to drive them from this position. Or is it this that they will say, although they are understood by you in a good sense, yet they are evil?

What is this other than to acquit living adversaries, with whom they have to do, and to accuse men long ago dead, with whom they have no strife? I indeed believe that both those men profitably delivered to memory all things, and that they were great and divine. And that that Law was published, and framed by the command and will of God : and of this, although I have but very slight knowledge of books of that kind, yet I can easily persuade any, if there apply to me a mind fair and no way obstinate: and this I will do, when you shall grant to me your ears and mind well disposed: this however when it shall be in my power: but now is it not enough for me, however that matter may stand, not to have been deceived?

I call to witness , Honoratus, my conscience , and God Who has His dwelling in pure souls , that I account nothing more prudent , chaste, and religious, than are all those Scriptures, which under the name of the Old Testament the Catholic Church retains. You wonder at this, I am aware. For I cannot hide that we were far otherwise persuaded. But there is indeed nothing more full of rashness, which at that time, being boys, we had in us, than in the case of each several book, to desert expounders, who profess that they hold them, and that they can deliver them to their scholars, and to seek their meaning from those, who, I know not from what cause compelling, have proclaimed a most bitter war against the framers and authors of them.

For who ever thought that the hidden and dark books of Aristotle were to be expounded to him by one who was the enemy of Aristotle; to speak of these systems of teaching, wherein a reader may perhaps err without sacrilege? Who, in fine, willed to read or learn the geometrical writings of Archimedes, under Epicurus as a master; against which Epicurus used to argue with great obstinacy, so far as I judge, understanding them not at all?

What are those Scriptures of the law most plain, against which, as though set forth in public, these men make their attack in vain and to no purpose?

Believing is Not Trusting… Or Is It?

And they seem to me to be like that weak woman , whom these same men are wont to mock at, who enraged at the sun being extolled to her, and recommended as an object of worship by a certain female Manichee, being as she was simple-minded and of a religions spirit, leaped up in haste, and often striking with her foot that spot on which the sun through the window cast light, began to cry out, Lo, I trample on the sun and your God: altogether after a foolish and womanish manner; Who denies it?

But do not those men seem to you to be such, who, in matters which they understand not, either wherefore, or altogether of what kind they are, although like to matters cast in the way, yet to such as understand them exact and divine, rending them with great onset of speech and reproaches, think that they are effecting something, because the unlearned applaud them? Believe me, whatever there is in these Scriptures, it is lofty and divine: there is in them altogether truth , and a system of teaching most suited to refresh and renew minds: and clearly so ordered in measure, as that there is no one but may draw thence, what is enough for himself, if only he approach to draw with devotion and piety , as true religion demands.

To prove this to you, needs many reasons and a longer discourse. For first I must so treat with you as that you may not hate the authors themselves; next, so as that you may love them: and this I must treat in any other way, rather than by expounding their meanings and words. For this reason, because in case we hated Virgil, nay, rather in case we loved him not, before understanding him, by the commendation of our forefathers, we should never be satisfied on those questions about him without number, by which grammarians are wont to be disquieted and troubled; nor should we listen willingly to one who solved these at the same time praising him; but should favor that one who by means of these essayed to show that he had erred and doated.

But now, whereas many essay to open these, and each in a different way according to his capacity, we applaud these in preference, through whose exposition the poet is found better, who is believed , even by those who do not understand him, not only in nothing to have offended, but also to have sung nothing but what was worthy of praise.

So that in some minute question, we are rather angry with the master who fails, and has not what to answer, than think him silent through any fault in Maro. And now, if, in order to defend himself, he should wish to assert a fault in so great an author, hardly will his scholars remain with him, even after they have paid his fee. How great matter were it, that we should show like good will towards them, of whom it has been confirmed by so long time of old that the Holy Spirit spoke by them?

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But, forsooth, we youths of the greatest understanding, and marvellous searchers out of reasons, without having at least unrolled these writings, without having sought teachers, without having somewhat chided our own dullness, lastly, without having yielded our heart even in a measure to those who have willed that writings of this kind be so long read, kept, and handled through the whole world; have thought that nothing in them is to be believed , moved by the speech of those who are unfriendly and hostile to them, with whom, under a false promise of reason, we should be compelled to believe and cherish thousands of fables.

But now I will proceed with what I have begun, if I can, and I will so treat with you, as not in the mean while to lay open the Catholic Faith, but, in order that they may search out its great mysteries , to show to those who have a care for their souls , hope of divine fruit, and of the discerning of truth. No one doubts of him who seeks true religion, either that he already believes that there is an immortal soul for that religion to profit, or that he also wishes to find that very thing in this same religion.

Therefore all religion is for the sake of the soul ; for howsoever the nature of the body may be, it causes no care or anxiety, especially after death, to him, whose soul possesses that whereby it is blessed. For the sake of the soul , therefore, either alone or chiefly, has true religion, if there be any such, been appointed. But this soul , I will consider for what reason, and I confess the matter to be most obscure, yet errs , and is foolish, as we see, until it attain to and perceive wisdom, and perhaps this very [wisdom] is true religion.

I am not, am I, sending you to fables? I am not, am I, forcing you to believe rashly? I say that our soul entangled and sunk in error and folly seeks the way of truth , if there be any such. If this be not your case, pardon me, I pray , and share with me your wisdom; but if you recognize in yourself what I say, let us, I entreat, together seek the truth.

Put the case that we have not as yet heard a teacher of any religion. Lo we have undertaken a new matter and business. We must seek, I suppose, them who profess this matter, if it have any existence. Suppose that we have found different persons holding different opinions, and through their difference of opinions seeking to draw persons each one to himself: but that, in the mean while, there are certain pre-eminent from being much spoken of, and from having possession of nearly all peoples.

Whether these hold the truth , is a great question: but ought we not to make full trial of them first, in order that, so long as we err , being as we are men, we may seem to err with the human race itself? But it will be said, the truth is with some few; therefore you already know what it is, if you know with whom it is. Said I not a little above, that we were in search of it as unlearned men? But if from the very force of truth you conjecture that few possess it, but know not who they are; what if it is thus, that there are so few who know the truth , as that they hold the multitude by their authority, whence the small number may set itself free, and, as it were, strain itself forth into those secrets?

Do we not see how few attain the highest eloquence, whereas through the whole world the schools of rhetoricians are resounding with troops of young men? All aim at these, which are confirmed by authority of our forefathers. Crowds of unlearned persons essay to learn the same, which by the few learned are received as to be learned: yet very few attain, yet fewer practise, the very fewest possible become famous. What, if true religion be some such thing? What if a multitude of unlearned persons attend the Churches , and yet that be no proof , that therefore no one is made perfect by these mysteries?

And yet, if they who studied eloquence were as few as the few who are eloquent, our parents would never believe that we ought to be committed to such masters. Whereas, then, we have been called to these studies by a multitude, which is numerous in that portion of it which is made up of the unlearned, so as to become enamored of that which few can attain unto; why are we unwilling to be in the same case in religion, which perhaps we despise with great danger to our soul?

For if the truest and purest worship of God , although it be found with a few, be yet found with those, with whom a multitude albeit wrapped up in lusts , and removed far from purity of understanding, agrees; and who can doubt that this may happen? I ask, if one were to charge us with rashness and folly, that we seek not diligently with them who teach it, that, which we are greatly anxious to discover, what can we answer?

Why from the pursuit of liberal arts, which hardly bring any profit to this present life; why from search after money? Why from attaining unto honor ; why, in fine, from gaining and keeping good health; lastly, why from the very aim at a happy life; whereas all are engaged in these, few excel; were you deterred by no numbers? But they seemed there to make absurd statements. On whose assertion?

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Forsooth on that of enemies, for whatever cause , for whatever reason, for this is not now the question, still enemies. Upon reading, I found it so of myself.

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Mixing the Word with Believing

Is it so? Without having received any instruction in poetry, you would not dare to essay to read Terentianus Maurus without a master: Asper, Cornutus, Donatus, and others without number are needed, that any poet whatever may be understood, whose strains seem to court even the applause of the theatre; do you in the case of those books, which, however they may be, yet by the confession of nearly the whole human race are commonly reported to be sacred and full of divine things, rush upon them without a guide, and dare to deliver an opinion on them without a teacher; and, if there meet you any matters, which seem absurd, do not accuse rather your own dullness, and mind decayed by the corruption of this world, such as is that of all that are foolish, than those [books] which haply cannot be understood by such persons!

You should seek some one at once pious and learned, or who by consent of many was said to be such, that you might be both bettered by his advice, and instructed by his learning. Was he not easy to find? He should be searched out with pains. Was there no one in the country in which you lived? What cause could more profitably force to travel? Was he quite hidden, or did he not exist on the continent?

One should cross the sea. If across the sea he was not found in any place near to us, you should proceed even as far as those lands, in which the things related in those books are said to have taken place. What, Honoratus, have we done of this kind? And yet a religion perhaps the most holy , for as yet I am speaking as though it were matter of doubt , the opinion whereof has by this time taken possession of the whole world, we wretched boys condemned at our own discretion and sentence. What if those things which in those same Scriptures seem to offend some unlearned persons , were so set there for this purpose, that when things were read of such as are abhorrent from the feeling of ordinary men, not to say of wise and holy men, we might with much more earnestness seek the hidden meaning.

Perceive you not how the Catamite of the Bucolics, for whom the rough shepherd gushed forth into tears, men essay to interpret, and affirm that the boy Alexis, on whom Plato also is said to have composed a love strain, has some great meaning or other, but escapes the judgment of the unlearned; whereas without any sacrilege a poet however rich may seem to have published wanton songs? But in truth was there either decree of any law, or power of gainsayers, or vile character of persons consecrated , or shameful report, or newness of institution, or hidden profession, to recall us from, and forbid us, the search?

There is nothing of these. All laws divine and human allow us to seek the Catholic Faith; but to hold and exercise it is allowed us at any rate by human law, even if so long as we are in error there be a doubt concerning divine law; no enemy alarms our weakness, although truth and the salvation of the soul , in case being diligently sought it be not found where it may with most safety, ought to be sought at any risk ; the degrees of all ranks and powers most devotedly minister to this divine worship; the name of religion is most honorable and most famous.

What, I pray , hinders to search out and discuss with pious and careful enquiry, whether there be here that which it must needs be few know and guard in entire purity, although the goodwill and affection of all nations conspire in its favor? The case standing thus, suppose, as I said, that we are now for the first time seeking unto what religion we shall deliver up our souls , for it to cleanse and renew them; without doubt we must begin with the Catholic Church. For by this time there are more Christians , than if the Jews and idolaters be added together.

But of these same Christians , whereas there are several heresies , and all wish to appear Catholics , and call all others besides themselves heretics , there is one Church, as all allow: if you consider the whole world, more full filled in number; but, as they who know affirm, more pure also in truth than all the rest. But the question of truth is another; but, what is enough for such as are in search, there is one Catholic , to which different heresies give different names whereas they themselves are called each by names of their own, which they dare not deny.

From which may be understood, by judgment of umpires who are hindered by no favor, to which is to be assigned the name Catholic , which all covet. But, that no one may suppose that it is to be made matter of over garrulous or unnecessary discussion, this is at any rate one, in which human laws themselves also are in a certain way Christian. I do not wish any prejudgment to be formed from this fact, but I account it a most favorable commencement for enquiry. For we are not to fear lest the true worship of God ; resting on no strength of its own, seem to need to be supported by them whom it ought to support: but, at any rate, it is perfect happiness , if the truth may be there found, where it is most safe both to search for it and to hold it: in case it cannot, then at length, at whatever risk, we must go and search some other where.

Having then laid down these principles, which, as I think, are so just that I ought to win this cause before you, let who will be my adversary, I will set forth to you, as I am able, what way I followed, when I was searching after true religion in that spirit, in which I have now set forth that it ought to be sought. For upon leaving you and crossing the sea, now delaying and hesitating, what I ought to hold, what to let go; which delay rose upon me every day the more, from the time that I was a hearer of that man, whose coming was promised to us, as you know , as if from heaven, to explain all things which moved us, and found him, with the exception of a certain eloquence, such as the rest; being now settled in Italy , I reasoned and deliberated greatly with myself, not whether I should continue in that sect , into which I was sorry that I had fallen, but in what way I was to find the truth , my sighs through love of which are known to no one better than to yourself.

Often it seemed to me that it could not be found, and huge waves of my thoughts would roll toward deciding in favor of the Academics. Often again, with what power I had, looking into the human soul , with so much life, with so much intelligence, with so much clearness, I thought that the truth lay not hid, save that in it the way of search lay hid, and that this same way must be taken from some divine authority.

It remained to enquire what was that authority, where in so great dissensions each promised that he would deliver it. Thus there met me a wood, out of which there was no way, which I was very loath to be involved in: and amid these things, without any rest, my mind was agitated through desire of finding the truth. However, I continued to unsew myself more and more from those whom now I had proposed to leave. But there remained nothing else, in so great dangers, than with words full of tears and sorrow to entreat the Divine Providence to help me.