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Augustine of Hippo: “Prosperity depraved you; and adversity could not reform you”

2 March 2018
fall of Rome
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“My voice chokes, and sobs interrupt me as I dictate this. The city which has taken captive the entire world is itself taken captive; or rather it perished with hunger before it fell to the sword, and only a bare few remained to be taken prisoner…’ (Ep., 127, 2)], you were asking the way to the theatres, and going in, making full houses, in fact, behaving in a much more crazy fashion than before. It was just this corruption, this moral disease, this overthrow of all integrity and decency, that the great Scipio dreaded for you, when he stopped the building of theatres, when he saw how easily you could be corrupted and perverted by prosperity, and did not want you to be relieved from the enemy’s threats [he resisted the efforts to destroy Carthage]. He did not think that a city is fortunate when its walls are standing, while its morals are in ruins. But the temptations of wicked demons had more effect on you than the precautions of men endowed with foresight. Thus you refuse to be held responsible for the evil that you do, while you hold the Christian era responsible for the evil which you suffer. You seek security not for the peace of your country but for your own impunity in debauchery. Prosperity depraved you; and adversity could not reform you. Scipio’s desire was that you should be threatened by the enemy, to prevent you from wallowing in sensuality. But now that you have been crushed by the enemy, you have not restrained your sensuality. You have learned no salutary lesson from calamity; you have become the most wretched, and you have remained the most worthless, of mankind.”
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Saint Augustine of Hippo, The City of GodAugustine of Hippo.jpg
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