is there not this hour an end of my uncleanness?" ,
But know this.... Eccl 11:9
There is enormous ignorance about
Whos Who in Africa. When the question was recently asked by a media group as to
Who was the greatest African?, the answer was Robert Mugabe. Of
all those who participated in the survey none seem to think back more than a generation or
two. Most only knew the names of dictators (whom they look upon as heroes) or sports
stars. No-one remembered that the African who had the greatest and the longest lasting
influence is a man born in AD 354, in Tagaste, in an area known today as Algeria. His
mother, Monica, was a true believer but young Augustine didnt want to make a clear
decision to follow the Lord. His father was a pagan with the humanist ideas of the day.
Augustine tried to mix things in his youth because, although he was impressed
with Christianity he was magnetized by the attractions of the world. He experienced great
conflicts of conscience.
At one time, knowing that his life
should be sexually pure like his mother taught him, but being drawn by earthly delights,
he prayed: God make me chaste but not right now. In other words
he wanted to be sexually pure but not at that very moment. But the world offered him no
satisfaction, despite material and academic success, and various mistresses.
Finally, in the yard of his house,
exhausted and despairing, he burst into tears, crying, "How long, how long? Tomorrow
and tomorrow? Why not now? Why is there not this hour an end of my uncleanness?" In
that state he heard a little girls voice singing Go and read, go and
read. He ran into the house and, opening his Bible,
his eyes fell on the 13th verse of the 13th chapter of
Romans: "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." The shackles
were burst, he was "born again" and "free in the liberty wherewith Christ
hath made us free." He never returned to his life of sin.
Augustine wrote 242 books (many of them are still being reprinted
today, such as Confessions and City of God. His life was such a
blessing to the church that he, in a pre-Roman Catholic church era, became the most highly
respected Christian in the worldwide church. He became the Bishop of Hippo and remained in
that position for 34 years. He was able to give advice to Christians in a time of great
political turmoil. His wisdom helped the church resist heresies of those days. His clarity
about the sinful depravity of man, the Trinity, salvation through Jesus Christ alone, was
an inspiration of the Reformation leaders such as Luther, Calvin and Zwingli.
into the Bible have molded Christianity till now.
He has been
described by historians as: a
great sinner who became a great saint
the greatest African who ever
lived, the keenest mind of the ancient world after Plato and Aristotle, the outstanding
genius of the Church and the spearhead of the Protestant Reformation
the bestif not the very firstpsychologist in the ancient world.
died in August 430 AD during the Vandal siege of Hippo. Years later, when Mohammed came on
the scene in the Middle East, Islam was to brutally kill Christians all over North Africa
where Augustine had such tremendous influence. The religion of the sword rules
in North Africa till today. With Islam has come violence, death, poverty and ignorance.
teaches us till today, that no matter where we are in life, no matter what weve done
or how far weve strayed, it is never too late to come to the Lord and surrender our
hearts and wills to His love and mercy.
I came to love you late, O Beauty so ancient and so new, he wrote.
I came to love you late. You were within me and I was outside, where I rushed
about wildly searching for you like some monster loose in your beautiful world. You
called me, you shouted to me, you broke past my deafness. You bathed me in your
light, wrapped me in your splendor
you touched me and I burned to know your
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about July 2005 Youth Week here