1. (1) Cognoscam te, cognitor meus, cognoscam sicut et cognitus sum. virtus animae meae, intra in eam et coapta tibi, ut habeas et possideas sine macula et ruga. haec est mea spes: ideo loquor et in ea spe gaudeo, quando sanum gaudeo. cetera vero vitae huius tanto minus flenda quanto magis fletur, et tanto magis flenda quanto minus fletur in eis. ecce enim veritatem dilexisti, quoniam qui facit eam venit ad lucem. volo eam facere in corde meo coram te in confessione; in stilo autem meo coram multis testibus.
2. (2) Et tibi quidem, domine, cuius oculis nuda est abyssus humanae conscientiae, quid occultum esset in me, etiamsi nollem confiteri tibi? te enim mihi absconderem, non me tibi. nunc autem quod gemitus meus testis est displicere me mihi, tu refulges et places et amaris et desideraris, ut erubescam de me et abiciam me atque eligam te et nec tibi nec mihi placeam nisi de te. tibi ergo, domine,
1. (1) You know me:1 let me know you, 1 Cor 13:12let me know even as I am known. You are the strength of my soul; enter into it and shape it to your will, so that you keep and possess it Eph 5:27without blemish or wrinkle. This is my hope:2 so I declare it and Rom 12:12rejoice in that hope, because I am rejoicing in a way that does me good. As for the other things of this life, the more people cry over them the less they are actually worth crying over; and more they are worth crying over, the less people actually do. See! Ps 51:6You have loved truth, and Jn 3:21; cf. Eph 4:15whoever accomplishes truth comes to the light. I want to accomplish truth in my heart, in making my confession openly before you; but with my pen I want to do so before many witnesses.3
2. (2) After all, Lord, what is there of myself that could stay hidden before you—in whose sight Sir 42:18-20the bottomless pit of human guilt is laid bare—even if I did not want to make confession to you? I could hide you from myself: but I cannot hide myself from you. But now, because my groaning acts as my witness that I am dissatisfied with myself, you shine brightly and are pleased, and loved, and longed-for; and so I blush with shame at myself and abandon myself and choose you and—unless I am in you—I am pleasing neither to you nor to myself.4 I am open to you,
- 1Cognitor can also mean a judge or advocate; A. has these meanings in mind too.
- 2Cf. Conf. 10.43.69.
- 3First formal engagement with the purpose of writing Conf. in terms of readership. OD suggests the possibility of a per cola et commata layout for this section: it is certainly antiphonal—cf. Conf. 10.27.38, 12.10.10.
- 4A. begins to work out the intellectual consequences of his confessio and conversio, the submission of his will to God’s.