Augustine, The City of God against the Pagans

LCL 411: 136-137

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Saint Augustine

ingratis praestitit ut vel sub nomine servorum eius vel in locis martyrum eius hostiles manus evaderetis. Romulus et Remus asylum constituisse perhibentur, quo quisquis confugeret ab omni noxa liber esset, augere quaerentes creandae multitudinem civitatis. Mirandum in honorem Christi processit exemplum. Hoc constituerunt eversores Urbis, quod constituerant antea conditores. Quid autem magnum, si hoc fecerunt illi ut civium suorum numerus suppleretur, quod fecerunt isti ut suorum hostium numerositas servaretur?


De latentibus inter impios ecclesiae filiis et de falsis intra ecclesiam Christianis.

Haec et alia, si qua uberius et commodius potuerit, respondeat inimicis suis redempta familia domini Christi et peregrina civitas regis Christi.

Meminerit sane in ipsis inimicis latere cives futuros, ne infructuosum vel apud ipsos putet, quod, donec perveniat ad confessos, portat infensos; sicut ex illorum numero etiam Dei civitas habet secum, quamdiu peregrinatur in mundo, conexos communione sacramentorum, nec secum futuros in aeterna sorte sanctorum, qui partim in occulto, partim


Book I

is He who has granted you to escape the enemy’s hands either by taking the name of His servants or in the sanctuaries of the martyrs. Romulus and Remus, seeking a means of increasing the population of the city they were founding, are alleged to have established an asylum where any man might seek refuge and be free from guilt,1 an admirable precedent that in due course was followed in the respect shown to Christ’s name. The destroyers of the city have set up the very thing that its founders had set up before. Furthermore, how can we regard their doing so as a great thing, who did it to supplement the number of their own citizens, when these did the same in order to preserve the great numbers of their own enemies?


On sons of the Church, hidden among the wicked, and on false Christians within the Church.

These and other answers, if any fuller and fitter arguments can be found, let the redeemed family of the Lord Christ and the pilgrim city of Christ the King deliver to their enemies.

Let the city by all means remember that among the very enemy lurk some who will become citizens. Let her not assume even in their case that no harvest can be reaped while we bear their enmity until such time as they profess Christianity. Likewise among those now professing, the City of God has in her company during her pilgrimage in the world, joined to her by sharing the sacraments, some who will not be with her to share eternally in the lot of the saints. Some secretly and some openly there are who even in company

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.augustine-city_god_pagans.1957