One of the most extensive resources on the internet for the study of early Christianity

“Augustine on The Episcopate

from City of God, 19. 19

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Click here to read at earlychurchtexts.com in the original Latin (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is from the NPNF series.

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 Relevant books
 available at Amazon

Many Augustine translations
and studies with links to Amazon

A selection below

 

Peter Brown biography

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Allan Fitzgerald

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Henry Chadwick
a short indroduction

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William Harmless.
Extracts from several of Augustine's main works

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Henry Chadwick's translation of "Confessions"

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R.W.Dyson's translation of "The City of God"

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R.P.H. Green's translation of "On Christian Teaching"

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Gareth Matthews' translation of "On The Trinity" (books 8 - 15)

 

And, in active life, it is not the honors or power of this life we should covet, since all things under the sun are vanity, but we should aim at using our position and influence, if these have been honorably attained, for the welfare of those who are under as, in the way we have already explained. It is to this the apostle refers when he says, "He that desireth the episcopate desireth a good work." He wished to show that the episcopate is the title of a work, not of an honor. It is a Greek word, and signifies that he who governs superintends or takes care of those whom be governs: for "epi" means over, and "skopein", to see; therefore "episkopein" means to oversee. So that he who loves to govern rather than to do good is no bishop. Accordingly no one is prohibited from the search after truth, for in this leisure may most laudably be spent; but it is unseemly to covet the high position requisite for governing the people, even though that position be held and that government be administered in a seemly manner. And therefore holy leisure is longed for by the love of truth; but it is the necessity of love to undertake requisite business. If no one imposes this burden upon us, we are free to sift and contemplate truth; but if it be laid upon us, we are necessitated for love's sake to undertake it. And yet not even in this case are we obliged wholly to relinquish the sweets of contemplation; for were these to be withdrawn, the burden might prove more than we could bear.


 

 

 

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from City of God, Book 19, chapter 19
Civitas Dei
De Civitate Dei
Augustine's views about bishops and episcopacy
Bishop and Superintendent
Migne Latin
Patrologiae Latinae Cursus Completus
Patrologia Latina

 

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