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Conversion To Christianity (pa

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Saint Augustine
Augustine spent most of his life searching for something to believe in. Various teachings were imparted on him. His mother, Monica, had been a Catholic, and her teachings had been deeply instilled at a young age. But his father directed his education as a pagan where he learned the love of possessions and sensual exuberance. He studied various belief systems including Cicero, the Manichee, and Platonism. He eventually came back to Christianity. He studied the works of Paul and Anthony. He studied philosophy as well. But still, he couldn't find peace.
He became so frustrated that he began to question any reason for existing. He withdrew into himself, searching for an answer, looking for some direction. He wondered why he had not been baptized and rid of his sins. He began to sob uncontrollably and his heart filled with sorrow. " 'I was asking myself these questions, weeping all the while with the most bitter sorrow in my heart, when all at once I heard the sing-song voice of a child in a nearby house. Whether it was the voice of a boy or a girl I cannot say, but again and again it repeated the refrain "Take it and read, take it and read".'" (Brown 108) Augustine could not remember these words being part of a game and took them as a command to open his Scripture and read the first thing he saw, just as Anthony had. Paul's Epistles was the first thing he saw. "Not in reveling and drunkenness, not in lust and wantonness, not in quarrels and rivalries. Rather, arm yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, spend no more thought on nature and nature's appetites" was the first passage he read. In that moment, his conversion had hit its high point. "The consequence of the conversion was baptism. But with baptism the authority became unshakable for Augustine and his celibacy final" (Jaspers 67).
Augustine retired to Cassiciacum because of health problems that came on in this part of his life. He began to put together the teachings of Plato with the teachings of Paul. He began to define a new way of life, similar to that of the Egyptian monks. He began to work on several personal projects. He spent the next several years in personal contemplation about his life and moving about the region. He wanted to do something more with his life. He would eventually become a Catholic bishop at Hippo. The monastery of his church would be filled with Augustine's past friends and was made permanent. "Augustine's monasterium in Hippo became a 'seminary' in the true sense of the word: a 'seed-bed' from which Augustine's proteges were 'planted out' as bishops in the leading towns of Numidia" (Brown 143). This group was the beginning of an order of monks that would span several centuries. Because of his work, he became a true citizen in the City of God.
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was the son of a German miner. As he was growing up, both of his parents were very strict with him. "Some biographers state without hesitation that Luther's father beat into him that profound fear of authority and those pervading streaks of stubbornness and rebelliousness which allegedly caused Luther to be sickly and anxious as a boy, "sad" as a youth, scrupulous to a fault in the monastery, and beset with doubts and depressions in later life; and which finally made him pursue the question of God's justice to the point of unleashing a religious revolution" (Erikson 63). His mother caned him for stealing a single nut. "The rule was that of the rod" (McGiffert 8). Both were very religious and he became so as well.
He was educated in the University at Erfurt and was destined for law school. On one journey back to the university, at the age of twenty-one, Martin was caught in a storm, filled with lightning and thunder. "In mortal dread of death, he threw himself on the ground, crying to the patron saint of the miners, to whom he had often turned in seasons of distress: "Help, dear Saint Anna! I will become a monk" (McGiffert 17). By the morning of July 17th, 1505, he was an Augustinian monk at the monastery in Erfurt. By the morning of July 17th, 1505, he was an Augustinian monk at the monastery in Erfurt.
Luther's early years in the monastery were a time of deep spiritual trouble, filled with fears of his own worthlessness and sinfulness. Though he lived a Christian life and performed many good works, he did not feel saved. Then he discovered his own salvation, and the beginning of his Protestant vision, in a passage in St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. Salvation, he suddenly understood Paul to be saying, was "the free gift of God" and came "by faith," not through the good works. Martin recorded following the experience that he felt that he had been born again. The whole Scripture ...

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