Friday, August 28, 2015

A Legend of St Augustine

St Augustine Confounds the Devil, by Michael Pacher, 1471-75, in the Alte Pinakothek of Munich.
It is also read that while St Augustine was alive in the flesh, and was reading certain things, he saw a demon pass before him carrying a book on its shoulders. And he at once abjured it that it show him what lay written therein. And the demon said that the sins of men were written therein, which it had gathered from all parts and put down in it. And he at once ordered it to show him at once and let him read if the book had any of his own sins written down in it. When it had shown him the place, Augustine found nothing written there, except that one time he had forgotten to say Compline; and commanding the devil to wait for him, he entered a church and said Compline devoutly, and completing the usual prayers, he return to it, and told it to show him the place (in the book) so that he might read it again. And as it turned the book over and over again and found that place empty, it said in anger “You have shamefully deceived me, I regret that I showed you my book, because you have cancelled your sin by the power of your prayers.” And having spoken thus, it disappeared confounded. (From The Golden Legend of Blessed Jacopo da Voragine)

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