Book I
Chapter VI


That he hath received all blessings from God: and how he hath been preserved by him
SED tamen sine me oqui apud misericordiam tuam, me terram et cinerem, sine tamen loqui, quoniam ecce misericordia tua est, non homo, inrisor meus, cui loquor. et tu fortasse inrides me, sed conversus misereberis mei. quid enim est quod volo dicere, domine, nisi quia nescio, unde venerim hue in istam, dico vitam mortalem, an mortem vitalem? nescio. et susceperunt me consolationes miserationum tuarum, sicut audivi a parentibus carnis meae, ex quo et in qua me formasti in tempore; non enim ego memini. exceperunt ergo me consolationes lactis humani, nec mater mea vel nutrices meae sibi ubera implebant, sed tu mihi per eas dabas alimentum infantiae, secundum institutionem tuam, et divitias usque ad fundum rerum dispositas. tu etiam mihi dabas nolle amplius, quam dabas, et nutrientibus me dare mihi velle quod eis dabas: dare enim mihi per ordinatum affectum volebant quo abundabant ex te. nam bonum erat eis bonum meum ex eis, quod ex eis non, sed per eas erat: ex te quippe bona omnia, deus, et ex deo meo salus mihi universa. quod animadverti postmodum clamante te mihi per haec ipsa, quae tribuis intus et foris. nam tunc sugere noram et adquiescere delectationibus, flere autem offensiones carnis meae, nihul amplius.  YET suffer me to plead before thy Mercy, even me, who am but dust and ashes: once again let me speak, seeing 'tis thy mercy to which I address my speech, and not man who is my mocker. Yet even thou perhaps dost smile at me; but turning, thou wilt pity me. What is it that I would say, O Lord my God, but even this: that I know not whence I came hither; into this, a dying life (shall I call it) or a living death rather? I know not. And the comforts of thy mercies did take me up, as I have heard it of the parents of my flesh, out ot whom, and in whom thou sometimes did form me, for I myself cannot remember it. The comfort therefore of a woman's milk did then entertain me: yet did neither my mother nor nurses fill their own breasts; but thou, O Lord, didst by them afford a nourishment fit for my infancy, even according to thine own institution, and those riches of thine, reaching to the root of all things. Thou also ingraftedst in me a desire to suck no more than thou suppliedst them withal; and in my nurses to afford me what thou gavest them: for they were willing to dispense unto me with proportion, what thou suppliedst them with in abundance. For it was a blessing to them, that I received this blessing from them: which yet was rather by them, than from them. For all good things proceed from thee, O God, and from my God cometh all my healthfulness. And so much I observed afterwards, when thou didst cry unto me by those instincts of nature which thou induedst me withal, both inwardly and outwardly. For then first I knew how to suck; and to be contented with what did please me, and to cry at what offended my flesh, nothing more.
Post et ridere coepi, dormiens primo, deinde vigilans. hoc enim de me mihi indicatum est et credidi, quoniam sic videmus alios infantes; nam ista mea non memini. et ecce paulatim sentiebam, ubi essem, et voluntates meas volebam ostendere eis, per quos implerentur, et non poteram, quia illae intus erant, foris autem illi, nec ullo suo sensu valebant introire in animam meam. itaque iactabam et membra et voces, signa similia voluntatibus meis, pauca quae poteram, qualia poteram: non enim erant veri similia. et cum mihi non obtemperabatur, vel non intellecto vel ne obesset, indignabar non subditis maioribus, et liberis non servientibus, et me de illis flendo vindicabam. tales esse infantes didici, quos discere potui, et me talem fuisse magis mihi ipsi indicaverunt nescientes quam scientes nutritores mei. Afterwards I began also to laugh; first sleeping, and then waking: for thus much was told me of myself, and I easily believed it, for that we see other infants do so too. For these things of myself I remember not. And behold, by little and little I came on to perceive where I was; and I had the will to signify what I would have, to those that should help me to it: but I could not yet clearly enough express my desires to them; for these were within me, and they without me; nor could the guess of their senses dive into my meaning. Thereupon would I flutter with my limbs, and sputter out some words, making some other few signs, like to my wishes, as well as I could; but could not get myself to be understood by them: and when people obeyed me not, either for that they understood me not, or lest what I desired should hurt me; then how would I wrangle at those elder servants that would not submit to me, and the children that did not aptly humour me, and I thought to revenge myself upon them all, with crying. And this is, as I have learned, the fashion of all children, that I could hear of: and such an one was I, as those taught me, not knowing, better than my nurses who knew. 
Et ecce infantia mea olim mortua est et ego vivo, tu autem, domine, qui et semper vivis et nihil moritur in te, quoniam ante primordia saeculorum et ante omne, quod vel ante dici potest, tu es et deus es dominusque omnium, quae creasti, et apud te rerum omnium instabilium stant causae, et rerum omnium mutabilium inmutabiles manent onigines, et omnium inrationalium et temporalium sempiternae vivunt rationes, dic mihi supplici tuo, deus, et misericors misero tuo, dic mihi, utrum alicui iam aetati meae mortuae successerit infantia mea. an illa est, quam egi intra viscera matris meae? nam et de illa mihi nonnihil indicatum est et praegnantes ipse vidi feminas. quid ante hanc etiam, dulcedo mea, deus meus? fuine alicubi aut aliquis? nam quis mihi dicat ista, non habeo; nec pater nec mater potuerunt, nec aliorum experimentum, nec memoria mea. an irrides me ista quaerentem, teque de hoc, quod novi, laudari a me iubes, et confiteri me tibi? confiteor tibi, domine caeli et terrae, laudem dicens tibi de primordiis et infantia mea, quae non memini; et dedisti ea homini ex aliis de se conicere et auctoritatibus etiam muliercularum multa de se credere. eram enim et vivebam etiam tunc, et signa, quibus sensa mea nota aliis facerem, iam in fine infantiae quaerebam. unde hoc tale animal nisi abs te, domine? an quisquam se faciendi erit artifex? aut ulla vena trahitur aliunde, qua esse et vivere currat in nos, praeterquam quod tu facis nos, domine, cui esse et vivere non aliud atque aliud est, quia summe esse atque summe vivere id ipsum est? summus enim es et non mutaris, neque peragitur in te hodiernus dies, et tamen in te peragitur, quia in te sunt et ista omnia: non enim haberent vias transeundi, nisi contineres ea. et quoniam anni tui non deficiunt, anni tui hodiernus dies: et quam multi iam dies nostri et patrum nostrorum per hodiernum tuum transierunt, et ex illo acceperunt modos, et utcumque extiterunt, et transibunt adhuc alii et accipient et utcumque existent. tu autem idem ipse es, et omnia crastina atque ultra omniaque hesterna et retro hodie facies, hodie fecisti. quid ad me, si quis non intellegat? gaudeat et ipse dicens: quid est hoc? gaudeat etiam sic, et amet non inveniendo invenire, potius quam inveniendo non invenire te. And now behold, my infancy is dead long ago, yet I live still. But thou, O Lord, who both livest for ever, and in whom nothing dies, (because that before the foundations of the world, and before everything else, that can be said to be before, thou art both God and Lord of all which thyself hath created; and in whose presence are the causes of all uncertain things, and the immutable patterns of all things mutable, with whom do live the eternal reasons of all these contingent chance-medleys, for which we can give no reason) tell, I pray thee, O God, unto me thy suppliant: thou who art merciful, tell me who am miserable, did my infancy succeed to any other age of mine that was dead before; or was that it which I past in my mother's belly? for something have I heard of that too, and myself have seen women with child. What passed before that age, O God my delight? Was I anywhere, or anybody? For I have none to tell me thus much:
neither could my father and mother, nor the experience of others, nor yet mine own memory. Dost thou laugh at me for enquiring these things, who commandest to praise and to confess to thee for what I know? I confess unto thee, O Lord of heaven and earth, and I sing praises unto thee for my first being and infancy, which I have no memory of: and thou hast given leave to man, by others to conjecture of himself, and upon the credit of women to believe many things that concern himself. For even then had I life and being, and towards the end of mine infancy, I sought for some significations to express my meaning by unto others. Whence could such a living creature come, but from thee, O Lord? Or hath any man the skill to frame himself? Or is any vein of ours, by which being and life runs into us, derived from any original but thy workmanship, O Lord, to whom being and living are not several things, because both to be and to live in the highest degree, is of thy very essence? For thou art the highest, and thou art not changed; neither is this present day spent in thee; yet it is spent in thee, because even all these times are in thee; nor could have their ways of passing on, unless thou containedst them. And because thy years fail not, thy years are but this very day.1 And how many soever our days and our fathersí days have been, they have all passed through this one day of thine: from that day have they received their measures and manners of being: and those to come shall so also pass away, and so also receive their measures and manners of being. But thou art the same still; and all tomorrows and so forward, and all yesterdays and so backward, thou shalt make present in this day of thine: yea, and hast made present. What concerns it me, if any understand not this? let him rejoice notwithstanding and say: What is this? Let him so also rejoice, and rather love to find in not finding it out, than by finding it, not to find thee with it.

1PS. cii. 27