Book I
Chapter VII

Scanned and Proofread by Daniel J. Dyke


That even his infancy was subject to sin
EXAUDI, deus. vae peccatis hominum! et homo dicit haec, et misereris eius, quoniam tu fecisti eum et peccatum non fecisti in eo. quis me commemorat peccatum infantiae meae, quoniam nemo mundus a peccato coram te, nec infans, cuius est unius diei vita super terram? quis me commemorat? an quilibet tantillus nunc parvulus, in quo video quod non memini de me? quid ergo tunc peccabam? an quia uberibus inhiabam plorans? nam si nunc faciam, non quidem uberibus, sed escae congruenti annis meis ita inhians, deridebor atque reprehendar iustissime. tunc ergo reprehendenda faciebam, sed quia reprehendentem intellegere non poteram, nec mos reprehendi me nec ratio sinebat nam extirpamus et eicimus ista crescentes, nec vidi quemquam scientem, eum aliquid purgat, bona proicere. an pro tempore etiam illa bona erant, flendo petere etiam quod noxie daretur, indignari acriter non subiectis hominibus liberis et maioribus, hisque, a quibus genitus est, multisque praeterea prudentioribus non ad nutum voluntatis obtemperantibus, feriendo nocere niti quantum potest, quia non oboeditur imperiis, quibus perniciose oboediretur? ita imbecillitas membrorum infantilium innocens est, non animus infantium. vidi ego et expertus sum zelantem parvulum: nondum loquebatur, et intuebatur pallidus amaro aspectu conlactaneum suum. HEARKEN unto me, O God! Woe to the sins of men! Yet when man says thus, thou hast mercy on him: because him thou hast created, but sin in him thou hast not made. Who shall bring to my remembrance the sin of my infancy? For in thy sight can no man be clean from his sin;1 no, not an infant of a day old upon the earth. Who will put me in mind of this? Any such a little one, in whom I now observe, what of myself I remembered not? Wherein did I then sin? In that I cried too fiercely after the pap? For if I should do so at these years, crying (though not to suck again, but after such food as is convenient for my growth) I should be laughed at and reprehended for it. Even then therefore did I something worthy to be blamed: but for that I could not understand such as reprehended me, therefore would neither custom nor reason suffer me to be corrected.  For as we grow, we root and cast out such childishness: nor have I seen any man (knowing what he doth) who purging out bad things,
casts the good away also. But whether may this pass for good, (considering the time), by crying to desire what would have hurt me by being given; and to be so sullenly froward at freemen and elders that did not humour me, and mine own parents too; yea and fighting, as fiercely as I could, at divers other discreeter persons, that did not cockney me in everything; because they obeyed not my commands, which had been hurtful to me to have been obeyed. So that it is not the mind of infants that is harmless, but the weakness of their childish members. I myself have seen and observed a little baby to be already jealous; and before it could speak, what an angry and bitter look it would cast at another child that sucked away its milk from it.
   Quis hoc ignorat? expiare se dicunt ista matres atque nutrices nescio quibus remediis. nisi vero et ista innocentia est in fonte lactis ubertim manante atque abundante opis egentissimum et illo adhuc uno alimento vitam ducentem consortem non pati. sed blande tolerantur haec, non quia nulla vel parva, sed quia aetatis accessu peritura sunt. quod licet probes, cum ferri aequo animo eadem ipsa non possunt, quando in aliquo annosiore deprehenduntur. tu itaque, domine deus meus, qui dedisti vitam infanti et corpus, quod ita, ut videmus, instruxisti sensibus, conpegisti membris, figura decorasti, proque eius universitate atque incolumitate omnes conatus animantis insinuasti, jubes me laudare te in istis et confiteri tibi et psallere nomini tuo, altissime, quia deus es omnipotens et bonus, etiamsi
sola ista fecisses, quae nemo alius potest facere nisi tu, une, a quo est omnis modus, formosissime, qui formas omnia et lege tua ordinas omnia.
   Who knows not this, that mothers and nurses profess indeed to expiate these things, by I know not what remedies? But may this pass for innocency, that a baby full fed, should not endure a poor foster-child to share with him in a fountain of milk plentifully and freshly flowing, though destitute of succour, and having but that only nourishment to sustain its poor life withal? But these childnesses are with pleasure borne withal: not because they be in themselves either none or small faults, but for that they will vanish with age. Which albeit they may in this age be allowed of, yet are they in no patience to be endured in an elder body. Thou therefore, O Lord my God, who hast given both life and body to the infant; which as we see thou hast furnished with senses, compacted with limbs, beautified with shape, and for his general good and safety, hast armed all the endeavours of the whole creature: even thou commandest me to praise thee for these things, and to confess and sing unto thy Name, O thou Most High!2 Because thou art a God omnipotent and good, although thou hadst done no more but these things which none else can do, but thou alone, from whom all proportion floweth; O thou most beautiful, which fashionest all, and after thine own method disposest all. 
Hanc ergo aetatem, domine, qua me vixisse non memini, de qua aliis credidi et quam me egisse ex aliis infantibus conieci, quamquam ista multum fida coniectura sit, piget me adnumerare huic vitae meae, quam vivo in hoc saeculo. quantum enim adtinet ad oblivionis meae tenebras, par illi est, quam vixi in matris utero. quod si et in iniquitate conceptus sum, et in peccatis mater mea me in utero aluit, ubi, oro te, deus meus, ubi, domine, ego, servus tuus, ubi aut quando innocens fui? sed ecce omitto illud tempus: et quid mihi iam cum eo est, cuius nulla vestigia recolo? This age therefore of my life, O Lord, of which I remember not any passages; concerning which I must give credit to othersí relation, which, notwithstanding that I have passed, as I conjecture by other infants (although these tokens may very strongly assure my conjecture), it irks me to reckon unto the rest of that life which I lead in this world; seeing that in regard of the darkness of my forgetfulness of it, it is like that part which I passed in my motherís womb. Now, if I were shapen in iniquity, and in sin conceived by my mother;3 where, I beseech thee, O my God, in what place, Lord, was I, thy servant, where or when was I innocent? But behold I now pass by that age; for what have I to do with it, whereof I can nothing at all call to memory?

1Job xxv. 3
2Ps. xci. 2, cii. 1
3Ps. li. 5