On The Mountains Of Holy Scripture I Will Feed My Sheep
Augustine was born in north Africa to a pagan Roman father and a Christian Berber mother. He spent his youth in Carthage as a true pagan and then journeyed to Rome to pursue his education. In his Confessions, he describes his time in a heretical sect and how he then came to Christ by the grace of God and the preaching of Bishop Ambrose of Milan, who baptized him in 386. Having renounced his pagan ways, Augustine soon returned to Africa and, as Bishop of Hippo, won renown as one of early Church's greatest theologians.
I shall lead them forth from the Gentiles, and I shall gather them from foreign lands; I shall bring them into their own land, and I shall feed them on the mountains of Israel. It was God who brought forth the mountains of Israel, that is to say, the authors of the divine Scriptures. Feed there that you may feed in safety. Whatever you hear from that source, you should savor. Whatever is foreign to it, reject. Hear the voice of the shepherd, lest you wander about in the mist. Gather at the mountains of holy Scripture. There, are the things that will delight your hearts; there, you will find nothing poisonous, nothing hostile; there the pastures are most plentiful. There, you will be healthy sheep; you will feed safely on the mountain of Israel.
And I shall feed them in streams and in every inhabited place in the land. From the mountains which we have shown you, there have issued the streams of the gospel message because their voice has gone forth into the whole world, and every habitable place has become pleasant and fertile for the grazing sheep.
In good pastures and on the high mountains of Israel, I shall feed them. And their grazing ground shall be there, that is, the place where they will rest, where they will say: “I am happy”; where they will say: “It is true, it is clear, we are not deceived.” They will find rest in the glory of God, when they find rest in those grazing grounds. And they will sleep, that is, find rest, and they will rest in good pleasures.
And they will be fed in rich pastures on the mountains of Israel. I have already spoken of the mountains of Israel, the good mountains to which we raise our eyes and from which may come our help. But our help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Let us not then place our hope in the good mountains themselves, but let us rely on his word which says: I will feed my sheep on the mountains of Israel. Let us not merely remain on the mountains themselves, for he added immediately: I will feed my sheep. Raise your eyes, therefore, to the mountains, whence your help comes; but take note that he says: I will feed. For your help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
who caused all Holy Scripture
to be written for our learning:
Help us to hear, mark and understand them
that, strengthened by your Holy Word,
we may ever be upheld by the assurance
of eternal life in our Lord Jesus Christ.