PROFESSOR J. F. SHAW,
"I also wrote a book on Faith, Hope, and Charity, at the request of the person to whom I addressed it, that he might have a work of mine which should never be out of his hands, such as the Greeks call an Enchiridion (Hand-Book). There I think I have pretty carefully treated of the manner in which God is to be worshipped, which knowledge divine Scripture defines to be the true wisdom of man. The book begins: 'I cannot express,'" etc.(1)
The Enchiridion is among the latest books of Augustine. It was written after the death of Jerome, which occurred Sept. 30, 420; for he alludes in ch. 87 to Jerome "of blessed memory" (sanctoe memorioe Hieronymus presbyter).
It is addressed to Laurentius, in answer to his questions. This person is otherwise unknown. One MS. calls him a deacon, another a notary of the city of Rome. He was probably a layman.
The author usually calls the book "On Faith, Hope and Love," because he treats the subject under these three heads (comp. I Cor. xiii. 13). He follows under the first head the order of the Apostles' Creed, and refutes, without naming them, the Manichaean, Apollinarian, Arian, and Pelagian heresies. Under the second head he gives a brief exposition of the Lord's Prayer. The third part is a discourse on Christian love.
The original is in the sixth volume of the Benedictine edition. A neat edition of the Latin text, with three other small tracts of Augustine, (De Catechizandis Rudibus; De Fide Return quae non creduntur ; De Utilitate Credendi), is also published in C. Marriott's S. Aurelius Augustinus, 4th ed. by H. de Romestin, Oxford and London (Parker and Comp.), 1885 (pp. 150-251.) An English edition of the same tracts by H. de Romestin, Oxford and London, 1885 (pp. 151-251). His English translation is based on that of C. L. Cornish, M.A., which appeared in the Oxford "Library of the Fathers," Oxford 1847 ("Seventeen Short Treatises of St. Aug." pp. 85-158).
The present translation by Professor Shaw was first published in Dr. Dods's series of Augustine's works, Edinburgh, (T. and T. Clark,) 3d ed. 1883. It is more free and idiomatic than that of Cornish. I have in a few cases conformed it more closely to the original.
LAURENTIUS HAVING ASKED AUGUSTINE TO FURNISH HIM WITH A HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, CONTAINING IN BRIEF COMPASS ANSWERS TO SEVERAL QUESTIONS WHICH HE HAD PROPOSED, AUGUSTINE SHOWS HIM THAT THESE QUESTIONS CAN BE FULLY ANSWERED BY ANY ONE WHO KNOWS THE PROPER OBJECTS OF FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE. HE THEN PROCEEDS, IN THE FIRST PART OF THE WORK (CHAP. IX.--CXIII.), TO EXPOUND THE OBJECTS OF FAITH, TAKING AS HIS TEXT THE APOSTLES' CREED; AND IN THE COURSE OF THIS EXPOSITION, BESIDES REFUTING DIVERS HERESIES, HE THROWS OUT MANY OBSERVATIONS ON THE CONDUCT OF LIFE. THE SECOND PART OF THE WORK (CHAP. CXIV.--CXVI.) TREATS OF THE OBJECTS OF HOPE, AND CONSISTS OF A VERY BRIEF EXPOSITION OF THE SEVERAL PETITIONS IN THE LORD'S PRAYER. THE THIRD AND CONCLUDING PART (CHAP. CXVII.-CXXII.) TREATS OF THE OBJECTS OF LOVE, SHOWING THE PRE-EMINENCE OF THIS GRACE IN THE GOSPEL SYSTEM, THAT IT IS THE END OF THE COMMANDMENT AND THE FULFILLING OF THE LAW, AND THAT GOD HIMSELF IS LOVE.