This is Augustine's account of his conversion to Christ as it occurred in the garden in Milan in the spring of 386 A.D.

But when a deep consideration had from the secret bottom of my soul drawn together and heaped up all my misery in the sight of my heart, there arose a mighty storm within me, bringing forth a mighty shower of tears. So that I might pour this forth wholly, in expression unrestrained, I rose from Alypius. Solitude was suggested to me as fitter for the business of weeping, so I retired so far that even his presence could not be a burden to me. Thus was it then with me, and he perceived something of it; for something I suppose I had spoken, wherein the tones of my voice appeared choked with weeping, and so had risen up. He then remained where we were sitting, most extremely astonished. I cast myself down I know not how, under a certain fig tree, giving full vent to my tears; and the floods of mine eyes gushed out an acceptable sacrifice to Thee. And, though not actually in these words, yet to this purpose, I spoke much unto Thee, saying, "O Lord, how long? How long, Lord? Wilt Thou be angry forever? Remember not our former iniquities, for I felt that I was held by them. I sent up the sorrowful words: 'How long, how long, tomorrow and tomorrow?" Why not now? Why is there not this hour an end to my uncleanness?

Thus was I speaking and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when, lo! I heard from a neighboring house a voice as of a boy or girl, I know not which, chanting and oft repeating, "Take up and read, take up and read." Instantly my countenance altered, and I began to think most intently whether children were wont in any kind of play to sing such words; but I could not remember ever having heard ...

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