"Saint" Augustine of Hippo (354-430) was an extremely prolific write of the 4th and 5th century. After living an extremely ungodly life full of sexual sin, he converted to Christianity and later became the Bishop of Hippo, a North African colony.
Augustine is revered by Protestants and Catholics alike. The French Reformer John Calvin drew a lot of his ideas from Augustine's writings, while the Roman Catholics claim him as one of their own. The truth is that Roman Catholicism was still evolving at that time, as it is today also. Christian theology tends to mutate over the centuries, and recombine certain elements from diverse streams, and so it would be impossible to categorize Augustine in any of today's categories. But his influence over theology today is still considerable.
Augustine's thinking was greatly influenced by Greek philosophy, especially, I believe the Greek concept of Fates in which every person's life was predestined before they come into the world.
It has come to my attention from a number of sources that Augustine prayed to Mary, the mother of Jesus, according to the flesh.
Here is what is attributed to Augustine by the Catholics. I quote from http://catholicism.about.com/od/prayers/qt/Augustine_BWM.htm
Prayer of Saint Augustine to the Blessed Virgin
O blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving, thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor, since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found the way to restoration. Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they be unequal to thy merits; and receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses. Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience, and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation. May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee, become pardonable through thee; may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted. Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for thou art the sole hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee, O blessed Lady, is our hope of reward. Holy Mary, succour the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for thy people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection. Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God, thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.
If this quote is a true reflection of what Augustine really thought and believed, then no Protestant should revere Augustine as a man who had a strong grip on truth. Why? Because this prayer ascribes SALVATION to agency of Mary! "thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world?"
The Bible says that there is ONE mediator between man and God, the MAN Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5). Catholics want to add a mediatrix (Mary)and a multitude of "saints" as fellow mediators between God and men. But if Roman Catholics do not speak according to the Word of God, they are the ones in error, notwithstanding all their spurious arguments that the Word of God actually came from them, and so can only be interpreted by them.
Again, if this prayer is a true reflection of what Augustine taught and believed, then he had an extremely POOR grasp on soteriology, or the theology of salvation. There are many theological errors in this prayer.
The Bible teaches that through Christ we can come BOLDLY before the throne of grace. If this is the case, why do we need Mary to "Carry … our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience"?
How can it be that "in Mary … is our hope of reward", and not in Christ? How can it be that "through [Mary] … we hope for the remission of sins"?
My hope is in and through Jesus Christ alone. It is not through his mother, his mother's mother, or his mother's mother's mother, or anything like that.
Mary did not die for my sins. Jesus died for my sins.
If Augustine could pray like this, he didn't have a very close relationship with God. He was very religious, but not very enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
Its such a pity that so many Christians follow the thoughts of Augustine in many areas without even realising what the man stood for.
After writing this short piece, I did further searches on the internet and found this one:
http://www.freewill-predestination.com/files/augustine.pdf . We can see that Augustine was the fountainhead or at least a promoter of many popular heresies today including:
The Doctrine of Unconditional Predestination
Prayer to Mary
Belief in the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff
A Belief that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit were essentially void by his time
He was also involved in persecuting the Donatists, whose chief difference was that they believed a man who became impious or unholy was no longer worthy to be a bishop or overseer of the church of God. That is something that seems pretty consistent to me with the doctrine of the Bible – "a bishop must be blameless" (1 Timothy 3:2). But NO, for Augustine, the grace which passes through the sacrament of "Holy Orders" to the bishop does not get withdrawn just because the man becomes a sinful backslider.
It is hard to believe that one influential churchman could be wrong on so many issues – but it is a fact, and a fact we had better deal with, or we will end up discarding the plain statements of Scripture in favor of the theology of this so-called church father who combines many of the toxic elements of Calvinism and Roman Catholicism in one person.