For those who may find it useful, I've scanned and placed online Weiskotten's English translation of Possidius' Life of St. Augustine. Life of St. Augustine, by Possidius, c. 5th century. Possidius, a friend of Augustine for over forty years, wrote a biography of Augustine's life. Possidius himself. In his Life of Augustine, Possidius wrote, "I lived in close friendship with him for forty years." He assisted Augustine against the heretical movements of Donatism.


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For as when one member suffers, all the members suffer with it, so when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. He is chosen bishop while Valerius is still living, and possidius life of augustine ordained by the primate Megalius But the blessed and aged Valerius rejoiced more than others on this account and gave thanks to God for the special blessing bestowed upon him.

He began to fear, however, for such is human nature, that Augustine would be sought for the episcopal office and be taken from him by some other church which lacked a bishop.

And this would have happened, had not the bishop himself, since he knew of possidius life of augustine, taken care that he should remove to a secret place, and had thus hidden him so that he could not be found by those who sought him.

But since the venerable old man still feared this and realized that he was aged and very infirm, he communicated by a secret 57 letter with the Bishop of Carthage, the episcopal Primate, mentioning the weakness of his body and the burden of his years, and beseeching that Augustine might be ordained bishop of the church of Hippo, because he would not in that case then succeed to his office, but would be associated possidius life of augustine him as coadjutor-bishop.

And what he thus sought and desired he obtained in a satisfactory answer. Later on, accordingly, when Megalius, Bishop of Calama, and at that time primate of Numidia, had come at his request to visit the church at Hippo, unexpectedly to all the bishop Valerius made his desire known to the bishops who happened at that time to be present, and to all the clergy of Hippo and to all the people.

But while all who heard rejoiced and clamored most eagerly that this should be done and accomplished, the presbyter refused to accept the episcopate contrary to the custom of the Church, since his bishop was still living.

However, when they had convinced him that this was generally done and had appealed to examples from the churches across the sea as well as in Africa, though he had been ignorant of it before, under compulsion and constraint he yielded and accepted the ordination to the higher office.

Later he both said and wrote that this should not have been done in his case, namely to ordain him while his bishop was still living, because of the prohibition of the Ecumenical Council of which he learned after his ordination ; for that which he regretted to have had done in his case he did not wish to have done to others.

Augustine and Possidius, in 'Life of St Augustine', by Possidius

Therefore he endeavored to have it decreed by the councils of the bishops that the rules governing all the priests should be made known by the ordaining bishops to those about to be ordained and to those already ordained.

And so it was done. He contends with the Donatists As bishop he preached the Word of eternal salvation much more earnestly and fervently and with greater authority, no longer in one district only, but wherever he went in answer to requests, ready always to give an answer to every man that asked of him a reason of the faith and hope which is toward God.

And the Church of the Lord flourished and grew rapidly and strongly. The Donatists in particular, who lived in Hippo and the neighboring towns, brought his addresses and writings to their bishops.

And if, when they had possidius life of augustine these, they perchance made any possidius life of augustine, they were either refuted by their own followers or else their replies were brought to the holy Augustine; and when he had reviewed them patiently and calmly and, as it is written, he worked out the salvation of men with fear and trembling, showing how they would and could refute nothing and how true and manifest is that doctrine which the Church of God holds and has understood ; on these things he possidius life of augustine continually by day and by night.

He even wrote possidius life of augustine letters to prominent bishops of this error and to laymen, urging and exhorting them by the arguments which he offered that they should either abandon the error or at least enter into a discussion with him. In their distrust they were possidius life of augustine willing even to answer him in writing, but in anger spoke furiously, privately and publicly declaring that Augustine was a seducer and deceiver of souls.

They said and preached that the wolf must be killed in defence of their flock, and neither fearing God nor ashamed before men, they taught the people to believe that whoever should be able to do this would undoubtedly have all his sins forgiven of God.

Meanwhile Augustine sought to make known to all their lack 61 of confidence in their own cause, and when they met in public conferences they did not dare to debate with him.


The madness of the Circumcellions These Donatists had in nearly all their churches an unusual kind of men, perverse and violent, going about under a profession of continency, who were called Circumcellions.

They were very numerous and formed themselves into bands throughout almost all the regions of Africa. Inspired by evil teachers, in their insolent boldness and lawless temerity possidius life of augustine never spared either their own or strangers, and in violation possidius life of augustine right and justice deprived men of their civil rights; and unless men obeyed, they were visited with the severest losses and injuries, when armed with every kind of weapon, the Circumcellions madly overran the farms and estates and did not even hesitate to shed human blood.

But while the Word of God was diligently preached, whenever any plan of peace was suggested to those who hated peace, they freely assailed whoever talked of it.

Possidius - Wikipedia

And when, despite possidius life of augustine teachings, the truth became known, those who would and could do so either openly tore themselves away from them or secretly withdrew and together with as many of their friends as they could obtain, adhered to the peace and unity of the Church. As a result, seeing that the congregations of their error were growing smaller, and being envious of the growth of the Church, these heretics were inflamed and burned with fiercest possidius life of augustine and with the help of their confederates began intolerable persecutions against the unity of the Church.

They also threw lime mixed with vinegar in the eyes of some and others they murdered. Wherefore these rebaptizing Donatists came to be hated even by their own.

Progress of the Church through Augustine Now as the divine possidius life of augustine prospered, the clergy in the possidius life of augustine at Hippo who had served God under and with the holy Augustine in the monastery began to be ordained.

And the truth taught by the Catholic Church, the manner of life of the holy servants of God, their continence and abject poverty became more known and celebrated day by day. Then the Church, for the sake of its peace and unity, first began to demand with great eagerness bishops and clergy from the monastery which had begun to exist and grow through the efforts of that memorable man, and later obtained them.