He became the bishop of Hippo in North Africa some time after 387. Much theology of both Catholicism and Protestantism is rooted in his thought.13

Early in his Christian experience, Augustine seems to have denied the miraculous as in his homily The Epistle of Saint John. In it he referred to the tongues of Pentecost as a sign “adapted to the time” that had passed away.14

Later in life he seems to have changed. In his work The City of God he says, “For even now, miracles are wrought in the name of Christ, whether by His sacraments or by prayer or the relics of His saints.”15

Augustine then describes the various miracles of which he is personally aware. These include healings from blindness, cancer, gout, hemorrhoids, demon possession and even the raising of the dead. He even says, “I am so pressed by the promise of finishing this work that I cannot record all the miracles I know.”16

According to Augustine, a person begins to jubilate when the mouth is not able to express with words what the heart is singing. The person continues to make sounds, but the sounds are inarticulate because the heart is giving utterance to what it cannot say in works. He then says:

And for whom is such jubilation fitting if not for the ineffable God” For he is ineffable whom one cannot express in words; and if you cannot express him in words, and yet you cannot remain silent either, then what is left but sing in jubilation, so that your heart may rejoice without words, and your unbounded joy may not be confined by the limits of syllables.17

Augustine’s interest in the miraculous has led some writers to conclude correctly that, in later life, he changed his views on the miraculous ministry of the Holy Spirit.18


13. Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries, 146.

14. Augustine, The Epistle of Saint John, vol. 12 Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, 497-498.

15. Augustine, The City of God, 485.

16. Ibid., 489.

17. Francis Sullivan, Charism and Charismatic Renewal, 147. Eddie Ensley, Sounds of Wonder.

18. Richard Chenevix Trench, Notes on the Miracles of Our Lord 44.