Please help with a St. Augustine quote

Below is a “quote” by St. Augustine that I read in a book(not a Christian book) in a used book store. Can any one point me to the writing that this came from?

St. Augustine tells us that “that which is called the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist from the beginning of the human race until Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion, which already existed, began to be called Christianity”

Thank you in advance.

I found this on New Advent.

I didn’t read it but section one speaks of “ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY AND ITS RELATION WITH OTHER RELIGIONS” and goes into St. Augustines quote from Retract., I, xiii, 3.

Not sure if this helps or not.

God Bless

I’m not sure where that quote comes from, but St. Justin Martyr said the same thing eariler:

But lest some should, without reason, and for the perversion of what we teach, maintain that we say that Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Cyrenius, and subsequently, in the time of Pontius Pilate, taught what we say He taught; and should cry out against us as though all men who were born before Him were irresponsible — let us anticipate and solve the difficulty. We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; and among the barbarians, Abraham, and Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and names we now decline to recount, because we know it would be tedious. So that even they who lived before Christ, and lived without reason, were wicked and hostile to Christ, and slew those who lived reasonably.

It sounds as though it is from “the Retractions”.

It is. Thanks for the tip. :slight_smile: I was able to find it. It is in Book 1, Chapter 12, article 3 of The Retractions:

(3) Again, when I said: “In our times, this is the Christian religion which to know and follow is most secure and most certain salvation,” I did so with reference to the name only, not to the thing itself of which this is only the name. For what is now called the Christian religion existed even among the ancients and was not lacking from the beginning of the human race until “Christ came in the flesh.”6 From that time, true religion, which already existed, began to be called Christian. For, after the Resurrection and the Ascension into heaven, when the disciples had begun to preach Him and many believed, “the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch,” as is written. For this reason, I said: “In our times, this is the Christian religion,” not because it did not exist in former times, but because it had received this name in later times.

—Augustine of Hippo, The Retractations, ed. Roy Joseph Deferrari, trans. Mary Inez Bogan, vol. 60, The Fathers of the Church (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1968), 52.

It doesn’t appear that The Retractions is one of the (many) works of Augustine that is on the New Advent webpage.

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I’ll also add (just to head off any potential misunderstanding) this helpful article from Catholic Answers on why “Retractions” is actually not the best translation of the Latin title Retractationes:

It really is more accurately thought of as “Corrections” or “Second Thoughts”, not in terms of denying things he taught earlier, but rather clarifying them.

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Yeah. It makes a big difference. If you found retractions online, would you share the link?

I didn’t find it online. I have it as a digital book via Verbum/Logos Bible software.

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Thanks. I am going to check out the link

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