Erasmus infers from the style
and language of this piece, that it is not S. Augustin’s, putting
it in the same category with the treatises On Continence, On
substance of Charity, On Faith of things invisible. The
Benedictine editors acknowledge that it has peculiarities of style
which are calculated to move suspicion; (especially the studied
assonances and rhyming endings, e.g. “cautior fuit iste in
doloribus quam ille in nemoribus . . . consensit ille
oblectamentis, non cessit ille tormentis,” chap. 12.); yet
they feel themselves bound to retain it among the genuine works by
Augustin’s own testimony, who mentions both this piece and that
On Continence in his Epistle to Darius, 231. chap. 7. [Vol.
I. 584.] That it is not named in the Retractations is
accounted for by the circumstance that it appears to have been
delivered as a sermon, see chap. 1. and 3, and Augustin did not
live to fulfill his intention of composing a further book of
retractations on review of his popular discourses and letters.
Ep. 224. chap. 2. In point of matter and doctrine this treatise
has nothing contrary to or not in harmony with S. Augustin’s
known doctrine and sentiments.