Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, comments in her Message to The Mother Church for 1901: “Of the ancient writers since the first century of the Christian era perhaps none lived a more devout Christian life up to his highest understanding than St. Augustine” (p. 28).
Aurelius Augustinus, who would later become bishop of the city of Hippo in Roman North Africa and perhaps the most influential of the early Church fathers, spent his student years running with a fast crowd who reveled in all the pleasures of the flesh. In his Confessions, written in 397–398 ad, he admits that his prayer at the time was, “Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet.”
Still, even at that time Augustine was in his own way a “sincere seeker” after truth. Raised by a Christian mother and a pagan father, he explored several of the fashionable religions and philosophies of his time, becoming for a while an adherent of Manichaeism, which saw existence as an eternal struggle between forces of spiritual light and material darkness.