Augustine considers the same problem: What to do with his promising political career? As a teacher preparing students for rhetoric and law, he trained them for such worthless projects as public affairs, which were dangerous to man in almost every way.
In the famous scene in Book 8 of the Confessions, Augustine encounters the Life of Anthony, the African monk. Augustine sees that he must withdraw from involvement in public life. He cites Ponticianus who, in the city of Treves, on reading this Life of Anthon, asked himself: “What do we hope to gain by all the efforts we make? What are we looking for? What is our purpose in serving the State? Can we hope for anything better at Court than to be the Emperor’s friends?” -Excerpt from Political Withdrawal? By James V. Schall, S.J.
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