Cyprian’s thoughts about his conversion
Posted: March 28, 2007 Filed under: Patristic Church History
Review of Cyrpian, To Donatus 1-8, 14-16 [trans. Roy J. Deferrari, Saint Cyprian: Treatises (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1958), 7-14, 19-21].
Cyprian writes with a love and fervor about His Lord and Savior. He finds talking about such matters a joy and not a waste of time in the least! He describes his state before conversion as a “darkness and in the obscure night”, and mentions that it was not his true life but being tossed upon an endless sea of doubt. He was a stranger to the truth and to the true light of life and found it hard to believe he could receive the mercy that is promised for his salvation. He was encouraged that he can cast off his old garments of sin and receive a new life of saving water that Christ gives to all who receive. He wondered to himself, “how is such a conversion possible, that the innate which has grown hard in the corruption of natural material or when acquired has become inverterate by the affliction o old age should suddenly be put aside?” He recounts that pride does puff up and anger only inflames, covetous disturbs, cruelty stimulates and lust plunges into ruin. He says those things because he knew that in his former life he would indulge himself but now after the cleansing of the Spirit he has been restored to a new man, a new creature. He expresses that his telling of these things cannot be boasting but an expression of gratitude that is given to the God who begins our faith and forgives our sins. The power that he claims is not of him but only that which is given by God, from Him do we have life and prosperity. He tells that when you hold to the way of justice when God is your strength and your whole heart is devoted to him, so much power is given unto you in the way of freedom through grace. From the overflowing grace that we receive it gives us power to, “extinguish the virus of poisons within the marrow of the grieving, to cleanse the stain of foolish souls by restoring health…”. When he speaks of his security he compares it to whirlpools of disturbing world and taking anchor in the harbor or the port of salvation. Cyprian sees that to seek that which is heavenly is what gives blessings and keeps one’s heart tender to the things of God. He cherishes his Savior that radiates like the sun in his life. He sees that it was nothing of his own doing but the grace of God in his life.