31. .... It was then that Moses, urged on by divine power, performed the most incredible deed of all. He approached the bank and struck the sea with his rod. The sea split at the blow, just as a crack in glass runs straight across to the edge when a break occurs at any point. The whole sea was split like that from the top by the rod, and the break in the waters reached to the opposite bank. At the place where the sea parted, Moses went down into the deep with all the people and they were in the deep without getting wet and their bodies were still in the sunlight....
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22 The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.
At first the case Ambrose was making began to seem defensible to me, and I realized that the Catholic faith, in support of which I had believed nothing could be advanced against Manichean opponents, was in fact intellectually respectable. This realization was particularly keen when once, and again, and indeed frequently, I heard some difficult passage of the Old Testament explained figuratively; such passages had been death to me because I was taking them literally. (Book V, 14.24 Maria Boulding translation)Footnote: One of the first practical details of doctrine that Ambrose's preaching gave the intellectually eager Augustine was how to understand Scripture rightly. The Manichees ridiculed the Old Testament because they had thought all passages were historical and literal; through Ambrose's method of preaching, however, Augustine came to see how many passages and images of Scripture are to be understood allegorically, conveying deeper truths that can be understood only in a spiritual sense. Allegory thus taught Augustine that Scripture means much more than what can be captured simply on the page. It is significant that the great orator's mind is beginning to wake up to the beauty of Christianity by first learning how to understand words rightly. (italics in text)
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