« Narcissus, bp. of Jerusalem Nebridius, a friend of St. Augustine Nectarius, archbp. of Constantinople »

Nebridius, a friend of St. Augustine

Nebridius (4), an intimate friend of St. Augustine, and probably of about the same age, described by him as very good and of a very cautious disposition. While Augustine was at Carthage under the influence of Manichean doctrine, it was partly through Nebridius and Vindicianus that he was induced to give up his belief in astrology, or, as it was then called, mathematics. Nebridius had already abandoned Manicheism and delivered lectures against it, a.d. 379 (Aug. Conf. iv. 3; vii. 2, 6). When Augustine removed from Rome to Milan as a lecturer in rhetoric, a.d. 384, Nebridius, out of love for him, determined to leave his home and mother, and take up leis abode with Augustine and Alypius there, "for no other reason," says Augustine, "than that he might live with me in most ardent pursuit of truth and wisdom" (ib. vi. 7, 10). By and by Nebridius undertook to assist Verecundus in his grammar lectures at his earnest request and that of Augustine. This duty he performed with great care and discretion (ib. viii. 6). Soon after Nebridius appears to have taken up the notion of the Docetae, that our Lord took human nature not in reality but only in outward appearance, an error which, after a period of unknown length, he recanted. Soon after the conversion of Augustine he died, a true Catholic, having induced his household to join him in the change. "He is now," says Augustine with confidence, "in the bosom of Abraham" (ib. ix. 3, 4).

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Though a much-loved friend, Nebridius was a troublesome correspondent, most persevering in his inquiries, which were sometimes very difficult to answer, and not satisfied with brief replies or always ready to make allowance for his friend's occupations (Aug. Ep. 98, 8). Of the 12 letters which remain of their correspondence, two only are addressed by Nebridius to Augustine. Those of Augustine are very long, chiefly on metaphysical subjects of extreme subtlety.

[H.W.P.]

« Narcissus, bp. of Jerusalem Nebridius, a friend of St. Augustine Nectarius, archbp. of Constantinople »





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