In his Preface, he gives a surprisingly modern day Abstract and tells us the compulsion, idea and purpose of his writing the book and the significance of its title. "I must consider this city as far as the scheme of this work demands and as occasions serves".
Practically speaking it is only a powerful defence of Christianity that took him thirteen years to write and it dominated the political thoughts of medieval ages. Critics call him 'Prophet of Personality' for having possessed one the most impressive personalities, while his style and language are considered as immaculate. Augustine was known to be particularly influenced by Plato.
"In The Republic Plato had constructed an ideal city, based on right and instinct with Righteousness, which might almost be described as a City of God, and is actually described by Plato as 'laid up somewhere in heaven,'" Saint Augustine, The City of God ( p. xxii)
It was also beginning of search for authentic Christian philosophy to popularise the religion and amass followers. Calling the time as an end of an era, Burleigh says: "Strange as it may seem St. Augustine has no consciousness of living at the end of an era, or even in a period of transition," (1944, p.10).
Deane argues that he wrote the book on the 'theology and psychology of fallen man." Augustine replies the charge against the Christians and says they were not responsible for destroying Rome. If the overall view of the book is taken into consideration, it is neither totally political nor wholly religious. From the Preface we can find that Augustine justifies the work he has undertaken as the work of God, and his contribution to Christian theology. "This security it now awaits in steadfast patience, until 'justice returns to judgment'; but it is to attain it hereafter in virtue of its ascendancy over its enemies, when the final victory is won and peace established. The task is long and arduous; but god is our helper."
It is also considered to be the 'first major intellectual achievement of Latin Christianity'. Marcellinus, the encouraging friend, perhaps was worried at the consequences of devastatingly negative reaction amongst people, produced by the sacking of Rome with unnecessary violence, which left Christian faith in a negative light. This is a kind of pacification of an ill-treated and humiliated, but proud population, almost an explanation and healing of persisting wounds. While rendering explanation to what happened by saying that the retributions and sufferings were due to ignorant worship of pagan Gods, he does his bit of missionary work by informing the unhappy and vulnerable people about 'City of God' and Christianity, where Jesus is all powerful and merciful and healer of all ills.
The crux of the work is establishing Jesus as saviour of mankind. Whatever little kindness was shown to people during destruction of Rome, Augustine argues, was due to