1. Before all I beg you that with your devout wisdom you bear in mind that in this life, and especially at this time, nothing is easier, more pleasant, and more acceptable for men than the office of bishop, presbyter, or deacon, if the task is carried out perfunctorily or in a self-serving manner, but that before God nothing is more miserable, more sad, and more worthy of condemnation. Likewise, nothing in this life, and especially at this time, is more difficult, more laborious, and more dangerous than the office of a bishop, presbyter, or deacon. But before God nothing is more blessed if one soldiers as our emperor commands! [...]
Augustine later recalls how he wept during his presbyterial ordination (par. 2.). He asks his bishop, Valerius for free time to study the Scriptures to be better prepared for the requirements of the office:
4. But Your Holiness may say, 'I would like to know what is lacking in your instruction.' There are so many things lacking that I could more easily list what I have than what I desire to know. For I would dare to say that I know and hold with complete faith what pertains to our salvation. But how am I to exercise this ministry for the salvation of others, not seeking what is beneficial for me, but for many, that they may be saved [1 Cor 10:33]? There are perhaps some counsels recorded in the holy books—in fact there is no doubt about this—and by the knowledge and grasp of these a man of God can minister to the more ordinary affairs of the Church or at least live with a sounder conscience among the bands of the wicked or die so that he does not lose that one life for which humble and gentle Christian hearts sigh. But how is this possible except as the Lord himself said: By seeking, by asking, and by knocking? That is, by praying, by reading, and by weeping. For this task I wanted to obtain through the brothers from your most sincere and venerable love a short time for myself, say, up to Easter, and I now ask this through this request.
(trans. R. Teske, slightly altered)