Its formal title is On the proper mode of serving God, through Faith, Hope, and Love. Augustine speaks of this book in his Retractations, 1. if. c. 63, as follows: "I also wrote a book on Faith, Hope, and Charity, at the request of the person to whom I addressed it, that he might have a work of mine which should never be out of his hands, such as the Greeks call an enchiridion (a handbook). There I think I have carefully treated of the manner in which God is to be worshipped, which knowledge divine Scripture defines to be the true wisdom of the human species."
The Enchiridion is among the final books by Augustine. It was written after the death of Saint Jerome, which occurred on 30th September 420. Augustine had an exchange of letters with Jerome. In the Enchroidion he alludes in chapter 87 to Jerome "of blessed memory" (sanctae memoriae Hieronymus presbyter), i.e., as deceased. Augustine usually refers to this book by the title, "On Faith, Hope and Love," because he develops his subject under these three headings (compare with 1 Corinthians 13:13).
He follows under the first heading the order of the Apostles Creed, and then refutes, without naming them, the Manichean, Apollinarian, Arian, and Pelagian heresies. Under the second heading Augustine gives a brief exposition of the Lord's Prayer. The third part is a discourse on Christian love. The impetus behind this handbook was a man named Laurentius. He had implored Augustine to write a short work on the proper worship of God, the meaning and the fulfilment of the chief purpose of our lives, and the proper foundation of Christian faith. Laurentius specifically asked for a "handbook": one to be carried in the hand, and not left unopened in a library.
One later manuscript called Laurentius a deacon, and another a legal officer of the city of Rome. He was probably a layman. Just a year earlier, Augustine had restrained the brother of Laurentius, who was a Roman tribune, from being too zealous in fighting the heresy of Donatism. In view of the various prevailing heresies and accompanying confusion, Laurentius wanted a brief positive description of Christian living that he could carry with him on his Christian walk.
Though intentionally small in size, the Enchiridion certainly deserves its position as a classic in Christian writing. The Confessions and Enchridion are two beacons, which were written twenty years apart. At the time of writing the Confessions, Augustine stood on the threshold of his career in the Church. In the Enchiridion, he stood as triumphant champion of Roman Catholic Christian doctrine.
And so, in these two works - the nearest equivalent to a summation in the whole of the written output of Augustine - is to be found all his essential themes and the characteristic tone of his thought.
Enchiridion On Faith, Hope, and Love. Online. Newly translated and edited by Albert Outler Ph.D., D.D. http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/history/augustine/enchiridion.html
Enchridion. The entry that appeared in the Catholic Encyclopaedia of 1903. A summary of each chapter is provided.http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1302.htm AN2147