Traditionally, religious works were mainly oriented on religious people as well as they often targeted at the conversion of people to certain religion or religious movement. However, often religious works or literary works written by clergymen or simply by religious people contained very important philosophical messages which could be extrapolated from purely religious domain onto the human relations at large.
In such a context, it is possible to refer to St. Mathew’s Sermon on the Mount. This gospel seems to me fundamental for the Christian religion because, in this work, St. Mathew defined the basic ethical and moral principles of Christianity. However, these principles are apparently universal and could be applied in any other religion. Moreover, I am convinced that Sermon on the Mount is very important for the modern society, which suffers from the lack of moral values and ideals. In fact, people are too concerned with consumerism and material values and the message of Mathew, which is conveyed in simple and comprehensible form in his Sermon on the Mount can clearly define those moral values which could make human life consistently better.
In this respect, Augustine’s Confessions are also quite noteworthy since the author depicts the personal experience of a sinful life and he regrets about very much. In such a way, similarly to Sermon on the Mount, Augustine also emphasizes the importance of moral and virtuous life, but, it seems to me that he exaggerates the significance of religion and tends to extreme ascetic life. His devotedness to God and his faith are almost fanatic and, unlike Mathew’s message, Confessions radicalize the life of a Christian since the faith becomes the ultimate goal of life while Mathew rather showed the way to make the life of people better through virtues and good deeds.
As for Canticle of the Sun, it should be said that this song is quite different from both Sermon on the Mount and Confessions. Even though, it glorifies god and virtuous but it is written in a childlike style. Hence, this work seems to me quite ironic and reveals the attitude of ordinary people to religion. Probably the author attempted to balance the religious radicalism of Augustine and remind about Mathew’s message.
Thus, all the three works discussed above are religious in their nature but still they differ in tone, views on religion and its role in human life.