Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VII:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Constitutions of the Holy Apostles: Sec. II.—On Domestic and Social Life
Sec. II.—On Domestic and Social Life.
Of Parents and Children.
XI. Ye fathers, educate your children in the Lord, bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and teach them such trades as are agreeable and suitable to the word, lest p. 436 they by such opportunity become extravagant, and continue without punishment from their parents, and so get relaxation before their time, and go astray from that which is good. Wherefore be not afraid to reprove them, and to teach them wisdom with severity. For your corrections will not kill them, but rather preserve them. As Solomon says somewhere in the book of Wisdom: “Chasten thy son, and he will refresh thee; so wilt thou have good hope of him. Thou verily shalt smite him with the rod, and shall deliver his soul from death.” 2958 And again, says the same Solomon thus, “He that spareth his rod, hateth his son;” 2959 and afterwards, “Beat his sides whilst he is an infant, lest he be hardened and disobey thee.” 2960 He, therefore, that neglects to admonish and instruct his own son, hates his own child. Do you therefore teach your children the word of the Lord. Bring them under with cutting stripes, and make them subject from their infancy, teaching them the Holy Scriptures, which are Christian and divine, and delivering to them every sacred writing, “not giving them such liberty that they get the mastery,” 2961 and act against your opinion, not permitting them to club together for a treat with their equals. For so they will be turned to disorderly courses, and will fall into fornication; and if this happen by the carelessness of their parents, those that begat them will be guilty of their souls. For if the offending children get into the company of debauched persons by the negligence of those that begat them, they will not be punished alone by themselves; but their parents also will be condemned on their account. For this cause endeavour, at the time when they are of an age fit for marriage, to join them in wedlock, and settle them together, lest in the heat and fervour of their age their course of life become dissolute, and you be required to give an account by the Lord God in the day of judgment.
Of Servants and Masters.
XII. But as to servants, what can we say more than that the slave bring a good will to his master, with the fear of God, although he be impious and wicked, 2962 but yet not to yield any compliance as to his worship? And let the master love his servant, although he be his superior. Let him consider wherein they are equal, even as he is a man. And let him that has a believing master 2963 love him both as his master, and as of the same faith, and as a father, but still with the preservation of his authority as his master: “not as an eye-servant, but as a lover of his master; as knowing that God will recompense to him for his subjection.” 2964 In like manner, let a master who has a believing servant love him as a son or as a brother, on account of their communion in the faith, but still preserving the difference of a servant.
In What Things We Ought to Be Subject to the Rulers of This World.
XIII. Be ye subject to all royal power and dominion in things which are pleasing to God, as to the ministers of God, and the punishers of the ungodly. 2965 Render all the fear that is due to them, all offerings, all customs, all honour, gifts, and taxes. 2966 For this is Gods command, that you owe nothing to any one but the pledge of love, which God has commanded by Christ. 2967
XIV. Concerning virginity we have received no commandment; 2968 but we leave it to the power of those that are willing, as a vow: exhorting them so far in this matter that they do not promise anything rashly; since Solomon says, “It is better not to vow, than to vow and not pay.” 2969 Let such a virgin, therefore, be holy in body and soul, as the temple of God, 2970 as the house of Christ, as the habitation of the Holy Spirit. For she that vows ought to do such works as are suitable to her vow; and to show that her vow is real, and made on account of leisure for piety, not to cast a reproach on marriage. Let her not be a gadder abroad, nor one that rambles about unseasonably; not double-minded, but grave, continent, sober, pure, avoiding the conversation of many, and especially of those that are of ill reputation. 2971
Prov. 29:17, Prov. 19:18, Prov. 23:14436:2959
Prov. xiii. 24436:2960
Ecclus. xxx. 12436:2961
Ecclus. xxx. 11436:2962
See Eph. vi. 5; 1 Pet. ii. 18.436:2963
Col. iv. 1. See 1 Tim. vi. 2.436:2964
Eph. vi. 6; Col. iii. 22, 24.436:2965
See 1 Pet. 2:13, Titus 3:1.436:2966
Rom. xiii. 1, 4, 7.436:2967
Rom. xiii. 8.436:2968
See 1 Cor. vii. 25.436:2969
Eccles. v. 5.436:2970
1 Cor. vii. 34.436:2971
[The absence of any marked ascetic tone in this passage is in sharp contrast with the pseudo-Clementine Epistles concerning virginity. See vol. viii.—R.]
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