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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
On Christian Doctrine: Chapter 25

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 25.—A Man May Love Something More Than His Body, But Does Not Therefore Hate His Body.

26.  Man, therefore, ought to be taught the due measure of loving, that is, in what measure he may love himself so as to be of service to himself.  For that he does love himself, and does desire to do good to himself, nobody but a fool would doubt.  He is to be taught, too, in what measure to love his body, so as to care for it wisely and within due limits.  For it is equally manifest that he loves his body also, and desires to keep it safe and sound.  And yet a man may have something that he loves better than the safety and soundness of his body.  For many have been found voluntarily to suffer both pains and amputations of some of their limbs that they might obtain other objects which they valued more highly.  But no one is to be told not to desire the safety and health of his body because there is something he desires more.  For the miser, though he loves money, buys bread for himself,—that is, he gives away money that he is very fond of and desires to heap up,—but it is because he values more highly the bodily health which the bread sustains.  It is superfluous to argue longer on a point so very plain, but this is just what the error of wicked men often compels us to do.

Next: Chapter 26

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