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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
On Christian Doctrine: Chapter 39

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 39.—He Who is Mature in Faith, Hope and Love, Needs Scripture No Longer.

43.  And thus a man who is resting upon faith, hope and love, and who keeps a firm hold upon these, does not need the Scriptures except for the purpose of instructing others.  Accordingly, many live without copies of the Scriptures, even in solitude, on the strength of these three graces.  So that in their case, I think, the saying is already fulfilled:  “Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” 1755   Yet by means of these instruments (as they may be called), so great an edifice of faith and love has been built up in them, that, holding to what is perfect, they do not seek for what is only in part perfect—of course, I mean, so far as is possible in this life; for, in comparison with the future life, the life of no just and holy man is perfect here.  Therefore the apostle says:  “Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity:” 1756   because, when a man shall have reached the eternal world, while the other two graces will fail, love will remain greater and more assured.


Footnotes

534:1755

1 Cor. 13.8.

534:1756

1 Cor. 13.13.


Next: Chapter 40

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