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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 14

Early Church Fathers  Index     

14. It is, therefore, the present necessity that we are to avoid, but yet such as is a hindrance to somewhat of the good things to come; by which necessity the married life is forced to have thought of the things of the world, how to please, the husband the wife or the wife the husband. Not that these separate from the kingdom of God, as there are sins, which are restrained by command, not by counsel, on this account, because it is matter of condemnation not to obey the Lord when He commands: but that, which, within the kingdom of God itself, might be more largely possessed, if there were larger thoughts how they were to please God, will assuredly be less, when as this very thing is less thought of by necessity of marriage. Therefore he says, “Concerning virgins I have not command of the Lord.” 2047 For whosoever obeys not a command, is guilty and liable for punishment. Wherefore, because it is not sin to marry a wife or to be married, (but if it were a sin, it would be forbidden by a “Command,”) on this account there is no “Command” of the Lord concerning virgins. But since, after we have shunned or had forgiveness of sins, we must approach eternal life, wherein is a certain or more excellent glory, to be assigned not unto all who shall live for ever, but unto certain there; in order to obtain which it is not enough to have been set free from sins, unless there be vowed unto Him, Who setteth us free, something, which it is no matter of fault not to have vowed, but matter of praise to have vowed and performed; he saith, “I give counsel, as having obtained mercy from God that I should be faithful.” For neither ought I to grudge faithful counsel, who not by my own merits, but by the mercy of God, am faithful. “I think therefore that this is good, by reason of the present necessity.” 2048 This, saith he, on which I have not command of the Lord, but give counsel, that is concerning virgins, I think to be good by reason of the present necessity. For I know what the necessity of the present time, unto which marriages serve, compels, that the things of God be less thought of than is enough for the obtaining that glory, which shall not be of all, although they abide in eternal life and salvation: “For star differeth from star in brightness; so also the Resurrection of the dead. 2049 It is,” therefore, “good for a man so to be.”



1 Cor. 7.251 Cor. vii. 25


1 Cor. 7.261 Cor. vii. 26


1 Cor. 15:41, 421 Cor. 15:41, 42

Next: Section 15

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