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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
On Marriage and Concupiscence.: Chapter 24

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 24.—Lust and Shame Come from Sin; The Law of Sin; The Shamelessness of the Cynics.

But if, in like manner, the question be asked of the concupiscence of the flesh, how it is that acts now bring shame which once were free from shame, will not her answer be, that she only began to have existence in men’s members after sin? [XXII.] And, therefore, that the apostle designated her influence as “the law of sin,” 2146 inasmuch as she subjugated man to herself when he was unwilling to remain subject to p. 274 his God; and that it was she who made the first married pair ashamed at that moment when they covered their loins; even as all are still ashamed, and seek out secret retreats for cohabitation, and dare not have even the children, whom they have themselves thus begotten, to be witnesses of what they do. It was against this modesty of natural shame that the Cynic philosophers, in the error of their astonishing shamelessness, struggled so hard: they thought that the intercourse indeed of husband and wife, since it was lawful and honourable, should therefore be done in public. Such barefaced obscenity deserved to receive the name of dogs; and so they went by the title of “Cynics.” 2147


Footnotes

273:2146

Rom. vii. 23.

274:2147

Cynici, i.e. Κυνικοί, “dog-like.”


Next: Chapter 25

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