Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. IX:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
John of Damascus: Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.: Concerning Pleasures.
p. 33b Chapter XIII.—Concerning Pleasures.
There are pleasures of the soul and pleasures of the body. The pleasures of the soul are those which are the exclusive possession of the soul, such as the pleasures of learning and contemplation. The pleasures of the body, however, are those which are enjoyed by soul and body in fellowship, and hence are called bodily pleasures: and such are the pleasures of food and intercourse and the like. But one could not find any class of pleasures 1818 belonging solely to the body 1819 .
Again, some pleasures are true, others false. And the exclusively intellectual pleasures consist in knowledge and contemplation, while the pleasures of the body depend upon sensation. Further, of bodily pleasures 1820 , some are both natural and necessary, in the absence of which life is impossible, for example the pleasures of food which replenishes waste, and the pleasures of necessary clothing. Others are natural but not necessary, as the pleasures of natural and lawful intercourse. For though the function that these perform is to secure the permanence of the race as a whole, it is still possible to live a virgin life apart from them. Others, however, are neither natural nor necessary, such as drunkenness, lust, and surfeiting to excess. For these contribute neither to the maintenance of our own lives nor to the succession of the race, but on the contrary, are rather even a hindrance. He therefore that would live a life acceptable to God must follow after those pleasures which are both natural and necessary: and must give a secondary place to those which are natural but not necessary, and enjoy them only in fitting season, and manner, and measure; while the others must be altogether renounced.
Those then are to be considered moral 1821 pleasures which are not bound up with pain, and bring no cause for repentance, and result in no other harm and keep 1822 within the bounds of moderation, and do not draw us far away from serious occupations, nor make slaves of us.
Reading, οὐκ ἂν εὕροι τις ἰδίας ἡδονάς.33b:1819
Nemes., ch. 18: Chrys., Hom. in Joan., 74.33b:1820
See Chrysostom, Hom. in Joannem, 74; Cicero, De fin. bon. et mal., 1.33b:1821
καλάς, honourable, good.33b:1822
Text, χωρούσας. Variant, παραχωρούσας.
Next: Concerning Pain.
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