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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter X. That the word flesh is not used with one single meaning only.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter X.

That the word flesh is not used with one single meaning only.

We find that the word flesh is used in holy Scripture with many different meanings: for sometimes it stands for the whole man, i.e., for that which consists of body and soul, as here “And the Word was made flesh,” 1295 and “All flesh shall see the salvation of our God.” 1296 Sometimes it stands for sinful and carnal men, as here “My spirit shall not remain in those men, because they are flesh.” 1297 Sometimes it is used for sins themselves, as here: “But ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit,” 1298 and again “Flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God:” lastly there follows, “Neither shall corruption inherit incorruption.” 1299 Sometimes it stands for consanguinity and relationship, as here: “Behold we are thy bone and thy flesh,” 1300 and the Apostle says: “If by any means I may provoke to emulation them who are my flesh, and save some of them.” 1301 We must therefore inquire in which of these four meanings we ought to take the word flesh in this place, for it is clear that it cannot possibly stand as in the passage where it is said “The Word was made flesh,” and “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Neither can it have the same meaning as where it is said “My Spirit shall not remain in those men because they are flesh,” because the word flesh is not used here as it is there where it stands simply for a sinful man—when he says” The flesh lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh.” 1302 Nor is he speaking of things material, but of realities which in one and the same man struggle either at the same time or separately, with the shifting and changing of time.


Footnotes

333:1295

S. John i. 14.

333:1296

S. Luke iii. 6.

333:1297

Gen. vi. 3.

333:1298

Rom. viii. 9.

333:1299

1 Cor. xv. 50.

333:1300

2 Sam. v. 1.

333:1301

Rom. xi. 14.

333:1302

Gal. v. 17.


Next: Chapter XI. What the Apostle means by flesh in this passage, and what the lust of the flesh is.

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