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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol VIII:
Two Epistles Concerning Virginity.: Chapter II

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter II.—For True Virginity Perfect Virtue is Necessary.

Of all virgins of either sex who have truly resolved to preserve virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven—of each and every one of them it is required that he be worthy of the kingdom of heaven in every thing.  For not by eloquence 295 or renown, 296 by station 297 and descent, or by beauty or strength, or by length of life, 298 is the kingdom of heaven obtained; but it is obtained by the power of faith, when a man exhibits the works of faith.  For whosoever is truly righteous, his works testify concerning his faith, that he is truly a believer, with a faith which is great, a faith which is perfect, a faith which is in God, a faith which shines in good works, that the Father of all may be glorified through Christ.  Now, those who are truly virgins for the sake of God give heed to Him who hath said, “Let not righteousness and faith fail thee; bind them on thy neck, and thou shalt find favour for thyself; and devise thou good things before God and before men.” 299   “The paths,” therefore, “of the righteous shine as the light, and the light of them advances until the day is perfect.” 300   For the beams of their light illumine the whole creation even now by good works, as those who are truly “the light of the world,” 301 giving light to “those who sit in darkness,” 302 that they may arise and go forth from the darkness by the light of the good works of the fear of God, “that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.” 303   For it is required of the man of God, that in all his words and works he be perfect, and that in his life he be adorned with all exemplary and well-ordered behaviour, 304 and do all his deeds in righteousness, as a man of God.



Zing., not so well, takes this to mean, “by the confession of the mouth” (durch das mündliche Bekenntniss), comparing Matt. vii. 21.


Lit. “by word or by name.”


The Greek word σχῆμα, here adopted in the Syriac, is sometimes thus used.—Beelen.


Lit. “much time.”


Prov. 3:3, 4 (LXX.).


Lit. “fixed.”  Prov. iv. 18.


Matt. v. 14.


Isa. 9:2, Matt. 4:16.


Matt. 5:16, 1 Pet. 2:12.


Probably referring to 1 Cor. xiv. 40.—Beelen.

Next: Chapter III