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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VIII.—Virgins, by the Laying Aside of All Carnal Affection, are Imitators of God.

For, if a man be only in name called holy, he is not holy; but he must be holy in everything:  in his body and in his spirit.  And those who are virgins rejoice at all times in becoming like God and His Christ, and are imitators of them.  For in those that are such there is not “the mind 352 of the flesh.”  In those who are truly believers, and “in whom the Spirit of Christ dwells” 353 —in them “the mind of the flesh” cannot be:  which is fornication, uncleanness, wantonness; idolatry, 354 sorcery; enmity, jealousy, rivalry, wrath, disputes, dissensions, ill-will; drunkenness, revelry; buffoonery, foolish talking, boisterous laughter; backbiting, insinuations; bitterness, rage; clamour, abuse, insolence of speech; malice, inventing of evil, falsehood; talkativeness, 355 babbling; 356 threatenings, gnashing of teeth, readiness to accuse, 357 jarring, 358 disdainings, blows; perversions of the right, 359 laxness in judgment; haughtiness, arrogance, ostentation, pompousness, boasting of family, of beauty, of position, of wealth, of an arm of flesh; 360 quarrelsomeness, injustice, 361 eagerness for victory; hatred, anger, envy, perfidy, retaliation; 362 debauchery, gluttony, “overreaching (which is idolatry),” 363 “the love of money (which is the root of all evils);” 364 love of display, vainglory, love of rule, assumption, pride (which is called death, and which “God fights against”). 365   Every man with whom are these and such like things—every such man is of the flesh.  For, “he that is born of the flesh is flesh; and he that is of the earth speaketh of the earth,” 366 and his thoughts are of the earth.  And “the mind of the flesh is enmity towards God.  For it does not submit itself to the law of God; for it cannot do so,” 367 because it is in the flesh, “in which dwells no good,” 368 because the Spirit of God is p. 58 not in it.  For this cause justly does the Scripture say regarding such a generation as this:  “My Spirit shall not dwell in men for ever, because they are flesh.” 369   “Whosoever, therefore, has not the Spirit of God in him, is none of His:” 370   as it is written, “The Spirit of God departed from Saul, and an evil spirit troubled him, which was sent upon him from God.” 371



Rom. viii. 6 (φρόνημα).


Rom. viii. 9.


Lit. “the worship of idols.”  The single word *** sometimes used to express “idolatry” (as in Eph. Syr., opp. tom. i. p. 116), is not found in these epistles.


Lit. “much talking.”


Lit. “empty words.”


The word thus rendered is not in the lexicons, but is well illustrated by Isa. xxix. 21 (“that make a man an offender”), where the Hiphil of אטָחָ is used, corresponding to the Aphel of the same root, from which the present word is derived.


The word is used in the Peschito of 1 Tim. vi. 5, to express διαπαρατριβαί (“incessant quarrellings,” Alf.); [R.V., “wranglings.”—R.].


Ex. Conject. Beelen.  The word is not in the lexicons.


Or “power.”


Lit. “folly;” but so used in 2 Cor. xii. 13.


Or “returning of evils.”


Col. iii. 5.


1 Tim. vi. 10.


1 Pet. 5:5, Jas. 4:6.


John 3:6, 31.


Rom. viii. 7.


Rom. vii. 18.


Gen. vi. 3.  [This is an example of the vicious method of interpretation, not yet extirpated, which carries Paul’s distinctive use of the term “flesh” back to the Pentateuch, where no ethical sense is necessarily implied.—R.]


Rom. vii. 9.  [The Apostle speaks of “the Spirit of Christ.”—R.]


1 Sam. xvi. 14.

Next: Chapter IX

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