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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VI.—How Christians Should Behave Themselves Among Heathens.

If, moreover, it chance that we go to a place in which there are no Christians, and it be imp. 63 portant for us to stay there a few days, let us be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves;” 458 and let us “not be as the foolish, but as the wise,” 459 in all the self-restraint of the fear of God, that God may be glorified in everything through our Lord Jesus Christ, through our chaste and holy behaviour.  For, “whether we eat, or drink, or do anything else, let us do it as for the glory of God.” 460   Let “all those who see us acknowledge that we are a blessed seed,” 461 “sons of the living God,” 462 in everything—in all our words in shamefastness, in purity, in humility, forasmuch as we do not copy the heathen in anything, nor are as believers like other men, but in everything are estranged from the wicked.  And we “do not cast that which is holy before dogs, nor pearls before swine;” 463 but with all possible self-restraint, and with all discretion, and with all fear of God, and with earnestness of mind we praise God.  For we do not minister where heathens are drinking and blaspheming in their feasts with words of impurity, because of their wickedness. 464   Therefore do we not sing psalms to the heathens, nor do we read to them the Scriptures, that we may not be like common singers, either those who play on the lyre, 465 or those who sing with the voice, or like soothsayers, as many are, who follow these practices and do these things, that they may sate themselves with a paltry mouthful of bread, and who, for the sake of a sorry cup of wine, go about “singing the songs of the Lord in the strange land” 466 of the heathen, and doing what is not right.  Do not so, my brethren; we beseech you, my brethren, let not these deeds be done among you; but put away those who choose thus to behave themselves with infamy and disgrace.  It is not proper, my brethren, that these things should be so.  But we beseech you, brethren in righteousness, that these things be so done with you as with us, as for a pattern of believers, and of those who shall believe.  Let us be of the flock of Christ, in all righteousness, and in all holy and unblemished conduct, behaving ourselves with uprightness and sanctity, as is right for believers, and observing those things which are praiseworthy, and pure, and holy, and honourable, and noble; and do ye promote 467 all those things which are profitable.  For ye are “our joy, and our crown,” and our hope, and our life, “if so be that ye stand in the Lord.” 468   So be it! 469



Matt. x. 16.


Eph. v. 15.


1 Cor. x. 31.


Isa. lxi. 9.


Phil. ii. 15.


Matt. vii. 6.


Beelen joins “because of their wickedness” with the words that follow.


Or “cithara.”


Ps. cxxxvii. 4.


Or “set on foot.”


Phil. iv. 1.


Or “Amen.”

Next: Chapter VII

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