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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XIII.—The History of Susanna Teaches Circumspection with the Eyes and in Society.

Hast thou not read, and dost thou not know, concerning those elders who were in the days of Susanna, who, because they were constantly with women, and looking upon the beauty which was another’s, 486 fell into the depths of wantonness, and were not able to keep themselves in a chaste mind, 487 but were overcome by a depraved disposition, and came suddenly 488 upon the blessed Susanna to corrupt her.  But she did not consent to their foul passion, but cried unto God, and God saved her out of the hands of the bad old men.  Does it not, therefore, behove us to tremble and be afraid, forasmuch as these old men, judges and elders of the people of God, fell from their dignity because of a woman?  For they did not keep in mind that which is said:  “Look thou not on the beauty which is another’s;” and, “The beauty of woman has destroyed many;” 489 and “With a married woman do not sit;” 490 and that, again, in which it says:  “Is there any one that puts fire in his bosom, and does not burn his clothes;” 491 or, “Does a man walk on fire, and his feet are not scorched?  So whosoever goeth in to another man’s wife is not pure from evil, and whosoever comes near to her shall not escape.” 492   And again it says:  “Thou shalt not long after the beauty a woman, lest she take thee captive with her eyelids;” 493 and, “Thou shalt not look upon a maiden, lest thou perish through desire of her;” 494 and, “With a woman that sings beautifully thou shalt not constantly be;” 495 and, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 496



Susanna having a husband, Joachim.


Lit. “a mind of chasteness.”


Lit. “rose.”


Sir. 9:8, 9.


Ecclesiasticus 9.12.


Prov. vi. 27.


Prov. 6:28, 29.


Prov. vi. 25.


Ecclesiasticus 9.5.


Ecclesiasticus 9.4.


1 Cor. x. 12.

Next: Chapter XIV