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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 11

Early Church Fathers  Index     

11. But some one will say to me that it is one thing to live after man, another thing to live after the flesh; because man forsooth is a rational creature, and there is in him a rational soul, whereby he differs from the beast: but the flesh is the lowest and earthly part of man, and thus to live after it is faulty: and for this reason, he who lives after man, assuredly lives not after the flesh, but rather after that part of man, whereby he is man, that is, after the spirit of the mind whereby he excels the beasts. But this discussion is perhaps of some force in the schools of philosophers: but we, in order to understand the Apostle of Christ, ought to observe in what manner the Christian books are used to speak; at any rate it is the belief of all of us, to whom to live is Christ, that Man was taken unto Himself by the Word of God, not surely without a rational soul, as certain heretics will have it; and yet we read, “The Word was made flesh.” 1839 What is to be here understood by “flesh,” but Man? “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” 1840 What can be understood, but all men? “Unto Thee shall all flesh come.” 1841 What is it, but all men? “Thou hast given unto Him power over all flesh.” 1842 What is it, but all men? “Of the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.” 1843 What is it, but no man shall be justified? And this the same Apostle in another place confessing more plainly saith, “Man shall not be justified of the works of the Law.” 1844 The Corinthians also he rebukes, saying, “Are ye not carnal, and walk after man?” 1845 After he had called them carnal, he saith not, ye walk after the flesh, but after man, forasmuch as by this also what would he have understood, but after the flesh? For surely if to walk, that is, to live, after the flesh deserved blame, but after man deserved praise, he would not say by way of rebuke, “ye walk after man.” Let man recognize the reproach; let him change his purpose, let him shun destruction. Hear thou man: walk not thou after man, but after Him Who made man. Fall not thou away from Him Who made thee, even unto thyself. For a man said, who yet lived not after man, “Not that we are sufficient to think any thing from ourselves, as though of ourselves: but our sufficiency is of God.” 1846 Consider if he lived after man, who spake these things with truth. Therefore the Apostle, admonishing man not to live after man, restores man to God. But whoso liveth not after man, but after God, assuredly liveth not even after himself, because himself also is a man. But he is therefore said also to live after the flesh, when he so lives; because also when the flesh alone hath been named, man is understood, as we have already shown: just as when the soul alone hath been named, man is understood: whence it is said, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers,” 1847 that is, every man; and, “Seventy-five souls went down into Egypt with Jacob,” 1848 that is, seventy-five men. Therefore live thou not after thyself, O man: thou hadst thence perished, but thou wast sought. Live not then, I say, after thyself, O man; thou hadst thence perished, but thou wast found. Accuse not thou the nature of the flesh, when you hear it said, “If ye shall live after the flesh, ye shall die.” 1849 For thus p. 384 could it be said, and most truly could it, If ye shall live after yourselves ye shall die. For the devil hath not flesh, and yet, because he would live after himself, “he abode not in the truth.” 1850 What wonder therefore, if, living after himself, “when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own,” which the Truth spake truly of him.



John 1.14John i. 14


Luke 3.6Luke iii. 6


Ps. 65.2Ps. lxv. 2


John 17.2John xvii. 2


Rom. 3.20Rom. iii. 20


Gal. 2.16Gal. ii. 16


1 Cor. 3.31 Cor. iii. 3


1 Cor. 3.51 Cor. iii. 5


Rom. 13.1Rom. xiii. 1


Gen. 46.27Gen. xlvi. 27


Rom. 8.13Rom. viii. 13


John 8.44John viii. 44

Next: Section 12