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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 19

Early Church Fathers  Index     

19. For the flesh lusts after nothing save through the soul, but the flesh is said to lust against the spirit, when the soul with fleshly lust wrestles against the spirit. This whole are we: and the flesh itself, which on the departure of the soul dies, the lowest part of us is not put away as what we are to flee from, but is laid aside as what we are to receive again, and, after having received it, never again to leave. But “there is sown an animal body, there shall rise again a spiritual body.” 1870 Then from that time the flesh will not lust after any thing against the spirit, when as itself also shall be called spiritual, forasmuch as not only without any opposition, but also without any need of bodily aliment, p. 387 it shall be for ever made subject unto the spirit, to be quickened by Christ. Therefore these two things, which are now opposed the one to the other within us, since we exist in both, let us pray and endeavor that they may agree. For we ought not to think the one of them an enemy, but the fault, whereby the flesh lusteth against the spirit: and this, when healed, will itself cease to exist, and either substance will be safe, and no strife between either. Let us hear the Apostle; “I know,” saith he, “that there dwelleth not in me, that is, in my flesh, any good.” 1871 This certainly he saith; that the fault of the flesh, in a good thing, is not good; and, when this shall have ceased to exist, it will be flesh, but it will not be now corrupted or faulty 1872 flesh. And yet that this pertains to our nature the same teacher shows, by saying, first, “I know that there dwelleth not in me,” in order to expound which, he added, “that is, in my flesh, any good.” Therefore he saith that his flesh is himself. It is not then itself that is our enemy: and when its faults are resisted, itself is loved, because itself is cared for; “For no one ever hated his own flesh,” 1873 as the Apostle himself saith. And in another place he saith, “So then I myself with the mind serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the Law of sin.” Let them hear that have ears. “So then I myself;” I with the mind, I with the flesh, but “with the mind I serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.” 1874 How “with the flesh the law of sin?” was it at all by consenting unto fleshly lust? Far be it! but by having there motions of desires which he would not have, and yet had. But, by not consenting to them, with the mind he served the Law of God, and kept his members from becoming weapons of sins.



1 Cor. 15.441 Cor. xv. 44


Rom. 7.18Rom. vii. 18


Vitiata vel vitiosa


Eph. 5.29Eph. v. 29


Rom. 7.25Rom. vii. 25

Next: Section 20

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