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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 29

Early Church Fathers  Index     

29. Thus the spirit of man, cleaving unto the Spirit of God, lusts against the flesh, that is, against itself: but for itself, in order that those motions, whether in the flesh or in the soul, after man, not after God, which as yet exist through the sickness man hath gotten, may be restrained by continence, that so health may be gotten; and man, not living after man, may now be able to say, “But I live, now not I, but there liveth in me Christ.” 1916 For where not I, there more happily I: and, when any evil motion after man arises, unto which he, who with the mind serves the Law of God, consents not, let him say that also, “Now it is not I that do this.” 1917 To such forsooth are said those words, which we, as partners and sharers with them, ought to listen to. 1918 “If ye have risen together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the Right Hand of God: mind 1919 the things that are above, not what are upon earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God: when Christ your life shall have appeared, then ye also shall appear with Him in glory.” Let us understand unto whom he is speaking, yea, rather, let us listen with more attention. For what more plain than this? what more clear? He is certainly speaking unto those, who had risen again with Christ, not yet surely in the flesh, but in the mind: whom he calls dead, and on this account the more living: for “your life,” saith he, “is hid with Christ in God.” Of such dead the speech is: “But I live, now not I, but there liveth in me Christ.” They therefore, whose life was hidden in God, are admonished and exhorted to mortify their members, which are upon the earth. For this follows, “Mortify, therefore, your members, which are upon the earth.” And, lest any through excess of dullness should think that such are to mortify the members of the body that are seen, straightway opening what it is he saith, “Fornication,” saith he, “uncleanness, passion, evil lust, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” 1920 But is it so to be believed, that they, who were already dead, and their life hidden with Christ in God, were still committing fornication, were still living in unclean habits and works, were still slaves to passions of evil lust and covetousness? What madman would thus think of such? What, therefore, would he that they mortify, save the motions themselves still living in a certain intrusion 1921 of their own, without the consent of our mind, without the action of the members of the body? And how are they mortified by the work of continence, save when we consent not to them with the mind, nor are the members of the body yielded to them as weapons; and, what is greater, and to be looked to with yet greater watchfulness of continence, our very thought itself, although in a certain way it be touched by their suggestion, and as it were, whisper, yet turns away from these, that it receive not delight from them, and turns to more delightful thoughts of things above: on this account naming them in discourse, that men abide not in them, but flee from them. And this is brought to pass, if we listen effectually, with His help, Who, through His Apostle gives this command, “Seek things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the Right Hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not what are on earth.” 1922



Gal. 2.20Gal. ii. 20


Rom. 7.17Rom. vii. 17


Col. 3.1-4Col. iii. 1-4




Col. 3.5Col. iii. 5




Col. 3:1, 2Col. 3:1, 2

Next: Section 30

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