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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. III:
Moral Treatises of St. Augustin: Section 40

Early Church Fathers  Index     

40. And then that further device of theirs, (if words can express it), how painfully ridiculous is it, which they have invented for defense of their long locks! “A man,” say they, “the Apostle hath forbidden to have long hair: but then they who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of God are no longer men.” O dotage unparalleled! Well may the person who says this arm himself against Holy Scripture’s most manifest proclamations, with counsel of outrageous impiety, and persevere in a tortuous path, and essay to bring in a pestiferous doctrine that not “Blessed is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and in the way of sinners hath not stood, and in the chair of noisome wickedness 2616 hath not sat.” 2617 For if he would meditate in God’s law day and night, there he should find the Apostle Paul himself, who assuredly professing highest chastity saith, “I would that all men were even as I:” and yet shows himself a man, not only in so being, but also in so speaking. For he saith, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 2618 But why should I mention the Apostle, when concerning our Lord and Saviour Himself they know not what they think who say these things. For of Whom but Him is it said, “Until we come all to unity of faith and to knowledge of the Son of God, to the Perfect Man, to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ; that we be no longer babes, tossed and carried about with every wind of doctrine, in sleight of men, in cunning craftiness for machination of error.” 2619 With which sleight these persons deceive ignorant people, with which cunning craftiness and machinations of the enemy both they themselves are whirled round, and in their whirling essay to make the minds of the weak which cohere unto them so (in a manner) to spin round with them, that they also may not know where they are. For they have heard or read that which is written, “Whosoever of you have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ: where is no Jew nor Greek; no bond nor free; no male nor female.” 2620 And they do not understand that it is in reference to concupiscence of carnal sex 2621 that this is said, because in the inner man, wherein we are renewed in newness of our mind, no sex of this kind exists. Then let them not deny themselves to be men, just because in respect of their masculine sex they work not. For wedded Christians also who p. 524 do this work, are of course not Christians on the score of that which they have in common with the rest who are not Christians and with the very cattle. For that is one thing that is either to infirmity conceded or to mortal propagation paid as a debt, but another that which for the laying hold of incorrupt and eternal life is by faithful profession signified. That then which concerning not veiling of the head is enjoined to men, in the body indeed it is set forth in a figure, but that it is enacted in the mind, wherein is the image and glory of God, the words themselves do indicate: “A man indeed,” it saith, “ought not to veil his head, forsomuch as he is the image and glory of God.” For where this image is, he doth himself declare, where he saith, “Lie not one to another; but stripping off the old man with his deeds, put ye on the new, which is renewed to the acknowledging of God, according to the image of Him who created him.” 2622 Who can doubt that this renewing takes place in the mind? But and if any doubt, let him hear a more open sentence. For, giving the same admonition, he thus saith in another place: “As is the truth in Jesus, that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, him which is corrupt according to the lust of deception; but be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, him which after God is created.” 2623 What then? Have women not this renewal of mind in which is the image of God? Who would say this? But in the sex of their body they do not signify this; therefore they are bidden to be veiled. The part, namely, which they signify in the very fact of their being women, is that which may be called the concupiscential part, over which the mind 2624 bears rule, itself also subjected to its God, when life is most rightly and orderly conducted. What, therefore, in a single individual human being is the mind and the concupiscence, (that ruling, this ruled; that lord, this subject,) the same in two human beings, man and woman, is in regard of the sex of the body exhibited in a figure. Of which sacred import 2625 the Apostle speaks when he says, that the man ought not to be veiled, the women ought. For the mind doth the more gloriously advance to higher things, the more diligently the concupiscence is curbed from lower things; until the whole man together with even this now mortal and frail body in the last resurrection be clothed with incorruption and immortality, and death be swallowed up in victory. 2626





Ps. 1.1Ps. i. 1


1 Cor. 13.111 Cor. xiii. 11. [See R.V.]


Eph. 4:13, 14Eph. 4:13, 14


Gal. 3:27, 28Gal. 3:27, 28. [See R.V.]


2 Cor. 4.162 Cor. iv. 16


Col. 3:9, 10Col. 3:9, 10


Eph. 4.21-24Eph. iv. 21-24. [See R.V.]






1 Cor. 15.541 Cor. xv. 54

Next: Section 41

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