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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV:
Writings in Connection with the Donatist Controversy.: Chapter 18

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 18.—26.  Nor indeed, is it of heresies alone that the apostle says "that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."  But it may be worth while to look for a moment at the things which he groups together.  "The works of the flesh," he says "are manifest, which are these; fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:  of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." 1448   Let us suppose some one, therefore, chaste, continent, free from covetousness, no idolater, hospitable, charitable to the needy, no man’s enemy, not contentious, patient, quiet, jealous of none, envying none, sober, frugal, but a heretic; it is of course clear to all that for this one fault only, that he is a heretic, he will fail to inherit the kingdom of God.  Let us suppose another, a fornicator, unclean, lascivious, covetous, or even more openly given to idolatry, a student of witchcraft, a lover of strife and contention, envious, hot-tempered, seditious, jealous, drunken, and a reveller, but a Catholic; can it be that for this sole merit, that he is a Catholic, he will inherit the kingdom of God, though his deeds are of the kind of which the apostle thus concludes:  "Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God?"  If we say this, we lead ourselves astray.  For the word of God does not lead us astray, which is neither silent, nor lenient, nor deceptive through any flattery.  Indeed, it speaks to the same effect elsewhere:  "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, which is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words." 1449   We have no reason, therefore, to complain of the word of God.  It certainly says, and says openly and freely, that those who live a wicked life have no part in the kingdom of God.


Footnotes

458:1448

Gal. v. 19-21.

458:1449

Eph. 5:5, 6.


Next: Chapter 19

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