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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
On Marriage and Concupiscence.: Chapter 2

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 2. [II.]—Why This Treatise Was Addressed to Valerius.

Now there are three very special reasons, which I will briefly indicate, why I wished to write to you particularly on this subject. One is, because by the gift of Christ you are a strict observer of conjugal chastity. Another is, because by your great care and diligence you have effectually withstood those profane novelties which we are resisting in our present discussion. The third is, because of my learning that something which they had committed to writing had found its way into your hands; and although in your robust faith you could despise such an attempt, it is still a good thing for us also to know how to bring aid to our faith by defending it. For the Apostle Peter instructs us to be “ready always to give an answer to every one that asketh us a reason of the faith and hope that is in us;” 2064 and the Apostle Paul says, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” 2065 These are the motives which chiefly impel me to hold such converse with you in this volume, as the Lord shall enable me. I have never liked, indeed, to intrude the perusal of any of my humble labours on any eminent person, who is like yourself conspicuous to all from the elevation of his office, without his own request,—especially when he is not blessed with the enjoyment of a dignified retirement, but is still occupied in the public duties of a soldier’s profession; this has always seemed to me to savour more impertinence than of respectful esteem. If, then, I have incurred censure of this kind, while acting on the reasons which I have now mentioned, I crave the favour of your forgiveness, and kindly regard to the following arguments.



1 Pet. iii. 15. [The reading “faith and hope” stands in certain Latin Biblical mss. Also, e.g., Codices Harleianus and Toletanus. Traces of a similar reading are not unknown also in Greek (Origen, Basil) and Syriac (Peshitto) sources.—W.]


Col. iv. 6.

Next: Chapter 3

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