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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
On Marriage and Concupiscence.: Chapter 6

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 6.—The Same Continued.

He has next adduced that passage of ours, wherein we said: “For there would have been none of this shame-producing concupiscence, which is impudently praised by impudent men, if man had not previously sinned; while as to marriage, it would still have existed, even if no man had sinned: for the procreation of children would have been effected without this disease.” Up to this point he cited my words; but he shrank from adding what comes next—“in the body of that chaste life, although without it this cannot be done in ‘the body of this death.’” He would not complete my sentence, but mutilated it somewhat, because he dreaded the apostle’s exclamation, of which my words gave him a reminder: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 2201 For the body of this death existed not in paradise before sin; therefore did we say, “In the body of that chaste life,” which was the life of paradise, “the procreation of children could have been effected without the disease, without p. 285 which now in the body of this death it cannot be done.” The apostle, however, before arriving at that mention of man’s misery and God’s grace which we have just quoted, had first said: “I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Then it is that he exclaimed, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In the body of this death, therefore, such as it was in paradise before sin, there certainly was not “another law in our members warring against the law of our mind”—which now, even when we are unwilling, and withhold consent, and use not our members to fulfil that which it desires, still dwells in these members, and harasses our resisting and repugnant mind. And this conflict in itself, although not involving condemnation, because it does not consummate sin, is nevertheless “wretched,” inasmuch as it has no peace. I think, then, that I have shown you clearly enough that this man had a special object as well as method in quoting my words: he adduced them for refutation in such manner as in some instances to interrupt the context of my sentences by removing what stood between them, and in other instances to curtail them by withdrawing their concluding words; and his reason for doing all this I think I have sufficiently explained.



Rom. vii. 24.

Next: Chapter 7