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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: The body as a prison.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

40. There are one or two more things on which he wishes condemnation to be passed. One is this: that these men say that the body is a prison, and like a chain round the soul; and that they assert that the soul does not depart, but returns to the place where it p. 457 originally was. Let me give quotations to show his opinion on this point also. In the second book of these Commentaries, on the passage “For this cause, I, Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ,” he says, a little way down;

“The Apostle in several passages calls the body the chain of the soul, because the soul is kept shut up as it were in a prison; and thus we may speak of Paul being kept close in the bonds of the body and does not return to be with Christ, so that preaching to the Gentiles may be perfectly accomplished.”

And again in the third book of these Commentaries, on the words, “for which I am an ambassador in chains,” 2904 after some discussion of the passage, he speaks in the character of that ‘other’ which is himself:

“Another contends that he speaks thus because of the 2905 body of our humiliation and the chain with which we are encompassed, so that we 2906 know not yet as we ought to know, and see 2907 by means of a mirror in a riddle: and that he will be able to disclose the mysteries of the Gospel only when he has cast off this chain and gone forth free from his prison. Yet perhaps even in chains that man may be considered as free who has his conversation in heaven, and of whom it may be said: 2908 “You are not in the prison nor in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwelleth in you.”

And in the Commentary on Paul’s Epistle to Philemon, at the place where he says 2909 “Epaphras my fellow-prisoner greeteth you,” some way down he says:

“Possibly, however, as some think, a more recondite and mysterious view is set before us, namely, that the two companions had been captured and bound and brought down into this vale of tears.”



Eph. vi. 20


Col. iii. 21


1 Cor. viii. 2


1 Cor. xiii. 12


Rom. viii. 9


Philem. 23

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