Friday, July 1, 2016

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to Sunday

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.  For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.  Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.  (1 Thess 4:3-8)

It is, then, a matter to be diligently learned not to be wanton.  But we possess our vessel, when it is pure.  When it is impure, sin possesses it.  And reasonably.  For it does not do the things which we wish, but what sin commands.  “Not in the passion of lust,” he says.  Here he shows also the manner according to which one ought to be temperate—that we should cut off the passions of lust.  For luxury, and wealth, and idleness, and sloth, and ease, and all such things, lead us on to irregular lust.  “Even as the Gentiles,” he says, “who do not know God.”  For such are they who do not expect that they shall suffer punishment.

John Chrysostom, Homilies on First Thessalonians

It is quite possible to pass decisive sentences on vessels and on instruments, to the extent that they may participate in the merits of their proprietors and employers.… For every vessel or every instrument becomes useful by external manipulation, consisting as it does of material perfectly extraneous to the substance of the human owner or employer; whereas the flesh, being conceived, formed, and generated along with the soul from its earliest existence in the womb, is mixed up with the soul likewise in all its operations.  For although it is called “a vessel” by the apostle, such as he enjoins to be treated “with honor,” yet it is designated by the same apostle as “the outward man,”—that clay, of course, which at the first was inscribed with the title of a man, not of a cup or a sword, or any common vessel.

Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh 16

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