Jerome answers the second, third, and fourth propositions of Jovinianus.
I. (c. 1-4). That those who have become regenerate cannot be overthrown by the devil, Jerome (c. 1) puts it that they cannot he tempted by the devil. He quotes 1 John i. 8-ii. 2, as shewing that faithful men can be tempted and sin and need an advocate. The expressions (3) in Heb. vi. as to those who crucify the Son of God afresh do not apply to ordinary sins after baptism, as supposed by Montanus and Novatus. The epistles to the Seven Churches show that the lapsed may return. The Angels, and even our Lord Himself, (4) could be tempted.
II. (c. 5-I7). That there is no difference (morally) between one who fasts and one who takes food with thanksgiving. Jovinian has quoted (5) many texts of Scripture to show that God has made animals for men's food. But (6) there are many other uses of animals besides food. And there are many warnings like 1 Cor. vi. 13, as to the danger arising from food, There are among the heathen (7) many instances of abstinence. They recognize (8) the evil of sensual allurements, and often, like Crates the Theban, (9) have cast away what would tempt them; the senses, they teach. (10) should be subject to reason; and, that (11) except for athletes (Christians do not want to be like Milo of Crotona) bread and water suffice. Horace (12), Xenophon and other eminent Greeks (13), the Essenes and the Brahmans (14), as well as philosophers like Diogenes, testify to the value of abstinence. The Old Testament stories (15) of Esau's pottage, of the lusting of Israel for the flesh-pots of Egypt, and those in the New Testament of Anna, Cornelius, &c., commend abstinence. If some heretics inculcate fasting (16) in such a way as to despise the gifts of God, and weak Christians are not to be judged for their use of flesh, those who seek the higher life (17) will find a help in abstinence.
III. (c. 18-34). The fourth proposition of Jovinianus, that all who are saved will have equal reward, is refuted (19) by the various yields of thirty, sixty, and a hundred fold in the parable of the sower, by(20) the "stars differing in glory" of I Cor. xv. 41. It is strange (21) to find the advocate of self-indulgence now claiming equality to the saints. But (22) as there were differences in Ezekiel between cattle and cattle, so in St. Paul between those who built gold or stubble on the one foundation. The differences of gifts (23), of punishments (24), of guilt (25), as in Pilate and the Chief Priests, of the produce of the good seed (26), of the mansions promised in heaven (27-29), of the judgment upon sins both in the church and in Scripture (30-31), of those called at different times to the vineyard (32) are arguments for the diversity of rewards. The parable of the talents (33) holds out as rewards differences of station, and so does the church (34) in its different orders.
Jerome now recapitulates (35) and appeals(36)against the licentious views of Jovinianus, which have already induced many virgins to break their vows; and which, as the new Roman heresy (37), he calls upon the Imperial City (38) to reject.
1. The second proposition of Jovinianus is that the baptized cannot be tempted(1) by the devil. And to escape the imputation of folly in saying this, he adds: "But if any are tempted, it only shows that they were baptized with water, not with the Spirit, as we read was the case with Simon Magus." Hence it is that John says,(2) "Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abideth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devil." And at the end of the Epistle,(3) "Whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not; but his being begotten of God keepeth him, and the evil one toucheth him not."
2. This would be a real difficulty and one for ever incapable of solution were it not solved by the witness of John himself, who immediately goes on to say,(4) "My little children, guard yourselves from idols." If everyone that is born of God sinneth not, and cannot be tempted by the devil, how is it that he bids them beware of temptation? Again in the same Epistle we read:(5) "If we say that we have no sins, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." I suppose that John was baptized and was writing to the baptized: I imagine too that all sin is of the devil. Now John confesses himself a sinner, and hopes for forgiveness of sins after baptism. My friend Jovinianus says,(6) "Touch me not, for I am clean." What then? Does the Apostle contradict himself? By no means. In the same passage he gives his reason for thus speaking:(7) "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye may not sin. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. And hereby know we that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily hath the love of God been perfected. Hereby know we that we are in him: he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk even as he walked." My reason for telling you, little children, that everyone who is born of God sinneth not, is that you may not sin, and that you may know that so long as you sin not I you abide in the birth which God has given you. Yea, they who abide in that birth cannot sin.(8) "For what communion hath light with darkness? Or Christ with Belial?" As day is distinct from night, so righteousness and unrighteousness, sin and good works, Christ and Antichrist cannot blend. If we give Christ a lodging-place in our hearts, we banish the devil from thence. If we sin and the devil enter through the gate of sin, Christ will immediately withdraw. Hence David after sinning says:(9) "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation," that is, the joy which he had lost by sinning.(10) "He who saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." Christ is called the truth:(11) "I am the way, the truth, and the life." In vain do we make our boast in him whose commandments we keep not. To him that knoweth what is good, and doeth it not, it is sin.(12) "As the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead." And we must not think it a great matter to know the only God, when even devils believe and tremble. "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk even as he walked." Our opponent may choose whichever of the two he likes; we give him his choice. Does he abide in Christ, or not? If he abide, let him then walk as Christ walked. But if there is(13) rashness in professing to copy the virtues of our Lord, he does not abide in Christ, for he does not walk as did Christ.(14) "He did not sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: when he was reviled, he reviled not again, and as a lamb is dumb before its shearer, so opened he not his mouth." To Him came the prince of this world, and found nothing in Him: although He had done no sin, God made Him sin for us. But we, according to the Epistle of James,(15) "all stumble in many things," and(16) "no one is pure from sin, no not if his life be but a day long."(17) For who will boast "that he has a clean heart? or who will be sure that he is pure from sin?" And we are held guilty after the similitude of Adam's transgression. Hence David says,(18) "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." And the blessed Job,(19) "Though I be righteous my mouth will speak wickedness, and though I be perfect, I shall be found perverse. If I wash myself with snow water and make my hands never so clean, yet wilt thou plunge me in the ditch and mine own clothes shall abhor me." But that we may not utterly despair and think that if we sin after baptism we cannot be saved, he immediately checks the tendency:(20) "And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins. And not for ours only, but also for the whole world." He addresses this to baptized believers, and he promises them the Lord as an advocate for their offences. He does not say: If you fall into sin, you have an advocate with the Father, Christ, and He is the propitiation for your sins: you might then say that he was addressing those whose baptism had been destitute of the true faith: but what he says is this, "We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, and he is the propitiation for our sins." And not only for the sins of John and his contemporaries, but for those of the whole world. Now in "the whole world" are included apostles and all the faithful, and a clear proof is established that sin after baptism is possible. It is useless for us to have an advocate Jesus Christ, if sin be impossible.
3. The apostle Peter, to whom it was said,(21) "He that is bathed needeth not to wash again," and(22) "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church," through fear of a maid-servant denied Him. Our Lord himself says,(23) "Simon, Simon, behold Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat. But I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not." And in the same place, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." If you reply that this was said before the Passion, we certainly say after the Passion, in the Lord's prayer,(24) "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." If we do not sin after baptism, why do we ask that we may be forgiven our sins, which were already forgiven in baptism? Why do we pray that we may not enter into temptation, and that we may be delivered from the evil one, if the devil cannot tempt those who are baptized? The case is different if this prayer belongs to the Catechumens, and is not adapted to faithful Christians. Paul, the chosen vessel,(25) chastised his body, and brought it into subjection, lest after preaching to others he himself should be found a reprobate, and(26) he tells that there was given to him "a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet" him. And to the Corinthians he writes:(27) "I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is toward Christ." And elsewhere:(28) "But to whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for what I also have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, for your sakes have I forgiven it in the person of Christ: that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan: for we are not ignorant of his devices." And again:(29) "There hath no temptation taken you, but such as man can bear; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it." And,(30) "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." And to the Galatians:(31) "Ye were running well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" And elsewhere:(32) "We would fain have come unto you, I Paul once and again; and Satan hindered us." And to the married he says:(33) "Be together again, that Satan tempt you not because of your incontinency." And again:(34) "But I say, walk by the Spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other: that ye may not do the things that ye would." We are a compound of the two, and must endure the strife of the two substances. And to the Ephesians:(35) "Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Does any one think that we are safe, and that it is right to fall asleep when once we have been baptized? And so, too, in the epistle to the Hebrews:(36) "For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Surely we cannot deny that they have been baptized who have been illuminated, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God. Butif the baptized cannot sin, how is it now that the Apostle says, "And have fallen away"?(37) Montanus and(38) Novatus would smile at this, for they contend that it is impossible to renew again through repentance those who have crucified to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. He therefore corrects this mistake by saying:(39) "But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak; for God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love which ye shewed towards his name, in that ye ministered unto the Saints, and still do minister." And truly the unrighteousness of God would be great, if He merely punished sin, and did not welcome good works. I have so spoken, says the Apostle, to withdraw you from your sins, and to make you more careful through fear of despair. But, beloved, I am persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation. For it is not accordant with the righteousness of God to forget good works, and the fact that you have ministered and do minister to the Saints for His name's sake, and to remember sins only. The Apostle James also, knowing that the baptized can be tempted, and fall of their own free choice, says:(40) "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him." And that we may not think that we are tempted by God, as we read in Genesis Abraham was, he adds: "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempteth no man. But each man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is full grown, bringeth forth death." God created us with free will, and we are not forced by necessity either to virtue or to vice. Otherwise, if there be necessity, there is no crown. As n good works it is God who brings them to perfection, for it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that pitieth and gives us help that we may be able to reach the goal: so in things wicked and sinful, the seeds within us give the impulse, and these are brought to maturity by the devil. When he sees that we are building upon the foundation of Christ, hay, wood, stubble, then he applies the match. Let us then build gold, silver, costly stones, and he will not venture to tempt us: although even thus there is not sure and safe possession. For the lion lurks in ambush to slay the innocent.(41) "Potters' vessels are proved by the furnace, and just men by the trial of tribulation." And in another place it is written:(42) "My son, when thou comest to serve the Lord, prepare thyself for temptation." Again, the same James says:(43) "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only. For if any one is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was." It was useless to warn them to add works to faith, if they could not sin after baptism. He tells us that(44) "whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all." Which of us is without sin?(45) "God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all." Peter also says:(46) "The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation." And concerning false teachers:(47) "These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved. For, uttering proud wordsof vanity, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by lasciviousness, those who had just escaped, and have turned back to error." Does not the Apostle in these words seem to you to have depicted the new party of ignorance? For, as it were, they open the fountains of knowledge and yet have no water: they promise a shower of doctrine like prophetic clouds which have been visited by the truth of God, and are driven by the storms of devils and vices. They speak great things, and their talk is nothing but pride:(48) "But every one is unclean with God who is lifted up in his own heart." Like those who had just escaped from their sins, they return to their own error, and persuade men to luxury, and to the delights of eating and the gratification of the flesh. For who is not glad to hear them say: "Let us eat and drink, and reign for ever"? The wise and prudent they call corrupt, but pay more attention to the honey-tongued. John the apostle, or rather the Saviour in the person of John, writes thus to the angel of the Church of Ephesus:(49) "I know thy works and thy toil and patience, and that thou didst bear for my name's sake, and hast not grown weary. But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent." Similarly He urges the other churches, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, to repentance, and threatens them unless they return to the former works. And in Sardis He says He has a few who have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy. But they to whom He says: "Remember from whence thou art fallen "; and, "Behold the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried"; and, "I know where thou dwellest, even where Satan's throne is"; and, "Remember how thou hast received, and didst hear, and keep it, and repent," and so on, were of course believers, and baptized, who once stood, but fell through sin.
4. I delayed for a little while the production of proofs from the Old Testament, because, wherever the Old Testament is against them they are accustomed to cry out that(50) the Law and the Prophets were until John. But who does not know that under the other dispensation of God all the saints of past times were of equal merit with Christians at the present day? As Abraham in days gone by pleased God in wedlock, so virgins now please him in perpetual virginity. He served the Law and his own times; let us now serve the Gospel and our times,(51) upon whom the ends of the ages have come. David the chosen one, the man after God's own heart, who had performed all His pleasure, and who in a certain psalm had said,(52) "Judge me, O Lord, for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord and shall not slide. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart," even he was afterwards tempted by the devil; and repenting of his sin said,(53) "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness." He would have a great sin blotted out by great loving-kindness. Solomon, beloved of the Lord, and to whom God had twice revealed Himself, because he loved women forsook the love of God. It is related in the(54) Book of Days that Manasses the wicked king was restored after the Babylonish captivity to his former rank. And Josiah, a holy man,(55) was slain by the king of Egypt on the plain of Megiddo.(56) Joshua also, the son of Josedech and high-priest, although he was a type of our Saviour Who bore our sins, and united to Himself a church of alien birth from among the Gentiles, is nevertheless, according to the letter of Scripture,represented in filthy garments after he attained to the priesthood, and with the devil standing at his right hand; and white raiment is afterwards restored to him. It is needless to tell how Moses and Aaron(57) offended God at the water of strife, and did not enter the land of promise. For the blessed Job relates that even the angels and every creature can sin.(58) "Shall mortal man," he says, "be just beforeGod? Shall a man be spotless in his works? If he putteth no trust in his servants, and chargeth his angels with folly, how much more them that dwell in houses of clay," amongst whom are we, and made of the same clay too.(59) "The life of man is a warfare upon earth."(60) Lucifer fell who was sending to all nations, and he who was nurtured in a paradise of delight as one of the twelve precious stones, was wounded and went down to hell from the mount of God. Hence the Saviour says in the Gospel:(61) "I beheld Satan falling as lightning from heaven." If he fell who stood on so sublime a height, who may not fall? If there are falls in heaven, how much more on earth! And yet though Lucifer be fallen (the old serpent after his fall),(62) "his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the muscles of his belly. The great trees are overshadowed by him, and he sleepeth beside the reed, the rush, and the sedge."(63) He is king over all things that are in the waters-that is to say in the seat of pleasure and luxury, of propagation of children, and of the fertilisation of the marriage bed(64) "For who can strip off his outer garment? Who can open the doors of his face? Nations fatten upon him, and the tribes of Phenicia divide him." And lest haply the reader in his secret thought might imagine that those tribes of Phenicia and peoples of Ethiopia only are meant by those to whom the dragon was given for food, we immediately find a reference to those who are crossing the sea of this world, and are hastening to reach the haven of salvation:(65) "His head stands in the ships of the fishermen like an anvil that cannot be wearied:(66) he counteth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. And all the gold of the sea under him is as mire. He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he values the sea like a pot of ointment, and the blackness of the deep as a captive. He beholdeth everything that is high." And my friend Jovinianus thinks he can gain an easy mastery over him. Why speak of holy men and angels, who, being creatures of God, are of course capable of sin? He dared to tempt the Son of God, and though smitten through and through with our Lord's first and second answer, nevertheless raised his head, and when thrice wounded, withdrew only for a time, and deferred rather than removed the temptation. And we flatter ourselves on the ground of our baptism, which though it put away the sins of the past, cannot keep us for the time to come, unless the baptized keep their hearts with all diligence.
5. At length we have arrived at the question of food, and are confronted by our third difficulty. "All things were created to serve for the use of mortal men.' And as man, a rational animal, in a sense the owner and tenant of the world, is subject to God, and worships his Creator, so all things living were created either for the food of men, or for clothing, or for tilling the earth, or conveying the fruits thereof, or to be the companions of man, and hence, because they are man's(67) helpers, they have their name jumenta.(68) `What is man,' says David, `that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him but little lower than the angels, and crownest him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thine hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field: the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.' Granted, he says, that the ox was created for ploughing, the horse for riding, the dog for watching, goats for their milk, sheep for their fleeces. What is the use of swine if we may not eat their flesh? of roes, stags, fallow-deer, boars, hares, and such like game? of geese, wild and tame? of wild ducks and(69) fig-peckers? of woodcocks? of coots? of thrushes? Why do hens run about our houses? If they are not eaten, all these creatures were created by God for nothing. But what need is there of argument when Scripture clearly teaches that every moving creature, like herbs and vegetables, were given to us for food, and the Apostle cries aloud(70) `All things are clean to the clean, and nothing is to be rejected, if it be received with thanksgiving,' and(71) tells us that men will come in the last days, forbidding to marry, and to eat meats, which God created for use? The Lord himself was called by the Pharisees a wine-bibber and a glutton, the friend of publicans and sinners, because he did not decline the invitation of Zacchaeus to dinner, and went to the marriage-feast. But it is a different matter if, as you may foolishly contend, he went to the dinner intending to fast, and after the manner of deceivers said, I eat this, not that; I do not drink the wine which I created out of water. He did not make water, but wine, the type of his blood. After the resurrection he ate a fish and part of a honey-comb, not sesame nuts and service-berries. The apostle, Peter, did not wait like a Jew for the stars to peep, but went upon the house-top to dine at the sixth hour. Paul in the ship broke bread, not dried figs. When Timothy's stomach was out of order, he advised him to drink wine, not perry. In abstaining from meats they please their own fancy: as though superstitious Gentiles did not observe the(72) rites of abstinence connected with the Mother of the Gods and with Isis."
6. I will follow in detail the views now expounded, and before I come to Scripture and show by it that fasting is pleasing to God, and chastity accepted by him, I will meet philosophic argument with argument, and will prove that we are not followers of Empedocles and Pythagoras, who on account of their doctrine of the transmigration of souls think nothing which lives and moves should be eaten, and look upon him who fells a fir-tree or an oak as equally guilty with the parricide or the poisoner: but that we worship our Creator Who made all things for the use of man. And as the ox was created for ploughing, the horse for riding, dogs for watching, goats for milk, sheep for their wool: so it was with swine and stags, and roes and hares, and other animals: but the immediate purpose of their creation was not that they might serve for food, but for other uses of men. For if everything that moves and lives was made for food, and prepared for the stomach, let my opponents tellme why elephants, lions, leopards, and wolves were created; why vipers, scorpions, bugs, lice, and fleas; why the vulture, the eagle, the crow, the hawk; why whales, dolphins, seals, and small snails were created. Which of us ever eats the flesh of a lion, a viper, a vulture, a stork, a kite, or the worms that crawl upon our shores? As then these have their proper uses, so may we say that other beasts, fishes, birds, were created not for eating, but for medicine. In short, to how many uses the flesh of vipers, from which we make our antidotes against poison, may be applied, physicians know well. Ivory dust is an ingredient in many remedies. Hyena's gall restores brightness to the eyes, and its dung and that of dogs cures gangrenous wounds. And (it may seem strange to the reader) Galen asserts in his treatise on Simples, that human dung is of service in a multitude of cases. Naturalists say that snake-skin, boiled in oil, gives wonderful relief in ear-ache. What to the uninitiated seems so useless as a bug? Yet, suppose a leech to have fastened on the throat, as soon as the odour of a bug is inhaled the leech is vomited out, and difficulty in urinating is relieved by the same application. As for the fat of pigs, geese, fowls, and pheasants, how useful they are is told in all medical works, and if you read these books you will see there that the vulture has as many curative properties as it has limbs. Peacock's dung allays the inflammation of gout. Cranes, storks, eagle's gall, hawk's blood, the ostrich, frogs, chameleons, swallow's dung and flesh-in what diseases these are suitable remedies, I could tell if it were my purpose to discuss bodily ailments and their cure. If you think proper you may read Aristotle and(73) Theophrastus in prose, or(74) Marcellus of Side, and our(75) Flavius, who discourse on these subjects in hexameter verse; the(76) second Pliny also, and(77) Dioscorides, and others, both naturalists and physicians, who assign to every herb, every stone, every animal whether reptile, bird, or fish, its own use in the art of which they treat. So then when you ask me why the pig was created, I immediately reply, as if two boys were disputing, by asking you why were vipers and scorpions? You must not judge that anything from the hand of God is superfluous, because there are many beasts and birds which your palate rejects. But this may perhaps look more like contentiousness and pugnacity than truth. Let me tell you therefore that pigs and wild-boars, and stags, and the rest of living creatures were created, that soldiers, athletes, sailors, rhetoricians, miners, and other slaves of hard toil, who need physical strength, might have food: and also those who carry arms and provisions, who wear themselves out with the work of hand or foot, who ply the oar, who need good lungs to shout and speak, who level mountains and sleep out rain or fair. But our religion does not train boxers, athletes, sailors, soldiers, or ditchers, but followers of wisdom, who devote themselves to the worship of God, and know why they were created and are in the world from which they are impatient to depart. Hence also the Apostle says:(78) "When I am weak, then am I strong." And.(79) "Though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day." And(80) "I have the desire to depart and be with Christ." And,(81) "Make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof." Are all commanded(82) not to have two coats, nor food in their scrip, money in their purse, a staff in the hand, shoes on the feet? or to sell all they possess and give to the poor, and follow Jesus? Of course not: but the command is for those who wish to be perfect. On the contrary John the Baptist lays down one rule for the soldiers, another for the publicans. But the Lord says in the Gospel to him who had boasted of having kept the whole law:(83) "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and come, follow me." That He might not seem to lay a heavy burden on unwilling shoulders, He sent His hearer away with full power to please himself, saying "If thou wilt be perfect." And so I too say to you: If you wish to be perfect, it is good not to drink wine, and eat flesh. If you wish to be perfect, it is better to enrich the mind than to stuff the body. But if you are an infant and fond of the cooks and their preparations, no one will snatch the dainties out of your mouth. Eat and drink, and, if you like, with Israel rise up and play, and sing(84) "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die." Let him eat and drink, who looks for death when he has feasted, and who says with Epicurus, "There is nothing after death, and death itself is nothing." We believe Paul when he says in tones of thunder:(85) "Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats. But God will destroy both them and it."
7. I have quoted these few passages of Scripture to show that we are at one with the philosophers. But who does not know that no universal law of nature regulates the food of all nations, and that each eats those things of which it has abundance? For instance, the Arabians and Saracens, and all the wild tribes of the desert live on camel's milk and flesh: for the camel, to suit the climate and barren soil of those regions, is easily bred and reared. They think it wicked to eat the flesh of swine. Why? Because pigs which fatten on acorns, chestnuts, roots of ferns, and barley, are seldom or never found among them: and if they were found, they would not afford the nourishment of which we spoke just now. The exact opposite is the case with the northern peoples. If you were to force them to eat the flesh of asses and camels, they would think it the same as though they were compelled to devour a wolf or a crow. In Pontus and Phrygia a paterfamilias pays a good price for fat white worms with blackish heads, which breed in decayed wood. And as with us the woodcock and fig-pecker, the mullet and scar, are reputed delicacies, so with them it is a luxury to eat the(86) xylophagus. Again, because throughout the glowing wastes of the desert clouds of locusts are found, it is customary with the peoples of the East and of Libya to feed on locusts. John the Baptist proves the truth of this. Compel a Phrygian or a native of Pontus to eat a locust, and he will think it scandalous. Force a Syrian, an African, or Arabian to swallow worms, he will have the same contempt for them as for flies, millepedes, and lizards, although the Syrians are accustomed to eat land-crocodiles, and the Africans even green lizards. In Egypt and Palestine, owing to the scarcity of cattle no one eats beef, or makes the flesh of bulls or oxen, or calves, a portion of their food. Moreover, in my province(87) it is considered a crime to eat veal. Accordingly the Emperor Valens recently promulgated a law throughout the East, prohibiting the killing and eating of calves. He had in view the interests of agriculture, and wished to check the bad practice of the commoner sort of the people who imitated the Jews in devouring the flesh of calves, instead of fowls and sucking pigs. The Nomad tribes, and the(88) Troglodytes, and Scythians, and the barbarous(89) Huns with whom we have recently become acquainted, eat flesh half raw. Moreover the Icthyophagi, a wandering race on the shores of the Red Sea, broil fish on the stones made hot by the sun, and subsist on this poor food. The(90) Sarmatians, the(91) Chuadi, the(92) Vandals, and countless other races, delight in the flesh of horses and wolves. Why should I speak of other nations when I myself, a youth on a visit to Gaul. heard that the Atticoti, a British tribe, eat human flesh, and that although they find herds of swine, and droves of large or small cattle in the woods, it is their custom to cut off the buttocks of the shepherds and the breasts of their women, and to regard them as the greatest delicacies? The Scots have no wives of their own; as though they read Plato's Republic and took Cato for their leader, no man among them has his own wife, but like beasts they indulge their lust to their hearts' content. The Persians, Medes, Indians, and Ethiopians, peoples on a par with Rome itself, have intercourse with mothers and grandmothers, with daughters and granddaughters. The(93) Massagetae and(94) Derbices think those persons most unhappy who die of sickness-and when parents, kindred, or friends reach old age, they are murdered and devoured. It is thought better that they should be eaten by the people themselves than by the worms. The(95) Tibareni crucify those whom they have loved before when they have grown old. The(96) Hyrcani throw them out half alive to the birds and dogs: the Caspians leave them dead for the same beasts. The Scythians bury alive with the remains of the dead those who were beloved of the deceased. The Bactrians throw their old men to dogs which they rear for the very purpose, and when Stasanor, Alexander's general, wished to correct the practice, he almost lost his province. Force an Egyptian to drink sheep's milk: drive, if you can, a Pelusiote to eat an onion. Almost every city in Egypt venerates its own beasts and monsters, and whatever be the object of worship, that they think inviolable and sacred. Hence it is that their towns also are named after animals Leonto, Cyno, Lyco, Busyris, Thmuis, which is, being interpreted, a he-goat. And to make us understand what sort of gods Egypt always welcomed, one of their cities was recently called(97) Antinous after Hadrian's favourite. You see clearly then that not only in eating, but also in burial, in wedlock, and in every department of life, each race follows its own practice and peculiar usages, and takes that for the law of nature which is most familiar to it. But suppose all nations alike ate flesh. and let that be everywhere lawful which the place produces. How does it concern us whose conversation is in heaven? who, as well as Pythagoras and Empedocles and all lovers of wisdom, are not bound to the circumstances of our birth, but of our new birth: who by abstinence subjugate our refractory flesh, eager to follow the allurements of lust? The eating of flesh, and drinking of wine, and fulness of stomach, is the seed-plot of lust. And so the comic poet says,(98) "Venus shivers unless Ceres and Bacchus be with her."
8. Through the five senses, as through open windows, vice has access to the soul. The metropolis and citadel of the mind cannot be taken unless the enemy have previously entered by its doors. The soul is distressed by the disorder they produce, and is led captive by sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. If any one delights in the sports of the circus, or the struggles of athletes, the versatility of actors, the figure of women, in splendid jewels, dress, silver and gold, and other things of the kind, the liberty of the soul is lost through the windows of the eyes, and the prophet's words are fulfilled:(99) "Death is come up into our windows." Again, our sense of hearing is flattered by the tones of various instruments and the modulations of the voice; and whatever enters the ear by the songs of poets and comedians, by the pleasantries and verses of pantomimic actors, weakens the manly fibre of the mind. Then, again, no one but a profligate denies that the profligate and licentious find a delight in sweet odours, different sorts of incense, fragrant balsam,(100) kuphi,(101) oenanthe, and musk, which is nothing but the skin of a foreign rat. And who does not know that gluttony is the mother of avarice, and, as it were, fetters the heart and keeps it pressed down upon the earth? For the sake of a temporary gratification of the appetite, land and sea are ransacked, and we toil and sweat our lives through, that we may send down our throats honey-wine and costly food. The desire to handle other men's persons, and the burning lust for women, is a passion bordering on insanity. To gratify this sense we languish, grow angry, throw ourselves about with joy, indulge envy, engage in rivalry, are filled with anxiety, and when we have terminated the pleasure with more or less repentance, we once more take fire, and want to do that which we again regret doing. Where, then, that which we may call the thin edge of disturbance, has entered the citadel of the mind through these doors, what will become of its liberty, its endurance, its thought of God, particularly since the sense of touch can picture to itself even bygone pleasures, and through the recollection of vice forces the soul to take part in them, and after a manner to practice what it does not actually commit?
9. At the call of reasoning such as this, many philosophers have forsaken the crowded cities, and their pleasure gardens in the suburbs with well-watered grounds, shady trees, twittering birds, crystal fountains, murmuring brooks, and many charms for eye and ear, lest through luxury and abundance of riches, the firmness of the mind should be enfeebled, and its purity debauched. For there is no good in frequently seeing objects which may one day lead to your captivity, or in making trial of things which you would find it hard to do without. Even the Pythagoreans shunned company of this kind and were wont to dwell in solitary places in the desert. The Platonists also and Stoics lived in the groves and porticos of, temples, that, admonished by the sanctity of their restricted abode, they might think of nothing but virtue. Plato, moreover, himself, when(102) Diogenes trampled on his couches with muddy feet (he being a rich man), chose a house called(103) Academia at some distance from the city, in a spot not only lonely but unhealthy, so that he might have leisure for philosophy. His object was that by constant anxiety about sickness the assaults of lust might be defeated, and that his disciples might experience no pleasure but that afforded by the things they learned. We have read of some who took out their own eyes lest through sight they might lose the contemplation of philosophy. Hence it was that(104) Crates the famous Theban, after throwing into the sea a considerable weight of gold, exclaimed, "Go to the bottom, ye evil lusts: I will drown you that you may not drown me." But if anyone thinks to enjoy keenly meat and drink in excess, and at the same time to devote himself to philosophy, that is to say, to live in luxury and yet not to be hampered by the vices attendant on luxury, he deceives himself. For if it be the case that even when far distant from them we are frequently caught in the snares of nature, and are compelled to desire those things of which we have a scant supply: what folly it is to think we are free when we are surrounded by the nets of pleasure! We think of what we see, hear, smell, taste, handle, and are led to desire the thing which affords us pleasure. That the mind sees and hears, and that we can neither hear nor see anything unless our senses are fixed upon the objects of sight and hearing, is an old saw. It is difficult, or rather impossible, when we are swimming in luxury and pleasure not to think of what we are doing: and it is an idle pretence which some men put forward(105) that they can take their fill of pleasure with their faith and purity and mental uprightness unimpaired. It is a violation of nature to revel in pleasure, and the Apostle gives a caution against this very thing when he says,(106) "She that giveth herself to pleasure is dead while she liveth."
10. The bodily senses are like horses madly racing, but the soul like a charioteer holds the reins. And as horses without a driver go at break-neck speed, so the body if it be not governed by the reasonable soul rushes to its own destruction. The philosophers make use of another illustration of the relations between soul and body;(107) they say the body is a boy, the soul his tutor. Hence the(108) historian tells us "that our soul directs, our body serves. The one we have in common with the gods, the other with the beasts." So then unless the vices of youth and boyhood are regulated by the wisdom of the tutor, every effort and every impulse sets strongly in the direction of wantonness. We might lose four of the senses and yet live,-that is we could do without sight, bearing, smell, and the pleasures of touch. But a human being cannot subsist without tasting food. It follows that reason must be present, that we may take food of such a kind and in such quantities as will not burden the body, or hinder the free movement of the soul: for it is the way with us that we eat, and walk, and sleep, and digest our food, and afterwards in the fulness of blood have to bear the spur of lust.(109) "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler." Whosoever has much to do with these is not wise. And we should not take such food as is difficult of digestion, or such as when eaten will give us reason to complain that we got it and lost it with much effort. The preparation of vegetables, fruit, and pulse is easy, and does not require the skill of expensive cooks: our bodies are nourished by them with little trouble on our part; and, if taken in moderation, such food is easier to digest, and at less cost, because it does not stimulate the appetite, and therefore is not devoured with avidity. No one has his stomach inflated or overloaded if he eats only one or two dishes, and those inexpensive ones: such a condition comes of pampering the taste with a variety of meats. The smells of the kitchen may induce us to eat, but when hunger is satisfied, they make us their slaves. Hence gorging gives rise to disease: and many persons find relief for the discomfort of gluttony in emetics,-what they disgraced themselves by putting in, they with still greater disgrace put out.
11.(110) Hippocrates in his Aphorisms teaches that stout persons of a coarse habit of body, when once they have attained their full growth, unless the plethora be quickly relieved by blood-letting, develop tendencies to paralysis and the worst forms of disease: they must therefore be bled, that there may be room for fresh growth. For it is not the nature of our bodies to continue in one stay, but go on either to increase or decrease, and no animal can live which is incapable of growth. Whence(111) Galen, a very learned man and the commentator on Hippocrates, says in his exhortation to the practice of medicine that athletes whose whole life and art consists in stuffing cannot live long, nor be healthy: and that their souls enveloped with superfluous blood and fat, and as it were covered with mud, have no refined or heavenly thoughts, but are always intent upon gluttonous and voracious feasting. Diogenes maintains that tyrants do not bring about revolutions in cities, and foment wars civil or foreign for the sake of a simple diet of vegetables and fruits, but for costly meats and the delicacies of the table. And, strange to say, Epicurus, the defender of pleasure, in all his books speaks of nothing but vegetables and fruits; and he says that we ought to live on cheap food because the preparation of sumptuous banquets of flesh involves great care and suffering, and greater pains attend the search for such delicacies than pleasures the consumption of them. Our bodies need only something to eat and drink. Where there is bread and water, and the like, nature is satisfied. Whatever more there may be does not go to meet the wants of life, but are ministers to vicious pleasure. Eating and drinking does not quench the longing for luxuries, but appeases hunger and thirst. Persons who feed on flesh want also gratifications not found in flesh. But they who adopt a simple diet do not look for flesh. Further, we cannot devote ourselves to wisdom if our thoughts are running on a well-laden table, the supply of which requires an excess of work and anxiety. The wants of nature are soon satisfied: cold and hunger can be banished with simple food and clothing. Hence the Apostle says: "Having food and clothing let us be therewith content." Delicacies and the various dishes of the feast are the nurses of avarice. The soul greatly exults when you are content with little: you have the world beneath your feet, and can exchange all its power, its feasts, and its lusts, the objects for which men rake money together, for common food, and make up for them all with a sack-cloth shirt. Take away the luxurious feasting and the gratification of lust, and no one will want riches to be used either in the belly, or beneath it. The invalid only regains his health by diminishing and carefully selecting his food, i.e., in medical phrase, by adopting a "slender diet." The same food that recovers health, can preserve it, for no one can imagine vegetables to be the cause of disease. And if vegetables do not give the strength of Milo of Crotona-a strength supplied and nourished by meat-what need has a wise man and a Christian philosopher of such strength as is required by athletes and soldiers, and which, if he had it, would only stimulate to vice? Let those persons deem meat accordant with health who wish to gratify their lust, and who, sunk in filthy pleasure, are always at heat. What a Christian wants is health, but not superfluous strength. And it ought not to disturb us if we find but few supporters; for the pure and temperate are as rare as good and faithful friends, and virtue is always scarce. Study the temperance of(112) Fabricius, or the poverty of(113) Curius, and in a great city you will find few worthy of your imitation. You need not fear that if you do not eat flesh, fowlers and hunters will have learnt their craft in vain.
12. We have read that some who suffered with disease of the joints and with gouty humours recovered their health by proscribing delicacies, and coming down to a simple board and mean food. For they were then free from the worry of managing a house and from unlimited feasting. Horace(114) makes fun of the longing for food which when eaten leaves nothing but regret.
"Scorn pleasure; she but hurts when bought with pain."
And when, in the delightful retirement of the country, by way of satirizing voluptuous men, he described himself as plump and fat, his sportive verse ran thus:
"Pay me a visit if you want to laugh,
You'll find me fat and sleek with well-dress'd hide,
Like any pig from Epicurus' sty."
But even if our food be the commonest, we must avoid repletion. For nothing is so destructive to the mind as a full belly, fermenting like a wine vat and giving forth its gases on all sides. What sort of fasting is it, or what refreshment is there after fasting, when we are blown out with yesterday's dinner, and our(115) stomach is made a factory for the closet? We wish to get credit for protracted abstinence, and all the while we devour so much that a day and a night can scarcely digest it. The proper name to give it is not fasting, but rather debauch and rank indigestion.
13.(116) Dicaerchus in his book of Antiquities, describing Greece, relates that under Saturn that is in the Golden Age, when the ground brought forth all things abundantly, no one ate flesh, but every one lived on field produce and fruits which the earth bore of itself. Xenophon in eight books narrates the life of Cyrus, King of the Persians, and asserts that they supported life on barley, cress, salt, and black bread. Both the aforesaid Xenophon, Theophrastus, and almost all the Greek writers testify to the frugal diet of the Spartans.(117) Chaeremon the Stoic, a man of great eloquence, has a treatise on the life of the ancient priests of Egypt, who, he says, laid aside all worldly business and cares, and were ever in the temple, studying nature and the regulating causes of the heavenly bodies; they never had intercourse with women; they never from the time they began to devote themselves to the divine service set eyes on their kindred and relations, nor even saw their children; they always abstained from flesh and wine, on account of the light-headedness and dizziness which a small quantity of food caused, and especially to avoid the stimulation of the lustful appetite engendered by this meat and drink. They seldom ate bread, that they might not load the stomach. And whenever they ate it, they mixed pounded hyssop with all that they took, so that the action of its warmth might diminish the weight of the heavier food. They used no oil except with vegetables, and then only in small quantities, to mitigate the unpalatable taste. What need, he says, to speak of birds, when they avoided even eggs and milk as flesh. The one, they said, was liquid flesh, the other was blood with the colour changed? Their bed was made of palm-leaves, called by them baiae a sloping footstool laid upon the ground served for a pillow, and they could go without food for two or three days. The humours of the body which arise from sedentary habits were dried up by reducing their diet to an extreme point.`
14.(118) Josephus in the second book of the history of the Jewish captivity, and in the eighteenth book of the Antiquities, and the two treatises against Apion, describes three sects of the Jews, the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. On the last of these he bestows wondrous praise because they practised perpetual abstinence from wives, wine, and flesh, and made a second nature of their daily fast.(119) Philo, too, a man of great learning, published a treatise of his own on their mode of life.(120) Neanthes of Cizycus, and(121) Asclepiades of Cyprus, at the time when Pygmalion ruled over the East, relate that the eating of flesh was unknown. Eubulus, also, who wrote the history of(122) Mithras in many volumes, relates that among the Persians there are three kinds of Magi, the first of whom, those of greatest learning and eloquence, take no food except meal and vegetables. At Eleusis it is customary to abstain from fowls and fish and certain fruits.(123) Bardesanes, a Babylonian, divides the Gymnosophists of India into two classes, the one called Brahmans, the otherSamaneans, who are so rigidly self-restrained that they support themselves either with the fruit of trees which grow on the banks of the Ganges, or with common food of rice or flour, and when the king visits them, he is wont to adore them, and thinks the peace of his country depends upon their prayers. Euripides relates that the prophets of Jupiter in Crete abstained not only from flesh, but also from cooked food.(124) Xenocrates the philosopher writes that at Athens out of all the laws of(125) Triptolemus only three precepts remain in the temple of Ceres: respect to parents, reverence for the gods, and abstinence from flesh.(126) Orpheus in his song utterly denounces the eating of flesh. I might speak of the frugality of Pythagoras, Socrates, and(127) Antisthenes to our confusion: but it would be tedious, and would require a work to itself. At all events this is the Antisthenes who, after teaching rhetoric with renown, on hearing Socrates, is related to have said to his disciples, "Go, and seek a master, for I have now found one." He immediately, sold what he had, divided the proceeds among the people, and kept nothing for himself but a small cloak. Of his poverty and toil Xenophon in the Symposium is a witness, and so are his countless treatises, some philosophical, some rhetorical. His most famous follower was the great Diogenes, who was mightier than King Alexander in that he conquered human nature. For Antisthenes would not take a single pupil, and when he could not get rid of the persistent Diogenes he threatened him with a stick if he did not depart. The latter is said to have laid down his head and said, "No stick will be hard enough to prevent me from following you."(128) Satyrus, the biographer of illustrious men, relates that Diogenes to guard himself against the cold, folded his cloak double: his scrip was his pantry: and when aged he carried a stick to support his feeble frame, and was commonly called "Old Hand-to-mouth," because to that very hour he begged and received food from any one. His home was the gateways and city arcades. And when he wriggled into his tub, he would joke about his movable house that adapted itself to the seasons. For when the weather was cold he used to turn the mouth of the tub towards the south: in summer towards the north; and whatever the direction of the sun might be, that way the palace of Diogenes was turned. He had a wooden dish for drinking; but on one occasion seeing a boy drinking with the hollow of his hand he is related to have dashed the cup to the ground, saying that he did not know nature provided a cup. His virtue and self-restraint were proved even by his death. It is said that, now an old man, he was on his way to the Olympic games, which used to be attended by a great concourse of people from all parts of Greece, when he was overtaken by fever and lay down upon the bank by the road-side. And when his friends wished to place him on a beast or in a conveyance, he did not assent, but crossing to the shade of a tree said, "Go your way, I pray you, and see the games: this night will prove me either conquered or conqueror. If I conquer the fever, I shall go to the games: if the fever conquers me, I shall enter the unseen world." There through the night he lay gasping for breath and did not, as we are told, so much die as banish the fever by death. I have cited the example of only one philosopher, so that our fine, erect, muscular athletes, who hardly make a shadow of a footmark in their swift passage, whose words are in their fists and their reasoning in their heels, who either know nothing of apostolic poverty and the hardness of the cross. or despise it, may at least imitate Gentile moderation.
15. So far I have dealt with the arguments and examples of philosophers. Now I will pass on to the beginning of the human race, that is, to the sphere which belongs to us. I will first point out that Adam received a command in paradise to abstain from one tree though he might eat the other fruit. The blessedness of paradise could not be consecrated without abstinence from food. So long as he fasted, he remained in paradise; he ate, and was east out; he was no sooner cast out than he married a wife. While he fasted in paradise he continued a virgin: when he filled himself with food in the earth, he bound himself with the tie of marriage. And yet though cast out he did not immediately receive permission to eat flesh; but only the fruits of trees and the produce of the crops, and herbs and vegetables were given him for food, that even when an exile from paradise he might feed not upon flesh which was not to be found in paradise, but upon grain and fruit like that of paradise. But afterwards when(129) God saw that the heart of man from his youth was set on wickedness continually, and that His Spirit could not remain in them because they were flesh, He by the deluge passed sentence on the works of the flesh, and, taking note of the extreme greediness of men,(130) gave them liberty to eat flesh: so that while understanding that all things were lawful for them, they might not greatly desire that which was allowed, lest they should turn a commandment into a cause of transgression. And yet even then, fasting was in part commanded. For, seeing that some animals are called clean, some unclean, and the unclean animals were taken into Noah's ark by pairs, the clean in uneven numbers (and of course the eating of the unclean was forbidden, otherwise the term unclean would be unmeaning), fasting was in part consecrated: restraint in the use of all was taught by the prohibition of some. Why did Esau lose his birthright? Was it not on account of food? and he could not atone with tears for the impatience of his appetite. The people of Israel cast out from Egypt and on their way to the land of promise, the land flowing with milk and honey, longed for the flesh of Egypt, and the melons and garlic, saying:(131) "Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots." And again,(132) "Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt for nought; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic: but now our soul is dried away: we have nought save this manna to look to."
They despised angels' food, and sighed for the flesh of Egypt. Moses for forty days and forty nights fasted on Mount Sinai, and showed even then that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word of God. He says to the Lord, "the people is full and maketh idols." Moses with empty stomach received the law written with the finger of God. The people that ate and drank and rose up to play fashioned a golden calf, and preferred an Egyptian ox to the majesty of the Lord. The toil of so many days perished through the fulness of a single hour. Moses boldly broke the tables: for he knew that drunkards cannot hear the word of God.(133) "The beloved grew thick, waxed fat, and became sleek: he kicked and forsook the Lord which made him, and departed from the God of his salvation." Hence also it is enjoined in the same Book of Deuteronomy:(134) "Beware, lest when thou hast eaten and drunk, and hast built goodly houses, and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and gold is multiplied, then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God." In short the people ate and their heart grew thick, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart: so the people well fed and fat-fleshed could not bear the countenance of Moses who fasted, for, to correctly render the Hebrew, it was(135) furnished with horns through his converse with God. And it was not, as some think, to show that there is no difference between virginity and marriage, but to assert his sympathy with severe fasting, that our Lord and Saviour when he was transfigured on the Mount revealed Moses and Elias with Himself in glory. Although Moses and Elias were properly types of the Law and the Prophets, as is clearly witnessed by the Gospel:(136) "They spake of his departure which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem." For the passion of our Lord is declared not by virginity or marriage, but by the Law and the Prophets. If, however, any persons contentiously maintain that by Moses is signified marriage, by Elias virginity, let me tell them briefly that Moses died and was buried, but Elias was carried off in a chariot of fire and entered on immortality before he approached death. But the second writing of the tables could not be effected without fasting. What was lost by drunkenness was regained by abstinence, a proof that by fasting we can return to paradise, whence, though fulness, we have been expelled. In(137) Exodus we read that the battle was fought against Amalek while Moses prayed, and the whole people fasted until the evening.(138) Joshua, the son of Nun, bade sun and moon stand still, and the victorious army prolonged its fast for more than a day.(139) Saul, as it is written in the first book of Kings, pronounced a curse on him who ate bread before the evening, and until he had avenged himself upon his enemies. So none of his people tasted any food. And all they of the land took food. And so binding was a solemn fast once it was proclaimed to the Lord, that Jonathan, to whom the victory was due, was taken by lot, and(140) could not escape the charge of sinning in ignorance, and his father's hand was raised against him, and the prayers of the people scarce availed to save him.(141) Elijah after the preparation of a forty days fast saw God on Mount Horeb, and heard from Him the words, "What doest thou here, Elijah?" There is much more familiarity in this than in the "Where art thou, Adam?" of Genesis. The latter was intended to excite the fears of one who had fed and was lost; the former was affectionately addressed to a fasting servant.(142) When the people were assembled in Mizpeh, Samuel proclaimed a fast, and so strengthened them, and thus made them prevail against the enemy.(143) The attack of the Assyrians was repulsed, and the might of Sennacherib utterly crushed, by the tears and sackcloth of King Hezekiah, and by his humbling himself with fasting. So also the city of Nineveh by fasting excited compassion and turned aside the threatening wrath of the Lord. And(144) Sodom and Gomorrha might have appeased it, had they been willing to repent, and through the aid of fasting gain for themselves tears of repentance.(145) Ahab, the most impious of kings, by fasting and wearing sackcloth, succeeded in escaping the sentence of God, and in deferring the overthrow of his house to the days of his posterity.(146) Hannah, the wife of Elkanah, by fasting won the gift of a son.(147) At Babylon the magicians came into peril, every interpreter of dreams, soothsayer, and diviner was slain. Daniel and the three youths gained a good report by fasting, and although they were fed on pulse, they were fairer and wiser than they who ate the flesh from the king's table. Then it is written that Daniel fasted for three weeks; he ate no pleasant bread; flesh and wine entered not his mouth; he was not anointed with oil; and the angel came to him saying,(148) "Daniel, thou art worthy of compassion." He who in the eyes of God was worthy of compassion, afterwards was an object of terror to the lions in their den. How fair a thing is that which propitiates God, tames lions, terrifies demons!Habakkuk (although we do not find this in the Hebrew Scriptures(149) ) was sent to him with the reaper's meal, for by a week's abstinence he had merited so distinguished a server. David, when his son was in danger after his adultery, made confession in ashes and with fasting.(150) He tells us that he ate ashes like bread, and mingled his drink with weeping.(151) And that his knees became weak through fasting. Yet he had certainly heard from Nathan the words,(152) "The Lord also hath put away thy sin." Samson and Samuel drank neither wine nor strong drink, for they were children of promise, and conceived in abstinence and fasting.(153) Aaron and the other priests when about to enter the temple, refrained from all intoxicating drink for fear they should die. Whence we learn that they die who minister in the Church without sobriety. And hence it is a reproach against Israel:(154) "Ye gave my Nazarites wine to drink." Jonadab, the son of Rechab, commanded his sons to drink no wine for ever. And when Jeremiah offered them wine to drink, and they of their own accord refused it, the Lord spake by the prophet, saying:(155) "Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever." On the(156) threshold of the Gospel appears Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, the wife of one husband, and a woman who was always fasting. Long-continued chastity and persistent fasting welcomed a Virgin Lord. His forerunner and herald, John, fed on locusts and wild honey, not on flesh; and the hermits of the desert and the monks in their cells, at first used the same sustenance. But the Lord Himself consecrated His baptism by a forty days' fast, and He taught us that the more violent devils(157) cannot be overcome, except by prayer and fasting.(158) Cornelius the centurion was found worthy through alms-giving and frequent fasts to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit before baptism.(159) The Apostle Paul, after speaking of hunger and thirst, and his other labours, perils from robbers, shipwrecks, loneliness, enumerates frequent fasts. And he(160) advises his disciple Timothy, who had a weak stomach, and was subject to many infirmities, to drink wine in moderation: "Drink no longer water," he says. The fact that he bids him no longer drink water shows that he had previously drunk water. The apostle would not have allowed this had not frequent infirmities and bodily pain demanded the concession.
16. The Apostle does indeed(161) blame those who forbade marriage, and commanded to abstain from food, which God created for use with thanksgiving. But he has in view Marcion, and Tatian, and other heretics, who inculcate perpetual abstinence, to destroy, and express their hatred and contempt for, the works of the Creator. But we praise every creature of God, and yet prefer leanness to corpulence, abstinence to luxury, fasting to fulness.(162) "He that laboureth laboureth for himself, and he is eager to his own destruction." And,(163) "From the days of John the Baptist (who fasted and was a virgin) until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and men of violence take it by force." For we are afraid lest at the coming of the eternal judge we be caught, as in the days of the flood, and at the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrha, eating and drinking, and marrying, and giving in marriage. For both the flood and the fire from heaven found fulness as well as marriage ready for destruction. Nor need we wonder if the Apostle commands that everything sold in the market be bought and eaten, since with idolaters, and with those who still ate in the temples of the idols meats offered to idols as such, it passed for the highest abstinence to abstain only from food eaten by the Gentiles. And if he says to the Romans:(164) "Let not him that eateth set at nought him that eateth not: and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth," he does not make fasting and fulness of equal merit, but he is speaking against those believers in Christ who were still judaizing: and he warns Gentile believers, not to offend those by their food who were still too weak in faith. In brief this is clear enough in the sequel:(165) "I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself: save that to him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of meat thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love. Destroy not with thy meat him for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking." And that no one may suppose he is referring to fasting and not to Jewish superstition, he immediately explains,(166) "One man hath faith to eat all things: but he that is weak eateth herbs." And again,(167) "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord: and he that eateth, eateth unto the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, unto the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks." For they who were still weak in faith and thought some meats clean, some unclean: and supposed there was a difference between one day and another, for example, that the Sabbath, and the New Moons, and the Feast of Tabernacles were holier than other days, were commanded to eat herbs which are indifferently partaken of by all. But such as were of stronger faith believed all meats and all days to be alike.
17. My opponent has dared to maintain that our Lord was called by the Pharisees a wine-bibber and a glutton: and from the fact of His going to marriage feasts and from His not despising the banquets of sinners, I am to infer His wishes respecting ourselves. That Lord, so you suppose, is a glutton who fasted forty days to hallow Christian fasting;(168) who calls them blessed that hunger and thirst;(169) who says that He has food, not that which the disciples surmised, but such as would not perish for ever;(170) who forbids us to think of the morrow; who, though He is said to have hungered and thirsted, and to have gone frequently to various meals, except in celebrating the mystery whereby He represented His passion, or(171) in proving the reality of His body is nowhere described as ministering to His appetite;(172) who tells of purple-clad Dives in hell for his feasting, and says that poor Lazarus for his abstinence was in Abraham's bosom; who, when we fast,(173) bids us anoint our head and wash our face, that we fast not to gain glory from men, but praise from the Lord; who did indeed(174) after His resurrection eat part of a broiled fish and of a honey-comb, not to allay hunger and to gratify His palate, but to show the reality of a His own body. For whenever He raised anyone from the dead He(175) ordered that food should be given him to eat, lest the resurrection should be thought a delusion. And this is why Lazarus after his resurrection is(176) described as being at the feast with our Lord. We do not deny that fish and other kinds of flesh, if we choose, may be taken as food; but as we prefer virginity to marriage, so do we esteem fasting and spirituality above meats and full-bloodedness. And if Peter(177) before dinner went to the supper chamber at the sixth hour, a chance fit of hunger does not prejudice fasting. For, if this were so, because our Lord(178) at the sixth hour sat weary on the well of Samaria and wished to drink, all must of necessity, whether they so desire or not, drink at that time. Possibly it was the Sabbath, or the Lord's day, and he hungered at the sixth hour after two or three days' fasting; for I could never believe that the Apostle, if he had eaten a dinner only one day previous and had been blown out with a great meal, would have been hungry by noon next day. But if he did dine the day previous, and was hungry next day before luncheon, I do not think that a man who was so soon hungry ate until he was satisfied. Again, God by the mouth of Isaiah says what fast He did not choose:(179) "In the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and afflict the lowly: ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness. it is not such a fast that I have chosen, saith the Lord." What kind He has chosen He thus teaches: "Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the houseless poor into thy house. When thou seest the naked cover him, and hide not thyself from thine own flesh." He did not therefore reject fasting, but showed what He would have it to be: for that bodily hunger is not pleasing to God which is made null and void by strife, and plunder, and lust. If God does not desire fasting, how is it that in(180) Leviticus He commands the whole people in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, to fast until the evening, and threatens that he who does not afflict his soul shall die and be cut off from his people? How is it that the(181) graves of lust where the people fell in their devotion to flesh remain even to this day in the wilderness? Do we not read that the stupid people gorged themselves with quails until the wrath of God came upon them? Why was the man of God at whose prophecy the hand of King Jeroboam withered, and who ate contrary to the command of God,(182) immediately smitten? Strange that the lion which left the ass safe and sound should not spare the prophet just risen from his meal!He who, while he was fasting, had wrought miracles, no sooner ate a meal than he paid the penalty for the gratification. Joel also cries aloud:(183) "Sanctify a fast, proclaim a time of healing," that it might appear that a fast is sanctified by other works, and that a holy fast avails for the cure of sin. Moreover, just as true virginity is not prejudiced by the counterfeit professions of the virgins of the devil, so neither is true fasting by the periodic fast and perpetual abstinence from certain kinds of food on the part of the worshippers of Isis and Cybele, particularly when a fast from bread is made up for by feasting on flesh. And just as the signs of Moses were imitated by the signs of the Egyptians which were in reality no signs at all, for the rod of Moses swallowed up the rods of the magicians: so when the devil tries to be the rival of God this does not prove that our religion is superstitious, but that we are negligent, since we refuse to do what even men of the world see clearly to be good.
18. His fourth and last contention is that there are two classes, the sheep and the goats, the just and the unjust: that the just stand on the right hand, the other on the left: and that to the just the words are spoken:(184) "Come, ye blessed of my Father, and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." But that sinners are thus addressed:(185) "Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels." That a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, nor an evil tree good fruit. Hence it is that the Saviour says to the Jews:(186) "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do." He quotes the parable of the ten virgins, the wise and the foolish, and shows that the five who had no oil remained outside, but that the other five who had gotten for themselves the light of good works went into the marriage with the bridegroom. He goes back to the flood, and tells us that they who were righteous like Noah were saved, but that the sinners perished all together. We are informed that among the men of Sodom and Gomorrha no difference is made except between the two classes of the good and the bad. The righteous are delivered, the sinners are consumed by the same fire. There is one salvation for those who are released, one destruction for those who stay behind. Lot's wife is a clear warning that we must not deviate a hair's breadth from right. If, however, he says, you object and ask me why the righteous toils in time of peace, or in the midst of persecution, if he is to gain nothing nor have a greater reward, I would assert that he does this, not that he may gain a further reward but that he may not lose what he has already received. In Egypt also the ten plagues fell with equal violence upon all that sinned, and the same darkness hung over master and slave, noble and ignoble, the king and the people. Again at the Red Sea the righteous all passed over, the sinners were all overwhelmed. Six hundred thousand men, besides those who were unfit for war through age or sex, all alike fell in the desert, and two who were alike in righteousness are alike delivered. For forty years all Israel toiled and died alike. As regards food, an homer of manna was the measure for all ages: the clothes of all alike did not wear out: the hair of all alike did not grow, nor the beard increase: the shoes of all lasted the same time. Their feet grew not hard: the food in the mouths of all had the same taste. They went on their way to one resting place with equal toil and equal reward. All Hebrews had the same Passover, the same Feast of Tabernacles, the same Sabbath, the same New Moons. In the seventh, the Sabbatical Year, all prisoners were released without distinction of persons, and in the year of Jubilee all debts were forgiven to all debtors, and he who had sold land returned to the inheritance of his fathers.
19. Then, again, as regards the parable of the sower? the Gospel, we read that the good ground brought forth fruit, some a hundred fold, some sixty fold, and some thirty fold; and, on the other hand, that the bad ground admitted of three degrees of sterility: but Jovinianus makes only two classes, the good soil and the bad.(187) And as in one Gospel our Lord promises the Apostles a hundred fold, in another seven fold, for leaving children and wives, and in the world to come life eternal; and the seven and the hundred mean the same thing: so, too, in the passage before us, the numbers describing the fertility of the soil need not create any difficulty, particularly when the Evangelist Mark gives the inverse order, thirty, sixty, and a hundred. The Lord says,(188) "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him." As, then, there are not varying degrees of Christ's presence in us, so neither are there degrees of our abiding in Christ.(189) "Every one that loveth me will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." He that is righteous, loves Christ: and if a man thus loves, the Father and the Son come to him, and make their abode with him. Now I suppose that when the guest is such asthis the host cannot possibly lack anything. And if our Lord says,(190) "In my Father's houseare many mansions," His meaning is not that there are different mansions in the kingdom of heaven, but He indicates the number oft Churches in the whole world, for though theChurch be seven-fold she is but one "I go," He says, "to prepare a place for you," not places. If this promise is peculiar to the twelve apostles, then Paul is shut out from that place, and the chosen vessel will be thought superfluous and unworthy. John and James, because they asked more than the others, did not obtain it; and yet their dignity is not diminished, because they were equal to the rest of the apostles.(191) "Know ye not that your bodies are a temple of the Holy Ghost?" A temple, He says, not temples, in order to show that God dwells in all alike.(192) "Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee, are one, so they may be all one in us. And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them. I have loved them, as thou hast loved me. And as we are Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God, so may they be one people in themselves, that is, like dear children, partakers of the divine nature." Call the Church what you will, bride, sister, mother, her assembly is but one and never lacks husband, brother, or son. Her faith is one, and she is not defiled by variety of doctrine, nor divided by heresies. She continues a virgin. Whithersoever the Lamb goeth, she follows Him: she alone knows the Song of Christ.
20. "If you tell me," says he, "that one star differeth from another star in glory, I reply, that one star does differ from another star; that is, spiritual persons differ from carnal. We love all the members alike, and do not prefer the eye to the finger, nor the finger to the ear: but the loss of any one is attended by the sorrow of all the rest. We all alike come into this world, and we all alike depart from it. There is one Adam of the earth, and another from heaven. The earthly Adam is on the left hand, and will perish: the heavenly Adam is on the right hand, and will be saved. He who says to his brother, `thou fool,' and `raca,' will be in danger of Gehenna. And the murderer and the adulterer will likewise be sent into Gehenna. In times of persecution some are burnt, some strangled, some beheaded, some flee, or die within the walls of a prison: the struggle varies in kind, but the victors' crown is one. No difference was made between the son who had never left his father, and his brother who was welcomed as a returning penitent. To the labourers of the first hour, the third, the sixth, the ninth, and the eleventh, the same reward of a penny was given, and what may perhaps seem still more strange to you, the first to receive the reward were they who had toiled least in the vineyard."
21. Who is there even of God's elect that would not be disturbed at these and similar passages of Holy Scripture which our crafty opponent, with a perverse ingenuity, twists to the support of his own views? The Apostle John says that many Antichrists had come, and to make no difference between John himself and the lowest penitent is the preaching of a real Antichrist. At the same time, I am amazed at the portentous forms which Jovinianus, as slippery as a snake and like another Proteus, so rapidly assumes. In sexual intercourse and full feeding he is an Epicurean; in the distribution of rewards and punishments he all at once becomes a Stoic, He exchanges Jerusalem for(193) Citium, Judaea for Cyprus, Christ for Zeno. If we may not depart a hair's breadth from virtue, and all sins are equal, and a man who in a fit of hunger steals a piece of bread is no less guilty than he who slays a man: you must, in your turn, be held guilty of the greatest crimes. The case is different if you say that you have no sin, not even the least, and if, although all apostles and prophets and all the saints (as I have maintained in dealing with(194) his second proposition) bewail their sinfulness, you alone boast of your righteousness. But a minute ago you were barefooted: now you not only wear shoes, but decorated ones. Just now you wore a rough coat and a dirty shirt, you were grimy, and haggard, and your hand was horny with toil: now you are clad in linen and silks, and strut like an exquisite in the fashions of the Atrebates and the Laodiceans. Your cheeks are ruddy, your skin sleek, your hair smoothed down in front and behind, your belly protrudes, your shoulders are little mountains, your neck full and so loaded with fat that the half-smothered words can scarce make their escape. Surely in such extremes of dress and mode of life there must be sin on the one side or the other. I will not assert that the sin lies in the food or clothing, but that such fickleness and changing for the worse is almost censurable in itself. And what we censure, is far removed from virtue; and what is far from virtue becomes the property of vice; and what is proved to be vicious is one with sin. Now sin, according to you, is placed on the left hand, and corresponds to the goats. You must, therefore, return to your old habits if you are to be a sheep on the right hand; or, if you perversely repent of your former views and change them for others, whether you like it or not, and although you shave off your beard, you will be reckoned among the goats.
22. But what is the good of calling a(195) one-eyed man Old One-eye, and of showing the inconsistency of an assailant, when we have to refute a whole series of statements? That the sheep and the goats on the right hand and on the left are the two classes of the righteous and the wicked, I do not deny. That a good tree does not bring forth evil fruit, nor an evil one good fruit, no one doubts. The ten virgins also, wise and foolish, we divide into good and bad. We are not ignorant that at the deluge the righteous were delivered, and sinners overwhelmed with the waters. That at Sodom and Gomorrha the just man was rescued, while the sinners were consumed by fire, is clear to everyone. We are also aware that Egypt was stricken with the ten plagues, and that Israel was saved. Even little children in our schools sing how the righteous passed through the Red Sea, and Pharaoh with his host was drowned. That six hundred thousand fell in the desert because they were unbelieving, and that two only entered the land of promise, is taught by Scripture; and so is the rest of your description of the two classes, good and bad, down to the labourers in the vineyard. But what are we to think of your assertion, that because there is a division into good and bad, the good, or the bad it may be, are not distinguished one from another, and that it makes no difference whether one is a ram in the flock or a poor little sheep? whether the sheep have the first or the second fleece? whether the flock is diseased and covered with the scab, or full of life and vigour?(196) especially when by the authoritative utterances of His own prophet Ezekiel God clearly points out the difference between flock and flock of His rational sheep, saying, "Behold I judge between cattle and cattle, and between the rams and the he-goats, and between the fat cattle and the lean. Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, until they were scattered abroad." And that we might know what the cattle were, He immediately added:(197) "Ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men." Will Paul and that penitent who had lain with his father's wife be on an equality, because the latter repented and was received into the Church: and shall the offender because he is with him on the right hand shine with the same glory as the Apostle?How is it then that tares and wheat grow side by side in the same field until the harvest, that is the end of the world?What is the significance of good and bad fish being contained in the Gospel net? Why, in Noah's ark, the type of the Church, are there different animals with different abodes according to their rank?Why standeth the queen upon the Lord's right hand, in raiment of wrought gold, in a vesture of gold? Why had Joseph, representing Christ, a coat of many colours? Why does the Apostle say to the Romans:(198) "According as God had dealt to each man a measure of faith. For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members have not the same office: so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another. And having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith; or ministry, let us give ourselves to our ministry; or he that teacheth, to his teaching; or he that exhorteth, to his exhorting: he that giveth, let him do it with liberality; he that ruleth, with diligence," and so on. And elsewhere:(199) "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." To the Corinthians he says:(200) "I have planted, Apollos watered: but God gave the increase. So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth: but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God, ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." And again elsewhere:(201) "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder I laid a foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let each man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay, than thai which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. But if any man buildeth on the foundation, gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble: each man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall reveal it, because it is revealed in fire: and the fire itself shall prove each man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work shall abide which he built thereon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire." If the man whose work is burnt and is to suffer the loss of his labour, while he himself is saved, yet not without proof of fire: it follows that if a man's work remains which he has built upon the foundation, he will be saved without probation by fire, and consequently a difference is established between one degree of salvation and another. Again in another place be says:(202) "Let a man so account of us, as of ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Here, moreover, it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." Would you be assured that between one steward and another there is a great difference (I am not speaking of bad and good, but of the good themselves who stand on the right hand)? then listen to the sequel:(203) "Know ye not that they which minister about the sacrifices, eat of the sacrifices, and they which wait upon the altar have their portion with the altar? Even so did the Lord ordain that they which proclaim the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: and I wrote not these things that it may be so done in my case: for it were good for me rather to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; for woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel. For if l do this of mine own will, I have a reward: but if not of mine own will, I have a steward-ship intrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel without charge, so as not to use to the full my right in the gospel. For though I was free from all men, I brought myself under bondage to all, that [ might gain the more." You surely cannot say that men commit sin by living by the Gospel, and partaking of the sacrifices. Of course not. The Lord himself made the rule that they who preach the Gospel, should live by the Gospel. But an Apostle who does not abuse this freedom, but labours with his hands that he may not be a burden to anyone, and toils. night and day and ministers to his companions of course does this, that for his greater toil he may receive a greater reward.