Friday, January 4, 2013

Clement's Citation of the 'Thou Shalt Not Lust' Commandment in the Exhortation to the Heathen

And what are the laws? “Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not seduce boys; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt love the Lord thy God.” And the complements of these are those laws of reason and words of sanctity which are inscribed on men’s hearts: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; to him who strikes thee on the cheek, present also the other;” “thou shalt not lust for by lust alone thou hast committed adultery." (οὐκ ἐπιθυμήσεις, ἐπιθυμίᾳ γὰρ μόνῃ μεμοίχευκας) How much better, therefore, is it for men from the beginning not to wish to desire things forbidden, than to obtain their desires! But ye are not able to endure the austerity of salvation; but as we delight in sweet things, and prize them higher for the agreeableness of the pleasure they yield, while, on the other hand, those bitter things which are distasteful to the palate are curative and healing, and the harshness of medicines strengthens people of weak stomach, thus custom pleases and tickles; but custom pushes into the abyss, while truth conducts to heaven. [Exhoration 10.108.5]

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