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Chapter XXXVII.—Peter Inexorable.

Then said Peter: 801   “Let not the wicked one prevail against us, taking occasion from a mother’s love; but let you, and me with you, fast this day along with her, and to-morrow she shall be baptized:  for it is not right that the precepts of truth be relaxed and weakened in favour of any person or friendship.  Let us not shrink, then, from suffering along with her, for it is a sin to transgress any commandment.  But let us teach our bodily senses, which are without us, to be in subjection to our inner senses; and not compel our inner senses, which savour the things that be of God, to follow the outer senses, which savour the things that be of the flesh.  For to this end also the Lord commanded, saying:  ‘Whosoever shall look upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.’  And to this He added:  ‘If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee:  for it is profitable for thee p. 165 that one of thy members perish, rather than thy whole body be cast into hell-fire.’ 802   He does not say, has offended thee, that you should then cast away the cause of sin after you have sinned; but if it offend you, that is, that before you sin you should cut off the cause of the sin that provokes and irritates you.  But let none of you think, brethren, that the Lord commended the cutting off of the members.  His meaning is, that the purpose should be cut off, not the members, and the causes which allure to sin, in order that our thought, borne up on the chariot of sight, may push towards the love of God, supported by the bodily senses; 803 and not give loose reins to the eyes of the flesh as to wanton horses, eager to turn their running outside the way of the commandments, but may subject the bodily sight to the judgment of the mind, and not suffer those eyes of ours, which God intended to be viewers and witnesses of His work, to become panders of evil desire.  And therefore let the bodily senses as well as the internal thought be subject to the law of God, and let them serve His will, whose work they acknowledge themselves to be.”



[In Homily XIII. 12 the Apostle is represented as thus deferring the baptism; but a longer discourse on chastity (chaps. 13–21) is given, assigned to the evening of that day.—R.]


Matt. 5:28, 29.


Here a marginal reading is followed.  The reading of the text is:  “In order that our thought, borne on the chariot of contemplation, may hasten on, invisible to the bodily senses, towards the love of God.”  But the translation of aspectus by “contemplation” is doubtful.

Next: Chapter XXXVIII