For it is a great and a divine thing, almost beyond a corporeal nature, to lay aside 165 luxury, and to extinguish, by strength of mind, the flame of concupiscence, kindled by the torch of youth; to put down by spiritual effort the force of natural delight; to live in opposition to the practice of the human race; to despise the comforts of wedlock; to disdain the sweet enjoyments derived from children; and to regard as nothing, in the hope of future blessedness, everything that is reckoned among the advantages of this present life. This is, as I have said, a great and admirable virtue, and is not undeservedly destined to a vast reward, in proportion to the greatness of its labor. The Scripture says, “I will give to the eunuchs, saith the Lord, a place in my house and within my walls, a place counted better than 166 sons and daughters; I will give them an eternal name, and it shall not 167 fail.” The Lord again speaks concerning such eunuchs in the Gospel, saying, “For there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heavens sake.” 168 Great, indeed, is the struggle connected with chastity, but greater is the reward; the restraint is temporal, but the reward will be eternal. For the blessed Apostle John also speaks concerning these, saying that “they follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” 169 This, I think, is to be understood to the following effect, that there will be no place in the court of heaven closed against them, but that all the habitations of the divine mansions will be thrown open before them.
“sopire luxuriam,” lit. to put to sleep.58:166
“a filiis et filiabus”: a mistaken rendering of the Hebrew text.58:167
Isa. lvi. 5.58:168
Matt. xix. 12.58:169
Rev. xiv. 4.