Hebrews 13:17

Under the details of this exhortation there seems to lie a reference to the shepherding of sheep. The shepherd goes before his sheep, leading them out and in, and finding pasture. This reference made probable by the further reference in ver. 20. Consider, then-

I. THE SHEPHERD'S AUTHORITY. Christians must maintain the liberty wherewith Christ hath set them free, but at the same time there is a discipline also to be maintained, a provision and protection to be accepted. Few are the Christians who can do without counsel, comfort, and spiritual supply from those who in various ways are qualified to give these. We must look for the shepherd ability and tenderness wherever we can find it. Those formally constituted shepherds may have very few of the qualifications. Let intrinsic authority be recognized; more than that, let it be looked for. It is quite possible to be the shepherd in relation to certain fellow-Christians and the sheep in relations to others.

II. THE SHEPHERD'S FIDELITY. He remembers that he has to give account. If any of the sheep be lost or slain he has to explain how it happened, and show that the blame did not lie with him. This makes a true shepherd ever vigilant and foreseeing, always ready to suspect danger under an appearance of the greatest safety.

III. THE SHEPHERD'S DIFFICULTY. The literal shepherd has difficulties enough. He has to do with stupid sheep who have to be watched continually. But, then, he can always employ main force. The spiritual shepherd, on the other hand, deals with human beings. They have to be persuaded. If they are bent on going into pasture-less and dangerous places, then the shepherd cannot stop. He warns, he expostulates, he entreats, with tears in his eyes, again and again; and that is all he can do. Hence the need of appeal to those who add the responsibility of a human being to the helplessness of the sheep.

IV. THE SHEPHERD'S ACCOUNT. The faithful shepherd can keep the day of account before him, with a calm and ready heart. He can justify himself for every sheep committed to his trust. But all this will not prevent him bewailing the sheep that are lost. Every one with the shepherd instinct in him will think with deepest sorrow of those who would listen to no counsel and believe in no peril.

V. THE SHEPHERD'S REWARD. He is rewarded according to his faithfulness. He may have to present a most deplorable list of lost sheep; but if he can show that no blame is his - that every one has been lost purely through self-will - then his profiting will appear all the same. The shepherd will have sorrow for a season, but he cannot suffer in the end. The sole suffering and loss remain in the end with those who reject the counsels. - Y.

Obey them that have the rule.


III. Those who do attend with conscience and diligence unto the discharge of the work of the ministry towards their flocks, committed in an especial manner unto their charge, HAVE NO GREATER JOY OR SORROW IN THIS WORLD THAN WHAT ACCOMPANIES THE DAILY ACCOUNT WHICH THEY GIVE UNTO CHRIST OF THE DISCHARGE OF THEIR DUTY AMONGST THEM, AS THEIR SUCCESS FALLS OUT TO BE.

IV. Much of the life of the ministry and benefit of the Church DEPENDS ON THE CONTINUAL GIVING AN ACCOUNT UNTO CHRIST, BY PRAYER AND THANKSGIVING, OF THE STATE OF THE CHURCH, AND SUCCESS OF THE WORD THEREIN. Those guides who esteem themselves obliged thereunto, and do live in the practice of it, will find their minds engaged thereby unto constant diligence and earnest labouring in the discharge of their duty. And the dealings of Christ with the Church itself are regulated according unto this account, as the last words do manifest.

(John Owen, D. D.)

The relation which is formed between a minister of the gospel and the people committed to his charge is highly important. It is a relation most sacred in itself, and most awful in its consequences; and the duties which spring from it are such as ought to be well understood by both parties.

I. THE DUTY OF MINISTERS TO THEIR PEOPLE IS THUS DESCRIBED. They "have the rule over them," or, as the word may properly moan, have the "guidance" of them; and "watch for their souls." This expression denotes that no small degree of diligence, perseverance, and anxiety is necessary for the discharge of the ministerial office. At least it implies that a minister in the faithful exercise of his calling is required to perform two things.

1. Solemnly to admonish the people of their danger.

2. To look out for every convenient opportunity of doing good to their souls. Now observe the obligation which they are under to a faithful performance of their duty. "They watch for your souls as they that must give account" (see Ezekiel 3:17-19; Ezekiel 34:4, 7-10).

II. It must be plain THAT DUTY BEGETS DUTY. If ministers be required to have the rule over their people and to watch for their souls, what must be required of their people in return but obedience and submission?

1. It is the duty of the people to attend on their minister with a disposition to receive and follow his instructions.

2. It is the duty of the people to bear with the importunity and solicitude of their minister in watching for their souls. They are not to take offence at his plain speaking, nor be impatient under his friendly admonitions.

3. It is the duty of the people to join with their minister in such plans and attempts as may best promote the object of his ministry. Does he, for example, point out any particular means by which immorality and ungodliness may be checked, or the cause of true religion may be encouraged and strengthened? In these cases his people are justly required to attend to his proposals; and by their support to forward his endeavours. From this view of the people's duty towards their minister let us turn to the obligations which they are under to discharge it.(1) In the first place, the very office of the minister imposes it on them. The same authority which prescribes to him his duty prescribes also to them their duty. And the same reasons in both cases enforce the performance of it.(2) But, in the second place, the object which the minister has in view strongly obliges the people to discharge their duty towards him. For whose souls does he watch but for theirs?(3) But let it be considered, thirdly, that in this, as well as in every other instance, duty and interest are closely joined together. It is the people's interest to obey them that have the rule over them, and to submit to those who watch for their souls.

(E. Cooper, M. A.)


1. The objects of ministerial solicitude. "Your souls."(1) The origin of souls. God's offspring. Immaterial, intellectual, immortal.(2) The price at which they were redeemed. "Precious blood of Christ."(3) Their destiny. Eternal life or death.

2. The expression of ministerial solicitude. "They watch." This includes love for immortal souls, manifested in a constant attention to their interests, and a devotedness to their welfare.


1. This responsibility refers to their commission. Christ will employ in His work a friend that loves Him; not a stranger, much less an enemy. It has been well remarked that the Church had formerly wooden vessels, but golden priests; since that she has had golden vessels and wooden priests.

2. This responsibility refers to the fidelity which is required on their part.

3. It refers to the account which they must finally render.


1. What they deprecate. That they may not give their account with grief.

2. What they desire. "That they may give account with joy." How animating to the labourer is success!

3. The interest of the people in both. Both in what ministers deprecate and in what they desire. Our disappointment may have an influence on us. It may weaken us in the way; it may bring us down broken-hearted to the grave. But our disappointment is your ruin! It may grieve us, but it will destroy you. Our satisfaction is your conversion. Your increase is delightful to us, but it is your salvation.

(John Davis.)

1. Reverence in regard of their office. Alexander reverenced Jaddus. Herod, John the Baptist. Obadiah called Elias Lord. "My father," said Josiah to Elisha. If we reverence them not the word will not have so free a passage among us. They that use their pastors unreverently sin against God.

2. Love. Have them in exceeding love for their work's sake. It is the best work in the world, the saving of your souls; therefore love them for it. You love the fathers of your bodies that brought you into the world, and wilt ye not love them that beget you with the word of truth and bring you to a kingdom?

3. Obedience to their doctrine, exhortations, and admonitions. You will obey the prescript of the physician for the health of your bodies; though it be a bitter potion, you take it well at his hands; and will you not obey them that give you counsel for your souls, though their reproofs be bitter, their rebukes sharp (Titus 1:13)?

4. Maintenance. All rulers must be maintained. The king hath maintenance due from the people, and so must the minister. In the fear of God, if ye be good and religious people, discharge the duties that God requireth to them that have the spiritual government of you. Why? There be two reasons to excite us to it; the one taken from the matter of their work, the other from the manner of their working. They are your watchmen; therefore submit yourselves to them, love them, regard them. Not over your goods and bodies, as the magistrate is, but over your souls, which are more precious; not as the fowler watcheth for the bird to catch it and kill it, but they watch for the preservation and eternal salvation of your souls; therefore submit yourselves to them. The second reason is taken from the manner of their working; they would gladly do their work with joy; they would watch over you with joy, which they cannot do if you be peevish, perverse, and froward. Therefore submit yourselves to them. What though we grieve them? What care we? Will such a thing grieve him? He shall be sure to have it then; we will do it for the nonce. Some are at this pass. But you shall have no benefit by that; you hurt yourselves more than them.

(W. Jones, D. D.)

The ancient knight was a cleaver of skulls, a fighting man rather than a leader; his great force lay in muscle, not brain. But who ever thought of estimating the value of Napoleon upon a battle-field by the blows he gave? He wielded an army, not a sword. Ministers should covet earnestly the general's gift. The man who has the faculty of getting others to work, keeping them at their work and wisely directing their work, will get more done than any solitary labourer can do, though he be strong as Samson and diligent as Paul.

(S. Coley.)

They watch for your souls.



1. For his time.

2. For his diligence.

3. For his vigilance.

4. For his fidelity.Application: We learn —

1. The solemn character of the ministerial calling. A calling which demands great personal piety, as well as high spiritual gifts.

2. The arduous duties of the ministerial office. So arduous as to claim all the faculties of the mind and all the energies of the body.

3. The great necessity that they should receive Christian sympathy and comfort.

4. The personal responsibility of those over whom they watch.

5. Jesus, the great and blessed keeper of Zion, is the model every Christian minister should study and imitate.

(J. Buras, D. D.)

In one of McCheyne's manuscripts there occurs this sentence — "As I was walking in the fields, the thought came over me with almost overwhelming power that every one of my flock most soon be in heaven or hell. Oh, how I wished that I had a tongue like thunder that I might make all hear; or that I had a frame like iron that I might visit every one and say, 'Escape for thy life!' Ah, sinners! you little know how I fear that you will lay the blame of your damnation at my door."

(Life of R. M. McCheyne.)

"I continually hear the surges of eternity beating against my study door," said an eminent minister of the gospel.

A captain whose ship was nearing a reel gave orders to keep off. To a remark of approval the captain replied, "It is necessary that I should be very careful, because I have souls on board. I think of my responsibility, and remember that souls are very valuable."

I verily believe that had I been adequately affected by the whole matter, even as I might have apprehended it then, I should never have gone to Stepney (the college) after all. It strikes me with awe at this hour that I should have undertaken what I have found to be so veritably the burden of the Lord. A vision of my Norwich life, had I seen it at Fen Court, would have led me to withdraw my application to the committee on the spot. A vision of my Bloomsbury Chapel life, had I seen it as I passed that evening into my college chamber, would have sent me back to my bench at Mr. Field's and to my occasional services to the rustics at Collier's End. However, no such visions did appear to me; and perhaps in mercy the weightier ultimate responsibilities which were involved were hidden from my eyes.

(W. Brock, D. D.)

Dr. Bushnell greatly interested himself in providing a park for the town in which he lived. Writing to Dr. Bartol, he said, "One thing I have learned by this undertaking — namely, to wonder why it is that as a Christian teacher and pastor I am so feebly exercised, so little burdened by my work. It fills me with doubt and shame and grief; and the result has been to make me fully resolved that I will either be a more responsible, more efficient minister of Jesus Christ or none. I cannot shake off those words of Paul — they are ringing continually in my ears — 'I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.' This park matter has been a kind of revelation to me, which I pray God I may never forget. Why should I carry a park to bed with me, and work it over in my dreams during the night, and wake with it in the morning, and yet be so little exercised in the magnificent work of the gospel and the care of souls? It makes me doubt whether doing a thing professionally we do not sometimes do it idly and, perfunctorily, as if we did it not. Do we really believe that Jesus is a Saviour, and that in any significant sense of the words He brings salvation? Thoughts of this kind have been working in me of late with such power that I have become wholly dissatisfied with myself. I thought I meant something when I preached Christ to men; but I see that I must do more, that I must have the men upon my spirit, that I must bear them as a burden and hold myself responsible for them. God help me!"

(Life of Dr. Bushnell.)

Gladstone once said to an audience, "I don't come here to tell you what you want to hear; but what I think is true and just."

(J. Clifford, D. D.)

He (the late Rev. W. O. Simpson) never reasoned with the gospel; he reasoned with sinners: the gospel was his message.

(E. E. Jenkins, D. D.)

Christians, Hebrews, Italians, Timotheus, Timothy
Italy, Jerusalem
Able, Account, Advantage, Authority, Behalf, Burden, Ear, Grief, Groaning, Joy, Joyfully, Keeping, Lamentation, Leaders, Leading, Obedient, Obey, Profit, Ready, Rule, Rulers, Sadly, Sighing, Souls, Subject, Submissive, Submit, Unprofitable, Watch, Yourselves
1. Various admonitions as to love;
4. to honest life;
5. to avoid covetousness;
7. to regard God's preachers;
9. to take heed of strange doctrines;
10. to confess Christ;
16. to give alms;
17. to obey governors;
18. to pray for the apostles.
20. The conclusion.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Hebrews 13:17

     4065   orderliness
     5051   responsibility
     5217   authority, in church
     5293   defence, human
     5330   guard
     5511   safety
     5559   stress
     5700   headship
     5815   confusion
     5931   resistance
     5959   submission
     6710   privileges
     7026   church, leadership
     7720   elders, in the church
     7789   shepherd, church leader
     8210   commitment, to God's people
     8287   joy, experience
     8349   spiritual growth, means of
     8456   obedience, to authorities
     8470   respect, for God
     8471   respect, for human beings
     8492   watchfulness, leaders

Hebrews 13:17-18

     7943   ministry, in church

The Unchangeable Christ
Eversley. 1845. Hebrews xiii. 8. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." Let me first briefly remind you, as the truth upon which my whole explanation of this text is built, that man is not meant either for solitude or independence. He is meant to live WITH his fellow-men, to live BY them, and to live FOR them. He is healthy and godly, only when he knows all men for his brothers; and himself, in some way or other, as the servant of all, and bound in ties of love and
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

February 26. "Make You Perfect in Every Good Work" (Heb. xiii. 21).
"Make you perfect in every good work" (Heb. xiii. 21). In that beautiful prayer at the close of the Epistle to the Hebrews, "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will," the phrase, "make you perfect in every good work," literally means, it is said, "adjust you in every good work." It is a great thing to be adjusted, adjusted to our
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

September 16. "I Will Never Leave Thee nor Forsake Thee" (Heb. xiii. 5).
"I will never leave Thee nor forsake Thee" (Heb. xiii. 5). It is most cheering thus to know that although we err and bring upon ourselves many troubles that might have been easily averted, yet God does not forsake even His mistaken child, but on his humble repentance and supplication is ever really both to pardon and deliver. Let us not give up our faith because we have perhaps stepped out of the path in which He would have led us. The Israelites did not follow when He called them into the Land of
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Doctrine of Arbitrary Scriptural Accommodation Considered.
"But the Righteousness which is of Faith speaketh on this wise,--Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into Heaven?' (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep?' (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth; and in thine heart:' that is, the word of Faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from
John William Burgon—Inspiration and Interpretation

The Character and Supports of Widows Indeed.
"Now she that is a Widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day." * * Preached at the house of one made a widow by her husband's desertion; who left her in straitened circumstances to provide for a young family. Timothy was ordained a bishop of the church at Ephesus; and this epistle was written to him by St. Paul, his spiritual father, to teach him "how to behave himself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God." The former
Andrew Lee et al—Sermons on Various Important Subjects

The Blood of the Covenant
The subject of the Epistle to the Hebrews is deep, for it passes on from the superficial rudiments to those underlying truths which are more mysterious and profound. It is a book for the higher classes in Christ's school; and hence this prayer is not for babes, but for men of understanding. We could not say to all the saints, "after this manner pray ye," for they would not know what they were asking; they have need to begin with something simpler, such as that sweet "Our Father, which art in heaven,"
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 20: 1874

The Immutability of Christ
But greater things have changed than we; for kingdoms have trembled in the balances. We have seen a peninsula deluged with blood, and mutiny raising its bloody war whoop. Nay, the whole world hath changed; earth hath doffed its green, and put on its somber garment of Autumn, and soon expects to wear its ermine robe of snow. All things have changed. We believe that not only in appearance but in reality, the world is growing old. The sun itself must soon grow dim with age; the folding up of the worn-out
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

The Unchangeable Christ
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."--Hebrews 13:8. LET me read to you the verse that comes before our text. It is a good habit always to look at texts in their connection. It is wrong, I think, to lay hold of small portions of God's Word, and take them out of their connection as you might pluck feathers from a bird; it is an injury to the Word; and, sometimes, a passage of Scripture loses much of its beauty, its true teaching, and its real meaning, by being taken from the
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 40: 1894

The Blood of the Everlasting Covenant
I. First of all, then, I have to speak this morning of THE COVENANT mentioned in the text; and I observe that we can readily discover at first sight what the covenant is not. We see at once that this is not the covenant of works, for the simple reason that this is an everlasting covenant. Now the covenant of works was not everlasting in any sense whatever. It was not eternal; it was first made in the garden of Eden. It had a beginning, it has been broken; it will be violated continually and will
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

A New Year's Benediction
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."--Hebrews 13:5. OBSERVE the way in which the apostles were accustomed to incite believers in Christ to the performance of their duties. They did not tell them, "You must do this or that, or you will be punished; you must do this, and then you shall obtain a reward for it." They never cracked the whip of the law in the ears of the child of God. They
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 60: 1914

Never! Never! Never! Never! Never!
Hence, let us learn, my brethren, the extreme value of searching the Scriptures. There may be a promise in the Word which would exactly fit your case, but you may not know of it, and therefore miss its comfort. You are like prisoners in a dungeon, and there may be one key in the bunch which would unlock the door, and you might be free; but if you will not look for it you may remain a prisoner still, though liberty is near at hand. There may be a potent medicine in the great pharmacopia of Scripture,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 8: 1863

Twenty-Second Day for all who are in Suffering
WHAT TO PRAY.--For all who are in Suffering "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; them that are evil entreated, as being yourselves in the body."--HEB. xiii. 3. What a world of suffering we live in! How Jesus sacrificed all and identified Himself with it! Let us in our measure do so too. The persecuted Stundists and Armenians and Jews, the famine-stricken millions of India, the hidden slavery of Africa, the poverty and wretchedness of our great cities--and so much more: what suffering
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

Calvin -- Enduring Persecution for Christ
John Calvin was born in 1509, at Noyon, France. He has been called the greatest of Protestant commentators and theologians, and the inspirer of the Puritan exodus. He often preached every day for weeks in succession. He possest two of the greatest elements in successful pulpit oratory, self-reliance and authority. It was said of him, as it was afterward said of Webster, that "every word weighed a pound." His style was simple, direct, and convincing. He made men think. His splendid contributions to
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Volume I

The Action of Jesus Christ in the Souls of Men.
The divine action continues to write in the hearts of men the work begun by the holy Scriptures, but the characters made use of in this writing will not be visible till the day of judgment. "Jesus Christ yesterday, to-day, and for ever" (Heb. xiii, 8), says the Apostle. From the beginning of the world He was, as God, the first cause of the existence of souls. He has participated as man from the first instant of His incarnation, in this prerogative of His divinity. During the whole course of our life
Jean-Pierre de Caussade—Abandonment to Divine Providence

Paul and his Requests for Prayer (Continued)
We announce the law of prayer as follows: A Christian's prayer is a joint agreement of the will and his cabinet, the emotions, the conscience, the intellect, working in harmony at white heat, while the body co-operates under certain hygienic conditions to make the prayer long enough sustained at high voltage to insure tremendous results, supernatural and unearthly.--Rev. Homer W. Hodge We come to the request of Paul made to the Church at Ephesus, found in the latter part of Ephes. 6 of the Epistle
Edward M. Bounds—Prayer and Praying Men

Carey's College
1761-1785 The Heart of England--The Weaver Carey who became a Peer, and the weaver who was father of William Carey--Early training in Paulerspury--Impressions made by him on his sister--On his companions and the villagers--His experience as son of the parish clerk--Apprenticed to a shoemaker of Hackleton--Poverty--Famous shoemakers from Annianus and Crispin to Hans Sachs and Whittier--From Pharisaism to Christ--The last shall be first--The dissenting preacher in the parish clerk's home--He studies
George Smith—The Life of William Carey

The Never Changing One.
"JESUS Christ the same yesterday, and to-day and forever" (Heb. xiii:8). Blessed truth and precious assurance for us poor, weak creatures, yea, among all His creatures the most changing; He changeth not. "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Mal. iii:6). "Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall all perish, but Thou shalt endure: yea all of them shall wax old like a garment, as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed;
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory

Covenanting Provided for in the Everlasting Covenant.
The duty of Covenanting is founded on the law of nature; but it also stands among the arrangements of Divine mercy made from everlasting. The promulgation of the law, enjoining it on man in innocence as a duty, was due to God's necessary dominion over the creatures of his power. The revelation of it as a service obligatory on men in a state of sin, arose from his unmerited grace. In the one display, we contemplate the authority of the righteous moral Governor of the universe; in the other, we see
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Meditations to Stir us up to Morning Prayer.
1. If, when thou art about to pray, Satan shall suggest that thy prayers are too long, and that therefore it were better either to omit prayers, or else to cut them shorter, meditate that prayer is thy spiritual sacrifice, wherewith God is well pleased (Heb. xiii. 15, 16;) and therefore it is so displeasing to the devil, and so irksome to the flesh. Bend therefore thy affections (will they, nill they) to so holy an exercise; assuring thyself, that it doth by so much the more please God, by how much
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The Two Covenants: the Transition
"Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep, in the blood of the everlasting covenant, even our Lord Jesus, make you perfect in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ."--HEB. xiii. 20, 21. THE transition from the Old Covenant to the New was not slow or gradual, but by a tremendous crisis. Nothing less than the death of Christ was the close of the Old. Nothing less than His resurrection
Andrew Murray—The Two Covenants

Discourse viii. The Help of Religion.
THE HELP OF RELIGION. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.--HEBREWS xiii, 14. There are a good many people who, apparently, are never troubled by any speculations arising out of a comprehensive view of things. They are keenly alive to all objects within their sphere; but their eyes are close to the surface, and their experience comes in shocks of sensation, and shreds of perception. They know the superficial features of the world and its conventional expressions; are conversant
E. H. Chapin—Humanity in the City

Kallihirua the Esquimaux.
Kallihirua, notwithstanding the disadvantages of person (for he was plain, and short of stature, and looked what he was,--an Esquimaux), excited a feeling of interest and regard in those who were acquainted with his history, and who knew his docile mind, and the sweetness of his disposition. Compliance with the precept in the Old Testament, "Love ye the stranger[1]," becomes a delight as well as a duty in such an instance as that about to be recorded, especially when we consider the affecting injunction
Thomas Boyles Murray—Kalli, the Esquimaux Christian,

"Honorable," Therefore, "Is Marriage in All, and the Bed Undefiled. ...
8. "Honorable," therefore, "is marriage in all, and the bed undefiled." [1954] And this we do not so call a good, as that it is a good in comparison of fornication: otherwise there will be two evils, of which the second is worse: or fornication will also be a good, because adultery is worse: for it is worse to violate the marriage of another, than to cleave unto an harlot: and adultery will be a good, because incest is worse; for it is worse to lie with a mother than with the wife of another: and,
St. Augustine—On the Good of Marriage

Memorandum. --On Other Letters Ascribed to Athanasius.
The above Collection of Letters is complete upon the principle stated in the Introduction (supr., p. 495). But one or two fragments have been excluded which may be specified here. (1.) Fragment of a letter to Eupsychius;' probably the Nicene Father referred to Ep. Æg. 8, (cf. D.C.B. ii. 299 (4)). The Greek is given by Montf. in Ath. Opp. 1. p. 1293 (Latin, ib. p. 1287). It was cited in Conc. Nic. II. Act vi., but although it has affinities with Orat. ii. 8 (high-priestly dress'), it has the
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

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