XLVIII - Strive for Perpetual Virginity

True virginity and chastity to is to abstain from defiling themselves from indulging the passions of their flesh. A perfect priest is one who takes the Word and is able to drive all evil desires from our thoughts. Christians were striving for this type of maturity so that they can retain God in their knowledge.

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But those who are despised for their ignorance, and set down as fools and abject slaves, no sooner commit themselves to God’s guidance by accepting the teaching of Jesus, than, so far from defiling themselves by licentious indulgence or the gratification of shameless passion, they in many cases, like perfect priests, for whom such pleasures have no charm, keep themselves in act and in thought in a state of virgin purity. The Athenians have one hierophant, who, not having confidence in his power to restrain his passions within the limits he, prescribed for himself, determined to check them at their seat by the application of hemlock; and thus he was accounted pure, and fit for the celebration of religious worship among the Athenians. But among Christians may be found men who have no need of hemlock to fit them for the pure service of God, and for whom the Word in place of hemlock is able to drive all evil desires from their thoughts, so that they may present their prayers to the Divine Being. And attached to the other so-called gods are a select number of virgins, who are guarded by men, or it may be not guarded (for that is not the point in question at present), and who are supposed to live in purity for the honor of the god they serve.

 

But among Christians, those who maintain a perpetual virginity do so for no human honors, for no fee or reward, from no motive of vainglory; but “as they choose to retain God in their knowledge,” (Rom_1:28) they are preserved by God in a spirit well-pleasing to Him, and in the discharge of every duty, being filled with all righteousness and goodness.

~Origen- Against Celsus Book VII Vol. 4

I - The Difficulty and Excellence of Virginity; the Study of Doctrine Necessary for Virgins.

Chasity is supernaturally walked out that is the most noble manner of life according to scripture and Jesus taught that Eunuchs will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. It is not enough to keep the body undefiled for it is our soul that is to be the focus of our chastity that brings us to keep from the luxuries of this world that edify the carnal nature. The salt that preservers our soul from indulging into the lusts of this world is by the divine Scriptures and constant meditation of the Word that keeps our soul clean. We cannot be chaste before the Father without the meditation of the divine Word.

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Virginity is something supernaturally great, wonderful, and glorious; and, to speak plainly and in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, this best and noblest manner of life alone is the root of immortality, and also its flower and first-fruits; and for this reason the Lord promises that those shall enter into the kingdom of heaven who have made themselves eunuchs, in that passage (Mat_9:12) of the Gospels in which He lays down the various reasons for which men have made themselves eunuchs. Chastity with men is a very rare thing, and difficult of attainment, and in proportion to its supreme excellence and magnificence is the greatness of its dangers.

 

For this reason, it requires strong and generous natures, such as, vaulting over the stream of pleasure, direct the chariot of the soul upwards from the earth, not turning aside from their aim, until having, by swiftness of thought, lightly bounded above the world, and taken their stand truly upon the vault of heaven, they purely contemplate immortality itself as it springs forth from the undefiled bosom of the Almighty.

 

Earth could not bring forth this draught; heaven alone knew the fountain from whence it flows; for we must think of virginity as walking indeed upon the earth, but as also reaching up to heaven. And hence some who have longed for it, and considering only the end of it, have come, by reason of coarseness of mind, ineffectually with unwashed feet, and have gone aside out of the way, from having conceived no worthy idea of the virginal manner of life. For it is not enough to keep the body only undefiled, just as we should not show that we think more of the temple than of the image of the god; but we should care for the souls of men as being the divinities of their bodies, and adorn them with righteousness. And then do they most care for them and tend them when, striving untiringly to hear divine discourses, they do not desist until, wearing the doors of the wise, (Ecclus. 6:36) they attain to the knowledge of the truth.

 

For as the putrid humors and matter of flesh, and all those things which corrupt it, are driven out by salt, in the same manner all the irrational appetites of a virgin are banished from the body by divine teaching. For it must needs be that the soul which is not sprinkled with the words of Christ, as with salt, should stink and breed worms, as King David, openly confessing with tears in the mountains, cried out, “My wounds stink and are corrupt,” (Ps. 37:6, LXX, Psa_38:5, EV) because he had not salted himself with the exercises of self-control, and so subdued his carnal appetites, but self-indulgently had yielded to them, and became corrupted in adultery. And hence, in Leviticus, (Lev_2:13; Mar_9:40) every gift, unless it be seasoned with salt, is forbidden to be offered as an oblation to the Lord God. Now the whole spiritual meditation of the Scriptures is given to us as salt which stings in order to benefit, and which disinfects, without which it is impossible for a soul, by means of reason, to be brought to the Almighty; for “ye are the salt of the earth,” (Mat_5:13) said the Lord to the apostles. It is fitting, then, that a virgin should always love things which are honorable, and be distinguished among the foremost for wisdom and addicted to nothing slothful or luxurious, but should excel, and set her mind upon things worthy of the state of virginity, always putting away, by the word, the foulness of luxury, lest in any way some slight hidden corruption should breed the worm of incontinence; for “the unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord,” how she may please the Lord, “that she may be holy both in body and in spirit,” (1Co_7:34) says the blessed Paul. But many of them who consider the hearing of the word quite a secondary matter, think they do great things if they give their attention to it for a little while. But discrimination must be exercised with respect to these; for it is not fitting to impart divine instruction to a nature which is careful about trifles, and low, and which counterfeits wisdom. For would it not be laughable to go on talking to those who direct all their energy towards things of little value, in order that they may complete most accurately those things which they want to bring to perfection, but do not think that the greatest pains are to be taken with those necessary things by which most of all the love of chastity would be increased in them?

~Methodius- Ten Virgins Part I Vol. 6

III - If the Members Rise, Must They Discharge the Same Functions as Now?

The point of marriage is to produce marriage, by marrying your spouse to satisfy and indulge in lust renders your marriage lawless. Christ came to show us to no submit to the conditions of our flesh that discharge sexual intercourse deeming it not necessary, since He Himself was birthed without the process of intercourse. Jesus said in the world to come sexual intercourse would be done away with, so he is showing us how to walk in the world of the age to come. Be not of this world.

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They say, then, if the body shall rise entire, and in possession of all its members, it necessarily follows that the functions of the members shall also be in existence; that the womb shall become pregnant, and the male also discharge his function of generation, and the rest of the members in like manner. Now let this argument stand or fall by this one assertion. For this being proved false, their whole objection will be removed. Now it is indeed evident that the members which discharge functions discharge those functions which in the present life we see but it does not follow that they necessarily discharge the same functions from the beginning. And that this may be more clearly seen, let us consider it thus. The function of the womb is to become pregnant; and of the member of the male to impregnate. But as, though these members are destined to discharge such functions, it is not therefore necessary that they from the beginning discharge them (since we see many women who do not become pregnant, as those that are barren, even though they have wombs), so pregnancy is not the immediate and necessary consequence of having a womb; but those even who are not barren abstain from sexual intercourse, some being virgins from the first, and others from a certain time. And we see men also keeping themselves virgins, some from the first, and some from a certain time; so that by their means, marriage, made lawless through lust, is destroyed. And we find that some even of the lower animals, though possessed of wombs, do not bear, such as the mule; and the male mules do not beget their kind. So that both in the case of men and the irrational animals we can see sexual intercourse abolished; and this, too, before the future world. And our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, for no other reason than that He might destroy the begetting by lawless desire, and might show to the ruler (Satan) that the formation of man was possible to God without human intervention. And when He had been born, and had submitted to the other conditions of the flesh, — I mean food, drink, and clothing, — this one condition only of discharging the sexual function He did not submit to; for, regarding the desires of the flesh, He accepted some as necessary, while others, which were unnecessary, He did not submit to. For if the flesh were deprived of food, drink, and clothing, it would be destroyed; but being deprived of lawless desire, it suffers no harm. And at the same time He foretold that, in the future world, sexual intercourse should be done away with; as He says, “The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage; but the children of the world to come neither marry nor are given in marriage, but shall be like the angels in heaven.” (Luk_20:34, Luk_20:35) Let not, then, those that are unbelieving marvel, if in the world to come He do away with those acts of our fleshly members which even in this present life are abolished.

~Justin Martyr- Resurrection Fragments Vol. 1