Moral Treatises of St. Augustin.
On Continence.[De Continentia.]
Translated by Rev. C. L. Cornish, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
St. Augustin speaks of his work On Continence in Ep. 231, Ad Darium Comitem. [See vol. 1. of this edition, p. 584.--P.S.] Possidius, Ind. c. 10, mentions it, and it is cited in the Collectanea of Bede or Florus, and by Eugypius. Erasmus is therefore wrong in ascribing it to Hugo on the ground of the style, which is not unlike that of the earlier discourses. It is evidently a discourse, and probably for that reason unnoticed in the Retractations. The Manichæan heresy is impugned after the manner of his early works.--(Abridged from Benedictine ed. vol. vi.)
1. It is difficult to treat of the virtue of the soul, which is called Continence, in a manner fully suitable and worthy; but He, whose great gift this virtue is, will help our littleness under the burden of so great a weight. For He, who bestows it upon His faithful ones when they are continent, Himself gives discourse of it to His ministers when they speak. Lastly, of so great a matter purposing to speak what Himself shall grant, in the first place we say and prove that Continence is the gift of God.  We have it written in the Book of Wisdom, that no one can be continent, unless God grant it. But the Lord, concerning that greater and more glorious Continence itself, whereby there is continence from the marriage bond, says, "Not all can receive this saying, but they to whom it is given."  And since marriage chastity also itself cannot be guarded, unless there be Continence from unlawful intercourse, the Apostle declared both to be the gift of God, when He spake of both lives, that is, both that of marriage and that without marriage, saying, "I would that all men were so as myself; but each hath his own gift from God; one in this manner, another in that manner." 
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