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Two Epistles Concerning Virginity by Clement of Rome

Chapter V.--The Irksomeness and the Enemies of Virginity.

Thou desirest, then, to be a virgin? Knowest thou what hardship and irksomeness there is in true virginity -- that which stands constantly at all seasons before God, and does not withdraw from His service, and |is anxious how it may please its Lord with a holy body, and with its spirit?| Knowest thou what great glory pertains to virginity, and is it for this that thou dost set thyself to practise it? Dost thou really know and understand what it is thou art eager to do? Art thou acquainted with the noble task of holy virginity? Dost thou know how, like a man, to enter |lawfully| upon this contest and |strive,| that, in the might of the Holy Spirit, thou choosest this for thyself, that thou mayest be crowned with a crown of light, and that they may lead thee about in triumph through |the Jerusalem above|? If so be, then, that thou longest for all these things, conquer the body; conquer the appetites of the flesh; conquer the world in the Spirit of God; conquer these vain things of time, which pass away and grow old, and decay, and come to an end; conquer the dragon; conquer the lion; conquer the serpent; conquer Satan; -- through Jesus Christ, who doth strengthen thee by the hearing of His words and the divine Eucharist. |Take up thy cross and follow| Him who makes thee clean, Jesus Christ thy Lord. Strive to run straight forward and boldly, not with fear, but with courage, relying on the promise of thy Lord, that thou shalt obtain the victor-crown of thy |calling on high| through Jesus Christ. For whosoever walks perfect in faith, and not fearing, doth in very deed receive the crown of virginity, which is great in its toil and great in its reward. Dost thou understand and know how honourable a thing is sanctity? Dost thou understand how great and exalted and excellent is the glory of virginity?
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