Fathers_of_the_ChurchMuch physical curiosity, much care and many strict observations are bestowed upon the body; much pain it undergoes in hope of health; and deserves the soul no medicine?

If it be but fit and necessary, that diverse helps and means of healing are sought for the body, for the recovering only of a temporal and transitory health, is it not unjust that the soul should be excluded, and be suffered to languish and putrify with deadly and spiritual diseases?

Shall the soul only be a stranger to those proper and precious remedies ordained for it by the Physician?

Yea, rather, if so many things are provided for the body, let the provision for the soul be far more abundant:

for if it was truly said by some, that this fleshy frame is the servant, and the soul the mistress, then will it be very undecent and injurious, that the better part should require the better attendance?

For with constant and intentive diligence should we look on that side where the greater dignity and our most precious treasure is laid up.

It is not agreeable to reason, and it takes from the honour of our employment, that we should subject it to the unworthier party.

The flesh being always inclined to viciousness draws us back to the Earth, as to its proper center and original: but the soul being descended from the Father of lights, is like the sparks of fire still flying upwards. The soul is the image of God in us, and the precious pledge of his future munificence.

Let us employ all our innate forces and all outwards auxiliaries for the preservation of this: if we manage and defend it faithfully, we take care for and protect the entrusted pledge and purchased possession of God.

What convenience can we have to build, unless we do first of all lay the foundation? But to him that designed a superstructure of true blessings, the fundamental must be salvation.

And if he hath not laid that foundation, upon what can the consequences he hopes for be builded? How shall he be filled with the increase of those remunerations and after-blessings, that wants the first-fruits, and denies the rewarder?

What portion can he have in joys of eternity that will be wanting to his own salvation? How can he live the life of the blessed, that will not rise from death?

Or what will it benefit him to heap up temporal provision, and the materials of this world, when he hath stored up nothing for the comfort of his soul?

Or as our Lord Jesus Christ hath said, “What is a man profited, if he gains the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Eucherius of Lyons (c.380-c.449): Eucherius to his Kinsman Valarianus on Contempt of the World, translated by Henry Vaughan (1621-1695).