All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Matthew 19:11-12

He that is pure in the flesh, let him be so, and not boast, knowing that it is Another who bestowed his continence upon him. Clement of Rome (A.D. 96) ch.38

If any one is able to abide in chastity to the honor of the flesh of the Lord, let him so abide without boasting. If he boast, he is lost; and if it be known beyond the bishop, he is polluted. Ignatius: to Polycarp (A.D. 35-105) ch. 5

"If a wife, Sir," say I, "or, it may be, a husband fall asleep, and one of them marry, does the one that marries sin?" "He sins not," said he, "but if he remain single, he invests himself with more exceeding honor and with great glory before the Lord; yet even if he should marry, he sins not. Preserve purity and holiness therefore, and you shall live unto God." Hermas (A.D. 150) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.22

And many, both men and women, who have been Christ's disciples from childhood, remain pure at the age of sixty or seventy years; and I boast that I could produce such from every race of men. For what shall I say, too, of the countless multitude of those who have reformed intemperate habits, and learned these things? Justin Martyr (A.D. 160) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg.167

But whether we marry, it is only that we may bring up children; or whether we decline marriage, we live continently. And that you may understand that promiscuous intercourse is not one of our mysteries, one of our number a short time ago presented to Felix the governor in Alexandria a petition, craving that permission might be given to a surgeon to make him an eunuch. For the surgeons there said that they were forbidden to do this without the permission of the governor. And when Felix absolutely refused to sign such a permission, the youth remained single, and was satisfied with his own approving conscience, and the approval of those who thought as he did. Justin Martyr (A.D. 160) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg.172

And therefore it was that they received from Moses this law of divorcement, adapted to their hard nature. But why say I these things concerning the Old Testament? For in the New also are the apostles found doing this very thing, on the ground which has been mentioned, Paul plainly declaring, “But these things I say, not the Lord." And again: "But this I speak by permission, not by commandment." And again: "Now, as concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give my judgment, as one that has obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful." But further, in another place he says: "That Satan tempt you not for your incontinence." If, therefore, even in the New Testament, the apostles are found granting certain precepts in consideration of human infirmity, because of the incontinence of some, lest such persons, having grown obdurate, and despairing altogether of their salvation, should become apostates from God. Irenaeus (A.D. 180) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.1 pg. 480

Nay, you would find many among us, both men and women, growing old unmarried, in hope of living in closer communion with God. But if the remaining in virginity and in the state of an eunuch brings nearer to God, while the indulgence of carnal thought and desire leads away from Him, in those cases in which we shun the thoughts, much more do we reject the deeds. For we bestow our attention; not on the study of words, but on the exhibition and teaching of actions, that a person should either remain as he was born, or be content with one marriage. Athenagorus (A.D. 137) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.146

Right mystically and sacredly the apostle, teaching us the choice which is truly gracious, not in the way of rejection of other things as bad, but so as to do things better than what is good, has spoken, saying, "So he that gives his virgin in marriage does well; and he that gives her not does better; as far as respects seemliness and undistracted attendance on the Lord." Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.2 pg.437

And they say that by the words "it is better to marry than to burn" the apostle means this: "Do not cast your soul into the fire, so that you have to endure night and day and go in fear lest you should fall from continence. For a soul which has to concentrate upon "endurance has lost hope." In his Ethics, Isidore says in these very words: "Abstain, then, from a quarrelsome woman lest you are distracted from the grace of God. But when you have rejected the fire of the seed, then pray with an undisturbed conscience. And when your prayer of thanksgiving is reduced to a prayer of request, and your request is not that in future you may do right, but that you may do no wrong, then marry. But perhaps a man is too young or poor or suffers from weak health, and has not the will to marry as the apostle's saying suggests. Such a man should not separate himself from his brother Christian. He should say, I have come into the sanctuary, I can suffer nothing. And if he has a presentiment that he may fall, he may say, Brother, lay your hand on me lest I sin, and he will receive help both spiritually and physically. Let him only wish to accomplish what is right and he will achieve his object. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195) Miscellanies, book III ch. 1

Our view is that we welcome as blessed the state of abstinence from marriage in those to whom this has been granted by God. We admire monogamy and the high standing of single marriage, holding that we ought to share suffering with another and "bear one another's burdens," lest anyone who thinks he stands securely should himself fall. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195) Miscellanies, book III ch.1

Whether a man becomes a celibate or whether he joins himself in marriage with a woman for the sake of having children, his purpose ought to be to remain unyielding to what is inferior. If he can live a life of intense devotion, he will gain to himself great merit with God, since his continence is both pure and reasonable. But if he goes beyond the rule he has chosen to gain greater glory, there is a danger that he may lose hope. Both celibacy and marriage have their own different forms of service and ministry to the Lord; I have in mind the caring for one's wife and children. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195) Miscellanies, book III ch.12

Again the Lord says, "Let not the married person seek a divorce, nor the unmarried person marriage,” that is, he who has confessed his intention of being celibate, let him remain unmarried. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 195) Miscellanies, book III ch.15

All proof of abstinence is lost when excess is impossible; for sundry things have thus their evidence in their contraries. Just as "strength is made perfect in weakness," so likewise is continence made manifest by the permission to marry. Who indeed will be called continent, if that be taken away which gives him the opportunity of pursuing a life of continence? What room for temperance in appetite does famine give? What repudiation of ambitious projects does poverty afford? What bridling of lust can the eunuch merit? Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg.294

Thus in the Revelation of John it is said: "These are they which have not defiled their clothes with women," indicating, of course, virgins, and such as have become "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake." Therefore they shall be "clothed in white raiment," that is, in the bright beauty of the unwedded flesh. In the gospel even, "the wedding garment" may be regarded as the sanctity of the flesh. Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.3 pg. 564-565

Why, are there not many, withal, who so do, and seal themselves up to eunuchhood for the sake of the kingdom of God, spontaneously relinquishing a pleasure so honorable, and (as we know) permitted? Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.23

In short, there is no place at all where we read that nuptials are prohibited; of course on the ground that they are "a good thing." What, however, is better than this "good," we learn from the apostle, who permits marrying indeed, but prefers abstinence; the former on account of the insidiousnesses of temptations, the latter on account of the straits of the times. Now, by looking into the reason thus given for each proposition, it is easily discerned that the ground on which the power of marrying is conceded is necessity; but whatever necessity grants, she by her very nature depreciates. In fact, in that it is written, "To marry is better than to burn," what, pray, is the nature of this "good" which is (only) commended by comparison with "evil," so that the reason why "marrying" is good is (merely) that "burning" is less? Nay, but how far better is it neither to marry nor to burn? Tertullian (A.D. 198) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.4 pg.40

“The children of this world beget and are begotten; but they who are counted worthy of that world, and of the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage: neither shall they die any more: for they are equal to the angels of God, being the children of the resurrection.” That which we shall be, you have already begun to be. You possess already in this world the glory of the resurrection. You pass through the world without the contagion of the world; in that you continue chaste and virgins, you are equal to the angels of God. Only let your virginity remain and endure substantial and uninjured; and as it began bravely, let it persevere continuously, and not seek the ornaments of necklaces nor garments, but of conduct. Let it look towards God and heaven, and not lower to the lust of the flesh and of the world, the eyes uplifted to things above, or set them upon earthly things. Cyprian (A.D. 250) Ante-Nicene Fathers vol.5 pg. 436