The Epistle of St. Athanasius to the Monk Ammus.1
(This, as Epistle XLVIII, will be found translated in Vol. IV. of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (2d Series) p. 556 et seq.)
Involuntary nocturnal pollutions are not sinful, [I add to Johnson the exact words of the Saint. "For what sin or uncleanness can any natural excrement have in itself? Think of the absurdity of making a sin of the wax which comes from the ears or of the spittle from the mouth. Moreover we might add many things and explain how the excretions from the belly are necessary to animal life. But if we believe that man is the work of God's hand, as we are taught in holy Scripture, how can it be supposed necessary that we perform anything impure? And if we are the children of God, as the holy Acts of the Apostles teaches, we have in us nothing unclean, etc., etc."]; nor is matrimony unclean, though virginity ["which is angelic and than which nothing can be more excellent"] is to be preferred before it.