Writings of Augustine. Sermons on the New Testament

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St. Augustin:

Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament

Translated by the Rev. R. G. Macmullen, M.A.,

Edited by Philip Schaff, D.D.

Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.



The Sermons of St. Augustin, besides their other excellencies, furnish a beautiful picture of perhaps the deepest and most powerful mind of the Western Church adapting itself to the little ones of Christ. In them, he who has furnished the mould for all the most thoughtful minds for fourteen hundred years, is seen forming with loving tenderness the babes in Christ. Very touching is the child-like simplicity, with which he gradually leads them through what to them were difficulties, watching all the while whether he made himself clear to them, keeping up their attention, pleased at their understanding, dreading their approbation, and leading them off from himself to some practical result. Very touching the tenderness with which he at times reproves, the allowance which he makes for human infirmities and for those in secular life, if they will not make their infirmities their boast, or in allowed duties and indulgences forget God. But his very simplicity precludes the necessity of any preface. His Sermons explain themselves. They appear from a passage in the Commentary on the Psalms to have been often taken down in writing at the time by the more attentive sort of hearers (as were those of St. Chrysostom); Possidius states that this was done from the commencement of his presbyterate, and that "thence [1683] through the body of Africa, excellent doctrine and the most sweet savour of Christ was diffused and made manifest, the Church of God beyond seas, when it heard thereof, partaking of the joy." Those on the New Testament have been now selected, both as furnishing a comment, and as a gradual introduction to what is found in a larger measure elsewhere, the spiritual interpretation of Holy Scripture. It will doubtless seem strange to some at first sight that the spiritual meaning of numbers, for instance, should be made a part of religious instruction. And yet, it might not require any great diffidence to think that St. Augustin knew better than any of us, the tendency and effects of his mode of teaching upon minds, which he evidently treated with such tender care, and that they who have entered into that system can estimate its value better than they who have not. It will appear also, probably, that a system which sees a meaning everywhere in Holy Scripture is more reverential than one which overlooks it; as, on the other hand, as a fact, the anti-mystical interpretation has both in ancient and modern times stood connected with a cold rationalism, and with heresy. This is, however, a large subject, upon which this does not seem the place to enter, since such interpretations are here only incidental and subordinate, and it is here intended only to give a practical warning. Those who close their eyes, of course, never see. The eye also requires to be insensibly familiarized with what, as new, is strange to it. But whoever will not set himself against what is in fact the received mode of interpretation of the Church, will be insensibly won by it, and will have his reward. The interpretations of St. Augustin were, as he himself often says, sought by his own prayers and the prayers of his people, and will, to those who receive them, open a rich variety of meaning and instruction. One might instance, of the most solemn sort, the analogy of the three dead, whom our Lord raised, with the three stages of sin, consent, act, and habit, as an affecting and impressive specimen of this mode of instruction, which has been adopted, in a manner, by the spiritual perception of the Western Church.

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On his directly practical teaching, it will be borne in mind, that to him the Church is mainly indebted for the overthrow of Pelagianism, and the vindication of the doctrine of the free grace of God. When then he insists, as he does so frequently, on the value of good works and especially almsgiving, to which he seems to recur with such especial sympathy, it will not be hastily thought that so deep and consistent a thinker, and so imbued with Divine truth, was at variance with himself and with it, and we may in his teaching gain more constraining motives to encourage ourselves and others, if so one great stain of our times, the neglect of Christ's poor, may be mitigated or effaced. On the other hand, when he speaks of heresy, he speaks of what he had himself been; of the nothingness of this world's pleasures and applause, of what he had himself, when unbaptized, too miserably tasted; of Christ's power to save out of them, what he had himself felt; of the grace of God, what he had himself used; of the value of alms, as having himself given up what was his; [1684] of humility, as showing it in the very language in which he praises it; of the joys of Heaven, and the love of God, as that for which he had abandoned freely and for ever all on earth, for which he was daily labouring, enduring, sighing.

It remains to say, that the text used is that of the Benedictines, in which their large resources in mss. have been so excellently employed, and that the Editors are indebted for the translation to the Rev. R. G. Macmullen, M.A., Fellow of Corpus Christi College.

E. B. Pusey.

Christ Church, Oxford, Feast of St. Barnabas, 1844.


[1683] Vit. c. 7. [1684] This he did immediately on his conversion. Possidius says, "He made no will, because as a poor man of God (pauper Dei) he had nothing whereof to make one" (c. ult.). The poor, Possidius calls his "compauperes," of whom he says "he was ever mindful, and supplied them out of the same sources as himself and all who lived with him [his clergy under monastic rule],--out of the returns of the possessions of the Church, or the oblations of the faithful" (c. 23). Possidius speaks (c. 4), how the report of "the continency and deep poverty of his monastery" won those separated from the Church. .

Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament.

Sermon I.

[LI. Benedictine Edition.]

Of the agreement of the evangelists Matthew and Luke in the generations of the Lord.

1. May He, beloved, fulfil your expectation who hath awakened it: for though I feel confident that what I have to say is not my own, but God's, yet with far more reason do I say, what the Apostle in his humility saith, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." [1685] I do not doubt accordingly that you remember my promise; in Him I made it through whom I now fulfil it, for both when I made the promise, did I ask of the Lord, and now when I fulfil it, do I receive of Him. Now you will remember, beloved, that it was in the matins of the festival of the Lord's Nativity, that I put off the question which I had proposed for resolution, because many came with us to the celebration of the accustomed solemnities of that day to whom the word of God is usually burdensome; but now I imagine that none have come here, but they who desire to hear, and so I am not speaking to hearts that are deaf, and to minds that will disdain the word, but this your longing expectation is a prayer for me. There is a further consideration; for the day of the public shows [1686] has dispersed many from hence, for whose salvation I exhort you to share my great anxiety, and do you with all earnestness of mind, entreat God for those who are not yet intent upon the spectacles of the truth, but are wholly given up to the spectacles of the flesh; for I know and am well assured, that there are now among you those who have this day despised them, and have burst the bonds of their inveterate habits; for men are changed both for the better and the worse. By daily instances of this kind are we alternately made joyful and sad; we joy over the reformed, are sad over the corrupted; and therefore the Lord doth not say that he who beginneth, shall be saved, "But he that endureth unto the end shall be saved." [1687]

2. Now what more marvellous, what more magnificent thing could our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and also the Son of man (for this also He vouchsafed to be), grant to us, than the gathering into His fold not only of the spectators of these foolish shows, but even some of the actors in them; for He hath combated [1688] unto salvation not only the lovers of the combats of men with beasts, but even the combatants themselves, for He also was made a spectacle Himself. Hear how. He hath told us Himself, and foretold it before He was made a spectacle, and in the words of prophecy announced beforehand what was to come to pass, as if it were already done, saying in the Psalms, "They pierced My hands and My feet, they told all My bones." [1689] Lo! how He was made a spectacle, for His bones to be told! and this spectacle He expresseth more plainly, "they observed and looked upon Me." He was made a spectacle and an object of derision, made a spectacle by them who were to show Him no favour indeed in that spectacle, but who were to be furious against Him, just as at first He made His martyrs spectacles; as saith the Apostle, "We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." [1690] Now two sorts of men are spectators of such spectacles; the one, carnal, the other, spiritual men. The carnal look on, as thinking those martyrs who are thrown to the beasts, or beheaded, or burnt in the flames, to be wretched men, and they detest and abhor them; but others look on, like the holy Angels, not regarding the laceration of their bodies, but admiring the unimpaired purity of their faith. A grand spectacle to the eyes of the heart doth a whole mind in a mangled body exhibit! When these things are read of in the church, you behold them with pleasure with these eyes of the heart, for if you were to behold nothing, you would hear nothing; so you see you have not neglected the spectacles to-day, but have made a choice of spectacles. May God then be with you, and give you grace with gentle persuasiveness to report your spectacles to your friends, whom you have been pained to see this day running to the amphitheatre, and unwilling to come to the church; that so they too may begin to contemn those things, by the love of which themselves have become contemptible, and may, with you, love God, of whom none who love Him can ever be ashamed, for that they love Him who cannot be overcome: let them, as you do, love Christ, who by that very thing wherein He seemed to be overcome, overcame the whole world. For He hath overcome the whole world as we see, my brethren; He hath subjected all powers, He hath subjugated kings, not with the pride of soldiery, but by the ignominy of the Cross: not by the fury of the sword, but by hanging on the Wood, by suffering in the body, by working in the Spirit. [1691] His body was lifted up on the Cross, and so He subdued souls to the Cross; and now what jewel in their diadem is more precious than the Cross of Christ on the foreheads of kings? In loving Him you will never be ashamed. Whereas from the amphitheatre how many return conquered, because those are conquered, for whom they are so madly interested! still more would they be conquered were they to conquer. For so would they be enslaved to the vain joy, to the exultation of a depraved desire, who are conquered by the very circumstance of running to these shows. For how many, my brethren, do you think have this day been in hesitation whether they would go here or there? And they who in this hesitation, turning their thoughts to Christ, have run to the church, have overcome, not any man, but the devil himself, him that hunteth [1692] after the souls of the whole world. But they who in that hesitation have chosen rather to run to the amphitheatre, have assuredly been overcome by him whom the others overcame--overcame in Him who saith, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." [1693] For the Captain suffered Himself to be tried, only that He might teach His soldiers to fight.

3. That our Lord Jesus Christ might do this He became the Son of man by being born of a woman. But now, "would He have been any less a man, if He had not been born of the Virgin Mary" one may say. "He willed to be a man; well and good; He might have so been, and yet not be born of a woman; for neither did He make the first man whom He made, of a woman." Now see what answer I make to this. You say, Why did He choose to be born of a woman? I answer, Why should He avoid being born of a woman? Granted that I could not show that He chose to be born of a woman; do you show why He need have avoided it. But I have already said at other times, that if He had avoided the womb of a woman, it might have betokened, as it were, that He could have contracted defilement from her; but by how much He was in His own substance more incapable of defilement, by so much less had He cause to fear the woman's womb, as though He could contract defilement from it. But by being born of a woman, He purposed to show to us some high mystery. [1694] For of a truth, brethren, we grant too, that if the Lord had willed to become man without being born of a woman, it were easy to His sovereign Majesty. For as He could be born of a woman without a man, so could He also have been born without the woman. But this hath He shown us, that mankind of neither sex might despair of its salvation, for the human sexes are male and female. If therefore being a man, which it behoved Him assuredly to be, He had not been born of a woman, women might have despaired of themselves, as mindful of their first sin, because by a woman was the first man deceived, and would have thought that they had no hope at all in Christ. He came therefore as a man to make special choice of that sex, and was born of a woman to console the female sex, as though He would address them and say; "That ye may know that no creature of God is bad, but that [1695] unregulated pleasure perverteth it, when in the beginning I made man, I made them male and female. I do not condemn the creature which I made. See I have been born a Man, and born of a woman; it is not then the creature which I made that I condemn, but the sins which I made not." Let each sex then at once see its honour, and confess its iniquity, and let them both hope for salvation. The poison to deceive man was presented him by woman, through woman let salvation for man's recovery be presented; so let the woman make amends for the sin by which she deceived the man, by giving birth to Christ. For the same reason again, women were the first who announced to the Apostles the Resurrection of God. The woman in Paradise announced death to her husband, and the women in the Church announced salvation to the men; the Apostles were to announce to the nations the Resurrection of Christ, the women announced it to the Apostles. Let no one then reproach Christ with His birth of a woman, by which sex the Deliverer could not be defiled, and to which it was in the purpose [1696] of the Creator to do honour. [1697]

4. But, say they, "how are we to believe that Christ was born of a woman?" I would answer, by the Gospel which hath been preached and is still preached to all the world. But these men, blind themselves, and aiming to blind others, seeing not what they ought to see, whilst they try to shake what ought to be believed, endeavour to obtrude a question on a matter which is now believed through all the earth. For they answer and say: "Do not think to overwhelm us with the authority of the whole world--let us look to Scripture itself, urge not arguments of mere [1698] numbers against us, for the seduced multitude favours you." To this I answer, in the first place, "Does the seduced multitude favour me?" This multitude was once a scantling. Whence grew this multitude, which in this increase was announced so long before? For this which hath been seen to increase, is none other than the same which was seen beforehand. I need not have said, it was a scantling; once it was Abraham only. Consider, brethren; it was Abraham alone throughout all the world at that time; throughout the whole world, among all men, and all nations; Abraham alone to whom it was said, "In thy seed shall all nations be blessed;" [1699] and what he alone believed of his own [1700] single person, is exhibited as present now to many in the multitude of his seed. Then it was not seen, and was believed; now it is seen, and it is contested; and what was then said to one man, and was by that one believed, is disputed now by some few, when in many it is made good. He who made His disciples fishers of men, inclosed within His nets every kind of authority. If great numbers are to be believed, what more widely diffused over the whole world than the Church? If the rich are to be believed, let them consider how many rich He hath taken; if the poor, let them consider the thousands of poor; if nobles, almost all the nobility are within the Church; if kings, let them see all of them subjected to Christ; if the more eloquent, and wise, and learned, let them see how many orators, and scientific [1701] men, and philosophers of this world, have been caught by those fishermen, to be drawn from the depth to salvation; let them think of Him who, coming down to heal by the example of His own humility that great evil of man's soul, pride, "chose the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and the foolish things of the world to confound the wise" (not the really wise, but who seemed so to be), "and chose the base things of the world, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are." [1702]

5. "Whatever you may choose to say," they say, "we find that in the place where we read that Christ was born, the Gospels disagree with one another, and two things which disagree cannot both be true;" for, says one, "when I have proved this disagreement, I may rightly disallow belief in it, or, at least, do you who accept the belief in it, shew the agreement." And what disagreement, I ask, will you prove? "A plain one," says he, "which none can gainsay." With what security, brethren, do you hear all this, because ye are believers! Attend, dearly beloved, and see what wholesome advice the Apostle gives, who says, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus our Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith;" [1703] for with this simple and assured faith ought we to abide stedfastly in Him, that He may Himself open to the faithful what is hidden in Him; for as the same Apostle saith, "In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;" [1704] and He does not hide them to refuse them, but to stir up desire for those hidden things. This is the advantage of their secrecy. Honour in Him then what as yet thou understandest not, and so much the more as the veils which thou seest are more in number: for the higher in honour any one is, the more veils are suspended in his palace. The veils make that which is kept secret honoured, and to those who honour it, the veils are lifted up; but as for those who mock at the veils, they are driven away from even approaching them. Because then we "turn unto Christ, the veil is taken away." [1705]

6. They bring forward then their cavillings, [1706] and say, "You allow Matthew is an Evangelist." We answer: Yes indeed, with a godly confession, and a heart devout, in neither having any doubt at all, we answer plainly, Matthew is an Evangelist. "Do you believe him?" they say. Who will not answer, I do? How clear an assent doth that your godly murmur convey! So, brethren, you believe it in all assurance; you have no cause to blush for it. I am speaking to you, who was once deceived, when as in my early boyhood I chose to bring to the divine Scriptures a subtlety of criticising before the godly temper of one who was seeking truth: by my irregular [1707] life I shut the gate of my Lord against myself: when I should have knocked for it to be opened, I went on so as to make it more closely shut, for I dared to search in pride for that which none but the humble can discover. How much more blessed now are you, with what sure confidence do you learn, and in what safety, who are still young ones in the nest of faith, and receive the spiritual food; whereas I, wretch that I was, as thinking myself fit to fly, left the nest, and fell down before I flew: but the Lord of mercy raised me up, that I might not be trodden down to death by passers by, and put me in the nest again; for those same things then troubled me, which now in quiet security I am proposing and explaining to you in the Name of the Lord.

7. As then I had begun to say, thus do they cavil. "Matthew," say they, "is an Evangelist, and you believe him?" Immediately that we acknowledge him to be an Evangelist, we necessarily believe him. Attend then to the generations of Christ, which Matthew has set down. "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham." [1708] How the Son of David, and the Son of Abraham? He could not be shown to be so, but by the succession of generations; for certain it is that when the Lord was born of the Virgin Mary, neither Abraham nor David was in this world, and dost thou say that the same man is both the Son of David, and the Son of Abraham? Let us, as it were, say to Matthew, Prove thy word, for I am waiting for the succession of the generations of Christ. "Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; and Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; and Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king." [1709] Now observe how from this point the genealogy is brought down from David to Christ, who is called the Son of Abraham, and the Son of David. "And David begat Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Urias; and Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; and Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; and Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; and Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; and Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon; and after the carrying away into Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; and Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; and Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; and Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." Thus then by the order and succession of fathers and forefathers, Christ is found to be the Son of David, and the Son of Abraham.

8. Now upon this thus faithfully narrated, the first cavil they bring is, that the same Matthew goes on to say, "All the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations." Then in order to tell us how Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, he went on and said, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise;" [1710] for by the line of the generations he had showed why Christ is called the Son of David, and the Son of Abraham. But now it needed to be shown how He was born and appeared among men: and so there follows immediately that narrative, by means of which we believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was not only born of the everlasting God, coeternal with Him who begat Him before all times, before all creation, by whom all things were made; but was also now born from the Holy Ghost, of the Virgin Mary, which we confess equally with the other; for you remember and know (for I am speaking to Catholics, to my brethren), that this is our faith, that this we profess and confess; for this faith thousands of martyrs have been slain in all the world.

9. This also which follows they like to laugh at, whose wish it is to destroy the authority of the Evangelical books, that they may show as it were that we have without any good reason believed what is said, "When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily;" [1711] for because he knew that she was not with child by him, he thought that she was so to say [1712] necessarily an adulteress. "Being a just man," as the Scripture saith, "and not willing to make her a public example," (that is, to divulge the matter, for so it is in many copies), "he was minded to put her away privily." The husband indeed was in trouble, but as being a just man he deals not severely; for so great justice is ascribed to this man, as that he neither wished to keep an adulterous wife, nor could bring himself [1713] to punish and expose her. "He was minded to put her away privily," because he was not only unwilling to punish, but even to betray her; and mark his genuine justice; for he did not wish to spare her, because he had a desire to keep her; for many spare their adulterous wives through a carnal love, choosing to keep them even though adulterous, that they may enjoy them through a carnal desire. But this just man has no wish to keep her, and so does not love in any carnal sort; and yet he does not wish to punish her; and so in his mercy he spares her. How truly just a man is this! He would neither keep an adulteress, lest he should seem to spare her because of an impure affection, and yet he would not punish or betray her. Deservedly indeed was he chosen for the witness of his wife's virginity: and so he who was in trouble through human infirmity, was assured by Divine authority.

10. For the Evangelist goes on to say, "While he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in sleep, saying, Joseph, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. [1714] And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus." Why Jesus? "for He shall save His people from their sins." [1715] It is well known then, that "Jesus" in the Hebrew tongue is in Latin interpreted "Saviour," which we see from this very explanation of the name; for as if it had been asked, "Why Jesus?" he subjoined immediately as explaining the reason of the word, "for He shall save His people from their sins." This then we religiously believe, this most firmly hold fast, that Christ was born by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary.

11. What then do our adversaries say? "If," says one, "I shall discover a lie, surely you will not then believe it all; and such I have discovered." Let us see: I will reckon up the generations; for by their slanderous cavillings they invite and bring us to this. Yes, if we live religiously, if we believe Christ, if we do not desire to fly out of the nest before the time, they only bring us to this--to the knowledge of mysteries. Mark then, holy brethren, [1716] the usefulness of heretics; their usefulness, that is, in respect of the designs of God, who makes a good use even of those that are bad; whereas, as regards themselves, the fruit of their own designs is rendered to them, and not that good which God brings out of them. Just as in the case of Judas; what great good did he! By the Lord's Passion all nations are saved; but that the Lord might suffer, Judas betrayed Him. God then both delivers the nations by the Passion of His Son, and punishes Judas for his own wickedness. For the mysteries which lie hid in Scripture, no one who is content with the simplicity of the faith would curiously sift them, and therefore as no one would sift them, no one would discover them but for cavillers who force us. For when heretics cavil, the little ones are disturbed; when disturbed, they make search, and their search is, so to say, a beating of the head at the mother's breasts, that they may yield as much milk as is sufficient for these little ones. They search then, because they are troubled; but they who know and have learnt these things, because they have investigated them, and God hath opened to their knocking, they in their turn open to those who are in trouble. And so it happens that heretics serve usefully for the discovery of the truth, whilst they cavil to seduce men into error. For with less carefulness would truth be sought out, if it had not lying adversaries; "For there must be also heresies among you," and as though we should enquire the cause, he immediately subjoined, "that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." [1717]

12. What then is it that they say? "See; Matthew enumerates the generations, and says, that "from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations." Now three times fourteen make forty-two; yet they number them, and find them forty-one generations, and immediately they bring up their cavilling and their insulting mockery, and say, "What means it, when in the Gospel it is said that there are three times fourteen generations, yet when they are numbered all together, they are found to be not forty-two, but forty-one?" Doubtless there is a great mystery [1718] here: and glad are we, and we give thanks unto the Lord, that by the occasion of cavillers we have discovered something which gives us in the discovery the more pleasure, in proportion to its obscurity when it was the object of search; for, as I have said before, we are exhibiting a spectacle to your minds. From Abraham then to David are fourteen generations: after that, the enumeration begins with Solomon, for David begat Solomon; the enumeration, I say, begins with Solomon, and reaches to Jechonias, during whose life the carrying away into Babylon took place; and so are there other fourteen generations, by reckoning in Solomon at the head of the second division, and Jechonias also, with whom that enumeration closes to fill up the number fourteen; and the third division begins with this same Jechonias.

13. Give attention, holy brethren, to this circumstance, at once mysterious and pleasant; for I confess to you the feeling [1719] of my own heart, whereby I believe that when I have brought it forth, and you have got taste of it, you will give the same report of it. Attend then. In the third division, beginning from this Jechonias unto the Lord Jesus Christ, are found fourteen generations; for this Jechonias is reckoned twice, as the last of the former, and the first of the following division. "But why is Jechonias," one may say, "reckoned twice?" Nothing took place of old among the people of Israel, which was not a mysterious figure of things to come: and indeed it is not without good reason that Jechonias is reckoned twice, because if there be a boundary between two fields, be it a stone, or any dividing wall, both he who is on the one side measures up to that same wall, and he who is on the other takes the beginning of his measurement again from the same. But why this was not done in the first connecting link of the divisions, when we number from Abraham to David fourteen generations, and begin to reckon the fourteen others, not from David over again, but from Solomon, a reason must be given which contains an important mystery. [1720] Attend then. The carrying away into Babylon took place when Jechonias was appointed king in the room of his deceased father. The kingdom was taken from him, and another appointed in his room; still the carrying away unto the Gentiles took place during the lifetime of Jechonias, for no fault of Jechonias is mentioned for which he was deprived of the kingdom; but the sins rather of those who succeeded him are marked out. So then there follows the Captivity and the passing away into Babylon; and the wicked do not go alone, but the saints also go with them: for in that Captivity were the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel, and the Three Children who were cast into the flames, and so made famous. They all went according to the prophecy of the prophet Jeremiah.

14. Remember then, that Jechonias, rejected without any fault of his, ceased to reign, and passed over unto the Gentiles, when the carrying away unto Babylon took place. Now observe the figure hereby manifested beforehand, of things to come in the Lord Jesus Christ. For the Jews would not that our Lord Jesus Christ should reign over them, yet found they no fault in Him. He was rejected in His own person, and in that of His servants also, and so they passed over unto the Gentiles as into Babylon in a figure. For this also did Jeremiah prophesy, that the Lord commanded them to go into Babylon: and whatever other prophets told the people not to go into Babylon, them he reproved as false prophets. [1721] Let those who read the Scriptures, remember this as we do; and let those who do not, give us credit. Jeremiah then on the part of God threatened those who would not go into Babylon, whereas to them who should go he promised rest there, and a sort of happiness in the cultivation of their vines, and planting of their gardens, and the abundance of their fruits. How then does the people of Israel, not now in figure but in verity, pass over unto Babylon? Whence came the Apostles? Were they not of the nation of the Jews? Whence came Paul himself? for he saith, "I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin." [1722] Many of the Jews then believed in the Lord; from them were the Apostles chosen; of them were the more than five hundred brethren, to whom it was vouchsafed [1723] to see the Lord after His resurrection; [1724] of them were the hundred and twenty in the house, [1725] when the Holy Ghost came down. But what saith the Apostle in the Acts of the Apostles, when the Jews refused the word of truth? "We were sent unto you, but seeing ye have rejected the word of God, lo! we turn unto the Gentiles." [1726] The true passing over then into Babylon, which was then prefigured in the time of Jeremiah, took place in the spiritual dispensation of the time of the Lord's Incarnation. But what saith Jeremiah of these Babylonians, to those who were passing over to them? "For in their peace shall be your peace." [1727] When Israel then passed over also into Babylon by Christ and the Apostles, that is, when the Gospel came unto the Gentiles, what saith the Apostle, as though by the mouth of Jeremiah of old? "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." [1728] For they were not yet Christian kings, yet he prayed for them. Israel then praying in Babylon hath been heard; the prayers of the Church have been heard, and the kings have become Christian, and you see now fulfilled what was then spoken in figure; "In their peace shall be your peace," for they have received the peace of Christ, and have left off to persecute Christians, that now in the secure quiet of peace, the Churches might be built up, and peoples planted in the garden [1729] of God, and that all nations might bring forth fruit in faith, and hope, and love, which is in Christ.

15. The carrying away into Babylon took place of old by Jechonias, who was not permitted to reign in the nation of the Jews, as a type of Christ, whom the Jews would not have reign over them. Israel passed over unto the Gentiles, that is, the preachers of the Gospel passed over unto the people of the Gentiles. What marvel then, that Jechonias is reckoned twice? for if he were a figure of Christ passing over from the Jews unto the Gentiles, consider only what Christ is between the Jews and Gentiles. Is He not that Corner-stone? In a corner-stone you see the end of one wall, and the beginning of another; up to that stone you measure one wall, and another from it; therefore the corner-stone which connects both walls is reckoned twice. Jechonias then as prefiguring the Lord was, as it were, a type of the corner-stone; and as Jechonias was not permitted to reign over the Jews, but they went unto Babylon, so Christ, "the stone which the builders rejected, is made the head of the corner," [1730] that the Gospel might reach unto the Gentiles. Hesitate not then to reckon the head of the corner twice, and you have at once the number written: and so there are fourteen in each of the three divisions, yet altogether the generations are not forty-two, but forty-one; for as when the order of the stones runs in a straight line, they are all reckoned but once, but when there is a deviation from the straight line to make an angle, that stone at which the deviation begins must be reckoned twice, because it belongs at once to that line which is finished at it, and to that other line which begins from it; so as long as the order of the generations continued in the Jewish people, it made no angle in the regular division of fourteen; but when the line was turned that the people might pass over into Babylon, a sort of angle as it were was made at Jechonias, so that it was necessary to reckon him twice, as the type of that adorable Corner-stone.

16. They have another cavil. "The generations of Christ," say they, "are numbered through Joseph, and not through Mary." Attend awhile, holy brethren. "It ought not to be," they say, "through Joseph." And why not? Was not Joseph the husband of Mary? "No," they say. Who says so? For the Scripture saith by the authority of the Angel that he was her husband. "Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." [1731] Again, he was commanded to name the Child, though He was not born of his seed; "She shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus." [1732] Now the Scripture is intent on showing, that He was not born of Joseph's seed, when he is told in his trouble as to her being with child, "He is of the Holy Ghost;" and yet his paternal authority is not taken from him, forasmuch as he is commanded to name the Child; and again the Virgin Mary herself, who was well aware that it was not by him that she conceived Christ, yet calls him the father of Christ.

17. Consider when this was. When the Lord Jesus, as to His Human Nature, was twelve years old [1733] (for as to His Divine Nature He is before all times, and without time), He tarried behind them in the temple, and disputed with the elders, and they wondered at His doctrine; and His parents who were returning from Jerusalem sought Him among their company, among those, that is, who were journeying with them, and when they found Him not, they returned in trouble to Jerusalem, and found Him disputing in the temple with the elders, when He was, as I said, twelve years old. But what wonder? The Word of God is never silent, though it is not always heard. He is found then in the temple, and His mother saith to Him, "Why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing;" and He said, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's service?" [1734] This He said for that the Son of God was in the temple of God, for that temple was not Joseph's, but God's. See, says some one, "He did not allow that He was the Son of Joseph." Wait, brethren, with a little patience, because of the press of time, that it may be long enough for what I have to say. When Mary had said, "Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing," He answered, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's service?" for He would not be their Son in such a sense, as not to be understood to be also the Son of God. For the Son of God He was--ever the Son of God--Creator even of themselves who spake to Him; but the Son of Man in time; born of a Virgin without the operation of her husband, yet the Son of both parents. Whence prove we this? Already have we proved it by the words of Mary, "Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing."

18. Now in the first place for the instruction of the women, our sisters, such saintly modesty of the Virgin Mary must not be passed over, brethren. She had given birth to Christ--the Angel had come to her, and said, "Behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus. [1735] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest." [1736] She [1737] had been thought worthy to give birth to the Son of the Highest, yet was she most humble; nor did she put herself before her husband, even in the order of naming him, so as to say, "I and Thy father," but she saith, "Thy father and I." She regarded not the high honour [1738] of her womb, but the order of wedlock did she regard, for Christ the humble would not have taught His mother to be proud. "Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing." Thy father and I, she saith, "for the husband is the head of the woman." [1739] How much less then ought other women to be proud! for Mary herself also is called a woman, not from the loss of virginity, but by a form of expression peculiar to her country; for of the Lord Jesus the Apostle also said, "made of a woman," [1740] yet there is no interruption hence to the order and connection of our Creed [1741] wherein we confess "that He was born of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary." For as a virgin she conceived Him, as a virgin brought Him forth, and a virgin she continued; but all females they called "women," [1742] by a peculiarity of the Hebrew tongue. Hear a most plain example of this. The first woman whom God made, having taken her out of the side of a man, was called a woman before she "knew" her husband, which we are told was not till after they went out of Paradise, for the Scripture saith, "He made her a woman." [1743]

19. The answer then of the Lord Jesus Christ, "I must be about My Father's service," does not in such sense declare God to be His Father, as to deny that Joseph was His father also; And whence prove we this? By the Scripture, which saith on this wise, "And He said unto them, Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's service; but they understood not what He spake to them: and when He went down with them, He came to Nazareth, and was subject to them." [1744] It did not say, "He was subject to His mother," or was "subject to her," but "He was subject to them." To whom was He subject? was it not to His parents? It was to both His parents that He was subject, by the same condescension by which He was the Son of Man. A little way back women received their precepts. Now let children receive theirs--to obey their parents, and to be subject to them. The world was subject unto Christ, and Christ was subject to His parents.

20. You see then, brethren, that He did not say, "I must needs be about My Father's service," in any such sense as that we should understand Him thereby to have said, "You are not My parents." They were His parents in time, God was His Father eternally. They were the parents of the Son of Man--"He," the Father of His Word, and Wisdom, and Power, by whom He made all things. But if all things were made by that Wisdom, "which reacheth from one end to another mightily, and sweetly ordereth all things," [1745] then were they also made by the Son of God to whom He Himself as Son of Man was afterwards to be subject; and the Apostle says that He is the Son of David, "who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." [1746] But yet the Lord Himself proposes a question to the Jews, which the Apostle solves in these very words; for when he said, "who was made of the seed of David," he added, "according to the flesh," that it might be understood that He is not the Son of David according to His Divinity, but that the Son of God is David's Lord; for thus in another place, when He is setting forth the [1747] privileges of the Jewish people, the Apostle saith, "Whose are the fathers, of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever." [1748] As, "according to the flesh," He is David's Son; but as being "God over all, blessed for ever," He is David's Lord. The Lord then saith to the Jews, "Whose Son say ye that Christ is?" They answered, "The Son of David." [1749] For this they knew, as they had learnt it easily from the preaching of the Prophets; and in truth, He was of the seed of David, "but according to the flesh," by the Virgin Mary, who was espoused to Joseph. When they answered then that Christ was David's Son, Jesus said to them, "How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I put Thine enemies under Thy feet. [1750] If David then in spirit call Him Lord, how is He his Son?" [1751] And the Jews could not answer Him. So we have it in the Gospel. He did not deny that He was David's Son, so that they could not understand that He was also David's Lord. For they acknowledged in Christ that which He became in time, but they did not understand in Him what He was in all eternity. Wherefore wishing to teach them His Divinity, He proposed a question touching His Humanity; as though He would say, "You know that Christ is David's Son, answer Me, how He is also David's Lord?" And that they might not say, "He is not David's Lord," He introduced the testimony of David himself. And what doth he say? He saith indeed the truth. For you find God in the Psalms saying to David, "Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy seat." [1752] Here then He is the Son of David. But how is He the Lord of David, who is David's Son? "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand." [1753] Can you wonder that David's Son is his Lord, when you see that Mary was the mother of her Lord? He is David's Lord then as being God. David's Lord, as being Lord of all; and David's Son, as being the Son of Man. At once Lord and Son. David's Lord, "who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God;" [1754] and David's Son, in that "He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant." [1755]

21. Joseph then was not the less His father, because he knew not the mother of our Lord, as though concupiscence and not conjugal affection constitutes the marriage bond. [1756] Attend, holy brethren; Christ's Apostle was some time after this to say in the Church, "It remaineth that they that have wives be as though they had none." [1757] And we know many of our brethren bringing forth fruit through grace, who for the Name of Christ practise an entire restraint by mutual consent, who yet suffer no restraint of true conjugal affection. Yea, the more the former is repressed, the more is the other strengthened and confirmed. Are they then not married people who thus live, not requiring from each other any carnal gratification, or exacting the satisfaction [1758] of any bodily desire? And yet the wife is subject to the husband, because it is fitting that she should be, and so much the more in subjection is she, in proportion to her greater chastity; and the husband for his part loveth his wife truly, as it is written, "In honour and sanctification," [1759] as a coheir of grace: as "Christ," saith the Apostle, "loved the Church." [1760] If then this be a union, and a marriage; if it be not the less a marriage because nothing of that kind passes between them, which even with unmarried persons may take place, but then unlawfully; (O that all could live so, but many have not the power!) let them at least not separate those who have the power, and deny that the man is a husband or the woman a wife, because there is no fleshly intercourse, but only the union of hearts between them.

22. Hence, my brethren, understand the sense of Scripture concerning those our ancient fathers, whose sole design in their marriage was to have children by their wives. For those even who, according to the custom of their time and nation, had a plurality of wives, lived in such chastity with them, as not to approach their bed, but for the cause I have mentioned, thus treating them indeed with honour. But he who exceeds the limits which this rule prescribes for the fulfilment of this end of marriage, acts contrary to the very contract [1761] by which he took his wife. The contract is read, read in the presence of all the attesting witnesses; and an express clause is there that they marry "for the procreation of children;" and this is called the marriage contract. [1762] If it was not for this that wives were given and taken to wife, what father could without blushing give up his daughter to the lust of any man? But now, that the parents may not blush, and that they may give their daughters in honourable marriage, not to shame, [1763] the contract is read out. And what is read from it?--the clause, "for the sake of the procreation of children." And when this is heard, the brow of the parent is cleared up and calmed. Let us consider again the feelings [1764] of the husband who takes his wife. The husband himself would blush to receive her with any other view, if the father would blush with any other view to give her. Nevertheless, if they cannot contain (as I have said on other occasions), let them require what is due, and let them not go to any others than those from whom it is due. Let both the woman and the man seek relief for their infirmity in themselves. Let not the husband go to any other woman, nor the woman to any other man, for from this adultery gets its name, as though it were "a going to another." [1765] And if they exceed the bounds of the marriage contract, let them not at least exceed those of conjugal fidelity. Is it not a sin in married persons to exact from one another more than this design of the "procreation of children" renders necessary? It is doubtless a sin, though a venial one. The Apostle saith, "But I speak this of allowance," [1766] when he was treating the matter thus. "Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." [1767] What does this mean? That you do not impose upon yourselves any thing beyond your strength, that you do not by your mutual continence fall into adultery. "That Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." And that he might not seem to enjoin what he only allowed (for it is one thing to give precepts to strength of virtue, and another to make allowance to infirmity), he immediately subjoined; "But this I speak of allowance, not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself." As though he would say, I do not command you to do this; but I pardon you if you do.

23. So then, my brethren, give heed. Those famous men who marry wives only for the procreation of children, such as we read the Patriarchs to have been, and know it, by many proofs, by the clear and unequivocal testimony of the sacred books; whoever, I say, they are who marry wives for this purpose only, if the means could be given them of having children without intercourse with their wives, would they not with joy unspeakable embrace so great a blessing? would they not with great delight accept it? For there are two carnal operations by which mankind is preserved, to both of which the wise and holy descend as matter of duty, but the unwise rush headlong into them through lust; and these are very different things. Now what are these two things by which mankind is preserved? The first which is confined to ourselves and relates to taking nourishment (which cannot of course be taken without some gratification of the flesh), is eating and drinking; if you do not this you will die. By this one support then of eating and drinking does the race of man subsist, by a [1768] law of its nature. But by this men are only supported as far as themselves are concerned; for they do not provide for any succession by eating and drinking, but by marrying wives. For so is the race of man preserved; first, by the means of life; but because whatever care they exercise they cannot of course live for ever, there is a second provision made, that those who are newly born may replace those who die. For the race of man is, as it is written, like the leaves on a tree, or an olive, that is, or a laurel, or some tree of this sort, which is never without foliage, yet whose leaves are not always the same. [1769] For, as it is written, "it shooteth forth some, and casteth others," because those which sprout afresh replace the others as they fall, for the tree is ever casting its leaves, yet is ever clothed with leaves. So also the race of man feels not the loss of those who die day by day, because of the supply of those who are newly born; and thus the whole race of mankind is according to its own laws sustained, and as leaves are ever seen on the trees, so is the earth seen to be full of men. Whereas if they were only to die, and no fresh ones be born, the earth would be stripped of all its inhabitants, as certain trees are of all their leaves.

24. Seeing then that the human race subsists in such sort, as that those two supports, of which enough has now been said, are necessary to it, the wise, and understanding, and the faithful man descends to both as matter of duty, and does not fall into them through lust. But how many are there who rush greedily to their eating and drinking, and make their whole life to consist in them, as if they were the very reason for living. For whereas men really eat to live, they think that they live to eat. These will every wise man condemn, and holy Scripture especially, all gluttons, drunkards, gormandizers, "whose god is their belly." [1770] Nothing but the lust of the flesh, and not the need of refreshment, carries them to the table. These then fall upon their meat and drink. But they who descend to them from the duty of maintaining life, do not live to eat, but eat to live. Accordingly, if the offer were made to these wise and temperate persons that they should live without food or drink, with what great joy would they embrace the boon! that now they might not even be forced to descend to that into which it had never been their custom to fall, but that they might be lifted up always in the Lord, and no necessity of repairing the wastings of their body might make them lay aside their fixed attention towards Him. How think ye that the holy Elias received the cruse of water, and the cake of bread, to satisfy him for forty days? [1771] With great joy no doubt, because he eat and drank to live, and not to serve his lust. But try to bring this about, if you could, for a man who, like the beast in his stall, places his whole blessedness and happiness in the table. He would hate your boon, and thrust it from him, and look upon it as a punishment. And so in that other duty of marriage, sensual men seek for wives only to satisfy their sensuality, and therefore at length are scarce contented even with their wives. And oh! I would that if they cannot or will not cure their sensuality, they would not suffer it to go beyond that limit which conjugal duty prescribes, I mean even that which is granted to infirmity. Nevertheless, if you were to say to such a man, "why do you marry?" he would answer perhaps for very shame, "for the sake of children." But if any one in whom he could have unhesitating credit were to say to him, "God is able to give, and yea, and will give you children without your having any intercourse with your wife;" he would assuredly be driven to confess that it was not for the sake of children that he was seeking for a wife. Let him then acknowledge his infirmity, and so receive that which he pretended to receive only as matter of duty.

25. It was thus those holy men of former times, those men of God sought and wished for children. For this one end--the procreation of children, was their intercourse and union with their wives. It is for this reason that they were allowed to have a plurality of wives. For if immoderateness in these desires could be well-pleasing to God, it would have been as much allowed at that time for one woman to have many husbands, as one husband many wives. Why then had all chaste women no more than one husband, but one man had many wives, except that for one man to have many wives is a means to the multiplication of a family, whereas a woman would not give birth to more children, how many soever more husbands she might have. Wherefore, brethren, if our fathers' union and intercourse with their wives, was for no other end but the procreation of children, it had been great matter of joy to them, if they could have had children without that intercourse, since for the sake of having them they descended to that intercourse only through duty, and did not rush into it through lust. So then was Joseph not a father because he had gotten a son without any lust of the flesh? God forbid that Christian chastity should entertain a thought, which even Jewish chastity entertained not! Love your wives then, but love them chastely. In your intercourse with them keep yourselves within the bounds necessary for the procreation of children. And inasmuch as you cannot otherwise have them, descend to it with regret. For this necessity is the punishment of that Adam from whom we are sprung. Let us not make a pride of our punishment. It is his punishment who because he was made mortal by sin, was condemned [1772] to bring forth only a mortal posterity. This punishment God has not withdrawn, that man might remember from what state he is called away, and to what state he is called, and might seek for that union, in which there can be no corruption.

26. Among that people then, because it was necessary that there should be an abundant increase until Christ came, by the multiplication of that people in whom were to be prefigured all that was to be prefigured as instruction for the Church, it was a duty to marry wives, by means of whom that people in whom the Church should be foreshown might increase. But when the King of all nations Himself was born, then began the honour of virginity with the mother of the Lord, who had the privilege [1773] of bearing a Son without any loss of her virgin purity. As that then was a true marriage, and a marriage free from all corruption, so why should not the husband chastely receive what his wife had chastely brought forth? For as she was a wife in chastity, so was he in chastity a husband; and as she was in chastity a mother, so was he in chastity a father. Whoso then says that he ought not to be called father, because he did not beget his Son in the usual [1774] way, looks rather to the satisfaction of passion in the procreation of children, and not the natural feeling of affection. What others desire to fulfil in the flesh, he in a more excellent way fulfilled in the spirit. For thus they who adopt children, beget them by the heart in greater chastity, whom they cannot by the flesh beget. Consider, brethren, the laws of adoption; how a man comes to be the son of another, of whom he was not born, so that the choice of the person who adopts has more right in him than the nature of him who begets him has. Not only then must Joseph be a father, but in a most excellent manner a father. For men beget children of women also who are not their wives, and they are called natural children, and the children of the lawful marriage are placed above them. Now as to the manner of their birth, they are born alike; why then are the latter set above the other, but because the love of a wife, of whom children are born, is the more pure. The union of the sexes is not regarded in this case, for this is the same in both women. Where has the wife the pre-eminence but in her fidelity, her wedded love, her more true and pure affection? If then a man could have children by his wife without this intercourse, should he not have so much the more joy thereby, in proportion to the greater chastity of her whom he loves the most?

27. See too by this how it may happen, that one man may have not two sons only, but two fathers also. For by the mention of adoption, it may occur to your thoughts that so it may be. For it is said; A man can have two sons, but two fathers he cannot have. But the truth is, it is found that he can have two fathers also, if one have begotten him of his body, and another adopted him in love. If one man then can have two fathers, Joseph could have two fathers also; might be begotten by one, and adopted by another. And if this be so, what do their cavillings mean, who insist that Matthew has followed one set of generations, and Luke another? And in fact we find that so it is, for Matthew has given Jacob as the father of Joseph, and Luke Heli. Now it is true it might seem, as if one and the same man, whose son Joseph was, had two names. But inasmuch as the grandfathers, and all the other progenitors which they enumerate, are different, and in the very number of the generations, the one has more, and the other fewer, Joseph is plainly shown hereby to have had two fathers. Now having disposed of the cavil of this question, forasmuch as clear reason has shown that it may happen that he who has begotten a child may be one father, and he who has adopted him another: supposing two fathers, it is nothing strange if the grandfathers and the great grandfathers, and the rest in the line upwards which are enumerated, should be different as coming from different fathers.

28. And let not the law of adoption seem to you to be foreign to our Scriptures, and that, as if it were recognised [1775] only in the practice of human laws, it cannot fall in with the authority of the divine books. For it is a thing established of old time, and frequently heard of in the Ecclesiastical books [1776] --that not only the natural way of birth, but the free choice [1777] of the will also, should give birth to a child. For women, if they had no children of their own, used to adopt children born of their husbands by their hand-maids, and even oblige their husbands to give them children in this way; as Sarah, Rachel, and Leah. [1778] And in doing this the husbands did not commit adultery, in that they obeyed their wives in that matter which had regard to conjugal duty, according to what the Apostle saith: "The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife." [1779] Moses too, who was born of a Hebrew mother and was exposed, was adopted by Pharaoh's daughter. [1780] There were not then indeed the same forms of law as now, but the choice of the will was taken for the rule of law, as the Apostle saith also in another place, "The Gentiles which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law." [1781] But if it is permitted to women to make those their children to whom they have not given birth, why should it not be allowed men to do so too with those whom they have not begotten of their body, but of the love of adoption. For we read that the patriarch Jacob even, the father of so many children, made his grandchildren, the sons of Joseph, his own children, in these words: "These too shall be mine, and they shall receive the land with their brethren, and those which thou begettest after them shall be thine." [1782] But it will be said, perhaps, that this word "adoption" is not found in the Holy Scriptures. As though it were of any importance by what name it is called, when the thing itself is there--for a woman to have a child to whom she has not given birth, or a man a child whom he has not begotten. And he may, without any opposition from me, refuse to call Joseph adopted, provided he grant that he may have been the son of a man of whose body he was not born. Yet the Apostle Paul does continually use this very word "adoption," and [1783] that to express a great mystery. For though Scripture testifies that our Lord Jesus Christ is the only Son of God, it says, that the brethren and coheirs whom He hath vouchsafed to have, are made so by a kind of adoption through Divine grace. "When," saith he, "the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." [1784] And in another place: "We groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." [1785] And again, when he was speaking of the Jews, "I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh; who are Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the testaments, and the giving of the law; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever." [1786] Where he shows, that the word "adoption," or at least the thing which it signifies, was of ancient use among the Jews, just as was the Testament and the giving of the Law, which he mentions together with it.

29. Added to this; there is another way peculiar to the Jews, in which a man might be the son of another of whom he was not born according to the flesh. For kinsmen used to marry the wives of their next of kin, who died without children, to raise up seed to him that was deceased. [1787] So then he who was thus born was both his son of whom he was born, and his in whose line of succession he was born. All this has been said, lest any one, thinking it impossible for two fathers to be mentioned properly for one man, should imagine that either of the Evangelists who have narrated the generations of the Lord are to be, by an impious calumny, charged so to say with a lie; especially when we may see that we are warned against this by their very words. For Matthew, who is understood to make mention of that father of whom Joseph was born, enumerates the generations thus: "This one begat the other," so as to come to what he says at the end, "Jacob begat Joseph." But Luke--because he cannot properly be said to be begotten who is made a child either by adoption, or who is born in the succession of the deceased, of her who was his wife--did not say, "Heli begat Joseph," or "Joseph whom Heli begat," but "Who was the son of Heli," whether by adoption, or as being born of the next of kin in the succession of one deceased. [1788]

30. Enough has now been said to show that the question, why the generations are reckoned through Joseph and not through Mary, ought not to perplex us; for as she was a mother without carnal desire, so was he a father without any carnal intercourse. Let then the generations ascend and descend through him. And let us not exclude him from being a father, because he had none of this carnal desire. Let his greater purity only confirm rather his relationship of father, lest the holy Mary herself reproach us. For she would not put her own name before her husband; but said, "Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing." [1789] Let not then these perverse murmurers do that which the chaste spouse of Joseph did not. Let us reckon then through Joseph, because as he is in chastity a husband, so is he in chastity a father. And let us put the man before the woman, according to the order of nature and the law of God. For if we should cast him aside and leave her, he would say, and say with reason, "Why have you excluded me? Why do not the generations ascend and descend through me?" Shall we say to him, "Because thou didst not beget Him by the operation of thy flesh?" Surely he will answer, "And is it by the operation of the flesh that the Virgin bare Him? What the Holy Spirit wrought, He wrought for both." "Being a just man," [1790] saith the Gospel. The husband then was just and the woman just. The Holy Spirit reposing in the justice of them both, gave to both a Son. In that sex which is by nature fitted to give birth, He wrought that birth which was for the husband also. And therefore doth the Angel bid them both give the Child a name, and hereby is the authority of both parents established. For when Zacharias was yet dumb, the mother gave a name to her newborn son. And when they who were present "made signs to his father what he would have him called, he took a writing-table and wrote" [1791] the name which she had already pronounced. So to Mary too the Angel saith, "Behold, thou shalt conceive a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus." [1792] And to Joseph also he saith, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." [1793] Again it is said, "And she brought forth a Son to him," [1794] by which he is established to be a father, not in the flesh indeed, but in love. Let us then acknowledge him to be a father, as in truth he is. For most advisedly and most wisely do the Evangelists reckon through him, whether Matthew in descending from Abraham down to Christ, or Luke in ascending from Christ through Abraham up to God. The one reckons in a descending, the other in an ascending order; but both through Joseph. And why? Because he is the father. How the father? Because he is the more undeniably [1795] a father in proportion as he is more chastely so. He was thought, it is true, to be the father of our Lord Jesus Christ in another way: that is, as other parents are according to a fleshly birth, and not through the fruitfulness of a wholly spiritual love. For Luke said, "Who was supposed to be the father of Jesus." [1796] Why supposed? Because men's thoughts and suppositions were directed to what is usually the case with men. The Lord then was not of the seed of Joseph, though He was supposed to be; yet nevertheless the Son of the Virgin Mary, who is also the Son of God, was born to Joseph, the fruit of his piety and love.

31. But why does St Matthew reckon in a descending, and Luke in an ascending order? I pray you give attentive ear to what the Lord may help me to say on this matter; with your minds now at ease, and disembarrassed from all the perplexity of these cavillings. Matthew descends through his generations, to signify our Lord Jesus Christ descending to bear our sins, that in the seed of Abraham all nations might be blessed. Wherefore, he does not begin with Adam, for from him is the whole race of mankind. Nor with Noe, because from his family again, after the flood, descended the whole human race. Nor could the man Christ Jesus, as descended from Adam, from whom all men are descended, bear [1797] upon the fulfilment of prophecy; nor, again, as descended from Noe, from whom also all men are descended; but only as descended from Abraham, who at that time was chosen, that all nations should be blessed in his seed, when the earth was now full of nations. But Luke reckons in an ascending order, and does not begin to enumerate the generations from the beginning of the account of our Lord's birth, but from that place, where he relates His Baptism by John. Now, as in the incarnation of the Lord, the sins of the human race are taken upon Him to be borne, so in the consecration of His Baptism are they taken on Him to be expiated. Accordingly, St. Matthew, as representing His descent to bear our sins, enumerates the generations in a descending order; but the other, as representing the expiation of sins, not His own, of course, but our sins, enumerates them in an ascending order. Again, St. Matthew descends through Solomon, by whose mother David sinned; St. Luke ascends through Nathan [1798] another son of the same David, through whom he was purged from his sin. [1799] For we read, that Nathan was sent to him to reprove him, and that he might through repentance be healed. Both Evangelists meet together in David; the one in descending, the other in ascending; and from David to Abraham, or from Abraham to David, there is no difference in any one generation. And so Christ, both the Son of David and the Son of Abraham, comes up to God. For to God must we be brought back, when renewed in Baptism, from the abolition of sins.

32. Now, in the generations which Matthew enumerates, the predominant [1800] number is forty. For it is a custom of the Holy Scriptures, not to reckon what is over and above certain round numbers. [1801] For thus it is said to be four hundred years, after which the people of Israel went out of Egypt, whereas it is four hundred and thirty. [1802] And so here the one generation, which exceeds the fortieth, does not take away the predominance of that number. Now this number signifies the life wherein we labour in this world, as long as we are absent from the Lord, during which the temporal dispensation of the preaching of the truth is necessary. For the number ten, by which the perfection of blessedness is signified, multiplied four times, because of the fourfold divisions of the seasons, and the fourfold divisions of the world, will make the number forty. [1803] Wherefore Moses and Elias, and the Mediator Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ, fasted forty days, because in the time of this life, continence from the enticements of the body is necessary. Forty years also did the people wander in the wilderness. [1804] Forty days the waters of the flood lasted. [1805] Forty days after His resurrection did the Lord converse with the disciples, persuading them of the reality [1806] of His risen body, [1807] whereby He showed that in this life, "wherein we are absent from the Lord" [1808] (which the number forty, as has been already said, mystically figures), we have need to celebrate the memory of the Lord's Body, which we do in the Church, till He come. [1809] Forasmuch, then as our Lord descended to this life, and "the Word was made flesh, that He might be delivered for our sins, and rise again for our justification," [1810] Matthew followed the number forty; so that the one generation which there exceeds that number, either does not hinder its predominance--just as those thirty years do not hinder the perfect number of four hundred--or that it even has this further meaning, that the Lord Himself, by the addition of whom the forty-one is made up, so descended to this life to bear our sins, as yet, by a peculiar and especial excellency, whereby He is in such sense man, as to be also God, to be found to be excepted from this life. For of Him only is that said, which never has been or shall be able to be said of any holy man, however perfected in wisdom and righteousness, "The Word was made Flesh." [1811]

33. But Luke, who ascends up through the generations from the baptism of the Lord, makes up the number seventy-seven, beginning to ascend from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself through Joseph, and coming through Adam up to God. And that is, because by this number is signified the abolition of all sins, which takes place in Baptism. Not that the Lord Himself had any thing to be forgiven Him in baptism, but that by His humility He set forth its usefulness to us. And though that was only the baptism of John, yet there appeared in it to outward sense the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and hereby was consecrated the Baptism of Christ Himself, whereby Christians were to be baptized. The Father in the voice which came from heaven, the Son in the person of the Mediator Himself, the Holy Ghost in the dove. [1812]

34. Now, why the number seventy-seven should contain all sins which are remitted in Baptism, there occurs this probable reason, for that the number ten implies the perfection of all righteousness, and blessedness, when the creature denoted by seven [1813] cleaves to the Trinity of the Creator; whence also the Decalogue of the Law was consecrated in ten precepts. Now the "transgression" of the number ten is signified by the number eleven; and sin is known to be transgression, when a man, in seeking something "more," exceeds the rule of justice. And hence the Apostle calls avarice "the root of all evils." [1814] And to the soul which goes a-whoring from God, it is said, in the Person of the same Lord, "Thou wast in hope, if thou didst depart from Me, that thou wouldest have something more." Because the sinner then has in his transgression, that is, in his sin, regard to himself alone--in that he wishes to gratify himself by some private good of his own (whence they are blamed "who seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's;" [1815] and charity is commended, "which seeketh not her own" [1816] ); therefore, this number eleven, by which transgression is signified, is multiplied, not ten times, but seven, and so makes up seventy-seven. For transgression looks [1817] not to the Trinity of the Creator, but to the creature, that is, to the man himself, which creature the number seven denotes. Three, because of the soul, in which there [1818] is a kind of image of the Trinity of the Creator (for it is in the soul that man has been made after the image of God); and four, because of the body. For the four elements [1819] of which the body is made up are known by all. And if any one know them not, he may easily remember, that this body of the world, in which our bodies move along, has, so to say, four principal parts, which even Holy Scripture is constantly making mention of, East, and West, and North, and South. And forasmuch as sins are committed either by the mind, as in the will only, or by the works of the body also, and so visibly; therefore the Prophet Amos continually introduces [1820] God as threatening, and saying, "For three and four iniquities I will not turn away," that is," I will not dissemble My wrath." [1821] Three, because of the nature of the soul; four, because of that of the body; of which two, man consists.

35. So, then, seven times eleven, that is, as has been explained, the transgression of righteousness, which has regard only to the sinner himself, make up the number seventy-seven, in which it is signified, that all sins which are remitted in Baptism are contained. And hence it is that Luke ascends up through seventy-seven generations unto God, as showing that man is reconciled unto God by the abolition of all sin. Hence the Lord Himself saith to Peter, who asked Him how oft he ought to forgive a brother, "I say not unto thee [1822] seven times, but until seventy times and seven." [1823] Now, whatever else can be drawn out of these recesses and treasures of God's mysteries by those who are more diligent and more worthy than I, receive. Yet have I spoken according to my poor ability, as the Lord hath aided and given me power, and as I best could, considering also the little time I had. If any one of you be capable of anything further, let him knock at Him from whom I too receive what I am able to receive and speak. But, above all things, remember this; not to be disturbed by the Scriptures, which you do not yet understand, nor be puffed up by what you do understand; but what you do not understand, with submission [1824] wait for, and what you do understand, hold fast with charity.


[1685] 2 Cor. iv. 7. [1686] Muneris. [1687] Matt. x. 22. [1688] Ipsos venatores venatus est ad salutem. [1689] Ps. xxii. 16, 17. [1690] 1 Cor. iv. 9. [1691] Spiritaliter. [1692] Venatorem. [1693] John xvi. 33. [1694] Sacramenti. [1695] Prava. [1696] Deberet. [1697] Commendare. [1698] Populariter agere. [1699] Gen. xxii. 18. [1700] Singularitate. [1701] Periti. [1702] 1 Cor. i. 27, 28. [1703] Col. ii. 6, 7. [1704] Col. ii. 3. [1705] 2 Cor. iii. 16. [1706] Calumnias. [1707] Perversis moribus. [1708] Matt. i. 1. [1709] Matt. i. 2-6. [1710] Matt. i. 7-18. [1711] Matt. i. 19. [1712] Velut. [1713] Auderet. [1714] Matt. i. 20. [1715] Matt. i. 21. [1716] Sanctitas vestra. [1717] 1 Cor. xi. 19. [1718] Sacramentum. [1719] Gustatum. [1720] Sacramentum. [1721] Jer. xxvii. [1722] Rom. xi. 1. [1723] Meruerunt. [1724] 1 Cor. xv. 6. [1725] Acts i. 15. [1726] Acts xiii. 46. [1727] Jer. xxix. 7. [1728] 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2. [1729] Agricultura. [1730] Ps. cxviii. 22. [1731] Matt. i. 20. [1732] Matt. i. 21. [1733] Luke ii. 42. [1734] Luke ii. 48, 49. [1735] Luke i. 31. [1736] Luke i. 32. [1737] Meruerat. [1738] Dignitatem. [1739] Ephes. v. 23. [1740] Gal. iv. 4. [1741] Fidei. [1742] #ShH+ femina mulier omnis ætatis et conditionis, sive nupta est, sive non est. Gesenius, Lex. Heb., vide exempla, especially Gen. xxiv. 5 and Isa. iv. 1. Vid. Serm. lii. 10. [1743] Gen. ii. 22. [1744] Luke ii. 49, 50, 51. [1745] Wisd. viii. 1. [1746] Rom. i. 3. [1747] Commendaret. [1748] Rom. ix. 5. [1749] Matt. xxii. 42. [1750] Ps. cx. 1. [1751] Matt. xxii. 43, 44, 45. [1752] Ps. cxxxii. 11. [1753] Ps. cx. 1. [1754] Phil. ii. 6. [1755] Phil. ii. 7. [1756] Uxorem. [1757] 1 Cor. vii. 29. [1758] Debitum. [1759] 1 Thess. iv. 4. [1760] Ephes. v. 25. [1761] Tabulas. [1762] Tabulæ matrimoniales. [1763] Ut sint soceri non lenones. [1764] Frontem. [1765] Adulterium quasi ad alterum. [1766] 1 Cor vii. 6. [1767] 1 Cor. vii. 5. [1768] Modo. [1769] Ecclus. xiv. 18. [1770] Phil. iii. 19. [1771] 1 Kings xix. 6. [1772] Meruit. [1773] Meruit. [1774] Sic. [1775] Animadversum. [1776] The Scriptures. [1777] Gratia. [1778] Gen. xvi. 2 and xxx. [1779] 1 Cor. vii. 4. [1780] Exod. ii. 10. [1781] Rom. ii. 14. [1782] Gen. xlviii. 5, 6. [1783] In magno sacramento. [1784] Gal. iv. 4, 5. [1785] Rom. viii. 23. [1786] Rom. ix. 3, etc. [1787] Deut. xxv. 5; Matt. xxii. 24. [1788] Of these two solutions, (1) that Joseph may have been the adopted son of Eli, or (2) the son of his wife who, as the next of kin, married Jacob after his decease, the latter is stated by Africanus (Eus. H. E. i. 7) to be traditional and derived from kinsmen of the Lord's. It may be the more likely, in that the name of the wife of Matthan and Malchi (Estha) is also handed down, through whom, though half-blood, Heli and Jacob became, at all events, near kinsmen. Else in the Jerus. Talm. (ap. Lightfoot ad loc.) St. Mary is called the daughter of Heli, and her genealogy might be counted as his, to whom, according to the above statement, she was nearly related. The name Heli, indeed, is no way connected (as some have thought) with Eliachim, i.q. Joachim; but this name of the father of the Blessed Virgin is said by St. Augustin to have been taken by the Manichees from apocryphal books (comp. Faust. xxiii. 9), so neither is it any hindrance. St. Augustin remarks (Quæst. Ev. ii. 5) that any one possible explanation is sufficient, and yet that it would be rash to say that there were only the two that he had named. He treats it then as "madness" to ground any charge against the evangelists thereon; inasmuch as it can be solved, faith is indifferent to the "how," since God has not explained it. [1789] Luke ii. 48. [1790] Matt. i. 19. [1791] Luke i. 63. [1792] Luke i. 31. [1793] Matt. i. 20, 21. [1794] Luke ii. 7. There seems to be no trace of any such reading anywhere else. [1795] Firmius. [1796] Luke iii. 23. [1797] Pertinere. [1798] St. Augustin corrects this confusion of Nathan, the son of David, with the prophet Nathan, in his Retract. B. ii. c. 16. [1799] 2 Sam. xii. 1. [1800] Eminet. [1801] Certos articulos numerorum. [1802] Gen. xv. 13; Acts vii. 6. [1803] Deut. ix. 9; 1 Kings xix. 8; Matt. iv. 2. [1804] Num. xxxii. 13. [1805] Gen. vii. 4. [1806] Veritatem. [1807] Acts i. 3. [1808] 2 Cor. v. 6. [1809] 1 Cor. xi. 26. [1810] Rom. iv. 25. [1811] John i. 14. [1812] Matt. iii. 16. [1813] Septenaria. [1814] 1 Tim. vi. 10. [1815] Phil. ii. 21. [1816] 1 Cor. xiii. 5. [1817] Pertinet. [1818] Vid. Aug. De Trin. ix. 4, 5; xiv. c. 6-16, etc.; lib. xv. 40-43. Ep. 169 (Ben.). 6. De Civ. Dei, xi. 26 and 28. Conf. xiii. 12 (11) and note in Oxf. ed. [1819] Primordia. [1820] Commemorat. [1821] Amos i. 2, Sept. [1822] Vide Sermon xxxiii. (Bened. lxxxiii.). [1823] Matt. xviii. 22. [1824] Honore. .

Sermon II.

[LII. Ben.]

Of the words of St. Matthew's Gospel, Chap. iii. 13, "Then Jesus cometh from Galilee to the Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him." Concerning the Trinity.

1. The lesson of the Gospel hath set before me a subject whereof to speak to you, beloved, as though by the Lord's command, and by His command in very deed. For my heart hath waited for an order as it were from Him to speak, that I might understand thereby that it is His wish that I should speak on that which He hath also willed should be read to you. Let your zeal and devotion then give ear, and before the Lord our God Himself aid ye my labour. For we behold and see as it were in a divine spectacle exhibited to us, the notice of our God in Trinity, conveyed [1825] to us at the river Jordan. For when Jesus came and was baptized by John, the Lord by His servant (and this He did for an example of humility; for He showeth that in this same humility is righteousness fulfilled, when as John said to Him, "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" [1826] He answered, "Suffer it to be so now, that all righteousness may be fulfilled" [1827] ), when He was baptized then, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit came down upon Him in the form of a Dove: and then a Voice from on high followed, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." [1828] Here then we have the Trinity in a certain sort distinguished. The Father in the Voice,--the Son in the Man,--the Holy Spirit in the Dove. It was only needful just to mention this, for most obvious is it to see. For the notice of the Trinity is here conveyed to us plainly and without leaving room for doubt or hesitation. For the Lord Christ Himself coming in the form of a servant to John, is doubtlessly the Son: for it cannot be said that it was the Father, or the Holy Spirit. "Jesus," it is said, "cometh;" [1829] that is, the Son of God. And who hath any doubt about the Dove? or who saith, "What is the Dove?" when the Gospel itself most plainly testifieth, "The Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove." [1830] And in like manner as to that voice there can be no doubt that it is the Father's, when He saith, "Thou art My Son." [1831] Thus then we have the Trinity distinguished.

2. And if we consider the places, I say with confidence (though in fear I say it), that the Trinity is in a manner separable. When Jesus came to the river, He came from one place to another; and the Dove descended from heaven to earth, from one place to another; and the very Voice of the Father sounded neither from the earth, nor from the water, but from heaven; these three are as it were separated in places, in offices, and in works. But one may say to me, "Show the Trinity to be inseparable rather. Remember that thou who art speaking art a Catholic, and to Catholics art thou speaking." For thus doth our faith teach, that is, the true, the right Catholic faith, gathered not by the opinion of private [1832] judgment, but by the witness of the Scriptures, [1833] not subject to the fluctuations of heretical rashness, but grounded on Apostolic truth: this we know, this we believe. This though we see it not with our eyes, nor as yet with the heart, so long as we are being purified by faith, yet by this faith we most lightly and most strenuously maintain--That the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are a Trinity inseparable; One God, not three Gods. But yet so One God, as that the Son is not the Father, and the Father is not the Son, and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son, but the Spirit of the Father and of the Son. This ineffable Divinity, abiding ever in itself, making all things new, creating, creating anew, sending, recalling, judging, delivering, this Trinity, I say, we know to be at once ineffable and inseparable.

3. What am I then about? See: The Son came separately in the Man; The Holy Spirit descended separately from heaven in the form of a Dove; The Voice of the Father sounded separately out of heaven, "This is My Son." Where then is this inseparable Trinity? God hath made you attentive by my words. Pray for me, and open, as it were, the folds [1834] of your hearts, and may He grant you wherewith your hearts so opened may be filled. Share my travail with me. For you see what I have undertaken; and not only what, but who I am that have undertaken it, and of what I wish to speak, and where and what my position is, even in that "body which is corruptible, and presseth down the soul, and the earthly habitation weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things." [1835] When therefore I abstract my mind from the multiplicity of things, and gather it up into the One God, the inseparable Trinity, that so I may see something which I may say of it, think ye that in this "body which presseth down the soul," I shall be able to say (in order that I may speak to you something worthy of the subject), "O Lord, I have lifted up my soul unto Thee." [1836] May He assist me, may He lift it up with me. For I am too infirm in respect of Him, and He in respect of me is too mighty.

4. Now this is a question which is often proposed by the most earnest brethren, and often has place in the conversation of the lovers of God's word; for this much knocking is wont to be made unto God, while men say, "Doeth the Father anything which the Son doeth not? or doeth the Son anything which the Father doeth not?" Let us first speak of the Father and the Son. And when He to Whom we say, "Be Thou my helper, leave me not," [1837] shall have given good success to this essay of ours, then shall we understand how that the Holy Spirit also is in no way separated from the operation of the Father and the Son. As concerning the Father and the Son, then, brethren, give ear. Doeth the Father anything without the Son? We answer, No. Do you doubt it? For what doeth He without Him "by Whom all things were made? All things," saith the Scripture, "were made by Him." [1838] And to inculcate it fully [1839] upon the slow, and hard, and disputatious it added, And without Him was not anything made."

5. What then, brethren? "All things were made by Him." We understand then by this that the whole creation which was made by the Son, the Father made by His Word--God, by His Power and Wisdom. Shall we then say, "All things" indeed when they were created, "were made by Him," but now the Father doeth not all things by Him? God forbid! Be such a thought as this far from the hearts of believers; be it driven away from the mind of the devout; from the understanding of the godly! It cannot be that He created by Him, and doth not govern by Him. God forbid that what existeth should be governed without Him, when by Him it was made, that it might have existence! But let us show by the testimony of the same Scripture that not only were all things created and made by Him as we have quoted from the Gospel, "All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made," but that the things which were made are also governed and ordered by Him. You acknowledge Christ then to be the Power and Wisdom of God; acknowledge too what is said of Wisdom, "She reacheth from one end to another mightily, and sweetly doth she order all things." [1840] Let us not then doubt that by Him are all things ruled, by whom all things were made. So then the Father doeth nothing without the Son, nor the Son without the Father.

6. But so a difficulty meets us, which we have undertaken to solve in the Name of the Lord, and by His will. If the Father doeth nothing without the Son, nor the Son without the Father, will it not follow, that we must say that the Father also was born of the Virgin Mary, the Father suffered under Pontius Pilate, the Father rose again and ascended into heaven? God forbid! We do not say this, because we do not believe it. "For I believed, therefore have I spoken: we also believe, and therefore speak." [1841] What [1842] is in the Creed? That the Son was born of a Virgin, not the Father. What is in the Creed? That the Son suffered under Pontius Pilate and was dead, not the Father. Have we forgotten, that some, misunderstanding this, are called "Patripassians," who say that the Father Himself was born of a woman, that the Father Himself suffered, that the Father is the same as the Son, that they are two names, not two things? And these hath the Church Catholic separated from the communion of saints, that they might not deceive any, but dispute in separation from her.

7. Let us then recall the difficulty of the question to your minds. One may say to me, "You have said that the Father doeth nothing without the Son, nor the Son without the Father, and testimonies you have adduced out of the Scriptures, that the Father doeth nothing without the Son, for that `all things were made by Him;' and again, that that which was made is not governed without the Son, for that He is the Wisdom of the Father, `reaching from one end to another mightily, and sweetly ordering all things.' And now you tell me, as if contradicting yourself, that the Son was born of a Virgin, and not the Father; the Son suffered, not the Father; the Son rose again, not the Father. See then, here I see the Son doing something which the Father doeth not. Do you therefore either confess that the Son doeth something without the Father, or else that the Father also was born and suffered, and died and rose again. Say one or the other of these, choose one of the two." No: I will choose neither, I will say neither the one nor the other. I will neither say the Son doeth anything without the Father, for I should lie were I to say so; nor that the Father was born, suffered, and died, and rose again, for I should equally lie were I to say this. "How then, saith he, will you disentangle yourself from these straits?"

8. The proposing of the question pleases you. May God grant His aid, that its solution may please you too. See, what I am asking Him, that He would free both me and you. For in one faith do we stand in the Name of Christ; and in one house do we live under one Lord, and in one body are we members under One Head, and by One Spirit are we quickened. [1843] That the Lord then may set both me who speak, and you who hear, free from the straits of this most perplexing question, I say as follows: The Son indeed and not the Father was born of the Virgin Mary; but this very birth of the Son, not of the Father, was the work both of the Father and the Son. The Father indeed suffered not, but the Son, yet the suffering of the Son was the work of the Father and the Son. The Father did not rise again, but the Son, yet the resurrection of the Son was the work of the Father and the Son. We seem then to be already quit of this question, but peradventure it is only by words of my own; let us see whether it is not as well by words divine. It is my place then to prove by testimonies of the sacred books, that the birth, and passion, and resurrection of the Son were in such sort the works of the Father and the Son, that whereas it is the birth, and passion, and resurrection of the Son only, yet these three things which belong to the Son only, were wrought neither by the Father alone, nor by the Son alone, but by the Father and the Son. Let us prove each several point, you hear as judges; the case has been already laid open; now let the witnesses come forth. Let your judgment say to me, as is wont to be said to pleaders in a cause, "Establish what you promise." I will do so assuredly, with the Lord's assistance, and will cite the books of heavenly law. Ye have listened to me attentively while proposing the question, listen now with still more attention while I prove my point.

9. I must first teach you concerning the birth of Christ, how it is the work of the Father and the Son, though what the Father and the Son did work pertains only to the Son. I will quote Paul; one competently versed in the divine law. That Paul, I say, will I quote, who prescribes the laws of peace, not of litigation, for lawyers at this day also have a Paul who prescribes the laws of the courts, [1844] not the Christian's laws. Let the holy Apostle show us then how the birth of the Son was the work of the Father. "But," saith he, "when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law." [1845] Thus have ye heard him, and because it is plain and express, have understood. See, the Father made the Son to be born of a Virgin. For "when the fulness of time was come, God sent His Son;" the Father sent His Christ. How sent He Him? "made of a woman, made under the Law." The Father then made Him of a woman under the Law.

10. Doth this peradventure perplex you, that I said of a virgin, and Paul saith of a woman? Let not this perplex you; let us not stop here, for I am not speaking to persons without instruction. The Scripture saith both, both "of a virgin," and "of a woman." Where saith it, "of a virgin? Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son." [1846] And "of a woman," as you have just heard; here there is no contradiction. For the peculiarity of the Hebrew tongue gives [1847] the name of "women" not to such as have lost their virgin estate, but to females generally. You have a plain passage in Genesis, when Eve herself was first made, "He made her a woman." [1848] Scripture also in another place saith, that God ordered "the women" to be separated "which had not known man by lying with him." [1849] This then ought now to be well established, and should not detain us, that so we may be able to explain, by the Lord's assistance, what will deservedly detain us.

11. We have then proved that the birth of the Son was the work of the Father; now let us prove that it was the work of the Son also. Now what is the birth of the Son of the Virgin Mary? Surely it is His assumption of the form of a servant in the Virgin's womb. Is the birth of the Son ought else, but the taking of the form of a servant in the womb of the Virgin? Now hear how that this was the work of the Son also. "Who when He was in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, taking upon Him the form of a servant." [1850] "When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman," [1851] who was "made [1852] His Son of the seed of David according to the flesh." [1853] In this then we see that the birth of the Son was the work of the Father; but in that the Son Himself "emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant," we see that the birth of the Son was the work also of the Son Himself. This then has been proved; so let us pass on from this point, and receive ye with attention that which comes next in order.

12. Let us prove that the Passion also of the Son was the work of the Father and the Son. We may see [1854] that the Passion of the Son is the work of the Father, since it is written, "Who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all;" [1855] and that the Passion of the Son was His own work also, "Who loved me, and gave Himself for me." [1856] The Father delivered up the Son, and the Son delivered up Himself. This Passion was wrought out for one, but by both. As therefore the birth, so the Passion, of Christ, was not the work of the Son without the Father, nor of the Father without the Son. The Father delivered up the Son, and the Son delivered up Himself. What did Judas in it, but his own sin? Let us then pass on from this point also, and come we to the resurrection.

13. Let us see the Son indeed, and not the Father, rising again, but both the Father and the Son working the resurrection of the Son. The resurrection of the Son is the work of the Father; for it is written, "Wherefore He exalted Him, and gave Him a name which is above every name." [1857] The Father therefore raised the Son to life again, in exalting, and awakening Him from the dead. And did the Son also raise Himself? Assuredly He did. For He said of the temple, as the figure of His own body, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it again." [1858] Lastly, as the laying down of life has reference to the Passion, so the taking it again has reference to the resurrection. Let us see then if the Son laid down His life indeed, and the Father restored His life to Him, and not He to Himself. For that the Father restored it is plain. For so saith the Psalm, "Raise Thou Me up, and I will requite them." [1859] But why do ye wait for a proof from me that the Son also restored life to Himself? Let Him speak Himself; "I have power to lay down My life." I have not yet said what I promised. I have said, "to lay it down;" and you are crying out already, for you are flying past me. For well-instructed as ye are in the school of your heavenly teacher, as attentively listening to, and in pious affection rehearsing, [1860] what is read, ye are not ignorant of what comes next. "I have power," saith He,"to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself, and take it again." [1861]

14. I have made good what I promised; I have established my propositions with, as I think, the strongest proofs and testimonies. Hold fast then what you have heard. I will recapitulate it briefly, and entrust it to be stored up in your minds as a thing, to my thinking, of the greatest usefulness. The Father was not born of the Virgin; yet this birth of the Son from the Virgin was the work both of the Father and the Son. The Father suffered not on the Cross; yet the Passion of the Son was the work both of the Father and the Son. The Father rose not again from the dead; yet the resurrection of the Son was the work both of the Father and the Son. You see then a distinction of Persons, and an inseparableness of operation. Let us not say therefore that the Father doeth any thing without the Son, or the Son any thing without the Father. But perhaps you have a difficulty as to the miracles which Jesus did, lest peradventure He did some which the Father did not! Where then is that saying, "The Father who dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works?" [1862] All that I have now said was plain; it needed to be barely mentioned; there was no necessity for much labour to make it understood, but only that care should be taken, that it might be brought to your remembrance.

15. I wish to say something further, and here ask sincerely both for your more earnest attention, and your devotion to Godward. For none but bodies are held or contained in places suited to the nature [1863] of bodies. The Divinity is beyond all such places: let no one seek for it as though it were in space. It is everywhere invisible and inseparably present; not in one part greater, and another smaller; but whole everywhere, and nowhere divided. Who can see? Who can comprehend this? Let us restrain ourselves: let us remember who we are; and of Whom we speak. Let this and that, or whatever appertains [1864] to the nature of God, be with a pious faith embraced, with a holy respect entertained, and as far as is allowed us, as far as is possible for us, in an unspeakable sort understood. Let words be hushed: let the tongue be silent, let the heart be aroused, let the heart be lifted up thither. For it is not of such a nature as that it can ascend into the heart of man; but the heart of man must itself ascend to it. Let us consider the creatures ("for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" [1865] ), if haply in the things which God hath made, with which we have some familiarity of intercourse, we may find some resemblance, whereby we may prove that there are some three things which may be exhibited [1866] as three separably, yet whose operation is inseparable.

16. Come, brethren, give me your whole attention. But first of all consider what it is that I promise; if haply I can find any resemblance in the creature, for the Creator is too high above us. And peradventure some one of us, whose mind the glare of truth hath, as it were, stricken with sparks of its brightness, can say those words, "I said in my ecstasy."--What saidst thou in thine ecstasy?--"I am cast away from the sight of Thine eyes." [1867] For it seems to me as if he who said this had lifted up his soul unto God, and had been carried beyond himself, while they said daily unto him, "Where is thy God?"--had reached by a kind of spiritual contact to that unchangeable Light, and through the weakness [1868] of his sight had been unable to endure it, and so had fallen back again into his own, as it were, sick and languid state, and had compared himself with that Light, and had felt that the eye of his mind could not yet be attempered to the light of God's wisdom. And because he had done this in ecstasy, hurried away from his bodily senses, and taken [1869] up into God, when he was recalled in a manner from God to man, he said, "I said in my ecstasy." For I saw in ecstasy I know not what, which I could not long endure, and being restored to my mortal estate, [1870] and the manifold thoughts of mortal things from the body which presseth down the soul, I said, what? "I am cast away from the sight of Thine eyes." Thou art far above, and I am far below. What then, brethren, shall we say of God? For if thou hast been able to comprehend what thou wouldest say, it is not God; if thou hast been able to comprehend it, thou hast comprehended something else instead of God. If thou hast been able to comprehend Him as thou thinkest, by so thinking thou hast deceived thyself. This then is not God, if thou hast comprehended it; but if it be God, thou hast not comprehended it. How therefore wouldest thou speak of that which thou canst not comprehend?

17. Let us see then, if haply we cannot find something in the creature whereby we may prove that some three things are exhibited [1871] separately whose operation is yet inseparable. But whither shall we go? To the heaven, to dispute of the sun and moon and stars? To the earth, to dispute of shrubs, and trees, and animals which fill the earth? Or of the heaven and the earth itself, which contain all the things that are in heaven and earth? How long, O man, wilt thou roam over the creation? Return unto thyself, see, consider, examine thine own self. Thou art searching among the creatures for some three things which are separately exhibited, whose operation is yet inseparable; if then thou art searching for this among the creatures, search for it first in thine own self. For thou art not other than a creature. It is a resemblance thou art searching for. Wouldest thou search for it among the cattle? For of God it was thou wast speaking, when thou wast in search for this resemblance. Thou wast speaking of the Trinity of Majesty ineffable, and because thou didst fail in contemplating [1872] the Divine Nature, and with becoming humility didst confess thine infirmity, thou didst come down to human nature; there then pursue thine enquiry. Wilt thou make thy search among the cattle, in the sun, or the stars? What of these was made after the image and likeness of God? Thou mayest search in thine own self for something more familiar to thee, and more excellent than all these. For God made man after His own image and likeness. Search then in thine own self, if haply the image of the Trinity bear not some vestige of the Trinity. And what is this image? It is an image very different from its model; yet different as it is, it is an image and a likeness notwithstanding, not indeed in the same way as the Son is the Image, being the Same Which the Father is. For an image is in one sort in a son, and in another in a mirror. There is great difference between them. Thine image in thy son is thine own self, for the son is by nature what thou art. In substance the same as thou, in person other than thou. Man then is not an image as the Only-begotten Son is, but made after a sort of image and likeness. Let him then search for something in himself, if so be he may find it, even for some three things which are exhibited [1873] separately, whose operation is yet inseparable. I will search, and do ye search with me. I will not search in you, but do ye search in yourselves, and I in myself. Let us search in concert, and in concert discuss our common nature and substance.

18. See, O man, and consider whether what I am saying be true. Hast thou a body and flesh? I have, you say. For how am I in this place that I now occupy, and how do I move from place to place? How do I hear the words of one who is speaking, but by the ears of my body? How do I see the mouth of him who is speaking, but by the eyes of my body? It is plain then that thou hast a body, no need is there to trouble one's self about so plain a matter. Consider then another point, consider what it is that acts through this body. For thou hearest by means of the ear, but it is not the ear that hears. There is something else within which hears by means of the ear. Thou seest by means of the eye--examine this eye. What! hast thou acknowledged the house, and paid no regard to him that inhabiteth it? Doth the eye see by itself? Is it not another that sees by means of the eye? I will not say, that the eye of a dead man, from whose body it is plain the inhabitant hath departed, sees not, but any man's eye who is only thinking of something else, sees not the form of the object that is before him. Look then into thine inner man. For there it is rather that the resemblance must be sought for of some three things which are exhibited separately, whose operation is yet inseparable. What then is in thy mind? Peradventure if I search, I find many things there, but there is something very nigh at hand, which is understood more easily. What then is in thy soul? Call it to mind, reflect upon it. For I do not require that credit should be given me in what I am about to say; if thou find it not in thyself, admit it not. Look inward then; but first let us see what had escaped me, whether man be not the image, not of the Son only, or of the Father only, but of the Father and the Son, and so consequently of course of the Holy Ghost also. The words in Genesis are, "Let Us make man after Our own image and likeness." [1874] So then the Father doth not act without the Son, nor the Son without the Father. "Let Us make man after Our own image and likeness. Let us make," not, "I will make," or "Make thou," or "Let him make," but, "Let Us make after," not "thine image," or "mine," but, "after Our image."

19. I am asking, I am speaking remember of a distant [1875] resemblance. So let no one say, See what he has compared to God! I have advertised you of this already, and by anticipation have both put you on your guard, and have guarded myself. The two are indeed very far removed from each other, as the lowest from the Highest, as the changeable from the Unchangeable, the created from the Creator, the human nature from the Divine. Lo! I apprise you of this at first, that no one may say ought against me, because there is so great a difference in the things whereof I am about to speak. Lest then while I am asking for your ears, ye should any of you be getting ready your teeth, remember I have undertaken merely to show, that there are some three things which are separately exhibited, whose operation is yet inseparable. How like or how unlike these things are to the Almighty Trinity is no concern of mine at present; but in the very creatures of the lowest order, and subject to change, we do find three things which may be separately exhibited, whose operation is yet inseparable. O carnal imagination! obstinate, unbelieving conscience! Why as concerning that ineffable Majesty dost thou doubt as to that thing, which thou canst discover in thine own self? For I ask thee, O man, hast thou memory? If not, how hast thou retained what I have said? But perhaps thou hast forgotten already what I said but a little while ago. Yet these very words, "I said"--these two syllables, thou couldest not retain except by memory. For how shouldest thou know they were two, if as the second sounded, thou hadst forgotten the first? But why do I dwell longer on this? Why am I so urgent? Why do I so press conviction? For thou hast memory; it is plain. I am searching then for something else. Hast thou understanding? "I have," you will say. For hadst thou not memory, thou couldest not retain what I said; and hadst thou not understanding, thou couldest not comprehend what thou hast retained. Thou hast then this as well as the other. Thou recallest thine understanding unto that which thou dost retain within, and so thou seest it, and by seeing art fashioned into that state as to be said to know. But I am searching for a third thing. Memory thou hast, whereby to retain what is said; and understanding thou hast, whereby to understand what is retained; but as touching these two, I ask again of thee, Hast thou not with thy will retained and understood? Undoubtedly, with my will, you will say. So then thou hast will.

These are the three things which I promised I would bring home to your ears and minds. These three things are in thee, which thou canst number, but canst not separate. These three then, memory, understanding, and will--these three, I say, consider how they are separately exhibited, [1876] yet is their operation inseparable.

20. The Lord will be my present help, and I see that He is present to help me; by your understanding what I say, I see that He is present to help me. For I perceive by these your voices how that you have understood me, and I surely trust that He will still assist us, that you may comprehend the whole. I promised to show you three things which are separately exhibited whose operation is yet inseparable. See then; I did not know what was in thy mind, and thou showedest me by saying, "Memory." This word, this sound, this expression came forth from thy mind to mine ears. For before that, thou hadst the silent idea of this memory, but thou didst not express it. It was in thee, but it had not yet come to me. But in order that that which was in thee might be passed on to me, thou didst express the very word, that is, "Memory." I heard it, I heard these three syllables in the word, "Memory." It is a noun, a word of three syllables, it sounded, and came to my ear, and impressed [1877] a certain idea on my mind. The sound has passed away, but the word whereby the idea was conveyed, and the idea itself, remains. But I ask, when thou didst pronounce this word, "Memory," thou seest certainly that it has reference to the memory only. For the other two things have their own proper names. For one is called "the understanding," and the other, "the will," not the "memory," but that one alone is called "memory." Nevertheless, whereby didst thou work in order to express this, in order to produce these three syllables? This word which has reference to the memory only, both memory was engaged in producing in thee, that thou mightest retain what thou saidst, and understanding, that thou mightest know what thou retainedst, and will, that thou mightest give expression to what thou knewest. Thanks be to the Lord our God! He hath helped us, both you and me. For I tell you the truth, beloved, that I undertook the examination and explanation of this subject with exceeding fear. For I was afraid lest haply I might gladden the spirit of the more enlarged in mind, and inflict on the slower capacities an afflictive weariness. But now I see both by the attention with which you have heard, and the quickness with which you have understood me, that you have not only caught what I have said, but that you have anticipated my words. Thanks be to the Lord!

21. See then, henceforth I speak in all security of that which you have already understood; I am inculcating no unknown lesson, but am only conveying to you by recapitulation what you have already received. Now, of these three things, one only has been yet named and expressed; "Memory" is the name of one only of those three, yet all the three concurred in producing the name of this single one of the three. The single word "memory" could not be expressed, but by the operation of the will, and the understanding, and the memory. The single word "understanding" could not be expressed, but by the operation of the memory, the will, and the understanding; and the single word "will" could not be expressed, but by the operation of the memory and the understanding and the will. What I promised, then, I think has been explained, that which I have pronounced separately, I conceived inseparably. The three together have produced each one of these, but yet this one which the three have produced has reference not to the three, but to one. The three together have produced the word "memory," but this word has reference to none but the memory only. The three together have produced the word "understanding," but it has reference to none but the understanding only. The three together have produced the word "will," but it has reference to none but the will only. So the Trinity concurred in the formation of the Body of Christ, but it belongs to none but Christ only. The Trinity concurred in the formation of the Dove from heaven; but it belongs to none but the Holy Spirit only. The Trinity formed the Voice from heaven, but this Voice belongs to none but the Father only.

22. Let no one then say to me, no one with unfair cavils try to press upon my infirmity, saying, "Which then of these three, which you have shown to be in our mind or soul, which of them [1878] answers to the Father, that is, so to say, to the likeness of the Father, which of them to that of the Son, and which of them to that of the Holy Ghost?" I cannot say--I cannot explain this. Let us leave somewhat to meditation and to silence. Enter into thine own self; separate thyself from all tumult. Look into thine inner self; see if thou have there some sweet retiring place of conscience, where there may be no noise, no disputation, no strife, or debatings; where there will be not a thought of dissensions, and obstinate contention. Be meek to hear the word, that so thou mayest understand. Perhaps thou mayest soon have to say, "Thou wilt make me hear of joy and gladness, and my bones shall rejoice;" [1879] the bones, that is, which are humbled, not those that are lifted up.

23. It is enough, then, that I have shown that there are some three things which are exhibited separately, whose operation is yet inseparable. If thou hast discovered this in thine own self; if thou hast discovered it in man; if thou hast discovered it in a being [1880] that walketh on the earth, and beareth about a frail "body, which weigheth down the soul;" believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit may be exhibited separately, by certain visible symbols, by certain forms borrowed from the creatures, and still their operation be inseparable. This is enough. I do not say that "memory" is the Father,--the "understanding" the Son,--and "will" the Spirit; I do not say this; let men understand it how they will. I do not venture to say this. Let us reserve the greater truths for those who are capable of them: but, infirm as I am myself, I convey to the infirm only what is according to our powers. I do not say that these things are in any sort to be equalled with the Holy Trinity, to be squared after an analogy; that is, a kind of exact rule of comparison. This I do not say. But what do I say? See. I have discovered in thee three things, which are exhibited separately, whose operation is inseparable; and of these three, every single name is produced by the three together; yet does not this name belong to the three, but to some one of the three. Believe then in the Trinity, what thou canst not see, if in thyself thou hast heard, and seen, and retained it. For what is in thine own self thou canst know: but what is in Him who made thee, whatever it be, how canst thou know? And if thou shalt be ever able, thou art not able yet. And even when thou shalt be able, wilt thou be able so to know God, as He knoweth Himself? Let then this suffice you, beloved: I have said all I could; I have made good my promise as ye required. As to the rest which must be added, that your understanding may make advancement, this seek from the Lord.


[1825] Commendari. [1826] Matt. iii. 14. [1827] Matt. iii. 15. [1828] Matt. iii. 17. [1829] Matt. iii. 13. [1830] Matt. iii. 16. [1831] Matt. iii. 17; Mark i. 11. [1832] Præsumptionis. [1833] Lectionis. [1834] Aperientes sinum. [1835] Wisd. ix. 15. [1836] Ps. lxxxvi. 4. [1837] Ps. xxvi. 9, Sept. (xxvii. English version). [1838] John i. 3. [1839] Satiate. [1840] Wisd. viii. 1. [1841] Ps. cxvi. 10. [1842] Fide, i.e. Symb. fidei (Ben.). [1843] Vegetamur. [1844] Litigatorum. [1845] Gal. iv. 4, 5. [1846] Isa. vii. 14. [1847] Vide Serm. i. (li.) 18. [1848] Gen. ii. 22. [1849] Num. xxxi. 18; Judg. xxi. 11. [1850] Phil. ii. 6, 7. [1851] Gal. iv. 4. [1852] i.e.the term made belongs to His birth in the flesh, Who was begotten in eternity. [1853] Rom. i. 3. [1854] Faciat Pater passionem Filii. [1855] Rom. viii. 32. [1856] Gal. ii. 20. [1857] Phil. ii. 9. [1858] John ii. 19. [1859] Ps. xli. 10. [1860] Reddentes. [1861] John x. 18. [1862] John xiv. 10. [1863] Corporalibus. [1864] Quidquid est quod Deus est. [1865] Rom. i. 20. [1866] Proferantur. [1867] Ps. xxxi. 22, Sept. [1868] See Aug Conf. B. ix. ch. 23-26. [1869] Subreptus. [1870] Membris. [1871] Demonstrari. [1872] Defecisti in divinis. [1873] Pronuntientur. [1874] Gen. i. 26. [1875] Dissimilem rem. [1876] Pronuntiari. [1877] Insinuavit. [1878] Pertinet. [1879] Ps. l. 10, Sept. (li. 8, English version). [1880] Personâ. .

Sermon III.

[LIII. Ben.]

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. Chap. v. 3 and 8, "Blessed are the poor in spirit:" etc., but especially on that, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."

1. By the return of the commemoration of a holy virgin, who gave her testimony to Christ, and was found worthy [1881] of a testimony from Christ, who was put to death openly, and crowned invisibly, I am reminded to speak to you, beloved, on that exhortation which the Lord hath just now uttered out of the Gospel, [1882] assuring us that there are many sources of a blessed life, which there is not a man that does not wish for. There is not a man surely can be found, who does not wish to be blessed. But oh! if as men desire the reward, so they would not decline the work that leads to it! Who would not run with all alacrity, were it told him, "Thou shalt be blessed"? Let him then also give a glad and ready ear when it is said, "Blessed, if thou shalt do thus." Let not the contest be declined, if the reward be loved; and let the mind be enkindled to an eager execution of the work, by the setting forth of the reward. What we desire, and wish for, and seek, will be hereafter; but what we are ordered to do for the sake of that which will be hereafter, must be now. Begin now, then, to recall to mind the divine sayings, and the precepts and rewards of the Gospel. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." [1883] The kingdom of heaven shall be thine hereafter; be poor in spirit now. Wouldest thou that the kingdom of heaven should be thine hereafter? Look well to thyself whose thou art now. Be poor in spirit. You ask me, perhaps, "What is to be poor in spirit?" No one who is puffed up is poor in spirit; therefore he that is lowly is poor in spirit. The kingdom of heaven is exalted; but "he who humbleth himself shall be exalted." [1884]

2. Mark what follows: "Blessed," saith He, "are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." [1885] Thou wishest to possess the earth now; take heed lest thou be possessed by it. If thou be meek, thou wilt possess it; if ungentle, thou wilt be possessed by it. And when thou hearest of the proposed reward, do not, in order that thou mayest possess the earth, unfold the lap of covetousness, whereby thou wouldest at present possess the earth, to the exclusion even of thy neighbour by whatever means; let no such imagination deceive thee. Then wilt thou truly possess the earth, when thou dost cleave to Him who made heaven and earth. For this is to be meek, not to resist thy God, that in that thou doest well He may be well-pleasing to thee, not thou to thyself; and in that thou sufferest ill justly, He may not be unpleasing to thee, but thou to thyself. For no small matter is it that thou shalt be well-pleasing to Him, when thou art displeased with thyself; whereas if thou art well-pleased with thine own self, thou wilt be displeasing to Him.

3. Attend to the third lesson, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." [1886] The work consisteth in mourning, the reward in consolation; for they who mourn in a carnal sort, what consolations have they? Miserable consolations, objects rather of fear. There the mourner is comforted by things which make him fear lest he have to mourn again. For instance, the death of a son causes the father sorrow, and the birth of a son joy. The one he has carried out to his burial, the other he has brought into the world; in the former is occasion of sadness, in the latter of fear: and so in neither is there consolation. That therefore will be the true consolation, wherein shall be given that which may not be lost, so that they may rejoice for their after consolation, who mourn that they are in [1887] exile now.

4. Let us come to the fourth work and its reward, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." [1888] Dost thou desire to be filled? Whereby? If the flesh long for fulness, after digestion thou wilt suffer hunger again. So He saith, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again." [1889] If the remedy which is applied to a wound heal it, there is no more pain; but that which is applied against hunger, food that is, is so applied as to give relief only for a little while. For when the fulness is past, hunger returns. This remedy of fulness is applied day by day, yet the wound of weakness is not healed. Let us therefore "hunger and thirst after righteousness, that we may be filled" with that righteousness after which we now hunger and thirst. For filled we shall be with that for which we hunger and thirst. Let our inner man then hunger and thirst, for it hath its own proper meat and drink. "I," saith He, "am the Bread which came down from heaven." [1890] Here is the bread of the hungry; long also for the drink of the thirsty, "For with Thee is the well of life." [1891] )

5. Mark what comes next: "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." [1892] Do this, and so shall it be done to thee; deal so with others, that God may so deal with thee. For thou art at once in abundance and in want--in abundance of temporal things, in want of things eternal. The man whom thou hearest is a beggar, and thou art thyself God's beggar. Petition is made to thee, and thou makest thy petition. As thou hast dealt with thy petitioner, so shall God deal with His. Thou art at once full and empty; fill the empty with thy fulness, that thy emptiness may be filled with the fulness of God.

6. Mark what comes next: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." [1893] This is the end of our love; an end whereby we are perfected, and not consumed. For there is an end of food, and an end of a garment; of food when it is consumed by the eating; of a garment when it is perfected in the weaving. Both the one and the other have an end; but the one is an end of consumption, the other of perfection. Whatsoever we now do, whatsoever we now do well, whatsoever we now strive for, or are in laudable sort eager for, or blamelessly desire, when we come to the vision of God, we shall require no more. For what need he seek for, with whom God is present? or what shall suffice him, whom God sufficeth not? We wish to see God, we seek, we kindle with desire to see Him. Who doth not? But mark what is said: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Provide thyself then with that whereby thou mayest see Him. For (to speak after the flesh) how with weak eyes desirest thou the rising of the sun? Let the eye be sound, and that light will be a rejoicing, if it be not sound, it will be but a torment. For it is not permitted with a heart impure to see that which is seen only by the pure heart. Thou wilt be repelled, driven back from it, and wilt not see it. For "blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." How often already hath he enumerated the blessed, and the causes of their blessedness, and their works and recompenses, their merits and rewards! But nowhere hath it been said, "They shall see God." "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, they shall be filled." "Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy." In none of these hath it been said, "They shall see God." When we come to the "pure in heart," there is the vision of God promised. And not without good cause; for there, in the heart, are the eyes, by which God is seen. Speaking of these eyes, the Apostle Paul saith, "The eyes of your heart being enlightened." [1894] At present then these eyes are enlightened, as is suitable to their infirmity, by faith; hereafter as shall be suited to their strength, they shall be enlightened by sight. "For as long as we are in the body we are absent from the Lord; For we walk by faith, not by sight." [1895] Now as long as we are in this state of faith, what is said of us? "We see now through a glass darkly; but then face to face." [1896]

7. Let no thought be entertained here of a bodily face. For if enkindled by the desire of seeing God, thou hast made ready thy bodily face to see Him, thou wilt be looking also for such a face in God. But if now thy conceptions of God are at least so spiritual as not to imagine Him to be corporeal (of which [1897] subject I treated yesterday at considerable length, if yet it was not in vain), if I have succeeded in breaking down in your heart, as in God's temple, that image of human form; if the words in which the Apostle expresses his detestation of those, "who, professing themselves to be wise became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man," [1898] have entered deep into your minds, and taken possession of your inmost heart; if ye do now detest and abhor such impiety, if ye keep clean for the Creator His own temple, if ye would that He should come and make His abode with you, "Think of the Lord with a good heart, and in simplicity of heart seek for Him." [1899] Mark well who it is to whom ye say, if so be ye do say it, and say it in sincerity, "My heart said to Thee, I will seek Thy face." Let thine heart also say, and add, "Thy face, Lord, will I seek." [1900] For so wilt thou seek it well, because thou seekest with thine heart. Scripture speaks of the "face of God, the arm of God, the hands of God, the feet of God, the seat of God," and His footstool; but think not in all this of human members. If thou wouldest be a temple of truth, break down the idol of falsehood. The hand of God is His power. The face of God is the knowledge of God. The feet of God are His presence. The seat of God, if thou art so minded, is thine own self. But perhaps thou wilt venture to deny that Christ is God! "Not so," you say. Dost thou grant this too, that "Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God? [1901] "I grant it," you say. Hear then, "The soul of the righteous is the seat of wisdom." [1902] "Yes." For where hath God His seat, but where He dwelleth? And where doth He dwell, but in His temple? "For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." [1903] Take heed therefore how thou dost receive God. "God is a Spirit, and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth." [1904] Let the ark of testimony enter now into thy heart, if thou art so minded, and let Dagon fall. [1905] Now therefore give ear at once, and learn to long for God; learn to make ready that whereby thou mayest see God. "Blessed," saith He, "are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Why dost thou make ready the eyes of the body? If He should be seen by them, that which should be so seen would be contained in space. But He who is wholly everywhere is not contained in space. Cleanse that whereby He may be seen.

8. Hear and understand, if haply through His help I shall be able to explain it; and may He help us to the understanding of all the above-named works and rewards, how suitable rewards are apportioned to their corresponding duties. For where is there anything said of a reward which does not suit, and harmonize with its work? Because the lowly seem as it were aliens from a kingdom, He saith, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Because meek men are easily despoiled of their land, [1906] He saith, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the land." [1907] Now the rest are plain at once; they are understood of themselves, and require no one to treat of them at length; they need only one to mention them. "Blessed are they that mourn." Now what mourner does not desire consolation? "They," saith He, "shall be comforted." "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness." What hungry and thirsty man does not seek to be filled? "And they," saith He, "shall be filled." "Blessed are the merciful." What merciful man but wishes that a return should be rendered him by God of His own work, that it may be so done to him, as he doeth to the poor? "Blessed," saith He, "are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." How in each case hath every duty its appropriate reward: and nothing is introduced in the reward which doth not suit the precept! For the precept is, that thou be "poor in spirit;" the reward, that thou shalt have the "kingdom of heaven." The precept is, that thou be "meek;" the reward, that thou shalt "possess the earth." The percept is, that thou "mourn;" the reward, that thou shalt be "comforted." The precept is, that thou "hunger and thirst after righteousness;" the reward, that thou shalt "be filled." The precept is, that thou be "merciful;" the reward, that thou shalt "obtain mercy." And so the precept is, that thou cleanse the heart; the reward, that thou shalt see God.

9. But do not so conceive of these precepts and rewards, as to think when thou dost hear, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," that the poor in spirit, or the meek, or they that mourn, or they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, or the merciful, will not see Him. Think not of those that are pure in heart, that they only will see Him, whilst the others will be excluded from the sight of Him. For all these several characters are the self-same persons. They shall all see; but they shall not see in that they are poor in spirit, or meek, or in that they mourn, and hunger and thirst after righteousness, or are merciful, but in that they are pure in heart. Just as if bodily works were duly assigned to the several members of the body, and one were to say for example, Blessed are they who have feet, for they shall walk; blessed are they that have hands, for they shall work; blessed are they that have a voice, for they shall cry aloud; blessed are they who have a mouth and tongue, for they shall speak; blessed are they that have eyes, for they shall see. Even so our Lord arranging in their order the members as it were of the soul, hath taught what is proper to each. Humility qualifies [1908] for the possession of the kingdom of heaven; meekness qualifies for possessing the earth; mourning for consolation; hunger and thirst after righteousness for being filled; mercy for the obtaining mercy; a pure heart for seeing God.

10. If then we desire to see God, whereby shall our eye be purified? For who would not care for, and diligently seek the means of purifying that eye whereby he may see Him whom he longeth after with an entire affection? The Divine record has expressly mentioned this when it says, "purifying their hearts by faith." [1909] The faith of God then purifies the heart, the pure heart sees God. But because this faith is sometimes so defined by men who deceive themselves, as though it were enough only to believe (for some promise themselves even the sight of God and the kingdom of heaven, who believe and live evilly); against these, the Apostle James, incensed and indignant as it were with a holy [1910] charity, saith in his Epistle, "Thou believest there is one God." Thou applaudest thyself for thy faith, for thou markest how that many ungodly men think there are gods many, and thou rejoicest in thyself because thou dost believe that there is but one God; "Thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." [1911] Shall they also see God? They shall see Him who are pure in heart. But who can say that unclean spirits are pure in heart? And yet they also "believe and tremble."

11. Our faith then must be different from the faith of devils. For our faith purifies the heart; but their faith makes them guilty. For they do wickedly, and therefore say they to the Lord, "What have we to do with Thee?" When thou hearest the devils say this, thinkest thou that they do not acknowledge Him? "We know," they say, "who Thou art: Thou art the Son of God." [1912] This Peter says, and is commended; the devil says it, and is condemned. Whence cometh this, but that though the words be the same, the heart is different? Let us then make a distinction in our faith, and not be content to believe. This is no such faith as purifieth the heart. "Purifying their hearts," it is said, "by faith." [1913] But by what, and what kind of faith, save that which the Apostle Paul defines when he says, "Faith which worketh by love." [1914] That faith distinguishes us from the faith of devils, and from the infamous and abandoned conduct of men. "Faith," he says. What faith? "That which worketh by love," and which hopeth for what God doth promise. Nothing is more exact or perfect than this definition. There are then in faith these three things. He in whom that faith is which worketh by love, must necessarily hope for that which God doth promise. Hope therefore is the associate of faith. For hope is necessary as long as we see not what we believe, lest perhaps through not seeing, and by despairing to see, we fail. That we see not, doth make us sad; but that we hope we shall see, comforteth us. Hope then is here, and she is the associate of faith. And then charity also, by which we long, and strive to attain, and glow with desire, and hunger and thirst. This then is taken in also; and so there will be faith, hope, and charity. For how shall there not be charity there, since charity is nothing else but love? And this faith is itself defined as that "which worketh by love." Take away faith, and all thou believest perisheth; take away charity, and all that thou dost perisheth. For it is the province of faith to believe, of charity to do. For if thou believest without love, thou dost not apply thyself to good works; or if thou dost, it is as a servant, not as a son, through fear of punishment, not through love of righteousness. Therefore I say, that faith purifieth the heart, which worketh by love.

12. And what does this faith effect at present? What does it by so many testimonies of Scripture, by its manifold lessons, its various and plentiful exhortations, but make us "see now through a glass darkly, and hereafter face to face." But return not now in thought again to this thy bodily face. Think only of the face of the heart. Force, compel, press thine heart to think of things divine. Whatsoever occurs to thy mind that is like to a body, throw it off from thee. If thou canst not yet say, "It is this," yet at least say, "It is not this." For when wilt thou be able to say, "This is God"? Not even then, when thou shall see Him; for what thou shalt then see is ineffable. Thus the Apostle says, that he "was caught up into the third heaven, and heard ineffable words." [1915] If the words are ineffable, what is He whose words they are? Therefore as thou dost think of God, perchance there is presented to thee the idea of some human figure of marvellous and exceeding greatness, and thou hast set it before the eyesof thy mind as something very great, and grand, and of vast extension. Still somewhere thou hast set bounds to it. If thou hast, it is not God. But if thou hast not set bounds to it, where can the face be? Thou art fancying to thyself some huge body, and in order to distinguish the members in it, thou must needs set bounds to it. For in no other way but by setting bounds to this large body, canst thou distinguish the members. But what art thou about, O foolish and carnal imagination! Thou hast made a large bulky body, and so much the larger, as thou hast thought the more to honour God. Another adds one cubit to it, and makes it greater than before.

13. But "I have read," you will say. What hast thou read, who hast understood nothing? Yet tell me, what hast thou read? Let us not thrust back the babe in understanding with his play. Tell me, what hast thou read? "Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool." [1916] I hear thee; I have read it also: but it may be that thou thinkest thyself to have the advantage, in that thou hast both read and believed. But I also believe what thou hast just said. Let us then believe it together. What do I say? Let us search it out together. Lo! hold fast what thou hast so read and believed; "Heaven is My throne (that is, "my seat," for "throne," [1917] in Greek, is "seat," [1918] in Latin), and the earth is My footstool." But hast thou not read these words as well, "Who has meted out the heaven with the palm of His hand?" [1919] I conclude that thou hast read them; thou dost acknowledge them, and confess that thou believest them; for in that book we read both the one and the other, and believe both. But now think a while, and teach me. I make thee my teacher, and myself the little one. Teach me, I pray thee, "Who is He that sitteth on the palm of His hand?"

14. See, thou hast drawn the figure and lineaments of the members of God from a human body. And perhaps it has occurred to thee to think, that it is according to the body that we were made after the Image of God. I will admit this idea for a time to be considered, and canvassed, and examined, and by disputation to be thoroughly sifted. Now then, if it please thee, hear me; for I heard thee in what thou wast pleased to say. God sitteth in heaven, and meteth out the heaven with His palm. What! doth the same heaven become broad when it is God's seat, and narrow, when He meteth it out? Or is [1920] God when sitting, limited to the measure of His palm? If this be so, God did not make us after His likeness, for the palm of our hand is much narrower than that part of the body whereon we sit. But if He be as broad in His palm as in His sitting, He hath made our members quite unlike His. There is no resemblance here. Let the Christian then blush to set up such an idol in his heart as this. Wherefore take heaven for all saints. For the earth also is spoken of all who are in the earth, "Let all the earth worship Thee." [1921] If we may properly say with regard to those who dwell on the earth, "Let all the earth worship Thee," we may with the same propriety say also as to those who dwell in heaven, "Let all the heaven bear Thee." For even the Saints who dwell on earth, though in their body they tread the earth, in heart dwell in heaven. For it is not in vain that they are reminded to "lift up their hearts," [1922] and when they are so reminded, they answer, "that they lift them up:" nor in vain is it said, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth." [1923] In so far therefore as they have their conversation there, they do bear God, and they are heaven; because they are the seat of God; and when they declare the words of God, "The heavens declare the glory of God." [1924]

15. Return then with me to the face of the heart, and make it ready. That to which God speaketh is within. The ears, and eyes, and all the rest of the visible members, are either the dwelling place or the instrument of some thing within. It is the inner man where Christ doth dwell, now [1925] by faith, and hereafter He will dwell in it, by the presence of His Divinity, when we shall have known "what is the length, and breadth, and depth, and height; when we shall have known also the love of Christ that surpasseth knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fulness of God." [1926] Now then if thou wouldest enter into the meaning of these words, summon all thy powers [1927] to comprehend the breadth, and length, and height, and depth. Wander not in the imagination of the thoughts through the spaces of the world, and the yet comprehensible extent of this so vast a body. Look for what I am speaking of in thine own self. The "breadth" is in good works; the "length" is in long-suffering and perseverance in well-doing; the "height" is in the expectation of rewards above, for which height's sake thou art bidden "to lift up thy heart." Do well, and persevere in well-doing, because of God's reward. Esteem earthly things as nothing, lest, when this earth shall be smitten with any scourge of that wise One, thou say that thou hast worshipped God in vain, hast done good works in vain, hast persevered in good works in vain. For by doing good works thou hadst as it were the "breadth," by persevering in them thou hadst as it were the "length;" but by seeking earthly things thou hast not had the "height." Now observe the "depth;" it is the grace of God in the secret dispensation of His will. "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor?" [1928] and, "Thy judgments are as a great depth." [1929]

16. This conversation of well-doing, of perseverance in well-doing, of hoping for rewards above, of the secret dispensation of the grace of God, in wisdom not in foolishness, nor yet in finding fault, because one man is after this manner and another after that; for "there is no iniquity with God;" [1930] apply this, I say, if you think good, also to the Cross of thy Lord. For it was not without a meaning [1931] that He chose this kind of death, in whose power it was even either to die or not. Now if it was in His power to die or not, why was it not in His power also to die in this or the other manner! Not without a meaning then did He select the Cross, whereby to crucify thee to this world. For the "breadth" is the transverse beam in the cross where the hands are fastened, to signify good works. The "length" is in that part of the wood which reaches from this transverse beam to the ground. For there the body is crucified and in a manner stands, and this standing signifies perseverance. Now "the height" is in that part, which from the same transverse beam projects upward to the head, and hereby is signified the expectation of things above. And where is the "depth" but in that part which is fixed in the ground? For so is the dispensation of grace, hidden and in secret. It is not seen itself, but from thence is projected all that is seen. After this, when thou shalt have comprehended all these things, not in the mere understanding but in action also ("for a good understanding have all they that do hereafter)," [1932] then if thou canst, stretch out thyself to attain to the knowledge of the "love of Christ which passeth knowledge." When thou hast attained to it, thou "wilt be filled with all the fulness of God." Then will be fulfilled the "face to face." Now thou wilt be filled with all the fulness of God, not as if God should be full of thee, but so that thou shalt be full of God. Seek there, if thou canst, for any bodily face. Away with such trifles from the eye of the mind. Let the child cast away his playthings, and learn to handle more serious matters. And in many things we are but children; and when we were more so than we are, we were borne with by our betters. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see God." [1933] For by this is the heart purified; for that in it is that faith "which worketh by love." Hence, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."


[1881] Meruit. [1882] This portion of St. Matthew is the gospel during the whole octave of All Saints, as in our own Church on All Saints' Day; the corresponding portion of St. Luke is read in the Comm. Plur. Mart. [1883] Matt. v. 3. [1884] Luke xiv. 11 and xviii. 14. [1885] Matt. v. 5 (4, Vulgate). [1886] Matt. v. 4 (5, Vulgate). [1887] Peregrinari. [1888] Matt. v. 6. [1889] John iv. 13. [1890] John vi. 41. [1891] Ps. xxxvi. 9. [1892] Matt. v. 7. [1893] Matt. v. 8. [1894] Eph. i. 18. [1895] 2 Cor. v. 6, 7. [1896] 1 Cor. xiii. 12. [1897] Probably the Sermon xxiii., on Ps. lxxiii. 23, seu de visione Dei (Ben.). [1898] Rom. i. 22, 23. [1899] Wisd. i. 1. [1900] Ps. xxvi. 8, Sept. (xxvii. English version). [1901] 1 Cor. i. 24. [1902] Wisd. i. [1903] 1 Cor. iii. 17. [1904] John iv. 24. [1905] 1 Sam. v. 3. [1906] Terra. [1907] Terram. [1908] Apta est. [1909] Acts xv. 9. [1910] Spiritali. [1911] Jas. ii. 19. [1912] Luke iv. 34; Matt. xvi. 16. [1913] Acts xv. 9. [1914] Gal. v. 6. [1915] 2 Cor. xii. 2-4. [1916] Isa. lxvi. 1. [1917] Thronus. [1918] Sedes. [1919] Isa. xl. 12. [1920] An ipse Deus tantus est in sedendo quantus in palmo. [1921] Ps. lxv. 4, Sept. (lxvi. English version). [1922] In the Communion Office. [1923] Col. iii. 1, 2. [1924] Ps. xix. 1. [1925] Interim. [1926] Eph. iii. 17, etc. [1927] Si tibi intellectus hic non displicet advoca te comprehendere. [1928] Rom. xi. 34. [1929] Ps. xxxvi. 6. [1930] 2 Chron. xix. 7; Rom. ix. 14. [1931] Frustra. [1932] Ps. cxi. 10. [1933] Heb. xii. 14. .

Sermon IV.

[LIV. Ben.]

On that which is written in the Gospel, Matt. v. 16, "Even so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven:" and contrariwise, Chap. vi., "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them."

1. It is wont to perplex many persons, Dearly beloved, that our Lord Jesus Christ in His Evangelical Sermon, after He had first said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven;" [1934] said afterwards, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness [1935] before men to be seen of them." [1936] For so the mind of him who is weak in understanding is disturbed, is desirous to obey both precepts, and distracted by diverse, and contradictory commandments. For a man can as little obey but one master, if he give contradictory orders, as he can serve two masters, [1937] which the Saviour Himself hath testified in the same Sermon to be impossible. What then must the mind that is in this hesitation do, when it thinks that it cannot, and yet is afraid not to obey? For if he set his good works in the light to be seen of men, that he may fulfil the command, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven;" he will think himself involved in guilt because he has done contrary to the other precept which says, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men to be seen of them." And again, if fearing and avoiding this, he conceal his good works, he will think that he is not obeying Him who commands, saying, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works."

2. But he who is of a right understanding, fulfils both, and will obey in both the Universal Lord of all, who would not condemn the slothful servant, if he commanded those things which could by no means be done. For give ear to "Paul, the servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God," [1938] both doing and teaching both duties. See how his "light shineth before men, that they may see his good works. We commend ourselves," saith he, "to every man's conscience in the sight of God." [1939] And again, "For we provide things honest, not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of men." [1940] And again, "Please all men in all things, even as I please all men in all things." [1941] See, on the other hand, how he takes heed, that he "do not his righteousness before men to be seen of them. Let every man," saith he, "prove his own work, and then shall he have glorying in himself, and not in another." [1942] And again, "For our glorying is this, the testimony of our conscience." [1943] And that, than which nothing is plainer, "If," saith he, "I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." [1944] But lest any of those who are perplexed about the precepts of our Lord Himself as contradictory, should much more raise a question against His Apostle and say, How sayest thou, "Please all men in all things, even as I also please all men in all things:" and yet also sayest, "If I yet pleased men; I should not be the servant of Christ"? May the Lord Himself be with us, who spake also in His servant and Apostle, and open to us His will, and give us the means of obeying it.

3. The very words of the Gospel carry with them their own explanation; nor do they shut the mouths of those who hunger, seeing they feed the hearts of them that knock. The intention of a man's heart, its direction and its aim, is what is to be regarded. For if he who wishes his good works to be seen of men, sets before men his own glory and advantage, and seeks for this in the sight of men, he does not fulfil either of those precepts which the Lord has given as touching this matter; because He has at once looked to "doing his righteousness before men to be seen of them;" and his light has not so shined before men that they should see his good works, and glorify His Father which is in heaven. It was himself he wished to be glorified, not God; he sought his own advantage, and loved not the Lord's will. Of such the Apostle says, "For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." [1945] Accordingly, the sentence was not finished at the words, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works;" but there was immediately subjoined why this was to be done; "that they may glorify your Father which is in heaven;" that when a man who does good works is seen of men, he may have only the intention of the good work in his own conscience, but may have no intention of being known, save for the praise of God, for their advantage-sake to whom he is thus made known; for to them this advantage comes, that God who has given this power to man begins to be well-pleasing to them; and so they do not despair, but that the same power might be vouchsafed to themselves also if they would. And so He did not conclude the other precept, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men," otherwise than in the words, "to be seen of them;" nor did He add in this case, "that they may glorify your Father which is in heaven," but rather, "otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven." For by this He shows us, that they who are such, as He will not have His faithful ones to be, seek a reward in this very thing, that they are seen of men--that it is in this they place their good--in this that they delight the vanity of their heart--in this is their emptiness, and inflation, their swelling, and wasting away. For why was it not sufficient to say, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men," but that he added, "that ye may be seen of them," except because there are some who do their "righteousness before men;" not that they may be seen of them, but that the works themselves may be seen; and the Father which is in heaven, who hath vouchsafed to endow with these gifts the ungodly whom He had justified, may be glorified?

4. They who are such, neither do they account their righteousness as their own, but His, by the faith of whom they live (whence also the Apostle says, "That I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is of the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith;" [1946] and in another place, "That we may be the righteousness of God in Him." [1947] Whence also he finds fault with the Jews in these words, "Being ignorant of God's righteousness, and wishing to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God" [1948] ). Whosoever then wish their good works to be so seen of men, that He may be glorified from whom they have received those things which are seen in them, and that thereby those very persons who see them, may through the dutifulness [1949] of faith be provoked to imitate the good, their light shines truly before men, because there beams forth from them the light of charity; theirs is no mere empty fume of pride; and in the very act they take precautions, that they do not their righteousness before men to be seen of them, in that they do not reckon that righteousness as their own, nor do they therefore do it that they may be seen; but that He may be made known, who is praised in them that are justified, that so He may bring to pass in him that praises that which is praised in others, that is, that He may make him that praises to be himself the object of praise. Observe the Apostle too, how that when he had said, "Please all men in all things, as I also please all men in all things;" [1950] he did not stop there, as if he had placed in that, namely, the pleasing men, the end of his intention; for else he would have said falsely, "If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ;" but he subjoined immediately why it was that he pleased men; "Not seeking," saith he, "mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." [1951] So he at once did not please men for his own profit, lest he should not be "the servant of Christ;" and he did please men for their salvation's sake, that he might be a faithful Minister of Christ; because for him his own conscience in the sight of God was enough, and from him there shined forth in the sight of men something which they might imitate.


[1934] Matt. v. 16. [1935] Justitiam, Vulgate. [1936] Matt. vi. 1. [1937] Matt. vi. 24. [1938] Rom. i. 1. [1939] 2 Cor. iv. 2. [1940] 2 Cor. viii. 21. [1941] 1 Cor. x. 33. [1942] Gal. vi. 4. [1943] 2 Cor. i. 12. [1944] Gal. i. 10. [1945] Phil. ii. 21. [1946] Phil. iii. 8, 9. [1947] 2 Cor. v. 21. [1948] Rom. x. 3. [1949] Pietate. [1950] 1 Cor. x. 33. [1951] 1 Cor. x. 33. .

Sermon V.

[LV. Ben.]

On the words of the Gospel, Matt. v. 22, "Whosoever shall say to his brother, thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire."

1. The section of the Holy Gospel which we just now heard when it was read, must have sorely alarmed us, if we have faith; but those who have not faith, it alarmed not. And because it does not alarm them, they are minded to continue in their false security, as knowing not how to divide and distinguish the proper times of security and fear. Let him then who is leading now that life which has an end, fear, that in that life which is without end, he may have security. Therefore were we alarmed. For who would not fear Him who speaketh the truth, and saith, "Whosoever shall say to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." [1952] Yet "the tongue can no man tame." [1953] Man tames the wild beast, yet he tames not his tongue; he tames the lion, yet he bridles not his own speech; he tames all else, yet he tames not himself; he tames what he was afraid of, and what he ought to be afraid of, in order that he may tame himself, that he does not fear. But how is this? It is a true sentence, and came forth from an oracle of truth, "But the tongue can no man tame."

2. What shall we do then, my brethren? I see that I am speaking indeed to a large assembly, yet, seeing that we are one in Christ, let us take counsel as it were in secret. No stranger heareth us, we are all one, because we are all united in one. [1954] What shall we do then? "Whosoever saith to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire: But the tongue can no man tame." Shall all men go into hell fire? God forbid! "Lord, Thou art our refuge from generation to generation:" [1955] Thy wrath is just: Thou sendest no man into hell unjustly. "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit?" [1956] and whither shall I flee from Thee, but to Thee? Let us then understand, Dearly beloved, that if no man can tame the tongue, we must have recourse to God, that He may tame it. For if thou shouldest wish to tame it, thou canst not, because thou art a man. "The tongue can no man tame." Observe a like instance to this in the case of those beasts which we do tame. The horse does not tame himself; the camel does not tame himself; the elephant does not tame himself; the viper does not tame himself; the lion does not tame himself; and so also man does not tame himself. But that the horse, and ox, and camel, and elephant, and lion, and viper, may be tamed, man is sought for. Therefore let God be sought to, that man may be tamed.

3. Therefore, "O Lord, art Thou become our refuge." To Thee do we betake ourselves, and with Thy help it will be well with us. For ill is it with us by ourselves. Because we have left Thee, Thou hast left us to ourselves. Be we then found in Thee, for in ourselves were we lost. "Lord, Thou art become our refuge." Why then, brethren, should we doubt that the Lord will make us gentle, if we give up ourselves to be tamed by him? Thou hast tamed the lion which thou madest not; shall not He tame thee, who made thee? For from whence didst thou get the power to tame such savage beasts? Art thou their equal in bodily strength? By what power then hast thou been able to tame great beasts? The very beasts of burden, as they are called, are by their nature wild. For in their untamed state they are unserviceable. But because custom has never known them except as in the hands and under the bridle and power of men, dost thou imagine that they could have been born in this tame state? But now at all events mark the beasts which are unquestionably of savage kind. "The lion roareth, who doth not fear?" [1957] And yet wherein is it that thou dost find thyself to be stronger than he? Not in strength of body, but in the interior reason of the mind. Thou art stronger than the lion, in that wherein thou wast made after the image of God. What! Shall the image of God tame a wild beast; and shall not God tame His own image?

4. In Him is our hope; let us submit ourselves to Him, and entreat His mercy. In Him let us place our hope, and until we are tamed, and tamed thoroughly, that is, are perfected, let us bear our Tamer. For oftentimes does our Tamer bring forth His scourge too. For if thou dost bring forth the whip to tame thy beasts, shall not God do so to tame His beasts (which we are), who of His beasts will make us His sons? Thou tamest thine horse; and what wilt thou give thy horse, when he shall have begun to carry thee gently, to bear thy discipline, to obey thy rule, to be thy faithful, useful [1958] beast? How dost thou repay him, who wilt not so much as bury him when he is dead, but cast him forth to be torn by the birds of prey? Whereas when thou art tamed, God reserveth for thee an inheritance, which is God Himself, and though dead for a little time, He will raise thee to life again. He will restore to thee thy body, even to the full number of thy hairs; and will set thee with the Angels for ever, where thou wilt need no more His taming hand, but only to be possessed by His exceeding [1959] mercy. For God will then be "all in all;" [1960] neither will there be any unhappiness to exercise us, but happiness alone to feed us. Our God will be Himself our Shepherd; our God will be Himself our Cup; [1961] our God will be Himself our glory; our God will be Himself our wealth. What multiplicity of things soever thou seekest here, He alone will be Himself all these things to thee.

5. Unto this hope is man tamed, and shall his Tamer then be deemed intolerable? Unto this hope is man tamed, and shall he murmur against his beneficent Tamer, if He chance to use the scourge? Ye have heard the exhortation of the Apostle, "If ye are without chastening, ye are bastards, and not sons; [1962] for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? Furthermore," he says, "we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live?" [1963] For what could thy father do for thee, that he corrected and chastised thee, brought out the scourge and beat thee? Could he make thee live for ever? What he could not do for himself, how should he do for thee? For some paltry sum of money which he had gathered together by usury and travail, did he discipline thee by the scourge, that the fruit of his labour when left to thee might not be squandered by thy evil living. Yes, he beats his son, as fearing lest his labours should be lost; forasmuch as he left to thee what he could neither retain here, nor carry away. For he did not leave thee anything here which could be his own; he went off, that so thou mightest come on. But thy God, thy Redeemer, thy Tamer, thy Chastiser, thy Father, instructeth thee. To what end? That thou mayest receive an inheritance, when thou shalt not have to carry thy father to his grave, but shall have thy Father Himself for thine inheritance. Unto this hope art thou instructed, and dost thou murmur? and if any sad chance befall thee, dost thou (it may be) blaspheme? Whither wilt thou go from His Spirit? But now He letteth thee alone, and doth not scourge thee; or He abandoneth thee in thy blaspheming; shalt thou not experience His judgment? Is it not better that He should scourge thee and receive thee, than that He should spare thee and abandon thee?

6. Let us say then to the Lord our God, "Lord, Thou art become our refuge from generation to generation." In the first and second generations Thou art become our refuge. Thou wast our refuge, that we might be born, who before were not. Thou wast our refuge, that we might be born anew, who were evil. Thou wast a refuge to feed those that forsake Thee. Thou art a refuge to raise up and direct Thy children. "Thou art become our refuge." We will not go back from Thee, when Thou hast delivered us from all our evils, and filled us with Thine own good things. Thou givest good things now, Thou [1964] dealest softly with us, that we be not wearied in the way; Thou dost correct, and chastise, and smite, and direct us, that we may not wander from the way. Whether therefore Thou dealest softly with us, that we be not wearied in the way, or chastisest us, that we wander not from the way, "Thou art become our refuge, O Lord."


[1952] Matt. v. 22. [1953] Jas. iii. 8. [1954] In unum. [1955] Ps. lxxxix. 1, Sept. (xc. English version). [1956] Ps. cxxxix. 7. [1957] Amos iii. 8. [1958] There is a paranomasia here in the original, which it is not possible to preserve in the translation: "Esse jumentum, hoc est adjumentum infirmitatis suæ." [1959] Piissimo. [1960] 1 Cor. xv. 28. [1961] Potus. [1962] Heb. xii. 8. [1963] Heb. xii. 7, 9. [1964] Blandiris. .

Sermon VI.

[LVI. Ben.]

On the Lord's Prayer in St. Matthew's Gospel, Chap. vi. 9, etc. to the Competentes. [1965]

1. The blessed Apostle, to show that those times when it should come to pass that all the nations should believe in Christ had been foretold by the Prophets, produced this testimony where it is written, "And it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved." [1966] For before time the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth was called upon amongst the Israelites only; the rest of the nations called upon dumb and deaf idols, by whom they were not heard, or by devils, by whom they were heard to their harm. "But when the fulness of time came," that was fulfilled which had been foretold, "And it shall be, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved." Moreover, because the Jews, even those who believed in Christ, grudged the Gospel to the Gentiles, and said that the Gospel ought not to be preached to them who were not circumcised; because against these the Apostle Paul alleged this testimony, "And it shall be, that whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord, shall be saved;" [1967] he immediately subjoined, to convince those who were unwilling that the Gospel should be preached to the Gentiles, the words, "But how shall they call upon Him, in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? or how shall they hear without a preacher? or how shall they preach except they be sent?" Because then he said, "how shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed?" ye have not first learnt the Lord's Prayer, and after that the Creed; but first the Creed, where ye might know what to believe, and afterwards the Prayer, where ye might know whom to call upon. The Creed then has respect to the faith, the Lord's Prayer to prayer; because it is he who believeth, that is heard when he calleth.

2. But many ask for what they ought not to ask, not knowing what is expedient for them. Two things therefore must he that prays beware of; that he ask not what he ought not; and that he ask not from whom he ought not. From the devil, from idols, from evil spirits, [1968] must nothing be asked. From the Lord our God Jesus Christ, God the Father of Prophets, and Apostles, and Martyrs, from the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from God who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things in them, from Him must we ask whatsoever we have to ask. But we must beware that we ask not of Him that which we ought not to ask. If because we ought to ask for life, thou ask it of dumb and deaf idols, what doth it profit thee? So if from God the Father, who is in heaven, thou dost wish for the death of thine enemies, what doth it profit thee? Hast thou not heard or read in the Psalm, in which the damnable end of the traitor Judas is foretold, how the prophecy spake of him, "Let his prayer be turned into sin?" [1969] If then thou risest up, and prayest for evil on thine enemies, thy "prayer will be turned into sin."

3. You have read in the Holy Psalms, how that he who speaks in them imprecates, as it would seem, many curses upon his enemies. And surely, one may say, he who speaks in the Psalms is a righteous man; wherefore then does he so wish evil upon his enemies? He does not wish, but he foresees, it is a prophecy of one who is telling things to come, not a vow of malediction; for the prophets knew by the Spirit to whom evil was appointed to happen, and to whom good; and by prophecy they spake as if they wished for what they did foresee. But how canst thou know whether he for whom today thou art asking evil, may not to-morrow be a better man than thyself? But you will say, I know him to be a wicked man. Well: thou must know that thou art wicked too. Although it may be thou takest upon thyself to judge of another's heart what thou dost not know; but as for thine own self thou knowest that thou art wicked. Hearest thou not the Apostle saying, "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief?" [1970] Now when the Apostle Paul persecuted the Christians, binding them wherever he found them, and drew them to the Chief Priests to be questioned and punished, what think ye, brethren, did the Church pray against him, or for him? Surely the Church of God which had learnt instruction from her Lord, who said as He hung upon the Cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," [1971] so prayed for Paul (or rather as yet Saul), that that might be wrought in him which was wrought. For in that he says, "But I was unknown by face to the churches of Judæa which are in Christ: only they heard that he who persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed; and they magnified God in me;" [1972] why did they magnify God, but because they asked this of God, before it came to pass?

4. Our Lord then first of all cut off "much speaking," that thou mightest not bring a multitude of words unto God, as though by thy many words thou wouldest teach Him. Therefore when thou prayest thou hast need of piety, not of wordiness. "For your Father knoweth what is needful for you, before ye ask Him." [1973] Be ye loth then to use many words, for He knoweth what is needful for you. But lest peradventure any should say here, If He know what is needful for us, why should we use so much as a few words? why should we pray at all? He knoweth Himself; let Him then give what He knoweth to be needful for us. Yes, but it is His will that thou shouldest pray, that He may give to thy longings, that His gifts may not be lightly esteemed; seeing He hath Himself formed this longing desire in us. The words therefore which our Lord Jesus Christ hath taught us in His prayer, are the rule and standard of our desires. Thou mayest not ask for anything but what is written there.

5. "Do ye therefore say," saith he, "Our Father, which art in heaven." Where ye see ye have begun to have God for your Father. Ye will have Him, when ye are new born. Although even now before ye are born, ye have been conceived of His seed, as being on the eve of being brought forth in the font, the womb as it were of the Church. "Our Father, which art in heaven." Remember then, that ye have a Father in heaven. Remember that ye were born of your father Adam unto death, that ye are to be born anew of God the Father unto life. And what ye say, say in your hearts. Only let there be the earnest affection of prayer, and there will be the effectual [1974] answer of Him who heareth prayer. "Hallowed be thy Name." Why dost thou ask, that God's Name may be hallowed? It is holy. Why then askest thou for that which is already holy? And then when thou dost ask that His Name may be hallowed, dost thou not as it were pray to Him for Him, and not for thyself? No. Understand it aright, and it is for thine own self thou askest. For this thou askest, that what is always in itself holy, may be hallowed in thee. What is "be hallowed?" "Be accounted holy," be not despised. So then you see, that the good thou dost wish, thou wishest for thine own self. For if thou despise the Name of God, for thyself it will be ill, and not for God.

6. "Thy kingdom come." [1975] To whom do we speak? and will not God's kingdom come, if we ask it not. For of that kingdom do we speak which will be after the end of the world. For God hath a kingdom always; neither is He ever without a kingdom, whom the whole creation serveth. But what kingdom then dost thou wish for? That of which it is written in the Gospel, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom which is prepared for you from the beginning of the world." [1976] Lo here is the kingdom whereof we say, "Thy kingdom come." We pray that it may come in us; we pray that we may be found in it. For come it certainly will; but what will it profit thee, if it shall find thee at the left hand? Therefore, here again it is for thine own self that thou wishest well; for thyself thou prayest. This it is that thou dost long for; this desire in thy prayer, that thou mayest so live, that thou mayest have a part in the kingdom of God, which is to be given to all saints. Therefore when thou dost say, "Thy kingdom come," thou dost pray for thyself, that thou mayest live well. Let us have part in Thy kingdom: let that come even to us, which is to come to Thy saints and righteous ones.

7. "Thy will be done." [1977] What! if thou say not this, will not God do His will? Remember what thou hast repeated in the Creed, "I believe in God the Father Almighty." If He be Almighty, why prayest thou that His will may be done? What is this then, "Thy will be done"? May it be done in me, that I may not resist Thy will. Therefore here again it is for thyself thou prayest, and not for God. For the will of God will be done in thee, though it be not done by thee. For both in them to whom He shall say, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world;" [1978] shall the will of God be done, that the saints and righteous may receive the kingdom; and in them to whom He shall say, "Depart ye into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," [1979] shall the will of God be done, that the wicked may be condemned to everlasting fire. That His will may be done by thee is another thing. It is not then without a cause, but that it may be well with thee, that thou dost pray that His will may be done in thee. But whether it be well or ill with thee, it will still be done in thee: but O that it may be done by thee also. Why do I say then, "Thy will be done in heaven and in earth," and do not say, "Thy will be done by heaven and earth?" Because what is done by thee, He Himself doeth in thee. Never is anything done by thee which He Himself doeth not in thee. Sometimes, indeed, He doeth in thee what is not done by thee; but never is anything done by thee, if He do it not in thee.

8. But what is "in heaven and in earth," or, "as in heaven so in earth?" The Angels do Thy will; may we do it also. "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth." The mind is heaven, the flesh is earth. When thou dost say (if so be thou do say it) with the Apostle, "With my mind I serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin;" [1980] the will of God is done in heaven, but not yet in earth. But when the flesh shall be in harmony with the mind, and "death shall be swallowed up in victory," [1981] so that no carnal desires shall remain for the mind to be in conflict with, when strife in the earth shall have passed away, the war of the heart be over, and that be gone by which is spoken, "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would;" [1982] when this war, I say, shall be over, and all concupiscence shall have been changed into charity, nothing shall remain in the body to oppose the spirit, nothing to be tamed, nothing to be bridled, nothing to be trodden down; but the whole shall go on through concord unto righteousness, and the will of God will be done in heaven and in earth. "Thy will be done in heaven and in earth." We wish for perfection, when we pray for this. "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth." In the Church the spiritual are heaven, the carnal are earth. So then, "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth;" that as the spiritual do serve Thee, so the carnal being reformed may serve Thee also. "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth." There is yet another very spiritual [1983] meaning of it. For we are admonished to pray for our enemies. The Church is heaven, the enemies of the Church are earth. What then is, "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth"? May our enemies believe, as we also believe in Thee! may they become friends, and end their enmities! They are earth, therefore are they against us; may they become heaven, and they will be with us.

9. "Give us this day our daily bread." [1984] Now here it is manifest, that it is for ourselves we pray. When thou sayest, "Hallowed be Thy Name," it requires explanation how it is that it is for thyself thou prayest, not for God. When thou sayest, "Thy will be done;" here again is there need of explanation, lest thou think that thou art wishing well to God in this prayer, that His will may be done, and not rather that thou art praying for thyself. When thou sayest, "Thy kingdom come;" this again must be explained, lest thou think that thou art wishing well to God in this prayer that He may reign. But from this place and onwards to the end of the Prayer, it is plain that we are praying to God for our own selves. When thou sayest, "Give us this day our daily bread," thou dost profess thyself to be God's beggar. But be not ashamed at this; how rich soever any man be on earth, he is still God's beggar. The beggar takes his stand before the rich man's house; but the rich man himself stands before the door of the great rich One. Petition is made to him, and he maketh his petition. If he were not in need, he would not knock at the ears of God in prayer. And what doth the rich man need? I am bold to say, the rich man needeth even daily bread. For how is it that he hath abundance of all things? whence but because God hath given it him? What should he have, if God withdrew His hand? Have not many laid down to sleep in wealth, and risen up in beggary? And that he doth not want, is due to God's mercy, not to his own power.

10. But this bread, Dearly beloved, by which our body is filled, by which the flesh is recruited day by day; this bread, I say, God giveth not to those only who praise, but to those also who blaspheme Him; "Who maketh His sun to rise upon the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain upon the just and on the unjust." [1985] Thou praisest Him, and He feedeth thee; thou dost blaspheme Him, He feedeth thee. He waiteth for thee to repent; but if thou wilt not change thyself, He will condemn thee. Because then both good and bad receive this bread from God, thinkest thou there is no other bread for which the children ask, of which the Lord said in the Gospel, "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs?" [1986] Yes, surely there is. What then is that bread? and why is it called daily? Because this is necessary as the other; for without it we cannot live; without bread we cannot live. It is shamelessness to ask for wealth from God; it is no shamelessness to ask for daily bread. That which ministereth to pride is one thing, that which ministereth to life another. Nevertheless, because this bread which may be seen and handled, is given both to the good and bad; there is a daily bread, for which the children pray. That is the word of God, which is dealt out to us day by day. Our bread is daily bread; and by it live not our bodies, but our souls. It is necessary for us who are even now labourers in the vineyard,--it is our food, not our hire. For he that hires the labourer into the vineyard owes him two things; food, that he faint not, and his hire, wherewith he may rejoice. Our daily food then in this earth is the word of God, which is dealt out always in the Churches: our hire after labour is called eternal life. Again, if by this our daily bread thou understand what the faithful [1987] receive, what ye shall receive, when ye have been baptized, it is with good reason that we ask and say, "Give us this day our daily bread;" that we may live in such sort, as that we be not separated from the Holy Altar.

11. "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." [1988] Touching this petition again we need no explanation, that it is for ourselves that we pray. For we beg that our debts may be forgiven us. For debtors are we, not in money, but in sins. Thou art saying perchance at this moment, And you too. We answer, Yes, we too. What, ye Holy Bishops, are ye debtors? Yes, we are debtors too. What you! My Lord. [1989] Be it far from thee, do not thyself this wrong. I do myself no wrong, but I say the truth; we are debtors: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." [1990] We have been baptized, and yet are we debtors. Not that anything then remained, which was not remitted to us in Baptism, but because in our lives we are contracting ever what needs daily forgiveness. They who are baptized, and forthwith depart out of this life, come up from the font [1991] without any debt; without any debt they leave the world. But they who are baptized and are still kept in this life, contract defilements by reason of their mortal frailty, by which though the ship be not sunk, yet have they need of recourse to the pump. For otherwise by little and little will that enter in by which the whole ship will be sunk. And to offer this prayer, is to have recourse to the pump. But we ought not only to pray, but to do alms also, because when the pump is used to prevent the ship from sinking, both the voices and hands are at work. Now we are at work with our voices, when we say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." And we are at work with our hands when we do this, "Break thy bread to the hungry, and bring the houseless poor into thine house. [1992] Shut up alms in the heart of a poor [1993] man, and it shall intercede for thee unto the Lord." [1994]

12. Although therefore all our sins were forgiven in the "laver of regeneration," we should be driven into great straits, if there were not given to us the daily cleansing of the Holy Prayer. Alms and prayers purge away sins; only let not such sins be committed, for which we must necessarily be separated from our daily Bread; avoid we all such debts to which a severe and certain condemnation is due. Call not yourselves righteous, as though ye had no cause to say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." Though ye abstain from idolatry, from the consolations [1995] of astrologers, from the cures of enchanters, though ye abstain from the seductions of heretics, from the divisions of schismatics; though ye abstain from murders, from adulteries and fornications, from thefts and plunderings, from false witnessings, and all such other sins which I do not name, as have a ruinous consequence, for which it is necessary that the sinner be cut off from the altar, and be so bound in earth, as to be bound in heaven, to his great and deadly danger, unless again he be so loosed in earth, as to be loosed in heaven; yet after all these are excepted, still there is no want of occasions whereby a man may sin. A man sins in seeing with pleasure what he ought not to see. Yet who can hold in the quickness of the eye? For from this the eye is said to have received its very name, from its quickness. [1996] Who can restrain the ear or eye? The eyes may be shut when thou wilt, and are shut in a moment, but the ears thou canst only with an effort close: thou must raise the hand and reach them, and if any one hold thy hand, they are kept open, nor canst thou close them against reviling, impure, or flattering, and seducing words. And when thou hearest any things thou oughtest not to hear, though thou do it not, dost thou not sin with the ear? for thou hearest something that is bad with pleasure? How great sins doth the deadly tongue commit! Yea, sometimes sins of such a nature, that a man is separated from the altar for them. To the tongue pertains the whole matter of blasphemies, and many idle words again are spoken, which are not convenient. But let the hand do nothing wrong, let the feet run not to any evil, nor the eye be directed to immodesty; let not the ear be open with pleasure to filthy talk; nor the tongue move to indecent speech; yet tell me, who can restrain the thoughts? How often do we pray, my brethren, and our thoughts are elsewhere, as though we forgot before whom we are standing, or before whom we are prostrating ourselves! If all these things be collected together against us, will they not therefore not overwhelm us, because they are small faults? What matter is it whether lead or sand overwhelm us? The lead is all one mass, the sand is small grains, but by their great number they overwhelm thee. So thy sins are small. Seest thou not how the rivers are filled, and the lands are wasted by small drops? They are small, but they are many.

13. Let us therefore say every day; and say it in sincerity of heart, and do what we say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." It is an engagement, a covenant, an agreement that we make with God. The Lord thy God saith to thee, Forgive, and I will forgive. Thou hast not forgiven; thou retainest thy sins against thyself, not I. I pray thee, my dearly beloved children, since I know what is expedient for you in the Lord's Prayer, and most of all in that sentence of it, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors;" hear me. Ye are about to be baptized, forgive everything; whatsoever any man have in his heart against any other, let him from his heart forgive it. So enter in, and be sure, that all your sins which ye have contracted, whether from your birth of your parents after Adam with original sin, for which sins' sake ye run with babes to the Saviour's grace, or whatever after sins ye have contracted in your lives, by word, or deed, or thought, all are forgiven; and you will go out of the water as from before the presence of your Lord, with the sure discharge of all debts.

14. Now because by reason of those daily sins of which I have spoken, it is necessary for you to say, in that [1997] daily prayer of cleansing as it were, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors;" what will ye do? Ye have enemies. For who can live on this earth without them? Take heed to yourselves, love them. In no way can thine enemy so hurt thee by his violence, as thou dost hurt thyself if thou love him not. For he may injure thy estate, or flocks, or house, or thy man-servant, or thy maid-servant, or thy son, or thy wife; or at most, if such power be given him, thy body. But can he injure thy soul, as thou canst thyself? Reach forward, dearly beloved, I beseech you, to this perfection. But have I given you this power? He only hath given it to whom ye say, "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth. Yet let it not seem impossible to you. I know, I have known by experience, that there are Christian men who do love their enemies. If it seem to you impossible, ye will not do it. Believe then first that it can be done, and pray that the will of God may be done in you. For what good can thy neighbour's ill do thee? If he had no ill, he would not even be thine enemy. Wish him well then, that he may end his ill, and he will be thine enemy no longer. For it is not the human nature in him that is at enmity with thee, but his sin. Is he therefore thine enemy, because he hath a soul and body? In this he is as thou art: thou hast a soul, and so hath he: thou hast a body, and so hath he. He is of the same substance as thou art; ye were made both out of the same earth, and quickened by the same Lord. In all this he is as thou art. Acknowledge in him then thy brother. The first pair, Adam and Eve, were our parents; the one our father, the other our mother; and therefore we are brethren. But let us leave the consideration of our first origin. God is our Father, the Church our Mother, and therefore are we brethren. But you will say, my enemy is a heathen, a Jew, a heretic, of whom I spake some time ago on the words, "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth." O Church, thy enemy is the heathen, the Jew, the heretic; he is the earth. If thou art heaven, call on thy Father which is in heaven, and pray for thine enemies: for so was Saul an enemy of the Church; thus was prayer made for him, and he became her friend. He not only ceased from being her persecutor, but he laboured to be her helper. And yet, to say the truth, prayer [1998] was made against him; but against his malice, not against his nature. So let thy prayer be against the malice of thine enemy, that it may die, and he may live. For if thine enemy were dead, thou hast lost it might seem an enemy, yet hast thou not found a friend. But if his malice die, thou hast at once lost an enemy and found a friend.

15. But still ye are saying, Who can do, who has ever done this? May God bring it to effect in your hearts! I know as well as you, there are but few who do it; great men are they and spiritual who do so. Are all the faithful in the Church who approach the altar, and take the Body and Blood of Christ, are they all such? And yet they all say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." What, if God should answer them, "Why do ye ask me to do what I have promised, when ye do not what I have commanded?" What have I promised? "To forgive your debts." What have I commanded? "That ye also forgive your debtors." How can ye do this, if ye do not love your enemies? What then must we do, brethren? Is the flock of Christ reduced to such a scanty number? If they only ought to say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors," who love their enemies; I know not what to do, I know not what to say. For must I say to you, If ye do not love your enemies, do not pray; I dare not say so; yea, pray rather that ye may love them. But must I say to you, If ye do not love your enemies, say not in the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors"? Suppose that I were to say, Do not use these words. If ye do not, your debts are not forgiven; and if ye do use them, and do not act thereafter, they are not forgiven. In order therefore that they may be forgiven, ye must both use the prayer, and do thereafter.

16. I see some ground on which I may comfort not some few only, but the multitude of Christians: and I know that ye are longing to hear it. Christ hath said, "Forgive, that ye may be forgiven." [1999] And what do ye say in the Prayer which we have now been discussing? "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." So, Lord, forgive, as we forgive. This thou sayest, "O Father, which art in heaven, so forgive our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." For this ye ought to do, and if ye do it not, ye will perish. When your enemy asks pardon, at once forgive him. And is this much for you to do? Though it were much for thee to love thine enemy when violent against thee, is it much to love a man who is a supplicant before thee? What hast thou to say? He was before violent, and then thou hatedst him. I had rather thou hadst not hated him even then: I had rather then when thou wert suffering from his violence, thou hadst remembered the Lord, saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." [2000] I would have then much wished that even at that time when thine enemy was violent against thee, thou hadst had regard to the Lord thy God speaking thus. But perhaps you will say, He did it, but then He did it as being the Lord, as the Christ, as the Son of God, as the Only-Begotten, as the Word made flesh. But what can I, an infirm and sinful man, do? If thy Lord be too high an example for thee, turn thy thoughts upon thy fellow-servant. The holy Stephen was being stoned, and as they stoned him, on bended knees did he pray for his enemies, and say, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." [2001] They were casting stones, not asking pardon, yet did he pray for them. I would thou wert like him; reach forth. Why art thou for ever trailing thy heart along the earth? Hear, "Lift up thy heart," reach forward, love thine enemies. If thou canst not love him in his violence, love him at least when he asks pardon. Love the man who saith to thee, "Brother, I have sinned, forgive me." If thou then forgive him not, I say not merely, that thou dost blot this prayer out of thine heart, but thou shall be blotted thyself out of the book of God.

17. But if thou then at least forgive him, or let go hatred from thy heart, it is hatred from the heart I bid thee forego, and not proper discipline. What if one who asks my pardon, be one who ought to be chastised by me! Do what thou wilt, for I suppose that thou dost love thy child even when thou dost chastise him. Thou regardest not his cries under the rod, because thou art reserving for him his inheritance. This I say then, that thou forego from thy heart all hatred, when thine enemy asks pardon of thee. But perhaps you will say, "he is playing false, he is pretending." O thou judge of another's heart, tell me thine own father's thoughts, tell me thine own thoughts yesterday. He asks and petitions for pardon; forgive, by all means forgive him. If thou wilt not forgive him, it is thyself thou dost hurt, not him, for he knows what he has to do. Thou art not willing to forgive thine own fellow-servant; he will go then to thy Lord, and say to Him, "Lord, I have prayed my fellow-servant to forgive me, and he would not; do Thou forgive me." Hath not the Lord power to release his servant's debts? So he, having obtained pardon from his Lord, returns loosed, whilst thou remainest bound. How bound? The time of prayer will come, the time must come for thee to say, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors;" and the Lord will answer thee, Thou wicked servant, when thou didst owe Me so great a debt, thou didst ask Me, and I forgave thee; "shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee?" [2002] These words are out of the Gospel, not of my own heart. But if on being asked, thou shall forgive him who begs for pardon, then thou canst say this prayer. And if thou hast not as yet the strength to love him in his violence, still thou mayest offer this prayer, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." Let us pass on to the rest.

18. "And lead us not into temptation. Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors," [2003] we say because of past sins, which we cannot undo, that they should not have been done. Thou canst labour not to do what thou hast done before, but how canst thou bring about, that that which thou hast done should not be done? As regards those things which have been done already, that sentence of the prayer is thy help, "Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors." As regards those into which thou mayest fall, what wilt thou do? "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil," that is, from temptation itself.

19. Now these three first petitions, "Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth," these three regard the life eternal, for God's Name ought to be hallowed in us always, we ought to be in His kingdom always, we ought to do His will always. This will be to all eternity. But "daily bread" is necessary now. All the rest that we pray for from this article, regards the necessities of the present life. Daily bread is necessary in this life; the forgiveness of our debts is necessary in this life. For when we shall arrive at the other life, there will be an end of all debts. In this life there is temptation, in this life the sailing is dangerous, in this life something is ever stealing its way in through the chinks of our frailties, which must be pumped out. But when we shall be made equal to the Angels of God; no more need to say and pray to God to forgive us our debts, when there will be none. Here then is the "daily bread;" here the prayer that our "debts may be forgiven;" here that we "enter not into temptation;" for in that life temptation does not enter; here that we may be "delivered from evil;" for in that life there will be no evil, but eternal and abiding good.


[1965] These were the last of the classes into which the catechumens were distributed, and were so called because they were now so far advanced as to "seek for baptism." See Serm. 216. 1 (Ad competentes, quid enim aliud sunt competentes, quam simul petentes) and Serm. 228. 1 (Competentes dicebantur quoniam materna viscera, ut nascerentur, petendo pulsabant). Bingham, Antiqu. B. x. ch. ii. sects. 5-12. See Conf. B. ix. 6 (14). [1966] Joel ii. 32. [1967] Rom. x. 13, etc. [1968] Dæmonibus. [1969] Ps. cix. 7. [1970] 1 Tim. i. 13. [1971] Luke xxiii. 34. [1972] Gal. i. 22, etc. [1973] Matt. vi. 8. [1974] Exaudientis effectus. [1975] Matt. vi. 10. [1976] Matt. xxv. 34. [1977] Matt. vi. 10. [1978] Matt. xxv. 34. [1979] Matt. xxv. 41. [1980] Rom. vii. 25. [1981] 1 Cor. xv. 54. [1982] Gal. v. 17. [1983] Pius. [1984] Matt. vi. 11. [1985] Matt. v. 45. [1986] Matt. xv. 26. [1987] St. Augustin throughout these Sermons, as we see in other parts of his works, speaks with great reserve of the Holy Eucharist, as before those who were some of them unbaptized; fideles was the name of the baptized (Serm. 113. 2),--"fidelibus dico eis quibus Christo Corpus erogamus dico;" and in this sense it seems to be used in our Church Catechism: "The Body and Blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper." This reserve of the ancient Church in itself implies the high doctrine of the Holy Eucharist; modern views have nothing to reserve. [1988] Matt. vi. 12. [1989] Domine. [1990] 1 John i. 8. [1991] Ascendunt. [1992] Isa. lviii. 7. [1993] The LXX. is, sunkleison eleemosunen en tois tameiois sou, kai haute exeleitai se ek pases kakoseos. [1994] Ecclus. xxix. 12, Vulgate. [1995] Constellationibus. (Bened.) Meliores notæ MSS. a consolationibus mathematicorum. [1996] Oculus a velocitate. [1997] Velut quotidiana mundatione istâ. [1998] Vide Sermon xl. (xc. Bened.) 9. [1999] Luke vi. 37. [2000] Luke xxiii. 34. [2001] Acts vii. 60. [2002] Matt. xviii. 32, 33. [2003] Matt. vi. 13.

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