On the Holy Martyr, S. Babylas.Translated by Rev. W. R. W. Stephens, M.A., Prebendary of Chichester Cathedral, and Rector of Woolbeding, Sussex.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
1. I was anxious to-day to pay the debt which I promised you when I was lately here. But what am I to do? In the meanwhile, the blessed Babylas has appeared, and has called me to himself, uttering no voice, but attracting our attention by the brightness of his countenance. Be ye not, therefore, displeased at the delay in my payment; at all events, the longer the time is, the more the interest will increase. For we will deposit this money with interest.  Since thus did the master command who entrusted it to us. Being confident, therefore, about what is lent, that both the principal and the profit await you, let us not pass by the gain which falls in our way to-day, but revel in the noble actions of the blessed Babylas.
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For when Julian who surpassed all in impiety, ascended the imperial throne, and grasped the despotic sceptre, straightway he lifted up his hands against the God who created him, and ignored his benefactor, and looking from the earth beneath to the heavens, howled after the manner of mad dogs, who alike bay at those who do not feed them and those who do feed them. But he rather was mad with a more savage madness than theirs. For they indeed turn from, and hate their friends and strangers alike. But this man used to fawn upon demons, strangers to his salvation, and used to worship them with every mode of worship. But his benefactor, and Saviour, and him who spared not the only Begotten, for his sake, he turned from and used to hate, and made havoc of the cross, the very thing which uplifted the whole world when it was lying prostrate, and drave away the darkness on all sides, and brought in light more brilliant than the sunbeams; nor yet even then did he desist from his frenzy, but promised that he would tear the nation of the Galilæans, out of the midst of the world; for thus he was wont to call us; and yet if he thought the names of the Christians an abomination, and Christianity itself to be full of much shame, for what reason did he not desire to put us to shame by that means, but with a strange name? Yea because he knew clearly, that to be called by what belongs to Christ, is a great ornament not only to men, but to angels, and to the powers above. On this account he set everything in motion, so as to strip us of this ornament, and put a stop to the preaching of it. But this was impossible, O wretched and miserable man! as it was impossible to destroy the heaven and to quench the sun, and to shake and cast down the foundations of the earth, and those things Christ foretold, thus saying: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." 
Well, thou dost not submit to Christ's words; accept therefore the utterance which thus his deeds give. For I indeed having been privileged to know what the declaration of God is, how strong, how invincible a thing, have believed that is more trustworthy than the order of nature, and than experience in all matters. But do thou still creeping on the ground, and agitated with the investigations of human reasoning, receive the witness of the deeds. I gainsay nothing. I strive not.
2. What then do the deeds say? Christ said that it was easier for heaven and earth to be destroyed, than for any of his words to fail.  The emperor contradicted these words, and threatened to destroy his decrees. Where then is the emperor who threatened these things? He is perished and is corrupted, and is now in Hades, awaiting the inevitable punishment. But where is Christ who uttered these decrees? In Heaven, on the right hand of the Father, occupying the highest throne of glory; where are the blasphemous words of the Emperor, and his unchastened tongue? They are become ashes, and dust and the food of worms. Where is the sentence of Christ? It shines forth by the very truth of the deed, receiving its lustre from the issue of the events, as from a golden column. And yet the emperor left nothing undone, when about to raise war against us, but used to call prophets together, and summon sorcerers, and everything was full of demons and evil spirits.
What then was the return for this worship? The overturning of cities, the bitterest famine of all famines. For ye know doubtless, and remember, how empty indeed the market place was of wares, and the workshops full of confusion, when everyone strove to snatch up what came first and to depart. And why do I speak of famine, when the very fountains of waters were failing, fountains which by the abundance of their stream, used to eclipse the rivers. But since I have mentioned the fountains, come, forthwith, let us go up to Daphne, and conduct our discourse to the noble deeds of the martyr. Although you desire me still to parade the indecencies of the Greeks, although I too desire this, let us abstain; for wherever the commemoration of a martyr is, there certainly also is the shame of the Greeks. This emperor then, going up to Daphne used to weary Apollo, praying, supplicating, entreating, so that the events of the future might be foretold to him. What then did the prophet, the great God of the Greeks? "The dead prevent me from uttering," saith he, "but break open the graves, dig up the bones, move the dead." What could be more impious than these commands? The Demon of grave-robbing, introduces strange laws and devises new methods of expelling strangers. Who ever heard of the dead being driven forth? who ever saw lifeless bodies ordered to be moved as he commanded, overturning from their foundations the common laws of nature. For the laws of nature are common to all men, that he who departs this life should be hidden in the earth, and delivered over for burial, and be covered up in the bosom of the earth the mother of all; and these laws, neither Greek, barbarian, Scythian, nor if there be any more savage than they, ever changed, but all reverence them, and keep them, and thus they are sacred and venerated by all. But the Demon raises his mask, and with bare head, resists the common laws of nature. For the dead, he says, are a pollution. The dead are not a pollution, a most wicked demon, but a wicked intention is an abomination. But if one must say something startling, the bodies of the living full of evil, are more polluting than those of the dead. For the one minister to the behests of the mind, but the other lie unmoved. Now that which is unmoved, and destitute of all perception would be free from all accusation. Not that I even would say that the bodies of the living are by nature polluting; but that everywhere a wicked and perverted intention is open to accusations from all.
The dead body then is not a pollution O Apollo, but to persecute a maiden who wishes to be modest, and to outrage the dignity of a virgin, and to lament at the failure of the shameless deed, this is worthy of accusation, and punishment. There were at all events, many wonderful and great prophets among ourselves, who spake also many things concerning the future, and they in no case used to bid those who asked them to dig up the bones of the departed. Yea Ezekiel standing near the bones themselves was not only not hindered by them, but added flesh, and nerves and skin to them, and brought them back to life again.  But the great Moses did not stand near the bones of the dead, but bearing off the whole dead body of Joseph, thus foretold things to come.  And very reasonably, for their words were the grace of the Holy Spirit. But the words of these, a deceit, and a lie which is no wise able to be concealed. For that these things were an excuse, and pretence and that he feared the blessed Babylas, is manifest from what the emperor did. For leaving all the other dead, he only moved that martyr. And yet if he did these things, in disgust at him, and not in fear, it were necessary that he should order the coffin to be broken, thrown into the sea, carried to the desert, be made to disappear by some other method of destruction; for this is the part of one who is disgusted. Thus God did when he spake to the Hebrews about the abominations of the Gentiles. He bade their statues to be broken, not to bring their abominations from the suburbs to the city.
3. The martyr then was moved, but the demon not even then enjoyed freedom from fear, but straightway learned that it is possible to move the bones of a martyr, but not to escape his hands. For as soon as the coffin was drawn into the city, a thunderbolt came from above upon the head of his image, and burnt it all up. And yet, if not before, then at least there was likelihood that the impious emperor would be angry, and that he would send forth his anger against the testimony of the martyr. But not even then did he dare, so great fear possessed him. But although he saw that the burning was intolerable, and knew the cause accurately; he kept quiet. And this is not only wonderful that he did not destroy the testimony, but that he not even dared to put the roof on to the temple again. For he knew, he knew, that the stroke was divinely sent, and he feared lest by forming any further plan, he should call down that fire upon his own head. On this account he endured to see the shrine of Apollo brought to so great desolation; For there was no other cause, on account of which he did not rectify that which had happened, but fear alone. For which reason he unwillingly kept quiet, and knowing this left as much reproach to the demon, as distinction to the martyr. For the walls are now standing, instead of trophies, uttering a voice clearer than a trumpet. To those in Daphne, to those in the city, to those who arrive from far off, to those who are with us, to those men which shall be hereafter, they declare everything by their appearance, the wrestling, the struggle, the victory of the martyr. For it is likely that he who dwells far off from the suburb, when he sees the chapel of the saint deprived of a shrine, and the temple of Apollo deprived of its roof would ask the reason of each of these things; and then after learning the whole history would depart hence. Such are the noble deeds of the martyr after death, wherefore I count your city blessed, that ye have shown much zeal about this holy man. For then, when he returned from Daphne, all our city poured forth into the road, and the market places were empty of men, and the houses were empty of women, and the bedchambers were destitute of maidens. Thus also every age and each sex passed forth from the city, as if to receive a father long absent who was returning from sojourn far away. And you indeed gave him back to the band of fellow enthusiasts. But the grace of God did not suffer him to remain there for good, but again removed him beyond the river,  so that many parts of the country were filled with the sweet savor of the martyr. Neither even when he came hither was he destined to be alone, but he quickly received, a neighbor, and a fellow-lodger, and one of similar life.  For he shared with him the same dignity, and for the sake of religion shewed forth equal boldness. Wherefore he obtained the same abode as he, this wonderful man being no vain imitator, as it seems, of the martyr. For for so long a time he laboured there, sending letters continually to the emperor, wearying the authorities, and bringing the ministry of the body to bear upon the martyr. For ye know, doubtless, and remember that when the midday summer sun possessed the heaven, he together with his acquaintances, used to walk thither everyday, not as spectator only, but also, as intending to be a sharer in what was going on. For he often handled stone, and dragged a rope, and listened, in advance of the workmen themselves, to one who wanted to erect any building. For he knew, he knew what rewards lie in store for him for these things. And on this account he continued doing service to the martyrs, not only by splendid buildings nor even by continual feasts, but by a better method than these. And what is this? He imitates their life, emulates their courage, throughout according to his ability he keeps the image of the martyrs alive, in himself. For see, they gave their bodies to the slaughter, he has mortified the members of his flesh which are upon the earth. They stopped the flame of fire, he quenched the flame of lust. They fought against the teeth of beasts, but this man bore off the most dangerous of our passions, anger. For all these things let us give thanks to God, because he hath thus granted us noble martyrs, and pastors worthy of martyrs, for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ  with whom be glory, honor, and might to the Father, with the Holy and lifegiving Spirit, now and always, for ever and ever. Amen.
1. When lately we made mention of the Pharisee and the publican, and hypothetically yoked two chariots out of virtue and vice;  we pointed out each truth, how great is the gain of humbleness of mind, and how great the damage of pride. For this, even when conjoined with righteousness and fastings and tithes, fell behind; while that, even when yoked with sin, out-stripped the Pharisee's pair, even although the charioteer it had was a poor one. For what was worse than the publican? But all the same since he made his soul contrite, and called himself a sinner; which indeed he was; he surpassed the Pharisee, who had both fastings to tell of and tithes; and was removed from any vice. On account of what, and through what? Because even if he was removed from greed of gain and robbery, he had rooted over his soul  the mother of all evils--vain-glory and pride. On this account Paul also exhorts and says "Let each one prove his own work; and then he will have his ground of boasting for himself, and not for the other." Whereas he publicly came forward  as an accuser of the whole world;  and said that he himself was better than all living men. And yet even if he had set himself before ten only, or if five, or if two, or if one, not even was this endurable; but as it was, he not only set himself before the whole world, but also accused all men. On this account he fell behind in the running. And just as a ship, after having run through innumerable surges, and having escaped many storms, then in the very mouth of the harbour having been dashed against some rock, loses the whole treasure which is stowed away in her--so truly did this Pharisee, after having undergone the labours of the fasting, and of all the rest of his virtue, since he did not master his tongue, in the very harbour underwent shipwreck of his cargo.  For the going home from prayer, whence he ought to have derived gain, having rather been so greatly damaged, is nothing else than undergoing shipwreck in harbour.
2. Knowing therefore these things, beloved even if we should have mounted to the very pinnacle of virtue, let us consider ourselves last of all; having learned that pride is able to cast down even from the heavens themselves him who takes not heed, and humbleness of mind to bear up on high from the very abyss of sins him who knows how to be sober. For this it was that placed the publican before the Pharisee; whereas that, pride I mean and an overweening spirit, surpassed even an incorporeal power, that of the devil; while humbleness of mind and the acknowledgment of his own sins committed brought the robber into Paradise before the Apostles. Now if the confidence which they who confess their own sins effect for themselves is so great, they who are conscious to themselves of many good qualities, yet humble their own souls, how great crowns will they not win.  For when sinfulness be put together with humbleness of mind it runs with such ease as to pass and out-strip righteousness combined with pride. If therefore thou have put it to with righteousness, whither will it not reach? through how many heavens will it not pass? By the throne of God itself surely it will stay its course;  in the midst of the angels, with much confidence. On the other hand if pride, having been yoked with righteousness, by the excess and weight of its own wickedness had strength enough to drag down its confidence; if it be put together with sinfulness, into how deep a hell will it not be able to precipitate him who has it? These things I say, not in order that we should be careless of righteousness, but that we should avoid pride; not that we should sin, but that we should be sober-minded. For humbleness of mind is the foundation of the love of wisdom which pertains to us. Even if thou shouldest have built a superstructure of things innumerable; even if almsgiving, even if prayers, even if fastings, even if all virtue; unless this have first been laid as a foundation, all will be built upon it  to no purpose and in vain; and it will fall down easily, like that building which had been placed on the sand.  For there is no one, no one of our good deeds, which does not need this; there is no one which separate from this will be able to stand. But even if thou shouldest mention temperance, even if virginity, even if despising of money, even if anything whatever, all are unclean and accursed and loathsome, humbleness of mind being absent. Everywhere therefore let us take her with us,  in words, in deeds, in thoughts, and with this let us build these (graces).
3. But the things belonging to humbleness of mind have been sufficiently spoken of; not for the value of the virtue;  for no one will be able to celebrate it in accordance with its value; but for the intelligence of your love. For well do I know that even from the few things that have been said you will embrace it with much zeal. But since it is also necessary to make clear and manifest the apostolic saying which has been to-day read; seeming as it does to many to afford a pretext for indolence; so that some may not, providing for themselves hence a certain frigid defence, neglect their own salvation--to this let us direct our discourse. What then is this saying? "Whether in pretence," it says, "or in sincerity,  Christ is preached."  This many wrest absolutely  and just as happens, without reading what precedes and what comes after it; but having cut it off from the sequence of the remaining members, to the destruction of their own soul they put it forward to the more indolent. For attempting to seduce them from the sound faith; then seeing them afraid and trembling; on the ground of its not being without danger to do this,  and desiring to relieve their fears, they bring forward this apostolic declaration, saying, Paul conceded this, by saying, "Whether in pretence or in sincerity, let Christ be proclaimed." But these things are not (true), they are not. For in the first place he did not say "let him be proclaimed," but "he is proclaimed," and the difference between this and that is wide. For the saying "let him be proclaimed" belongs to a lawgiver; but the saying "he is proclaimed" to one announcing the event. For that Paul does not ordain a law that there should be heresies, but draws away all who attended to him, hear what he says, "If any one preaches to you a gospel besides what ye have received, let him be anathema, were it even I, were it even an angel from the heavens."  Now he would not have anathematized both himself and an angel, if he had known the act to be without danger. And again-- "I am jealous of you with a jealousy of God," he says; "for I have betrothed you to one husband a chaste virgin: and fear lest at some time, as the serpent beguiled Eve by his wiliness, so your thoughts should be corrupted from the singleness that is towards Christ."  See, he both set down singleness, and granted no allowance. For if there were allowance, there was no danger: and if there was no danger Paul would not have feared: and Christ would not also have commanded that the tares should be burned up, if it were a thing indifferent to attend to this one or that or another: or to all indiscriminately. 
4. What ever then is what is meant? I wish to narrate to you the whole history from a point a little earlier;  for it is needful to know in what circumstances Paul was when he was writing these things by letter. In what circumstances therefore was he? In prison and chains and intolerable perils. Whence is this manifest? From the epistle itself. For earlier than this he says, "Now I wish you to know, brethren, that the circumstances in which I am have come rather to the furtherance  of the Gospel; so that my bonds have become manifest in Christ in the whole Court, and to all the others; and a good many  of the brethren, trusting to my bonds, the more exceedingly dare fearlessly to speak the word."  Now Nero had then cast him into prison. For just as some robber having set foot in the house, while all are sleeping, when stealing every thing,  if he see any one having lit a lamp, both extinguishes the light and slays him who holds the lamp, in order that he may be allowed in security to steal and rob the property of others; so truly also the Cæsar Nero then, just as any robber and burglar while all were sleeping a deep and unconscious slumber; robbing the property of all, breaking into marriage chambers,  subverting houses, displaying every form of wickedness; when he saw Paul having lighted a lamp throughout the world; (the word of his teaching;) and reproving his wickedness, exerted himself both to extinguish what was preached, and to put the teachers out of the way; in order that he might be allowed with authority to do anything he pleased; and after binding that holy man, cast him into prison. It was at that time then that the blessed Paul wrote these things. Who would not have been astounded? who would not have marvelled? or rather who could adequately have been astounded at and admired that noble and heaven-reaching soul; in that, while bound in Rome and imprisoned, at so great a distance as that, he wrote a letter to the Philippians? For you know how great is the distance between Macedonia and Rome. But neither did the length of the way, nor the amount of time (required), nor the press of business, nor the peril and the dangers coming one upon another, nor anything else, drive out his love for and remembrance of the disciples; but he retained them all in his mind; and not so strongly were his hands bound with the chains as his soul was bound together and rivetted by his longing for the disciples:  which very thing itself indeed also declaring, in the preface of the Epistle he said, "On account of my having you in my heart, both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the Gospel."  And just as a King, having ascended upon his throne at morning-tide and taken his seat in the royal courts, immediately receives from all quarters innumerable letters; so truly he also, just as in royal courts, seated in the dungeon, both received and sent his letters in far greater number; the nations from all quarters referring to his wisdom everything about  what had taken place among themselves; and he administered more business than the reigning monarch in proportion to his having had a larger dominion entrusted to him. For in truth God had brought and put into his hands not those who inhabited the country of the Romans only, but also all the barbarians, both land and sea. And by way of showing this he said to the Romans, "Now I would not that ye should be ignorant, brethren, that ofttimes I have purposed to come to you, and have been hindered until the present; in order that I might have some fruit also among you, as among the rest of the Gentiles too. Both to Greeks and barbarians, both to wise and those without understanding I am a debtor."  Every day therefore he was in anxious thought at one moment for Corinthians, at another for Macedonians; how Philippians, how Cappadocians, how Galatians, how Athenians, how they who inhabited Pontus, how all together were. But all the same, having had the whole world put into his hands, he continually cared not for entire nations only, but also for each single man; and now indeed he despatched a letter on behalf of Onesimus, and now on behalf of him who among the Corinthians had committed fornication. For neither used he to regard this--that it was the individual who had sinned and needed advocacy; but that it was a human being; a human being, the living thing most precious to God; and for whose sake the Father had not spared even the Only-begotten.
5. For do not tell me that this or that man is a runaway slave, or a robber or thief, or laden with countless faults, or that he is a mendicant and abject, or of low value and worthy of no account; but consider that for his sake the Christ died; and this sufficeth thee for a ground for all solicitude. Consider what sort of person he must be, whom Christ valued at so high a price as not to have spared even his own blood. For neither, if a king had chosen to sacrifice himself on any one's behalf, should we have sought out another demonstration of his being some one great and of deep interest to the King--I fancy not--for his death would suffice to show the love of him who had died towards him. But as it is not man, not angel, not archangel; but the Lord of the heavens himself, the only-begotten Son of God himself having clothed himself with flesh, freely gave himself on our behalf. Shall we not do everything, and take every trouble, so that the men who have been thus valued may enjoy every solicitude at our hands? And what kind of defence shall we have? what allowance? This at least is the very thing by way of declaring which Paul also said, "Do not by thy meat destroy him for whose sake Christ died."  For desiring to shame, and to bring to solicitude, and to persuade to care for their neighbours, those who despise their brethren, and look down upon them as being weak, instead of all  else he set down the Master's death.
Sitting then in the prison he wrote the letter to the Philippians from that so great distance. For such as this is the love that is according to God:  it is interrupted by no one of human things, since it has its roots from above in the heavens  and its recompense. And what says he? "Now I desire that ye should know, brethren."  Seest thou solicitude for his scholars? seest thou a teacher's carefulness? Hear too of loving affection of scholars towards their teacher, that thou mayest know that this was what made them strong and unconquerable--the being bound together with one another. For if "Brother helped by brother is as a strong city;"  far more so many bound together by the bonds of love would have entirely repulsed the plotting of the wicked demon. That indeed then Paul was bound up with the disciples, requires not even any demonstration further nor argument for us, since in truth even when in bonds he anxiously cared for them, and each day, he was also dying for them, burning with his longing.
6. And that the disciples too were bound up with Paul with all perfectness;  and that not men only, but women also, hear what he says about Phoebe. "Now I commend  to you Phoebe the sister, being a deaconess of the Church which is in Cenchreæ; that ye may receive her in the Lord worthily of the saints, and stand by her, in whatever matter she may require you, since  she has proved a helper  of many; and of me myself."  But in this instance he bore witness to her of her zeal so far as help went (only:)  but Priscilla and Aquilla went as far even as death for Paul's sake; and about them he thus writes, saying, "Aquila and Priscilla salute you, who for my life's sake laid down their own neck;"  for death clearly. And about another again writing to these very persons he says, "Because he went as far as death; having counselled ill for his life, in order that he might supply your deficiency in your service towards me."  Seest thou how they loved their teacher? how they regarded his rest  before their own life? On this account no one surpassed them then. Now this I say, not that we may hear only, but that we may also imitate; and not to the ruled only, but also to those who rule is what we say addressed; in order that both scholars may display much solicitude about their teachers, and the teachers may have the same loving affection as Paul about those placed under them; not those present only, but also those who are far off. For also Paul, dwelling in the whole world just as in one house, thus continually took thought for the salvation of all; and having dismissed every thing of his own; bonds and troubles and stripes and straits, watched over and inquired into each day, in what state the affairs of the disciples were; and often for this very purpose alone sent, now Timothy, and now Tychicus; and about him he says, "That he may know your circumstances, and encourage your hearts:"  and about Timothy; "I have sent him, being no longer able to contain myself; lest in some way the tempter have tempted you."  And Titus again elsewhere, and another to another place. For since he himself, by the compulsion of his bonds being often detained in one place, was unable to meet those who were his vitals, he met them through the disciples.
7. And then therefore being in bonds he writes to the Philippians, saying, "Now I desire that ye should know, brethren,"  calling the disciples brethren. For such a thing as this is love; it casts out all inequality, and knows not superiority and dignity; but even if one be higher than all, he descends to the lowlier position of all; just what Paul also used to do. But let us hear what it is that he desires they should know. "That the things which happened unto me," he says, "have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel."  Tell me, how and in what way? Hast thou then been released from thy bonds? hast thou then put off thy chain? and dost thou with free permission preach in the city? hast thou then, having gone into an assembly, drawn out many long discourses about the faith, and departed after gaining many disciples? hast thou then raised the dead and been made an object of wonder? hast thou then cleansed lepers, and all were astounded? hast thou driven away demons, and been exalted? No one of these things, he says. How then did the furtherance of the gospel take place? tell me. "So that my bonds," he says, "have become openly known in the whole Court, and to all the rest."  What sayest thou? this then, this was the furtherance, this the advance, this the increase of the proclamation--that all knew that thou wast bound. Yes, he says: Hear at least what comes next, that thou mayest learn that the bonds not only proved no hindrance, but also a ground of greater freedom of speech. "So that several  of the brethren in the Lord, in reliance on my bonds, more abundantly dare fearlessly to speak the word."  What sayest thou, O Paul? have thy bonds inspired not anxiety but confidence? not fear but earnest longing? The things mentioned have no consistency.  I too know it. For neither did these things take place according to the consistency of human affairs, he means,  but what came about was above nature, and the successes were of divine grace. On this account what used to cause anxiety to all others, that to him afforded confidence. For also if any one having taken the leader of an army and confined him, have made this publicly known, he throws the whole camp into flight; and if any one have carried a shepherd away from the flock, the security with which he drives off the sheep is great. But not in Paul's case was it thus, but the contrary entirely. For the leader of the army was bound, and the soldiers became more forward in the spirit; and the confidence with which they sprung upon their adversaries was greater: the shepherd was in confinement, and the sheep were not consumed, nor even scattered.
8. Who ever saw, who ever heard of, the scholars taking greater encouragement in the dangers of their teachers? How was it that they feared not? how was it that they were not terrified? how was it that they did not say to Paul, "Physician, heal thyself,"  deliver thyself from thy manifold perils, and then thou will be able to procure for us those countless good things? How was it they did not say these things? How! It was because they had been schooled, from the grace of the Spirit, that these things took place not out of weakness, but out of the permission of the Christ; in order that the truth might shine abroad more largely; through bonds and imprisonments and tribulations and straits increasing and rising, to a greater volume. Thus is the power of Christ in weakness perfected.  For indeed if his bonds had crippled Paul  and made him cowardly; either himself or those belonging to him; one could not but feel difficulty; but if rather they prepared him into greater renown, one must be astounded and marvel, how through a thing involving dishonour glory was procured for the disciple--through a thing inspiring cowardice confidence and encouragement resulted to them all. For who was not astounded at him then, seeing him encircled with a chain? Then demons took to flight all the more, when they saw him spending his time in a prison. For not so splendid does the diadem make a royal head, as the chain his hands; not owing to their proper nature, but owing to the grace that darted brightness on them.  On this account it was that great encouragement resulted to the disciples. For also they saw his body indeed bound, but his tongue not bound, his hands indeed tightly manacled,  but his voice unshackled, and transversing the whole world more swiftly than the solar ray. And this became to them an encouragement; learning as they did from the facts that no one of present things is to be dreaded. For when the soul has been genuinely imbued by divine longing and love, it pays regard to no one of things present; but just as those who are mad venture themselves against fire and sword and wild beasts and sea and all else, so these too, maddened with a most noble and most spiritual frenzy, a frenzy arising from sanity,  used to laugh at all things that are seen. On this account, seeing their teachers bound, they the more exulted, the more prided themselves; by facts giving to their adversaries a demonstration that on all sides they were impregnable and indomitable.
9. Then therefore, when matters were in this state, some of the enemies of Paul, desiring to fan up the war to greater vehemence, and to make the hatred of the tyrant, which was felt towards him greater, pretended that they themselves also preached; (and they did preach the right and sound faith,) for the sake of the doctrine advancing more rapidly: and this they did, not with the desire to disseminate the faith; but in order that Nero, having learnt that the preaching was increasing and the doctrine advancing, might the sooner have Paul led away to execution.  There were therefore two schools; that of Paul's scholars and that of Paul's enemies; the one preaching out of sincerity, and the others out of love of contention and the hatred they felt towards Paul. And by way of declaring this he said, "Some indeed through envy and strife are preaching Christ," (pointing out those his enemies) "but some also through good pleasure;"  saying this about his own scholars.  Then next about those; "Some indeed out of contentiousness," (his enemies,) not purely, not soundly, but, "thinking that they are thereby bringing pressure upon my bonds;  but the others out of love;" (this again about his own brethren;) "knowing that I am set  for the defence of the gospel." For what? Nevertheless, in any way; whether in pretence or in sincerity, Christ is being announced."  So that vainly and to no purpose is this saying taken in reference to heresies. For those who then were preaching were not preaching corrupt doctrine; but sound and right belief. For if they were preaching corrupt doctrine, and were teaching other things contrary to Paul, what they desired was certain not to succeed to them. Now what did they desire? That the faith having grown, and the disciples of Paul having become numerous, it should rouse Nero to greater hostility. And if they were preaching different doctrines, they would not have made the disciples of Paul numerous; and by not doing so,  they would not have exasperated the tyrant. He does not therefore say this--that they were bringing in corrupt doctrines--but that the motive from which they were preaching, this was corrupt. For it is one thing to state the pretext  of their preaching itself was not sound. For the preaching does not become sound when the doctrine is laden with deception; and the pretext does not become sound when the preaching indeed is sound, but they who preach do not preach for the sake of God, but either with a view of enmity, or with a view to the favour of others.
10. He therefore does not say this--that they were bringing in heresies; but that it was not from a right motive, nor through piety  that they were preaching what they did preach. For it was not they might increase the gospel that they were doing this; but that they might wage war against him, and throw him into greater danger--on this account he accuses them. And see how with exactitude he laid it.  "Thinking," he says, "that they were putting pressure upon my bonds."  He did not say, putting, but "thinking they were putting upon," that is supposing, by way of pointing out that even if they so supposed, still he himself was not in such a position; but that he even rejoiced on account of the advance of the preaching. He added therefore saying, "But in this I both rejoice and will rejoice:"  whereas if he held their doctrines deception, and they were bringing in heresies, Paul could not possibly rejoice. But since the doctrine was sound and of genuine parentage, on this account he says, "I rejoice and will rejoice." For what if they  are destroying themselves by doing this out of contentiousness? Still, even unwillingly, they are strengthening my cause. Seest thou how great is Paul's power? how he is caught by no one of the devil's machinations? And not only is he not caught; but also by these themselves he subdues him. For great indeed is both the devil's craftiness,  and the wickedness of those who minister to him; for under pretence of being of the same mind, they desired to extinguish the proclamation.  But "he who seizes the cunning in their craftiness"  did not permit that this should take place then. By way of declaring this very thing at least Paul said, "But the continuing in the flesh is the more necessary for your sake; and this I confidently know, that I shall continue and remain in company with you all."  For those men indeed set their mind on casting me out of the present life, and are ready to endure anything for this object: but God does not permit it on your account.
11. These things therefore, all of them, remember with exactness in order that you may be able with all wisdom to correct those who use the Scriptures without reference to circumstances  and at hap-hazard, and for the destruction of their neighbours. And we shall be able both to remember what has been said, and to correct others, if we always betake ourselves to prayers as a refuge, and beseech the God who gives the word of wisdom to grant both intelligence in hearing, and a careful and unconquerable guardianship of this spiritual deposit in our hands. For things which often we have not strength to perform successfully from our own exertions, these we shall have power to accomplish easily through prayers which are persevering. For always and without intermission it is a duty to pray, both for him who is in affliction, and him who is in dangers, and him who is in prosperity--for him who is in relief and much prosperity, that these may remain unmoved and without vicissitude, and may never change; and for him who is in affliction and his many dangers, that he may see some favourable change brought about to him, and be transported into a calm of consolation. Art thou in a calm? Then beseech God that this calm may continue settled to thee. Hast thou seen a storm risen up against thee? Beseech God earnestly  to cause the billow to pass, and to make a calm out of the storm. Hast thou been heard? Be heartily thankful for this; because thou hast been heard. Hast thou not been heard? Persevere,  in order that thou mayest be heard. For even if God at any time delay the giving, it is not in hatred and aversion;  but from the desire by the deferring of the giving perpetually to retain thee with himself; just in the way also that affectionate fathers do;  for they also adroitly manage the perpetual and assiduous attendance of children who are rather indolent by the delay of the giving. There is to thee no need of mediators in audience with God; nor of that much canvassing;  nor of the fawning upon others; but even if thou be destitute, even if bereft of advocacy, alone, by thyself, having called on God for help, thou wilt in any case succeed.  He is not so wont to assent when entreated by others on our behalf, as by ourselves who are in need; even if we be laden with ten thousand evil deeds. For if in the case of men, even if we have come into countless collisions with them, when both at dawn and at mid-day and in the evening we show ourselves to those who are aggrieved against us, by the unbroken continuance and the persistent meeting and interview we easily demolish their enmity--far more in the case of God would this be effected.
12. But thou art unworthy. Become worthy by thy assiduity. For that it both is possible that the unworthy should become worthy from his assiduity; and that God assents more when called on by ourselves than by others; and that he often delays the giving, not from the wish that we should be utterly perplexed, nor to send us out  with empty hands; but in order that he may become the author of greater good things to us--these three points I will endeavour to make evident by the parable which has to-day been read to you. The woman of Chanaan had come to Christ praying on behalf of a daughter possessed by a demon, and crying out with much earnestness  (it says,  "Have pity on me, Lord, my daughter is badly possessed by a demon.") See, the woman of a strange nation, and a barbarian, and outside of the Jewish commonwealth. For indeed what else (was she) than a dog,  and unworthy of the receiving her request? For "it is not," he says, "good to take the children's bread, and to give it to the dogs." But, all the same, from her assiduity, she became worthy. For not only did he admit her into the nobility of children, dog as she was; but also he sent her off with that high encomium saying, "O woman great is thy faith; be it done to thee as thou wilt."  Now when the Christ says, "great is thy faith," seek thou no other demonstration of the greatness of soul which was in the woman. Seest thou how, from her assiduity the woman, being unworthy, became worthy? Desirest thou also to learn that we accomplish (our wish) by calling on him by ourselves more than by others? She cried out, and the disciples having come to him say, "Let her go away, for she is crying after us:"  and to them he says, "I am not sent, unless to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."  But when she had come to him by herself and continued crying, and saying, "Yes, Lord, for even the dogs eat from the table of their masters,"  then he granted the favour and says, "Be it done unto thee as thou wilt." Seest thou how, when they were entreating him, he repelled; but when she who needed the gift herself cried out, he assented? For to them he says, "I am not sent, unless to the lost sheep of the house of Israel;" but to her  he said, "Great is thy faith; be it done unto thee as thou wilt." Again, at the beginning and in the prelude of her request he answered nothing; but when both once and twice and thrice she had come to him, then he granted the boon; by the issue making us believe that he had delayed the giving, not that he might repel her  but that he might display to us all the woman's endurance. For if he had delayed in order that he might repel her, he would have not granted it even at the end; but since he was waiting to display to all her spiritual wisdom, on this account he was silent.  For if he had granted it immediately and at the beginning, we should not have known the woman's virtue.  "Let her go"  it says, "because she is clamouring behind us." But what (says) the Christ? "Ye hear a voice, but I see the mind: I know what she is going to say. I choose not to permit the treasure hidden in her mind to escape notice; but I am waiting and keeping silence; in order that having discovered it I may lay it down in publicity, and make it manifest to all.
13. Having therefore learned all these things, even if we be in sins, and unworthy of receiving, let us not despair; knowing, that by assiduity of soul we shall be able to become worthy of the request. Even if we be unaided by advocate and destitute, let us not faint; knowing that it is a strong advocacy--the coming to God one's self by one's self with much eagerness. Even if he delay and defer with respect to the giving, let us not be dispirited; having learned that the putting it off and delay is a sure proof of caring and love for mankind. If we have thus persuaded ourselves; and with a soul deeply pained and fervent, and thoroughly roused purpose; and such as that with which the woman of Chanaan approached, we too come to him, even if we be dogs; even if we have done anything whatever dreadful; we shall both rebut  our own crimes, and obtain so great liberty of speech  as also to be advocates for others; in the way in which also this woman of Chanaan not only herself enjoyed liberty of speech and ten thousand encomiums but had power to snatch her dear daughter  out of her intolerable sufferings. For nothing--nothing is more powerful than prayer when fervent and genuine. This both disperses present dangers, and rescues from the penalties which take place at that hour.  That therefore we may both complete our passage through the present life with ease,  and depart thither  with confidence, with much zeal and eagerness let us perform this perpetually. For thus shall we be able both to attain the good things which are laid up, and to enjoy those excellent hopes; which God grant that we may all attain; by the grace and loving kindness and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ--with whom to the Father together with the Holy Spirit be glory, honour, dominion, to the ages of the ages.  Amen.
Assisted by Rev T. P. Brandram, M.A., Rector of Rumboldswhyke, Chichester.
1. How delightful and lovable is our band of young brethren! For brethren I call you, even now before you have been brought forth, and before your birth I welcome this relationship with you: For I know, I know clearly, to how great an honour you are about to be led, and to how great a dignity; and those who are about to receive dignity, all are wont to honor, even before the dignity is conferred, laying up for themselves beforehand by their attention good will for the future. And this also I myself now do. For ye are not about to be led to an empty dignity, but to an actual kingdom: and not simply to a kingdom, but to the kingdom of the Heavens itself. Wherefore I beseech and entreat you that you remember me when you come into that kingdom, and as Joseph said to the chief butler "Remember me when it shall be well with thee,"  this also I say now to you, do ye remember me when it is well with you. I do not ask this in return for interpreting your dreams, as he; for I have not come to interpret dreams for you, but to discourse of matters celestial, and to convey to you glad tidings of such good things as "eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard and which have entered not into the heart of man, such are the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."  Now Joseph indeed said to that chief butler, "yet three days and Pharaoh will restore thee to thy chief butlership." But I do not say, yet three days and ye shall be set to pour out the wine of a tyrant, but yet thirty days, and not Pharaoh but the king of Heaven shall restore you to the country which is on high, Jerusalem, which is free--to the city which is in the heavens; and he said indeed, "Thou shalt give the cup into the hands of Pharaoh." But I say not that you shall give the cup into the hands of the king, but that the king shall give the cup into your hand--that dread cup, full of much power, and more precious than any created thing. The initiated know the virtue of this cup, and you yourselves shall know it a little while hence. Remember me, therefore, when you come into that kingdom, when you receive the royal robe, when you are girt with the purple dipped in the master's blood, when you will be crowned with the diadem, which has lustre leaping forth from it on all sides, more brilliant than the rays of the sun. Such are the gifts of the Bridegroom, greater indeed than your worth, but worthy of his lovingkindness.
Wherefore, I count you blessed already before those sacred nuptials, and I do not only count you blessed, but I praise your prudence in that you have not come to your illumination as the most slothful among men, at your last breath, but already, like prudent servants, prepared with much goodwill to obey your master, have brought the neck of your soul with much meekness and readiness beneath the bands of Christ, and have received His easy yoke, and have taken His light burden. For if the grace bestowed be the same both for you and for those who are initiated at their last hour, yet the matter of the intention is not the same, nor yet the matter of the preparation for the rite. For they indeed receive it on their bed, but you in the bosom of the Church, which is the common mother of us all; they indeed with lamentation and weeping, but you rejoicing, and exceeding glad: they sighing, you giving thanks; they indeed lethargic with much fever, you filled with much spiritual pleasure; wherefore in your case all things are in harmony with the gift, but in theirs all are adverse to it. For there is wailing and much lamentation on the part of the initiated, and children stand around crying, wife tearing her cheeks, and dejected friends and tearful servants; the whole aspect of the house resembles some wintry and gloomy day. And if thou shalt open the heart of him who is lying there, thou wilt find it more downcast than are these. For as winds meeting one another with many a contrary blast, break up the sea into many parts, so too the thought of the terrors preying upon him assail the soul of the sick man, and distract his mind with many anxieties. Whenever he sees his children, he thinks of their fatherless condition; whenever he looks from them to his wife, he considers her widowhood; when he sees the servants, he beholds the desolation of the whole house; when he comes back to himself, he calls to mind his own present life, and being about to be torn from it, experiences a great cloud of despondency. Of such a kind is the soul of him who is about to be initiated. Then in the midst of its tumult and confusion, the Priest enters, more formidable than the fever itself, and more distressing than death to the relatives of the sick man. For the entrance of the Presbyter is thought to be a greater reason for despair than the voice of the physician despairing of his life, and that which suggests eternal life seems to be a symbol of death. But I have not yet put the finishing stroke to these ills. For in the midst of relatives raising a tumult and making preparations, the soul has often taken its flight, leaving the body desolate; and in many cases, while it was present it was useless, for when it neither recognizes those who are present, nor hears their voice, nor is able to answer those words by which it will make that blessed covenant with the common master of us all, but is as a useless log, or a stone, and he who is about to be illuminated lies there differing nothing from a corpse, what is the profit of initiation in a case of such insensibility?
2. For he who is about to approach these holy and dread mysteries must be awake and alert, must be clean from all cares of this life, full of much self-restraint, much readiness; he must banish from his mind every thought foreign to the mysteries, and on all sides cleanse and prepare his home, as if about to receive the king himself. Such is the preparation of your mind: such are your thoughts; such the purpose of your soul. Await therefore a return worthy of this most excellent decision from God, who overpowers with His recompense those who show forth obedience to Him. But since it is necessary for his fellow servants to contribute of their own, then we will contribute of our own; yea rather not even are these things our own, but these too are our Master's. "For what hast thou," saith He, "that thou didst not receive? but if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"  I wished to say this first of all, why in the world our fathers, passing by the whole year, settled that the children of the Church should be initiated at this season; and for what reason, after the instruction from us, removing your shoes and raiment, unclad and unshod, with but one garment on, they conduct you to hear the words of the exorcisers. For it is not thoughtlessly and rashly that they have planned this dress and this season for us. But both these things have a certain mystic and secret reason. And I wish to say this to you. But I see that our discourse now constrains us to something more necessary to say what baptism is, and for what reason it enters into our life, and what good things it conveys to us.
But, if you will, let us discourse about the name which this mystic cleansing bears: for its name is not one, but very many and various. For this purification is called the laver of regeneration. "He saved us," he saith, "through the laver of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."  It is called also illumination, and this St. Paul again has called it, "For call to remembrance the former days in which after ye were illuminated ye endured a great conflict of sufferings;"  and again, "For it is impossible for those who were once illuminated, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and then fell away, to renew them again unto repentance."  It is called also, baptism: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ."  It is called also burial: "For we were buried" saith he, "with him, through baptism, into death."  It is called circumcision: "In whom ye were also circumcised, with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh."  It is called a cross: "Our old man was crucified with him that the body of sin might be done away."  It is also possible to speak of other names besides these, but in order that we should not spend our whole time over the names of this free gift, come, return to the first name, and let us finish our discourse by declaring its meaning; but in the meantime, let us extend our teaching a little further. There is that laver by means of the baths, common to all men, which is wont to wipe off bodily uncleanness; and there is the Jewish laver, more honorable than the other, but far inferior to that of grace; and it too wipes off bodily uncleanness but not simply uncleanness of body, since it even reaches to the weak conscience. For there are many matters, which by nature indeed are not unclean, but which become unclean from the weakness of the conscience. And as in the case of little children, masks, and other bugbears are not in themselves alarming, but seem to little children to be alarming, by reason of the weakness of their nature, so it is in the case of those things of which I was speaking; just as to touch dead bodies is not naturally unclean, but when this comes into contact with a weak conscience, it makes him who touches them unclean. For that the thing in question is not unclean naturally, Moses himself who ordained this law showed, when he bore off the entire corpse of Joseph, and yet remained clean. On this account Paul also, discoursing to us about this uncleanness which does not come naturally but by reason of the weakness of the conscience, speaks somewhat in this way, "Nothing is common of itself save to him who accounteth anything to be common."  Dost thou not see that uncleanness does not arise from the nature of the thing, but from the weakness of the reasoning about it? And again: "All things indeed are clean, howbeit it is evil to that man who eateth with offense."  Dost thou see that it is not to eat, but to eat with offense, that is the cause of uncleanness?
3. Such is the defilement from which the laver of the Jews cleansed. But the laver of grace, not such, but the real uncleanness which has introduced defilement into the soul as well as into the body. For it does not make those who have touched dead bodies clean, but those who have set their hand to dead works: and if any man be effeminate, or a fornicator, or an idolator, or a doer of whatever ill you please, or if he be full of all the wickedness there is among men: should he fall into this pool of waters, he comes up again from the divine fountain purer than the sun's rays. And in order that thou mayest not think that what is said is mere vain boasting, hear Paul speaking of the power of the laver, "Be not deceived: neither idolators, nor fornicators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor covetous, not drunkards, not revilers, not extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God."  And what has this to do with what has been spoken? says one, "for prove the question whether the power of the laver thoroughly cleanses all these things." Hear therefore what follows: "And such were some of you, but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the spirit of our God." We promise to show you that they who approach the laver become clean from all fornication: but the word has shown more, that they have become not only clean, but both holy and just, for it does not say only "ye were washed," but also "ye were sanctified and were justified." What could be more strange than this, when without toil, and exertion, and good works, righteousness is produced? For such is the lovingkindness of the Divine gift that it makes men just without this exertion. For if a letter of the Emperor, a few words being added, sets free those who are liable to countless accusations, and brings others to the highest honors; much rather will the Holy Spirit of God, who is able to do all things, free us from all evil and grant us much righteousness, and fill us with much assurance, and as a spark falling into the wide sea would straightway be quenched, or would become invisible, being overwhelmed by the multitude of the waters, so also all human wickedness, when it falls into the pool of the divine fountain, is more swiftly and easily overwhelmed, and made invisible, than that spark. And for what reason, says one, if the laver take away all our sins, is it called, not a laver of remission of sins, nor a laver of cleansing, but a laver of regeneration? Because it does not simply take away our sins, nor simply cleanse us from our faults, but so as if we were born again. For it creates and fashions us anew not forming us again out of earth, but creating us out of another element, namely, of the nature of water. For it does not simply wipe the vessel clean, but entirely remoulds it again. For that which is wiped clean, even if it be cleaned with care, has traces of its former condition, and bears the remains of its defilement, but that which falls into the new mould, and is renewed by means of the flames, laying aside all uncleanness, comes forth from the furnace, and sends forth the same brilliancy with things newly formed. As therefore any one who takes and recasts a golden statue which has been tarnished by time, smoke, dust, rust, restores it to us thoroughly cleansed and glistening: so too this nature of ours, rusted with the rust of sin, and having gathered much smoke from our faults, and having lost its beauty, which He had from the beginning bestowed upon it from himself, God has taken and cast anew, and throwing it into the waters as into a mould, and instead of fire sending forth the grace of the Spirit, then brings us forth with much brightness, renewed, and made afresh, to rival the beams of the sun, having crushed the old man, and having fashioned a new man, more brilliant than the former.
4. And speaking darkly of this crushing, and this mystic cleansing, the prophet of old said, "Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."  For that the word is in reference to the faithful, what goes before sufficiently shows us, "For thou art my Son," he says, "to-day have I begotten thee, ask of me and I will give the heathen for three inheritance, the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession."  Dost thou see how he has made mention of the church of the Gentiles, and has spoken of the kingdom of Christ extended on all sides? Then he says again, "Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron;" not grievous, but strong: "thou shalt break them in pieces like a potter's vessel."  Behold then, the laver is more mystically brought forward. For he does not say earthen vessels: but vessels of the potter. But, give heed: For earthen vessels when crushed would not admit of refashioning, on account of the hardness which was gained by them from the fire. But the fact is that the vessels of the potter are not earthen, but of clay; wherefore, also, when they have been distorted, they can easily, by the skill of the artificer, be brought again to a second shape. When, therefore, God speaks of an irremediable calamity, he does not say vessels of the potter, but an earthen vessel; when, for instance, he wished to teach the prophet and the Jews that he delivered up the city to an irremediable calamity, he bade him take an earthen wine-vessel, and crush it before all the people, and say, "Thus shall this city be destroyed, be broken in pieces."  But when he wishes to hold out good hopes to them, he brings the prophet to a pottery, and does not show him an earthen vessel, but shows him a vessel of clay, which was in the hands of the potter, falling to the ground: and brings him to it saying, "If this potter has taken up and remodelled his vessel which has fallen, shall I not much rather be able to restore you when you have fallen?"  It is possible therefore for God not only to restore those who are made of clay, through the laver of regeneration, but to bring back again to their original state, on their careful repentance, those who have received the power of the Spirit, and have lapsed. But this is not the time for you to hear words about repentance, rather may the time never come for you to fall into the need of these remedies, but may you always remain in preservation of the beauty and the brightness which ye are now about to receive, unsullied. In order, then, that ye may ever remain thus, come and let us discourse to you a little about your manner of life. For in the wrestling schools falls of the athletes are devoid of danger. For the wrestling is with friends, and they practice all their exercises on the persons of their teachers. But when the time of the contest has come, when the lists are open, when the spectators are seated above, when the president has arrived, it necessarily follows that the combatants, if they become careless, fall and retire in great disgrace, or if they are in earnest, win the crowns and the prizes. So then, in your case these thirty days are like some wrestling school, both for exercise and practice: let us learn from thence already to get the better of that evil demon. For it is to contend with him that we have to strip ourselves, with him after baptism are we to box and fight. Let us learn from thence already his grip, on what side he is aggressive, on what side he can easily threaten us, in order that, when the contest comes on, we may not feel strange, nor become confused, as seeing new forms of wrestling; but having already practiced them amongst ourselves, and having learnt all his methods, may engage in these forms of wrestling against him with courage. In all ways, therefore, is he accustomed to threaten us, but especially by means of the tongue, and the mouth. For there is no organ so convenient for him for our deception and our destruction as an unchastened tongue and an unchecked utterance. Hence come many slips on our part: hence many serious accusations against us. And the ease of these falls through the tongue a certain one showed, when he said, "Many fell by the sword, but not so many as by the tongue."  Now the gravity of the fall the same person shows us again when he says: "To slip upon a pavement is better than to slip with the tongue."  And what he speaks of is of this kind. Better it is, says he, that the body should fall and be crushed, than that such a word should go forth as destroys the soul; and he does not speak of falls merely; he also admonishes us that much forethought should be exercised, so that we should not be tripped up, thus saying "Make a door and bars for thy mouth,"  not that we should prepare doors and bars, but that with much security, we should shut the tongue off from outrageous words; and again in another place, after showing that we need influence from above, both as accompanying and preceding our own effort so as to keep this wild beast within: stretching forth his hands to God, the prophet said, "Let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice, set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips;" and he who before admonished, himself too  says again "Who shall set a watch before my mouth, and a seal of wisdom upon my lips?"  Dost thou not see, each one fearing these falls and bewailing them, both giving advice, and praying that the tongue may have the benefit of much watchfulness? and for what reason, says one, if this organ brings us such ruin, did God originally place it within us? Because indeed, it is of great use, and if we are careful, it is of use only, and brings no ruin. Hear, for example, what he says who spoke the former words, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue."  And Christ points to the same thing when he says, "By thy words thou shalt be condemned, and by thy words thou shalt be justified."  For the tongue stands in the midst ready for use on either hand. Thou art its master. Thus indeed a sword lies in the midst, and if thou use it against thine enemies, this organ becomes a means of safety for thee. But if thou thrust its stroke against thyself, not the nature of the iron, but thine own transgression becomes the cause of thy slaughter. Let us then take this view of the tongue. It is a sword lying in the midst; sharpen it for the purpose of accusing thine own sins. Thrust not the stroke against thy brother. For this reason God surrounded it with a double fortification; with the fence of the teeth and the barrier of the lips, that it may not rashly and without circumspection utter words which are not convenient. Well, dost thou say it will not endure this? Bridle it therefore within. Restrain it by means of the teeth, as though giving over its body to these executioners and making them bite it. For it is better that when it sins now it should be bitten by the teeth, than one day when it seeks a drop of water and is parched with heat, to be unable to obtain this consolation. In many other ways indeed it is wont to sin, by raillery and blasphemy, by uttering foul words, by slander, swearing, and perjury.
5. But in order that we may not by saying everything at once to-day, confuse your minds, we put before you one custom, namely, about the avoidance of oaths, saying this much by way of preface, and speaking plainly--that if you do not avoid oaths, I say not perjury merely, but those too which happen in the cause of justice, we shall not further discourse upon any other subject. For it is monstrous that teachers of letters should not give a second lesson to their children until they see the former one fixed well in their memory, but that we, without being able to express our first lessons clearly, should inculcate others before the first are completed. For this is nothing else than to pour into a perforated jar. Give great care, then, that ye silence not our mouth. For this error is grave, and it is exceedingly grave because it does not seem to be grave, and on this account I fear it, because no one fears it. On this account the disease is incurable, because it does not seem to be a disease; but just as simple speech is not a crime, so neither does this seem to be a crime, but with much boldness this transgression is committed: and if any one call it in question, straightway laughter follows, and much ridicule, not of those who are called in question for their oaths, but of those who wish to rectify the disease. On this account I largely extend my discourse about these matters. For I wish to pull up a deep root, and to wipe out a long-standing evil: I speak not of perjury alone, but even of oaths in good faith. But so and so, says one, a forbearing man, consecrated to the priesthood, living in much self-control and piety, takes an oath. Do not speak to me of this forbearing person, this self-controlled, pious man who is consecrated to the priesthood; but if thou wilt, add that this man is Peter, or Paul, or even an angel descended out of heaven. For not even in such a case do I regard the dignity of their persons. For the law which I read upon oaths, is not that of the servant, but of the King: and when the edicts of a king are read, let every claim of the servants be silent. But if thou art able to say that Christ bade us use oaths, or that Christ did not punish the doing of this, show me, and I am persuaded. But if he forbids it with so much care, and takes so much thought about the matter as to class him who takes an oath with the evil one (for whatsoever is more than these, namely, than yea and nay, saith he, is of the devil),  why dost thou bring this person and that person forward? For not because of the carelessness of thy fellow servants, but from the injunctions of his own laws, will God record his vote against thee. I have commanded, he says, thou oughtest to obey, not to shelter thyself behind such and such a person and concern thyself with other persons' evil. Since the great David sinned a grievous sin, is it then safe for us to sin? Tell me: on this account then we ought to make sure of this point, and only to emulate the good works of the saints; and if there is carelessness, and transgression of the law anywhere, we ought to flee from it with great care. For our reckoning is not with our fellow-servants, but with our Master, and to him we shall give account for all done in our life. Let us prepare ourselves therefore for this tribunal. For even if he who transgresses this law be beyond everything revered and great, he shall certainly pay the penalty attaching to the transgression. For God is no respecter of persons. How then and in what way is it possible to flee from this sin? For one ought to show not only that the crime is grievous, but to give counsel how we may escape from it. Hast thou a wife, hast thou a servant, children, friends, acquaintance, neighbors? To all these enjoin caution on these matters. Custom is a grievous thing, terrible to supplant, and hard to guard against, and it often attacks us unwilling and unknowing; therefore in so far as thou knowest the power of custom, to such an extent study to be freed from any evil custom, and transfer thyself to any other most useful one. For as that custom is often able to trip thee up, though thou art careful, and guardest thyself, and takest thought, and consideration, so if thou transferrest thyself to the good custom of abstaining from oaths, thou wilt not be able, either involuntarily or carelessly, to fall into the fault of oaths. For custom is really great and has the power of nature. In order then that we do not continually distress ourselves let us transfer ourselves to another custom, and ask thou each one of thy kindred and acquaintance this favor, that he advise thee and exhort thee to flee from oaths, and reprove thee, when detected in them. For the watch over thee which takes place on their part, is to them too counsel and a suggestion to what is right. For he who reproves another for oaths, will not himself easily fall into this pit. For much swearing is no ordinary pit, not only when it is about little matters but about the greatest. And we, whether buying vegetables, or quarrelling over two farthings, or in a rage with our servants and threatening them, always call upon God as our witness. But a freeman, possessed of some barren dignity, thou wouldest not dare to call upon as witness in the market to such things; but even if thou attemptedst it, thou wilt pay the penalty of thine insolence. But the King of Heaven, the Lord of Angels, when disputing both about purchases and money, and what not, thou draggest in for a testimony. And how can these things be borne? whence then should we escape from this evil custom? After setting those guards of which I spoke round us, let us fix on a specified time to ourselves for amendment, and adding thereto condemnation if, when the time has passed, we have not amended this. How long time will suffice for the purpose? I do not think that they who are very wary, and on the alert, and watchful about their own salvation, should need more than ten days, so as to be altogether free from the evil custom of oaths. But if after ten days we be detected swearing, let us add a penalty due to ourselves, and let us fix upon the greatest punishment and condemnation of the transgression; what then is this condemnation? This I do not fix upon, but will suffer you yourselves to determine the sentence. So we arrange matters in our own case, not only in respect of oaths but in respect of other defects, and fixing a time for ourselves, with most grievous punishments, if at any time we have fallen into them, shall come clean to our Master, and shall escape the fire of hell, and shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ with boldness, to which may we all attain, by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom be glory to the Father together with the Holy Spirit for ever and ever: Amen.
1. I have come to ask first of all for some fruit in return for the words lately said out of brotherly love to you. For we do not speak in order that ye should hear simply, but in order that ye should remember what has been said, and may afford us evidence of this, by your works. Yea, rather, not us, but, God, who knows the secrets of the heart. On this account indeed instruction is so called, in order that even when we are absent, our discourse may instruct your hearts.  And be not surprised if, after an interval of ten days only, we have come asking for fruit from the seed sown. For in one day it is possible at once to let the seed fall, and to accomplish the harvest. For strengthened not by our own power alone, but by the influence which comes from God, we are summoned to the conflict. Let as many therefore as have received what has been spoken, and have fulfilled it by their works, remain reaching forth to the things which are before. But let as many as have not yet arrived at this good achievement, arrive at it straightway, that they may dispel the condemnation which arises out of their sloth by their diligence for the future. For it is possible, it is indeed possible for him who has been very slothful, by using diligence for the future to recover the whole loss of the time that is past. Wherefore, He says, "To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the day of provocation."  And this, He says, exhorting and counselling us; that we should never despair, but so long as we are here, should have good hopes, and should lay hold on what is before us, and hasten towards the prize of our high calling of God. This then let us do, and let us inquire into the names of this great gift. For as ignorance of the greatness of this dignity makes those who are honored with it more slothful, so when it is known it renders them thankful, and makes them more earnest; and anyhow it would be disgraceful and ridiculous that they who enjoy such glory and honors from God, should not even know what the names of it are intended to show forth. And why do I speak about this gift, for if thou wilt consider the common name of our race, thou wilt receive the greatest instruction and incentive to virtue. For this name "Man," we do not define according as they who are without define it, but as the Divine Scripture has bidden us. For a man is not merely whosoever has hands and feet of a man, nor whosoever is rational only, but whosoever practices piety and virtue with boldness. Hear, at least, what he says concerning Job. For in saying that "there was a man in the land of Ausis,"  he does not describe him in those terms in which they who are without describe him, nor does he say this because he had two feet and broad nails, but he added the evidences of his piety and said, "just, true, fearing God, eschewing every evil deed,"  showing that this is a man; even as therefore another says, "Fear God, and keep his commandments, because this is the whole man."  But if the name man affords such a great incentive to virtue, much rather the term faithful. For thou art called faithful on this account, because thou hast faith in God, and thyself art entrusted from Him with righteousness, sanctification, cleansing of soul, adoption, the kingdom of heaven. He entrusted thee with these, and handed them over to thee. Thou in turn hast entrusted, and handed over other things to him, almsgiving, prayers, self-control and every other virtue. And why do I say almsgiving? If thou givest him even a cup of cold water, thou shalt not indeed lose this, but even this he keeps with care against that day, and will restore it with overflowing abundance. For this truly is wonderful, that he does not keep only that which has been entrusted to him, but in recompensing it increases it.
This too he has bidden thee do according to thy power, with what has been entrusted to thee, to extend the holiness which thou hast received, and to make the righteousness which comes from the laver brighter, and the gift of grace more radiant; even as therefore Paul did, increasing all the good things which he received by his subsequent labors, and his zeal, and his diligence. And look at the carefulness of God; neither did he give the whole to thee then, nor withhold the whole, but gave part, and promised part. And for what reason did he not give the whole then? In order that thou mightest show thy faith about Him, believing, on his promise alone, in what was not yet given. And for what reason again did he not there dispense the whole, but did give the grace of the Spirit, and righteousness and sanctification? In order that he might lighten thy labors for thee, and by what has been already given may also put thee in good hope for that which is to come. On this account, too, thou art about to be called newly-enlightened, because thy light is ever new, if thou wilt, and is never quenched. For this light of day, whether we will or no, the night succeeds, but darkness knows not that light's ray. "For the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not."  Not so bright at least is the world, when the sunbeams come forth, as the soul shines and becomes brighter when it has received grace from the Spirit and learns more exactly the nature of the case. For when night prevails, and there is darkness, often a man has seen a coil of rope and has thought it was a serpent, and has fled from an approaching friend as from an enemy, and being aware of some noise, has become very much alarmed; but when the day has come, nothing of this sort could happen, but all appears just as it really is; which thing also occurs in the case of our soul. For when grace has come, and driven away the darkness of the understanding, we learn the exact nature of things, and what was before dreadful to us becomes contemptible. For we no longer fear death, after learning exactly, from this sacred initiation, that death is not death, but a sleep and a seasonable slumber; nor poverty nor disease, nor any other such thing, knowing that we are on our way to a better life, undefiled and incorruptible, and free from all such vicissitudes.
2. Let us not therefore remain craving after the things of this life, neither after the luxury of the table, or costliness of raiment. For thou hast the most excellent of raiment, thou hast a spiritual table thou hast the glory from on high, and Christ is become to thee all things, thy table, thy raiment, thy home, thy head, thy stem. "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ, did put on Christ."  See how he has become raiment for thee. Dost thou wish to learn how he becomes a table for thee? "He who eateth me," says He, "as I live because of the Father, he also shall live because of me;"  and that he becometh a home for thee, "he that eateth my flesh abideth in me, and I in him;"  and that He is stem He says again, "I am the vine, ye the branches,"  and that he is brother, and friend, and bride-groom, "I no longer call you servants: for ye are my friends;"  and Paul again, "I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ;"  and again, "That he might be the first-born among many brethren;"  and we become not his brethren only, but also his children, "For behold," he says, "I and the children which God has given me"  and not this only, but His members, and His body. For as if what has been said were not enough to show forth the love and the good will which He has shown forth towards us, He has added another thing greater and nearer still, calling himself besides, our head. Knowing all these matters, beloved, requite thy benefactor by the best conversation, and considering the greatness of the sacrifice, adorn the members of thy body; consider what thou receivest in thine hand, and never suffer it to strike any one, nor shame what has been honored with so great a gift by the sin of a blow. Consider what thou receivest in thine hand, and keep it clean from all covetousness and extortion; think that thou dost not receive this in thy hand, but also puttest it to thy mouth, and guard thy tongue in purity from base and insolent words, blasphemy, perjury, and all other such things. For it is disastrous that what is ministered to by such most dread mysteries, and has been dyed red with such blood, and has become a golden sword, should be perverted to purposes of raillery, and insult, and buffoonery. Reverence the honor with which God has honoured it, and bring it not down to the vileness of sin, but having reflected again that after the hand and the tongue, the heart receives this dread mystery, do not ever weave a plot against thy neighbor, but keep thy thoughts pure from all evil. Thus thou shalt be able to keep thine eyes too, and thy hearing safe. For is it not monstrous, after this mystic voice is borne from heaven--I mean the voice of the Cherubim--to defile thy hearing with lewd songs, and dissolute melodies? and does it not deserve the utmost punishment if, with the same eyes with which thou lookest upon the unspeakable and dread mysteries, thou lookest upon harlots, and dost commit adultery in thy heart. Thou art called to a marriage, beloved: enter not in clad in sordid raiment, but take a robe suitable to the marriage. For if when men are called to a material marriage, though they be poorer than all others, they often possess themselves of or buy clean raiment, and so go to meet those who called them. Do thou too who hast been called to a spiritual marriage, and to a royal banquet, consider what kind of raiment it would be right for thee to buy, but rather there is not even need to purchase, yea he himself who calls thee gives it thee gratis, in order that thou mayest not be able to plead poverty in excuse. Keep, therefore, the raiment which thou receivedst. For if thou losest it, thou wilt not be able to use it henceforth, or to buy it. For this kind of raiment is nowhere sold. Hast thou heard how those who were initiated, in old time, groaned, and beat their breasts, their conscience thereupon exciting them? Beware then, beloved, that thou do not at any time suffer like this. But how wilt thou not suffer, if thou dost not cast off the wicked habit of evil men? For this reason I said before, and speak now and will not cease speaking, if any has not rectified the defects in his morals, nor furnished himself with easily acquired virtue, let him not be baptized. For the laver is able to remit former sins, but there is no little fear, and no ordinary danger lest we return to them, and our remedy become a wound. For by how much greater the grace is, by so much is the punishment more for those who sin after these things.
3. In order, therefore, that we return not to our former vomit, let us henceforward discipline ourselves. For that we must repent beforehand, and desist from our former evil, and so come forward for grace, hear what John says, and what the leader of the apostles says to those who are about to be baptized. For the one says, "Bring forth fruit worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our Father;"  and the other says again to those who question him, "Repent ye and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ."  Now he who repents, no longer touches the same matters of which he repented. On this account, also, we are bidden to say, "I renounce thee, Satan," in order that we may never more return to him.  As therefore happens in the case of painters from life, so let it happen in your case. For they, arranging their boards, and tracing white lines upon them, and sketching the royal likeness in outline, before they apply the actual colors, rub out some lines, and change some for others, rectifying mistakes, and altering what is amiss with all freedom. But when they put on the coloring for good, it is no longer in their power to rub out again, and to change one thing for another, since they injure the beauty of the portrait, and the result becomes an eyesore. Consider that thy soul is the portrait; before therefore the true coloring of the spirit comes, wipe out habits which have wrongly been implanted in thee, whether swearing, or falsehood, or insolence, or base talking, or jesting, or whatever else thou hast a habit of doing of things unlawful. Away with the habit, in order that thou mayest not return to it, after baptism. The laver causes the sins to disappear. Correct thy habits, so that when the colors are applied, and the royal likeness is brought out, thou mayest no more wipe them out in the future; and add damage and scars to the beauty which has been given thee by God.  Restrain therefore anger, extinguish passion. Be not thou vexed, be sympathizing, be not exasperated, nor say, "I have been injured in regard to my soul." No one is injured in regard to the soul if we do not injure ourselves in regard to the soul; and how this is, I now say. Has any one taken away thy substance? He has not injured thee in regard to thy soul, but thy money. But if thou cherish ill-will against him, thou hast injured thyself in regard to thy soul. For the money taken away has wrought thee no damage, nay has even been profitable, but thou by not dismissing thine anger wilt give account in the other world for this cherishing of ill-will. Has any one reviled thee and insulted thee. He has in no way injured thy soul, and not even thy body. Hast thou reviled in return and insulted? Thou hast injured thyself in regard to thy soul, for for the words which thou hast said thou art about to render account there; and this I wish you to know chiefly of all, that the Christian, and faithful man, no one is able to injure in regard to the soul, not even the devil himself; and not only is this wonderful, that God hath made us inaccessible to all his designs, but that he has constituted us fit for the practice of virtue, and there is no hinderance, if we will, even though we be poor, weak in body, outcast, nameless, bondservants. For neither poverty, nor infirmity, nor deformity of body, nor servitude, nor any other of such things could ever become a hinderance to virtue; and why do I say, poor, and a bondservant, and nameless? Even if thou art a prisoner, not even this would be ever any hinderance to thee as regards virtue. And how this is I proceed to say. Has any of thy household grieved thee and provoked thee? dismiss thy wrath against him. Have bonds, and poverty, and obscurity been any hinderance to thee in this respect? and why do I say hinderance? They have both helped and contributed to restrain pride. Hast thou seen another prospering? do not envy him. For not even in this case is poverty a bar. Again, whenever thou needest to pray, do so with a sober and watchful mind, and nothing shall be a bar even in that case. Show all meekness, forbearance, self-restraint, gravity. For these things need no external helps. And this especially is the chief point about virtue, that it has no necessity for wealth, power, glory, nor anything of that kind, but of a sanctified soul alone, and it seeks for nothing more. And behold, also, the same thing happening in respect of grace. For if any one be lame, if he has had his eyes put out, if he be maimed in body, if he has fallen into the last extremity of weakness, grace is not hindered from coming by any of these things. For it only seeks a soul receiving it with readiness, and all these external things it passes over. For in the case of worldly soldiers, those who are about to enlist them for the army seek for stature of body and healthy condition, and it is not only necessary that he who is about to become a soldier should have these alone, but he must also be free. For if anybody be a slave, he is rejected. But the King of Heaven seeks for nothing of this kind, but receives slaves into his army, and aged people, and the languid in limb, and is not ashamed. What is more merciful than this? What could be more kind? For he seeks for what is in our own power, but they seek for what is not in our power. For to be a slave or free is not our doing. To be tall, again, or short is not in our own power, or to be aged, or well grown, and such like. But to be forbearing and kind, and so forth, are matters of our own choice; and God demands of us only those things of which we have control. And quite reasonably. For He does not call us to grace because of his own need, but because of doing us kindness; but kings, because of services required by them; and they carry men off to an outward and material warfare, but He to a spiritual combat; and it is not only in the case of heathen wars, but in the case of the games also that one may see the same analogy. For they who are about to be brought into the theatre, do not descend to the contest until the herald himself takes them beneath the gaze of all, and leads them round, shouting out and saying, "Has any one a charge against this person?" although in that case the struggle is not concerned with the soul, but with the body. Wherefore then dost thou demand proofs of nobleness? But in this case there is nothing of the kind, but all is different, our contest not consisting of hand locked in hand, but in philosophy of soul, and excellence of mind. The president of our conflicts does the opposite. For he does not take us, and lead us round and say, "Has any one a charge against this man?" but cries out, "Though all men, though demons, stand up with the devil and accuse him of extreme and unspeakable crimes, I reject him not, nor abhor him, but removing him from his accusers, and freeing him from his wickedness, thus I bring him to the contest. And this is very reasonable. For there indeed the president contributes nothing towards the victory, in the case of the combatants, but stands still in the midst. But here, the President of the contests for holiness becomes a fellow-combatant, and helper, sharing with them the conflict against the devil.
4. And not only is this the wonderful thing that he remits our sins, but that he not even reveals them nor makes them manifest and patent, nor compels us to come forward into the midst, and to tell out our errors, but bids us make our defense to him alone, and to confess ourselves to him. And yet among secular judges, if any tell any of the robbers or grave-riflers, when they are arrested, to tell their errors and be quit of their punishment, they would accede to this with all readiness, despising the shame through desire of safety. But in this case there is nothing of this kind, but he both remits the sins, nor compels us to marshal them in array before any spectators. But one thing alone he seeks, that he who enjoys this remission should learn the greatness of the gift. How is it not, therefore, absurd that in case where he does us service, he should be content with our testimony only, but in those where we serve him we seek for others as witnesses, and do a thing for ostentation's sake? While we wonder then at his kindliness, let us show forth our doings, and before all others let us curb the vehemence of our tongue, and not always be giving utterance. "For in the multitude of words there wanteth not transgression."  If indeed then thou hast anything useful to say, open thy lips. But if there be nothing necessary for thee to say, be silent, for it is better. Art thou a handicraftsman? as thou sittest at work, sing psalms. Dost thou not wish to sing with thy mouth? do this in thine heart; a psalm is a great companion. In this case thou shalt undergo nothing serious, but shalt be able to sit in thy workshop as in a monastery. For not suitableness of place, but strictness of morals will afford us quiet. Paul, at least, pursuing his trade in a workshop suffered no injury to his own virtue.  Do not thou therefore say, How can I, being a handicraftsman and a poor man, be a philosopher? This is indeed the very reason why thou mayest be a philosopher. For poverty is far more conducive to piety for us than wealth, and work than idleness; since wealth is even a hinderance to those who do not take heed. For when it is needful to dismiss anger, to extinguish envy, to curb passion, to offer prayer, to exhibit forbearance and meekness, kindliness and charity, when would poverty be a bar? For it is not possible by spending money to accomplish these things, but by exhibiting a right disposition; almsgiving especially needs money, but even it shines forth in greater degree through poverty. For she who spent the two mites was poorer than all men, and yet surpassed all.  Let us not then consider wealth to be anything great, nor gold to be better than clay. For the value of material things is not owing to their nature, but to our estimate of them. For if any one would inquire carefully, iron is much more necessary than gold. For the one contributes to no need of our life, but the other has furnished us with the greater part of our needs, ministering to countless arts; and why do I speak of a comparison between gold and iron? For these stones  are more necessary than precious stones. For of those nothing serviceable could be made, but out of these, houses and walls and cities are erected. But do thou show me what gain could be derived from these pearls, rather what harm would not happen? For in order that thou mayest wear one pearl drop, countless poor people are pinched with hunger. What excuse wilt thou hit upon? what pardon?
Dost thou wish to adorn thy face? Do so not with pearls, but with modesty, and dignity. So thy countenance will be more full of grace in the eyes of thy husband. For the other kind of adorning is wont to plunge him into a suspicion of jealousy, and into enmity, quarrelsomeness and strife, for nothing is more annoying than a face which is suspected. But the ornament of compassion and modesty casts out all evil suspicion, and will draw thy partner to thee more strongly than any bond. For natural beauty does not impart such comeliness to the face as does the disposition of him who beholds it, and nothing is so wont to produce that disposition as modesty and dignity; so that if any woman be comely, and her husband be ill affected towards her, she appears to him the most worthless of all women; and if she do not happen to be fair of face, but her husband be well affected towards her, she appears more comely than all. For sentence is given not according to the nature of what is beheld, but according to the disposition of the beholders. Adorn thy face then with modesty, dignity, pity, lovingkindness, charity, affection for thy husband, forbearance, meekness, endurance of ill. These are the tints of virtue. By means of these thou wilt attract angels not human beings to be thy lovers. By means of these thou hast God to commend thee, and when God receives thee, he will certainly win over thy husband for thee. For if the wisdom of a man illuminates his countenance,  much more does the virtue of a woman illuminate her face; and if thou considerest this to be a great ornament, tell me what will be the advantage of the pearls in that day? But why is it necessary to speak of that day, since it is possible to show all this from what happens now. When, then, they who thought fit to revile the emperor were dragged to the judgment hall, and were in danger of extreme measures being taken, then the mothers, and the wives, laying aside their necklaces, and their golden ornaments, and pearls, and all adornment, and golden raiment, wearing a simple and mean dress, and besprinkled with ashes, prostrated themselves before the doors of the judgment hall and thus won over the judges; and if in the case of these earthly courts of justice, the golden ornaments, and the pearls, and the variegated dress would have been a snare and a betrayal, but forbearance, and meekness, and ashes, and tears, and mean garments persuaded the judge, much more would this take place in the case of that impartial and dread tribunal. For what reason wilt thou be able to state, what defense, when the Master lays these pearls to thy charge, and brings the poor who have perished with hunger into the midst? On this account Paul said, "not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly raiment."  For therein would be a snare. And if we were to enjoy them continually, yet we shall lay them aside with death. But arising out of virtue there is all security, and no vicissitude and changeableness, but here it makes us more secure, and also accompanies us there. Dost thou wish to possess pearls, and never to lay aside this wealth? Take off all ornament and place it in the hands of Christ through the poor. He will keep all thy wealth for thee, when He shall raise up thy body with much radiancy. Then He shall invest thee with better wealth and greater ornament, since this present is mean and absurd. Consider then whom thou wishest to please, and for whose sake thou puttest on this ornament, not in order that the ropemaker and the coppersmith and the huckster may admire. Then art thou not ashamed, nor blushest thou when thou showest thyself to them? doing all on their account whom thou dost not consider worthy of accosting.
How then wilt thou laugh this fancy to scorn? If thou wilt remember that word, which thou sentest forth when thou wert initiated, I renounce thee, Satan, and thy pomp, and thy service. For the frenzy about pearls is a pomp of Satan. For thou didst receive gold not in order that thou mightest bind it on to thy body, but in order that thou mightest release and nourish the poor. Say therefore constantly, I renounce thee, Satan. Nothing is more safe than this word if we shall prove it by our deeds.
5. This I think it right that you who are about to be initiated should learn. For this word is a covenant with the Master. And just as we, when we buy slaves, first ask those who are being sold if they are willing to be our servants: So also does Christ. When He is about to receive thee into service, He first asks if thou wishest to leave that cruel and relentless tyrant, and He receives covenants from thee. For his service is not forced upon thee. And see the lovingkindness of God. For we, before we put down the price, ask those who are being sold, and when we have learned that they are willing, then we put down the price. But Christ not so, but He even put down the price for us all; his precious blood. For, He says, ye were bought with a price.  Notwithstanding, not even then does He compel those who are unwilling, to serve him; but except thou hast grace, He says, and of thine own accord and will determinest to enroll thyself under my rule, I do not compel, nor force thee. And we should not have chosen to buy wicked slaves. But if we should at any time have so chosen, we buy them with a perverted choice, and put down a corresponding price for them. But Christ, buying ungrateful and lawless slaves, put down the price of a servant of first quality, nay rather much more, and so much greater that neither speech nor thought can set forth its greatness. For neither giving heaven, nor earth, nor sea, but giving up that which is more valuable than all these, his own blood, thus He bought us. And after all these things, he does not require of us witnesses, or registration, but is content with the single word, if thou sayest it from thy heart. "I renounce thee, Satan, and thy pomp," has included all. Let us then say this, "I renounce thee, Satan," as men who are about in that world at that day to have that word demanded of them, and let us keep it in order that we may then return this deposit safe. But Satan's pomps are theatres, and the circus, and all sin, and observance of days, and incantations and omens.
"And what are omens?" says one. Often when going forth from his own house he has seen a one-eyed or lame man, and has shunned him as an omen. This is a pomp of Satan. For meeting the man does not make the day turn out ill, but to live in sin. When thou goest forth, then, beware of one thing--that sin does not meet thee. For this it is which trips us up. And without this the devil will be able to do us no harm. What sayest thou? Thou seest a man, and shunnest him as an omen, and dost not see the snare of the devil, how he sets thee at war with him who has done thee no wrong, how he makes thee the enemy of thy brother on no just pretext; but God has bidden us love our enemies; but thou art turned away from him who did thee no wrong, having nothing to charge him with, and dost thou not consider how great is the absurdity, how great the shame, rather how great is the danger? Can I speak of anything more absurd? I am ashamed, indeed, and I blush: But for your salvation's sake, I am, I am compelled to speak of it. If a virgin meet him he says the day becomes unsuccessful; but if a harlot meet him, it is propitious, and profitable, and full of much business; are you ashamed? and do you smite your foreheads, and bend to the ground? But do not this on account of the words which I have spoken, but of the deeds which have been done. See then, in this case, how the devil hid his snare, in order that we might turn away from the modest, but salute and be friendly to the unchaste. For since he has heard Christ saying that "He who looketh on a woman to desire her, has already committed adultery with her,"  and has seen many get the better of unchastity, wishing by another wrong to cast them again into sin, by this superstitious observance he gladly persuades them to pay attention to whorish women.
And what is one to say about them who use charms and amulets, and encircle their heads and feet with golden coins of Alexander of Macedon. Are these our hopes, tell me, that after the cross and death of our Master, we should place our hopes of salvation on an image of a Greek king? Dost thou not know what great result the cross has achieved? It has abolished death, has extinguished sin, has made Hades useless, has undone the power of the devil, and is it not worth trusting for the health of the body? It has raised up the whole world, and dost thou not take courage in it? And what wouldest thou be worthy to suffer, tell me? Thou dost not only have amulets always with thee, but incantations bringing drunken and half-witted old women into thine house, and art thou not ashamed, and dost thou not blush, after so great philosophy, to be terrified at such things? and there is a graver thing than this error. For when we deliver these exhortations, and lead them away, thinking that they defend themselves, they say, that the woman is a Christian who makes these incantations, and utters nothing else than the name of God. On this account I especially hate and turn away from her, because she makes use of the name of God, with a view to ribaldry. For even the demons uttered the name of God, but still they were demons, and thus they used to say to Christ, "We know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God,"  and notwithstanding, he rebuked them, and drave them away. On this account, then, I beseech you to cleanse yourselves from this error, and to keep hold of this word as a staff; and just as without sandals, and cloak, no one of you would choose to go down to the market-place, so without this word never enter the market-place, but when thou art about to pass over the threshold of the gateway, say this word first: I leave thy ranks, Satan, and thy pomp, and thy service, and I join the ranks of Christ. And never go forth without this word. This shall be a staff to thee, this thine armor, this an impregnable fortress, and accompany this word with the sign of the cross on thy forehead. For thus not only a man who meets you, but even the devil himself, will be unable to hurt you at all, when he sees thee everywhere appearing with these weapons; and discipline thyself by these means henceforth, in order that when thou receivest the seal  thou mayest be a well-equipped soldier, and planting thy trophy against the devil, may receive the crown of righteousness, which may it be the lot of us all to obtain, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom be glory to the Father and to the Holy Spirit for ever and ever--Amen.
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