Writings of John Chrysostom. Concerning the Statues.

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St. Chrysostom:

Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,

Addressed to the People of Antioch, Concerning the Statues.

The Oxford Translation and notes, revised 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.

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Homily XVI.

This Homily was delivered on the occasion of the Prefect [1650] entering the Church, for the purpose of pacifying the minds of the people, in consequence of a rumour of an intended sack [1651] having been announced to him, when all were meditating flight. It treats also on the subject of avoiding oaths, and on the words of the Apostle, "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ." [1652]

1. I commend the Prefect's consideration, that seeing the city agitated, and every one purposing a flight, he hath come here and afforded you consolation, and hath led you to entertain favourable hopes. But for you I blushed, and was ashamed, that after these long and frequent discourses ye should have needed consolation from without. [1653] I longed that the earth would open and swallow me up, when I heard him discoursing with you, alternately administering comfort, or blaming such ill-timed [1654] and senseless cowardice. For it was not becoming, that you should be instructed by him; but you ought yourselves to be teachers to all the unbelievers. [1655] Paul did not permit even going to law before the unbelievers; [1656] but thou, after so much admonition of our Fathers, [1657] hast needed teachers from without; and certain vagabonds and miscreants have again unsettled this great city, and set it upon flight. With what eyes shall we hereafter look upon the unbelievers, we who were so timid and cowardly? With what tongue shall we speak to them, and persuade them to exercise courage as to approaching evils, when we became through this alarm more timid than any hare? "But what could we do," says some one, "we are but men!" This is indeed the very reason why we ought not to be terrified, because we are men, and not brutes. For these are scared by all manner of sounds and noises; because they have not reasoning power, which is adequate to dispel fear. But thou who hast been honoured with the gift of speech and reason, how is it that thou sinkest to their ignoble condition? Hath some one entered the city, and announced the march of soldiers against it? Be not terrified, but leaving him, bend the knee: call upon thy Lord: groan bitterly, and He will keep off the dreaded event.

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2. Thou hadst heard indeed a false report of the march, and wert in danger of being severed from the present life. [1658] But that blessed Job, when the messengers came one after another, and he had heard them announcing their dreadful news, and adding thereto the insupportable destruction of his children, neither cried nor groaned, but turned to prayer, and gave thanks to the Lord. Him do thou too imitate; and when any comer announces that soldiers have encircled the city, and are about to plunder its wealth, flee to thy Lord and say, "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away; as it seemeth good to the Lord, so is it done. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever." The experience of the actual events did not terrify him; yet the mere report frightens thee. And how are we to be accounted of, who when we are commanded [1659] boldly to encounter death itself, are thus affrighted by a false rumour! The man who is bewildered constructs fear which is unreal; and trouble which is not visible; but he who abides in a settled and tranquil condition of soul, breaks in pieces even that which is real. Seest thou not pilots; when the sea is raging, and the clouds are rushing together, and the thunders are bursting forth, and all on board are in confusion, they seat themselves at the helm without tumult or disturbance; giving earnest heed to their own art, and considering how they may ward off the effects of the approaching storm. Be these thy example; and laying hold of the sacred anchor, the hope that is in God, remain unshaken and immoveable. "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it." [1660] Seest thou that it is the character of folly to fall down headlong, and to be overthrown? Or rather, we were not only reduced to the condition of that foolish man, but our fall was still more wretched. For the house of that man fell down after the rivers and rains had descended, and the winds had beaten upon it; but we, when there were no winds striking, nor floods invading, nor blasts assaulting, before the experience of disaster, were overturned by a mere rumour, and dropped at once all the philosophy we were meditating.

3. What think ye are now my thoughts? How should I conceal,--yea, bury myself? How must I blush with shame? If I had not been forcibly urged by our Fathers, I would not have arisen, I would not have spoken, whilst my mind was darkened with sadness because of your pusillanimity. But neither now have I been able to recover myself; since anger and sorrow have laid such seige to my soul. For who would not feel provoked and indignant, that after so much teaching ye should need the instructions of Gentiles, that ye might be comforted and persuaded to bear in a manly way the present alarm. Pray ye therefore that free utterance may be given us in opening our mouth; and that we may be able to shake off this sadness, and to hold up again a little; for indeed this shame on account of your pusillanimity hath greatly depressed our spirits.

4. Lately, I addressed to your Charity many things concerning the snares lying on all sides of us; and concerning fear and sadness, sorrow and pleasure; and also concerning the sickle that flieth down upon the houses of swearers. Now, out of all these many matters, I would have you especially to remember what I said respecting the "winged sickle," and its settling in the swearer's house; and pulling down the stones and the wood, and consuming the whole mass. And withal, take heed to this; that it is the extreme of folly to swear by taking the Gospels, and to turn the very Law which forbids swearing into an oath; and that it is better to suffer loss of property than to impose an oath on our neighbours; since this is a great honour to be done to God. For when thou sayest to God, "For thy sake I have not put such a one, who hath robbed and injured me, on his oath," God will pay thee back a great recompense on account of this honour, both here and hereafter. Say these things to others, and observe them also yourselves. I know that in this place we become more reverent, and lay aside every evil habit. But what is to be aimed at is, not that we be lovers of wisdom here only, but that when we depart, we may take this reverence out with us, where we especially need it. For those who carry water do not merely have their vessels full when near the fountain, and empty them when they reach home, but there they put them away with especial caution, that they may not be overturned, and their labours rendered useless. Let us all imitate these persons; and when we come home, let us strictly retain what has been spoken; since if ye here have gotten full, but return home empty, having the vessels of your understandings destitute of what ye have heard, there will be no advantage from your replenishment here. Shew me not the wrestler in the place of exercise, but of actual contest; and religion not at the season of hearing, but at the season of practice.

5. Thou applaudest what is said now. When thou art required to swear, then remember all these things. If ye quickly accomplish this law, we will advance our teaching to other and greater things. Lo! this is the second year that I am discoursing to your Charity; and I have not yet been able to explain a hundred lines [1661] of the Scriptures. And the reason is, that ye need to learn of us what ye might reduce to practice at home, and of yourselves; and thus the greater part of our exhortation is consumed on ethical discourse. But this ought not to have been so; the regulation of manners you ought to have learnt at home, and of yourselves; but the sense of the Scriptures, and the speculations upon them, you might commit to us. If, however, it were necessary that you should hear such things of us, there was no need of more than one day: for what there is to be said is of no diversified or difficult character, or such as requires any elaboration. For when God declares His sentence, subtle arguments are unseasonable. God hath said, "Thou shalt not swear." Do not then demand of me the reasons of this. It is a royal law. He who established it, knows the reason of the law. If it had not been profitable, He would not have forbidden it. Kings bring in laws, and not all perchance profitable; for they are men, and cannot be competent to discover what is useful, like God. Nevertheless, we obey them. Whether we marry, or make wills, or are about to purchase servants, or houses, or fields, or to do any other act, we do these things not according to our own mind, but according to the laws which they ordain; and we are not entirely at liberty to dispose of the things which concern ourselves according to our own minds; but in many cases we are subject to their will; and should we do any thing that is contrary to their judgment, it becomes invalid and useless. So then tell me, are we to pay so much respect to the laws of men, and trample under foot the law of God? What defence, or what pardon can such conduct be worthy of? He hath said, "Thou shalt not swear." In order that thou mayest do and speak all things with safety, do not in practice lay down a law contrary to His.

6. But enough of these matters. Let us now proceed to lay before you one sentence of those which have been read to-day, and thus end this discourse. "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ," saith he, "and Timothy the brother." [1662] Great is the designation of Paul: no title of principality and power, but he speaks of bonds and chains! Truly great indeed! Although many other things made him illustrious; his being caught up into the third heaven, his being transported to Paradise, his hearing unutterable words; yet he sets down none of these, but mentions the chain instead of all, for this made him more conspicuous and illustrious than these. And why so? Because the one were the free gifts of the Lord's lovingkindness; and the other the marks of the constancy and patience of the servant. But it is customary with those who love, to glory more in the things which they suffer for those who are beloved, than in the benefits they receive from them. A king is not so proud of his diadem, as Paul gloried in his chains. And very justly. For a diadem affords but an ornament to the crowned head; but the chain is a much greater ornament as well as a security. The kingly crown often betrays the head it encircles, and allures innumerable traitors, and invites them to the lust of empire. And in battles this ornament is so dangerous, that it must be hidden and laid aside. Hence kings in battle, change the outward dress, and so mingle in the crowd of combatants; so much betrayal does there result from the crown; but the chain will bring nothing of this kind upon those who have it, but altogether the contrary; since if there be a war, and an engagement with demons, and the hostile powers; the man who is thus encompassed, by holding forth his chain, repels their assaults. And many of the secular magistrates not only bear the name of office while they are in authority, but when they have given up their authority. Such a one is called an ex-consul, such a one an ex-prætor. But he, instead of all such titles, says, "Paul the prisoner." And very rightly. For those magisterial offices are no complete evidences of virtue in respect to the soul; for they are to be purchased by money, and obtained by the solicitations of friends; but this distinction that is obtained by bonds is a proof of the soul's love of wisdom, and the strongest sign of a longing for Christ. And the former are soon gone, but this distinction has none to succeed to it. Behold at least from that time to the present day how long a time has passed, and yet the name of this Prisoner has become increasingly illustrious. As to all the consuls, whoever they were, of former times, they are passed into silence; and not even their names are known to the generality of mankind. But the name of this Prisoner, the blessed Paul, is still great here, great in the land of the barbarians, great also among the Scythians and Indians; and were you to go even to the very bounds of the habitable world, you would hear of this appellation, and whithersoever any one could come, he would perceive that the name of Paul was borne in the mouths of all men. And what marvel is it, if it be so by land and sea, when even in the heavens the name of Paul is great; with angels and archangels and the powers above, and with the King of these, even God! "But what were the chains," says some one, "that brought glory to him who was thus fettered? Were they not formed of iron?" Of iron, indeed, they were formed; but they contained the grace of the Spirit, abundantly flourishing in them; since he wore them for Christ's sake. Oh, wonder! the servants were bound, the Master was crucified, and yet the preaching of the Gospel every day increases! And through the means by which it was supposed that it would be extinguished, by these very means it was kindled; and the Cross and bonds, which were thought to be an abomination, these are now become the symbols of salvation; and that iron was to us more precious than all gold, not by its intrinsic nature, but for this cause and ground!

7. But here I see an enquiry arising out of this point; and if you give me your attention, I will both state the question exactly, and will add the solution. What then is the subject of enquiry? This same Paul once having come before Festus, whilst discoursing to him, and defending himself concerning the charges which the Jews had alleged against him, and telling how he had seen Jesus, how he had heard that blessed voice; how he had been struck with blindness and recovered sight, and had fallen down and risen up again; how he had come a captive into Damascus, bound without chains; after speaking likewise of the Law and of the Prophets, and shewing that they had foretold all these things, he captured the judge, and almost persuaded him to come over to himself. For such are the souls of holy men: when they have fallen into dangers, they do not consider how they may be delivered from dangers, but strive every way how they may capture their persecutors. Just so did it then happen. He came in to defend himself, and he departed taking the judge with him! [1663] And to this the judge bore witness, saying, "Almost [1664] thou persuadest me to be a Christian." [1665] And this ought to have happened to-day; and this Prefect, on coming among you, ought to have admired your magnanimity, your fortitude, your perfect tranquillity; and to have gone away, taking with him a lesson from your good order, admiring your assembly, praising your congress, and learning from the actual fact, how great a difference there is between Gentiles and Christians!

8. But as I was saying:--When Paul had caught him, and he said, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian," Paul answered thus, "I would to God that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds." [1666] What sayest thou, O Paul? When thou writest to the Ephesians, thou sayest, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you, that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called." [1667] And when thou speakest to Timothy, "Wherein I suffer trouble as an evil-doer, even unto bonds." [1668] And again, when to Philemon, thus; "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ." [1669] And again, when debating with the Jews, thou sayest, "For the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain." [1670] And writing to the Philippians, thou sayest, "Many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear." [1671] Every where thou bearest about the chain, everywhere thou puttest forward thy bonds, and boastest in the thing. But when thou comest to the tribunal, thou betrayest thy philosophy, where it were right to have spoken the most boldly, and sayest to the judge, "I would to God that thou mightest become a Christian `without' these bonds!" Yet surely if the bonds were good, and so good, that they could be the means of making others to grow bold in the cause of true religion; (for this very thing thou didst declare before, when thou saidst, "Many of the brethren, waxing confident by my bonds, did speak the word without fear"); for what reason dost thou not glory in this thing in the presence of the judge, but doest even the reverse?

9. Does not what I say appear a question? The solution of it, however, I will bring forward at once. For Paul acted thus, not from distress or fear, but from an abundance of wisdom and spiritual understanding. And how this was, I proceed to explain. He was addressing a Gentile, and an unbeliever, who knew nothing of our matters. Hence he was unwilling to introduce him by way of disagreeable things, but as he said, "I became to them that are without law, as without law;" [1672] so he acted in the present instance. His meaning is, "If the Gentile hear of bonds and tribulations, he will straightway be taking flight; since he knows not the power of bonds. First, let him become a believer; let him taste of the word preached, and then he will even of himself hasten towards these bonds. I have heard the Lord saying, "No man putteth a piece of new cloth into an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old wine-skins; else the wine-skins burst." [1673] The soul of this man is an old garment: an old wine-skin. It is not renewed by the faith, nor renovated by the grace of the Spirit. It is yet weak and earthly. It affects the things of this life. It flutters eagerly after worldly show. It loves a glory that is present. Should he hear at once, even from the first, that if he becomes a Christian he will become immediately a prisoner, and will be encompassed with a chain; feeling ashamed and indignant, he will recoil from the word preached. Therefore, saith he, "Except these bonds." [1674] Not as deprecating the bonds themselves, God forbid! But condescending to the other's infirmity; for he himself loved and welcomed his bonds, even as a woman fond of ornament doth her jewels of gold. Whence is this apparent? "I rejoice," saith he, "in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh." [1675] And again; "Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but to suffer for His sake." [1676] And again; "And not only so, but we also glory in tribulations." [1677] Wherefore, if he rejoices and glories in this, and calls it a gift of grace, it is manifest that when he was addressing the judge, he spoke to him as he did, for the reason assigned. Moreover, also in a different passage, when he happened to find a necessity for glorying, he shews the very same by saying, "Most gladly, therefore, will I glory in my infirmities......in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." [1678] And again; "If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities." [1679] And elsewhere, comparing himself with others, and exhibiting to us his superiority in the comparison, he thus speaks; "Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool), I am more." [1680] And wishing to shew this superiority, he did not say that he had raised the dead, nor that he had expelled demons, nor that he had cleansed lepers, nor that he had done any other thing of the sort, but that he had suffered those innumerable hardships. Hence when he said," I am more," he presently cites the multitude of his trials; "In stripes, above measure, in deaths oft, in prisons more frequent.....of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;" [1681] and all the rest. Thus Paul everywhere glories in tribulations; and prides himself upon this circumstance exceedingly. And very justly. For this it is which especially shews the power of Christ, viz. that the Apostles conquered by such means; by bonds, by tribulations, by scourgings, and the worst of ills.

10. For these two things Christ had announced, tribulation and remission, labours and crowns, toils and rewards, things pleasant and sad. Nevertheless, to the present life he assigns the sorrowful things; but for the life to come, he has stored up those which are pleasant; at once shewing that He did not mean to deceive men, and wishing by this arrangement to diminish the burden of human woes. For the imposter first holds out the things which are pleasant, and afterwards brings forward those which are disagreeable. Thus for example:--Kidnappers, when they intend to steal and carry off little children, do not promise them blows and stripes, or any other thing of that kind, but offer them cakes, and sweetmeats, and such like, by which the age of childhood is usually gratified; in order that, enticed by these things, they may sell their liberty, and may fall into the utmost peril. Moreover, bird-catchers, and fishermen, thus entice the prey which they pursue, offering first their usual food, and such as is agreeable to them, and by this means concealing the snare. So that this is especially the work of imposters, first to hold out things which are agreeable, but afterwards to introduce the things which are disagreeable. But the case is altogether the reverse with those who are really careful and provident for others. Fathers at least act quite in a contrary manner to kidnappers. When they send their children to school, they set masters over them, threaten them with stripes, and encompass them with fear on all sides. But when they have thus spent the first portion of their lives, and their habits are formed, they then put them in possession of honour, and power, and luxury, and all the wealth that is theirs.

11. And thus God has acted. After the manner of provident fathers, and not after that of kidnappers, He has first involved us in things that are grievous; handing us over to present tribulation, as it were to schoolmasters and teachers; in order that being chastened and sobered by these things, after shewing forth all patience, and learning all right discipline, we may afterwards, when formed into due habits, inherit the kingdom of heaven. He first prepares and fits us for the management of the wealth He is to give, and then puts us into the actual possession of riches. For if He had not acted thus, the giving of riches would have been no boon, but a punishment and a vengeance. For even as a son that is senseless and prodigal, when he has succeeded to a paternal inheritance, is precipitated headlong by this very thing, having none of the practical wisdom requisite for the economy of wealth; but if he be intelligent, and gentle, and sober, and moderate, managing his paternal estate as is befitting, he becomes by this means more illustrious and distinguished: so must it also necessarily happen in our case. When we have acquired spiritual understanding, when we have all attained to "perfect manhood," and the measure of full stature;" then He puts us in possession of all that He has promised: but now as little children He chastens us, together with consolation and soothing. And this is not the only advantage of receiving the tribulation beforehand, but there is also another, not less than this. For the man who first of all lives luxuriously, and then has to expect punishment after his luxurious living, has not even a sense of his present luxury, merely by reason of the expectation of impending woes; but he who is first in a sorrowful state, if he is anticipating the enjoyment of good things afterwards, overlooks present difficulties, in the hope of the good things which are to come. Not only, then, on account of our security, but also for our pleasure and consolation hath He ordained that the things which are grievous should be first; in order that being lightened with the hope of futurity, we should be rendered insensible to what is present. And this Paul would shew and make plain, when he said, "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen." [1682] He calls tribulation light, not because of the intrinsic nature of things that are grievous, but because of the expectation of good things to come. For even as the merchant is indifferent to the labour that attends navigation, being buoyed up with the hope of a cargo; and as the boxer bravely sustains the blows on his head, looking to the crown beyond; so also indeed do we, earnestly gazing towards heaven, and the good things that are in the heavens, whatever evils come on us, sustain them all with fortitude, being nerved with the good hope of the things to come.

12. Therefore let us go home, taking with us this saying; [1683] for though it be simple and short, it nevertheless contains much of the doctrine of spiritual wisdom. He who is in a state of grief and tribulation, hath a sufficient consolation; he who lives in luxury and abundance, hath that which may greatly sober him. For when as thou sittest at the table thou art reminded of this saying, thou wilt speedily shrink from drunkenness and gluttony; learning through this sentence, how needful it is for us to be striving; and thou wilt say with thyself, "Paul lived in bonds and in dungeons, but I in drunkenness and at a luxurious table! What pardon then shall I obtain?" This also is a fit saying for women; since those who are fond of ornament, and expensive dresses, and bind themselves about with gold on every side, when they remember this chain, will hate, I feel assured, and abominate that adorning of themselves; and will hasten to such bonds as these. For those ornaments have often been the cause of manifold evils, and introduced a thousand quarrels into a family, and have bred envy, and jealousy, and hatred. But these loosed the sins of the wide world, affrighted demons, and drove away the devil. With these, while tarrying in prison, he persuaded the jailor; with these he attracted Agrippa himself; with these he procured many disciples. Therefore he said, "Wherein I suffer trouble as an evil-doer unto bonds, but the word of God is not bound." [1684] For just as it is not possible to bind a sunbeam, or to shut it up within the house, so neither the preaching of the word; and what was much more, the teacher was bound, and yet the word flew abroad; he inhabited the prison, and yet his doctrine rapidly winged its way every where throughout the world!

Knowing these things then, let us not be depressed, when adverse affairs meet us, but then let us be more strong, then more powerful; "for tribulation worketh patience." [1685] Let us not grieve for the calamities which befall us, but let us in all things give thanks unto God!

13. We have completed the second week of the fast, but this we should not consider; for going through the fast does not consist in merely going through the time, but in going through it with amendment of manners. Let us consider this; whether we have become more diligent; whether we have corrected any of our defects; whether we have washed away our sins? It is common for every one to ask in Lent, how many weeks each has fasted; and some may be heard saying that they have fasted two, others three, and others that they have fasted the whole of the weeks. But what advantage is it, if we have gone through the fast devoid of good works? If another says, "I have fasted the whole of Lent," do thou say, "I had an enemy, but I was reconciled; I had a custom of evil-speaking, but I put a stop to it; I had a custom of swearing, but I have broken through this evil practice." It is of no advantage to merchants, to have gone over a great extent of ocean, but to have sailed with a freight and much merchandise. The fast will profit us nothing, if we pass through it as a mere matter of course, without any result. If we practise a mere abstinence from meats, when the forty days are past, the fast is over too. But if we abstain from sins, this still remains, even when the fast has gone by, and will be from this time a continual advantage to us; and will here render us no small recompense, before we attain unto the kingdom of heaven. For as he who is living in iniquity, even before hell, hath punishment, being stung by his conscience; so the man who is rich in good works, even before the kingdom, will have the benefit of exceeding joy, in that he is nourished with blessed hopes.

14. Therefore Christ says, "I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." [1686] A brief saying, but one that hath in it much consolation. What then is this, "your joy no man taketh?" if thou hast money, many are able to take away the joy that comes of thy wealth; as, for instance, a thief, by digging through the wall; a servant by carrying off what was entrusted to him; an emperor by confiscation; and the envious man by contumely. Should you possess power, there are many who are able to deprive you of the joy of it. For when the conditions of office are at an end, the conditions of pleasure will also be ended. And in the exercise of office itself too, there are many accidents occurring, which by bringing difficulty and care, strike at the root of thy satisfaction. If thou hast bodily strength, the assaults of disease put a stop to joy from that source. If thou hast beauty and bloom, the approach of old age withers it, and takes away that joy. Or if thou enjoyest a sumptuous table, when evening comes on the joy of the banquet is at an end; for every thing belonging to this life is liable to damage, and is unable to afford us a lasting pleasure; but piety and the virtue of the soul is altogether the reverse of this. If thou hast done an alms, no one is able to take away this good work. Though an army, or kings, or myriads of calumniators and conspirators, were to beset thee on all sides, they could not take away the possession, once deposited in heaven; but the joy thereof continually abideth; for it is said, "He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor, his righteousness endureth for ever." [1687] And very justly; for in the storehouses of heaven it is laid up, where no thief breaks in, nor robber seizes, nor moth devours. [1688] If thou pourest out continued and fervent prayers, no man will be able to spoil thee of the fruit of them; for this fruit too is rooted in the heavens; it is out of the way of all injury, and remains beyond mortal reach. If when evil-treated thou has done a kind action; if thou hast borne with patience to hear thyself evil spoken of; if thou hast returned blessings for reproaches; these are good works that abide continually, and the joy of them no man taketh away; but as often as thou rememberest these, thou art glad and rejoicest, and reapest large fruits of pleasure. So also, indeed, if we succeed in avoiding oaths; and persuade our tongue to abstain from this pernicious practice, the good work will be finished in a short time, but the delight arising from it will be continuous and unfailing.

15. And now, it is time that you should be teachers and guides of others; that friends should undertake to instruct and lead on their neighbours; servants their fellow-servants; and youths those of their own age. What if any one had promised thee a single piece of gold for every man who was reformed, wouldest thou not then have used every exertion, and been all day long sitting by them, persuading and exhorting. Yet now God promises thee not one piece of gold, nor ten, or twenty, or a hundred, or a thousand; no, nor the whole earth, for thy labours, but He gives thee that which is greater than all the world, the kingdom of heaven; and not only this, but also another thing besides it. And what kind of thing is that? "He who taketh forth the precious from the vile," [1689] saith He, "shall be as my mouth." [1690] What can be equal to this in point of honour or security? What kind of excuse or pardon can be left to those, who after so great a promise neglect their neighbour's safety? Now if you see a blind man falling into a pit, you stretch forth a hand, and think it a disgraceful thing to overlook one who is about to perish? But daily beholding all thy brethren precipitated into the wicked custom of oaths, dost thou not dare even to utter a word? Thou hast spoken once, perhaps, and he hath not heard. Speak therefore twice, and thrice, and as often as it may be, till thou hast persuaded him. Every day God is addressing us, and we do not hear; and yet He does not leave off speaking. Do thou, therefore, imitate this tender care towards thy neighbour. For this reason it is that we are placed with one another; that we inhabit cities, and that we meet together in churches, in order that we may bear one another's burdens, that we may correct one another's sins. And in the same manner as persons inhabiting the same shop, carry on a separate traffic, yet put all afterwards into the common fund, so also let us act. Whatever advantages each man is able to confer upon his neighbour, let him not grudge, nor shrink from doing it, but let there be some such kind of spiritual commerce, and reciprocity; in order that having deposited every thing in the common store, and obtained great riches, and procured a large treasure, we may be all together partakers of the kingdom of heaven; through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom and with Whom, to the Father, with the Holy Ghost, be glory, both now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[1650] ^rchontos, some read kometos, which seems to imply that this officer was the Prætorian Præfect of the East. See note of Ducæus. Tillemont, art. xxxiv. calls him "le Gouverneur." [1651] praidas, from the Latin Præda. Ducæus takes it with pros ton ^rchonta, making it only a confiscation. Montfaucon does not agree with Tillemont in dating the Homily, but it must have been delivered after the return of Cæsarius to the Emperor, and before any news from him. The Prefect may be Hellebichus, who was left at Antioch: but see Pref. [1652] Philem. i. 1. [1653] i.e., from one outside the pale of the church. [1654] ^kaipon. This word favours the supposition, that all real ground of fear was at an end. [1655] It appears from this, and from what follows, that the Prefect was a Pagan. [1656] 1 Cor. vi. 1. [1657] See sec. 3. [1658] He seems to mean, "wert almost dead with fear." But this is harsh: the text may be in fault. [1659] He means that Job had no such command. [1660] Matt. vii. 26, 27. [1661] stichoi. Lines, or sentences. The ancients had two kind of verses, one of which they called stichoi, and the other ¿Ğmata. The stichoi were lines that contained a certain number of letters, and were not limited by the sense as our modern verses. The Codex Bezæ and Alex. are so divided into parts, shorter than verses. [1662] Philem. i. [1663] i.e., in conviction, though not in act. St. Chrysostom used the word almost a few lines back. Agrippa is named presently, but some there read Festus. [1664] en oligo. St. Chrysostom clearly understood this as it is rendered in our English version of 1611. See above "almost persuaded him," schedon zpeise. Modern scholars have attached a different sense to the expression. See Revised Version. [1665] Acts xxvi. 28. [1666] Acts xxvi. 29. [1667] Ephes. iv. 1. [1668] 2 Tim. ii. 9. [1669] Phil. i. 1. [1670] Acts xxviii. 20. [1671] Philip. i. 14. [1672] 1 Cor. ix. 21. [1673] Matt. ix. 16, 17; Mark ii. 21; Luke v. 36. [1674] Acts xxvi. 28. [1675] Coloss. i. 24. [1676] Philip. i. 29. [1677] Rom. v. 3. [1678] 2 Cor. xii. 9, 10. [1679] 2 Cor. xi. 30. [1680] 2 Cor. xi. 23. [1681] 2 Cor. xi. 23, 25. [1682] 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18. [1683] i.e., Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ. [1684] 2 Tim. ii. 9. [1685] Rom. v. 3. [1686] John xvi. 22. [1687] Ps. cxii. 9. [1688] Matt. vi. 19; Luke xii. 33. [1689] i.e, the soul of a man from the vile state of sin. [1690] Jer. xv. 19. .


Homily XVII.

Of the Commissioners (Hellebichus Commander of the Troops, [1691] and Cæsarius Master of the Offices [1692] ) sent by the Emperor Theodosius for the inquisition of the offenders, on account of the overturning of the Statues.

1. Most opportunely have we all this day sung together, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things." [1693] For marvellous, and beyond all expectation, are the things which have happened? A whole city, and so great a population, when just about to be overwhelmed--to sink under the waves, and to be utterly and instantly destroyed--He hath entirely rescued from shipwreck in a single moment of time! Let us give thanks then, not only that God hath calmed the tempest, but that He suffered it to take place; not only that He rescued us from shipwreck, but that He allowed us to fall into such distress; and such an extreme peril to hang over us. Thus also Paul bids us "in every thing give thanks." [1694] But when he says, "In every thing give thanks," he means not only in our deliverance from evils, but also at the time when we suffer those evils. "For all things work together for good to them that love God." [1695] Let us be thankful to Him for this deliverance from trials; and let us never forget them. Let us devote ourselves to prayer, to continual supplications, and to much piety.

2. When the sad conflagration of these calamities was first kindled, I said, that it was a season not for doctrine, but for prayer. [1696] The very same thing I now repeat, when the fire has been extinguished--that it is now especially, and more than before, a time for prayer; that now is the season especially for tears and compunction, for an anxious soul, for much diligence, and for much caution. For at that time the very nature of our tribulation restrained us, however unwillingly, and disposed us to sobriety; and led us to become more religious; but now when the bridle is removed, and the cloud has passed away, there is fear lest we should fall back again into sloth, or become relaxed by this respite; and lest one should have reason to say of us too, "When He slew them, then they sought Him, and returned, and enquired early after God." [1697] Wherefore also Moses admonished the Jews, saying, "When thou shalt have eaten, and drunk, and art full, remember the Lord thy God." [1698] The goodness of your disposition will now be rendered manifest, if you continue in the practice of the same piety. For at that time, many imputed your earnestness to fear, and the approach of calamity; but now, it will be purely your own achievement, if you still persevere in maintaining this earnestness. Since with a boy too, as long as he is guided by some tutor whom he fears, if he lives with sobriety and meekness, there is nothing to admire, for all persons ascribe the sobriety of the stripling to his fear of the tutor. But when he remains in the same seemly behaviour, after the restraint from that quarter is done away with, all persons give him credit too for the sobriety that was seen in his earlier age. Thus also let us act; let us continue in the same state of godly fear, in order that for our former diligence too we may gain much praise from God.

3. We had expected innumerable woes; that our property would be plundered, that the houses would have been burnt together with their inmates, that the city would have been plucked up from the midst of the world, that its very fragments would have been utterly destroyed, and that its soil would have been placed under the plough! But, lo! all these things existed only in expectation, and did not come into operation. And this is not the only wonder, that God hath removed so great a danger, but that He hath also greatly blessed us, and adorned our city; and by this trial and calamity hath made us more approved! But how, I will state. When those who were sent by the Emperor erected that fearful tribunal for making inquisition into the events which had taken place, and summoned every one to give account of the deeds which they had perpetrated, and various anticipations of death pervaded the minds of all, then the monks who dwelt on the mountain-tops shewed their own true philosophy. For although they had been shut up so many years in their cells, yet at no one's entreaty, by no one's counsel, when they beheld such a cloud overhanging the city, they left their caves and huts, and flocked together in every direction, as if they had been so many angels arriving from heaven. Then might one see the city likened to heaven, while these saints appeared everywhere; by their mere aspect consoling the mourners, and leading them to an utter disregard of the calamity. For who on beholding these would not deride death, would not despise life. And not only was this wonderful, but that when they drew nigh to the magistrates themselves, they spoke to them with boldness on behalf of the accused, and were all ready to shed their blood, and to lay down their heads, so that they might snatch the captured from the terrible events which they expected. They also declared that they would not depart until the judges should spare the population of the city, or send them themselves together with the accused to the Emperor. "He," said they, "who rules over our portion of the world is a godly man, a believer, one who lives in the practice of piety. We therefore shall assuredly reconcile him. We will not give you leave, nor permit you to embrue the sword, or take off a head. But if ye do not desist, we also are quite resolved to die with them. We confess that the crimes committed are very heinous; but the iniquity of those deeds does not surpass the humanity of the Emperor." One of them is also reported to have uttered another saying, full of wisdom, to this effect: [1699] "The Statues which have been thrown down are again set up, and have resumed their proper appearance; and the mischief was speedily rectified; but if ye put to death the image of God, how will ye be again able to revoke the deed! or how to reanimate those who are deprived of life, and to restore their souls to their bodies?" Many things too they said to them of the Judgment.

4. Who could but be astonished? Who could but admire the moral wisdom of these men? When the mother of one of the accused, uncovering her head, and exposing her grey hairs, laid hold of the horse of the judge by the bridle, and running beside him through the forum, thus entered with him the place of justice, we were all struck with astonishment, we all admired that exceeding tenderness and magnanimity. [1700] Ought we not, then, to have been much more impressed with wonder at the conduct of these men? For if she had even died for her son, it would have been nothing strange, since great is the tyranny of nature, and irresistible is the obligation arising from the maternal pangs! But these men so loved those whom they had not begotten, whom they had not brought up, yea rather, whom they had never seen, whom they had not heard of, whom they had never met, whom they knew only from their calamity, that if they had possessed a thousand lives, they would have chosen to deliver them all up for their safety. Tell me not that they were not slaughtered, that they did not pour forth their blood, but that they used as much boldness with their judges as it was likely that no other men would do, but such as had already renounced their own lives; and that with this sentiment they ran from the mountains to the tribunal. For, indeed, if they had not before prepared themselves against every sort of slaughter, they would not have been able to speak thus freely to the judges, or to have manifested such magnanimity. For they remained all day long sitting before the doors of the place of justice, being prepared to snatch from the hands of the executioners those who were about to be led off to punishment!

5. Where now are those who are clad in threadbare cloaks, and display a long beard, and carry staves in the right hand; the philosophers of the world, [1701] who are more abject in disposition than the dogs under the table; and do every thing for the sake of the belly? All these men then forsook the city, they all hasted away, and hid themselves in caves! But they only, who truly by works manifest the love of wisdom, appeared as fearlessly in the forum, as if no evil had overtaken the city. And the inhabitants of the city fled away to the mountains and to the deserts, but the citizens of the desert hastened into the city; demonstrating by deeds what, on the preceding days, I have not desisted from saying, that the very furnace will not be able to harm the man who leads a virtuous life. Such a thing is philosophy of soul, rising superior to all things, and to all prosperous or adverse events; for neither is it enfeebled by the former, nor beaten down and debased by the latter, but abides on the same level through the whole course of things, shewing its own native force and power! Who, indeed, was not convicted of weakness by the difficulty of the present crisis? Those who had held the first offices in our city, who were in places of power, who were surrounded with immense wealth, and who were in high favour with the Emperor, leaving their houses utterly deserted, all consulted their own safety, and all friendship and kindred were found worthless, and those whom they formerly knew, at this season of calamity, they desired not to know, and prayed to be unknown of them! But the monks, poor as they were, having nothing more than a mean garment, who had lived in the coarsest manner, who seemed formerly to be nobodies, men habituated to mountains and forests; as if they had been so many lions, with a great and lofty soul, whilst all were fearing and quaking, stood forth and relieved the danger, and that, not in the course of many days, but in a brief moment of time! And as distinguished warriors without coming into close conflict with their adversaries, but merely by making their appearance in the ranks, and shouting, put the foe to rout, so also these in one day descended, and said their say, and removed the calamity, and returned to their own tabernacles. So great is the moral wisdom that was brought among men by Christ.

6. And why do I speak of the rich, and of those in authority? When those very persons who had been invested with power to judge the criminals; who acted with the highest authority, were entreated by these selfsame monks to grant a sentence of pardon, they said, they had no power over the result; for that it was unsafe and dangerous, not only to insult the Emperor, but even to dismiss those who had insulted him, when taken, without punishment. But these men were too powerful for any one to resist; and besieging them by magnanimity and perseverance, they induced these officers by their importunity to exercise a power which they had not received from the Emperor; and even succeeded in persuading the judges, when men had been manifestly convicted of the guilt, not to declare the sentence of condemnation, but to defer the final result to the decision of the Emperor; and they promised certainly to persuade him to grant a pardon to those who had transgressed against him; and they were about to set out on a journey to him. But the judges, reverencing the moral wisdom of these men, and being struck with their loftiness of spirit, did not permit them to undertake this long journey, but promised that if they should only receive their words in writing, they would themselves depart and successfully importune [1702] the Emperor to dismiss all anger (which, indeed, we are now expecting that he will). For when sentence should have been given, they, on being admitted into court, uttered words of the highest wisdom, and besought the Emperor by letters to shew mercy; and they reminded him of the Judgment, and said that they would lay down their own heads, if his mercy was not granted. And the judges took down these words in writing, and departed. This, more than the brightest crown, will adorn our city. And what has here taken place, the Emperor will now hear; yea, the great City will hear, and the whole world will hear, that the monks who dwell at the city of Antioch, are men who have displayed an apostolic boldness; and now when their letters are read at court, all men will admire their magnanimity; all men will call our city blessed; and we shall shake off our evil reputation; and it will be known every where, that what has happened was not the work of the inhabitants of the city, but of strangers and corrupt-minded men; and that this testimony of the monks will be a sufficient evidence of the character of the city.

7. Therefore, beloved, let us not be distressed, but let us entertain favourable hopes; for if their boldness toward men has been able to prevent such a danger, then what will not their boldness toward God effect? These things also let us tell the Greeks, when they dare to dispute with us respecting their philosophers! From hence it is manifest that their stories of former days are false, but that the things of old reported among us are true; that is, the things concerning John, and Paul, and Peter, and all the rest. For inasmuch as these monks have succeeded to the piety of those men, they have consequently exhibited their boldness. Inasmuch as they were brought up in the same laws, they have consequently imitated their virtues. So that we stand in no need of writings for the purpose of shewing the apostolical virtues, whilst the very facts cry aloud, and the masters are shewn forth by the scholars. We have no need of disputation to display the trifling of the Greeks, and the little-mindedness of their philosophers, whilst their deeds now loudly proclaim, as they did aforetime, that all with them is a fable, a stage-play, a piece of acting.

8. And the same magnanimity was displayed by the priests too, as well as the monks, and they shared among them the charge of our safety. One [1703] of them, indeed, proceeded to court, esteeming all things as secondary to the love of you; and being himself ready, if he could not persuade the Emperor, to lay down his own life. And these, who remained here, have displayed the same virtues as the monks themselves; and holding fast the judges with their own hands, they would not let them enter into the court, before they gave a promise respecting the result of the trial. And when they saw them making signs of refusal, they again exerted themselves with much boldness; and as soon as they saw that they did consent, embracing their feet and knees, and kissing their hands, they gave an exceeding proof of either virtue, of liberty and meekness. For that theirs was not the boldness of presumption, they plainly signified by their kissing the knees, and embracing the feet of the judges. Again, in proof that this was not flattery, nor a kind of fawning servility, nor the fruit of a slavish spirit, their former acts attested their boldness. And these are not the only good results we have reaped from the trial, but also an abundance of sobriety and meekness; and our city has become all at once a monastery. [1704] Not thus would any one have adorned it, had he erected golden statues in the forum, as it has now been adorned and distinguished, in producing those beautiful images of virtue, and displaying its true riches!

9. But it may be that the things which the Emperor hath decreed are painful. No! not even these are really burdensome, but have brought much advantage with them. For what is there, I ask, which is oppressive in any of them? that the Emperor hath shut up the Orchestra, that he hath forbidden the Hippodrome, that he hath closed and stopped up these fountains of iniquity. May they never again be opened! From thence did the roots of wickedness shoot forth to the injury of the city! [1705] From thence sprung those who blast its character; men who sell their voices [1706] to the dancers, and who for the sake of three obols prostitute their salvation to them, turning all things upside down! Art thou distressed, O beloved! for these things? Truly it were fitting that for these thou shouldest be glad, and rejoice, and express thy thanks to the Emperor, since his castigation hath proved a correction, his punishment a discipline, his wrath a means of instruction! But that the Baths are shut up? Neither is this an intolerable hardship, that those who lead a soft, effeminate, and dissolute life, should be brought back, though unwillingly, to the love of true wisdom.

10. But is it complained of, that the Emperor hath taken away the dignity of the city, and hath no more permitted it to be called a metropolis? [1707] But what was he to do? Could he praise what had been done, and acknowledge it as a favour? Then who would not have blamed him, for not shewing even the outward form of indignation? Seest thou not that fathers do many things of a similar nature towards their children? They turn away from them, and forbid them the table. This also hath the Emperor done by imposing such punishments as have nothing in them hurtful, but carry with them much correction. Think what we expected, and what has taken place, and then we shall especially discern the favour of God! Dost thou grieve that the dignity of the city is taken away? Learn what the dignity of a city is; and then thou wilt know clearly, that if the inhabitants do not betray it, no one else will be able to take away the dignity of a city! Not the fact that it is a metropolis; nor that it contains large and beautiful buildings; [1708] nor that it has many columns, and spacious porticoes and walks, nor that it is named in proclamations before other cities, but the virtue and piety of its inhabitants; this is a city's dignity, and ornament, and defence; since if these things are not found in it, it is the most insignificant in the world, though it may enjoy unlimited honour from Emperors! Dost thou wish to learn the dignity of thy city? Dost thou wish to know its ancestry? I will tell it exactly; not only that thou mayest know, but that thou mayest also emulate. What then is after all the dignity of this city of ours? "It came to pass, that the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch." [1709] This dignity, none of the cities throughout the world possesses, not even the city of Romulus herself! For this it can look the whole world in the face; on account of that love toward Christ, that boldness and virtue. [1710] Dost thou wish farther to hear of a different dignity and commendation belonging to this city? A grievous famine was once approaching, and the inhabitants of Antioch determined, as far as each person had the means, to send relief to the Saints dwelling at Jerusalem. [1711] Behold a second dignity, charity in a time of famine! The season did not make them niggardly, nor the expectation of the calamity backward in helping; but when all are apt to be scraping up what is not their own, then they distributed their own, not merely to those who were near, but also to those who were living afar off! Seest thou here the faith towards God, and the love towards their neighbour? Wouldest thou learn another dignity of this city? Certain men came down from Judæa to Antioch, defiling [1712] the doctrine preached, and introducing Jewish observances. [1713] The men of Antioch did not bear this novelty in silence. They did not hold their peace, but having come together, and made an assembly, they sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, and caused the Apostles to provide that pure doctrines, cleared from all Jewish imperfection, might be distributed throughout all parts of the world! This is the dignity of the city! this is its precedence! this makes it a metropolis, not in the earth, but in heaven; forasmuch as that all other honours are corruptible, and fleeting, and perish with the present life, and often come to their end before the close of it, as they have done in the present instance! To me, a city that hath not pious citizens is meaner than any village, and more ignoble than any cave.

11. And why do I speak of a city? For that thou mayest exactly understand that virtue alone is the ornament of the inhabitants, I will not speak to thee of a city, but I will endeavour to demonstrate this by bringing forward what is more venerable than any city--the Temple of God which was in Jerusalem. For this was the Temple in which were sacrifices and prayers and services; where was the Holy of Holies, and the Cherubim, the Covenant, [1714] and the golden pot; [1715] the great symbols of God's providence towards that people; where oracles from heaven were constantly being received, where prophets became inspired, where the fashioning was not the work of human art, but proceeded from the wisdom of God, where the walls were on every side resplendent with much gold, and where, in surpassing excellence, costliness of material and perfection of art met together, and demonstrated that there was no other temple like this upon earth! Yea rather, not only the perfection of art, but also the wisdom of God assisted in that building. For Solomon had learned all, not intuitively and from himself, but from God; [1716] and having received the design of it from the heavens, he then marked it out and erected it. Nevertheless, this Temple, thus beautiful and marvellous and sacred, when those who used it were corrupted, was so dishonoured, despised, and profaned, that even before the captivity it was called "a den of robbers, a cave of hyænas;" [1717] and afterwards it was delivered over to hands that were barbarous, polluted, and profane!

12. Wouldest thou learn the same truth respecting cities? What could be more illustrious than the cities of Sodom? For the houses and the buildings were splendid, and so were their walls; and the country was fat and fertile, and "like the Paradise of God." [1718] But the tent of Abraham was mean and small, and had no fortification. Yet when a foreign war took place, the strangers broke down and took the walled cities, and departed, carrying away their inhabitants captives. Abraham, however, the citizen of the desert, they could not resist when he attacked them! And so it was likely to be. For he had true piety: a power much greater than numbers and the defence of walls. If thou art a Christian, no earthly city is thine. Of our City "the Builder and Maker is God." [1719] Though we may gain possession of the whole world, we are withal but strangers and sojourners in it all! We are enrolled in heaven: our citizenship is there! Let us not, after the manner of little children, despise things that are great, and admire those which are little! Not our city's greatness, but virtue of soul is our ornament and defence. If you suppose dignity to belong to a city, think how many persons must partake in this dignity, who are whoremongers, effeminate, depraved and full of ten thousand evil things, and at last despise such honour! But that City above is not of this kind; for it is impossible that he can be a partaker of it, who has not exhibited every virtue.

13. Let us not therefore be senseless; but then let us grieve when any one deprives us of our dignity of soul, when we commit sin, when we have offended the common Lord of all; since as regards the things that have now befallen us, so far are they from injuring the city, that if we are watchful, they will greatly benefit us. For even already our city seems to be like a decorous, noble, sober-minded matron. Fear hath made her gentler and more dignified, and hath delivered her from those miscreants who were concerned in the late audacious deeds. Let us therefore not give way to womanish lamentations. For I have heard many about the forum saying, "Alas! for thee, Antioch! What hath befallen thee! How art thou dishonoured!" Truly when I heard, I smiled at the puerile mind which could give vent to these words! Such words were not becoming now; but when thou seest men dancing, drunken, singing, blaspheming, swearing, perjuring themselves, and lying, then apply such a saying as this: "Alas! for thee, O city, what hath befallen thee!" But if thou seest the forum containing a few meek, modest, and temperate persons, then pronounce the city, "Blessed!" For the fewness will never be able to injure it in any respect, if there be virtue withal; as on the other hand, numbers will never profit it at all, whilst iniquity is there. "If," saith the prophet, "the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant shall be saved;" [1720] that is to say, "Multitude will never prevail with Me." So also Christ spoke. He called cities wretched; not because of their littleness, nor because they were not of metropolitan rank. [1721] And Jerusalem itself again, He calls wretched for the very same reason, speaking thus; "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem; thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee!" [1722] For what advantage, I ask, does a multitude bring, if their system of living be vicious? Nay, on the contrary, even injury results from it. What else, indeed, hath wrought the evils which have lately sprung up? Was it not the sloth, the recklessness, and the depravity of the inhabitants? Did the dignity of the city, did the magnificence of its architecture, or the circumstance that it was a metropolis, do it any service? If with the king who is on earth, nothing could protect it when it had done thus amiss, but all these privileges are taken away; much more with the Lord of angels will its dignity fail to protect it? For at that Day, it will nought avail us, that we have dwelt in a metropolis, that has many spacious porticoes, and other dignities of this kind! And why do I say, at That Day? For as regards the present life, what can it benefit thee that this thy city is a metropolis? Pray, has any one restored a distressed family by means of this? or received any revenue from this dignity? or dispelled sadness? or got rid of any bodily infirmity? or put away a vice of the soul? Beloved! let us not trifle, nor regard the opinions of the multitude, but understand what is indeed the dignity of a city; what it is that makes a city truly a metropolis?

14. I say all this, though I expect that the city will again regain even this outward distinction, and appear in its own proper place of precedence. For the Emperor is both philanthropic and godly. But I am desirous that if it should be restored, ye may not think too much of this; nor be boastful of it; nor place the honour of our city to that account. When you wish to pronounce an encomium on the city, tell me not of the suburb of Daphne, [1723] nor of the height and multitude of its cypresses, nor of its fountains of waters, nor of the great population who inhabit the city, nor of the great freedom with which its market-place is frequented even to midnight, nor of the abundance of its wares! All these are things of the outward sense, and remain only as long as the present life. But if you are able to mention virtue, meekness, alms-giving, nocturnal vigils, prayers, sobriety, true wisdom of soul; commend the city for these things! To those who inhabit the desert, the presence of these things makes it more illustrious than any city; and again the vilest of all places, [1724] should these things not be found with its citizens. Let us make this estimate not in the case of cities only, but also of men. And if you see a big man, who has been brought into good condition, tall, and surpassing others in length of limb, do not admire him, until you have ascertained what the man's soul is. Not from the outward comeliness, but from the beauty that. appertains to the soul, should we pronounce any persons blessed! David was little, and short of stature; nevertheless, one so short and little, and bare of all arms, brought down at one blow so large an army, and that tower of flesh; and this without hurling spear, or letting fly arrow, or unsheathing sword, but doing all with a small pebble! For this reason a certain one exhorts, saying, "Commend not a man for his beauty, neither abhor a man for his outward appearance. The bee is little among such as fly, but her fruit is the chief of sweet things." [1725]

15. Thus also let us speak both of a city, and of men, and utter such wisdom one to another, and be continually thankful to God, as well for present as for past mercies; and call upon Him in common with all our might, that those who now dwell in prison [1726] may be discharged, and that those who are about to be sent into exile may return back again. They too are our members. With us they have buffetted the waves, with us they have withstood the storm! Let us, then, beseech the merciful God, that with us they may enjoy the calm! Let no one say, "What farther concerns me? I am freed from danger; such an one may perish; such another may be destroyed!" Let us not provoke God by this indifference; but lament, as if we ourselves were in the same peril. So let us supplicate God with intense earnestness, fulfilling that saying of Paul, "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. [1727] Weeping also with them that weep; condescending to men of low estate." [1728] This will also be of the greatest advantage to ourselves; for nothing useth so much to delight God, as that we should be very ready to mourn for our own members. Him therefore let us supplicate in common, both for things present, and for things to come; in order that He may deliver us from punishment hereafter. For the things present, whatever they are, are endurable, and have an end; but the torments there are immortal, and interminable! And while we are consoled, let us also ourselves endeavour to fall no more into such sins, knowing that hereafter [1729] we shall enjoy no pardon! Let us, then, all in common prostrate ourselves before God; and both while we are here, and when we are at home, let us say, "Thou, O Lord, art righteous in all things which Thou hast done towards us; for Thou hast brought upon us by a just judgment whatever Thou hast brought." [1730] If "our sins rise up against us, undertake for us, for thy Name's sake;" [1731] and do not permit us any more to experience such grievous troubles. "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1691] stratelEURtes. See Dufresne. This title was given to one who had the general command of the troops in a province, or division of the empire. [1692] MEURgistros. See Dufresne. Also Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. Theod. art. 33. Montfaucon has already called in question the judgment of Tillemont's note on these Homilies, placing this before XI. It does not appear that this was delivered immediately on the arrival of the Commissioners, but on occasion of some fresh news from the Emperor after the trials. [1693] Ps. lxxii. 18. [1694] 1 Thess. v. 18. [1695] Rom. viii. 28. [1696] Hom. II. 1. [1697] Ps. lxxviii. 34. [1698] Deut. vi. 11, 12. [1699] The name of this monk was Macedonius (see Theodoret Hist. Relig. No. xiii. where it is added that he spoke through an interpreter). [1700] See Lib. ad Helleb. [1701] ton zxothen. "Of those without;" a common phrase with St. Chrysostom to denote those without the pale of the Church. [1702] dusopesein: same word as is rendered above "induced by importunity." Literally, "to put out of countenance;" to make another ashamed not to grant a request. [1703] The bishop, spoken of in the opening of Hom. III. and in Hom. XXI. [1704] The state of monasteries at that time may be gathered from Theodoret's Historia Religiosa; the Collations of Cassian; the ascetic works, and parts of the correspondence of St. Basil; the Historia Lausiaca of Palladius, and many parts of St. Macarius. [1705] Such was the case, too, with the tumults at Alexandria. See Libanius, Or. de Sed. [1706] i.e., their applause. [1707] It appears that the metropolitan dignity of Antioch was transferred to Laodicea. [1708] For such topics of praise, see the Antiochicus of Libanius, who however also extols the virtue of the citizens. [1709] Acts xi. 26. [1710] These expressions imply that the name Christian was fastened on the disciples of Jesus by way of derision and reproach. [1711] Acts xi. 28, 29. [1712] Making turbid, i.e., by additions, epitholountes. [1713] See Acts xv. 1. [1714] i.e., the Tables, Ex. xxxiv. 28. [1715] That contained the manna. Ex. xvi. 33; Heb. ix. 4. [1716] 1 Kings iv. 29; 2 Chron. iii. 3. [1717] Jer. vii. 11. [1718] Gen. xiii. 10. [1719] Heb. xi. 10. [1720] Isa. x. 22; Rom. ix. 27. [1721] It is possible that a clause may have been omitted here. If not, the next sentence refers back beyond this. [1722] Matt. xxiii. 37. [1723] See Hom. I. contr. Jud. (6). The same is to be said of the Synagogue. For though there be no idol there, yet devils inhabit the place. Which I say not only of the Synagogue that is here, but also of that in Daphne, where is that more abominable pit which they call Matrona's, &c. See also Macc. iv. 33, and Libanius Antioch. Reiske. t. i. pp. 302, 352. For some account of Daphne, see Introduction to the Homily on St. Babylas in this volume. [1724] Ben. kai pEURlin pEURnton eutel(TM)steran. Sav. polin, "and a city the vilest." The former seems favoured by ekeines following, and would be the more forcible, supposing the audience duly affected. The imperfect construction of the original is kept. [1725] Ecclus. xi. 2, 3. [1726] The whole Senate of Antioch were imprisoned till the Emperor's pleasure should be known. See Libanius' Or. to Hellebichus, whom he praises for providing them tolerable lodging. [1727] Heb. xiii. 3. [1728] Rom. xii. 15, 16. [1729] i.e., if not thus amended. [1730] Neh. ix. 33. [1731] Jer. xiv. 7. .


Homily XVIII.

The former subject of the Sedition continued; also of fasting; and upon the Apostolic saying, "Rejoice in the Lord always." [1732]

1. I have observed many persons rejoicing, and saying one to another, "We have conquered; we have prevailed; the half of the fast is spent." But I exhort such persons not to rejoice on this account, that the half of the fast is gone, but to consider whether the half of their sins be gone; and if so, then to exult. For this is a fit subject of gratification. This is what is to be sought after, and for which all things are done, that we may correct our defects; and that we may not quit the fast the same persons as we entered upon it, but in a cleansed state; and that having laid aside all that belongs to evil habits, we may thus keep the sacred feast, since if the case be otherwise, we shall be so far from obtaining any advantage, that the completion of the fast will be the greatest injury to us. Let us, therefore, not rejoice that we have gone through the length of the fast, for this is nothing great; but let us rejoice, if we have got through it with fresh attainments, so that when this is over, the fruit of it may shine forth. For the gain of winter is more especially manifested after the season is gone by. Then, the flourishing corn, and the trees teeming with leaves and fruit, proclaim, by their appearance, the benefit that has accrued to them from the winter! Let the same thing also take place with us. For during the winter, we have enjoyed divers and frequent showers, having been during the fast partakers of a continued course of instruction, and have received spiritual seeds, and cut away the thorns of luxury.

2. Wherefore let us persevere, retaining with all diligence what we have heard; that when the fast is over, the fruit of the fast may abound, and that by the good things we gathered from the fast, we may remember the fast itself. [1733] If thus we fashion ourselves, we shall, when the fast returns, welcome it again with pleasure. For I see many who are so feeble-minded, that at the present season they are anxious about the following Lent; and I have heard many saying, that after their liberation from the fast, they are insensible to any pleasure from this remission, on account of their anxiety about the coming year. What can be more feeble-minded than this? I ask; and what is the cause of this? It is, that when the fast is arrived, we do not take pains that the concerns of the soul may be well ordered, but we limit the fast solely to an abstinence from food. Since, were we to reap the full benefit of it in a reformation of conduct, we should wish the fast to come round every day, receiving in very deed an experience of its good effects; and we should never cast away the desire of it, or be dejected and anxious whilst expecting it.

3. For there is nothing whatever that will be able to afflict one who is well ordered in mind, and careful about his own soul; but he will enjoy a pure and continued pleasure. And that this is true ye have to-day heard from Paul, who exhorts us, saying, "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice." [1734] I know indeed that to many this saying seems impossible. "For how is it possible," says some one, "that he who is but a man, can continually rejoice? To rejoice is no hard matter, but to rejoice continually, this seems to me to be impossible." For many are the causes of sadness, which surround us on all sides. A man has lost either a son, or a wife, or a beloved friend, more necessary to him than all kindred; or he has to sustain the loss of wealth; or he has fallen into sickness; or he has to bear some other change of fortune; or to grieve for contemptuous treatment which he did not deserve; or famine, or pestilence, or some intolerable exaction, or circumstances in his family trouble him;--nay, there is no saying how many circumstances of a public or private nature are accustomed to occasion us grief. How then, he may say, is it possible to "rejoice always?" Yea, O man! it is possible; and if it were not so, Paul would not have given the exhortation; nor would a man endowed with spiritual wisdom have offered such counsel; and for this reason I have constantly said to you, and will not cease to say, that what ye could no where have learnt from any other, that wisdom ye may here meditate. For mankind are universally desirous of pleasure, [1735] and of rejoicing; and for this, they do all, say all, and undertake all things. Therefore it is, that the merchant goes on a voyage, in order that he may amass wealth; and he amasses wealth, to the end that he may rejoice over what he has treasured up. The soldier also for this reason exercises his warfare, and the husbandman his husbandry; for this each man plies his art. Those also who love dominion, love it for this end, that they may obtain glory; and they desire to obtain glory, that they may rejoice; and any one may perceive that each of our undertakings is directed to this point, and that every man looking to this makes haste to go towards it through a variety of means.

4. For as I said, all love gladness, but all are not able to attain it, since they know not the way which leads to it; but many suppose that the source of it is in being rich. But if this were its source, no one possessed of wealth would ever be sad. But in fact many of the rich think life not worth living, and would infinitely prefer death when they experience any hardship; and of all men these are the most liable to excessive sadness. For you should not look to their tables, or their flatterers, and parasites, but to the trouble that comes of such things, the insults, the calumnies, the dangers, and the distresses, and what is far worse, that they meet these reverses unpractised, and know not how to take them philosophically, or to bear with fortitude what befalls them; whence it happens that calamities do not appear to them such as they are in their own nature, but even things which are really light come to seem intolerable; whereas, with regard to the poor, the contrary takes place; things that are irremediable seem easy to be borne, since they are familiar with many such. For it is not so much the nature of the events as the disposition of the sufferers, that makes the evils which come upon us seem great or small. And that I may not go a long way off for examples of both these facts, I will speak to you of what has lately befallen ourselves. Behold then how all the poor escaped, and the populace are delivered from the danger, and enjoy an entire freedom! but those who manage the affairs of the city, the men who keep their studs of horses, and preside over the public games, and such as have borne other public charges, [1736] they are now the inmates of the prison, and fear the worst; and they alone pay the penalty of the deeds that have been perpetrated by all, and are in a state of constant terror; and they are now the most wretched of men, not because of the greatness of the danger, but on account of the luxury in which hitherto they have lived! Many, at least when exhorted by us, and counselled to sustain these adverse affairs with fortitude, said this, "We never practised any thing of the kind, and do not know how to exercise such philosophy; this is why we need so much consolation."

5. Others again suppose, that to enjoy good health is the source of pleasure. But it is not so. For many of those who enjoy good health have a thousand times wished themselves dead, not being able to bear the insults inflicted on them. Others again affirm, that to enjoy glory, and to have attained to power, and to administer the highest offices, and to be flattered by multitudes, is productive of continual gladness. But neither is this the case. And why do I speak of other offices of power? For although we were to mount up in thought to royalty itself, and to him who lives in that station, we should find it encompassed with a diversity of troubles, and having so many necessary causes the more of sadness, in proportion as it is surrounded with a greater weight of affairs. And what need is there to speak of wars, and battles, and the insurrections of barbarians? Oftentimes he has reason to fear those by whom he is surrounded at home. For many of those monarchs who have escaped from the hands of their enemies, have not escaped the conspiracies of their own body-guards. And kings have of necessity as many causes of sadness as there are waves on the ocean. But if monarchy is unable to render life devoid of grief, then what else can possibly achieve this? Nothing, indeed, of this life; but this saying of Paul alone, brief and simple as it is, will of itself open to us this treasure.

6. For many words are not needed, nor a long round of argument, but if we only consider his expression, we shall find the way that leads to it. He does not simply say, "Rejoice always;" but he adds the cause of the continual pleasure, saying, "Rejoice in the Lord always." He who rejoices "in the Lord," can not be deprived of the pleasure by any thing that may happen. For all other things in which we rejoice are mutable and changeable, and subject to variation. And not only does this grievous circumstance attend them, but moreover while they remain they do not afford us a pleasure sufficient to repel and veil the sadness that comes upon us from other quarters. But the fear of God contains both these requisites. It is steadfast and immoveable, and sheds so much gladness that we can admit no sense of other evils. For the man who fears God as he ought, and trusts in Him, gathers from the very root of pleasure, and has possession of the whole fountain of cheerfulness. And as a spark falling upon a wide ocean quickly disappears, so whatever events happen to the man who fears God, these, falling as it were upon an immense ocean of joy, are quenched and destroyed! This indeed is most to be wondered at, that whilst things which minister sadness are present, the man should remain joyful. For if there was nothing to produce grief, it would be no great matter to him that he was able continually to rejoice. But that at a time when he is urged to sadness by the pressure of many things, he is superior to all these, and is blithe in the midst of sorrow, this is truly a matter for astonishment! And as no one would have wondered that the three Children were not burnt, if they had remained far off from the furnace of Babylon! (for the circumstance that astonished all was, that having been so long in such close contact with the fire, they left it more free from hurt than those who had not been in contact with it); so also we are able to say of the saints, that if no temptation had fastened itself upon them, we should not have wondered at their continual rejoicing. But the point worthy of admiration, and that which surpasses human nature, is this, that being encircled on all sides with innumerable waves, their condition is easier than that of those who enjoy an entire calm!

7. From what has been said, it is evident that amongst those who are outside the church it is impossible to find any situation in life, encircled with continual gladness from the things without. But that the believer cannot possibly be deprived of the enjoyment of a continued pleasure is what I will now proceed to prove, to the end that ye may not only learn, but also emulate this painless condition of life. For suppose a man having nothing for which to condemn himself, but cherishing a good conscience, and yearning after the future state, and the fulfilment of those good hopes; what, I ask, will be able to throw such a person into sadness? Does not death seem the most insupportable of all things? Yet the expectation of this is so far from grieving him, that it makes him the more joyful; for he knows that the arrival of death is a release from labour, and a speeding toward the crowns and rewards laid up for those who have contended in the race of piety and virtue. But is it the untimely end of his children? Nay, he will also bear this nobly, and will take up the words of Job, "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away; as it seemed good unto the Lord, so is it come to pass. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever." [1737] But if death and loss of children cannot grieve, much less can the loss of money, or dishonour, or reproaches, or false accusations, at any time affect a soul so great and noble; no, nor anguish of body, since the Apostles were scourged, yet they were not made sad. This, indeed, was a great thing; but what is much more, instead of being made sad, they considered their very scourgings, as a ground of additional pleasure. "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ." [1738] Did any person insult and revile such a one? Well, he was taught by Christ to rejoice in these revilings. "Rejoice," [1739] saith He, "and be exceeding glad, when they shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake; for great is your reward in heaven." [1740] But suppose a man hath fallen into disease? Well, he hath heard another admonishing, and saying, "In disease and poverty trust thou in Him; for as gold is tried in the fire, so are acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation." [1741] Since, therefore, neither death, nor loss of money, nor bodily disease, nor dishonour, nor reproach, nor any other thing of that nature, will be able to grieve him, but makes him even the more joyful, what foundation for sadness will he have at any time?

8. "What then," says some one, "used not the Saint to be in sadness? Do you not hear Paul saying, "I have great heaviness, and continual sorrow in my heart?" [1742] This, indeed, is the thing to wonder at, that sorrow brought a gain, and a pleasure that resulted from the gain; for as the scourge did not procure them anguish, but gladness; so also again the sorrow procured them those great crowns. And this is the paradox; that not only the sadness of the world, but also its joy, contains extreme loss; but in the case of spiritual things, it is exactly the reverse; and not the joy only, but the sadness too contains a rich treasure of good things! But how, I proceed to explain. In the world, a person often rejoices, on beholding an enemy in trouble; and by this joy he draws on himself a great punishment. Again, another person mourns, on seeing a brother fall; and because of this sadness he will procure for himself much favour with God. Seest thou how godly sorrow is better and more profitable than the joy of the world? Thus also Paul sorrowed for sinners, and for those who disbelieved in God; and this sorrow was the means of laying up a great reward for him. But that I may make what I say more clear, and that ye may know that although what I assert is very strange, it is nevertheless true, viz. that grief is often capable of refreshing distressed souls, and of rendering a burdened conscience light: consider how often women, when they have lost their most beloved children, break their hearts, and perish, if they are forbidden to mourn, and to shed tears. But if they do all which those who are sad, are wont to do, they are relieved, and receive consolation. And what wonder that this should be the case with women, when you may even see a prophet affected in a similar manner? Therefore he was continually saying, "Suffer me--I will weep bitterly--labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people." [1743] So that, oftentimes, sadness is the bearer of consolation; and if it is so with regard to this world. much more with regard to spiritual things. Therefore he says, "Godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of." [1744] This indeed seems to be obscure; but what he says is to this effect: "If thou grievest over wealth, thou art nothing profited. If for sickness, thou hast gained nothing, but hast increased thy affliction."

9. And I have heard many, after such experience, blame themselves, and say, What advantage is it that I have grieved? I have not recovered my money, and I have injured myself. But if thou hast grieved on account of sin, thou hast blotted it out, and hast reaped the greatest pleasure. If thou hast grieved for thy brethren who have fallen, thou hast both encouraged and comforted thyself, and hast also restored them; and even if thou wert not to profit them, thou hast an abundant recompense. And that thou mayest learn that this grieving for those who have fallen, though we should not at all benefit them, still brings us a large reward, hear what Ezekiel says; or rather, what God Himself speaks through him. For when He had sent certain messengers to overturn the city, and to consume all the dwellings with sword and fire, along with their inhabitants, He thus charges one of them: "Set a mark upon the forehead of the men that groan, and are in anguish." And after charging the others, and saying, "Begin ye from mine holy ones," He goes on to add, "But upon whomsoever the sign is, touch them not." [1745] For what reason, tell me? Because although they avail nothing, they nevertheless lament the things which are done, and deplore them. And again, He accuses others, saying, That in their luxury, and gluttony, and enjoyment of great security, when they beheld the Jews carried away into captivity, they did not grieve, nor partake of their sadness. And hear what He says, reproaching them: "They suffered nothing in the affliction of Joseph:" [1746] meaning by Joseph the whole people. And again: "The inhabitants of Ænan went not forth to bewail the house next unto them." [1747] For although they are justly punished, God willeth that we should condole with them, and not rejoice or insult. "For if I that punish," saith He, "do not this rejoicingly; nor take pleasure in their punishment; for "I do not at all will the death of the sinner;" [1748] it is right that thou shouldest imitate thy Lord; and shouldest mourn for this very thing, that the sinner hath provided matter and occasion for a just punishment." So that if any one entertains a godly sorrow, he will thence reap a great advantage.

10. Since therefore those who are scourged are more blessed than the scourgers, and those in tribulation among us than those who are free from it outside the Christian pale; and those who are sad are more blessed than those in pleasure; what further source of tribulation shall we have? On this account we should call no man happy, save him only who lives according to God. These only the Scripture terms blessed. For "blessed," it is said, "is the man who hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly. Blessed is he whom Thou chastenest, and teachest him out of Thy law. Blessed are the undefiled in the way. Blessed are all they who trust in Him. Blessed is the people whose God is the Lord. Blessed is he whom his soul condemneth not. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord." [1749] And again, Christ speaks thus: "Blessed are they that mourn; blessed are the humble; blessed are the meek; blessed are the peacemakers; blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake." [1750] Seest thou how the divine laws everywhere pronounce blessed none of the rich, or of the well-born, or of the possessors of glory, but the man who has gotten hold of virtue. For what is required of us is, that in every thing we do or suffer, the fear of God should be the foundation; and if you implant this as the root, not merely will ease, and honour, and glory, and attention, produce fruits that shall be pleasurable to thee; but hostilities also, and calumnies, and contempt, and disgrace, and torments, and all things without exception. And just as the roots of trees are bitter in themselves, and yet produce our sweetest fruits, so, verily, godly sorrow will bring us an abundant pleasure. They know, who have often prayed with anguish, and shed tears, what gladness they have reaped; how they purged the conscience; how they rose up with favourable hopes! For as I am always saying, it is not the nature of the things, but our disposition, which is wont to make us sad or joyful. If then we can render the latter such as it ought to be, we shall have a pledge for all gladness. And just as, with the body, it is not so much the nature of the air, or the things it meets from without, as its own internal condition, that either injures or assists it, so also it is in the case of the soul; and much more so; for in the one case, there is the necessity of nature; in the other, the whole is seated in the power of choice. Therefore Paul, when he had endured innumerable evils--shipwrecks, wars, persecutions, plots, the assaults of robbers, and things too numerous to be recounted, dying also daily deaths--was so far from grieving or being discontented, that he gloried, and rejoiced, and said, "I now rejoice in my sufferings, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh." [1751] And again: "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations." [1752] Now, glorying signifies an extension of pleasure.

11. If then thou desirest joy, seek not after riches, nor bodily health, nor glory, nor power, nor luxury, nor sumptuous tables, nor vestures of silk, nor costly lands, nor houses splendid and conspicuous, nor any thing else of that kind; but pursue that spiritual wisdom which is according to God, and take hold of virtue; and then nought of the things which are present, or which are expected, will be able to sadden thee. Why do I say to sadden? Verily, the things that make others sad, will prove to thee an accession of pleasure. For scourges, and death, and losses, and slanders, and the being evil entreated, and all such things, when they are brought upon us for God's sake, and spring from this root, will bring into our souls much pleasure. For no one will be able to make us miserable, if we do not make ourselves such; nor, on the other hand, blessed, if we do not make ourselves such, following up the grace of God.

12. And that ye may learn that he only is blessed, who feareth the Lord, I will now demonstrate this to you, not by what has happened in past times, but by what has befallen ourselves. Our city was in danger of being utterly effaced; and no man among the rich, or eminent, or illustrious, dared to appear in public, but all fled, and hurried out of the way. But they who feared God, the men who passed their time in monasteries, hastened down with much boldness, and set all free from this terror; and the terrible events that had taken place, and the threats which had been expected to be put into execution, were so far from causing them to fear, or from throwing them into anxiety, that although they were placed far off from the calamity, and had no share in it, they cast themselves willingly into the midst of the fire, and rescued all; and as for death, which seems universally terrible and awful, they awaited it with the utmost readiness, and ran to meet it with more pleasure than others do towards principalities and honours. And why, but because they knew, that this is the greatest principality and honour? And they shewed in very deed that he only is blessed who lays hold of the wisdom which is from above, that he undergoes no change and sustains no adversity, but enjoys a continued tranquillity, and laughs to scorn all things which seem to be sorrowful. At the present time at least, those who were once in power are oppressed by much sadness, inhabiting the prison, and loaded with chains, and daily expecting to be put to death. But these men on the contrary enjoy the purest pleasure; and if it be their lot to suffer anything terrible, this, and the very things which seem formidable to others, are welcome to them, for they know well towards what point they are running, and what lot will await them when they depart hence. But whilst they live with so much exactness, and smile at death, they nevertheless grieve for others, and reap therefrom, in turn, the greatest advantage. Let us then be in earnest to take care of our souls, and nothing which may come unlooked for can make us sad. And on behalf of those who are in prison, let us beseech God that He will deliver them from their present calamity. For it was in God's power at once to release us from this dire evil, and not to suffer even the smallest part of it to remain; but in order that we may not again go back to our former negligence, He hath provided that the torrent of these evils should subside gently and by little and little, holding us fast to the same pious resolutions.

13. And that this is true, and that many would have gone back to their former supineness, if we had been released from the whole difficulty at once, is manifest from this circumstance; that whilst yet the remnants of the calamity are left, whilst the sentence of the Emperor is yet doubtful, and those who conducted the affairs of the city are all in prison, [1753] many of our fellow inhabitants, through their inordinate desire of bathing, run to the river, there making endless merriment, behaving wantonly, leaping, dancing, and dragging women after them. What pardon can such be worthy of? What kind of excuse can they offer? Or rather, what kind of punishment and vengeance do they not deserve? The head of the city is in the public prison; our members are in exile; the sentence concerning them is doubtful; and dost thou, I ask, dance, sport, and laugh? "Why, we could not endure," says some one, "to remain without the bath?" O shameless disposition, sordid and perverted! How many months, I ask, how many years, have past? Thou hast not been as yet shut out from the bath for twenty days; and thou art as much distressed and discontented, as if thou hadst continued without washing for a whole year! Tell me, was this thy state, when thou wert expecting an attack from the military, when thou wert daily anticipating bring put to death, when thou fleddest to the deserts, and wast hurrying to the mountain tops? If any one had then proposed to thee to remain "a year" without the bath, so that thou mightest be rescued from the impending distress, wouldest thou not readily have accepted the proposal, and submitted to it? When, therefore, it were becoming that thou shouldest give thanks to God, Who hath freed thee from all these things without any loss, dost thou again grow wanton and contemptuous; and when the fear has passed away, turn back afresh to a worse state of negligence? Have these dire events really touched thee, and yet art thou so desirous of the baths? Why, if the bath had been permitted, would not the calamity of those who are yet in confinement have been sufficient to persuade those who are not in the same grievous condition to be forgetful of every luxury? Life itself is at stake, and dost thou remember the baths, and desire to be luxurious? Dost thou despise the danger because thou hast now escaped it? Take heed lest thou entangle thyself in the necessity of a greater punishment, and call back in larger measure the wrath which is removed, and experience the very thing which Christ declared concerning the devils. For He says, that "when the unclean spirit is gone out, and afterwards findeth the house void and swept, he taketh seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entereth into the soul, and the last state of that man is worse than the first." [1754] Therefore let us also fear, lest now we are liberated from our former evils, we afterwards by our listlessness draw upon us those which are greater! I know that ye yourselves [1755] are free from this folly; but ye should restrain, punish, and sober those who walk disorderly, that ye may always rejoice even as Paul commanded, that both for our own good works, and for our forethought for others, we may enjoy both here and in the life to come an abundant recompense; through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom, and with Whom, to the Father, with the Holy Ghost, be glory, honour, and adoration, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[1732] Phil. iv. 4. [1733] See end of Hom. VI. [1734] Phil. iv. 4. [1735] See Arist. Eth. 1, ch. 5, and Plat. Phileb., where the general aim of human action is discussed. Speaking popularly, St. Chrysostom does not enquire by what name it is most correct to call the real object of our desires. He is satisfied with shewing that the highest pleasure, satisfaction, joy, or whatever it may be called, is found in God. And this is a better beginning, for practical purposes, than a philosophical definition. But see Hooker, b. i. c. vii. and Butler, ser. xi. xii. xiii. [1736] Proof of wealth. [1737] Job i. 21. [1738] Acts v. 41. [1739] Sav. Blessed are ye, &c. as in text. [1740] Matt. v. 11, 12. [1741] Ecclus. ii. 4, 5. [1742] Rom. ix. 2. [1743] Isa. xxii. 4. [1744] 2 Cor. vii. 10. [1745] Ezek. ix. 4. [1746] Amos vi. 6. [1747] Mich. i. 4. [1748] Ezek. xviii. 32. [1749] Ps. i. 1, xciv. 12, cxix. 1, ii. 13, xxxiii. 12; Ecclus. xiv. 2; Ps. cxii. 1. [1750] Matt. v. 3-10. [1751] Coloss. i. 24. [1752] Rom. v. 3. [1753] See Libanius ad Helleb. [1754] Luke xi. 24, 26. [1755] That is, those present. .


Homily XIX.

On the Sunday called "Episozomenes," [1756] to those who had come to Antioch from the country--also on the subject of avoiding oaths.

1. Ye have revelled during the last few days in the Holy Martyrs! Ye have taken your fill of the spiritual feast! Ye have all exulted with honest exultation! Ye have beheld their ribs laid bare, and their loins lacerated; the blood flowing forth all around; ten thousand forms of torture! Ye have seen human nature exhibiting that which is above nature, and crowns woven with blood! Ye have danced a goodly dance throughout the whole city; this, your noble captain [1757] leading you on; but sickness compelled me to remain at home, although against my will. But if I did not take a part in the festival, I partook of the pleasure of it. If I could not have the enjoyment of your public assembly, yet did I share in your gladness. For such is the power of love, that it makes those who are not actually in the enjoyment to rejoice equally with those who are; persuading them to think the good things of their neighbour common to themselves. Therefore even whilst I sat at home, I was rejoicing with you; and now whilst I am not yet entirely freed from my sickness, I have risen up, and run to meet you, that I may see your much desired faces, and take a part in the present festival.

2. For I think the present day to be a very great festival indeed on account of our brethren, who by their presence beautify our city, and adorn the Church; a people foreign to us in language, [1758] but in harmony with us concerning the faith, a people passing their time in tranquillity, and leading an honest and sober life. For among these men there are no spectacles of iniquity--no horse racings, nor harlots, nor any of that riot which pertains to a city, but every kind of licentiousness is banished, and great sobriety flourishes every where. And the reason is, that their life is a laborious one; and they have, in the culture of the soil, a school of virtue and sobriety, and follow that art which God introduced before all others into our life. For before the sin of Adam, when he enjoyed much freedom, a certain tillage of the ground was enjoined upon him; not indeed a laborious or a troublesome one, but one which afforded him much good discipline, for he was appointed, it is said, "to till the garden, and to keep it." Each of these men you may see at one time employed in yoking the labouring oxen, and guiding the plough, and cutting the deep furrow; and at another ascending the sacred pulpit, [1759] and cultivating the souls of those under their authority; at one time cutting away the thorns from the soil with a bill-hook, at another purging out the sins of the soul by the Word. For they are not ashamed of work like the inhabitants of our city, but they are ashamed of idleness, knowing that this has taught every kind of wickedness; and that to those who love it, it has proved a teacher of iniquity from the beginning.

3. These are our philosophers, and theirs the best philosophy, exhibiting their virtue not by their outward appearance, but by their mind. The pagan philosophers are in character no wise better than those who are engaged on the stage, and in the sports of actors; and they have nothing to shew beyond the threadbare cloak, the beard, and the long robe! But these, quite on the contrary, bidding farewell to staff and beard, and the other accoutrements, have their souls adorned with the doctrines of the true philosophy, and not only with the doctrines, but also with the real practice. And were you to question any one of these, who live a rustic life at the spade and plough, as to the dogmas respecting which the pagan philosophers have discoursed an infinite deal, and have expended a multitude of words, without being able to say any thing sound; one of these would give you an accurate reply from his store of wisdom. And not only is this to be wondered at, but that they confirm the credibility of these doctrines by their actions. For of the fact that we have an immortal soul, and that we shall hereafter render an account of what we have done here, and stand before a fearful Tribunal, their minds are at once thoroughly persuaded, and they have also regulated their whole course of life by such hopes as these; and have become superior to all worldly show, instructed as they have been by the sacred Scriptures, that "all is vanity, yea, vanity of vanities," [1760] and they do not greedily long for any of those things which seem to be so splendid.

4. These too know how to philosophize concerning God, even as God hath determined; and if, taking one of them, you were now to bring forward some pagan philosopher;--or rather, now you could not find one! [1761] --But if you were to take one of these, and then open the books of their ancient philosophers, and go through them, and institute an enquiry by way of parallel as to what these now answer, and the others in their day philosophically advanced; you would see how much wisdom belonged to the former, and how much folly to the latter. For whilst some of those would aver, that the things existing were destitute of a providence, and that the creation had not its origin from God; that virtue was not sufficient for itself, but stood in need of wealth, and nobility, and external splendour, and other things still more ridiculous; and whilst these, on the other hand, would discourse wisely respecting Providence, respecting the future Tribunals of judgment, respecting the creative power of God, bringing forth all things out of nothing, as well as respecting all other points, although at the same time they were entirely destitute of worldly schooling; who could but learn from hence the power of Christ, which hath proved these unlearned and simple persons to be as much wiser than those, who make so much boast of their wisdom, as men of discretion are seen to be in comparison of little children? For what harm can result to them from their simplicity in regard to learning, when their thoughts are full of much wisdom? And what advantage have those philosophers from this learning, when the understanding is devoid of right thoughts? It were just as if one should have a sword that had its hilt of silver, whilst the blade was weaker than the vilest lead. For truly these philosophers have their tongue decked out with words and names, but their understanding is full of mere weakness and good for nothing. Not so with these philosophers, but quite the reverse. Their understanding is full of spiritual wisdom [1762] and their mode of life is a transcript of their doctrines. Amongst these there are no luxurious women; there are no ornaments of dress, nor colours, nor paints; but all such corruption of manners is discountenanced. Hence the population under their charge are the more readily trained to sobriety, and the law which Paul gave, when he directed that food and covering should be had, and nothing more be sought after, they most rigidly observe. [1763] Amongst them, there are no perfumed unguents to fascinate the senses; [1764] but the earth bringing forth herbs, prepares for them a varied fragrance of flowers, above all the skill of perfumers. For this reason, their bodies as well as souls enjoy a sound state of health, inasmuch as they have banished all luxury of diet, and driven off all the evil floods of drunkenness; and they eat just as much as suffices for subsistence. Let us then not despise them because of their outward appearance, but let us admire their mind. For of what advantage is the external habit, when the soul is more wretchedly clad than any beggar! The man ought to be praised and admired, not for dress, nay more, not for his bodily form, but for his soul. Lay bare the soul of these men, and you will see its beauty and the wealth it possesses, in their words, in their doctrines, and in the whole system of their manners!

5. Let the Gentiles then be ashamed, let them hide their heads, and slink away on account of their philosophers, and their wisdom, wretched as it is beyond all folly! For the philosophers that have been amongst them in their lifetime have hardly been able to teach their doctrines to a very few, who can easily be numbered; and when any trifling peril overtook them, they lost even these. But the disciples of Christ, the fishermen, the publicans, and the tent-makers, in a few years brought over the whole world to the truth; and when from that time, ten thousand perils have been constantly arising, the preaching of the Gospel was so far from being put down, that it still flourishes and increases; and they taught simple people, tillers of the ground, and occupied with cattle, to be lovers of wisdom. Such are the persons, who beside all the rest having deeply rooted in them that love which is the source of all good things, [1765] have hastened to us, undertaking so long a journey, that they might come and embrace their fellow-members.

6. Come then, and in return for these favours, (I speak of their love and kind feeling), let us give them a provision, and so send them home; and let us again raise the question concerning oaths; that from the minds of all we may pluck up by the roots this evil custom. But first, I desire to put you a little in mind to-day of the things we spoke of lately. [1766]

When the Jews, having been released from Persia, and set free from that tyranny, were returned back to their own county, "I saw," saith one, "a flying sickle, twenty cubits in length, and ten cubits broad." [1767] They heard also the Prophet giving them this instruction, "This is the curse, that goeth forth over the face of the whole land, and entereth into the house of him that sweareth falsely; and it shall rest in the midst thereof, and throw down the timber and all the stones." When we had read this passage, we also enquired then why it was, that it should destroy not the swearer only, but also his house, and we stated this to be the reason; that God will have the punishments of the most grievous sins to remain continually visible; that all may afterwards learn prudence. Inasmuch then as it was necessary that the perjurer when dead should be buried, and committed to the bosom of the earth; in order that his wickedness might not be buried along with him, his house was made a heap, so that all who passed by, beholding it, and learning the reason of the overthrow, might avoid imitating the sin.

7. This also happened at Sodom. For when they burned in their lust one towards another, then too the very earth itself was burned up, being kindled by the fire from above. For He designed, that the vengeance of this sin should permanently remain.

And observe the mercy of God! Those who had sinned, He caused not to continue burning to the present day, but when they had been for once in flames, He buried them; and burning up the face of the ground, He placed it visibly before all who after should desire to look at these things; and now the sight of the land, through all the generations since, hath given an admonition beyond all powers of speech, crying out as it were, and saying, "Dare not to do the deeds of Sodom, lest ye suffer the lot of Sodom!" For precept commonly makes not so deep an impression upon the mind as a fearful spectacle does, which bears upon it the vestiges of calamity though all time. And persons that have visited these places bear witness, who often, when they hear the Scripture discoursing of these things, are not much terrified; but when they have gone and stood upon the site, and see the whole surface of it disfigured, and have witnessed the effects of the fire, with soil no where visible, but every thing dust and ashes, they come away astonished with the sight, and taking with them a strong lesson of chastity. For truly, the very nature of the punishment was a pattern of the nature of the sin! Even as they devised a barren intercourse, not having for its end the procreation of children, so did God bring on them such a punishment, as made the womb of the land ever barren, and destitute of all fruits! For this reason also He threatened to destroy the dwellings of the swearers, in order that by their punishments, they may make others to be more self-controlled.

8. But I am ready to shew to-day, not the destruction of one, two, or three houses in consequence of oaths, but that of a whole city and of a people beloved of God; of a nation that had always enjoyed much of the divine care; and of a race that had escaped many dangers. [1768] For Jerusalem herself, the city of God, which had the holy ark, and all that divine service;--where there were once prophets, and the grace of the Spirit, and the ark; and the tables of the covenant, and the golden pot;--where angels were frequent visitors;--this city, I say, when a multitude of wars took place, and many foreign nations made attacks upon it, as if girt by a wall of adamant, ever laughed them all to scorn, and whilst the land was utterly destroyed, sustained no injury! And not only is this to be wondered at, but that frequently in driving out its enemies, it inflicted upon them a heavy blow, and enjoyed so much of the providential care of God, that God Himself said, "I found Israel as a bunch of grapes in the desert; and I beheld your fathers as the earliest fruit on the fig tree." [1769] And again, of the city itself: "As olive berries on the extremity of the highest bough, and they shall say, Do them no harm." [1770] Nevertheless, the city beloved of God; that had escaped so many perils; that had been favoured with pardon, amidst the multitude of its sins; that alone had been able to avoid captivity, whilst all the rest were carried away, not once or twice, but very often; was ruined solely by an oath. But how, I proceed to state.

9. One of their kings was Zedekiah. This Zedekiah took an oath to Nebuchadnezzar, king of the barbarians, that he would remain in alliance with him. Afterwards he revolted, and went over to the king of Egypt, disdaining the obligation of his oath, and suffered the things of which ye shall hear presently. But first, it is necessary to mention the parable of the prophet, in which he enigmatically represented all these matters: "The word of the Lord," saith he, "came to me, saying, Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable, and say, Thus saith the Lord God: A great eagle, with great wings, and long extended, full of claws." [1771] Here he calls the king of the Babylonians an eagle, and speaks of him as being "great, and long-winged;" and he calls him long-extended and "full of claws," on account of the multitude of his army, and the greatness of his power, and the swiftness of his invasion. For just as the wings and claws of the eagle are his armour, so are horses and soldiers to kings. This eagle, he goes on to say, "hath the leading [1772] to enter into Lebanon." What is meant by the "leading?" Counsel--design. And Judæa is called Lebanon, because of its situation near that mountain. Afterwards, intending to speak of the oaths and treaties, "He took," saith he, "of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field, that it might take root by great waters. He placed it to be looked upon; and it grew, and became a weak vine, and of small stature, and it stretched out its branches towards him, and its roots were under him." [1773] Here he calls the city of Jerusalem [1774] a vine; but in saying that it stretched out its branches towards the eagle, and that its roots were under him, he refers to the treaties and alliances made with him; and that it cast itself upon him. Next, purposing to declare the iniquity of this, he saith, "And there was another great eagle," (speaking of the Egyptian king), "with great wings, and having many claws; [1775] and the vine did bend itself toward him, and its tendril toward him, and shot out its branches, that it might be watered. Therefore, I said, Thus saith the Lord God: Shall it prosper?" [1776] That is to say, "after having broken the oath, and the treaties, shall it be able to remain, or to be safe, or to avoid falling?" Presently, for the purpose of shewing that this is not to happen, but that it is certainly to be destroyed on account of the oath, he discourses concerning its punishment, and alleges the cause. "For its tender roots and its fruits shall become corrupt, and all which springs therefrom shall be withered." [1777] And for the purpose of shewing that it will not be destroyed by human strength, but because it hath made God its enemy by means of these oaths, he subjoins, "Not by a mighty arm, nor by much people, to pluck it up by its roots." Such indeed is the parable, but the prophet again explains it, when he says, "Behold, the king of Babylon cometh against Jerusalem." [1778] And then, after saying some other things between, he mentions the oaths and the treaties. "For" saith he, "he shall make a covenant with him;" [1779] and presently, speaking of the departure from it, he goes on to say, "And he will depart from him, by sending messengers into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people." And then he proceeds to shew that it is on account of the oath that all this destruction is to take place. "Surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, he who hath despised My curse, and hath transgressed My covenant, in the midst of Babylon he shall die; and not by great power nor by multitude, because he despised the oath in transgressing this My covenant; I will surely recompense upon his own head this My oath which he hath dishonoured, and My covenant which he hath broken; and I will spread My net upon him." [1780] Seest thou, that not once, or twice, but repeatedly, it is said that because of the oath he was to suffer all these things. For God is inexorable when oaths are treated contemptuously. Nor merely from the punishment which was brought upon the city by the oath, but also from the delay, and the postponement, may it be seen how much God is concerned for the inviolability of oaths. "For it came to pass," we are told, "in the ninth year of the reign of Zedekiah, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon came, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built a wall against it round about, and the city was besieged until the eleventh year of king Zedekiah, and the ninth day of the month, [1781] and there was no bread for the people to eat, and the city was broken up." [1782] He might indeed, at once from the first day, have delivered them up, and have given them into the hands of their enemies; but He permitted that they should first be wasted for the space of three years, and experience a most distressing siege; to the end that during this interval, being humbled by the terror of the forces without, or the famine that oppressed the city within, they might compel the king, however unwillingly, to submit to the barbarian; and some alleviation might be obtained for the sin committed. And to prove that this is true, and no conjecture of my own, hear what He saith to him by the prophet: "If thou shalt go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house. But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans; and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand. And the king said, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hands and they mock me. But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the word of the Lord, which I speak unto thee; so shall it be better for thee, and thy soul shall live. But if thou refuse to go forth, this is the word that the Lord hath shewed me. All the women that are left in the king of Judah's house, shall be brought forth to the king of Babylon's princes; and those shall say, The men who are at peace with thee have deceived thee, and have prevailed over thee; they shall prevail when thy feet slip; they are turned away from thee, and they shall bring out all thy wives, and thy children to the Chaldeans, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand, for thou shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon, and this city shall be burned with fire." [1783]

10. But when He did not prevail with him by this address, but he remained in his sin and transgression, after three years, God delivered up the city, displaying at once His own clemency and the ingratitude of that king. And entering in with the utmost ease, they "burnt the house of the Lord, and the king's house, and the houses of Jerusalem, and every great house, the captain of the guard [1784] burnt, and overthrew the wall of Jerusalem;" [1785] and everywhere there was the fire of the barbarian, the oath being the conductor of the conflagration, and carrying about the flame in all directions. "And the captain of the guard carried away the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon. [1786] And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the Lord the Chaldeans brake up, and the bases, and the brazen sea that was in the house of the Lord, did the Chaldees break in pieces. And the pots, and the flesh-hooks, and the bowls, and the censers, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away. And the firepans, and all the golden and silver bowls they took away. Moreover, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took away the two pillars, and the bases, and the sea which Solomon had made in the house of the Lord. And they took away Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door; and out of the city one eunuch that was set over the men of war; and five men that were in the king's presence; and Shaphan the chief captain, and the principal scribe, and threescore men. And he took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon, and the king smote them, and slew them." [1787]

11. Be mindful therefore, I pray, now of the "flying sickle" that "resteth in the swearer's house;" and "destroyeth the walls and the timber and the stones." Be mindful, I pray, how this oath entered into the city, and overturned houses, and temple, and walls, and splendid buildings, and made the city an heap; and that neither the Holy of Holies, nor the sacred vessels, nor any thing else could ward off that punishment and vengeance, for that the oath had been transgressed! The city, indeed, was thus miserably destroyed. But the king endured what was still more wretched and deplorable. [1788] And as the flying sickle overthrew the buildings, so did it also cut him down in his flight. For "the king," it says, "went forth by night, by way of the gate, and the Chaldeans encompassed the city, and the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king and overtook him, and they took the king, and brought him to the king of Babylon, and the king of Babylon gave judgment [1789] upon Zedekiah, and slew his sons before his face, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon." What is meant by the expression, "he spake judgment with him?" He demanded of him an account of his conduct, he pleaded against him; and first he slew his two sons, that he might be a spectator of the calamity of his house, and might behold [1790] that deplorable tragedy; and then he put out his own eyes. For what reason, I ask again, did this occur? In order that he might go as a teacher to the barbarians, and too the Jews who dwelt among them; and that they who had eyes might discern by him who was bereft of sight, how great an evil is an oath! Nor only these; but all who dwelt by the way, beholding the man fettered and blinded, might learn by his calamity the greatness of his sin. Therefore one of the prophets declares, "He shall not see Babylon." [1791] And another, "He shall be carried away to Babylon." [1792] And the prophecy seems, indeed, to be contradictory. But it is not so; for both of these are true. For he saw not Babylon, though he was carried away to Babylon. How then did he not see Babylon? Because it was in Judæa he had his eyes put out; for where the oath had been set at nought, there also was it vindicated, and he himself subjected to punishment. And how was he carried away to Babylon? In a state of captivity. For since the punishment was twofold, deprivation of sight and captivity, the prophets took them severally. The one saith, "He shall not see Babylon," speaking of the loss of his eyes; the other saith, "He shall be carried away to Babylon," signifying his captivity.

12. Knowing these things, then, brethren, and gathering up what has been now advanced, as well as what has been said before; let us at last desist from this evil custom, yea, I pray and beseech you all! For if in the old dispensation, when the Jews had not the strictest moral wisdom required of them, but much condescension was extended to them, such wrath was the effect of one oath; such capture and captivity; what punishment is it likely that those who swear should now be subjected to, after an express law forbidding the practice, and so large an addition of precepts. Is it, indeed, all that is required, that we come to the assembly, and hear what is spoken? Why truly it is a reason for greater condemnation, and for more inevitable punishment, that we are continually hearing, and yet do not what is bidden! What excuse shall we have, or what pardon, if assembling here from earliest youth to latest old age, and enjoying the advantage of so much instruction, we remain just like them, and do not take pains to correct a single defect. Let no one henceforth allege custom. For this is the very thing at which I am indignant and provoked, that we are not able to get the better of custom. And, pray, if we do not get the better of custom, how can we get the better of concupiscence, which hath its root even in the principles of our nature; for it is natural to feel desire; but to desire wickedly, comes after of choice. But this practice of swearing takes not even its first principle from nature, [1793] but from mere negligence.

13. And that thou mayest learn that not from the difficulty of the thing, but through our inattention, this sin has advanced to such a pitch, let us call to mind how many things far more difficult than these, men accomplish; and that too without expecting any recompense therefrom. Let us think what services the Devil imposes; how laborious, how troublesome they are; and yet, the difficulty has not become an obstacle to these services. For what can be more difficult, I ask, than when any young person delivering himself up to those, who undertake to make his limbs supple and pliant, uses his most strenuous exertion to bend his whole body into the exact shape of a wheel, and to turn over upon the pavement; his powers being tasked at the same time through the eyes, and through the movement of the hands, as well as other convolutions for the purpose of being transformed into the likeness of woman-kind. [1794] Yet neither the difficulty of these feats, nor the degradation arising from them, are thought of. And again, those who are dragged upon the dancing-stage, and use the members of the body as though they were wings, who that beholds them can help being struck with wonder? So too they who toss knives aloft in the air one after another, and catch them all by the handle, whom might they not put to shame of those who refuse to undergo any labour for the sake of virtue? And what can any one say of those men, who balancing a pole on the forehead, keep it just as steady as a tree rooted in the ground? And this is not the only marvellous part of the affair but that they set little children to wrestle with one another on the top of the tree; and neither the hands, nor any other part of the body assisting, the forehead alone sustains the pole unshaken, and with more steadiness than any kind of fastening. Again: another walks on the slenderest rope, with the same fearlessness as men do when they run over level plains. Nevertheless these things, which even in thought seem impracticable, have become possible by art. What like this have we, I ask, to allege concerning oaths? What kind of difficulty? what toil? what art? what danger? There is only needed on our part a little earnestness, and the whole of our task will be quickly performed.

14. And do not tell me, "I have accomplished the greater part of it;" but if thou hast not accomplished the whole, consider that thou hast not as yet done any thing; for this little, if neglected, is destruction to all the rest. Often indeed when men have built a house, and put on the roof, they have destroyed the whole fabric, by not making any concern of a single tile that has been shaken off from it. And one may see the same thing occur with respect to garments; for there too if a small hole is made, and not repaired, a large rent is the consequence. And this also is frequently the case in regard to floods; for these, if they find but a small entrance, let in the whole torrent. Thou also, then, even if thou hast fortified thyself all around, and but a small part be left still unfortified, yet block up this also against the devil, that thou mayest be made strong on all sides! Thou hast seen the sickle! Thou hast seen the head of John! Thou hast heard the history pertaining to Saul! Thou hast heard the manner of the Jewish captivity! And beside all these, thou hast heard the sentence of Christ declaring, that not only to commit perjury, but to swear in any way, is a diabolical thing, and the whole a device of the evil one. [1795] Thou hast heard that every where perjuries follow oaths. Putting all these things then together, write them upon thy understanding. Dost thou not see how women and little children suspend Gospels [1796] from their necks as a powerful amulet, and carry them about in all places wherever they go. Thus do thou write the commands of the Gospel and its laws upon thy mind. Here there is no need of gold or property, or of buying a book; but of the will only, and the affections of the soul awakened, and the Gospel will be thy surer guardian, carrying it as thou wilt then do, not outside, but treasured up within; yea, in the soul's secret chambers. When thou risest up then from thy bed, and when thou goest out of thine house, repeat this law: "I say unto you, Swear not at all." [1797] And the saying will be to thee a discipline; for there is no need of much labour, but only of a moderate degree of attention. And that this is true, may thus be proved. Call thy son, and frighten him, and threaten to lay a few stripes upon him, if he does not duly observe this law; and thou wilt see, how he will forthwith abstain from this custom. Is it not therefore truly absurd, that little children, out of the fear we inspire, should perform this commandment, and that we should not fear God as our sons fear us?

15. What then I said before this, I now again repeat. Let us lay down a law for ourselves in this matter; not to meddle either with public or private affairs until we have fulfilled this law; and then surely under the pressure of this obligation we shall easily conquer, and we shall at once adorn ourselves, and decorate our city. For consider what a thing it would be to have it said every where throughout the world, "A practice becoming Christians is established at Antioch, and you will hear no one giving utterance to an oath, even though the greatest necessity is laid upon him!" This is what the neighbouring cities will certainly hear; nay, not the neighbouring cities only, but even to the ends of the earth will the report be conveyed. For it is indeed probable that both the merchants who mix with you, and others who arrive from this place, will report all these matters. When, therefore, many persons in the way of encomium mention the harbours of other cities, or the markets, or the abundance of wares, enable those who come from hence to say, that there is that at Antioch, which is to be seen in no other city; for that the men who dwell there would sooner have their tongues cut out, than suffer an oath to proceed from their mouths! This will be your ornament and defence, and not only so, but it will bring an abundant reward. For others also will certainly emulate, and imitate you. But if, when a person has gained but one or two, [1798] he shall receive so great a reward from God; what recompense shall ye not receive when ye are the instructors of the whole world. It is your duty then to bestir yourselves, to be watchful, and to be sober; knowing that not only from our own personal good works, but from those we have also wrought in others, shall we receive the best recompense, and enjoy much favour with God, which may He grant us all continually to enjoy, and hereafter to obtain the kingdom of heaven, in Christ Jesus our Lord; to Whom with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be glory and power both now and ever, and world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[1756] Tes Episozom(TM)nes. The Sunday before Ascension Day, which, according to Allatius, was called Episozomene by the Cappadocians; but little seems to be certainly known on the subject. The Homily is placed here on account of the argument continued in it. See Montf. Pref. The philosophers may not have returned, or he may refer to the superiority of the ancients. [1757] Flavian, who had returned before Easter. [1758] It seems that they spoke not the Greek, but the Syriac language. [1759] to hieron bema. The whole of the raised part of the Church, entered by none but the clergy, was so called. On the cases in which secular occupations were allowed to the clergy, see Bingham, b. vi. c. iv. sec. 13. [1760] Eccl. i. 2. [1761] St. Chrysostom here satirically alludes to the flight of the philosophers from the city during the panic succeeding the sedition. See Homily XVII. [1762] From the marg. reading, al. "philosophy." [1763] 1 Tim. vi. 8. [1764] Comp. Georg. ii. 466. [1765] Eph. iii. 17. [1766] Bingham asserts, that this Homily and Homily XV. appear to have been preached on the same day, Antiquities, b. 14, c. 4, sec. 8, vol. 4. The opening of the Homily disproves this. Bingham's mistake is easily accounted for, by the wording of this passage in the Greek. [1767] Zech. v. 1, 2. [1768] St. Chrysostom here carries on the argument against the use of oaths, which he had broken off in Homily XIV., after ending the history of Saul and Jonathan. [1769] Hosea ix. 10. [1770] Isa. lxv. 8, not exactly as LXX. [1771] Ezek. xvii. 2, 3. [1772] to hegema, literally the generalship, as that of an army. [1773] Ezek. xvii. 5, 6. [1774] Rather the king, who was of the seed (royal) of the land, but made king by Nebuchadnezzar, 2 Kings xxiv. 17. [1775] In this expression of many claws, and in some others, the LXX. differs from the Hebrew. [1776] Ezek. vii. 7, 8. [1777] Ezek. xvii. 9. [1778] Ezek. xvii. 12. [1779] Ezek. xvii. 14. [1780] Ezek. xvii. 16-20. [1781] The fourth, Jer. xxxix. 2; lii. 6. [1782] 2 Kings xxv. 1-4. [1783] Jer. xxxviii. 17-23. [1784] LXX., /=rchimEURgeiros, chief of the cooks, the Hebrew is literally of the slaughterers. [1785] 2 Kings xxv. 9; Jer. xxxix. 8. [1786] Jer. xxxix. 9. [1787] 2 Kings xxv. 13-20. [1788] 2 Kings xxv. 4-7. [1789] Lit. spake judgment with him, as E.V. mar. [1790] The last Par. Ed. adopts ide from Savile, and so M. and three mss. at Venice. Ben. ¹de, N.R. and Lat. eide. [1791] Ezek. xii. 13. [1792] Jer. xxxii. 5. [1793] This is the reading in some mss. adopted by Savile, but the Benedictine readsek tes troair>seos "from moral choice," or "purpose," i.e., aiming at something supposed to be good. [1794] Xenophon, in his Symposium, describes a dancing girl as performing tricks of this kind, "turning over backwards, bent into the form of a wheel," and "reading and writing while whirled on a potter's wheel," &c. (on which Socrates takes occasion to say how much women might learn). Wilkinson observes, that this bears some resemblance to a feat indicated in Egyptian paintings, not less than 1300 years before the age of Socrates. See Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, vol. ii. p. 415. Of the degradation attached to such feats, see Herodotus, b. vi. c. 129. [1795] So cometh of evil may be understood. St. Chrysostom scarcely allows an oath in any case, unless perhaps as quoted on Eph. i. 14. His words are sometimes marked as caute legenda. Other Fathers, and the usual practice, allowed them on just occasions. See Bingham, xvi. c. vii. sec. 4. Where, however, St. Athanasius uses a qualified form of putting an oath. See also his Comment on Ps. lxiii. 11, he speaks almost as strongly as St. Chrysostom, as does also St. Basil, still using himself an affirmation before God, and discussing questions of obligation by oath. [1796] Texts or extracts from the Gospels. On 1 Cor. xvi. 9, Hom. XLIII., he notices a like practice. Bingham says, b. xvi. c. v. sec. 6, that he, and St. Basil, and St. Epiphanius, complain of it, but the passages he quotes do not do so. St. Chrys. tolerates this, seemingly, but expressly denies its efficacy as a mere charm. On the use of charms he is severe, though used by Christians, and containing nothing of decidedly heathenish import. He considers making the sign of the cross as opposed to these, and an act of faith. See on Ep. to Col. Hom. VIII. Suicer in Euang(TM)lion, and St. Chrys. in Matt. Hom. LXXII. [1797] Matt. v. 34. [1798] Jas. v. 20. .


Homily XX. [1799]

That the fast of Lent is not sufficient to make us competent to partake of the Communion, but that holiness is the first thing required. How it is possible not to entertain resentment, and that God takes much account of this law; and that the entertaining of resentment punishes those who are guilty of it even before they reach the place of torment.--Also concerning abstinence from oaths, and those who have not succeeded in abstaining from swearing.

1. At length the season is verging towards the end of the Fast, and therefore we ought the more earnestly to devote ourselves to holiness. For as in the case of those who run a race, all their circuits will be of no avail if they miss the prize; so neither will any advantage result from these manifold labours and toils with regard to the fast, if we are not able to enjoy the sacred Table with a good conscience. For this end are fasting and Lent appointed, and so many days of solemn assemblies, auditories, prayers, and teachings, in order that by this earnestness [1800] being cleansed in every possible way from the sins which we had contracted during the whole year, we may with spiritual boldness religiously partake of that unbloody Sacrifice; so that should this not be the result, we shall have sustained so much labour entirely in vain, and without any profit. Let every one, therefore, consider with himself what defect he hath corrected, what good work he hath attained to; what sin he hath cast off, what stain he hath purged away; in what respect he has become better. And should he discover that in this good traffic he has made any gain by the fast, and be conscious in himself of much care taken of his wounds, let him draw near! But if he hath remained negligent, having nothing to shew but mere fasting, and hath done nothing which is right besides, let him remain outside; [1801] and then let him enter, when he hath purged out all these offences. Let no one rest on the fast merely; whilst continuing unreformed in evil practices. For it is probable, that he who omits fasting may obtain pardon, having infirmity of body to plead; but it is impossible that he can have an excuse who hath not amended his faults. Thou hast not fasted, it may be, on account of bodily weakness. Tell me for what reason thou art not reconciled to thine enemies? Hast thou, indeed, here to allege bodily infirmity? Again; if thou retainest envy and hatred, what apology hast thou then I ask? For no one in offences of this kind is able to take refuge in the plea of bodily infirmity. And this was a work of Christ's [1802] love toward man, viz. that the chief of the precepts, and those which maintain our life, should not be impaired in any degree through the weakness of the body.

2. But since we need to practise all the divine laws alike, and more especially that which bids us consider no man as an enemy, nor retain resentment long, but forthwith to be reconciled; suffer us to-day to discourse to you concerning this commandment. For as it is not to be imagined that the fornicator and the blasphemer can partake of the sacred Table, so it is impossible that he who hath an enemy, and bears malice, can enjoy the holy Communion. And this with good reason. For a man when he has committed fornication, or adultery, at the same time that he hath accomplished his lust, hath also completed the sin; and should he be willing by watchful living to recover from that fall, he may afterwards, by manifesting great penitence, obtain some relief. But he who is resentful worketh the same iniquity every day, and never brings it to an end. In the former case the deed is over, and the sin completed; but here the sin is perpetrated every day. What excuse can we then have, I ask, for delivering ourselves willingly to such an evil monster? How canst thou ask thy Lord to be mild and merciful to thee, when thou hast been so hard and unforgiving to thy fellow-servant?

3. But thy fellow-servant hath treated thee with contempt perhaps? Yes! and thou hast treated God with contempt oftentimes. And what comparison is there between a fellow-servant and the Lord? As to the former, when he was perchance in some way injured, he insulted thee, and thou wert exasperated. But thou insultest the Lord, when thou art neither treated with injustice nor ill-will by Him, but receiving blessing of Him day by day. Consider, then, that if God chose to search out rigourously what is done against Him, we should not live a single day. For the prophet saith, "If Thou wilt be extreme to mark iniquity, O Lord, O Lord, who shall stand?" [1803] And, to pass by all those other things, of which the conscience of every sinner is aware, and of which he no has no human witness, but God only; were we to be called to account for those which are open and admitted, what allowance could we expect for such sins? What if He were to scrutinize our listlessness and negligence in our prayers; and how, whilst standing before God and supplicating Him, we do not exhibit even so much fear and reverence for Him as servants do toward their masters, as soldiers do toward their officers, as friends do toward friends? [1804] When thou discoursest with a friend, thou givest heed to what thou art doing, but when waiting on God on account of thy sins, and asking pardon for so many offences, and thinking that thou shalt obtain forgiveness, thou art often listless; and whilst thy knees are lying on the ground, thou sufferest thy mind to wander every where, in the market, or in the house, babbling the while with thy mouth vainly and to no purpose! And this we experience, not once or twice, but frequently! Did God then choose to scrutinize this alone, do you think that we could obtain pardon, or be able to find any excuse? Truly, I think not!

4. But what if the evil-speakings which we unkindly utter every day one against another, were brought forward against us; as well as the rash judgments with which we condemn our neighbour; and that for no reason, but because we are fond of blaming, and given to find fault; what, I say, should we be able to allege in defence? Again, should He scrutinize those roving glances of ours, and those evil desires which we carry in the mind, so frequently admitting disgraceful and impure thoughts from the unlicensed wandering of the eyes, what punishment must we not sustain? And should He demand a reason for our revilings, (for He saith, "Whosoever shall say to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire,") how could we, forsooth, open our mouths, or move our lips at all, or say any thing great or small in reply? Moreover, as to the vainglorious feelings we allow in our prayers, our fastings, our almsgiving, were we to scrutinize, them,--I do not say, were God, but were we ourselves, who are the sinners, to do this,--should we be able to lift up our eyes toward heaven? Then, as to the deceits which we devise one against another--praising a brother now, whilst he is present, and discoursing as with a friend; and when he is absent, reviling him; can we endure the punishments of all these? Then what of the oaths? or what of the lying? what of the perjuries? what of the unjust anger, and of the envy with which we too often regard men when honoured, not enemies only, but also friends? Furthermore, what of the fact, that we are pleased when others suffer evil, and account the misfortunes of others a consolation for our own distress?

5. But suppose the penalty were exacted for our listlessness in our solemn assemblies what would our condition be? For this ye cannot but know, that often whilst God Himself is addressing us all by His prophet, we are holding frequent and long conversations with those near us, about matters which in no way concern us. Passing by, then, all the rest, should He choose to exact of us the penalty due for this sin only, what hope of salvation will there be? For do not suppose that this offence is a small one, but if thou wouldest be aware of its magnitude, examine how this very thing is regarded among men, and then thou wilt perceive the enormity of the sin. Just venture, when some magistrate is talking to thee, or rather some friend who is of somewhat superior dignity, to turn from him, and enter into conversation with thy servant; and thou wilt then perceive, what thou venturest on in dealing thus with God! For if he be any one of the more distinguished classes, he will even demand reparation of thee for such an insult. Yet God, whilst He is treated with as great, and still greater contempt than this, every day; and that not by one, or two, or three persons, but by almost all of us; is still forbearing and longsuffering, not in regard to this alone, but to other things which are far more grievous. For these things are what must be admitted, and what are obvious to all, and by almost all men they are daringly practised. But there are yet others, which the conscience of those who commit them is privy to. Surely, if we were to think of all this; if we were to reason with ourselves, supposing even that we were the cruelest and harshest of men, yet upon taking a survey of the multitude of our sins, we should for very fear and agony be unable to remember the injury done by others towards ourselves. Bear in mind the river of fire; the envenomed worm; the fearful Judgment, where all things shall be naked and open! Reflect, that what are now hidden things, are then to be brought to light! But shouldest thou pardon thy neighbour all these sins which till then await their disclosure are done away with here; and when thou shalt depart this life, thou wilt not drag after thee any of that chain of transgressions; so that thou receivest greater things than thou givest. For many such transgressions, indeed, we have often committed, which no other person knoweth; and when we think, that on That Day these our sins shall lie exposed to the eyes of all, upon the public theatre of the universe, we are in pain beyond any punishment, being choked and strangled by our conscience. Yet this shame, great as it is; these sins, these punishments, great as they are; there is a possibility of purging away through forgiveness exercised toward our neighbour.

6. For indeed there is nothing equal to this virtue. [1805] Wouldest thou learn the power of this virtue? "Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me," saith God, "my soul would not regard them." [1806] Nevertheless, those whom Moses and Samuel were not able to snatch away from God's wrath, this precept when observed was able to snatch away. Hence it is, that He continually exhorts those to whom He had spoken these things, saying, "Let none of you revengefully imagine [1807] evil against his brother in your heart," and "let none of you think of his neighbour's malice." [1808] It is not said merely, forego wrath; but retain it not in thy mind; think not of it; part with all thy resentment; do away the sore. For thou supposest that thou art paying him back the injury; but thou art first tormenting thyself, and setting up thy rage as an executioner within thee in every part, and tearing up thine own bowels. For what can be more wretched than a man perpetually angry? And just as maniacs, who never enjoy tranquility, so also he who is resentful, and retains an enemy, will never have the enjoyment of any peace; incessantly raging, as he does, and daily increasing the tempest of his thoughts calling to mind his words and acts, and detesting the very name of him who has aggrieved him. Do you but mention his enemy, he becomes furious at once, and sustains much inward anguish; and should he chance to get only a bare sight of him, he fears and trembles, as if encountering the worst evils. Yea, if he perceives any of his relations, if but his garment, or his dwelling, or street, he is tormented by the sight of them. For as in the case of those who are beloved, their faces, their garments, their sandals, their houses, or streets, excite us, the instant we behold them; so also should we observe a servant, or friend, or house, or street, or any thing else belonging to those we hate and hold our enemies, we are stung by all these things; and the strokes we endure from the sight of each one of them are frequent and continual.

7. What is the need then of sustaining such a siege, such torment and such punishment? For if hell did not threaten the resentful; yet for the very torment resulting from the thing itself we ought to forgive the offences of those who have aggrieved us. But when deathless punishments remain behind, what can be more senseless than the man, who both here and there brings punishment upon himself, while he thinks to be revenged upon his enemy! For suppose that we see him still prosperous, then we are ready to die of chagrin; but if in an adverse condition, we are in fear, lest some propitious turn of events should take place. But for both of these there is stored up for us an inevitable punishment. For, "Rejoice not," he saith, "when thine enemy stumbleth." [1809] And tell me not of the greatness of the injuries received; for it is not this which maketh thy wrath to be retained; but this, that thou art unmindful of thine own offences; that thou hast not before thine eyes either hell or the fear of God! To convince thee that this is true, I will endeavour to make it manifest from the events which have happened in this city. For when the persons impeached of those flagrant crimes were dragged to the tribunal of justice;--when the fire was kindled within, and the executioners stood around, and were lacerating their ribs, [1810] if any one standing beside them had proclaimed, "If ye have any enemies, dismiss your resentment, and we shall be able to set you free from this punishment;"--would they not have kissed their very feet? [1811] And why do I say their feet? If one had bidden them take them for their masters, they would not then have refused. But if punishment that is human, and hath its bounds, would have triumphed over all anger, much more would the punishment to come, if it had continual possession of our thoughts, expel from the soul not only resentment, but every evil imagination? For what is easier, I ask, than to get rid of resentment against the injurer? Is there any long journey to be undertaken? Is there any expenditure of money? Is the aid of others to be invoked? It suffices only to resolve, and the good deed at once reaches the goal. What punishment, then, must we not deserve, if on account of worldly affairs we stoop to slavish occupations; and shew a servility unworthy of ourselves; and expend money; and enter into conversation with porters, that we may flatter [1812] impious men; and do and say all manner of things, so that we may perfectly attain the end we have in view; and yet cannot endure, for the sake of God's laws, to entreat a brother who hath injured us, but consider it a disgrace to be the first to make advances. Art thou ashamed, tell me, when thou art going to be the first to make gain? Rather, on the contrary, you ought to be ashamed of persisting in this passion; and waiting until the person who has committed the injury comes to you to be reconciled; for this is a disgrace, and a reproach, and the greatest loss.

8. For he who comes the first it is, who reaps all the fruit; and when at the entreaty of another thou layest aside thine anger, the good work is to be accounted his; for thou hast discharged the law as doing a favour to him, not as obeying God. But if, when no one entreats, when not even the man who has done the injury approaches, or solicits thee, thou thyself dismissing from thy thoughts all shame, and all delay, runnest forward freely to the injurer, and dost quell anger entirely, the good deed becomes wholly thine own, and thou shalt receive all the reward. If I say, "Practise fasting," thy plea, perchance, is bodily weakness. If I say, "Give to the poor," it is poverty, and bringing up children. If I say, "Make time for the assembles of the Church," it is worldly cares. If I say, "Give heed to what is spoken, and consider the power of what is taught," it is want of learning. If I say, "Correct another," you say, "When counsel is given him, he takes no heed, for I have often spoken, and been scorned." Frigid, as such pretences are, yet you have some pretences to allege. But suppose I say, "Dismiss thine anger," which of these wilt thou then allege? For neither infirmity of body, nor poverty, nor lack of culture, nor want of leisure, nor any other thing of that kind hast thou to advance; but this sin is above all other the most inexcusable. How wilt thou be able to stretch thine hands toward heaven, or how to move thy tongue, or to ask pardon? For although God be desirous to pardon thy sins, thou thyself dost not suffer Him, while thou retainest that of thy fellow-servant! But suppose that he is cruel, fierce, and savage, and greedy of revenge and retaliation? Why for this reason thou oughtest especially to grant forgiveness. [1813] Hast thou been wronged much, and robbed, and slandered, and injured in matters of the first importance; and dost thou wish to see thine enemy punished? Yet even for this, it will be of use to thee to pardon him. For suppose that thou thyself takest vengeance, and prosecutest it, either by words, by deeds, or imprecation against the adversary; then God will not afterwards prosecute it too, inasmuch as thou hast taken thy revenge; and not only will He not prosecute the matter for thee, but will also demand a penalty of thee as a despiser of Himself. For if this same thing takes place amongst mankind, viz. that if we beat the servant of another, the master is indignant, and calls the act an insult (for although we be treated injuriously, whether by slaves, or by freemen, it is fitting that we should await the legal decisions of magistrates or masters); if then even amongst men, to avenge ourselves would not be safe, how much more so when God is the avenger!

9. Hath thy neighbour wronged and grieved thee, and involved thee in a thousand ills? Be it so, yet do not prosecute vengeance on thine own part, lest thou do desire to thy Lord! Yield the matter to God, and He will dispose of it much better than thou canst desire. To thee He has given charge simply to pray for the injurer; but how to deal with him, He hath ordered thee to leave to Himself. Never canst thou so avenge thyself, as He is prepared to avenge thee, if thou givest place to Him alone, and dost not utter imprecations on him who has aggrieved thee; but sufferest God to be sole arbiter of the sentence. For although we may pardon those who have aggrieved us; although we may be reconciled; although we may pray for them; yet God does not pardon, unless they themselves are converted, and become better. And He withholds pardon, with a view to their own advantage. For He praises thee, and approves thee for thy spiritual wisdom; but visits him, in order that he may not grow worse by thy wisdom. So that the common saying on this subject is not to the point. For many there are, who when I reproach them because after being exhorted to be reconciled to their enemies, they will not be persuaded to it, think fit to proffer this apology, which is nothing less than a cloak for their iniquity. "I am unwilling," says one, "to be reconciled, lest I should make the man worse, more ill-tempered, and more disposed to treat me contemptuously hereafter." Besides this, they also make this plea: "Many people," say they, "think it is weakness in me to come first to a reconciliation, and to entreat my enemy." All these things are foolish; for the Eye that slumbers not has seen thy good intention; wherefore, it behoveth thee to make no account of the opinion of thy fellow-servants, when thou hast gained the opinion of the Judge, Who is about to try thy cause.

10. But if thy concern be, lest thine enemy should become worse by thy clemency learn this,--that it is not thus he is made worse; but far rather if thou art unreconciled. For although he were the vilest of men; although he might neither confess nor publish it openly; yet he will silently approve thy Christian wisdom, and in his own conscience will respect thy gentleness. Should he, however, persist in the same iniquity, whilst thou art endeavouring to soften and conciliate, he will have to abide the heaviest punishment from God. And that ye may know, that although we should pray for our enemies, and for those who have injured us, God does not pardon, if they are likely to become worse by our forbearance, I will mention to you an ancient piece of history. Miriam once spake against Moses. What then did God do? He sent a leprosy upon her, and made her unclean; notwithstanding that in other respects she had been meek and modest. Afterwards, when Moses himself, the party injured, besought that the wrath might be removed, God consented not: but what did He say? "If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed? Let her remain," saith He, "without the camp seven days." [1814] But what He means is to this effect. "If," saith He, "she had a father, and he had put her away from his presence, would she not have undergone the rebuke? I approve thee indeed for thy fraternal piety, and thy meekness and clemency; but I know when is the due time to remit her punishment." Do thou then shew all humanity towards thy brother; and do not pardon his offences in the desire of a greater punishment for him, but of thy tenderness and good will; yet understand this very plainly, that the more he shall slight thee, whilst thou art labouring to conciliate, so much the greater punishment will he draw down upon himself.

11. What sayest thou? tell me, Is he the worse for thy attentions? This is blame to him, but thy praise. Thy praise, that, whilst seeing him thus behave himself, thou didst not desist from doing God's will in conciliating him. But to him it is blame, because he has not been made better by thy clemency. But [1815] "it is far more desirable that others should be blamed because of us, than we because of them." Make me not this frigid reply, of saying, "I am afraid of its being thought that I made an overture to him out of fear; and that he will therefore despise me the more." Such a reply indicates a childish and foolish mind, agitated about human approbation. Let him suppose, that it was out of fear you made the first advance to him; your reward will be so much the greater; since, being aware of this beforehand, you still consented to endure all for the fear of God. For he who is in chase of human approbation, and seeks reconciliation for that end, curtails the recompense of reward; but he who is quite sure of the fact, that many will vilify and ridicule him, and even then does not desist, from the attempt at reconciliation, will have a twofold, yea, a threefold crown. And this is indeed the man who does it for the sake of God. Nor tell me, that the man has wronged thee in this, or in that particular; for if he hath displayed, in his conduct towards thee, every kind of iniquity that is in man, yet even so God hath enjoined thee to forgive him all!

12. Lo! I forewarn, and testify, and proclaim this with a voice that all may hear! "Let no one who hath an enemy draw near the sacred Table, or receive the Lord's Body! Let no one who draws near have an enemy! Hast thou an enemy? Draw not near! Wilt thou draw near? Be reconciled, and then draw near, and touch the Holy Thing!" Nor, indeed, is this my declaration. Rather it is that of the Lord Himself, Who was crucified for us. That He might reconcile thee to the Father, He refused not to be sacrificed, and to shed His blood! And art thou unwilling to utter a word, or to make the first advance, that thou mayest be reconciled to thy fellow-servant? Hear what the Lord saith, concerning those who are in this disposition; "If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee"--He does not say, "wait for him to come to thee," nor "speak with another as mediator," nor "entreat some other," but "do thou thyself make the advance towards him." For the exhortation is, "Go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother." [1816] O transcendent wonder! Does He Himself account it no dishonour, that the gift should be left unoffered, and dost thou think it a mark of disgrace to go first and be reconciled? And how can such a case, I ask, be deemed worthy of pardon? Were you to see a member of yours cut off, would you not use every exertion so that it might be reunited to the body? This do with regard to thy brethren; when thou seest them cut off from thy friendship, make all haste to recover them! Do not wait for them to make the first advance, but press onward, that thou mayest be foremost to receive the prize.

13. We are commanded to have only one enemy, the devil. With him be thou never reconciled! But with a brother, never be at enmity in thy heart. And if there should be any narrowness of soul, let it be only an ephemeral thing, and never last beyond a day's space. For, "let not the sun," he saith, "go down upon your wrath." [1817] For if, before evening, you are reconciled, you will obtain some pardon from God. But if you remain longer at enmity, that enmity is no longer the result of your being suddenly carried away by anger and resentment, but of wickedness, and of a foul spirit, and one which makes a practice of malice! And this is not the only terrible thing, that you deprive yourself of pardon, but that the right course becomes still more difficult. For when one day is past, the shame becomes greater; and when the second has arrived, it is still further increased; and if it reach a third, and a fourth day, it will add a fifth. Thus the five become ten; the ten, twenty; the twenty an hundred; and thenceforth the wound will become incurable; for as time goes on, the breach becomes wider. But do thou, O man, give way to none of these irrational passions; nor be ashamed, nor blush, nor say within yourself, "A short time ago we called each other such names, and said a vast number of things fit or not fit to be spoken; and shall I now hurry at once to a reconciliation? Who then will not blame my excessive easiness?" I answer, no one who has sense will blame thy easiness; but when thou remainest implacable, then, all persons will deride thee. Then thou wilt give to the devil the advantage of this wide breach. For the enmity becomes then more difficult to be got rid of, not by mere lapse of time, but from the circumstances too that take place in the meanwhile. For as "charity covereth a multitude of sins," [1818] so enmity gives a being to sins that do not exist, and all persons henceforth, are deemed worthy of credit who turn accusers; who rejoice in the ills of others, and blaze abroad what is disgraceful in their conduct.

14. Knowing all these things then, make the first advance to a brother; lay hold of him before he has entirely shrunk away from thee; and should it be necessary, to run through all the city on the same day; should it be necessary to go beyond the walls, or to take a long journey; still leaving all other things that may be in hand, attend only to this one work of reconciling thy brother. For if the work be laborious, reflect that it is for God's sake thou undergoest all this, and thou shalt receive sufficient consolation. Stir up thy soul also when it is shrinking, and backward, and bashful, and ashamed, by perpetually harping on this theme and saying, Why art thou delaying? Why art thou shrinking and holding back? our concern is not for money, nor for any other of these fleeting things, but for our salvation. God bids us do all these things, and all things should be secondary to His commands. This matter is a sort of spiritual merchandise. Let us not neglect it, let us not be slothful. Let our enemy too understand that we have taken much pains, in order to do what is well-pleasing unto God. And though he may again insult, or strike us, or do any other such thing of a still more grievous kind, let us sustain all things courageously, since we are not so much benefitting him thereby, as ourselves. Of all good works, this shall most especially befriend us on That Day. We have sinned and offended in many and great matters, and have provoked our Lord. Through His lovingkindness He hath given us this way of reconciliation. Let us, then, not betray this good treasure. For had He not power to charge us simply to make reconciliation, and not have any reward assigned to it? for whom hath He to gainsay or rectify His appointment? Nevertheless, through His great lovingkindness, He hath promised us a large and unspeakable reward, and one which we must be especially desirous to obtain, the pardon of our sins; thus also making this our obedience more easy of performance.

15. What allowance then can be made for us, if even when we might receive so great a reward we still do not obey the Lawgiver, but persist in our contempt; for that this is a contempt is plain from hence. If the Emperor had laid down a law, that all those who were enemies should be reconciled to one another, or have their heads cut off, should we not every one make haste to a reconciliation with his neighbour? Yes! truly, I think so! What excuse then have we, in not ascribing the same honour to the Lord, that we should do to those who are our fellow-servants? For this reason we are commanded to say, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." [1819] What can be more mild, what more merciful, than this precept! He hath made thee a judge of the pardon of thine own offences! If thou forgivest few things, He forgives thee few! If thou forgivest many things, He forgives thee many! If thou pardonest from the heart, and sincerely, God in like manner also pardons thee! If besides pardoning him thou accountest him a friend, God will also thus deal with thee; so that the more he has sinned, so much the more is it necessary that we should hasten to a reconciliation; since it becomes a cause of greater offences being forgiven us. [1820] Art thou willing to learn [1821] that there is no pardon for us, if we are mindful of injuries, and that there is no one who can deliver us? I will make what I assert plain by an example. Suppose that a neighbour has done you a certain injury, that he has seized your goods; has confiscated or embezzled them; and not to confine myself to such a case, let me add to it more things and worse beside, and whatever you will; he has longed to destroy you; he has exposed you to a thousand perils; he has manifested every sort of malice towards you; and left nothing undone that human wickedness can do? For not to go over every thing separately, suppose that he has injured you to such an extent as no one ever injured any before;--why, even in this case, if you are resentful, you will not be worthy of pardon. And I will explain how it is so.

16. If one of your servants owed you an hundred pieces of gold; and some one again was indebted to him in a few pieces of silver; and if the servants' debtor were to come, and entreat and supplicate you that he might obtain indulgence, and you were to call in your own servant, and charge him, saying, "Forgive this man the debt, and from the sum thou owest me I will deduct this debt;" should that servant afterwards be wicked and shameless enough to seize on his debtor, could any one then rescue him out of your hands? Would you not most assuredly inflict a thousand stripes upon him, as having been insulted to the last extremity? And very justly too. This also God will do: for He will say to thee on That Day, "O wicked and villainous servant, yea, was it of thine own thou forgavest him? Out of what thou wert indebted to Me, thou wert ordered to account to him. For "Remit," He saith, "and I will remit unto thee! although, to speak truly, [1822] if I had not added this condition, it would have been even then thy duty to have remitted at the instance of thy Lord. But in this case, I did not command thee as a master, but I asked it as a favour from a friend; and I asked it out of My own property; and I promised to give greater things in return; and yet with all this, thou wert not made a better man." Moreover men, when they act in this manner, put down as much to their own servants' accounts, as the measure of the debt is. Thus, for example, suppose the servant owes his master a hundred pieces of gold; and the debtor of the servant owes ten pieces, should the latter remit his debt, the master does not remit him his hundred pieces, but these ten only; and all the rest he still demands. But it is not so with God; if you remit a [1823] few things to your fellow-servant, He remits all your debt.

17. Whence does this appear? From the very Prayer [1824] itself. "For if," saith He, "ye forgive men their debts, your heavenly Father will forgive your debts." [1825] And as much as the difference is between "a hundred pence" and "ten thousand talents," [1826] so great is it between the debts on the one side, and those on the other!

What punishment then must he not deserve, who when he would receive ten thousand talents, in the room of a hundred pence, [1827] yet will not even so remit this small sum, but offers up the Prayer against himself. For when thou sayest, "Forgive us, as we forgive," and afterwards dost not forgive, thou art supplicating of God nothing else than that He would entirely deprive thee of all excuse or indulgence. "But I do not presume to say," replies some one, "Forgive me as I forgive" but only, "Forgive me." But what matters this? For if thou say it not thyself, yet God so doeth; as thou forgivest, He forgives. And this He hath made quite evident from what follows; for there it is said, "If ye forgive not men, neither doth your heavenly Father forgive you." Think not, therefore, that it is a pious caution, not to repeat the whole sentence; nor offer up the Prayer by halves, but as He bade thee so pray thou, in order that the very obligation of that expression, putting thee daily in fear, may compel thee to the exercise of forgiveness towards thy neighbours.

18. Do not tell me, "I have besought him many times, I have intreated, I have supplicated, but I have not effected a reconciliation." Never desist till you have reconciled him. For He said not, "Leave thy gift, and go thy way." Entreat thy brother. But, "Go thy way. Be reconciled." [1828] So that, although you may have made many entreaties, yet you must not desist until you have persuaded. God entreats us every day, and we do not hear; and yet He does not cease entreating. And dost thou then disdain to entreat thy fellow-servant. How is it then possible for thee ever to be saved? Suppose that thou hast often pleaded and been repulsed; for this, however, thou wilt obtain a larger reward. For in proportion as he is contentious, and thou perseverest in entreating, so much the more is thy recompense increased. In proportion as the good work is accomplished with greater difficulty, and the reconciliation is one of much labour, so much the greater will be the judgment on him, and so much the brighter will be the crowns of victory for thy forbearance. Let us not merely applaud all this, but exemplify it too in our deeds; and never recede from the work, until we are restored to our former state of friendship. For it is not enough merely to avoid grieving an enemy, or doing him an injury, or being in our minds unkindly disposed towards him; but it is necessary that we should prepare him to be kindly affected towards ourselves. For I hear many saying, "I have no hostility; I am not annoyed; neither have I any thing to do with him." [1829] But this is not what God commands, that thou shouldest have nothing to do with him; but that thou shouldest have much to do with him. For this reason he is thy "brother." [1830] For this reason He said not, "Forgive thy brother what thou hast against him. But what then? "Go thy way. First be reconciled to him;" and should he have "any thing against thee," yet desist not, before thou hast reunited the member in friendly concord." But thou, who in order that thou mayest obtain a useful servant, tellest out the gold, and discoursest with many merchants, and often undertakest long journeys, tell me, art thou not up and doing to the utmost, in order that thou mayest convert an enemy into a friend? And how then wilt thou be able to call upon God, whilst thou art thus neglecting His laws? Assuredly, the possession of a servant will be of no great profit to us; but the making an enemy a friend, will render God propitious and favourable toward us; and will easily set us free from our sins; and gain us praise with men, as well as great security in our life; for nothing can be more unsafe than he who has even only a single enemy. For our earthly reputation is injured, whilst such a man is saying a thousand evil things of us to every body. Our minds are also in a state of fermentation, and our conscience disturbed; and we are exposed to a continual tempest of anxious thoughts.

19. Now since we are conscious of the truth of all this, let us set ourselves free from chastisement and vengeance; and let us shew our reverence for the present feast, by doing all that has been said; and those same favours which we think to obtain from the Emperor on account of the feast, let us ourselves enable others to enjoy. For I hear, indeed, many saying, that the Emperor, out of his reverence for the Holy Passover, will be reconciled to the city and will pardon all its offences. How absurd then is it, that when we have to depend for our safety upon others, we bring forward the feast, and its claims; but that when we are commanded to be reconciled one with another, we treat this same feast with disdain, and think nothing of it. No one, truly, so pollutes this holy feast, as he does, who, whilst he is keeping it, cherishes malignity. Or rather, I might say, that such a person cannot possibly keep it, though he should remain without food ten days successively. For where there is enmity and strife, there can be neither fast nor festival. Thou wouldest not dare to touch the holy Sacrifice with unwashed hands, [1831] however pressing the necessity might be. Approach not then with an unwashed soul! For this is far worse than the other and brings a heavier punishment. For [1832] nothing so fills the mind with impurity, as anger remaining constantly within it. The spirit of meekness settles not where wrath or passion exists; and when a man is destitute of the Holy Spirit, what hope of salvation shall he have, and how shall he walk aright? Do not then, O beloved, whilst thou art desirous to be revenged of thine enemy, cast thyself down headlong; nor cause thyself to be left alone without the guardianship of God! For, in truth, if the duty were a difficult one, yet the greatness of the punishment, which results from this action of disobedience, were sufficient to arouse the most slothful and supine, and to persuade them to undergo every degree of labour. But now our argument has shewn that the duty is most easy, if we are willing.

20. Let us not then be negligent of what is our life, but let us be in earnest; and do every thing, in order that we may be without an enemy, and so present ourselves at the sacred Table. For nothing,--nothing, I repeat, of what God commands will be difficult, if we give heed: and this is evident from the case of those who are already reformed. How many used to be cheated by the habit of using oaths, and to fancy this practice extremely difficult of reformation. Nevertheless, through the grace of God, when ye put forth but a little effort, ye for the most part washed yourselves clean of this vice. For this reason I beseech you to lay aside also what remains, and to become teachers of others. And to those who have not yet achieved it, but allege to us the length of time during which they were before swearers, and say that it is impossible for them to pluck up in a short time that which has been rooted for many years; I would make this answer, that where any precept among those commanded by God requires to be put in due practice, there is no need of length of time, nor of a multitude of days, nor an interval of years; but of fear only, and reverence of soul; and then we shall be sure to accomplish it, and that in a short time. But lest you should suppose that I speak these things at random, take a man whom you think much addicted to swearing; one that swears more times than he speaks; [1833] hand this man over to me for only ten days, and if I do not rid him of all his habit in these few days, pass the severest sentence on me.

21. And that these words are not a vain boast, shall be made manifest to you from things that have already happened. What could be more stupid than the Ninevites? What more devoid of understanding? Yet, nevertheless, these barbarian, foolish people, who had never yet heard any one teaching them wisdom, who had never received such precepts from others, when they heard the prophet saying, "Yet three days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown," [1834] laid aside, within three days, the whole of their evil customs. The fornicator became chaste; the bold man meek; the grasping and extortionate moderate and kind; the slothful industrious. They did not, indeed, reform one, or two, or three, or four vices by way of remedy, but the whole of their iniquity. But whence does this appear, says some one? From the words of the prophet; for the same who had been their accuser, and who had said, that "the cry of their wickedness hath ascended up even to heaven:" [1835] himself again bears testimony of an opposite kind, by saying, "God saw that every one departed from their own evil ways." [1836] He does not say, from fornication, or adultery, or theft, but from their "own evil ways." And how did they depart? As God knew, not as man judged of the matter. After this are we not ashamed, must we not blush, if it turns out that in three days only the barbarians laid aside all their wickedness, but that we, who have been urged and taught during so many days, [1837] have not got the better of one bad habit? These men had, moreover, gone to the extreme of wickedness before; for when you hear it said, "The cry of their wickedness is come up before me;" you can understand nothing else than the excess of their wickedness. Nevertheless, within three days they were capable of being transformed to a state of complete [1838] virtue. For where the fear of God is, there is no need of days, or of an interval of time; as likewise, on the contrary, days are of no service where there is a want of this fear. For just as in the case of rusted [1839] implements, he that rubs them only with water, though he spend a long time on them, will not rid them of all that foulness; but he that puts them in a furnace, will make them presently brighter than even those newly fabricated: so too a soul, stained with the rust of sin, if it cleanse itself slightly, and in a negligent way, and be every day repenting, will gain no further advantage. But if it cast itself into the furnace, as it were, of the fear of God, it will in a very short time purge all away.

22. Let us not then be procrastinating till to-morrow. For we "know not what the next day may bring forth;" [1840] nor let us say, "we shall conquer this habit by little and little;" since this little and little will never come to an end. Wherefore, dismissing that excuse, we should say, "If we do not reform the practice of swearing to-day, we will not leave off till we do, [1841] though ten thousand things were to press us; though it were necessary to die, or to be punished, or to lose all we have; we will not give the devil the advantage of slackness, nor the pretext of delay." Should God perceive thy soul inflamed, and thy diligence quickened, then He also Himself will lend His assistance to thy reformation! Yea, I pray and beseech you, let us be in earnest, lest we also hear it said of us, "The men of Nineveh shall rise up, and shall condemn this generation;" [1842] for these, when they had once heard, reformed themselves; but we are not converted after frequent hearing. These were proficients in every part of virtue, but we in no part. They when they heard that their city would be overthrown were affrighted; but we, though we have heard of Hell, are not affrighted: these, men who did not partake of the instructions of the prophets; we, enjoying the advantage of perpetual teaching, and of much grace.

23. These things I now speak to you, not as if reproving you for your own sins, but for the sake of others; for I know full well that by you (as I have already observed), this law concerning swearing has been accomplished. But this does not suffice for our safety, unless by teaching we amend others, since he who produced the one talent, restoring as he did the whole portion committed to him, was punished, because he had not enriched that with which he was entrusted. Wherefore, let us not regard this point, that we ourselves have been set free from this sin; but until we have delivered others from it, let us not desist; and let every one offer to God ten friends whom he has corrected; whether thou hast servants, or apprentices: [1843] or if you have neither servants, nor apprentices, you have friends; these do thou reform. Further, do not make me this reply; "We have banished oaths for the most part, and we are rarely caught in that snare;" but let even this rarity of offending be got rid of. If you had lost one piece of gold, would you not go about to all persons, searching and making enquiry, in order to find it? This do also with regard to oaths. If you perceive that you have been cheated out of one oath, weep, lament, as though your whole substance were lost. Again I say what I did before. Shut up thyself at home; make it a subject of practice and exercise along with thy wife, thy children, and domestics. Say to thyself in the first instance, "I must not put a finger to private or public matters until I have rectified this soul of mine." If you will thus school your own sons, they too will instruct their children in turn, and thus this discipline, reaching even to the consummation and appearing of Christ, will bring all that great reward to those who go to the root of the matter. If your son has learnt to say, "Believe me;" [1844] he will not be able to go up to the theatre, or to enter a tavern, or to spend his time at dice; for that word, lying upon his mouth instead of a bridle, will make him however unwilling feel shame and blush. But if at any time he should appear in these places, it will quickly compel him to retreat. [1845] Suppose some persons laugh. Do thou on the other hand weep for their transgression! Many also once laughed at Noah whilst he was preparing the ark; but when the flood came, he laughed at them; or rather, the just man never laughed at them at all, but wept and bewailed! When therefore thou seest persons laughing, reflect that those teeth, that grin now, will one day have to sustain that most dreadful wailing and gnashing, and that they will remember this same laugh on That Day whilst they are grinding and gnashing! Then thou too shalt remember this laugh! How did the rich man laugh at Lazarus! But afterwards, when he beheld him in Abraham's bosom, he had nothing left to do but to bewail himself!

24. Being mindful then of all these things, be urgent with all, for the speedy fulfilment of this precept. And tell me not, that you will do this by little and little; nor put it off till the morrow, for this to-morrow never finds an end. Forty days [1846] have already passed away. Should the Holy Easter pass away, I will thenceforward pardon no one, nor employ further admonition, but a commanding authority, and severity not to be despised. For this apology drawn from custom is of no force. Why may not the thief as well plead custom, and get free from punishment? Why may not the murderer and adulterer? Therefore I protest, and give warning to all, that if, when I have met you in private, and put the matter to the proof (and I will certainly put it to the proof), I detect any who have not corrected this vice, I will inflict punishment upon them, by ordering them to be excluded from the Holy Mysteries; [1847] not that they may remain always shut out, but that having reformed themselves, they may thus enter in, and with a pure conscience enjoy the Holy Table; for this is to be a partaker of the Communion! God grant that through the prayers of those who preside over us, [1848] as well as of all the saints, having corrected these and all other deficiencies, we may obtain the kingdom of heaven through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, honour, and adoration, now and ever, world without end. Amen.

Footnotes

[1799] Savile places this Homily after those on the Statues, putting here the first Catechesis, as do most mss. In the new Coll. ms. this is the 19th; its title has been cut out of the list of those on the Statues, and reinserted by another hand. A New College ms. consisting of select passages, quotes from it as one of them. It is not in any of the Bodleian mss., but in that at Sion College it is placed as in Savile. Montfaucon placed it here as considering the Catechesis evidently out of place. [1800] Ben. adds "for the commands of God," but it seems to be a gloss; 2 mss. at Venice omit it. [1801] This alludes to the penitential discipline of the primitive Church, which confined penitents of the lowest order to the church porch. Consult Bingham in Antiq. viii. c. 3, and xviii. c. 1. [1802] Sav. God's. [1803] Ps. cxxx. 3. [1804] Herbert's Poems, No. lxviii., "I would not use a friend as I use Thee." [1805] St. Chrys. seems to mean, that there is none so remarkably connected with promises of remission of sin, as Matt. v. 7, vi. 14; Luke vi. 37. [1806] Jer. xv. 1. [1807] Jer. xv. 1. [1808] Zech. viii. 17, vii. 10, LXX. [1809] Prov. xxiv. 17. [1810] From Hom. XIII. 3, we know that the torture was chiefly by scourging, but fire (if literally used, as it had often been in torturing Christians) might be applied in various ways. The allusion favours the insertion of the Homily in this place. A passage towards the end of the Homily places it unquestionably in this Lent. [1811] i.e., the feet of their enemies. [1812] kolakeusomen. The aorist implies that the object intended is to get an audience. For a striking picture of such servility, see Tac. An.. iv. 77. [1813] See on Rom. xii. 21, Hom. XXII. [1814] Numb. xii. 14. [1815] Benedictine "Paul saith," but this is not in Savile nor in the Latin, and is omitted in a Venice ms. and some at Paris; it is accounted for by polu, but Ducæus suggests 1 Peter iii. 17. [1816] Matt. v. 23, 24. [1817] Ephes. iv. 26. [1818] 1 Pet. iv. 8. [1819] Matt. vi. 12. [1820] This and similar language of the Fathers, is startling to many, but is hardly more than a transcript of the passages of Holy Scripture they refer to. A general acknowledgment and explanation of them occurs in the "Homily of Alms-deeds." [1821] Or wouldest thou have proof. [1822] 1 Ven. adds, the things remitted are not equal. [1823] Sav. mar. those. [1824] Often called emphatically, "The Prayer," as constantly in the title of Comments on it. Tertullian de Oratione, and the like. [1825] Matt. vi. 14. [1826] Matt. xviii. 24, 28. [1827] Denarii. [1828] Matt. v. 24. [1829] Literally anything common with him, ouds zcho ti koinon pros auton: see end of Hom. I. [1830] i.e., is called so in this passage. [1831] If such rules are found fault with because they do not necessarily involve holy living, it should be remembered that where strictly kept, they are grounds for such an appeal as this; and why not, in better men, for holy recollections? They are not truly parallel to those censured by our Lord, which did not relate to the treatment of holy things, and here they are treated quite as subservient to duties of a higher order. The word here rendered "necessity" may be "compulsion." [1832] i.e., "and if thou bearest malice thy soul is unwashed; for," &c. [1833] i.e., more words than he can articulate. St. Chrysostom supposes here a man who in his wrath loses the power of distinct utterance. (Such may be the meaning, or, that he never speaks without several oaths, or oftener speaks with an oath than without one, pleiona omnuonta m'llon e phthengomenon.) [1834] Jonah ii. 4. [1835] Jonah i. 5. [1836] Jonah iii. 10. St. Chrysostom here of course supposes Jonah to be the author of the book which bears his name. [1837] He refers to his own instructions during Lent: see the close of this Homily. [1838] holokleron, wanting no constituent part. [1839] Or vessels, ta ioth(TM)nta ton skeuon. 'Ios also means "venom," and stains are taken out of rough earthenware in the same manner. [1840] Prov. xxvii. 1. [1841] ouk /=postesometha proteron. i.e., will not leave off the plan proposed above, of attending to nothing else till this was accomplished. [1842] Luke xi. 32. [1843] mathetas. [1844] pisteuson. [1845] As one who could not talk like others. [1846] Forty days from Quinquagesima, leaving ten till Easter; see Pref. [1847] St. Ambrose (Life by Paulinus, sec. 34), forbade Theodosius to enter the church at all, after the massacre of Thessalonica. St. Basil refused Communion to Valens, who had joined the Arians, but did not attempt to prevent his entering the church. See St. Greg. Naz. Or. 20 (Ben. 43). He even allowed him to present an offering; but this was an indulgence. Offenders would be liable of course to Ecclesiastical censure, if they took a nearer place than was allowed them. [1848] ton pro(TM)dron, a title of bishops. See Bingham, b. 2, c. 2. sec. 5. Flavian was probably not yet returned, but would be always supposed to pray for the people. The plural is sometimes used of a single person, especially one of dignity. Some other persons are called pat(TM)res in Hom. XVI., and in Hom. VI. probably departed saints, where see of the intercession of saints in general. .


Homily XXI.

On the return of Flavian the Bishop, and the reconciliation of the Emperor with the city, and with [1849] those who had offended in overthrowing the Statues.

1. To-day, I shall begin with that very same saying with which I have ever been used to open my address to you during the season of danger, and shall say together with you, "Blessed be God," Who hath granted us this day to celebrate this holy Feast with much joy and gladness; and hath restored the head to the body, the shepherd to the sheep, the master to the disciples, the general to the soldiers, the High Priest to the Priests! Blessed be God, "Who doeth exceeding abundantly above what we ask or think!" [1850] For to us it would have seemed sufficient, had we been but delivered from the hitherto impending evil; and for this we made all our supplication. But the God who loveth man, and ever in His giving surpasseth our prayers by an excess of bounty, hath brought back our Father too, sooner than we could at all have expected. Who would, indeed, have thought that in so few days, he would have gone, and have had audience with the Emperor, and set us free from the calamity, and again come back to us so quickly, as to be able to anticipate the Holy Passover, and to celebrate it with ourselves? Behold, however, this event, which was so contrary to expectation, hath been realized! We have received back our Father; and we enjoy so much the greater pleasure, inasmuch as we have received him back now beyond our hopes. For all these things, let us give thanks to the merciful God, and be amazed at the power, the lovingkindness, the wisdom, and the tender care which has been manifested on behalf of the city. For the devil had attempted its entire subversion through the daring crimes committed; but God, by means of this same calamity, hath adorned the city, the Priest, and the Emperor; and hath made them all more illustrious.

2. The city hath won renown, because when such a danger had overtaken her, passing by at once all those who were in power, those who were surrounded with much wealth, those who possessed great influence with the Emperor, it fled for refuge to the Church, and to the Priest of God, and with much faith, rested itself entirely upon the hope which is from above! Many indeed, after the departure of the common Father, were ready to terrify those who lay in prison, by saying, "The Emperor does not lay aside [1851] his wrath, but is still more provoked, and is thinking of the utter ruin of the city." But whilst they were whispering all this, and much more, they who were then in bonds were not the least intimidated, but upon our saying, "These things are false, and they are a device of the devil, who desires to fill you with consternation;" they replied to us, "We need no consolation to be addressed to us; for we know where we have taken refuge from the first; and upon what hope we have rested ourselves. We have fixed our safety upon the sacred anchor! We have not entrusted this to man, but to the Almighty God; therefore we are most assuredly confident, that the result will be favourable; for it is impossible, truly impossible, that this hope can ever be confounded!" To how many crowns, how many encomiums, is this equivalent for our city? How much of God's favour will it draw down upon us too in our other affairs! For it is not, indeed it is not a thing belonging to a soul of mean order to be watchful against the attack of temptations, and to look to God; and scorning all that is human, to yearn after that Divine aid.

3. The city then hath thus won renown; and the Priest again not less than the city, for he exposed his life for all; and while there were many things to hinder him, as the winter, his age, the feast, and not less than these, his sister, then at her last breath, he raised himself above all these obstacles, and did not say to himself, "What a thing is this? Our only remaining sister, she who hath drawn the yoke of Christ along with me, and who hath been my domestic companion so long, is now at her last breath; and shall we desert her, and go hence, and not behold her expiring, and uttering her paring words? But she indeed was praying daily, that we might close her eyes, [1852] and shut and compose her mouth, and attend to all other things pertaining to the burial; but now in this case, as one deserted, and deprived of a protector, she will obtain none of these offices from her brother; of him whom she especially desired to obtain them; but when she gives up the ghost, she will not see him whom she loved more to have with her than all others? And will not this be heavier to her than dying many times over? Yes, although I were far away, would it not be right to come with speed, and do, and suffer any thing, for the purpose of shewing her this kindness? And now when I am near, shall I leave her, and taking my departure abandon her? And how then will she sustain the remainder of her days?"

4. Yet, so far was he from saying any of these things, that he did not even think of them; but esteeming the fear of God above all the ties of kindred, he recognized the fact, that as tempests display the pilot, and dangers the general, so also a time of trial makes the Priest to become manifest. "All men," saith he, "are eagerly looking on us; the Jews as well as the Greeks; let us not confound the expectations which these have of us; let us not overlook so great a shipwreck; but having committed to God all things that pertain to ourselves, let us venture our life itself too!" Consider, moreover, the magnanimity of the Priest, and the lovingkindness of God! All those things which he disregarded, all those he enjoyed; in order that he might both receive the reward of his readiness, and that he might obtain a greater pleasure by enjoying them contrary to expectation! He preferred to celebrate the festival in a foreign place, and far from his own people, for the sake of the city's safety. But God restored him to us before the Paschal feast, so as to take a common part with us in the conduct of the festival; in order that he might have the reward of his choice, and enjoy the greater gladness! He feared not the season of the year; and there was summer during the whole period he was travelling. He took not his age into account; and he dispatched this long journey with just as much ease as if he had been young and sprightly! He thought not of his sister's decease nor was enervated by it, and when he returned he found her still alive, and all things which were disregarded by him, were all obtained!

5. Thus, the priest hath indeed won renown both with God and man! This transaction hath also adorned the Emperor with a splendour beyond the diadem! First, in that it was then made apparent that he would grant that to the priests which he would not to any other; secondly, that he granted the favour without delay, and quelled his resentment. But that you may more clearly understand the magnanimity of the Emperor, and the wisdom of the priest, and more than both these, the lovingkindness of God; allow me to relate to you a few particulars of the conference which took place. But what I am now about to relate I learnt from one of those who were within the palace; for the Father has told us neither much nor little on the affair; but ever imitating the magnanimity of Paul, he hides his own good deeds; and to those who on all sides were asking him questions as to what he said to the Emperor; and how he prevailed upon him; and how he turned away his wrath entirely, he replied, "We contributed nothing to the matter, but the Emperor himself (God having softened his heart), even before we had spoken, dismissed his anger, and quelled his resentment; and discoursing of the events that had taken place as if some other person had been insulted, he thus went over all the events that had happened without anger." But those things which he concealed from humility, God hath brought to light.

6. And what were these? I will proceed to relate them to you by going a little farther back in the story. When he went forth from the city, leaving all in such great despondency, he endured what was far more grievous than we ourselves suffered, who were in the midst of these calamities. For, in the first place, meeting in the midst of his journey with those who had been sent by the Emperor to make inquisition upon the events which had happened; and learning from them, on what terms they were sent; and reflecting upon the dreadful events that were in store for the city, the tumults, the confusion, the flight, the terror, the agony, the perils, he wept a flood of tears, and his bowels were rent with compassion; for with fathers, it is usual to grieve much more, when they are not able to be present with their suffering children; which was just what this most tender-hearted man now endured; not only lamenting the calamities which were in reserve for us, but that he was far away from us, whist we were enduring them. But this was, however, for our safety. For as soon as he had learned these things from them; more warmly did the fountain of his tears then gush forth, and he betook himself to God with more fervent supplication; and spent his nights without sleep, beseeching Him that He would succour the city, while enduring these things, and make the mind of the Emperor more placable. And as soon as he came to that great city, and had entered the royal palace, he stood before the Emperor at a distance,--speechless,--weeping,--with downcast eyes,--covering his face as if he himself had been the doer of all the mischief; and this he did, wishing first to incline him to mercy by his posture, and aspect, and tears; and then to begin an apology on our behalf; since there is but one hope of pardon for those who have offended, which is to be silent, and to utter nothing in defence of what has been done. For he was desirous that one feeling should be got rid of, and that another should take its place; that anger should be expelled, and sadness introduced, [1853] in order that he might thus prepare the way for the words of his apology; which indeed actually took place. And just as Moses going up to the mount, when the people had offended, stood speechless himself, until God called him, saying, "Let me alone, and I will blot out this people;" [1854] so also did he now act: The Emperor therefore, when he saw him shedding tears, and bending toward the ground, himself drew near; and what he really felt on seeing the tears of the priest, he made evident by the words he addressed to him; for they were not those of a person provoked or inflamed, but of one in sorrow; not of one enraged, but rather dejected, and under constraint of extreme pain.

7. And that this is true, ye will understand when ye hear what were his words. For he did not say, "What does this mean? Hast thou come heading an embassy on behalf of impious and abominable men, such as ought not even to live; on behalf of rebels, [1855] of revolutionists, who deserve the utmost punishment?" But dismissing all words of that sort, he composed a defence of himself full of respectfulness and dignity; and he enumerated the benefits, which during the whole time of his reign he had conferred upon the city; and at each of these he said, "Was it thus I should have been treated in return for these things? What injuries had I done, that they should take such revenge? What complaint had they, great or small, that they must not insult me only, but the deceased also? [1856] Was it not sufficient to wreak their resentment against the living? Yet they thought they were doing nothing grand, unless they insulted those now in their graves. Granting that I had injured them, as they suppose; surely it would have been becoming to spare the dead, who had done them no wrong; for they could not have the same complaint against them. Did I not ever esteem this city above every thing, and account it as dearer than my native place? And was it not a matter of my continual prayers to visit this city; and did I not make this my oath [1857] to all men?"

8. Upon this, the priest sobbing bitterly, and shedding warmer tears, no longer kept silence: for he saw that the defence of the Emperor was raising our crime to a still higher amount; but heaving from the bottom of his heart [1858] a deep and bitter sigh, he said, "We must confess, O Emperor, this love which you have shewn towards our country! We cannot deny it! On this account, especially, we mourn, that a city thus beloved has been bewitched by demons; and that we should have appeared ungrateful towards her benefactor, and have provoked her ardent lover. And although you were to overthrow; although you were to burn; although you were to put to death; or whatever else you might do, you would never yet have taken on us the revenge we deserve. We ourselves have, by anticipation, inflicted on ourselves what is worse than a thousand deaths! For what can be more bitter, than when we are found to have unjustly provoked our benefactor, and one who loved us so much, and the whole world knows it, and condemns us for the most monstrous ingratitude! If Barbarians had made an incursion on our city, [1859] and razed its walls, and burnt its houses, and had taken and carried us away captive, the evil had been less. And why so? but because, whilst you live, and continue such a generous kindness towards us, there might be a hope that we might again be brought back to our former condition, and regain a more illustrious liberty. But now, having been deprived of your favour, and having quenched your love, which was a greater security to us than any wall, whom have we left to fly to? Where else shall we have to look, when we have provoked so benign a lord, so indulgent a father? So that while they seem to have committed offences of the most intolerable kind, they have on the other hand suffered the most terrible evils; not daring to look any man in the face; nor being able to look upon the sun with free eyes; shame everywhere weighing down their eyelids, and compelling them to hide their heads! Deprived of their confidence, they are now in a more miserable condition than any captives, and undergo the utmost dishonour; and whilst thinking of the magnitude of their evils, and the height of insolence to which they have rushed, they can scarce draw breath; inasmuch as they have drawn on their own heads severer reproaches from all the inhabitants of the world, than even from him who is seen to have been insulted.

9. But yet, O Emperor, if you are willing, there is a remedy for the wound, and a medicine for these evils, mighty as they are! Often, indeed, has it occurred amongst private individuals, that great and insufferable offences have become a foundation for great affection. Thus also did it happen in the case of our human race. For when God made man, and placed him in Paradise, and held him in much honour; the devil could not bear this his great prosperity, and envied him, and cast him out from that dignity which had been granted. But God was so far from forsaking him, that He even opened Heaven to us instead of Paradise; and in so doing, both shewed His own lovingkindness, and punished the devil the more severely. So do thou too now! The demons have lately used all their efforts, that they may effectually rend from your favour that city which was dearest of all to you. Knowing this then, demand what penalty you will, but let us not become outcasts from your former love! Nay, though it is a strange thing, I must say, display towards us now still greater kindness than ever; and again write this city's name among the foremost in your love;--if you are indeed desirous of being revenged upon the demons who were the instigators of these crimes! For if you pull down, and overturn, and raze the city, you will be doing those very things which they have long been desiring. But if you dismiss your anger, and again avow that you love it even as you did before, you have given them a deadly blow. You have taken the most perfect revenge upon them by shewing, not only that nothing whatever has come for them of their evil designs; but that all hath proved the very opposite of what they wished. And you would be just in acting thus, and in shewing mercy to a city, which the demons envied on account of your affection; for if you had not so exceedingly loved her, they would not have envied her to such a degree! So that even if what I have asserted is extraordinary, it is nevertheless, true, that what the city hath suffered, hath been owing to thee, and thy love! What burning, what devastation, so bitter as those words, which you uttered in your own defence?

10. You say now, that you have been insulted, and sustained wrongs such as no Emperor ever yet did. But if you will, O most gracious, most wise, and most religious Sovereign, this contempt will procure you a crown, more honourable and splendid than the diadem you wear! For this diadem is a display of your princely virtue, but it is also a token of the munificence of him who gave it; but the crown woven from this your humanity will be entirely your own good work, and that of your own love of wisdom; and all men will admire you less for the sake of these precious stones, [1860] than they will applaud you for your superiority over this wrath. Were your Statues thrown down? You have it in your power again to set up others yet more splendid. For if you remit the offences of those who have done you injury, and take no revenge upon them, they will erect a statue to you, not one in the forum of brass, nor of gold, nor inlaid with gems; but one arrayed in that robe which is more precious than any material, that of humanity and tender mercy! Every man will thus set you up in his own soul; and you will have as many statues, as there are men who now inhabit, or shall hereafter inhabit, the whole world! For not only we, but all those who come after us, and their successors, will hear of these things, and will admire and love you, just as if they themselves had experienced this kindness!

11. And to shew that I do not speak this in a way of flattery, but that it will certainly be so, I will relate to you an ancient piece of history, that you may understand that no armies, nor warlike weapons, nor money, nor multitude of subjects, nor any other such things are wont to make sovereigns so illustrious, as wisdom of soul and gentleness. It is related of the blessed Constantine, that on one occasion, when a statue of himself had been pelted with stones, and many were instigating him to proceed against the perpetrators of the outrage; saying, that they had disfigured his whole face by battering it with stones, he stroked his face with his hand, and smiling gently, said, "I am quite unable to perceive any wound inflicted upon my face. The head appears sound, and the face also quite sound." Thus these persons, overwhelmed with shame, desisted from their unrighteous counsel.

This saying, even to the present day, all repeat; and length of time hath neither weakened nor extinguished the memory of such exalted wisdom. How much more illustrious is such an action, than any number of warlike trophies! Many and great titles did he build, and many barbarous tribes did he conquer; not one of which we now remember; but this saying is repeated over and over again, to the present day; and those who follow us, as well as those who come after them, will all hear of it. Nor indeed is this the only admirable thing; that they will hear of it; but that when men speak of it, they do so with approbation and applause; and those who hear of it, receive it with the like; and there is no one who, when he has heard it, is able to remain silent, but each at once cries out, and applauds the man who uttered it, and prays that innumerable blessings may be his lot even now deceased. But if amongst men, this saying has gained him so much honour, how many crowns will he obtain with the merciful God!

12. And why need I speak of Constantine, and other men's examples, when it were fitting that I should exhort you by considerations nearer home, and drawn from your own praiseworthy actions. You remember how but lately, when this feast was near at hand, you sent an epistle to every part of the world giving orders that the inmates of the prisons should be set free, and their crimes be pardoned. And as if this were not sufficient to give proof of your generosity, you said in your letters, "O that it were possible for me to recal and to restore those who are dead, and to bring them back to their former state of life!" Remember now these words. Behold the season of recalling and restoring the deceased, and bringing them back to former life! For these are indeed already dead, even before the sentence hath been pronounced; and the city hath now taken up its tabernacle at the very gates of Hades! Therefore raise it up again, which you can do without money, without expense, without loss of time or labour! It is sufficient merely for you to open your lips, and you will restore to life the city which at present lieth in darkness. Grant now, that henceforth it may bear an appellation derived from your philanthropy; for it will not be so much indebted to the kindness of him who first founded it, as it will be to your sentence. And this is exceedingly reasonable; for he but gave it its beginning, and departed; but you, when it had grown up and become great; and when it was fallen, after all that great prosperity; will have been its restorer. There would have been nothing so wonderful in your having delivered it from danger, when enemies had captured, and barbarians overrun it, as in your now sparing it. That, many of the Emperors have frequently done; but should you alone accomplish this, you will be first in doing it, and that beyond all expectation. And the former of these good deeds, the protection of your subjects, is not at all wonderful or extraordinary; but is one of those events which are of continual occurrence; but the latter, the dismissal of wrath after the endurance of such provocations, is something which surpasses human nature.

13. Reflect, that the matter now for your consideration is not respecting this city only, but is one that concerns your own glory; or rather, one that affects the cause of Christianity in general. Even now the Gentiles, and Jews, and the whole empire as well as the barbarians, (for these last have also heard of these events,) are eagerly looking to you, and waiting to see what sentence you will pronounce with regard to these transactions. And should you decree a humane and merciful one; all will applaud the decision, and glorify God, and say one to another, "Heavens! how great is the power of Christianity, that it restrains and bridles a man who has no equal upon earth; a sovereign, powerful enough to destroy and devastate all things; and teaches him to practice such philosophy as one in a private station had not been likely to display! Great indeed must be the God of the Christians, who makes angels out of men, and renders them superior to all the constraining force of our nature!"

14. Nor ought you, assuredly, to entertain that idle fear; nor to bear with those who say that other cites will become worse, and grow more contemptuous of authority, if this city goes unpunished. For if you were unable to take vengeance; and they, after doing these things, had forcibly defied you; and the power on each side was equally matched; then reasonably enough might such suspicions be entertained. But if, terrified and half dead with fear, they run to cast themselves at your feet, through me; and expect daily nothing else but the pit of slaughter, and are engaged in common supplications; looking up to heaven and calling upon God to come to their aid, and to favour this our embassy; and have each given charge about his private affairs, as if they were at their last gasp; how can such a fear be otherwise than superfluous? If they had been ordered to be put to death, they would not have suffered as much as they do now, living as they have done so many days in fear and trembling; and when the evening approaches, not expecting to behold the morning; nor when the day arrives, hoping to reach the evening! Many too have fallen in with wild beasts, while pursuing their way through desert places, and removing to untrodden spots; and not men only, but also little children and women; free born, and of good condition; hiding themselves many days and nights in caves, and ravines, and holes of the desert! A new mode of captivity hath indeed befallen the city. Whilst the buildings and walls are standing, they suffer heavier calamities than when cities have been set on fire! Whilst no barbarian foe is present, whilst no enemy appears, they are more wretchedly situated than if actually taken; and the rustling only of a leaf scares them all every day! And these are matters which are universally known; so that if all men had seen the city razed to the ground, they would not have been taught such a lesson of sobriety, as by hearing of the calamities which have now befallen it. Suppose not, therefore, that other cities will be made worse in future! Not even if you had overturned other cities, would you have so effectually corrected them, as now, by this suspense concerning their fate, having chastised [1861] them more severely than by any punishment!

15. Do not, then, carry this calamity any farther; but allow them henceforth to take breath again. For to punish the guilty, and to exact the penalty for these deeds, were easy and open to any one; but to spare those who have insulted you, and to pardon those who have committed offences undeserving of pardon, is an act of which only some one or two are capable; and especially so, where the person treated with indignity is the Emperor. It is an easy matter to place the city under the subjection of fear; but to dispose all to be loving subjects; and to persuade them to hold themselves well affected towards your government; and to offer not only their common, but individual prayers for your empire; is a work of difficulty. A monarch might expend his treasures, or put innumerable troops in motion, or do what else he pleased, but still he would not be able to draw the affections of so many men towards himself as may now very easily be done. For they who have been kindly dealt with, and those who hear of it too, will be well affected towards you, even as the recipients of the benefit. How much money, how many labours would you not have expended to win over to yourself the whole world in a short space of time; and to be able to persuade all those men who are now in existence, as well as all future generations, to invoke upon your head the same blessings which they pray for on behalf of their own children! And if you will receive such a reward from men, how much greater will you have from God! And this, not merely from the events which are now taking place, but from those good deeds which shall be performed by others in time to come. For if ever it should be that an event similar to what has now occurred should take place, (which God forbid!) and any of those who have been treated with indignity, should then be consulting about prosecuting measures against the rioters; your gentleness and moral wisdom will serve them instead of all other teaching and admonition; and they will blush and be ashamed, having such an example of wisdom, to appear inferior. So that in this way you will be an instructor to all posterity; and you will obtain the palm amongst them, even although they should attain to the highest point of moral wisdom! For it is not the same thing for a person to set the first example of such meekness himself and by looking at others, to imitate the good actions they have performed. On this account, whatever philanthropy, or meekness, those who come after you may display, you will enjoy the reward along with them; for he who provides the root, must be considered the source of the fruits. For this reason, no one can possibly now share with you the reward that will follow your generosity, since the good deed hath been entirely your own. But you will share the reward of all those who shall come after, if any such persons should make their appearance; and it will be in your power to have an equal share in the merit of the good work along with them, and to carry off a portion as great as teachers have with scholars. And supposing that no such person should come into being, the tribute of commendation and applause will be accumulating to you throughout every age.

16. For consider, what it is for all posterity to hear it reported, that when so great a city had become obnoxious to punishment and vengeance, that when all were terrified, when its generals, its magistrates and judges, were all in horror and alarm, and did not dare to utter a word on behalf of the wretched people; a single old man, invested with the priesthood of God, came and moved the heart of the Monarch by his mere aspect and intercourse; and that the favour which he bestowed upon no other of his subjects, he granted to this one old man, being actuated by a reverence for God's laws! For in this very thing, O Emperor, that I have been sent hither on this embassy, the city hath done you no small honour; for they have thus pronounced the best and the most honourable judgment on you, which is, that you respect the priests of God, however insignificant they may be, more than any office placed under your authority!

17. But at the present time I have come not from these only, but rather from One who is the common Lord of angels and men, to address these words to your most merciful and most gentle soul, "if ye forgive men their debts, your heavenly Father will forgive you your trespasses." [1862] Remember then that Day when we shall all give an account of our actions! Consider that if you have sinned in any respect, you will be able to wipe away all offences by this sentence [1863] and by this determination, and that without difficulty and without toil. Some when they go on an embassy, bring gold, and silver, and other gifts of that kind. But I am come into your royal presence with the sacred laws; and instead of all other gifts, I present these; and I exhort you to imitate your Lord, who whilst He is daily insulted by us, unceasingly ministers His blessings to all! And do not confound our hopes, nor defeat our promises. [1864] For I wish you withal to understand, that if it be your resolution to be reconciled, and to restore your former kindness to the city, and to remit this just displeasure, I shall go back with great confidence. But if you determine to cast off the city, I shall not only never return to it, nor see its soil again, but I shall in future utterly disown it, and enrol myself a member of some other city; for God forbid that I should ever belong to that country, which you, the most mild and merciful of all men, refuse to admit to peace and reconciliation!

18. Having said this, and much more to the same effect, he so overcame the Emperor, that the same thing occurred which once happened to Joseph. For just as he, when he beheld his brethren, longed to shed tears, but restrained his feeling, in order that he might not spoil the part which he was playing; [1865] even so did the Emperor mentally weep, but did not let it be seen, for the sake of those who were present. He was not, however, able to conceal the feeling at the close of the conference; but betrayed himself, though against his will. For after this speech was finished, no further words were necessary, but he gave utterance to one only sentiment, which did him much more honour than the diadem. And what was that? "How, said he, "can it be any thing wonderful or great, that we should remit our anger against those who have treated us with indignity; we, who ourselves are but men; when the Lord of the universe, having come as He did on earth, and having been made a servant for us, and crucified by those who had experienced His kindness, besought the Father on behalf of His crucifiers, saying, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do?" [1866] What marvel, then, if we also should forgive our fellow-servants! And that these words were not a pretence was proved by all that followed. And not the least, that particular circumstance which I am now about to mention; for this our priest, when he would have remained there, and celebrated the feast together with himself, he urged, though contrary to what he would have wished,--to use all speed, and diligence, to present himself to his fellow-citizens. "I know," said he, "that their souls are still agitated; and that there are many relics of the calamity left. Go, give them consolation! If they see the helmsman, they will no longer remember the storm that has passed away; but all recollection of these sorrowful events will be effaced!" And when the Priest was urgent, entreating him to send his own son, he, wishing to give the most satisfactory proof of his having entirely blotted out from his soul every wrathful feeling, answered; "Pray that these hindrances may be taken out of the way; that these wars may be put an end to; [1867] and then I will certainly come myself."

19. What could be gentler than such a soul? Let the Gentiles henceforward be ashamed; or rather, instead of being ashamed, let them be instructed; and leaving their native error, let them come back [1868] to the strength of Christianity, having learned what our philosophy is, from the example of the Emperor and of the Priest! For our most pious Emperor stayed not at this point; but when the Bishop had left the city, and come over the sea, he dispatched thither also certain persons, being most solicitous and painstaking to prevent any waste of time lest the city should be thus deprived of half its pleasure, whilst the bishop was celebrating the feast beyond its walls. Where is the gracious father that would have so busied himself on behalf of those who had insulted him? But I must mention another circumstance that redounds to the praise of the just man. [1869] For when he had accomplished this, he did not make it his endeavour, as any one else might have done, who was fond of glory, to deliver those letters himself, which were to set us free from the state of dejection in which we were; but since he was journeying at too slow a rate for this, he thought proper to send forward another person in his stead; one among those who were skilled in horsemanship, to be the bearer of the good news to the city; [1870] lest its sadness should be prolonged by the tardiness of his arrival. For the only thing he earnestly coveted was this; not that he might come himself, bringing these favourable tidings, so full of all that is delightful, but that our country might as soon as possible breathe freely again.

20. What therefore ye then did, in decking the forum with garlands; lighting lamps, spreading couches [1871] of green leaves before the shops, and keeping high festival, as if the city had just come into being, this do ye, although in another manner, throughout all time;--being crowned, not with flowers, but with virtue;--kindling in your souls the light which comes from good works; rejoicing with a spiritual gladness. And let us never fail to give God thanks continually for all these things, not only that he hath freed us from these calamities, but that he also permitted them to happen; and let us acknowledge his abundant goodness! for by both these has He adorned our city. [1872] Now all these things according to the prophetic saying, "Declare ye to your children; and let your children tell their children; and their children again another generation." [1873] So that all who shall be hereafter, even to the consummation, learning this act of God's lovingkindness towards the city, may call us blessed, in having enjoyed such a favour;--may marvel at our Sovereign, who raised up the city when it was so grievously falling;--and may themselves be profited, being stimulated to piety by means of all which has happened! For the history of what has lately happened to us, will have power to profit not only ourselves, if we constantly remember it, but also those who shall come after us. All these things then being considered, let us always give thanks to God who loveth man; not merely for our deliverance from these fearful evils, but for their being permitted to overtake us,--learning this from the divine Scriptures, as well as from the late events that have befallen us; that He ever disposes all things for our advantage, with that lovingkindness which is His attribute, which God grant, that we may continually enjoy, and so may obtain the kingdom of heaven, in Christ Jesus our Lord; to whom be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1849] Benedictine pros, Savile eis, which rather implies a full stop after "city," and that the Homily contained an invective "against" the offenders. It does contain a very strong one obliquely. [1850] Eph. iii. 20. [1851] Sav. relax. [1852] Ducæus quotes Il. xi. 453, Æn. ix. 486, Stat. Theb. l. 2. Alternâ clauserunt lumina dextrâ. Plin. 22, 37; Varro apud Nonium; Sigil. as illustrating the custom of doing these offices for the dead among heathens. [1853] /=thumian here opposed to thumon and meaning especially such sadness as represses violent emotion. [1854] Exod. xxxii. 10. [1855] turEURnnon. [1856] St. Chrysostom here alludes to the pulling down the statues of his wife and mother, which, together with his own and those of his two sons, were dragged about the streets of Antioch during the riot. [1857] He seems to mean some such expression as "so may I live to see Antioch." [1858] kEURtothen. [1859] A kind of event then becoming familiar to the Roman world. [1860] It is here evidently supposed that the Emperor appeared with the crown actually upon his head. The magnificence of the Emperor's appearance is dwelt upon at length by Chrysostom in other Homilies, though with different feelings from what Gibbon would insinuate. See c. xxxii. where he quotes the Homily on Perfect Charity (6). Also on Eph. iv. 1, Hom. IX. [1861] autous, "the Antiochenes." Some read autas, "the cities," which does not make so good sense. [1862] Matt. vi. 12. [1863] No one who knows St. Chrysostom will suppose that he means by this to exclude the other conditions of a sincere repentance, as of course our Lord did not, in the saying just before quoted, which is equally unqualified. [1864] Perhaps referring to promises the bishop had made to his flock, of what they might expect from his intercession. [1865] ten hupokrisin, i.e., his counterfeited ignorance of his brethren. [1866] Luke xxiii. 34. [1867] The allusion is to the war with Maximus, who had been acknowledged Emperor of Spain, Gaul and Britain, but was now trying to wrest Italy from the rule of Valentinian II. [1868] As being God's creatures, and having departed from Him. [1869] The bishop. [1870] Comp. what is said of Cæsarius, Lib. Reiske. t. i. p. 691. This may relate to a different occasion, as it seems likely that there were two rescripts, the second of which conveyed the full pardon. [1871] stibEURdas. Cave, in his life of St. Chrysostom, has rendered it, "the doors and shop windows set off with flowers and green branches;" but this seems purely fanciful; the word stibadium among the Romans meant a couch of particular construction, which allowed seven or eight to recline upon it at supper. These were probably temporary couches, made of, or strewed with, green leaves, for a public feast. (Libanius mentions this feasting, and praises the sympathy and good nature of Hellebichus on the occasion. His mention of a fish may be connected with the fast. Or. ad Helleb. fin.) [1872] i.e., both by sending the calamity and by delivering from it. [1873] Joel i. 3.


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