Writings of John Chrysostom. The Gospel of St. Matthew.

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St. Chrysostom:

The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,

On the Gospel of St. Matthew.

Translated by Rev. Sir George Prevost, Baronet, M.A., of Oriel College, Oxford.

Revised, with notes, by Rev. M. B. Riddle, D.D., Professor of New Testament Exegesis in the Western Theological Seminary at Allegheny, PA.

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

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Homily XXVI.

Matt. VIII. 5.

"And when He was entered into Capernaum, there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home [1093] sick of the palsy, grievously tormented."

The leper came unto Him "when He was come down from the mountain," but this centurion, "when He was entered into Capernaum." Wherefore then did neither the one nor the other go up into the mountain? Not out of remissness, for indeed the faith of them both was fervent, but in order not to interrupt His teaching.

But having come unto Him, he saith, "My servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented." Now some say, that by way of excuse he mentioned also the cause, why he had not brought him. "For neither was it possible," saith he, "paralyzed as he was, and tormented, and at his last gasp, to lift and convey him." For that he was at the point of expiring, Luke saith; "He was even ready to die." [1094] But I say, this is a sign of his having great faith, even much greater than theirs, who let one down through the roof. [1095] For because he knew for certain, that even a mere command was enough for the raising up of the patient, he thought it superfluous to bring him.

What then doth Jesus? What He had in no case done before, here He doeth. For whereas on every occasion He was used to follow the wish of His supplicants, here He rather springs toward it, and offers not only to heal him, but also to come to the house. And this He doth, that we might learn the virtue of the centurion. For if He had not made this offer, but had said, "Go thy way, let thy servant be healed;" we should have known none of these things.

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This at least He did, in an opposite way, in the case also of the Phœnician woman. For here, when not summoned to the house, of His own accord He saith, He will come, that thou mightest learn the centurion's faith and great humility; but in the case of the Phœnician woman, He both refuses the grant, and drives her, persevering therein, to great perplexity.

For being a wise physician and full of resources, He knows how to bring about contraries the one by the other. [1096] And as here by His freely-offered coming, so there by His peremptory putting off and denial, He unfolds the woman's faith. So likewise He doth in Abraham's case, saying, "I will by no means hide from Abraham my servant;" [1097] to make thee know that man's kindly affection, and his care for Sodom. And in the instance of Lot, [1098] they that were sent refuse to enter into his house, to make thee know the greatness of that righteous man's hospitality.

What then saith the centurion? "I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof." [1099] Let us hearken, as many as are to receive Christ: for it is possible to receive Him even now. Let us hearken, and emulate, and receive Him with as great zeal; for indeed, when thou receivest a poor man who is hungry and naked, thou hast received and cherished Him.

2. "But say in a word only, [1100] and my servant shall be healed."

See this man also, how, like the leper, he hath the right opinion touching Him. For neither did this one say, "entreat," nor did he say, "pray, and beseech," but "command only." And then from fear lest out of modesty He refuse, he saith,

"For I also am a man under authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this man, go, and he goeth; and to another, come, and he cometh; and to my servant, do this, and he doeth it." [1101]

"And what of that," saith one, "if the centurion did suspect it to be so? For the question is, whether Christ affirmed and ratified as much." Thou speakest well, and very sensibly. Let us then look to this very thing; and we shall find what happened in the case of the leper, the same happening here likewise. For even as the leper said, "If thou wilt" (and not from the leper only are we positive about His authority, but also from the voice of Christ; in that, so far from putting an end to the suspicion, He did even confirm it more, by adding what were else superfluous to say, in the phrase, "I will, be thou cleansed," in order to establish that man's doctrine): so here too, it is right to see whether any such thing occurred. In fact, we shall find this same thing again taking place. For when the centurion had spoken such words, and had testified His so great prerogative; so far from blaming, He did even approve it, and did somewhat more than approve it. For neither hath the evangelist said, that He praised the saying only, but declaring a certain earnestness in His praise, that He even "marvelled;" and neither did He simply marvel, but in the presence also of the whole people, and set Him as an example to the rest, that they should emulate Him.

Seest thou how each of them that bore witness of His authority is "marvelled at? And the multitudes were astonished at His doctrine, because He taught as one having authority;" [1102] and so far from blaming them, He both took them with Him when He came down, and by His words of cleansing to the leper, confirmed their judgment. Again, that leper said, "If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean;" [1103] and so far from rebuking, He on the contrary cleansed him by such treatment as He had said. Again, this centurion saith, "Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed:" [1104] and "marvelling" at him, He said, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." [1105]

Now, to convince thee of this by the opposite also; Martha having said nothing of this sort, but on the contrary, "Whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, He will give Thee;" [1106] so far from being praised, although an acquaintance, and dear to Him, and one of them that had shown great zeal toward Him, she was rather rebuked and corrected by Him, as not having spoken well; in that He said to her, "Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" [1107] blaming her, as though she did not even yet believe. And again, because she had said, "Whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, He will give Thee;" to lead her away from such a surmise, and to teach her that He needs not to receive from another, but is Himself the fountain of all good things, He saith, "I am the resurrection and the life;" [1108] that is to say, "I wait not to receive active power, [1109] but work all of myself."

Wherefore at the centurion He both marvels, and prefers him to all the people, and honors him with the gift of the kingdom, and provokes the rest to the same zeal. And to show thee that for this end He so spake, viz. for the instructing of the rest to believe in like manner, listen to the exactness of the evangelist, how he hath intimated it. For,

"Jesus," saith he, "turned Him about, and said to them that followed Him, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." [1110]

It follows, that to have high imaginations concerning Him, this especially is of faith, and tends to procure the kingdom and His other blessings. For neither did His praise reach to words only, but He both restored the sick man whole, in recompence of his faith, and weaves for him a glorious crown, and promises great gifts, saying on this wise,

"Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down in the bosoms of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out." [1111]

Thus, since He had shown many miracles, He proceeds to talk with them more unreservedly.

Then, that no one might suppose His words to come of flattery, but that all might be aware that such was the mind of the centurion, He saith,

"Go thy way; as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." [1112]

And straightway the work followed, bearing witness to his character. [1113] nothing; for the question is, whether each of them has set before us the zealousness of the man, and his having had the right opinion concerning Christ. But it is likely, that after sending his friends, he himself also came and said these things. And if Luke did not speak of the one, no more did Matthew of the other; and this is not the part of men disagreeing amongst themselves, but rather of those that are filling up the things omitted by one another. But see by another thing also how Luke hath proclaimed his faith, saying that his servant "was ready to die." [1114] Nevertheless, not even this cast him into despondency, neither did it cause him to give up: but even so he trusted that he should prevail. And if Matthew affirm Christ to have said, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel," and hereby to show clearly that he was not an Israelite; while Luke saith, "He built our synagogue;" neither is this a contradiction. For it was possible for one, even though not a Jew, both to build the synagogue, and to love the nation.

4. But do not thou, I pray thee, merely inquire what was said by him, but add thereto his rank also, and then thou wilt see the man's excellency. Because in truth great is the pride of them that are in places of command, and not even in afflictions do they take lower ground. He, for example, who is set down in John, is for dragging Him unto his house, and saith, "Come down, for my child is ready to die." [1115] But not so this man; rather he is far superior both to him, and to those who let down the bed through the roof. For he seeks not for His bodily presence, neither did He bring the sick man near the physician; a thing which implied no mean imaginations concerning Him, but rather a suspicion of His divine dignity. And he saith, "speak the word only." And at the beginning he saith not even, "speak the word," but only describe his affliction: for neither did he, of great humility, expect that Christ would straightway consent, and inquire for his house. Therefore, when he heard Him say, "I will come and heal him," then, not before he saith, "speak the word." Nor yet did the suffering confound him, but still under calamity he reasons coolly, [1116] not looking so much to the health of the servant, as to the avoiding all appearance of doing anything irreverent.

And yet it was not he that pressed it, but Christ that offered it: nevertheless even so he feared, lest perchance he should be thought to be going beyond his own deservings, and to be drawing upon himself a thing above his strength. [1117] Seest thou his wisdom? Mark the folly of the Jews, in saying, "He was worthy for whom He should do the favor." [1118] For when they should have taken refuge in the love of Jesus towards man, they rather allege this man's worthiness; and know not so much as on what ground to allege it. But not so he, but he affirmed himself even in the utmost degree unworthy, not only of the benefit, but even of receiving the Lord in his house. Wherefore even when he said, "My servant lieth sick," he did not add, "speak," for fear lest he should be unworthy to obtain the gift; but he merely made known his affliction. And when he saw Christ zealous in His turn, not even so did he spring forward, but still continues to keep to the end his own proper measure.

And if any one should say, "wherefore did not Christ honor him in return?" we would say this, that He did make return to him in honor, and that exceedingly: first by bringing out his mind, which thing chiefly appeared by His not coming to his house; and in the second place, by introducing him into His kingdom, and preferring him to the whole Jewish nation. For because he made himself out unworthy even to receive Christ into his house, he became worthy both of a kingdom, and of attaining unto those good things which Abraham enjoyed.

"But wherefore," one may say, "was not the leper commended, who showed forth things greater than these?" For he did not so much as say, "speak the word," but what was far more, "be willing only," which is what the prophet saith concerning the Father, "He hath done whatsoever He pleased." [1119] But he also was commended. For when He said, "Offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them," [1120] He means nothing else but, "thou shalt be an accuser of them, in that thou didst believe." And besides, it was not the same for one that was a Jew to believe, and for one from without that nation. For that the centurion was not a Jew is evident, both from his being a centurion and from its being said, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel." And it was a very great thing for a man who was out of the list of the Jewish people to admit so great a thought. For he did no less than imagine to himself, as it seems to me, the armies in Heaven; or that the diseases and death, and everything else, were so subject to Him, as his soldiers to himself.

Wherefore he said likewise, "For I also am a man set under authority;" that is, Thou art God, and I man; I under authority, but Thou not under authority. If I therefore, being a man, and under authority, can do so much; far more He, both as God, and as not under authority. Thus with the strongest expression he desires to convince Him, that he saith this, as one giving not a similar example, but one far exceeding. For if I (said he), being equal in honor to them whom I command, and under authority, yet by reason of the trifling superiority of my rank am able to do such great things; and no man contradicts me, but what I command, that is done, though the injunctions be various ("for I say to this man, go, and he goeth; and to another, come, and he cometh": [1121] ) much more wilt Thou Thyself be able.

And some actually read the place in this way, "For if I, being a man," and having inserted a stop, they add, "having soldiers under authority under me."

But mark thou, I pray thee, how he signified that Christ is able both to overcome even death as a slave, and to command it as its master. For in saying, "come, and he cometh," and "go, and he goeth;" he expresses this: "If Thou shouldest command his end not to come upon him, it will not come."

Seest thou how believing he was? For that which was afterwards to be manifest to all, here is one who already hath made it evident; that He hath power both of death and of life, and "leadeth down to the gates of hell, and bringeth up again." [1122] Nor was he speaking of soldiers only, but also of slaves; which related to a more entire obedience.

5. But nevertheless, though having such great faith, he still accounted himself to be unworthy. Christ however, signifying that he was worthy to have Him enter into his house, did much greater things, marvelling at him, and proclaiming him, and giving more than he had asked. For he came indeed seeking for his servant health of body, but went away, having received a kingdom. Seest thou how the saying had been already fulfilled, "Seek ye the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you." [1123] For, because he evinced great faith, and lowliness of mind, He both gave him heaven, and added unto him health.

And not by this alone did He honor him, but also by signifying upon whose casting out he is brought in. For now from this time forth He proceeds to make known to all, that salvation is by faith, not by works of the law. And this is why not to Jews only, but to Gentiles also the gift so given shall be proffered, and to the latter rather than to the former. For "think not," saith He, "by any means, that so it hath come to pass in regard of this man alone; nay, so it shall be in regard of the whole world. And this He said, prophesying of the Gentiles, and suggesting to them good hopes. For in fact there were some following Him from Galilee of the Gentiles. And this He said, on the one hand, not letting the Gentiles despair, on the other, putting down the proud spirits of the Jews.

But that His saying might not affront [1124] the hearers, nor afford them any handle; He neither brings forward prominently what He hath to say of the Gentiles, but upon occasion taken from the centurion; nor doth He use nakedly the term, Gentiles: not saying, "many of the Gentiles," but, "many from east and west:" [1125] which was the language of one pointing out the Gentiles, but did not so much affront the hearers, because His meaning was under a shadow.

Neither in this way only doth He soften the apparent novelty of His doctrine, but also by speaking of "Abraham's bosom" instead of "the kingdom." For neither was that term familiar to them: [1126] moreover, the introduction of Abraham would be a sharper sting to them. Wherefore John also spake nothing at first concerning hell, but, what was most apt to grieve them, He saith, "Think not to say, we are children of Abraham." [1127]

He is providing for another point also; not to seem in any sense opposed to the ancient polity. For he that admires the patriarchs, and speaks of their bosom as an inheritance of blessings, doth much more than sufficiently remove also this suspicion.

Let no man therefore suppose that the threat is one only, for both the punishment of the one and the joy of the other is double: of the one, not only that they fell away, but that they fell away from their own; of the other, not only that they attained, but that they attained what they had no expectation of: and there is a third together with these, that the one received what pertained to the other. And he calls them "children of the kingdom," for whom the kingdom had been prepared: which also more than all was apt to gall them; in that having pointed to them as being in their bosom by His offer and promise, after all He puts them out.

6. Then, because what He had said was mere affirmation, He confirms it by the miracle; as indeed He shows the miracles in their turn, by the subsequent accomplishment of the prediction. He accordingly, who disbelieves the health which the servant then received, let him from the prophecy, which hath this day come to pass, believe that other also. For so that prophecy again, even before the event, was made manifest to all by the sign which then took place. To this end, you see, having first uttered that prediction, then and not before He raised up the sick of the palsy; that He might make the future credible by the present, and the less by the greater. Since for virtuous men to enjoy His good things, and for the contrary sort to undergo His penalties, were nothing improbable, but a reasonable event, and according to the tenor of laws: but to brace up the feeble, and to raise the dead, was something beyond nature.

But nevertheless, unto this great and marvellous work the centurion too contributed no little; which thing, we see, Christ also declared, saying, "Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." Seest thou how the health of the servant proclaimed aloud both Christ's power, and the faith of the centurion, and also became a pledge of the future? Or rather it was all a proclamation of Christ's power. For not only did He quite heal the servant's body, but the soul also of the centurion He did Himself bring over unto the faith by His miracles.

And do thou look not to this only, that the one believed, and the other was healed, but marvel how quickly also. For this too the evangelist declared, saying, "And his servant was healed in the self-same hour:" even as of the leper also he said, "he was straightway cleansed." For not by healing, but by doing so both in a wonderful manner and in a moment of time, did He display His power. Neither in this way only doth He profit us, but also by his constant practice, in the manifestation of His miracles, of opening incidentally His discourses about His kingdom, and of drawing all men towards it. For, those even whom He was threatening to cast out, He threatened not in order to cast them out, but in order that through such fear, He might draw them into it by His words. And if not even hereby were they profited, theirs is the whole blame, as also of all who are in the like distemper.

For not at all among Jews only may one see this taking place, but also among them that have believed. For Judas too was a child of the kingdom, and it was said to him with the disciples, "Ye shall sit on twelve thrones;" [1128] yet he became a child of hell; whereas the Ethiopian, barbarian as he was, and of them "from the east and west," shall enjoy the crowns with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. This takes place among us also now. "For many," saith He, "that are first shall be last, and the last first." [1129] And this He saith, that neither the one may grow languid, as unable to return; nor the others be confident, as standing fast. This John also declared before from the beginning, when he said, "God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." [1130] Thus, since it was so to come to pass, it is proclaimed long before; that no one may be confounded at the strangeness of the event. But he indeed speaks of it as a possible thing (for he was first); Christ on the other hand as what will surely be, affording the proof of it from His works.

7. Let us not then be confident, who stand, but let us say to ourselves, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall;" [1131] neither let us who are fallen despair, but let us say to ourselves, "He that falleth, doth he not arise?" [1132] For many even who have mounted to the very summit of Heaven, and have shown forth all austerity, and had made their abode in the deserts, nor saw any woman so much as in a dream; having become a little remiss, have been tripped up, and have come unto the very gulf of wickedness. While others again from thence have gone up to Heaven, and from the stage and orchestra have passed over unto the discipline of angels, and have displayed so great virtue, as to drive away devils, and to work many other such miracles. And of these examples both the Scriptures are full, and our life is also full. Even whoremongers and effeminate persons stop the mouths of the Manichæans, who say that wickedness is immoveable, enrolling themselves on the devil's side, and weakening the hands of them that would wish to be in earnest, and overturning all our life.

For they who inculcate these things, not only injure men as to the future, but here also turn all things upside down, for their own part at least. Because when will any regard virtue, from among those that are living in wickedness, so long as he accounts his return that way, and his change for the better, a thing impossible? For if now, when both laws exist, and penalties are threatened, and there is common opinion to recall the ordinary sort, and hell is looked for, and a kingdom promised, and wrong things reproached, and the good praised; hardly do any choose the labors that are to be undergone for virtue's sake: shouldest thou take away all these things, what is there to hinder ruin and corruption universal?

Knowing therefore the devil's craft, and that as well the lawgivers of the Gentiles as the oracles of God, and the reasonings of nature, and the common opinion of all men, yea barbarians, and Scythians, and Thracians, and generally all, are directly opposed both to these, and to such as strive to enact the doctrines of fate: let us be sober, beloved, and bidding farewell to all those, let us travel along the narrow way, being both confident and in fear: in fear because of the precipices on either side, confident because of Jesus our guide. Let us travel on, sober and wakeful. For though but for a little while one slumber, he is swept away quickly.

8. For we are not more perfect than David, who by a little carelessness was hurled into the very gulf of sin. Yet he arose again quickly. Look not then to his having sinned only, but also to his having washed away his sin. For to this end He wrote that history, not that thou shouldest behold him fallen, but admire him risen; to teach thee, when thou art fallen, how thou shouldest arise. Thus, as physicians choose out the most grievous diseases, and write them in their books, and teach their method of cure in similar cases; if so be men having practised on the greater, may easily master the less; even so God likewise hath brought forward the greatest of sins, that they also who offend in small things may find the cure of these easy, by means of the other: since if those admitted of healing, much more the less.

Let us look then to the manner both of the sickness, and of the speedy recovery of that blessed man. What then was the manner of his sickness? He committed adultery and murder. For I shrink not from proclaiming these things with a loud voice. Since if the Holy Ghost thought it no shame to record [1133] all this history, much less ought we to draw any shade over it. Wherefore I not only proclaim it, but I add another circumstance also. For in fact, whosoever hide these things, they most of all men throw his virtue into the shade. And as they that say nothing of the battle with Goliath deprive him of no small crowns, so also they that hurry by this history. Doth not my saying seem a paradox? Nay, wait a little, and then ye shall know that with reason have we said this. For to this end do I magnify the sin, and make my statement stranger, that I may the more abundantly provide the medicines.

What is it then which I add? The man's virtue; which makes the fault also greater. For all things are not judged alike in all men. "For mighty" men (it is said) "shall be mightily tormented:" [1134] and "He that knew his Lord's will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes." [1135] So that more knowledge is a ground of more punishment. For this same reason the priest, if he commit the same sin as those under government, shall not have the same to endure, but things far more grievous.

Perhaps, seeing the charge against him amplified, ye tremble and fear, and marvel at me, as though I were going down a precipice. But I am so confident on that righteous man's behalf, that I will proceed even farther; for the more I aggravate the charge, so much the more shall I be able to show forth the praise of David.

"And what more than this," you will say, "can be uttered?" Abundantly more. For as in the case of Cain, what was done was not a murder only, but worse than even many murders; for it was not a stranger, but a brother, whom he slew; and a brother who had not done but suffered wrong; not after many murderers, but having first originated the horrid crime: so here too that which was perpetrated was not murder only. For it was no ordinary man that did it, but a prophet: and he slays not him that had done wrong, but him that had suffered wrong; for indeed he had been mortally wronged, by the forcing away his wife: nevertheless after that he added this also.

9. Perceive ye, how I have not spared that righteous one? how without any the least reserve I have mentioned his offenses? But yet, so confident am I concerning his defense, that after so great load as this of his sin, I would there were present both the Manichæans who most deride all this, and they that are diseased in Marcion's way, [1136] that I might fully stop their mouths. For they indeed say "he committed murder and adultery;" but I say not this only, but have also proved the murder to be twofold, first from him who suffered the wrong, then from the quality of the person who offended. For it is not the same thing, for one to whom the Spirit was vouchsafed, and on whom so great benefits had been conferred, and who had been admitted to such freedom of speech, and at such a time of life, to venture on crimes of that sort; as without all these, to commit this self-same thing. Nevertheless even in this respect is that illustrious man most of all worthy of admiration, that when he had fallen into the very pit of wickedness, he did not sink nor despair, nor cast himself down in supineness, on receiving of the devil so fatal a wound; but quickly, or rather straightway, and with great force, he gave a more fatal blow than he had received.

And the same thing occurred, as if in war and in battle some barbarian had struck his spear into the heart of a chieftain, or shot an arrow into his liver, and had added to the former wound a second more fatal than it, and he that had received these grievous blows, when fallen, and wallowing in much blood all about him, were first to rise up quickly, then to hurl a spear at him that wounded him, and exhibit him dead on the ground in a moment. Even so in this case also, the greater thou declarest the wound, so much the more admirable dost thou imply the soul of him that was wounded to be, that he had power after this grievous wound both to rise up again, and to stand in the very forefront of the battle array, and bear down him that had wounded him.

And how great a thing this is, they best know, whosoever are fallen into grievous sins. For it is not so much a proof of a generous and vigorous soul to walk upright, and to run all the way (for such a soul hath the good hope going along with it, to cheer and to rouse it, to nerve and render it more zealous); as after those innumerable crowns, and so many trophies, and victories, having undergone the utmost loss, to be able to resume the same course. And that what I say may be made plain, I will endeavor to bring before you another example, not at all inferior to the former.

For imagine, I pray thee, some pilot, when he had compassed seas without number, and sailed over the whole ocean; after those many storms, and rocks and waves, to sink, having with him a great freight, in the very mouth of the harbor, and hardly with his naked body to escape this grievous shipwreck; how would he naturally feel towards the sea, and navigation, and such labors? Will such a one then ever choose, unless he be of a very noble soul, to see a beach, or a vessel, or a harbor? I trow not; but he will lie hiding his face, seeing night all through the day, and shrinking from all things; and he will choose rather to live by begging, than to put his hand to the same labors.

But not such was this blessed man; but though he had undergone such a shipwreck, after those innumerable troubles and toils, he stayed not with his face covered, but launched his vessel, and having spread his sails, and taken the rudder in hand, he applies himself to the same labors, and hath made his wealth more abundant again. Now if to stand be so admirable, and not to lie down for ever after one has fallen; to rise up again, and to do such deeds, what crowns would not this deserve?

And yet surely there were many things to drive him to despair; as first, the greatness of his sins; secondly, that not at the beginning of life, when our hopes also are more abundant, but near the end, these things befell him. For neither doth the merchant, who hath just gone out of the harbor and been wrecked, grieve equally with him, who after very many traffickings strikes on a rock. Thirdly, that when he had already obtained great wealth, he incurred this. Yea, for by that time he had stored up no small merchandise: for instance, the deeds of his early youth, when he was a shepherd; those about Goliath, when he set up the glorious trophy; those pertaining to his self-command respecting Saul. Since he showed forth even the evangelical long-suffering, in that he got his enemy ten thousand times into his hands, and continually spared him; and chose rather to be an outcast from his country and from liberty, and from life itself, than to slay him that was unjustly plotting against him. Likewise after his coming to the kingdom, there were noble deeds of his to no small amount.

And besides what I have said, his credit also among the many, and his fall from glory so bright, would cause no ordinary perplexity. For the purple did by no means so much adorn him, as the stain of his sin disgraced him. And ye know of course what a great thing it is for evil deeds to be exposed, and how great a soul is required in such an one, not to despond after the censure of the multitude, and when he hath so many witnesses of his own offenses.

Nevertheless all these darts that noble person drew out of his soul, and so shone forth after this, so wiped out the stain, became so pure, that his offspring even after his death had their sins mitigated by him: and that which was said of Abraham, we find God saying the same of this man also; or rather, much more of the latter. For with respect to the patriarch it is said, "I remembered my covenant with Abraham;" [1137] but here He saith not "the covenant," but how? "I will defend this city for my servant David's sake." [1138] And besides, on account of His favor towards him, He suffered not Solomon to fall from the kingdom, great as the sin was which he had committed. And so great was the glory of the man, that Peter, so many years after, in exhorting the Jews, spake on this wise: "Let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried." [1139] And Christ too, discoursing with the Jews, signifies him after his sin to have had the Spirit vouchsafed to such a degree, that he was counted worthy to prophesy again even concerning His Godhead; and thereby stopping their mouths, He said, "How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand ?" [1140] And much as with Moses, so it fell out also with David. For as Miriam, even against Moses' will, was punished by God for insolence to her brother, [1141] because He greatly loved the holy man; even so this man, injuriously treated by his son, God did swiftly avenge, and that against his will.

These things then are sufficient, yea rather before all others these are sufficient to indicate the man's excellency. For when God pronounces His judgment, we ought to inquire no further. But if ye would become particularly acquainted with His self command, ye may by perusing his history after his sin, perceive his confidence towards God, his benevolence, his growth in virtue, his strictness unto his last breath.

10. Having then these examples, let us be sober, and let us strive not to despond, and if at any time we fall, not to lie prostrate. For not to cast you into slothfulness, did I speak of the sins of David, but to work in you more fear. For if that righteous man through a little remissness received such wounds, what shall we have to suffer, who are every day negligent? Do not therefore look at his fall, and be remiss, but consider what great things he did even after this, what great mournings, how much repentance he showed forth, adding his nights to his days, pouring forth fountains of tears, washing his couch with his tears, withal clothing himself in sackcloth.

Now if he needed so great a conversion, when will it be possible for us to be saved, feeling insensible after so many sins? For he that hath many good deeds, would easily even by this throw a shade over his sins; but he that is unarmed, wherever he may receive a dart, receives a mortal wound.

In order therefore that this may not be so, let us arm ourselves with good works; and if any offense have befallen us, let us wash it away: that we may be counted worthy, after having lived the present life to the glory of God, to enjoy the life to come; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1093] [R.V., "in the house."] [1094] Luke vii. 2. [R.V., "and" at the point of death; ka in the citation means "and," not "even."'R.] [1095] Luke v. 19. [1096] di tn nantōn t nntia. The argument seems to require t at, "the same things by opposite means:" but no ms. authority appears for such a change. [1097] Gen. xviii. 17 [LXX.]. [1098] Gen. xix. 2. [1099] Matt. viii. 8. [1100] [R.V., "only say the word," "Gr. with a word." Chrysostom varies from the order, placing "only" last.'R.] [1101] Matt. viii. 4. [1102] Matt. vii. 29. [1103] Matt. viii. 2. [1104] Matt. viii. 8. [1105] Matt. viii. 10. [The reading of the received text is found here. Comp. R.V. margin for the reading of the Vatican ms., accepted by Augustin.'R.] [1106] John xi. 22. [1107] John xi. 40. [1108] John xi. 25. [1109] energean. [1110] Matt. viii. 10. Comp. straphes, is taken from the latter passage.'R.] [1111] Matt. viii. 11, 12. [For "with" Chrysostom substitutes "in the bosom of" (e to klpou), commenting upon the term below (sec. 5). There is no authority for this reading, so far as now known.'R.] [1112] Matt. viii. 13. [1113] t proairseipoie. [1114] Luke vii. 2. [1115] John iv. 49. [1116] philosophe. [1117] bar prgma. [1118] Luke vii. 4. [1119] Ps. cxv. 3. [1120] Matt. viii. 4. [1121] Matt. viii. 9. [1122] 1 Sam. xxvi. [1123] Matt. vi. 33. [Comp. Hom. XXII. 4, p.148, on the reading "kingdom of heaven."'R.] [1124] prosstnai, "disagree with, be nauseous to." [1125] Matt. viii. 11. [1126] [Both terms were current in Jewish theological language; but it is implied in the argument that "Abraham's bosom" was not so well known, or so definitely apprehended.'R.] [1127] Matt. iii. 9. [1128] Matt. xix. 28. [1129] Matt. xix. 30. [1130] Matt. iii. 9. [1131] 1 Cor. x. 12. [1132] Jer. viii. 4. [1133] anathenai. [1134] hetasthsontai. Wisdom vi. 6. [1135] Luke xii. 47. [1136] Both these sects ascribed the Old Testament to an evil principle, and argued against it from such cases as this of David. Of Marcion, see St. Iren. i. 29, iv. 45. Of Manes, St. Aug. contra Faustum. xxii. 5, 66. [Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, first series, vol. iv. p. 297.] [1137] Exod. ii. 24. [1138] Isa. xxxvii. 35. [1139] Acts ii. 29. [1140] Matt. xxii. 43; Ps. cx. 1. [1141] Numb. xii. 13, 14. .


Homily XXVII.

Matt. VIII. 14.

"And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother laid and sick of a fever: [1142] and He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she arose and ministered unto Him." [1143]

But Mark adds also, "immediately," [1144] meaning to declare the time as well; but this evangelist hath set down only the miracle, without signifying besides the time. And whereas the others say, that she that lay ill did also entreat Him, this too he hath passed over in silence. But this comes not of any dissonance, but the one of brevity, the other of exact narrative. But for what intent did He go into Peter's house? As it seems to me, to take food. This at least is declared when it is said,

"She arose and ministered unto Him." [1145]

For He used to visit His disciples (as Matthew likewise, when He had called him), so honoring them and making them more zealous.

But do thou mark, I pray thee, herein also Peter's reverence towards Him. For though he had his wife's mother at home lying ill, and very sick of a fever, he drew Him not into his house, but waited first for the teaching to be finished, then for all the others to be healed; and then when He had come in, besought Him. Thus from the beginning was he instructed to prefer the things of all others to his own.

Therefore neither doth he himself bring Him in, but He entered of His own accord (after the centurion had said, "I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof" [1146] ): to show how much favor He bestowed on His disciple. And yet consider of what sort were the houses of these fishermen; but for all that, He disdained not to enter into their mean huts, teaching thee by all means to trample under foot human pride.

And sometimes He heals by words only, sometimes He even stretches forth His hand, sometimes He doeth both these things, to bring into sight His way of healing. For it was not His will always to work miracles in the more surpassing manner: it being needful for Him to be concealed awhile, and especially as concerned His disciples; since they out of their great delight would have proclaimed everything. And this was evident from the fact, that even after coming to the mount, it was needful to charge them that they should tell no man.

Having therefore touched her body, He not only quenched the fever, but also gave her back perfect health. Thus, the disease being an ordinary one, He displayed His power by the manner of healing; a thing which no physician's art could have wrought. For ye know that even after the departing of fevers, the patients yet need much time to return to their former health. But then all took place at once.

And not in this case only, but also in that of the sea. For neither there did He quiet the winds only and the storm, but He also stayed at once the swelling of the waves; and this also was a strange thing. For even if the tempest should cease, the waves continue to swell for a long time.

But with Christ it was not so, but all at once was ended: and so it befell this woman also. Wherefore also the evangelist, to declare this, said, "She arose and ministered unto Him;" [1147] which was a sign both of Christ's power, and of the disposition of the woman, which she showed towards Christ.

And another thing together with these we may hence observe, that Christ grants the healing of some to the faith even of others. Since in this case too, others besought Him, as also in the instance of the centurion's servant. And this grant He makes, when there is no unbelief in him that is to be healed, but either through disease he cannot come unto Him, or through ignorance imagines nothing great of Him, or because of His immature age.

2. "When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits from them with a word, and healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet Esaias, that He took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." [1148]

Seest thou the multitude, by this time growing in faith? For not even when the time pressed could they endure to depart, nor did they account it unseasonable to bring their sick to Him at eventide.

But mark, I pray thee, how great a multitude of persons healed the evangelists pass quickly over, not mentioning one by one, and giving us an account of them, but in one word traversing an unspeakable sea of miracles. Then lest the greatness of the wonder should drive us again to unbelief, that even so great a people and their various diseases should be delivered and healed by Him in one moment of time, He brings in the prophet also to bear witness to what is going on: indicating the abundance of the proof we have, in every case, out of the Scriptures; such, that from the miracles themselves we have no more; and He saith, that Esaias also spake of these things; "He took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." [1149] He said not, "He did them away," but "He took and bare them;" which seems to me to be spoken rather of sins, by the prophet, in harmony with John, where he saith, "Behold the Lamb of God, that beareth the sin of the world." [1150]

How then doth the evangelist here apply it to diseases? Either as rehearsing the passage in the historical sense, [1151] or to show that most of our diseases arise from sins of the soul. For if the sum of all, death itself, hath its root and foundation from sin, much more the majority of our diseases also: since our very capability of suffering did itself originate there.

3. "Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave commandment to depart unto the other side." [1152]

Seest thou again His freedom from ostentation? in that as the others say, "He charged the devils not to say it was He," [1153] so this writer saith, He repels the multitudes from Him. Now in so doing, He was at once both training us to be moderate, [1154] and at the same time allaying the envy of the Jews, and teaching us to do nothing for display. For He was not, we know, a healer to bodies only, but a curer also of the soul, and a teacher of self-restraint; by both disclosing Himself, both by putting away their diseases, and by doing nought for display. Because they indeed were cleaving unto Him, loving Him, and marvelling at Him, and desiring to look upon Him. For who would depart from one who was doing such miracles? Who would not long, were it only to see the face, and the mouth that was uttering such words?

For not by any means in working wonders only was He wonderful, but even when merely showing Himself, He was full of great grace; and to declare this the prophet said, "Fair [1155] in beauty beyond the children of men." [1156] And if Esaias saith, "He hath no form nor comeliness," [1157] he affirms it either in comparison of the glory of His Godhead, which surpasses all utterance and description; or as declaring what took place at His passion, and the dishonor which He underwent at the season of the cross, and the mean estate which throughout His life He exemplified in all respects.

Further: He did not first give "commandment to depart unto the other side," nor until He had healed them. For surely they could not have borne it. As therefore on the mountain they not only continued with Him while exhorting them, but also when it was silence followed Him; so here too, not in His miracles only did they wait on Him, but also when He had ceased again, from His very countenance receiving no small benefit. For if Moses had his face made glorious, and Stephen like that of an angel; consider thou our common Lord, what manner of person it was likely He would appear at such a time.

Many now perchance have fallen into a passionate desire of seeing that form; but if we are willing we shall behold one far better than that. For if we can pass through our present life with Christian boldness, [1158] we shall receive Him in the clouds, meeting Him in an immortal and incorruptible body.

But observe how He doth not simply drive them away, lest He should hurt them. For He did not say, "withdraw," but "gave commandment to depart to the other side," giving them to expect that He would surely come thither.

4. And the multitudes for their part evinced this great love, and were following with much affection; but some one person, a slave of wealth, and possessed with much arrogance, approaches Him, and saith,

"Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest." [1159]

Seest thou how great his arrogance? For as not deigning to be numbered with the multitude, and indicating that he is above the common sort, so he comes near. Because such is the Jewish character; full of unseasonable confidence. So too another afterwards, when all men were keeping silence, of his own accord springs up, and saith, "Which is the first commandment?" [1160]

Yet nevertheless the Lord rebuked not his unseasonable confidence, teaching us to bear even with such as these. Therefore He doth not openly convict them who are devising mischief, but replies to their secret thought, leaving it to themselves only to know that they are convicted, and doubly doing them good, first by showing that He knows what is in their conscience, next by granting unto them concealment after this manifestation, and allowing them to recover themselves again, if they will: which thing He doth in the case of this man also.

For he, seeing the many signs, and many drawn after Him, thought to make a gain out of such miracles; wherefore also he was forward to follow Him. And whence is this manifest? From the answer which Christ makes, meeting not the question, as it stands verbally, but the temper shown in its meaning. For, "What?" saith He, "dost thou look to gather wealth by following me? Seest thou not then that I have not even a lodging, not even so much as the birds have?"

For "the foxes," saith He, "have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head." [1161]

Now these were not the words of one turning Himself away, but of one who while putting to the proof his evil disposition, yet permitted him (if he were willing with such a prospect) to follow Him. And to convince thee of his wickedness, when he had heard these things, and had been proved, he did not say, "I am ready to follow Thee."

5. And in many other places also Christ is clearly doing this; He doth not openly convict, but by His answer He manifests the purpose of them that are coming unto Him. Thus to him again that said, "Good Master," and had thought by such flattery to gain His favor, according to his purpose He made answer, saying, "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God." [1162]

And when they said unto Him, "Behold, Thy mother and Thy brethren seek Thee;" [1163] forasmuch as these were under the influence of some human infirmity, not desiring to hear something profitable, but to make a display of their relationship to Him, and therein to be vainglorious; hear what He saith: "Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?"

And again to His brethren themselves, saying unto Him, "Show thyself to the world," [1164] and wishing thence to feed their vainglory, He said, "Your time" (so He speaks) "is always ready, but my time is not yet come."

And in the opposite cases too He doth so; as in that of Nathanael, saying, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." [1165] And again, "Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see." [1166] For neither in this did He reply to the words, but to the intention of him that sent them. And with the people again in like manner, He addresses His discourse unto their conscience, saying, "What went ye out into the wilderness to see?" [1167] That is because they were probably feeling about John, as though he had been a sort of easy and wavering person; to correct this their suspicion, He saith, "What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?" or, "a man clothed with soft raiment?" by both these figures declaring, that he was neither of himself a waverer, nor would be softened by any luxury. Thus then in the present case also He makes His answer to their meaning.

And see how in this also He shows forth great moderation: in that He said not, "I have it indeed, but despise it," but "I have it not." Seest thou what exact care goes along with His condescension? Even as when He eats and drinks, when He seems to be acting in an opposite way to John, this too He doeth for the sake of the Jews' salvation, or rather for that of the whole world, at once both stopping the mouths of the heretics, [1168] and desiring to win also more abundantly those of that day to Himself.

6. But a certain other one, we read, said unto Him,

"Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father." [1169]

Didst thou mark the difference? how one impudently saith, "I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest;" but this other, although asking a thing of sacred duty, [1170] saith, "Suffer me." Yet He suffered him not, but saith, "Let the dead bury their dead, but do thou follow me." For in every case He had regard to the intention. And wherefore did He not suffer him? one may ask. Because, on the one hand, there were those that would fulfill that duty, and the dead was not going to remain unburied; on the other, it was not fit for this man to be taken away from the weightier matters. But by saying, "their own dead," He implies that this is not one of His dead. And that because he that was dead, was, at least as I suppose, of the unbelievers.

Now if thou admire the young man, that for a matter so necessary he besought Jesus, and did not go away of his own accord; much rather do thou admire him for staying also when forbidden.

Was it not then, one may say, extreme ingratitude, not to be present at the burial of his father? If indeed he did so out of negligence, it was ingratitude, but if in order not to interrupt a more needful work, his departing would most surely have been of extreme inconsideration. For Jesus forbad him, not as commanding to think lightly of the honor due to our parents, but signifying that nothing ought to be to us more urgent than the things of Heaven, and that we ought with all diligence to cleave to these, and not to put them off for ever so little, though our engagements be exceeding indispensable and pressing. For what can be more needful than to bury a father? what more easy? since it would not even consume any long time.

But if one ought not to spend even as much time as is required for a father's burial, nor is it safe to be parted even so long from our spiritual concerns; consider what we deserve, who all our time stand off from the things that pertain to Christ, and prefer things very ordinary to such as are needful, and are remiss, when there is nothing to press on us?

And herein too we should admire the instructiveness [1171] of His teaching, that He nailed him fast to His word, and with this freed him from those endless evils, such as lamentations, and mournings, and the things that follow thereafter. For after the burial he must of necessity proceed to inquire about the will, then about the distribution of the inheritance, and all the other things that follow thereupon; and thus waves after waves coming in succession upon him, would bear him away very far from the harbor of truth. For this cause He draws him, and fastens him to Himself.

But if thou still marvellest, and art perplexed, that he was not permitted to be present at his father's burial; consider that many suffer not the sick, if it be a father that is dead, or a mother, or a child, or any other of their kinsmen, to know it, nor to follow him to the tomb; and we do not for this charge them with cruelty nor inhumanity: and very reasonably. For, on the contrary, it were cruelty to bring out to the funeral solemnity men in such a state.

But if to mourn and be afflicted in mind for them that are of our kindred is evil, much more our being withdrawn from spiritual discourses. For this same cause He said elsewhere also, "No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of Heaven." [1172] And surely it is far better to proclaim the kingdom, and draw back others from death, than to bury the dead body, that is nothing advantaged thereby; and especially, when there are some to fulfill all these duties.

7. Nothing else then do we learn hereby, but that we must not wantonly lose any, no not the smallest time, though there be ten thousand things to press on us; but to set what is spiritual before all, even the most indispensable matters, and to know both what is life, and what is death. Since many even of them that seem to live are nothing better than dead men, living as they do in wickedness; or rather these are worse than the dead; "For he that is dead," it is said, "is freed from sin," [1173] but this man is a slave to sin. For tell me not of this, that he is not eaten of worms, nor lies in a coffin, nor hath closed his eyes, nor is bound in graveclothes. Nay, for these things he undergoes more grievously than the dead, no worms devouring him, but the passions of his soul tearing him to pieces more fiercely than wild beasts.

And if his eyes be open, this too again is far worse than having closed them. For those of the dead see no evil thing, but this man is gathering unto himself diseases without number, while his eyes are open. And whereas the other lies in a coffin, unmoved by anything, this one is buried in the tomb of his innumerable distempers.

But thou seest not his body in a state of decay. And what of that? Since before his body, his soul is corrupted and destroyed, and undergoes greater rottenness. For the other stinketh a few [1174] days, but this for the whole of his life exhales evil odors, having a mouth more foul than sewers.

And so the one differs from the other, by just so much as this, that the dead indeed undergoes that decay only which comes of nature, but this man together with that, brings in also that rottenness which is from intemperance, devising each day unnumbered causes of corruption.

But is he borne on horseback? And what of that? Why, so is the other on a couch. And what is very hard, while the other is seen by no one in his dissolution and decay, but hath his coffin for a veil, this man is going about everywhere with his evil savor, bearing about a dead soul in his body as in a tomb.

And if one could but once see a man's soul who is living in luxury and vice, thou wouldest perceive that it is far better to lie bound in a grave than to be rivetted by the chains of our sins; and to have a stone laid over thee, than that heavy cover [1175] of insensibility. Wherefore above all things it behooves the friends of these dead men, seeing that they are past feeling, to come near to Jesus in their behalf, as Mary then did in the case of Lazarus. Though he "stinketh," though he be "dead four days," do not despair, but approach, and remove the stone first. Yea, for then thou shalt see him lying as in a tomb, and bound in his grave clothes.

And if ye will, let it be some one of them that are great and distinguished, whom we bring before you. Nay, fear not, for I will state the example without a name: or rather, though I should mention the name, not even so need there be any fear: for who ever fears a dead man? seeing that whatever one may do, he continues dead, and the dead cannot injure the living either little or much.

Let us then behold their head bound up. For indeed, when they are for ever drunken, even as the dead by their many wrappers and grave-clothes, so are all their organs of sense closed and bound up. And if thou wilt look at their hands too, thou shalt see these again bound to their belly, like those of the dead, and fastened about not with grave-clothes, but what is far more grievous, with the bands of covetousness: obtaining as they do no leave from her to be stretched out for alms-giving, or for any other of such like good deeds; rather she renders them more useless than those of the dead. Wouldest thou also see their feet bound together? See them again fastened about with cares, and for this cause never able to run unto the house of God.

Hast thou seen the dead? behold also the embalmer. Who then is the embalmer of these? The devil, who carefully fastens them about, and suffers not the man any longer to appear a man, but a dry stock. For where there is no eye, nor hands, nor feet, nor any other such thing, how can such an one appear a man? Even so may we see their soul also swaddled up, and rather an image [1176] than a soul.

Forasmuch then as they are in a sort of senseless state, being turned to dead men, let us in their behalf draw nigh unto Jesus, let us entreat Him to raise them up, let us take away the stone, let us loosen the grave clothes. For if thou take away the stone, that is, their insensibility to their own miseries, thou wilt quickly be able to bring them also out of the tomb; and having brought them out, thou wilt more easily rid them of their bonds. Then shall Christ know thee, when thou art risen, when unbound; then will He call thee even unto His own supper. [1177] As many therefore of you as are friends of Christ, as many as are disciples, as many as love him that is gone, draw near unto Jesus, and pray. For even though his ill savor abound and be ever so intense, nevertheless not even so should we, his friends, forsake him, but so much the rather draw near; even as the sisters of Lazarus then did; neither should we leave interceding, beseeching, entreating, until we have received him alive.

For if we thus order our own affairs, and those of our neighbors, we shall also attain speedily unto the life to come; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love to man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1142] [R.V., "lying sick of a fever."] [1143] A.V., "unto them." [The Oxford edition has "rec. vers." here. But the word "received" is now applied, in matters of text, only to the editions of Stephens and Elzevir and the readings they contain. The reference is, of course, to the authorized version, and that version in Matt. viii. 15 follows the received text.'R.] [1144] Mark i. 31. See Luke iv. 39. [Mark's favorite term, eths, is rendered "straightway" in the R.V., passim.'R.] [1145] Matt. viii. 15. [1146] Matt. viii. 8. [1147] Matt. viii. 15. [1148] Matt. viii. 16, 17. [R.V. "our diseases."] [1149] Isa. liii. 4. The Evangelist seems to quote the Hebrew, not the LXX. [The explanation given in the Homily agrees with the LXX., "he bare our sins and suffered pain (oduntai) on our behalf." Hebrew has "sorrows" instead of "sicknesses" or "diseases."'R.] [1150] John i. 29. [1151] kat storan tn marturan naginskōn, "reading the text in that sense, to which the actual knowledge of the facts concerning Christ, apart from what faith teaches, might guide a man." See Suicer in v. histora. [1152] Matt. viii. 18. [1153] Mark i. 34; Luke iv. 41. [1154] i.e., "moderate, as receivers, in what we expect from Him: and averse to all display, when we give in His Name." [1155] hōrao. [1156] Ps. xlv. 2, LXX. [1157] Isa. liii. 2, LXX. [So the Hebrew.] [1158] met paēsa. [1159] Matt. viii. 19. [1160] Matt. xxii. 36; Luke x. 25. [The passage in Luke tells of an entirely different incident. The citation from Matthew is not exact, though "first" occurs in the answer of our Lord.'R.] [1161] Matt. viii. 20. [1162] Matt. xix. 16, 17; Luke xviii. 18, 19. [The citation agrees more exactly with Mark x. 18. In Matthew, according to the best mss. authorities, and also the Latin versions and fathers, another form of the answer occurs. Even in Homily LXIII., where the incident is commented upon, Chrysostom does not directly attribute this language, as given above, to Matthew's Gospel.'R.] [1163] Matt. xii. 47, 48. [1164] John vii. 4, 6. [1165] John i. 47. [1166] Matt. xi. 4. [1167] Matt. xi. 7. [1168] i. e., of those heretics who "commanded to abstain from meats," as though possessed with some evil principle: the Manichæan and Marcionite schools. Comp. St. Chrys. on 1 Tim. i. 5. [1169] Matt. viii. 21. [1170] hosion. [1171] philosophan . [1172] Luke ix. 62, en t basile. [The citation is peculiar: (1) en is not found in any of our mss. of the New Testament, the received text is e tn basilean, while the dative alone is better supported. (2) tn orann is substituted for to theo; the former occurring in Matthew only in connection with basilea.'R.] [1173] Rom. vi. 7. [1174] [More exactly, "ten days."'R.] [1175] pma, the lid of a coffer of any kind: here of a sarcophagus. [1176] edōlon. The classical use of this word is well known: see e.g. Odyss. xi. 602. "A shadow or phantom: not a true substantial soul." [1177] Alluding to John xii. 2. .


Homily XXVIII.

Matt. VIII. 23, 24.

"And when He was entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves, but He was asleep."

Now Luke, [1178] to free himself from having the order of time required of him, saith thus, "And it came to pass on a certain day that He went into a ship with His disciples;" and Mark in like manner. [1179] But this evangelist not so, but he maintains the order in this place also. For they did not all of them write all things in this way. And these things I have mentioned before, lest any one from the omission should suppose there was a discordance.

The multitudes then He sent on, but the disciples He took with Himself: for the others mention this too. And He took them with Him, not for nought, nor at hazard, but in order to make them spectators of the miracle that was to take place. For like a most excellent trainer, He was anointing them with a view to both objects; as well to be undismayed in dangers, as to be modest in honors. Thus, that they might not be high minded, because having sent away the rest, He retained them, He suffers them to be tossed with the tempest; at once correcting this, and disciplining them to bear trials nobly.

For great indeed were the former miracles too, but this contained also in it a kind of discipline, and that no inconsiderable one, and was a sign akin to that of old. [1180] For this cause He takes the disciples only with Himself. For as, when there was a display of miracles, He suffers the people also to be present; so when trial and terrors were rising up against Him, then He takes with Him none but the champions of the whole world, whom He was to discipline.

And while Matthew merely mentioned that "He was asleep," [1181] Luke saith that it was "on a pillow;" signifying both His freedom from pride, and to teach us hereby a high degree of austerity. [1182]

The tempest therefore being thoroughly excited, and the sea raging, "They awake Him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish." [1183] But He rebuked them before He rebuked the sea. Because as I said, for discipline these things were permitted, and they were a type of the temptations that were to overtake them. Yea, for after these things again, He often suffered them to fall into more grievous tempests of fortune, [1184] and bare long with them. Wherefore Paul also said, "I would not, brethren, have you ignorant, that we were pressed out of measure beyond strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life;" [1185] and after this again, "Who delivered us from so great deaths." Signifying therefore hereby, that they ought to be confident, though the waves rise high, and that He orders all things for good, He first of all reproves them. For indeed their very alarm was a profitable occurrence, that the miracle might appear greater, and their remembrance of the event be rendered lasting. Since when anything strange is about to happen, there are prepared beforehand many things to cause remembrance, lest after the miracle hath passed by, men should sink into forgetfulness.

Thus Moses also first is in fear of the serpent, and not merely in fear, but even with much distress: and then he sees that strange thing come to pass. [1186] So these too, having first looked to perish, were then saved, that having confessed the danger, they might learn the greatness of the miracle.

Therefore also He sleeps: for had He been awake when it happened, either they would not have feared, or they would not have besought Him, or they would not so much as have thought of His being able to do any such thing. Therefore He sleeps, to give occasion for their timidity, and to make their perception of what was happening more distinct. For a man looks not with the same eyes on what happens in the persons of others, as in his own. Therefore since they had seen all benefitted, while themselves had enjoyed no benefit, and were supine (for neither were they lame, nor had they any other such infirmity); and it was meet they should enjoy His benefits by their own perception: He permits the storm, that by their deliverance they might attain to a clearer perception of the benefit.

Therefore neither doth He this in the presence of the multitudes, that they might not be condemned for little faith, but He has them apart, and corrects them, and before the tempest of the waters He puts an end to the tempests of their soul, rebuking them, and saying,

"Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith:" instructing them also, that men's fear is wrought not by the approach of the temptations, but by the weakness of their mind.

But should any one say, that it was not fearfulness, or little faith, to come near and awaken Him; I would say this, that that very thing was an especial sign of their wanting the right opinion concerning Him. That is, His power to rebuke when awakened they knew, but that He could do so even sleeping, they knew not as yet.

And why at all marvel that it was so now, when even after many other miracles their impressions were still rather imperfect? wherefore also they are often rebuked; as when He saith, "Are ye also yet without understanding?" [1187] Marvel not then, if when the disciples were in such imperfect dispositions, the multitudes had no exalted imagination of Him. For

"They marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the sea and the winds obey Him?" [1188]

But Christ chode not with them for calling Him a man, but waited to teach them by His signs, that their supposition was mistaken. But from what did they think Him a man? First from His appearance, then from His sleeping, and His making use of a ship. So on this account they were cast into perplexity, saying, "What manner of man is this?" since while the sleep and the outward appearance showed man, the sea and the calm declared Him God.

For because Moses had once done some such thing, in this regard also doth He signify His own superiority, and that the one works miracles as a slave, the other as Lord. Thus, He put forth no rod, as Moses did, neither did He stretch forth His hands to Heaven, nor did He need any prayer, but, as was meet for a master commanding His handmaid, or a creator His creature, so did He quiet and curb it by word and command only; and all the surge was straightway at an end, and not one trace of the disturbance remained. For this the evangelist declared saying, "And there was a great calm." [1189] And that which had been spoken of the Father as a great thing, this He showed forth again by His works. And what had been said concerning Him? "He spake," it saith, "and the stormy wind ceased." [1190] So here likewise, He spake, and "there was a great calm." And for this most of all did the multitudes marvel at him; who would not have marvelled, had He done it in such manner as did Moses.

2. Now when He is departed from the sea, there follows another miracle yet more awful. For men possessed with devils, [1191] like wicked runaways at sight of their master, said,

"What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God? Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?" [1192]

For, because the multitudes called Him man, the devils came proclaiming His Godhead, and they that heard not the sea swelling and subsiding, heard from the devils the same cry, as it by its calm was loudly uttering.

Then, lest the thing might seem to come of flattery, according to their actual experience they cry out and say, "Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?" With this view, then, their enmity is avowed beforehand, that their entreaty may not incur suspicion. For indeed they were invisibly receiving stripes, and the sea was not in such a storm as they; galled, and inflamed, and suffering things intolerable from His mere presence. Accordingly, no man daring to bring them to Him, Christ of Himself goes unto them.

And Matthew indeed relates that they said, "Art Thou come hither before the time to torment us?" but the other evangelists have added, that they also entreated and adjured Him not to cast them into the deep. [1193] For they supposed that their punishment was now close upon them, and feared, as even now about to fall into vengeance.

And though Luke and those who follow him [1194] say that it was one person, but this evangelist two, this doth not exhibit any discrepancy at all. I grant if they had said, there was only one, and no other, they would appear to disagree with Matthew; but if that spake of the one, this of the two, the statement comes not of disagreement, but of a different manner of narration. That is, I for my part think, Luke singled out the fiercest one of them for his narrative, wherefore also in more tragical wise doth he report their miserable case; as, for instance, that bursting his bonds and chains he used to wander about the wilderness. And Mark saith, that he also cut himself with the stones.

And their words too are such as well betray their implacable and shameless nature. For, saith he, "Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" You see, that they had sinned, they could not deny, but they demand not to suffer their punishment before the time. For, since He had caught them in the act of perpetrating those horrors so incurable and lawless, and deforming and punishing [1195] His creature in every way; and they supposed that He, for the excess of their crimes, would not await the time of their punishment: therefore they besought and entreated Him: and they that endured not even bands of iron come bound, and they that run about the mountains, are gone forth into the plain; and those who hinder all others from passing, at sight of Him blocking up the way, stand still.

3. But what can be the reason that they love also to dwell in the tombs? They would fain suggest to the multitude a pernicious opinion, as though the souls of the dead become demons, [1196] which God forbid we should ever admit into our conception. "But what then wilt thou say," one may ask, "when many of the sorcerers take children and slay them, in order to have the soul afterwards to assist them?" Why, whence is this evident? for of their slaying them, indeed, many tell us, but as to the souls of the slain being with them, whence knowest thou it, I pray thee? "The possessed themselves," it is replied, "cry out, I am the soul of such a one." But this too is a kind of stage-play, and devilish deceit. For it is not the spirit of the dead that cries out, but the evil spirit that feigns these things in order to deceive the hearers. For if it were possible for a soul to enter into the substance of an evil spirit, much more into its own body.

And besides, it stands not to reason that the injured soul should co-operate with the wrong-doer, or that a man should be able to change an incorporeal power into another substance. For if in bodies this were impossible, and one could not make a man's body become that of an ass; much more were this impossible in the invisible soul; neither could one transform it into the substance of an evil spirit. So that these are the sayings of besotted old wives, and spectres to frighten children.

Nor indeed is it possible for a soul, torn away from the body, to wander here any more. For "the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God;" [1197] and if of the righteous, then those children's souls also; for neither are they wicked: and the souls too of sinners are straightway led away hence. And it is evident from Lazarus and the rich man; and elsewhere too Christ saith, "This day they require thy soul of thee." [1198] And it may not be that a soul, when it is gone forth from the body, should wander here; nor is the reason hard to see. For if we, going about on the earth which is familiar and well known to us, being encompassed with a body, when we are journeying in a strange road, know not which way to go unless we have some one to lead us; how should the soul, being rent away from the body, and having gone out from all her accustomed region, know where to walk without one to show her the way?

And from many other things too one might perceive, that it is not possible for a disembodied soul to remain here. For both Stephen saith, "Receive my spirit;" [1199] and Paul, "To depart and to be with Christ is far better;" [1200] and of the patriarch too the Scripture saith, that "he was gathered unto his fathers, being cherished in a good old age." [1201] And as to the proof, that neither can the souls of sinners continue here; hear the rich man making much entreaty for this, and not obtaining it; since had it been at all possible, he would have come, and have told what had come to pass there. [1202] Whence it is evident that after their departure hence our souls are led away into some place, having no more power of themselves to come back again, but awaiting that dreadful day.

4. Now, should any one say, "And wherefore did Christ fulfill the devils' request, suffering them to depart into the herd of swine?" this would be our reply, that He did so, not as yielding to them, but as providing for many objects thereby. One, to teach them that are delivered from those wicked tyrants, how great the malice of their insidious enemies: another, that all might learn, how not even against swine are they bold, except He allow them; a third, that they would have treated those men more grievously than the swine, unless even in their calamity they had enjoyed much of God's providential care. For that they hate us more than the brutes is surely evident to every man. So then they that spared not the swine, but in one moment of time cast them all down the precipice, much more would they have done so to the men whom they possessed, leading them towards the desert, and carrying them away, unless even in their very tyranny the guardian care of God had abounded, to curb and check the excess of their violence. Whence it is manifest that there is no one, who doth not enjoy the benefit of God's providence. And if not all alike, nor after one manner, this is itself a very great instance of providence; in that according to each man's profit, the work also of providence is displayed.

And besides what hath been mentioned, there is another thing also, which we learn from this; that His providence is not only over all in common, but also over each in particular; which He also declared with respect to His disciples, saying, "But the very hairs of your head are numbered." [1203] And from these demoniacs too, one may clearly perceive this; who would have "been choked" long before, if they had not enjoyed the benefit of much tender care from above.

For these reasons then He suffered them to depart into the herd of swine, and that they also who dwelt in those places should learn His power. For where His name was great, He did not greatly display Himself: but where no one knew Him, but they were still in an insensible condition, He made His miracles to shine out, so as to bring them over to the knowledge of His Godhead. For it is evident from the event that the inhabitants of that city were a sort of senseless people; for when they ought to have adored and marvelled at His power, they sent Him away, and "besought Him that He would depart out of their coasts." [1204]

But for what intent did the devils destroy the swine? Everywhere they have labored to drive men to dismay, and everywhere they rejoice in destruction. This, for instance, the devil did with respect to Job, although in that case too God suffered it, but neither in that case as complying with the devil, but willing to show His own servant the more glorious, cutting off from the evil spirit all pretext for his shamelessness, and turning on his own head what was done against the righteous man. Because now also the contrary of what they wished came to pass. For the power of Christ was gloriously proclaimed, and the wickedness of the demons, from which He delivered those possessed by them, was more plainly indicated; and how they want power to touch even swine, without permission from the God of all.

And if any would take these things in a hidden sense, [1205] there is nothing to hinder. For the history indeed is this, but we are to know assuredly, that the swinish sort of men are especially liable to the operations of the demons. And as long as they are men that suffer such things, they are often able yet to prevail; but if they are become altogether swine, they are not only possessed, but are also cast down the precipice. And besides, lest any should suppose what was done to be mere acting, instead of distinctly believing that the devils [1206] were gone out; by the death of the swine this is rendered manifest.

And mark also His meekness together with His power. For when the inhabitants of that country, after having received such benefits, were driving Him away, He resisted not, but retired, and left those who had shown themselves unworthy of His teaching, having given them for teachers them that had been freed from the demons, and the swine-herds, that they might of them learn all that had happened; whilst Himself retiring leaves the fear vigorous in them. For the greatness withal of the loss was spreading the fame of what had been done, and the event penetrated their mind. And from many quarters were wafted sounds, proclaiming the strangeness of the miracle; from the cured, and from the drowned, from the owners of the swine, from the men that were feeding them.

5. These things any one may see happening now also, even many in the tombs possessed of evil spirits, whom nothing restrains from their madness; not iron, nor chain, nor multitude of men, nor advice, nor admonition, nor terror, nor threat, nor any other such thing.

For so when any man is dissolute, eager after all embraces, [1207] he differs not at all from the demoniac, but goes about naked like him, clad indeed in garments, but deprived of the true covering, and stripped of his proper glory; cutting himself not with stones, but with sins more hurtful than many stones. Who then shall be able to bind such a one? Who, to stay his unseemliness and frenzy, his way of never coming to himself, but forever haunting the tombs? For such are the resorts of the harlots, full of much evil savor, of much rottenness.

And what of the covetous man? Is he not like this? For who will be able ever to bind him? Are there not fears and daily threats, and admonitions, and counsels? Nay, all these bonds he bursts asunder; and if any one come to set him free, he adjures him that he may not be freed, accounting it the greatest torture not to be in torture: than which what can be more wretched? For as to that evil spirit, even though he despised men, yet he yielded to the command of Christ, and quickly sprang out of the man's body; but this man yields not even to His commandment. See at least how he daily hears Him saying, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon," [1208] and threatening hell, and the incurable torments, and obeys not: not that He is stronger than Christ, but because against our will Christ corrects us not. [1209] Therefore such men live as in desert places, though they be in the midst of cities. For who, that hath reason, would choose to be with such men? I for my part would sooner consent to dwell with ten thousand demoniacs, than with one diseased in this way.

And that I am not mistaken in saying this, is manifest from their respective feelings. For these last account him an enemy that hath done them no wrong, and desire even to take him for a slave when he is free, and encompass him with ten thousand evils; but the demoniacs do no such thing, but toss their disease to and for within themselves. And while these overturn many houses, and cause the name of God to be blasphemed, and are a pest to the city and to the whole earth; they that are troubled by evil spirits, deserve rather our pity and our tears. And the one for the more part act in insensibility, but the others are frantic while they reason, keeping their orgies in the midst of cities, and maddened with some new kind of madness. For what do all the demoniacs so bad, as what Judas dared to do, when he showed forth that extremity of wickedness? And all too that imitate him, like fierce wild beasts escaped from their cage, trouble their cities, no man restraining them. For these also have bonds upon them on every side; such as the fears of the judges, the threatening of the laws, the condemnation of the multitude, and other things more than these; yet bursting asunder even these, they turn all things upside down. And should any one remove these altogether from them, then would he know assuredly the demon that is in them to be far fiercer, and more frantic than he who is just now gone forth.

But since this may not be, let us for the time suppose it for argument's sake: and let us take off from him all his chains, and then shall we clearly know his manifest madness. But be not afraid of the monster, when we uncover it; for it is the representation in word, not the thing in truth. Let there be then some man, darting fire from his eyes, black, having from either shoulder serpents hanging down instead of hands; and let him have also a mouth, with sharp swords set in it instead of teeth, and for a tongue a gushing fountain of poison and some baneful drug; and a belly more consuming than any furnace, devouring all that is cast unto it, and a sort of winged feet more vehement than any flame; and let his face be made up of a dog and of a wolf; and let him utter nothing human, but something discordant, and unpleasing, and terrible; and let him have also in his hands a firebrand. Perhaps what we have said seems to you to be terrible, but we have not even yet fashioned him worthily; for together with these things we must add others besides. I mean, that he is also to slay them that meet with him, to devour them, to fasten upon their flesh.

Yet is the covetous man much more fierce even than this, assailing all like hell, swallowing all up, going about a common enemy to the race of men. Why, he would have no man exist, that he may possess all things. And he stops not even at this, but when in his longing he shall have destroyed all men, he longs also to mar the substance of the earth, and to see it all become gold; nay, not the earth only, but hills also, and woods, and fountains, and in a word all things that appear.

And to convince you that not even yet have we set forth his madness, let there be no man to accuse and frighten him, but take away the terror of the laws in supposition awhile, and thou wilt see him snatching up a sword, laying violent hands on all, and sparing none; neither friend, nor kinsman, nor brother, nor even his very parent. Nay rather, in this case there is not even need of supposing, but let us ask him, if he is not for ever framing to himself such imaginations, and if he does not in thought range among all men to destroy them; both friends and kinsmen, and even his very parents. Nay rather there is no need even to ask, because in truth all men know that they who are under the power of this disease are wearied even of their father's old age; and that which is sweet, and universally desirable, the having children, they esteem grievous and unwelcome: many at least with this view have even paid money to be childless, and have maimed their nature, not only by slaying their children after birth, but by not suffering them even to be born at all.

6. Marvel not, therefore, if we have thus sketched the covetous man (for in truth he is far worse than what we have said); but let us consider how we shall deliver him from the demon. How then shall we deliver him? If he may be clearly made aware, that his love of money stands very much in his way in respect of this very object, the gaining of money; for they that wish to gain in little things undergo great losses; whence accordingly a proverb hath been put forth to this same effect. [1210] Many, for instance, on many occasions, wishing to lend at large usury, and through the expectation of gain not having inquired about them who receive their money, have together with the interest lost also all their capital. Others again falling into dangers, and not willing to give up a little have together with the substance lost their life too.

Again, when it has been in men's power to purchase either gainful offices, or some other such thing, by some trifling meanness they have lost all. For because they know not how to sow, but have ever practised reaping, they of course continually fail of their harvest. For no man can be always reaping, as neither can he be always gaining. Therefore since they are not willing to spend, neither do they know how to gain. And should they have to take a wife, the same thing again befalls them; for either they are deceived into taking a poor wife for a rich one, or when they have brought home one that is rich, but full of faults without number, here too they have incurred more loss than gain. For it is not superfluity but virtue, that causes wealth. For what profit is there of her wealth, when she is expensive and dissolute, and scatters all abroad more vehemently than any wind? What if she be unchaste, and bring in numberless lovers? what if she be drunken? Will she not quickly make her husband the poorest of men? But they do not only marry, but also buy at great risk, from their great covetousness, laboring to find not good slaves, but cheap ones.

Consider then all these things (for the words concerning hell and the kingdom ye are not yet able to hear), and bearing in mind the losses which ye have often undergone from your love of money, in loans, and in purchases, and in marriages, and in offices of power, and in all the rest; withdraw yourselves from doating on money.

For so shall ye be able to live the present life in security, and after a little advance to hear also the words that treat on self-government, and see through and look upon the very Sun of Righteousness, and to attain unto the good things promised by Him; unto which God grant we may all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1178] Luke viii. 22. [1179] See Mark iv. 35. [But Mark is very specific as to time. This event is placed very much out of chronological position in Matthew's account. But Chrysostom does not discuss such questions with any fullness. Indeed, the order of Matthew seems to have been accepted up to his time. The earliest harmonies were based upon Matthew. Comp. even Augustin, Harmony, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. vi., first series, pp. 67-69, and elsewhere.'R.] [1180] i.e., the miracle at the Red Sea, afterwards mentioned. [1181] See Mark iv. 38. [1182] philosophan. [1183] Matt. viii. 25. [1184] pragmtōn, "of things." [1185] 2 Cor. i. 8, 10. [1186] Exod. iv. 3, 4. [1187] Matt. xv. 16. ["For" is part of the citation, in the Greek text of the Homily, but does not occur in the Gospel narratives. The order, "the sea and the winds," is also peculiar to the text of the Homily. The Oxford translator gives the order of the A.V., which is well attested, but not followed here.'R.] [1188] Matt. viii. 27. [1189] Matt. viii. 26. [1190] Ps. cvii. 25, LXX. [1191] [R.V., "demons," and so the translator in many places in this Homily.'R.] [1192] Matt. viii. 29. [1193] Mark v. 10; Luke viii. 31. [1194] o per tn Loukn. [1195] timōroumnou . [1196] So St. Augustin de Civitate Dei, ix. 11. "Plotinus says that the souls of men are demons, and of men become Lares, if they are of good desert; if of bad, Lemures or Larvæ." Mr. Field refers to St. Chrys. 2 Hom. on Lazarus, vi. 235, 6 (Savile). "Many of the simpler sort imagine that the souls of such as die violent deaths are turned into demons, whereas the souls which really become such are theirs who are yet living in their sins, not by change of substance, but by imitating their evil mind. Why did the devil introduce this wicked doctrine? He tried to undermine the glory of the martyrs. I mean, because they die violent deaths, he wishing to diffuse an evil impression of them, did this. This, however, he could not do, but another very grievous result he did accomplish. He induced, by these doctrines, the sorcerers that minister to him to butcher the bodies of many tender youths, in the hope that they would become demons, and in return minister to them." He proceeds to argue against the superstition much as in the text here. [1197] Wisd. iii. 1. [1198] Luke xii. 20. [1199] Acts vii. 59. [1200] Phil. i. 23. [1201] Gen. xv. 15, in LXX. [1202] Luke xvi. 27, 28. [1203] Matt. x. 30. [1204] Matt. viii. 34. [R.V., "from their borders."] [1205] kat nagōgn. [Comp. the "analogical" sense of Scripture in the later Hermeneuties. But Origen and others had already made the term anagōg familiar and technical in the usage of ecclesiastical Greek.'R.] [1206] ["demons."] [1207] sōmat. [1208] Matt. vi. 24. [1209] [ou sōpsronzei.] [1210] Perhaps the chpussea chaleiáōn, of which Erasmus says, "Conveniet uti, quoties officium aut munus longe impari munere pensatur Admissus est in *principis, sed excitit ex amicitia Christi." Adag. 1, Cent. ii. Prov. 1. .


Homily XXIX.

Matt. IX. 1, 2.

"And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city. And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." [1211]

By His own city here he means Capernaum. For that which gave Him birth was Bethlehem; that which brought Him up, Nazareth; that which had Him continually inhabiting it, Capernaum.

This paralytic, however, was different from that one who is set forth in John. [1212] For he lay at the pool, but this at Capernaum; and that man had his infirmity thirty and eight years, but concerning this, no such thing is mentioned; and the other was in a state destitute of protectors, but this had some to take care of him, who also took him up, and carried him. And to this He saith, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee," [1213] but to that He saith, "Wilt thou be made whole?" [1214] And the other He healed on a sabbath day, but this not on a sabbath, for else the Jews would have laid this also to His charge; and in the case of this man they were silent, but in that of the other they were instant in persecuting him.

And this I have said, not without purpose, lest any one should think there is a discrepancy from suspecting it to be one and the same paralytic.

But do thou, I pray thee, mark the humility and meekness of our Lord. For He had also before this put away the multitudes from Him, and moreover when sent away by them at Gadara, He withstood not, but retired, not however to any great distance.

And again He entered into the ship and passed over, when He might have gone over afoot. For it was His will not to be always doing miracles, that He might not injure the doctrine of His humanity. [1215]

Now Matthew indeed saith, that "they brought him," but the others, that they also broke up the roof, and let him down. [1216] And they put the sick man before Christ, saying nothing, but committing the whole to Him. For though in the beginning He Himself went about, and did not require so much faith of them that came unto Him; yet in this case they both approached Him, and had faith required on their part. For, "Seeing," it is said, "their faith;" that is, the faith of them that had let the man down. For He doth not on all occasions require faith on the part of the sick only: as for instance, when they are insane, or in any other way, through their disease, are out of their own control. Or rather, in this case the sick man too had part in the faith; for he would not have suffered himself to be let down, unless he had believed.

Forasmuch then as they had evinced so great faith, He also evinces His own power, with all authority absolving his sins, and signifying in all ways that He is equal in honor with Him that begat Him. And mark; He implied it from the beginning, by His teaching, when He taught them as one having authority; by the leper, when He said, "I will, be thou clean," [1217] by the centurion, when upon his saying, "Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed, He marvelled at him," [1218] and celebrated him above all men; by the sea, when He curbed it with a mere word; by the devils, when they acknowledged Him as their judge, and He cast them out with great authority.

Here again in another and a greater way He constrains His very enemies to confess His equality in honor, and by their own mouth He makes it manifest. For He, to signify His indifference to honor (for there stood a great company of spectators shutting up the entrance, wherefore also they let him down from above), did not straightway hasten to heal the visible body, but He takes His occasion from them; and He healed first that which is invisible, the soul, by forgiving his sins; which indeed saved the other, but brought no great glory to Himself. They themselves rather, troubled by their malice, and wishing to assail Him, caused even against their will what was done to be conspicuous. He, in fact, in His abundance of counsel, made use of their envy for the manifestation of the miracle.

Upon their murmuring, [1219] then, and saying, "This man blasphemeth; who can forgive sins but God only?" [1220] let us see what He saith. Did He indeed take away the suspicion? And yet if He were not equal, He should have said, "Why fix upon me a notion which is not convenient? I am far from this power." But now hath He said none of these things, but quite the contrary He hath both affirmed and ratified, as well by His own voice, as by the performance of the miracle. Thus, it appearing that His saying certain things of Himself gave disgust to his hearers, He affirms what He had to say concerning Himself by the others; and what is truly marvellous, not by His friends only, but also by His enemies; for this is the excellency of His wisdom. By His friends on the one hand, when He said, "I will, be thou clean," [1221] and when He said, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel;" [1222] but by His enemies, now. For because they had said, "No man can forgive sins but God only," He subjoined,

"But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power to forgive sins upon the earth (then saith He to the sick of the palsy), Arise, and take up thy bed, and go unto thine house." [1223]

And not here only, but also in another case again, when they were saying, "For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God," [1224] neither in that instance did He put down this opinion, but again confirmed it, saying, "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not; but if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works." [1225]

2. In this case indeed He discloses also another sign, and that no small one, of His own Godhead, and of His equality in honor with the Father. For whereas they said, "To unbind sins pertains to God only," He not only unbinds sins, but also before this He makes another kind of display in a thing which pertained to God only; the publishing the secrets in the heart. For neither had they uttered what they were thinking.

For "behold, certain of the scribes," it saith, "said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts, said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?" [1226]

But that it belongs to God only to know men's secrets, hear what saith the prophet, "Thou most entirely alone [1227] knowest the hearts;" [1228] and again, "God trieth the hearts and reins; [1229] " and Jeremiah too saith, "The heart is deep above all things, and it is man, and who shall know him?" [1230] and, "Man shall look on the face, but God on the heart." [1231] And by many things one may see, that to know what is in the mind belongs to God alone.

Implying therefore that He is God, equal to Him that begat Him; what things they were reasoning in themselves (for through fear of the multitude, they durst not utter their mind), this their opinion He unveils and makes manifest, evincing herein also His great gentleness. [1232]

"For wherefore," saith He, "think ye evil in your hearts?" [1233]

And yet if there were cause for displeasure, it was the sick man who should have been displeased, as being altogether deceived, and should have said "One thing I came to have healed, and amendest Thou another? Why, whence is it manifest that my sins are forgiven?"

But now he for his part utters no such word, but gives himself up to the power of the healer; but these being curious and envious, plot against the good deeds of others. Wherefore He rebukes them indeed, but with all gentleness. "Why, if ye disbelieve," saith He, "what went before, and account my saying a boast; behold I add to it also another, the uncovering of your secrets; and after that again another." What then is this? The giving tone to the body of the paralyzed.

And whereas, when He spake unto the sick of the palsy, He spake without clearly manifesting His own authority: for He said not, "I forgive thee thy sins," but, "thy sins be forgiven thee:" upon their constraining, He discloses His authority more clearly, saying, "But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power [1234] on earth to forgive sins."

Seest thou, how far He was from unwillingness to be thought equal to the Father? For He said not at all, "The Son of Man hath need of another;" or, "He hath given Him authority," but, "He hath authority." Neither doth He say it for love of honor, but "to convince you," so He speaks, "that I do not blaspheme in making myself equal with God."

Thus everywhere His will is to offer proofs clear and indisputable; as when He saith, "Go thy way, show thyself to the priest;" [1235] and when He points to Peter's wife's mother ministering, and permits the swine to cast themselves down headlong. And in the same manner here also; first, for a certain token of the forgiveness of his sins, He provides the giving tone to his body: and of that again, his carrying his bed; to hinder the fact from being thought a mere fancy. And He doeth not this, before He had asked them a question. "For whether is easier," saith He, "to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee? or to say, Take up thy bed, and go unto thine house?" [1236] Now what He saith is like this, "Which seems to you easier, to bind up a disorganized [1237] body, or to undo [1238] the sins of a soul? It is quite manifest; to bind up a body. For by how much a soul is better than a body, by so much is the doing away sins a greater work than this; but because the one is unseen, the other in sight, I throw in that, which although an inferior thing, is yet more open to sense; that the greater also and the unseen may thereby receive its proof;" thus by His works anticipating even now the revelation of what had been said by John, that "He taketh away the sins of the world."

Well then, having raised him up, He sends him to his house; here again signifying His unboastfulness, [1239] and that the event was not a mere imagination; for He makes the same persons witnesses of his infirmity, and also of his health. For I indeed had desired, saith He, through thy calamity to heal those also, that seem to be in health, but are diseased in mind; but since they will not, depart thou home, to heal them that are there.

Seest thou how He indicates Him [1240] to be Creator both of souls and bodies? He heals therefore the palsy in each of the two substances, and makes the invisible evident by that which is in sight. But nevertheless they still creep upon the earth.

"For when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which" (it is said) "had given such power unto men:" [1241] for the flesh was an offense unto them. [1242] But He did not rebuke them, but proceeds by His works to arouse them, and exalt their thoughts. Since for the time it was no small thing for Him to be thought greater than all men, as having come from God. For had they well established these things in their own minds, going on orderly they would have known, that He was even the Son of God. But they did not retain these things clearly, wherefore neither were they able to approach Him. For they said again, "This man is not of God;" [1243] "how is this man of God?" And they were continually harping on these things, putting them forward as cloaks for their own passions.

3. Which thing many now also do; and thinking to avenge God, fulfill their own passions, when they ought to go about all with moderation. For even the God of all, having power to launch His thunderbolt against them that blaspheme Him, makes the sun to rise, and sends forth the showers, and affords them all other things in abundance; whom we ought to imitate, and so to entreat, advise, admonish, with meekness, not angry, not making ourselves wild beasts.

For no harm at all ensues unto God by their blasphemy, that thou shouldest be angered, but he who blasphemed hath himself also received the wound. Wherefore groan, bewail, for the calamity indeed deserves tears. And the wounded man, again, 'nothing can so heal him as gentleness: gentleness, I say, which is mightier than any force.

See, for example, how He Himself, the insulted one, discourses with us, both in the Old Testament, and in the New; in the one saying, "O my people, what have I done unto thee?" [1244] in the other, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me." [1245] And Paul too bids, "In meekness instruct those that oppose themselves." [1246] And Christ again, when His disciples had come to Him, requiring fire to come down from heaven, strongly rebuked them, saying, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." [1247]

And here again He said not, "O accursed, and sorcerers as ye are; O ye envious, and enemies of men's salvation;" but, "Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?"

We must, you see, use gentleness to eradicate the disease. Since he who is become better through the fear of man, will quickly return to wickedness again. For this cause He commanded also the tares to be left, giving an appointed day of repentance. Yea, and many of them in fact repented, and became good, who before were bad; as for instance, Paul, the Publican, the Thief; for these being really tares turned into kindly wheat. Because, although in the seeds this cannot be, yet in the human will it is both manageable and easy; for our will is bound by no limits of nature, but hath freedom of choice for its privilege.

Accordingly, when thou seest an enemy of the truth, wait on him, take care of him, lead him back into virtue, by showing forth an excellent life, by applying "speech that cannot be condemned," [1248] by bestowing attention and tender care, by trying every means of amendment, in imitation of the best physicians. For neither do they cure in one manner only, but when they see the wound not yield to the first remedy, they add another, and after that again another; and now they use the knife, and now bind up. And do thou accordingly, having become a physician of souls, put in practice every mode of cure according to Christ's laws; that thou mayest receive the reward both of saving thyself and of profiting others, doing all to the glory of God, and so being glorified also thyself. "For them that glorify me," saith He, "I will glorify; and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed." [1249]

Let us, I say, do all things unto His glory; that we may attain unto that blessed portion, unto which God grant we may all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1211] [R.V., accepting the same Greek text with Chrysostom, "thy sins are forgiven."'R.] [1212] John v. 1. [1213] [R.V., accepting the same Greek text with Chrysostom, "thy sins are forgiven."'R.] [1214] John v. 6. [1215] t t okonoma lg. ["Incarnation" expresses better the technical sense of the Greek term, as here used. Comp. Homily XIII. 2, p. 81, note.'R.] [1216] Mark ii. 4; Luke v. 19. [1217] Matt. viii. 3. [1218] Matt. viii. 8. [1219] [ethorubonto; a stronger word than the Gospel narratives suggest. The translator tones it down, as above.'R.] [1220] Matt. viii. 3. Comp. Mark ii. 7 [from which the latter part of the citation is taken.'R.] [1221] Matt. viii. 3. [1222] Matt. viii. 10. [1223] Matt. viii. 6. ["Upon the earth" is placed in this peculiar position by Chrysostom here. In the next reference to the passage the correct order is followed.'R.] [1224] John x. 33. [1225] John x. 37, 38. [1226] Matt. ix. 3, 4. [1227] montato. [1228] 2 Chron. vi. 30. [1229] Ps. vii. 9. [1230] Jer. xvii. 9, LXX. [1231] 1 Sam. xvi. 7. [1232] t nepachths. [1233] Matt. ix. 4. [1234] [R.V., margin, "authority;" compare the next paragraph. On the order, see note 7, p. 196.'R.] [1235] Matt. viii. 4. [1236] Matt. ix. 5, 6. [1237] dikismnon, literally, "distributed into different habitations;" as when the population of Mantinea was broken up by the Lacedæmonians, diksthē Mantinea: see Xen. Hellenic, v. 2, 7; comp. Dem. de Pace, i. 59, ed. Reiske; de Fals. Leg. i. 366. [1238] lsai. [1239] [to tuphon.] [1240] [The reference here seems to be to God, but a reflexive sense is not improbable; "indicates that He Himself is," etc.'R.] [1241] Matt. ix. 8. [R.V., "they were afraid," for "they marvelled" (A.V.). But Chrysostom's text agrees with that of the received, followed by the A.V.] [1242] prosstato ato. [1243] John ix. 16. [1244] Micah vi. 3. [1245] Acts ix. 4. [1246] 2 Tim. ii. 25. [1247] Luke ix. 55. [This clause is not found in the oldest Greek mss. of the New Testament. Comp. R.V. text and margin.'R.] [1248] Tit. ii. 8. [1249] 1 Sam. ii. 30. ["Shall be despised," according to the form given in the text. But in the LXX. the last verb is not the same as the preceding one.'R.] .


Homily XXX.

Matt. IX. 9.

"And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man sitting at the receipt of custom, [1250] named Matthew; and He saith unto him, Follow me."

For when He had performed the miracle, He did not remain, lest, being in sight, He should kindle their jealousy the more; but He indulges them by retiring, and soothing their passion. This then let us also do, not encountering them that are plotting against us; let us rather soothe their wound, giving way and relaxing their vehemence.

But wherefore did He not call him together with Peter and John and the rest? As in their case He had come at that time, when He knew the men would obey Him; so Matthew also He then called when He was assured he would yield himself. And therefore Paul again He took, as a fisher his prey, after the resurrection. Because He who is acquainted with the hearts, and knows the secrets of each man's mind, knew also when each of these would obey. Therefore not at the beginning did He call him, when he was yet in rather a hardened state, but after His countless miracles, and the great fame concerning Him, when He knew him to have actually become more prepared for obedience.

And we have cause also to admire the self-denial [1251] of the evangelist, how he disguises not his own former life, but adds even his name, when the others had concealed him under another appellation. [1252]

But why did he say he was "sitting at the receipt of custom?" To indicate the power of Him that called him, that it was not when he had left off or forsaken this wicked trade, but from the midst of the evils He drew him up; much as He converted the blessed Paul also when frantic and raging, and darting fire; which thing he himself makes a proof of the power of Him that called him, saying to the Galatians, "Ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God." [1253] And the fishermen too He called when they were in the midst of their business. But that was a craft not indeed in bad report, but of men rather rudely bred, not mingling with others, and endowed with great simplicity; whereas the pursuit now in question was one full of all insolence and boldness, and a mode of gain whereof no fair account could be given, a shameless traffic, a robbery under cloak of law: yet nevertheless He who uttered the call was ashamed of none of these things.

And why talk I of His not being ashamed of a publican? since even with regard to a harlot woman, so far from being ashamed to call her, He actually permitted her to kiss His feet, and to moisten them with her tears. [1254] Yea, for to this end He came, not to cure bodies only, but to heal likewise the wickedness of the soul. Which He did also in the case of the paralytic; and having shown clearly that He is able to forgive sins, then, not before, He comes to him whom we are now speaking of; that they might no more be troubled at seeing a publican chosen into the choir of the disciples. For He that hath power to undo all our offenses, why marvel if He even make this man an apostle?

But as thou hast seen the power of Him that called, so consider also the obedience of him that was called: how he neither resisted, nor disputing said, "What is this? Is it not indeed a deceitful calling, wherewith He calls me, being such as I am?" nay; for this humility again had been out of season: but he obeyed straightway, and did not even request to go home, and to communicate with his relations concerning this matter; as neither indeed did the fishermen; but as they left their net and their ship and their father, so did he his receipt of custom and his gain, and followed, exhibiting a mind prepared for all things; and breaking himself at once away from all worldly things, by his complete obedience he bare witness that He who called him had chosen a good time.

And wherefore can it be, one may say, that he hath not told us of the others also, how and in what manner they were called; but only of Peter and James, and John and Philip, and nowhere of the others? [1255]

Because these more than others were in so strange and mean ways of life. For there is nothing either worse than the publican's business, or more ordinary than fishing. And that Philip also was among the very ignoble, is manifest from his country. Therefore these especially they proclaim to us, with their ways of life, to show that we ought to believe them in the glorious parts of their histories also. For they who choose not to pass by any of the things which are accounted reproachful, but are exact in publishing these more than the rest, whether they relate to the Teacher or to the disciples; how can they be suspected in the parts which claim reverence? more especially since many signs and miracles are passed over by them, while the events of the cross, accounted to be reproaches, they utter with exact care and loudly; and the disciples' pursuits too, and their faults, and those of their Master's ancestry who were notorious for sins, [1256] they discover with a clear voice. Whence it is manifest that they made much account of truth, and wrote nothing for favor, nor for display.

2. Having therefore called him, He also honored him with a very great honor by partaking straightway of his table; for in this way He would both give him good hope for the future, and lead him on to a greater confidence. [1257] For not in a long time, but at once, He healed his vice. And not with him only doth He sit down to meat, but with many others also; although this very thing was accounted a charge against Him, that He chased not away the sinners. But neither do they conceal this point, what sort of blame is endeavored to be fixed on His proceedings.

Now the publicans come together as to one of the same trade; for he, exulting [1258] in the entrance of Christ, had called them all together. The fact is, Christ used to try every kind of treatment; and not when discoursing only, nor when healing, nor when reproving His enemies, but even at His morning meal, He would often correct such as were in a bad way; hereby teaching us, that every season and every work may by possibility afford us profit. And yet surely what was then set before them came of injustice and covetousness; but Christ refused not to partake of it, because the ensuing gain was to be great: yea rather He becomes partaker of the same roof and table with them that have committed such offenses. For such is the quality of a physician; unless he endure the corruption of the sick, he frees them not from their infirmity.

And yet undoubtedly He incurred hence an evil report: first by eating with him, then in Matthew's house, and thirdly, in company with many publicans. See at least how they reproach Him with this. "Behold a man gluttonous, and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners." [1259]

Let them hear, as many as are striving to deck themselves with great honor for fasting, and let them consider that our Lord was called "a man gluttonous and a winebibber," and He was not ashamed, but overlooked all these things, that he might accomplish what He had set before him; which indeed was accordingly done. For the publican was actually converted, and thus became a better man.

And to teach thee that this great thing was wrought by his partaking of the table with Him, hear what Zacchæus saith, another publican. I mean, when he heard Christ saying, "To-day, I must abide in thy house," the delight gave him wings, and he saith, "The half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold." [1260] And to him Jesus saith, "This day is salvation come to this house." So possible is it by all ways to give instruction.

But how is it, one may say, that Paul commands, "If any man that is called a brother be a fornicator or covetous, with such an one no, not to eat?" [1261] In the first place, it is not as yet manifest, whether to teachers also he gives this charge, and not rather to brethren only. Next, these were not yet of the number of the perfect, [1262] nor of those who had become brethren. And besides, Paul commands, even with respect to them that had become brethren, then to shrink from them, when they continue as they were, but these had now ceased, and were converted.

3. But none of these things shamed the Pharisees, but they accuse Him to His disciples, saying,

"Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?" [1263]

And when the disciples seem to be doing wrong, they intercede with Him, saying, "Behold thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath-day;" [1264] but here to them they discredit Him. All which was the part of men dealing craftily, and wishing to separate from the Master the choir of the disciples. What then saith Infinite Wisdom?

"They that be whole need not a physician," saith He, "but they that are sick." [1265]

See how He turned their reasoning to the opposite conclusion. That is, while they made it a charge against Him that He was in company with these men: He on the contrary saith, that His not being with them would be unworthy of Him, and of His love of man; and that to amend such persons is not only blameless, but excellent, and necessary, and deserving of all sorts of praise.

After this, that He might not seem to put them that were bidden to shame, by saying, "they that are sick;" see how He makes up for it again, by reproving the others, and saying,

"Go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." [1266]

Now this He said, to upbraid them with their ignorance of the Scriptures. Wherefore also He orders His discourse more sharply, not Himself in anger, far from it; but so as that the publicans might not be in utter perplexity.

And yet of course He might say, "Did ye not mark, how I remitted the sins of the sick of the palsy, how I braced up his body?" But He saith no such thing, but argues with them first from men's common reasonings, and then from the Scriptures. For having said, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick;" and having covertly indicated that He Himself was the Physician; after that He said, "Go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." Thus doth Paul also: when he had first established his reasoning by illustrations from common things, and had said, "Who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk thereof?" [1267] then he brings in the Scriptures also, saying, "It is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn;" [1268] and again, "Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." [1269]

But to His disciples not so, but He puts them in mind of His signs, saying on this wise, "Do ye not yet remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?" [1270] Not so however with these, but He reminds them of our common infirmity, and signifies them at any rate to be of the number of the infirm; who did not so much as know the Scriptures, but making light of the rest of virtue, laid all the stress on their sacrifices; which thing He is also earnestly intimating unto them, when He sets down in brief what had been affirmed by all the prophets, [1271] saying, "Learn ye what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice."

The fact is, He is signifying hereby that not He was transgressing the law, but they; as if He had said, "Wherefore accuse me? Because I bring sinners to amendment? Why then ye must accuse the Father also for this." Much as He said also elsewhere, establishing this point: "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work:" [1272] so here again, "Go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." "For as this is His will, saith Christ, so also mine." Seest thou how the one is superfluous, the other necessary? For neither did He say, "I will have mercy, and sacrifice," but, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." That is, the one thing He allowed, the other He cast out; and proved that what they blamed, so far from being forbidden, was even ordained by the law, and more so than sacrifice; and He brings in the Old Testament, speaking words and ordaining laws in harmony with Himself.

Having then reproved them, both by common illustrations and by the Scriptures, He adds again,

"I am not come to call righteous men, but sinners to repentance." [1273]

And this He saith unto them in irony; as when He said, "Behold, Adam is become as one of us;" [1274] and again, "If I were hungry, I would not tell thee." [1275] For that no man on earth was righteous, Paul declared, saying, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." [1276] And by this too the others were comforted, I mean, the guests. "Why, I am so far," saith He, "from loathing sinners, that even for their sakes only am I come." Then, lest He should make them more careless, He staid not at the word "sinners," but added, "unto repentance." "For I am not come that they should continue sinners, but that they should alter, and amend."

4. He then having stopped their mouths every way, as well from the Scriptures as from the natural consequence of things; and they having nothing to say, proved as they were obnoxious to the charges which they had brought against Him, and adversaries of the law and the Old Testament; they leave Him, and again transfer their accusation to the disciples.

And Luke indeed affirms that the Pharisees said it, but this evangelist, that it was the disciples of John; [1277] but it is likely that both said it. That is, they being, as might be expected, in utter perplexity, take the other sort with them; as they did afterwards with the Herodians likewise. Since in truth John's disciples were always disposed to be jealous of Him, and reasoned against Him: being then only humbled, when first John abode in the prison. They came at least then, "and told Jesus;" [1278] but afterwards they returned to their former envy.

Now what say they? "Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?" [1279]

This is the disease, which Christ long before was eradicating, in the words, "When thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face;" [1280] foreknowing the evils that spring therefrom. But yet He doth not rebuke even these, nor say, "O ye vainglorious and over-busy;" but He discourses to them with all gentleness, saying, "The children of the bride-chamber cannot fast, as long as the bridegroom is with them." [1281] Thus, when others were to be spoken for, the publicans I mean, to soothe their wounded soul, He was more severe in His reproof of their revilers; but when they were deriding Himself and His disciples, He makes His reply with all gentleness.

Now their meaning is like this; "Granted," say they, "Thou doest this as a physician; why do Thy disciples also leave fasting, and cleave to such tables?" Then, to make the accusation heavier, they put themselves first, and then the Pharisees; wishing by the comparison to aggravate the charge. For indeed "both we," it is said, "and the Pharisees, fast oft." And in truth they did fast, the one having learnt it from John, the other from the law; even as also the Pharisee said, "I fast twice in the week." [1282]

What then saith Jesus? "Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them." Before, He called Himself a physician, but here a bridegroom; by these names revealing His unspeakable mysteries. Yet of course He might have told them, more sharply, "These things depend not on you, that you should make such laws. For of what use is fasting, when the mind is full of wickedness; when ye blame others, when ye condemn them, bearing about beams in your eyes, and do all for display? Nay, before all this ye ought to have cast out vainglory, to be proficients in all the other duties, in charity, meekness, brotherly love." However, nothing of this kind doth He say, but with all gentleness, "The children of the bridechamber cannot fast, so long as the bridegroom is with them;" recalling to their mind John's words, when he said, "He that hath the bride, is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice." [1283]

Now His meaning is like this: The present time is of joy and gladness, therefore do not bring in the things which are melancholy. For fasting is a melancholy thing, not in its own nature, but to them that are yet in rather a feeble state; for to those at least that are willing to practise self-command, the observance is exceedingly pleasant and desirable. For as when the body is in health, the spirits are high, [1284] so when the soul is well conditioned, the pleasure is greater. But according to their previous impression He saith this. So also Isaiah, [1285] discoursing of it, calls it "an affliction of the soul;" and Moses too in like manner.

Not however by this only doth He stop their mouths, but by another topic also, saying,

"Days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast." [1286]

For hereby He signifies, that what they did was not of gluttony, but pertained to some marvellous dispensation. And at the same time He lays beforehand the foundation of what He was to say touching His passion, in His controversies with others instructing His disciples, and training them now to be versed in the things which are deemed sorrowful. Because for themselves already to have this said to them, would have been grievous and galling, since we know that afterwards, being uttered, it troubled them; [1287] but spoken to others, it would become rather less intolerable to them.

It being also natural for them to pride themselves on John's calamity, He from this topic represses likewise such their elation: the doctrine however of His resurrection He adds not yet, it not being yet time. For so much indeed was natural, that one supposed to be a man should die, but that other was beyond nature.

5. Then what He had done before, this He doth here again. I mean, that as He, when they were attempting to prove Him blameable for eating with sinners, proved to them on the contrary, that His proceeding was not only no blame, but an absolute praise to Him: so here too, when they wanted to show of Him, that He knows not how to manage His disciples, He signifies that such language was the part of men not knowing how to manage their inferences, [1288] but finding fault at random.

"For no man," saith He, "putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment." [1289]

He is again establishing His argument by illustrations from common life. And what He saith is like this, "The disciples have not yet become strong, but still need much condescension. They have not yet been renewed by the Spirit, and on persons in that state one ought not to lay any burden of injunctions."

And these things He said, setting laws and rules for His own disciples, that when they should have to receive as disciples those of all sorts that should come from the whole world, they might deal with them very gently.

"Neither do men put new wine into old bottles." [1290]

Seest thou His illustrations, how like the Old Testament? the garment? the wine skins? For Jeremiah too calls the people "a girdle," and makes mention again of "bottles" and of "wine." [1291] Thus, the discourse being about gluttony and a table, He takes His illustrations from the same.

But Luke [1292] the same words, a second and a third time and often; not however in a wearisome kind of way, but sport ively, and do thou now turn from her, now flatter and court her.

Seest thou not the painters, how much they rub out, how much they insert, when they are making a beautiful portrait? Well then, do not thou prove inferior to these. For if these, in drawing the likeness of a body, used such great diligence, how much more were it meet for us, in fashioning a soul, to use every contrivance. For if thou shouldest fashion well the form of this soul, thou wilt not see the countenance of the body looking unseemly, nor lips stained, nor a mouth like a bear's mouth dyed with blood, nor eyebrows blackened as with the smut of some kitchen vessel, nor cheeks whitened with dust like the walls of the tombs. For all these things are smut, and cinders, and dust, and signals of extreme deformity.

But stay: I have been led on unobserving, I know not how, into these expressions; and while admonishing another to teach with gentleness, I have been myself hurried away [1293] into wrath. Let us return therefore again unto the more gentle way of admonition, and let us bear with all the faults of our wives, that we may succeed in doing what we would. Seest thou not how we bear with the cries of children, when we would wean them from the breast, how we endure all for this object only, that we may persuade them to despise their former food? Thus let us do in this case also, let us bear with all the rest, that we may accomplish this. For when this hath been amended, thou wilt see the other too proceeding in due order, and thou wilt come again unto the ornaments of gold, and in the same way wilt reason concerning them likewise, and thus by little and little bringing thy wife unto the right rule, thou wilt be a beautiful painter, a faithful servant, an excellent husbandman.

Together with these things remind her also of the women of old, of Sarah, of Rebecca, both of the fair and of them that were not so, and point out how all equally practised modesty. For even Leah, the wife of the patriarch, not being fair, was not constrained to devise any such thing, but although she were uncomely, and not very much beloved by her husband, she neither devised any such thing, nor marred her countenance, but continued to preserve the lineaments thereof undisfigured, and this though brought up by Gentiles. [1294]

But thou that art a believing woman, thou that hast Christ for thine head, art thou bringing in upon us a satanic art? And dost thou not call to mind the water that dashed over thy countenance, the sacrifice that adorns thy lips, the blood that hath reddened thy tongue? For if thou wouldest consider all these things, though thou wert fond of dress to the ten thousandth degree, thou wilt not venture nor endure to put upon thee that dust and those cinders. Learn that thou hast been joined unto Christ, and refrain from this unseemliness. For neither is He delighted with these colorings, but He seeks after another beauty, of which He is in an exceeding degree a lover, I mean, that in the soul. This the prophet likewise hath charged thee to cherish, and hath said, "So shall the King have pleasure in thy beauty." [1295]

Let us not therefore be curious in making ourselves unseemly. For neither is any one of God's works imperfect, nor doth it need to be set right by thee. For not even if to an image of the emperor, after it was set up, any one were to seek to add his own work, would the attempt be safe, but he will incur extreme danger. Well then, man works and thou addest not; but doth God work, and dost thou amend it? And dost thou not consider the fire of hell? Dost thou not consider the destitution of thy soul? For on this account it is neglected, because all thy care is wasted on the flesh.

But why do I speak of the soul? For to the very flesh everything falls out contrary to what ye have sought. Consider it. Dost thou wish to appear beautiful? This shows thee uncomely. Dost thou wish to please thy husband? This rather grieves him; and causes not him only, but strangers also, to become thine accusers. Wouldest thou appear young? This will quickly bring thee to old age. Wouldest thou wish to array thyself honorably? This makes thee to be ashamed. For such an one is ashamed not only before those of her own rank, but even those of her maids who are in her secret, and those of her servants who know; and, above all, before herself.

But why need I say these things? For that which is more grievous than all I have now omitted, namely, that thou dost offend God; thou underminest modesty, kindlest the flame of jealousy, emulatest the harlot women at their brothel.

All these things then consider, ye women, and laugh to scorn the pomp of Satan and the craft of the devil; and letting go this adorning, or rather disfiguring, cultivate that beauty in your own souls which is lovely even to angels and desired of God, and delightful to your husbands; that ye may attain both unto present glory, and unto that which is to come. To which God grant that we may all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1250] [R.V., "at the place of toll."] [1251] philosophan . [1252] Mark ii. 14; Luke v. 27. [1253] Gal. i. 13. [1254] Luke vii. 38. [1255] It appears by this that St. Chrysostom did not consider Nathanael to be the same with St. Bartholomew. [1256] Matt. iii. 6. [1257] paēsan. [1258] enkallōpizmeno . [1259] Matt. xi. 19. [1260] Luke xix. 5, 8, 9. [1261] 1 Cor. v. 11. [1262] apērtismnōn. [1263] Matt. ix. 11. [1264] Matt. xii. 2. [1265] Matt. ix. 12. [R.V., "They that are whole have no need of a physician."] [1266] Matt. ix. 13. [1267] 1 Cor. ix. 7. [1268] 1 Cor. ix. 9. [R.V., "when he treadeth."] See Deut. xxv. 4. [1269] 1 Cor. ix. 14; comp. Matt. x. 10. [1270] Matt. xvi. 9. [1271] See Hosea vi. 6; Ps. l. 8-15; Prov. xxi. 3; Isa. i. 11-15; Micah vi. 6, 7, 8. [1272] John v. 17. [1273] Matt. ix. 13. [The best Greek mss., with the Vulgate (so Augustin) do not sustain the reading: "unto repentance." Comp. Luke v. 32.'R.] [1274] Gen. iii. 22, LXX. [1275] Ps. l. 12. [1276] Rom. iii. 23. [1277] Comp. Matt. ix. 14; Luke v. 33, &c., and Mark ii. 18, &c. [1278] See Matt. xiv. 12. [1279] Matt. ix. 14. [1280] Matt. vi. 17. [1281] Matt. ix. 15. Comp. Mark ii. 19; Luke v. 33. [1282] Luke xviii. 12. [1283] John iii. 29. [1284] [poll ephrosnē.] [1285] Lit., "humiliation." Isa. lviii. 3; Numb. xxix. 7. [1286] Matt. ix. 15. [1287] Matt. xvi. 22, xvii. 23. [1288] kechrsthai to pomnoi, "to treat their followers." The last editor thinks there is a designed play upon the words, by way of rhetorical turn, here. [1289] Matt. ix. 15. [The three accounts of the sayings in verses 15-17 vary greatly in form, and the authorities for the Greek text present a great number of various readings. It will be sufficient to refer to the R.V., and to note a few verbal changes.'R.] [1290] Matt. ix. 17: [R.V., "wine-skins." Comp. the next paragraph.] [1291] Jer. xiii. 10-12. [1292] See Luke v. 36, 37. t kainn schzeiepantln, "using fomentation." See Mr. Field's note on the place. [1293] exekulsthēn . [1294] [áEllnōn; see note on Homily XII. 5, p. 79.'R.] [1295] Ps. xlv. 11. .


Homily XXXI.

Matt. IX. 18.

"While He spake these things unto them, behold, there came in [1296] a ruler, and worshipped Him, saying, My daughter is even now dead; but come and lay Thy hand upon her, and she shall live."

The deed overtook the words; so that the mouths of the Pharisees were the more stopped. For both he that came was a ruler of the synagogue, and his affliction terrible. For the young damsel was both his only child, and twelve years old, the very flower of her age; on which account especially He raised her up again, and that immediately.

And if Luke say that men came, saying, "Trouble not the Master, for she is dead;" [1297] we will say this, that the expression, "she is even now dead," was that of one conjecturing from the time of his journeying, or exaggerating his affliction. For it is an usual thing with persons in need to heighten their own evils by their report, and to say something more than is really true, the more to attract those whom they are beseeching.

But see his dullness: how he requires of Christ two things, both His actual presence, and the laying on of His hand: and this by the way is a sign that he had left her still breathing. This Naaman also, that Syrian, required of the prophet. "For I thought," saith he, "he will surely come out, and will lay on his hand." [1298] For in truth they who are more or less dull of temper, require sight and sensible things.

And whereas Mark [1299] saith, He took the three disciples, and so doth Luke; [1300] our evangelist merely saith, "the disciples." Wherefore then did He not take with Him Matthew, though he had but just come unto Him? To bring him to a more earnest longing, and because he was yet rather in an imperfect state. For to this intent doth He honor those, that these may grow such as those are. But for him it sufficed for the present, to see what befell the woman with the issue of blood, and to be honored by His table, and by His partaking of his salt.

And when He had risen up many followed Him, as for a great miracle, both on account of the person who had come, and because the more part being of a grosser disposition were seeking not so much the care of the soul, as the healing of the body; and they flowed together, some urged by their own afflictions, some hastening to behold how other men's were cured: however, there were as yet but few in the habit of coming principally for the sake of His words and doctrine. Nevertheless, He did not suffer them to enter into the house, but His disciples only; and not even all of these, everywhere instructing us to repel the applause of the multitude.

2. "And, behold," it is said, "a woman that had an issue of blood twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment. For she said within herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole." [1301]

Wherefore did she not approach Him boldly? She was ashamed on account of her affliction, accounting herself to be unclean. For if the menstruous woman was judged not to be clean, much more would she have the same thought, who was afflicted with such a disease; since in fact that complaint was under the law accounted a great uncleanness. [1302] Therefore she lies hidden, and conceals herself. For neither had she as yet the proper and correct opinion concerning Him: else she would not have thought to be concealed. And this is the first woman that came unto Him in public, having heard of course that He heals women also, and that He is on His way to the little daughter that was dead.

And she durst not invite Him to her house, although she was wealthy; [1303] nay, neither did she approach publicly, but secretly with faith she touched His garments. For she did not doubt, nor say in herself, "Shall I indeed be delivered from the disease? shall I indeed fail of deliverance?" But confident of her health, she so approached Him. "For she said," we read, "in herself, If I may only touch His garment, I shall be whole." Yea, for she saw out of what manner of house He was come, that of the publicans, and who they were that followed Him, sinners and publicans; and all these things made her to be of good hope.

What then doth Christ? He suffers her not to be hid, but brings her into the midst, and makes her manifest for many purposes.

It is true indeed that some of the senseless ones say, "He does this for love of glory. For why," say they, "did He not suffer her to be hid?" What sayest thou, unholy, yea, all unholy one? He that enjoins silence, He that passes by miracles innumerable, is He in love with glory?

For what intent then doth He bring her forward? In the first place He puts an end to the woman's fear, lest being pricked by her conscience, as having stolen the gift, she should abide in agony. In the second place, He sets her right, in respect of her thinking to be hid. Thirdly, He exhibits her faith to all, so as to provoke the rest also to emulation; and His staying of the fountains of her blood was no greater sign than He affords in signifying His knowledge of all things. Moreover the ruler of the synagogue, who was on the point of thorough unbelief, and so of utter ruin, He corrects by the woman. Since both they that came said, "Trouble not the Master, for the damsel is dead;" and those in the house laughed Him to scorn, when He said, "She sleepeth;" and it was likely that the father too should have experienced some such feeling. Therefore to correct this weakness beforehand, He brings forward the simple woman. For as to that ruler being quite of the grosser sort, hear what He saith unto him: "Fear not, do thou believe only, and she shall be made whole." [1304]

Thus He waited also on purpose for death to come on, and that then He should arrive; in order that the proof of the resurrection might be distinct. With this view He both walks more leisurely, and discourses more with the woman; that He might give time for the damsel to die, and for those to come, who told of it, and said, "Trouble not the Master." [1305] This again surely the evangelist obscurely signifies, when he saith, "While He yet spake, there came from the house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead, trouble not the Master." For His will was that her death should be believed, that her resurrection might not be suspected. And this He doth in every instance. So also in the case of Lazarus, He waited a first and a second and a third day. [1306]

On account then of all these things He brings her forward, and saith, "Daughter, be of good cheer," [1307] even as He had said also to the paralyzed person, "Son, be of good cheer." Because in truth the woman was exceedingly alarmed; therefore He saith, "be of good cheer," and He calls her "daughter;" for her faith had made her a daughter. After that comes also her praise: "Thy faith hath made thee whole."

But Luke tells us also other things more than these concerning the woman. Thus, when she had approached Him, saith he, and had received her health, Christ did not immediately call her, but first He saith, "Which is he that touched me?" Then when Peter and they that were with Him said, Master, the multitude throng Thee, and press Thee, and sayest Thou, who touched me?" [1308] (which was a very sure sign both that He was encompassed with real flesh, and that He trampled on all vainglory, for they did not follow Him at all afar off, but thronged Him on every side); He for His part continued to say, "Somebody hath touched me, for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me;" [1309] answering after a grosser manner according to the impression of His hearers. But these things He said, that He might also induce her of herself to make confession. For on this account neither did He immediately convict her, in order that having signified that He knows all things clearly, He might induce her of her own accord to publish all, and work upon her to proclaim herself what had been done, and that He might not incur suspicion by saying it.

Seest thou the woman superior to the ruler of the synagogue? She detained Him not, she took no hold of Him, but touched Him only with the end of her fingers, and though she came later, she first went away healed. And he indeed was bringing the Physician altogether to his house, but for her a mere touch suffered. For though she was bound by her affliction, yet her faith had given her wings. And mark how He comforts her, saying, "Thy faith hath saved thee." Now surely, had He drawn her forward for display, He would not have added this; but He saith this, partly teaching the ruler of the synagogue to believe, partly proclaiming the woman's praise, and affording her by these words delight and advantage equal to her bodily health.

For that He did this as minded to glorify her, and to amend others, and not to show Himself glorious, is manifest from hence; that He indeed would have been equally an object of admiration even without this (for the miracles were pouring around Him faster than the snow-flakes, and He both had done and was to do far greater things than these): but the woman, had this not happened, would have gone away hid, deprived of those great praises. For this cause He brought her forward, and proclaimed her praise, and cast out her fear, (for "she came," it is said, "trembling" [1310] ); and He caused her to be of good courage, and together with health of body, He gave her also other provisions for her journey, in that He said, "Go in peace." [1311]

3. "And when He came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He saith unto them, Give place, for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed Him to scorn." [1312]

Noble tokens, surely, these, of the rulers of synagogues; in the moment of her death pipes and cymbals raising a dirge! What then doth Christ? All the rest He cast out, but the parents He brought in; to leave no room for saying that He healed her in any other way. And before her resurrection too, He raises her in His word; saying, "The maid is not dead, but sleepeth." And in many instances besides He doeth this. As then on the sea He expels tumult from the mind of the by-standers, at the same time both signifying that it is easy for Him to raise the dead (which same thing He did with respect to Lazarus also, saying, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth [1313] ;" and also teaching us not to fear death; for that it is not death, but is henceforth become a sleep. Thus, since He Himself was to die, He doth in the persons of others prepare His disciples beforehand to be of good courage, and to bear the end meekly. Since in truth, when He had come, death was from that time forward a sleep.

But yet they laughed Him to scorn: He however was not indignant at being disbelieved by those for whom He was a little afterwards to work miracles; neither did He rebuke their laughter, in order that both it and the pipes, and the cymbals, and all the other things, might be a sure proof of her death. For since for the most part, after the miracles are done, men disbelieve, He takes them beforehand by their own answers; which was done in the case both of Lazarus and of Moses. For to Moses first He saith, "What is that in thine hand?" [1314] in order that when he saw it become a serpent, He should not forget that it was a rod before, but being reminded of his own saying, might be amazed at what was done. And with regard to Lazarus He saith, "Where have ye laid him?" [1315] that they who had said, "Come and see," and "he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days," might no longer be able to disbelieve His having raised a dead man.

Seeing then the cymbals and the multitude, He put them all out, and in the presence of the parents works the miracle; not introducing another soul, but recalling the same that had gone out, and awakening her as it were out of a sleep.

And He holds her by the hand, assuring the beholders; so as by that sight to make a way for the belief of her resurrection. For whereas the father said, "Lay thy hand upon her;" [1316] He on His part doth somewhat more, for He lays no hand on her, but rather takes hold of her, and raises her, implying that to Him all things are ready. And He not only raises her up, but also commands to give her meat, that the event might not seem to be an illusion. And He doth not give it Himself, but commands them; as also with regard to Lazarus He said, "Loose him, and let him go," [1317] and afterwards makes him partaker of His table. [1318] For so is He wont always to establish both points, making out with all completeness the demonstration alike of the death and of the resurrection.

But do thou mark, I pray thee, not her resurrection only, but also His commanding "to tell no man;" and by all learn thou this especially, His freedom from haughtiness and vainglory. And withal learn this other thing also, that He cast them that were beating themselves out of the house, and declared them unworthy of such a sight; and do not thou go out with the minstrels, but remain with Peter, and John, and James.

For if He cast them out then, much more now. For then it was not yet manifest that death was become a sleep, but now this is clearer than the very sun itself. But is it that He hath not raised thy daughter now? But surely He will raise her, and with more abundant glory. For that damsel, when she had risen, died again; but thy child, if she rise again, abides thenceforth in immortal being.

4. Let no man therefore beat himself any more, nor wail, neither disparage Christ's achievement. For indeed He overcame death. Why then dost thou wail for nought? The thing is become a sleep. Why lament and weep? Why, even if Greeks [1319] did this, they should be laughed to scorn; but when the believer behaves himself unseemly in these things, what plea hath he? What excuse will there be for them that are guilty of such folly, and this, after so long a time, and so clear proof of the resurrection?

But thou, as though laboring to add to the charge against thee, dost also bring us in heathen women singing dirges, to kindle thy feelings, and to stir up the furnace thoroughly: and thou hearkenest not to Paul, saying, "What concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" [1320]

And while the children of heathens, who know nothing of resurrection, do yet find words of consolation, saying, "Bear it manfully, for it is not possible to undo what hath taken place, nor to amend it by lamentations;" art not thou, who hearest sayings wiser and better than these, ashamed to behave thyself more unseemly than they? For we say not at all, "Bear it manfully, because it is not possible to undo what hath taken place," but, "bear it manfully, because he will surely rise again;" the child sleeps and is not dead; he is at rest and hath not perished. For resurrection will be his final lot, and eternal life, and immortality, and an angel's portion. Hearest thou not the Psalm that saith, "Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee?" [1321] God calleth it "bountiful dealing," and dost thou make lamentation?

And what more couldest thou have done, if thou wert a foe and an enemy of the dead? Why, if there must be mourning, it is the devil that ought to mourn. He may beat himself, he may wail, at our journeying to greater blessings. This lamentation becomes his wickedness, not thee, who art going to be crowned and to rest. Yea, for death is a fair haven. Consider, at any rate, with how many evils our present life is filled; reflect how often thou thyself hast cursed our present life. For indeed things go on to worse, and from the very beginning thou wert involved in no small condemnation. For, saith He, "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;" and, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread;" [1322] and, "In the world ye shall have tribulation." [1323]

But of our state there, no such word at all is spoken, but all the contrary; that "grief and sorrow and sighing have fled away." [1324] And that "men shall come from the east and from the west, and shall recline in the bosoms of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob." [1325] And that the region there is a spiritual bride-chamber, and bright lamps, and a translation to Heaven.

5. Why then disgrace the departed? Why dispose the rest to fear and tremble at death? Why cause many to accuse God, as though He had done very dreadful things? Or rather, why after this invite poor persons, and entreat priests to pray? [1326] "In order," saith he, "that the dead may depart into rest; that he may find the Judge propitious." For these things then art thou mourning and wailing? Thou art therefore fighting and warring with thyself: exciting a storm against thyself on account of his having entered into harbor.

"But what can I do?" saith he: "such a thing is nature." The blame is not nature's, neither doth it belong to the necessary consequence of the thing; but it is we that are turning all things upside down, are overcome with softness, are giving up our proper nobility, and are making the unbelievers worse. For how shall we reason with another concerning immortality? how shall we persuade the heathen, when we fear death, and shudder at it more than he? Many, for instance, among the Greeks [1327] although they knew nothing of course about immortality, have crowned themselves at the decrease of their children, and appeared in white garments, that they might reap the present glory; but thou not even for the future glory's sake ceasest thy woman's behavior and wailing.

But hast thou no heirs, nor any to succeed to thy goods? And which wouldest thou rather, that he should be heir of thy possessions, or of Heaven? And which didst thou desire, that he should succeed to the things that perish, which he must have let go soon after, or to things that remain, and are immoveable? Thou hadst him not for heir, but God had him instead of thee; he became not joint-heir with his own brethren, but he became "joint-heir with Christ."

"But to whom," saith he, "are we to leave our garments, to whom our houses, to whom our slaves and our lands?" To him again, and more securely than if he lived; for there is nothing to hinder. For if barbarians burn the goods of the departed together with them, much more were it a righteous thing for thee to send away with the dead what things he hath: not to be turned to ashes, like those, but to invest him with more glory; and that if he departed a sinner, it may do away his sins; [1328] but if righteous, that it may become an increase of reward and recompense.

But dost thou long to see him? Then live the same life with him, and thou wilt soon obtain that sacred vision.

And herewith consider this also, that though thou shouldest not hearken to us, thou wilt certainly yield to time. But no reward then for thee; for the consolation comes of the number of the days. Whereas if thou art willing now to command thyself, thou wilt gain two very great points: first, thou wilt deliver thyself from the intervening ills, next, thou wilt be crowned with the brighter crown from God. For indeed neither almsgiving nor anything else is nearly so great as bearing affliction meekly.

Bear in mind, that even the Son of God died: and He indeed for thee, but thou for thyself. And when He said, "If it be possible, let the cup pass from me," [1329] and suffered pain, and was in agony, nevertheless He shunned not the end, but underwent it, and that with its whole course of exceeding woe. [1330] That is, He did by no means simply endure death, but the most shameful death; and before His death, stripes; and before His stripes, upbraidings, and jeers, and revilings; instructing thee to bear all manfully. And though He died, and put off His body, He resumed it again in greater glory, herein also holding out to thee good hopes. If these things be not a fable, lament not. If thou account these things to be sure, weep not; but if thou dost weep, how wilt thou be able to persuade the Greek that thou believest?

6. But even so doth the event still appear intolerable to thee? Well then, for this very cause it is not meet to lament for him, for he is delivered from many such calamities. Grudge not therefore against him, neither envy him: for to ask death for yourself because of his premature end, and to lament for him that he did not live to endure many such things, is rather the part of one grudging and envying.

And think not of this, that he will no more return home: but that thyself also art a little while after to go to him. Regard not this, that he returns here no more, but that neither do these things that are seen remain such as they are, but these too are being transformed. Yea, for heaven, and earth, and sea, and all, are being put together afresh, [1331] and then shalt thou recover thy child in greater glory.

And if indeed he departed a sinner, his wickedness is stayed; for certainly, had God known that he was being converted, He would not have snatched him away before his repentance: but if he ended his life righteous, he now possesses all good in safety. Whence it is manifest that thy tears are not of kindly affection, but of unreasoning passion. For if thou lovedst the departed, thou shouldest rejoice and be glad that he is delivered from the present waves.

For what is there more, I pray thee? What is there fresh and new? Do we not see the same things daily revolving? Day and night, night and day, winter and summer, summer and winter, and nothing more. And these indeed are ever the same; but our evils are fresh, and newer. Wouldest thou then have him every day drawing up more of these things, and abiding here, and sickening, and mourning, and in fear and trembling, and enduring some of the ills of life, dreading others lest he some time endure them? Since assuredly thou canst not say this, that one sailing over this great sea might possibly be free from despondency and cares, and from all other such things.

And withal take this also into account, that thou didst not bring him forth immortal; and that if he had not died now, he must have endured it soon after. But is it that thou hadst not thy fill of him? But thou wilt of a certainty enjoy him there. But longest thou to see him here also? And what is there to hinder thee? For thou art permitted even here, if thou be watchful; for the hope of the things to come is clearer than sight.

But thou, if he were in some king's court wouldest not ever seek to see him, so long as thou heardest of his good report: and seeing him departed to the things that are far better, art thou faint-hearted about a little time; and that, when thou hast in his place one to dwell with thee?

But hast thou no husband? yet hast thou a consolation, even the Father of the orphans, and Judge of the widows. Hear even Paul pronouncing this widowhood blessed, and saying, "Now she that is a widow indeed and desolate, trusteth in the Lord." [1332] Because such an one will appear more approved, evincing as she doth greater patience. Mourn not therefore for that which is thy crown, that for which thou demandest a reward.

Since thou hast also restored His deposit, if thou hast exhibited the very thing entrusted to thee. Be not in care any more, having laid up the possession in an inviolable treasure-house.

But if thou wouldest really learn, both what is our present being, and what our life to come; and that the one is a spider's web and a shadow, but the things there, all of them, immoveable and immortal; thou wouldest not after that want other arguments. For whereas now thy child is delivered from all change; if he were here, perhaps he might continue good, perhaps not so. Seest thou not how many openly cast off [1333] their own children? how many are constrained to keep them at home, although worse than the open outcasts?

Let us make account of all these things and practise self-command; for so shall we at once show regard to the deceased, and enjoy much praise from men, and receive from God the great rewards of patience, and attain unto the good things eternal; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1296] [eelthn, "came in," so Tischendorf, but the R.V. accepts the reading e lthn, "there came one ruler."'R.] [1297] Luke viii. 49. [1298] 2 Kings v. 11, LXX. [1299] Mark v. 37. [1300] Luke viii. 51. [1301] Matt. ix. 21, 22. [R.V., "border" for "hem;" "do" for "may;" "made whole" for "whole".] [1302] Levit. xv. 25. [1303] Eusebius, E. H., viii. 18, mentions a tradition that she belonged to Cæsarea Philippi, otherwise called Paneas, and that certain brazen statues of a man holding out his hand and a woman kneeling, which were there in his time, were set up at her expense, that being her native place. He adds, that a certain plant which grew by the Saviour's statue, when it came to touch the hem of His garment, stopped growing and that it was endowed with virtue to cure all manner of diseases. [1304] Luke viii. 50. [1305] Mark v. 35; Luke viii. 49. [1306] John xi. 6, 39. [1307] Matt. ix. 22; see verse 2. [1308] Luke viii. 45. [1309] Luke viii. 46. [R.V., "power."] [1310] Luke viii. 47. [The English rendering has been modified to indicate more exactly the words cited.'R.] [1311] Luke viii. 48. [1312] Matt. ix. 23, 24. [R.V., "the flute-players, and the crowds making a tumult."] [1313] John xi. 11. [1314] Ex. iv. 2. [1315] John xi. 34, 39. [1316] Matt. ix. 18. [1317] John xi. 44. [1318] John xii. 2. [1319] [Probably "Gentiles" or "heathen" would be a better reading. The contrast is with "believer."'R.] [1320] 2 Cor. vi. 15. [R.V., "unbeliever."] [1321] Ps. cxvi. 7. [1322] Gen. iii. 16, 19. [1323] John xvi. 33. [1324] Is. xxxv. 10. [1325] Matt. viii. 11. [1326] Because the feasts and prayers for the dead being supposed to benefit those only who have fallen asleep in the Lord, and whose final happiness was therefore sure, it was an inconsistency in those who celebrated them to sorrow as if they had no hope. See Bingham, b. xxiii. c. iii. secs. 13, 15. [1327] [Or, "Gentiles."] [1328] Not that St. Chrysostom imagined that anything could be done to change the relative condition of those who have died in the favor or displeasure of God: see e.g., Hom. XXXVI. p. 506, ed. Field. Indeed, the same is implied in the words which immediately follow. "Dost thou long to see him? Then live the same life with him," &c. [1329] Matt. xxvi. 39. [1330] met poll t tragda. [1331] metharmzetai . [1332] 1 Tim. v. 5. [R.V., "hath her hope set on God." Chrysostom reads krion, and Augustin followed the same reading.'R.] [1333] apokērttousi .


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