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 XXXII.

Matt. IX. 27-30.

"And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed Him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. [1334] And when He was come into the house, the blind men came to Him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They say unto Him, Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it [1335] unto you. And their eyes were opened."

Wherefore can it be that He puts them off, [1336] and they crying out? Here again teaching us utterly to repel the glory that cometh from the multitude. For because the house was near, He leads them thither to heal them in private. And this is evident from the fact, that He charged them moreover to tell no man.

But this is no light charge against the Jews; when these men, though their eyes were struck out, receive the faith by hearing alone, but they beholding the miracles, and having their sight to witness what was happening, do all just contrary. And see their earnestness also, both by their cry, and by their prayer itself. For they did not merely approach Him, but with loud cries, and alleging nought else but "mercy."

And they called Him "Son of David," because the name was thought to be honorable. In many passages, for instance, did the prophets [1337] likewise so call the kings, whom they wished to honor, and to declare great.

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And having brought them into the house, He puts to them a further question. For in many cases He made a point of healing on entreaty, lest any should suppose Him to be rushing [1338] upon these miracles through vainglory: and not on this account alone, but to indicate also that they deserve healing, and that no one should say, "If it was of mere mercy that He saved, all men ought to be saved." For even His love to man hath a kind of proportion; depending on the faith of them that are healed. But not for these causes only doth He require faith of them, but forasmuch as they called Him "Son of David," He to lead them up to what is higher, and to teach them to entertain the imaginations they ought of Himself, saith, "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" He did not say, "Believe ye that I am able to entreat my Father, that I am able to pray" but, "that I am able to do this?"

What then is their word? "Yea, Lord." They call Him no more Son of David, but soar higher, and acknowledge His dominion.

And then at last He for His part lays His hand upon them, saying, "According to your faith be it unto you." And this He doth to confirm their faith, and to show that they are participators in the good work, and to witness that their words were not words of flattery. For neither did He say, "Let your eyes be opened," but, "According to your faith be it unto you;" which He saith to many of them that came unto Him; before the healing of their bodies, hastening to proclaim the faith in their soul; so as both to make them more approved, and to render others more serious.

Thus with respect to the sick of the palsy also; for there too before giving nerve to the body, He raises up the fallen soul, saying, "Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee." [1339] And the young damsel too, when He had raised her up, He detained, and by the food taught her her Benefactor; and in the case of the centurion also He did in like manner, leaving the whole to his faith; and as to His disciples again, when delivering them from the storm on the sea, He delivered them first from their want of faith. Just so likewise in this case: He knew indeed, even before their cry, the secrets of their mind; but that He might lead on others also to the same earnestness, He makes them known to the rest as well, by the result of their cure proclaiming their hidden faith.

Then after their cure He commands them to tell no man; neither doth He merely command them, but with much strictness.

"For Jesus," it is said, "straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad His fame in all that country." [1340]

They however did not endure this, but became preachers, and evangelists; and when bidden to hide what had been done, they endured it not.

And if in another place we find Him saying, "Go thy way, and declare the glory of God," [1341] that is not contrary to this, but even highly in agreement herewith. For He instructs us to say nothing ourselves, concerning ourselves, but even to forbid them that would eulogise us: but if the glory be referred to God, then not only not to forbid, but to command men to do this.

2. "And as they went out," it is said, "behold, they brought unto Him a dumb man possessed with a devil." [1342]

For the affliction was not natural, but the device of the evil spirit; wherefore also he needs others to bring him. For he could neither make entreaty himself, being speechless, nor supplicate others, when the evil spirit had bound his tongue, and together with his tongue had fettered his soul.

For this cause neither doth He require faith of him, but straightway heals the disease.

"For when the devil was cast out," it saith, "the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel." [1343]

Now this especially vexed the Pharisees, that they preferred Him to all, not only that then were, but that had ever been. And they preferred Him, not for His healing, but for His doing it easily and quickly, and to diseases innumerable and incurable.

And thus the multitude; but the Pharisees quite contrariwise; not only disparaging the works, but saying things contradictory to themselves, and not ashamed. Such a thing is wickedness. For what say they?

"He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils." [1344]

What can be more foolish than this? For in the first place, as He also saith further on, it is impossible that a devil should cast out a devil, for that being is wont to repair what belongs to himself, not to pull it down. But He did not cast out devils only, but also cleansed lepers, and raised the dead, and curbed the sea, and remitted sins, and preached the kingdom, and brought men unto the Father; things which a demon would never either choose, or at any time be able to effect. For the devils bring men to idols, and withdraw them from God, and persuade them to disbelieve the life to come. The devil doth not bestow kindness when he is insulted; forasmuch as even when not insulted, he harms those that court and honor him.

But He doeth the contrary. For after these their insults and revilings,

3. "He went about," it is said, "all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease." [1345]

And so far from punishing them for their insensibility, He did not even simply rebuke them; at once both evincing His meekness, and so refuting the calumny; and at the same time minded also by the signs which followed to exhibit His proof more completely: and then to adduce also the refutation by words. He went about therefore both in cities, and in countries, and in their synagogues; instructing us to requite our calumniators, not with fresh calumnies, but with greater benefits. Since, if not for man's sake, but God's, thou doest good to thy fellow-servants; whatsoever they may do, leave not thou off doing them good, that thy reward may be greater; since he surely, who upon their calumny leaves off his doing good, signifies that for their praise' sake, not for God's sake, he applies himself to that kind of virtue.

For this cause Christ, to teach us that of mere goodness He had entered on this, so far from waiting for the sick to come to Him, of Himself hastened unto them, bearing them two of the greatest blessings; one, the gospel of the kingdom; another, the perfect cure of all their diseases. And not a city did He overlook, not a village did He hasten by, but visited every place.

4. And not even at this doth He stop, but He exhibits also another instance of His forethought. That is,

"When He saw," it is said, "the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they were troubled, [1346] and scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few, pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest." [1347]

See again His freedom from vainglory. That He may not draw all men unto Himself, He sends out His disciples.

And not with this view only, but that He might also teach them, after practising in Palestine, as in a sort of training-school, to strip themselves for their conflicts with the world. For this purpose then He makes the exercises even more serious than the actual conflicts, so far as pertained to their own virtue; that they might more easily engage in the struggles that were to ensue; as it were a sort of tender nestlings whom He was at length leading out to fly. And for the present He makes them physicians of bodies, dispensing to them afterwards the cure of the soul, which is the principal thing.

And mark how He points out the facility and necessity of the thing. For what saith He? "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few." That is, "not to the sowing," saith He, "but to the reaping do I send you." Which in John He expressed by, "Other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors." [1348]

And these things he said, at once repressing their pride, and preparing them to be of good courage, and signifying that the greater part of the labor came first.

And contemplate Him here too beginning from love to man, not with any requital. "For He had compassion, because they were troubled and scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd." This is His charge against the rulers of the Jews, that being shepherds they acted the part of wolves. For so far from amending the multitude, they even marred their progress. For instance, when they were marvelling and saying, "It was never so seen in Israel:" these were affirming the contrary, "He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils." [1349]

But of what laborers doth He speak here? Of the twelve disciples. What then? whereas He had said, "But the laborers are few," did He add to their number? By no means, but He sent them out alone. Wherefore then did He say, "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that He would [1350] send forth laborers into His harvest;" and made no addition to their number? Because though they were but twelve, He made them many from that time forward, not by adding to their number, but by giving them power.

Then to signify how great the gift is, He saith, "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest;" and indirectly declares it to be His own prerogative. For after having said, "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest;" when they had not made any entreaty nor prayer, He Himself at once ordains them, reminding them also of the sayings of John, [1351] of the threshing floor, and of the Person winnowing, and of the chaff, and of the wheat. Whence it is evident that Himself is the husbandman, Himself the Lord of the harvest, Himself the master and owner of the prophets. For if He sent them to reap, clearly it was not to reap what belongs to another, but what Himself had sown by the prophets.

But not in this way only was He indirectly encouraging them, in calling their ministry a harvest; but also by making them able for the ministry.

"And when He had called unto Him," it saith, "His twelve disciples, He gave them power against [1352] unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease." [1353]

Still the Spirit was not yet given. For "there was not yet," it saith, "a Spirit, because that Jesus was not yet glorified." [1354] How then did they cast out the spirits? By His command, by His authority.

And mark, I pray thee, also, how well timed was the mission. For not at the beginning did He send them; but when they had enjoyed sufficiently the advantage of following Him, and had seen a dead person raised, and the sea rebuked, and devils expelled, and a paralytic new-strung, and sins remitted, and a leper cleansed, and had received a sufficient proof of His power, both by deeds and words, then He sends them forth: and not to dangerous acts, for as yet there was no danger in Palestine, but they had only to stand against evil speakings. However, even of this He forewarns them, I mean of their perils; preparing them even before the time, and making them feel as in conflict by His continual predictions of that sort.

5. Then, since He had mentioned to us two pairs of apostles, that of Peter, and that of John, and after those had pointed out the calling of Matthew, but had said nothing to us either of the calling or of the name of the other apostles; here of necessity He sets down the list of them, and their number, and makes known their names, saying thus:

"Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; first, Simon, who is called Peter." [1355]

Because there was also another Simon, the Canaanite; and there was Judas Iscariot, and Judas the brother of James; and James the son of Alphæus, and James the son of Zebedee.

Now Mark doth also put them according to their dignity; for after the two leaders, He then numbers Andrew; but our evangelist not so, but without distinction; or rather He sets before himself even Thomas who came far short of him.

But let us look at the list of them from the beginning.

"First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother."

Even this is no small praise. For the one he named from his virtue, the other from his high kindred, which was in conformity to his disposition.

Then, "James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother."

Seest thou how He arranges them not according to their dignity. For to me John seems to be greater, not only than the others, but even than his brother.

After this, when he had said, "Philip, and Bartholomew," he added, "Thomas, and Matthew the Publican." [1356]

But Luke not so, but in the opposite order, and he puts him before Thomas.

Next, "James the son of Alphæus." For there was, as I have already said, the son of Zebedee also. Then after having mentioned "Lebbæus, whose surname was Thaddæus," [1357] and "Simon" Zelotes, whom he calls also "the Canaanite," he comes to the traitor. And not as a sort of enemy or foe, but as one writing a history, so hath he described him. He saith not, "the unholy, the all unholy one," but hath named him from his city, "Judas Iscariot." Because there was also another Judas, "Lebbæus, whose surname was Thaddæus," who, Luke saith, was the brother of James, saying, "Judas the brother of James." [1358] Therefore to distinguish him from this man, it saith, "Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him." [1359] And he is not ashamed to say, "who also betrayed Him." So far were they from ever disguising aught even of those things that seem to be matters of reproach.

And first of all, and leader of the choir, [1360] is the "unlearned, the ignorant man." [1361]

But let us see whither, and to whom, He sends them.

"These twelve," it is said, "Jesus sent forth." [1362]

What manner of men were these? The fishermen, the publicans: for indeed four were fishermen and two publicans, Matthew and James, and one was even a traitor. And what saith He to them? He presently charges them, saying,

"Go not into the way [1363] of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." [1364]

"For think not at all," saith He, "because they insult me, and call me demoniac, that I hate them and turn away from them. Nay, as I sought earnestly to amend them in the first place, so keeping you away from all the rest, to them do I send you as teachers and physicians. And I not only forbid you to preach to others before these, but I do not suffer you so much as to touch upon the road that leads thither, nor to enter into such a city." Because the Samaritans too are in a state of enmity with the Jews. And yet it was an easier thing to deal with them, for they were much more favorably disposed to the faith; but the case of these was more difficult. But for all this, He sends them on the harder task, indicating his guardian care of them, and stopping the mouths of the Jews, and preparing the way for the teaching of the apostles, that people might not hereafter blame them for "entering in to men uncircumcised," [1365] and think they had a just cause for shunning and abhorring them. And he calls them "lost," not "stray," "sheep," in every way contriving how to excuse them, and winning their mind to himself.

6. "And as ye go," saith He, "preach, saying, The kingdom of Heaven is at hand." [1366]

Seest thou the greatness of their ministry? Seest thou the dignity of apostles? Of nothing that is the object of sense are they commanded to speak, nor such as Moses spake of, and the prophets before them, but of some new and strange things. For while the former preached no such things, but earth, and the good things in the earth, these preached the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever is there.

And not from this circumstance only were these the greater, but also from their obedience: in that they shrink not, nor are they backward, like those of old; [1367] but, warned as they are of perils, and wars, and of those insupportable evils, they receive with great obedience His injunctions, as being heralds of a kingdom.

"And what marvel," saith one, "if having nothing to preach that is dismal or grievous, they readily obeyed?" What sayest thou? nothing grievous enjoined them? Dost thou not hear of the prisons, the executions, the civil wars, the hatred of all men? all which, He said a little while after, they must undergo. True, as to other men, He sent them to be procurers and heralds of innumerable blessings: but for themselves, He said and proclaimed beforehand, that they were to suffer terrible and incurable ills.

After this, to make them trustworthy, [1368] He saith,

"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, [1369] cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."

See how He provides for their conduct, and that no less than for their miracles, implying that the miracles without this are nothing. Thus He both quells their pride by saying, "Freely ye have received, freely give;" and takes order for their being clear of covetousness. Moreover, lest it should be thought their own work, [1370] and they be lifted up by the signs that were wrought, He saith, "freely ye have received." "Ye bestow no favor on them that receive you, for not for a price did ye receive these things, nor after toil: for the grace is mine. In like manner therefore give ye to them also, for there is no finding a price worthy of them."

7. After this plucking up immediately the root of the evils, [1371] He saith,

"Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet a staff." [1372]

He said not, "take them not with you," but, "even if you can obtain them from another, flee the evil disease." And you see that hereby He was answering many good pur poses; first setting His disciples above suspicion; secondly, freeing them from all care, so that they might give all their leisure to the word; thirdly, teaching them His own power. Of this accordingly He quite speaks out to them afterwards, "Lacked ye anything, when I sent you naked and unshod?" [1373]

He did not at once say, "Provide not," but when He had said, "Cleanse the lepers, cast out devils," then He said, "Provide nothing; freely ye have received, freely give;" by His way of ordering things consulting at once for their interest, their credit, and their ability.

But perhaps some one may say, that the rest may not be unaccountable, but "not to have a scrip for the journey, neither two coats, nor a staff, nor shoes," why did He enjoin this? Being minded to train them up unto all perfection; since even further back, He had suffered them not to take thought so much as for the next day. For even to the whole world He was to send them out as teachers. Therefore of men He makes them even angels (so to speak); releasing them from all worldly care, so that they should be possessed with one care alone, that of their teaching; or rather even from that He releases them, saying, "Take no thought how or what ye shall speak." [1374]

And thus, what seems to be very grievous and galling, this He shows to be especially light and easy for them. For nothing makes men so cheerful as being freed from anxiety and care; and especially when it is granted them, being so freed, to lack nothing, God being present, and becoming to them instead of all things.

Next, lest they should say, "whence then are we to obtain our necessary food?" He saith not unto them, "Ye have heard that I have told you before, 'Behold the fowls of the air;'" [1375] (for they were not yet able to realise [1376] this commandment in their actions); but He added what came far short of this, saying, "For the workman is worthy of his meat;" [1377] declaring that they must be nourished by their disciples, that neither they might be high minded towards those whom they were teaching, as though giving all and receiving nothing at their hands; nor these again break away, as being despised by their teachers.

After this, that they may not say, "Dost thou then command us to live by begging?" and be ashamed of this, He signifies the thing to be a debt, both by calling them "workmen," and by terming what was given, "hire." [1378] For "think not," saith He, "because the labor is in words, that the benefit conferred by you is small; nay, for the thing hath much toil; and whatsoever they that are taught may give, it is not a free gift which they bestow, but a recompence which they render: "for the workman is worthy of his meat." But this He said, not as declaring so much to be the worth of the apostles' labors, far from it; God forbid: but as both making it a law for them to seek nothing more, and as convincing the givers, that what they do is not an act of liberality, but a debt.

8. "And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy: and there abide till ye go thence." [1379]

That is, "it follows not," saith He, "from my saying, 'The workman is worthy of his meat,' that I have opened to you all men's doors: but herein also do I require you to use much circumspection. For this will profit you both in respect of your credit, and for your very maintenance. For if he is worthy, he will surely give you food; more especially when ye ask nothing beyond mere necessaries."

And He not only requires them to seek out worthy persons, but also not to change house for house, whereby they would neither vex him that is receiving them, nor themselves get the character of gluttony and self-indulgence. [1380] For this He declared by saying, "There abide till ye go thence." And this one may perceive from the other evangelists also. [1381]

Seest thou how He made them honorable by this also, and those that received them careful; by signifying that they rather are the gainers, both in honor, and in respect of advantage?

Then pursuing again the same subject, He saith,

"And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you." [1382]

Seest thou how far He declines not to carry His injunctions? And very fitly. For as champions of godliness, and preachers to the whole world, was He training them. And in that regard disposing them to practise moderation, and making them objects of love, He saith,

"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city." [1383]

That is, "do not," saith He, "because ye are teachers, therefore wait to be saluted by others, but be first in showing that respect." Then, implying that this is not a mere salutation, but a blessing, He saith, "If the house be worthy, it shall come upon it," but if it deal insolently, its first punishment will be, not to have the benefit of your peace; and the second, that it shall suffer the doom of Sodom." "And what," it will be said, "is their punishment to us?" Ye will have the houses of such as are worthy.

But what means, "Shake off the dust of your feet?" It is either to signify their having received nothing of them, or to be a witness to them of the long journey, which they had travelled for their sake.

But mark, I pray thee, how He doth not even yet give the whole to them. For neither doth He as yet bestow upon them foreknowledge, so as to learn who is worthy, and who is not so; but He bids them inquire, and await the trial. How then did He Himself abide with a publican? Because he was become worthy by his conversion.

And mark, I pray thee, how when He had stripped them of all, He gave them all, by suffering them to abide in the houses of those who became disciples, and to enter therein, having nothing. For thus both themselves were freed from anxiety, and they would convince the others, that for their salvation only are they come; first by bringing in nothing with them, then by requiring no more of them than necessaries, lastly, by not entering all their houses without distinction.

Since not by the signs only did He desire them to appear illustrious, but even before the signs, by their own virtue. For nothing so much characterizes strictness of life, [1384] as to be free from superfluities, and so far as may be, from wants. This even the false apostles knew. Wherefore Paul also said, "That wherein they glory, they may be found even as we." [1385]

But if when we are in a strange country, and are going unto persons unknown to us, we must seek nothing more than our food for the day, much more when abiding at home.

9. These things let us not hear only, but also imitate. For not of the apostles alone are they said, but also of the saints afterwards. Let us therefore become worthy to entertain them. For according to the disposition of the entertainers this peace both comes and flies away again. For not only on the courageous speaking of them that teach, but also on the worthiness of them that receive, doth this effect follow.

Neither let us account it a small loss, not to enjoy such peace. For this peace the prophet also from of old proclaims, saying, "How beautiful are the feet of them that bring good tidings of peace." [1386] Then to explain the value thereof he added, "That bring good tidings of good things."

This peace Christ also declared to be great, when He said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." [1387] And we should do all things, so as to enjoy it, both at home and in church. For in the very church too the presiding minister gives peace. [1388] And this which we speak of is a type of that. And you should receive it with all alacrity, in heart [1389] before the actual communion. [1390] For if not to impart it after the communion [1391] be disgusting, how much more disgusting to repel from you him that pronounces it!

For thee the presbyter sits, for thee the teacher stands, laboring and toiling. What plea then wilt thou have, for not affording him so much welcome as to listen to Him? For indeed the church is the common home of all, and when ye have first occupied it, we enter in, strictly observing the type which they exhibited. For this cause we also pronounce "peace" in common to all, directly as we enter, according to that law.

Let no one therefore be careless, no one inattentive, [1392] when the priests have entered in and are teaching; for there is really no small punishment appointed for this. Yea, and I for one would rather enter into any of your houses ten thousand times, and find myself baffled, than not be heard when I speak here. This latter is to me harder to bear than the other, by how much this house is of greater dignity; our great possessions being verily laid up here, here all the hopes we have. For what is here, that is not great and awful? Thus both this table is far more precious and delightful than the other, [1393] and this candlestick than the candlestick there. And this they know, as many as have put away diseases by anointing themselves with oil [1394] in faith and in due season. And this coffer too is far better and more indispensable than that other chest; for it hath not clothes but alms shut up in it; even though they be few that own them. Here too is a couch better than that other; for the repose of the divine Scriptures is more delightful than any couch.

And had we attained to excellence in respect of concord, then had we no other home beside this. And that there is nothing over-burdensome in this saying, the "three thousand," [1395] bear witness, and the "five thousand," [1396] who had but one home, one table, one soul; for "the multitude of them that believed," we read, "were of one heart and of one soul." [1397] But since we fall far short of their virtue, and dwell scattered in our several homes, let us at least, when we meet here, be earnest in so doing. Because though in all other things we be destitute and poor, yet in these we are rich. Wherefore here at least receive us with love when we come in unto you. And when I say, "Peace be unto you," [1398] and ye say, "And with thy spirit," say it not with the voice only, but also with the mind; not in mouth, but in understanding also. But if, while here thou sayest, "Peace also to thy spirit," out of doors thou art mine enemy, spitting at and calumniating me, and secretly aspersing me with innumerable reproaches; what manner of peace is this?

For I indeed, though thou speak evil of me ten thousand times, give thee that peace with a pure heart, with sincerity of purpose, and I can say nothing evil at any time of thee; for I have a father's bowels. And if I rebuke thee at any time, I do it out of concern for thee. But as for thee, by thy secret carping at me, and not receiving me in the Lord's house, I fear lest thou shouldest in return add to my despondency; not for thine insulting me, not for thy casting me out, but for thy rejecting our peace, and drawing down upon thyself that grievous punishment.

For though I shake not off the dust, though I turn not away, what is threatened remains unchanged. For I indeed oftentimes pronounce peace to you, and will not cease from continually speaking it; and if, besides your insults, ye receive me not, even then I shake not off the dust; not that I am disobedient to our Lord, but that I vehemently burn for you. And besides, I have suffered nothing at all for you; I have neither come a long journey, nor with that garb and that voluntary poverty am I come (therefore we first blame ourselves), nor without shoes and a second coat; and perhaps this is why ye also fail of your part. However, this is not a sufficient plea for you; but while our condemnation is greater, to you it imparts no excuse.

10. Then the houses were churches, but now the church is become a house. Then one might say nothing worldly in a house, now one may say nothing spiritual in a church, but even here ye bring in the business from the market place, and while God is discoursing, ye leave off listening in silence to His sayings, and bring in the contrary things, and make discord. And I would it were your own affairs, but now the things which are nothing to you, those ye both speak and hear.

For this I lament, and will not cease lamenting. For I have no power to quit this house, but here we must needs remain until we depart from this present life. "Receive us" [1399] therefore, as Paul commanded. For his language in that place related not to a meal, but to the temper and mind. This we also seek of you, even love, that fervent and genuine affection. But if ye endure not even this, at least love yourselves, and lay aside your present remissness. This is sufficient for our consolation, if we see you approving yourselves, and becoming better men. So will I also myself show forth increased love, even "though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved." [1400]

For indeed there are many things to bind us together. One table is set before all, one Father begat us, we are all the issue of the same throes, the same drink hath been given to all; or rather not only the same drink, but also to drink out of one cup. For our Father desiring to lead us to a kindly affection, hath devised this also, that we should drink out of one cup; a thing which belongs to intense love.

But "there is no comparison between the apostles and us." I confess it too, and would never deny it. For I say not, to themselves, but not even to their shadows are we comparable.

But nevertheless, let your part be done. This will have no tendency to disgrace you but rather to profit you the more. For when even to unworthy persons ye show so much love and obedience, then shall ye receive the greater reward.

For neither are they our own words which we speak, since ye have no teacher at all on earth; but what we have received, that we also give, and in giving we seek for nothing else from you, but to be loved only. And if we be unworthy even of this, yet by our loving you we shall quickly be worthy. Although we are commanded to love not them only that love us, but even our enemies. Who then is so hardhearted, who so savage, that after having received such a law, he should abhor and hate even them that love him, full as he may be of innumerable evils?

We have partaken of a spiritual table, let us be partakers also of spiritual love. For if robbers, on partaking of salt, forget their character; what excuse shall we have, who are continually partaking of the Lord's body, and do not imitate even their gentleness? And yet to many, not one table only, but even to be of one city, hath sufficed for friendship; but we, when we have the same city, and the same house, and table, and way, and door, and root, and life, and head, and the same shepherd, and king, and teacher, and judge, and maker, and father, and to whom all things are common; what indulgence can we deserve, if we be divided one from another?

11. But the miracles, perhaps, are what ye seek after, such as they wrought when they entered in; the lepers cleansed, the devils driven out, and the dead raised? Nay, but this is the great indication of your high birth, and of your love, that ye should believe God without pledges. And in fact this, and one other thing, were the reasons why God made miracles to cease. I mean, that if when miracles are not performed, they that plume themselves on other advantages,'for instance, either on the word of wisdom, or on show of piety,'grow vainglorious, are puffed up, are separated one from another; did miracles also take place, how could there but be violent rendings? And that what I say is not mere conjecture, the Corinthians bear witness, who from this cause were divided into many parties.

Do not thou therefore seek signs, but the soul's health. Seek not to see one dead man raised; nay, for thou hast learnt that the whole world is arising. Seek not to see a blind man healed, but behold all now restored unto that better and more profitable sight; and do thou too learn to look chastely, and amend thine eye.

For in truth, if we all lived as we ought, workers of miracles would not be admired so much as we by the children of the heathen. For as to the signs, they often carry with them either a notion of mere fancy, or another evil suspicion, although ours be not such. But a pure life cannot admit of any such reproach; yea, all men's mouths are stopped by the acquisition of virtue.

Let virtue then be our study: for abundant are her riches, and great the wonder wrought in her. She bestows the true freedom, and causes the same to be discerned even in slavery, not releasing from slavery, but while men continue slaves, exhibiting them more honorable than freemen; which is much more than giving them freedom: not making the poor man rich, but while he continues poor, exhibiting him wealthier than the rich.

But if thou wouldest work miracles also, be rid of transgressions, and thou hast quite accomplished it. Yea, for sin is a great demon, beloved; and if thou exterminate this, thou hast wrought a greater thing than they who drive out ten thousand demons. Do thou listen to Paul, how he speaks, and prefers virtue to miracles. "But covet earnestly," saith he, "the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way." [1401] And when he was to declare this "way," he spoke not of raising the dead, not of cleansing of lepers, not of any other such thing; but in place of all these he set charity. Hearken also unto Christ, saying, "Rejoice not that the demons obey you, but that your names are written in Heaven." [1402] And again before this, "Many will say to me in that day, Have we not prophesied in Thy name, and cast out devils, and done many mighty works, and then I will profess unto them, I know you not." [1403] And when He was about to be crucified, He called His disciples, and said unto them, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples," not "if ye cast out devils," but "if ye have love one to another." [1404] And again, "Hereby shall all men know that Thou hast sent me;" not "if these men raise the dead," but, "if they be one." [1405]

For, as to miracles, they oftentimes, while they profited another, have injured him who had the power, by lifting him up to pride and vainglory, or haply in some other way: but in our works there is no place for any such suspicion, but they profit both such as follow them, and many others.

These then let us perform with much diligence. For if thou change from inhumanity to almsgiving, thou hast stretched forth the hand that was withered. If thou withdraw from theatres and go to the church, thou hast cured the lame foot. If thou draw back thine eyes from an harlot, and from beauty not thine own, thou hast opened them when they were blind. If instead of satanical songs, thou hast learnt spiritual psalms, being dumb, thou hast spoken.

These are the greatest miracles, these the wonderful signs. If we go on working these signs, we shall both ourselves be a great and admirable sort of persons through these, and shall win over all the wicked unto virtue, and shall 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

[1334] [R.V. (and Chrysostom), "Have mercy on us, thou Son of David."] [1335] [R.V., "be it done."] [1336] parlkei. [1337] Perhaps Isa. xxxvii. 35. [1338] hepipdn. [1339] Matt. ix. 2. ["Thy sins are forgiven." Comp. Homily XXIX. 1.'R.] [1340] Matt. ix. 30, 31. [1341] Mark v. 19; Luke viii. 39. [1342] Matt. ix. 32. ["Demon" is more correct, here and throughout the passage.'R.] [1343] Matt. ix. 33. [1344] Matt. ix. 34. [R.V., "By (or, in) the prince of the devils (Greek, demons) he casteth out devils."] [1345] Matt. ix. 35. [R.V., "all manner of disease and all manner of sickness." In the Homily, as in the best New Testament mss. eu t la is not found.'R.] [1346] eskulmnoi, vexati, the reading of the Vulgate, and of most mss. and Fathers: adopted by Griesbach into the text. [The R.V. renders this "distressed."] [1347] Matt. ix. 36-38. ["will" is unnecessary.'R.] [1348] John iv. 38. [1349] Matt. xii. 23, 24. [See on verse 34, in sec. 2.] [1350] [Omit "would."] [1351] Matt. iii. 12. [1352] [R.V., "authority over."] [1353] Matt. x. 1. ["Sickness" and "disease" should be transposed. Comp. on chap. ix. 35, and R.V.'R.] [1354] John vii. 39. [Chrysostom accepts the reading sustained by our best authorities; but the literal rendering given above does not represent his view. In Homily LI., in John, he distinctly says: "For the Holy Ghost was not yet, that is, 'was not yet given.'"'R.] [1355] Matt. x. 2. [1356] Matt. x. 3. [1357] [R.V., "Thaddæus." The longer reading arose quite early. Tischendorf accepts "Lebbæus," though it is not strongly supported, mainly because Mark has "Thaddæus."'R.] [1358] Luke vi. 16. [1359] Matt. x. 4. [1360] koruphao. [1361] Acts iv. 13. [1362] Matt. x. 5. [1363] [R.V., "any way."] [1364] Matt. x. 5, 6. [1365] Acts xi. 3. [1366] Matt. x. 7. [1367] See Exod. iv. 10-14; Jerem. i. 6. [1368] [axiopstou, worthy of the confidence of those to whom they preached.'R.] [1369] Matt. x. 8. "Raise the dead," is added in our copies. [There is some authority for omitting this clause in the New Testament, but recent critical editors retain it.'R.] [1370] katrthōma; nearly answering, perhaps, both here and in other places, to meritum. [1371] 1 Tim vi. 10. [1372] Matt. x. 9, 10. [R.V., "Get you no gold nor silver, nor brass in your purses (Greek, girdles); no wallet for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff."] [1373] Luke xxii. 35. [The passage is paraphrased by Chrysostom.'R.] [1374] Matt. x. 19. [R.V., "Be not anxious," etc.] [1375] Matt. vi. 26. [1376] epidexasthai. [1377] Matt. x. 10. [R.V., "For the laborer is worthy of his food."] [1378] See Luke x. 7. [1379] Matt. x. 11. [R.V., "Search out who," etc.] [1380] ekola. [1381] Luke x. 7. [1382] Matt. x. 12, 13. [1383] Matt. x. 14, 15. [1384] philosophan . [1385] 2 Cor. xi. 12. [1386] Isa. lii. 7; Rom. x. 15. [1387] John xiv. 27. [1388] See Bingham 13, 10, 8, quoting St. Chrys. Hom. in eos qui primum Pascha jejunant, P. vi. 383. Sav. "There is nothing like peace and harmony. Therefore our Father (the Bishop) mounts not up to this throne, until he have invoked peace upon you all: nor when he stands up, doth he begin his instruction to you, until he have given peace to all; and the priests, when about to consecrate, first make this prayer for you, and so begin the blessing: and the deacon also, when he bids you pray, joins this with the rest as matter of your prayer, that you should ask for the angel of peace, and that all the things set before you should be for your peace: also in dismissing you from this assembly, this is what he implores for you, saying, 'Depart in peace.' And in a word, we may not say or do any thing without this peace." See also Bingham, 14, 4, 6; 4, 14; 15, 3, 1, 2; and the authors quoted by him, especially St. Chrysostom in various places: from which it is evident that "the table" here means the holy table, and that his argument is, "We should receive our brethren's salutations as home and elsewhere with a brotherly mind, that we may be fit to impart to him the kiss of peace in the holy mysteries: the one is a type of, and a preparation for, the other: as was the salutation here enjoined to the apostles. Especially ought we to be ready and attentive at the many salutations which the ministers offer to us in the earlier part of the service, that we may lose none of the benefit of that mysterious salutation which we know will come in the end and most awful part of it." [1389] [t gnm.] [1390] t Trapzē. [1391] i.e., to refuse the kiss of peace, which was always a part of the altar service. [1392] metōro. [1393] i.e., than the common tables in your own houses. [1394] See James v. 14, 15. Tertull. ad Scapul. c. 4. "Severus sought out one Proculus, a Christian, who had cured him at a certain time with oil, and kept him in his court until he died." St. Jerome, vit. St. Hilarion, c. 32. "Very many, wounded by serpents, having had recourse to Hilarion, indeed all the husbandmen and shepherds, upon touching their wounds with consecrated oil, recovered lasting health." Other cases occur in church history, and illustrate the importance which the early writers attribute to the sacred oil in the church ritual, and the account of the miracle of St. Narcissus in Euseb. E. H. vi. 9. This statement of St. Chrysostom should be borne in mind, as qualifying what he so often seems to affirm or imply, that miraculous gifts had been withdrawn. [1395] Acts ii. 41. [1396] Acts iv. 4. [1397] Acts iv. 32. [1398] See St. Chrys. on Coloss. Hom. III. (as quoted by Mr. Field). "When the bishop enters the church, immediately he says, 'Peace be to all;' when he exhorts, 'Peace to all;' when he consecrates, 'Peace to all,' when he enjoins the salutation, 'Peace to all;' when the sacrifice is ended, 'Peace to all;' and at intervals again, 'Grace to you and Peace.'" [1399] 2 Cor. vii. 2. [1400] 2 Cor. xii. 15. [R.V., "Am I loved the less?" The reading accepted by Chrysostom agrees better with this interpretation.] [1401] 1 Cor. xii. 31. [1402] Luke x. 20. [1403] Matt. vii. 22, 23. [1404] John xiii. 35. [1405] John xvii. 23, 22. .


Homily XXXIII.

Matt. X. 16.

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

Having made them feel confident about their necessary food, and opened unto them all men's houses, and having invested their entrance with an appearance to attract veneration, charging them not to come in as wanderers, and beggars, but as much more venerable than those who received them (for this He signifies by His saying, "the workman is worthy of his hire;" and by His commanding them to inquire, who was worthy, and there to remain, and enjoining them to salute such as receive them; and by His threatening such as receive them not with those incurable evils): having I say, in this way cast out their anxiety, and armed them with the display of miracles, and made them as it were all iron and adamant, by delivering them from all worldly things, and enfranchising them from all temporal care: He speaks in what follows of the evils also that were to befall them; not only those that were to happen soon after, but those too that were to be in long course of time; from the first, even long beforehand, preparing them for the war against the devil. Yea, and many advantages were hence secured; and first, that they learnt the power of His foreknowledge; secondly, that no one should suspect, that through weakness of their Master came these evils upon them; thirdly, that such as undergo these things should not be dismayed by their falling out unexpectedly, and against hope; fourthly, that they might not at the very time of the cross be troubled on hearing these things. For indeed, they were just so affected at that time; when also He upbraided them, saying, "Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your hearts; and none of you asketh me, whither goest Thou?" [1406] And yet He had said nothing as yet touching Himself, as that He should be bound, and scourged, and put to death, that He might not hereby also confound their minds; but for the present He announces before what should happen to themselves.

Then, that they might learn that this system of war is new, and the manner of the array unwonted; as He sends them bare, and with one coat, and unshod, and without staff, and without girdle or scrip, and bids them be maintained by such as receive them; so neither here did He stay His speech, but to signify His unspeakable power, He saith, "Even thus setting out, exhibit the gentleness of "sheep," and this, though ye are to go unto "wolves;" and not simply unto wolves, but "into the midst of wolves."

And He bids them have not only gentleness as sheep, but also the harmlessness of the dove. "For thus shall I best show forth my might, when sheep get the better of wolves, and being in the midst of wolves, and receiving a thousand bites, so far from being consumed, do even work a change on them a thing far greater and more marvellous than killing them, to alter their spirit, and to reform their mind; and this, being only twelve, while the whole world is filled with the wolves."

Let us then be ashamed, who do the contrary, who set like wolves upon our enemies. For so long as we are sheep, we conquer: though ten thousand wolves prowl around, we overcome and prevail. But if we become wolves, we are worsted, for the help of our Shepherd departs from us: for He feeds not wolves, but sheep: and He forsakes thee, and retires, for neither dost thou allow His might to be shown. Because, as He accounts the whole triumph His own, if thou being ill used, show forth gentleness; so if thou follow it up and give blows, thou obscurest His victory.

2. But do thou consider, I pray thee, who they are that hear these injunctions, so hard and laborious: the timid and ignorant; the unlettered and uninstructed; such as are in every respect obscure, who have never been trained up in the Gentile laws, who do not readily present themselves in the public places; the fishermen, the publicans, men full of innumerable deficiencies. For if these things were enough to confound even the lofty and great, how were they not enough to cast down and dismay them that were in all respects untried, and had never entertained any noble imagination? But they did not cast them down.

"And very naturally," some one may perhaps say; "because He gave them power to cleanse lepers, to drive out devils." I would answer as follows: Nay, this very thing was enough especially to perplex them, that for all their raising the dead, they were to undergo these intolerable evils, both judgments, and executions, and the wars which all would wage on them, and the common hatred of the world; and that such terrors await them, while themselves are working miracles.

3. What then is their consolation for all these things? The power of Him that sends them. Wherefore also He puts this before all, saying, "Behold, I send you." This suffices for your encouragement, this for confidence, and fearing none of your assailants.

Seest thou authority? seest thou prerogative? seest thou invincible might? Now His meaning is like this: "Be not troubled" (so He speaks), "that sending you among wolves, I command you to be like sheep and like doves. For I might indeed have done the contrary, and have suffered you to undergo nothing terrible, nor as sheep to be exposed to wolves; I might have rendered you more formidable than lions; but it is expedient that so it should be. This makes you also more glorious; this proclaims also my power."

This He said also unto Paul: "My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." [1407] "It is I, now mark it, who have caused you so to be." For in saying, "I send you forth as sheep," He intimates this. "Do not therefore despond, for I know, I know certainly, that in this way more than any other ye will be invincible to all."

After this, that they may contribute something on their own part also, and that all might not seem to be of His grace, nor they supposed to be crowned at random, and vainly, He saith, "Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." "But what," it might be said, "will our wisdom avail in so great dangers? nay, how shall we be able to have wisdom at all, when so many waves are drenching us all over? For let a sheep be ever so wise, when it is in the midst of wolves, and so many wolves, what will it be able to do? Let the dove be ever so harmless, what will it profit, when so many hawks are assailing it?" In the brutes indeed, not at all: but in you as much as possible.

But let us see what manner of wisdom He here requires. That of the serpent, He saith. For even as that animal gives up everything, and if its very body must be cut off, doth not very earnestly defend it, so that it may save its head; in like manner do thou also, saith He, give up every thing but the faith; though goods, body, life itself, must be yielded. For that is the head and the root; and if that be preserved, though thou lose all, thou wilt recover all with so much the more splendor. [1408]

On this account then He neither commanded to be merely a simple and single-hearted sort of person, nor merely wise; but hath mixed up both these, so that they may become virtue; taking in the wisdom of the serpent that we may not be wounded in our vitals; and the harmlessness of the dove, that we may not retaliate on our wrongdoers, nor avenge ourselves on them that lay snares; since wisdom again is useless, except this be added. Now what, I ask, could be more strict than these injunctions? Why, was it not enough to suffer wrong? Nay, saith He, but I do not permit thee so much as to be indignant. For this is "the dove." As though one should cast a reed into fire, and command it not to be burnt by the fire, but to quench it.

However, let us not be troubled; nay, for these things have come to pass, and have had an accomplishment, and have been shown in very deed, and men became wise as serpents, and harmless as doves; not being of another nature, but of the same with us.

Let not then any one account His injunctions impracticable. For He beyond all others knows the nature of things; He knows that fierceness is not quenched by fierceness, but by gentleness. And if in men's actual deeds too thou wouldest see this result, read the book of the Acts of the Apostles, and thou wilt see how often, when the people of the Jews had risen up against them and were sharpening their teeth, these men, imitating the dove, and answering with suitable meekness, did away with their wrath, quenched their madness, broke their impetuosity. As when they said, "Did not we straitly command you, that ye should not speak in this name?" [1409] although able to work any number of miracles, they neither said nor did anything harsh, but answered for themselves with all meekness, saying, "Whether it be right to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye." [1410]

Hast thou seen the harmlessness of the dove? Behold the wisdom of the serpent. "For we cannot but speak the things, which we know and have heard." [1411] Seest thou how we must be perfect on all points, so as neither to be abased by dangers, nor provoked by anger?

4. Therefore He said also, [1412]

"Beware of men, for they shall deliver you up to councils, and they shall scourge you in their synagogues: and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and the Gentiles."

Thus again is He preparing them to be vigilant, in every case assigning to them the sufferance of wrong, and permitting the infliction of it to others; to teach thee that the victory is in suffering evil, and that His glorious trophies are thereby set up. For He said not at all, "Fight ye also, and resist them that would vex you," but only, "Ye shall suffer the utmost ills."

O how great is the power of Him that speaks! How great the self-command of them that hear! For indeed we have great cause to marvel, how they did not straightway dart away from Him on hearing these things, apt as they were to be startled at every sound, and such as had never gone further than that lake, around which they used to fish; and how they did not reflect, and say to themselves, "And whither after all this are we to flee? The courts of justice against us, the kings against us, the governors, the synagogues of the Jews, the nations of the Gentiles, the rulers, and the ruled." (For hereby He not only forewarned them of Palestine, and the ills therein, but discovered also the wars throughout the world, saying, "Ye shall be brought before kings and governors;" signifying that to the Gentiles also He was afterwards to send them as heralds.) "Thou hast made the world our enemy, Thou hast armed against us all them that dwell on the earth, peoples, tyrants, kings."

And what follows again is much more fearful, since men are to become on our account murderers of brothers, of children, of fathers.

"For the brother," saith He, "shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child; and children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death." [1413]

"How, then," one might say, "will the rest of men believe, when they see on our account, children slain by their fathers, and brethren by brethren, and all things filled with abominations?" What? will not men, as though we were destructive demons, will they not, as though we were devoted, and pests of the world, drive us out from every quarter, seeing the earth filled with blood of kinsmen, and with so many murderers? Surely fair is the peace (is it not?) which we are to bring into men's houses and give them, while we are filling those houses with so many slaughters. Why, had we been some great number of us, instead of twelve; had we been, instead of "unlearned and ignorant," wise, and skilled in rhetoric, and mighty in speech; nay more, had we been even kings, and in possession of armies and abundance of wealth; how could we have persuaded any, while kindling up civil wars, yea, and other wars far worse than they? Why, though we were to despise our own safety, which of all other men will give heed to us?"

But none of these things did they either think or say, neither did they require any account of His injunctions, but simply yielded and obeyed. And this came not from their own virtue only, but also of the wisdom of their Teacher. For see how to each of the fearful things He annexed an encouragement; as in the case of such as received them not, He said, "It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city;" so here again, when He had said, "Ye shall be brought before governors and kings," He added, "for my sake, for a testimony to them, and the Gentiles." And this is no small consolation, that they are suffering these things both for Christ, and for the Gentiles' conviction. Thus God, though no one regard, is found to be everywhere doing His own works. Now these things were a comfort to them, not that they desired the punishment of other men, but that they might have ground of confidence, as sure to have Him everywhere present with them, who had both foretold and foreknown these things; and because not as wicked men, and as pests, were they to suffer all this.

And together with these, He adds another, and that no small consolation for them, saying,

"But when they deliver you up, take no thought [1414] how or what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you." [1415]

For lest they should say, "How shall we be able to persuade men, when such things are taking place?" He bids them be confident as to their defense also. And elsewhere indeed He saith, "I will give you a mouth and wisdom;" [1416] but here, "It is the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you," advancing them unto the dignity of the prophets. Therefore, when He had spoken of the power that was given, then He added also the terrors, the murders, and the slaughters.

"For the brother shall deliver up the brother," saith He, "to death, and the father the child, and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death." [1417]

And not even at this did He stop, but added also what was greatly more fearful, and enough to shiver a rock to pieces: "And ye shall be hated of all men." And here again the consolation is at the doors, for, "For my name's sake," saith He, "ye shall suffer these things." And with this again another, "But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." [1418]

And these things in another point of view likewise were sufficient to rouse up their spirits; since at any rate the power of their gospel was to blaze up so high, as that nature should be despised, and kindred rejected, and the Word preferred to all, chasing all mightily away. For if no tyranny of nature is strong enough to withstand your sayings, but it is dissolved and trodden under foot, what else shall be able to get the better of you? Not, however, that your life will be in security, because these things shall be; but rather ye will have for your common enemies and foes them that dwell in the whole world.

5. Where now is Plato? Where Pythagoras? Where the long chain [1419] of the Stoics? For the first, after having enjoyed great honor, was so practically refuted, as even to be sold out of the country, [1420] and to succeed in none of his objects, no, not go much as in respect of one tyrant: yea, he betrayed his disciples, and ended his life miserably. And the Cynics, mere pollutions as they were, have all passed by like a dream and a shadow. And yet assuredly no such thing ever befell them, but rather they were accounted glorious for their heathen philosophy, and the Athenians made a public monument of the epistles of Plato, sent them by Dion; and they passed all their time at ease, and abounded in wealth not a little. Thus, for instance, Aristippus was used to purchase costly harlots; and another made a will, leaving no common inheritance; and another, when his disciples had laid themselves down like a bridge, walked on them; and he of Sinope, they say, even behaved himself unseemly in the market place.

Yea, these are their honorable things. But there is no such thing here, but a strict temperance, and a perfect decency, and a war against the whole world in behalf of truth and godliness, and to be slain every day, and not until hereafter their glorious trophies.

But there are some also, one may say, skilled in war amongst them; as Themistocles, Pericles. But these things too are children's toys, compared with the acts of the fishermen. For what canst thou say? That he persuaded the Athenians to embark in their ships, when Xerxes was marching upon Greece? Why in this case, when it is not Xerxes marching, but the devil with the whole world, and his evil spirits innumerable assailing these twelve men, not at one crisis only, but throughout their whole life, they prevailed and vanquished; and what was truly marvellous, not by slaying their adversaries, but by converting and reforming them.

For this especially you should observe throughout, that they slew not, nor destroyed such as were plotting against them, but having found them as bad as devils, they made them rivals of angels, enfranchising human nature from this evil tyranny, while as to those execrable demons that were confounding all things, they drave them out of the midst of markets, and houses, or rather even from the very wilderness. And to this the choirs of the monks bear witness, whom they have planted everywhere, clearing out not the habitable only, but even the uninhabitable land. And what is yet more marvellous, they did not this in fair conflict, but in the enduring of evil they accomplished it all. Since men actually had them in the midst, twelve unlearned persons, binding, scourging, dragging them about, and were not able to stop their mouths; but as it is impossible to bind the sunbeam, so also their tongue. And the reason was, "it was not they" themselves "that spake," but the power of the Spirit. Thus for instance did Paul overcome Agrippa, and Nero, who surpassed all men in wickedness. "For the Lord," saith he, "stood with me, and strengthened me, and delivered me out of the mouth of the lion." [1421]

But do thou also admire them, how when it was said to them, "Take no thought," they yet believed, and accepted it, and none of the terrors amazed them. And if thou say, He gave them encouragement enough, by saying, "It shall be the Spirit of your Father that shall speak;" even for this am I most amazed at them, that they doubted not, nor sought deliverance from their perils; and this, when not for two or three years were they to suffer these things, but all their life long. For the saying, "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved," is an intimation of this.

For His will is, that not His part only should be contributed, but that the good deeds should be also done of them. Mark, for instance, how from the first, part is His, part His disciples'. Thus, to do miracles is His, but to provide nothing is theirs. Again, to open all men's houses, was of the grace from above; but to require no more than was needful, of their own self-denial. "For the workman is worthy of his hire." Their bestowing peace was of the gift of God, their inquiring for the worthy, and not entering in without distinction unto all, of their own self command. Again, to punish such as received them not was His, but to retire with gentleness from them, without reviling or insulting them, was of the apostles' meekness. To give the Spirit, and cause them not to take thought, was of Him that sent them, but to become like sheep and doves, and to bear all things nobly, was of their calmness and prudence. To be hated and not to despond, and to endure, was their own; to save them that endured, was of Him who sent them.

Wherefore also He said, "He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." That is, because the more part are wont at the beginning indeed to be vehement, but afterwards to faint, therefore saith He, "I require the end." For what is the use of seeds, flourishing indeed at first, but a little after fading away? Therefore it is continued patience that He requires of them. I mean, lest any say, He wrought the whole Himself, and it was no wonder that they should prove such, suffering as they did nothing intolerable; therefore He saith unto them, "There is need also of patience on your part. For though I should rescue you from the first dangers, I am reserving you for others more grievous, and after these again others will succeed; and ye shall not cease to have snares laid for you, so long as ye have breath." For this He intimated in saying, "But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved."

For this cause then, though He said, "Take no thought what ye shall speak;" yet elsewhere He saith, "Be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you." [1422] That is, as long as the contest is among friends, He commands us also to take thought; but when there is a terrible tribunal, and frantic assemblies, and terrors on all sides, He bestows the influence from Himself, that they may take courage and speak out, and not be discouraged, nor betray the righteous cause.

For in truth it was a very great thing, for a man occupied about lakes, and skins, and receipt of custom, when tyrants were on their thrones, and satraps, and guards standing by them, and the swords drawn, and all standing on their side; to enter in alone, bound, hanging down his head, and yet be able to open his mouth. For indeed they allowed them neither speech nor defense with respect to their doctrines, but set about torturing them to death, as common pests of the world. For "They," it is said, "that have turned the world upside down, are come hither also;" and again, "They preach things contrary to the decrees of Cæsar, saying that Jesus Christ is king." [1423] And everywhere the courts of justice were preoccupied by such suspicions, and much influence from above was needed, for their showing both the truth of the doctrine they preached, and that they are not violating the common laws; so that they should neither, while earnest to speak of the doctrine, fall under suspicion of overturning the laws; nor again, while earnest to show that they were not overturning the common government, corrupt the perfection of their doctrines: all which thou wilt see accomplished with all due consideration, both in Peter and in Paul, and in all the rest. Yea, and as rebels and innovators, and revolutionists, they were accused all over the world; yet nevertheless they both repelled this impression, and invested themselves with the contrary, all men celebrating them as saviors, and guardians, and benefactors. And all this they achieved by their much patience. Wherefore also Paul said, "I die daily;" [1424] and he continued to "stand in jeopardy" unto the end.

6. What then must we deserve, having such high patterns, and in peace giving way to effeminacy, and remissness? With none to make war (it is too evident) we are slain; we faint when no man pursues, in peace we are required to be saved, and even for this we are not sufficient. And they indeed, when the world was on fire, and the pile was being kindled over the whole earth, entering, snatched from within, out of the midst of the flame, such as were burning; but thou art not able so much as to preserve thyself.

What confidence then will there be for us? What favor? There are no stripes, no prisons, no rulers, no synagogues, nor aught else of that kind to set upon us; yea, quite on the contrary we rule and prevail. For both kings are godly, and there are many honors for Christians, and precedences, and distinctions, and immunities, and not even so do we prevail. And whereas they being daily led to execution, both teachers and disciples, and bearing innumerable stripes, and continual brandings, were in greater luxury than such as abide in Paradise; we who have endured no such thing, not even in a dream, are softer than any wax. "But they," it will be said, "wrought miracles." Did this then keep them from the scourge? did it free them from persecution? Nay, for this is the strange thing, that they suffered such things often even at the hands of them whom they benefited, and not even so were they confounded, receiving only evil for good. But thou if thou bestow on any one any little benefit, and then be requited with anything unpleasant, art confounded, art troubled, and repentest of that which thou hast done.

If now it should happen, as I pray it may not happen nor at any time fall out, that there be a war against churches, and a persecution, imagine how great will be the ridicule, how sore the reproaches. And very naturally; for when no one exercises himself in the wrestling school, how shall he be distinguished in the contests? What champion, not being used to the trainer, will be able, when summoned by the Olympic contests, to show forth anything great and noble against his antagonist? Ought we not every day to wrestle and fight and run? See ye not them that are called Pentathli, when they have no antagonists, how they fill a sack with much sand, and hanging it up try their full strength thereupon? And they that are still younger, practise the fight against their enemies upon the persons of their companions.

These do thou also emulate, and practise the wrestlings of self denial. For indeed there are many that provoke to anger, and incite to lust, and kindle a great flame. Stand therefore against thy passions, bear nobly the mental pangs, that thou mayest endure also those of the body.

7. For so the blessed Job, if he had not exercised himself well before his conflicts, would not have shone so brightly in the same. Unless he had practised freedom from all despondency, he would have uttered some rash word, when his children died. But as it was he stood against all the assaults, against ruin of fortune, and destruction of so great affluence: against loss of children, against his wife's commiseration, against plagues in body, against reproaches of friends, against revilings of servants.

And if thou wouldest see his ways of exercise also, hear him saying, how he used to despise wealth: "If I did but rejoice," saith he, "because my wealth was great: if I set gold up for a heap, if I put my trust in a precious stone." [1425] Therefore neither was he confounded at their being taken away, since he desired them not when present.

Hear how he also managed what related to his children, not giving way to undue softness, as we do, but requiring of them all circumspection. For he who offered sacrifice even for their secret sins, imagine how strict a judge he was of such as were manifest. [1426]

And if thou wouldest also hear of his strivings after continence, hearken to him when he saith, "I made a covenant with mine eyes, that I should not think upon a maid." [1427] For this cause his wife did not break his spirit, for he loved her even before this, not however immoderately, but as is due to a wife.

Wherefore I am led even to marvel, whence it came into the devil's thought to stir up the contest, knowing as he did of his previous training. Whence then did it occur to him? The monster is wicked, and never despairs: and this turns out to us a very great condemnation that he indeed never gives up the hope of our destruction, but we despair of our own salvation.

But for bodily mutilation and indignity, mark how he practised himself. Why, inasmuch as he himself had never undergone any such thing, but had continued to live in wealth and luxury, and in all other splendor, he used to divine other men's calamities, one by one. And this he declared, when he said, "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me; and that which I was afraid of is come unto me." [1428] And again, "But I wept for every helpless man, and groaned when I saw a man in distress." [1429]

So because of this, nothing of what happened confounded him, none of those great and intolerable ills. For I bid thee not look at the ruin of his substance, nor at the loss of his children, nor at that incurable plague, nor at his wife's device against him; but at those things which are far more grievous than these.

"And what," saith one, "did Job suffer more grievous than these? for from his history there is nothing more than these for us to learn." Because we are asleep, we do not learn, since he surely that is anxious, and searches well for the pearl, will know of many more particulars than these. For the more grievous, and apt to infuse greater perplexity, were different.

And first, his knowing nothing certain about the kingdom of heaven, and the resurrection; which indeed he also spoke of, lamenting. "For I shall not live alway, that I should suffer long." [1430] Next, his being conscious to himself of many good works. Thirdly, his being conscious of no evil thing. Fourthly, his supposing that at God's hands he was undergoing it; or if at the devil's, this again was enough to offend him. Fifthly, his hearing his friends accusing him of wickedness, "For thou hast not been scourged," say they, "according to what thy sins deserve." [1431] Sixthly, his seeing such as lived in wickedness prospering, and exulting over him. Seventhly, not having any other to whom he might look as even having ever suffered such things.

8. And if thou wouldest learn how great these things are, consider our present state. For if now, when we are looking for a kingdom, and hoping for a resurrection, and for the unutterable blessings, and are conscious to ourselves of countless evil deeds, and when we have so many examples, and are partakers of so high a philosophy; should any persons lose a little gold, and this often, after having taken it by violence, they deem life not to be lived in, having no wife to lay sore on them, nor bereaved of children, nor reproached by friends, nor insulted by servants, but rather having many to comfort them, some by words, some by deeds; of how noble crowns must not he be worthy, who seeing what he had gotten together by honest labor, snatched away from him for nought and at random, and after all that, undergoing temptations without number, like sleet, yet throughout all abides unmoved, and offers to the Lord his due thanksgiving for it all?

Why, though no one had spoken any of the other taunts, yet his wife's words alone were sufficient utterly to shake a very rock. Look, for example, at her craft. No mention of money, none of camels, and flocks, and herds, (for she was conscious of her husband's self command with regard to these), but of what was harder to bear than all these, I mean, their children; and she deepens the tragedy, and adds to it her own influence.

Now if when men were in wealth, and suffering no distress, in many things and oft have women prevailed on them: imagine how courageous was that soul, which repulsed her, assaulting him with such powerful weapons, and which trod under foot the two most tyrannical passions, desire and pity. And yet many having conquered desire, have yielded to pity. That noble Joseph, for instance, held in subjection the most tyrannical of pleasures, and repulsed that strange woman, plying him as she did with innumerable devices; but his tears he contained not, but when he saw his brethren that had wronged him, he was all on fire with that passion, and quickly cast off the mask, and discovered the part he had been playing. [1432] But when first of all she is his wife, and when her words are piteous, and the moment favorable for her, as well as his wounds and his stripes, and those countless waves of calamities; how can one otherwise than rightly pronounce the soul impassive to so great a storm to be firmer than any adamant?

Allow me freely to say, that the very apostles, if not inferior to this blessed man, are at least not greater than he was. For they indeed were comforted by the suffering for Christ; and this medicine was so sufficient daily to relieve them, that the Lord puts it everywhere, saying, "for me, for my sake," and, "If they call me, the master of the house, Beelzebub." [1433] But he was destitute of this encouragement, and of that from miracles, and of that from grace; for neither had he so great power of the Spirit.

And what is yet greater, nourished in much delicacy, not from amongst fishermen, and publicans, and such as lived frugally, but after enjoyment of so much honor, he suffered all that he did suffer. And what seemed hardest to bear in the case of the apostles, this same he also underwent, being hated of friends, of servants, of enemies, of them who had received kindness of him: and the sacred anchor, the harbor without waves, namely, that which was said to the apostles, "for my sake," of this he had no sight.

I admire again the three children, for that they dared the furnace, that they stood up against a tyrant. But hear what they say, "We serve not thy Gods, nor worship the image which thou hast set up." [1434] A thing which was the greatest encouragement to them, to know of a certainty that for God they are suffering all whatsoever they suffer. But this man knew not that it was all conflicts, and a wrestling; for had he known it, he would not have felt what was happening. At any rate, when he heard, "Thinkest thou that I have uttered to thee mine oracles for nought, or that thou mightest be proved righteous?" [1435] consider how straightway, at a bare word, he breathed again, how he made himself of no account, how he accounted himself not so much as to have suffered what he had suffered, thus saying, "Why do I plead any more, being admonished and reproved of the Lord, hearing such things, I being nothing?" [1436] And again, "I have heard of Thee before, as far as hearing of the ear; but now mine eye hath seen Thee; wherefore I have made myself vile, and have melted away; and I accounted myself earth and ashes." [1437]

This fortitude then, this moderation, of him that was before law and grace, let us also emulate, who are after law and grace; that we may also be able to share with him the eternal tabernacles; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the victory forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1406] John xvi. 6, 5. [1407] 2 Cor. xii. 9. [1408] periphanea . [1409] Acts v. 28. [1410] Acts iv. 19. [1411] Acts iv. 20. [1412] Matt. x. 17, 18. [1413] Matt. x. 21. [1414] [R.V., "be not anxious."] [1415] Matt. x. 19, 20. [1416] Luke xxi. 15. [1417] Matt. x. 21. [1418] Matt. x. 22. [1419] ormatho. [1420] For the story of Plato's slavery, see Diogen. Laertius, lib. 3; St. Chrys. in 1 Cor. Hom. IV. sec. 9; and Plutarch (as there quoted) in his Life of Dion; as to its authenticity, see Mitford's Greece, iv. c. 31, sec. 8. [1421] 2 Tim. iv. 17. [1422] 1 Peter iii. 15. [1423] Acts xvii. 6, 7. [1424] 1 Cor. xv. 31, 30. [1425] Job xxxi. 25, 24, LXX. [1426] Job i. 5. [1427] Job xxxi. 1. [1428] Job iii. 25. [1429] Job xxx. 25. [1430] Job vii. 16, LXX. [1431] Job xi. 6. [1432] drma. [1433] Matt. x. 25. [1434] Dan. iii. 18. [1435] Job xl. 3, LXX. [1436] Job xl. 4, LXX. [1437] Job xlii. 5, 6, LXX. .


Homily XXXIV.

Matt. X. 23.

"But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into the other; for verily I say unto you, ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come."

Having spoken of those fearful and horrible things, enough to melt very adamant, which after His cross, and resurrection, and assumption, were to befall them, He directs again His discourse to what was of more tranquil character, allowing those whom He is training to recover breath, and affording them full security. For He did not at all command them, when persecuted, to close with the enemy, but to fly. That is, it being so far but a beginning, and a prelude, He gave His discourse a very condescending turn. For not now of the ensuing persecutions is He speaking, but of those before the cross and the passion. And this He showed by saying, "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come." That is, lest they should say, "What then, if when persecuted we flee, and there again they overtake us, and drive us out?"'to destroy this fear, He saith, "Ye shall not have gone round Palestine first, but I will straightway come upon you."

And see how here again He doeth not away with the terrors, but stands by them in their perils. For He said not, "I will snatch you out, and will put an end to the persecutions;" but what? "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man be come." Yea, for it sufficed for their consolation, simply to see Him.

But do thou observe, I pray thee, how He doth not on every occasion leave all to grace, but requires something also to be contributed on their part. "For if ye fear," saith He, "flee," for this He signified by saying, "flee ye," and "fear not." [1438] And He did not command them to flee at first, but when persecuted to withdraw; neither is it a great distance that He allows them, but so much as to go about the cities of Israel.

Then again, He trains them for another branch of self-command; first, casting out all care for their food: secondly, all fear of their perils; and now, that of calumny. Since from that first anxiety He freed them, by saying, "The workman is worthy of his hire," [1439] and by signifying that many would receive them; and from their distress about their dangers, by saying, "Take no thought how or what ye shall speak," and, "He that endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved." [1440]

But since withal it was likely that they should also bring upon themselves an evil report, which to many seems harder to bear than all; see whence He comforts them even in this case, deriving the encouragement from Himself, and from all that had been said touching Himself; to which nothing else was equal. For as He said in that other place, "Ye shall be hated of all men," and added, "for my name's sake," so also here.

And in another way He mitigates it, joining a fresh topic to that former. What kind of one then is it?

"The disciple," saith He, "is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household? Fear them not therefore." [1441]

See how He discovers Himself to be the Lord and God and Creator of all things. What then? Is there not any disciple above his Master, or servant above his Lord? [1442] So long as he is a disciple, and a servant, he is not, by the nature of that honor. For tell me not here of the rare instances, but take the principle from the majority. And He saith not, "How much more His servants," but "them of His household," to show how very near He felt them to be to Him. [1443] And elsewhere too He said, "Henceforth I call you not servants; ye are my friends." [1444] And He said not, If they have insulted the Master of the house, and calumniated Him; but states also the very form of the insult, that they "called Him Beelzebub."

Then He gives also another consolation, not inferior to this: for this indeed is the greatest; but because for them who were not yet living strictly, there was need also of another, such as might have special power to refresh them, He states it likewise. And the saying seems indeed in form to be an universal proposition, nevertheless not of all matters, but of those in hand only, is it spoken. For what saith He?

"There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; nor hid, that shall not be known." [1445] Now what He saith is like this. It is indeed sufficient for your encouragement, that I also shared with you in the same reproach; I who am your Master and Lord. But if it still grieve you to hear these words, consider this other thing too, that even from this suspicion ye will soon be released. For why do ye grieve? At their calling you sorcerers and deceivers? But wait a little, and all men will address you as saviors, and benefactors of the world. Yea, for time discovers all things that are concealed, it will both refute their false accusation, and make manifest your virtue. For when the event shows you saviors, and benefactors, and examples of all virtue, men will not give heed to their words, but to the real state of the case; and they will appear false accusers, and liars, and slanderers, but ye brighter than the sun, length of time revealing and proclaiming you, and uttering a voice clearer than a trumpet, and making all men witnesses of your virtue. Let not therefore what is now said humble you, but let the hope of the good things to come raise you up. For it cannot be, that what relates to you should be hid.

2. Then, having rid them of all distress, and fears, and anxiety, and set them above men's reproaches, then, and not till then, He seasonably discourses to them also of boldness in their preaching.

For, "What I tell you," saith He, "in darkness, that speak ye in light; and what ye have heard in the ear, that preach ye [1446] upon the housetops." [1447]

Yet it was not at all darkness, when He was saying these things; neither was He dis coursing unto them in the ear; but He used a strong figure, thus speaking. That is, because He was conversing with them alone, and in a small corner of Palestine, therefore He said, "in darkness," and "in the ear;" contrasting the boldness of speech, which He was hereafter to confer on them, with the tone of the conversation which was then going on. "For not to one, or two, or three cities, but to the whole world ye shall preach," saith He, "traversing land and sea, the inhabited country, and the desert; to princes alike and tribes, to philosophers and orators, saying all with open face, [1448] and with all boldness of speech." Therefore, He said, "On the house tops," and, "In the light," without any shrinking, and with all freedom.

And wherefore said He not only, "Preach on the housetops," and "Speak in the light," but added also, "What I tell you in darkness," and "What ye hear in the ear"? It was to raise up their spirits. As therefore when He said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do;" [1449] even so here too, to signify that He will do it all by them, and more than by Himself, He inserted this. For "the beginning indeed," saith He, "I have given, and the prelude; but the greater part it is my will to effect through you." Now this is the language of one not commanding only, but also declaring beforehand what was to be, and encouraging them with His sayings, and implying that they should prevail over all, and quietly also removing [1450] again their distress at the evil report. For as this doctrine, after lying hid for a while, shall overspread all things, so also the evil suspicion of the Jews shall quickly perish.

Then, because He had lifted them up on high, He again gives warning of the perils also, adding wings to their mind, and exalting them high above all. For what saith He? "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." [1451] Seest thou how He set them far above all things, persuading them to despise not anxiety only and calumny, dangers and plots, but even that which is esteemed of all things most terrible, death? And not death alone, but by violence too? And He said not, "ye shall be slain," but with the dignity that became Him, He set this before them, saying, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him [1452] which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell;" bringing round the argument, as He ever doth, to its opposite. For what? is your fear, saith He, of death? and are ye therefore slow to preach? Nay for this very cause I bid you preach, that ye fear death: for this shall deliver you from that which is really death. What though they shall slay you? yet over the better part they shall not prevail, though they strive ten thousand ways. Therefore He said not, "Who do not kill the soul," but, who "are not able to kill." For wish it as they may, they shall not prevail. Wherefore, if thou fear punishment, fear that, the more grievous by far.

Seest thou how again He doth not promise them deliverance from death, but permits them to die, granting them more than if He had not allowed them to suffer it? Because deliverance from death is not near so great as persuading men to despise death. You see now, He doth not push them into dangers, but sets them above dangers, and in a short sentence fixes in their mind the doctrines that relate to the immortality of the soul, and having in two or three words implanted a saving doctrine, He comforts them also by other considerations.

Thus, lest they should think, when killed and butchered, that as men forsaken they suffered this, He introduces again the argument of God's providence, saying on this wise: "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall into a snare [1453] without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." [1454] "For what is viler than they?" saith He; "nevertheless, not even these shall be taken without God's knowledge." For He means not this, "by His operation they fall," for this were unworthy of God; but, "nothing that is done is hid from Him." If then He is not ignorant of anything that befalls us, and loves us more truly than a father, and so loves us, as to have numbered our very hairs; we ought not to be afraid. And this He said, not that God numbers our hairs, but that He might indicate His perfect knowledge, and His great providence over them. If therefore He both knows all the things that are done, and is able to save you, and willing; whatever ye may have to suffer, think not that as persons forsaken ye suffer. For neither is it His will to deliver you from the terrors, but to persuade you to despise them, since this is, more than anything, deliverance from the terrors.

3. "Fear ye not therefore; ye are of more value than many sparrows." [1455] Seest thou that the fear had already prevailed over them? Yea, for He knew the secrets of the heart; therefore He added, "Fear them not therefore;" for even should they prevail, it will be over the inferior part, I mean, the body; which though they should not kill, nature will surely take with her and depart. So that not even this depends on them, but men have it from nature. And if thou fear this, much more shouldest thou fear what is greater, and dread "Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." And He saith not openly now, that it is Himself, "Who is able to destroy both soul and body," but where He before declared Himself to be judge, He made it manifest.

But now the contrary takes place: Him, namely, who is able to destroy the soul, that is, to punish it, we fear not, but those who slay the body, we shudder at. Yet surely while He together with the soul punishes the body also, they cannot even chasten the body, much less the soul: and though they chasten it ever so severely, yet in that way they rather make it more glorious.

Seest thou how He signifies the conflicts to be easy? Because in truth, death did exceedingly agitate their souls, inspiring terror for a time, for that it had not as yet been made easy to overcome, neither had they that were to despise it partaken of the grace of the Spirit.

Having, you see, cast out the fear and distress that was agitating their soul; by what follows He also encourages them again, casting out fear by fear; and not by fear only, but also by the hope of great prizes; and He threatens with much authority, in both ways urging them to speak boldly for the truth; and saith further,

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him [1456] will I also confess before my Father which is in Heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in Heaven." [1457]

Thus not from the good things only, but also from the opposites, doth He urge them; and He concludes with the dismal part.

And mark His exact care; He said not "me," but "in me," implying that not by a power of his own, but by the help of grace from above, the confessor makes his confession. But of him that denies, He said not, "in me," but "me;" for he having become destitute of the gift, his denial ensues.

"Why then is he blamed," one may say, "if being forsaken, he denies?" Because the being forsaken is the fault of the forsaken person himself.

But why is He not satisfied with the faith in the mind, but requires also the confession with the mouth? To train us up to boldness in speech, and a more abundant love and determination, and to raise us on high. Wherefore also He addresses Himself to all. Nor doth He at all apply this to the disciples only in person, for not them, but their disciples too, He is now rendering noble hearted. Because he that hath learnt this lesson will not only teach with boldness, but will likewise suffer all things easily, and with ready mind. This at any rate brought over many to the apostles, even their belief in this word. Because both in the punishment the infliction is heavier, and in the good things the recompense greater. I mean, whereas he that doeth right hath the advantage in time, [1458] and the delay of the penalty is counted for gain by the sinner: He hath introduced an equivalent, or rather a much greater advantage, the increase of the recompenses. "Hast thou the advantage," saith He, "by having first confessed me here? I also will have the advantage of thee, by giving thee greater things, and unspeakably greater; for I will confess thee there." Seest thou that both the good things and the evil things are there to be dispensed? Why then hasten and hurry thyself? and why seek thy rewards here, thou who art "saved by hope?" [1459] Wherefore, whether thou hast done anything good, and not received its recompense here, be not troubled (for with increase, in the time to come, the reward thereof awaits thee): or whether thou hast done any evil, and not paid the penalty, be not easy; for there will vengeance receive thee, if thou turn not and amend.

But if thou believe it not, from the things here form thy conjecture about things to come also. Why, if in the season of the conflicts they that confess are so glorious, imagine what they will be in the season of the crowns. If the enemies here applaud, how shall that tenderest of all fathers fail to admire and proclaim thee? Yea, then shall we have both our gifts for the good, and our punishments for the evil. So that such as deny shall suffer harm, both here and there; here living with an evil conscience, though they were never to die, they shall be surely dead; and there, undergoing the last penalty: but the other sort will profit both here and there, both here making a gain of their death, and in this way becoming more glorious than the living, and there enjoying those unspeakable blessings.

God then is in no wise prompt to punish only, but also to confer benefits; and for this last more than for the first. But why hath He put the reward once only, the punishment twice? He knows that this would be more apt to correct us. For this cause when He had said, "Fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell," He saith again, "Him will I also deny." So doth Paul also, continually making mention of hell.

Thus we see that He, having by all ways trained on His scholar (both by opening Heaven to him, and by setting before him that fearful judgment-seat, and by pointing to the amphitheatre of angels, and how in the midst of them the crowns shall be proclaimed, which thing would thenceforth prepare the way for the word of godliness to be very easily received); in what follows, lest they grow timid and the word be hindered, He bids them be prepared even for slaughter itself; to make them aware that such as continue in their error, will have to suffer (among other things) for plotting against them.

4. Let us therefore despise death, although the time be not come that requires it of us; for indeed it will translate us to a far better life. "But the body decays." Why, on this account most especially we ought to rejoice, because death decays, and mortality perishes, not the substance of the body. For neither, shouldest thou see a statue being cast, wouldest thou call the process destruction, but an improved formation. Just so do thou reason also concerning the body, and do not bewail. Then it were right to bewail, had it remained in its chastisement.

"But," saith one, "this ought to take place without the decay of our bodies; they should continue entire." And what would this have advantaged either the living or the departed? How long are ye lovers of the body? How long are ye rivetted to the earth and gaping after shadows? Why, what good would this have done? or rather, what harm would it not have done? For did our bodies not decay, in the first place the greatest of all evils, pride, would have continued with many. For if even while this is going on, and worms gushing out, many have earnestly sought to be gods; what would not have been the result did the body continue?

In the second place, it would not be believed to be of earth; for if, its end witnessing this, some yet doubt; what would they not have suspected if they did not see this? Thirdly, the bodies would have been excessively loved; and most men would have become more carnal and gross; and if even now some cleave to men's tombs and coffins, after that themselves have perished, what would they not have done, if they had even their image preserved? Fourthly, they would not have earnestly desired the things to come. Fifthly, they that say the world is eternal, would have been more confirmed, and would have denied God as Creator. Sixthly, they would not have known the excellence of the soul, and how great a thing is the presence of a soul in a body. Seventhly, many of them that lose their relations would have left their cities, and have dwelt in the tombs, and have become frantic, conversing continually with their own dead. For if even now men form to themselves images, since they cannot keep the body (for neither is it possible, but whether they will or no it glides and hurries from them), and are rivetted to the planks of wood; what monstrous thing would they not then have devised? To my thinking, the generality would have even built temples for such bodies, and they that are skilled in such sorceries would have persuaded evil spirits to speak through them; since at least even now, they that venture on the arts of necromancy attempt many things more out of the way than these. And how many idolatries would not have arisen from hence? when men even after the dust and ashes, are yet eager in those practices.

God therefore, to take away all our extravagances, and to teach us to stand off from all earthly things, destroys the bodies before our eyes. For even he that is enamored of bodies, and is greatly affected at the sight of a beautiful damsel, if he will not learn by discourse the deformity of that substance, shall know it by the very sight. Yea, many of the like age with her whom he loves, and oftentimes also fairer, being dead, after the first or second day, have emitted an ill savor, and foul matter, and decay with worms. Imagine then what sort of beauty thou lovest, and what sort of elegance has power so to disturb thee. But if bodies did not decay, this would not be well known: but as evil spirits run unto men's graves, so also many of our lovers, continually sitting by the tombs, would have received evil spirits in their soul, and would quickly have perished in this grievous madness.

But as it is, together with all other things this also comforts the soul, that the form is not seen: it brings men to forgetfulness of their affliction. Indeed, if this were not so, there would be no tombs at all, but thou wouldest see our cities having corpses instead of statues, each man desiring to look upon his own dead. And much confusion would arise hence, and none of the ordinary sort would attend to his soul, nor would give room to the doctrine of immortality to enter in: and many other things too, more shocking than these, would have resulted, which even to speak of were unseemly. Wherefore it decays presently, that thou mightest see unveiled the beauty of the soul. For if she be the procurer of all that beauty and life, much more excellent must she herself be. And if she preserve that which is so deformed and unsightly, much more herself.

5. For it is not the body wherein the beauty lies, but the expression, [1460] and the bloom which is shed over its substance by the soul. Now then, I bid thee love that which makes the body also to appear such as it is. And why speak I of death? Nay even in life itself, I would have thee mark how all is hers that is beautiful. For whether she be pleased, she showers roses over the cheeks; or whether she be pained, she takes that beauty, and involves it all in a dark robe. And if she be continually in mirth, the body improves in condition; if in grief, she renders the same thinner and weaker than a spider's web; if in wrath, she hath made it again abominable and foul; if she show the eye calm, great is the beauty that she bestows; if she express envy, very pale and livid is the hue she sheds over us; if love, abundant the gracefulness she at once confers. Thus in fact many women, not being beautiful in feature, have derived much grace from the soul; others again of brilliant bloom, by having an ungracious soul, have marred their beauty. Consider how a face that is pale grows red, and by the variation of color produces great delight, when there is need of shame and blushing. As, on the other hand, if it be shameless, it makes the countenance more unpleasing than any monster.

For nothing is fairer, nothing sweeter than a beauteous soul. For while as to bodies, the longing is with pain, in the case of souls the pleasure is pure and calm. Why then let go the king, and be wild about the herald? Why leave the philosopher, and gape after his interpreter? Hast thou seen a beautiful eye? acquaint thyself with that which is within; and if that be not beautiful, despise this likewise. For surely, didst thou see an ill-favored woman wearing a beautiful mask, she would make no impression on thee: just as on the other hand, neither wouldest thou suffer one fair and beautiful to be disguised by the mask, but wouldest take it away, as choosing to see her beauty unveiled.

This then I bid thee do in regard of the soul also, and acquaint thyself with it first; for this is clad with the body instead of a mask; wherefore also that abides such as it is; but the other, though it be mishapen, may quickly become beautiful. Though it have an eye that is unsightly, and harsh, and fierce, it may become beautiful, mild, calm, sweet-tempered, gentle.

This beauty therefore let us seek, this countenance let us adorn; that God also may "have pleasure in our beauty," [1461] and impart to us of His everlasting blessings, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1438] Matt. x. 26. [1439] Matt. x. 10. [1440] Matt. x. 19, 22. [1441] Matt. x. 24-26. [1442] [In the Greek this seems to be a repetition of verse 24, and not a question.'R.] [1443] gnēsitēta pideiknmeno. [1444] John xv. 15, 14. [1445] Matt. x. 16. [1446] [R.V., "proclaim."] [1447] Matt. x. 27. [1448] gumn t kephal. [1449] John xiv. 12. [1450] uporttonto. [1451] Matt. x. 28. [1452] [Chrysostom plainly refers this to God, not Satan. Hence the capital letter of the Oxford translator.'R.] [1453] See received text above, Hom. IX. 4. [The reading here followed is accepted by several others of the Fathers but has no mss. authority. See Tischendorf, in loco. In Homily IX. 4, there is no variation from the Greek text, as now attested.'R.] [1454] Matt. x. 29, 30. [1455] Matt. x. 31. [1456] [R.V., "Every one, therefore, shall confess me (Greek, in me) before men, him (Greek, in him)," etc. See the use made in the Homily of the Greek preposition "in."'R.] [1457] Matt. x. 32, 33. [1458] t chrn pleonekte, "he is beforehand with his rewarder:" his sufferings, and the sinner's enjoyment, come respectively first. [1459] Rom. viii. 24. ["Saved in hope" or "for hope" expresses better, and agrees with the argument in the Homily.'R.] [1460] diplasi, "the moulding of it by the informing soul." [1461] Ps. xlv. 12, LXX. .


Homily XXXV.

Matt. X. 34.

"Think not that I am come [1462] to send peace on earth; I am not come [1463] to send peace, but a sword."

Again, He sets forth the things that are more painful, and that with great aggravation: and the objection they were sure to meet Him with, He prevents them by stating. I mean, lest hearing this, they should say, "For, this then art Thou come, to destroy both us, and them that obey us, and to fill the earth with war?" He first saith Himself, "I am not come to send peace on earth."

How then did He enjoin them to pronounce peace on entering into each house? And again, how did the angels say, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace"? [1464] And how came all the prophets too to publish it for good tidings? Because this more than anything is peace, when the diseased is cut off, when the mutinous is removed. For thus it is possible for Heaven to be united to earth. Since the physician too in this way preserves the rest of the body, when he amputates the incurable part; and the general, when he has brought to a separation them that were agreed in mischief. Thus it came to pass also in the case of that famous tower; for their evil peace [1465] was ended by their good discord, and peace made thereby. Thus Paul also divided them that were conspiring against him. [1466] And in Naboth's case that agreement was at the same time more grievous than any war. [1467] For concord is not in every case a good thing, since even robbers agree together.

The war is not then the effect of His purpose, but of their temper. For His will indeed was that all should agree in the word of godliness; but because they fell to dissension, war arises. Yet He spake not so; but what saith He? "I am not come to send peace;" comforting them. As if He said, For think not that ye are to blame for these things; it is I who order them so, because men are so disposed. Be not ye therefore confounded, as though the events happened against expectation. To this end am I come, to send war among men; for this is my will. Be not ye therefore troubled, when the earth is at war, as though it were subject to some hostile device. For when the worse part is rent away, then after that Heaven is knit unto the better.

And these things He saith, as strengthening them against the evil suspicion of the multitude.

And He said not "war," but what was more grievous than it, "a sword." And if there be somewhat painful in these expressions, and of an alarming emphasis, marvel not. For, it being His will to train their ears by the severity of His words, lest in their difficult circumstances they should start aside, He fashioned His discourse accordingly; lest any one should say it was by flattery He persuaded them, and by concealing the hardships; therefore even to those things which merited to be otherwise expressed, He gave by His words the more galling and painful turn. For it is better to see persons' gentleness in things, than in words.

2. Wherefore neither with this was He satisfied, but unfolds also the very nature of the war, signifying it to be far more grievous even than a civil war; and He saith, "I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." [1468]

For not friends only, saith He, nor fellow citizens, but even kinsmen shall stand against one another, and nature shall be divided against herself. "For I am come," saith He, "to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." That is, not merely among those of the same household is the war, but among those that are dearest, and extremely near to each other. And this more than anything signifies His power, that hearing these things, they both accepted Him, and set about persuading all others.

Yet was it not He that did this: of course not: but the wickedness of the other sort: nevertheless He saith it is His own doing. For such is the custom of the Scripture. Yea, and elsewhere also He saith, "God hath given them eyes that they should not see:" [1469] and here He speaks in this way, in order that having, as I said before, exercised themselves in these words, they might not be confounded on suffering reproaches and insults.

But if any think these things intolerable, let them be reminded of an ancient history. For in times of old also this came to pass, which thing especially shows the old covenant to be akin to the new, and Him who is here speaking, the same with the giver of those commands. I mean that in the case of the Jews also, when each had slain his neighbor, then He laid aside His anger against them; both when they made the calf, and when they were joined to Baal Peor. [1470] Where then are they that say, "That God is evil, and this good?" For behold He hath filled the world with blood, shed by kinsmen. Nevertheless even this we affirm to be a work of great love towards man.

Therefore, you see, implying that it was He who approved those other acts also, He makes mention also of a prophecy, which if not spoken for this end, yet involves the same meaning. And what is this?

"A man's foes shall be they of his own household." [1471]

For indeed among the Jews also something of the kind took place. That is, there were prophets, and false prophets, and the people was divided, and families were in dissension; and some believed the one, and some the other. Wherefore the prophet admonishes, saying, "Trust ye not in friends, have not hope in guides; yea, even of her that lieth in thy bosom beware, in respect of communicating aught to her:" and, "A man's enemies are the men that are in his own house." [1472]

And this He said, preparing him that should receive the word to be above all. For to die is not evil, but to die an evil death. On this account He said moreover, "I am come to cast fire upon the earth." [1473] And this He said, to declare the vehemence and warmth of the love which He required. For, because He loved us very much, so He will likewise be loved of us. And these sayings would strengthen [1474] the persons present also, and lift them higher. "For if those others," saith He, "are to despise kinsmen, and children, and parents, imagine what manner of men ye their teachers ought to be. Since neither will the hardships stop with you, but will also pass on to the rest. For since I am come bringing great blessings, I demand also great obedience, and purpose of heart."

3. "He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." [1475]

Seest thou a teacher's dignity? Seest thou, how He signifies himself a true Son of Him that begat Him, commanding us to let go all things beneath, and to take in preference the love of Him?

"And why speak I," saith He, "of friends and kinsmen? Even if it be thine own life which thou preferrest to my love, thy place is far from my disciples." What then? Are not these things contrary to the Old Testament? Far from it, rather they are very much in harmony therewith. For there too He commands not only to hate the worshippers of idols, but even to stone them; and in Deuteronomy again, admiring these, He saith, "Who said unto his father, and to his mother, I have not seen thee; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, and his own sons he disowned: he kept Thy oracles." [1476] And if Paul gives many directions touching parents, commanding us to obey them in all things, marvel not; for in those things only doth he mean us to obey, as many as do not hinder godliness. [1477] For indeed it is a sacred duty to render them all other honors: but when they demand more than is due, one ought not to obey. For this reason Luke saith, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple;" [1478] not commanding simply to hate them, since this were even quite contrary to the law; but "when one desires to be loved more than I am, hate him in this respect. For this ruins both the beloved himself, and the lover." And these things He said, both to render the children more determined, and to make the fathers more gentle, that would hinder them. For when they saw He had such strength and power as to sever their children from them, they, as attempting things impossible, would even desist. Wherefore also He leaves the fathers, and addresses His discourse to the children, instructing the former not to make the attempt, as attempting things impracticable.

Then lest they should be indignant, or count it hard, see which way He makes His argument tend: in that having said, "Who hateth not father and mother," He adds, "and his own life." For why dost thou speak to me of parents, saith He, and brothers, and sisters, and wife? Nothing is nearer than the life to any man: yet if thou hate not this also, thou must bear in all things the opposite of his lot who loveth me.

And not even simply to hate it was His command, but so as to expose it to war, and to battles, and to slaughters, and blood. "For he that beareth not his cross, and cometh after me, cannot be my disciple." [1479] Thus He said not merely that we must stand against death, but also against a violent death; and not violent only, but ignominious too.

And He discourses nothing as yet of His own passion, that when they had been for a time instructed in these things, they might more easily receive His word concerning it. Is there not, therefore, cause for amazement, how on their hearing these things, their soul did not wing its way from the body, the hardships being everywhere at hand, and the good things in expectation? How then did it not flee away? Great was both the power of the speaker, and the love of the hearers. Wherefore though hearing things far more intolera ble and galling than those great men, Moses and Jeremiah, they continued to obey, and to say nothing against it.

"He that findeth his life," saith He, "shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it." [1480] Seest thou how great the damage to such as love it unduly? how great the gain to them that hate it? I mean, because the injunctions were disagreeable, when He was bidding them set themselves against parents, and children, and nature, and kindred, and the world, and their very soul, He sets forth the profit also, being very great. Thus, "These things," saith He, "so far from harming, will very greatly profit; and their opposites will injure;" urging them, as He ever doth, by the very things which they desire. For why art thou willing to despise thy life? [1481] Because thou lovest it? Then for that very reason despise it, and so thou wilt advantage it in the highest degree, and do the part of one that loves it.

And mark an instance of unspeakable consideration. For not in respect of our parents only doth He practise this reasoning, nor of our children, but with regard to our life, which is nearer than all; that the other point may thenceforth become unquestionable, and they may learn that they will in this way profit those of their kindred likewise, as much as may be; since so it is in the case even of our life, which is more essential to us than all.

4. Now these things were enough to recommend men to receive them, their appointed healers. Yea, who would choose but receive with all readiness them that were so noble, such true heroes, and as lions running about the earth, and despising all that pertained to themselves, so that others might be saved? Yet nevertheless He proffers also another reward, indicating that He is caring here for the entertainers more than for the guests.

And the first honor He confers is by saying,

"He that receiveth you, receiveth me, and he that receiveth me, receiveth Him that sent me." [1482]

With this, what may compare? that one should receive the Father and the Son! But He holds out herewith another reward also.

" He," saith He, "that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward." [1483]

And as before He threatens punishment to such as do not receive them, here He defines also a certain refreshment [1484] for the good. And to teach thee His greater care for them, He said not simply, "He that receiveth a prophet," or "He that receiveth a righteous man," but subjoined, "in the name of a prophet," and, "in the name of a righteous man;" that is, if not for any worldly preferment, nor for any other temporal thing, he receive him, but because he is either a prophet or a righteous man, he shall receive a prophet's reward, and a righteous man's reward; such as it were meet for him to have, that hath received a prophet, or a righteous man; or, such as that other is himself to receive. Which kind of thing Paul also said: "That your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want." [1485]

Then, lest any one should allege poverty, He saith,

"Or whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward." [1486]

"Though a cup of cold water be thy gift, on which there is nothing laid out, even of this shall a reward be stored up for thee. For I do all things for the sake of you the receivers."

Seest thou what mighty persuasions He used, and how He opened to them the houses of the whole world? Yea, He signified that men are their debtors: first, by saying, "The workman is worthy of his hire;" secondly, by sending them forth having nothing; thirdly, by giving them up to wars and fightings in behalf of them that receive them; fourthly, by committing to them miracles also; fifthly, in that He did by their lips introduce peace, the cause of all blessings, into the houses of such as receive them; sixthly, by threatening things more grievous than Sodom to such as receive them not: seventhly, by signifying that as many as welcome them are receiving both Himself and the Father; eighthly, by promising both a prophet's and a righteous man's reward: ninthly, by undertaking that the recompenses shall be great, even for a cup of cold water. Now each one of these things, even by itself, were enough to attract them. For who, tell me, when a leader of armies wounded in innumerable places, and dyed in blood, came in sight, returning after many trophies from war and conflict, would not receive him, throwing open every door in his house?

5. But who now is like this? one may say. Therefore He added, "In the name of a disciple, and of a prophet, and of a righteous man;" to instruct thee that not for the worthiness of the visitor, but for the purpose of him that gives welcome, is His reward appointed. For though here He speak of prophets, and righteous men, and disciples, yet elsewhere He bids men receive the veriest outcasts, and punishes such as fail to do so. For, "Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me;" [1487] and the converse again He affirms with respect to the same persons.

Since though he may be doing no such great work, he is a man, inhabiting the same world with thee, beholding the same sun having the same soul, the same Lord, a partaker with thee of the same mysteries, called to the same heaven with thee; having a strong claim, his poverty, and his want of necessary food. But now they that waken thee with flutes and pipes in the winter season, and disturb thee without purpose or fruit, depart from thee receiving many gifts. [1488] And they that carry about swallows, [1489] and smut themselves over, [1490] and abuse every one, receive a reward for this their conjuration. But if there come to thee a poor man wanting bread, there is no end of revilings, and reproaches, and charges of idleness, and upbraidings, and insults, and jeers; and thou considerest not with thyself, that thou too art idle, and yet God giveth thee His gifts. For tell me not this, that thou too art doing somewhat, but point me out this rather, if it be anything really needful that thou doest, and art busy about. But if thou tellest one of money-getting, and of traffic, and of the care and increase of thy goods, I also would say unto thee, Not these, but alms, and prayers, and the protection of the injured, and all such things, are truly works, with respect to which we live in thorough idleness. Yet God never told us, "Because thou art idle, I light not up the sun for thee; because thou doest nothing of real consequence, I quench the moon, I paralyze the womb of the earth, I restrain the lakes, the fountains, the rivers, I blot out the atmosphere: I withhold the annual rains:" but He gives us all abundantly. And to some that are not merely idle, but even doing evil, He freely gives the benefit of these things.

When therefore thou seest a poor man, and sayest, "It stops my breath that this fellow, young as he is and healthy, having nothing, would fain be fed in idleness; he is surely some slave and runaway, and hath deserted his proper master:" I bid thee speak these same words to thyself; or rather, permit him freely to speak them unto thee, and he will say with more justice, "It stops my breath that thou, being healthy, art idle, and practisest none of the things which God hath commanded, but having run away from the commandments of thy Lord, goest about dwelling in wickedness, as in a strange land, in drunkenness, in surfeiting, in theft, in extortion, in subverting other men's houses." And thou indeed imputest idleness, but I evil works; in thy plotting, in thy swearing, in thy lying, in thy spoiling, in thy doing innumerable such things.

And this I say, not as making a law in favor of idleness, far from it; but rather very earnestly wishing all to be employed; for sloth is the teacher of all wickedness: but I beseech you not to be unmerciful, nor cruel. Since Paul also, having made infinite complaints, and said, "If any will not work, neither let him eat," stopped not at this, but added, "But ye, be not weary in well doing." [1491] "Nay, but these things are contradictory. For if thou hast commanded for them not to eat, how exhortest thou us to give?" I do so, saith He, for I have also commanded to avoid them, and "to have no company with them;" and again I said, "Count them not as enemies, but admonish them;" [1492] not making contradictory laws, but such as are quite in unison with each other. Because, if thou art prompt to mercy, both he, the poor man, will soon be rid of his idleness, and thou of thy cruelty.

"But he hath many lies and inventions," you reply. Well, hence again is he pitiable, for that he hath fallen into such distress, as to be hardened even in such doings. But we, so far from pitying, add even those cruel words, "Hast thou not received once and again?" so we talk. What then? because he was once fed, hath he no need to be fed again? Why dost thou not make these laws for thine own belly also, and say to it likewise, Thou wert filled yesterday, and the day before, seek it not now? But while thou fillest that beyond measure, even to bursting, [1493] from him thou turnest away, when he asks but what is moderate; whereas thou oughtest therefore to pity him, because he is constrained to come to thee every day. Yea, if nought else incline thee to him, thou shouldest pity him because of this; for by the constraint of his poverty he is forced on these things, and doeth them. And thou dost not pity him, because, being so spoken to, he feels no shame: the reason being, that his want is too strong for him.

Nay, thou instead of pitying, dost even make a show of him; and whereas God hath commanded to give secretly, thou standest exposing publicly him that hath accosted thee, and upbraiding him, for what ought to move thy pity. Why, if thou art not minded to give, to what end add reproach, and bruise that weary and wretched soul? He came as into a harbor, seeking help at thine hands; why stir up waves, and make the storm more grievous? Why dost thou condemn him of meanness? What? had he thought to hear such things, would he have come to thee? Or if he actually came foreseeing this, good cause therefore both to pity him, and to shudder at thine own cruelty, that not even so, when thou seest an inexorable necessity laid upon him, dost thou become more gentle, nor judgest him to have a sufficient excuse for his importunity in the dread of hunger, but accusest him of impudence: and yet hast thou often thyself practised greater impudence, yea in respect of grievous matters. For while here the very impudence brings with it ground of pardon, we, often doing things punishable, brazen it out: and when we ought to bear all that in mind, and be humble, we even trample on those miserable men, and when they ask medicines, we add to their wounds. I say, if thou wilt not give, yet why dost thou strike? If thou wilt not be bounteous, yet why be insolent?

"But he submits not to be put off in any other way." Well then, as that wise man commanded, [1494] so do. "Answer him peaceable words with meekness." For not of his own accord, surely, is he so very importunate. For there is not, there cannot be, any man desiring to be put to shame for its own sake. How much soever any may contend, I cannot yield ever to be convinced that a man who was living in plenty would choose to beg.

6. Let no man then beguile us with arguments. But although Paul saith, "If any will not work, neither let him eat," [1495] to them he saith it; but to us he saith not this, but, on the contrary, "Be not weary in well doing." [1496] Even thus do we at home; when any two are striving with each other, we take each apart, and give them the opposite advice. This did God also, and Moses. For while to God he said, "If thou wilt forgive them their sin, forgive it; else blot me out also;" [1497] them on the contrary he commanded to slay one another, and all that pertained to them. Yet these things are contrary; nevertheless, both looked to one end.

Again, God said to Moses in the hearing of the Jews, "Let me alone, that I may consume the people," [1498] (for though they were not present when God was saying this, yet they were to hear it afterwards): but privately He gives him directions of the opposite tenor. And this, Moses upon constraint revealed afterwards, thus saying, "What? did I conceive them, that thou sayest to me, Carry them, as a nurse would carry the sucking child in her bosom?" [1499]

These things are done also in houses, and often a father while he blames the tutor in private for having used his child reproachfully, saying, "Be not rough, nor hard," to the youth speaks in the contrary way, "Though thou be reproached unjustly, bear it;" out of those opposites making up some one wholesome result. Thus also Paul said to such as are in health and beg, "If any man will not work, neither let him eat," that he may urge them into employment: but to such as can show mercy, "Ye, for your part, be not weary in well doing:" that he may lead them to give alms.

So also, when he was admonishing those of the Gentiles, in his Epistle to the Romans, not to be highminded against the Jews, he brought forward also the wild olive, and he seems to be saying one thing to these, another to those. [1500]

Let us not therefore fall away into cruelty, but let us listen to Paul, saying, "Be not weary in well doing;" let us listen to the Lord, who saith, "Give to every man that asketh of thee," [1501] and, "Be ye merciful as your Father." [1502] And though He hath spoken of many things, He hath nowhere used this expression, but with regard to our deeds of mercy only. For nothing so equals us with God, as doing good.

"But nothing is more shameless," saith one, "than a poor man." Why, I pray thee? Because he runs up, and cries out after thee? Wilt thou then let me point out, how we are more importunate than they, and very shameless? Remember, I say, now at the season of the fast, how often, when thy table was spread at eventide, and thou hadst called thy ministering servant; on his moving rather leisurely, [1503] thou hast overset everything, kicking, insulting, reviling, merely about a little delay; although fully assured, that if not immediately, yet a little after thou shalt enjoy thy victuals. Upon which thou dost not call thyself impudent, changed as thou art into a wild beast for nothing; but the poor man, alarmed and trembling about his greater interests (for not about delay, but about famine, is all his fear), him dost thou call audacious, and shameless, and impudent, and all the most opprobrious names? Nay, how is this anything but extreme impudence.

But these things we do not consider: therefore we account such men troublesome: since if we at all searched into our own doings, and compared them with theirs, we should not have thought them intolerable.

Be not then a severe judge. Why, if thou wert clear of all sins, not even then would the law of God permit thee to be strict in searching out other men's sins. And if the Pharisee perished on this account, what defense are we to find? If He suffer not such as have done well to be bitter in searching out other men's doings, much less them that have offended.

7. Let us not then be savage, nor cruel, not without natural feeling, not implacable, not worse than wild beasts. For I know many to have gone even so far in brutishness, as for a little trouble to slight famishing persons, and to say these words: "I have no servant now with me; we are far from home; there is no money-changer that I know." Oh cruelty! Didst thou promise the greater, and dost thou not fulfill the less? To save thy walking a little way, doth he perish with hunger? Oh insolence! Oh pride! Why, if it were ten furlongs to be walked, oughtest thou to be backward? Doth it not even come into thy mind that so thy reward is made greater? For whereas, when thou givest, thou receivest reward for the gift only: when thou thyself also goest, for this again is appointed thee a recompense.

Yea, the patriarch himself we admire for this, that in his own person he ran to the herd, and snatched up the calf, [1504] and that, when he had three hundred and eighteen servants born in his house. [1505] But now some are filled with so much pride, as to do these things by servants, and not to be ashamed. "But dost thou require me to do these things myself?" one may say. "How then shall I not seem to be vainglorious?" Nay, but as it is, thou art led by another kind of vainglory to do this, being ashamed to be seen talking with a poor man.

But I am in no respect strict about this; only give, whether by thyself or by another thou art minded to do so; and do not accuse, do not smite, do not revile. For medicines, not wounds, doth he need who comes unto thee; mercy, not a sword. For tell me, if any one who had been smitten with a stone, and had received a wound in his head, were to let go all others, and run unto thy knees, drenched in his blood; wouldest thou indeed smite him with another stone, and add unto him another wound? I, for my part, think not; but even as it was, thou wouldest endeavor to cure it. Why then doest thou the contrary with respect to the poor? Knowest thou not how much power a word hath, both to raise up, and to cast down? "For a word," it is said, "is better than a gift." [1506]

Dost thou not consider that thou art thrusting the sword into thyself, and art receiving a more grievous wound, when he, being reviled, silently withdraws, with groans and many tears? Since indeed of God he is sent unto thee. Consider then, in insulting him, upon whom thou art causing the insult to pass; when God indeed sends him unto thee, and commands thee to give, but thou, so far from giving, dost even insult him on his coming.

And if thou art not aware how exceedingly amiss this is, look at it as among men, and then thou wilt fully know the greatness of the sin. As thus: if a servant of thine had been commanded by thee to go to another servant, who had money of thine, to receive it, and were to come back not only with empty hands, but also with despiteful usage; what wouldest thou not do to him that had wrought the insult? What penalty wouldest thou not exact, as though, after this, it were thyself that had been ill used?

This reckoning do thou make in regard of God also; for truly it is He that sends the poor to us, and of His we give, if indeed we do give. But if, besides not giving, we also send them away insulted, consider how many bolts, how many thunders, that which we are doing deserves.

Duly considering then all these things, let us both bridle our tongue, and put away inhumanity, and let us stretch forth the hand to give alms, and not with money only, but with words also, let us relieve such as are in need; that we may both escape the punishment for reviling, and may inherit the kingdom which is for blessing and almsgiving, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might forever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1462] [R.V, "came."] [1463] [R.V. "came not."] [1464] Luke ii. 14. [1465] Gen. xi. 7, 8. [1466] Acts xxiii. 6, 7. [1467] 1 Kings xxi. [1468] Matt. x. 35. [R.V., "I came," etc.] [1469] Rom. xi. 8. [1470] Exod. xxxii. 29; Numb. xxv. 7-11. [1471] Matt. x. 36. [1472] Micah vii. 5, 6. [1473] Luke xii. 49. [1474] ēleiphe, "would anoint them for action." [1475] Matt. x. 37, 38. [1476] Deut. xxxiii. 9. [1477] Eph. vi. 1. See there St. Chrysostom's explanation of the expression, "in the Lord." [1478] Luke xiv. 26. [1479] Matt. x. 38. Comp. Luke xiv. 27. [The word "beareth" (from Luke) is here substituted for "taketh."'R.] [1480] Matt. x. 39. [1481] Or "soul;" the same word standing in the Greek for both "soul" and "life;" which makes it impossible to give the full force of the passage in English. [1482] Matt. x. 40. [1483] Matt. x. 41. [1484] anesin, opposed to klasin, "punishment," in the same way, Hom. XIII. 8, in the Benedictine edition, p. 176, c.; and elsewhere. [1485] 2 Cor. viii. 14. [1486] Matt. x. 43. [1487] Matt. xxv. 45. [1488] This was part of the festivities of the Saturnalia; "it began on the 13th of January, when the flute players used to run about the city with much license and wantonness in female apparel; as at this time, about the Epiphany season, pipers and singers are wont to come into the houses of the rich, to sing for largesses, with some in masks at their head. Vid. Liv. lib. ix. c. 30." Francisc. Modius de Ludis et Spect. Veterum, ii. 28, ap. Gronov. Thes. xi. 1055. [1489] Here Mr. Field quotes from Bois as follows: "It is a description of certain jugglers, who used to carry about swallows trained to come and go when let loose, and settle on their heads, and take meat out of their mouths. So I conjecture," Mr. Field adds, "I have nothing to add to this. For those whom Athanæus" (from Theognis) "mentions, as gathering a dole for the swallow (p.360, B.) seem not to answer to what is here meant. They, by way of begging, used to chant a sort of song about the coming of the swallow. It was the custom of the Rhodians particularly." [1490] Scaliger, Poet i. 10, says, "Some actors in low comedy were not masked, but smeared with soot; and used to dance to music in honor of Bacchus, and bounding forward, to jeer at every one." ap. Hoffman, voc. Mimus. [1491] 2 Thess. iii. 10, 13. [1492] 2 Thess. iii. 14, 15. [1493] [hupr t mtron diarrēgnei .] [1494] Ecclus. iv. 8. [1495] 2 Thess. iii. 10. [1496] 2 Thess. iii. 13. [1497] Exod. xxxii. 32 [LXX.]. [1498] Exod. xxxii. 10. [1499] Numb. xi. 12 [LXX.]. [1500] Rom. xi. 17. [1501] Luke vi. 30. [1502] Luke vi. 36. [1503] [The construction is difficult: hina scholaiteron bads. We must accept here a causal sense of hina.'R.] [1504] Gen. xviii. 7. [1505] Gen. xiv. 14. Comp. ep. of Barn. c. 9. [1506] Ecclus. xviii. 16. .


Homily XXXVI.

Matt. XI. 1.

"And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities."

That is, after He had sent them, He proceeded to withdraw Himself, to give them room and opportunity to do what He had enjoined. For while He was present and healing, no one would be willing to approach them.

"Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Jesus, [1507] he sent two of [1508] his disciples, and asked Him, saying, Art thou He that should come, [1509] or do we look for another?" [1510]

But Luke saith, they also told John of the miracles, and then he sent them. [1511] However, this contains no matter of difficulty, but of consideration only; for this, among other things, indicates their jealousy towards Him.

But what follows is completely among the controverted points. Of what nature then is this? Their saying, "Art Thou He that should come, or do we look for another?" That is, he that knew Him before His miracles, he that had learned it of the Spirit, he that heard it of the Father, he who had proclaimed Him before all men; doth he now send to learn of Him, whether it be Himself or no? And if yet thou didst not know that it is surely He, how thinkest thou thyself credible, affirming as thou dost concerning things, whereof thou art ignorant? For he that is to bear witness to others, must be first worthy of credit himself. Didst thou not say, "I am not meet to loose the latchet of His shoe?" [1512] Didst thou not say, "I knew Him not, but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and resting upon Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost?" [1513] Didst thou not see the Spirit in form of a dove? didst thou not hear the voice? Didst thou not utterly forbid Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized of Thee?" [1514] Didst thou not say even to thy disciples, "He must increase, I must decrease?" [1515] Didst thou not teach all the people, that "He should baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire?" [1516] and that He "is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world?" [1517] Didst thou not before His signs and miracles proclaim all these things? How then now, when He hath been made manifest to all, and the fame of Him hath gone out everywhere, and dead men have been raised, and devils driven away, and a display made of so great miracles, dost thou after this send to learn of Him?

What then is the fact? Were all these sayings a kind of fraud: a stage play and fables? Nay, who that hath any understanding would say so? I say not, John, who leaped in the womb, who before his own birth proclaimed Him, the citizen of the wilderness, the exhibitor of the conversation of angels; but even though he were one of the common sort, and of them that are utterly outcast, he would not have hesitated, after so many testimonies, both on his own part and on the part of others.

Whence it is evident, that neither did he send as being himself in doubt, nor did he ask in ignorance. Since no one surely could say this, that though he knew it fully, yet on account of his prison he was become rather timid: for neither was he looking to be delivered therefrom, nor if he did look for it, would he have betrayed his duty to God, armed as he was against various kinds of death. For unless he had been prepared for this, he would not have evinced so great courage towards a whole people, practised in shedding blood of prophets; nor would he have rebuked that savage tyrant with so much boldness in the midst of the city and the forum, severely chiding him, as though he were a little child, in hearing of all men. And even if he were grown more timid, how was he not ashamed before his own disciples, in whose presence he had so often borne witness unto Him, but asked his question by them, which he should have done by others? And yet surely he knew full well, that they too were jealous of Christ, and desired to find some handle against Him. And how could he but be abashed before the Jewish people, in whose presence he had proclaimed such high things? Or what advantage accrued to him thereby, towards deliverance from his bonds? For not for Christ's sake had he been cast into prison, nor for having proclaimed His power, but for his own rebuke touching the unlawful marriage. And what child so silly, what person so frantic, but that so he would have put on himself their character? [1518]

2. What then is it which he is bringing about? For that it belongs not to John to have doubt hereupon, no nor to any ordinary person, nor even to one extremely foolish and frenzied; so much is evident from what we have said. And now we have only to add the solution.

For what intent then did he send to ask? John's disciples were starting aside from Jesus, and this surely any one may see, and they had always a jealous feeling towards Him. And it is plain, from what they said to their master: "He that was with thee," it is said, "beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come unto Him." [1519] And again, "There arose a question between John's disciples and the Jews about purifying." [1520] And again they came unto Him, and said, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but Thy disciples fast not?" [1521] For as yet they knew not who Christ was, but imagining Jesus to be a mere man, but John greater than after the manner of man, were vexed at seeing the former held in estimation, but the latter, as he had said, now ceasing. And this hindered them from coming unto Him, their jealousy quite blocking up the access. Now so long as John was with them, he was exhorting them continually and instructing them, and not even so did he persuade them; but when he was now on the point of dying, he uses the more diligence: fearing as he did lest he might leave a foundation for bad doctrine, and they continue broken off from Christ. For as he was diligent even at first to bring to Christ all that pertained to himself; so on his failing to persuade them, now towards his end he does but exert the more zeal.

Now if he had said, "Go ye away unto Him, He is better than I," he would not have persuaded them, minded as they were not easily to be separated from him, but rather he would have been thought to say it out of modesty, and they would have been the more rivetted to him; or if he had held his peace, then again nothing was gained. What then doth he? He waits to hear from them that Christ is working miracles, and not even so doth he admonish them, nor doth he send all, but some two (whom he perhaps knew to be more teachable than the rest); that the inquiry might be made without suspicion, in order that from His acts they might learn the difference between Jesus and himself. And he saith, Go ye, and say, "Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?" [1522]

But Christ knowing the purpose of John, did not say, I am He; for this would again have offended the hearers, although this was what it naturally followed for Him to say, but He leaves them to learn it from His acts. For it saith, "when these were come to Him, then "He cured many." [1523] And yet what congruity was there, that being asked, "Art thou He," He should say nothing to that, but should presently cure them that were sick; unless it had been His mind to establish this which I have mentioned? Because they of course would account the testimony of His deeds surer, and more above suspicion than that of His words.

Knowing therefore, as being God, the mind with which John had sent them, He straightway cured blind, lame, and many others; not to teach him (for how should He him that was convinced), but these that were doubting: and having healed them, He saith,

"Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see; the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, and the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them." [1524] And he added, "And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me;" [1525] implying that He knows even their unuttered thoughts. For if He had said, "I am He," both this would have offended them, as I have already said; and they would have thought, even if they had not spoken, much as the Jews said to Him, "Thou bearest record of Thyself." [1526] Wherefore He saith not this Himself, but leaves them to learn all from the miracles, freeing what He taught from suspicion, and making it plainer. Wherefore also He covertly added His reproof of them. That is, because they were "offended in Him," He by setting forth their case and leaving it to their own conscience alone, and by calling no witness of this His accusation, but only themselves that knew it all, did thus also draw them the more unto Himself, in saying, Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." For indeed His secret meaning was of them when He said this.

3. But in order to our making the truth more evident to you by the comparison of the several statements, producing not only our own sayings, but also what is stated by others; we must needs add some account of them.

What then do some affirm? That this which we have stated was not the cause, but that John was in ignorance, yet not in ignorance of all; but that He was the Christ, he knew, but whether He was also to die for mankind, he knew not, therefore he said, "Art Thou He that should come?" that is, He that is to descend into hell. [1527] But this is not tenable; for neither of this was John ignorant. This at least he proclaimed even before all the others, and bare record of this first, "Behold," saith he, "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." [1528] Now he called Him a lamb, as proclaiming the cross, and again in saying, "That taketh away the sin of the world," he declared this same thing. For not otherwise than by the cross did He effect this; as Paul likewise said: "And the handwriting which was contrary to us, even it He took out of the way, nailing it to His cross." [1529] And his saying too, "He shall baptize you with the Spirit," [1530] is that of one who was foretelling the events after the resurrection.

Well: that He was to rise again, he knew, say they, and that He was to give the Holy Ghost; but that He should likewise be crucified, he knew not. How then was He to rise again, who had not suffered, nor been crucified? And how was this man greater than a prophet, who knew not even what the prophets knew? For that he was greater than a prophet, even Christ Himself bare record, [1531] but that the prophets knew of the passion is surely plain to every one. For so Isaiah saith, "He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearer is dumb." [1532] And before this testimony also he saith, "There shall be a root of Jesse, and He that shall rise again to rule the Gentiles, in Him shall the Gentiles trust." [1533] Then speaking of His passion, and of the ensuing glory, he added, "And His rest shall be honor." And this prophet foretold not only that He should be crucified, but also with whom. "For," saith he, "He was numbered with the transgressors." [1534] And not this only, but that He should not even plead for Himself; "For this man," he saith, "openeth not His mouth:" and that He should be unjustly condemned; "For in His humiliation," saith he, "His judgment was taken away." [1535] And before this again, David both saith this, and describes the judgment hall. "Why," saith he, "do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers are gathered together against the Lord, and against His anointed." [1536] And elsewhere he mentions also the image of the cross, saying on this wise, "They pierced my hand and my feet," [1537] and those things which the soldiers were emboldened to do, he adds with all exactness, "For they parted my garments," saith he, "among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots." [1538] And elsewhere again he saith, that they also offered Him vinegar; "For they gave me," saith He, "gall for my meat, and for my thirst they made me drink vinegar." [1539]

So then the prophets, so many years before, speak of the hall of judgment, and of the condemnation, and of them that were crucified with Him, and of the division of the garments, and of the lot cast upon them, and of many more things besides (for indeed it is unnecessary to allege all now, lest we make our discourse long): and was this man, greater than them all, ignorant of all these things? Nay, how should this be reasonable?

And why did he not say, "Art thou He that should come to hell," [1540] but simply, "He that should come?" Although this were far more absurd than the others, I mean their saying, "he therefore said these things, that he might preach there also after his departure." To whom it were seasonable to say, "Brethren, be not children in understanding, howbeit in malice be ye children." [1541] For the present life indeed is the season for right conversation, but after death is judgment and punishment. "For in hell," it is said, "who will confess unto thee?" [1542]

How then were "the gates of brass burst, and the bars of iron broken in sunder"? [1543] By His body; for then first was a body shown, immortal, and destroying the tyranny of death. And besides, this indicates the destruction of the might of death, not the loosing of the sins of those who had died before His coming. And if this were not so, but He have delivered all that were before Him from hell, [1544] how saith He, "It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah?" [1545] For this saying supposes that those are also to be punished; more mildly indeed, yet still that they are to be punished. And yet they did also suffer here the most extreme punishment, nevertheless not even this will deliver them. And if it is so with them, much more with such as have suffered nothing.

"What then?" one may say, "were they wronged, who lived before His coming?" By no means, for men might then be saved, even though they had not confessed Christ. For this was not required of them, but not to worship idols, and to know the true God. "For the Lord thy God," it is said, "is one Lord." [1546] Therefore the Maccabees were admired, because for the observance of the law they suffered what they did suffer; and the three children, and many others too amongst the Jews, having shown forth a very virtuous life, and having maintained the standard of this their knowledge, had nothing more required of them. For then it was sufficient for salvation, as I have said already, to know God only; but now it is so no more, but there is need also of the knowledge of Christ. Therefore He said, "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin, but now they have no cloak for their sin." [1547]

So likewise with regard to the rule of practice. Then murder was the destruction of him that committed it, but now even to be angry. And then to commit adultery, and to lie with another man's wife, brought punishment, but now even to look with unchaste eyes. For as the knowledge, so also the rule of life is now made stricter. So that there was no need of a forerunner there.

And besides, if unbelievers are after death to be saved on their believing, no man shall ever perish. For all will then repent and adore. And in proof that this is true, hear Paul saying, "Every tongue shall confess, and every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." [1548] And, "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." [1549] But there is no advantage in that submission, for it comes not of a rightly disposed choice, but of the necessity of things, as one may say, thenceforth taking place.

Let us not then any more bring in such old wives' doctrines, and Jewish fables. Hear at least what Paul saith touching these things. "For as many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law;" [1550] where his discourse is of those who lived in the time before the law; and, "As many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law," [1551] speaking of all after Moses. And, "That the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men," [1552] and, "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile." [1553] And yet countless were the evils which the Gentiles have suffered in this world, and this is declared alike by the histories of the heathens, and by the Scriptures that are in our hands. For who could recount the tragic calamities of the Babylonians, or those of the Egyptians? But in proof that they who, not having known Christ before His coming in the flesh, yet refrained from idolatry and worshipped God only, and showed forth an excellent life, shall enjoy all the blessings; hear what is said: "But glory, and honor, and peace to every one that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile." Seest thou that for their good deeds there are many rewards, and chastisements again, and penalties for such as have done the contrary?

4. Where now, tell me, are the utter unbelievers in hell? Why, if those before Christ's coming, who had not so much as heard the name of hell, [1554] nor of a resurrection, and were punished here, shall suffer punishment there also; how much more we that have been nurtured in so many lessons of strict virtue? [1555]

And how is it reasonable, asks one, that they that have never heard of hell, [1556] should fall into hell? For they will say, "If thou hadst threatened hell, we should have feared more, and have been sobered." To be sure; (is it not so?) at our rate of living now, who hear daily the sayings about hell, and give no heed at all.

And besides, there is this also to be said; that he who is not restrained by the judgments in sight, much less will he be restrained by those others. For the less reasonable sort, and those of a grosser disposition, are wont to be sobered rather by things which are at hand, and straightway to happen, than by such as will come to pass a long time after. "But over us," one may say, "a greater fear is suspended, and herein were they wronged." By no means. For first, there are not the same measures [1557] set to us as to them, but much greater for us. Now they that have undertaken greater labors, ought to enjoy greater help. And it is no little help, that our fear has been increased. And if we have an advantage over them in knowing things to come, they have an advantage over us in that the severe punishments are presently laid upon them.

But there is something else, which the multitude say with respect to this also. For "where," say they, "is God's justice, when any one for sinning here, is punished both here and there?" Would ye then I should put you in mind of your own sayings, that ye may no longer give us trouble, but furnish the solution from within yourselves. I have heard many of our people, if haply they were told of a murderer cut off in a court of justice, how they had indignation, and talked in this way: "This unholy and accursed wretch, having perpetrated thirty murders, or even many more, hath himself undergone one death only; and where is the justice of it?" So that ye yourselves confess, that one death is not sufficient for punishment; how give ye then an opposite sentence now. Because not others but yourselves are the objects of your judgment: so great a hindrance is self-love to our perceiving what is just. Because of this, when we are judging others, we search out all things with strictness, but when we are sitting in judgment on ourselves, we are blinded. Since if we were to search into these things in our own case too, as we do with regard to other men, we should give an uncorrupt sentence. For we also have sins, deserving not two or three, but ten thousand deaths. And to pass over all the rest, let us recollect ourselves, as many of us as partake unworthily of the mysteries; such men being guilty of the body and blood of Christ. Wherefore, when thou art talking of the murderer, take account of thyself also. For he indeed hath murdered a man, but thou art under the guilt of slaying the Lord; and he, not having partaken of mysteries, but we, while enjoying the benefit of the sacred table.

And what are they that bite and devour their brethren, and pour out such abundance of venom? What is he that robs the poor of their food? For if he who imparts not of his own, is such as I have said, much more he that takes the things of others. [1558] How many robbers do the covetous surpass in wickedness! how many murderers and robbers of tombs, the rapacious! and how many after spoiling men are desirous even of their blood!

"Nay," saith he, "God forbid." Now thou sayest, God forbid. When thou hast an enemy, then say, God forbid, and call to mind what hath been said, and show forth a life full of great strictness; lest the portion of Sodom await us also, lest we suffer the lot of Gomorrha, lest we undergo the ills of the Tyrians and Sidonians; or rather, lest we offend Christ, which were a thing more grievous and more to be feared than all.

For though to many hell [1559] seem to be a fearful thing, yet I for my part will not cease continually to say, that this is more grievous and fearful than any hell; and you I entreat to be of the same mind. For so shall we both be delivered from hell, and enjoy the glory that is bestowed of Christ; 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

[1507] [R.V., "Of the Christ," as in nearly all authorities, but Chrysostom reads to Iēso.'R.] [1508] [R.V., "by his disciples," but some ancient authorities (Vulgate also) support "two." Taken from Luke vii. 19.'R.] [1509] [R.V., "He that cometh."] [1510] Matt. xi. 2, 3. [1511] Luke vii. 18. [1512] John i. 27. [1513] John i. 33. [1514] Matt. iii. 14. [1515] John iii. 30. [1516] Matt. iii. 11. [1517] John i. 29. [R.V., "Or, beareth the sin," etc.] [1518] [ok n aut dxan perithēke.] [1519] John iii. 26. [1520] John iii. 25. [R.V., "with a Jew." So one ms. here. In Homily XXIX. on John, Chrysostom distinctly accepts the singular, as do nearly all Greek mss.'R.] [1521] Matt. ix. 14. [1522] Matt. xi. 3. [1523] Luke vii. 21. [1524] Matt. iv. 5. [1525] Matt. xi. 6. [R.V., "shall find none occasion of stumbling in me."] [1526] John viii. 13. [R.V., "witness."] [1527] See Origen, 2 Hom. in Reg. t. ii. p. 495, 6; St. Ambr. in Luc. vii. 19; St. Jerome in loc. [The Greek term used is "Hades," not "Gehenna."'R.] [1528] John i. 29. [1529] Col. ii. 14. [Comp. R.V., in loco.] [1530] Matt. iii. 11. [1531] Matt. xi. 9. [1532] Isa. liii. 7. [1533] Isa. xi. 10. [1534] Isa. liii. 12. [1535] Isa. liii. 8, from LXX. [1536] Ps. ii. 1, 2. [1537] Ps. xxii. 16. [1538] Ps. xxii. 18. [1539] Ps. lxix. 21. [1540] [e tn dn.] [1541] 1 Cor. xiv. 20. [1542] Ps. vi. 5 [had]. [1543] Ps. cvii. 16. [1544] [gennē.] [1545] Matt. x. 15. [1546] Deut. vi. 4. [1547] John xv. 22. [R.V., "excuse."] [1548] Phil. ii. 10, 11. [1549] 1 Cor. xv. 26. [1550] Rom. ii. 12. [1551] Rom. ii. 12. [1552] Rom. i. 18. [1553] Rom. ii. 8, 9. [1554] [gennē.] [1555] philosopha. [1556] [gennē, and so throughout the paragraph.'R.] [1557] skmmata. [1558] The words in italics, both here and below, are omitted in several mss. [1559] [genna, and similarly throughout the paragraph.'R.]


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