The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,
On the Acts of the ApostlesTranslated, with notes, by Rev. J. Walker, M.A., of Brasenose College;
Rev. J. Sheppard, M.A., of Oriel College, Oxford; and
Rev. H. Browne, M.A., of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
revised, with notes, by Rev. George B. Stevens, Ph.D., D.D., Professor in Yale University.
Published in 1886 by Philip Schaff, New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co.
Homily XXX.Acts XIII. 42
"And as they were going out (text rec. `from the syn. of the Jews,') they besought (the Gentiles) that these words might be spoken unto them on the following sabbath."
Do you mark Paul's wisdom? He not only gained admiration at the time, but put into them a longing desire for a second hearing, while in what he said he dropped some seeds (eipon tina spermata) as it were, and forbore to solve (the questions raised), or to follow out the subject to its conclusion, his plan being to interest them and engage their good-will to himself,  and not make (people) listless and indifferent by casting all at once into the minds of those (who first heard him). He told them the fact, that "through this Man is remission of sins announced unto you," but the how, he did not declare. "And when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and worshipping proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas"--after this point he puts Paul first  --"who, speaking unto them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God." (v. 43.) Do you observe the eagerness, how great it is? They "followed" them, it says. Why did they not baptize them immediately? It was not the proper time: there was need to persuade them in order to their steadfast abiding therein. "And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God." (v. 44.) "But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and contradicted the things spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming." (v. 45.) See malice wounded in wounding others: this made the Apostles more conspicuous--the contradiction which those offered. In the first instance then they of their own accord besought them to speak (and now they opposed them): "contradicting," it says, "and blaspheming." O recklessness! "Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." (v. 46.) Do you mark how by their contentious behavior they the more extended the preaching, and (how the Apostles here) gave themselves the more to the Gentiles, having (by this very thing) pleaded their justification, and made themselves clear of all blame with their own people (at Jerusalem)? (c) See  how by their "envy" they bring about great things, other (than they looked for): they brought it about that the Apostles spake out boldly, and came to the Gentiles! For this is why he says, "And speaking out boldly, Paul and Barnabas said." They were to go out to the Gentiles: but observe the boldness coming with measure:  for if Peter pleaded in his justification, much more these needed a plea, none having called them there. (ch. xi. 4.) But by saying "To you first," he showed that to those also it was their duty (to preach), and in saying "Necessary," he showed that it was necessary to be preached to them also. "But since ye turn away from it"--he does not say, "Woe unto you," and "Ye are punished," but "We turn unto the Gentiles." With great gentleness is the boldness fraught! (a) Also he does not say, "Ye are unworthy," but "Have judged yourselves unworthy. Lo, we turn unto the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have sent thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth." (v. 47.) For that the Gentiles might not be hurt at hearing this, as  if the case were so that, had the Jews been in earnest, they themselves would not have obtained the blessings, therefore he brings in the prophecy, saying, "A light of the Gentiles," and, "for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And hearing" (this) "the Gentiles" (v. 48)--this, while it was more cheering to them, seeing the case was this, that whereas those were of right to hear first, they themselves enjoy the blessing, was at the same time more stinging to those--"and the Gentiles," it says, "hearing" (this) "were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and believed, as many as were ordained unto eternal life": i.e., set apart for God.  Observe how he shows the speediness of the benefit: "And the word of the Lord was borne through all the region," (v. 49) diephereto,  instead of diekomizeto, "was carried or conveyed through (it)." (d) "But the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts." (v. 50.) "The devout women," (b)  instead of the proselyte-women. They did not stop at "envy," but added deeds also. (e) Do you see what they effected by their opposing the preaching? to what dishonor they brought these ("honorable women")? "But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium." (v. 51.) Here now they used that terrible sign which Christ enjoined, "If any receive you not, shake off the dust from your feet" (Matt. x. 14; Mark vi. 11); but these did it upon no light ground, but because they were driven away by them. This was no hurt to the disciples; on the contrary, they the more continued in the word: "And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost" (v. 52) for the suffering of the teacher does not check his boldness, but makes the disciple more courageous.
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(Recapitulation.) "And when they were gone out," etc. (v. 42). Not merely were the multitudes drawn to them, but how? they besought to have the same words spoken to them again, and by their actions they showed their earnestness. "Now when the congregation," etc. (v. 43.) See the Apostles on all occasions exhorting, not merely accepting men, nor courting them, but, "speaking unto them," it says, "they persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. But when the Jews," etc. (v. 45.) Why did they not contradict before this? Do you observe who on all occasions they were moved by passion? And they not only contradicted, but blasphemed also. For indeed malice stops at nothing. But see what boldness of speech! "It was necessary," he says, "that the word should have been spoken first to you, but since ye put it from you,"--(v. 46) it  is not put as affronting (though) it is in fact what they did in the case of the prophets: "Talk not to us," said they, "with talk"--(Is. xxx. 10): "but since ye put it from you"--it, he saith, not us: for the affront on your part is not to us. For that none may take it as an expression of their piety (that he says,) "Ye judge not yourselves worthy," therefore he first says, "Ye put it from you," and then, "We turn unto the Gentiles." The expression is full of gentleness. He does not say, We abandon you, but so that it is possible--he would say--that we may also turn hither again: and this too is not the consequence of the affront from you, "for so hath (the Lord) commanded us."--(v. 47.) "Then why have ye not done this?"  It was indeed needful that the Gentiles should hear, and this not before you: it is your own doing, the "before you." "For so hath the Lord commanded us: I have set thee for a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation," i.e. for knowledge which is unto salvation, and not merely of the Gentiles, but of all men, "unto the ends of the earth--As many as were ordained unto eternal life" (v. 48.): this is also a proof, that their having received these Gentiles was agreeable with the mind of God. But "ordained," not in regard of necessity: "whom He foreknew," saith the Apostle, "He did predestinate." (Rom. viii. 29.) "And the word of the Lord," etc. (v. 49.) No longer in the city (only) were (their doctrines) disseminated, but also in the (whole) region. For when they of the Gentiles had heard it, they also after a little while came over. "But the Jews stirred up the devout women, and raised persecution"--observe even of what is done by the women, they are the authors--"and cast them," it says, "out of their coasts" (v. 50), not from the city merely. Then, what is more terrible, "they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. But the disciples, it says, were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost." (v. 51, 52.) The teachers were suffering persecution, and the disciples rejoiced.
"And so spake, that a great multitude," etc. (ch. xiv. 1.) Do you mark the nature of the Gospel, the great virtue it has? "Made their minds evil-affected," it says, "against the brethren:" (v. 2.) i.e. slandered the Apostles, raised numberless accusations against them: (these people, being simple,  they "made evil-affected," disposed them to act a malignant part. And see how on all occasions he refers all to God. "Long time," he says, "abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of His grace." (v. 3.) Think not this (expression, "Gave testimony,") hath aught derogatory  (to the Lord's Divine Majesty): "Who witnessed," it is said, "before Pontius Pilate." (1 Tim. vi. 13.) Then the boldness--"and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands." Here he speaks it as concerning their own nation. "And the multitude of the city," etc. (v. 4, 5.) Accordingly they did not wait for it, but saw the intention of attacking them,  and fled, on no occasion kindling their wrath,  "to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra, and Derbe, and the adjacent region." (v. 6.) They went away into the country, not into the cities only.--Observe both the simplicity of the Gentiles, and the malignity of the Jews. By their actions they showed that they were worthy to hear: they so honored them from the miracles only. The one sort honored them as gods, the other persecuted them as pestilent fellows: and (those) not only did not take offence at the preaching, but what say they? "The gods, in the likeness of men, are come down to us;" but the Jews were offended. "And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius." (v. 11, 12.) I suppose Barnabas was a man of dignified appearance also. Here was a new sort of trial, from immoderate zeal, and no small one: but hence also is shown the virtue of the Apostles, (and) how on all occasions they ascribe all to God.
Let us imitate them: let us think nothing our own, seeing even faith itself is not our own, but more God's (than ours).  "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and this," saith he, "not of ourselves; it is the gift of God." (Eph. ii. 8.) Then let us not think great things of ourselves, nor be puffed up, being as we are, men, dust and ashes, smoke and shadow. For say, Why dost thou think great things of thyself? Hast thou given alms, and lavished thy substance? And what of that? Think, what if God had chosen not to make thee rich? think of them that are impoverished, or rather, think how many have given (not their substance only, but) their bodies moreover, and after their numberless sacrifices, have  felt still that they were miserable creatures! Thou gavest for thyself, Christ (not for Himself, but) for thee: thou didst but pay a debt, Christ owed thee not.--See the uncertainty of the future, and "be not high-minded, but fear" (Rom. xi. 20); do not lessen thy virtue by boastfulness. Wouldest thou do something truly great? Never let a surmise of thy attainments as great enter thy mind. But thou art a virgin? So were those in (the Gospel) virgins, but they got no benefit from their virginity, because of their cruelty and inhumanity.  (Matt. xxv. 12.) Nothing like humility: this is mother, and root, and nurse,and foundation, and bond of all good things: without this we are abominable, and execrable, and polluted. For say--let there be some man raising the dead, and healing the lame, and cleansing the lepers, but with  proud self-complacency: than this there can be nothing more execrable, nothing more impious, nothing more detestable. Account nothing to be of thyself. Hast thou utterance and grace of teaching? Do not for this account thyself to have aught more than other men. For this cause especially thou oughtest to be humbled, because thou hast been vouchsafed more abundant gifts. For he to whom more was forgiven, will love more (Luke vii. 47): if so,  then oughtest thou to be humbled also, for that God having passed by others, took notice of thee. Fear thou because of this: for often this is a cause of destruction to thee, if thou be not watchful. Why thinkest thou great things of thyself? Because thou teachest by words? But this is easy, to philosophize in words: teach me by thy life: that is the best teaching. Sayest thou that it is right to be moderate, and dost thou make a long speech about this thing, and play the orator, pouring forth thy eloquence without a check? But "better than thou is he" shall one say to thee, "who teaches me this by his deeds"--for not so much are those lessons wont to be fixed in the mind which consist in words, as those which teach by things: since if thou hast not the deed, thou not only hast not profited him by thy words, but hast even hurt him the more--"better thou wert silent." Wherefore? "Because the thing thou proposest to me is impossible: for I consider, that if thou who hast so much to say about it, succeedest not in this, much more am I excusable." For this cause the Prophet says, "But unto the sinner said God. Why declarest thou My statutes?" (Ps. lx. 16.) For this is a worse mischief, when one who teaches well in words, impugns the teaching by his deeds. This has been the cause of many evils in the Churches. Wherefore pardon me, I beseech you, that my discourse dwells long on this evil affection (pathei). Many take a deal of pains to be able to stand up in public, and make a long speech: and if they get applause from the multitude, it is to them as if they gained the very kingdom (of heaven): but if silence follows the close of their speech, it is worse than hell itself, the dejection that falls upon their spirits from the silence! This has turned the Churches upside down, because both you desire not to hear a discourse calculated to lead you to compunction, but one that may delight you from the sound and composition of the words, as though you were listening to singers and minstrels (kitharodhon kai kitharisthon, supra p. 68): and we too act a preposterous and pitiable part in being led by your lusts, when we ought to root them out. And  so it is just as if the father of a poor cold-blooded child (already, more delicate than it ought to be), should, although it is so feeble, give it cake and cold (drink) and whatever only pleases the child, and take no account of what might do it good; and then, being reproved by the physicians, should excuse himself by saying, "What can I do? I cannot bear to see the child crying." Thou poor, wretched creature, thou betrayer! for I cannot call such a one a father: how much better were it for thee, by paining him for a short time, to restore him to health forever, than to make this short-lived pleasure the foundation of a lasting sorrow? Just such is our case, when we idly busy ourselves about beautiful expressions, and the composition and harmony of our sentences, in order that we may please, not profit: (when) we make it our aim to be admired, not to instruct; to delight, not prick to the heart; to be applauded and depart with praise, not to correct men's manners! Believe me, I speak not other than I feel--when as I discourse I hear myself applauded, at the moment indeed I feel it as a man (for why should I not own the truth?): I am delighted, and give way to the pleasurable feeling: but when I get home, and bethink me that those who applauded received no benefit from my discourse, but that whatever benefit they ought to have got, they lost it while applauding and praising, I am in pain, and groan, and weep, and feel as if I had spoken all in vain. I say to myself: "What profit comes to me from my labors, while the hearers do not choose to benefit by what they hear from us?" Nay, often have I thought to make a rule which should prevent all applauding, and persuade you to listen with silence and becoming orderliness. But bear with me, I beseech you, and be persuaded by me, and, if it seem good to you, let us even now establish this rule, that no hearer be permitted to applaud in the midst of any person's discourse, but if he will needs admire, let him admire in silence: there is none to prevent him: and let all his study and eager desire be set upon the receiving the things spoken.--What means that noise again?  I am laying down a rule against this very thing, and you have not the forbearance even to hear me!--Many will be the good effects of this regulation: it will be a discipline of philosophy. Even the heathen philosophers--we hear of their discoursing, and nowhere do we find that noisy applause accompanied their words: we hear of the Apostles, making public speeches, and yet nowhere do the accounts add, that in the midst of their speeches the hearers interrupted the speakers with loud expressions of approbation. A great gain will this be to us. But let us establish this rule: in quiet let us all hear, and speak the whole (of what we have to say). For if indeed it were the case that we departed retaining what we had heard, what I insist upon is, that even so the praise is not beneficial  --but not to go too much into particulars (on this point); let none tax me with rudeness --but since nothing is gained by it, nay, it is even mischievous, let us loose the hindrance, let us put a stop to the boundings, let us retrench the gambollings of the soul. Christ spoke publicly on the Mount: yet no one said aught, until He had finished His discourse. I do not rob those who wish to be applauded: on the contrary, I make them to be more admired. It is far better that one's hearer, having listened in silence, should by his memory throughout all time applaud, both at home and abroad, than that having lost all he should return home empty, not possessed of that which was the subject of his applauses. For how shall the hearer be otherwise than ridiculous? Nay, he will be deemed a flatterer, and his praises no better than irony, when he declares that the teacher spoke beautifully, but what he said, this he cannot tell. This has all the appearance of adulation. For when indeed one has been hearing minstrels and players, it is no wonder if such be the case with him, seeing he knows not how to utter the strain in the same manner: but where the matter is not an exhibition of song or of voice, but the drift and purport of thoughts and wise reflection (philosophias), and it is easy for every one to tell and report what was said, how can he but deserve the accusation, who cannot tell what the matter was for which he praised the speaker? Nothing so becomes a Church as silence and good order. Noise belongs to theatres, and baths, and public processions, and market-places: but where doctrines, and such doctrines, are the subject of teaching, there should be stillness, and quiet, and calm reflection, and a haven of much repose (philosophia kai polus ho limen). These things I beseech and entreat: for I go about in quest of ways  by which I shall be enabled to profit your souls. And no small way I take this to be: it will profit not you only, but us also. So shall we not be carried away with pride (ektrachelizesthai), not be tempted to love praises and honor, not be led to speak those things which delight, but those which profit: so shall we lay the whole stress of our time and diligence not upon arts of composition and beauties of expression, but upon the matter and meaning of the thoughts. Go into a painter's study, and you will observe how silent all is there. Then so ought it to be here: for here too we are employed in painting portraits, royal portraits (every one of them), none of any private man, by means  of the colors of virtue--How now? Applauding again? This is a reform not easy, but (only) by reason of long habit, to be effected.--The pencil moreover is the tongue, and the Artist the Holy Spirit. Say, during the celebration of the Mysteries, is there any noise? any disturbance? when we are baptizing (baptizometha), when we are doing all the other acts? Is not all Nature decked (as it were) with stillness and silence?  Over all the face of heaven is scattered this charm (of repose).--On this account are we evil spoken of even among the Gentiles, as though we did all for display and ostentation. But if this be prevented, the love of the chief seats also will be extinguished. It is sufficient, if any one be enamoured of praise, that he should obtain it after having been heard, when all is gathered in.  Yea, I beseech you, let us establish this rule, that doing all things according to God's will, we may be found worthy of the mercy which is from Him, through the grace and compassion of His only begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father together with the Holy Spirit be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
"Which when the Apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein."
Mark the vehemence with which all this is done by the Apostles: "rent their clothes, ran in, cried out," all from strong affection of the soul, revolted  by the things that were done. For it was a grief, indeed a grief inconsolable, that they should needs be thought gods, and introduce idolatry, the very thing which they came to destroy! This also was a contrivance of the devil--but he did not prevail.  But what say they? "We also are men of like passions with you." At the very outset they overthrew the evil. They said not simply, "Men," but "As ye." Then, that they may not seem to honor the gods, hear what they add: "Preaching unto you, that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, Who made heaven, the sea, and all things that are therein." Observe how they nowhere mention things invisible.  (b) For  they had learnt that one should study not so much to say somewhat worthy of God, as to say what is profitable for the hearers. (a) What then? if He be Maker of all things, why does He not also attend to these things by His Providence?--"Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways" (v. 16)--but wherefore He suffered them, this he does not say, for at present he keeps to the matter of immediate importance, nowhere bringing in the name of Christ. Observe, he does not wish to swell the accusation against them, but  rather that they themselves should refer all to God. "Nevertheless, He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, giving you rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness." (v. 17.) (c) See how covertly he puts the accusation "in that He did good," etc. And yet if God did this, He could not have "let them alone;" on the contrary, they ought to be punished, for that, enjoying so great benefits, they had not acknowledged Him, not even as their feeder.  "From heaven," he says, "giving you rain." Thus also David said, "From the fruit of their corn and wine and oil were they made to abound" (Ps. iv. 7), and in many places speaking of Creation, he brings forward these benefits: and Jeremiah mentions first Creation, then Providence (shown) by the rains, so that the Apostle here discourses as taught from those Scriptures. "Filling," he says, "with food and gladness." (Jer. v. 24.) With large liberality (philotimias) the food is given, not merely for a frugal sufficiency, nor stinted by the need. "And saying these things, they scarcely stopped the multitudes" (v. 18)--indeed by this very thing they gained most admiration--"from sacrificing to them." Do you observe that this was the point with them to put an end to that madness? "But there came," it says, "certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium" (v. 19).--Indeed children of the devil, that not in their own cities only, but also beyond them, they did these things, and as much made it their study to make an end of the preaching, as the Apostles were in earnest to establish it!--"and having persuaded the multitude and stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city." (e) So then, the Gentiles regarded them as gods, but these "dragged" him, "out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Having persuaded the multitude"--for it is not likely that all thus reverenced them. In the very city in which they received this reverence, in the same were they thus terribly ill treated. And this also profited the beholders. "Lest any man," he says, "should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth aught from me." (v. 20.)--"Howbeit as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up and came into the city." (d) Here is fulfilled that saying, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. xii. 9.) Greater this than the raising of the lame man! (f) "Came into the city." Do you mark the zeal, do you mark how fervent he  is, how set on fire! He came into the city itself again: for proof that if on any occasion he did retire, it was because he had sown the word, and because it was not right to inflame their wrath. (h) Then they went over all the cities in which they had been in danger. "And on the morrow," it says, "he went forth with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the Gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (v. 21, 22.) This they said, this they showed. But it is purposely so done, not only by  the Apostles, but by the disciples also, that they may learn from the very outset both the might of the preaching, and that they must themselves also suffer such things, that they may stand nobly, not idly gaping for the miracles, but much more (ready) for the trials. Therefore also the Apostle himself said, "Having the same conflict which ye saw in me and heard." (Phil. i. 30.) Persecutions succeeded to persecutions: wars, fightings, stonings. (g) These things, not less than the miracles, both made them more illustrious, and prepared for them a greater rejoicing. The Scripture nowhere says that they returned rejoicing because they had done miracles, but (it does say that they rejoiced), that "they were counted worthy for that Name to suffer shame." (ch. v. 41.) And this they were taught of Christ, saying, "Rejoice not that the devils obey you." (Luke x. 20.) For the joy indeed and without alloy is this, to suffer aught for Christ's sake. (i) "And that through much tribulation:" what sort of cheering (protrope) is this? how did they persuade them, by telling them at the outset of tribulations? Then also another consolation.  "And when they had appointed for them elders in every Church,  and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." (v. 23.) Do you mark Paul's ardor?--Then other consolation: "Commended them," it says, "to the Lord. And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia (v. 24, 25): (l) and thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled." (v. 26.) Why do they come back to Antioch? To report what had taken place yonder. And besides, there is a great purpose of Providence concerned: for it was needful that they should thenceforth preach with boldness to the Gentiles. They come therefore, reporting these things, that they may be able to know them: and it is providentially ordered, that just then came those who forbade to keep company with the Gentiles in order that from Jerusalem they might obtain great encouragement, and so go their ways with boldness. And besides, it shows that in their temper there was nothing of self-will: for they come, at the same time showing their boldness, in that without the authority of those (at Jerusalem) they had preached to the Gentiles, and their obedience, in that they refer the matter to them: for they were not made arrogant, as (apenoethesan) having achieved so great successes. "Whence," it says, "they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they had fulfilled." And yet moreover the Spirit had said, "Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them." (ch. xiii. 2.) "And when they were come, and had gathered the Church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples." (v. 27, 28.) For the city being great had need of teachers.--But let us look over again what has been said.
(Recapitulation.) "Which when the Apostles," etc. (v. 14). First by the sight they checked them, by rending their garments. This did Joshua the son of Nun upon the occasion of the defeat of the people. Then think not that this action was unworthy of them: for such was the eagerness, they would not otherwise have restrained it would not otherwise have quenched the conflagration (puran). Therefore when need is to do something that is fit to be done, let us not decline it. For if even after all this they hardly persuaded them, if they had not acted thus, what might have been the consequence? For if they had not done thus, they would have been thought to make a show of humility (tapeinothronhein), and to be all the more desirous of the honor. And observe their language, how in rebuking it is moderated, alike full of wonder and of rebuke. This above all it was that hindered them, the saying, "Preaching unto you to turn from these vanities unto God." (v. 15.) We are men indeed, they say, but greater than these: for these are dead things. Mark how they not only subvert (the false), but teach (the true), saying nothing about things invisible--"Who made," say they, "heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein. Who in times past," etc. (v. 16, 17.) He names as witnesses even the years (in their courses).  "And there came thither certain Jews," etc. (v. 19.) O that Jewish madness! Among a people that had so honored the Apostles, they had the hardihood to come, and to stone Paul. "And they dragged him out of the city," being afraid of those (others),--"Supposing he had been dead." (k) "Howbeit," etc. "and came into the city." (v. 20.) For that the spirits of the disciples might not be downcast because they who were accounted gods suffered such treatment, they came in unto them and discoursed. "Then on the morrow," etc. And observe, first he goes forth to Derbe, and then comes back to Lystra and Iconium and Antioch, (v. 21) giving way to them while their passions are roused, but when they have ceased, then attacking them again. Do you mark, that it was not by (supernatural) grace that they managed all that they did, but by their own diligence? "Confirming," it says "the souls of the disciples:" episterizontes, "further establishing;" so that they were established, but they added more thereto. "And that we must," etc. (v. 22): they foretold (this), that they might not be offended. "And when they had appointed for them," etc. Again the ordinations accompanied with fastings: and again fasting, that purifying of our souls. (m) "And having prayed," it says, "with fastings, they commended them unto the Lord" (v. 23): they taught them to fast also in their trials. (o) Why did they not make elders in Cyprus nor in Samaria? Because the latter was near to Jerusalem, the former to Antioch, and the word was strong there; whereas in those parts they needed much consolation, especially they of the Gentiles, who behooved to have much instruction. "And when they were come," etc. (v. 27.) They came, teaching them that with good reason had they been ordained by the Spirit. (n) They said not what they themselves, but "what God had done with them." It seems to me, that they mean their trials. It was not for nothing that they come here, nor to rest, but providentially guided by the Spirit, to the end that the preaching to the Gentiles might be firmly established. (p) And mark Paul's ardor. He does not ask whether it be right to speak to Gentiles, but he straightway speaks: therefore it is that he says, "I did not refer myself to flesh and blood." (Gal. i. 16.)
For it is indeed  a great thing, a great, a generous soul (like this)! How many have since believed, and none of them all has shone like him! What we want is earnestness, exceeding ardor, a soul ready to encounter death. Else is it not possible to attain unto the Kingdom, not being crucified. Let us not deceive ourselves. For if in war it is impossible to come off safe while living daintily, and trafficking, and huckstering and idling, much more in this war. Or think ye not that it is a war worse than all others? (Infra, p. 204, note 1.) "For we wrestle not," he says, "against flesh and blood." (Eph. vi. 12.) Since even while taking our meals and walking, and bathing, the enemy is present with us, and knows no time of truce, except that of sleep only: nay, often even then he carries on the war, injecting into us unclean thoughts, and making us lewd by means of dreams. We watch not, we do not rouse ourselves up, do not look to the multitude of the forces opposed to us, do not reflect, that this very thing constitutes the greatest misfortune--that though surrounded by so great wars, we live daintily as in time of peace. Believe me, worse than Paul suffered may have to be suffered now. Those enemies wounded him with stones: there is a wounding with words, even worse than stones. What then must we do? The same that he did: he did not hate those who cast stones at him, but after they had dragged him out, he entered again into their city, to be a benefactor to those who had done him such wrongs. If thou also endurest him who harshly insults thee, and has done thee wrongs, then hast thou too been stoned. Say not, "I have done him no injury." For what injury had Paul done, that he should be stoned? He was announcing a Kingdom, he was bringing men away from error, and bringing them to God: benefits these, worthy of crowns, worthy of proclamation by voice of herald, worthy of a thousand good things--not of stones. And yet (far from resenting) he did  just the contrary. For this is the splendid victory. "And they dragged him," (v. 19) it says. These too they often drag: but be not thou angry; on the contrary, preach thou the word with gentleness. Hath one insulted thee? Hold thy peace, and bless if thou canst, and thou also hast preached the word, hast given a lesson of gentleness, a lesson of meekness. I know that many do not so smart under wounds, as they do under the blow which is inflicted by words: as indeed the one wound the body receives the other the soul. But let us not smart, or rather feeling the smart let us endure. Do you not see the pugilists, how, with their heads sorely battered, they bite their teeth into their lips, and so bear their smarts kindly? No need to grind the teeth, no need to bite (the lips). Remember thy Master, and by the remembrance thou hast at once applied the remedy. Remember Paul: reflect that thou, the beaten hast conquered, and he the beater, is defeated; and by this hast thou cured the whole. It  is the turning of the scale a moment and thou hast achieved the whole: be not hurried away, do not even move, thou hast extinguished the whole (fire). Great  eloquence of persuasion there is in suffering aught for Christ: thou preachest not the word of faith, but thou preachest the word of patience (philosophias). But, you will say, the more he sees my gentleness, the more he sets upon me. Is it for this then that thou art pained, that he increases thy rewards the more? "But  this is the way," you say, "to make him unbearable." This is mere pretext of thine own littleness of mind: on the contrary, the other is the way to make him unbearable, namely, that thou avenge thyself. If God had known, that through forbearance of revenge, the unjust became unbearable, He would not have done  this Himself: on the contrary, He would have said, Avenge thyself: but He knew, that other than this is the more likely way to do good. Make not thou a law contrary to God: do as He bids thee. Thou art not kinder than He that made us. He hath said, "Bear to be wronged:" thou sayest, "I requite wrong for wrong, that he may not become unbearable." Hast thou then more care for him than God has? Such talk is mere passion and ill temper, arrogance and setting up laws against God's laws. For even if the man were hurt (by our forbearance), would it not be our duty to obey? When God orders anything, let us not make a contrary law. "A submissive answer," we read, turneth away wrath" (Prov. xvi. 1): not an answer of opposition. If it profits thee, it profits him also: but if it hurts thee who art to set him right, how much more will it hurt him? "Physician, heal thyself." Hath one spoken ill of thee? Commend him thou. Hath he reviled thee? Praise him thou. Hath he plotted against thee? Do him a kindness. Requite him with the contrary things, if at least thou at all carest for his salvation and wish not thou to revenge thine own suffering. And yet, you will say, though he has often met with long-suffering from me he has become worse. This is not thine affair, but his. Wilt thou learn what wrongs God suffered? They threw down His altars, and slew His prophets (1 Kings xix. 10), yet He endured it all. Could He not have launched a thunderbolt from above? Nay, when He had sent His prophets, and they killed them, then He sent His Son (Matt. xxi. 37), when they wrought greater impieties, then He sent them greater benefits. And thou too, if thou seest one exasperated, then yield the more: since this madness has greater need of soothing (paramthias). The more grievous his abuse of thee, the more meekness does he need from thee: and even as a gale  when it blows strong, then it requires yielding to, so also he who is in a passion. When the wild beast is most savage, then we all flee: so also should we flee from him that is angry. Think not that this is an honor to him: for is it an honor we show to the wild beast, and to madmen, when we turn aside out of their way? By no means it is a dishonor and a scorn: or rather not dishonor and scorn, but compassion and humanity. Seest thou not how the sailors, when the wind blows violently, take down their sails, that the vessel may not sink? how, when the horses have run away with the driver, he only leads them into the (open) plain, and does not pull against them that he may not voluntarily exhaust his strength? This do thou also. Wrath is afire, it is a quick flame needing fuel: do not supply food to the fire, and thou hast soon extinguished the evil. Anger has no power of itself; there must be another to feed it. For thee there is no excuse. He is possessed with madness, and knows not what he does; but when thou, seeing what he is, fallest into the same evils, and art not brought to thy right senses by the sight, what excuse can there be for thee? If coming to a feast thou see at the very outset of the feast some one drunken and acting unseemly, would not he, who after seeing him makes himself drunk, be much more inexcusable? Just so it is here. Do we think it any excuse to say, I was not the first to begin? This is against us, that even the sight of the other in that condition did not bring us to our right senses. It is just as if one should say, "I did not murder him first." For this very thing makes thee deserving of punishment, that even upon the warning of such a spectacle thou didst not restrain thyself. If thou shouldest see the drunken man in the act of vomiting, retching, bursting, his eyes strained, filling the table with his filthiness, everybody hurrying out of his way, and then shouldest fall into the same state thyself, wouldest thou not be more hateful? Like him is he that is in a passion: more than he who vomits, he has his veins distended, his eyes inflamed, his bowels racked; he vomits forth words far more filthy than that food; all crude what he utters, nothing duly digested, for his passion will not let it be. But as in that case excess of fumes (chumon), making an uproar in the stomach, often rejects all its contents; so here, excess of heat, making a tumult in the soul suffers him not to conceal what it were right to leave unsaid, but things fit and unfit to be spoken, he says all alike, not putting the hearers but himself to shame. As then we get out of the way of those that vomit, so let us from those who are angry. Let us cast dust upon their vomit: By doing what?  By holding our peace: let us call the dogs to eat up the vomit. I know that ye are disgusted at hearing this: but I wish you to feel this same disgust when ye see these things take place, and not to be pleased at the thing. The abusive man is filthier than the dog that returneth to its own vomit. For if indeed having vomited once he were done with it, he would not be like that dog: but if he vomits the same things again, it is plain that he does so from having eaten the same again. What then is more abominable than such an one? What filthier than that mouth which chews such food? And yet this is a work of nature, but the other not or rather both the one and the other are contrary to nature. How? Since it is not according to nature to be causelessly abusive, but against nature: he speaks nothing then like a man, but part as beast, part as madman. As then the disease of the body is contrary to nature, so also is this. And to show that it is contrary to nature, if he shall continue in it, he will perish by little and little: but if he continue in that which is natural, he will not perish. I had rather sit at table with a man who eats dirt, than with one who speaks such words. See ye not the swine devouring dung? So also do these. For what is more stinking than the words which abusive men utter? It is their study to speak nothing wholesome, nothing pure, but whatever is base, whatever is unseemly, that they study both to do and say: and what is worse, they think to disgrace others, while they in fact are disgracing themselves. For that it is themselves they disgrace is plain. For, leaving out of the question those who speak lies (in their railings), say it be some notorious harlot, or even from the stage some other (abandoned creature), and let that person be having a fight with some other person: then let the latter cast this up to the former (what she or he is), and the former retort upon the latter the same reproach: which of them is most damaged by the words? For  the former is but called what in fact he or she is, which is not the case with the other: so that the first gets nothing more in the way of shame (than there was before), while to the other there accrues a great accession of disgrace. But again, let there be some hidden actions (mod. text eirgasmena "which have been done"), and let only the person abusing know of them: then, holding his peace until now, let him openly parade (ekpompeueto) the reproach: even so, he himself is more disgraced than the other. How? by making himself the herald of the wickedness, so  getting for himself either the imputation of not being privy to any such thing, or the character of one not fit to be trusted. And you shall see all men forthwith accuse him: "If indeed he had been privy to a murder being done, he ought to have revealed it all:" and so they regard him with aversion as not human even, they hate him, they say he is a wild beast, fierce and cruel: while the other they pardon much rather than him. For we do not so much hate those that have wounds, as those that compel one to uncover and show them. Thus that man has not only disgraced the other, but himself as well and his hearers, and the common nature of men: he has wounded the hearer, done no good. For this reason Paul says: "If there be any word that is good for edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." (Eph. iv. 29.) Let us get a tongue speaking only good things, that we may be lovely and amiable. But indeed, everything is come to that pitch of wickedness, that many boast of the very things, for which they should hide their faces. For the threats of the many are of this kind: "thou canst not bear my tongue," say they. Words, these, worthy only of a woman, of an abandoned drunken old hag, one of those that are dragged (to punishment)  in the forum, a procuress. Nothing more shameful than these words, nothing more unmanly, more womanlike, than to have your strength in the tongue, and to think great things of yourself because you can rail, just like the fellows in processions, like the buffoons, parasites, and flatterers. Swine they are rather than men, who pride themselves upon this. Whereas you should (sooner) have buried yourself, and if another gave you this character, should recoil from the charge as odious and unmanly, instead of that you have made yourself the herald of (your own) disgrace (hubreon). But you will not be able to hurt him you speak ill of. Wherefore I beseech you, considering how the wickedness is come to such a height, that many boast of it, let us return to our senses, let us recover those who are thus mad, let us take away these councils  out of the city, let us make our tongue gracious, let us rid it of all evil speaking, that being clean from sins, we may be able to draw down upon us the good-will from above, and to have mercy vouchsafed unto us from God, through the grace and compassion of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
"And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."
Mark  how at every step of the right progress in respect of the Gentiles, the beginning is brought in as matter of necessity. Before this (Peter) being found fault with, justified himself, and said all that he said in the tone of apology, which was what made his words acceptable: then, the Jews having turned away, upon this (Paul) came to the Gentiles. Here again, seeing another extravagance coming in, upon this (the apostle) enacts the law. For as it is likely that they, as being taught of God, discoursed to all indifferently, this moved to jealousy them of the Jews (who had believed). And they did not merely speak of circumcision, but they said, Ye cannot even be saved. Whereas the very opposite to this was the case, that receiving circumcision they could not be saved. Do you mark how closely the trials succeed each other, from within, from without? It is well ordered too, that this happens when Paul is present, that he may answer them. "When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question." (v. 2.) And Paul does not say, What? Have I not a right to be believed after so many signs? but he complied for their sakes. "And being brought on their way by the Church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren." (v. 3.) And observe, the consequence is that all the Samaritans also, learn what has come to the Gentiles: and they rejoiced. "And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the Church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them." (v. 4.) See what a providence is here! "But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that of old days God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel, and believe." (v. 5-7.) Observe Peter from the first standing aloof (kechorismenon) from the affair, and even to this time judaizing. And yet (says he) "ye know." (ch. x. 45; xi. 2.) Perhaps those were present who of old found fault with him in the matter of Cornelius, and went in with him (on that occasion): for this reason he brings them forward as witnesses. "From old days," he says, "did choose among you." What means, "Among you?" Either, in Palestine, or, you being present. "By my mouth." Observe how he shows that it was God speaking by him, and no human utterance. "And God, that knoweth the hearts, gave testimony unto them:" he refers them to the spiritual testimony: "by giving them the Holy Ghost even as unto us." (v. 8.) Everywhere he puts the Gentiles upon a thorough equality. "And put no difference between us and them, having purified their hearts by faith." (v. 9.) From faith alone, he says, they obtained the same gifts. This is also meant as a lesson to those (objectors); this is able to teach even them that faith only is needed, not works nor circumcision. For indeed they do not say all this only by way of apology for the Gentiles, but to teach (the Jewish believers) also to abandon the Law. However, at present this is not said. "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples?" (v. 10.) What means, "Tempt ye God?" As if He had not power to save by faith. Consequently, it proceeds from a want of faith, this bringing in the Law. Then he shows that they themselves were nothing benefited by it, and he turns the whole (stress of his speech) against the Law, not against them, and (so) cuts short the accusation of them: "which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear. But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus we shall be saved, even as they." (v. 11.) How full of power these words! The same that Paul says at large in the Epistle to the Romans, the same says Peter here. "For if Abraham," says (Paul), "was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God." (Rom. iv. 2.) Do you perceive that all this is more a lesson for them than apology for the Gentiles? However, if he had spoken this without a plea for speaking, he  would have been suspected: an occasion having offered, he lays hold of it, and speaks out fearlessly. See on all occasions how the designs of their foes are made to work with them. If those had not stirred the question, these things would not have been spoken, nor what follows. 
(Recapitulation.) (b) But  let us look more closely at what has been said. "And certain men," etc. In Jerusalem, then, there were not any believers from among the Gentiles: but in Antioch of course there were. Therefore  there came down certain yet laboring under this disease of the love of rule, and wishing to have those of the Gentiles attached to them. And yet Paul, though he too was learned in the Law, was not thus affected. "When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small disputation with them," etc. (v. 2.) But when he returned from thence, the doctrine also became more exact. For if they at Jerusalem enjoin no such thing, much more these (have no right to do so). "And being brought on their way," etc, "they caused no small joy to the brethren." (v. 3.) Do you mark, as many as are not enamoured of rule, rejoiced in their believing? It was no ambitious feeling that prompted their recitals, neither was it for display, but in justification of the preaching to the Gentiles. (v. 4.) Thus they say nothing of what had happened in the matter of the Jews.  "But there arose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed," etc. (v. 5.) (a) But even if they would needs bring over the Gentiles to their side, they learn that neither must the Apostles overlook it.  "And the Apostles and elders," etc. (v. 6.) "Among us," he says, "God chose:" and "from old days:" long ago, he says, not now. And  this too is no small point--at a time when Jews believed, not turned away (from the Gospel). "Among us;" an argument from the place: "of old days," from the time. And that expression, "Chose:" just as in their own case  he says not, (so) willed it, but, "Chose that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel and believe." Whence is this proved? From the Spirit. Then he shows that the testimony given them is not of grace merely, but of their virtue. "And God which knoweth the hearts bare them witness" (v. 8); having afforded to them nothing less (than to us), for, he says, "Put no difference between us and them." (v. 9.) Why then, hearts are what one must everywhere look to.  And it is very appositely said, "God that knoweth the hearts bare them witness:" as in the former instance, "Thou, Lord, that knowest the hearts of all men." (ch. i. 24.) For to show that this is the meaning, observe what he adds, "Put no difference between us and them." When he has mentioned the testimony borne to them, then he utters that great word, the same which Paul speaks, "Neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision." (1 Cor. vii. 19.) "That he may make the twain one in Himself." (Eph. ii. 5.) Of all these the seeds lie in Peter's discourse. And he does not say (between) them of the circumcision, but "Between us," that is the Apostles, "and them." Then, that the expression, "no difference" may not seem an outrage, After faith, he says--"Having purified their hearts by faith" (v. 10)--He thoroughly cleansed them first.  Then he shows, not that the Law was evil, but themselves weak.--"But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus we shall be saved even as they." (v. 11.) Mark how he ends with a fearful consideration. He  does not discourse to them from the Prophets, but from things present, of which themselves were witnesses. Of course  (the Prophets) also themselves anon add their testimony (infra v. 15), and make the reason stronger by what has now come to pass. And observe, he first permits the question to be moved in the Church, and then speaks. "And put no difference between"--he said not, them of the circumcision, but "us and them," i.e. the Gentiles: for  this (gradual advance) little by little is stronger. "Why therefore tempt ye God?" who is become (the) God of the Gentiles: for this was tempting:  * * * whether He is able to save even after the Law. See what he does. He shows that they are in danger. For if, what the Law could not do, faith had power to do, "we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus we shall be saved even as they" (comp. Gal. ii. 16): but faith falling off, behold, themselves (are) in destruction. And he did not say, Why do ye disbelieve? which was more harsh, but, "Tempt God," and that when the fact is demonstrated.
(c) Great effrontery this, of the Pharisees, that even after faith they set up the Law, and will not obey the Apostles. But see these, how mildly they speak, and not in the tone of authority: such words are amiable, and more apt to fix themselves in the mind. Observe, it is nowhere a display of words, but demonstration by facts, by the Spirit. And yet, though they have such proofs, they still speak gently. And observe they  do not come accusing those at Antioch, but "declaring all things that God had done with them:" (v. 4) but thence again these men lay hold upon the occasion (to compass their own objects), "but there rose up," etc. (v. 1.) Such were the pains they took in their love of power: and it was not with the knowledge of the Apostles that they Paul and Barnabas were blamed. But still they brought forward none of these charges: but when they have proved the matter, then (the Apostles) write in stronger terms.
For gentleness  is everywhere a great good: gentleness, I say, not stupid indifference; gentleness, not adulation: for between these there is a vast difference. Nothing ruffled Paul, nothing discomposed Peter. When thou hast convincing proofs, why lose thy temper, to render these of none effect? It is impossible for one who is out of temper ever to persuade. Yesterday also we discoursed about anger; but there is no reason why we should not to-day also; perchance a second exhortation coming directly after the first will effect somewhat. For indeed a medicine though of virtue to heal a wound, unless it be constantly renewed, mars all. And think not that our continual discoursing about the same things is a condemning of you: for if we condemned you, we should not discourse; but now, hoping that you will gain much, we speak these things. Would indeed that we did speak constantly of the same things: would that there were no other subject of our discourses, than how we might overcome our passions. For is it not contrary to all reason, that while emperors, living in luxury and so great honor, have no subject of discourse either while sitting at table, or at any other time, save only how to overcome their enemies  --and therefore it is that they hold their assemblies each day, and appoint generals and soldiers, and demand taxes and tributes; and that of all state affairs, the moving causes are these two, the overcoming of those who make war upon them, and the establishing of their subjects in peace--we have no mind for such themes as this, nor ever even dream of conversing upon them: but how we may buy land, or purchase slaves, and make our property greater, these are subjects we can talk about every day, and never be tired of them: while concerning things in ourselves and really our own, we neither wish to speak ourselves, nor so much as dream of tolerating advice, nor of enduring to hear others speaking about them? But answer me, what do you talk about? About dinner? Why that is a subject for cooks. Of money? Nay, that is a theme for hucksters and merchants. Of buildings? That belongs to carpenters and builders. Of land? That talk is for husbandmen. But for us, there is no other proper business, save this, how we may make wealth for the soul. Then let not the discourse be wearisome to you. Why is it that none finds fault with the physician for always discoursing of the healing art, nor with people of other crafts for talking about their peculiar arts? If indeed the mastery over our passions were really achieved, so that there were no need of putting us in mind, we might reasonably be taxed with ambition and display: or rather, not then either. For even if it were gained, for all that, there would be need of discoursing, that one might not relapse and remain uncorrected: as in fact physicians discourse not only to the sick, but also to the whole, and they have books on this subject, on the one part how to free from disease, on the other how to preserve health. So that even if we are well, still we must not give over, but must do all in order to the preserving of our health. And when we are sick there is a twofold necessity for advice: first, that we may be freed from the disease; secondly, that having been freed, we may not fall into it again. Well then, we are discoursing now by the method of treating the sick, not by the rules for the treatment of the healthy.
How then may one root out this evil passion? how subdue (huposkeliseie) this violent fever? Let us see whence it had its birth, and let us remove the cause. Whence is it wont to arise? From arrogance and much haughtiness. This cause then let us remove, and the disease is removed together with it. But what is arrogance? whence does it arise? for perhaps we are likely to have to go back to a still higher origin. But whatever course the reason of the thing may point out, that let us take, that we may go to the bottom of the mischief, and pluck it up by the roots. Whence then comes arrogance? From our not looking into our own concerns, but instead of that, busying ourselves about the nature of land, though we are not husbandmen, and the nature of gold, though we are not merchants, and concerning clothing, and everything else: while to ourselves and our own nature we never look at all. And who, you will say, is ignorant of his own nature? Many: perhaps all, save a few: and if ye will, I will show the proof of it. For, tell me, what is man? If one were asked, will he be able to answer outright to the questions, In what he differs from the brutes, in what he is akin to the heavenly inhabitants, what can be made of man? For as in the case of any other material, so also in this case: man is the subject-matter, but of this can be made either an angel or a beast. Does not this seem a strange saying? And yet ye have often heard it in the Scriptures. For of certain human beings it was said, "he is the angel of the Lord" (Mal. ii. 7): and "from his lips," saith it, "they shall seek judgment" (Mal. iii. 1): and again, "I send My angel before Thy face:" but of some, "Serpents, generation of vipers." (Matt. xii. 34.) So then, it all depends upon the use. Why do I say, an angel? the man can become God, and a child of God. For we read, "I have said, Ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High." (Ps. lxxxii. 6.) And what is greater, the power to become both God and angel and child of God is put into his own hands. Yea, so it is, man can be the maker of an angel. Perchance this saying has startled you? Hear however Christ saying: "In the Resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like unto the angels." (Matt. xxii. 30.) And again, "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it." (Matt. xix. 12.) In a word, it is virtue which makes angels: but this is in our power: therefore we are able to make angels, though not in nature, certainly in will. For indeed if virtue be absent, it is no advantage to be an angel by nature; and the Devil is a proof of this, who was an angel once: but if virtue be present, it is no loss to be a man by nature; and John is a proof of this, who was a man, and Elias who went up into heaven, and all those who are about to depart thither. For these indeed, though with bodies, were not prevented from dwelling in heaven: while those others, though without bodies, could not remain in heaven. Let no one then grieve or be vexed with his nature as if it were a hindrance to him, but with his will. He (the Devil) from being incorporeal became a lion: for lo! it saith, "Our adversary, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. v. 8): we from being corporeal, become angels. For just as if a person, having found some precious material, should despise it, as not being an artificer, it will be a great loss to him, whether it be pearls, or a pearl shell, or any other such thing that he has seen; so we likewise, if we are ignorant of our own nature, shall despise it much: but if we know what it is, we shall exhibit much zeal, and reap the greatest profits. For from this nature is wrought a king's robe, from this a king's house, from this nature are fashioned a king's members: all are kingly. Let us not then misuse our own nature to our hurt. He has made us "a little lower than the angels," (Ps. viii. 5), I mean, by reason of death: but even that little we have now recovered. There is nothing therefore to hinder us from becoming nigh to the angels, if we will. Let us then will it, let us will it, and having exercised ourselves thoroughly, let us return honor to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, world without end, Amen.
"And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Symeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets."
This (James) was bishop, as they say, and therefore he speaks last, and herein is fulfilled that saying, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." (Deut. xvii. 6; Matt. xviii. 16.) But observe the discretion shown by him also, in making his argument good from the prophets, both new and old.  For he had no acts of his own to declare, as Peter had and Paul. And indeed it is wisely ordered that this (the active) part is assigned to those, as not intended to be locally fixed in Jerusalem, whereas (James) here, who performs the part of teacher, is no way responsible for what has been done, while however he is not divided from them in opinion.  (b) "Men and brethren," he says, "hearken unto me." Great is the moderation of the man. His also is a more complete oration, as indeed it puts the completion to the matter under discussion. (a) "Symeon," he says, "declared:" (namely,) in Luke, in that he prophesied, "Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all nations, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel."  (c) "How God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His Name." (Luke ii. 25.) Then, since that (witness), though  from the time indeed he was manifest, yet had not authority by reason of his not being ancient, therefore he produces ancient prophecy also, saying, "And to this agree the words of the Prophets, as it is written: After this I wilt return, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up." (v. 16.) What? was Jerusalem raised up? Was it not rather thrown down? What  sort of raising up does he call that which took place after the return from Babylon? "That the residue of men," he says, "may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles upon whom My Name is called." (v. 17.) Then, what makes his word authoritative--"Saith the Lord, which doeth all these things:" and, for that this is no new thing, but all was planned from the beginning, "Known unto God are all His works from everlasting."  (v. 18.) And then again his authority (kai to axioma palin) (as Bishop): "Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: but that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollution of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." (v. 19-21.) Since  then they had heard of the Law, with good reason he enjoins these things from the Law, that he may not seem to make it of no authority. And (yet) observe how he does not let them be told these things from the Law, but from himself, saying, It is not that I heard these things from the Law, but how? "We have judged." Then the decree is made in common. "Then pleased it the Apostles and elders, together with the whole Church, to choose men of their own company"--do you observe they do not merely enact these matters, and nothing more?--"and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: and they wrote letters by them after this manner." (v. 22.) And observe, the more to authenticate the decree, they send men of their own, that there may be no room for regarding Paul and his company with suspicion. "The Apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia." (v. 23.) And mark  with what forbearance of all harsh vituperation of those (brethren) they indite their epistle. "Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the Law: to whom we gave no such commandment." (v. 24.) Sufficient was this charge against the temerity of those men, and worthy of the Apostles' moderation, that they said nothing beyond this. Then to show that they do not act despotically, that all are agreed in this, that with deliberation they write this--"It seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send men of ours whom we have chosen" (v. 25)--then, that it may not look like disparagement of Paul and Barnabas, that those men are sent, observe the encomium passed upon them--"together with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas; who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us"--it is not man's doing, it says--"to lay upon you no greater burden"--again it calls the Law a burden: then apologizing even for these injunctions--"save these necessary things" (v. 26-28): "That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. (v. 29.) For these things the New Testament did not enjoin: we nowhere find that Christ discoursed about these matters; but these things they take from the Law. "From things strangled," it says, "and from blood." Here it prohibits murder. (Comp. Gen. ix. 5.) "So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation." (v. 30, 31.) Then those (brethren) also exhorted them: and having established them, for towards Paul they were contentiously disposed, so departed from them in peace. "And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the Apostles." (v. 32, 33.) No more factions and fightings, but thenceforth Paul taught. 
(Recapitulation.) "Then all the multitude kept silence," etc. (v. 12.) There was no arrogance in the Church. After Peter Paul speaks, and none silences him: James waits patiently, not starts up  (for the next word). Great the orderliness (of the proceedings). No word speaks John here, no word the other Apostles, but held their peace, for James was invested with the chief rule, and think it no hardship. So clean was their soul from love of glory. "And after that they had held their peace, James answered," etc. (v. 13.) (b) Peter indeed spoke more strongly, but James here more mildly: for thus it behooves one in high authority, to leave what is unpleasant for others to say, while he himself appears in the milder part. (a) But what means it, "How God first (prhoton) did visit?" (v. 14.) (It means) from the beginning (ex archhes).  (c) Moreover he well says, "Symeon expounded" (exegesato) (or, interpreted), implying that he too spake the mind of others. "And to this agree," etc. Observe how he shows that this is a doctrine of old time. "To take out of the Gentiles," he says, "a people for His Name." (v. 15.) Not simply, Chose, but, "for His Name," that is for His glory. His Name is not shamed by the taking (prolepsei) the Gentiles first, but it is even a greater glory.--Here some even great thing is hinted at: that these are chosen before all.  "After this I will return, and rebuild the tabernacle of David which is fallen down." (v. 16.) But if one would look into the matter closely, the kingdom of David does in fact now stand, his Offspring reigning everywhere. For what is the good of the buildings and the city, with none obeying there? And what is the harm arising from the destruction of the city, when all are willing to give their very souls? There is that come which is more illustrious than David: in all parts of the world is he now sung. This has come to pass: if so, then must this also come to pass, "And I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:" to what end? "that the residue of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My Name is called." (v. 17.) If then it was to this end that the city rose again (namely) because of Him (that was to come) of them, it shows that of the building of the city the cause is, the calling of the Gentiles. Who are "the residue?" those who are then left.  "And all the Gentiles, upon whom My Name is called:" but observe, how he keeps the due order, and brings them in second. "Saith the Lord, which doeth these things." Not "saith" (only), but "doeth." Why then, it was God's work.--"But the question is other than this (namely), what Peter spoke more plainly, whether they must be circumcised. Then why dost thou harangue about these matters?" For what the objectors asserted, was not that they must not be received upon believing, but that it must be with the Law. And upon this Peter well pleaded: but then, as this very thing above all others troubled the hearers, therefore he sets this to rights again (therapeuei). And observe, that which was needful to be enacted as a rule, that it is not necessary to keep the Law, this Peter introduced: but the milder part,  the truth which was received of old, this James saith, and dwells upon that concerning which nothing is  written, in order that having soothed their minds by that which is acknowledged, he may opportunely introduce this likewise. "Wherefore," saith he, "my sentence is, not to trouble them which from among the Gentiles do turn unto God" (v. 19), that is, not to subvert: for, if God called them, and these observances subvert, we fight against God. And  again, "them which from the Gentiles," he saith, "do turn." And he says well, with authority, the "my sentence is. But that we write unto them that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication"--(b) and yet they often insisted upon these points in discoursing to them  --but, that he may seem also to honor the Law (he mentions), these also, speaking (however) not as from Moses but from the Apostles, and to make the commandments many, he has divided the one into two (saying), "and from things strangled, and from blood." (v. 20.) For these, although relating to the body, were necessary to be observed, because (these things) caused great evils, "For Moses hath of old times in every city," etc. (v. 21.) This above all quieted them. (anepausen) (a) For this cause I affirm that it is good (so "to write to them.") Then why do we not write the same injunctions to Jews also? Moses discourses unto them. See what condescension (to their weakness)! Where it did no harm, he set him up as teacher, and indulged them with a gratification which hindered nothing, by permitting Jews to hear him in regard of these matters, even while leading away from him them of the Gentiles. See what wisdom! He seems to honor him, and to set him up as the authority for his own people, and by this very thing he leads away the Gentiles from him!  "Being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." Then why do they not learn (what is to be learnt) out of him, for instance * *?  Through the perversity of these men. He shows that even these (the Jews) need observe no more (than these necessary things). And if we do not write to them, it is not that they are bound to observe anything more, but only that they have one to tell them. And he does not say, Not to offend, nor to turn them back,  which is what Paul said to the Galatians, but, "not to trouble them:" he shows that the point (katorthoma) if carried is nothing but a mere troubling. Thus he made an end of the whole matter;  and while he seems to preserve the Law by adopting these rules from it, he unbinds it by taking only these. (c)  There was a design of Providence in the disputation also, that after the disputation the doctrine might be more firm. "Then pleased it the Apostles to send chosen men of their own company," etc., no ordinary persons, but the "leading men; having written" (letters) "by them after this manner. To those in Antioch," it says, "and Syria and Cilicia." (v. 22, 23) where the disease had its birth. Observe how they say nothing harsher (phortikoteron) against those men, but look to one thing only, namely, to undo (the mischief) which has been done. For this would make even the movers of the faction there to confess (that they were wrong). They do not say, The seducers, the pestilent fellows, or suchlike: though where need is, Paul does this, as when he says, "O full of all guile" (ch. xiii. 10): but here, the point being carried, there was no need. And observe, they do not put it, That certain from us ordered you to keep the Law, but, "Troubled you with words, subverting your souls,"--nothing could be more proper (kurioteron) than that word: none (of the other speakers) has so spoken of the things done by those men. "The souls," he says, already strongly established, these persons are anascheuazontes as in speaking of a building, "taking them down again:" displacing them (metatithentes) from the foundation).  "To whom," he says, "we gave no such commandment. It seemed good therefore to us being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you together with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that have hazarded their lives for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (v. 25, 26.) If "beloved," they will not despise them, if they "have hazarded their lives," they have themselves a right to be believed. "We have sent," it saith, "Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by word of mouth." (v. 27.) For it was necessary that there should be not merely the Epistle there by itself, lest they should say that Paul and Barnabas had suppressed  (the real purport), that they said one thing instead of another. The encomium passed upon Paul stopped their mouths. For this is the reason why neither Paul comes alone nor Barnabas (with him), but others also from the Church; that he may not be suspected, seeing it was he that advocated that doctrine: nor yet those from Jerusalem alone. It shows that they have a right to be believed. "For it seemed good," say they, "to the Holy Ghost and to us" (v. 28): not making themselves equal (to Him  )--they are not so mad. But why does it put this (so)? Why did they add, "And to us," and yet it had sufficed to say, "To the Holy Ghost?" The one, "To the Holy Ghost," that they may not deem it to be of man; the other, "To us," that they may be taught that they also themselves admit (the Gentiles), although themselves being in circumcision. They have to speak to men who are still weak and afraid of them: this is the reason why this also is added. And it shows that it is not by way of condescension that they speak, neither because they spared them, nor as considering them weak, but the contrary; for great was the reverence of the teachers also.  "To lay upon you no greater burden"--they  are ever calling it a burden--and again, "save these necessary things:" for that was a superfluous burden. See here a brief Epistle, with nothing more in it (than was needed), neither arts of persuasion (kataskeuas) nor reasonings, but simply a command: for it was the Spirit's legislating. "So when they were dismissed they came to Antioch, and having gathered the multitude together, they delivered to them the epistle." (v. 30.) After the epistle, then (Judas and Silas) also themselves exhort them by word (v. 31): for this also was needful, that (Paul and Barnabas) might be quit of all suspicion. "Being prophets also themselves," it says, exhorted the brethren "with many words." It shows here the right that Paul and Barnabas have to be believed. For Paul also might have done this, but it behooved to be done by these.  "And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace. (v. 33.)
No  more faction. On this occasion, I suppose, it was that they received the right hand, as he says himself, "They gave to me and Barnabas right hands of fellowship." (Gal. ii. 9.) There he says, "They added nothing to me."  (ib. 6.) For they confirmed his view: they praised and admired it.--It shows that even from human reasonings it is possible to see this, not to say from the Holy Ghost only, that they sinned a sin not easy to be corrected. For such things need not the Spirit.--It shows that the rest are not necessary, but superfluous, seeing these things are necessary. "From which if ye keep yourselves," it saith, "ye shall do well." It shows that nothing is lacking to them, but this is sufficient. For it might have been done also without letters, but that there may be a law in writing (they send this Epistle): again, that they may obey the law (the Apostles), also told those men (the same things), and they did this, "and confirmed them, and having tarried a space were let go in peace."
Let us not then be offended on account of the heretics. For look, here at the very outset of the preaching, how many offences there were: I speak not of those which arose from them that were without; for these were nothing: but of the offences which were within. For instance, first Ananias, then the "murmuring," then Simon the sorcerer; afterwards they that accused Peter on account of Cornelius, next the famine,  lastly this very thing, the chief of the evils. For indeed it is impossible when any good thing has taken place, that some evil should not also subsist along with it. Let us not then be disturbed, if certain are offended, but let us thank God even for this, because it makes us more approved. For not tribulations only, but even temptations also render us more illustrious. A man is no such great lover of the truth, only for holding to it when there is none to lead him astray from it: to hold fast to the truth when many are drawing him away, this makes the proved man. What then? Is this why offences come? I am not speaking as if God were the author of them: God forbid! but I mean, that even out of their wickedness He works good to us: it was never His wish that they should arise: "Grant to them," He saith, "that they may be one" (John xvii. 21): but since offences do come, they are no hurt, to these, but even a benefit: just as the persecutors unwillingly benefit the Martyrs by dragging them to martyrdom, and yet they are not driven to this by God; just so is it here. Let us not look (only at this), that men are offended: this very thing is itself a proof of the excellence of the doctrine--that many stimulate and counterfeit it: for it would not be so, if it were not good. And this I will now show, and make on all hands plain to you. Of perfumes, the fragrant spices are they which people adulterate and counterfeit; as, for instance, the amomum leaf. For because these are rare and of necessary use, therefore there come to be spurious imitations likewise. Nobody would care to counterfeit any common article. The pure life gets many a false pretender to it: no man would care to counterfeit the man of vicious life; no, but the man of monastic life.--What then shall we say to the heathen? There comes a heathen and says, "I wish to become a Christian, but I know not whom to join: there is much fighting and faction among you, much confusion: which doctrine am I to choose?" How shall we answer him? "Each of you" (says he) "asserts, `I speak the truth.'" (b) No  doubt: this is in our favor. For if we told you to be persuaded by arguments, you might well be perplexed: but if we bid you believe the Scriptures, and these are simple and true, the decision is easy for you. If any agree with the Scriptures, he is the Christian; if any fight against them, he is far from this rule. (a) "But which am I to believe, knowing as I do nothing at all of the Scriptures? The others also allege the same thing for themselves. What then (c)if the other come, and say that the Scripture has this, and you that it has something different, and ye interpret the Scriptures diversely, dragging their sense (each his own way)?" And you then, I ask, have you no understanding, no judgment? "And how should I be able (to decide)," says he, "I who do not even know how to judge of your doctrines? I wish to become a learner, and you are making me forthwith a teacher." If he say this, what, say you, are we to answer him? How shall we persuade him? Let us ask whether all this be not mere pretence and subterfuge. Let us ask whether he has decided (kategnoke) against the heathen (that they are wrong). The fact  he will assuredly affirm, for of course, if he had not so decided, he would not have come to (enquire about) our matters: let us ask the grounds on which he has decided, for to be sure he has not settled the matter out of hand. Clearly he will say, "Because (their gods) are creatures, and are not the uncreated God." Good. If then he find this in the other parties (aireseis), but among us the contrary, what argument need we? We all confess that Christ is God. But let us see who fight (against this truth), and who not. Now we, affirming Him to be God speak of Him things worthy of God, that He hath power, that He is not a slave, that He is free, that He doeth of Himself: whereas the other says the reverse. Again I ask: if you would learn (to be) a physician,  * * *? And yet among them are many (different) doctrines. For if you accept without more ado just what you are told, this is not acting like a man: but if you have judgment and sense, you shall assuredly know what is good. We affirm the Son to be God, we verify (epaletheuomen) what we affirm: but they affirm indeed, but (in fact) confess not.--But  to mention (something) even plainer: those have certain persons from whom they are called, openly showing the name of the heresiarch himself, and each heresy in like manner: with us, no man has given us a name, but the faith itself. However, this (talk of yours) is mere pretence and subterfuge. For answer me: how is it that if you would buy a cloak, though ignorant of the art of weaving, you do not speak such words as these--"I do not know how to buy; they cheat me"--but do all you can to learn, and so whatever else it be that you would buy: but here you speak these words? For at this rate, you will accept nothing at all. For let there be one that has no (religious) doctrine whatever: if he should say what you say about the Christians--"There is such a multitude of men, and they have different doctrines; this a heathen, that a Jew, the other a Christian: no need to accept any doctrine whatever, for they are at variance one with another; but I am a learner, and do not wish to be a judge"  --but if you have yielded (so far as) to pronounce against (kataginoskein) one doctrine, this pretext no longer has place for you. For just as you were able to reject the spurious, so here also, having come, you shall be able to prove what is profitable. For he that has not pronounced against any doctrine at all, may easily say this: but he that has pronounced against any, though he have chosen none, by going on in the same way, will be able to see what he ought to do. Then let us not make pretexts and excuses, and all will be easy. For, to show you that all this is mere excuse, answer me this: Do you know what you ought to do, and what to leave undone? Then why do you not what you ought? Do that, and by right reason seek of God, and He will assuredly reveal it to thee. "God," it saith, "is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him." (ch. x. 34, 35.) It cannot be that he who hears without prejudice should not be persuaded. For just as, if there were a rule, by which everything behooved to be put straight, it would not need much consideration, but it would be easy to detect the person who measures falsely (ton parametrhounta labhein), so is it here. "Then how is it they do not see it at a glance?" Many things are the cause of this: both preconceived opinion, and human causes (aitiai). The others, say you, say the same thing about us. How? For are we separated from the Church? have we our heresiarchs? Are we called after men--as one of them has Marcion,  another Manichæus, a third Arius, for the author and leader (of his sect)? Whereas if we likewise do receive an appellation from any man, we do not take them that have been the authors of some heresy, but men that presided over us, and governed the Church. We have no "masters upon the earth"--God forbid--we have "One Master that is in heaven." (Matt. xxiii. 9, 10.) "And those also," says he, "say the same." But there stands the name set over them, accusing them, and stopping their mouths.--How  is it, there have been many heathen, and none of them asked these questions: and among the philosophers there were these (differences), and yet none of those holding the right party (hairesin) was hindered (thereby)?--Why did not (those believers) say, when (the others) raised these questions, "Both these and those are Jews: which must we believe?" But they believed as they ought. Then let us also obey the laws of God, and do all things according to His good pleasure,  that having virtuously passed this life present, we may be enabled to attain unto the good things promised to them that love Him, by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together, be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
"Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also."
Observe again their humility, how they let others also take part in the preaching. "And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good (hexiou see note 3, p. 213) to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention (or exasperation) was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other." (v. 36-39.) And already indeed Luke has described to us the character of the Apostles,  that the one was more tender and indulgent, but this one more strict and austere. For the gifts are diverse--(the gifts, I say), for that this is a gift is manifest--but the one befitting one, the other another set of characters, and if they change places, harm results instead of good. (b) In the Prophets  too we find this: diverse minds, diverse characters: for instance, Elias austere, Moses meek. So here Paul is more vehement. And observe for all this, how gentle he is. "Thought not good," it says, "to take him with them that had departed from them from Pamphylia." (a) And there seems indeed to be exasperation (paroxusmos), but in fact the whole matter is a plan of the Divine Providence, that each should receive his proper place: and it behooved that they should not be upon a par, but the one should lead, and the other be led. "And so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; and Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the Churches." (v. 39-41.) And this also is a work of Providence. For the Cyprians had exhibited nothing of the like sort as they at Antioch and the rest: and those needed the softer character, but these needed such a character as Paul's. "Which  then," say you, "did well? he that took, or he that left?" *** (c) For just as a general would not choose to have a low person always to his baggage-bearer, so neither did the Apostle. This corrected the other's, and instructed (Mark) himself. "Then did Barnabas ill?" say you. "And how is it not amiss (atopon), that upon so small a matter there should arise so great an evil?" In the first place then, no evil did come of it, if, sufficing each for whole nations, they were divided the one from the other, but a great good. And besides, they would not readily have chosen to leave each other. But admire, I pray you, the writer, how he does not conceal this either. "But at any rate," say you, "if they must needs part, let it be without exasperation." Nay, but if nothing more, observe this, that in this too is shown what was of man  (in the preaching of the Gospel). For if the like behooved to be shown (even) in what Christ did, much more here. And besides, the contention cannot be said to be evil, when each disputes for such objects (as here) and with just reason. I grant you, if the exasperation were in seeking his own, and contending for his own honor, this might well be (reproved): but if wishing, both the one and the other, to instruct and teach, the one took this way and the other that, what is there to find fault with? For in many things they acted upon their human judgment; for they were not stocks or stones. And observe how Paul impeaches (Mark), and gives the reason. For of his exceeding humility  he reverenced Barnabas, as having been partner with him in so great works, and being with him: but still he did not so reverence him, as to overlook (what was necessary). Now which of them advised best, it is not for us to pronounce: but thus far (we may affirm), that it was a great arrangement of Providence, if these  were to be vouchsafed a second visitation, but those were not to be visited even once. 
(a) "Teaching and preaching the word of the Lord." (v. 35.) They  did not simply tarry in Antioch, but taught. What did they "teach," and what "preach" (evangelize)? They both (taught) those that were already believers, and (evangelized) those that were not yet such. "And some days after," etc. (v. 36.) For because there were offences without number, their presence was needed. (d) "How they do," he says. And this he did not know: naturally. See him ever alert, solicitous, not bearing to sit idle, though he underwent dangers without end. Do you mark, it was not of cowardice that he came to Antioch? He acts just as a physician does in the case of the sick. And the need of visiting them he showed by saying, "In which we preached the word. And Barnabas determined," etc. (v. 37-40.) (So) Barnabas  "departed, and went not with (him)." (b) The point to be considered, is not that they differed in their opinions, but that they accommodated themselves the one to the other (seeing), that thus it was a greater good their being parted:  and the matter took a pretext from this. What then? did they withdraw in enmity? God forbid! In fact you see after this Barnabas receiving many encomiums from Paul in the Epistles. There was "sharp contention," it says, not enmity nor quarrelling. The contention availed so far as to part them. "And Barnabas took Mark," etc. And with reason: for what each supposed to be profitable, he did not forego  thereafter, because of the fellowship with the other. Nay, it seems to me that the parting took place advisedly (kata sunesin), and that they said one to another, "As I wish not, and thou wishest, therefore that we may not fight, let us distribute the places." So that in fact they did this, altogether yielding each to the other: for Barnabas wished Paul's plan to stand, therefore withdrew; on the other hand, Paul wished the other's plan to stand, therefore he withdrew. Would to God we too made such separations, as to go forth for preaching. A wonderful man this is; and exceedingly great! To Mark this contest was exceedingly beneficial. For the awe inspired by Paul converted him, while the kindness of Barnabas caused that he was not left behind: so that they contend indeed, but the gain comes to one and the same end. For indeed, seeing Paul choosing to leave him, he would be exceedingly awed, and would condemn himself, and seeing Barnabas so taking his part, he would love him exceedingly: and so the disciple was corrected by the contention of the teachers: so far was he from being offended thereby. For if indeed they did this with a view to their own honor, he might well be offended: but if for his salvation, and they contend for one and the same object, to show that he who honored him * * * had well determined,  what is there amiss (atopon) in it?
(e) "But Paul," it says, "departed, having chosen Silas, and being commended to the grace of God." What is this? They prayed it says: they besought God. See on all occasions how the prayer of the brethren can do great things. And now he journeyed by land, wishing even by his journeying to benefit those who saw (tous horhontas) him. For when indeed they were in haste they sailed, but now not so. (c) "And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the Churches. Then came he to Derbe and Lystra." (v. 41.) Mark the wisdom of Paul: he does not go to other cities before he has visited them which had received the Word. For it is folly to run at random. This let us also do: let us teach the first in the first place, that these may not become an hindrance to them that are to come after.
"And, behold a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters; for they knew all that his father was a Greek." (ch. xvi. 1-3.) It is indeed amazing, the wisdom of Paul! He that has had so many battles about circumcision, he that moved all things to this end, and did not give over until he had carried his point, now that the decree is made sure, circumcises the disciple. He not only does not forbid others, but himself does this thing. (b) "Him," it says, "he would have to go forth with him." And the wonder is this, that he even took him unto him.  "Because of the Jews," it says, "which were in those parts:" for they would not endure to hear the word from one uncircumcised. (a) Nothing could be wiser. So that in all things he looked to what was profitable: he did nothing upon his own preference (prolepsei). (c) And what (then)? Mark the success: he circumcised, that he might take away circumcision: for he preached the decrees of the Apostles. "And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the Apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the Churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily." (v. 4, 5.) Dost thou mark fighting, and by fighting, edification? Not warred upon by others, but themselves doing contrary things, so they edified the Church! They introduced a decree not to circumcise, and he circumcises! "And so were the Churches," it says, "established in the faith," and in multitude: "increased," it says, "in number daily." Then he does not continue to tarry with these, as having come to visit them: but how? he goes further. "Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia," (v. 6.) having left Phrygia and Galatia, they hastened into the interior. For, it says, "After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not." (v. 7.) Wherefore they were forbidden, he does not say, but that they were "forbidden," he does say, teaching us to obey and not ask questions, and showing that they did many things as men. "And the Spirit," it says, "suffered them not: but having passed by Mysia they came down to Troas." (v. 8.) "And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us." (v. 9.) Why a vision, and not the Holy Ghost? because He forbade the other.  He would even in this way draw them over: since to the saints also He appeared in a dream, and in the beginning (Paul) himself saw a vision, "a man coming in and laying his hands upon him." (ch. ix. 12.) In  this manner also Christ appears to him, saying, "Thou must stand before Cæsar." Then for this reason also He draws him thither, that the preaching may be extended. This is why he was forbidden to tarry long in the other cities, Christ urging him on. For these were to enjoy the benefit of John for a long time, and perhaps did not extremely need him (Paul), but thither he behooved to go. And now he crosses over and goes forth. "And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the Gospel unto them." (v. 10.) Then the writer mentions also the places, as relating a history, and showing where he made a stay (namely), in the greater cities, but passed by the rest. "Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; and from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony." (v. 11, 12.) It is a high distinction for a city, the being a colony. "And in this city we were tarrying certain days." But let us look over again what has been said.
(Recapitulation.) "And after some days, Paul said," etc. (ch. xv. 36.) He put to Barnabas a necessity for their going abroad, saying "Let us visit the cities in which we preached the word." "But Paul begged," etc. (v. 38.) And yet no need for him to beg, who had to make an accusation presently. This  happens even in the case where God and men are the parties: the man requests, God is wroth. For instance, when He saith, "If her father had spit in her face" (Num. xii. 14): and again, "Let me alone, and in Mine anger I will blot out this people." (Ex. xxxii. 32.) And Samuel when he mourns for Saul. (1 Sam. xv. 35.) For by both, great good is done. Thus also here: the one is wroth, the other not so. The same happens also in matters where we are concerned. And the sharp contention with good reason, that Mark may receive a lesson, and the affair may not seem mere stage-playing. For it is not to be thought that he  who bids, "Let not the sun go down upon your wrath," (Eph. iv. 26) would have been wroth because of such a matter as this: nor that he who on all occasions gave way would not have given way here, he who so greatly loved Paul that before this he sought him in Tarsus, and brought him to the Apostles, and undertook the alms in common with him, and in common the business relating to the decree. But they take themselves so as to instruct and make perfect by their separation them that need the teaching which was to come from them. And he rebukes others indeed, but bids do good to all men. As in fact he does elsewhere, saying, "But ye, be not weary in well-doing." (2 Thess. iii. 13.) This we also do in our common practice. Here it seems to me that others also were alike displeased with Paul. And thereupon taking them also apart, he does all, and exhorts and admonishes. Much can concord do, much can charity. Though it be for a great matter thou askest; though thou be unworthy, thou shalt be heard for thy purpose of heart: fear not.
"He went," it says, "through" the cities "And, behold, there was a disciple, by name Timothy, who had a good report of the brethren which were in Lystra and Iconium." (v. 41; xvi. 1.) Great was the grace of Timothy. When Barnabas departed (apeste), he finds another, equivalent to him. Of him he saith, "Remembering thy tears and thy unfeigned faith, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice." (2 Tim. i. 5.) His father continued to be a Gentile,  and therefore it was that (Timothy) was not circumcised. (a) Observe the Law already broken. Or if not so, I suppose he was born after the preaching of the Gospel but this is perhaps not so. (c) He was about to make him a bishop, and it was not meet that he should be uncircumcised. (e) And this was not a small matter, seeing it offended after so long a time:  (b) "for from a child," he says, "thou hast known the Holy Scriptures." (ib. iii. 15.) (d) "And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep." (v. 4.) For until then, there was no need for the Gentiles to keep any such. The beginning of the abrogation was the Gentiles' not keeping these things, and being none the worse for it: nor having any inferiority in respect of faith: anon, of their own will they abandoned the Law. (f) Since therefore he was about to preach, that he might not smite the Jews a double blow, he circumcised Timothy. And yet he was but half (a Jew by birth),  his father being a Greek: but yet, because that was a great point carried in the cause of the Gentiles, he did not care for this: for the Word must needs be disseminated: therefore also he with his own hands circumcised him.  "And so were the churches established in the faith." Do you mark here also how from going counter (to his own object) a great good results? "And increased in number daily." (v. 5.) Do you observe, that the circumcising not only did no harm, but was even of the greatest service? "And a vision appeared unto Paul in the night." (v. 9.) Not now by Angels, as to Philip, as to Cornellius, but how? By a vision it is now shown to him: in more human sort, not now as before (i.e., v. 6, 7) in more divine manner. For where the compliance is more easy, it is done in more human sort; but where great force was needed, there in more divine. For since he was but urged to preach, to this end it is shown him in a dream: but to forbear preaching, he could not readily endure: to this end the Holy Ghost reveals it to him. Thus also it was then with Peter, "Arise, go down." (ch. x. 20.) For of course the Holy Spirit did not work what was otherwise easy: but (here) even a dream sufficed him. And to Joseph also, as being readily moved to compliance, the appearance is in a dream, but to the rest in waking vision. (Matt. i. 20; ii. 13, 19.) Thus to Cornelius, and to Paul himself. "And lo, a man of Macedonia," etc. and not simply enjoining, but "beseeching," and from the very persons in need of (spiritual) cure. (ch. x. 3; ix. 3.) "Assuredly gathering," it says, "that the Lord had called us." (v. 10), that is, inferring, both from the circumstance that Paul saw it and none other, and from the having been "forbidden by the Spirit," and from their being on the borders; from all these they gathered. "Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course," etc. (v. 11.) That is, even the voyage made this manifest: for there was no tardiness. It became the very root of Macedonia.  It was not always in the way of "sharp contention" that the Holy Spirit wrought: but this so rapid progress (of the Word) was a token that the thing was more than human. And yet it is not said that Barnabas was exasperated, but, "Between them there arose a sharp contention." (v. 39.) If the one was not exasperated neither was the other.
Knowing this, let us not merely pick out (eklegomen) these things, but let us learn and be taught by them: for they were not written without a purpose. It is a great evil to be ignorant of the Scriptures: from the things we ought to get good from, we get evil. Thus also medicines of healing virtue, often, from the ignorance of those who use them, ruin and destroy: and arms which are meant to protect, are themselves the cause of death unless one know how to put them on. But the reason is, that we seek everything rather than what is good for ourselves. And in the case of a house, we seek what is good for it, and we would not endure to see it decaying with age, or tottering, or hurt by storms: but for our soul we make no account: nay, even should we see its foundations rotting, or the fabric and the roof, we make no account of it. Again, if we possess brute creatures, we seek what is good for them: we call in both horse-feeders and horse-doctors, and all besides:  we attend to their housing, and charge those who are entrusted with them, that they may not drive them at random or carelessly, nor take them out by night at unseasonable hours nor sell away their provender; and there are many laws laid down by us for the good of the brute creatures: but for that of our soul there is no account taken. But why speak I of brute creatures which are useful to us? There are many who keep small birds (or "sparrows") which are useful for nothing except that they simply amuse, and there are many laws even about them, and nothing is neglected or without order, and we take care for everything rather than for our own selves. Thus we make our selves more worthless than all. And if indeed a person abusively call us "dog," we are annoyed: but while we are opprobrious to ourselves, not in word, but in deed, and do not even bestow as much care on our soul as on dogs, we think it no great harm. Do you see how all is full of darkness? How many are careful about their dogs, that they may not be filled with more than the proper food, that so they may be keen and fit for hunting, being set on by famine and hunger: but for themselves they have no care to avoid luxury: and the brute creatures indeed they teach to exercise philosophy, while they let themselves sink down into the savageness of the brutes. The thing is a riddle. "And where are your philosophic brutes?" There are such; or, say, do you not take it to be philosophy, when a dog gnawed with hunger, after having hunted and caught his prey, abstains from the food; and though he sees his meal ready before him, and with hunger urging him on, yet waits for his master? Be ashamed of yourselves: teach your bellies to be as philosophic. You have no excuse. When you have been able to implant such philosophic self-command in an irrational nature, which neither speaks nor hears reason, shall you not much more be able to implant it in yourself? For that it is the effect of man's care, not of nature is plain: since otherwise all dogs ought to have this habit. Do you then become as dogs. For it is you that compel me to fetch my examples thence: for indeed they should be drawn from heavenly things; but since if I speak of those, you say, "Those are (too) great," therefore I speak nothing of heavenly things: again, if I speak of Paul, you say, "He was an Apostle:" therefore neither do I mention Paul: if again I speak of a man, you say, "That person could do it:" therefore I do not mention a man even, but a brute creature; a creature too, that has not this habit by nature, lest you should say that it effected this by nature, and not (which is the fact) from choice: and what is wonderful, choice not self-acquired, but (the result of) your care. The creature does not give a thought to the fatigue, the wear and tear it has undergone in running down the prey, not a thought to this, that by its own proper toil it has made the capture: but casting away all these regards, it observes the command of its master, and shows itself superior to the cravings of appetite. "True; because it looks to be praised, it looks to get a greater meal." Say then to yourself, that the dog through hope of future pleasure, despises that which is present: while you do not choose for hope of future good things to despise those which are present; but he indeed knows, that, if he tastes of that food at the wrong time and against his master's will, he will both be deprived of that, and not get even that which was apportioned to him, but receive blows instead of food: whereas you cannot even perceive this, and that which he has learnt by dint of custom, you do not succeed in acquiring even from reason. Let us imitate the dogs. The same thing hawks also and eagles are said to do: what the dogs do with regard to hares  and deer, the same do those with regard to birds; and these too act from a philosophy learnt from men. These facts are enough to condemn us, these enough to convict us. To mention another thing:--they that are skilled in breaking horses, shall take them, wild, fierce, kicking, biting, and in a short time so discipline them, that though the teacher be not there, it is a luxury to ride them, their paces are so thoroughly well-ordered: but the paces of the soul may be all disordered, and none cares for it: it bounds, and kicks, and its rider  is dragged along the ground like a child, and makes a most disgraceful figure, and yet no one puts curbs on her, and leg-ties, and bits, nor mounts upon her the skilful rider--Christ, I mean. And therefore it is that all is turned upside down. For when you both teach dogs to master the craving of the belly, and tame the fury in a lion, and the unruliness of horses, and teach the birds to speak plainly, how inconsistent must it not be--to implant achievements of reason in natures that are without reason, and to import the passions of creatures without reason into natures endowed with reason? There is no excuse for us, none. All who have succeeded (in mastering their passions) will accuse us, both believers and unbelievers: for even unbelievers have so succeeded; yea, and wild beasts, and dogs, not men only: and we shall accuse our own selves, since we succeed, when we will, but when we are slothful, we are dragged away. For indeed many even of those who live a very wicked life, have oftentimes changed themselves when they wished. But the cause is, as I said, that we go about seeking for what is good for other things, not what is good for ourselves. If you build a splendid house, you know what is good for the house, not what is good for yourself: if you take a beautiful garment, you know what is good for the body, not for yourself: and if you get a good horse, it is so likewise. None makes it his mark how his soul shall be beautiful; and yet, when that is beautiful, there is no need of any of those things: as, if that be not beautiful, there is no good of them. For like as in the case of a bride, though there be chambers hung with tapestry wrought with gold, though there be choirs of the fairest and most beautiful women, though there be roses and garlands, though there be a comely bridegroom, and the maidservants and female friends, and everybody about them be handsome, yet, if the bride herself be full of deformity, there is no good of all those; as on the other hand if she were beautiful, neither would there be any loss arising from (the want of) those, nay just the contrary; for in the case of an ugly bride, those would make her look all the uglier, while in the other case, the beautiful would look all the more beautiful: just so, the soul, when she is beautiful, not only needs none of those adjuncts, but they even cast a shade over her beauty. For we shall see the philosopher shine, not so much when in wealth, as in poverty. For in the former case many will impute it to his riches, that he is not superior to riches:  but when he lives with poverty for his mate, and shines through all, and will not let himself be compelled to do anything base, then none claims shares with him in the crown of philosophy. Let us then make our soul beauteous, if at least we would fain be rich. What profit is it, when your mules indeed are white and plump and in good condition, but you who are drawn by them are lean and scurvy and ill-favored? What is the gain, when your carpets indeed are soft and beautiful, full of rich embroidery and art, and your soul goes clad in rags, or even naked and foul? What the gain, when the horse indeed has his paces beautifully ordered, more like dancing than stepping, while the rider, together with his choral  train and adorned with more than bridal ornaments, is more crooked than the lame, and has no more command over hands and feet than drunkards and madmen? Tell me now, if some one were to give you a beautiful horse, and to distort your body, what would be the profit? Now you have your soul distorted, and care you not for it? Let us at length, I beseech you, have a care for our own selves. Do not let us make our own selves more worthless than all beside. If anyone insult us with words, we are annoyed and vexed: but insulting ourselves as we do by our deeds, we do not give a thought to it. Let us, though late, come at last to our senses, that we may be enabled by having much care for our soul, and laying hold upon virtue, to obtain eternal good things, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and evermore, world without end. Amen.
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