Writings of John Chrysostom. The Epistle to the Romans

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St. Chrysostom:

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

On the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans

Translated by Rev. J. B. Morris, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford, and;

Rev. W. H. Simcox, Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford.

Revised, with notes, by George B. Stevens, Ph.D., D.D., Professor in Yale University.

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

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Preface to Homilies on Romans.

St. Chrysostom's Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans is one of the closest and most argumentative of those he has left us. The style of the Epistle itself called for this, being such as almost constantly to remind an attentive reader of the necessity of forming some notion of the views and feelings of the persons to whom it was originally addressed. To this point St. Chrysostom has paid much attention, and has consequently obtained a far clearer view of the doctinal bearing of the Epistle than most other commentators. His early rhetorical education would probably have given him even too strong a bias toward that kind of exposition, but for his subsequent course of severe discipline and ascetic devotion. As it is, the rhetorical element in his commentary is of very great value. His ready apprehension of the effect intended to be produced by the style and wording of a sentence, is often the means of clearing up what might otherwise seem obscure or even inconsistent. An example of this occurs in the beginning of the seventh chapter, which he expounds in the 12th Homily. The illustration of our release from the Law of Moses by partaking in the Death of Christ, by the dissolution of marriage at death, is so stated in the Epistle as to contain an apparent inconsistency, as though the death of the Law, and the death of the person, were confounded. And the various readings only shift the difficulty, without removing it. This, however, he has very ably shown to be, in fact, an argument a fortiori. Other cases will strike other persons as they happen to have found difficulty in the Text.

A far higher qualification for interpreting St. Paul, in whom, as much as in any of the sacred writers, the Man appears as well as the guiding Spirit, was that peculiar affection with which he regarded him, and which he expresses particularly in the beginning of the introduction, and at the close of the last Homily. The effect of this is perhaps best traced in the commentary on Rom. ix. 3, Hom. xvi.

The elaborate composition of these Homilies, and the close attention which it must have required, has been thought an indication that they must have been delivered before the Author was engaged in the cares of the Bishopric of Constantinople. But Tillemont has detected even surer indications, which place the point clearly beyond all question. In his exortation to Charity, Homily 8 he speaks of himself and his hearers as under one Bishop. It has been objected that he speaks of himself as Pastor, in Hom. xxix. but he does the same in other Homilies, certainly delivered by him when he was only a preacher at Antioch, and the terms are less definite than in the other case, v. ad. P. Ant. Hom. xx. on the Statues. Besides, he seems to address persons who have ready access to the place in which St. Paul taught and was bound, which cannot be shown to tally with Constantinople, but evidently agrees with Antioch. The binding of St. Paul there mentioned is not, however, on record, and it is just possible he may mean in that expression to refer to another place.

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Some account of the life of the Author has been given in the Preface to the Homilies on the First Epistle to the Corinthians, already translated. [1183] It may be worthwhile, however, to notice particularly, in connection with this work, the manner in which St. Chrysostom was quoted in the Pelagian controversy, as some of the passages were taken from it.

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St. Augustin, adv. Julianum. l. 1, c. vi. discusses a passage in a Homily to the newly baptized, which was alleged against the doctrine of Original Sin. He had spoken of infants as not having sins, meaning of course actual sins, as the plural number implies. The words were, however, easily turned in translation so as to bear another sense. St. Augustin quotes on the other side his Letter to Olympias, that "Adam by his sin condemned the whole race of men." And Hom. ix. in Gen. c. i. v. 28, where he speaks of the loss of command over the creation, as a penalty of the Fall. And finally a passage from the homily before quoted (as ad Neophytos), in which he speaks of our Lord finding us "bound by a hereditary debt;" and one in Hom. x. of this Commentary, viz. that on Rom. v. 14. These are sufficient to make it clear, that St. Chrysostom did not hold any Pelagian doctrine on this point.

With respect to Free-will, he has one or two passages, as in Hom. on the words of St. Paul, 2 Cor. iv. 13. Ben. t. iii. p. 264. "That first believing, and obeying when called, is of our good will; but when the foundation of faith is laid, we need the assistance of the Spirit." And on St. John i. 38. Ben. 8. p. 107, p. 154, O.T. "that God does not precede our wills with his gifts; but when we have begun, when we have sent our will before, then He gives us abundant opportunities of salvation." However, in Hom. lviii. in Gen. he says, "though he received help from above, yet he first did his own part. So let us persuade ourselves, that though we strive ever so much, we can do no good thing at all, except we are aided by help from above. For as we can never do anything aright without that help, so unless we contribute our own share, we shall not be able to obtain help from above." This illustrates his meaning about doing our own part first, and shows that he does not mean to exclude Divine aid in the very beginning of good actions, only not superseding the motion of our will. The word gifts is also to be observed. He probably did not think of its being applicable to the first motions of prevenient grace, intending himself the Evangelical gifts. This view of his meaning seems to solve the difficulties of his expressions, so far as is necessary in a writer more rhetorical than logical. Some passages in this Commentary bear on the point, as Rom. ii. 16, and viii. 26.

In a Letter to Olympias, shortly before his death, he laments the errors of a "Monk Pelagius," and it is supposed that he means the well-known heretic.

The present Translation is from the text of Savile, except where otherwise noted. For the first sixteen Homilies, several mss. have been collated in Paris, with a view to an Edition of the original, the rest of the collation is not yet come to hand. Four contain nearly the whole of the Commentary, and three more several parts of it: two of these were partially used by the Benedictine Editors, and supply some valuable readings in the latter homilies. There is also one ms. in the Bodleian Library, which has many mistakes, but agrees in general with the best readings in those which have been collated. It contains nearly the whole text as far as Hom. xxx. and has been entirely collated after Hom. xvi and for a great part of the earlier Homilies.

The Editors are indebted for the Translation, and much of the matter contained in the notes, to the Reverend J.B. Morris, M.A., of Exeter College, as well as for the Index.

C. Marriot

The Benedictine text having been revised by Mr. Field with singular acumen by aid of collations of all European mss. of any account, it was not thought right to republish this important volume without revising the tranlation by that text. This was kindly undertaken by the Rev. W. H. Simcox, late Fellow of Queen's College, and has been executed with the care and exactness to be expected from that accomplished scholar. In other respects, he has with a remarkable modesty left the previous translation untouched.

E. B. Pusey

1876.

Footnotes

[1183] [For this a more complete sketch of the Life and Work of St. Chrysostom has been given by the Editor in the Prolegomena to the first volume.]


Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,

On the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans.

The Argument. [1184]

As I keep hearing the Epistles of the blessed Paul read, and that twice every week, and often three or four times, whenever we are celebrating the memorials of the holy martyrs, gladly do I enjoy the spiritual trumpet, and get roused and warmed with desire at recognizing the voice so dear to me, and seem to fancy him all but present to my sight, and behold him conversing with me. But I grieve and am pained, that all people do not know this man, as much as they ought to know him; but some are so far ignorant of him, as not even to know for certainty the number of his Epistles. And this comes not of incapacity, but of their not having the wish to be continually conversing with this blessed man. For it is not through any natural readiness and sharpness of wit that even I am acquainted with as much as I do know, if I do know anything, but owing to a continual cleaving to the man, and an earnest affection towards him. For, what belongs to men beloved, they who love them know above all others; because they are interested in them. And this also this blessed Apostle shows in what he said to the Philippians; "Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the Gospel." (Phil. i. 7.) And so ye also, if ye be willing to apply to the reading of him with a ready mind, will need no other aid. For the word of Christ is true which saith, "Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Matt. vii. 7.) But since the greater part of those who here gather themselves to us, have taken upon themselves the bringing up of children, and the care of a wife, and the charge of a family, and for this cause cannot afford to all events aroused to receive those things which have been brought together by others, and bestow as much attention upon the hearing of what is said as ye give to the gathering together of goods. For although it is unseemly to demand only so much of you, yet still one must be content if ye give as much. For from this it is that our countless evils have arisen--from ignorance of the Scriptures; from this it is that the plague of heresies has broken out; from this that there are negligent lives; from this labors without advantage. For as men deprived of this daylight would not walk aright, so they that look not to the gleaming of the Holy Scriptures must needs be frequently and constantly sinning, in that they are walking in the worst darkness. And that this fall not out, let us hold our eyes open to the bright shining of the Apostle's words; for this man's tongue shone forth above the sun, and he abounded more than all the rest in the word of doctrine; for since he labored more abundantly than they, he also drew upon himself a large measure of the Spirit's grace. (1 Cor. xv. 10.) And this I constantly affirm, not only from his Epistles, but also from the Acts. For if there were anywhere a season for oratory, to him men everywhere gave place. Wherefore also he was thought by the unbelievers to be Mercurius, because he took the lead in speech. (Acts xiv. 12.) And as we are going to enter fully into this Epistle, it is necessary to give the date also at which it was written. For it is not, as most think, before all the others, but before all that were written from Rome, yet subsequent to the rest, though not to all of them. For both those to the Corinthians were sent before this: and this is plain from what he wrote at the end of this, saying as follows: "But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints: for it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem." (Rom. xv. 25, 26.) For in writing to the Corinthians he says: "If it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me" (1 Cor. xvi. 4); meaning this about those who were to carry the money from thence. Whence it is plain, that when he wrote to the Corinthians, the matter of this journey of his was in doubt, but when to the Romans, it stood now a decided thing. And this being allowed, the other point is plain, that this Epistle was after those. But that to the Thessalonians also seems to me to be before the Epistle to the Corinthians: for having written to them before, and having moved the question of alms to them, when he said, "But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren" (1 Thess. iv. 9, 10): then he wrote to the Corinthians. And this very point he makes plain in the words, "For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago, and your zeal hath provoked very many" (2 Cor. ix. 2): whence he shows that they were the first he had spoken to about this. This Epistle then is later than those, but prior (prote) to those from Rome; for he had not as yet set foot in the city of the Romans when he wrote this Epistle, and this he shows by saying, "For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift." (Rom. i. 11.) But it was from Rome he wrote to the Philippians; wherefore he says, "All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Cæsar's household" (Phil. iv. 22): and to the Hebrews from thence likewise, wherefore also he says, "all they of Italy salute them." (Heb. xiii. 24.) And the Epistle to Timothy he sent also from Rome, when in prison; which also seems to me to be the last of all the Epistles; and this is plain from the end: "For I am now ready to be offered," he says, "and the time of my departure is at hand." (2 Tim. iv. 6.) But that he ended his life there, is clear, I may say, to every one. And that to Philemon is also very late, (for he wrote it in extreme old age, wherefore also he said, "as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner in Christ Jesus") (Philem. 9), yet previous to that to the Colossians. And this again is plain from the end. For in writing to the Colossians, he says, "All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, whom I have sent with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother." (Col. iv. 7.) For this was that Onesimus in whose behalf he composed the Epistle to Philemon. And that this was no other of the same name with him, is plain from the mention of Archippus. For it is he whom he had taken as worker together with himself in the Epistle to Philemon, when he besought him for Onesimus, whom when writing to the Colossians he stirreth up, saying, "Say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received, that thou fulfil it." (Col. iv. 17.) And that to the Galatians seems to me to be before that to the Romans. [1185] But if they have a different order in the Bibles, that is nothing wonderful, since the twelve Prophets, though not exceeding one another in order of time, but standing at great intervals from one another, are in the arrangement of the Bible placed in succession. Thus Haggai and Zachariah and the Messenger [1186] prophesied after Ezekiel and Daniel, and long after Jonah and Zephaniah and all the rest. Yet they are nevertheless joined with all those from whom they stand so far off in time.

But let no one consider this an undertaking beside the purpose, nor a search of this kind a piece of superfluous curiosity; for the date of the Epistles contributes no little to what we are looking after. [1187] For when I see him writing to the Romans and to the Colossians about the same subjects, and yet not in a like way about the same subjects; but to the former with much condescension, as when he says, "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations; for one believeth that he may eat all things, another, herbs" (Rom. xiv. 1, 2): who is weak, eateth weak, but to the Colossians he does not write in this way, though about the same things, but with greater boldness of speech: "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ," he says, "why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances (touch not, taste not, handle not), which all are to perish with the using, not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh" (Col. ii. 20-23);--I find no other reason for this difference than the time of the transaction. For at the first it was needful to be condescending, but afterwards it became no more so. And in many other places one may find him doing this. Thus both the physician and the teacher are used to do. For neither does the physician treat alike his patients in the first stage of their disorder, and when they have come to the point of having health thenceforth, nor the teacher those children who are beginning to learn and those who want more advanced subjects of instruction. Now to the rest he was moved to write by some particular cause and subject, and this he shows, as when he says to the Corinthians, "Touching those things whereof ye wrote unto me" (1 Cor. vii. 1): and to the Galatians too from the very commencement of the whole Epistle writes so as to indicate the same thing; but to these for what purpose and wherefore does he write? For one finds him bearing testimony to them that they are "full of goodness, being filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish others." (Rom. xv. 14.) Why then does he write to them? "Because of the grace of God," he says, "which is given unto me, that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ" (ib. 15 , 16): wherefore also he says in the beginning: "I am a debtor; as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also;" for what is said--as that they are "able to exhort others also" (Rom. i. 14, 15),--and the like, rather belongs to encomium and encouragement: and the correction afforded by means of a letter, was needful even for these; for since he had not yet been present, he bringeth the men to good order in two ways, both by the profitableness of his letter and by the expectation of his presence. For such was that holy soul, it comprised the whole world and carried about all men in itself thinking the nearest relationship to be that in God. And he loved them so, as if he had begotten them all, or rather showed (so 4 mss.) a greater instinctive affection than any father (so Field: all mss. give "a father's toward all"); for such is the grace of the Spirit, it exceedeth the pangs of the flesh, and displays a more ardent longing than theirs. And this one may see specially in the soul of Paul, who having as it were become winged through love, went continually round to all, abiding nowhere nor standing still. For since he had heard Christ saying, "Peter, lovest thou Me? feed My sheep" (John xxi. 15); and setting forth this as the greatest test of love, he displayed it in a very high degree. Let us too then, in imitation of him, each one bring into order, if not the world, or not entire cities and nations, yet at all events his own house, his wife, his children, his friends, his neighbors. And let no one say to me, "I am unskilled and unlearned:" nothing were less instructed than Peter, nothing more rude than Paul, and this himself confessed, and was not ashamed to say, "though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge." (2 Cor. xi. 6.) Yet nevertheless this rude one, and that unlearned man, [1188] overcame countless philosophers, stopped the mouths of countless orators, and did all by their own ready mind and the grace of God. What excuse then shall we have, if we are not equal to twenty names, and are not even of service to them that live with us? This is but a pretence and an excuse--for it is not want of learning or of instruction which hindereth our teaching, but drowsiness and sleep. (Acts i. 15; ii. 41.) Let us then having shaken off this sleep with all diligence cleave to our own members, that we may even here enjoy much calm, by ordering in the fear of God them that are akin to us, and hereafter may partake of countless blessings through the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ towards man, through Whom, and with Whom, be glory to the Father, with the Holy Ghost, now, and evermore, and to all ages. Amen.

Footnotes

[1184] Field counts this as the first Homily: but it seemed needless to disturb the usual numeration. [1185] It is remarkable that the conclusions of Chrys. should harmonize so well with the results of modern scholarship in regard to the order of the Pauline epistles. Except in assigning the Epistle to the Hebrews to Paul and in apparently interposing a considerable period between Philemon and Colossians, his statements may be taken as giving the best conclusions of criticism.--G.B.S. [1186] "Or `Angel,' i.e. Malachi; who was so called from the expression Mal. i. 1 (LXX. dia cheiros angelou autou cf. E.V. in margin `by the hand of Malachi'), cf. 2 Esdr. i. 40." [1187] Our author rightly attaches much importance to the time and occasion of writing as bearing upon the meaning of the epistles. The earliest epistles--those to the Thessalonians--relate to Paul's missionary labors and are but a continuation of the apostle's preaching. They might almost be called samples of his sermons. The group which falls next in order (Gal., 1 and 2 Cor., and Rom.) comprehends the great doctrinal discussions of the problems of law and grace, and reflects the conflict of the Apostle to the Gentiles with the Judaizing tendency in all its phases. This group is most important for the study of the Pauline theology. The third group--the epistles of the (first) imprisonment--Col., Philem., Eph. and Phil.--besides containing a wonderful fulness and richness of Christian thought, exhibits to us the rise and spread of Gnostic heresies,--the introduction of heathen philosophical ideas which were destined to exert a mighty influence upon the theology, religion and life of the church for centuries. The last group--the Pastoral epistles--has a peculiar private and personal character from being addressed to individuals. They have a special value, for all who hold their genuineness, from being the latest Christian counsels of "Paul the aged."--G.B.S. [1188] The "learning" of the Apostle Paul has been greatly exaggerated on both sides. It has been customary to overestimate it. He has been described as learned in Greek literature. The quotation of a few words from Aratus (Acts xvii. 28) and the use of two (probably) proverbial sayings which have been traced to Menander and Epimenides (1 Cor. xv. 33; Titus i. 12) furnish too slender support for this opinion. (vid. Meyer in locis). It is said that Paul had abundant opportunity to become acquainted with the Greek literature in Tarsus. But he left Tarsus at an early age and all the prejudices of his family would disincline him to the study of Heathen literature. His connection with Gamaliel and the style of his epistles alike show that his education was predominantly Jewish and Rabbinic. He was learned after the manner of the strictest Pharisees and from his residence in Tarsus and extended travel had acquired a good writing and speaking knowledge of the Greek language. Chrys. is uniformly inclined, however, to depreciate the culture of Paul. This springs from a desire to emphasize the greatness of his influence and power as compared with his attainments. The apostle's confession that he is an idiotes to-logo (2 Cor. xi. 6), means only that he was unskilled in eloquence and is to be taken as his own modest estimate of himself in that particular. Moreover it is immediately qualified by all' ou te gnosei which is entirely inconsistent with the idea that he was rude or illiterate in general, or that he considered himself to be so.--G.B.S. .


Homily I.

Rom. I. 1, 2

"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God, (which He promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures.)"

Moses having written five books, has nowhere put his own name to them, neither have they who after him put together the history of events after him, no nor yet has Matthew, nor John, nor Mark, nor Luke; but the blessed Paul everywhere in his Epistles sets [1189] his own name. Now why was this? Because they were writing to people, who were present, and it had been superfluous to show themselves when they were present. But this man sent his writings from afar and in the form of a letter, for which cause also the addition of the name was necessary. But if in the Epistle to the Hebrews he does not do the same, this too is after his own wise judgment. [1190] For since they felt prejudiced against him, lest on hearing the name at the outstart, they should stop up all admission to his discourse, he subtly won their attention by concealing the name. But if some Prophets and Solomon have put their names, this I leave as a subject for you to look further into hereafter, why some of them wished to put it so, and some not. For you are not to learn everything from me, but to take pains yourselves also and enquire further, lest ye become more dull-witted.

"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ." Why did God change his name, and call him Paul who was Saul? It was, that he might not even in this respect come short of the Apostles, but that that preëminence which the chief of the Disciples had, he might also acquire (Mark iii. 16); and have whereon to ground a closer union with them. And he calls himself, the servant of Christ, yet not merely this; [1191] for there be many sorts of servitude. One owing to the Creation, according to which it says, "for all are Thy servants" (Ps. cxix. 91); and according to which it says, "Nebuchadnezzar, My servant" (Jer. xxv. 9), for the work is the servant of Him which made it. Another kind is that from the faith, of which it saith, "But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from a pure heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you: being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." (Rom. vi. 17, 18.) Another is that from civil subjection (politeias), after which it saith, "Moses my servant is dead" (Jos. i. 2); and indeed all the Jews were servants, but Moses in a special way as shining most brightly in the community. Since then, in all the forms of the marvellous servitude, Paul was a servant, this he puts in the room of the greatest title of dignity, saying, "a servant of Jesus Christ." And the Names appertaining to the dispensation [1192] he sets forth, going on upwards from the lowest. For with the Name Jesus, did the Angel come from Heaven when He was conceived of the Virgin, and Christ He is called from being anointed, which also itself belonged to the flesh. And with what oil, it may be asked, was He anointed? It was not with oil that He was anointed, but with the Spirit. And Scripture has instances of calling such "Christs": inasmuch as the Spirit is the chief point in the unction, and that for which the oil is used. And where does it call those "Christs" who are not anointed with oil? "Touch not," it says, "Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm" (Ps. cv. 15), but at that time the institution of anointing with oil did not yet even exist.

"Called an Apostle." He styles himself "called" in all his Epistles, so showing his own candor (eugnomosunen), and that it was not of his own seeking that he found, but that when called he came near and obeyed. And the faithful, he styles, "called to be saints," [1193] but while they had been called so far as to be believers, he had besides a different thing committed to his hands, namely, the Apostleship, a thing full of countless blessings, and at once greater than and comprehensive of, all the gifts.

And what more need one say of it, than that whatsoever Christ was doing when present, this he committed to their hands when He departed. Which also Paul cries aloud, speaking thereof and magnifying the dignity of the Apostles' office; "We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech by us;" i.e. in Christ's stead. "Separated to the Gospel of God." (2 Cor. v. 20.) For as in a house, each one is set apart for divers works; thus also in the Church, there be divers distributions of ministrations. And herein he seems to me to hint, that he was not appointed by lot only, but that of old and from the first he was ordained to this office; which also Jeremy saith, that God spake concerning himself, "Before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." (Jer. i. 5.) For in that he was writing to a vainglorious city, and one every way puffed up, he therefore uses every mode of showing that his election was of God. For he Himself called him, and Himself separated him. And he does this, that he may make the Epistle deserve credit, and meet an easy reception. "To the Gospel of God." Not Matthew then alone is an Evangelist, nor Mark, as neither was this man alone an Apostle, but they also; even if he be said prëeminently to be this, and they that. And he calleth it the Gospel, not for those good things only which have been brought to pass, but also for those which are to come. And how comes he to say, that the Gospel "of God" is preached by himself? for he says, "separated to the Gospel of God"--for the Father was manifest, even before the Gospels. Yet even if He were manifest, it was to the Jews only, and not even to all of these as were fitting. For neither did they know Him to be a Father, and many things did they conceive unworthily of Him. Wherefore also Christ saith, "The true worshippers" shall come, and that "the Father seeketh such to worship Him." (John iv. 23.) But it was afterwards that He Himself with the Son was unveiled to the whole world, which Christ also spake of beforehand, and said, "that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou has sent." (John xvii. 3.) But he calls it the "Gospel" of God, to cheer the hearer at the outstart. For he came not with tidings to make the countenance sad, as did the prophets with their accusations, and charges, and reproofs, but with glad tidings, even the "Gospel of God;" countless treasures of abiding and unchangeable blessings.

Ver. 2. "Which He promised afore by His Prophets in the Holy Scriptures."

For the Lord, saith he, "shall give the word to them that proclaim glad tidings with great power" (Ps. lxviii. 12, Sept.); and again, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace." (Is. lii. 7; Rom. x. 15.) See here both the name of the Gospel expressly and the temper of it, laid down in the Old Testament. For, we do not proclaim it by words only, he means, but also by acts done; since neither was it human, but both divine and unspeakable, and transcending all nature. Now since they have laid against it the charge of novelty also, He shows it to be older than the Greeks, and described aforetime in the Prophets. And if He gave it not from the beginning because of those that were unwilling to receive it, still, they that were willing did hear it. "Your father Abraham," He says, "rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad." (John viii. 56.) How then comes He to say, "Many prophets desired to see the things which ye see, and have not seen them?" (Matt. xiii. 17.) He means not so, as ye see and hear, the Flesh itself, and the very miracles before your eyes. But let me beg you to look and see what a very long time ago these things were foretold. For when God is about to do openly some great things, He announces them of a long time before, to practise men's hearing for the reception of them when they come.

"In the Holy Scriptures." Because the Prophets not only spake, but also writ what they spake; nor did they write only, but also shadowed them forth by actions, as Abraham when he led up Isaac, and Moses when he lifted up the Serpent, and when he spread out his hands [1194] against Amalek, and when he offered the Paschal Lamb.

Ver. 3. "Concerning His Son which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh."

What dost, thou, O Paul, that after lifting up our souls so, and elevating them, and causing great and unutterable things to pass in show before them, and speaking of the Gospel, and that too the Gospel of God, and bringing in the chorus of the Prophets, and showing the whole of them heralding forth many years before those things which were to come: why dost thou again bring us down to David? Art thou conversing, oh tell me, of some man, and giving him Jesse's son for a father? And wherein are these things worthy of what thou hast just spoken of? Yea, they are fully worthy. For our discourse is not, saith he, of any bare man. Such was my reason for adding, "according to the flesh;" as hinting that there is also a Generation of the Same after the Spirit. And why did he begin from that and not from this the higher? It is because that was what Matthew, and Luke, and Mark, began from. For he who would lead men by the hand to Heaven, must needs lead them upwards from below. So too was the actual dispensation ordered. First, that is, they saw Him a man upon earth, and then they understood Him to be God. In the same direction then, as He Himself had framed His teaching, did His disciple also shape out the way which leadeth thither. Therefore the generation according to the flesh is in his language placed first in order, not because it was first, but because he was for leading the hearer from this up to that.

Ver. 4. "And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ."

What is said has been made obscure by the close-folding of the words, and so it is necessary to divide it. What then is it, which he says? We preach, says he, Him Who was made of David. But this is plain. Whence then is it plain, that this incarnate "Person" was also the Son of God? First, it is so from the prophets; wherefore he says, "Which He had promised afore by the Prophets in the Holy Scriptures." (v. 2.) And this way of demonstration is no weak one. And next also from the very way of His Generation: which also he sets forth by saying, "of the seed of David according to the flesh:" for He broke the rule of nature. Thirdly, from the miracles which He did, yielding a demonstration of much power, for "in power" means this. Fourthly, from the Spirit which He gave to them that believe upon Him, and through which He made them all holy, wherefore he saith, "according to the Spirit of holiness." For it was of God only to grant such gifts. Fifthly, from the Resurrection; for He first and He alone raised Himself: and this Himself too said to be above all a miracle sufficient to stop the mouths even of them that behaved shamelessly. For, "Destroy this Temple," He says, "and in three days I will raise it up" (John xix.); and, "When ye have lifted" Me "up from the earth, then shall ye know that I am He" (ib. viii. 28); and again, This "generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of Jonas." (Matt. xii. 39.) What then is the being "declared?" being shown, being manifested, being judged, being confessed, by the feeling and suffrage of all; by Prophets, by the marvelous Birth after the Flesh, by the power which was in the miracles, by the Spirit, through which He gave sanctification, by the Resurrection, whereby He put an end to the tyranny of death.

Ver. 5. "By Whom we have received grace and Apostleship for obedience to the faith."

See the candor of the servant. He wishes nothing to be his own, but all his Master's. And indeed it was the Spirit that gave this. Wherefore He saith, "I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth" (John xvi. 12): and again, "Separate Me Paul and Barnabas." (Acts xiii. 2.) And in the Epistle to the Corinthians, he says, that "to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge" (1 Cor. xii. 8, 11); and that It divideth all as It willeth. And in addressing the Milesians, he says, "Over which the Holy Ghost hath made you shepherds and overseers." (Acts xx. 28.) You see, he calls the things of the Spirit, the Son's, and the things of the Son, the Spirit's. "Grace and Apostleship;" that is, it is not we that have achieved for ourselves, that we should become Apostles. For it was not by having toiled much and labored that we had this dignity allotted to us, but we received grace, and the successful result is a part of the heavenly gift. "For obedience to the faith." So it was not the Apostles that achieved it, but grace that paved the way before them. For it was their part to go about and preach, but to persuade was of God, Who wrought in them. As also Luke saith, that "He opened their heart" (Acts xvi. 14); and again, To whom it was given to hear the word of God. [1195] "To obedience;" he says not, to questioning and parade (kataskeuen) of argument but "to obedience." For we were not sent, he means, to argue, but to give those things which we had trusted to our hands. For when the Master declareth aught, they that hear should not be nice and curious handlers of what is told them, but receivers only; for this is why the Apostles were sent, to speak what they had heard, not to add aught from their own stock, and that we for our part should believe--that we should believe what?--"concerning His Name." Not that we should be curious about the essence, but that we should believe on the Name; for this it was which also wrought the miracles. For it says, "in the Name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk." (Acts iii. 6.) And this too requireth faith, neither can one grasp aught of these things by reasoning (logismho katalabhein). "Among all nations, among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ." What? did Paul preach then to all the nations? Now that he ran through the whole space from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and from thence again went forth to the very ends of the earth, is plain from what he writes to the Romans; but even if he did not come to all, yet still what he says is not false, for he speaks not of himself alone, but of the twelve Apostles, and all who declared the word after them. And in another sense, one should not see any fault to find with the phrase, if about himself, when one considers his ready mind, and how that after death he ceaseth not to preach in all parts of the world. And consider how he extols the gift, and shows that it is great and much more lofty than the former, since the old things were with one nation, but this gift drew sea and land to itself. And attend to this too, how free the mind of Paul is from all flattery; for when conversing with the Romans, who were seated as it were upon a sort of summit of the whole world, he attaches no more to them than to the other nations, nor does he on the score of their being then in power and ruling, say, that they have in spiritual things also any advantage. But as (he means) we preach to all the nations, so do we to you, numbering them with Scythians and Thracians: for if he did not wish to show this, it were superfluous to say "Among whom are ye also." [1196] And this he does to take down their high spirit (kenhon to phusema) and to prostrate the swelling vanity of their minds, and to teach them to honor others alike to themselves: and so he proceeds to speak upon this very point.

Ver. 6. "Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ."

That is, along with whom ye also are: and he does not say, that he called the others with you, but you with the others. For if in Christ Jesus there is neither bond nor free, much less is there king and private man. For even ye were called and did not come over of yourselves.

Ver. 7. "To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ."

See how continually he puts the word "called," saying, "called to be an Apostle; among whom ye also are called; to all that be in Rome, called:" and this he does not out of superfluity of words, but out of a wish to remind them of the benefit. For since among them which believed, it was likely that there would be some of the consuls (hupaton; Ben. consulares) and rulers as well as poor and common men, casting aside the inequality of ranks, he writes to them all under one appellation. But if in things which are more needful and which are spiritual, all things are set forth as common both to slaves and to free, for instance, the love from God, the calling, the Gospel, the adoption, the grace, the peace, the sanctification, all things else, how could it be other than the uttermost folly, whom God had joined together, and made to be of equal honor in the greater things, those to divide on account of things on earth? on this ground, I presume, from the very outstart, this blessed Apostle, after casting out this mischievous disease, conducts them to the mother of blessings, humble-mindedness. This made servants better, since they learnt that they should take no harm from their servitude, while they had the true freedom; this would incline masters to be gentle, as being instructed that they have no advantage in being free, unless the goods of faith have the first place given them. And that you may learn that he was not doing this to work confusion, by dashing all things, but still knew the best distinction, he wrote not simply to all that were in Rome, but with a definition added, "beloved of God." For this is the best discrimination, and shows whence the sanctification was. Whence then was the sanctification? from Love. For after saying, "beloved," then he proceeds, "called to be saints," showing that it is from this that the fount of all blessings is. But saints he calls all the faithful. "Grace unto you and peace."

Oh address, that bringeth countless blessings to us! This also Christ bade the Apostles to use as their first word when entering into houses. (Luke x. 5.) Wherefore it is from this that Paul also in all places takes his beginning, from grace and peace; for it was no small war which Christ put an end to, but indeed one varying and of every kind and of a long season (toikilon kai tantodapon); and this not from our labors, but through His grace. Since then love presented us with grace, and grace with peace, having set them down in the due order of an address, he prays over them that they may abide perpetual and unmoved, so that no other war may again be blown into flame, and beseeches Him that gave, to keep these things firmly settled, saying as follows, "Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." See in this passage, the "from" is common to the Son and the Father, and this is equivalent to "of whom." [1197] For he did not say, Grace be unto you and peace from God the Father, "through" our Lord Jesus Christ; but, "from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." Strange! how mighty is the love of God! we which were enemies and disgraced, have all at once become saints and sons. For when he calls Him Father, he shows them to be sons; and when he says sons, he has unveiled the whole treasure of blessings.

Let us then keep showing a conversation worthy of the gift, and hold on in peace and holiness. For other dignities are but for a time, and are brought to an end along with this life present, and may be bought with money (whence one might say they are not dignities at all but names of dignities only, having their strength in the investiture of fine array and the servility of attendants), but this as having been given of God, the gift of sanctification and adoption, is not broken through even by death, but even here maketh men conspicuous, and also departs with us upon our journey to the life to come. For he that holdeth on in the adoption, and keeps an exact watch upon his holiness, is much brighter and more happy even than he that is arrayed with the diadem itself, and has the purple; and has the delight of abundant peace in the present life and is nurtured up with goodly hopes, and hath no ground for worry and disturbance, but enjoys constant pleasure; for as for good spirits and joy, it is not greatness of power, not abundance of wealth, not pomp of authority, not strength of body, not sumptuousness of the table, not the adorning of dresses, nor any other of the things in man's reach that ordinarily produces them, but spiritual success, and a good conscience alone. And he that hath this cleansed, even though he be clad in rags and struggling with famine, is of better spirits than they that live so softly. So too he that is conscious of wicked deeds, even though he may gather to himself all men's goods, is the most wretched of all men. For this cause Paul, living in continual hunger and nakedness, and being scourged every day was joyful, and went more softly than they that were then emperors. But Ahab though a king, and indulging in a sumptuous luxury, when he had done that one sin, groaned and was out of spirits, and his countenance was fallen both before the sin and after the sin. If then we wish to enjoy pleasure, above all things else let us shun wickedness, and follow after virtue; since it is not in the nature of things for one to have a share thereof on any other terms, even if we were mounted upon the king's throne itself. Wherefore also Paul saith, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace." (Gal. v. 22.) This fruit then let us keep growing by us, that we may be in the fruition of joy here, and may obtain the kingdom to come, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom and with Whom, be glory to the Father, and to the Holy Spirit, now and always, even unto all ages. Amen.

Footnotes

[1189] In every one of his Epistles prefixes (Savile). [1190] This expression is significant as showing the confidence of Chrys. in the Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews. It need hardly be said that the reason for the omission of the Apostle's name is purely fanciful and that the non-Pauline character of the Epistle is almost demonstrable.--G.B.S. [1191] Or, "not in one way only." [1192] oikonomias, viz. the concealment of His glory in the Incarnation. [1193] It is noticeable that in the New Testament the apostles call the body of believers "saints," but never apply this term to themselves or to one another. In later times the body of believers returned the compliment and fixed the term as a title upon the Apostles, New Testament writers, Church Fathers, and a large number of Christians more or less distinguished for learning or piety. Most Christians find the title more appropriate to the two first classes than to the two last.--G.B.S. [1194] Which the Fathers teach to be a type of Christ upon the Cross. See on Tert. Apol. c. 30, p. 70. Oxf. Tr. [1195] Supposed to be a vague recollection of St. Luke viii. 10, or of Acts xix. 10. [1196] The expression has also another important bearing upon a question much debated by modern scholars, viz.: was the Roman Church predominantly Jewish or Gentile? The Pauline usage is strongly in favor of understanding by the words ta& 158; thne Gentiles as opposed to Jews. If this is correct the expression together with en hois este would seem decisive as showing the predominantly Gentile character of the Roman Christian community.--G.B.S. [1197] See St. Basil de Spiritu Sancto, c. 2, 4. and 5. St. Chrysostom is arguing against the Arian abuse of 1 Cor. viii. 6, as he does on the passage itself. .


Homily II.

Rom. I. 8

"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."

An exordium worthy of this blessed spirit, and able to teach all men to offer unto God the firstlings of their good deeds and words, and to render thanks not only for their own, but also for others' well-doings: which also maketh the soul pure from envy and grudging, and draweth God in a greater measure towards the loving spirit of them that so render thanks. Wherefore also elsewhere he says, "Blessed be God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessing." (Eph. i. 3.) And it is fitting that we render thanks not only when rich, but also when poor, not when in health only, but also when sick, not when we thrive only, but also when we have to bear the reverse. For when our affairs are borne onward with a fair wind, to be thankful is not matter of wonder. But when no small tempests be upon us, and the vessel veers about and is in jeopardy, then is the great time for displaying patience and goodness of heart. For this cause Job also gained a crown from hence, and the shameless mouth of the devil did he stop, and show clearly that not even when he saw good days was it through his wealth that he was thankful, but through his much love toward God. And see too what things he is thankful for: not for things earthly and perishing, as power and authority and glory (for these things are of no account), but for real blessings, faith and boldness of speech. And with how much feeling [1198] he gives thanks: for he saith not "to God," but "to my God," which also the Prophets do, so making that which is common to all their own. And what is there wonderful in the Prophets doing so? For God himself plainly does it continually to His servants, calling Himself the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, as peculiarly theirs. "That your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." What then, had the whole world heard of the faith of the Romans? Yes, the whole, according to him. (Or, since that time, phasa ex ekeinou). And it is not a thing unlikely. For the city was not one of no note, but as being upon a sort of eminence it was on every account conspicuous. But consider, I pray, the power of the preaching, how in a short time by means of publicans and fishermen it took hold upon the very head of all cities, and Syrians became the teachers and guides of Romans. He attests then two excellencies in them, both that they believed, and that they believed with boldness, and that so great as that the fame of them reached into all the world. "For your faith," he says "is spoken of throughout the whole world. Your faith," not your verbal disputations, nor your questionings, nor your syllogisms. And yet there were there many hindrances to the teaching. For having recently acquired the empire of the world they were elated, and lived in riches and luxury, and fishermen brought the preaching there, and they Jews and of the Jews, a nation hated and had in abomination among all men; and they were bidden to worship the Crucified, Who was brought up in Judea. And with the doctrine the teachers proclaimed also an austere life to men who were practised in softness, and were agitated about things present. And they that proclaimed it were poor and common men, of no family, and born of men of no family. But none of these things hindered the course of the word. So great was the power of the Crucified as to carry the word round everywhere. "For it is spoken of," he says, "in all the world." He says not, it is manifested, but, is spoken of, as if all men had them in their mouths. And indeed when he bears witness of this in the Thessalonians, he adds another thing also. For after saying, "from you sounded out the word of God," he adds, "so that we need not to speak anything." (1 Thess. i. 8.) For the disciples had come into the place of teachers, by their boldness of speech instructing all, and drawing them to themselves. For the preaching came not anywhere to a stand, but went over the whole world more rapidly than fire. But here there is only thus much--"it is spoken of." He well says that "it is spoken of," showing that there was no need to add aught to what was said, or to take away. For a messenger's business is this, to convey from one to another only what is told him. For which cause also the priest is called a "messenger" (Mal. ii. 7), because he speaks not his own words, but those of Him that sent him. And yet Peter had preached there. But he reckons what was his, to be his own as well. In such degree, as I said before, was he beyond measure clear of all grudging!

Ver. 9. "For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of His Son."

Words these of an Apostle's bowels of affection, the showing forth this of fatherly concernment! [1199] And what is it which he says, and why does he call God to witness? He had to declare his feeling toward them. Since then he had not as yet ever seen them, he therefore called no man to witness, but Him Who entereth in the hearts. For since he was saying, "I love you," and as a token thereof alleged his praying continually for them, and wishing to come to them, and neither was this self-evident, he betakes himself to the trustworthy testimony. Will then any one of you be able to boast that he remembers, when praying at his house (epi thes oikias) the entire body of the Church? I think not. But Paul drew near to God in behalf not of one city only, but of the whole world, and this not once, or twice, or thrice, but continually. But if the continually bearing any one about in one's memory would not happen without much love; to have any in one's prayers, and to have them there continually, think what great affection and friendship that implies. But when he says, "Whom I serve with my spirit in the Gospel of His Son," he shows us at once the grace of God, and also his own humble-mindedness; the grace of God because He entrusted to him so great a matter; but his own humility, because he imputes it all not to his own zeal, but to the assistance of the Spirit. But the addition of "the Gospel," shows the kind of ministry. For there are many and diverse modes of service. And as under kings all are ranged under one that beareth kingly power, and all have not to minister (diakonhountai) about the same thing, but to one belongeth the ministry of ruling armies and to another that of ordering cities and to another again that of keeping treasures in the storehouses, thus also in spiritual things, one serveth God and laboreth (latreuei kaidouleuei) in believing and ordering his own life well, and another in undertaking the care of strangers, and another in taking in hand the patronship of them that be in need. As even during the Apostle's own time, they of Stephen's company served God in the guardianship of the widows, others (alloi2 mss., all hon) in the teaching of the word, of whom also Paul was serving in the preaching of the Gospel. And this was the fashion of his service: for it was to this that he was appointed. On this account, he not only calls God to witness, but also says what he was entrusted with, to show that having so great things put into his hands, he would not have called Him Who trusted them to him to witness what was false. And therewith he wished to make another point out also, viz. that he could not but have this love and care for them. For that they might not say "who art thou? and, from whence? that thou sayest that thou art anxious over a city so great, and most imperial," he shows that he must needs have this care, [1200] if at least the sort of service that was committed to him, was to declare the Gospel: for he that hath this put into his hands, must needs have continually upon his mind them that are to receive the word. And he shows another thing besides this by saying, "in my spirit;" that this service is much higher than either the Gentile or the Jewish. For the Gentile is both fleshly and in error, and the Jewish is true indeed, yet even this is fleshly. But that of the Church is the opposite of the Gentile, but more lofty than the Jewish by a great deal. For the mode of our service is not with sheep and oxen and smoke and fat, but by a spiritual soul, which Christ also shows in saying that "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." (John iv. 24.)

"In the Gospel of His Son." Having said above that it was the Father's Gospel, here he says it is the Son's. So indifferent is it to say the Father's or the Son's! For he had learnt from that blessed voice that the things of the Father are the Son's, and the things of the Son are the Father's. For "all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine." (John xvii. 10.)

"That without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers." This is the part of genuine love, and he seems indeed to be saying some one thing, yet states four things even here. Both that he remembers, and that he does so continually, and that it is in his prayers, and that it is to ask great things for them.

Ver. 10, 11. "Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you."

You see him painfully desiring to see them, and yet not enduring to see them contrary to what seemed good unto God, but having his longing mingled with the fear of God. For he loved them, and was eager to come to them. Yet he did not, because he loved them, desire to see them, contrary to what seemed good unto God. This is true love, not as we love who err on both sides from the laws of love: for either we love no one, or if we ever do love, we love contrary to what seemeth good unto God, acting in both against the Divine law. And if these things be grievous (phortika) when spoken of, they are more grievous when done. And how do we love contrary to what seems good to God? (you will say.) When we neglect Christ pining with hunger, and provide our children and friends and relations above their needs. Or rather what need to carry the subject further. For if any one will examine his own conscience, he will find that this takes place in many things. But such was not that blessed person, but he knew both how to love and to love as he ought (3 mss. omit "as he ought"), and as was fitting, and though exceeding all men in loving, he transgressed not the measures of love. See then two things thrive extremely in him, fear of God, and also longing towards the Romans. For to be praying continually, and not to desist when he obtained not, shows exceeding love. But while loving, thus to continue yielding to the will of God, shows intense reverence. In another place, however, having "thrice besought the Lord" (2 Cor. xii. 8), he not only did not receive, but on the contrary, when he did not receive, he was very thankful for not having been heard. So, in all things did he look to God. But here he received, though not when he asked, but after delay, and neither hereat was he discontented. And these things I mention that we may not repine at not being heard, or at being heard slowly. For we are not better than Paul, who confesses his thankfulness for both, and with good ground. For when he had once given himself up to the all-governing Hand, and put himself with as much subjection under it, as clay under the potter, he followed wheresoever God led. Having then said that he desired to see them, he mentioned also the cause of his desire; and what is it?

Ver. 11. "That I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established."

For it was not merely as many now go travelling in a needless and profitless way that he also went, but for necessary and very urgent ends. And he does not tell them his meaning openly, but by way of hints, for he does not say that I may teach you, that I may instruct you, that I may fill up that which is wanting; but, "that I may impart;" showing, that it is not his own things which he is giving them, but that he was imparting to them what he had received. And here again he is unassuming, in saying "some," he means, a small one, and suited to my powers. And what may this small one be which thou art now going to impart? This it is, he says, "to the end that ye may be established." This then also cometh of grace, namely, the being unwavering and standing fast. But when you hear of grace, think not that the reward of resolve on our part is thereby cast aside; for he speaks of grace, not to disparage the labor of resolve on our part, but to undermine (hupotemnomenos, as piercing a thing inflated) the haughtiness of an insolent spirit (aponoias). Do not thou then, because that Paul hath called this a gift of grace, grow supine. For he knows how, in his great candor, to call even well doings, graces; because even in these we need much influence from above. But in saying, "to the end that ye may be established," he covertly shows that they needed much correction: for what he would say is this: Of a "long time I have both desired" and prayed to see you, for no other reason than that I may "stablish, strengthen, fix" you thoroughly in the word of God, so that ye be not continually wavering. But he does not express himself so (for he would have shocked them), but in another way he hints to them the same thing, though in a subdued tone. For when he says, "to the end that ye may be established," he makes this plain. Then since this also was very irksome, see how he softens it by the sequel. For that they may not say, are we wavering, and carried about? and need we speech of yours in order to stand fast? he anticipates and does away any gainsaying of the kind, by saying as follows.

Ver. 12. "That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me."

As if he said, Do not suspect that I spoke to accuse you. It was not with this feeling that I said what I did. But what may it be that I wished to say? Ye are undergoing many tribulations, being drenched on every side (by those who persecute you periantloumenoi. 3 mss. parenochloumenoi, harassed). I desired then to see you, that I might comfort you, or rather, not that I might comfort you only, but that I might myself receive comfort. See the wisdom of the teacher. He said, to the end that "ye may be strengthened;" he knew that what he had said would be heavy and irksome to the disciples. He says, "to the end that ye may be comforted." But this again is heavy, not indeed to such a degree as the former, still it is heavy. He then pares down what is galling in this also, smoothing his speech on every side, and rendering it easy of acceptance. For he does not say barely, "to be comforted," but, "to be comforted together with you;" nor was he content with this but he puts in a further lenitive, when he says, "by the mutual faith both of you and me." [1201] Oh how great was his humble-mindedness! He showed himself also to be in need of them, and not them only of him. And he puts the disciples in the position of teachers, not letting any superiority remain upon his own side, but pointing out their full equality. For the gain is mutual, he means, and I need the comfort from you, and you that from me. And how comes this to pass? "Through the mutual faith both of you and me." For as in the case of fire, if any one gather together many lights, it is a bright flame that he kindles, thus also does it naturally happen with the faithful. For when we be by ourselves, torn away from others, we are somehow in worse spirits. But when we see one another, and are entwined [1202] with the members of our own selves, great is the comfort we receive. You must not look to the present time, during which, by God's grace, both in city and in the desert itself, there be many hosts of believers, and all impiety hath been driven out; but consider, in that time, how great a good it was both for disciples to see their master, and for brethren who had come from another city to be seen of brethren. But that I may make what I am saying plainer, let me bring the matter to an example. For if it should even happen and come to pass (may it never do so!) that we had been carried away to the land of the Persians or Scythians or other barbarians, and had been scattered (7 mss. "torn asunder") by twos and threes in their cities, and were then suddenly to see any one of those here coming to us, reflect what a harvest of comfort we should reap of it! See ye not those too who are in the prisons, it they see any of their acquaintance, how they revive, and are quite fluttering with the pleasure? But if I compare those days with captivity and imprisonment, count it no wonder. For these suffered far harder things than those, scattered as they were, and driven about, and dwelling in the midst of famine and of wars, and tremblingly expecting daily death, and suspecting friends and kindred and relatives, and dwelling in the world as in a strange land, aye, and in far harder plight than they who live in another's country. This is why he says, "to the end that ye may be established and comforted with us by our mutual faith." And this he says, not as though himself needed any assistance from them (far from it; for how should the pillar of the Church, who was stronger than iron and the rock, the spiritual adamant, who was equal to the charge of countless cities), but that he should not make his language impetuous and his reproof vehement, he says, that he himself also needs their consolation. But if any one here should say, that the comfort was his gladness at the increase of their faith, and that Paul needed this, he would not be mistaking his meaning in this way either. If then thou desire, one might say, and pray, and wilt gain comfort and give comfort by it, what is there to hinder thy coming? By way of dissipating this suspicion then, he proceeds.

Ver. 13. "Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I desired to come unto you (but was let hitherto)."

Here is a compliance great as that of slaves, and a plain exhibition of his excellent temper (eugnomosunes)! For, that he was let, he says, but why, he does not go on to say. For he does not pry into the command of his Master, but only obeys. And yet one might expect a person to start questions, as to why God hindered a city so conspicuous and great, and towards which the whole world was looking, from enjoying such a teacher, and that for so long a time. For he that had overcome the governing city, could easily go on to the subjects of it. But he that let alone the more royal one, and lay in wait about the dependents, had the main point left neglected. But none of these things does he busy himself with, but yields to the incomprehensibleness of Providence, thereby both showing the right tone of his soul, and instructing us all never to call God to account for what happens, even though what is done seem to trouble the minds of many. For the Master's part it is alone to enjoin, the servants' to obey. And this is why he says, that he was let, but not for what cause; for he means, even I do not know; ask not then of me the counsel or mind of God. For neither "shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?" For why, tell me, do you even seek to learn it? do you not know that all things are under His care, that He is wise, that He doeth nothing at a mere hazard, that He loveth thee more than they who begat thee, and goes exceeding far beyond a father's yearnings of affection to thee, and a mother's anxiousness. Seek then no more, and go not a step further; for this is sufficient consolation for thee: since even then it was well ordered for the Romans. And if thou knowest not the manner, take it not to heart: for this is a main feature of faith, even when in ignorance of the manner of the dispensation, to receive what is told us of His Providence.

Paul then having succeeded in what he was earnest about (and what was this? to show that it was not as slighting them that he did not come to them, but because, though greatly desiring it, he was hindered), and having divested himself of the accusation of remissness, and having persuaded them that he was not less desirous to see them than themselves, further shows his love to them by other things. For even when I was hindered he means, I did not stand aloof from the attempt, but I kept attempting always yet was always hindered, yet never did I stand aloof thus, without falling out with the will of God, still keeping my love. For by his purposing it to himself and not standing aloof from it, he showed his affection; but through his being hindered and yet not struggling against it, all his love to God. "That I might have some fruit among you also." Yet he had told them the cause of his longing before, and shown that it was becoming him; but still here also, he states it, clearing away all their suspicion. For since the city was conspicuous, and in the whole extent of sea and land had no equal to many even the mere desire of becoming acquainted with it became a reason (prophasis) for a journey to it; that they might not think anything of the sort about Paul, or suspect that, merely with a view to glory in claiming them to himself he desired to be present there, he repeatedly lays down the ground of his desire, and before he says, it was that "I may impart to you some spiritual gift," that I desired to see you; but here more clearly, "that I might have some fruit among you also even as among other Gentiles." The rulers he puts with the subjects, and after the countless triumphs and victories and the glory of the consuls, he puts them with the barbarians, and with good reason too. For where the nobility of faith is, there is none barbarian, none Grecian, none stranger, none citizen, but all mount up to one height of dignity. And see him here also unassuming, for he does not say, that I may teach and instruct, but what? "that I might have some fruit." And not fruit, simply, but "some fruit." Again, depreciating his own share therein just as he had said above, "that I may impart some gift." And then to repress them too, as I said also before, he says, "even as among other Gentiles." [1203] For, I do not, because you are rich, and have the advantage of others, show less concern about the others. For it is not the rich that we are seeking, but the faithful. Where now are the wise of the Greeks, they that wear long beards and that are clad in open dress, [1204] and puff forth great words (ta megala phushontes)? All Greece and all barbarian lands has the tentmaker converted. But Plato, who is so cried up and carried about [1205] among them, coming a third time to Sicily with the bombast of those words of his, with his brilliant reputation (hupslepseos), did not even get the better of a single king, but came off so wretchedly, as even to have lost his liberty. But this tentmaker ran over not Sicily alone or Italy, but the whole world; and while preaching too he desisted not from his art, but even then sewed skins, and superintended the workshop. And even this did not give offence to those who were born of consuls, and with very good reason, for it is not their trades and occupations, but falsehood and forged doctrines, which usually render teachers easy subjects of contempt. And for this reason, even Athenians still laugh at the former. But this man even barbarians attend to, and even foolish and ignorant men. For his preaching is set forth to all alike, it knows no distinction of rank, no preëminence of nation, no other thing of the sort; for faith alone does it require, and not reasonings. Wherefore it is most worthy of admiration, not only because it is profitable and saving, but that it is readily admissible and easy (Sav. "lovable"), and comprehensible to all: which is a main object in the Providence of God, who setteth forth His blessings to all in common.

For what He did in respect of the sun and the moon and the earth and the sea and other things, not giving the rich and the wise a greater share of the benefits of these, and a less to the poor, but setting forth the enjoyment of them to all alike, this also did He with regard to the preaching, and even in a much greater degree, by how much this is more indispensable than they. Wherefore Paul repeatedly says, "among all the Gentiles," to show that he in no respect favors them, but is fulfilling his Master's command, and sending them away to thanksgiving to the God of all, he says;

Ver. 14. "I am a debtor to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise."

Which also he said when writing to the Corinthians. And he says it, to ascribe the whole to God. (1 Cor. ix. 16.)

Ver. 15. "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also."

Oh, noble soul! having taken on him a task laden of so great dangers, a voyage across the sea, temptations, plottings, risings--for it was likely, that one who was going to address so great a city which was under the tyrannic sway of impiety, should undergo temptations thick as snowflakes; and it was in this way that he lost his life in this city, being cut off by the tyrant of it--yet still expecting to undergo so great troubles, for none of these did he become less energetic, but was in haste and was in travail and was ready-minded. Wherefore he says, "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also."

Ver. 16. "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel."

"What sayest thou, O, Paul? When it were fitting to say, that I boast, and am proud, and luxuriate in it; thou sayest not this, but what is less than this, that thou art "not ashamed," which is not what we usually say of things very glorious. What then is this which he says, and why does he thus speak? while yet he exults over it more than over heaven. At least, in writing to the Galatians, he said, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Gal. vi. 14.) How then comes he here to say, not that I even glory, but that "I am not ashamed?" The Romans were most anxiously eager about the things of the world, owing to their riches, their empire, their victories; and their kings they reckoned to be equal to the gods, and so they even called them. And for this cause too, they worshipped them with temples and with altars and with sacrifices. Since then they were thus puffed up, but Paul was going to preach Jesus, who was thought to be the carpenter's son, who was brought up in Judea, and that in the house of a mean woman, who had no body guards, who was not encircled in wealth, but even died as a culprit with robbers, and endured many other inglorious things; and it was likely that they were concealing themselves as not as yet knowing any of the unspeakable and great things: for this reason he says, "I am not ashamed," having still to teach them not to be ashamed. For he knew that if they succeeded in this, they would speedily go on and come to glorying also: and do you then, if you hear any one saying, Dost thou worship the Crucified? be not ashamed, and do not look down, but luxuriate in it, be bright-faced at it, and with the eyes of a free man, and with uplifted look, take up your confession; and if he say again, Dost thou worship the Crucified? say in reply to him, Yes! and not the adulterer, not the insulter of his father, not the murderer of his children (for such be all the gods they have [1206] ), but Him who by the Cross stopped the mouths of devils, and did away with their countless juggleries. For the Cross is for our sakes, being the work of unspeakable Love towards man, the sign of His great concern for us. And in addition to what has been said, since they were puffed up with great pomposity of speech and with their cloak of external wisdom, I, he means to say, bidding an entire farewell to these reasonings, come to preach the Cross, and am not ashamed because of it: "for it is the power of God to salvation." For since there is a power of God to chastisement also (for when He chastised the Egyptians, He said, "This is My great power, [1207] ") (Joel ii. 25) and a power to destruction, (for, "fear Him," He says, "that is able to destroy both body and soul in hell"), (Matt. x. 28) for this cause he says, it is not these that I come to bring, the powers of chastisement and punishment, but those of salvation. What then? Did not the Gospel tell of these things also, namely, the account of hell, and that of the outer darkness, and of the venomous worm? And yet we know of these from no other source than the Gospel. In what sense then does he say, "the power of God unto salvation?" Attend only to what follows. "To every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

For it is not to all absolutely, but to them that receive it. For though thou be a Grecian (i.e. Heathen), and even one that has run into every kind of vice, though a Scythian, though a barbarian, though a very brute, and full of all irrationality, and burdened with the weights of endless sins, no sooner hast thou received the word concerning the Cross, and been baptized, than thou hast blotted out all these; and why says he here, "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek?" What meaneth this difference? and yet he has often said, "Neither circumcision is anything, nor uncircumcision" (1 Cor. vii. 19. see Gal. v. 6 and vi. 15); how then doth he here discriminate, setting the Jew before the Greek? Now why is this? seeing that by being first he does not therefore receive any more of the grace (for the same gift is bestowed both on this person and that,) but the "first" is an honor in order of time only. For he has no such advantage as that of receiving greater righteousness, but is only honored in respect of his receiving it first. Since in the case of those that are enlightened (you that are initiated know what is meant,) all run [1208] to the baptism, yet not all at the same hour, but one first and another second. Yet the first doth not receive more than the second, nor he than the person after him, but all enjoy the same gifts. The "first" then here is an honor in word, not a superiority in grace. Then after saying, "unto salvation," he enhances the gift further, by showing that it stayeth not at the present point, but proceedeth farther. [1209] For this is what he sets forth, when he says,

Ver. 17. "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed."

But he who hath become just shall live, not for the present life only, but for that which is to come. And he hints not only this, but also another thing along with this, namely, the brightness and gloriousness of such a life. For since it is possible to be saved, yet not without shame (as many are saved of those, who by the royal humanity are released from punishment), that no one may suspect this upon hearing of safety, he adds also righteousness; and righteousness, not thine own, but that of God; hinting also the abundance of it and the facility. [1210] For you do not achieve it by toilings and labors, but you receive it by a gift from above, contributing one thing only from your own store, "believing." Then since his statement did not seem credible, if the adulterer and effeminate person, and robber of graves, and magician, is not only to be suddenly freed from punishment but to become just, and just too with the highest righteousness; he confirms his assertion from the Old Testament. And first with a short sentence, he lays open a vast sea of histories to one who has a capacity for seeing them. For after having said, "from faith to faith," he sends the hearer back to the dispensations of God, which took place thus in the Old Testament, which, when writing to the Hebrews, he explains with his usual great wisdom, showing that both the just and the sinners were justified in that way even then, wherefore also he made mention both of the harlot and of Abraham. But then here, after having just hinted at it (for he was running on to another and a pressing subject), he again confirms what he had said from the Prophets, bringing in Habakkuk before them, crying, and saying, that it is not in the nature of things for him who is to live, to live otherwise save by faith; for "the just," he says, "shall live by faith" (Hab. ii. 4), speaking about the life to come. For since what God giveth transcends reasoning entirely, it is but reason that we need faith. But the man that thinks meanly of it, and is contemptuous and vainglorious, will not effect anything at all. Let heretics hearken to the voice of the Spirit, for such is the nature of reasonings. They are like some labyrinth or puzzles which have no end to them anywhere, and do not let the reason stand upon the rock, and have their very origin in vanity. For being ashamed to allow of faith, and to seem ignorant of heavenly things, they involve themselves in the dust-cloud of countless reasonings. Then oh miserable and painful man, fit object for endless tears, should any one ask thee, how the heaven was made, and how the earth,--and why do I say the heaven and the earth? how thou wert thyself born, [1211] how nourished, and how thou grewest, art thou then not ashamed of thine ignorance? But if anything be said about the Only-begotten, dost thou thrust thyself through shame into a pit of destruction, thinking that it is unworthy of thee not to know everything? And yet disputatiousness is an unworthy thing, and so is ill-timed curiosity. And why do I speak of doctrines? for even from the corruption in our present life we have escaped by no other means than through the faith. Thus shone also all those aforetime, thus Abraham, thus Isaac, thus Jacob, thus too the harlot was saved, the one in the Old Testament, and likewise the one in the New. For, "by faith," he says, "the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not when she had received the spies." (Heb. xi. 31.) For if she had said to herself, "and how can they that are captives and exiles, and refugees, and live the life of vagabond tribes, get the better of us who have a city, and walls, and towers?" she would have destroyed both herself and them. Which also the forefathers of those who were then saved did suffer. For when, upon the sight of men great and tall, they questioned the manner of victory, they perished, without battle or array, all of them. Seest thou what a pit is that of unbelief! what a wall that of faith! For the one carried down endless thousands, the other not only saved a harlot, but made her the patroness of so numerous a people!

Now since we know of these and more than these, never let us call God to account for what is done, but whatsoever He may lay on us, that let us take up with, and let us not run into niceties and curious questions, though to human reasoning the thing commanded appears even amiss. For what, let me ask, looks more amiss than for a father to slay with his own hands his only and legitimate son? (Gen. xxii. 3.) But still when the righteous man was bid do it, he raised no nice scruples about it, but owing to the dignity of the bidder, he merely accepted the injunction. And another too that was bidden of God to strike a prophet, when he raised nice scruples about the seeming unreasonableness of the injunction, and did not simply obey, he was punished to the extreme. (1 Kings xx. 35, 36.) But he that struck, gained a good report. And Saul too, when he saved men contrary to the decree of God, fell from the kingdom, and was irretrievably punished. And one might find other instances beside these: by all which we learn, never to require a reason for God's injunctions, [1212] but to yield and obey only. But if it be dangerous to raise nice scruples about aught that He may enjoin, and extreme punishment is appointed for those who are curious questioners, what possible excuse shall they have who curiously question things far more secret and awful than these, as for instance, how He begat the Son, and in what fashion, and what His Essence is? Now as we know this, let us with all kindliness receive the mother of all blessings, faith; that sailing as it were in a still harbor, we may at once keep our doctrines orthodox, and by steering our life safely in a straight course, may attain those eternal blessings by the grace and love toward man of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom and with Whom be glory unto the Father, with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1198] diatheseos, see Ernesti Lex. Technol. in v. [1199] Four mss. didaskalias, a father's mode of Teaching. S. kedemonias. [1200] One ms. adds, if Christ hath given him this care, and [1201] Verse 12 is best understood as a quasi-correction, or modification of v. 11, to show that he does not mean that his coming to them would be a blessing to them alone, but also to himself; thus: I mean to say that I want to visit you not only that I may impart (metado, v. 11) something unto you, but that I may be encouraged in you (or among you) through the action and reaction of our common (en allelois) faith. Thus touto de estin is taken not as simply explanatory, but as mildly adversative.--G.B.S. [1202] periplakomen seems here to have a double sense from the context. [1203] Verse 13 adds a new reason for his wish to visit Rome--hina tina karpon scho. It seems to me that more is here meant than the establishing and encouragement of v. 11, 12; that the Apostle is not here merely repeating the idea of ti metado charisma (Meyer, Afford), but is thinking of the conversion of those outside of the Roman Christian community. This is confirmed by the generalization of v. 14: "And to Greeks and Barbarians, I am debtor." It was not merely a joy that he might experience, but a conquest which he might win for Christ. His purpose to go to Rome is grounded upon his fixed purpose to carry the gospel to all Gentile nations without distinction of race or culture (so Godet, Hofmann). Chrysostom's exposition proceeds upon the supposition of the simple identity of these statements.--G.B.S. [1204] exomidas, a short tunic leaving the arms and shoulders bare, which had with it a kind of mantle. It was used by slaves, and adopted perhaps by these philosophers as a badge of austerity. See Ælian. Var. Hist. 1. ix. c. 34. Ed. Varior. note of Perizonius. [1205] Field reads adomenos kai peripheromenos, Vulg. agomenos which may mean "alleged." [1206] And this the wiser heathen urge, as Plato, Rep. xi. and Euthyph. and Aristoph. Nub. [1207] Joel ii. 25. S. Ephrem considers that passage to allude to the plagues of Egypt; and so others. [1208] See the Ceremonies of Baptism, St. Cyril Lect. xx. (ii. on Myst.) c. 4. He says they "were led to the holy pool." p. 264. O.T. [1209] Verse 16 might almost be considered as a summary of the apostle's doctrine. It could be expressed thus: subject: The gospel, what is it? God's power. For what? Salvation. For whom? Every one that believeth. On what historic conditions? To the Jew first and also to the Greek. Proton is best taken not as simply chronological (Chrys. Godet, Hodge), but as denoting a providential, economic precedence (Meyer, De Wette, Tholuck, Philippi, Alford).--G.B.S. [1210] Dikaiosune theou (17) means a righteousness which is from God (gen. orig.) and of which God's character is the norm. The dikaios stands in an ethical relation which, on its divine side, is designated as dik. theou. God is the author of this right condition, but man is placed in it on condition and in consequence of faith. The dik. is ek pisteos as its conditioning cause and its aims at faith and terminates in faith--eis pistin. How closely and vitally are faith and righteousness connected! And yet they are to be distinguished. Faith is a subjective exercise; righteousness is a status. The former is that which man does; the latter is the relation and condition in which God places the believer. They represent respectively the human and the divine sides of salvation and are so vitally related that Paul can say: logizetai he pistis eis dikaiosunen (Rom. iv. 5 sq).--G.B.S. [1211] See Eccles. xi. 5. and Homer, Odys. 1. 216, also Menander as quoted by Eustathius on that passage. [1212] 2 mss. "to call God to account for His injunctions." .


Homily III.

Rom. I. 18

"For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down the truth in unrighteousness."

Observe the discretion of Paul, how after encouraging by the gentler things, he turns his discourse to the more fearful. For after saying that the Gospel is the cause of salvation and of life, that it is the power of God, that it gendereth salvation and righteousness, he mentions what might well make them fear that were heedless of it. For since in general most men are not drawn so much by the promise of what is good as by the fear of what is painful, he draws them on both sides. For this cause too did God not only promise a kingdom, but also threaten hell. And the Prophets spake thus with the Jews, ever intermingling the evil with the good. For this cause too Paul thus varies his discourse, yet not any how, but he sets first the good things, and after the evil, to show that the former came of the guiding purpose of God, but the latter of the wickedness of the backsliding. And in this way the prophet puts the good first, saying, "If ye be willing and will obey me, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye be not willing and will not obey me, the sword shall devour you." (Is. i. 19, 20.) So here too does Paul conduct his discourse. But observe him; Christ, he means, came to bring forgiveness, righteousness, life, yet not in any way, but by the Cross, which is greatest too and wonderful, that He not only gave such things, but that He also suffered such things. If then ye insolently scorn the gifts, then will the penalties await you. And see how he raises his language, "For the wrath of God," he says, "is revealed from heaven." Whence does this appear? If it be a believer who says this, we will tell him of the declarations of Christ, but if the unbeliever and the Grecian, him Paul silences, by what he says presently of the judgment of God, bringing an uncontrovertible demonstration from the things which were done by them. And this too is by far the most striking point in him, how he exhibits those who speak against the truth, as themselves bearing witness by the things which they do daily, and say, to the doctrines of the truth. But of this in the sequel: but for the present, let us keep to what is set before us. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven." And indeed even here this often takes place in famines and pestilences and wars: for each individually and all in common are punished. What will be the new thing then? That the chastisement will be greater, and common to all, and not by the same rules. For now what takes place is for correction; but then for vengeance. [1213] And this also St. Paul showed, when he said, "We are chastened now, that we should not be condemned with the world." (1 Cor. xi. 32.) And now indeed to many such things usually seem to come not of the wrath from above, but of the malice of man. But then the punishment from God shall be manifest, when the Judge, sitting upon the fearful tribunal, shall command some to be dragged to the furnaces, and some to the outer darkness, [1214] and some to other inexorable and intolerable punishments. And why is it that he does not speak as plainly as this, the Son of God is coming with ten thousand angels, and will call each man to account, but says, that "the wrath of God is revealed?" His hearers were as yet novices, and therefore he draws them first by things quite allowed by them. And besides what is here mentioned, he also seems to me to be aiming against the Greeks. And this is why he makes his beginning from this, but afterwards he introduces the subject of Christ's judgment.

"Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness." Here he showeth that the ways of ungodliness are many, and that of truth, one. For error is a thing various and multiform and compound, but the truth is one. And after speaking of doctrines he speaks of life, mentioning the unrighteousness of men. For there be various kinds of unrighteousness also. One is in money affairs, as when any one deals unrighteously by his neighbor in these; and another in regard to women, when a man leaves his own wife, and breaks in upon the marriage of another. For St. Paul calls this also defrauding, saying thus, "That no man go beyond or defraud his brother in the matter." (1 Thess. iv. 6.) Others again injure not the wife or property, but the reputation of their neighbor, and this too is unrighteousness. For "a good name is better than great riches." (Prov. xxii. 1.) But some say that this also is said of Paul about doctrines. Still there is nothing to prevent its having been said of both. But what it is "to hold the truth in unrighteousness," learn from the sequel.

Ver. 19. "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath showed it unto them."

But this glory they invested stocks and stones with. As then he which is entrusted with the goods of the king, and is ordered to spend them upon the king's glory, if he waste these upon robbers, and harlots, and witches, and make these splendid out of the king's stores, he is punished as having done the kingdom the greatest wrong. Thus they also who after having received the knowledge of God and of His glory, invested idols therewith, "held the truth in unrighteousness," and, at least as far as was in their power, dealt unrighteously by the knowledge, by not using it upon fitting objects. Now, has what was said become clear to you, or must one make it still clearer? Perhaps it were needful to say somewhat more. What then is it which is here said? The knowledge of Himself God placed in men from the beginning. But this knowledge they invested stocks and stones with, and so dealt unrighteously to the truth, as far at least as they might. For it abideth unchanged, having its own glory immutable. "And whence is it plain that He placed in them this knowledge, O Paul?" "Because," saith he, "that which may be known of Him is manifest in them." This, however, is an assertion, not a proof. But do thou make it good, and show me that the knowledge of God was plain to them, and that they willingly turned aside. Whence was it plain then? did He send them a voice from above? By no means. But what was able to draw them to Him more than a voice, that He did, by putting before them the Creation, so that both wise, and unlearned, and Scythian, and barbarian, having through sight learned the beauty of the things which were seen, might mount up to God. [1215] Wherefore he says,

Ver. 20. "For the invisible things of Him from the Creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made."

Which also the prophet said, "The heavens declare the glory of God." (Ps. xix. 1.) For what will the Greeks (i.e. Heathen) say in that day? That "we were ignorant of Thee?" Did ye then not hear the heaven sending forth a voice by the sight, while the well-ordered harmony of all things spake out more clearly than a trumpet? Did ye not see the hours of night and day abiding unmoved continually, the goodly order of winter, spring, and the other seasons remaining both sure and unmoved, the tractableness (eugnomosunen) of the sea amid all its turbulence and waves? All things abiding in order and by their beauty and their grandeur, preaching aloud of the Creator? For all these things and more than these doth Paul sum up in saying, "The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even His eternal Power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." And yet it is not for this God hath made these things, even if this came of it. For it was not to bereave them of all excuse, that He set before them so great a system of teaching, but that they might come to know Him. But by not having recognized [1216] Him they deprived themselves of every excuse, and then to show how they are bereaved of excuse, he says,

Ver. 21. "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God."

This is the one greatest charge; and the second after it is their also worshipping idols, as Jeremy too in accusing them said, "This people hath committed two evils: they have forsaken me the fountain of living water, and have dug for themselves broken cisterns." (Jer. ii. 13.) And then as a sign of their having known God, and not used their knowledge upon a fit object, he adduces this very thing, that they knew gods. Wherefore he adds, "because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God." And he names the cause through which they fell into such senselessness. What then is it? They trusted everything to their reasonings. Still he does not word it so, but in a much sharper language, "but became vain in their reasonings, and their foolish heart was darkened." For as in a night without a moon, if any one attempt to go by a strange road, or to sail over a strange sea, so far will he be from soon reaching his destination, that he will speedily be lost. Thus they, attempting to go the way leading to Heaven, and having destroyed the light from their own selves, and, in lieu of it, trusted themselves to the darkness of their own reasoning, and seeking in bodies for Him who is incorporeal, and in shapes for Him who hath no shape, underwent a most rueful shipwreck. But beside what has been said, he names also another cause of their error, when he says,

Ver. 22. "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

For having some great conceit of themselves, and not enduring to go the way which God had commanded them, they were plunged into the reasonings of senselessness (1 ms. dianoias). And then to show and give in outline, what a rueful surge it was, and how destitute of excuse, he goes on to say,

Ver. 23. "And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things."

The first charge is, that they did not find God; the second was, that it was while they had great and clear (Sav. marg. "wise") means to do it; the third, that withal they said they were wise; the fourth, that they not only did not find that Reverend Being, but even lowered Him to devils and to stones and stocks. Now he takes down their haughtiness also in the Epistle to the Corinthians, but not in the same way there as here. For there it is from the Cross he gives them the blow, saying, "The foolishness of God is wiser than men." (1 Cor. i. 25.) But here, without any comparison, he holds their wisdom by itself up to ridicule, showing it to be folly and a mere display of vain boasting. Then, that you may learn that when they had the knowledge of God they gave it up thus treacherously, "they changed," he says. Now he that changeth, hath something to change. For they wished to find out more, and not bear with the limits given them, and so they were banished from these also. For they were lusters after new devices, for such is all that is Grecian. And this is why they stood against one another and Aristotle rose up against Plato, and the Stoics blustered (ephruaxanto 6 mss. "fenced themselves," ephraxanto: which Field inclines to prefer) against him, and one has become hostile to one, another to another. So that one should not so much marvel at them for their wisdom, as turn away from them indignant and hate them, because through this very thing they have become fools. For had they not trusted what they have to reasonings, and syllogisms, and sophistries, they would not have suffered what they did suffer. Then, to strengthen the accusation against them he holds the whole of their idolatry up to ridicule. For in the first place the changing even were a very fit subject of scorn. But to change to such things too, is beyond all excuse. For what then did they change it, and what was it which they invested with His Glory? Some conceptions they ought to have had about Him, as, for instance, that He is God, that He is Lord of all, that He made them, which were not, that He exerciseth a Providence, that He careth for them. For these things are the "Glory of God." To whom then did they ascribe it? Not even to men, but "to an image made like to corruptible man." Neither did they stop here, but even dropped down to the brutes, or rather to the images of these. But consider, I pray, the wisdom of Paul, how he has taken the two extremes, God the Highest, and creeping things the lowest: or rather, not the creeping things, but the images of these; that he might clearly show their evident madness. For what knowledge they ought to have had concerning Him Who is incomparably more excellent than all, with that they invested what was incomparably more worthless than all. But what has this to do with the philosophers? a man may say. To these belongs most of all what I have said to do with them. For they have the Egyptians who were the inventors of these things to their masters. And Plato, who is thought more reverend than the rest of them, glories in these masters. (Plat. Tim. 21. B. etc.) And his master is in a stupid awe of these idols, for he it is that bids them sacrifice the cock to Æsculapius [1217] (his last words, Phædo), where (i.e. in his temple. So Field from mss.) are the images of these beasts, and creeping things. And one may see Apollo and Bacchus worshipped along with these creeping things. And some of the philosophers even lifted up to Heaven bulls, and scorpions, and dragons, and all the rest of that vanity. For in all parts did the devil zealously strive to bring men down before the images of creeping things, and to range beneath the most senseless of all things, him whom God hath willed to lift up above the heavens. And it is not from this only, but also from other grounds, that you will see their chief man to come under the remarks now made. For having made a collection of the poets, and having said that we should believe them upon matters relating to God, as having accurate knowledge, he has nothing else to bring forward but the "linked sweetness" of these absurdities, and then says, that this utterly ludicrous trifling is to be held for true. [1218] [1219]

Ver. 24. "Wherefore also God gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves."

Hence he shows, that even of the perversion of the laws it was ungodliness which was the cause, but He "gave them up," here is, let them alone. [1220] For as he that hath the command in an army, if upon the battle lying heavy upon him he retreat and go away, gives up his soldiers to the enemies not by thrusting them himself, but by stripping them of his own assistance; thus too did God leave those that were not minded to receive what cometh from Him, but were the first to bound off from Him, though Himself having wholly fulfilled His own part. But consider; He set before them, for a form of doctrine, the world; He gave them reason, and an understanding capable of perceiving what was needful. None of these things did the men of that day use unto salvation, but they perverted to the opposite what they had received. What was to be done then? to drag them by compulsion and force? But this were not to make them virtuous. It remained then, after that, for Him to leave them alone, and this He did too, that in this way, if by no other, having by trial come to know the things they lusted after, they might flee from what was so shameful (3 mss. add eikotos, and with reason). For if any that was a king's son, dishonoring his father, should choose to be with robbers and murderers, and them that break up tombs, and prefer their doings to his father's house; the father leaves him, say, so that by actual trial, he may learn the extravagance of his own madness. But how comes he to mention no other sin, as murder, for instance, or covetousness, or other such besides, but only unchasteness? He seems to me to hint at his audience at the time, and those who were to receive the Epistle. "To uncleanness, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves."

Note the emphasis here, as it is most severe. For they stood not in need of any others, it means, to do insolent violence to them, but the very treatment the enemies would have shown them, this they did to themselves. And then, taking up the charge again, he says,

Ver. 25. "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator."

Things which were matter for utter scorn, he puts down specially, but what seemed of a graver cast than the rest, in general terms; and by all he shows, that serving the creature is Grecian. And see how strong he makes his assertion, for he does not say, barely, "they served the creature," but "more than the Creator:" thus everywhere giving fresh force to the charge, and, by the comparison, taking from them all ground of mitigation. "Who is blessed forever. Amen." But by this, he means, He was not any whit injured. For Himself abideth "blessed for ever." Here he shows, that it was not in self-defence that He left them alone, inasmuch as He suffered nothing Himself. For even if these treated Him insolently, yet He was not insolently treated, neither was any scathe done to the bearings of His glory, but He abideth continually blessed. For if it often happen, that man through philosophy would not feel the insults men offered him, much less would God, the imperishable and unalterable Nature, the unchangeable and immovable Glory.

For men are in this respect made like unto God, [1221] when they do not feel what is inflicted by them who would do them despite, and are neither insulted of others who insult them, nor beaten of them when beating them, nor made scorn of when they make scorn of them. And how in the nature of things can this be? it may be said. It is so, yea most certainly it is possible, when thou art not vexed at what is done. And how, it may be said, is it possible not to be vexed? Nay rather, how is it possible to be vexed? Tell me now, if your little child were to insult you, would you then reckon the insult an insult? What, but would you be vexed? Surely not. But and if you were to be vexed, would you not then be ridiculous? Thus too let us then get to feel disposed towards our neighbors, and then we shall have no sense of displeasure. For they that insult us are more senseless than children. Neither let us even seek to be free from insults, but when we are insulted to bear them. For this is the only secure honor. But why so? Because this you are master of, but that, another person. Do you not see the adamant reverberating the blows it receives? But nature, you will say, gives it this property. Yet you too have it in your power to become by free choice such, as that happens to be by nature. How? do you not know that the children in the furnace were not burned? and that Daniel in the den suffered no harm? This may even now come to pass. There stand by us too lions, anger and lust, with fearful teeth tearing asunder him that falleth among them. (Plato Rep. viii.) Become then like that (ekeinon 3 mss.) Daniel, and let not these affections fasten their fangs into thy soul. But that, you will say, was wholly of grace. Yes; because the acts [1222] of free-will led the way thereto. So that if we be willing to train ourselves to a like character, even now the grace is at hand. And even though the brutes be an hungered, yet will they not touch thy sides. For if at the sight of a servant's body they were abashed, when they have seen the members of Christ, (and this is what we believers are,) how shall they do else than be still? Yet if they be not still, it is owing to the fault of those cast among them. For indeed many spend largely upon these lions, by keeping harlots, breaking through marriages, taking vengeance upon enemies. And so before ever they come to the bottom of the den they get torn in pieces. (Dan. vi. 24.) But with Daniel this did not so happen, neither yet would it with us, if we were so minded, but even a greater thing would take place than what then happened. For the lions hurt not him; and if we be sober-minded, then will they that hurt us even profit us. Thus then did Paul grow bright out of those that thwarted him and plotted against him, thus Job out of the many scourges, thus Jeremy out of the miry pit, thus Noah out of the flood, thus Abel out of the treachery, thus Moses out of the bloodthirsty Jews, thus, Elisha, thus each of the worthies of old, not out of relaxedness and softness, but out of tribulations and trials, came to be attired with their bright crowns. Wherefore also Christ, inasmuch as He knew this to be the groundwork of a good report, said to His disciples, "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John xvi. 33.) What then, they will say, Have not many been turned to flight by these terrors? Yes, but that was not of the nature of temptation, but of their own remissness. But He that "with the temptation maketh also an escape, so that ye may be able to bear it" (1 Cor. x. 13), may He stand by all of us, and reach forth His hand, that being gloriously proclaimed victorious we may attain to the everlasting crowns, through the grace and love towards man (5 mss. add the rest and so Field passim) of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom, and with Whom, to the Father be glory, with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1213] The author does not make it plain in what he understands the revelation of God's wrath here spoken of to consist. He mentions famines and pestilences as things in which it "often takes place." Paul evidently means that God's wrath is manifest in the judicial hardening of the people for their sins (vid. vv. 21, 28). Their shameful deeds and lives are the penalty of their sin. "God punishes their sin by sin" (Weiss), that is, He made them reap the bitter fruit in sinful lives of their sinful choices and acts. The view of Ritschl that orge theou is here eschatological in meaning seems very inadequately supported (vid. Godet on Romans--Am. ed. p. 102).--G.B.S. [1214] St. Basil speaks similarly of various punishments, Regulæ. Br. Tr. int. 267, ed. Ben. text ii. p. 507. Theophylact on Matt. viii. 12, seems to allude to this passage. Both say that "outer darkness" implies an "inner," but seemingly in opposite senses, Theoph. taking eso to be towards Heaven. Origen on Matt. xxii. 13 makes it a temporary punishment. St. Chrys. on Matt. xxii. 13. St. Aug. on Ps. vi. 6. St. Jerome on Matt. viii. 12, take it otherwise. See also St. Bas. on Ps. 33 (4), 11, text i. 151 e. See Maldonatus on Matt. viii. 12, and St. Chrys. on Rom. xvi. 16, infra on the difference of punishments. [1215] Pascal. Pen. c. 20, thinks an inward illumination implied here. [1216] agnoesantes 4 mss. and Sav. marg.; in text agnomonesantes, having been obstinate. [1217] Thus Tert. Ap. 46. Lact. iii. 20. Origen cont. Cels. vi. c. 4, quotes this as showing the Philosophers guilty of St. Paul's charge, at the same time speaking of Socrates' previous discourse as "what God had shown them;" the note of Spencer, Ed. Ben. i. 631, quotes an allegorical explanation. Theodoret, Græc. Aff. Cur. Dis. vii. de Sacr. says it was done to disprove the charge of Atheism. [Probably Socrates' real judgment on the popular mythology was, that it was an imperfect and economical revelation of a higher truth than it expressed: and its ceremonies the legitimate though conventional expression of true devotion. Thus "the cock to Æsculapius" was the sick man's thank-offering for recovery from "life's fitful fever."] [1218] See Plat. Io 533 E. and perhaps Euthyph. 6 A. B: passages certainly not fairly representative of Plato's deliberate opinions. But Greek Philosophy is here treated as attempting to rival the Gospel. The Fathers who most value what is true in it, as Clement of Alexandria and Justin Martyr, speak of it as from partial Divine Light, and use it against the false; as Cl. A. Str. 1. recommends the study of it for subordinate knowledge, and Cohort. ad Gr. quotes Heathens against the mythology, whose authors he considers led by demons to deceive men. So too Justin, Ap. i. 46, allows Heathens a partaking of the Logos, and 20, 55, 58, 62, etc., refers idol rites to the demons. St. Augustin de Civ. Dei, viii. 10, and elsewhere, gives a fair estimate of Gentile Philosophy. The Apostolical Constitutions, 1. i. c. 6, forbid studying heathen books. Cotelerius in his note quotes on the same side, 1. ii. c. 61, recog. x. 15, 42. Isid. Sent. iii. 13, etc., and the blame cast on Origen by many. On the other side Tert. de Idol. c. 10, who however only defends learning in heathen schools, rather than Christians should conform to heathen customs as teachers. Origen Philocal. c. 13. Greg. Naz. Or. 20. Hieron. ep. 84. 70 Vall. ad Magnum Oratorem Greg. Papa. ad 1 Reg. xiii. 19, 20. Theod. H. E. iv. 26, as checking excess in such studies, Greg. ad Desiderium, l. ix. Ep. 48. Hier. adv. Luciferianos, c. 5. Ep. 61, c. 1. Cassian. Coll. xiv. c. 12, etc. [1219] The steps of this degeneracy of the Gentile world as indicated in v. 21-23 may be indicated thus: (1) ceasing to give glory to God and to recognize his power and divineness. (2) Thanklessness. They lost the sense of their relation to him as recipients of his bounty. (3) They entered into vain and foolish speculations--dialogismoi. (4) These ended only in blindness of mind and heart to the truth which they once possessed. (5) Mistaking all this folly for wisdom, they were ripe for complete self-deception. They perverted their religious feeling by ceasing to make the glorious perfection of God the object of their worship and by substituting images of men and animals.--G.B.S. [1220] The expression: "God gave them up," etc. is not to be so softened down into the idea of mere permission. With this v. (24) begins the description of God's revelation of his wrath against them. This is introduced by dio; because they had pursued the course outlined in the preceding verses (19-23) God set in operation against them those moral and providential forces which reduced them to the lowest depth of misery and shame. Vv. 25-32 show what this exhibition of his wrath was and what were its consequences. For historic illustration of the condition of the Heathen world at this time, see Fisher, Beginnings of Christianity, chap. vi.--G.B.S. [1221] Greg. Nyss. i. p. 720. epei apathes to Theion, ho en pathei hon tes pros to Theion sunapheias aposchoinizetai. [1222] ta tes pr. i.e. his fastings, etc. S. Ephrem notes that it was not the miracles which were supernatural, but the grace of the doers thereof, in Nat. Dom. ix. text 2. p. 427. f. .


Homily IV.

Rom. I. 26, 27

"For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one towards another."

All these affections then were vile, but chiefly the mad lust after males; for the soul is more the sufferer in sins, and more dishonored, than the body in diseases. But behold how here too, as in the case of the doctrines, he deprives them of excuse, by saying of the women, that "they changed the natural use." For no one, he means, can say that it was by being hindered of legitimate intercourse that they came to this pass, or that it was from having no means to fulfil their desire that they were driven into this monstrous insaneness. For the changing implies possession. Which also when discoursing upon the doctrines he said, "They changed the truth of God for a lie." And with regard to the men again, he shows the same thing by saying, "Leaving the natural use of the woman." And in a like way with those, these he also puts out of all means of defending themselves by charging them not only that they had the means of gratification, and left that which they had, and went after another, but that having dishonored that which was natural, they ran after that which was contrary to nature. But that which is contrary to nature hath in it an irksomeness and displeasingness, so that they could not fairly allege even pleasure. For genuine pleasure is that which is according to nature. But when God hath left one, then all things are turned upside down. And thus not only was their doctrine Satanical, but their life too was diabolical. Now when he was discoursing of their doctrines, he put before them the world and man's understanding, telling them that, by the judgment afforded them by God, they might through the things which are seen, have been led as by the hand to the Creator, and then, by not willing to do so, they remained inexcusable. Here in the place of the world he sets the pleasure according to nature, which they would have enjoyed with more sense of security and greater glad-heartedness, and so have been far removed from shameful deeds. But they would not; whence they are quite out of the pale of pardon, and have done an insult to nature itself. And a yet more disgraceful thing than these is it, when even the women seek after these intercourses, who ought to have more sense of shame than men. And here too the judgment of Paul is worthy of admiration, how having fallen upon two opposite matters he accomplishes them both with all exactness. For he wished both to speak chastely and to sting the hearer. Now both these things were not in his power to do, [1223] but one hindered the other. For if you speak chastely you shall not be able to bear hard upon the hearer. But if you are minded to touch him to the quick, you are forced to lay the naked facts before him in plain terms. But his discreet and holy soul was able to do both with exactness, and by naming nature has at once given additional force to his accusation, and also used this as a sort of veil, to keep the chasteness of his description. And next, having reproached the women first, he goes on to the men also, and says, "And likewise also the men leaving the natural use of the woman." Which is an evident proof of the last degree of corruptness, when both sexes are abandoned, and both he that was ordained to be the instructor of the woman, and she who was bid to become an helpmate to the man, work the deeds of enemies against one another. And reflect too how significantly he uses his words. For he does not say that they were enamoured of, and lusted after one another, but, "they burned in their lust one toward another." You see that the whole of desire comes of an exorbitancy which endureth not to abide within its proper limits. For everything which transgresseth the laws by God appointed, lusteth after monstrous things and not those which be customary. For as many oftentimes having left the desire of food get to feed upon earth and small [1224] stones, and others being possessed by excessive thirst often long even for mire, thus these also ran into this ebullition of lawless love. But if you say, and whence came this intensity of lust? It was from the desertion of God: [1225] and whence is the desertion of God? from the lawlessness of them that left Him; "men with men working that which is unseemly." Do not, he means, because you have heard that they burned, suppose that the evil was only in desire. For the greater part of it came of their luxuriousness, which also kindled into flame their lust. And this is why he did not say being swept along or being overtaken, [1226] an expression he uses elsewhere; but what? working. They made a business of the sin, and not only a business, but even one zealously followed up. And he called it not lust, but that which is unseemly, and that properly. [1227] For they both dishonored nature, and trampled on the laws. And see the great confusion which fell out on both sides. For not only was the head turned downwards but the feet too were upwards, and they became enemies to themselves and to one another, bringing in a pernicious kind of strife, and one even more lawless than any civil war, and one rife in divisions, and of varied form. For they divided this into four new, and lawless kinds. Since (3 mss. whence) this war was not twofold or threefold, but even fourfold. Consider then. It was meet, that the twain should be one, I mean the woman and the man. For "the twain," it says, "shall be one flesh." (Gen. ii. 24.) But this the desire of intercourse effected, and united the sexes to one another. This desire the devil having taken away, and having turned the course thereof into another fashion, he thus sundered the sexes from one another, and made the one to become two parts in opposition to the law of God. For it says, "the two shall be one flesh;" but he divided the one flesh into two: here then is one war. Again, these same two parts he provoked to war both against themselves and against one another. For even women again abused women, and not men only. And the men stood against one another, and against the female sex, as happens in a battle by night. You see a second and third war, and a fourth and fifth; there is also another, for beside what have been mentioned they also behaved lawlessly against nature itself. For when the Devil saw that this desire it is, principally, which draws the sexes together, he was bent on cutting through the tie, so as to destroy the race, not only by their not copulating lawfully, but also by their being stirred up to war, and in sedition against one another.

"And receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet." See how he goes again to the fountain head of the evil, namely, the impiety that comes of their doctrines, and this he says is a reward of that lawlessness. For since in speaking of hell and punishment, it seemed he would not at present be credible to the ungodly and deliberate choosers of such a life, but even scorned, he shows that the punishment was in this pleasure itself. (So Plato Theæt. p. 176, 7.) But if they perceive it not, but are still pleased, be not amazed. For even they that are mad, and are afflicted with phrenzy (cf. Soph. Aj. 265-277) while doing themselves much injury and making themselves such objects of compassion, that others weep over them themselves smile and revel over what has happened. Yet we do not only for this not say that they are quit of punishment, but for this very reason are under a more grievous vengeance, in that they are unconscious of the plight they are in. For it is not the disordered but those who are sound whose votes one has to gain. Yet of old the matter seemed even to be a law, [1228] and a certain law-giver among them bade the domestic slaves neither to use unguents when dry (i.e. except in bathing) nor to keep youths, giving the free this place of honor, or rather of shamefulness. Yet they, however, did not think the thing shameful, but as being a grand privilege, and one too great for slaves, the Athenian people, the wisest of people, and Solon who is so great amongst them, permitted it to the free alone. And sundry other books of the philosophers may one see full of this disease. But we do not therefore say that the thing was made lawful, but that they who received this law were pitiable, and objects for many tears. For these are treated in the same way as women that play the whore. Or rather their plight is more miserable. For in the case of the one the intercourse, even if lawless, is yet according to nature: but this is contrary both to law and nature. For even if there were no hell, and no punishment had been threatened, this were worse than any punishment. Yet if you say "they found pleasure in it," you tell me what adds to the vengeance. For suppose I were to see a person running naked, with his body all besmeared with mire, and yet not covering himself, but exulting in it, I should not rejoice with him, but should rather bewail that he did not even perceive that he was doing shamefully. But that I may show the atrocity in a yet clearer light, bear with me in one more example. Now if any one condemned a virgin to live in close dens (thalomeuomenen), and to have intercourse with unreasoning brutes, and then she was pleased with such intercourse, would she not for this be especially a worthy object of tears, as being unable to be freed from this misery owing to her not even perceiving the misery? It is plain surely to every one. But if that were a grievous thing, neither is this less so than that. For to be insulted by one's own kinsmen is more piteous than to be so by strangers: these I say (5 mss. "I consider") are even worse than murderers: since to die even is better than to live under such insolency. For the murderer dissevers the soul from the body, but this man ruins the soul with the body. And name what sin you will, none will you mention equal to this lawlessness. And if they that suffer such things perceived them, they would accept ten thousand deaths so they might not suffer this evil. For there is not, there surely is not, a more grievous evil than this insolent dealing. For if when discoursing about fornication Paul said, that "Every sin which a man doeth is without the body, but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body" (1 Cor. vi. 18); what shall we say of this madness, which is so much worse than fornication as cannot even be expressed? For I should not only say that thou hast become a woman, but that thou hast lost thy manhood, and hast neither changed into that nature nor kept that which thou haddest, but thou hast been a traitor to both of them at once, and deserving both of men and women to be driven out and stoned, as having wronged either sex. And that thou mayest learn what the real force of this is, if any one were to come and assure you that he would make you a dog instead of being a man, would you not flee from him as a plague? But, lo! thou hast not made thyself a dog out of a man, but an animal more disgraceful than this. For this is useful unto service, but he that hath thus given himself up is serviceable for nothing. Or again, if any one threatened to make men travail and be brought to bed, should we not be filled with indignation? But lo! now they that have run into this fury have done more grievously by themselves. For it is not the same thing to change into the nature of women, as to continue a man and yet to have become a woman; or rather neither this nor that. But if you would know the enormity of the evil from other grounds, ask on what account the lawgivers punish them that make men eunuchs, and you will see that it is absolutely for no other reason than because they mutilate nature. And yet the injustice they do is nothing to this. For there have been those that were mutilated and were in many cases useful after their mutilation. But nothing can there be more worthless than a man who has pandered himself. For not the soul only, but the body also of one who hath been so treated, is disgraced, and deserves to be driven out everywhere. How many hells shall be enough for such? But if thou scoffest at hearing of hell and believest not that fire, remember Sodom. For we have seen, surely we have seen, even in this present life, a semblance of hell. For since many would utterly disbelieve the things to come after the resurrection, hearing now of an unquenchable fire, God brings them to a right mind by things present. For such is the burning of Sodom, and that conflagration! And they know it well that have been at the place, and have seen with their eyes that scourge divinely sent, and the effect of the lightnings from above. (Jude 7.) Consider how great is that sin, to have forced hell to appear even before its time! For whereas many thought scorn of His words, by His deeds did God show them the image thereof in a certain novel way. For that rain was unwonted, for that the intercourse was contrary to nature, and it deluged the land, since lust had done so with their souls. Wherefore also the rain was the opposite of the customary rain. Now not only did it fail to stir up the womb of the earth to the production of fruits, but made it even useless for the reception of seed. For such was also the intercourse of the men, making a body of this sort more worthless than the very land of Sodom. And what is there more detestable than a man who hath pandered himself, or what more execrable? Oh, what madness! Oh, what distraction! Whence came this lust lewdly revelling and making man's nature all that enemies could? or even worse than that, by as much as the soul is better than the body. Oh, ye that were more senseless than irrational creatures, and more shameless than dogs! for in no case does such intercourse take place with them, but nature acknowledgeth her own limits. But ye have even made our race dishonored below things irrational, by such indignities inflicted upon and by each other. Whence then were these evils born? Of luxury; of not knowing God. For so soon as any have cast out the fear of Him, all that is good straightway goes to ruin. [1229]

Now, that this may not happen, let us keep clear before our eyes the fear of God. For nothing, surely nothing, so ruins a man as to slip from this anchor, as nothing saves so much as continually looking thereto. For if by having a man before our eyes we feel more backward at doing sins, and often even through feeling abashed at servants of a better stamp we keep from doing anything amiss, consider what safety we shall enjoy by having God before our eyes! For in no case will the Devil attack us when so conditioned, in that he would be laboring without profit. But should he see us wandering abroad, and going about without a bridle, by getting a beginning in ourselves he will be able to drive us off afterwards any whither. And as it happens with thoughtless servants at market, who leave the needful services which their masters have entrusted to them, and rivet themselves at a mere haphazard to those who fall in their way, and waste out their leisure there; this also we undergo when we depart from the commandments of God. For we presently get standing on, admiring riches, and beauty of person, and the other things which we have no business with, just as those servants attend to the beggars that do jugglers' feats, and then, arriving too late, have to be grievously beaten at home. And many pass the road set before them through following others, who are behaving in the same unseemly way. But let not us so do. For we have been sent to dispatch many affairs that are urgent. And if we leave those, and stand gaping at these useless things, all our time will be wasted in vain and to no profit, and we shall suffer the extreme of punishment. For if you wish yourself to be busy, you have whereat you ought to wonder, and to gape all your days, things which are no subject for laughter, but for wondering and manifold praises. As he that admires things ridiculous, will himself often be such, and even worse than he that occasioneth the laughter. And that you may not fall into this, spring away from it forthwith. For why is it, pray, that you stand gaping and fluttering at sight of riches? What do you see so wonderful, and able to fix your eyes upon them? these gold-harnessed horses, these lackeys, partly savages, and partly eunuchs, and costly raiment, and the soul that is getting utterly soft in all this, and the haughty brow, and the bustlings, and the noise? And wherein do these things deserve wonder? what are they better than the beggars that dance and pipe in the market-place? For these too being taken with a sore famine of virtue, dance a dance more ridiculous than theirs, led and carried round at one time to costly tables, at another to the lodging of prostitute women, and at another to a swarm of flatterers and a host of hangers-on. But if they do wear gold, this is why they are the most pitiable, because the things which are nothing to them, are most the subject of their eager desire. Do not now, I pray, look at their raiment, but open their soul, and consider if it is not full of countless wounds, and clad with rags, and destitute, and defenceless! What then is the use of this madness of shows? for it were much better to be poor and living in virtue, than to be a king with wickedness; since the poor man in himself enjoys all the delights of the soul, and doth not even perceive his outward poverty for his inward riches. But the king, luxurious in those things which do not at all belong to him, is punished in those things which are his most real concern, even the soul, the thoughts, and the conscience, which are to go away with him to the other world. Since then we know these things, let us lay aside the gilded raiment, let us take up virtue and the pleasure which comes thereof. For so, both here and hereafter, shall we come to enjoy great delights, through the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom, and with Whom, be glory to the Father, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1223] 3 mss. tauta de (boulomeno) amphotera ouk enon (katorthoun). (Sav. enen) but in these one cannot succeed merely by wishing it. [1224] mikras, mss. the fem. is used of jewels. The Translator once had some earth which the natives of Mozambique eat in this way; it becomes a dram to them, its taste is like magnesia with iron, which last would give it a stimulant property. There are some other instances, but cases of madness are perhaps intended. [1225] 3 mss. I should say,....and if you ask whence is the desertion of God, I shall answer you again. [1226] Gal. 6, 1. prolephthentes, but 5 mss. paral. [1227] kurios, perhaps "as by name." [1228] See Müller's Dorians, 1. iv. c. 4, §6, where it is shown that this charge is more than exaggerated from confounding earlier times with later. Aristotle, Pol. ii. and Plato, Leg. i. 636, accuse the Lacedæmonians in like manner, but see Xen. de Rep. Lac. ii. 13. Ælian. v. H. iii. I. 12, and other writers quoted by Müller. At Athens opinion was, according to Plato, rather lax than positively immoral: it may be doubted if Solon's law (Aesch. in Tim. 19, 25,) was meant to bear the worst sense, though censured by Plutarch in almost the same terms as here. That there was however a fearful prevalence of this vice among the heathen cannot be disputed. [1229] There is no more forcible exhibition of the meaning of the apostle in the volume, then that found in this Homily. The depravity of the heathen world of which Paul has drawn but an outline picture is here painted in full in dark and awful colors. The force of dia touto (26) is rightly brought out as showing the relation of this depravity to the divine penalty for unbelief and irreligion. This deplorable moral condition is the judicial consequence of not following the light which God had given. It follows from the recoil of the moral law upon those who violate it. It is an example of the Saviour's warning: "If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is the darkness?" (Matt. vi. 23). The inevitable result of continued sin is a constantly increased and inveterate sinfulness which, as Chrys. says, is itself a most bitter punishment.--G.B.S. .


Homily V.

Rom. I. 28

"Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient."

Lest he should seem to be hinting at them by delaying in his discourse so long over the unnatural sin, he next passes on to other kinds of sins also, and for this cause he carries on the whole of his discourse as of other persons. And as he always does when discoursing with believers about sins, and wishing to show that they are to be avoided, he brings the Gentiles in, and says, "Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the other Gentiles which know not God." (1 Thess. iv. 5.) And again: "sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." (ib. 13.) And so here too he shows that it was to them the sins belonged, and deprives them of all excuse. For he says, that their daring deeds came not of ignorance, but of practice. And this is why he did not say, "and as they knew not God;" but "as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge;" as much as to say, that the sin was one of a perverted determination of obstinacy, more than of a sudden ravishment, and shows that it was not the flesh (as some heretics say) but the mind, [1230] to the wicked lust whereof the sins belonged, and that it was thence the fount of the evils flowed. [1231] For since the mind is become undistinguishing, [1232] all else is then dragged out of course and overturned, when he is corrupted that held the reins! (Plat. Phaedr. 246 A. B.)

Ver. 29. "Being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness."

See how everything here is intensitive. For he says, "being filled," and "with all," and having named maliciousness in general, he also further pursues the particulars, and these too in excess, saying, "Full of envy, murder," for the latter of these comes from the former, as was shown in Abel's case and Joseph's, and then after saying, "debate, deceit, malignity;"

Ver. 30. "Whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful," and classing things which to many seem indifferent among his charges, he further strengthens his accusation, going up to the stronghold of their wickednesses, and styles them "boasters." For even worse than sinning is it, even though sinning to be haughty-minded. Wherefore also he charges the Corinthians with it, saying, "Ye are puffed up." (1 Cor. v. 2.) For if in a good action he that puffs himself up loseth all, if any one do so among his sins, what vengeance is there of which he is not worthy, since such an one cannot repent any more? Next, he says, "inventors of evil things;" showing that they were not content with those already existing, but even invented others. And this again is like men that are full purposed and in earnest, not those that are hurried away and forced out of their course; and after mentioning the several kinds of maliciousness, and showing that here too they stood against nature itself (for he says, "disobedient to parents"), he then goes on to the root of the great pestilence, calling them,

Ver. 31. "Without natural affection, implacable."

For this Christ Himself also pronounces to be the cause of wickedness, saying, "When iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." (Matt. xxiv. 12). This too St. Paul here says, calling them "covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful," and showing that they were traitors even to the gift of nature. For we have a sort of family feeling even by nature towards one another, which even beasts have got towards each other. "For every beast," it says, "loveth his like, and every man his neighbor." (Ecclus. xiii. 15.) But these became more ferocious even than they. The disorder then which resulted to the world by evil doctrines, he proves to us by these witnesses, and clearly shows that the malady in either case came of the negligence of them that were disordered. He shows besides, what he did in the case of the doctrines, that they were here also deprived of all excuse; and so he says,

Ver. 32. "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

Having assumed here two objections, he in the first place removes them. For what reason have you to say, he means, that you know not the things which ought to be done? At best, even if you did not know, you are to blame in having left God who instructs you. But as it is by many arguments we have shown that you do know, and transgress willingly. But are you drawn by passion? Why then do you both co-operate therewith and praise it? For they "not only do such things," he says, "but have pleasure in them that do them." Having then put the more grievous and the unpardonable sin first, that he might have done with it (Or "convict you of it," hina hele); (for he that praiseth the sin is far worse than even he that trespasseth;) having then put this the first, he by this method grapples more powerfully with him in the sequel, speaking on this wise,

Chap. ii. ver. 1. "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man; whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself."

These things he says, with an aim at the rulers, inasmuch as that city then had the rule of the world put into its hands. [1233] He anticipated them therefore by saying, Thou art depriving thyself of defence, whoever thou mayest be; for when thou condemnest an adulterer, and thyself committest adultery, although no man condemneth thee, in thy judgment upon the guilty person thou hast also passed sentence against thyself.

Ver. 2. "For we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them who commit such things."

For lest any should say, until now I have escaped, to make him afraid, he says, that it is not so with God as it is here. For here (Plato in Theæt. et Phædon.) one is punished, and another escapes while doing the same thing. But hereafter it is not so. That he that judgeth then knoweth the right, he has said: but whence he knoweth it, he hath not added; for it was superfluous. For in the case of ungodliness, he shows both that the ungodly was so even with a knowledge of God, and also whence he got that knowledge, namely, from the Creation. For inasmuch as it was not plain to all, he gave the cause also; but here he passes it over as a thing admitted. But when he says, "whosoever thou art that judgest," he is not addressing himself to the rulers only, but to private individuals and subjects also. For all men, even if they have no chair of state, nor executioners, nor stocks at command, yet even they judge those that offend, in conversations and public meetings (Gr. koinhois sullogois) and by the vote of their conscience. And no one would venture to say, that the adulterer does not deserve punishment. But it is others, he says, they condemn, and not themselves. And for this cause he stands forth vehemently against them, and says,

Ver. 3. "And thinkest thou this" (4 mss. om. this), "O man, that judgest those which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?"

For since he had shown the sin of the world to be great, from its doctrines, from its doings, and that they did yet sin though wise, and though they had the creation to lead them by the hand, and not by leaving God only, but also by choosing the images of creeping things, and by their dishonoring virtue, and deserting, in spite of nature's drawings back, to the service of vice even contrary to nature: he goes on next to show, that they who do such things are punished too. He did indeed at once point out a punishment by mentioning their very practice. For "they received," he says, "in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet." But as they do not perceive that, he mentions another also, which they stood most in fear of. And indeed already he chiefly pointed at this. For when he says, "That the judgment of God is according to truth," he is speaking of no other than this. But he establishes the same again upon other further grounds, saying thus, "And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?" Thou hast not been acquitted of thine own judgment, and wilt thou escape through God's? Who indeed would say this? And yet thou hast judged thyself (3 mss. "and not been acquitted"). But since the rigorousness of the judgment-court was such, and thou wert not able to spare even thyself, how should not God, that cannot do amiss, and who is in the highest sense just, be much surer to do the same? But hast thou condemned thyself, and is God to approve of thee and praise thee? And how can this be reasonable? And all the while thou art deserving of a greater punishment, than he who is of thee condemned. For sinning merely, is not the same thing with falling again into the same sins you have chastised another for committing. See, how he has strengthened the charge! For if you, he means, punish a person who has committed less sins, though by it you will put yourself to shame, how shall not God cast you in your suit, and condemn you more severely, who have committed greater transgressions, and this too when He will never make Himself ashamed, and you are already condemned by your own reckoning. But if thou say, I know that I deserve punishment; yet through His long-suffering thinkest slightingly of it, and art confident because thou dost not suffer punishment forthwith; this surely is a reason why thou oughtest to be afraid and tremble. For the fact that thou hast not yet suffered punishment, will not result in thy not suffering any punishment, but in thy suffering a more severe one if thou abidest unamended. [1234] And so he goes on to say:

Ver. 4. "Or despiseth thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and long-sufferring; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"

For after praising God's long-suffering, showing the gain thereof to be very great to them that heeded it (and this was the drawing sinners to repentance); he adds to the terror. For as to them, who avail themselves of it aright, it is a ground of safety; so to them that slight it, it is conducive to a greater vengeance. For whenever you utter this common notion, that God doth not exact justice, because He is good and long-suffering, he says, You do but mention what will make the vengeance intenser. For God showeth His goodness that you may get free from your sins, not that you may add to them. If then thou make not this use thereof, the judgment will be more fearful. Wherefore it is a chief ground for abstaining from sin, that God is long-suffering, and not for making the benefit a plea for obstinacy. For if He be long-suffering, He most certainly punisheth. Whence does this appear? from what is next said. For if the wickedness be great and the wicked have not been requited, it is absolutely necessary that they should be requited. For if men do not overlook these things, how should God make an oversight? And so from this point he introduces the subject of the judgment. For the fact of showing many who, if they repent not, are liable, yet still are not punished here, introduces with it necessarily the judgment, and that with increase. Wherefore he says,

Ver. 5. "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath."

For when a man is neither to be softened by goodness nor to be turned back by fear, what can be harder than such an one? For after that he had showed the goodness of God towards men, he then shows His vengeance that it is unbearable for him who [1235] does not even so return to repentance. And observe with what propriety he uses the words! "Thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath," he says, so making it plain what is certainly laid up, and showing that it is not He that judgeth, but he that is condemned, who is the author of this. For he says, "thou treasurest up for thyself," not God for thee. For He did all, whatsoever things were fitting, and created thee with a power to discern between good and what was not so, and showed long-suffering over thee, and called thee to repentance, and threatened a fearful day, so by every means drawing thee to repentance. But if thou shouldst continue unyielding, "thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation and (so all mss. but two) the righteous judgment of God." For lest on hearing of wrath thou shouldest think of any passion, he adds, "the righteous judgment of God." And he said "revelation" with good reason, for then is this revealed when each man receives his desert. For here many men often annoy and practise harm to one without justice. But hereafter it is not so.

Ver. 6, 7. "Who will render to every man according to his deeds, to them who by patient continuance in well doing," etc.

Since he had become awestriking and harsh by discoursing of the judgment and of the punishment that shall be, he does not forthwith, as one might expect, enter upon the vengeance, but turns his discourse to what was sweeter, to the recompense of good actions, saying as follows,

Ver. 7. "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life."

Here also he awakens those who had drawn back during the trials, and shows that it is not right to trust in faith only. For it is deeds also into which that tribunal will enquire. But observe, how when he is discoursing about the things to come, he is unable to tell clearly the blessings, but speaketh of glory and honor. For in that they transcend all that man hath, he hath no image of them taken from this to show, but by those things which have a semblance of brightness among us, even by them he sets them before us as far as may be, by glory, by honor, by life. For these be what men earnestly strive after, yet are those things not these, but much better than these, inasmuch as they are incorruptible and immortal. See how he has opened to us the doors toward the resurrection of the body by speaking of incorruptibility. For incorruptibility belongs to the corruptible body. Then, since this sufficed not, he added glory and honor. For all of us are to rise incorruptible, but not all to glory, but some to punishment, and some to life.

Ver. 8. "But unto them that are contentious," [1236] he says. Again, he deprives of excuse those that live in wickedness, and shows that it is from a kind of disputatiousness and carelessness that they fall into unrighteousness.

"And do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness." See, here is another accusation again. For what defence can he set up, who flees from the light and chooses the dark? And he does not say, who are "compelled by," "lorded over by," but who "obey unrighteousness," that one may learn that the fall is one of free choice, the crime not of necessity.

Ver. 9. "Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil."

That is, if a man be rich, if a consul, if a very sovereign (so Field: several mss. and Edd. "the emperor himself"), by none of them is the account of the judgment out-faced. Since in this dignities have no place. Having then shown the exceeding greatness of the disease, and having added the cause, that it was from the carelessness of the disordered, and finally, that destruction awaits them and that amendment is easy, in the punishment also he again gives the Jew the heavier lot. For he that had enjoyed a larger share of instruction would also deserve to undergo a larger share of vengeance if doing lawlessly. And so the wiser or mightier men we are, the more are we punished if we sin. For if thou art rich, thou wilt have more money demanded of thee than of the poor; and if wiser than others, a stricter obedience; and if thou hast been invested with authority, more shining acts of goodness; and so in the case of all the other things, thou wilt have to bring in measures proportioned to your power.

Ver. 10. "But glory, honor, and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile."

What Jew does he here mean? or about what Gentiles is he discoursing? It is of those before Christ's coming. For his discourse had not hitherto come to the times of grace, but he was still dwelling upon the earlier times, so breaking down first from afar off and clearing away the separation between the Greek and the Jew, that when he should do this in the matter of grace, he might no more seem to be devising some new and degrading view. For if in the earlier times when this Grace had not shone forth in such greatness, when the estate of the Jews was solemn and renowned and glorious before all men, there was no difference, what could they say for themselves (tina an echoien logon eiphein;) now after so great a display of grace? And this is why he establishes it with so great earnestness. For when the hearer has been informed that this held in the earlier times, much more will he receive it after the faith. But by Greeks he here means not them that worshipped idols, but them that adored God, that obeyed the law of nature, that strictly kept all things, save the Jewish observances, which contribute to piety, such as were Melchizedek and his (hoi peri), such as was Job, such as were the Ninevites, such as was Cornelius. Here then he is first breaking through the partition between the circumcision and the uncircumcision: and at a distance dissipates this distinction beforehand, so as to do it without being suspected, and to strike into it as compelled by another occasion, which is ever a characteristic of his Apostolic wisdom. For if he had showed it in the times of grace, what he said would have had a very suspicious look. But on describing the vice which possessed the world, and where end the ways of wickedness, to pass from that consecutively into the treatment of these points renders his teaching unsuspected. And that he means this, and for this purpose so put this together, is plain from hence: for if he were not intent upon effecting this, it were enough for him to have said, "According to thy hardness and impenitent heart thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath;" and then to have dropped this subject, since it would have been complete. But in that what he had in view was not to speak of the judgment to come only, but to show also that the Jew had no advantage of such a Greek, and so was not to be haughty-spirited, he advances farther, and speaks [1237] of them in order. But consider! He had put the hearer in fear, had advanced [1238] against him the fearful day, had told him what an evil it is to be living in wickedness, had showed him that no man sinneth of ignorance, nor with impunity, but that even though he suffer no punishment now, yet he certainly will suffer it: then he wishes to make good next that the teaching of the Law was not a thing of great importance. For it is upon works that both punishment and reward depend, not upon circumcision and uncircumcision. Since then he had said, that the Gentile shall by no means go unpunished and had taken this for granted, and upon it had made good that he shall also be rewarded, he next showed the Law and circumcision to be superfluous. For it is the Jews that he is here chiefly opposing. For inasmuch as they were somewhat captiously disposed, first, of their haughtiness, not deigning to be reckoned along with the Gentiles, and secondly thinking it ridiculous if the faith is to do away all sins; for this cause he accused the Gentiles first, in whose behalf he is speaking, that without suspicion and with boldness of speech, he may attack the Jews. And then having come to the enquiry concerning the punishment, he shows that the Jew is so far from being at all profited by the Law, that he is even weighed down by it. And this was his drift some way back. For if the Gentile be on this score inexcusable, because, when the creation led him on and his own reasonings, he yet did not amend, much more were the Jew so, who besides these had the teaching of the Law also. Having then persuaded him to a ready admission of these reasonings, in the case of other men's sins, he now compels him even against his will to do so in the case of his own. And in order that what he says may be more readily allowed, he leads him forward with the better things also in view, speaking on this wise: "But glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile." For here whatever good things a man hath, he hath with fightings, even if he be rich, if a prince, if a king. Even if he be not at variance with others, yet is he often so with himself, and has abundant war in his own thoughts. But there it is no such thing, but all is still and void of trouble, and in possession of true peace. Having then made good from what was said above, that they too which have not the Law are to enjoy the same blessings, he adds his reason in the following words:

Ver. 11. "For there is no respect of persons with God."

For when he says that as well the Jew as the Gentile is punished if he sin, he needs no reasonings: but when he wants to prove that the Gentile is honored also, he then needs a foundation for it also; as it seemed wonderful and extravagant if he who had heard neither Law nor Prophets, were to be honored upon his working good. And this is why (as I also said before) he exercises their hearing in the times before grace, that he might afterwards more treatably bring in, along with the faith, the acquiescence in these things also. For here he is not at all suspected, as seeming not to be making his own point good. Having then said, "Glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile," he adds, "For there is no respect of persons with God." Wonderful! What more than victory has he gained! For he shows, by reducing it to an absurdity, that it was not meet with God that it should be otherwise. For it would then be a case of respecting of persons. But of such character God is not. And he does not say, "for if this were not so, God would be a respecter of persons," but with more of dignity, "For there is no respect of persons with God." That it is not quality of persons, but difference of actions. Which He maketh inquisition for. By so saying he shows that it was not in actions but in persons only that the Jew differed from the Gentile. The consequence of this would be thus expressed; For it is not because one is a Jew and the other a Gentile, that one is honored and the other disgraced, but it is from the works that either treatment comes. But he does not say so, since it would have roused the anger of the Jew, but he sets down something more, so bringing their haughty spirit yet lower, and quelling it for the admission of the other. But what is this? The next position.

Ver. 12. "For as many," he says, "as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law."

For here, as I said before, he shows not only the equality of the Jew and the Gentile, but that the Jew was even much burdened by the gift of the Law. For the Gentile is judged without law. But this "without law" (Gr. lawlessly) here expresses not the worse plight but the easier, that is, he has not the Law to accuse him. For "without law" (that is, without the condemnation arising from it), is he condemned solely from the reasonings of nature, but the Jew, "in the Law," that is, with nature and the Law too to accuse him. For the greater the attention he enjoyed, the greater the punishment he will suffer. See how much greater is the necessity which he lays upon the Jews of a speedy recourse to grace! For in that they said, they needed not grace, being justified by the Law, he shows that they need it more than the Gentiles, considering they are liable to be punished more. Then he adds another reason again, and so farther contends for what has been said. [1239]

Ver 13. "For not the hearers of the law are just before God."

Well doth he add "before God;" for haply before men they may be able to appear dignified and to vaunt great things, but before God it is quite otherwise--the doers of the Law alone are justified. You see with what advantage he combats, by turning what they said to an opposite bearing. For if it is by the Law you claim to be saved, in this respect, saith he, the Gentile will stand before you, [1240] when seen to be a doer of what is written in the Law. And how is it possible (one may say) for one who hath not heard to be a doer? Not this only, he says, is possible, but what is much more even than this. For not only is it possible without hearing to be a doer, but even with hearing not to be so. Which last thing he makes plainer, and that with a greater advantage over them, when he says, "Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?" (Rom. ii. 21.) But here he is still making the former point good.

Ver. 14. "For when the Gentiles," he says, "which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves."

I am not, he means, rejecting the Law, but even on this score I justify the Gentiles. You see how when undermining the conceit of Judaism, he giveth no handle against himself as villifying the Law, but on the contrary by extolling it and showing its greatness he so makes good his whole position. But whenever he saith "by nature," he means by the reasonings of nature. And he shows that others are better than they, and, what is more better for this, that they have not received the Law, and have not that wherein the Jews seem to have an advantage over them. For on this ground he means they are to be admired, because they required not a law, and yet exhibited all the doings of the Law, having the works, not the letters, graven upon their minds. For this is what he says,

Ver. 15. "Which show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another."

Ver. 16. "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel."

See how he again puts that day before them, and brings it close to them, battering down their conceit, and showing, that those were to be the rather honored who without the Law strove earnestly to fulfil the things of the Law. But what is most to be marvelled at in the discretion of the Apostle, it is worth while to mention now. For having shown, from the grounds given, that the Gentile is greater than the Jew; in the inference, and the conclusion of his reasoning, he does not state it, in order not to exasperate the Jew. But to make what I have said clearer, I will give the very words of the Apostle. For after saying, that it is not the hearers of the Law, but the doers of the Law, that shall be justified, it followed to say, "For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law," they are much better than those who are instructed by the Law. But this he does not say, but he stays at the encomium of the Gentiles, and does not yet awhile carry on his discourse by way of comparison, that so at least the Jew may receive what is said. And so he does not word it as I was doing, but how? "For when the Gentiles, which have not the Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the Law, written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness." For the conscience and reason doth suffice in the Law's stead. By this he showed, first, that God made man independent, [1241] so as to be able to choose virtue and to avoid vice. And be not surprised that he proves this point, not once or twice, but several times. For this topic was very needful for him to prove owing to those who say, Why ever is it, that Christ came but now? And where in times before was the (most mss. this mighty) scheme of Providence? Now it is these that he is at present beating off by the way, when he shows that even in former times, and before the Law was given, the human race (Gr. nature) fully enjoyed the care of Providence. For "that which may be known of God was manifest in them," and they knew what was good, and what bad; by means whereof they judged others, which he reproaches them with, when he says, "wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself." But in the case of the Jews, besides what has been mentioned, there was the Law, and not reason or conscience only. And why does he put the words "accusing or else excusing?"--for, if they have a Law written, and show the work of it in them, how comes reason to be able to accuse them still? But he is not any longer speaking of those only who do well, but also of mankind (Gr. the nature) universally. For then our reasonings stand up, some accusing and some excusing. And at that tribunal a man needeth no other accuser. Then to add to their fear, he does not say the sins of men, but the secrets of men. For since he said, "Thinkest thou, that judgest them that do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God;" that thou mayest not expect such a sentence as thou passest thyself, but mayest know, that that of God is far more exact than thine own, he brings in, "the secrets of men," and adds, "through Jesus Christ according to my Gospel." For men sit in judgment upon overt acts alone. And above too he spake of the Father alone, but as soon as he had crushed them with fear, he brought in the mention of Christ also. But he does not do barely this, but even here, after having made mention of the Father, he so introduceth Him. And by the same things he raises the dignity of his preaching. For this preaching, he means, openly speaks out what nature taught by anticipation. Do you see with what wisdom he has bound them both to the Gospel and to Christ, and demonstrated that our affairs come not here to a stand, but travel further. And this he made good before also, when he said, "thou treasurest up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath:" and here again, "God shall judge the secrets of men."

Now let each man enter into his own conscience, and reckoning up his transgressions, let him call himself to a strict account, that we be not then condemned with the world. (1 Cor. xi. 32.) For fearful is that court, awful the tribunal, full of trembling the accounts, a river of fire rolls along (helketai). "A brother doth not redeem: shall man redeem?" (Ps. xlix. 8. LXX.) Call then to mind what is said in the Gospel, the Angels running to and fro, of the bridechamber being shut, of the lamps going out, of the powers which drag to the furnaces. And consider this, that if a secret deed of any one of us were brought forth into the midst, to-day, before the Church only, what could he do but pray to perish, and to have the earth to gape for him, rather than have so many witnesses of his wickedness? How then shall we feel, when, before the whole world, all things are brought into the midst, in a theatre so bright and open, with both those known and those unknown to us seeing into everything? But alas! wherewith am I forced to affright you! with men's estimation! when I ought to use the fear of God, and His condemnation. For what, pray, is to become of us then when bound, and gnashing our teeth, we are led away to the outer darkness? Or, rather, what shall we do (and this is the most fearful thought of all) when we offend (proskrousomen) God? For if any one have sense and reason, he has already endured a hell when he is out of sight of God. But since this doth not pain, fire is therefore threatened. For we ought to smart not when we are punished, but when we sin. Thus listen to Paul wailing and lamenting over sins, for which he was not to be punished. For "I am not meet," he says, "to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church." (1 Cor. xv. 9.) Hear also David, when he is set free from the punishment, yet, as thinking that he had offended God, calling vengeance down upon himself, and saying, "Let thy hand be upon me and upon my father's house." (2 Sam. xxiv. 17.) For to have offended God is more distressing than to be punished. But now we are so wretchedly disposed, that, were there no fear of hell, we should not even choose readily to do any good thing. Wherefore were it for nothing else, yet for this at least, we should deserve hell, because we fear hell more than Christ (several mss. God). But not so the blessed Paul, but contrariwise. But since we feel otherwise, for this reason are we condemned to hell: since, did we but love Christ as we should love Him, we should have known that to offend Him we love were more painful than hell. But since we love Him not, we know not the greatness of His punishment. And this is what I bewail and grieve over the most! And yet what has God not done, to be beloved of us? What hath He not devised? What hath He omitted? We insulted Him, when He had not wronged us in aught, but had even benefited us with blessings countless and unspeakable. We have turned aside from Him when calling and drawing us to Him by all ways, yet hath He not even upon this punished us, but hath run Himself unto us, and held us back, when fleeing, and we have shaken Him off and leaped away to the Devil. And not even on this hath He stood aloof, but hath sent numberless messengers to call us to Him again, Prophets, Angels, [1242] Patriarchs: and we have not only not received the embassy, but have even insulted those that came. But not even for this did He spew us out of His mouth, but like those slighted lovers that be very earnest, He went round beseeching all, the heaven, the earth, Jeremiah, Micah, and that not that He might weigh us down, but that He might speak in behalf of His own ways (Is. i. 2; Jer. ii. 12; iii. 12; etc.; Mic. vi. 1): and along with the prophets He went also Himself to those that turned aside from Him, being ready to submit to examination, and deigning to condescend to a conference, and drawing them that were deaf to every appeal into a disputation with Himself. For He saith, "O my people, what have I done unto thee, and wherein have I wearied thee? Answer me." (Mic. vi. 3.) After all this we killed the Prophets, we stoned them, we did them other cruel wrongs without number. What then? In their place He sent no longer Prophets, no longer Angels, no longer Patriarchs, but the Son Himself. He too was killed when He had come, and yet not even then did He quench His love, but kindled it even more, and keepeth on beseeching us, after even His own Son was killed, and entreating us, and doing all things to turn us unto Himself. And Paul crieth aloud, saying, "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: be ye reconciled to God." (2 Cor. v. 20.) None of these things however reconciled us. Yet not even then did He leave us, but keeps on both threatening hell, and promising a kingdom, that even so He may draw us unto Himself. But we be still in an insensible mood. What can be worse than this brutishness? For had a man done these things, should we not many times over have let ourselves become slaves to him? But God when doing so we turn us away from! O what listlessness! O what unfeelingness! We that live continually in sins and wickednesses, if we happen to do any little good, like unfeeling domestics, with what a niggardly spirit do we exact it, and how particular are we about the recompense made, if what we have done has any recompense to come of it. And yet the recompense is the greater if you do it without any hope of reward. Why saying all this, and making exact reckoning, is language fitter for an hireling than a domestic of willing mind. For we ought to do everything for Christ's sake, not for the reward, but for Him. For this also was why He threatened hell and promised the kingdom, that He might be loved of us. Let us then so love Him as we ought to love Him. For this is the great reward, this is royalty and pleasure, this is enjoyment, and glory, and honor, this is light, this is the great happiness, [1243] which language (or reasoning) cannot set before us, nor mind conceive. Yet indeed I do not know how I was led so far in this way of speaking, and came to be exhorting men who do not even think slightly of power and glory here for Christ's sake, to think slightly of the kingdom. Yet still those great and noble men even attained to this measure of love. Hear, for instance, how Peter burns with love towards Him, setting Him before soul, and life, and all things. And when he had denied Him, it was not the punishment he was grieved for, but that he had denied Him Whom he longed for, which was more bitter to him than any punishment. And all this did he show before the grace of the Spirit was given. [1244] And he perseveringly pressed the question, "Whither goest thou?" (John xiii. 36) and before this; "To whom shall we go?" (vi. 67); and again; "I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest." (Luke xxii. 33?) Thus He was all things to them, and neither heaven nor the kingdom of heaven did they count of, in comparison of Him they longed for. For Thou art all these things unto me, he means. And why doest thou marvel that Peter was so minded? Hear now what the Prophet says: "What have I in heaven, and what is there upon earth, that I should desire in comparison of Thee?" (Ps. lxxiii. 25.) Now what he means is nearly this. Neither of things above nor of things below desire I any, save Thee only. This is passion; [1245] this is love. Can we so love, it will not be things present only, but even things to come, which we shall reckon as nothing compared with that love-charm, and even here shall we enjoy the Kingdom, delighting ourselves in the love of Him. And how is this to be? one may say. Let us reflect how oft we insult Him after numberless goodnesses, yet He standeth and calleth us to Him, and how often we run by Him, but He still doth not overlook us, but runneth to us, and draweth us to Him, and catcheth us in unto Himself. For if we consider these things, and such as these, we shall be enabled to kindle this longing. For if it were a common man that so loved, but a king who was thus beloved, would he not feel a respect for the greatness of the love? Most assuredly he would. But when the case is reversed, and His Beauty (S. "that beauty") is unspeakable, and the glory and the riches too of Him that loveth us, and our vileness so great, surely we deserve the utmost punishment, vile as we are and outcasts, who are treated with so exceeding great love by One so great and wonderful, and yet wax wanton against His love? He needeth not anything of ours, and yet He doth not even now cease loving us. We need much what is His, and for all that we cleave not unto His love, but money we value above Him, and man's friendship, and ease of body, and power, and fame, before Him who valueth nothing more than us. For He had One Son, Very (Lit. "true-born") and Only-Begotten, and He spared not even Him for us. But we value many things above Him. Were there not then good reason for a hell and torment, even were it twofold or threefold or manifold what it is? For what can we have to say for ourselves, if even Satan's injunctions we value more than the Laws of Christ, and are reckless of our own salvation that we may choose the works of wickedness, before Him who suffered all things for us? And what pardon do these things deserve? what excuse have they? Not one even. (5 mss. oude mihis.) Let us stop then after this in our headlong course, and let us grow again sober; and reckoning up all these things, let us send up glory unto Him by our works (for words alone suffice not thereto), that we may also enjoy the glory that cometh of Him, which may we all attain unto by the grace and love toward man of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom, and with Whom, to the Father be glory, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[1230] mss. the evil mind and negligence (or self-will, rhathumias) to which the sins belonged. See St. Aug. Conf. b. 3, c. 16, b. 5, c. 18, b. 7, c. 4, Oxf. Tr. pp. 40, 78, 110, etc. [1231] Chrys. is correct in denying that Paul refers sin to the flesh (in the sense of the body), as its cause and seat. With the apostle sarx is not the same as soma in its relation to sin. Sarx comprehends the whole unregenerate man and not merely his body or the impulses and passions connected with his physical life. It is true that Paul regards the body as the sphere in which sin makes many of its worst manifestations. It may be due to this that he chose the word sarx to denote unrenewed human nature. With Paul the cause and seat of sin are in the will. He nowhere identifies evil with the body and therefore lays no basis for asceticism or for the contempt or ill-treatment of the body. Of the "works of the flesh" which he enumerates in Gal. v. 19-21 more than half are sins having no special relation to the body and not manifesting themselves through physical appetites or passions, as, e.g. "idolatry, enmities, jealousies, divisions, heresies."--G.B.S. [1232] adokimos, usually rendered "reprobate" as in the text, here seems to be used with a consciousness of its etymology, as St. Paul plays on the word in ouk edokimasan. [1233] The author seems here to overlook the fact that Paul at the beginning of ch. ii. turns to the Jews. Chrys. speaks as if he were now addressing specifically "rulers." But as the argument goes on, the language shows more and more clearly that he is here thinking of the Jewish world (see v. 12 sq and esp. 17). The "therefore" grounds the fact of universal condemnation upon the description of sin as universal, contained in i. 18-32. The only peculiarity is that the statement that this picture of Gentile depravity is a picture of universal application, is made afterwards, "For wherein," etc. The argument proceeds as if after i. 32 the apostle had been interrupted with the objection, "But your description does not apply to us." The apostle answers: "It does, for you do the same things." The "therefore" is proleptic so far as it assumes as shown what he now asserts: ta gar auta prasseis ho krinon. The conclusion is thus stated before the major premiss.--G.B.S. [1234] So Field, from mss: the old reading would have to mean "For it is not that thou shouldst not suffer any punishment, but that thou mayest suffer a worse if thou abide unamended, that He delayeth--and may that never befall thee." [1235] Or, "he" (St. Paul, according to Field) "is terribly severe upon him who:" for most mss. omit "he shows that." [1236] 'Eritheia is probably derived from erithos, a hired laborer and not from eris (strife) as commonly. Hence the meaning is: labor for hire--Lohnarbeit, party spirit. Better translate "factious" (R.V.) than "contentious" (A.V.). So Weiss, Thayer's Lex.--G.B.S. [1237] taxei kechretai, see on v. 16. [1238] epeteichisen, strictly, attacked him by planting in his heart the thought of that fearful day. [1239] Verse 12 assigns the ground of v. 11. "Sin brings penalty and death whether committed under the Mosaic law or under the ethical law of conscience." The first member of the sentence (v. 12) applies to the Gentiles. They have sinned without the standard and guidance of positive law; they are, therefore, not brought to the test of that law's demands, but to the tests of natural, moral law (which the apostle will directly describe), and by that test their sins meet their penalty. Death, as sin's penalty, is coextensive with sin, not with the Mosaic law. Sin existed before the Mosaic law and apart from it; it is imputed to the Gentiles--not, indeed in the same way and degree (Rom. v. 13)--because they have a law of conscience. Each class is judged by the standard which has been given to them. All the terms relating to law here signify the Mosaic law, which was to Paul the specific statutory expression of the divine will and the embodiment of moral principles and duties.--G.B.S. [1240] protos sou cf. St. John i. 30. [1241] autarkes, writing before the Pelagian controversy, he does not notice the distinction between a sufficiency of knowledge, etc., and a supply of grace which must be presupposed. See Aug. ad Dardanum, Ep. 188, al. 143, c. 11, 12. See also De C. D. x. c. 29 and 32. Conc. Araus. a.d. 529, cap. 19. Labbe IV. 1670, B. declares grace needed even before the fall, much more after. See Bp. Bull on the state of man before the fall, Works, II. also Vinc. Lir. c. 24. The question is here whether men had means to attain salvation. It is taken for granted they had power given them to choose the right, but whether in the way of nature or of grace it is not defined. The grace given to Christians was always regarded as so distinct from and superior to everything granted to Jews or Heathens, that it was difficult to speak of the manner in which they received Divine assistance. But the gift spoken of by Justin Martyr, Ap. i. 13, is clearly supernatural. See also, St. Basil, Const. Mon. 16, t. 2, p. 559, B. and Macarius, Hom. 56. [1242] Perhaps human "messengers," inspired teachers other than those strictly called Prophets. [1243] The ms. reading means no more: but the Edd. have muriomakariotes "Countless blessedness," which is more like St. Chrysostom than a copyist. [1244] Origen on Matt. xxvi. 69, notices the same. Ed. Ben. p. 913, D. [1245] eros...philia: the whole of this glorious passage suffers grievously in translation, owing to the impossibility of expressing the climax from agapan, the common ecclesiastical word, to philein and even eran.


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