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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Homily VI.

Rom. II. 17, 18

"Behold, [1246] thou art called a Jew, and restest in the Law, and makest thy boast of God, and knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the Law."

After saying that the Gentile wanteth nothing appertaining to salvation if he be a doer of the Law, and after making that wonderful comparison, he goes on to set down the glories of the Jews, owing to which they thought scorn of the Gentiles: and first the very name itself, which was of great majesty, as the name Christian is now. For even then the distinction which the appellation made was great. And so he begins from this, and see how he takes it down. For he does not say, Behold, thou art a Jew, but "art called" so, "and makest thy boast in God;" that is, as being loved by Him, and honored above all other men. And here he seems to me to be gently mocking their unreasonableness, and great madness after glory, because they misused this gift not to their own salvation, but to set themselves up against the rest of mankind, and to despise them. "And knowest His will, and approvest the things that are more excellent." Indeed this is a disadvantage, if without working: yet still it seemed to be an advantage, and so he states it with accuracy. For he does not say, thou doest, but knowest; and approvest, not followest and doest. [1247]

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Ver. 19. "And art confident that thou thyself."

Here again he does not say that thou art "a guide of the blind," but "thou art confident," so thou boastest, he says. So great was the unreasonableness of the Jews. Wherefore he also repeats nearly the very words, which they used in their boastings. See for instance what they say in the Gospels. "Thou wast altogether (holos 4 mss. holos) born in sin, and dost thou teach us?" (John ix. 34.) And all men they utterly looked down upon, to convince them of which, Paul keeps extolling them and lowering the others, that so he may get more hold on them, and make his accusation the weightier. Wherefore he goes on adding the like things, and making more of them by different ways of relating them. For "Thou art confident," he saith, "that thou thyself art a leader of the blind,"

Ver. 20. "An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and truth, which is in the Law."

Here again he says not, in the conscience and in actions and in well-doings, but "in the Law;" and after saying so, he does here also what he did with regard to the Gentiles. For as there he says, "for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself," so saith he here also.

Ver. 21. "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?"

But there he frames his speech with more of sharpness, here with more of gentleness. For he does not say, However on this score thou deservest greater punishment, because though entrusted with so great things thou hast not made a good use of any of them, but he carries his discourse on by way of question, turning them on themselves (entrepon), and saying, "Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?" And here I would have you look at the discretion of Paul in another case. For he sets down such advantages of the Jews, as came not of their own earnestness, but by a gift from above, and he shows not only that they are worthless to them if neglectful, but that they even bring with them increase of punishment. For neither is the being called a Jew any well doing of theirs, nor yet is the receiving of the Law, nor the other things he has just enumerated, but of the grace from above. And towards the beginning he had said, that the hearing of the Law is valueless unless the doing be thereto added ("for not the hearers of the Law," he says, "are just before God,") but now he shows further still, that not only the hearing, but, what is more than the hearing, the teaching of the Law itself will not be able to screen the teacher, unless he do what he says; and not only will it not screen him, but will even punish him the more. And he has used his expressions well too, since he does not say, Thou hast received the Law, but "Thou restest in the Law." For the Jew was not wearied with going about to seek what was to be done, but had on easy terms the Law pointing the way leading to virtue. For if even the Gentiles have natural reason (and it is on this ground that these are better than they, in that they do the Law without hearing), yet still the others had greater facility. But if you say, I am not only a hearer, but even a teacher, this very thing is an aggravation of your punishment. For because they prided themselves upon this, [1248] from this above all he shows them to be ridiculous. But when he says, "a guide of the blind, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes," he is speaking their own pompous language. For they treated proselytes extremely ill, and these were the names they called them by. And this is why he dwells at large upon what were supposed to be their praises, well knowing that what was said gave ground for greater accusation; "Which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the Law." As if any one who had a picture of the king, were to draw nothing after it, and they that were not entrusted with it were to imitate it exactly even without the original. And then after mentioning the advantages they had from God, he tells them of their failings, bringing forward what the prophets accused them of. "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?" [1249] For it was strictly forbidden them to touch any of the treasures upon the idols (so Field from the mss.: Vulg. "in the idol temples") by reason of the defilement. But the tyranny of avarice, he says, has persuaded you (4 mss. and mar. "us") to trample this Law also under foot. Then he brings the far more grievous charge afterwards, saying,

Ver. 23. "Thou that makest a boast in the Law through breaking the Law dishonorest thou God?"

There are two accusations which he makes, or rather three. Both that they dishonor, and dishonor that whereby they were honored; and that they dishonor Him that honored them, which was the utmost extreme of unfeelingness. And then, not to seem to be accusing them of his own mind, he brings in the Prophet as their accuser, here briefly and concisely as it were in a summary, but afterwards more in detail, and here Isaiah, and after that David, when he had shown the grounds of reproof to be more than one. For to show, he means, that it is not I who speak these things to your reproach, hear what Isaiah saith.

Ver. 24. "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you." (Is. lii. 5; Ez. xxxvi. 20, 23.)

See again another double accusation. For they not only commit insolence themselves, but even induce others to do so. What then is the use of your teaching when ye teach not your own selves? Above, however, he merely said this, but here he has even turned it round to the contrary. For not only yourselves, but even others, do ye not teach what should be done. And what is far worse--ye not only teach not the things of the Law, but ye even teach the opposite, viz. to blaspheme God, which is opposite to the Law. But the circumcision, one will say, is a great thing. Yea, I also confess it, but when? when (So all mss. S. "then, when") it hath the inward circumcision. And observe his judgment, in bringing in what he says about it so opportunely. For he did not begin straightway with it, since the conceit men had of it was great. But after he had shown them to have offended in that which was greater [1250] and to be responsible for the blasphemy against God, then having henceforth possession of the reader's judgment against them, and having stripped them of their pre-eminence, he introduces the discussion about circumcision, feeling sure that no one will any more advocate it, and says,

Ver. 25. "For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the Law."

And yet, were this not so, a man might have rejected it and said, What is circumcision? for is it any good deed on his part that hath it? is it any manifestation of a right choice? For it takes place at an unripe age, and those in the wilderness too remained uncircumcised for a long time. And from many other points of view also, one might look at it as not necessary. And yet it is not on this foot that he rejects it, but upon the most proper ground, from the case of Abraham. For this is the most exceeding victory,--to take the very reason for showing it to be of small regard, whence it was held by them in reverence. Now he might have said that even the prophets call the Jews uncircumcised. But this is no disparagement of circumcision, but of those that hold ill to it. For what he aims at is to show that even in the very best life, it has not the least force. This is what he next proves. And here he does not bring forward the Patriarch, but having previously overturned it upon other grounds, he keeps him till afterwards, when he brings in what he has to say of faith, on the words--"How then was it reckoned" to Abraham? "when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision?" For so long as it is struggling against the Gentile and the uncircumcised, he is unwilling to say aught of this, lest he should be over irksome to them. But when it comes in opposition to the faith, then he disengages himself more completely for a combat with it. Up to the present point then it is uncircumcision that the contest is against, and this is why he advances in His discourse in a subdued tone, and says,

"For circumcision verily profiteth if thou keep the Law; but if thou be a breaker of the Law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision." For here he speaks of two uncircumcisions, and two circumcisions, as also two laws. For there is a natural law and there is a written law. But there is one also between these, that by works. And see how he points these three out, and brings them before you.

"For when the Gentiles," he says, "which have not the Law." What Law, say? The written one. "Do by nature the things of the Law." Of what Law? Of that by works. "These having not the Law." What Law? The written one. "Are a law unto themselves." How so? By using the natural law. "Who show the work of the Law." Of what law? Of that by actions. For that which is by writing lieth outside; but this is within, the natural one, and the other is in actions. And one the writing proclaims; and another, nature; and another, actions. Of this third there is need, [1251] for the sake of which also those two exist, both the natural and the written. And if this be not present they are of no good, but even very great harm. And to show this in the case of the natural he said, "For wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself." But of the written Law, thus--"Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?" Thus also there are two uncircumcisions, one that of nature, and the second from conduct: and one circumcision in the flesh, and the other from the will. I mean for instance, a man has been circumcised upon the eighth day; this is circumcision of the flesh: a man has done all the Law bids him; this is circumcision of the mind which St. Paul requires above all, yea rather the Law also. See now how having granted it in words, he in deed does away with it. For he does not say the circumcision is superfluous, the circumcision is of no profit, of no use. But what saith he? "Circumcision verily profiteth if thou keepest the Law." (Deut. x. 16; xxx. 6.) He approves it so far, saying, I confess and deny not that the circumcision is honorable. But when? When it has the Law kept along with it.

"But if thou be a breaker of the Law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision." He does not say, it is no more profitable, lest he should seem to insult it. But having stripped the Jew of it, he goes on to smite him. And this is no longer any insult to circumcision, but to him who through listlessness has lost the good of it. As then in the case of those who are in dignified stations and are after convicted of the greatest misdemeanors, the judges deprive them of the honors of their stations and then punish them; so has Paul also done. For after saying, if thou art a breaker of the Law, thy "circumcision is made uncircumcision," and having shown him to be uncircumcised, he condemns him after that without scruple.

Ver. 26. "Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the Law, shall not his uncircumcision be turned [1252] into circumcision?"

See how he acts. He does not say that the uncircumcision overcomes circumcision (for this was highly grating to those who then heard him), but that the uncircumcision hath become circumcision. And he next enquires what circumcision is, and what uncircumcision and he says that circumcision is well doing and uncircumcision is evil doing. And having first transferred into the circumcision the uncircumcised, who has good deeds, and having thrust out the circumcised man that lived a corrupt life into the uncircumcision, he so gives the preference to the uncircumcised. And he does not say, To the uncircumcised, but goes on to the thing itself, speaking as follows: "Shall not his uncircumcision be turned into circumcision?" And he does not say "reckoned," but "turned to," which was more expressive. As also above he does not say thy circumcision is reckoned uncircumcision, but has been made so.

Ver. 27. "And shall not the uncircumcision which is by nature judge?"

You see, he recognizes two uncircumcisions, one from nature, and the other from the will. Here, however, he speaks of that from nature, but does not pause here, but goes on, "if it fulfil the Law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the Law?" See his exquisite judgment. He does not say, that the uncircumcision which is from nature shall judge the circumcision, but while where the victory had been, he brings in the uncircumcision, yet where the defeat is, he does not expose the circumcision as defeated; but the Jew himself who had it, and so by the wording spares offending his hearer. And he does not say, "thee that hast the Law and the circumcision," but yet more mildly, "thee who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the Law." That is, such uncircumcision even stands up for the circumcision, for it has been wronged and comes to the Law's assistance, for it has been insulted, and obtains a notable triumph. For then is the victory decided, when it is not by Jew that Jew is judged, but by the uncircumcised; as when he says, "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment against this generation, and shall condemn it." (Matt. xii. 41.) It is not then the Law that he dishonors (for he reverences it greatly), but him that does disgrace to the Law. Next, having settled these grounds clearly, he goes on confidently to define what the Jew really is; and he shows that it is not the Jew, nor the circumcision, but he that is no Jew, and uncircumcised, whom he is rejecting. And he seemeth indeed to stand up in its behalf, but yet does away with the opinion regarding it, securing men's concurrence by the conclusion he comes to. For he shows not only that there is no difference between the Jew and the uncircumcised, but that the uncircumcised has even the advantage, if he take heed to himself, and that it is he that is really the Jew; and so he says:

Ver. 12. "For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly."

Here he attacks them as doing all things for show.

Ver. 29. "But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter."

By saying this he sets aside all things bodily. For the circumcision is outwardly, and the sabbaths and the sacrifices and purifications: all of which he hints in a single word, when he says, "For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly." But since much was made of the circumcision, inasmuch [1253] as even the sabbath gave way to it (John vii. 22), he has good reason for aiming more especially against it. But when he has said "in the spirit" he thereafter paves the way for the conversation [1254] of the Church, and introduces the faith. For it too is in the heart and spirit and hath its praise of God. And how cometh he not to show that the Gentile which doeth aright is not inferior to the Jew which doeth aright, but that the Gentile which doeth aright is better than the Jew which breaketh the Law? It was that he might make the victory an undoubted one. For when this is agreed upon, of necessity the circumcision of the flesh is set aside, and the need of a good life is everywhere demonstrated. For when the Greek is saved without these, but the Jew with these is yet punished, Judaism stands by doing nothing. And by Greek he again means not the idolatrous Greek, but the religous and virtuous, and free from all legal observances.

Chap. iii. ver. 1. "What advantage then hath the Jew?" [1255]

Since he has set all aside, the hearing, the teaching, the name of the Jew, the circumcision, and all the other particulars by his saying that "he is not a Jew which is one outwardly, but he which is one inwardly;" he next sees an objection which starts up, and against this makes his stand. Now what is this objection? If, he means, these things are no use, what reason was there for that nation being called, and the circumcision too being given? What does he then and how does he solve it? By the same means as he did before: for as there, he told, not of their praises, but the benefits of God; nor their well doings (for to be called a Jew and to know His Will and to approve the things which are more excellent, was no well doing of their own, but came of the grace of God: and this the Prophet also says, upbraiding them; "He hath not done so to any nation, neither hath he showed His judgments unto them;" (Ps. cxlvii. 20.) and Moses again; "Ask now whether there hath been any such thing as this?" he says, "did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, and live?") (Deut. iv. 32, 33), this then he does here also. For as, when speaking of circumcision, he did not say, Circumcision is valueless without a good life, but, Circumcision is of value with a good life, pointing out the same thing but in a more subdued tone. And again he does not say, If thou be a breaker of the Law, thou who art circumcised art no whit profited, but "thy circumcision is made uncircumcision:" and after this again, "the uncircumcision," saith he, shall "judge," not the circumcision, but "thee that dost transgress the Law," so sparing the things of the Law, and smiting the persons. So he doth here also. For after setting before himself this objection, and saying, "what advantage then hath the Jew?" he says not, None, but he concurs with the statement, and confutes it again by the sequel, and shows that they were even punished owing to this preëminence. And how he does so, I will tell you when I have stated the objection. "What advantage then," he says, "hath the Jew," or "what profit is there of circumcision?"

Ver. 2. "Much every way: chiefly, because that they were entrusted with the oracles of God."

Do you see that, as I said above, it is not their well doings, but the benefits of God, that he everywhere counts up? And what is the word episteuthesan? (they were trusted.) It means, that they had the Law put into their hands because He held them [1256] to be of so much account that He entrusted to them oracles which came down from above. I know indeed that some take the "entrusted" not of the Jews, but of the oracles, as much as to say, the Law was believed in. But the context does not admit of this being held good. For in the first place he is saying this with a view to accuse them, and to show that, though in the enjoyment of many a blessing from above, they yet showed great ingratitude. Then, the context also makes this clear. For he goes on to say, "For what if some did not believe?" If they did not believe, how do some say, the oracles were believed in? [1257] What does he mean then? Why that God entrusted the same to them, and not that they trusted to the oracles: [1258] how else will the context make sense? For he farther goes on to say,

Ver. 3. "For what if some did not believe?" [1259]

And what comes next makes the same point clear. For he again adds and follows; "Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?"

Ver. 4. "God forbid." The word episteuthesan, then, proclaims God's gift.

And I would have you here also note his judgment. For again he does not bring in his accusation of them on his own part, but as it were by way of objection, as if he said, But perhaps you will say, `What then is the use of this circumcision since they used it not as was fitting, since they were trusted with the Law and were unfaithful to the trust?' And hitherto he is not a severe accuser, but as if to clear God of complaints against Him, he by this means turns the whole of the accusation round upon themselves. For why, he would say, do you complain that they did not believe? and how doth this affect God? For as for His benefit, doth the ingratitude of those benefited overturn it? Or doth it make the honor to be no honor? For this is what the words, "Shall their unfaithfulness make the faith of God without effect," amount to. "God forbid." As if one should say, I have honored such an one. And if he did not receive the honor, this gives no ground for accusing me, nor impairs my kindness, but shows his want of feeling. But Paul does not say this merely, but what is much more. That not only does their unbelief not leave the soil of complaint upon God, but even shows His honor and love of man to be the greater, in that He is seen to have bestowed honor upon one who would dishonor Him. See how he has brought them out guilty of misdemeanors by means of what they gloried in; forasmuch as the honor with which God treated them was so great, that even when He saw what would come thereof, He withheld not His good-will toward them! Yet they made the honors bestowed on them a means of insulting Him that Honor them! Next, since he said, "For what if some did not believe?" (while clearly it was all of them that did not believe,) lest by speaking here too as the history allowed him, he should seem to be a severe accuser of them like an enemy, he puts that, which really took place, in the method of reasoning and syllogism, saying as follows: "Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar." What he says is something of this sort. I do not mean, he says, that some did not believe, but if you will, suppose that all were unbelieving, so waiving what really happened, to fall in with the objector, that he might seem overbearing or to be suspected. Well, he says, in this way God is the more justified. What does the word justified mean? That, if there could be a trial and an examination of the things He had done for the Jews, and of what had been done on their part towards Him, the victory would be with God, and all the right on His side. And after showing this clearly from what was said before, he next introduces the Prophet also as giving his approval to these things, and saying, "that Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and clear when Thou art judged." (Ps. li. 4.) He then for His part did everything, but they were nothing the better even for this. Then he brings forward after this another objection that arises, and says,

Ver. 5. "But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? is God unrighteous Who taketh vengeance? I speak as a man."

Ver. 6. "God forbid."

He solves one perplexity by another again. Yet as this is not clear, we must needs declare it more clearly. What is it then he means? God honored the Jews: they did despite to Him. This gives Him the victory, and shows the greatness of His love towards man, in that He honored them even such as they were. Since then, he means, we did despite to Him and wronged Him, God by this very thing became victorious, and His righteousness was shown to be clear. [1260] Why then (a man may say) am I to be punished, who have been the cause of His victory by the despite I did Him? Now how does he meet this? It is, as I was saying, by another absurdity again. For if it were you, he says, that were the cause of the victory, and after this are punished, the thing is an act of injustice. But if He is not unjust, and yet you are punished, then you are no more the cause of the victory. And note his apostolic reverence; (or caution: eulabeia); for after saying, "Is God unrighteous Who taketh vengeance?" he adds, "I speak as a man." As if, he means, any body were to argue in the way men reason. For what things seem with us to be justice, these the just judgment of God far exceedeth, and has certain other unspeakable grounds for it. Next, since it was indistinct, he says the same thing over again:

Ver. 7. "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto His glory: why yet am I also judged as a sinner?"

For if God, he means is shown to be a Lover of man, and righteous, and good, by your acts of disobedience, you ought not only to be exempt from punishment but even to have good done unto you. But if so, that absurdity will be found to result, which is in circulation with so many, that good comes of evil, and that evil is the cause of good; and one of the two is necessary, either that He be clearly unjust in punishing, or that if He punish not, it is from our vices that He hath the victory. And both of these are absurd to a degree. And himself meaning to show this too, he introduces the Greeks (i.e. heathens) as the fathers of these opinions, thinking it enough to allege against what he has mentioned the character of the persons who say these things. For then they used to say in ridicule of us, "let us do evil that good may come." And this is why he has stated it clearly in the following language.

Ver. 8. "If [1261] not (as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil that good may come? Whose damnation is just."

For whereas Paul said, [1262] "where sin abounded grace did much more abound" (Rom. v. 20), in ridicule of him and perverting what he said to another meaning, they said, We must cling to vice that we may get what is good. But Paul said not so; however [1263] to correct this notion it is that he says, "What then? shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!" (ib. vi. 1, 2.) For I said it, he means, of the times which are past, not that we should make this a practice. To lead them away then from this suspicion, he said, that henceforth this was even impossible. For "how shall we," he says, "that are dead unto sin, live any longer therein?" Against the Greeks then he inveighs (katedramen) without difficulty. For their life was exceeding abandoned. But of the Jews, even if their life seemed to have been careless, still they had great means of cloaking these things in the Law and circumcision, and the fact of God having conversed with them, and their being the teachers of all. And this is why he strips them even of these, and shows that for these they were the more punished, and this is the conclusion to which he has here drawn his discussion. For if they be not punished, he would say, for so doing, that blasphemous language--let us do evil that good may come--must necessarily gain currency. But if this be impious, and they who hold this language shall be punished (for this he declared by saying, "whose damnation is just"), it is plain that they are punished. For if they who speak it be deserving of vengeance, much more are they who act it, but if deserving thereof, it is as having done sin. For it is not man that punishes them, that any one should suspect the sentence, but God, that doeth all things righteously. But if they are righteously punished, it is unrighteously that they, who make ridicule of us, said what they did. For God did and doth everything, that our conversation might shine forth and be upright on every side.

Let us then not be listless; for so we shall be able to recover the Greeks also from their error. But when we are in words lovers of wisdom, but in deeds behave unseemly, with what looks shall we face them? with what lips shall we discourse concerning doctrines? For he [1264] will say to each of us, How can you that have failed in what is less, claim to teach me about what is greater? you who as yet have not learnt that covetousness is a vice, how can you be wise upon the things in heaven? But do you know that it is a vice? Then, the charge is the greater, because you transgress knowingly. And why speak I of the Greek, for even our laws allow us not to speak thus boldly when our life has become abandoned. For to "the sinner," it says, "saith God, what hast thou to do to declare my statutes?" (Ps. l. 16.) There was a time when the Jews were carried away captive, and when the Persians were urgent with them, and called upon them to sing those divine songs unto them, they said, "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" (Ps. cxxxvii. 4.) Now if it were un lawful to sing the oracles of God in a strange land, much less might the estranged soul do it. For estranged [1265] the merciless soul is. If the Law made those who were captives and had become slaves to men in a strange land, to sit in silence; much more is it right for those who are slaves to sin and are in an alien community (politei& 139;) to have a curb upon their mouths. And however they had their instruments then. For it says, "Upon the willows in the midst thereof did we hang our instruments," but still they might not sing. And so we also, though we have a mouth and tongue, which are instruments of speech, have no right to speak boldly, so long as we be slaves to what is more tyrannical than any barbarian, sin. For tell me what have you to say to the Greek, if you plunder, and be covetous? will you say, Forsake idolatry, acknowledge God, and draw not near to gold and silver? Will he not then make a jest of you, and say, Talk to thyself first in this way? For it is not the same thing for a Gentile to practise idolatry, and a Christian to commit this same (4 mss. om. "same") sin. For how are we to draw others away from that idolatry if we draw not ourselves away from this? For we are nearer related to ourselves [1266] than our neighbor is, and so when we persuade not ourselves, how are we to persuade others? For if he that doth not rule well over his own house, will not take care of the Church either (1 Tim. iii. 5), how shall he that doth not rule even over his own soul be able to set others right? Now do not tell me, that you do not worship an image of gold, but make this clear to me, that you do not do those things which gold bids you. For there be different kinds of idolatry, and one holds mammon lord, and another his belly his god, and a third some other most baneful lust. But, "you do not sacrifice oxen to them as the Gentiles do." Nay, but what is far worse, you butcher your own soul. But "you do not bow the knee and worship." Nay, but with greater obedience you do all that they command you, whether it be your belly, or money, or the tyranny of lust. For this is just what makes Gentiles disgusting, that they made gods of our passions; calling lust Venus, and anger Mars, and drunkenness Bacchus. If then you do not grave images as did they, yet do you with great eagerness bow under the very same passions, when you make the members of Christ members of an harlot, and plunge yourself into the other deeds of iniquity. (1 Cor. vi. 15.) I therefore exhort you to lay to heart the exceeding unseemliness hereof, and to flee from idolatry:--for so doth Paul name covetousness--and to flee not only covetousness in money, but that in evil desire, and that in clothing, and that in food, and that in everything else: since the punishment we shall have to suffer if we obey not God's laws is much severer. For, He says, "the servant that knew his Lord's will," and did it not, "shall be beaten with many stripes." (Luke xii. 47.) With a view then to escaping from this punishment, and being useful both to others and to ourselves, let us drive out all iniquity from our soul and choose virtue. For so shall we attain to the blessings which are to come, whereto may it be granted us all to attain by the grace and love toward man, etc.

Footnotes

[1246] One ms. appears to have ei de "but if," with most mss. of the N.T., instead of ide, "behold," which St. Chrysostom appears to have read with the present T. R. [1247] From the 17th verse on the apostle speaks of the Jew by name and clearly shows that he had him in mind from the beginning of the chapter. The correct text reads ei de instead of ide to which the question of v. 21 corresponds as apodosis. Chrys.' interpretation of dokimazeis ta diareronta is that which is followed by the Vulgate ("probas utiliora"), most anct. vss., Wordsworth, Meyer, and our Eng. vss. The majority of modern commentators, however, adopt the interpretation: "testest things that differ." So Weiss, Godet, Wilke (Clavis N.T.), Lange, Tholuck. Alford, Philippi. This interpretation has the advantage of following the original meaning of both verbs.--G.B.S. [1248] The younger Buxtorf, in his preface to his father's Synagoga Judaica, gives specimens of their language, as from Cad Hakkemach, "Such is the power of Circumcision, that none who is circumcised goeth down into Hell," and R. Abraham, than the Israelites were "all wise, all understanding, all skilled in the Law." See also Smith's Select Discourses, No. 7. [1249] There are three interpretations of hierosuleis (22) (1) "rob (heathen) temples." So Wilke, Meyer, Godet, Philippi, Alford, Conybeare and Howson, R.V. (2) "Rob the temple" (at Jerusalem, by embezzling or withholding the temple-tribute). So Hofmann, Ewald, Lange, Weiss. (3) "commit sacrilege," Calvin, Bengel, Luther, A.V. marg. of R.V. The contrast with hobdel, ta eidola strongly favors (1) which is adopted by Chrys. That such robbery had taken place among the Jews seems implied in Acts xix. 37, and is clearly referred to in Josephus' Ant. iv. 8, 10.--G.B.S. [1250] apo tou meizonos. Perhaps "the more guilty," as having offended with greater advantages. [1251] See Butler, Anal. II. i. v. fin. [1252] Four mss. have metatrapesetai, both here and a little below: the others read logisthesetai here, and then contradict themselves, by putting trapesetai there. The old Edd. have peritrapesetai. Nearly all mss. of the N.T. have logisthesetai: so we must either think with Heyse that St. Chrysostom expresses his definite opinion in favor of metatr. or with Matthiae that he made a slip of memory. [1253] It might be observed, that all St. Paul's reasoning here and to the Galatians holds against circumcision and the Sabbath alike. [1254] politei& 139;. We want a word to express at once the spiritual citizenship and the corresponding life. [1255] The passage iii. 1-8 considers four possible objections. (1) "This placing of Jews and Gentiles in the same condition, takes away all the theocratic prerogatives." (v. 1.) No, answers Paul, they have a great advantage as to light and privilege, though none as to righteousness. (v. 2.) (2) "They have the O.T. scriptures, you say; but what if those scriptures have not attained their end in bringing the Jews to believe in Jesus as the Messiah? If some have not believed, does not that render void God's promises to his people in the O.T., so that he is no longer bound by them?" (v. 3.) The answer is: "No, God is faithful to his promises in all conditions (v. 4). (3) "Then the unbelief of the Jews seems to be the occasion of eliciting God's faithfulness. The conclusion would be that falseness contributes to God's glory." To this Paul gives no specific reply but develops the argument so as to show that it leads to a (5) position: "Let us do evil that good may come." (v. 8.) He thinks it enough to exhibit the logical conclusion of such an objection. It is enough to know that it obliterates all moral distinctions and impugns the justice of God. Paul might have shown that from God's overruling of sin to his praise the approval of sin does not follow. But he is content to make it clear that the objection is inconsistent with a righteous judgment of the world.--G.B.S. [1256] See Gen. xviii. 19; Deut. iv. 37, and x. 15. [1257] For this use of the word, see 1 Tim. iii. 16. [1258] Field reads logois "His words:" probably by a misprint. [1259] A practical, not a theoretical unbelief. It might be clearer to use the word "unfaithful" throughout, but that apistein is treated as the exact negative of pisteuein: in fact we cannot translate idiomatically all that either St. Paul or St. Chrysostom has to say of pistis, without using the three words "faith" "trust" and "belief" for it and its correlatives. [1260] Field thinks that St. Chrysostom wrote "Therefore if, because we did despite to Him......was shown to be clear, why am I to be punished," etc.? Heyse would have "Then, since through our despite and wrong God became victorious....why," etc.? [1261] So Field with most mss. and Interp. [1262] elegen. St. Chrysostom treats it as his habitual teaching, so that it had been already misrepresented, though not yet embodied in this Epistle. [1263] goun. He is evidently aiming at some who still used such reasonings. [1264] i.e. The Greek, see a few lines below. Savile's punctuation was first corrected by the Benedictines. [1265] Barbaros, Though this word is not equivalent to Barbarian, it has force enough to give a fitness to the term "merciless." St. Chrysostom excels in these side-strokes, which he so much admires too in the Apostle. [1266] kakistos ho pros heauton chromenos te mochtheri& 139;, etc. Arist. Eth. v. 1. .


Homily VII.

Rom. III. 9-18

"What then have we more [1267] than they? [1268] For we have proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues have they used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes."

He had accused the Gentiles, he had accused the Jews; it came next in order to mention the righteousness which is by faith. For if the law of nature availed not, and the written Law was of no advantage, but both weighed down those that used them not aright, and made it plain that they were worthy of greater punishment, then after this the salvation which is by grace was necessary. Speak then of it, O Paul, and display it. But as yet he does not venture, as having an eye to the violence of the Jews, and so turns afresh to his accusation of them; and first he brings in as accuser, David speaking of the same things at length, which Isaiah mentioned all in short compass, so furnishing a strong curb for them, so that they might not bound off, nor any of his hearers, while the matters of faith were laid open to them, might after this start away; being beforehand safely held down by the accusations of the prophets. For there are three excesses which the prophet lays down; he says that all of them together did evil, and that they did not do good indifferently with evil, but that they followed after wickedness alone, and followed it also with all earnestness. And next that they should not say, "What then, if these things were said to others?" he goes on:

Ver. 19. "Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law."

This then is why, next to Isaiah, who confessedly aimed at them, he brought in David; that he might show that these things also belonged to the same subject. For what need was there, he means, that a prophet who was sent for your correction should accuse other people. For neither was the Law given to any else than you. And for what reason did he not say, we know that what things soever the prophet saith, but what things soever the Law saith? It is because Paul uses to call the whole Old Testament the Law. And in another place he says, "Do ye not hear the Law, that Abraham had two sons?" (Gal. iv. 21, 22.) And here he calls the Psalm the Law [1269] when he says, "We know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law." Next he shows that neither are these things he said merely for accusation's sake, but that he [1270] may again be paving the way for faith. So close is the relationship of the Old Testament with the New, since even the accusations and reproofs were entirely with a view to this, that the door of faith might open brightly upon them that hear it. For since it was the principal bane of the Jews that they were so conceited with themselves (which thing he mentioned as he went on, "how that being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they submitted not themselves to the righteousness of God") (Rom. x. 3), the Law and the Prophet by being beforehand with them cast down their high thoughts, and laid low their conceit, that being brought to a consideration of their own sins, and having emptied out the whole of their unreasonableness, and seen themselves in danger of the last extremity, they might with much earnestness run unto Him Who offered them the remission of their sins, and accept grace through faith. And this it is then which St. Paul hints even here, when he says,

"Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

Here then he exhibits them as destitute of the boldness of speech which comes of works, and only using a parade of words and behaving in a barefaced way. And this is why he uses so literal an expression, saying, "that every mouth may be stopped," so pointing out the barefaced and almost uncontrollable pomposity of their language, and that their tongue was now curbed in the strictest sense. For as an unsupportable torrent, so had it been borne along. But the prophet stopped it. And when Paul saith, "that every mouth may be stopped," what he means is, not that the reason of their sinning was that their mouth might be stopped, but that the reason of their being reproved was that they might not commit this very sin in ignorance. "And all the world may become guilty before God." He does not say the Jew, but the whole of mankind. [1271] For the phrase, "that every mouth may be stopped," is the language of a person hinting at them, although he has not stated it clearly, so as to prevent the language being too harsh. But the words "that all the world may become guilty before God," are spoken at once both of Jews and of Greeks. Now this is no slight thing with a view to take down their unreasonableness. Since even here they have no advantage over the Gentiles, but are alike given up as far as salvation is concerned. For he would be in strict propriety called a guilty person, who cannot help himself to any excuse, but needeth the assistance of another: and such was the plight of all of us, in that we had lost the things pertaining to salvation.

Ver. 20. "For by the Law is the knowledge of sin."

He springs upon the Law again, with forbearance however (for what he says is not an accusation of it, but of the listlessness of the Jews). Yet nevertheless he has been earnest here with a view (as he was going to introduce his discourse about faith) to show its utter feebleness. For if thou boastest in the Law, he means, it puts thee to the greater shame: it solemnly parades forth your sins before you. Only he does not word it in this harsh way, but again in a subdued tone; "For by the Law is the knowledge of sin." And so the punishment is greater, but [1272] that because of the Jew. For the Law accomplished the disclosure of sin to you, but it was your duty then to flee it. Since then you have not fled you have pulled the punishment more sorely on yourself, and the good deed of the Law has been made to you a supply of greater vengeance. Now then having added to their fear, he next brings in the things of grace, as having brought them to a strong desire of the remission of their sins, and says,

Ver. 21. "But now the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested." [1273]

Here he utters a great thing, and such as needed much proof. For if they that lived in the Law not only did not escape punishment, but were even the more weighed down thereby, how without the Law is it possible not only to escape vengeance, but even to be justified? For he has here set down two high points, [1274] the being justified, and the obtaining these blessings, without the Law. And this is why he does not say righteousness simply, but the righteousness of God, so by the worthiness of the Person displaying the greater degree of the grace, and the possibility of the promise. For to Him all things are possible. And he does not say, "was given," but "is manifested," so cutting away the accusation of novelty. For that which is manifested, is so as being old, but concealed. And it is not this only, but the sequel that shows that this is no recent thing. For after saying, "is manifested," he proceeds:

"Being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets."

Do not be troubled, he means, because it has but now been given, nor be affrighted as though at a thing new and strange. For of old both the Law and the Prophets foretold it. And some passages he has pointed out in the course of this argument, and some he will shortly, having in what came before brought in Habakkuk as saying, "the just shall live by faith" (i. 17), but in what comes after, Abraham and David, as themselves also conversing with us about these things. Now the regard they had for these persons was great, for one was a patriach and a prophet, and the other a king and a prophet: and further the promises about these things had come to both of them. And this is why Matthew in the first beginning of his Gospel mentions both of these first, and then brings forward in order the forefathers. For after saying, "the Book of the Generation of Jesus Christ" (Matt. i. 1), he does not wait after Abraham to name Isaac also and Jacob, but mentions David along with (5 mss. "after") Abraham. And what is wonderful indeed is, that he has even set David before Abraham speaking on this wise, "the Son of David, the Son of Abraham," and then begins the catalogue of Isaac and Jacob, and all the rest in order. And this is why the Apostle here keeps presenting them in turns, and speaks of the righteousness of God being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets. Then that no one should say, How are we to be saved without contributing anything at all to the object in view? he shows that we also offer no small matter toward this, I mean our faith. Therefore after saying, "the righteousness of God," he adds straightway, "by faith unto all and upon all that believe."

Here again the Jew is alarmed by his not having anything better than the rest, and being numbered with the whole world. Now that he may not feel this, he again lowers him with fear by adding, "For there is no difference, for all have sinned." For tell me not that it is such and such a Greek, [1275] such and such a Scythian, such and such a Thracian, for all are in the same plight. For even if you have received the Law, one thing alone is there which you have learnt from the Law--to know sin, not to flee from it. Next, that they may say, "even if we have sinned, still it is not in the same way that they did," he added, "and have come short of the glory of God." So that even if you have not done the same sins as others, still you are alike bereft of the glory, since you belong to those who have offended, and he that hath offended belongeth not to such as are glorified, but to such as are put to shame. Yet, be not afraid: for the reason of my saying this was not that I might thrust you into despair, but that I might show the love of the Lord (Despotou) toward man: and so he goes on;

Ver. 24, 25. "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith [1276] in His blood, to declare His righteousness." [1277]

See by how many proofs he makes good what was said. First, from the worthiness of the person, for it is not a man who doeth these things, that He should be too weak for it, but God all-powerful. For it is to God, he says, that the righteousness belongs. Again, from the Law and the Prophets. For you need not be afraid at hearing the "without the Law," inasmuch as the Law itself approves this. Thirdly, from the sacrifices under the old dispensation. For it was on this ground that he said, "In His blood," to call to their minds those sheep and calves. For if the sacrifices of things without reason, he means, cleared from sin, much more would this blood. And he does not say barely lutroseos, but apolutroseos, entire redemption, to show [1278] that we should come no more into such slavery. And for this same reason he calls it a propitiation, to show that if the type had such force, much more would the reality display the same. But to show again that it was no novel thing or recent, he says, "fore-ordained" (Auth. Version marg.); and by saying God "fore-ordained," and showing that the good deed is the Father's, he showeth it to be the Son's also. For the Father "fore-ordained," but Christ in His own blood wrought the whole aright.

"To declare His righteousness." What is declaring of righteousness? Like the declaring of His riches, not only for Him to be rich Himself, but also to make others rich, or of life, not only that He is Himself living, but also that He makes the dead to live; and of His power, not only that He is Himself powerful, but also that He makes the feeble powerful. So also is the declaring of His righteousness not only that He is Himself righteous, but that He doth also make them that are filled with the putrefying sores (katasapentas) of sin suddenly righteous. And it is to explain this, viz. what is "declaring," that he has added, "That He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Doubt not then: for it is not of works, but of faith: and shun not the righteousness of God, for it is a blessing in two ways; because it is easy, and also open to all men. And be not abashed and shamefaced. For if He Himself openly declareth (endeiknutai) Himself to do so, and He, so to say, findeth a delight and a pride therein, how comest thou to be dejected and to hide thy face at what thy Master glorieth in? Now then after raising his hearers expectations by saying that what had taken place was a declaring of the righteousness of God, he next by fear urges him on that is tardy and remissful about coming; by speaking as follows:

"On account of the relaxing [1279] of sins that were before." Do you see how often he keeps reminding them of their transgressions? Before, he did it by saying, "through the Law is the knowledge of sin;" and after by saying, "that all have sinned," but here in yet stronger language. For he does not say for the sins, but, "for the relaxing," that is, the deadness. For there was no longer any hope of recovering health, but as the paralyzed body needed the hand from above, so doth the soul which hath been deadened. And what is indeed worse, a thing which he sets down as a charge, and points out that it is a greater accusation. Now what is this? That the last state was incurred in the forbearance of God. For you cannot plead, he means, that you have not enjoyed much forbearance and goodness. But the words "at this time" are those of one who is pointing out the greatness of the power (Sav. forbearance) and love toward man. For after we had given all over, (he would say,) and it were time to sentence us, and the evils were waxed great and the sins were in their full, then He displayed His own power, that thou mightest learn how great is the abundancy of righteousness with Him. For this, had it taken place at the beginning, would not have had so wonderful and unusual an appearance as now, when every sort of cure was found unavailing.

Ver. 27. "Where is boasting then? it is excluded," he says. "By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith."

Paul is at great pains to show that faith is mighty to a degree which was never even fancied of the Law. For after he had said that God justifieth man by faith, he grapples with the Law again. And he does not say, where then are the well doings of the Jews? where their righteous dealing? but, "where is then the boasting?" so taking every opportunity of showing, that they do but use great words, as though they had somewhat more than others, and have no work to show. And after saying, "Where then is the boasting?" he does not say, it is put out of sight and hath come to an end, but "it is excluded," which word rather expresses unseasonableness; since the reason for it is no more. For as when the judgment is come they that would repent have not any longer the season for it, thus now the sentence being henceforth passed, and all being upon the point of perishing, and He being at hand Who by grace would break these terrors, they had no longer the season for making a plea of amelioration wrought by the Law. For if it were right to strengthen themselves upon these things, it should have been before His coming. But now that He who should save by faith was come, the season for those efforts [1280] was taken from them. For since all were convicted, He therefore saveth by grace. And this is why He is come but now, that they may not say, as they would had He come at the first, that it was possible to be saved by the Law and by our own labors and well-doings. To curb therefore this their effrontery, He waited a long time: so that after they were by every argument clearly convicted of inability to help themselves, He then saved them by His grace. And for this reason too when he had said above, "To declare His righteousness," he added, "at this time." If any then were to gainsay, they do the same as if a person who after committing great sins was unable to defend himself in court, but was condemned and going to be punished, and then being by the royal pardon forgiven, should have the effrontery after his forgiveness to boast and say that he had done no sin. For before the pardon came, was the time to prove it: but after it came he would no longer have the season for boasting. And this happened in the Jews' case. For since they had been traitors to themselves, this was why He came, by His very coming doing away their boasting. For he who saith that he is a "teacher of babes, and maketh his boast in the Law," and styles himself "an instructor of the foolish," if alike with them he needed a teacher and a Saviour, can no longer have any pretext for boasting. For if even before this, the circumcision was made uncircumcision, much rather was it now, since it is cast out from both periods. But after saying that "it was excluded," he shows also, how. How then does he say it was excluded? "By what law? of works? Nay, but by the law of faith." See he calls the faith also a law delighting to keep to the names, and so allay the seeming novelty. But what is the "law of faith?" It is, being saved by grace. Here he shows God's power, in that He has not only saved, but has even justified, and led them to boasting, [1281] and this too without needing works, but looking for faith only. And in saying this he attempts to bring the Jew who has believed to act with moderation, and to calm him that hath not believed, in such way as to draw him on to his own view. For he that has been saved, if he be high-minded in that he abides by the Law, will be told that he himself has stopped his own mouth, himself has accused himself, himself has renounced claims to his own salvation, and has excluded boasting. But he that hath not believed again, being humbled by these same means, will be capable of being brought over to the faith. Do you see how great faith's preëminence is? How it hath removed us from the former things, not even allowing us to boast of them?

Ver. 28. "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law."

When he had shown that by faith they were superior to the Jews, then he goes on with great confidence to discourse upon it also, and what seemed therein to annoy he again heals up. For these two things were what confused the Jews; one, if it were possible for men, who with works were not saved, to be saved without them, and another, if it were just for the uncircumcised to enjoy the same blessings with those, who had during so long a period been nurtured in the Law; which last confused them more by far than the former. And on this ground having proved the former, he goes on to the other next, which perplexed the Jews so far, that they even complained on account of this position against Peter after they believed. What does he say then? "Therefore we conclude, that by faith a man is justified." He does not say, a Jew, or one under the Law, but after leading forth his discourse into a large room, and opening the doors of faith to the world, he says "a man," the name common to our race. And then having taken occasion from this, he meets an objection not set down. For since it was likely that the Jews, upon hearing that faith justifieth every man, would take it ill and feel offended, he goes on,

Ver. 29. "Is He the God of the Jews only?"

As if he said, On what foot does it then seem to you amiss that every man should be saved? Is God partial? So showing from this, that in wishing to flout the Gentiles, they are rather offering an insult to God's glory, if, that is, they would not allow Him to be the God of all. But if He is of all, then He taketh care of all; and if He care for all, then He saveth all alike by faith. And this is why he says, "Is He the God of the Jews only? is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also." For He is not partial as the fables of the Gentiles (cf. Ov. Tr. I. ii. 5. sqq) are, but common to all, and One. And this is why he goes on,

Ver. 30. "Seeing it is one God."

That is, the same is the Master of both these and those. But if you tell me of the ancient state of things, then too the dealings of Providence were shared by both, although in diverse ways. For as to thee was given the written law, so to them was the natural; and they came short in nothing, if, that is, only they were willing, but were even able to surpass thee. And so he proceeds, with an allusion to this very thing, "Who shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith," so reminding them of what he said before about uncircumcision and circumcision, whereby he showed that there was no difference. [1282] But if then there was no difference, much less is there any now. And this accordingly he now establishes upon still clearer grounds, and so demonstrates, that either of them stand alike in need of faith.

Ver. 31. "Do we then," he says, "make void the Law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the Law."

Do you see his varied and unspeakable judgment? For the bare use of the word "establish" shows that it was not then standing, but was worn out (katalelumenon). And note also Paul's exceeding power, and how superabundantly he maintains what he wishes. For here he shows that the faith, so far from doing any disparagement to the "Law," even assists it, as it on the other hand paved the way for the faith. For as the Law itself before bore witness to it (for he saith, "being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets"), so here this establisheth that, now that it is unnerved. And how did it establish? he would say. What was the object of the Law and what the scope of all its enactments? Why, to make man righteous. But this it had no power to do. "For all," it says, "have sinned:" but faith when it came accomplished it. For when a man is once a believer, he is straightway justified. The intention then of the Law it did establish, and what all its enactments aim after, this hath it brought to a consummation. Consequently it has not disannulled, but perfected it. Here then three points he has demonstrated; first, that without the Law it is possible to be justified; next, that this the Law could not effect; and, that faith is not opposed to the Law. For since the chief cause of perplexity to the Jews was this, that the faith seemed to be in opposition to it, he shows more than the Jew wishes, that so far from being contrary, it is even in close alliance and co-operation with it, which was what they especially longed to hear proved.

But since after this grace, whereby we were justified, there is need also of a life suited to it, let us show an earnestness worthy the gift. And show it we shall, if we keep with earnestness charity, the mother of good deeds. Now charity is not bare words, or mere ways of speaking (prosreseis) to men, but a taking care (prostasia) of them, and a putting forth of itself by works, as, for instance, by relieving poverty, lending one's aid to the sick, rescuing from dangers, to stand by them that be in difficulties, to weep with them that weep, and to rejoice with them that rejoice. (Rom. xii. 15.) For even this last is a part of charity. And yet this seems a little thing, to be rejoicing with them that rejoice: nevertheless it is exceedingly great, and requireth for it the spirit of true wisdom. And we may find many that perform the more irksome part (peikroteron), and yet want vigor for this. For many weep with them that weep, but still do not rejoice with them that rejoice, but are in tears when others rejoice; now this comes of grudging and envy. The good deed then of rejoicing when our brother rejoices is no small one, but even greater than the other: and haply not only greater than weeping with them that weep, but even than standing by them that are in danger. There are many, at all events, that have shared danger with men in danger, but were cut to the heart when they came into honor. So great is the tyranny of a grudging spirit! And yet the one is a thing of toils and labors, and this of choice and temper only. Yet at the same time many that have endured the harder task have not accomplished the one easier than it, but pine and consume away when they see others in honor, when a whole Church is benefited, by doctrine, or in any other fashion. And what can be worse than this? For such an one doth not any more fight with his brother, but with the will of God. Now consider this, and be rid of the disease: and even if you be unwilling to set your neighbor free, at least set yourself free from these countless evils. Why do you carry war into your own thoughts? Why fill your soul with trouble? why work up a storm? why turn things upside down? How will you be able, in this state of mind, to ask forgiveness of sins? For if those that allow not the things done against themselves to pass, neither doth He forgive, what forgiveness shall He grant to those who go about to injure those that have done them no injury? For this is a proof of the utmost wickedness. Men of this kind are fighting with the Devil, against the Church, and haply even worse than he. For him one can be on one's guard against. But these cloaking themselves under the mask of friendliness, secretly kindle the pile, throwing themselves the first into the furnace, and laboring under a disease not only unfit for pity, but even such as to meet with much ridicule. For why is it, tell me, that thou art pale and trembling and standing in fear? What evil has happened? Is it that thy brother is in honor, and looked up to, and in esteem? Why, thou oughtest to make chaplets, and rejoice, and glorify God, that thine own member is in honor and looked up to! But art thou pained that God is glorified? [1283] Seest thou to what issue the war tends? But, some will say, it is not because God is glorified, but because my brother is. Yet through him the glory ascendeth up to God: and so will the war from thee do also. But it is not this, he will say, that grieves me, for I should wish God to be glorified by me. Well then! rejoice at thy brother's being in honor, and then glorified is God again through thee also; and [1284] all will say, Blessed be God that hath His household so minded, wholly freed from envy, and rejoicing together at one another's goods! And why do I speak of thy brother? for if he were thy foe and enemy, and God were glorified through him, a friend shouldest thou make of him for this reason. But thou makest thy friend an enemy because God is glorified by his being in honor. And were any one to heal thy body when in evil plight, though he were an enemy, thou wouldest count him thenceforward among the first of thy friends: and dost thou reckon him that gladdens the countenance of Christ's Body, that is, the Church, and is thy friend, to be yet an enemy? How else then couldest thou show war against Christ? For this cause, even if a man do miracles, have celibacy to show, and fasting, and lying on the bare ground, and doth by this virtue advance even to the angels, yet shall he be most accursed of all, while he has this defect, and shall be a greater breaker of the Law than the adulterer, and the fornicator, and the robber, and the violator of supulchres. And, that no one may condemn this language of hyperbole, I should be glad to put this question to you. If any one were come with fire and mattock, and were destroying and burning this House, and digging down this Altar, would not each one of those here stone him with stones as accursed and a law-breaker? What then, if one were to bring a flame yet more consuming than that fire, I mean envy, that doth not ruin the buildings of stone nor dig down an Altar of gold, but subverteth and scornfully marreth what is far more precious than either walls or Altar, the Teachers' building, what sufferance would he deserve? For let no one tell me, that he has often endeavored and been unable: for it is from the spirit that the actions are judged. For Saul did kill David, even though he did not hit him. (1 Sam. xix. 10.) Tell me, dost thou not perceive that thou art plotting against the sheep of Christ when thou warrest with His Shepherd? those sheep for whom also Christ shed His Blood, and bade us both to do and to suffer all things? Dost thou not remind thyself that thy Master sought thy glory and not His own, but thou art seeking not that of thy Master but thine own? And yet if thou didst see His then thou wouldst have obtained thine own also. But by seeking thine own before His, thou wilt not ever gain even this.

What then will be the remedy? Let us all join in prayer, and let us lift up our voice with one accord in their behalf as for those possessed, for indeed these are more wretched than they, inasmuch as their madness is of choice. For this affliction needeth prayer and much entreaty. For if he that loveth not his brother, even though he empty out his money, yea, and have the glory of martyrdom, is no whit advantaged; consider what punishment the man deserves who even wars with him that hath not wronged him in anything; he is even worse than the Gentiles: for if to love them that love us does not let us have any advantage over them, in what grade shall he be placed, tell me, that envieth them that love him? For envying is even worse than warring; since he that warreth, when the cause of the war is at an end, puts an end to his hatred also: but the grudger would never become a friend. And the one shows an open kind of battle, the other a covert: and the one often has a reasonable cause to assign for the war, the other, nothing else but madness, and a Satanic spirit. To what then is one to compare a soul of this kind? to what viper? to what asp? to what canker-worm? to what scorpion? since there is nothing so accursed or so pernicious as a soul of this sort. For it is this, it is this, that hath subverted the Churches, this that hath gendered the heresies, this it was that armed a brother's hand, and made his right hand to be dipped in the blood of the righteous, and plucked away the laws of nature, and set open the gates for death, and brought that curse into action, and suffered not that wretch to call to mind either the birth-pangs, or his parents, or anything else, but made him so furious, and led him to such a pitch of phrenzy, that even when God exhorted him and said, "Unto thee shall be his recourse, [1285] and thou shalt rule over him" (Gen. iv. 7, LXX.); he did not even then give in. Yet did He both forgive him the fault, and make his brother subject to him: but his complaint is so incurable, that even if thousands of medicines are applied, it keeps sloughing with its own corruption. For wherefore art thou so vexed, thou most miserable of men? Is it because God hath had honor shown Him? Nay, this would show a Satanical spirit. Is it then because thy brother outstrips thee in good name? As for that, it is open to thee in turn to outstrip him. And so, if thou wouldest be a conqueror, kill not, destroy not, but let him abide still, that the material for the struggle may be preserved, and conquer him living. For in this way thy crown had been a glorious one; but by thus destroying thou passest a harder sentence of defeat upon thyself. But a grudging spirit hath no sense of all this. And what ground hast thou to covet glory in such solitude? for those were at that time the only inhabitants of the earth. Still even then this restrained him not, but he cast away all from his mind, and stationed himself in the ranks of the devil; for he it was who then led the war upon Cain's side. For inasmuch as it was not enough for him that man had become liable to death, by the manner of the death he tried to make the tragedy still greater, and persuaded him to become a fratricide. For he was urgent and in travail to see the sentence carried into effect, as never satisfied with our ills. As if any one who had got an enemy in prison, and saw him under sentence, were to press, before he was out of the city, to see him butchered within it, and would not wait even the fitting time, so did the devil then, though he had heard that man must return to earth, travail with desire to see something worse, even a son dying before his father, and a brother destroying a brother, and a premature and violent slaughter. See you what great service envy hath done him? how it hath filled the insatiate spirit of the devil, and hath prepared for him a table great as he desired to see?

Let us then escape from the disease; for it is not possible, indeed it is not, to escape from the fire prepared for the devil, unless we get free from this sickness. But free we shall get to be if we lay to mind how Christ loved us, and also how He bade us love one another. Now what love did He show for us? His precious Blood did He shed for us when we were enemies, and had done the greatest wrong to Him. This do thou also do in thy brother's case (for this is the end of His saying "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye so [1286] love one another as I have loved you") (John xiii. 34); or rather even so the measure does not come to a stand. For it was in behalf of His enemies that He did this. And are you unwilling to shed your blood for your brother? Why then dost thou even shed his blood, disobeying the commandment even to reversing it? Yet what He did was not as a due: but you, if you do it, are but fulfilling a debt. Since he too, who, after receiving the ten thousand talents, demanded the hundred pence, was punished not merely for the fact that he demanded them, but because even by the kindness done him he had not become any better, and did not even follow where his Lord had begun, or remit the debt. For on the part of the servant the thing done was but a debt after all, if it had been done. For all things that we do, we do towards the payment of a debt. And this is why Himself said, "When ye have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants, we have done that which was our duty to do." (Luke xvii. 10.) If then we display charity, if we give our goods to them that need, we are fulfilling a debt; and that not only in that it was He who first began the acts of goodness, but because it is His goods that we are distributing if we ever [1287] do give. Why then deprive thyself of what He willeth thee to have the right of? For the reason why He bade thee give them to another was that thou mightest have them thyself. For so long as thou hast them to thyself even thou thyself hast them not. But when thou hast given to another, then hast thou received them thyself. What charm then will do as much as this? Himself poured forth His Blood for His enemies: but we not even money for our benefactor. He did so with His Blood that was His own: we will not even with money that is not ours. He did it before us, we not even after His example. He did it for our salvation, we will not do it even for our own advantage. For He is not to have any advantage from our love toward man, but the whole gain accrueth unto us. For this is the very reason why we are bidden to give away our goods, that we may not be thrown out of them. For as a person who gives a little child money and bids him hold it fast, or give it the servant to keep, that it may not be for whoever will to snatch it away, so also doth God. For He says, Give to him that needeth, lest some one should snatch it away from thee, as an informer, for instance, or a calumniator, or a thief, or, after all these are avoided, death. For so long as thou holdest it thyself, thou hast no safe hold of it. But if thou givest it Me through the poor, I keep it all for thee exactly, and in fit season will return it with great increase. For it is not to take it away that I receive it, but to make it a larger amount and to keep it more exactly, that I may have it preserved for you against that time, in which there is no one to lend or to pity. What then can be more hard-hearted, than if we, after such promises, cannot make up our minds to lend to him? Yes, it is for this that we go before Him destitute and naked and poor, not having the things committed to our charge, because we do not deposit them with Him who keepeth them more exactly than any. And for this we shall be most severely punished. For when we are charged with it, what shall we be able to say about the loss of them? [1288] what pretext to put forward? what defence? For what reason is there why you did not give? Do you disbelieve that you will receive it again? And how can this be reasonable? For He that hath given to one that hath not given, how shall He not much rather give after He has received? Does the sight of them please you? Well then, give much the more for this reason, that you may there be the more delighted, when no one can take them from you. Since now if you keep them, you will even suffer countless evils. For as a dog, so doth the devil leap upon them that are rich, wishing to snatch from them, as from a child that holdeth a sippet or a cake. Let us then give them to our Father, and if the devil see this done, he will certainly withdraw: and when he has withdrawn, then will the Father safely give them all to thee, when he cannot trouble, in that world to come. For now surely they that be rich differ not from little children that are troubled by dogs, while all are barking round them, tearing and pulling; not men only, but ignoble affections; as gluttony, drunkenness, flattery, uncleanness of every kind. And when we have to lend, we are very anxious about those that give much, and look particularly for those that are frank dealers. But here we do the opposite. For God, Who dealeth frankly, and giveth not one in the hundred, but a hundred-fold, we desert, and those who will not return us even the capital, these we seek after. For what return will our belly make us, that consumeth the larger share of our goods? Dung and corruption. Or what will vainglory? Envy and grudging. Or what nearness? Care and anxiety. Or what uncleanness? Hell and the venomous worm! For these are the debtors of them that be rich, who pay this interest upon the capital, evils at present, and dreadful things in expectation. Shall we then lead to these, pray, with such punishment for interest, and shall we not trust the same to Christ (4 mss. om. tho) Who holdeth forth unto us heaven, immortal life, blessings unutterable? And what excuse shall we have? For how comest thou not to give to Him, who will assuredly return, and return in greater abundance? Perhaps it is because it is so long before He repays. Yet surely He repays even here. For He is true which saith, "Seek the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matt. vi. 33.) Seest thou this extreme munificence? Those goods, He says, have been stored up for thee, and are not diminishing: but these here I give by way of increase and surplus. But, besides all this, the very fact of its being so long before thou wilt receive it, does but make thy riches the greater: since the interest is more.

For in the case of those who have money lent them, we see that this is what the lenders do, lending, that is, with greater readiness to those who refund a long time after. For he that straightway repays the whole, cuts off the progression of the interest, but he that keeps possession of it for a longer time, makes also the gain from it greater. Shall we then, while in man's case we are not offended at the delay, but even use artifices to make it greater, in the case of God be so little-minded, as on this very ground to be backward and to retract? And yet, as I said, He both giveth here, and along with the reason mentioned, as planning also some other greater advantage to us, He there keepeth the whole in store. For the abundance of what is given, and the excellency of that gift, transcends this present worthless life. Since in this perishable and doomed body there is not even the possibility of receiving those unfading crowns; nor in our present state, perturbed and full of trouble, and liable to many changes as it is, of attaining to that unchangeable unperturbed lot. [1289] Now you, if any one were to owe you gold, and while you were staying in a foreign country, and had neither servants, nor any means to convey it across to the place of your abode, were to promise to pay you the loan, would beseech him in countless ways to have it paid down not in the foreign land, but at home rather. But do you think right to receive those spiritual and unutterable things in this world? Now what madness this would show! For if you receive them here, you must have them corruptible to a certainty; but if you wait for that time, He will repay you them incorruptible and unalloyed. If you receive here, you have gotten lead; but if there, tried gold. Still He does not even deprive thee of the goods of this life. For along with that promise He has placed another also, to the following effect, That every one that loveth the things of the world to come, shall receive "an hundred-fold in this life present, and shall inherit eternal life." (Matt. xix. 29.) If then we do not receive the hundred-fold, it is ourselves that are to blame for not lending to Him Who can give so much, for all who have given have received much, even though they gave but little. For what great thing, tell me, did Peter give? was it not a net that was broken (Luke v. 6, 11), and a rod and a hook only? Yet still God opened to him the houses of the world, and spread before him land and sea, and all men invited him to their possessions. Or rather they sold what was their own, and brought it to their [1290] feet, not so much as putting it into their hands, for they dared not, so great was the honor they paid him, as well as their profuseness. But he was Peter, you will say! And what of this? O man! For it was not Peter only to whom He made this promise, neither said He, Thou, O Peter, only art to receive an hundred-fold, but "every one whosoever hath left houses or brethren shall receive an hundredfold." For it is not distinction of persons that He recognizes, but actions that are rightly done. But a circle of little ones is round about me, one will say, and I am desirous of leaving them with a good fortune. [1291] Why then do we make them paupers? For if you leave them everything, you are still committing your goods to a trust that may deceive you. But if you leave God their joint-heir and guardian, you have left them countless treasures. For as when we avenge ourselves God assisteth us not, but when we leave it to Him, more than we expect comes about; so in the case of goods, if we take thought about them ourselves, He will withdraw from any providence over them, but if we cast all upon Him, He will place both them and our children in all safety. And why art thou amazed that this should be so with God? for even with men one may see this happening. For if you do not when dying invite any of your relatives to the care of your children, it often happens, that one who is abundantly willing feels reluctancy, and is too modest to spring to the task of his own accord. But if you cast the care upon him, as having had a very great honor shown him, he will in requital make very great returns. If then thou wouldest leave thy children much wealth, leave them God's care. For He Who, without thy having done anything, gave thee a soul, and formed thee a body, and granted thee life, when He seeth thee displaying such munificence and distributing their goods to Himself along with them, must surely open to them every kind of riches. For if Elijah after having been nourished with a little meal, since he saw that that woman honored him above her children, made threshing-floors and oil-presses appear in the little hut of the widow, consider what loving caring the Lord of Elijah will display! Let us then not consider how to leave our children rich, but how to leave them virtuous. For if they have the confidence of riches, they will not mind aught besides, in that they have the means screening the wickedness of their ways in their abundant riches. But if they find themselves devoid of the comfort to be got from that source, they will do all so as by virtue to find themselves abundant consolation for their poverty. Leave them then no riches that you may leave them virtue. For it is unreasonable in the extreme, not to make them, whilst we are alive, lords of all our goods, yet after we are dead to give the easy nature of youth full exemption from fear. And yet while we are alive we shall have power to call them to good account, and to sober and bridle them, if they make an ill use of their goods: but if after we are dead we afford them, at the time of the loss of ourselves, and their own youthfulness, that power which wealth gives, endless are the precipices into which we shall thrust those unfortunate and miserable creatures, so heaping fuel upon flame, and letting oil drop into a fierce furnace. And so, if you would leave them rich and safe withal, leave God a debtor to them, and deliver the bequest to them into His hands. For if they receive the money themselves, they will not know even who to give it to, but will meet with many designing and unfeeling people. But if thou beforehand puttest it out to interest with God, the treasure henceforward remains unassailable, and great is the facility wherewith that repayment will be made. For God is well pleased at repaying us what He oweth, and both looks with a more favorable eye upon those who have lent to Him, than on those who have not; and loveth those the most to whom He oweth the most. And so, if thou wouldest have Him for thy Friend continually, make Him thy Debtor to a large amount. For there is no lender so pleased at having those that owe to him, as Christ (6 mss. God) is rejoiced at having those that lend to Him. And such as He oweth nothing to, He fleeth from; but such as He oweth to, He even runneth unto. Let us then use all means to get Him for our Debtor; for this is the season for loans, and He is now in want. If then thou givest not unto Him now, He will not ask of thee after thy departing hence. For it is here that He thirsteth, here that He is an hungered. He thirsteth, since He thirsteth after thy salvation; and it is for this that He even begs; for this that He even goeth about naked, negotiating immortal life for thee. Do not then neglect Him; since it is not to be nourished that He wishes, but to nourish; it is not to be clothed, but to clothe and to accoutre thee with the golden garment, the royal robe. Do you not see even the more attached sort of physicians, when they are washing the sick, wash themselves also, though they need it not? In the same way He also doth all for the sake of thee who art sick. For this reason also He uses no force in demanding, that He may make thee great returns: that thou mayest learn that it is not because He is in need that He asketh of thee, but that He may set right that thou needest. For this reason too He comes to thee in a lowly guise, and with His right hand held forth. And if thou givest Him a farthing, He turneth not away: and even if thou rejectest Him, He departeth not but cometh again to thee. For He desireth, [1292] yea desireth exceedingly, our salvation: let us then think scorn of money, that we may not be thought scorn of by Christ. Let us think scorn of money, even with a view to obtain the money itself. For if we keep it here, we shall lose it altogether both here and hereafter. But if we distribute it with abundant expenditure, we shall enjoy in each life abundant wealthiness. He then that would become rich, let him become poor, that he may be rich. Let him spend that he may collect, let him scatter that he may gather. But if this is novel and paradoxical, look to the sower, and consider, that he cannot in any other way gather more together, save by scattering what he hath and, letting go of what is at hand. Let us now sow and till the Heaven, that we may reap with great abundance, and obtain everlasting goods, through the grace and love toward man, etc.

Footnotes

[1267] So St. Chrysostom here and in the next homily, but in both places some mss. (and Vulg. ante Field) had inserted the common reading of the text of the N.T. "what then? are we better than they? No, in no wise." [1268] The meaning of proechometha here is much disputed. What is its subject? Most agree (vs. Olshausen, Reiche) that it is 'Ioudaioi. Is proech. middle or passive? If middle, it may mean (1) Do we hold (a place) before them? Are we superior to them (the Gentiles) as respects the condition of sinfulness? So Vulgate ("proecellimus") Luther, Calvin, Bengel, Tholuck, Baur, De Wette, Alford, Weiss; or (2) Do we hold before us (any protection)? Have we any excuse or pretext? So Meyer, Godet, Schaff, on the ground that (1) is against the admitted advantage of the few (vv. 1, 2). If passive, it can mean (a) Are we held superior to them? This is substantially the same as (1) or (b) Are we surpassed by them? This is the sense given in the trans. of the R.V.: "Are we in worse case than they?" It connects v. 9 immediately with the special points of v. 1-8. It seems to me that it is better to suppose that he here breaks away from these special objections and recurs to the larger subject. In this view the pro in compos. points back to such passages as i. 18-32; ii. 15 and 17-29. The argument is: "We have established the sinfulness of all; therefore we Jews have no advantage in relation to sin, repentance and justification."--G.B.S. [1269] The term Law was commonly applied to all the Pentateuch by Jewish writers: but to the Psalms not so. They, however, viewed the whole Old Testament as an evolved form of the Law. [1270] So Field with 2 mss: others "that the Word," one mss. and Vulg. "that the Law." [1271] he phusis, here used probably for the particular nature or kind in question, viz. the human. Somewhat in the same manner it is used of individual beings. For the several uses of the term, see Arist. Metaph. 4, where he calls this use metaphorical. [1272] mss. "yet not owing to the feebleness of the Law, but to the listlessness of the Jews." [1273] With iii. 21begins the great central argument of the epistle: the positive development of the doctrine of justification by faith. He had prepared the way for this negatively by showing that all men were sinners and could not hope for justification on the condition of obedience to the law of God. This he proved in regard to the Gentiles in i. 18-32, and in regard to the Jews in ii. 1-iii. 20. Having now showed that justification cannot be by law he proceeds to prove that it is by faith. This central argument extends to the end of chap. viii. It may be analyzed as follows; (1) General introductory statement iii. 21-31. (2) O.T. proof, iv. (3) Consequences of justification, v. 1-11. (4) Universality of the principles of sin and grace, showed by the parallel between Adam and Christ, v. 12-21. (5) Objections answered and false inferences refuted, vi. vii. (6) Triumphant conclusion: the blessedness of justification, viii. This argument concludes the doctrinal portion of the Epistle so far as the question of justification is concerned. Chaps. ix.-xi. treat of the rejection of the Jews and may be considered a kind of doctrinal appendix to the main argument. The remaining chaps. (xii.-xvi.) are chiefly practical.--G.B.S. [1274] akrahigh or excellent things; thus Longinus. Or perhaps "terms." See Arist. Anal. Pr. 1. i. where this use of the word is explained. [1275] 4 mss. read ho deina ;;Ellen, etc. for ho deina ho ;;Ellen, making the sense, do not say (in contempt) "such an one is a Greek! such an one a Scythian!" etc. [1276] So Sav. Mor. Ben., against the mss. and the Ed. of Verona, which omits these words. [1277] v. 26, 3 P. mss. en to nun kairo. [1278] 4 mss. add, "to show that this was so brought about." [1279] paresin. Our translation cannot be kept without losing St. Chrysostom's meaning. He takes this word in a medical sense, for the cessation of vital energy. It was sometimes used thus, or for paralysis. It does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament; the usual word for remission is aphesis. [1280] Or "pleading the same." [1281] The term kauchasthai, here rendered boasting, is used in a good sense also, and sometimes rendered glorying in our Version. See Rom. v. 2, 3, 11; xv. 17; 1 Cor. i. 31; 2 Cor. x. 17; xii. 9; Gal. vi. 4 and 14; Phil. iii. 5; 1 Thess. ii. 19; James i. 9, etc. [1282] Field omits "there was no difference;" but most mss. have the words; and at any rate they must be supplied. [1283] 4 mss. add what madness doth not this exceed? [1284] 4 mss. for "and" have "for when thou art so disposed toward thy brother." [1285] apostrophe, "turning away," some read epistrophe, as Cyr. Al. Glaph. ad. loc. who speaks of the apostrophe or turning away of God's face from Cain; but to render it thus here is inconsistent with Gen. iii. 16, and with St. Chrysostom's interpretation in Gen. iv. Hom. xix. which illustrates several expressions here. [1286] houtos and ego are not in the text in St. John. 1 ms. (Bodl.) here omits houtos. [1287] 5 mss. "if we give all." [1288] Savile, "about our own self-destruction," peri tes apoleias heauton, but the mss. auton, which makes better sense. [1289] lexin, which may mean "rest." [1290] So the mss.; i.e. the Apostles'. [1291] See St. Cypr. Of works and alms, c. 15: Treatises, pp. 243, 244, O.T. [1292] era; cf. p. 367, note 3. .


Homily VIII.

Rom. IV. 1, 2

"What shall we then say that Abraham, our father as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God."

He had said (5 mss. eipen), that the world had become guilty before God, and that all had sinned, and that boasting was excluded and that it was impossible to be saved otherwise than by faith. He is now intent upon showing that this salvation, so far from being matter of shame, was even the cause of a bright glory, and a greater than that through works. For since the being saved, yet with shame, had somewhat of dejection in it, he next takes away this suspicion too. And indeed he has hinted at the same already, by calling it not barely salvation, but "righteousness. Therein" (he says) "is the righteousness of God revealed." (Rom. i. 17.) For he that is saved as a righteous man has a confidence accompanying his salvation. And he calls it not "righteousness" only, but also the setting forth of the righteousness of God. But God is set forth in things which are glorious and shining, and great. However, he nevertheless draws support for this from what he is at present upon, and carries his discourse forward by the method of question. And this he is always in the habit of doing both for clearness sake, and for the sake of confidence in what is said. Above, for instance, he did it, where he says, "What advantage then hath the Jew?" (ib. iii. 1.) and, "What then have we more than they?" [1293] (ib. 9) and again, "where then is boasting? it is excluded" (Rom. iii. 27): and here, "what then shall we say that Abraham our father?" etc. Now since the Jews kept turning over and over the fact, that the Patriarch, and friend of God, was the first to receive circumcision, he wishes to show, that it was by faith that he too was justified. And this was quite a vantage ground to insist upon (periousia nikes pollhes). For for a person who had no works, to be justified by faith, was nothing unlikely. But for a person richly adorned with good deeds, not to be made just from hence, but from faith, this is the thing to cause wonder, and to set the power of faith in a strong light. And this is why he passes by all the others, and leads his discourse back to this man. And he calls him "father, as pertaining to the flesh," to throw them out of the genuine relationship (sungeneias gnesias) to him, and to pave the Gentiles' way to kinsmanship [1294] with him. And then he says, "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory: but not before God." After saying that God "justified the circumcision by faith and the uncircumcision through faith," and making the same sufficiently sure in what he said before, he now proves it by Abraham more clearly than he promised, and pitches the battle for faith against works, and makes this righteous man the subject of the whole struggle; and that not without special meaning. Wherefore also he sets him up very high by calling him "forefather," and putting a constraint upon them to comply with him in all points. For, Tell me not, he would say, about the Jews, nor bring this man or that before me. For I will go up to the very head of all, and the source whence circumcision took its rise. For "if Abraham," he says, "was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory: but not before God." [1295] What is here said is not plain, and so one must make it plainer. For there are two "gloryings," one of works, and one of faith. After saying then, "if he was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God;" he points out that he might have whereof to glory from faith also, [1296] yea and much greater reason for it. For the great power of Paul is especially displayed in this, that he turns what is objected to the other side, and shows that what seemed rather to be on the side of salvation by works, viz. glorying or boldness of claim (parresiazesthai) belonged much more truly to that by faith. For he that glorieth in his works has his own labors to put forward: but he that finds his honor in having faith in God, has a much greater ground for glorying to show, in that it is God that he glorifieth and magnifieth. For those things which the nature of the visible world tells him not of, in receiving these by faith in Him, he at once displays sincere love towards Him, and heralds His power clearly forth. Now this is the character of the noblest soul, and the philosophic [1297] spirit, and lofty mind. For to abstain from stealing and murdering is trifling sort of acquirement, but to believe that it is possible for God to do things impossible requires a soul of no mean stature, and earnestly affected towards Him; for this is a sign of sincere love. For he indeed honors God, who fulfils the commandments, but he doth so in a much greater degree who thus followeth wisdom (philosophhon) by his faith. The former obeys Him, but the latter receives that opinion of Him which is fitting, and glorifies Him, and feels wonder at Him more than that evinced by works. For that glorying pertains to him that does aright, but this glorifieth God, and lieth wholly in Him. For he glorieth at conceiving great things concerning Him, which redound to His glory. And this is why he speaks of having whereof to glory before God. And not for this only, but also for another reason: for he who is a believer glorieth again, not only because he loveth God in sincerity, but also because he hath enjoyed great honor and love from him. For as he shows his love to Him by having great thoughts about Him, (for this is a proof of love), so doth God also love him, though deserving to suffer for countless sins, not in freeing him from punishment only, but even by making him righteous. He then hath whereof to glory, as having been counted worthy of mighty love.

Ver. 4. "For [1298] to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt."

Then is not this last the greatest? he means. By no means: for it is to the believer that it is reckoned. But it would not have been reckoned, unless there were something that he contributed himself. And so he too hath God for his debtor, and debtor too for no common things, but great and high ones. For to show his high-mindedness and spiritual understanding, he does not say "to him that believeth" merely, but

Ver. 5. "To him that believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly."

For reflect how great a thing it is to be persuaded and have full confidence that God is able on a sudden not to free a man who has lived in impiety from punishment only, but even to make him just, and to count him worthy of those immortal honors. Do not then suppose that this one is lowered in that it is not reckoned unto the former of grace. For this is the very thing that makes the believer glorious; the fact of his enjoying so great grace, of his displaying so great faith. And note too that the recompense is greater. For to the former a reward is given, to the latter righteousness. Now righteousness is much greater than a reward. For righteousness is a recompense which most fully comprehends several rewards. Therefore after proving this from Abraham, he introduces David also as giving his suffrage in favor of the statement made. What then doth David say? and whom doth he pronounce blessed? is it him that triumphs [1299] in works, or him that hath enjoyed grace? him that hath obtained pardon and a gift? And when I speak of blessedness, I mean the chiefest of all good things; for as righteousness is greater than a reward, so is blessedness greater than righteousness. Having then shown that the righteousness is better, not owing to Abraham's having received it only but also from reasonings (for he [1300] hath whereof to boast, he says, before God [1301] ); he again uses another mode of showing that it is more dignified, by bringing David in to give his suffrage this way. For he also, he says, pronounces him blessed who is so made righteous, saying,

Ver. 7. "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven."

And he seems to be bringing a testimony beside his purpose. For it does not say, Blessed are they whose faith is reckoned for righteousness. But he does so on purpose, not through inadvertency, to show the greater superiority. For if he be blessed that by grace received forgiveness, much more is he that is made just, and that exhibits faith. For where blessedness is, there all shame is removed, and there is much glory, since blessedness is a greater degree both of reward and of glory. And for this cause what is the advantage of the other he states as unwritten, "Now to him that worketh is the reward reckoned not of grace;" but what the advantage of the faithful is, he brings Scriptural testimony to prove, saying, As David saith, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered." [1302] What, he means, is it that you say? Is it that "it is not of debt but of grace that he [1303] receives forgiveness?" But see it is this person who is pronounced blessed. For he would not have pronounced him so, unless he saw him in the enjoyment of great glory. And he does not say this "forgiveness" then comes upon the circumcision; but what saith he?

Ver. 9. "Cometh this blessedness then" (which is the greater thing) "upon the circumcision or upon the uncircumcision?"

For now the subject of enquiry is, With whom is this good and great thing to be found; is it with the circumcision or with the uncircumcision? And notice its superiority! For he shows that it is so far from shunning the uncircumcision, that it even dwelt gladly with it before the circumcision. For since he that pronounced it blessed was David, who was himself also in a state of circumcision, and he was speaking to those in that state, see how eagerly Paul contends for applying what he said to the uncircumcised. For after joining the ascription of blessedness to righteousness, and showing that they are one and the same thing, he enquires how Abraham came to be righteous. For if the ascription of blessedness belong to the righteous, and Abraham was made righteous, let us see how he was made righteous, as uncircumcised or circumcised? Uncircumcised, he says.

"For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness." [1304]

After mentioning the Scripture above (for he said, "What saith the Scripture? Abraham believed in God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness,") here he goes on to secure also the judgment of the speakers, and shows that justification took place in the uncircumcision. Then from these grounds he solves another objection which is starting up. For if when in uncircumcision, one might say he was justified, to what purpose was the circumcision brought in?

Ver. 11. "He received it," he says, "a sign and [1305] seal of the righteousness that was by the faith, which he had being yet uncircumcised."

See you how he shows the Jews to be as it were of the class of parasites (i.e. guests), rather than those in uncircumcision, and that these were added to the others? [1306] For if he was justified and crowned while in uncircumcision, the Jews came in afterwards, Abraham is then the father first of the uncircumcised, which through faith appertain to him, and then of those in the circumcision. For he is a forefather of two lines. See you faith lightening up? for till it came the patriarch was not justified. See you the uncircumcision offering no hindrance? for he was uncircumcised, yet was not hindered from being justified. The circumcision therefore is behind the faith. And why wonder that it is behind the faith, when it is even behind the uncircumcision. Nor is it behind faith only, but very far inferior to it, even so far as the sign is to the reality of which it is the sign; for instance, as the seal is to the soldier. (See Hom. iii. on 2 Cor. at the end.) And why, he says, did he want a seal then? He did not want it himself. For what purpose then did he receive it? With a view to his being the father alike of them that believe in uncircumcision and in circumcision. But not of those in circumcision absolutely: wherefore he goes on to say, "To them who are not of the circumcision only." For if to the uncircumcised, it is not in that he is uncircumcised that he is their father, although justified in uncircumcision; but in that they imitated his faith; much less is it owing to circumcision that he is the forefather of those in the state of circumcision, unless faith also be added. For he says that the reason of his receiving circumcision was that either of us two parties might have him for a forefather, and that those in the uncircumcision might not thrust aside those in the circumcision. [1307] See how the former had him for their forefather first. Now if the circumcision be of dignity owing to its preaching righteousness, the uncircumcision even hath no small preeminence in having received it before the circumcision. Then wilt thou be able to have him as a forefather when thou walkest in the steps of that faith, and art not contentious, nor a causer of division in bringing in the Law. What faith? tell me.

Ver. 12. "Which he had being yet uncircumcised."

Here again he lays low the lofty spirit of the Jews by reminding them of the time of the justification. And he well says, "the steps," that you as well as Abraham may believe in the resurrection of bodies that are dead. For he also displayed his faith upon this point. And so if you reject the uncircumcision, be informed for certain that the circumcision is of no more use unto you. For if you follow not in the steps of his faith, though you were ten thousand times in a state of circumcision, you will not be Abraham's offspring. For even he received the circumcision for this end, that the man in a state of uncircumcision might not cast thee off. Do not then demand this of him too. [1308] For it was you whom the thing was to be an assistance to, not he. But he calls it a sign of the righteousness. And this also was for thy sake, since now it is not even this: for thou then wert in need of bodily signs, but now there is no need of them. "And was it not possible," one might say, "from his faith to learn the goodness of his soul?" Yes, it was possible but thou stoodest in need of this addition also. For since thou didst not imitate the goodness of his soul, and wert not able to see it, a sensible circumcision was given thee, that, after having become accustomed to this of the body, thou mightest by little and little be led on to the true love of wisdom in the soul also, and that having with much seriousness received it as a very great privilege, thou mightest be instructed to imitate and revere thine ancestor. This object then had God not only in the circumcision, but in all the other rites, the sacrifices, I mean, and the sabbath, and feasts. Now that it was for thy sake that he received the circumcision, learn from the sequel. For after saying that he received a sign and a seal, he gives the reason also as follows. That he might be the father of the circumcision--to those who received the spiritual circumcision also, since if you have only this (i.e. the carnal), no farther good will come to you. For this is then a sign, when the reality of which it is the sign is found with thee, that is, faith; since if thou have not this, the sign to thee has no longer the power of a sign, for what is it to be the sign of? or what the seal of, when there is nothing to be sealed? much as if you were to show one a purse with a seal to it, when there was nothing laid up within. And so the circumcision is ridiculous if there be no faith within. For if it be a sign of righteousness, but you have not righteousness, then you have no sign either. For the reason of your receiving a sign was that you might seek diligently for that reality whereof you have the sign: so that if you had been sure of diligently seeking thereafter without it, then you had not needed it. But this is not the only thing that circumcision proclaims, namely righteousness, but righteousness in even an uncircumcised man. Circumcision then does but proclaim, that there is no need of circumcision.

Ver. 14. "For if they which are of the Law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect." [1309]

He had shown that faith is necessary, that it is older than circumcision, that it is more mighty than the Law, that it establisheth the Law. For if all sinned, it was necessary: if one being uncircumcised was justified, it is older: if the knowledge of sin is by the Law and yet it was without the Law made evident, [1310] it is more mighty: if it has testimony borne to it by the Law, and establisheth the Law, it is not opposed to it, but friendly and allied to it. Again, he shows upon other grounds too that it was not even possible by the Law to attain to the inheritance, and after having matched it with the circumcision, and gained it the victory, he brings it besides into contrast with the Law in these words, "For if they which are of the Law be heirs, faith is made void." To prevent them anyone from saying that one may have faith and also keep up the Law, he shows this to be impracticable. For he that clings to the Law, as if of saving force, does disparagement to faith's power; and so he says, "faith is made void," that is, there is no need of salvation by grace. For then it cannot show forth its own proper power; "and the promise is made of none effect." This is because the Jew might say, What need have I of faith? If then this held, the things that were promised, would be taken away along with faith. See how in all points he combats with them from the early times and from the Patriarch. For having shown from thence that righteousness and faith went together in the inheritance, he now shows that the promise did likewise. For to prevent the Jew from saying, What matters it to me if Abraham was justified by faith? Paul says, neither can what you are interested with, the promise of the inheritance, come into effect apart from it: which was what scared them most. But what promise is he speaking of? That of his being "the heir of the world," and that in him all should be blessed. And how does he say that this promise is made of none effect?

Ver. 15. "Because the Law worketh wrath: for where no Law is, there is no transgression."

Now if it worketh wrath, and renders them liable for transgression, it is plain that it makes them so to a curse also. But they that are liable under a curse, and punishments, and transgression, are not worthy of inheriting, but of being punished and rejected. What then happens? faith comes, drawing on it the grace, so that the promise comes into effect. For where grace is, there is a remitting, and where remitting is, there is no punishment. Punishment then being removed, and righteousness succeeding from faith, there is no obstacle to our becoming heirs of the promise.

Ver. 16. "Therefore it is of faith," he says, "that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed."

You see that it is not the Law only that faith establisheth, but the promise of God also that it will not allow to fall to the ground. But the Law, on the other hand, by being kept [1311] to unseasonably, makes even the faith of none effect, and hindereth the promise. By this he shows that faith, so far from being superfluous, is even necessary to that degree, that without it there is no being saved. For the Law worketh wrath, as all have transgressed it. But this doth not even suffer wrath to arise at all: for "where no Law is," he says, "there is no transgression." Do you see how he not only does away with sin after it has existed, but does not even allow it to be produced? And this is why he says "by grace." For what end? Not with a view to their being put to shame, but to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed. Here he lays down two blessings, both that the things given are sure, and also that they are to all the seed, so gathering in those of the Gentiles, and showing that the Jews are without, if they contend against the faith. For this is a surer thing than that. For faith doeth thee no hurt (be not contentious), but even now thou art in danger from the Law, it preserves thee. Next having said, "to all the seed," he defines what seed he meaneth. That which is of faith, he says, so blending with it [1312] their relationship to the Gentiles, and showing that they must not be proud of Abraham who do not believe as he did. And see a third thing which faith effected besides. It makes the relationship to that righteous man more definite (akri besteran), and holds him up as the ancestor of a more numerous issue. And this is why he does not say merely Abraham, but "our father," ours who believe. Then he also seals what he has said by the testimony--

Ver. 17. "As it is written," he says, "I have made thee a father of many nations."

Do you observe that this was ordered by Providence from of old? What then, he means, does He say this on account of the Ishmaelites, or of the Amalekites, or of the Hagarenes? This however, as he goes on he proves more distinctly not to be said of these. But as yet he presses forward to another point, by which means he proves this very thing by defining the mode of the relationship, and establishing it with a vast reach of mind. What then does he say?

"Before (or, answering to, katenanti) Him Whom he believed, even God."

But his meaning is something of this sort, as God is not the God of a part, but the Father of all, so is he also. And again, as God is a father not by way of the relationship of nature, but by way of the affiance of faith, so is he also inasmuch as it is obedience that makes him father of us all. For since they thought nothing of this relationship, as clinging to that grosser one, he shows that this is the truer relationship by lifting his discourse up to God. And along with this he makes it plain that this was the reward of faith that he received. Consequently, if it were not so, and he were the father of all the dwellers upon earth, the expression before (or answering to) would be out of place, while the gift of God would be curtailed. For the "before," is equivalent to "alike with." Since where is the marvel, pray, in a man's being the father of those sprung from himself? This is what is every man's lot. But the extraordinary thing is, that those whom by nature he had not, them he received by the gift of God. And so if thou wouldest believe that the patriarch was honored, believe that he is the father of all. But after saying, "before Him Whom he believed, even God," he does not pause here, but goes on thus; "Who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were," so laying beforehand his foundations for discoursing upon the resurrection. And it was serviceable also to his present purpose. For if He could "quicken the dead" and bring in "those things that were not as though they were," then could He also make those who were not born of him to be his children. And this is why he does not say, bringing in the things which are not, but calling them, so showing the greater ease of it. For as it is easy to us to call the things which are by name, so to Him it is easy, yea, and much easier to give a subsistence to things that are not. But after saying, that the gift of God was great and unspeakable, and having discoursed concerning His power, he shows farther that Abraham's faith was deserving of the gift, that you may not suppose him to have been honored without reason. And after raising the attention of his hearers to prevent the Jew from clamoring and making doubts, and saying, "And how is it possible for those who are not children to become children?" he passes on to speak of the patriarch, and says,

Ver. 18. "Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be."

How was it that he "believed in hope against hope?" It was against man's hope, in hope which is of God. (For he is showing the loftiness of the action, and leaving no room for disbelieving what is said.) Things which are contrary to one another, yet faith blends them together. But if he were speaking about such as were from Ishmael, this language would be superfluous: for it was not by faith but by nature that they were begotten. But he bringeth Isaac also before us. For it was not concerning those nations that he believed, but concerning him who was to be from his barren wife. If then it be a reward to be father of many nations, it would be so of those nations clearly of whom he so believed. For that you may know that he is speaking of them, listen to what follows.

Ver. 19. "And being not weak in faith, he considered [1313] his own body now dead."

Do you see how he gives the obstacles, as well as the high spirit of the righteous man which surmounts all? "Against hope," he says, was that which was promised: this is the first obstacle. For Abraham had no other person who had received a son in this way to look to. They that were after him looked to him, but he to no one, save to God only. And this is why he said, "against hope." Then, "his body now dead." This is a second. And, "the deadness of Sarah's womb." This is a third, aye and a fourth [1314] obstacle.

Ver. 20. "But he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief."

For God neither gave any proof nor made any sign, but there were only bare words promising such things as nature did not hold out any hopes of. Yet still he says, "he staggered not." He does not say, "He did not disbelieve," but, "He staggered not," that is, he neither doubted nor hesitated though the hindrances were so great. From this we learn, that if God promise even countless impossibilities, and he that heareth doth not receive them, it is not the nature of things that is to blame, but the unreasonableness of him who receiveth them not. "But was strong in faith." See the pertinacity of Paul. [1315] For since this discourse was about them that work and them that believe, he shows that the believer works more than the other, and requires more power, and great strength, and sustains no common degree of labor. For they counted faith worthless, as having no labor in it. Insisting then upon this, he shows that it is not only he that succeeds in temperance, or any other virtue of this sort, but he that displays faith also who requires even greater power. For as the one needs strength to beat off the reasonings [1316] of intemperance, so hath the faithful also need of a soul endued with power, that he may thrust aside the suggestions of unbelief. How then did he become "strong?" By trusting the matter, he replies, to faith and not to reasonings: else he had fallen. But how came he to thrive in faith itself? By giving glory to God, he says.

Ver. 21. "And being fully persuaded that what He had promised, He was able also to perform."

Abstaining then from curious questionings is glorifying God, as indulging in them is transgressing. But if by entering into curious questions, and searching out things below, we fail to glorify Him, much more if we be over curious in the matter of the Lord's generation, shall we suffer to the utmost for our insolence. For if the type of the resurrection is not to be searched into, much less those unutterable and awestriking subjects. [1317] And he does not use the word "believed" merely, but, "being fully persuaded." For such a thing is faith, it is clearer than the demonstration by reasons, and persuades more fully. For it is not possible for another reasoning succeeding to it to shake [1318] it afterwards. He indeed that is persuaded with words may have his persuasion altered too by them. But he that stays himself upon faith, hath henceforward fortified his hearing against words that may do hurt to it. Having said then, that he was justified by faith, he shows that he glorified God by that faith; which is a thing specially belonging to a good life. For, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Which is in heaven." (Matt. v. 16.) But lo! this is shown also to belong to faith! Again, as works need power, so doth faith. For in their case the body often shareth the toil, but in the faith the well-doing belongeth to the soul alone. And so the labor is greater, since it has no one to share the struggles with it. Do you observe how he shows that all that belonged to works attached to faith in a far greater degree, as having whereof to glory before God,--requiring power and labor,--and again, glorifying God? And after saying, that "what He had promised, He is able also to perform," he seems to me to speak beforehand of things to come. For it is not things present merely that He promises, but also things to come. For the present are a type of the other. It is then a sign of a weak, little, and pitiful mind not to believe. And so when any make faith a charge against us, let us make want of faith a charge against them in return, as pitiful, and little-minded, and foolish, and weak, and no better in disposition than asses. For as believing belongs to a lofty and high-born soul, so disbelieving doth to a most unreasonable and worthless one, and such as is sunken drowsily (katenenegmenes) into the senselessness of brutes. Therefore having left these, let us imitate the Patriarch, and glorify God as he gave Him glory. And what does it mean, gave Him glory? He held in mind His majesty, His boundless power. And having formed a just conception of Him, he was also "fully persuaded" about His promises.

Let us then also glorify Him by faith as well as by works, that we may also attain to the reward of being glorified by Him. "For them that glorify Me, I will glorify" (1 Sam. ii. 30), He says: and indeed, if there were no reward, the very privilege of glorifying God were itself a glory. For if men take a pride in the mere fact of speaking eulogies of kings, even if there be no other fruit of it; consider how glorious it must be, that our Lord is glorified by us: as again, how great a punishment to cause Him to be by our means blasphemed. And yet this very being glorified, He wisheth to be brought about for our sakes, since He doth not need it Himself. For what distance dost thou suppose to be between God and man? as great as that between men and worms? or as great as between Angels and worms? But when I have mentioned a distance even thus great, I have not at all expressed it: since to express its greatness is impossible. Would you, now, wish to have a great and marked reputation among worms? Surely not. If then thou that lovest glory, wouldest not wish for this, how should He Who is far removed from this passion, and so much farther above us, stand in need of glory from thee? Nevertheless, free from the want of it as He is, still He saith that He desireth it for thy sake. For if He endured for thy sake to become a slave, why wonder that He upon the same ground layeth claim to the other particulars also? For He counts nothing unworthy of Himself which may be conducive to our salvation. Since then we aware of this, let us shun sin altogether, because by reason of it He is blasphemed. For it says, "flee from sin, as from the face of a serpent: if thou comest too near unto it, it will bite thee" (Ecclus. xxi. 2): for it is not it that comes to us, but we that desert to it. God has so ordered things that the Devil should not prevail over us by compulsion (Gr. tyranny): since else none would have stood against his might. And on this account He set him a distant abode, as a kind of robber and tyrant. [1319] And unless he find a person unarmed and solitary for his assaults, he doth not venture to attack him. Except he see us travelling by the desert, [1320] he has not the courage to come near us. But the desert and place of the Devil is nothing else than sin. We then have need of the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, not only that we may not get evil intreated, but that ever should he be minded to leap [1321] upon us, we may cut off his head. Need we have of continual prayer that he may be bruised under our feet, for he is shameless and full of hardihood, and this though he fights from beneath. But yet even so he gets the victory: and the reason is, that we are not earnestly set upon being above his blows. For he has not even the power to lift himself very high, but he trails along upon the ground. And of this the serpent is a type. But if God set him in that rank from the beginning, much more will He now. But if thou dost not know what fighting from beneath may be, I also will try to explain to thee the manner of this war. What then may this fighting "from beneath" (John viii. 23) be? It is standing upon the lower things of the world to buffet us, such as pleasure and riches and all the goods of this life. And for this reason, whoever he seeth flying toward heaven, first, he will not even be able to leap so far. Secondly, even if he should attempt he will speedily fall. For he hath no feet; be not afraid: he hath no wings; fear not. He trails upon the earth, and the things of the earth. Do thou then have naught in common with the earth, and thou wilt not need labor even. For he hath not any knowledge of open fight: but as a serpent he hideth him in the thorns, nestling evermore in the "deceitfulness of riches." (Matt. xiii. 22.) And if thou wert to cut away the thorns, he will easily be put to flight, being detected: [1322] and if thou knowest how to charm him with the inspired charms he will straightway be struck. For we have, we surely have, spiritual charms, even the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and the might of the Cross. This charm will not only bring the serpent out of his lurking places, and cast him into the fire (Acts xxviii. 5), but even wounds it healeth. But if some that have said this Name have not been healed, it came of their own little faith, and was not owing to any weakness in what they said. For some did throng Jesus and press Him (Luke viii. 44, 45), and got no good therefrom. But the woman with an issue, without even touching His Body, but merely the hem of His garment, stanched a flux of blood of so long standing. (So St. Aug. Serm. LXII. iii. 4, p. 124 O.T.) This Name is fearful alike to devils, and to passions, and to diseases. In this then let us find a pleasure, herewith let us fortify ourselves. It was thus Paul waxed great, and yet he was of the like nature with ourselves, so the whole choir of the Disciples. But faith had made him a perfectly different person, and so much did it abound in them, that even their garments had great force. (Acts xix. 12.) What excuse then shall we deserve, if even the shadows and the garments of those men drave off death (Acts v. 15), but our very prayers do not so much as bring the passions down? What is the reason [1323] of it? Our temper is widely different. For what nature gives, is as much ours as theirs. For he was born and brought up just as we are, and dwelt upon the earth and breathed the air, as we do. But in other points he was far greater and better than we are, in zeal, in faith, and love. Let us then imitate him. Let us allow Christ to speak through us. He desireth it more than we do: and by reason of this, He prepared this instrument, and would not have it remain useless and idle, but wisheth to keep it ever in hand. Why then dost thou not make it serviceable for the Maker's hand, but lettest it become unstrung, and makest it relaxed through luxury, and unfittest the whole harp for His use, when thou oughtest to keep the members [1324] of it in full stretch, and well strung, and braced with spiritual salt. [1325] For if Christ see our soul thus attuned, He will send forth His sounds even by it. And when this taketh place, then shalt thou see Angels leaping for joy, (skirthontas) and Archangels too, and the Cherubim.

Let us then become worthy of His spotless hands. Let us invite Him to strike even upon our heart. For He rather needeth not any inviting. Only make it worthy of that touch, and He will be foremost in running unto thee. For if in consideration of their attainments not yet reached, He runneth to them (for when Paul was not yet so advanced He yet framed that praise for him) when He seeth one fully furnished, what is there that He will not do? But if Christ shall sound forth and the Spirit shall indeed light upon us, and we shall be better than the heaven, having not the sun and the moon fixed in our body, but the Lord of both sun and moon and angels dwelling in us and walking in us. And this I say, not that we may raise the dead, or cleanse the lepers, but that we may show forth what is a greater miracle than all these--charity. For wheresoever this glorious thing shall be there the Son taketh up His abode along with the Father, and the grace of the Spirit frequenteth. For "where two or three are gathered together in My Name," it says, "there am I in the midst of them." (Matt. xviii. 20.) Now this is for great affection, and for those that are very intimate friends, to have those whom they love on either side of them. Who then, he means, is so wretched as not to wish to have Christ in the midst? We that are at variance with one another! And haply some one may ridicule me and ask, What is it that you mean? Do you not see that we are all within the same walls, and under the same enclosure of the Church, standing under the same fold with unanimity; that no one fighteth, that we be under the same shepherd, crying aloud in common, listening in common to what is being said, sending up our prayers in common,--and yet mention fighting and variance? Fighting I do mention, and I am not mad nor out of my sober mind. For I see what I see, and know that we are under the same fold, and the same shepherd. Yet for this cause I make the greater lamentation, because, though there are so many circumstances to draw us together, we are at variance. And what sedition, it will be said, see you here? Here truly I see none. But when we have broken up, such an one accuses such another, another is openly insulting, another grudges, another is fraudulent, and rapacious, and violent, another indulges in unlawful love, another frames countless schemes of deceit. And if it were possible to open your souls, then ye would see all things distinctly, and know that I am not mad. Do you not see in a camp, that when it is peace, men lay down their arms and cross over unarmed and undefended into the camp of the enemy, but when they are protected with arms, and with guards and outposts, the nights are spent in watching, and the fires are kept continually burning, this state of things is no longer peace but war? Now this is what may be seen among us. For we are on our guard against one another, and fear one another and talk each of us into his neighbor's ear. And if we see any one else present, we hold our peace, and draw in all we were going to say. And this is not like men that feel confidence, but like those that are strictly on their guard. "But these things we do (some one may say,) not to do wrong, but to escape having it done us." Yea, for this I grieve, that living as we do among brethren, we need be on our guard against having wrong done us; and we light up so many fires, and set guards and out-posts! The reason is the prevalence of falsehood, the prevalence of craft, the prevailing secession of charity, and war without truce. By this means one may find men that feel more confidence in Gentiles (Greeks) than in Christians. And yet, how ashamed we ought to be of this; how we ought to weep and bewail at it! "What then, some may say, is to become of me? such and such an one is of ungainly temper, and vexatious." Where then is your religion (Gr. philosophy)? where are the laws of the Apostles, which bid us bear one another's burdens? (Gal. vi. 2.) For if you have no notion of dealing well by your brother, when are you to be able to do so by a stranger? If you have not learnt how to treat a member of your own self, when are you likely to draw to you any from without, and to knit him to yourself? But how am I to feel? I am vexed exceedingly almost to tears, for I could have sent forth large fountains from mine eyes (Jer. ix. 1), as that Prophet says, seeing as I do countless enemies upon the plain more galling than those he saw. For he said, upon seeing the aliens coming against them, "My bowels! I am pained at my bowels." (ib. iv. 19.) But when I see men arrayed under one leader, yet standing against one another, and biting and tearing their own members, some for money's sake, and some for glory's, and others quite at random ridiculing and mocking and wounding one another in countless ways, and corpses too worse treated than those in war, and that it is but the bare name of the brethren that is now left, myself feel my inability to devise any lament fitting such a catastrophe as this! Reverence now, oh reverence, this Table whereof we all are partakers! (1 Cor. x. 16-18.) Christ, Who was slain for us, the Victim that is placed thereon! (Heb. xiii. 10.) Robbers when they once partake of salt, cease to be robbers in regard to those with whom they have partaken thereof; that table changes their dispositions, and men fiercer than wild beasts it makes gentler than lambs. But we though partakers of such a Table, and sharers of such food as that, arm ourselves against one another, when we ought to arm against him who is carrying on a war against all of us, the devil. Yet this is why we grow weaker and he stronger every day. For we do not join to form in defence against him, but along with him we stand against each other, and use him as a commander for such hostile arrays, when it is he alone that we ought to be fighting with. But now letting him pass, we bend the bow against our brethren only. What bows, you will say? Those of the tongue and the mouth. For it is not javelins and darts only, but words too, keener far than darts, that inflict wounds. And how shall we be able to bring this war to an issue? one will ask. If thou perceivest that when thou speakest ill of thy brother, thou art casting up mire out of thy mouth, if thou perceivest that it is a member of Christ that thou art slandering, that thou art eating up thine own flesh (Ps. xxvii. 2), that thou art making the judgment set for thee more bitter (fearful and uncorrupt as it is), that the shaft is killing not him that is smitten, but thyself that shot it forth.

But he did you some wrong, may be, and injured you? Groan at it, and do not rail. Weep, not for the wrong done thee, but for his perdition, as thy Master also wept at Judas, not because Himself was to be crucified, but because he was a traitor. Has he insulted thee and abused thee? Beseech God for him, that He may speedily become appeased toward him. He is thy brother, he is a member of thee, the fruit of the same pangs as thyself, he has been invited to the same Table. But he only makes fresh assaults upon me, it may be said. Then is thy reward all the greater for this. On this ground then there is the best reason for abating one's anger, since it is a mortal wound that he has received, since the devil hath wounded him. Do not thou then give a further blow, nor cast thyself down together with him. For so long as thou standest thou hast the means of saving him also. But if thou dash thyself down by insulting deeds in return, who is then to lift you both up? Will he that is wounded? Nay, for he cannot, now that he is down. But wilt thou that art fallen along with him? And how shalt thou, that couldest not support thine own self, be able to lend a hand to another? Stand therefore now nobly, and setting thy shield before thee, and draw him, now he is dead, away from the battle by thy long-suffering. Rage hath wounded him, do not thou also wound him, but cast out even that first shaft. For if we associate with each other on such terms, we shall soon all of us become healthful. But if we arm ourselves against one another, there will be no farther need even of the devil to our ruin. For all war is an evil, and civil war especially. But this is a sorer evil than even a civil one, as our mutual rights are greater than those of citizenship, yea, than of kindred itself. Of old, Abel's brother slew him and shed the blood of his kinsman. But this murder is more lawless than that, in that the rights of kinsmanship are greater, and the death a sorer evil. For he wounded the body, but thou hast whetted thy sword against the soul. "But thou didst first suffer ill." Yes, but it is not suffering ill, but doing it, that is really suffering ill. Now consider; Cain was the slayer, Abel was the slain. Who then was the dead? He that after death crieth, (for He saith, "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth to Me,") (Gen. iv. 10), or he who while he lived was yet trembling and in fear? He was, assuredly he was, more an object of pity than any dead man. Seest thou how to be wronged is better, though a man come even to be murdered? learn that to wrong is worse, though a man should be strong enough even to kill. He smote and cast down his brother, yet the latter was crowned, the former was punished. Abel was made away with and slain wrongfully, but he even when dead accused (comp. John v. 45), and convicted and overcame: the other, though alive, was speechless, and was ashamed, and was convicted, and effected the opposite of what he intended. For he made away with him because he saw him beloved, expecting to cast him out of the love also. Yet he did but make the love more intense, and God sought him more when dead, saying, "Where is thy brother Abel?" (Gen. iv. 9.) For thou hast not extinguished the desire towards him by thine envy, but hast kindled it up the more. Thou hast not lessened his honor by slaying him, but hast made it the more ample. Yet before this God had even made him subject to thee, whereas since thou hast slain him, even when dead, he will take vengeance upon thee. So great was my love towards him. Who then was the condemned person, the punisher or the punished? He that enjoyed so great honor from God, or he that was given up to a certain novel and unexpected punishment? Thou didst not fear him (he would say) while alive, thou shalt fear him therefore when dead. Thou didst not tremble when on the point of thrusting with the sword. Thou shalt be seized, now the blood is shed, with a continual trembling. While alive he was thy servant, and thou showedst no forbearance to him. For this reason, now he is dead, he hath become a master thou shalt be afraid of. Thinking then upon these things, beloved, let us flee from envy, let us extinguish malice, let us recompense one another with charity, that we may reap the blessings rising from it, both in the present life and the life which is to come, by the grace and love toward man, etc. Amen.

Footnotes

[1293] Rom. iii. 9, ti oun prokatechomen perisson; as 2 mss. of Matt. read at the beginning of the last Homily. So too some mss. of the text, and the Syriac version. [1294] anchisteian, which the orators use for right of inheritance as next of kin. See verses 13, 14; c. viii. 17; ix. 8; Gal. iii. 7, 15, 16, 18; Heb. ix. 16, 26; which renders it probable that there is reference to the death of Christ, (see Rev. xiii. 8.) and so to the idea of "Testament," in the Ep. to the Galatians. [1295] St. Chrysostom understands pros ton theon not "as claiming credit with God," but "glorying in reference to God," in which He has a share. He takes the argument to be, "If Abraham was justified by works he hath not whereof to glory before God" (in this sense), "but can only glory in himself: as it is, he hath whereof to glory before God, and therefore was not justified by works." [1296] 4 mss. that he that is of faith might also have whereof to glory. [1297] philosophou gnomes, the word is used (as frequently by Christian writers) in the sense of choosing wisdom for the guide of life. [1298] So the mss., omitting v. 3. [1299] So Vulg. and Field: most mss. have kamonta "that hath toiled." [1300] Or "it"; i.e. the righteousness of faith. [1301] So several mss. Vulg. "but not before God." But the text suits St. Chrysostom's view of the argument: see p. 112, note c. [1302] 6 mss. om. and whose, etc. [1303] So 5 mss. Sav. "thou receivest," which scarcely makes sense. [1304] Chrys. is free from the polemical treatment of the subject of justification which has been so prominent in modern expositions. The following points may be suggested: (1) It is the imputation of faith which here receives chief emphasis--logizetai he pistis autou eis dikaiosunen (vv. 3, 5, 6, 8, 9). (2) Although logizesthai is an actus forensis, it has an ethical counterpart involved in the very conception of faith and righteousness. (3) While faith is not to be identified with righteousness, it can be reckoned as such because it involves the soul's commitment to a life of fellowship with Christ, in which a perfect righteousness is guaranteed and increasingly secured. This righteousness is real as well as putative. (4) The power and value of faith are in its object, not in its own inherent moral excellence. It brings the believer into real and vital union with God and Christ. The dikaioshune theou is the righteousness of which God is the author but in faith we appropriate it and God makes it ours. Man does not attain it by any act of goodness; he receives it from God as a gift of grace. It is God's righteousness as coming from God; it is man's as being imparted to him on condition of faith.--G.B.S. [1305] Text, "the sign of circumcision, a seal," etc. All our copies, however, and those of Matth. agree. The whole verse, in fact, is paraphrased rather than quoted. [1306] The meaning seems to be that the faithful Jews were brought in as it were to the house of Abraham, and added to the number of the faithful already existing as uncircumcised, and children of Abraham by their faith. The reading of Savile's text, he kai toutous tous en akrobusti& 139; ekeinois proserrimmenous, means, "in that these too, that were in uncircumcision, were added to them," which is inconsistent with the context and is not noticed in the Ben. Edition. Possibly the passage is still corrupt. [1307] 4 mss. "and that neither those in circumcision might thrust away the uncircumcised, nor the uncircumcised those in circumcision." [1308] i.e. "do not require him to be circumcised." See Rom. xiv. 3; Gal. vi. 12, 15, etc. [1309] According to vv. 14-17, the promise cannot be through the law because that would annul faith and destroy the promise entirely (14). The principle of law is quid pro quo and on that basis alone there is no room for faith and promise. Claim, debt and reward, are the ideas which stand on the plane of law. Justification by law would imply no act of trust, obedience or gracious promise, but would be matter of reward simply. But since man is a sinner, it is inconceivable that he be justified on this basis, and the gospel of a gracious salvation is the only hope. To reject the latter is to exclude the possibility of any salvation whatever. Only by clinging to the Gospel can the Jew find any ground of hope in the ancient promises and covenants.--G.B.S. [1310] i.e. as justifying. Rom. iii. 21. [1311] These words are very important, as they show that the Law was not held empty in itself, but at this time, i.e. since Christianity. [1312] Or perhaps "fixing the relationship," i.e. of Abraham to the Gentiles, sunapton. [1313] Nearly all mss. omit "not": as do the oldest of the N.T. [1314] i.e. Sarah's personal barrenness, and her present age. [1315] 6 mss. philoneikian, Sav. philosophian, 1 ms. sophian, which makes better sense than the reading of Savile. [1316] logismous. It may be used for imaginations, as by Macarius: but perhaps St. Chrysostom is thinking of Arist. Eth. vii. iii. 9, 10. [1317] Tertull. de Res. Carn. cap. xii. Totus hic ordo revolubilis rerum, etc. [1318] Or, "destroy"--dialusai, for diasaleusai. Savile's reading seems the most forcible, but the other makes good sense. [1319] Tyrant was the name given to any rebel who set himself up for Emperor. [1320] See St. Chrys. on Matt. iv. 1; Hom. 13 in St. Matt. p. 174 O.T., and the Catena Aurea on the same place, Oxf. Trans. p. 117, etc. Being alone is represented as always exposing us to temptation, though it is sometimes done for holy purposes, and for greater victory. [1321] Alluding perhaps to the sons of Sceva, and then to Goliath. [1322] Sav. mar. and 5 mss. delos: Vulg. deilos a coward. [1323] Compare Bp. Taylor, Worthy Communicant, Sect. iv. 10 t. xv. p. 480. [1324] Or tunes, the word is ambiguous in the original. [1325] The substance used was probably not salt, but something possessing astringent properties. .


Homily IX.

Rom. IV. 23

"Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him for righteousness; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead."

After saying many great things of Abraham, and his faith, and righteousness, and honor before God, lest the hearer should say, What is this to us, for it is he that was justified? he places us close to the Patriarch again. So great is the power of spiritual words. For of one of the Gentiles, one who was recently come near, one who had done no work, he not only says that he is in nothing inferior to the Jew who believes (i.e. as a Jew), but not even to the Patriarch, but rather, if one must give utterance to the wondrous truth, even much greater. For so noble is our birth, that his faith is but the type of ours. And he does not say, If it was reckoned unto him, it is probable it will be also to us, that he might not make it matter of syllogism. But he speaks in authentic words of the divine law, and makes the whole a declaration of the Scripture. For why was it written, he says, save to make us see that we also were justified in this way? For it is the same God Whom we have believed, and upon the same matters, if it be not in the case of the same persons. And after speaking of our faith, he also mentions God's unspeakable love towards man, which he ever presents on all sides, bringing the Cross before us. And this he now makes plain by saying,

Ver. 25. "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."

See how after mentioning the cause of His death, he makes the same cause likewise a demonstration of the resurrection. For why, he means, was He crucified? Not for any sin of His own. And this is plain from the Resurrection. For if He were a sinner, how should He have risen? But if He rose, it is quite plain that He was not a sinner. But [1326] if He was not a sinner, how came He to be crucified?--For others,--and if for others, then surely he rose again. Now to prevent your saying, How, when liable for so great sins, came we to be justified? he points out One that blotteth out all sins, that both from Abraham's faith, whereby he was justified, and from the Saviour's Passion, whereby we were freed from our sins, he might confirm what he had said. And after mentioning His Death, he speaks also of His Resurrection. For the purpose of His dying was not that He might hold us liable to punishment and in condemnation, but that He might do good unto us. For for this cause He both died and rose again, that He might make us righteous.

Chap. v. ver. 1. "Therefore being justified by faith, let us [1327] [1328] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

What does "Let us have peace" mean? Some say, "Let us not be at variance, through a peevish obstinacy for bringing in the Law." But to me he seems to be speaking now of our conversation. For after having said much on the subject of faith, he had set it before righteousness which is by works, to prevent any one from supposing what he said was a ground for listlessness, he says, "let us have peace," that is, let us sin no more, nor go back to our former estate. For this is making war with God. And "how is it possible," saith one, "to sin no more?" How [1329] was the former thing possible? For if when liable for so many sins we were freed from all by Christ, much more shall we be able through Him to abide in the estate wherein we are. For it is not the same thing to receive peace when there had been none, and to keep it when it has been given, since to acquire surely is harder than to keep. Yet nevertheless the more difficult hath been made easy, and carried out into effect. That which is the easier thing then will be what we shall easily succeed in, if we cling to Him who hath wrought even the other for us. But here it is not the easiness only which he seems to me to hint at, but the reasonableness. For if He reconciled us when we were in open war with Him, it is reasonable that we should abide in a state of reconciliation, [1330] and give unto Him this reward for that He may not seem to have reconciled untoward and unfeeling creatures to the Father.

Ver. 2. "By Whom also we have access," he says, "by faith unto this grace. (7 mss. add, unto, etc.)

If then He hath brought us near to Himself, when we were far off, much more will He keep us now that we are near. And let me beg you to consider how he everywhere sets down these two points; His part, and our part. On His part, however, there be things varied and numerous and diverse. For He died for us, and farther reconciled us, and brought us to Himself, and gave us grace unspeakable. But we brought faith only as our contribution. And so he says," "by faith, unto this grace." What grace is this? tell me. It is the being counted worthy of the knowledge of God, the being forced from error, the coming to a knowledge of the Truth, the obtaining of all the blessings that come through Baptism. For the end of His bringing us near was that we might receive these gifts. For it was not only that we might have simple remission of sins, that we were reconciled; but that we might receive also countless benefits. Nor did He even pause at these, but promised others, namely, those unutterable blessings that pass understanding alike and language. And this is why he has set them both down also. For by mentioning grace he clearly points at what we have at present received, but by saying, "And we rejoice in hope of the glory of God," he unveils the whole of things to come. And he had well said, "wherein also we stand." For this is the nature of God's grace. It hath no end, it knows no bound, but evermore is on the advance to greater things, which in human things is not the case. Take an instance of what I mean. A person has acquired rule and glory and authority, yet he does not stand therein continuously, but is speedily cast out of it. Or if man take it not from him, death comes, and is sure to take it from him. But God's gifts are not of this kind; for neither man, nor occasion, nor crisis of affairs, nor even the Devil, nor death, can come and cast us out of them. But when we are dead we then more strictly speaking have possession of them, and keep going on enjoying more and more. And so if thou feel in doubt about those to come; from those now present, and what thou hast already received, believe in the other also. For this is why he says, "And we rejoice (kauchometha) in hope of the glory of God," that you may learn, what kind of soul the faithful ought to have. For it is not only for what hath been given, but for what is to be given, that we ought to be filled with confidingness, as though it were already given. For one "rejoices" in what is already given. Since then the hope of things to come is even as sure and clear as that of what is given, he says that in that too we in like manner "rejoice." For this cause also he called them glory. For if it contributeth unto God's glory, come to pass it certainly will, though it do not for our sakes, yet for Him it will. And why am I saying (he means) that the blessings to come are worthy of being gloried in (kaucheseos)? Why even the very evils of this time present are able to brighten up our countenances, and make us find in them even our repose. Wherefore also he added,

Ver. 3. "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also."

Now, consider how great the things to come are, when even at things that seem to be distressful we can be elated; so great is God's gift, and such a nothing any distastefulness in them! For in the case of external goods, the struggle for them brings trouble and pain and irksomeness along with it; and it is the crowns and rewards that carry the pleasure with them. But in this case it is not so, for the wrestlings have to us no less relish than the rewards. For since there were sundry temptations in those days, and the kingdom existed in hopes, the terrors were at hand, but the good things in expectation, and this unnerved the feebler sort, even before the crowns he gives them the prize now, by saying that we should "glory even in tribulations." And what he says is not "you should glory," but we glory, giving them encouragement in his own person. Next since what he had said had an appearance of being strange and paradoxical, if a person who is struggling in famine, and is in chains and torments, and insulted, and abused, ought to glory, he next goes on to confirm it. And (what is more), he says they are worthy of being gloried in, not only for the sake of those things to come, but for the things present in themselves. For tribulations are in their own selves a goodly thing. How so? It is because they anoint us unto patient abiding. Wherefore after saying we glory in tribulations, he has added the reason, in these words, "Knowing that tribulation worketh patience." Notice again the argumentative spirit of Paul, how he gives their argument an opposite turn. For since it was tribulations above all that made them give up the hopes of things to come, and which cast them into despondency, he says that these are the very reasons for confidingness, and for not desponding about the things to come, for "tribulation," he says, "worketh patience."

Ver. 4, 5. "And patience experience, and experience hope; and hope maketh not ashamed." [1331]

Tribulations, that is, are so far from confuting these hopes, that they even prove them. For before the things to come are realized, there is a very great fruit which tribulation hath--patience; [1332] and the making of the man that is tried, experienced. And it contributes in some degree too to the things to come, [1333] for it gives hope a vigor within us, since there is nothing that so inclines a man to hope for blessings as a good conscience. Now no man that has lived an upright life is unconfiding about things to come, as of those who have been negligent there are many that, feeling the burden of a bad conscience, wish there were neither judgment nor retribution. What then? do our goods lie in hopes? Yes, in hopes--but not mere human hopes, which often slip away, and put him that hoped to shame; when some one, who was expected to patronize him, dies, or is altered though he lives. No such lot is ours: our hope is sure and unmoveable. For He Who hath made the promise ever liveth, and we that are to be the enjoyers of it, even should we die, shall rise again, and there is absolutely nothing which can put us to shame, as having been elated at random, and to no purpose, upon unsound hopes. Having then sufficiently cleared them of all doubtfulness by these words of his, he does not let his discourse pause at the time present, but urges again the time to come, knowing that there were men of weaker character, who looked too for present advantages, and were not satisfied with these mentioned. And so he offers a proof for them in blessings already given. For lest any should say, But what if God be unwilling to give them to us? For that He can, and that He abideth and liveth, we all know: but how do we know, that He is willing, also, to do it? From the things which have been done already. "What things done?" The Love which He hath shown for us. In doing what? some may say. In giving the Holy Ghost. Wherefore after saying "hope maketh not ashamed," he goes on to the proof of this, as follows:

"Because the love of God is," he does not say "given," but "shed abroad in our hearts," so showing the profusion of it. That gift then, which is the greatest possible, He hath given; not heaven and earth and sea, but what is more precious than any of these, and hath rendered us Angels from being men, yea sons of God, and brethren of Christ. But what is this gift? The Holy Spirit. Now had He not been willing to present us after our labors with great crowns, He would never have given us such mighty gifts before our labors. But now the warmth of His Love is hence made apparent, that it is not gradually and little by little that He honors us; but He hath shed abroad the full fountain of His blessings, and this too before our struggles. And so, if thou art not exceedingly worthy, despond not, since thou hast that Love of thy Judge as a mighty pleader for thee. For this is why he himself by saying, "hope maketh not ashamed," has ascribed everything not to our well-doings, but to God's love. But after mentioning the gift of the Spirit, he again passes to the Cross, speaking as follows:

Ver. 6-8. "For while we were yet without strength, Christ in due time died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet pervadenture for a good man some would even dare to die. [1334] But God commendeth His love towards us."

Now what he is saying is somewhat of this kind. For if for a virtuous man, no one would hastily choose to die, consider thy Master's love, when it is not for virtuous men, but for sinners and enemies that He is seen to have been crucified--which he says too after this, "In that, if when we were sinners Christ died for us,"

Ver. 9, 10. "Much more then, being now justified by His Blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."

And what he has said looks indeed like tautology, but it is not to any one who accurately attends to it. Consider then. He wishes to give them reasons for confidence respecting things to come. And first he gives them a sense of shame from the righteous man's decision, when he says, that he also "was fully persuaded that what God had promised He was able also to perform;" and next from the grace that was given; then from the tribulation, as sufficing to lead us into hopes; and again from the Spirit, whom we have received. Next from death, and from our former viciousness, he maketh this good. And it seems indeed, as I said, that what he had mentioned was one thing, but it is discovered to be two, three, and even many more. First, that "He died:" second, that it was "for the ungodly;" third, that He "reconciled, saved, justified" us, made us immortal, made us sons and heirs. It is not from His Death then only, he says, that we draw strong assertions, but from the gift which was given unto us through His Death. And indeed if He had died only for such creatures as we be, a proof of the greatest love would what He had done be! but when He is seen at once dying, and yielding us a gift, and that such a gift, and to such creatures, what was done casts into shade our highest conceptions, and leads the very dullest on to faith. For there is no one else that will save us, except He Who so loved us when we were sinners, as even to give Himself up for us. Do you see what a ground this topic affords for hope? For before this there were two difficulties in the way of our being saved; our being sinners, and our salvation requiring the Lord's Death, a thing which was quite incredible before it took place, and required exceeding love for it to take place. But now since this hath come about, the other requisites are easier. For we have become friends, and there is no further need of Death. Shall then He who hath so spared his enemies as not to spare His Son, fail to defend them now they are become friends, when He hath no longer any need to give up his Son? For it is either because a person does not wish it, or because though he may wish it perhaps, [1335] yet he is unable to do it, that he does not save. Now none of these things can be said of God. For that He is willing is plain from His having given up His Son. [1336] But that He is able also is the very thing He proved likewise, from the very fact of His having justified men who were sinners. What is there then to prevent us any more from obtaining the things to come? Nothing! Then again, lest upon hearing of sinners, and enemies, and strengthless ones, and ungodly, thou shouldest be inclined to feel abashed and blush; hear what he says.

Ver. 11. "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement."

What meaneth the "not only so?" Not only were we saved, he means, but we even glory [1337] for this very reason, for which some suppose we ought to hide our faces. For, for us who lived in so great wickedness to be saved, was a very great mark of our being exceedingly beloved by Him that saved us. For it was not by angels or archangels, but by His Only-begotten Son Himself, that He saved us. And so the fact of His saving us, and saving us too when we were in such plight, and doing it by means of His Only-begotten, and not merely by His Only-begotten, but by His Blood, weaves for us endless crowns to glory in. For there is not anything that counts so much in the way of glory and confidence, as the being treated as friends (philheisthai) by God, and finding a Friend (philhein) in Him that loveth (agaphonta) us. This it is that maketh the angels glorious, and the principalities and powers. This is greater than the Kingdom, and so Paul placed it above the Kingdom. For this also I count the incorporeal powers blessed, because they love Him, and in all things obey Him. And on this score the Prophet also expressed his admiration at them. "Ye that excel in strength, that fulfil His Word." (Ps. ciii. 20.) And hence too Isaiah extolleth the Seraphim, setting forth their great excellency from their standing near that glory, which is a sign of the greatest love.

Let us then emulate the powers above, and be desirous not only of standing near the throne, but of having Him dwelling in us who sitteth upon the Throne. He loved us when we hated Him, and also continueth to love us. "For He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matt. v. 45.) As then He loveth us, do thou love Him. For He is our Friend (philhei gar). And how cometh it, some will say, that one who is our Friend threateneth hell, and punishment, and vengeance? It is owing to His loving us alone. For all He doeth and is busied with, is with a view to strike out thy wickedness, and to refrain with fear, as with a kind of bridle, thy inclinableness to the worse side, and by blessings and by pains recovering thee from thy downward course, and leading thee up to Him, and keeping thee from all vice, which is worse than hell. But if thou mockest what is said, and wouldest rather live continually in misery, than be punished for a single day, it is no marvel. For this is but a sign of thy unformed judgment (atelhous gnomes), drunkenness, and incurable disorder. Since little children even when they see the physician going to apply burning or the knife, flee and leap away screaming and convulsed, and choose to have a continual sore eating into their body, rather than to endure a temporary pain, and so enjoy health afterwards. But those who have come to discretion, know that to be diseased is worse than submitting to the knife, as also to be wicked is worse than to be punished. For the one is to be cured and to be healthy, the other to ruin one's constitution and to be in continual feebleness. Now that health is better than feebleness, surely is plain to every one. Thieves then ought to weep not when they have their sides pierced through, but when they pierce through walls and murder. For if the soul be better than the body (as it is), when the former is ruined there is more reason to groan and lament; but if a man does not feel it, so much the more reason to bewail it. For those that love with an unchastened love ought to be more pitied than those who have a violent fever, and those that are drunken, than those that are undergoing torture. But if these are more painful (some may say), how come we to give them the preference? Because there are many of mankind, who, as the proverb saith, like the worse, and they choose these, and pass by the better. And this one may see happening as well in victuals as in forms of government, in emulous aims of life too, and in the enjoyment of pleasure, and in wives, and in houses, and in slaves, and in lands, and in the case of all other things. For which is more pleasurable pray, cohabiting with women or with males? with women or with mules? Yet still we shall find many that pass over women, and cohabit with creatures void of reason, and abuse the bodies of males. Yet natural pleasures are greater than unnatural ones. But still many there are that follow after things ridiculous and joyless, and accompanied with a penalty, as if pleasurable. Well but to them, a man may say, these things appear so. Now this alone is ground enough to make them miserable, that they think those things to be pleasurable which are not so. Thus they assume punishment to be worse than sin which it is not, but just the contrary. Yet, if it were an evil to the sinner, God would not have added evils to the evil; for He that doeth everything to extinguish evil, would not have increased it. Being punished then is no evil to the man who has done wrong, but not being punished, when in that plight, is evil, just as for the infirm not to be cured. (Plat. Gorg. p. 478, sqq.) For there is nothing so evil as extravagant desire. And when I say, extravagant, I mean that of luxury, and that of ill-placed glory, and that of power, and in general that of all things which go beyond what is necessary. For such is he who lives a soft and dissolute life, who seems to be the happiest of men, but is the most wretched, as superinducing upon his soul harsh and tyrannical sovereigns. For this cause hath God made the present a life of labor to us, that He may rid us of that slavery, and bring us into genuine freedom. For this cause He threatened punishment, and made labors a part of our portion in life, so muzzling our vaunting spirit. In this way the Jews also, when they were fettered to the clay and brick making, were at once self-governed, and called continually upon God. But when they were in the enjoyment of freedom, then they murmured, and provoked the Lord, and pierced themselves through with countless evils. What then, it may be said, will you say to those frequent instances of men being altered for the worse by tribulations? Why, that this is no effect of tribulation, but of their own imbecility. For neither if a man had a weak stomach and could not take a bitter medicine which would act as a purgative, but was made even worse by it, would it be the drug we should find fault with, but the weakness of the part, as we should therefore here too with the yieldingness of temper. For he who is altered so by tribulation, is much more likely to be affected in this way by laxity. If he fails even when splinted, (or tied) (this is what affliction is), much more will he when the bandage is removed. If when braced up he is altered, much more when in a state of tumor (chaunoumenos). And how am I, one may ask, to keep from being so altered by tribulation? Why, if thou reflectest that, wish it or not, thou wilt have to bear the thing inflicted: but if thou dost it with a thankful spirit, thou wilt gain very greatly thereby; but if thou art indignant at it, and ragest [1338] and blasphemest, thou wilt not make the calamity lighter, but thou wilt render its wave more troublous. By feeling then in this way, let us turn what is necessary into a matter of our own choice. What I mean is this--suppose one has lost his own son, another all his property: if you reflect that it is not in the nature of things for what has taken place to be undone; while it is to gain fruit from the misfortune, though irremediable, even that of bearing the circumstance nobly; and if instead of using blasphemous words, thou wert to offer up words of thanksgiving to the Lord, so would evils brought upon thee against thy will become to thee the good deeds of a free choice. Hast thou seen a son taken prematurely away? Say, "the Lord hath given, the Lord hath taken away." Do you see your fortune exhausted? Say, "naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither." (Job. i. 21.) Do you see evil men faring well, and just men faring ill and undergoing ills without number, and dost thou not know where to find the cause? Say, "I became even as it were a beast before Thee. Yet I am ever with Thee." (Ps. lxxiii. 22.) But if thou wilt search out the cause, reflect that He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world, and so you will throw off perplexity, for then every man will meet his deserts, even as Lazarus and the rich man. Call to mind the Apostles, for they too rejoiced at being scourged, at being driven about and undergoing numberless sufferings, because they were "counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name's sake." (Acts v. 41.) And do thou, then, if thou art sick, bear it nobly, and own thyself indebted to God for it, and thou shalt receive the same reward with them. But how, when in feebleness and pain, art thou to be able to feel grateful to the Lord? Thou wilt if thou lovest Him sincerely. For if the Three Children who were thrown into the furnace, and others who were in prisons, and in countless other evils, ceased not to give thanks, much more will they who are in a state of disease, be able to do this. For there is not, assuredly there is not, anything which vehement desire doth not get the better of. But when the desire is even that of God, it is higher than anything, and neither fire, nor the sword, nor poverty, nor infirmity, nor death, nor aught else of the kind appeareth dreadful to one who hath gotten this love, but scorning them all, he will fly to heaven, and will have affections no way inferior to those of its inhabitants, seeing nothing else, neither heaven, nor earth, nor sea, but gazing only at the one Beauty of that glory. And neither the vexations of this life present will depress him, nor the things which are goodly and attended with pleasure elate him or puff him up. Let us then love with this love (for there is not anything equal unto it) both for the sake of things present and for the sake of things to come. Or rather, more than for these, for the nature of the love itself. For we shall be set free both from the punishments of this life and of that which is to come, and shall enjoy the kingdom. Yet neither is the escape from hell, nor the fruition of the kingdom, anything great in comparison of what is yet to be said. For greater than all these things is it to have Christ our beloved at once and our lover. For if when this happens with men it is above all pleasure; when both happen from God, what language or what thought is able to set before one the blessedness of this soul? There is none that can, save the experience of it only. That then we may by experience come to know what is this spiritual joy, and life of blessedness, and untold treasure of good things, let us leave everything to cling to that love, with a view as well to our own joy as to the glory of God. For unto Him is the glory and power, with His Only-begotten, and the Holy Ghost, now, and ever, and unto all ages evermore. Amen.

Footnotes

[1326] If a fresh argument commences here, there is no vicious circle. For there was independent proof of each proposition, and so, when shown to involve one another, they were mutually confirmed. [1327] So nearly all mss. here; and there is good authority for the reading in the text of the N.T. both from mss., versions, and Fathers. It is accepted by Tregelles: Tischendorf retains the received text "we have." [1328] The text of Chrys. adds confirmation to the strongly attested echomen(so # A. B. C. D.) as against the reading (echomen) of the T.R. Strong and clear as is the external evidence here, it is to me very doubtful whether it is not overborne by the internal evidence. There seems to be no appropriateness in an exhortation here. The thought has been developed in a didactic form thus far and we should now expect a didactic conclusion (oun). Nor should we expect an exhortation to have peace with God which would be the natural consequence of justification and scarcely the proper object of an exhortation. De Wette, Meyer, Godet and Weiss reject the better authenticated reading echomenon these grounds. It is difficult to see how Chrys. can think that the Apostle is here treating of our "Conversation"--when he proceeds at once to enumerate the new comfort, patience and hope which follow from justification.--G.B.S. [1329] 3 mss. If thou wilt consider how, etc. [1330] Or perhaps "by the terms of reconciliation," for so the text may be understood. The reading in Savile's margin, tois katallageisi, seems also to bear the same sense. [1331] The word rendered "patience," (hupomone) means rather patient endurance, constancy. It is active rather than passive in meaning. Then the endurance which is developed under tribulation helps to form a tried, tested character, Dokime means a tested state--approved character. The R.V. renders "probation," which is more nearly correct than "experience" (A.V.). We have no word which makes a felicitous translation. The meaning is that steadfastness under trials develops a tested moral manhood, and this kind of character begets hope; it takes away fear for what the future may bring.--G.B.S. [1332] We do not see what use patience will be of in a future state, cf. Butler's Anal. part i. c. v. §4. [1333] That such is the power of conscience even in a heathen is plain from Plato, Rep. 1. §5. Steph. p. 350. e. "For you must know, Socrates," said he, "that when a man is near the time when he must expect to die, there comes into his mind a fear and anxiety about things that were never so thought of before. For the stories that are told of things in Hades, how a man that has done wrong here must satisfy justice for it there, which have hitherto been laughed at, come then to perplex his soul with alarms that they may be true. And even of himself, whether from the infirmity of age, or in that he is in a manner already nearer to that state, he sees somewhat more of it. However it be, he becomes full of suspicion and alarm; and takes account and considers whether he has at all wronged any one. And then a man who finds a number of guilty actions in his life is often roused by alarm from his sleep, like children, and lives ever in expectation of misery. But one who is conscious in himself of no wrong has a pleasing hope ever with him, as the kind nurse of his old age, as Pindar too says. For beautifully indeed, Socrates, has he expressed this, that whoever has passed his life in justice and holiness, Sweet Hope, best helpmate of the heart, With cheerful tenderness, Soothes his declining years. She whom we mortals trust In many an anxious doubt To sway life's wavering helm. Well said indeed! one wonders to think how well," etc. [1334] Meyer and Weiss make no distinction between dikaiou and agathou here. Most have held (I think, rightly) that the latter expresses more than the former. It comprehends those qualities of benevolence, kindness, etc., which may be considered as the peculiar bonds of friendship and would lead to the greatest sacrifices. Holman, Godet and Weiss (following Jerome) take tou agathou as neuter. J. Müller supposes it to refer to God. The force of the argument is: For an upright man one would hardly be moved to die, but in the case of a benefactor to whom one owed much, the motives of love and pity might move one strongly enough to lead him to summon up the resolution (tolma) to die, but this would be the highest and a very improbable reach of human love. But Christ died for his enemies, etc.--G.B.S. [1335] pollakis, Heind. ad Plat. Phæd. p. 140, §12. [1336] So Field, from one ms. and Brixius' version: the old reading could only mean "Now none of these things can be said of God, considering He hath given up." [1337] Same word as joy. See v. 2, etc. [1338] Several mss. "art in pain."


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