The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,
On the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the RomansTranslated 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.
Homily XIV.Rom. VIII. 12, 13
"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."
After showing how great the reward of a spiritual life is, and that it maketh Christ to dwell in us, and that it quickeneth our mortal bodies, and wingeth them to heaven, and rendereth the way of virtue easier, he next fitly introduces an exhortation to this purpose. "Therefore" we ought "not to live after the flesh." But this is not what he says, for he words it in a much more striking and powerful way, thus, "we are debtors to the Spirit." For saying, "we are debtors not to the flesh," indicates this. And this is a point he is everywhere giving proof of, that what God hath done for us is not matter of debt, but of mere grace. But after this, what we do is no longer matter of free-will offering, but of debt. For when he saith, "Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men" (1 Cor. vii. 23); and when he writes, "Ye are not your own" (ib. vi. 19); and again in another passage he calls these selfsame things to their mind, in these words, "If (most mss. om. "if") One died for all, then all died  that they should not henceforth live unto themselves." (2 Cor. v. 15.) And it is to establish this that he says here also, "We are debtors;" then since he said we are "not" debtors "to the flesh," lest you should again take him to be speaking against the nature of the flesh, he does not leave speaking, but proceeds, "to live after the flesh." For there are many things which we do owe it, as giving it food, warmth, and rest, medicine when out of health, clothing, and a thousand other attentions. To prevent your supposing then that it is this ministration he is for abrogating when he says, "We are not debtors to the flesh," he explains it by saying, "to live after the flesh." For the care that I am for abrogating is, he means, that which leadeth to sin, as I should be for its having what is healing to it. And this he shows further on. For when he says, "Make not provision for the flesh," he does not pause at this, but adds, "to fulfil the lusts thereof." (Rom. xiii. 14.) And this instruction he gives us here also, meaning, Let it have attention shown it indeed, for we do owe it this, yet let us not live according to the flesh, that is, let us not make it the mistress of our life. For it must be the follower, not the leader, and it is not it that must regulate our life, but the laws of the Spirit must it receive. Having then defined this point, and having proved that we are debtors to the Spirit, to show next for what benefits it is that we are debtors, he does not speak of those past (a thing which serves as a most striking proof of his judgment), but those which were to come; although even the former were enough for the purpose. Yet still he does not set them down in the present case, or mention even those unspeakable blessings, but the things to come. For a benefit once for all conferred does not, for the most part, draw men on so much as one which is expected, and is to come. After adding this then, he first uses the pains and ills that come of living after the flesh, to put them in fear, in the following words; "For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die," so intimating to us that deathless death, punishment, and vengeance in hell. Or rather if one were to look accurately into this, such an one is, even in this present life, dead. And this we have made clear to you in the last discourse. "But if ye through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." You see that it is not the essence of the body whereof we are discoursing, but the deeds of the flesh. For he does not say, "if ye through the Spirit do mortify" the essence "of the body," but "the deeds of" it, and these not all deeds, but such as are evil. And this is plain in what follows: for if ye do this, "ye shall live," he says. And how is it in the nature of things for this to be, if it was all deeds that his language applied to? for seeing and hearing and speaking and walking are deeds of the body; and if we mortify these, we shall be so far from living, that we shall have to suffer the punishment of a manslayer. What sort of deeds then does he mean us to mortify? Those which tend toward wickedness, those which go after vice, which there is no other way of mortifying save through the Spirit. For by killing yourself you may put an end to the others.  And this you have no right to do. But to these (you can put an end) by the Spirit only. For if This be present, all the billows are laid low, and the passions cower under It, and nothing can exalt itself against us.  So you see how it is on things to come, as I said before, that he grounds his exhortations to us, and shows that we are debtors not owing to what has been already done only. For the advantage of the Spirit is not this only, that He hath set us free from our former sins, but that He rendereth us impregnable against future ones, and counts us worthy of the immortal life. Then, to state another reward also, he proceeds:
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Now this is again a much greater honor than the first. And this is why he does not say merely, As many as live  by the Spirit of God, but, "as many as are led by the Spirit of God," to show that he would have Him use such power over our life as a pilot doth over a ship, or a charioteer over a pair of horses. And it is not the body only, but the soul itself too, that he is for setting under reins of this sort. For he would not have even that independent, but place its authority  also under the power of the Spirit. For lest through a confidence in the Gift of the Font they should turn negligent of their conversation after it, he would say, that even supposing you receive baptism, yet if you are not minded to be "led by the Spirit" afterwards, you lose the dignity bestowed upon you, and the pre-eminence of your adoption. This is why he does not say, As many as have received the Spirit, but, "as many as are led by the Spirit," that is, as many as live up to this all their life long, "they are the sons of God." Then since this dignity was given to the Jews also, for it says, "I said ye are Gods, and all of you children of the Most High" (Ps. lxxxii. 6); and again, "I have nourished and brought up children" (Is. i. 2); and so, "Israel is My first-born" (Ex. iv. 22); and Paul too says, "Whose is the adoption" (Rom. ix. 4)--he next asserts the great difference between the latter and the former honor. For though the names are the same, he means, still, the things are not the same. And of these points he gives a clear demonstration, by introducing a comparison drawn both from the persons so advanced (katorthounton) and from what was given them, and from what was to come. And first he shows what they of old had given them. What then was this? "A spirit of bondage:" and so he thus proceeds,
Ver. 15. "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear."
Then not staying to mention that which stands in contradistinction to bondage, that is, the spirit of freedom, he has named what is far greater, that of adoption, through which he at the same time brings in the other, saying, "But ye have received the Spirit of adoption."
But this is plain. But what the spirit of bondage may be, is not so plain, and there is need of making it clearer. Now what he says is so far from being clear, that it is in fact very perplexing. For the people of the Jews did not receive the Spirit. What then is his meaning here? It is the letter he giveth this name to, for spiritual it was, and so he called the Law spiritual also, and the water from the Rock, and the Manna. "For they did eat," he says, "of the same spiritual meat, and all drank of the same spiritual drink." (1 Cor. x. 3, 4.) And to the Rock he gives this name, when he says, "For they drank of that spiritual Rock which followed them." Now it is because all the rites then wrought were above nature that he calls them spiritual, and not because those who then partook of them received the Spirit. And in what sense were those letters, letters of bondage? Set before yourself the whole dispensation, and then you will have a clear view of this also. For recompenses were with them close at hand, and the reward followed forthwith, being at once proportionate, and like a kind of daily ration given to domestic servants, and terrors in abundance came to their height before their eyes, and their purifications concerned their bodies, and their continency extended but to their actions. But with us it is not so, since the imagination even and the conscience getteth purged out. For He does not say, "Thou shalt do no murder," only, but even thou shalt not be angry: so too, it is not, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," but thou shalt not look unchastely. So that it is not to be from fear of present punishment, but out of desire towards Himself, that both our being habitually virtuous, and all our single good deeds are to come. Neither doth he promise a land flowing with milk and honey, but maketh us joint-heir with the Only-Begotten, so making us by every means stand aloof from things present, and promising to give such things especially as are worth the acceptance of men made sons of God, nothing, that is, of a sensible kind or corporeal, but spiritual all of them. And so they, even if they had the name of sons, were but as slaves; but we as having been made free, have received the adoption, and are waiting for Heaven. And with them He discoursed through the intervention of others, with us by Himself. And all that they did was through the impulse of fear, but the spiritual act through a coveting and a vehement desire. And this they show by the fact of their  overstepping the commandments. They, as hirelings and obstinate persons, so never left murmuring: but these do all for the pleasing of the Father. So too they blasphemed when they had benefits done them: but we are thankful at being jeoparded. And if there be need of punishing both of us upon our sinning, even in this case the difference is great. For it is not on being stoned and branded and maimed by the priests, as they were, that we are brought round. But it is enough for us to be cast out from our Father's table, and to be out of sight for certain days. And with the Jews the honor of adoption was one of name only, but here the reality followed also, the cleansing of Baptism, the giving of the Spirit, the furnishing of the other blessings. And there are several other points besides, which go to show our high birth and their low condition. After intimating all these then by speaking of the Spirit, and fear, and the adoption, he gives a fresh proof again of having the Spirit of adoption. Now what is this? That "we cry, Abba, Father." And how great this is, the initiated know (St. Cyr. Jer. Cat. 23, §11, p. 276, O.T.), being with good reason bidden to use this word first in the Prayer of the initiated. What then, it may be said, did not they also call God Father? Dost thou not hear Moses, when he says, "Thou desertedst the God that begot thee?" (Deut. xxxii. 15. LXX.) Dost thou not hear Malachi reproaching them, and saying, that "one God formed you," and there is "one Father of you all?" (Mal. ii. 10. LXX.) Still, if these words and others besides are used, we do not find them anywhere calling God by the name, or praying in this language. But we all, priests and laymen, rulers and ruled, are ordered to pray herein. And this is the first language we give utterance to, after those marvellous throes, and that strange and unusual mode of labor. If in any other instances they so called Him, that was only of their own mind. But those in the state of grace do it through being moved by the in-working of the Spirit. For as there is a Spirit of Wisdom, after which they that were unwise became wise, and this discloses itself in their teaching: and a Spirit of Power there is, whereby the feeble raised up the dead, and drove out devils; a Spirit also of the gift of healing, and a Spirit of prophecy, and a Spirit of tongues, so also a Spirit of adoption. And as we know the Spirit of prophecy, in that he who hath it foretelleth things to come, not speaking of his own mind, but moved by the Grace; so too is the Spirit of adoption, whereby he that is gifted with it calleth God, Father, as moved by the Spirit. Wishing to express this as a most true descent, he used also the Hebrew  tongue, for he does not say only, "Father," but "Abba, Father," which name is a special sign of true-born children to their fathers. After mentioning then the diversity resulting from their conversation, that resulting from the grace which had been given, and that from their freedom, he brings forward another demonstration of the superiority which goes with this adoption. Now of what kind is this?
Ver. 16. "The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
For it is not from the language merely, he says, that I make my assertion, but from the cause out of which the language has its birth; since it is from the Spirit suggesting it that we so speak. And this in another passage he has put into plainer words, thus: "God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba Father." (Gal. iv. 6.) And what is that, "Spirit beareth witness with spirit?" The Comforter, he means, with that Gift, which is given unto us. For it is not of the Gift alone that it is the voice, but of the Comforter also who gave the Gift, He Himself having taught us through the Gift so to speak. But when the "Spirit beareth witness" what farther place for doubtfulness? For if it were a man, or angel, or archangel, or any other such power that promised this, then there might be reason in some doubting. But when it is the Highest Essence that bestoweth this Gift, and "beareth witness" by the very words He bade us use in prayer, who would doubt any more of our dignity? For not even when the Emperor elects any one, and proclaims in all men's hearing the honor done him, does anybody venture to gainsay.
Ver. 17. "And if children, then heirs."
Observe how he enhances the Gift by little and little. For since it is a possible case to be children, and yet not become heirs (for it is not by any means all children that are heirs), he adds this besides--that we are heirs. But the Jews, besides their not having the same adoption as we, were also cast out from the inheritance. For "He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out the vineyard to other husbandmen" (Matt. xxi. 41): and before this, He said that "many shall come from the East and from the West, and shall sit down with Abraham, but the children of the Kingdom shall be cast out." (ib. viii. 11, 12.) But even here he does not pause, but sets down something even greater than this. What may this be then? That we are heirs of God; and so he adds, "heirs of God." And what is more still, that we are not simply heirs, but also "joints heirs with Christ." Observe how ambitious he is of bringing us near to the Master. For since it is not all children that are heirs, he shows that we are both children and heirs; next, as it is not all heirs that are heirs to any great amount, he shows that we have this point with us too, as we are heirs of God. Again, since it were possible to be God's heir, but in no sense "joint heir with" the Only-Begotten, he shows that we have this also. And consider his wisdom. For after throwing the distasteful part into a short compass, when he was saying what was to become of such as "live after the flesh," for instance, that they "shall die," when he comes to the more soothing part, he leadeth forth his discourse into a large room, and so expands it on the recompense of rewards, and in pointing out that the gifts too are manifold and great. For if even the being a child were a grace unspeakable, just think how great a thing it is to be heir! But if this be great, much more is it to be "joint heir." Then to show that the Gift is not of grace only, and to give at the same time a credibility to what he says, he proceeds, "If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." If, he would say, we be sharers with Him in what is painful, much more shall it be so in what is good. For He who bestowed such blessings upon those who had wrought no good, how, when He seeth them laboring and suffering so much, shall he do else than give them greater requital? Having then shown that the thing was a matter of return, to make men give credit to what was said, and prevent any from doubting, he shows further that it has the virtue of a gift. The one he showed, that what was said might gain credit even with those that doubted, and that the receivers of it might not feel ashamed as being evermore receiving salvation for nought; and the other, that you might see that God outdoeth the toils by His recompenses. And the one he has shown in the words, "If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together." But the other in proceeding to add;
Ver. 18. "The sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in (Gr. eis) us."
In what went before, he requires of the spiritual man the correcting of his habits (Mar. and 6 mss. passions), where he says, "Ye are not debtors to live after the flesh," that such an one, for instance, should be above lust, anger, money, vainglory, grudging. But here having reminded them of the whole gift, both as given and as to come, and raised him up aloft with hopes, and placed him near to Christ, and showed him to be a joint-heir of the Only-Begotten; he now leads him forth with confidence even to dangers. For to get the better of the evil affections in us, is not the same thing with bearing up under those trials, scourges, famine, plunderings, bonds, chains, executions. For these last required much more of a noble and vigorous spirit. And observe how he at once allays and rouses the spirit of the combatants. For after he had shown that the rewards were greater than the labors, he both exhorts to greater efforts, and yet will not let them be elated, as being still outdone by the crowns given in requital. And in another passage he says, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. iv. 17): it being the deeper sort of persons he was then speaking to. Here, however, he does not allow that the afflictions were light; but still he mingles comfort with them by the compensation which good things to come afford, in the words, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared," and he does not say, with the rest (anesin) that is to come, but what is much greater, "with the glory which is to come." For it does not follow, that where rest is there is glory; but that where glory is there is rest, does follow: then as he had said that it is to come, he shows that it already is. For he does not say, that which is to be, but "which shall be revealed in us," as if already existing but unrevealed. As also in another place he said in clearer words, "Our life is hid with Christ in God."  Be then of a good heart about it. For already hath it been prepared, and awaiteth thy labors. But if it vexes you that it is yet to come, rather let this very thing rejoice you. For it is owing to its being great and unutterable, and transcending our present condition, that it is stored up there. And so he has not put barely "the sufferings of this present time," but he speaks so as to show that it is not in quality only, but in quantity also, that the other life has the advantage. For these sufferings, whatever they are, are attached to our present life; but the blessings to come reach themselves out over ages without end. And since he had no way of giving a particular description of these, or of putting them before us in language, he gives them a name from what seems to be specially an object of desire with us, "glory." For the summit of blessings and the sum of them, this seems to be. And to urge the hearer on in another way also, he gives a loftiness to his discourse by the mention of the creation, gaining two points by what he is next saying, the contempt of things present, and the desire of things to come, and a third beside these, or rather the first, is the showing how the human race is cared for on God's part and in what honor He holds our nature. And besides this, all the doctrines of the philosophers, which they had framed for themselves about this world, as a sort of cobweb or child's mound,  he throws down with this one doctrine. But that these things may stand in a clearer light, let us hear the Apostle's own language.
Ver. 19, 20. "For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth," he says, "for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope."
And the meaning is something of this kind. The creation itself is in the midst of its pangs, waiting for and expecting these good things whereof we have just now spoken. For "earnest expectation" (apokaradokia, looking out) implies expecting intensely. And so his discourse becomes more emphatic, and he personifies this whole world as the prophets also do, when they introduce the floods clapping their hands, and little hills leaping, and mountains skipping, not that we are to fancy them alive, or ascribe any reasoning power to them, but that we may learn the greatness of the blessings, so great as to reach even to things without sense also.  The very same thing they do many times also in the case of afflicting things, since they bring in the vine lamenting, and the wine too, and the mountains, and the boardings  of the Temple howling, and in this case too it is that we may understand the extremity of the evils. It is then in imitation of these that the Apostle makes a living person of the creature here, and says that it groaneth and travaileth: not that he heard any groan conveyed from the earth and heaven to him, but that he might show the exceeding greatness of the good things to come; and the desire of freedom from the ills which now pervaded them. "For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same." What is the meaning of, "the creation was made subject to vanity?" Why that it became corruptible. For what cause, and on what account? On account of thee, O man. For since thou hast taken a body mortal and liable to suffering, the earth too hath received a curse, and brought forth thorns and thistles. But that the heaven, when it is waxen old along with the earth, is to change afterwards to a better portion (lhexin v. p. 384) hear from the Prophet in his words; "Thou, O Lord, from the beginning hast founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a cloak shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed." (Ps. cii. 25, 26.) Isaiah too declares the same, when he says, "Look to the heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, for the heavens are as a firmament of smoke,  and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall perish in like manner." (Is. li. 6.). Now you see in what sense the creation is "in bondage to vanity," and how it is to be freed from the ruined state. For the one says, "Thou shalt fold them up as a garment, and they shall be changed;" and Isaiah says, "and they that dwell therein shall perish in like manner," not of course meaning an utter perishing. For neither do they that dwell therein, mankind, that is, undergo such an one, but a temporary one, and through it they are changed into an incorruptible (1 Cor. xv. 53) state, and so therefore will the creature be. And all this he showed by the way, by his saying "in like manner" (2 Pet. iii. 13), which Paul also says farther on. At present, however, he speaks about the bondage itself, and shows for what reason it became such, and gives ourselves as the cause of it. What then? Was it harshly treated on another's account? By no means, for it was on my account that it was made. What wrong then is done it, which was made for my sake, when it suffereth these things for my correction? Or, indeed, one has no need to moot the question of right and wrong at all in the case of things void of soul and feeling. But Paul, since he had made it a living person, makes use of none of these topics I have mentioned, but another kind of language, as desiring to comfort the hearer with the utmost advantage. And of what kind is this? What have you to say? he means. It was evil intreated for thy sake, and became corruptible; yet it has had no wrong done it. For incorruptible will it be for thy sake again. This then is the meaning of "in hope." But when he says, it was "not willingly" that it was made subject, it is not to show that it is possessed of judgment that he says so, but that you may learn that the whole is brought about by Christ's care, and this is no achievement of its own. And now say in what hope?
Ver. 21. "That the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption."
Now what is this creation? Not thyself alone, but that also which is thy inferior, and partaketh not of reason or sense, this too shall be a sharer in thy blessings. For "it shall be freed," he says, "from the bondage of corruption," that is, it shall no longer be corruptible, but shall go along with the beauty given to thy body; just as when this became corruptible, that became corruptible also; so now it is made incorruptible, that also shall follow it too. And to show this he proceeds. (eis) "Into the glorious liberty of the children of God." That is, because of  their liberty. For as a nurse who is bringing up a king's child, when he has come to his father's power, does herself enjoy the good things along with him, thus also is the creation, he means. You see how in all respects man takes the lead, and that it is for his sake that all things are made. See how he solaces the struggler, and shows the unspeakable love of God toward man. For why, he would say, dost thou fret at thy temptations? thou art suffering for thyself, the creation for thee. Nor does he solace only, but also shows what he says to be trustworthy. For if the creation which was made entirely for thee is "in hope," much more oughtest thou to be, through whom the creation is to come to the enjoyment of those good things. Thus men (3 mss. fathers) also when a son is to appear at his coming to a dignity, clothe even the servants with a brighter garment, to the glory of the son; so will God also clothe the creature with incorruption for the glorious liberty of the children.
Ver. 22. "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."
Observe, how he shames the hearer, saying almost, Be not thou worse than the creation, neither find a pleasure in resting in things present. Not only ought we not to cling to them, but even to groan over the delay of our departure hence. For if the creation doth this, much more oughtest thou to do so, honored with reason as thou art. But as this was not yet enough to force their attention, he proceeds.
Ver. 23. "And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves."
That is, having had a taste of the things to come. For even if any should be quite stone hard, he means what has been given already is enough to raise him up, and draw him off from things present, and to wing him after things to come in two ways, both by the greatness of the things that are given, and by the fact that, great and numerous as they are, they are but first-fruits. For if the first-fruits be so great that we are thereby freed even from our sins, and attain to righteousness and sanctification, and that those of that time both drave out devils, and raised the dead by their shadow (Acts v. 15), or garments (ib. xix. 12), consider how great the whole must be. And if the creation, devoid as it is of mind and reason, and though in ignorance of these things, yet groaneth, much more should we. Next, that he may give the heretics no handle, or seem to be disparaging our present world, we groan, he says, not as finding fault with the present system, but through a desire of those greater things. And this he shows in the words, "Waiting for the adoption." What dost thou say, let me hear? Thou didst insist on it at every turn, and didst cry aloud, that we were already made sons, and now dost thou place this good thing among hopes, writing that we must needs wait for it? Now it is to set this right by the sequel that he says, "to wit, the redemption  of our body." That is, the perfect glory. Our lot indeed is at present uncertainty to our last breath, since many of us that were sons have become dogs and prisoners. But if we decease with a good hope, then is the gift unmovable, and clearer, and greater, having no longer any change to fear from death and sin. Then therefore will the grace be secure, when our body shall be freed from death and its countless ailments (or passions). For this is full redemption (apolutrosis), not a redemption  only, but such, that we shall never again return to our former captivity. For that thou mayest not be perplexed at hearing so much of glory without getting any distinct knowledge of it, he partially exposes to thy view the things to come, setting before thee the change of thy body (Gr. changing thy body), and along with it the change of the whole creation. And this he has put in a clearer light in another passage, where he says, "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious Body." (Phil. iii. 21.) And in another place again he writes and says, "But when this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (1 Cor. xv. 54.) But to show, that with the corruption of the body the constitution of the things of this life will also come to an end, he wrote again elsewhere, "For the fashion of this world passeth away." (1 Cor. vii. 31.)
Ver. 24. "For we are saved by hope," he says.
Now since he had dwelt upon the promise of the things to come, and this seemed to pain the weaker hearer, if the blessings are all matter of hope; after proving before that they are surer than things present and visible, and discoursing at large on the gifts already given, and showing that we have received the first fruits of those good things, lest we should seek our all in this world, and be traitors to the nobility that faith gives us, he says, "For we are (Gr. were) saved by hope." And this is about what he means. We are not to seek our all in this life, but to have hope also. For this is the only gift that we brought in to God, believing Him in what He promised shall come, and it was by this way alone we were saved. If then we lose this hope, we have lost all that was of our own contributing. For I put you this question, he would say, Wert thou not liable for countless sins? wert thou not in despair? wert thou not under sentence? were not all out of heart about thy salvation? What then saved thee? It was thy hoping  in God alone, and trusting to Him about His promises and gifts, and nothing besides hadst thou to bring in. If it was this then that saved thee, hold it fast now also. For that which afforded thee so great blessings, to a certainty will not deceive thee in regard to things to come. For in that it found thee dead, and ruined, and a prisoner, and an enemy, and yet made thee a friend, and a son, and a freeman, and righteous, and a joint-heir, and yielded such great things as no one ever expected even, how, after such munificence and attachment, will it betray  thee in what is to follow? Say not to me, hopes again! expectations again! faith again! For it is in this way thou wert saved from the beginning, and this dowry was the only one that thou didst bring in to the Bridegroom. Hold it then fast and keep it: for if thou demandest to have everything in this world, thou hast lost that well-doing of thine, through which thou didst become bright, and this is why he proceeds to say, "But hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?"
Ver. 25.--"But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."
That is, if thou art to be looking for everything in this world, what need is there for hope? What is hope then? It is feeling confidence in things to come. What great demand then doth God make upon thee, since He Himself giveth thee blessings quite entire from His own stores? One thing only, hope, He asks of thee, that thou too mayest have somewhat of thine own to contribute toward thy salvation. And this he intimates in what he proceeds with: "For if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." As then God crowneth him that undergoes labors, and hardnesses, and countless toils, so doth He him that hopeth. For the name of patience belongs to hard work and much endurance. Yet even this He hath granted to the man that hopeth, that He might solace the wearied soul. And then to show that for this light task we enjoy abundant aid, he proceeds:
Ver. 26. "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities." 
For the one point is thy own, that of patience, but the other comes of the Spirit's furnishings, Who also cherisheth (Gr. anointeth) thee unto this hope, and through it again lighteneth thy labors. Then that thou mightest know that it is not in thy labors only and dangers that this grace standeth by thee, but even in things the most easy seemingly,  it worketh with thee, and on all occasions bears its part in the alliance, he proceeds to say,
"For we know not what we should pray for as we ought."
And this he said to show the Spirit's great concern about us, and also to instruct them not to think for certainty that those things are desirable which to man's reasonings appear so. For since it was likely that they, when they were scourged, and driven out, and suffering grievances without number, should be seeking a respite, and ask this favor of God, and think it was advantageous to them, by no means (he says) suppose that what seem blessings to you really are so. For we need the Spirit's aid even to do this. So feeble is man, and such a nothing by himself. For this is why he says, "For we know not what we should pray for as we ought." In order that the learner might not feel any shame at his ignorance, he does not say, ye know not, but, "we know not." And that he did not say this merely to seem moderate, he plainly shows from other passages. For he desired in his prayers unceasingly to see Rome. Yet the time when he obtained it was not at once when he desired it. And for "the thorn" that was given him "in the flesh" (2 Cor. xii. 8), that is the dangers, he often besought God, and was entirely unsuccessful.  And so was Moses, who in the Old Testament prays to see Palestine (Deut. iii. 26), and Jeremiah when he made supplication for the Jews (Jer. xv. 1), and Abraham when he interceded for the people of Sodom. "But the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." This statement is not clear, owing to the cessation of many of the wonders which then used to take place. Wherefore I must needs inform you of the state of things at that time, and in this way the rest of the subject will be cleared. What therefore was the state of things then? God did in those days give to all that were baptized certain excellent gifts, and the name that these had was spirits. For "the spirits of the Prophets," it says, "are subject to the prophets." (1 Cor. xiv. 32.) And one had the gift of prophecy and foretold things to come; and another of wisdom, and taught the many; and another of healings, and cured the sick; and another of miracles, and raised the dead; another of tongues, and spoke different languages. And with all these there was also a gift of prayer, which also was called a spirit, and he that had this prayed for all the people. For since we are ignorant of much that is profitable for us and ask things that are not profitable, the gift of prayer came into some particular person of that day, and what was profitable for all the whole Church alike, he was the appointed person to ask for in behalf of all, and the instructor of the rest. Spirit then is the name that he gives here to the grace of this character, and the soul that receiveth the grace, and intercedeth to God, and groaneth. For he that was counted worthy of such grace as this, standing with much compunction, and with many mental groanings falling before God, asked the things that were profitable for all. And of this the Deacon of the present day is a symbol when he offers up the prayers for the people. This then is what Paul means when he says,  "the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered."
Ver. 27. "But He that searcheth the hearts."
You see that it is not about the Comforter that he is speaking, but about the spiritual heart. Since if this were not so, he ought to have said, "He that searcheth" the Spirit. But that thou mayest learn that the language is meant of a spiritual man, who has the gift of prayer, he proceeds, "And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit," that is, of the spiritual man.
"Because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
Not (he means) that he informs God as if ignorant, but this is done that we may learn to pray for proper things, and to ask of God what is pleasing to Him. For this is what the "according to God" is. And so this was with a view to solace those that came to Him, and to yield them excellent instruction. For He that furnished the gifts, and gave besides blessings without number, was the Comforter. Hence it says, "all these things worketh one and the self-same Spirit." (1 Cor. xii. 11.) And it is for our instruction that this takes place, and to show the love of the Spirit, it condescendeth even to this. And it is from this that the person praying getteth heard, because the prayer is made "according to the will of God."
You see from how many points he instructs them in the love that was shown them and the honor that was done them. And what is there that God hath not done for us? The world He hath made corruptible for us, and again for us incorruptible. He suffered His Prophets to be ill-treated for our sake, sent them into captivity for us, let them fall into the furnace, and undergo ills without number. Nay, He made them prophets for us, and the Apostles also He made for us. He gave up for us His Only-Begotten, He punisheth the devil for us, He hath seated us on the Right Hand, He was reproached for us. "For the reproaches of them that reproached thee," it says, "fell upon me." (Ps. lxix. 9.) Yet still, when we are drawing back after so great favor, He leaveth us not, but again entreats, and on our account inciteth others to entreat for us, that He may show us favor. And so it was with Moses. For to him He says, "Let Me alone, that I may blot them out" (Ex. xxxii. 10), that He might drive him upon supplicating on their behalf. And now He doth the same thing. Hence He gave the gift of prayer. But this He doth, not as Himself standing in need of entreaty, but that we might  not, from being saved without effort (haplhos), grow indifferent. For this cause it is on account of David, and of this person and that, He often says, that He is reconciled with them, to establish again this very thing, that the reconciliation may be with all due formality.  Still He would have looked more loving toward man, if it had not been through this and the other prophet, but of Himself, that He told them that He ceased to be wroth. But the reason of His not holding to that point was, that this ground of reconciliation might not become an occasion for listlessness. Wherefore to Jeremiah also He said, "Pray not for this people, for I will not hear thee" (Jer. xi. 14), not as wishing to stop his praying (for He earnestly longeth for our salvation), but to terrify them: and this the prophet also seeing did not cease praying. And that you may see that it was not through a wish to turn him from it, but to shame  them that He said this, hear what it says. "Seest thou not what these are doing?" (Ez. viii. 6, not verbally from LXX.) And when He says to the city "Though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap (Gr. herb), yet thou art stained before Me" (Jer. ii. 22), it is not that He may cast them into despair that He so speaks, but that He may rouse them to repentance. For as in the case of the Ninevites, by giving the sentence without limitation, and holding out no good hope, He scared them the more, and led them to repentance, so He doth here also, both to rouse them, and to render the prophet more venerated, that in this way at least they may hear him. Then, since they kept on in a state of incurable madness, and were not to be sobered even by the rest being carried away, he first exhorts them to remain there. But when they kept not up to this, but deserted to Egypt, this indeed He allowed them, but requires of them not to desert to irreligion as well as to Egypt. (Jer. xliv. 8.) But when they did not comply in this either, He sendeth the prophet along with them, so that they might not after all suffer total wreck. (Ver. 28.) For since they did not follow Him when He called, He next followeth them to discipline them, and hinder their being hurried further into vice, and as a father full of affection does a child who takes all treatment in the same peevish way, conducting him about everywhere with himself, and following him about. This was the reason why He sent not Jeremiah only into Egypt, but also Ezekiel into Babylon, and they did not refuse to go. For when they found their Master love the people exceedingly, they continued themselves to do so likewise. Much as if a right-minded servant were to take compassion upon an intractable son when he saw his father grieving and lamenting about him. And what was there that they did not suffer for them? They were sawn asunder, they were driven out, they were reproached, they were stoned, they underwent numberless grievances. And after all this they would run back to them. Samuel, for instance, ceased not to mourn for Saul, miserably insulted as he was by him, and injured irreparably. (1 Sam. xv. 35.) Still he held none of these things in remembrance. And for the people of the Jews, Jeremiah has composed Lamentations in writing. And when the general of the Persians had given him liberty to dwell securely, and with perfect freedom, wherever he pleased, he preferred above dwelling at home the affliction of the people, and their hard durance in a strange land. (Jer. xi. 5.) So Moses left the palace and the sort of living herein, and hasted to be among their calamities. And Daniel abode for twenty days following without food, pinching himself with the most severe fast, that he might reconcile God to them. (Dan. x. 2.) And the three Children too, when in the furnace, and so fierce a fire, put up a supplication for them. For it was not on their account that they were grieved, as they were saved; but since they considered that then was the time for the greatest boldness of speech, they consequently prayed in their behalf; hence too they said, "In a contrite heart and an humble spirit let us be accepted." (Song. ver. 16.) For them Joshua also rent his garments. (Josh. vii. 6.) For them Ezekiel too wailed and lamented when he saw them cut down. (Ez. ix. 8.) And Jeremy  said, "Let me alone, I will weep bitterly." (Is. xxii. 4.) And before this, when he did not venture openly to pray for a remittance of their sad estate, he sought for some limited period, when he says, "How long, O, Lord?" (ib. vi. 11.) For full of affectionateness is the whole race of the saints. Wherefore also St. Paul saith, "Put on therefore, as the elect saints of God, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind." (Col. iii. 12.) You see the strict propriety of the word, and how he would have us continually merciful. For he does not say, "show mercy" only, but put it on, that like as our garment is always with us, so may mercy be. And he does not say merely mercy, but "bowels of mercy," that we may imitate the natural affection of relations.
But we do just the contrary, and if any one comes to ask a single penny of us, we insult them, abuse them, call them impostors. Dost thou not shudder, man, and blush to call him an impostor for bread? Why even supposing such an one is practising imposture, he deserves to be pitied for it, because he is so pressed with famine as to put on such a character. This then is a reproach to our cruelty. For since we had not the heart to bestow with readiness, they are compelled to practise a great many arts, so as to put a cheat off upon our inhumanity, and to soften down our harshness. Now if it was gold and silver that he asked of thee, then there would be some reason in thy suspicions. But if it is necessary food that he comes to thee for, why be showing thyself wise so unseasonably, and take so over exact an account of him, accusing him of idleness and sloth? For if we must talk in this way, it is not others but ourselves that we ought to address. When therefore thou art going to God to ask forgiveness for thy sins, then call these words to mind, and thou wilt know thou deservest to have these things said to thee by God, much more than the poor man by thee. And yet God hath never said such words to thee as "Stand off, since thou art an impostor, always coming to church and hearing My laws, but when abroad, setting gold, and pleasure (epithumian), and friendship, and in fact anything above My commandments. And now thou makest thyself humble, but when thy prayers are over thou art bold, and cruel, and inhuman. Get thee hence, therefore, and never come to Me any more." Yet this, and more than this, we deserve to have said to us; but still He never did reproach us in any such way, but is long-suffering and fulfils everything on His own part, and gives us more than we ask for. Calling this to mind then, let us relieve the poverty of those that beg of us, and if they do impose upon us, let us not be over exact about it. For such a salvation is it that we ourselves require, one with pardon, with kindness (philanthropias), with much mercy along with it. For it is not possible, it certainly is not, if our estate were searched into strictly, that we should ever be saved, but we must needs be punished and brought to ruin altogether. Let us not then be bitter judges of others lest we also get a strict account demanded of us. For we have sins that are too great to plead any excuse. And therefore let us show more mercy towards those who have committed inexcusable sins, that we also may lay up for ourselves the like mercy beforehand. And yet be as large-hearted as we may, we shall never be able to contribute such love toward man as we stand in need of at the hand of a God that loveth man. How then is it other than monstrous, when we are in need of so many things ourselves, to be over exact with our fellow servants, and do all we can against ourselves? For thou dost not in this way so much prove him unworthy of thy liberality, as thyself of God's love toward man. For he that deals over exactly with his fellow servant, will be the more sure to find the like treatment at God's hand. Let us not speak against ourselves, but even if they come out of idleness or wilfulness,  let us bestow. For we also do many sins through wilfulness, or rather we do them all through wilfulness, and yet God doth not presently call us to punishment, but gives us a set time for penance, nurturing us day by day, disciplining us, teaching us, supplying us with all other things, that we too may emulate this mercy of His. Let us then quell this cruelty, let us cast out this brutal spirit, as benefiting thereby ourselves rather than others. For to these we give money, and bread, and clothing, but for ourselves we are laying up beforehand very great glory, and such as there is no putting into words. For we receive again our bodies incorruptible, and are  glorified together and reign together with Christ. And how great this is we shall see from hence--or rather there is no means of making us see it clearly now. But to start from our present blessings, and to get from them at least some kind of scanty notice of it, I will endeavor so far as I may be able to put before you what I have been speaking of. Tell me then, if when you were grown old, and were living in poverty, and any one were to promise suddenly to make you young, and to bring you to the very prime of life, and to render you very strong, and preėminently beautiful, and were to give you the kingdom of the whole earth for a thousand years, a kingdom in the state of the deepest peace, what is there that you would not choose to do, and to suffer to gain this promise? (4 mss. and Sav. Mar. object.) See then, Christ promises not this, but much more than this. For the distance between old age and youth is not to be compared with the difference of corruption and incorruption, nor that of a kingdom and poverty to that of the present glory and the future, but the difference is that of dreams and a reality. Or rather I have yet said nothing to the purpose, since there is no language capable of setting before you the greatness of the difference between things to come and things present. And as for time, there is no place for the idea of difference. For what mode is there for a man to compare with our present state a life that hath no limit? And as for the peace it is as far removed from any present peace, as peace is different from war; and for the incorruption, it is as much better as a clear pearl is than a clod of clay. Or rather, say as great a thing as one may, nothing can put it before you. For were I even to compare the beauty of our bodies then to the light of the sunbeam, or the brightest lightning, I shall not yet be saying aught that is worthy of that brilliancy. Now for such things as these what money so much that it were not worth the while to give up? what bodies, or rather what souls  is it not worth one's while to give up? At present if any one were to lead thee into the palace, and in presence of all were to give thee an opportunity of conversing with the king, and make thee sit at his table, and join in his fare, thou wouldest call thyself the happiest of men. But when you are to go up to Heaven, and stand by the King of the universe Himself, and to vie with angels in brightness, and to enjoy even that unutterable glory, do you hesitate whether you ought to give up money? whereas if you had to put off life itself, you ought to leap and exult, and mount on wings of pleasure. But you, that you may get an office (archen), as a place to pillage from (for call a thing of this sort gain, I cannot), put all you have to hazard, and after borrowing of others, will, if need be, pawn your wife and children too without hesitation.
But when the kingdom of Heaven is set before you, that office (archhes) which hath none to supersede you in it, and God bids you take not a part of a corner of the earth, but the whole of Heaven entirely, are you hesitating, and reluctant, and gaping after money, and forgetful that if the parts of that Heaven which we see are so fair and delightful, how greatly so must the upper Heaven be, and the Heaven  of Heaven? But since we have as yet no means of seeing this with our bodily eyes, ascend in thy thought, and standing above this Heaven, look up unto that Heaven beyond this, into that height without a bound, into that Light surcharged with awe, into the crowds of the Angels, into the endless ranks of Archangels, into the rest of the incorporeal Powers. And then lay hold again of the image (cf. Plat. Rep. vii. p. 516) thereof we have, after coming down from above, and make a sketch of the estate of a king with us, as his men in gold armor, and his pairs of white mules proudly decked with gold, and his chariots set with jewels  and his snow-like cushions (stromnen Poll. x. 41), and the spangles that flutter about the chariot, and the dragons shaped out in the silken hangings, and the shields with their gold bosses, and the straps that reach up from these to the rim of them through so many gems, and the horses with the gilded trappings and the gold bits. But when we see the king we immediately lose sight of all these. For he alone turns our eyes to him, and to the purple robe, and the diadem, and the throne, and the clasp, and the shoes, all that splendor of his appearance. After gathering all these things together then with accuracy, then again remove your thoughts from these things to things above, and to that awful day in which Christ is coming. For then you will not see any pairs of mules, nor golden chariots, nor dragons and shields, but things that are big with a mighty awe, and strike such amazement that the very incorporeal Powers are astonished. For the "powers of the Heavens," He says, "shall be shaken." (Matt. xxiv. 29.) Then is the whole Heaven thrown open, and the gates of those concaves unfold themselves, and the Only-begotten Son of God cometh down, not with twenty, not with a hundred men for His body-guard, but with thousands, ten thousands of Angels and Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim, and other Powers, and with fear and trembling shall everything be filled, whiles the earth is bursting itself up, and the men that ever were born, from Adam's birth up to that day, are rising from the earth, and all are caught up; (1 Thess. iv. 17) when Himself appears with such great glory as that the sun, and the moon, and all light whatever, is cast into the shade, being outshone by that radiance. What language is to set before us that blessedness, brightness, glory? Alas! my soul. For weeping comes upon me and great groaning, as I reflect what good things we have fallen from, what blessedness we are estranged from. For estranged we are (I am now speaking of my own case still), unless we do some great and astonishing work; speak not then of hell to me now, for more grievous than any hell is the fall from this glory, and worse than punishments unnumbered the estrangement from that lot. But still we are gaping after this present world, and we take not thought of the devil's cunning, who by little things bereaves us of those great ones, and gives us clay that he may snatch from us gold, or rather that he may snatch Heaven from us, and showeth us a shadow that he may dispossess us of the reality, and puts phantoms before us in dreams (for such is the wealth of this world), that at daybreak  he may prove us the poorest of men. Laying these things to heart, late though it be, let us fly from this craft, and pass to the side of things to come. For we cannot say that we were ignorant how exposed to accidents the present life is, since things every day din in our ears more loudly than a trumpet, the worthlessness, the ridiculousness, the shamefulness, the dangers, the pitfalls, of the present scene. What defence then shall we have to set up for pursuing things so subject to hazards, and laden with shame, with so much eagerness, and leaving things unfailing, which will make us glorious and bright, and giving our whole selves up to the thraldom of money? For the slavery to these things is worse than any bondage. And this they know who have been counted worthy to obtain their freedom from it. That ye then may also feel this goodly liberty, burst the bonds asunder, spring out of the snare. And let there be no gold lying by in your houses, but that which is more precious than millions of money, alms and love to man, for your treasure. For this gives us boldness toward God, but the other covers us with deep shame, and causes the devil to bear hard (sphodron pnhein) upon us. Why then arm thy enemy, and make him stronger? Arm thy right hand against him, and transfer all the splendor of thy house into thy soul, and stow away all thy fortune in thy mind, and instead of a chest and a house, let heaven keep thy gold. And let us put all our property about our own selves; for we are much better than the walls, and more dignified than the pavement. Why then do we, to the neglect of our own selves, waste all our attention upon those things, which when we are gone we can no longer reach, and often even while we stay here we cannot keep hold of, when we might have such riches as to be found not in this life only, but also in that, in the easiest circumstances? For he who carries about his farms and house and gold upon his soul, wherever he appears, appears with all this wealth. And how is this possible to be effected? one may ask. It is possible, and that with the utmost ease. For if you transfer them to Heaven by the poor man's hand, you will transfer them entire into your own soul. And if death should afterwards come upon thee, no one will take them from thee, but thou wilt depart to be rich in the next world too. This was the kind of treasure Tabitha had. Hence it was not her house that proclaimed her wealth, nor the walls, nor the stones, nor the pillars, but the bodies of widows furnished with dress, and their tears that were shed, and death that played the runaway, and life that came back again. Let us also make unto ourselves such-like treasures, let us build up for ourselves such-like houses. In this way we shall have God for our Fellow-worker, and we ourselves shall be workers together with Him. For Himself brought the poor from not being into being, and you will prevent them, after they have been brought into life and being, from perishing with hunger and other distress, by tending them and setting them upright, staying up the Temple of God in every quarter. What can be equal to this in respect both of utility and of glory? Or if as yet you have not gained any clear notion of the great adornment He bestowed upon thee when He bade thee relieve poverty, consider this point with thyself. If He had given thee so great power, that thou wert able to set up again even the Heaven if it were falling, wouldest thou not think the thing an honor far too great for thee? See now He hath held thee worthy of a greater honor. For that which in His esteem is more precious than the Heavens,  He hath trusted thee to repair. For of all things visible there is nothing in God's esteem equal to man. For Heaven and earth and sea did He make for him, and finds more pleasure in dwelling with him than in the Heaven. And yet we, though with a knowledge of this, bestow no attention nor forethought upon the temples of God; but leaving them in a neglected state, we provide houses splendid and large for ourselves. This is why we are devoid of all good things, and greater beggars than the poorest poor, because we pride ourselves in these houses which we cannot take away with us when we go hence, and leave those alone which we might move away along with our own selves. For the bodies of the poor after dissolution must needs rise again; and God, Who hath given this charge, will bring them forth, and praise those who have taken care of them, and treat such with regard (thaumasetai), because when they were on the point of falling to ruin at one time by starvation, at another by nakedness and cold, these repaired them by all means in their power. But still, even with all these praises set before us, we loiter yet, and decline undertaking this honorable charge. And Christ indeed hath not where to lodge, but goeth about a stranger, and naked, and hungry, and you set up houses out of town, and baths, and terraces, and chambers without number, in thoughtless vanity; and to Christ you give not even a share of a little hut, while for daws and vultures you deck out upper chambers. What can be worse than such insanity as this? What more grievous than such madness? for madness it is in the last stage of it, or rather one has no name to suit it, use whatever one may. Yet still if we be so minded, it is possible to beat off the disorder, tenacious as it is; and not possible only, but even easy; and not easy merely, but even easier is it to get rid of this pest than of the sufferings of the body, since the Physician is so much greater. Let us then draw Him to ourselves, and invite Him to aid us in the attempt, and let us contribute our share, good-will, I mean, and energy. For He will not require anything further, but if He can meet with this only, He will confer all that is His part. Let us then contribute our share, that in this world we may enjoy a genuine health, and may attain to the good things to come, by the grace and love towards man, etc.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God."
Here he seems to me to have mooted this whole topic with a view to those who were in danger; or, rather, not this only, but also what was said a little before this. For the words, "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us;" and those, that "the whole creation groaneth;" and the saying, that "we are saved by hope;" and the phrase, "we with patience wait for;" and that, "we know not what we should pray for as we ought;" are all of them said to these. For he instructs them not to choose just what they may think, themselves, to be useful, but what the Spirit may suggest; for many things that seem to one's self profitable, do sometimes even cause much harm. Quiet, for instance, and freedom from dangers, and living out of fear, seemed to be advantageous for them. And what wonder if they did to them, since to the blessed Paul himself this seemed to be so? still he came afterwards to know that the opposite to all these are the things advantageous, and when he came to know it, he was content. So he that besought the Lord thrice to be freed from hazards,  when once he heard Him say, "My grace is sufficient for thee, for My Power is perfected in weakness" (2 Cor. xii. 8, 9), was afterwards delighted at being persecuted, and insulted, and having irreparable ills done him. For, "I glory," he says, "in persecutions, in insults" (Eng. V. reproaches), "in necessities." (2 Cor. xii. 10.) And this was his reason for saying, "For we know not what we should pray for as we ought." And he exhorted all men to give up these matters to the Spirit. For the Holy Spirit is very mindful of us, and this is the will of God. Having then cheered them by all methods, he proceeds to what we have heard to-day, putting forward a reason strong enough to reclaim them. For he says, "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God." Now when he speaks of "all things," he mentions even the things that seem painful. For should even tribulation, or poverty, or imprisonment, or famines, or deaths, or anything else whatsoever come upon us, God is able to change all these things into the opposite. For this is quite an instance of His unspeakable power, His making things seemingly painful to be lightsome to us, and turning them into that which is helpful to us. And so he does not say, that "them that love God," no grievance approacheth, but, that it "works together for good," that is to say, that He useth the grievous things themselves to make the persons so plotted against approved. And this is a much greater thing than hindering the approach of such grievances, or stopping them when they have come. And this is what He did even with the furnace at Babylon. For He did not either prevent their falling into it, or extinguish the flame after those saints were cast into it, but let it burn on, and made them by this very flame greater objects of wonder, and with the Apostles too He wrought other like wonders continually. (St. Mark xvi. 18.) For if men who have learnt to be philosophic can use the things of nature to the opposite of their intention, and appear even when living in poverty in easier circumstances than the rich, and shine  through disgrace: much more will God work for those that love Him both these and also greater things by far. For one needs only one thing, a genuine love of Him, and all things follow that. As then things seemingly harmful do good to these, so do even things profitable harm those who love Him not. For instance, the exhibition of miracles and wisdom in His teaching only injured the Jews, as did the rightness of doctrine; and for the former they called Him a possessed person (John viii. 48), for the other one that would be equal to God (ib. v. 18): and because of the miracles (ib. xi. 47, 53), they even went about to kill Him. But the thief when crucified, when nailed to the Cross, and reviled, and suffering ills unnumbered, not only was not hurt, but even gained the greatest good therefrom. See how for those who love God all things work together for good. After mentioning then this great blessing, one which far exceeds man's nature, since to many this seemed even past belief, he draws a proof of it from past blessings, in these words, "to them who are called according to His  purpose." Now consider, he means, from the calling, for instance, what I have just said. Why then did He not from the first call all? or why not Paul himself as soon as the rest? Does it not seem that the deferring was harmful? But it was still by the event shown to be for the best. The purpose he here mentions, however, that he might not ascribe everything to the calling; since in this way both Greeks and Jews would be sure to cavil. For if the calling alone were sufficient, how came it that all were not saved? Hence he says, that it is not the calling alone, but the purpose of those called too, that works the salvation. For the calling was not forced upon them, nor compulsory. All then were called, but all did not obey the call.
Ver. 29. "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the Image of His Son."
See what superb honor! for what the Only-begotten was by Nature, this they also have become by grace. And still he was not satisfied with this calling of them conformed thereto, but even adds another point, "that He might be the first-born." And even here he does not come to a pause, but again after this he proceeds to mention another point, "Among many brethren." So wishing to use all means of setting the relationship  in a clear light. Now all these things you are to take as said of the Incarnation.  For according to the Godhead He is Only-begotten. See, what great things He hath given unto us! Doubt not then about the future. For he showeth even upon other grounds His concern for us by saying, that things were fore-ordered  in this way from the beginning. For men have to derive from things their conceptions about them, but to God these things have been long determined upon,  and from of old He bare good-will toward us (pros hemhas diekeito), he says.
Ver. 30. "Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified."
Now He justified them by the regeneration of the laver. "And whom He justified, them He also glorified" by the gift, by the adoption.
Ver. 31. "What shall we then say to these things?"
As if he should say, Let me then hear no more about the dangers and the malicious devices from every quarter. For even if some disbelieve the things to come, still they have not a word to say against the good things that have already taken place; as, for instance, the friendship of God towards thee from the first, the justifying, the glory. And yet these things He gave thee by means seemingly distressing. And those things which you thought to be disgracing, the Cross, scourges, bonds, these are what have set the whole world aright. As then by what Himself suffered, though of aspect forbidding in man's eye, even by these He effected the liberty and salvation of the whole race; so also is He wont to do in regard to those things which thou endurest, turning thy sufferings unto glory and renown for thee. "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Why, it may be said, who is there that is not against us? Why the world is against us, both kings and peoples, both relations and countrymen. Yet these that be against us, so far are they from thwarting us at all, that even without their will they become to us the causes of crowns, and procurers of countless blessings, in that God's wisdom turneth their plots unto our salvation and glory. See how really no one is against us! For it was this which gave new lustre to Job, the fact that the devil was in arms against him. For the devil moved at once friends against him, his wife against him, and wounds, and servants, and a thousand other machinations. And it turned out that none of them was against him on the whole. And yet this was no great thing to him, though it was great in itself, but what is a far greater thing is, that it turned out that they were all for him. For since God was for him, even things seemingly against him all became for him. And this happened with the Apostles also, inasmuch as both the Jews, and they of the Gentiles, and false brethren, and rulers, and peoples, and famines, and poverty, and ten thousand things were against them; and yet nothing was against them. For the things which made them the most bright and conspicuous, and great in the sight both of God and of men, were these. Just reflect then what a word Paul hath uttered about the faithful, and those who are truly (akribhos) crucified, such as not even the Emperor with his diadem can achieve. For against him there are abundance of barbarians that arm themselves, and of enemies that invade, and of bodyguards that plot, and of subjects many that oftentimes are ever and anon rebelling, and thousands of other things. But against the faithful who taketh good heed unto God's laws, neither man, nor devil, nor aught besides, can stand! For if you take away his money, you have become the procurer of a reward to him. If you speak ill of him, by the evil report he gains fresh lustre in God's sight. If you cast him into starvation, the more will his glory and his reward be. If (what seems the most severe stroke of all) you give him over to death, you are twining a crown of martyrdom about him.  What then is equivalent to this way of life, being that against which nothing can be done, but even they that seem to devise mischief are no less of service to him than benefactors? This is why he says, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Next, not being satisfied with what he had already said, the greatest sign of His love for us, and that which he always is dwelling over, that he sets down here also; I mean, the slaying of His Son. For He did not only justify us, he means, and glorify us, and make us conformed to that Image, but not even His Son did He spare for thee. And therefore he proceeds to say,
Ver. 32. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"
And here the words he uses are high-wrought (meth' huterbolhes) and exceedingly warm, to show his love. How then is He to neglect us, in whose behalf "He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all?" For reflect what goodness it is not to spare even His own Son, but to give Him up, and to give Him up for all, and those worthless, and unfeeling, and enemies, and blasphemers. "How then shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? What he means then is much as follows; If He gave His own Son, and not merely gave Him, but gave Him to death, why doubt any more about the rest, since thou hast the Master? why be dubious about the chattels, when thou hast the Lord? For He that gave the greater thing to His enemies, how shall He do else than give the lesser things to His friends?
Ver. 33. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?"
Here he is against those who say, that faith is no profit, and will not believe the complete change. (i.e. in baptism see p. 349.) And see how swiftly he stops their mouths, by the worthiness of Him that elected. He does not say, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's" servants? or of God's faithful ones? but "of God's elect?" And election is a sign of virtue. For if when a horse-breaker has selected colts fit for the race, no one can find fault with them, but he would get laughed at who should find fault; much more when God selecteth souls are they that "lay any charge against" them deserving of laughter.
"It is God that justifieth."
Ver. 34. "Who is He that condemneth?
He does not say, it is God that forgave our sins, but what is much greater, "It is God that justifieth." For when the Judge's sentence declares us just, and a Judge such as that too, what signifieth the accuser? Hence neither is it right to fear temptations, for God is for us, and hath shown it by what He hath done; nor again Jewish triflings, for He has both elected and justified us, and the wondrous thing is that it was also by the death of His Son that He did so. Who then is to condemn us, since God crowns us, and Christ was put to death for us, and not only was put to death, but also after this intercedeth for us? 
For, "It is Christ," he says, "that died, yea rather, that is risen from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us."
For though seen now in His own dignity, He hath not left caring for us, but even "maketh intercession for us," and still keepeth up the same love. For He was not contented with being put to death alone. And this is a sign for the most part of very great love, to be doing not only what falls to His lot, but also to address Another on this behalf. For this is all he meant to signify by the interceding, using a way of speaking better suited to man, and more condescending, that he might point out love. Since unless we take the words, "He spared not," also with the same understanding, many inconsistencies will come of it. And that you may see that such is the point he is aiming at, after first saying, that He "is at the Right Hand," he next proceeds to say, that He "maketh intercession for us," when he had shown an equality of honor and rank, so that hence it may appear that the Intercession is not a sign of inferiority,  but of love only. For being Life itself (autozoe) (Ps. xxxvi. 9.), and a Well of good things of every kind, and with the same power as the Father, both to raise up the dead and to quicken them, and do all besides that He doth, how could He need to be a suppliant in order to help us? (John v. 19, 21, 36.) He that of His own power set free those who were given over and condemned, even from that condemnation; and made them righteous, and sons, and led them to the very highest honors, and brought to pass things which had never been hoped for: how should He, after having achieved all this, and having shown our nature on the King's throne, require to be a suppliant to do the easier things? (Acts vii. 55; Heb. x. 12; Rev. vii. 17.) You see how it is shown by every argument, that there is no other reason for his having mentioned intercession, save to show the warmth and vigorousness of His love for us; for the Father also is represented to us as beseeching men to be reconciled to Him. "For we are ambassadors of Christ, as though God did beseech you by us." (2 Cor. v. 20.) Still, though God beseecheth, and men are "ambassadors in Christ's stead" to men, we do not understand on that account anything done unworthy of that dignity; but one thing only do we gather from all that is told us, namely, the intenseness of the love. This then let us do here also. If then the Spirit even "maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered," and Christ died and intercedeth for us, and the Father "spared not His own Son" for thee, and elected thee, and justified thee, why be afraid any more? Or why tremble when enjoying such great love, and having such great interest taken in thee? In this way then, after showing His great providence over us from the first, he afterwards brings out what comes next in a bold style, and does not say, ye ought also to love Him, but, as if grown enthusiastic at this unspeakable Providence over us, he says,
Ver. 35. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"
And he does not say of God, so indifferent is it to him whether he mentions the Name of Christ or of God. "Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" Observe the blessed Paul's judgment. For he does not mention the things that we are daily getting taken by, love of money and desire of glory and the thraldom of anger, but things that are far more enthralling than these, and of power to put a force  upon nature itself, and to wrench open the sternness of the resolution many times even against our will, are what he puts down here, tribulations and distresses. For even if the things mentioned are easy to tell up, still each single word has in it thousands of lines of temptation. For when he says, tribulation, he mentions prisons and bonds, and calumnies, and banishments, and all the other hardships, so in one word running through an ocean of dangers without stint, and exhibiting to us, in fact by a single word, all the evils that men meet with. Yet still he dares them all! Wherefore he brings them forward in the shape of questions, as if it was incontrovertible that nothing could move a person so beloved, and who had enjoyed so much providence over him. Then that this might not seem as if he had forgotten himself, he brings in the Prophet also, who declared this before, a long while ago and saith,
Ver. 36. "For Thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." (Ps. xliv. 22.)
That is, we are exposed to all to be evil entreated of them. But yet against so many and so great dangers and these recent horrors, the object of our conflicts is given as a sufficient consolation, or rather not sufficient only, but even much more. For it is not for men, nor for any other of the things of this life that we suffer, but for the King (he says) of the universe. But this is not the only crown, for he encircles them with another besides, and that varied and manifold. Since then, as they were men they could not have deaths without number to undergo, he shows that in this way the prize is none the less. For even if by nature it were fated to die once, by choice God hath granted us to suffer this every day, if we be so minded. Whence it is plain that we shall depart with as many crowns as we have lived days, or rather with many more. For it is possible in a day to die not once alone or twice, but many times. For he who is always ready unto this, keeps continually receiving a full reward. This then is what the Psalmist (Prophetes) hints at, when he says, "all the day." And for this reason the Apostle also brought him before them to rouse them up the more. For if, he means, those in the old dispensation, who had the land as their reward, and the other things which come to a close along with this life, did so look down upon the present life and the temptations and dangers of it, what pardon should we find if we deal so languidly after the promise of Heaven, and the Kingdom above, and its unutterable blessings, so as not to come even up to the same measure as they? And this he does not say indeed, but leaves it to his hearers' consciences, and is satisfied with the quotation alone. He shows too that their bodies become a sacrifice, and that we must not be disturbed or troubled at God having so ordered it. And he exhorts them in other ways besides. For to prevent any from saying that he is merely philosophizing here before having any experience of realities, he adds, "we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter," meaning the daily deaths of the Apostles. You see his courage and his goodness. For as they, he means, when slaughtered make no resistance, so neither do we. But since the feebleness of the mind of man, even after so great things, was afraid of the multitude of temptations, see how he again rouses the hearer, and gives him a lofty and exulting spirit, by saying,
Ver. 37. "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
For what is indeed wonderful is this, not that we are conquerors only, but that we are so by the very things meant as plots against us. And we are not merely conquerors, but we are "more than conquerors," that is, are so with ease, without toil and labor. For without undergoing the real things, by only setting our mind aright, we raise our trophies against our enemies. And with good reason. For it is God that striveth together with us. Do not then be doubtful, if though beaten we get the better of our beaters, if driven out we overcome our persecutors, if dying we put the living to fight. For when you take the power and also the love of God into account, there is nothing to prevent these wondrous and strange things from coming to pass, and that victory the most advantageous should shine upon us. For they did not merely conquer, but in a wondrous way, and so that one might learn that those who plotted against them had a war not against men, but against that invincible Might. See the Jews then with these among them, and at a loss quite, and saying, "What are we to do to these men?" (Acts iv. 16.) For it is marvellous indeed, that though they had hold of them and had got them liable to their courts, and imprisoned them and beat them, they were yet at a loss and in perplexity, as they got overcome by the very things whereby they expected to conquer. And neither kings nor people, nor ranks of demons, nor the devil himself, had power to get the better of them, but were all overcome at a very great disadvantage, finding that all they planned against them became for them. And therefore he says, "we are more than conquerors." For this was a new rule of victory for men to prevail by their adversaries, and in no instance to be overcome, but to go forth to these struggles as if they themselves had the issue in their own hands.
Ver. 38, 39. "For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
These are great things here mentioned. But the reason we do not enter into them is, because we have not so great love. Yet still though they are great, as he wished to show that they were nothing beside the love wherewith he was loved of God; after it he then places his own, lest he should seem to be saying great things about himself. And what he says is somewhat of this kind. Why speak, he means, of things present, and evils inherited in this life? For even if a person were to tell me of things to come, and of powers; of things, such as death and life; of powers, such as angels and archangels, and all the superior orders of beings; even these would be little to me compared with the love of Christ. For even if a person were to threaten me with that future death to which there is no death, to separate me from Christ, nor if he promised the life without end, would I agree to it. Why mention kings here below and consuls? and this one or that? for if you tell me of angels, or all the powers above, or all existing things, or all that are to come, they are all small to me, both those in the earth, and those in heaven, and those under the earth, and those above heaven, compared to this charm. Then as though these were not enough to set before them the strong desire which he had, he gives a being to others again of like magnitude, and says, "nor any other creation." And what he means is nearly this, even if there were any other creation as great as the visible, and as great as the intelligible,  none of them could part me from that love. This he says not as if the Angels attempted it, or the other Powers, far from it, but as wishing to show quite to the utmost the charm he had toward Christ. For Christ he loved not for the things of Christ, but for His sake the things that were His, and to Him alone he looked, and one thing he feared, and that was falling from his love for Him. For this thing was in itself more dreadful than hell, as to abide in it was more desirable than the Kingdom.
What then should we now deserve, when he is found not to esteem even the things in Heaven as compared with the desire for Christ, and we set more store by things of mire and clay than by Christ? And he out of desire of Him would take up with falling into hell, and being banished from the Kingdom, if the choice between the two were put to him: but we are not even above the present life. Are we worthy then to touch his very shoes, when we have come to be so far short of his largeness of mind? For he for Christ's sake does not think anything even of a kingdom; but we think slightingly of Himself, but things of His we make great account of. And would it were of things of His. But now it is not even this; but with a Kingdom held out to us, we let that alone, and keep pursuing shadows and dreams all our days. And yet God in His love toward man and exceeding gentleness, hath done the same as if an affectionate father should, on his son's becoming disinclined to a continual stay with him, manage to bring this about in another way. For since we have not the right feeling of desire after Him, He keeps putting divers other things before us, so as to hold us to Himself. Yet not even for this do we abide with Him, but we keep springing off to childish playthings. Not so Paul, but like a noble spirited child, who is open and attached to his father, he seeks only after the Father's presence, and other things he sets not so much store by; or rather, it is much more than a child. For he does not value the Father and things that are His at the same rate, but when he looks to the Father, he counts them nothing, but would choose rather to be chastised and beaten, so he was with Him, than to be apart from Him and indulge his ease. Let us then shudder, all of us that do not even feel above money for the sake of Christ, or rather such of us as do not feel above it for our own sakes. For it was Paul alone who suffered in good earnest all things for Christ's sake, not for the sake of the kingdom, or his own honor, but owing to his affection to Him. But as for us, neither Christ nor the things of Christ draw us from the things of this life; but as serpents, or snakes, or swine, or even as all of them at once, so do we keep dragging on in the mire. For wherein are we better than those brutes, when with so many and such great examples before us we still keep bowing down, and have not the heart to look up to Heaven for ever so little a time? Yet did God give up even His Son. But thou wilt not so much as share thy bread with Him, Who was given up for thee, Who was slain for thee. The Father for thy sake spared not Him, and this too when He was indeed His Son, but thou doest not look upon Him even when pining with starvation, and this too when thou shouldest but spend of His own, and spend it too for thy own good! What can be worse than such a breach of law as this? He was given up for thee, He was slain for thee, He goeth about in hunger for thee, it is of His own thou shouldest give, that thou mayest thyself get the gain, and still thou dost not give! What sort of stone is there than which these are not more senseless, who in despite of such great inducements, continue in this diabolical cruel-heartedness? For He was not satisfied even with death and the Cross only, but He took up with becoming poor also, and a stranger, and a beggar, and naked, and being thrown into prison, and undergoing sickness, that so at least He might call thee off. If thou wilt not requite Me, He says, as having suffered for thee, show mercy on Me for My poverty. And if thou are not minded to pity Me for My poverty, do for My disease be moved, for My imprisonment be softened. And if even these things make thee not charitable, for the easiness of the request comply with Me. For it is no costly gift I ask, but bread and lodging, and words of comfort; but if even after this thou still continuest unsubdued, still for the Kingdom's sake be improved for the rewards which I have promised. Hast thou then no regard even for these? yet still for very nature's sake be softened at seeing Me naked, and remember that nakedness wherewith I was naked on the Cross for thee; or, if not this, yet that wherewith I am now naked through the poor. I was then bound for thee, nay, still am so for thee, that whether moved by the former ground or the latter, thou mightest be minded to show some pity. I fasted for thee, again I am hungry for thee. I was athirst when hanging on the Cross, I am athirst also through the poor, that by the former as also by the latter I may draw thee to Myself, and make thee charitable to thine own salvation. Hence also of thee that owest Me the requital of benefits without number, I make not demand as of one that oweth, but crown thee as one that favoreth Me, and a kingdom do I give thee for these small things. For I do not say so much as put an end to My poverty, or give Me riches, and yet I did become poor for thee; yet still I ask for bread and clothing, and a small solace for My hunger. And if I be thrown into prison, I do not insist upon thy loosing My bonds and setting Me free, but one thing only do I seek after, that thou wouldest visit Me, Who was (or am) bound for thee, and I shall have received favor enough, and for this only will I give thee Heaven. And yet I delivered thee from most galling bonds, but for Me it is quite enough, if thou wilt but visit Me when in prison. For I am able indeed to crown thee even without all this; yet I would fain be a debtor to thee, that the crown may give thee some feeling of confidence. This is why, though I am able to support Myself, I come about begging, and stand beside thy door, and stretch out Mine hand, since My wish is to be supported by thee. For I love thee exceedingly, and so desire to eat at thy table, which is the way with those that love a person. And I glory (John xv. 8) in this. And when the whole world are spectators, then am I to herald thee forth, and in the hearing of all men to display thee as My supporter. Yet we, when we are supported by any one, feel ashamed, and cover our faces; but He, as loving us exceedingly, even if we hold our peace, will then tell out what we did with much praise, and is not ashamed to say, that when Himself was naked we clothed Him, and fed Him when hungry. Let us then lay all these things to heart, and not be contented with passing mere praises upon them, but let us even accomplish what I have been speaking of. For what is the good of these applauses and clamors? I demand one thing only of you, and that is the display of them in real action, the obedience of deeds. This is my praise, this your gain, this gives me more lustre than a diadem. When you have left the Church then, this is the crown that you should make for me and for you, through the hand of the poor; that both in the present life we may be nourished with a goodly hope, and after we have departed to the life to come, we may attain to those good things without number, to which may all of us attain by the grace and love toward man, etc.
"I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost."
Did I not seem yesterday to you to have spoken some great and exorbitant things of Paul's love toward Christ? And great indeed they were, too great for any words to express. Yet what you have heard to-day are as far above those things, as those things were above ours. And yet I did not think they could be exceeded, still when I came to what has been read to-day  it did appear far more glorious than the whole of the former. And that he was aware of this himself he shows by his exordium. For as on the point of entering upon greater things than those, and therefore liable to be disbelieved by the generality, he first uses a strong asseveration about the matter he is going to speak of; which many are in the habit of doing when they are going to say somewhat which is not believed by the generality, and about which they feel the utmost certainty in their own minds. Hence he says, "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, and my conscience beareth witness,"
Ver. 2, 3. "That I have a great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ." 
What sayest thou, O Paul? from Christ, thy beloved One, from Whom neither kingdom nor hell, nor things visible nor intelligible, nor another world as great, would separate thee, is it from Him that thou wouldst now be accursed? What has happened? Hast thou changed, hast thou given over that love? No, he replies, fear not. Rather I have even made it more intense. How then is it that thou wouldest fain be accursed, and seekest a separation, and a removal to such a distance, that after it there is no possibility of finding a more distant one? Because I love Him exceedingly, he may reply. How, pray, and in what manner? For the things seem a riddle. Or rather, if you will, let us learn what the curse is, and then we will question him upon these points, and shall understand this unspeakable and extraordinary love. What then is the curse? Hear his own words, "If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed." (anathema, 1 Cor. xvi. 22.) That is, let him be set apart from all, removed from all. For as in the case of a thing dedicated (anathema), which is set apart for God, no one would venture so much as to touch it with his hand or even to come near it; so too with a man who is put apart from the Church, in cutting him off from all, and removing him as far off as possible, he calls him by this name (anathema) in a contrary sense,  thus with much fear denouncing to all men to keep apart from him, and to spring away from him. For the thing set apart, no one, from respect of it, ventures to come near to. But from him who is cut off, all men separate themselves from a very opposite feeling. And so the separation is the same, and both the one and the other are equally removed from the generality. Still, the mode of separation is not the same, but in this case it is the opposite to what it is in that. For from the one they keep back as being dedicated to God; from the other as being estranged from God, and broken off from the Church. This then is what Paul means when he says, "I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ." And he does not say merely that I could be willing, but using a stronger term, he says even, "I could wish" (or pray euchomen). But if what he says trouble you in your (asthenesteron) feebleness, consider the real state of the case, not only that he wished to be separated, but also the cause for which he wished it, and then you will see the greatness of his love.  For he even circumcised (Timothy, Acts xvi. 3), and we pay no attention to what was done, but to the intention of it, and the cause of it, and hence we wonder at him the more. And he not only circumcised a person, but he even shaved himself and sacrificed (Acts xviii. 18; Acts xxi. 24), and yet surely we do not therefore assert him to be a Jew, but upon this very score to be perfectly free from Judaizing, and clear of it, and a genuine worshipper of Christ. As then when you see him circumcising and sacrificing, you do not therefore condemn him as Judaizing, but upon this very score have the best reason for crowning him as quite an alien to Judaism; thus when thou seest him to have become desirous of being accursed, do not therefore be troubled, but upon this very ground give him the loudest praise, when thou knowest the cause why he wishes this. For if we do not look narrowly into the causes, we shall call Elijah a manslayer, and Abraham not a manslayer only, but a murderer of his son.  And Phinees and Peter we shall implead for murder likewise. Nor is it in the case of the saints alone, but also of the God of the universe, that he who does not keep to this rule, will be suspecting sundry unbecoming things. Now to prevent this happening in all cases of the kind, let us bring together both the cause, and the intention, and the time, and all that makes in behalf of what is so done, and in this way let us investigate the actions. And this we must do now also in the case of this blessed soul. Now what is the cause? It is Jesus Himself Who is so beloved. And yet he does not say for Him; for what he says is, I would wish that I were accursed from Him for my brethren. And this comes of his humbleness of mind. For he has no wish to make himself conspicuous, as if he were saying something great, and doing Christ a favor in this. Wherefore also he said "my kinsmen," that he may conceal his high aim (pleonektema). Since to see that he wished it all for Christ's sake, just hear what comes next. After speaking of kinsmen then, he proceeds,
Ver. 4, 5. "To whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God,and the promises; whose are the father's, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen."
And what is this? one asks. For if with a view to the belief of others he was willing to become accursed, he ought to have also wished for this in the Gentiles' behalf. But if he wishes it in the Jews' behalf only, it is a proof that he did not wish it for Christ's sake, but for his own relationship to them. But in fact if he had prayed for the Gentiles only, this would not have been equally clear. But since it is for the Jews only, it is a clear proof that it is only for Christ's glory that he is thus earnest. And I am aware that what I am saying will seem a paradox to you. Still if ye do not make a disturbance,  I will presently endeavor to make it clear. For what he has said he has not said nakedly; but since all were talking and accusing God, that after being counted worthy of the name of sons, and receiving the Law, and knowing Him beyond all men, and enjoying such great glory, and serving him beyond the whole world, and receiving the promises, and being from fathers who were His friends, and what was the greatest thing of all, having been forefathers of Christ Himself (for this is the meaning of the words, "of whom, as concerning the flesh, Christ came"), they are now cast out and disgraced; and in their place are introduced men who had never known Him, of the Gentiles. Now since they said all this, and blasphemed God, Paul hearing it, and being cut to the heart, and vexed for God's glory's sake, wished that he were accursed, had it been possible, so that they might be saved, and this blasphemy be put a stop to, and God might not seem to have deceived the offspring of those to whom He promised the gifts. And that you may see that it was in sorrow for this, that the promise of God might not seem to fall to the ground, which said to Abraham, "I will give this land to thee and to thy seed," that he uttered this wish, he proceeds,
Ver. 6. "Not as though the word of God had taken none effect."
To show that he had courage (Mar. and 4 mss. wished) to bear all these things for the word of God, that is, the promise made to Abraham. For as Moses seemed to be pleading for the Jews, yet was doing everything for God's glory (for he says, "Lest they say, Because He was not able to save them, He led them forth to destroy them in the wilderness" (Deut. ix. 28); stay Thy wrath), so also does Paul, That they may not say (he means) that the promise of God has fallen to the ground, and He has disappointed us of that He vouched to us, and this word has not issued in deed, I could wish to be accursed. This then was why he did not speak of the Gentiles (for to them no promises had been made by Him, nor had they worshipped Him, wherefore neither did any blaspheme Him on their account), but it was for the Jews who had both received the promise, and had also been brought into closer connection with Him than others, that he expressed this wish. Do you see, that if he had expressed it for the Gentiles, he would not have been shown to be doing this so purely for Christ's glory? But since he was willing to become accursed in the Jews' behalf, then it was most evidenced that it was for Christ's sake only that he desired this.  And for this cause he says,
"To whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the service of God, and the promises."
For the Law, he means, which speaks of Christ, comes from thence, and all the covenants made with them, and Himself came from them, and the Fathers who received the promises were all from them. Yet still the opposite has resulted, and they have fallen from all their good things. Hence, he means, I am vexed, and if it were possible to be separated from the company about Christ, and to be made an alien, not from the love of Him (that be far from him; for even all this he was doing through love), but from all that enjoyment and glory, I would accept that lot, provided my Master were not to be blasphemed, that He might not have to hear some saying, that it has been all for stage-effect; He promises to one, and gives to another. He was sprung from one race, He saved another. It was to the forefathers of the Jews that He made the promises, and yet He has deserted their descendants, and put men, who never at any time knew Him, into their good things. They labored in the practice of the Law, and reading the Prophets, while men who have come but yesterday from heathen altars and images have been set up above them. What foresight is there in all this? Now that these things may not be said of my Master, he means, even if they are said unjustly, I would willingly lose even the kingdom and that glory unutterable, and any sufferings would I undergo, as considering it the greatest consolation possible no longer to hear Him Whom I so long for, so blasphemed. But if you be still against allowing this explanation, just reflect that many fathers have at many times taken up with thus much for their children, and have chosen to be separated from them, and rather to see them in honor, considering their honor dearer to them than their company. But since we are so short of love like this (Bacon, N. O. Aph. lib. 2, §7), we cannot even form an idea of what is here meant. For there be some that are so wholly unworthy even to hear the name of Paul, and that stand at such an interval and distance from that vehemency of his, as to fancy that he says this of temporal death. Who I should say were as ignorant of Paul, as the blind of the sun's rays, or even much more so. For he that died daily, and set before him dangers thick as a snow-storm, and then said, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine?" and still unsatisfied with what he had said, and after going above the heaven and the heaven of heavens, and running through the Angels and Archangels, and all the higher orders of beings, and taking in at once things present, things to come, things visible, things intelligible, things grievous, and things good, that were on either part, and leaving nothing out at all, yet not even thus satiated, but even bodying forth another non-existing creation, how should he, by way of saying some great thing after all those things, make mention of a temporal death? It is not so, surely it is not! But such a notion is that of worms nestling in their dunghill. For had he said this, in what sense would he be wishing himself accursed from Christ? For death (Phil. i. 23) of that sort would have joined him more closely with the band of Christ, and made him enjoy that glory the more. Yet some there are who venture to say things different from these, even more ridiculous. It was not then, they say, death that he wished to have, but to be a treasure, a thing set apart, of Christ's. And who even of the most worthless and indolent that would not wish for this? And in what way was this likely to be in his kinsmen's behalf? Let us then leave these fables and trifles (for it is no more worth while making a reply to these things than to children babbling at play), and let us go back again to the words themselves, luxuriating in this very ocean of love, and fearlessly swimming there in every direction, and reflecting upon the unspeakable flame of love--or rather say what one may, one shall say nothing worthy the subject. For there is no ocean so wide, no flame so intense, as this. And no language can set it forth as it deserves, but he alone knew it who in good earnest gained it. And now let me bring the words themselves before you again.
"For I could wish that I myself were accursed." What does the "I myself" mean? It means I that have been a teacher (1 Cor. ix. 27) of all, that have gathered together countless good deeds, that am waiting for countless crowns, that desired Him so much, as to value His love above all things, who all my days am burning for Him, and hold all things (Phil. iii. 8) of second importance to the love of Him. For even being loved by Christ was not the only thing he cared for, but loving Him exceedingly also. And this last he cared most for (toutou malista en). So it was that he looked to this only, and took all things light-heartedly. For he kept one aim in view in all circumstances, the fulfilling of this excellent love. And this he wishes for. But since things were not to take this course, nor he to become accursed,  he next attempts to go into a defence against the charges, and so to bring what was bruited abroad by all before them as to overthrow it. And before he openly enters into his defence against these, he first lays down some seeds of it beforehand. For when he says, "to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God, and the promises," he does but say that God willed them indeed to be saved, and this he showed by His former dealings, and by Christ's having sprung from them, and by what He promised to the Fathers. But they out of their own untreatable temper thrust the benefit away from them. And this is also the reason of his setting down such things as set forth God's gift, not such as were encomiums upon them. For the adoption came of His grace, and so too the glory, and the promises, and the Law. After taking all these things then into consideration, and reflecting how earnest God along with His Son, had been for their salvation, he lifts up his voice aloud, and says, "Who is  blessed forever. Amen."
So himself offering up thanksgiving for all men unto the Only-Begotten of God. What, he says, if others do blaspheme? Still we who know His mysteries, and His unspeakable Wisdom, and great Providence over us, know well that it is not to be blasphemed, but to be glorified, that He is worthy. Still not satisfied with being himself conscious of it, he endeavors next to use arguments, and to use a sharper way of speech against them. And he does not direct his aim at them, without first divesting them of a suspicion they had. Lest then he should seem to be addressing them as enemies, further on he says "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved." (Rom. x. 1.) And here, along with other remarks, he so ordered things, as not to seem to be saying what he was going to say out of enmity against them. Hence he does not decline calling them even kinsmen and brothers. For even if it was for Christ's sake that he said what he did, still he is for drawing (episphatai) their mind to him also,  and paves his way to what he has to say, and quits himself of all suspicion owing to what had to be said against them, and then he at last goes into the subject most of them were looking for. For many, as I have already stated, wanted to know what was the reason why they who had received the promise fell short of it, while those who had even never heard of it were saved before them. Therefore, to clear up this difficulty, he brings forward the answer before the objection. For to prevent any from saying, What? Art thou more thoughtful for God's glory than God is for His own? And does He need thy aid that His word may not fall to the ground? In reply to these things he says, I spoke this not as if God's Word had fallen to the ground, but to show my love for Christ. For as things have had this issue, we are in no want of words in God's behalf, or of showing that stand His promise did. God said to Abraham, "To thee and to thy seed will I give the land." And, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (Gen. xii. 7, 3.) Let us see then, he says, of what sort this seed is. For it is not all that are from him that are his seed. Whence he says, "For they are not all Israel that are of (or from) Israel."
Ver. 7. "Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children."
Now when you come to know of what kind the seed of Abraham is, you will see that the promise is given to his seed, and know that the word hath not fallen to the ground.  Of what kind, pray, is the seed then? It is no saying of mine, he means, but the Old Testament itself explains itself by saying as follows, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." (Gen. xxi. 12.) What is, "In Isaac?" Explain.
Ver. 8. "That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise, these are counted for the seed."
And observe the judgment and depth of Paul's mind. For in interpreting, he does not say, "they which are the children of the flesh, these are not" the children of Abraham, but, "the children of God:" so blending the former things with the present, and showing that even Isaac was not merely Abraham's son. And what he means is something of this sort: as many as have been born as Isaac was, they are sons of God, and of the seed of Abraham. And this is why he said, "in Isaac shall thy seed be called." That one may learn that they who are born after the fashion of Isaac, these are in the truest sense Abraham's children. In what way was Isaac born then? Not according to the law of nature, not according to the power of the flesh, but according to the power of the promise. What is meant then by the power of "the promise?"
Ver. 9. "At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son."
This promise then and word of God it was that fashioned Isaac, and begat him. For what if a womb was its instrument and the belly of a woman? Since it was not the power of the belly, but the might of the promise that begat the child. Thus are we also gendered by the words of God. Since in the pool of water it is the words of God which generate and fashion us. For it is by being baptized into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost that we are gendered. And this birth is not of nature, but of the promise of God. (John iii. 3; Eph. v. 26; James i. 18; 1 Pet. iii. 21.) For as after first foretelling the birth of Isaac, He then accomplished it; so ours also He had announced before, many ages ago by all the Prophets, and afterwards brought it to pass. You know how great He has set it forth as being, and how, as He promised a great thing, He furnished it with abundant ease! (Hos. ii. 1, etc.) But if the Jews were to say, that the words, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called," mean this, that those born of Isaac should be reckoned to him for a seed, then the Edomites too, and all those people, ought to be denominated his sons, since their forefather Esau was a son of his. But now so far are they from being called sons, that they are the greatest possible aliens. You see then that it is not the children of the flesh that are the children of God, but that even in nature itself the generation by means of baptism from above was sketched out beforehand. And if you tell me of the womb, I in return have to tell you of the water. But as in this case all is of the Spirit, so in the other all was of promise. For the womb was more chilled than any water owing to barrenness and to old age. Let us then gain accurate knowledge of our own nobility, and display a life worthy of it. For in it is nothing fleshly or earthy: hence neither let there be in us. For it was neither sleep, nor the will of the flesh (John i. 13), nor embraces, nor the madness of desire, but "God's love toward man," which wrought the whole. (Tit. iii. 5.) And as in that case it was when the age was past hope, so in this also it was when the old age of sins had come over us, that Isaac  suddenly sprang up in youth, and we all became the children of God, and the seed of Abraham. (Is. xl. 31.)
Ver. 10. "And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac."
The subject in question was an important one. Hence he turns to several arguments, and endeavors by all means to solve the difficulty. For if it was at once strange and new for them to be cast out after so great promises, it is much more strange that we even should come into their good things, who did not expect anything of the kind. And the case was the same as if a king's son, who had promises made him that he should succeed to the power he had, were to be cast into the level of disreputable men, and in his place a condemned man, and one laden with evils unnumbered, after being taken out of prison, were to come into the power, which properly was the other's. For he means, what have you to say? that the son is unworthy? Well, but so is this man unworthy, and much more so. Hence he ought either to have been punished along with the former, or to have been honored along with him. Now it was something of this sort which befel the Jews and the Gentiles, or something far more strange than this. Now that all were unworthy, he has shown above, where he says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. iii. 23.) But the new thing is, that when all were unworthy, the Gentiles were saved alone. And beside this there is another difficulty that some one may start, he says. If God had no intention of fulfilling the promises to them, why make them at all? For men who know not the future, and are many times deceived, do promise even the undeserving that they shall have their largesses. But He Who knoweth beforehand things to come as well as things present, and hath a clear knowledge that they will make themselves undeserving of the promises, and therefore will not receive any of the things specified,--why should He promise at all? Now what is Paul's way of meeting all this? It is by showing what the Israel is to whom He made the promise. For when this has been shown, there is at the same time demonstrated the fact that the promises were all fulfilled. And to point this out he said, "For they are not all Israel that are of Israel." And this is why he does not use the name of Jacob,  but that of Israel, which was a sign of the virtue of that just man, and of a gift from above, and of having seen God. (Gen. xxxii. 28.) Yet, "all," he says, "have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. iii. 23.) Now if all have sinned, how come some to be saved, and some to perish? It is because all were not minded to come to Him, since for His part all were saved, for all were called. However, he does not set this down yet awhile, but meets it from an advantageous position, and from other examples, by bringing before them another question, and as in the former case meets a difficulty very great, by another difficulty. For when he was discussing how by Christ being justified all the rest enjoyed that righteousness, he brought in Adam's case, saying, "For if by one man's offence death reigned, much more they which receive abundance of grace shall reign in life." (Rom. v. 17). And the case of Adam, indeed, he does not clear up, but from it he clears up His (or his own), and shows that it was more reasonable that He Who died in their behalf should have power over them at His will. For that when one had sinned all should be punished, does not seem to be so very reasonable to most men. But that when One had done aright all should be justified, is at once more reasonable and more suited to God. Yet still he has not solved the difficulty he raised. For the more obscure that point remained, the more the Jew was put to silence. And the difficulty of his position passed over to the other, and this become clearer from it (Mar. and 4 mss. "than that"). So in this passage also, it is by raising other difficulties that he meets the questions raised, inasmuch as it was against Jews that he was contending. Hence he takes no pains to solve the examples which he has brought before us. For he was not answerable for  them as in the fight against the Jews. But from them he makes his own subject throughout clearer. Why do you feel surprised, he means, that some of the Jews were saved, and some not saved at this time? Why of old, in the patriarch's times, one may see this happening. For why was Isaac only called the seed, and yet he was the father of Ishmael also, and of several others. "But he was of a mother that was a slave." And what has this to do with his father? Still I will not be captious. Let this son be set aside on his mother's account. What are we to say of those sprung from Keturah? were they not free, and from a mother that was free? How came they not to be honored with the same preference as Isaac? And why do I speak of these? for Rebecca was even Isaac's only wife, and bearing two children she bore them both to Isaac; still those so born, though of the same father, and the same mother, and the fruit of the same labor, being both of one father and one mother, and twins besides, yet did not enjoy the same lot. And yet here you have no mother's slavery to account for it, as in Ishmael's case, nor can you say that one was begotten of this womb and the other of a different one, as in the case of Keturah and Sarah, since in this case they had the same hour in common to them for their birth. This was why Paul then, in order to give a clearer example, says that this happened not in Isaac's case only, "but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac."
Ver. 11-13. "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth, it was said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."
What was the cause then why one was loved and the other hated? why was it that one served, the other was served? It was because one was wicked, and the other good.  And yet the children being not yet born, one was honored and the other condemned. For when they were not as yet born, God said, "the elder shall serve the younger." With what intent then did God say this? Because He doth not wait, as man doth, to see from the issue of their acts the good and him who is not so, but even before these He knoweth which is the wicked and which not such. And this took place in the Israelites' case also, in a still more wonderful way. Why, he says, do I speak of Esau and of Jacob, of whom one was wicked and the other good? For in the Israelites' case, the sin belonged to all, since they all worshipped the calf. Yet notwithstanding some had mercy shown them, and others had not. 
Ver. 15. "For I will have mercy, He says, on whom I will have mercy, and I will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." (Ex. xxxiii. 19.)
This one may see also in the case of those who are punished, for what would you say of Pharaoh who was punished, and had to pay so heavy a penalty? You say he was hardened and disobedient. Was he then alone such, and not even one person else? How came he then to be so severely punished? Why even in the case of the Jews did he call that a people which was no people, or again, why not count all worthy of equal honor? "For if they be" (it says) "as the sand of the sea, yet shall a remnant be saved." (Is. x. 22.) And why is it to be only a remnant? You see what difficulty he has filled the subject with. And with great propriety. For when you have power to throw your adversary into perplexity, do not at once bring forward the answer, because if he be found himself responsible for the same ignorance, why take unnecessary dangers upon yourself? Why make him more bold, by drawing it all upon yourself? Now tell me, O thou Jew, that hast so many perplexing questions, and art unable to answer any of them, how thou comest to annoy us on account of the call of the Gentiles? I, however, have a good reason to give you why the Gentiles were justified and ye were cast out. And what is the reason? It is that they are of faith, ye of the works of the Law. And it is owing to this obstinacy of yours that ye have in every way (Mar. and several mss. all) been given up. For, "they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Rom. x. 3.) The clearing up then of the whole passage, to give the whole sense summarily, is here brought out by that blessed person. But that this may be clearer, let us investigate the things he says also one by one; this knowing, that what the blessed Paul aimed at was, to show by all that he said that God only knoweth who are worthy, and no man whatever knoweth, even if he seem to know ever so well, but that in this sentence of his there are sundry aberrations. For He that knoweth the secrets of the hearts, He only knoweth for a certainty who deserve a crown, and who punishment and vengeance. Hence it is that many of those, by men esteemed good, He convicts and punishes, and those suspected to be bad He crowns, after showing it not to be so; thus forming his sentence not after the judgment of us slaves, but after his own keen and uncorrupt decision, and not waiting for the issue of actions to look at the wicked and him who is not so therefrom. But that we may not make the subject more obscure, again let us go to the very words of the Apostle.
Ver. 10. "And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one."
I might, he implies, have mentioned the children by Keturah besides, but I do not. But to gain the victory from a vantage ground it is those born of one and the same father, and mother too, that I bring forward. For they were both sprung from Rebecca, and from Isaac the true-born, the elect, the son honored above all, of whom He said, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called," who became "the father of us all;" but if he was our father, then should his sons have been our fathers; yet it was not so. You see how this happens not in Abraham's case only, but also in that of his son himself, and how it is faith and virtue in all cases that is conspicuous, and gives the real relationship its character. For hence we learn that it is not only from the manner of birth, but owing to their being worthy of the father's virtue, that the children are called children of him. For if it were only owing to the manner of the birth, then ought Esau to have enjoyed the same as Jacob did. For he also was from a womb as good as dead, and his mother was barren. Yet this was not the only thing required, but the character too, which fact contributes no common amount of practical instruction for us. And he does not say that one is good and another bad, and so the former was honored; lest this kind of argument should be wielded against him, "What, are those of the Gentiles good men rather than those of the circumcision?" For even supposing the truth of the matter was so, still he does not state it yet, as that would have seemed to be vexatious. But it is upon God's knowledge that he has cast the whole, and this no one would venture to gainsay, though he were ever so frantic. "For the children being not yet born," he says, "it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger." And he shows that noble birth after the flesh is of no avail, but we must seek for virtue of soul, which even before the works of it God knoweth of. For "the children," he says, "being not yet born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose  of God according to election might stand, it was said unto her that the elder shall serve the younger:" for this was a sign of foreknowledge, that they were chosen from the very birth. That the election made according to foreknowledge, might be manifestly of God, from the first day He at once saw and proclaimed which was good and which not. Do not then tell me that thou hast read the Law (he means) and the Prophets, and hast been a servant for such a long time. For He that knoweth how to assay the soul, knoweth which is worthy of being saved. Yield then to the incomprehensibleness of the election. For it is He alone Who knoweth how to crown aright. How many, for instance, seemed better than St. Matthew; to go by the exhibition of works then visible. But He that knoweth things undeclared, and is able to assay the mind's aptitude, knew the pearl though lying in the mire, and after passing by others, and being well pleased with the beauty of this, He elected it, and by adding to the noble born free-will grace from Himself, He made it approved. For if in the case of these arts which are perishable, and indeed in other matters, those that are good judges do not use the grounds on which the uninstructed form their decision, in selecting out of what is put before them; but from points which they are themselves well aware of, they many times disparage that which the uninstructed approve, and decide upon what they disparage: and horse-breakers often do this with horses, and so the judges of precious stones, and workmen in other arts: much more will the God that loveth man, the infinite Wisdom, Who alone hath a clear knowledge of all things, not allow of man's guesses, but will out of His own exact and unfailing Wisdom pass his sentence upon all men. Hence it was that He chose the publican, the thief, and the harlot; but dishonored priests, and elders, and rulers, and cast them out. And this one may see happening in the martyrs' case also. Many accordingly of those who were utterly cast aside, have in the time of trial been crowned. And, on the other hand, some that have been held great ones by many have stumbled  and fallen. Do not then call the Creator to account, nor say, Why is it that one was crowned and another punished? For He knoweth how to do these things with exactness. Whence also he says, "Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated." That it was with justice, you indeed know from the result: but Himself even before the result knew it clearly. For it is not a mere exhibition of works that God searcheth after, but a nobleness of choice and an obedient temper (gnomen eugnomona) besides. For a man of this kind, if he should ever sin through some surprise,  will speedily recover himself. And if he should even stay long haply in a state of vice, he will not be overlooked, but God Who knoweth all things will speedily draw him out. And so he that is herein corrupted, even if he seem to do some good things, will perish, in that he doth this with an ill intention. Hence even David, after committing murder and adultery, since he did this as being carried away by surprise, and not from habitual practice of wickedness, speedily washed it out. The Pharisee, however, who had not perpetrated any such crime (Luke xviii. 11), but even had good deeds besides to boast of, lost all by the bad spirit he had chosen.
Ver. 14. "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid."
Hence there is no such thing in the case of us and the Jews. And then he goes on with another thing, a more clear than this. And of what sort is it?
Ver. 15. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
Here again he adds force to the objection by dividing it in two and meeting it, and starting another fresh difficulty. But to make what I have said clearer, one must needs explain it. God, he means, said that "the elder shall serve the younger," before the travail. What then? "Is God unrighteous?" By no means. Now listen to what follows also. For in that case the virtue or the vice, might be the decisive thing. But here there was one sin on which all the Jews joined, that of the molten calf, and still some were punished, and some were not punished. And this is why He says, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." (Ex. xxxiii. 19: observe context.) For it is not thine to know, O Moses, he means, which are deserving of My love toward man, but leave this to Me. But if Moses had no right to know, much less have we. And this is why he did not barely quote the passage, but also called to our minds to whom it was said. For it is Moses, he means, that he is speaking to, that at least by the dignity of the person he might make the objector modest. Having then given a solution of the difficulties raised, he divides it in two, by bringing forward another objection besides, as follows:
Ver. 16, 17. "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.  For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth."
As then in the one case, he means, some were saved and some were punished, so here also. This man was reserved for this very purpose. And then he again urges the objection.
Ver. 18, 19. "Therefore He hath mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He will He hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he then find fault? For who hath resisted His will?"
See what pains he takes to embarrass the subject in every way. And the answer he does not produce forthwith, it being a useful thing not to do so, but he first stops the disputant's mouth, saying as follows,
Ver. 20. "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?"
This he does to take down the objector's unseasonable inquisitiveness, and excessive curiosity, and to put a check upon it, and teach him to know what God is, and what man, and how incomprehensible His foreknowledge is, and how far above our reason, and how obedience to Him in all points is binding. So when he has made this preparatory step in his hearer, and has hushed and softened down his spirit, then with great felicity he introduces the answer, having made what he says easy of admittance with him. And he does not say, it is impossible to answer questions of this kind, but that (5 mss. No, but what? that) it is presumptuous to raise them. For our business is to obey what God does, not to be curious even if we do not know the reason of them. Wherefore he said, "Who art thou that repliest against God?" You see how very light he makes of him, how he bears down his swelling spirit! "Who art thou?" art thou a sharer of His power? (compare Job xxxviii.) nay, art thou sitting in judgment upon God? Why in comparison with Him thou canst not have a being even! nor this or that sort of being, but absolutely none! For the expression, "who art thou?" doth much more set him at naught than "thou art nothing." And he takes other ways of showing further his indignation in the question, and does not say, "Who art thou that" answerest "God?" but, "that repliest against," that is, that gainsayest, and that opposest. For the saying things ought to be so, and ought not to be so, is what a man does that "replieth against." See how he scares them, how he terrifies them, how he makes them tremble rather than be questioning and curious. This is what an excellent teacher does; he does not follow his disciples' fancy everywhere, but leads them to his own mind, and pulls up the thorns, and then puts the seed in, and does not answer at once in all cases to the questions put to him.
Ver. 20, 2l. "Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus? Hath not the potter (Read Jer. xviii. 1-10) power, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?"
Here it is not to do away with free-will that he says this, but to show, up to what point we ought to obey God. For in respect of calling God to account, we ought to be as little disposed to it as the clay is. For we ought to abstain not from gainsaying or questioning only, but even from speaking or thinking of it at all, and to become like that lifeless matter, which followeth the potter's hands, and lets itself be drawn about anywhere he may please. And this is the only point he applied the illustration to, not, that is, to any enunciation of the rule of life, but to the complete obedience and silence enforced upon us. And this we ought to observe in all cases, that we are not to take the illustrations quite entire, but after selecting the good of them, and that for which they were introduced, to let the rest alone. As, for instance, when he says, "He couched, he lay down as a lion;" (Numb. xxiv. 9) let us take out the indomitable and fearful part, not the brutality, nor any other of the things belonging to a lion. And again, when He says, "I will meet them as a bereaved bear" (Hos. xiii. 8), let us take the vindictiveness. And when he says, "our God is a consuming fire" (Deut. iv. 24; and Heb. xii. 29), the wasting power exerted in punishing. So also here must we single out the clay, the potter, and the vessels. And when he does go on to say, "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?" do not suppose that this is said by Paul as an account of the creation, nor as implying a necessity over the will, but to illustrate the sovereignty and difference of dispensations; for if we do not take it in this way, divers incongruities will follow, for if here he were speaking about the will, and those who are good and those not so, He will be Himself the Maker of these, and man will be free from all responsibility. And at this rate, Paul will also be shown to be at variance with himself, as he always bestows chief honor upon free choice. There is nothing else then which he here wishes to do, save to persuade the hearer to yield entirely to God, and at no time to call Him to account for anything whatever. For as the potter (he says) of the same lump makes what he pleaseth, and no one forbids it; thus also when God, of the same race of men, punisheth some, and honoreth others, be not thou curious nor meddlesome herein, but worship only, and imitate the clay. And as it followeth the hands of the potter, so do thou also the mind of Him that so ordereth things. For He worketh nothing at random, or mere hazard, though thou be ignorant of the secret of His Wisdom. Yet thou allowest the other of the same lump to make divers things, and findest no fault: but of Him you demand an account of His punishments and honors, and will not allow Him to know who is worthy and who is not so; but since the same  lump is of the same substance, you assert that there are the same dispositions. And, how monstrous this is! And yet not even is it on the potter that the honor and the dishonor of the things made of the lump depends, but upon the use made by those that handle them, so here also it depends on the free choice. Still, as I said before, one must take this illustration to have one bearing only, which is that one should not contravene God, but yield to His incomprehensible Wisdom. For the examples ought to be greater than the subject, and than the things on account of which they are brought forward, so as to draw on the hearer better. Since if they were not greater and did not mount far above it, he could not attack as he ought, and shame the objectors. However, their ill-timed obstinacy he silenced in this way with becoming superiority. And then he introduces his answer. Now what is the answer?
Ver. 22, 23, 24. "What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath chosen, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles."
What he means is somewhat as follows. Pharaoh was a vessel of wrath, that is, a man who by his own hard-heartedness had kindled the wrath of God. For after enjoying much long-suffering, he became no better, but remained unimproved. Wherefore he calleth him not only "a vessel of wrath," but also one "fitted for destruction." That is, fully fitted indeed, but by his own proper self.  For neither had God left out aught of the things likely to recover him, nor did he leave out aught of those that would ruin him, and put him beyond any forgiveness. Yet still, though God knew this, "He endured him with much long-suffering," being willing to bring him to repentance. For had He not willed this, then He would not have been thus long-suffering. But as he would not use the long-suffering in order to repentance, but fully fitted himself for wrath, He used him for the correction of others, through the punishment inflicted upon him making them better, and in this way setting forth His power. For that it is not God's wish that His power be so made known, but in another way, by His benefits, namely, and kindnesses, he had shown above in all possible ways. For if Paul does not wish to appear powerful in this way ("not that we should appear approved," he says, "but that ye should do that which is honest,") (2 Cor. xiii. 7), much less doth God. But after that he had shown long-suffering, that He might lead to repentance, but he did not repent, He suffered him a long time, that He might display at once His goodness and His power, even if that man were not minded to gain anything from this great long-suffering. As then by punishing this man, who continued incorrigible, He showed His power, so by having pitied those who had done many sins but repented, He manifested His love toward man. But it does not say, love towards man, but glory, to show that this is especially God's glory, and for this He was above all things earnest. But in saying, "which He had afore prepared unto glory," he does not mean that all is God's doing. Since if this were so, there were nothing to hinder all men from being saved. But he is setting forth again His foreknowledge, and doing away with the difference between the Jews and the Gentiles. And on this topic again he grounds a defence of his statement, which is no small one. For it was not in the case of the Jews only that some men perished, and some were saved, but with the Gentiles also this was the case. Wherefore he does not say, all the Gentiles, but, "of the Gentiles," nor, all the Jews, but, "of the Jews." As then Pharaoh became a vessel of wrath by his own lawlessness, so did these become vessels of mercy by their own readiness to obey. For though the more part is of God, still they also have contributed themselves some little. Whence he does not say either, vessels of well-doing, or vessels of boldness (parresias), but "vessels of mercy," to show that the whole is of God. For the phrase, "it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth," even if it comes in the course of the objection, still, were it said by Paul, would create no difficulty. Because when he says, "it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth," he does not deprive us of free-will, but shows that all is not one's own, for that it requires grace from above. For it is binding on us to will, and also to run: but to confide not in our own labors, but in the love of God toward man. And this he has expressed elsewhere. "Yet not I, but the grace which was with me." (1 Cor. xv. 10.) And he well says, "Which He had afore prepared unto glory." For since they reproached them with this, that they were saved by grace, and thought to make them ashamed, he far more than sets aside this insinuation. For if the thing brought glory even to God, much more to them through whom God was glorified. But observe his forbearance, and unspeakable wisdom. For when he had it in his power to adduce, as an instance of those punished, not Pharaoh, but such of the Jews as had sinned, and so make his discourse much clearer, and show that where there were the same fathers, and the same sins, some perished, and some had mercy shown them, and persuade them not to be doubtful-minded, even if some of the Gentiles were saved, while the Jews were perishing; that he might not make his discourse irksome, the showing forth of the punishment he draws from the foreigner, so that he may not be forced to call them "vessels of wrath." But those that obtained mercy he draws from the people of the Jews. And besides, he also has spoken in a sufficient way in God's behalf, because though He knew very well that the nation was fitting itself as a vessel of destruction, still He contributed all on His part, His patience, His long-suffering, and that not merely long-suffering, but "much long-suffering;" yet still he was not minded to state it barely against the Jews. Whence then are some vessels of wrath, and some of mercy? Of their own free choice. God, however, being very good, shows the same kindness to both. For it was not those in a state of salvation only to whom He showed mercy, but also Pharaoh, as far as His part went. For of the same long-suffering, both they and he had the advantage. And if he was not saved, it was quite owing to his own will: since, as for what concerneth God, he had as much done for him as they who were saved. Having then given to the question that answer which was furnished by facts, in order to give his discourse the advantage of other testimony in its favor, he introduces the prophets also making the same declarations aforetime. For Hosea, he says, of old put this in writing, as follows:
Ver. 25. "I will call them My people, which were not My people; and her beloved, which was not beloved."
Here to prevent their saying, that you are deceiving us here with specious reasoning, he calls Hosea to witness, who crieth and saith, "I will call them My people, who were not My people." (Hos. ii. 23.) Who then are the not-people? Plainly, the Gentiles. And who the not-beloved? The same again. However, he says, that they shall become at once people, and beloved, and sons of God.
Ver. 26. "For even they shall be called," he says, "the children of the living God."
But if they should assert that this was said of those of the Jews who believed, even then the argument stands. For if with those who after so many benefits were hard-hearted and estranged, and had lost their being as a people, so great a change was wrought, what is there to prevent even those who were not estranged after being taken to Him, but were originally aliens, from being called, and, provided they obey, from being counted worthy of the same blessings? Having then done with Hosea, he does not content himself with him only, but also brings Isaiah in after him. sounding in harmony with him.
Ver. 27. "For Esaias," he says, "crieth concerning Israel."
That is, speaks out boldly, and uses no dissimulation. Why then lay a charge against us, when they afore declared the same thing with more than trumpet's loudness? And what does Isaiah cry? "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved." (Is. x. 22.)
Do you see that he too does not say that all are to be saved, but that those that are worthy shall? For I regard not the multitude, he means, nor does a race diffused so far distress me, but those only do I save that yield themselves worthy of it. And he does not mention the "sand of the sea" without a reason, but to remind them of the ancient promise whereof they had made themselves unworthy. Why then are you troubled, as though the promise had failed, when all the Prophets show that it is not all that are to be saved? Then he mentions the mode of the salvation also. Observe the accuracy of the Prophet, and the judgment of the Apostle, what a testimony he has cited, how exceedingly apposite! For it not only shows us that those to be saved are some and not all, but also adds the way they are to be saved. How then are they to be saved, and how will God count them worthy of the benefit?
Ver. 28. "He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness," he says, "because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth." (Ib. 23, LXX.)
What he means then is somewhat of this sort. There is no need of fetching a circuit, and of trouble, and the vexation of the works of the Law, for the salvation is by a very short way. For such is faith, it holds salvation in a few short words. "For if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. x. 9.) Now you see what this, "the Lord shall make a short word (LXX. lit.) upon earth," is. And what is indeed wonderful is, that this short word carries with it not salvation only, but also righteousness.
Ver 29. "And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and had been made like unto Gomorrha." (Is. i. 9.)
Here again he shows another thing, that not even those few were saved from their own resources. For they too would have perished, and met with Sodom's fate, that is, they would have had to undergo utter destruction (for they (of Sodom) were also destroyed root and branch, and left not even the slightest remnant of themselves,) and they too, he means, would have been like these, unless God had used much kindness to them, and had saved them by faith. And this happened also in the case of the visible captivity, the majority having been taken away captive and perished, and some few only being saved.
Ver. 30, 31. "What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness."
Here at last is the clearest answer. For since he had used a proof as well from facts ("for they are not all Israel that are of Israel") as from the case of the forefathers Jacob and Esau, and from the prophets Hosea and Isaiah, he further gives the most decisive answer, after first adding to the perplexity. The points discussed, then, are two; one that the Gentiles attained, and the other that they attained it without following after it, that is, without taking pains about it. And again in the Jews' case also there are two difficulties of the same kind; one that Israel attained not, the other that, though they took pains, they attained not. Whence also his use of words is more emphatical. For he does not say that they had, but that they "attained to righteousness." For what is especially new and unusual is, that they who followed after it attained not, but they which followed not after it attained. And he seems to be indulging them by saying, "followed after." But afterwards he strikes the blow home. For since he had a strong answer to give them, he had no fear of making the objection a little harsher. Hence he doth not speak of faith either, and the righteousness ensuing thereon, but shows that before the faith even, on their own ground they were worsted and condemned. For thou, O Jew, he says, hast not found even the righteousness which was by the Law. For thou hast transgressed it, and become liable to the curse. But these that came not through the Law, but by another road, have found a greater righteousness than this, that, namely, which is of faith. And this he had also said before. "For if Abraham was justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God" (Rom. iv.): so showing that the other righteousness was greater than this. Before, then, I said that there were two difficulties, but now they have even become three questions: that the Gentiles found righteousness, and found it without following after it, and found a greater than that of the Law. These same difficulties are again felt in the Jews' case with an opposite view. That Israel did not find, and though he took pains he did not find, and did not find even the less. Having then thrust his hearer into perplexity, he proceeds to give a concise answer, and tells him the cause of all that is said. When then is the cause?
Ver. 32. "Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the Law."
This is the clearest answer in the passage, which if he had said immediately upon starting he would not have gained so easy a hearing. But since it is after many perplexities, and preparations, and demonstrations that he sets it down, and after using countless preparatory steps, he has at last made it more intelligible, and also more easily admitted. For this he says is the cause of their destruction: "Because it was not by faith, but as it were by the works of the Law," that they wished to be justified. And he does not say, "by works," but, "as it were by the works of the Law," to show that they had not even this righteousness.
"For they stumbled at that stumbling-stone;"
Ver. 33. "As it is written, Behold I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone, and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed."
You see again how it is from faith that the boldness comes, and the gift is universal; since it is not of the Jews only that this is said, but also of the whole human race. For every one, he would say, whether Jew, or Grecian, or Scythian, or Thracian, or whatsoever else he may be, will, if he believes, enjoy the privilege of great boldness. But the wonder in the Prophet is that he foretells not only that they should believe, but also that they should not believe. For to stumble is to disbelieve. As in the former passage he points out them that perish and them that are saved, where he says, "If the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant shall be saved. And, If the Lord of Sabaoth had not left us a seed, we should have been as Sodoma." And, "He hath called not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles;" so here too he implies that some will believe, and some will stumble. But stumbling comes of not taking heed, of gaping after other things. Since then they did give heed to the Law, they stumbled on the stone, "And a stone of stumbling and rock of offence" he calls it from the character and end of those that believe not.
Is then the language used made plain to you? or does it still want much in clearness? I think indeed that, to those who have been attending, it is easy to get a clear view of it. But if it has slipped anybody's memory, you can meet in private, and learn what it was. And this is why I have continued longer upon this explanatory part of the discourse, that I might not be compelled to break off the continuity of the context, and so spoil the clearness of the statements. And for this cause too I will bring my discourse to a conclusion here, without saying anything to you on the more immediately practical points, as I generally do, lest I should make a fresh indistinctness in your memories by saying so much. It is time now to come to the proper conclusion, by shutting up the discourse with the doxology to the God of all. Let us then both pause, me that am speaking and you that are hearing, and offer up glory to Him. For His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
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