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 XXII.Rom. XII. 14
" Bless them which persecute you; bless, and curse not."
After teaching them how they ought to be minded towards one another, and after joining the members closely into one, he next proceeds to lead them forth to the battle without, which he makes easier as from this point. For as he who hath not managed things well with those of his own side, will find more difficulty in arranging affairs with strangers, so he, that has practised himself duly among these, will with the more ease have the advantage of those without also. Hence then Paul also as he goes on in his journey, after the one places the other, and says, "Bless them that persecute you." He did not say, be not spiteful or revengeful, but required something far better. For that a man that was wise might do, but this is quite an angel's part. And after saying "bless," he proceeds, "and curse not," lest we should do both the one and the ether, and not the former only. For they that persecute us are purveyors of a reward to us. But if thou art sober-minded, there will be another reward after that one, which thou wilt gain thyself. For he will yield thee that for persecution, but thou wilt yield thyself the one from the blessing of another, in that thou bringest forth a very great sign of love to Christ. For as he that curseth his persecutor, showeth that he is not much pleased at suffering this for Christ, thus he that blesseth showeth the greatness of his love. Do not then abuse him, that thou thyself mayest gain the greater reward, and mayest teach him that the thing is matter of inclination, not of necessity, of holiday and feast, not of calamity or dejection. For this cause Christ Himself said, "Rejoice when men speak all manner of evil against you falsely." (Matt. v. 11.) Hence too it was that the Apostles returned with joy not from having been evil spoken of only, but also at having been scourged. (Acts v. 40, 41.) For besides what I have mentioned, there will be another gain, and that no small one, that you will make, both the abashing of your adversaries hereby, and instructing of them by your actions that you are travelling to another life; for if he see thee joyous, and elevated, (pteroumenon) from suffering ill, he will see clearly from the actions that thou hast other hopes greater than those of this life. So that if thou dost not so, but weepest and lamentest, how is he to be able to learn from that that thou art tarrying for any other life? And besides this, thou wilt compass yet another thing. For provided he see thee not vexed at the affronts done thee, but even blessing him, he will leave harassing thee. See then how much that is good comes from this, both a greater reward for thyself and a less temptation, and he will forbear persecuting thee, and God too will be glorified: and to him that is in error thy endurance will be instruction in godliness. For this reason it was not those that insult us only, but even those that persecute us and deal despitefully with us, that he bade us requite with the contrary. And now he orders them to bless, but as he goes on, he exhorts them to do them good in deeds also.
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Since it is possible to bless and not to curse, and yet not to do this out of love, he wishes us to be penetrated with the warmth of friendship throughout. And this is why he goes on in these words, that we are not only to bless, but even feel compassion for their pains and sufferings, whenever we happen to see them fallen into trouble. Yes, it will be said, but to join in the sorrows of mourners one can see why he ordered them, but why ever did he command them the other thing, when it is no such great matter? Aye, but that requires more of a high Christian temper, to rejoice with them that do rejoice, than to weep with them that weep. For this nature itself fulfils perfectly: and there is none so hard-hearted as not to weep over him that is in calamity: but the other requires a very noble soul, so as not only to keep from envying, but even to feel pleasure with the person who is in esteem. And this is why he placed it first. For there is nothing that ties love so firmly as sharing both joy and pain one with another. Do not then, because thou art far from difficulties thyself, remain aloof from sympathizing too. For when thy neighbor is ill-treated, thou oughtest to make the calamity thine own. Take share then in his tears, that thou mayest lighten his low spirits. Take share in his joy, that thou mayest make the joy strike deep root, and fix the love firmly, and be of service to thyself rather than to him in so doing, by thy weeping rendering thyself merciful, and by thy feeling his pleasure, purging thyself of envy and grudging. And let me draw your attention to Paul's considerateness. For he does not say, Put an end to the calamity, lest thou shouldest say in many cases (or perchance pollakis) that it is impossible: but he has enjoined the easier task, and that which thou hast in thy power. For even if thou art not able to remove the evil, yet contribute tears, and thou wilt take the worst half away. And if thou be not able to increase a man's prosperity, contribute joy, and thou wilt have made a great addition to it. Therefore it is not abstaining from envy only, but what is a much greater thing that he exhorts us to, namely, joining in the pleasure. For this is a much greater thing than not envying.
Ver. 16. "Be of the same mind one towards another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate."
Here again he insists much upon lowliness of mind, the subject he had started this exhortation with. For there was a probability of their being full of high-mindedness, both on account of their city (see p. 343), and from sundry other causes; he therefore keeps drawing off (huposurei, 2 mss. uporuttei) the morbid matter, and lowers the inflammation. For there is nothing that makes such schisms in the Churches as vanity does. And what does he mean by, "Be of the same mind one towards another?" Has a poor man come into thy house? Be like him in thy bearing, do not put on any unusual pompous air on account of thy riches. There is no rich and poor in Christ. Be not then ashamed of him because of his external dress, but receive him because of his inward faith. And if thou seest him in sorrow, do not disdain to comfort him, nor if thou see him in prosperity, feel abashed at sharing his pleasure, and being gladdened with him, but be of the same mind in his case, that thou wouldest be of in thine own. For it says, "Be of the same mind one towards another." For instance, if thou thinkest thyself a great man, therefore think him so likewise. Dost thou suspect that he is mean and little? Well then, pass this same sentence upon thyself, and cast aside all unevenness. And how is this to be? By thy casting aside that reckless temper. Wherefore he proceeds: "Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate." That is, bring thyself down to their humble condition, associate with them, walk with them, do not be humbled in mind only, but help them also, and reach forth thy hand to them, not by means of others, but in thine own person, as a father taking care of a child, as the head taking care of the body. As he says in another place, "being bound with them that are in bonds." (Heb. xiii. 3.) But here he means by those of low estate not merely the lowly-minded, but those of a low rank, and which one is apt to think scorn of. 
"Be not wise in your own conceits." This is, do not think that you can do for yourselves. Because the Scripture saith in another place besides, "Woe to them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight." (Is. v. 22.) And by this again, he secretly draws off recklessness, and reduces conceit and turgidity. For there is nothing that so elates men and makes them feel different from other people, as the notion that they can do by themselves. Whence also God hath placed us in need one of another, and though thou be wise thou wilt be in need of another: but if thou think that thou art not in need of him, thou wilt be the most foolish and feeble of men. For a man of this sort bares himself of all succor, and in whatever error he may run into, will not have the advantage either of correction or of pardon, and will provoke God by his recklessness, and will run into many errors. For it is the case, aye, and often too, that a wise man does not perceive what is needful, and a man of less shrewdness hits upon somewhat that is applicable. And this happened with Moses and his father-in-law, and with Saul and his servant, and with Isaac and Rebecca. Do not then suppose that you are lowered by needing another man. For this exalts you the more, this makes you the stronger, and the brighter too, and the more secure.
Ver. 17. "Recompense to no man evil for evil."
For if thou findest fault with another who plots against thee, why dost thou make thyself liable to this accusation? If he did amiss how comest thou not to shun imitating him? And observe how he puts no difference here but lays down one law for all. For he does not say, "recompense not evil" to the believer, but to "no man," be he heathen, be he contaminated, or what not. "Provide things honest in the sight of all men."
Ver. 18. "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
This is that: "let your light shine before men" (Matt. v. 16), not that we are to live for vanity, but that we are not to give those who have a mind for it a handle against us. Whence he says also in another place, "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God." (1 Cor. x. 32.) And in what follows he limits his meaning well, by saying, "If it be possible." For there are cases in which it is not possible, as, for instance, when we have to argue about religion, or to contend for those who are wronged. And why be surprised if this be not universally possible in the case of other persons, when even in the case of man and wife he broke through the rule? "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart." (1 Cor. vii. 15.) And his meaning is nearly as follows: Do thine own part, and to none give occasion of war or fighting, neither to Jew nor Gentile. But if you see the cause of religion suffering anywhere, do not prize concord above truth, but make a noble stand even to death. And even then be not at war in soul, be not averse in temper, but fight with the things only. For this is the import of "as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men." But if the other will not be at peace, do not thou fill thy soul with tempest, but in mind be friendly (philos, several mss. philosophos) as I said before, without giving up the truth on any occasion.
Ver. 19. "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath. For it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
Unto what wrath? To the wrath of God. Now since what the injured man desires most to see is, himself having the pleasure of revenge, this very thing he gives him in full measure, that if thou dost not avenge thyself, he means, God will be thy avenger. Leave it then to Him to follow up thy wrongs. For this is the force of "give place unto wrath." Then to give further comfort, he brings the quotation forward also, and after winning him more throughly to himself in this way, he demands more Christian heroism (philosophian) of him, and says:
Ver. 20, 21. "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Why, he means, am I telling you that you must keep peace? For I even insist upon your doing kindness. For he says, "give him to eat, and give him to drink." Then as the command he gave was a very difficult and a great one, he proceeds: "for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head." And this he said both to humble the one by fear, and to make the other more ready-minded through hope of a recompense.  For he that is wronged, when he is feeble, is not so much taken with any goods of his own as with the vengeance upon the person who has pained him. For there nothing so sweet as to see an enemy chastised. What he is longing for, then, that he gives him first, and when he has let the venom go, then he again gives advice of a higher tone, saying, "Be not overcome of evil." For he knew that if the enemy were a very brute, he would not continue an enemy when he had been fed.  And if the man injured be of ever so little  a soul, still when feeding him and giving him to drink, he will not himself even have any farther craving for his punishment. Hence, out of confidence in the result of the action, he does not simply threaten, but even dwells largely upon the vengeance. For he did not say, "thou shalt take vengeance" but, "thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head."  Then he further declares him victor, by saying, "be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." And he gives a kind of gentle hint, that one is not to do it with that intention, since cherishing a grudge still would be "being overcome of evil." But he did not say it at once, as he did not find it advisable yet.  But when he had disburdened the man of his anger, then he proceeded to say, "overcome evil with good." Since this would be a victory. For the combatant is rather then the conqueror, not when he brings himself under to take the blows, but when he withdraws himself, and makes his antagonist waste his strength upon the air. And in this way he will not be struck himself, and will also exhaust the whole of the other's strength. And this takes place in regard to affronts also. For when you do affronts in return, you have the worse, not as overcome (so 1 ms. niketheis, Sav. kinetheis) by a man, but what is far more disgraceful, by the slavish passion of anger. But if you are silent, then you will conquer, and erect a trophy without a fight, and will have thousands to crown you, and to condemn the slander of falsehood. For he that replies, seems to be speaking in return as if stung. And he that is stung, gives reason to suspect that he is conscious of being guilty of what is said of him. But if you laugh at it, by your laughing you do away with the sentence against you. And if you would have a clear proof of what has been said, ask the enemy himself, when he is most vexed? when you are heated, and insult him in return? or when you laugh at him as he insults you? and you will be told the last rather. For he too is not so much pleased with not being insulted in return, as he is vexed because his abuse was not able to gain any hold upon you. Did you never see men in a passion, how they make no great account of their own wounds, but rush on with much violence, and are worse than very wild boars for seeking the hurt of their neighbor, and look to this alone, and are more given to this than to being on their guard against getting harmed? When therefore thou deprivest him of that he desires most, thou bereavest him of everything, by holding him thus cheap, and showing him to be easy to be despised, and a child rather than a man; and thou indeed hast gained the reputation of a wise man, and him dost thou invest with the character of a noisome beast. This too let us do when we are struck, and when we wish to strike, let us abstain from striking again. But, would you give a mortal blow? "Turn to him the other cheek also" (Matt. v. 39), and thou wilt smite him with countless wounds. For they that applaud, and wonder at thee, are more annoying to him than men to stone him would be; and before them, his conscience will condemn him, and will exact the greatest punishment of him, and so he will go off with a confused look as if he had been treated with the utmost rigor. And if it is the estimation of the multitude that you look for, this too you will have in larger share. And in a general way we have a kind of sympathy with those who are the sufferers; but when we also see that they do not strike (several mss. resist, antipiptontas) in return, but even give themselves up to it, we not only pity them, but even feel admiration for them.
Here then I find reason to lament, that we who might have things present, if we listened to Christ's Law as we should, and also attain to things to come, are cast out of both by not paying attention to what has been told us, but giving ourselves to unwarranted philosophising about them. For He has given us laws upon all these points for our good, and has shown us what makes us have a good name, what brings us to disgrace. And if it was likely to have proved His disciples ridiculous, He would not have enjoined this. But since this makes them the most notable of men namely, the not speaking ill, when we have ill spoken of us; the not doing ill when we have ill done us; this was His reason for enjoining it. But if this be so, much more the speaking of good when we have ill spoken of us, and the praising of those that insult us, and the doing good to those that plot against us, will make us so. This then was why He gave these laws. For He is careful for His own disciples, and knowing well what it is that maketh little or great. If then He both careth and knoweth, why dost thou quarrel with Him, and wish to go another road? For conquering by doing ill is one of the devil's laws. Hence in the Olympic games which were celebrated to him  it is so that all the competitors conquer. But in Christ's race this is not the rule about the prize, for, on the contrary, the law is for the person smitten, and not for the person smiting, to be crowned. For such is the character of His race, it has all its regulations the other way; so that it is not in the victory only, but also in the way of the victory, that the marvel is the greater. Now when things which on the other side are signs of a victory, on this side he showeth to be productive of defeat, this is the power of God, this the race of Heaven, this the theatre of Angels. I know that ye are warmed thoroughly now, and are become as soft as any wax, but when ye have gone hence ye will spew it all out. This is why I sorrow, that what we are speaking of, we do not show in our actions, and this too though we should be greatest gainers thereby. For if we let our moderation be seen, we shall be invincible to any man; and there is nobody either great or small, who will have the power of doing us any hurt. For if any one abuseth thee, he has not hurt thee at all, but himself severely. And if again he wrong thee, the harm will be with the person who does the wrong. Did you never notice that even in the courts of law those who have had wrong done them are honored, and stand and speak out with entire freedom, but those who have done the wrong, are bowed down with shame and fear? And why do I talk of evil-speaking (Sav. conj. and 5 mss. kakegorian) and of wrong? For were he even to whet his sword against thee, and to stain his right hand in thy life-blood (eis ton laimon, as p. 505), it is not thee that he hath done any harm to, but himself that he hath butchered. And he will witness what I say who was first taken off thus by a brother's hand. For he went away to the haven without a billow, having gained a glory that dieth not away; but the other lived a life worse than any death, groaning, and trembling, and in his body bearing about the accusation of what he had done. Let us not follow after this then, but that. For he that hath ill done him, has not an evil that taketh up its constant abode with him, since he is not the parent of it; but as he received it from others, he makes it good by his patient endurance. But he that doeth ill, hath the well of the mischief in himself. Was not Joseph in prison, but the harlot that plotted against him in a fine and splendid house? Which then wouldest thou wish to have been? And let me not hear yet of the requital, but examine the things that had taken place by themselves. For in this way thou wilt rate Joseph's prison infinitely above the house with the harlot in it. For if you were to see the souls of them both, you would find the one full of enlargement and boldness, but that of the Egyptian woman in straitness, shame, dejection, confusion, and great despondency. And yet she seemed to conquer; but this was no real victor. Knowing all this then, let us fit ourselves for bearing ills, even that we may be freed from bearing ills, and may attain to the blessings to come. Which that we may all attain to, God grant, by the grace and love toward man, etc.
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers."
Of this subject he makes much account in other epistles also, setting subjects under their rulers as household servants are under their masters. And this he does to show that it was not for the subversion of the commonwealth that Christ introduced His laws, but for the better ordering of it, and to teach men not to be taking up unnecessary and unprofitable wars. For the plots that are formed against us for the truth's sake are sufficient and we have no need to be adding temptations superfluous and unprofitable. And observe too how well-timed his entering upon this subject is. For when he had demanded that great spirit of heroism, and made men fit to deal either with friends or foes, and rendered them serviceable alike to the prosperous and those in adversity and need, and in fact to all, and had planted a conversation worthy of angels, and had discharged anger, and taken down recklessness, and had in every way made their mind even, he then introduces his exhortation upon these matters also. For if it be right to requite those that injure us with the opposite, much more is it our duty to obey those that are benefactors to us. But this he states toward the end of his exhortation, and hitherto does not enter on these reasonings which I mention, but those only that enjoin one to do this as a matter of debt. And to show that these regulations are for all, even for priests, and monks, and not for men of secular occupations only, he hath made this plan at the outset, by saying as follows: "let every soul be subject unto the higher powers," if thou be an Apostle even, or an Evangelist, or a Prophet, or anything whatsoever, inasmuch as this subjection is not subversive of religion. And he does not say merely "obey," but "be subject." And the first claim such an enactment has upon us, and the reasoning that suiteth the faithful, is, that all this is of God's appointment.
"For there is no power," he says, "but of God." What say you? it may be said; is every ruler then elected by God? This I do not say, he answers. Nor am I now speaking about individual rulers, but about the thing in itself. For that there should be rulers, and some rule and others be ruled, and that all things should not just be carried on in one confusion, the people swaying like waves in this direction and that; this, I say, is the work of God's wisdom. Hence he does not say, "for there is no ruler but of God;" but it is the thing he speaks of, and says, "there is no power but of God.  And the powers that be, are ordained of God." Thus when a certain wise man saith, "It is by the Lord that a man is matched with a woman" (Prov. xix. 14, LXX.), he means this, God made marriage, and not that it is He that joineth together every man that cometh to be with a woman. For we see many that come to be with one another for evil, even by the law of marriage, and this we should not ascribe to God. But as He said Himself, "He which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh." (Matt. xix. 4, 5; Gen. ii. 24.) And this is what that wise man meant to explain. For since equality of honor does many times lead to fightings, He hath made many governments and forms of subjection; as that, for instance, of man and wife, that of son and father, that of old men and young, that of bond and free,  that of ruler and ruled, that of master and disciple. And why are you surprised in the case of mankind, when even in the body He hath done the same thing? For even here He hath not made all parts of equal honor, but He hath made one less and another greater, and some of the limbs hath He made to rule and some to be ruled. And among the unreasoning creatures one may notice this same principle, as amongst bees, amongst cranes, amongst herds of wild cattle. And even the sea itself is not without this goodly subordination; for there too many of the clans are ranged under one among the fishes, and are led thus as an army, and make long expeditions from home. For anarchy, be where it may, is an evil, and a cause of confusion. After having said then whence governments come, he proceeds, "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God." See what he has led the subject on to, and how fearful he makes it, and how he shows this to be a matter of debt. For lest the believers should say, You are making us very cheap and despicable, when you put us, who are to enjoy the Kingdom of Heaven, under subjection to rulers, he shows that it is not to rulers, but to God again that he makes them subject in doing this. For it is to Him, that he who subjects himself to authorities is obedient. Yet he does not say this--for instance that it is God to Whom a man who listens to authorities is obedient--but he uses the opposite case to awe them, and gives it a more precise form by saying, that he who listeneth not thereto is fighting with God, Who framed these laws. And this he is in all cases at pains to show, that it is not by way of favor that we obey them, but by way of debt. For in this way he was more likely to draw the governors who were unbelievers to religion, and the believers to obedience. For there was quite a common report in those days (Tert. Ap. 1, 31, 32), which maligned the Apostles, as guilty of a sedition and revolutionary scheme, and as aiming in all they did and said at the subversion of the received institutions. When then you show our common Master giving this in charge to all His, you will at once stop the mouths of those that malign us as revolutionists, and with great boldness will speak for the doctrines of truth. Be not then ashamed, he says, at such subjection. For God hath laid down this law, and is a strong Avenger of them if they be despised. For it is no common punishment that He will exact of thee, if thou disobey, but the very greatest; and nothing will exempt thee, that thou canst say to the contrary, but both of men thou shalt undergo the most severe vengeance, and there shall be no one to defend thee, and thou wilt also provoke God the more. And all this he intimates when he says,
"And they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." Then to show the gain of the thing after the fear, he uses reasons too to persuade them as follows:
Ver. 3. "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil."
For when he has given a deep wound, and stricken them down, he again uses gentler treatment, like a wise physician, who applies soothing medicines, and he comforts them, and says, why be afraid? why shudder? For does he punish a person that is doing well? Or is he terrible to a person who lives in the practice of virtue? Wherefore also he proceeds, "Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shall have praise of the same." You see how he has made him friends (hokeiosen) with the ruler, by showing that he even praises him from his throne. You see how he has made wrath unmeaning.
Ver. 4. "For he is the minister of God to thee for good."
So far is he from terrifying thee, he says, that he even praises thee: so far from being a hindrance to thee, that he even works with thee. When then thou hast his praise and his succor, how is it that thou art not in subjection to him? For he maketh virtue easier for thee in other ways also, by chastising the wicked, by benefiting and honoring  the good, and by working together with the will of God. Whence too he has even given him the name of "Minister."  And consider: I give you counsel to be sober-minded, and he, by the laws, speaks the same language. I exhort you not to be rapacious and grasping. And he sits in judgment in such cases, and so is a worker together with us, and an assistant to us, and has been commissioned by God for this end.  Hence there are both reasons for reverencing him, both because he was commissioned by God, and because it was for such an object. "But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid." It is not then the ruler that maketh the fear, but our own wickedness.
"For he beareth not the sword in vain." You see how he hath furnished him with arms, and set him on guard like a soldier, for a terror to those that commit sin. "For he is the minister of God to execute wrath, a revenger upon him that doeth evil." Now lest you should start off at hearing again of punishment, and vengeance, and a sword, he says again that it is God's law he is carrying out. For what if he does not know it himself? yet it is God that hath so shaped things (houtos etuposen). If then, whether in punishing, or in honoring, he be a Minister, in avenging virtue's cause, in driving vice away, as God willeth, why be captious against him, when he is the cause of so many good doings, and paves the way for thine too? since there are many who first practised virtue through the fear of God. For there are a duller sort, whom things to come have not such a hold upon as things present. He then who by fear and rewards gives the soul of the majority a preparatory turn towards its becoming more suited for the word of doctrine, is with good reason called "the Minister of God."
Ver. 5. "Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath but also for conscience sake."
What is the meaning of, "not only for wrath?" It means not only because thou dost resist God by not being subject, nor only because thou art procuring great evils for thyself, both from God and the rulers, but also because he is a benefactor to thee in things of the greatest importance, as he procures peace to thee, and the blessings of civil institutions. For there are countless blessings to states through these authorities; and if you were to remove them, all things would go to ruin, and neither city nor country, nor private nor public buildings, nor anything else would stand, but all the world will be turned upside down, while the more powerful devour the weaker. And so even if some wrath were not to follow man's disobedience, even on this ground thou oughtest to be subject, that thou mayest not seem devoid of conscience and feeling towards the benefactor.
Ver. 6. "For, for this cause pay ye tribute also; for they are God's ministers, attending continually on this very thing."
Without going one by one into the benefits done to states by the rulers, as that of good order and peace, the other services, as regarding the soldiery, and those over the public business, he shows the whole of this by a single case. For that thou art benefited by him, he means, thou bearest witness thyself, by paying him a salary. Observe the wisdom and judgment of the blessed Paul. For that which seemed to be burdensome and annoying--the system of imposts--this he turns into a proof of their care for men. What is the reason, he means, that we pay tribute to a king? It is not as providing for us? And yet we should not have paid it unless we had known in the first instance that we were gainers from this superintendence. Yet it was for this that from of old all men came to an agreement that governors should be maintained by us, because to the neglect of their own affairs, they take charge of the public,  and on this they spend their whole leisure, whereby our goods also are kept safe. After saying then what the external goods are, he again averts to the former line of argument (for in this way he was more likely to attract the believer to him), and he shows again that this is God's decree, and on it he makes his advice rest finally, in these words, "they are God's ministers." Then to show the pains they take, and their hard life, he proceeds,
"Waiting continually upon this very thing."
For this is their life, this their business, that thou mayest enjoy peace. Wherefore in another Epistle, he bids them not only be subject, but also "pray" in their behalf. And as showing there too that the advantage was common to all, he adds, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all things."  (1 Tim. ii. 1, 2.) For it is in no small degree that they contribute to the settled state of the present life, by keeping guard, beating off enemies, hindering those who are for sedition in the cities, putting an end to differences among any. For do not tell me of some one who makes an ill use of the thing, but look to the good order that is in the institution itself, and you will see the great wisdom of Him who enacted this law from the first.
Ver. 7, 8. "Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. Owe (or ye owe) no man anything, but to love one another."
He still keeps upon the same line, bidding them pay them not money only, but honor and fear. And how is it when he said above, "Wilt thou not be afraid of the power? do that which is good;" that he here says "render fear?" He does it meaning exceeding honor, and not the fear which comes from a bad conscience, which he alluded to before. And it is not "give," that he says, but "render" (or "give back," apodote), and then adds to it, the "dues." For it is not a favor that you confer by so doing, since the thing is matter of due. And if you do it not, you will be punished as obstinate. Do not suppose that you are lowering yourself, and detracting from the dignity of your own philosophy, if you rise up at the presence of a ruler, or if you uncover your head. For if he laid these laws down at that time, when the rulers were Gentiles, much more ought this to be done with them now they are believers. But if you mean to say, that you are entrusted with greater privileges, be informed that this is not thy time. For thou art a stranger and a sojourner. A time will be when thou shalt appear brighter than all. Now thy "life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col. iii. 3, 4.) Seek not then in this life of accidents thy change, but even if thou hast to be with fear in a ruler's presence, do not think that this is unworthy thy noble birth. For so God willeth, that the ruler who has his place marked  by Him, should have his own power. And when he who is conscious of no evil in himself, stands with fear in the judge's presence, much more will he who doth evil things be affrighted, and thou in this way wilt be the more respected. For it is not from honoring that the lowering of self comes but from dishonoring him. And the ruler will treat thee with greater respect, and he will glorify thy Master owing to this, even if he be an unbeliever. "Owe  no man anything, but to love one another." Again he has recourse to the mother of good deeds, and the instructress of the things spoken of, who is also productive of every virtue, and says that this is a debt also, not however such as the tribute or the custom, but a continuous one. For he does not wish it ever to be paid off, or rather he would have it always rendered, yet never fully so, but to be always owing. For this is the character of the debt, that one keeps giving and owing always. Having said then how he ought to love, he also shows the gain of it, saying,
"For he that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law."
And do not, pray, consider even this a favor; for this too is a debt. For thou owest love to thy brother, through thy spiritual relationship. And not for this only, but also because "we are members one of another." And if love leave us, the whole body is rent in pieces. Love therefore thy brother. For if from his friendship thou gainest so much as to fulfil the whole Law, thou owest him love as being benefited by him.
Ver. 9. "For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,  and any other commandment, is briefly comprehended in this saying, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
He does not say merely it is fulfilled, but "it is briefly comprehended,"  that is, the whole work of the commandments is concisely and in a few words completed. For the beginning and the end of virtue is love. This it has for its root, this for its groundwork, this for its summit. If then it be both beginning and fulfilment, what is there equal to it? But he does not seek love merely, but intense love. For he does not say merely "love thy neighbor," but, "as thyself." Hence also Christ said  that "the Law and the Prophets hang upon" it. And in making two kinds of love, see how He has raised this! For after saying that the first commandment is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," He added a second;  and He did not stay, but added, "like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." What can be equal to this love to man, or this gentleness? That when we were at infinite distance from Him, He brings the love to us into comparison with that toward Himself, and says that "is like unto this." Hence then, to put the measures of either as nearly the same, of the one He says, "with all thy heart, and with all thy soul," but of this towards one's neighbor, He says, "as thyself." But Paul said, that when this did not exist even the other was of no great profit to us. As then we, when we are fond of any one, say, if you love him, then you love me; so He also to show this saith, "is like unto it;" and to Peter, "If thou lovest Me, feed My sheep." (John xxi. 16.)
Ver. 10. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law."
Observe how it has both virtues, abstinence from evils (for it "worketh no ill," he says), and the working of good deeds. "For it is," he says, "the fulfilling (or filling up) of the Law;" not bringing before us instruction only on moral duties in a concise form, but making the accomplishment of them easy also. For that we should become acquainted with things profitable to us was not all that he was careful for (which is the Law's care), but also with a view to the doing of them it brought us great assistance; accomplishing not some part of the commandments, but the whole sum of virtue in us. Let us then love one another, since in this way we shall also love God,  Who loveth us. For in the case of men, if you love a man's beloved, he that loveth him is contentious at it. But here He deemeth thee worthy to share His love, and hateth thee when thou sharest not. For man's love is laden with envy and grudging;  but God's is free from all passion, whence also He seeketh for those to share His love. For He says, love thou with Me, and then thyself also will I love the more. You see the words of a vehement lover! If thou love My beloved, then will I also reckon Myself to be greatly beloved of thee. For He vehemently desireth our salvation, and this He showed from of old. Now hear what He saith when He was forming the man, "Let Us make man in Our Image:" and again, "Let Us  make an help meet for him. It is not good for him to be alone." (Gen. i. 26.) And when he had transgressed, He rebuked him, observe how gently;  and He does not say, Wretch! thou very wretch! after receiving so great benefits, hast thou after all trusted to the devil? and left thy Benefactor, to take up with the evil spirit? But what saith He? "Who told thee that thou art naked, unless thou hast eaten of the Tree, from which alone I commanded thee not to eat?" (ib. iii. 11.) As if a father were to say to a child, who was ordered not to touch a sword, and then disobeyed and got wounded, "How camest thou wounded? Thou camest so by not listening to me." You see they are the words of a friend rather than a master, of a friend despised, and not even then forsaking. Let us then imitate Him, and when we rebuke, let us preserve this moderation. For even the woman He also rebuketh again with the same gentleness. Or rather what He said was not so much rebuke as admonition and correction, and security against the future. This is why He saith nothing  to the serpent. For he was the designer of the mischiefs, and had it not in his power to put off the accusation on any one else, wherefore He punished him severely: and even here He did not come to a pause, but made the earth also to share in the curse. But if He cast them out of paradise, and condemned them to labor, even for this we ought to adore and reverence Him the most. For since self-indulgence issues in listlessness, He trenches upon the pleasure by building a fort of pain against listlessness, that we may return to the love of Him. And what of Cain's case? Doth he not meet with the same gentleness? For being by him also insulted, He doth not reproach (same word as insult) in return, but entreats, (or comforts) him, and says, "Why is thy countenance fallen?" (Gen. iv. 6.) And yet what he had done allowed of no excuse whatever. And this the younger brother shows. But still even then He doth not rebuke him: but what saith He? "Hast thou sinned: keep peace;" "do so no more." "To thee shall his turning be, and thou shalt rule over him"  (ib. 7, LXX.), meaning his brother. "For if thou art afraid, lest for this sacrifice," He means, "I should deprive thee of the preëminence of the first-born, be of good cheer, for the entire command over him do I put into thy hands. Only be thou better, and love him that hath done thee no wrong; for I have an interest in you both. And what maketh Me most glad is, that ye be not at variance one with another." For as a devoted mother, so doth God do and plan everything to keep one from being torn from another; but that you may get a clearer view, by an example, of my meaning, call to your mind, pray, Rebecca in her trouble, and running about everywhere, when the elder son was at enmity with the younger. For if she loved Jacob, still she did not feel averse to Esau. And therefore she said, Lest by any means "I be deprived of both of you, my children, in one day." (ib. xxvii. 45.) Therefore also God upon that occasion said, "Thou hast sinned: be at peace: unto thee shall his turning be" (ib. iv. 7), so repressing the murder beforehand, and aiming at the peace of them both. But when he had murdered him, He did not even then bring His care for him to a close, but again answers the fratricide in gentle terms, saying, "Where is thy brother Abel?" that even now, if he would, he might make a full confession. But he struggled in defence of his former misdeeds, with a greater and sadder shamelessness. But even then God doth not leave him, but again speaks the language of an iujured and despised lover, and says, "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me." (Gen. iv. 10.) And again He rebukes the earth with the murderer, turning His wrath off to it, and saying, "Cursed be the earth, which opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood" (ib. ii.); and doing like those who lament (anakalhountas), as David also did when Saul was fallen. For he made an address to the mountains which received him as he died, in the words, "Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there fall on you neither rain nor dew, because there were the shields of the mighty cast away." (2 Sam. i. 21.) And thus God also, as though singing some solitary dirge (monodian), saith, "The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto Me; and now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand." And this He said to humble his fiery passion, and to persuade him to love him at least now he was gone. Hast thou extinguished his life? He would say; why dost thou not now extinguish the hatred also? But what doth He do? He loveth both the one and the other, since He made them both. What then?  doth (4 mss. will) He let the murderer go unpunished? Nay, he would but have grown worse. Will He punish him then? Nay, He hath more tenderness than a father. See then how He at once punisheth and also displays, even in this, His love. Or rather, He doth not so much as punish, but only corrects. For He doth not kill him, but only fetters him with trembling, that he may divest himself of the crime, that so at least he may come back to a natural tenderness for the other, and that so at last he may make a truce with him now he hath gone; for He were fain he should not go away to the other world in enmity with him that was deceased. This is the way wherein they that love, when in doing acts of kindness they meet with no love in return, are led on to be vehement and to threaten, not with their will indeed, but led by their love to do this: that at least in this way they may win over those that scorn them. Yet affection of this sort is one of compulsion, and still this even solaces them, through the vehemency of their love. And so punishment itself comes from affection, since unless pained at being hated, they would not choose to punish either. Now observe, how this is what Paul says to the Corinthians. For "who is he" (says he) "that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?" (2 Cor. ii. 2.) And so when he is going to the full extent of punishment, then he shows his love. Thus the Egyptian woman too, from her vehement love, as vehemently punished Joseph: and she indeed did so for mischief, the love being unchaste; but God for good, since the love was worthy of Him who loved. This is why He does not refuse even to condescend to grosser words, and to speak the names of human passions, and to call Himself jealous. For "I am a jealous God" (Ex. xx. 5), He saith, that you may learn the intenseness of the love. Let us then love Him as He would have us: for He sets great store thereby. And if we turn away, He keepeth inviting us, and if we will not be converted, He chasteneth us through His affection, not through a wish to exact punishment of us. And see what He saith in Ezekiel to the city that was beloved, yet had despised Him. "I will bring thy lovers against thee, and will deliver thee into their hands, and they shall stone thee, and shall slay thee, and My jealousy shall be taken away from thee, and I will rest, and I will not trouble Myself any more." (From Ezek. xvi. 37-42.) What more than this could a vehement lover have said, when despised by his beloved, and after all again ardently loving her? For God doeth everything that He may be loved by us, and owing to this He spared not even His Son. But we are unbending, and savage. Yet let us become gentle at last, and love God as we ought to love Him, that we may with pleasure enjoy virtue. For if any that hath a beloved wife does not perceive any of the vexations that come day by day, He that loveth with this divine and pure love, only consider what great pleasure he will have to enjoy! For this is, indeed it is, the kingdom of Heaven; this is fruition of good things, and pleasure, and cheerfulness, and joy, and blessedness. Or rather, say as many things as I may, I shall still be unable to give you any such representation of it as should be, but the trial of it alone can give a knowledge of this goodly thing. Wherefore also the Prophet saith, "Delight thyself in the Lord" (Ps. xxxvii. 4), and, "Taste and see that the Lord is gracious." (Ib. xxxiv. 8.) Let us then be persuaded, and indulge ourselves in His love. For in this way we shall both see His Kingdom even from out of this life, and shall be living the life of Angels, and while we abide on earth, we shall be in as goodly a condition as they that dwell in heaven; and after our departing hence, shall stand the brightest of beings by the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall enjoy that glory unutterable, which may we all attain unto, by the grace and love toward man of our Lord Jesus Christ. For to Him is the glory forever, Amen.
"And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep."
Since he had given them what commands were fitting, he again thrusts them on to the performance of good works, in consideration of what was pressing upon them. For the time of judgment, he means, is at the doors. So too he wrote to the Corinthians also, "The remaining time is short.  " (1 Cor. vii. 29.) And to the Hebrews again, "For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." (Heb. x. 37.) But in those cases it was to cheer those in trouble, and to solace the toils of their closely successive temptations, that he said those things: but in the passage before us he does it to rouse those that are asleep, this language being useful to us for both the purposes: and what is that which he says, "Now it is high time to awake out of sleep?" It is, that near is the Resurrection, near the awful Judgment, and the day that burneth as a furnace, near. Henceforward then we must be free from our listlessness; "for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."  You see how he puts the Resurrection now close by them. For as the time advances, he means, the season of our present life is wasting away, and that of the life to come waxes nearer. If then thou be prepared, and hast done all whatsoever He hath commanded, the day is salvation to thee (3 mss. and Cat. soteria soi); but if the contrary, not so. For the present however, it is not upon alarming grounds that he exhorts them, but upon kindly ones, thus also to untie them from their fellow-feeling for the things of this present world. Then since it was not unlikely, that in the beginning of their early endeavors they would be most earnest, in that their desire was then at its full vigor, but that as the time went on, the whole of their earnestness would wither down to nothing; he says that they ought however to be doing the reverse, not to get relaxed as time went on, but to be the more full of vigor. For the nearer the King may be at hand, the more ought they to get themselves in readiness; the nearer the prize is, the more wide awake ought they to be for the contest, since even the racers do this, when they are upon the end of the course, and towards the receiving of the prize, then they rouse themselves up the more. This is why he said, "Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."
Ver. 12. "The night is far spent, the day is at hand."
If then this is upon ending, and the latter is drawing near, let us henceforth do what belongs to the latter, not to the former. For this is what is done in the things of this life. And when we see the night pressing on towards the morning, and hear the swallow twittering, we each of us awake our neighbor, although it be night still. But so soon as it is actually departing, we hasten one another, and say It is day now! and we all set about the works of the day, dressing, and leaving our dreams, and shaking our sleep thoroughly off, that the day may find us ready, and we may not have to begin getting up, and stretching ourselves, when the sunlight is up. What then we do in that case, that let us do here also. Let us put off imaginings, let us get clear of the dreams of this life present, let us lay aside its deep slumber, and be clad in virtue for garments. For it is to point out all this that he says,
"Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light."
Yes, for the day is calling us to battle-array, and to the fight. Yet fear not at hearing of array and arms. For in the case of the visible suit of armor, to put it on is a heavy and abhorred task. But here it is desirable, and worth being prayed for. For it is of Light the arms are! Hence they will set thee forth brighter than the sunbeam, and giving out a great glistening, and they place thee in security: for they are arms, and glittering do they make thee: for arms of light are they! What then, is there no necessity for thee to fight? yea, needful is it to fight, yet not to be distressed and toil. For it is not in fact war, but a solemn dance and feast-day, such is the nature of the arms, such the power of the Commander. And as the bridegroom goes forth with joyous looks from his chamber, so doth he too who is defended with these arms. For he is at once soldier and bridegroom. But when he says, "the day is at hand," he does not even allow it to be but near, but puts it even now beside us. For he says,
"Let us walk becomingly," (A.V. honestly, in this sense) "as in the day." For day it already is. And what most people insist upon very much in their exhortations, that he also uses to draw them on, the sense of the becoming. For they had a great regard to the esteem of the multitude.  And he does not say, walk ye, but let us walk, so making the exhortation free from anything grating, and the reproof gentle.
"Not in rioting and drunkenness." Not that he would forbid drinking, but the doing it immoderately; not the enjoying of wine, but doing it to excess (meta paroinias). As also the next thing he states likewise with the same measure, in the words,
"Not in chambering and wantonness;" for here also he does not prohibit the intercourse of the sexes, but committing fornication. "Not in strife and envying." It is the deadly kind of passions then that he is for extinguishing, lust, namely, and anger. Wherefore it is not themselves only, but even the sources of them that he removes. For there is nothing that so kindles lust, and inflames wrath, as drunkenness, and sitting long at the wine. Wherefore after first saying, "not in rioting and drunkenness," then he proceeded with, "not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying." And even here he does not pause, but after stripping us of these evil garments, hear how he proceeds to ornament us, when he says,
Ver. 14. "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ."
He no longer speaks of works, but he rouses them to greater things. For when he was speaking of vice, he mentioned the works of it: but when of virtue, he speaks not of works, but of arms, to show that virtue putteth him that is possessed of it into complete safety, and complete brightness. And even here he does not pause, but leading his discourse on to what was greater, a thing far more awestriking; he gives us the Lord Himself for a garment, the King Himself: for he that is clad with Him, hath absolutely all virtue.  But in saying, "Put ye on," he bids us be girt about with Him upon every side. As in another place he says, "But if Christ be in you." (Rom. viii. 10.) And again, "That Christ may dwell in the inner man." (Eph. iii. 16, 17, al. punct.) For He would have our soul to be a dwelling for Himself, and Himself to be laid round about us as a garment, that He may be unto us all things both from within and from without. For He is our fulness; for He is "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all" (ib. i. 23): and the Way, and the Husband, and the Bridegroom;--for "I have espoused you as a chaste virgin to one husband," (2 Cor. xi. 2): and a root, and drink, and meat, and life;--for he says, "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;" (Gal. ii. 20) and Apostle, and High-Priest, and Teacher, and Father, and Brother, and Joint-heir, and sharer of the tomb and Cross;--for it says, "We were buried together with Him," and "planted together in the likeness of His Death" (Rom. vi. 4, 5): and a Suppliant;--"For we are ambassadors in Christ's stead" (2 Cor. v. 20): and an "Advocate to the Father;"--for "He also maketh," it says, "intercession for us:" (Rom. viii. 34) and house and inhabitant;--for He says, "He that abideth in Me and I in Him" (John xv. 5): and a Friend; for, "Ye are My friends" (ib. 14): and a Foundation, and Corner-stone. And we are His members and His heritage, and building, and branches, and fellow-workers. For what is there that He is not minded to be to us, when He makes us cleave and fit on to Him in every way? And this is a sign of one loving exceedingly. Be persuaded then, and rousing thee from sleep, put Him on, and when thou hast done so, give thy flesh up to His bridle. For this is what he intimates in saying,
"And make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof." For as he does not forbid drinking, but drinking to excess, not marrying, but doing wantonness; so too he does not forbid making provision for the flesh either, but doing so with a view "to fulfil the lusts thereof," as, for instance, by going beyond necessaries. For that he does bid make provision for it, hear from what he says to Timothy, "Use a little wine for thy stom- ach's sake, and thine often infirmities." (1 Tim. v. 23.) So here too he is for taking care of it, but for health, and not wantonness. For this would cease to be making provision for it, when you were lighting up the flame, when you were making the furnace powerful. But that you may form a clearer notion what "making provision" for it "to fulfil the lusts thereof" is, and may shun such a provision, just call to mind the drunken, the gluttonous, those that pride themselves in dress, those that are effeminate, them that live a soft and relaxed life, and you will see what is meant. For they do everything not that they may be healthy, but that they may be wanton and kindle desire. But do thou, who hast put on Christ, prune away all those things, and seek for one thing only, to have thy flesh in health. And to this degree do make provision for it, and not any further, but spend all thy industry on the care of spiritual things. For then you will be able to rouse yourself out of this sleep, without being weighed down with these manifold desires. For the present life is a sleep, and the things in it are no way different from dreams. And as they that are asleep often speak and see things other than healthful, so do we also, or rather we see much worse even. For he that doeth anything disgraceful or says the like in a dream,  when he is rid of his sleep, is rid of his disgrace, also, and is not to be punished. But in this case it is not so, but the shame, and also the punishment, are immortal. Again, they that grow rich in a dream, when it is day are convicted of having been rich to no purpose. But in this case even before the day the conviction often comes upon them, and before they depart to the other life, those dreams have flown away.
Let us then shake off this evil sleep, for if the day find us sleeping, a deathless death will succeed, and before that day we shall be open to the attacks of all the enemies that are of this world, both men and devils: and if they be minded to undo us, there is nobody to hinder them. For if there were many watching, then the danger would not be so great; since however, one perhaps there is, or two, who have lighted a candle, and would be as it were watching in the depth of night, while men were sleeping; therefore now we have need of much sleeplessness, much guardedness, to prevent our falling into the most irremediable evils. Doth it not now seem to be broad daylight? do we not think that all men are awake and sober? yet still (and perhaps you will smile at what I say, still say it I will) we seem all of us like men sleeping and snoring in the depth of night. And if indeed an incorporeal being could be seen, I would show you how most men are snoring, and the devil breaking through walls, and butchering us as we lie, and stealing away the goods within, doing everything fearlessly, as if in profound darkness. Or rather, even if it be impossible to see this with our eyes, let us sketch it out in words, and consider how many have been weighed down by evil desires, how many held down by the sore evil of wantonness, and have quenched the light of the Spirit. Hence it comes that they see one thing instead of another, hear one thing instead of another, and take no notice of any of the things here told them. Or if I am mistaken in saying so, and thou art awake, tell me what has been doing here this day, if thou hast not been hearing this as a dream. I am indeed aware that some can tell me (and I do not mean this of all); but do thou who comest under what has been said, who hast come here to no purpose, tell me what Prophet, what Apostle hath been discoursing to us to-day? and on what subjects? And thou wouldest not have it in thy power to tell me. For thou hast been talking a great deal here, just as in a dream, without hearing the realities. And this I would have said to the women too, as there is a great deal of sleeping amongst them. And would it were sleep! For he that is asleep says nothing either good or bad. But he that is awake as ye are puts forth many a word even for mischief on his own head, telling his interest, casting up his creditor accounts, calling to memory some barefaced bargaining, planting the thorns thick in his own soul, and not letting the seed make even ever so little advance. But rouse thyself, and pull these thorns up by the roots, and shake the drunkenness off: for this is the cause of the sleep. But by drunkenness I mean, not that from wine only, but from worldly thoughts, and with them that from wine also. (See p. 443.) And this advice  I am giving not to the rich only, but the poor too, and chiefly those that club together for social parties. For this is not really indulgence or relaxation, but punishment and vengeance. For indulgence lies not in speaking filthy things, but in talking solemnly, in being filled, not being ready to burst. But if thou thinkest this is pleasure, show me the pleasure by the evening! Thou canst not! And hitherto I say nothing of the mischiefs it leads to, but at present have only been speaking to you of the pleasure that withers away so quickly. For the party is no sooner broken up, than all that went for mirth is flown away. But when I come to mention the spewing, and the headaches, and the numberless disorders, and the soul's captivity, what have you to say to all this? Have we any business, because we are poor, to behave ourselves unseemly too? And in saying this I do not forbid your meeting together, or taking your suppers at a common table, but to prevent your behaving unseemly, and as wishing indulgence to be really indulgence, and not a punishment, nor a vengeance, or drunkenness and revelling. Let the Gentiles (hellenes) see that Christians know best how to indulge, and to indulge in an orderly way. For it says, "Rejoice in the Lord with trembling." (Ps. ii. 11.) But how then can one rejoice? Why, by saying hymns, making prayers, introducing psalms in the place of those low songs. Thus will Christ also be at our table, and will fill the whole feast with blessing, when thou prayest, when thou singest spiritual songs, when thou invitest the poor to partake of what is set before thee, when thou settest much orderliness and temperance over the feast. So thou wilt make the party a Church,  by hymning, in the room of ill-timed shouts and cheers, the Master of all things. And tell me not, that another custom has come to prevail, but correct what is thus amiss. "For whether ye eat," it says, "or whether ye drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. x. 31.) For from banquets of that sort you have evil desires, and impurities, and wives come to be in disrepute, and harlots in honor among you. Hence come the upsetting of families and evils unnumbered, and all things are turned upside down, and ye have left the pure fountain, and run to the conduit of mire. For that an harlot's body is mire, I do not enquire of any one else but of thine own self that wallowest in the mire, if thou dost not feel ashamed of thyself, if thou dost not think thyself unclean after the sin is over. Wherefore I beseech you flee fornication, and the mother of it, drunkenness. Why sow where reaping is impossible, or rather even if thou dost reap, the fruit brings thee great shame? For even if a child be born, it at once disgraces thyself, and has itself had injustice done it in being born through thee illegitimate and base. And if thou leave it never so much money, both the son of an harlot, and that of a servant-maid, is disreputable at home, disreputable in the city, disreputable in a court of law: disreputable too wilt thou be also, both in thy lifetime, and when dead. For if thou have departed even, the memorials of thy unseemliness abide. Why then bring disgrace upon all these? Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? where there are many efforts at abortion? where there is murder before the birth? for even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makest her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevent its being born.  Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? For with a view to drawing more money by being agreeable and an object of longing to her lovers, even this she is not backward to do, so heaping upon thy head a great pile of fire. For even if the daring deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine. Hence too come idolatries, since many, with a view to become acceptable, devise incantations, and libations, and love-potions, and countless other plans. Yet still after such great unseemliness, after slaughters, after idolatries, the thing seems to many to belong to things indifferent, aye, and to many that have wives too. Whence the mingle (phorutos) of mischief is the greater. For sorceries  are applied not to the womb that is prostituted, but to the injured wife, and there are plottings without number, and invocations of devils, and necromancies, and daily wars, and truceless fightings, and home-cherished jealousies. Wherefore also Paul, after saying, "not in chamberings and wantonness," proceeds, "not in strife and envying," as knowing the wars that result therefrom; the upsetting of families, the wrongs done to legitimate children, the other ills unnumbered. That we may then escape from all these, let us put on Christ, and be with Him continually. For this is what putting Him on is; never being without Him, having Him evermore visible in us, through our sanctification, through our moderation. So we say of friends, such an one is wrapped up (enedusato) in such another, meaning their great love, and keeping together incessantly. For he that is wrapped up in anything, seems to be that which he is wrapped in. Let then Christ be seen in every part of us. And how is He to be seen? If thou doest His deeds. And what did He do? "The Son of Man," He says, "hath not where to lay His head." (Luke ix. 58.) This do thou also aim after.  He needed the use of food, and He fared upon barley loaves. He had occasion to travel, and there were no horses or beast of burden anywhere, but He walked so far as even to be weary. He had need of sleep, and He lay "asleep upon the pillow in the fore (prumne, here proras) part of the ship." (Mark iv. 38.) There was occasion for sitting down to meat, and He bade them lie down upon the grass. And His garments were cheap; and often He stayed alone, with no train after Him. And what He did on the Cross, and what amidst the insults, and all, in a word, that He did, do thou learn by heart (katamathon) and imitate. And so wilt thou have put on Christ, if thou "make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof." For the thing has no real pleasure, since these lusts gender again others more keen, and thou wilt never find satisfaction, but wilt only make thee one great torment. For as one who is in a continual thirst, even if he have ten thousand fountains hard by him, gets no good from this, as he is not able to extinguish the disorder, so is he that liveth continually in lusts. But if thou keep to what is necessary, thou wilt never come to have this fear, but all those things will go away, as well drunkenness as wantonness. Eat then only so much as to break thy hunger, have only so much upon thee as to be sheltered, and do not curiously deck thy flesh with clothing, lest thou ruin it. For thou wilt make it more delicate, and wilt do injury to its healthfulness, by unnerving it with so much softness. That thou mayest have it then a meet vehicle for the soul, that the helmsman may be securely seated over the rudder, and the soldier handle his arms with ease, thou must make all parts to be fitly framed together. For it is not the having much, but requiring little, that keeps us from being injured. For the one man is afraid even if he is not wronged: this other, even if he be wronged, is in better case than those that have not been wronged, and even for this very thing is in the better spirits. Let the object of our search be then, not how we can keep any one from using us spitefully, but how even if he wish to do it, he may be without the power. And this there is no other source whence to obtain, save by keeping to necessaries, and not coveting anything more. For in this way we shall be able to enjoy ourselves here, and shall attain to the good things to come, by the grace and love toward man, etc.
"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things; another, who is weak, eateth herbs."
I Am aware that to most what is here said is a difficulty. And therefore I must first give the subject of the whole of this passage, and what he wishes to correct in writing this. What does he wish to correct then? There were many of the Jews which believed, who adhered of conscience to the Law, and after their believing, still kept to the observance of meats, as not having courage yet to quit the service of the Law entirely. Then that they might not be observed if they kept from swine's flesh only, they abstained in consequence from all flesh, and ate herbs only, that what they were doing might have more the appearance of a fast than of observance of the Law.  Others again were farther advanced, (teleioteroi) and kept up no one thing of the kind, who became to those, who did keep them, distressing and offensive, by reproaching them, accusing them, driving them to despondency. Therefore the blessed Paul, out of fear lest, from a wish to be right about a trifle, they should overthrow the whole, and from a wish to bring them to indifferency about what they ate, should put them in a fair way for deserting the faith, and out of a zeal to put everything right at once, before the fit opportunity was come, should do mischief on vital points, so by this continual rebuking setting them adrift from their agreement in (homologias eis) Christ, and so they should remain not righted in either respect: observe what great judgment he uses and how he concerns himself with both interests with his customary wisdom. For neither does he venture to say to those who rebuke, Ye are doing amiss, that he may not seem to be confirming the other in their observances; nor again, Ye are doing right, lest he should make them the more vehement accusers: but he makes his rebuke to square with each. And in appearance he is rebuking the stronger, but he pours forth all he has to say  against the other in his address to these. For the kind of correction most likely to be less grating is, when a person addresses some one else, while he is striking a blow at a different person, since this does not permit the person rebuked to fly into a passion, and introduces the medicine of correction unperceived. See now with what judgment he does this, and how well-timed he is with it. For after saying, "make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof," then he proceeds to the discussion of these points, that he might not seem to be speaking in defence of those who were the rebukers, and were for eating of anything. For the weaker part ever requires more forethought. Wherefore he aims his blow against the strong, immediately saying as follows, "Him that is weak in the faith." You see one blow immediately given to him. For by calling him weak (asthenhounta), he points out that he is not healthy (arroston). Then he adds next, "receive," and point out again that he requires much attention. And this is a sign of extreme debility. "Not to doubtful disputations."  See, he has laid on a third stripe. For here he makes it appear that his error is of such a nature, that even those who do not transgress in the same manner, and who nevertheless admit him to their affection, and are earnestly bent upon curing him, are at doubt.  You see how in appearance he is conversing with these, but is rebuking others secretly and without giving offence. Then by placing them beside each other, one he gives encomiums, the other accusations. For he goes on to say, "One believeth that he may eat all things," commending him on the score of his faith. "Another who is weak, eateth herbs," disparaging this one again, on the score of his weakness. Then since the blow he had given was deadly (kairian, used hyperbolically), he comforts him again in these words,
Ver. 3. "Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not."
He does not say, let him alone, nor does he say, do not blame him, nor yet, do not set him right; but do not reproach him, do not "despise" him, to show they were doing a thing perfectly ridiculous. But of this he speaks in other words. "Let not him which eateth not, judge him that eateth." For as the more advanced made light of these, as of little faith, and falsely healed, and spurious, and still Judaizers, so they too judged these as law-breakers, or as given to gluttony. And of these it is likely that many were of the Gentiles too. Wherefore he proceeds, for God hath received him. But in the other's case he does not say this. And yet to be despised was the eater's share, as a glutton, but to be judged, his that did not eat, as of little faith. But he has made them change places, to show that he not only does not deserve to be despised, but that he can even despise. But do I condemn him? he means. By no means. For this is why he proceeds, "for God hath received him." Why then speakest thou to him of the law, as to a transgressor? "For God hath received him:" that is, has shown His unspeakable grace about him, and hath freed him from all charges against him; then again he turns to the strong.
Ver. 4. "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?"
Whence it appears that they too judged, and did not despise only. "To his own Master he standeth or falleth." See here is another stroke. And the indignation seems to be against the strong man, and he attacks him. When he says, "Yea, he shall be holden up," he shows that he is still wavering, and requireth so much attention as to call in God as a physician for this, "for God," he says, "is able to make him stand." And this we say of things we are quite in despair about. Then, that he may not despair he both gives him the name of a servant when he says, "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant?" And here again he secretly attacks him. For it is not because he does things worthy to exempt him from being judged, that I bid you not judge him, but because he is Another's servant, that is, not thine, but God's. Then to solace him again he does not say, "falleth," but what? "standeth or falleth." But whether it be the latter or the former, either of these is the Master's concernment, since the loss also goes to Him, if he does fall, as the riches too, if he stand. And this again if we do not attend to Paul's aim in not wishing them to be rebuked before a fitting opportunity, is very unworthy of the mutual care becoming for Christians. But (as I am always saying) we must examine the mind with which it is spoken, and the subject on which it is said and the object he would compass when he says it. But he makes them respectful by no slight motive, when he says this: for what he means is, if God, Who undergoeth the loss, hitherto doth nothing, how can you be else than ill-timed and out of all measure exact, when you seize on (ankon, throttle) him and annoy him?
Ver. 5. "One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike."
Here he seems to me to be giving a gentle hint about fasting. For it is not unlikely that some who fasted were always judging those who did not, or among the observances it is likely that there were some that on fixed days abstained, and on fixed days did not.  Whence also he says, "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." And in this way he released those who kept the observances from fear, by saying that the thing was indifferent, and he removed also the quarrelsomeness of those who attacked them, by showing that it was no very desirable (or urgent, perispoudaston) task to be always making a trouble about these things. Yet it was not a very desirable task, not in its own nature, but on account of the time chosen, and because they were novices in the faith. For when he is writing to the Colossians, it is with great earnestness that he forbids it, saying, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ." (Col. ii. 8, see p. 4.) And again, "Let no man judge you in meat or in drink" (ib. 16), and, "let no man beguile you of your reward." (ib. 18.) And when writing to the Galatians with great precision, he exacts of them Christian spirit and perfectness in this matter. But here he does not use this vehemency, because the faith was lately planted in them. Let us therefore not apply the phrase, "Let every man be persuaded in his own mind," to all subjects. For when he is speaking of doctrines, hear what he says, "If any one preacheth unto you any gospel other than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Gal. i. 9), "even" if it be "an angel." And again, "I fear lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted." (2 Cor. xi. 3.) And in writing to the Philippians, he says, "Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision." (Phil. iii. 2.) But with the Romans, since it was not yet the proper time for setting things of this sort right, "Let every man," he says, "be fully persuaded in his own mind." For he had been speaking of fasting. It was to clear away the vanity of the others and to release these from fear then, that he said as follows:
Ver. 6. "He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it." And, "He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks."
He still keeps to the same subject. And what he means is about this. The thing is not concerned with fundamentals. For the thing requisite is, if this person and the other are acting for God's sake, the thing requisite is (these words are repeated 3 mss.), if both terminate in thanksgiving. For indeed both this man and that give thanks to God. If then both do give thanks to God, the difference is no great one. But let me draw your notice to the way in which here also he aims unawares a blow at the Judaizers. For if the thing required be this, the "giving of thanks," it is plain enough that he which eateth it is that "giveth thanks," and not "he which eateth not." For how should he, while he still holds to the Law? As then he told the Galatians, "As many of you as are justified by the Law are fallen from grace" (Gal. v. 4); so here he hints it only, but does not unfold it so much. For as yet it was not time to do so. But for the present he bears with it (see p. 337): but by what follows he gives it a further opening. For where he says,
Ver. 7, 8. "For none of us liveth unto himself, and no man dieth unto himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord," by this too he makes the same clearer. For how can he that liveth unto the Law, be living unto Christ? But this is not the only thing that he effects by this, he also holds back the person who was in so much haste for their being set right, and persuades him to be patient, by showing that it is impossible for God to despise them, but that in due time He will set them right. What is the force then of "none of us liveth to himself?" It means, We are not free, we have a Master who also would have us live, and willeth not that we die, and to whom both of these are of more interest than to us. For by what is here said he shows that he hath a greater concern for us than we have ourselves, and considereth more than we do, as well our life to be wealth, as our death to be a loss. For we do not die to ourselves alone, but to our Master also, if we do die. But by death here he means that from the faith. However, this were enough to convince us that He taketh care for us, in that it is to Him we live, and to Him we die. Still he is not satisfied with saying this, but proceeds further. For after saying, "Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's," and passing from that death to the physical one, that he may not give an appearance of harshness to his language, he gives another very great indication of His care for us. Now of what kind is this?
Ver. 9. "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living."
And so let us at least convince thee, that He is thoughtful for our salvation. For had He not had this great care for us, where were the need of the Dispensation (or Incarnation, oikonomias)? He then that hath shown so much anxiety about our becoming His, as to take the form of a servant, and to die, will He despise us after we have become so? This cannot be so, assuredly it cannot! Nor would He choose to waste so much pains. "For to this end (he says) he also died," as if any one were to say, Such an one will not have the heart to despise his servant. For he minded his own purse. (Cf. Ex. xxi. 21.) For indeed we are not so much in love with money, as is He with our salvation. Wherefore it was not money, but His own Blood that He gave as bail for us. And for this cause He would not have the heart to give them up, for whom He had laid down so great a price. See too how he shows that His power also is unspeakable. For he says, "to this end He both died and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living." And above he said, "for whether we live or die, we are His." See what a wide extended Mastery! see what unconquerable might! see what exact providence over us! For tell me not, he means, of the living. Even for the departed He taketh care. But if He doth of the departed, it is quite plain that He doth of the living also. For He hath not omitted any point for this Mastery, making out for Himself more claims than men do, and especially beside  all other things in order to take care of us. For a man puts down money, and for this clings strongly to his own slave. But He Himself paid down His death; and the salvation of one who was purchased at so great a price, and the Mastery over whom He had gained with so much anxiety and trouble, He is not likely to count of no value. But this he says to make the Judaizer abashed, and to persuade him to call to mind the greatness of the benefit, and how that when dead he had come to be alive, and that there was nothing that he gained from the Law, and how that it would be the last degree of unfeelingness, to leave Him Who had shown so much care toward him, and run away back to the Law. After attacking him then sufficiently, he relaxes again, and says,
Ver. 10. "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother?"
And so he seems to be setting them upon a level, but from that he has said, he shows that the difference between them is great. First then by the appellation of "brother" he does away with disputatiousness, and then also by calling that awful day to their mind. For after saying, "Why dost thou set at nought thy brother?" he proceeds, "For we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ."
And he seems indeed to be again rebuking the more advanced in saying this, but he is putting the mind of the Judaizer to confusion by not only calling for his reverence to the benefit that had been done him, but also making him afraid of the punishment to come. "For we shall all," he says, "stand before the judgment-seat of Christ."
Ver. 11, 12. "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
See how he again puts his mind into confusion, while he seems to be rebuking the other. For he intimates some such thing, as if he had said, How does it affect you? Are you to be punished for him? But this he does not say, but hints at it by putting it in a milder form, and saying, "For we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ:" and, "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." And he introduces the prophet  in witness of the subjection of all to Him, yea a subjection extended even to those in the Old Testament, and of all absolutely. For he does not barely say every one shall worship, but "shall confess," that is, shall given an account of what he has done. Be in anxiety then as seeing the Master of all sitting on his judgment-seat, and do not make schisms and divisions in the Church, by breaking away from grace, and running over to the Law. For the Law also is His. And why say I so of the Law? Even those in the Law and those before the Law are His. And it is not the Law that will demand an account of thee, but Christ, of thee and of all the human race. See how he has released us from the fear of the Law. Then that he may not seem to be saying this to frighten them for the occasion, but to have come to it in the course he had proposed himself, he again keeps to the same subject, and says,
Ver. 13. "Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."
This does not apply to one less than the other: wherefore it may well fit with both, both the advanced man that was offended at the observance of meats, and the unadvanced that stumbled at the vehement rebuke given him. But consider, I pray you, the great punishment we shall suffer, if we give offence at all. For if in a case where the thing was against law, yet, as they rebuked unseasonably, he forbade their doing it, in order that a brother might not be made to offend and stumble; when we give an offence without having anything to set right even, what treatment shall we deserve? For if not saving others be a crime (and that it is so, he who buried the talent proves), what will be the effect of giving him offence also? But what if he gives himself the offence, you may say, by being weak? Why this is just why thou oughtest to be patient. For if he were strong, then he would not require so much attention. But now, since he is of the feebler sort, he does on this ground need considerable care. Let us then yield him this, and in all respects bear his burdens, as it is not of our own sins only that we shall have to give an account, but for those also wherein we cause others to offend. For if that account, were even by itself hard to pass, when these be added too, how are we to be saved? And let us not suppose, that if we can find accomplices in our sins, that will be an excuse; as this will prove an addition to our punishment. Since the serpent too was punished more than the woman, as was the woman likewise more than the man (1 Tim. ii. 14); and Jezebel also was punished more severely than Ahab, who had seized the vineyard; for it was she that devised the whole matter, and caused the king to offend. (1 Kings xxi. 23, 25, 29.) And therefore thou, when thou art the author of destruction to others, wilt suffer more severely  than those who have been subverted by thee. For sinning is not so ruinous as leading others also into the same. Wherefore he speaks of those who "not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." (Rom. i. 32.) And so when we see any sinning, let us, so far from thrusting them on, even pull them back from the pit of iniquity, that we may not have to be punished for the ruin of others besides ourselves. And let us be continually in mind of the awful judgment-seat, of the stream of fire, of the chains never to be loosed, of the darkness with no light, the gnashing of teeth, and the venomous worm. "Ah, but God is merciful!" Are these then mere words? and was not that rich man punished for despising Lazarus? Are not the foolish  virgins cast out of the Bride-chamber? Do not they who did not feed Him go away into "the fire prepared for the devil?" (Matt. xxv. 41.) Will not he that hath soiled garments be "bound hand and foot" (ib. xxii. 13), and go to ruin? Will, not he that demanded the hundred pence to be paid, be given over to the tormentors? Is not that said of the adulterers  true, that "their worm shall not die, nor their fire be quenched?"  (Mark ix. 43.) Are these but mere threats then? Yea, it is answered. And from what source pray dost thou venture to make such an assertion, and that too when thou passest judgment of thine own opinion? Why, I shall be able to prove the contrary, both from what He said, and from what He did. (See John v. 22.) For if you will not believe by the punishments that are to come, at least believe by those that have happened already. For what have happened, and have come forth into reality, surely are not threats and words. Who then was it that flooded the whole world, and affected that baleful wreck, and the utter destruction of our whole race! Who was it that after this hurled those thunders and lightnings upon the land of Sodom? Who that drowned all Egypt in the sea? Who that consumed the six hundred thousand men in the wilderness? Who that burnt up the synagogue of Abiram? Who that bade the earth open her mouth for the company of Core and Dathan, and swallow them up? Who that carried off the threescore and ten thousand at one sweep in David's time? Shall I mention also those that were punished individually! Cain, who was given up to a continual vengeance? (the son of) Charmi,  who was stoned with his whole family? Or him, that suffered the same thing for gathering sticks on the sabbath? The forty children who were consumed by those beasts, and obtained no pardon even on the score of their age? And if you would see these same things even after the times of grace, just consider what great suffering the Jews had, how the women ate their children, some roasting them, and some consuming them in other ways:  how after being given up to irremediable famine, and wars varied and severe, they threw all previous catastrophes into the shade by the exceeding greatness of their own calamities. For that it was Christ Who did these things unto them, hear Him declaring as much, both by parables, and clearly and explicitly. By parables, as when He says, "But those that would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them" (Luke xix. 27); and by that of the vineyard, and that of the marriage. But clearly and explicitly, as when He threatens that they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into the nations, and there shall be upon the earth "distress of nations with perplexity, at the roaring of the sea and waves;  men's hearts failing them for fear." (ib. xxi. 24, 25, 26.) "And there shall be tribulation, such as there never was, no, nor ever shall be." (Matt. xxiv. 21.) And what a punishment Ananias too and Sapphira suffered, for the theft of a few pieces of money, ye all know. Seest thou not the daily calamities also? Or have these too not taken place? Seest thou not now men that are pining with famine? those that suffer elephantiasis, or are maimed in body? those that live in constant poverty, those that suffer countless irreparable evils? Now then will it be reasonable for some to be punished, and some not? For if God be not unjust (and unjust He is not), thou also wilt assuredly suffer punishment, if thou sinnest. But if because He is merciful He doth not punish, then ought not these either to have been punished. But now because of these words of yours, God even here punisheth many, that when ye believe not the words of the threatening, the deeds of vengeance ye may at least believe.
And since things of old do not affright you so much, by things which happen in every generation, He correcteth those that in every generation are growing listless. And what is the reason, it may be said, why He doth not punish all here? That He may give the others an interval  for repentance. Why then does He not take vengeance upon all in the next world?  It is lest many should disbelieve in His providence. How many robbers are there who have been taken, and how many that have left this life unpunished? Where is the mercy of God then? it is my turn now to ask of thee. For supposing no one at all had vengeance taken upon him, then you might have taken refuge in this. But now that some are punished, and some are not, though they be the worse sinners, how can it be reasonable that there be not the same punishments for the same sins? How can those punished appear to be else than wronged? What reason is there then why all are not punished here? Hear His own defence for these things. For when some had died by the falling of a tower on them: He said to those who raised a question upon this, "Suppose ye that they were sinners above all men? I tell you nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke xiii. 4, 5); so exhorting us not to feel confident when others suffer punishment, and we ourselves, though we have committed many transgressions, do not. For except we change our conduct, we assuredly shall suffer. And how, it may be said, is it that we are to be punished without end for sinning a short time here? how, I ask, is it that in this world,  those who in a short moment of time have done one murder, are condemned to constant punishment in the mines? "But it is not God that does this," it may be said. How then came He to keep the man with a palsy for thirty and eight years in so great punishments? For that it was for sins that He punished him, hear what He says, "Behold, thou art made whole, sin no more." (John v. 14.) Still it is said, he found a release. But the case is not so with the other life. For that there, there will never be any release,  hear from His own mouth, "Their worm will not die, nor their fire be quenched." (Mark ix. 44.) And "these shall go into everlasting life, but these into everlasting punishment." (Matt. xxv. 46.) Now if the life be eternal, the punishment is eternal. Seest thou not how severely He threatened the Jews? Then have the things threatened come to pass, or were those that were told them a mere talk? "One stone shall not remain upon another." (Luke xxi. 6.) And has it remained? But what, when He says, "There shall be tribulation such as hath not been?" (Matt. xxiv. 21.) Has it not come then? Read the history of Josephus, and thou wilt not be able to draw thy breath even, at only hearing what they suffered for their doings. This I say, not that I may pain you, but that I may make you secure, and lest by having humored you overmuch, I should but make a way for the endurance of sorer punishments. For why, pray, dost thou not deem it right thou shouldest be punished for sinning? Hath He not told thee all beforehand? Hath He not threatened thee? not come to thy aid?  not done things even without number for thy salvation's sake? Gave He thee not the laver of Regeneration, and forgave He not all thy former sins? Hath He not after this forgiveness, and the laver, also given thee the succor of repentance if thou sin? Hath He not made the way to forgiveness of sins, even after all this, easy  to thee? Hear then what He hath enjoined: "If thou forgive thy neighbor, I also will forgive thee" (ib. vi. 14), He says. What hardship is there in this? "If ye judge the cause of the fatherless, and see that the widow have right, come and let us converse together," He saith, "and if your sins be as purple, I will make them white as snow." (Is. i. 17, 18.) What labor is there here? "Tell thy sins, that thou mayest be justified." (Is. xliii. 26. LXX.) What hardship is there in this? "Redeem thy sins with alms." (Dan. iv. 24.) What toilsomeness is there in this? The Publican said, "Be merciful to me a sinner," and "went down home justified." (Luke xviii. 13, 14.) What labor is it to imitate the Publican? And wilt thou not be persuaded even after this that there is punishment and vengeance? At that rate thou wilt deny that even the devil is punished. For, "Depart," He says, "into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matt. xxv. 41.) Now if there be no hell, then neither is he punished. But if he is punished, it is plain that we shall also. For we also have disobeyed, even if it be not in the same way. And how comest thou not to be afraid to speak such daring things? For when thou sayest that God is merciful, and doth not punish, if He should punish he will be found in thy case to be no longer merciful. See then unto what language the devil leadeth you? And what are the monks that have taken up with the mountains, and yield examples of such manifold self-denial,  to go away without their crown? For if the wicked are not to be punished, and there is no recompense made to any one, some one else will say, perhaps, that neither are the good crowned. Nay, it will be said, For this is suitable with God, that there should be a kingdom only, and not a hell. Well then, shall the whoremonger, and the adulterer, and the man who hath done evils unnumbered, enjoy the same advantages with the man who has exhibited soberness and holiness, and Paul is to stand with Nero, or rather even the devil with Paul? For if there be no hell and yet there will be a Resurrection of all, then the wicked will attain to the same good things! And who would say this? Who even of men that were quite crazed? or rather, which of the devils even would say this? For even they confess that there is a hell. Wherefore also they cried out and said, "Art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (ib. viii. 29.)
How then comest thou not to fear and tremble, when even the devils confess what thyself art denying? Or how is it that thou dost not see who is the teacher of these evil doctrines? For he who deceived the first man, and under the pretext of greater hopes, threw them out even of the blessings they had in possession, he it is who now suggests the saying and fancying of these things. And for this reason he persuades some to suspect there is no hell, that he may thrust them into hell. As God on the other hand threateneth hell, and made hell ready, that by coming to know of it thou mightest so live as not to fall into hell. And yet if, when there is a hell, the devil persuades thee to these things, how came the devils to confess it, if it did not exist,  whose aim and desire it is that we should not suspect anything of the kind, that through fearlessness we might become the more listless, and so fall with them into that fire? How then (it will be said) came they to confess it? It was through their not bearing the compulsion laid upon them. Taking all these things into consideration then, let those who talk in this way leave off deceiving both themselves and others since even for these words of theirs they will be punished for detracting (diasurontes) from those awful things, and relaxing the vigor  of many who are minded to be in earnest, and do not even do as much as those barbarians, for they, though they were ignorant of everything, when they heard that the city was to be destroyed, were so far from disbelieving, that they even groaned, and girded themselves with sackcloth, and were confounded, and did not cease to use every means until they had allayed the wrath. (Jonah iii. 5.) But dost thou, who hast had so great experience of facts and of teaching, make light of what is told thee? The contrary then will be thy fate. For as they through fear of the words had not to undergo the vengeance in act, so thou who despisest the threatening by words, wilt have to undergo the punishment in very deed. And if now what thou art told seems a fable to thee, it will not, however, seem so when the very things convince thee, in that Day. Have you never noticed what He did even in this world? How when He met with two thieves, He counted them not worthy of the same estate, but one He led into the Kingdom, and the other He sent away into Hell? And why speak I of a robber and murderer? For even the Apostle He did not spare, when he had become a traitor, but even when He saw him rushing to the halter, and hanging, and bursting asunder in the midst (for he did "burst asunder, and all his bowels gushed out") (Acts i. 18), still when He foresaw all these things, He let him suffer all the same, giving thee from the present a proof of all that is in the other world also. Do not then cheat yourselves, through being persuaded of the devil. These devices are his. For if both judges, and masters, and teachers, and savages, respect the good, and punish the evil, with what reason is the contrary to be the case with God, while the good man and he who is not so are deemed worthy of the same estate? And when will they leave off their wickedness? For they who now are expecting punishment, and are amongst so many terrors, those from the judges and from the laws, and yet do not for this depart from iniquity; when on their departing this life they are to lay aside even this fear, and are not only not to be cast into hell, but are even to obtain a kingdom; when will they leave doing wickedly? Is this then mercy, pray? to add to wickedness, to set up rewards for iniquity, to count the sober and the unchastened, the faithful and the irreligious, Paul and the devil, to have the same deserts? But how long am I to be trifling? Wherefore I exhort you to get you free from this madness, and having grown to be your own masters, persuade your souls to fear and to tremble, that they may at once be saved from the hell to come, and may, after passing the life in this world soberly, attain unto the good things to come by the grace and love towards man, etc.
"I know, and am persuaded by (Gr. in) the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself, but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean."
After first rebuking the person who judgeth his brother, and moving him to leave off this reproaching, he then explains himself further upon the doctrinal part, and instructs in a dispassionate tone the weaker sort, displaying in this case too a great deal of gentleness. For he does not say he shall be punished, nor anything of the sort, but merely disburdens him of his fears in the matter, and that with a view to his being more easily persuaded with what he tells him; and he says, "I know, and am persuaded." And then to prevent any of those who did not trust him (or "believe," thon ou pisthon) saying, And what is it to us if thou art persuaded? for thou art no trustworthy evidence to be set in competition with so great a law, and with oracles brought down from above, he proceeds, "in the Lord." That is, as having learned from Him, as having my confidence from Him. The judgment then is not one of the mind of man. What is it that thou art persuaded of and knowest? Tell us. "That there is nothing unclean of itself." By nature, he says, nothing is unclean but it becomes so by the spirit in which a man uses it. Therefore it becomes so to himself only, and not to all. "For to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean." What then? Why not correct thy brother, that he may think it not unclean? Why not with full authority call him away from this habit of mind and conception of things, that he may never make it common? My reason is, he says, I am afraid to grieve him. Wherefore he proceeds,
Ver. 15. "But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably."
You see how far, for the present, he goes in affection for him, showing that he makes so great account of him, that with a view not to grieve him he does not venture even to enjoin things of great urgency, but by yieldingness would rather draw him to himself, and by charity. For even when he has freed him of his fears, he does not drag him and force him, but leaves him his own master. For keeping a person from meats is no such matter as overwhelming with grief.  You see how much he insists upon charity. And this is because he is aware that it can do everything. And on this ground he makes somewhat larger demand upon them. For so far he says from its being proper for them to distress you at all, they ought even, if need be, not to hesitate at condescending to you. Whence he proceeds to say, "Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died." Or dost thou not value thy brother enough even to purchase his salvation at the price of abstinence from meats? And yet Christ refused not to become a slave, nor yet to die for him; but thou dost not despise even food, that thou mayest save him. And yet with it all Christ was not to gain all, yet still He died for all; so fulfilling His own part. But art thou aware that by meat thou art overthrowing him in the more important matters, and yet makest a disputing? And him who is the object of such care unto Christ, dost thou consider so contemptible, and dishonor one whom He loveth? Yet He died not for the weak only, but even for an enemy. And wilt not thou refrain from meats even, for him that is weak? Yet Christ did what was greatest even, but thou not even the less. And He was Master, thou a brother. These words then were enough to tongue-tie him. For they show him to be of a little spirit, and after having the benefit of great things from God, not to give in return even little ones.
Ver. 16, 17. "Let not then your good be evil spoken of. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink."
By their "good," he means here either their faith, or the hope of rewards hereafter, or the perfectness of their religious state.  For it is not only that you fail to profit your brother, he means, but the doctrine itself, and the grace of God, and His gift, you cause to be evil spoken of. Now when thou fightest, when thou quarrellest, when thou art vexatious, when thou makest schism in the Church, and reproachest thy brother, and art distant with him, those that are without will speak evil of you. And so good is so far from coming of this, that just the opposite is the case. For your good is charity, love of the brotherhood, being united, being bound together, living at peace, living in gentleness (epieikeias). He again, to put an end to his fears and the other's disputatiousness, says, "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink." Is it by these, he means, that we are to be approved? As he says in another passage too,  "Neither if we eat are we the better, neither if we eat not are we the worse." And he does not need any proof, but is content with stating it. And what he says is this, If thou eatest, does this lead thee to the Kingdom? And this was why, by way of satirizing them as mightily pleased with themselves herein, he said, not "meat" only, but "drink." What then are the things that do bring us here? "Righteousness, and peace, and joy," and a virtuous life, and peace with our brethren (whereto this quarrelsomeness is opposed), the joy from unanimity, which this rebuking puts an end to. But this he said not to one party only, but to both of them, it being a fit season for saying it to both. Then as he had mentioned peace and joy, but there is a peace and joy over bad actions also, he adds, "in the Holy Ghost." Since he that ruins his brother, hath at once subverted peace, and wronged joy, more grievously than he that plunders money. And what is worse is, that Another saved him, and thou wrongest and ruinest him. Since then eating, and the supposed perfect state, does not bring in these virtues, but the things subversive of them it does bring in, how can it be else than right to make light of little things, in order to give firmness to great ones? Then since this rebuking took place in some degree out of vanity, he proceeds to say,
Ver. 18. "For he that in these things serveth Christ, is acceptable to God, and approved of men."
For they will not admire thee so much for thy perfect state, as all will for peace and amity. For this is a goodly thing, that all will have the benefit of, but of that not one even will.
Ver. 19. "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify one another."
This applies to the other, that he may grow peaceable. But the other to the latter too, that he may not destroy his brother. Still he has made both apply to either again, by saying, "one another," and showing that without peace it is not easy to edify.
Ver. 20. "For meat destroy not the work of God."
Giving this name to the salvation of a brother, and adding greatly to the fears, and showing that he is doing the opposite of that he desires.  For thou, he says, art so far from building up as thou intendest, that thou dost even destroy, and that a building too not of man but of God, and not for any great end either, but for a trivial thing. For it was "for meat," he says. Then lest so many indulgences should confirm the weaker brother in his misconception, he again becomes doctrinal, as follows,
"All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence."
Who does it, that is, with a bad conscience. And so if you should force him, and he should eat, there would be nothing gained. For it is not the eating that maketh unclean, but the intention with which a man eats. If then thou dost not set that aright, thou hast done all to no purpose, and hast made things worse: for thinking a thing unclean is not so bad as tasting it when one thinks it unclean. Here then you are committing two errors, one by increasing his prejudice through your quarrelsomeness, and another by getting him to taste of what is unclean. And so, as long as you do not persuade him, do not force him.
Ver. 21. "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."
Again, he requires the greater alternative, that they should not only not force him, but even condescend to him. For he often did this himself also, as when he circumcised (Acts xvi. 3), when he was shorn (ib. xviii. 18), when he sacrificed that Jewish sacrifice. (ib. xxi. 26, see p. 126). And he does not say to the man "do so," but he states it in the form of a sentiment to prevent again making the other, the weaker man, too listless. And what are his words? "It is good not to eat flesh." And why do I say flesh? if it be wine, or any other thing of the sort besides, which gives offence, refrain. For nothing is so important as thy brother's salvation. And this Christ shows us, since He came from Heaven, and suffered all that He went through, for our sakes. And let me beg you to observe, how he also drives it home upon the other, by the words "stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." And do not tell me (he means) that he is so without reason but, that thou hast power to set it right. For the other has a sufficient claim to be helped in his weakness, and to thee this were no loss, not being a case of hypocrisy (Gal. ii. 13), but of edification and economy. For if thou force him, he is at once destroyed, and will condemn thee, and fortify himself the more in not eating. But if thou condescend to him, then he will love thee, and will not suspect thee as a teacher, and thou wilt afterwards gain the power of sowing imperceptibly in him the right views. But if he once hate thee, then thou hast closed the entrance for thy reasoning. Do not then compel him, but even thyself refrain for his sake, not refraining from it as unclean, but because he is offended, and he will love thee the more. So Paul also advises when he says, "It is good not to eat flesh," not because it was unclean, but because the brother is offended and is weak.
Ver. 22. "Hast thou faith? have it to thyself."
Here he seems to me to be giving a gentle warning to the more advanced on the score of vanity. And what he says is this, Dost thou wish to show me that thou art perfect, and fully furnished? Do not show it to me, but let thy conscience suffice. And by faith, he here means that concerned not with doctrines, but with the subject in hand. For of the former it says, "With the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. x. 10); and, "Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny."  (Luke ix. 26.) For the former by not being confessed, ruins us; and so does this by being confessed unseasonably. "Happy is he that condemneth not himself in the thing which he alloweth."  Again he strikes at the weaker one, and gives him (i.e. the stronger) a sufficient crown, in that of his conscience. Even if no man see, that is, thou art able to be happy in thyself. For after saying, "Have it to thyself," to prevent his thinking this a contemptible tribunal, he tells him this is better to thee than the world.  And if all accuse thee, and thou condemn not thyself, and thy conscience lay no charge against thee, thou art happy. But this is a statement he did not make to apply to any person whatever. For there are many that condemn not themselves, and yet are great transgressors: and these are the most miserable of men. But he still keeps to the subject in hand.
Ver. 23. "And he that doubteth is condemned if he eat."
Again, it is to exhort him to spare the weaker, that he says this. For what good is it if he eat in doubt, and condemn himself? For I approve of him, who both eateth, and doeth it not with doubting. See how he induces him not to eating only, but to eating with a good conscience too. Then he mentions likewise the reason why he is condemned continuing in these words,
"Because he eateth not of faith." Not because it is unclean, but because it is not of faith. For he did not believe that it is clean, but though unclean he touched it. But by this he shows them also what great harm they do by compelling men, and not persuading them, to touch things which had hitherto appeared unclean to them, that for this at all events they might leave rebuking. "For whatsoever is not of faith is sin." For when a person does not feel sure, nor believe that a thing is clean, how can he do else than sin? Now all these things have been spoken by Paul of the subject in hand, not of everything. And observe what care he takes not to offend any; and he had said before, "If thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably." But if one should not grieve him, much less ought one to give him offence. And again, "For meat destroy not the work of God." For if it were a grievous act of iniquity to throw down a Church, much more so is it to do so to the spiritual Temple. Since a man is more dignified than a Church: for it was not for walls that Christ died, but for these temples.
Let us then watch our own conduct on all sides, and afford to no one ever so little handle. For this life present is a race-course and we ought to have thousands of eyes (Hilary in Ps. cxix.) on every side, and not even to fancy that ignorance will be an adequate excuse. For there is such a thing, there certainly is, as being punished for ignorance, when the ignorance is inexcusable. Since the Jews too were ignorant, yet not ignorant in an excusable way. And the Gentiles were ignorant, but they are without excuse. (Rom. i. 20.) For when thou art ignorant of those things which it is not possible to know, thou wilt not be subject to any charge for it: but when of things easy and possible, thou wilt be punished with the utmost rigor. Else if we be not excessively supine, but contribute our own share to its full amount, God will also reach forth His hand unto us in those things which we are ignorant of. And this is what Paul said to the Philippians likewise. "If in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you." (Phil. iii. 15.) But when we are not willing to do even what we are masters of, we shall not have the benefit of His assistance in this either. And this was the case with the Jews too. "For this cause," He says, "speak I unto them in parables, because seeing they see not." (Matt. xiii. 13.) In what sense was it that seeing they saw not? They saw devils cast out, and they said, He hath a devil. They saw the dead raised, and they worshipped not, but attempted to kill Him. But not of this character was Cornelius. (ib. xii. 24.) For this reason then, when he was doing the whole of his duty with sincerity, God added unto him that which was lacking also. Say not then, how came God to neglect such and such a one who was no formalist (aplastos) and a good man, though a Gentile? For in the first place no man can possibly know for certain whether a person is no formalist,  but He only who "formed (plasanti) the hearts severally." (Ps. xxxiii. 15, LXX.) And then there is this to be said too, that perchance (pollakis) such an one was neither thoughtful nor earnest. And how, it may be said, could he, as being very uninformed? (aplastos.) Let me beg you to consider then this simple and single-hearted man, and take notice of him in the affairs of life, and you will see him a pattern of the utmost scrupulousness, such that if he would have shown it in spiritual matters he would not have been overlooked: for the facts of the truth are clearer than the sun. And wherever a man may go, he might easily lay hold of his own salvation, if he were minded, that is, to be heedful, and not to look on this as a by-work. For were the doings shut up into Palestine, or in a little corner of the world? Hast thou not heard the prophet say, "All shall know Me from the least even to the greatest?" (Jer. xxxi. 34; Heb. viii. 11.) Do not you see the things themselves uttering the truth? How then are these to be excused, seeing as they do the doctrine of the truth spread far and wide, and not troubling themselves, or caring to learn it? And dost thou require all this, it is asked, of a rude savage? Nay not of a rude savage only, but of any who is more savage than men of the present day. For why is it, pray, that in matters of this world he knows how to answer when he is wronged, and to resist when he has violence done him, and do and devise everything to prevent his ever having his will thwarted even in the slightest degree; but in spiritual concerns he has not used this same judgment? And when a man worships a stone, and thinks it a god, he both keeps feasts to it, and spends money on it, and shows much fear towards it, and in no case becomes listless from his simpleness. But when he has to seek to the very and true God, do you then mention singleness and simpleness to me? These things are not so, assuredly they are not! For the complaints are those of mere listlessness. For which do you think the most simple and rude, those in Abraham's day or those now? (Josh. xxiv. 2.) Clearly the former. And when that it was easiest to find religion out now or then? Clearly now. For now the Name of God is proclaimed even by all men, and the Prophets have preached, the things come to pass, the Gentiles been convinced.  (Gen. xxxii. 29; Judges xiii. 18.) But at that day the majority were still in an uninstructed state, and sin was dominant. And there was no law to instruct, nor prophets, nor miracles, nor doctrine, nor multitude of men acquainted with it, nor aught else of the kind, but all things then lay as it were in a deep darkness, and a night moonless and stormy. And yet even then that wondrous and noble man, though the obstacles were so great, still knew God and practised virtue, and led many to the same zeal; and this though he had not even the wisdom of those without.  For how should he, when there were no letters even yet invented? Yet still he brought his own share in, and God joined to bring in what was lacking to him. For you cannot say even this, that Abraham received his religion from his fathers, because he (Terah, see Josh. xxiv. 2.) was an idolater. But still, though he was from such forefathers and was uncivilized, and lived among uncivilized people, and had no instructor in religion, yet he attained to a knowledge of God, and in comparison with all his descendants, who had the advantage both of the Law and the Prophets, he was so much more illustrious as no words can express. Why was it then? It was because in things of this world he did not give himself any great anxiety, but in things of the spirit he applied his whole attention. (In Gen. Hom. 33, etc.) And what of Melchizedek? was not he also born about those times, and was so bright as to be called even a priest of God? (In Gen. Hom. 35, 36.) For it is impossible in the extreme, that the sober-minded (nephonta) should ever be overlooked. And let not these things be a trouble to us, but knowing that it is the mind with which in each case the power lies, let us look to our own duties, that we may grow better. Let us not be demanding an account of God or enquire why He let such an one alone, but called such an one. For we are doing the same as if a servant that had given offence were to pry into his master's housekeeping. Wretched and miserable man, when thou oughtest to be thoughtful about the account thou hast to give, and how thou wilt reconcile thy master, dost thou call him to account for things that thou art not to give an account of, passing over those things of which thou art to give a reckoning?  What am I to say to the Gentile? he asks. Why, the same that I have been saying. And look not merely to what thou shalt say to the Gentile, but also to the means of amending thyself.  When he is offended by examining into thy life, then consider what thou wilt say. For if he be offended, thou wilt not be called to a reckoning for him, but if it be thy way of life by which he is injured, thou wilt have to undergo the greatest danger. When he seeth thee philosophizing about the kingdom, and fluttering at the things of this life, and at once afraid about hell, and trembling at the calamities of this life, then lay it to mind. When he sees this, and accuses thee, and says, If thou art in love with the Kingdom, how is it thou dost not look down upon the things of this life? If thou art expecting the awful judgment, why dost thou not despise the terrors of this world? If thou hopest for immortality, why dost thou not think scorn of death? When he says this, be thou anxious what defence thou wilt make. When he sees thee trembling at the thought of losing thy money, thee that expectest the heavens, and exceedingly glad about a single penny, and selling thy soul again for a little money, then lay it to mind. For these are the things, just these, that make the Gentiles stumble. And so, if thou art thoughtful about his salvation, make thy defence on these heads, not by words, but by actions. For it is not through that question that anybody ever blasphemed God, but through men's bad lives it is, that there are thousands of blasphemies in all quarters. Set him right then. For the Gentile will next ask thee, How am I to know that God's commands are feasible? For thou that art of Christian extraction, and hast been brought up in this fine religion, dost not do anything of the kind. And what will you tell him? You will be sure to say, I will show you others that do; monks that dwell in the deserts. And art thou not ashamed to confess to being a Christian, and yet to send to others, as unable to show that you display the temper of a Christian? For he also will say directly, What need have I to go to the mountains, and to hunt up the deserts? For if there is no possibility for a person who is living in the midst of cities to be a disciple, this is a sad imputation on this rule of conduct, that we are to leave the cities, and run to the deserts. But show me a man who has a wife, and children, and family, and yet pursueth wisdom. What are we then to say to all this? Must we not hang down our heads, and be ashamed? For Christ gave us no such commandment; but what? "Let your light shine before men" (Matt. v. 16), not mountains, and deserts, and wildernesses, and out-of-the-way places. And this I say, not as abusing those who have taken up with the mountains, but as bewailing those that dwell in cities, because they have banished virtue from thence. Wherefore I beseech you let us introduce the discipline they have there here also, that the cities may become cities indeed. This will improve the Gentile. This will free him from countless offences. And so if thou wouldest set him free from scandal, and thyself enjoy rewards without number, set thy own life in order, and make it shine forth upon all sides, "that men may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." For so we also shall enjoy that unutterable and great glory, which God grant that we may all attain to, by the grace and love toward man, etc.
"Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my Gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and (mss. tewhich Sav. omits) by the Scriptures of the Prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: to God only wise, to Him be glory through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." 
It is always a custom with Paul to conclude his exhortation with prayers and doxologies. For he knows that the thing is one of no slight importance. And it is out of affectionateness and caution that he is in the habit of doing this. For it is the character of a teacher devoted to his children, and to God, not to instruct them in words only, but by prayer too to bring upon his teaching the assistance which is from God. And this he does here also. But the connection is as follows: "To Him that is of power to stablish you, be glory for ever. Amen." For he again clings to those weak brethren, and to them he directs his discourse. For when he was rebuking, he made all share his rebuke; but now, when he is praying, it is for these that he wears the attitude of a suppliant. And after saying, "to stablish," he proceeds to give the mode of it, "according to my Gospel;" and this was what one would do to show that as yet they were not firmly fixed, but stood, though with wavering. Then to give a trustworthiness to what he says, he proceeds, "and the preaching of Jesus Christ;" that is, which He Himself preached. But if He preached it, the doctrines are not ours, but the laws are of Him. And afterwards, in discussing the nature of the preaching, He shows that this gift is one of much benefit, and of much honor; and this he first proves from the person of the declarer thereof, and then likewise from the things declared. For it was glad tidings. Besides, from His not having made aught of them known to any before us. And this he intimates in the words, "according to the revelation of the mystery." And this is a sign of the greatest friendliness, to make us share in the mysteries, and no one before us. "Which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest." For it had been determined long ago, but was only manifested now. How was it made manifest? "By the Scriptures of the Prophets." Here again he is releasing the weak person from fear. For what dost thou fear? is it lest  thou depart from the Law? This the Law wishes, this it foretold from of old. But if thou pryest into the cause of its being made manifest now, thou art doing a thing not safe to do, in being curious about the mysteries of God, and calling Him to account. For we ought not with things of this nature to act as busybodies, but to be well pleased and content with them. Wherefore that he might himself put a check upon a spirit of this sort, he adds, "according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for the obedience of faith." For faith requires obedience, and not curiosity. And when God commands, one ought to be obedient, not curious. Then he uses another argument to encourage them, saying "made known to all nations." That is, it is not thou alone but the whole world that is of this Creed, as having had not man, but God for a Teacher. Wherefore also he adds, "through Jesus Christ." But it was not only made known, but also confirmed. Now both are His work. And on this ground too the way it is to be read is,  "Now to Him that is of power to stablish you through Jesus Christ;" and, as I was saying, he ascribes them both to Him; or rather, not both of these only, but the glory belonging (or ascribed, Gr. ten eis) to the Father also. And this too is why he said, "to Whom be glory forever, Amen." And he uses a doxology again through awe at the incomprehensibleness of these mysteries. For even now they have appeared, there is no such thing as comprehending them by reasonings, but it is by faith we must come to a knowledge of them, for in no other way can we. He well says, "To the only wise God." For if you will only reflect how He brought the nations in, and blended them with those who in olden time had wrought well, how He saved those who were desperate, how He brought men not worthy of the earth up to heaven, and brought those who had fallen from the present life into that undying and unalterable life, and made those who were trampled down by devils to vie with Angels, and opened Paradise, and put a stop to all the old evils, and this too in a short time and by an easy and compendious way, then wilt thou learn His wisdom;--when thou seest that which neither Angels nor Archangels knew, they of the Gentiles learnt on a sudden through Jesus. (2 mss. add "then wilt thou know His power.") Right then is it to admire His wisdom, and to give Him glory! But thou keepest dwelling over little things, still sitting under the shadow. And this is not much like one that giveth glory. For he who has no confidence in Him, and no trust in the faith, does not bear testimony to the grandeur of His doings. But he himself offers glory up in their behalf, in order to bring them also to the same zeal. But when you hear him say, "to the only wise God," think not that this is said in disparagement of the Son. For if all these things whereby His wisdom is made apparent were done (or made, see John i. 3) by Christ, and without Him no single one, it is quite plain that he is equal in wisdom also. What then is the reason of his saying "only?" To set Him in contrast with every created being. After giving the doxology  then, he again goes from prayer to exhortation, directing his discourse against the stronger, and saying as follows:
Chap. xv. ver. 1. "We then that are strong, ought"--it is "we ought," not "we are so kind as to." What is it we ought to do?--"to bear the infirmities of the weak."
See how he has roused their attention by his praises, not only by calling them powerful, but also by putting them alongside of himself. And not by this only, but by the advantage of the thing he again allures them, and by its not being burdensome. For thou, he says, art powerful, and art no whit the worse for condescending. But to him the hazard is of the last consequence, if he is not borne with. And he does not say the infirm, but the "infirmities of the weak," so drawing him and bending him to mercy. As in another place too he says, "Ye that are spiritual restore such an one." (Gal. vi. 1.) Art thou become powerful? Render a return to God for making thee so. But render it thou wilt if thou settest the weakness of the sickly right. For we too were weak, but by grace we have become powerful. And this we are to do not in this case only, but also in the case of those who are weak in other respects. As, for instance, if any be passionate, or insolent, or has any such like failing bear with him. And how is this to be? Listen to what comes next. For after saying "we ought to bear," he adds, "and not to please ourselves." 
Ver. 2. "Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification."
But what he says is this. Art thou powerful? Let the weak have trial of thy power. Let him come to know thy strength; please him. And he does not barely say please, but for his good, and not barely for his good, lest the advanced person should say, See I am drawing him to his good! but he adds, "to edification." And so if thou be rich or be in power, please not thyself, but the poor and the needy, because in this way thou wilt at once have true glory to enjoy, and be doing much service. For glory from things of the world soon flies away, but that from things of the Spirit is abiding, if thou do it to edification. Wherefore of all men he requires this. For it is not this and that person that is to do it, but "each of you." Then since it was a great thing he had commanded them, and had bidden them even relax their own perfectness in order to set right the other's weakness; he again introduces Christ, in the following words:
Ver. 3. "For even Christ pleased not Himself."
And this he always does. For when he was upon the subject of alms, he brought Him forward and said, "Ye know the grace of the Lord, that though He was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor." (2 Cor. viii. 9.) And when he was exhorting to charity, it was from Him that he exhorted in the words "As Christ also loved us." (Eph. v. 25.) And when he was giving advice about bearing shame and dangers, he took refuge in Him and said, "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame." (Heb. xii. 2). So in this passage too he shows how He also did this, and how the prophet proclaimed it from of old. Wherefore also he proceeds:
"The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell upon Me." (Ps. lxix. 9.) But what is the import of, "He pleased not Himself?" He had power not to have been reproached, power not to have suffered what He did suffer, had He been minded to look to His own things. But yet He was not so minded. But through looking to our good He neglected His own. And why did he not say, "He emptied Himself?" (Phil. ii. 7.) It is because this was not the only thing he wished to point out, that He became man, but that He was also ill-treated, and obtained a bad reputation with many, being looked upon as weak. For it says, "If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross." (Matt. xxvii. 40). And, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save." (ib. 42). Hence he mentions a circumstance which was available for his present subject, and proves much more than he undertook to do; for he shows that it was not Christ alone that was reproached, but the Father also. "For the reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell," he says, "upon Me." But what he says is nearly this, What has happened is no new or strange thing. For they in the Old Testament who came to have a habit of reproaching Him, they also raved against His Son. But these things were written that we should not imitate them. And then he supplies (Gr. anoints) them for a patient endurance of temptations.
Ver. 4. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime," he says, "were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope."
That is, that we might not fall away, (for there are sundry conflicts within and without), that being nerved and comforted by the Scriptures, we might exhibit patience, that by living in patience we might abide in hope. For these things are productive of each other, patience of hope, and hope of patience. And both of them are brought about by the Scriptures. Then he again brings his discourse into the form of prayer, and says,
Ver. 5. "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one towards another, according to Christ Jesus."
For since he had given his own advice, and had also urged the example of Christ, he added the testimony of the Scriptures also, to show that with the Scripture Himself giveth patience also. And this is why he said, "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one towards another, according to Christ Jesus." For this is what love would do, be minded toward another even as toward himself. Then to show again that it is not mere love that he requires, he adds, "according to Christ Jesus." And this he does, in all places, because there is also another sort of love. And what is the advantage of their agreeing?
Ver. 6. "That ye may with one mind," he says, "and one mouth, glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
He does not say merely with one mouth, but bids us do it with one will also. See how he has united the whole body into one, and how he concludes his address again with a doxology, whereby he gives the utmost inducement to unanimity and concord. Then again from this point he keeps to the same exhortation as before, and says,
Ver. 7. "Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God."
The example again is as before, and the gain unspeakable. For this is a thing that doth God especial glory, the being closely united. And so if even against thy will (Field "being grieved for His sake," after Savile, but against mss.) and for His sake, thou be at variance with thy brother, consider that by putting an end to thine anger thou art glorifying thy Master, and if not on thy brother's account, for this at all events be reconciled to him: or rather for this first. For Christ also insists upon this upon all possible grounds,  and when addressing His Father he said, "By this shall all men know that Thou hast sent Me, if they be one." (John xvii. 21.)
Let us obey then, and knit ourselves to one another. For in this place it is not any longer the weak, but all that he is rousing. And were a man minded to break with thee, do not thou break also. Nor give utterance to that cold saying, "Him I love that loveth me; if my right eye does not love me, I tear it out." For these are satanical sayings, and fit for publicans, and the little spirit of the Gentiles. But thou that art called to a greater citizenship, and are enrolled in the books of Heaven, art liable to greater laws. Do not speak in this way, but when he is not minded to love thee, then display the more love, that thou mayest draw him to thee. For he is a member; and when by any force a member is sundered from the body, we do everything to unite it again, and then pay more attention to it. For the reward is the greater then, when one draws to one a person not minded to love. For if He bids us invite to supper those that cannot make us any recompense, that what goes for recompense may be the greater, much more ought we to do this in regard to friendship. Now he that is loved and loveth, does pay thee a recompense. But he that is loved and loveth not, hath made God a debtor to thee in his own room. And besides, when he loves thee he needs not much pains; but when he loves thee not, then he stands in need of thy assistance. Make not then the cause for painstaking a cause for listlessness; and say not, because he is sick, that is the reason I take no care of him (for a sickness indeed the dulling of love is), but do thou warm again that which hath become chilled. But suppose he will not be warmed, "what then?" is the reply. Continue to do thy own part. "What if he grow more perverse?" He is but procuring to thee so much greater return, and shows thee so much the greater imitator of Christ. For if the loving one another was to be the characteristic of disciples ("For hereby," He says, "shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye love one another"), (ib. xiii. 35) consider how great an one loving one that hates us must be. For thy Master loved those that hated Him, and called them to Him; and the weaker they were, the greater the care He showed them; and He cried and said, "They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." (Matt. ix. 12.) And He deemed publicans and sinners worthy of the same table with Him. And as great as was the dishonor wherewith the Jewish people treated Him, so great was the honor and concern He showed for them, yea, and much greater. Him do thou also emulate: for this good work is no light one, but one without which not even he that is a martyr can please God much, as Paul says.  Say not then, I get hated, and that is why I do not love. For this is why thou oughtest to love most. And besides, it is not in the nature of things for a man who loves to be soon hated, but brute as a person may be, he loves them that love him. For this He says the heathens and the publicans do. (Matt. v. 46.) But if every one loves those that love him, who is there that would not love those who love while they are hated? Display then this conduct, and cease not to use this word, "Hate me as much as you may, I will not leave off loving thee," and then thou wilt humble his quarrelsomeness, and cast out all coldness.  For this disorder comes either from excessive heat (phlegmonhes, inflammation), or from coldness; but both of these is the might of love wont to correct by its warmth. Did you never see those who indulge a base love beaten, spit upon, called names, ill-treated in a thousand ways by those fornicatresses? What then? Do the insults break off this love? In no wise: they even kindle it the more. And yet they who do these things, besides being harlots, are of a disreputable and low grade. But they who submit to it, have often illustrious ancestors to count up, and much other nobility to boast of. Yet still none of these things break the tie, nor keep them aloof from her whom they love. And are we not ashamed then to find what great power the love of the devil (v. p. 520) and the demons hath, and not to be able to display as much in the love according to God? Dost thou not perceive that this is a very great weapon against the devil? Do you not see, that that wicked demon stands by, dragging to himself the man thou hatest, and desiring to snatch away the member? And dost thou run by, and give up the prize of the conflict? For thy brother, lying between you, is the prize. And if thou get the better, thou receivest a crown; but if thou art listless, thou goest away without a crown. Cease then to give utterance to that satanical saying, "if my eye hates me, I cannot see it."  For nothing is more shameful than this saying, and yet the generality lay it down for a sign of a noble spirit. But nothing is more ignoble than all this, nothing more senseless, nothing more foolish.  Therefore I am indeed quite grieved that the doings of vice are held to be those of virtue, that looking down on men, and despising them, should seem to be honorable and dignified. And this is the devil's greatest snare, to invest iniquity with a good repute, whereby it becomes hard to blot out. For I have often heard men taking credit to themselves at their not going near those who are averse to them. And yet thy Master found a glory in this. How often do not men despise (dieptusan) Him? how often show aversion to Him? Yet He ceaseth not to run unto them. Say not then that "I cannot bear to come near those that hate me," but say, that "I cannot bear to despise (diaptusai) those that despise me." This is the language of Christ's disciple, as the other is of the devil's. This makes men honorable and glorious, as the other doth shameful and ridiculous. It is on this ground we feel admiration for Moses, because even when God said, "Let Me alone, that I may destroy them in Mine anger," (Exod. xxxii. 10) he could not bear to despise those who had so often shown aversion to him, but said, "If thou wilt forgive them their trespass, forgive it; else blot out me also." (ibid. 32.) This was owing to his being a friend of God, and a copyer of Him. And let us not pride ourselves in things for which we ought to hide our faces. Nor let us use the language of these lewd fellows, that are the scum of men, I know how to scorn (kataptusai, spit at) thousands. But even if another use it, let us laugh him down, and stop his mouth for taking a delight in what he ought to feel ashamed of. What say you, pray, do you scorn a man that believes, whom when unbelieving Christ scorned not? Why do I say scorned not? Why He had such love towards him, when he was vile and unsightly, as even to die for him. He then so loved, and that such a person, and do you now, when he has been made fair and admirable, scorn him; now he is made a member of Christ, and hath been made thy Master's body? Dost thou not consider what thou art uttering, nor perceive what thou art venturing to do? He hath Christ as a Head, and a Table, and a Garment, and Life, and Light, and a Bridegroom, and He is everything to him, and dost thou dare to say, "this fellow I despise?" and not this only, but thousands of others along with him? Stay thee, O man, and cease from thy madness; get to know thy brother. Learn that these be words of unreasonableness, and frenzy, and say on the contrary, though he despise me ten thousand times, yet will I never stand aloof from him. In this way thou wilt both gain thy brother, and wilt live to the glory of God, and wilt share the good things to come. To which God grant that we may all attain, by the grace and love toward man, etc.
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