Writings of John Chrysostom. On the Epistle to the Corinthians.

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St. Chrysostom:

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

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

The Oxford Translation, revised with additional notes by Rev. Talbot W. Chambers, D.D.,
Pastor of the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Church, New York.

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


Preface.

The British edition of this translation has a preface in which is given a short "sketch" of Chrysostom's history. As a fuller outline has been given in the course of the present reproduction of the homilies, it is considered advisable to omit this sketch here. (See Vol. ix. pp. 3-23.) The remainder of the English editor's preface is as follows:

"The history and remains of St. Chrysostom are in one respect more interesting perhaps to the modern reader, than most of the monuments of those who are technically called the Fathers. At the time when he was raised up, and in those parts of the Christian world to which he was sent, the Patriarchates, namely, of Antioch and Constantinople, the Church was neither agitated by persecution from without, nor by any particular doctrinal controversy within, sufficient to attract his main attention, and connect his name with its history, as the name of St. Athanasius, e.g., is connected with the Arian, or that of St. Augustine with the Pelagian, controversy. The labours of St. Athanasius and St. Basil, and their friends and disciples, had come to a happy issue at the second OEcumenical Council; the civil power favoured orthodox doctrine, and upheld Episcopal authority. The Church seemed for the time free to try the force of her morals and discipline against the ordinary vices and errors of all ages and all nations. This is one reason why the Homilies of St. Chrysostom have always been considered as eminently likely among the relics of Antiquity, to be useful as models for preaching, and as containing hints for the application of Scripture to common life, and the consciences of persons around us.

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Another reason undoubtedly is the remarkable energy and fruitfulness of the writer's mind, that command of language and of topics, and above all, that depth of charitable and religious feeling, which enabled him, to a very remarkable extent, to carry his hearers along with him, even when the things he recommended were most distasteful to their natures and prejudices. It is obvious how much of the expression of this quality must vanish in translation: the elegance and fluency of his Greek style, the flow of his periods, the quickness and ingenuity of his turns, all the excellencies to which more especially his surname was owing, must in the nature of things be sacrificed, except in case of very rare felicity, on passing into a modern language. His dramatic manner indeed, which was one of the great charms of his oratory among the Greeks, and his rapid and ingenious selection and variation of topics, these may in some measure be retained, and may serve to give even English readers some faint notion of the eloquence which produced so powerful effects on the susceptible people of the East.

"However, it is not of course as composition that we desire to call attention to these or any other of the remains of the Fathers. Nor would this topic have been so expressly adverted to, but for the two following reasons. First, it is in such particulars as these, that the parallel mainly subsists, which has more than once been observed, between St. Chrysostom and our own Bishop Taylor: and it is good for the Church in general, and encouraging for our own Church in particular, to notice such providential revivals of ancient graces in modern times.

"Again, this profusion of literary talent, and eloquency and vehemence and skill in moral teaching, is of itself, as human nature now exists, a matter of much jealousy to considerate persons, found answerable to the profession implied in their works. And therefore it was desirable to dwell on it in this instance, for the purpose of pointing out afterwards how completely his life gave evidence that he meant and practiced what he taught.

"The Homilies on the first Epistle to the Corinthians have ever been considered by learned and devout men as among the most perfect specimens of his mind and teaching. They are of that mixed form, between exposition and exhortation, which serves perhaps better than any other, first, to secure attention, and then to convey to an attentive hearer the full purport of the holy words as they stand in the Bible, and to communicate to him the very impression which the preacher himself had received from the text. Accordingly they come in not unfitly in this series, by way of specimen of the hortatory Sermons of the ancients, as St. Cyril's, of their Catechetical Lectures, and St. Cyprians, the Pastoral Letters, which were circulated among them.

"The date of these Homilies is not exactly known: but it is certain that they were delivered at Antioch, were it only from Hom. xxi. . 9. ad fin. Antioch was at that time, in a temporal sense, a flourishing Church, maintaining 3,000 widows and virgins, [1] maimed persons, prisoners, and ministers of the altar; although, St. Chrysostom adds, its income was but that of one of the lowest class of wealthy individuals. It was indeed in a state of division, on account of the disputed succession in the Episcopate between the followers of Paulinus and Meletius since the year 362: but this separation affected not immediately any point of doctrine; and was in a way to be gradually worn out, partly by the labors of St. Chrysostom himself, whose discourse concerning the Anathema seems to have been occasioned by the too severe way in which the partisans on both sides allowed themselves to speak of each other. It may be that he had an eye to this schism in his way of handling those parts of the Epistles to the Corinthians, which so earnestly deprecate the spirit of schism and party, and the calling ourselves by human names.

"The Text which has been used in this translation is the Benedictine, corrected however in many places by that of Savile. The Benedictine Sections are marked in the margin thus, (2.) For the Translation, the Editors are indebted to the Reverend Hubert Kestell Cornish, M.A., late Fellow of Exeter College, and to the Reverend John Medley, M.A., of Wadham College, Vicar of St. Thomas, in the city of Exeter."

J. K[eble].

The Homilies on the Second Epistle were issued four years later than those on the First, and were preceded by the following note:

"The present Volume completes the set of St. Chrysostom's Commentaries on the Epistles of St. Paul, with the exception of that to the Hebrews, the Translation of which is preparing for the press. The edition of the original by Mr. Field has afforded the advantage of an improved text, in fact of one as good as we can hope to see constructed from existing mss.

"These Homilies were delivered at Antioch in the opinion of the Benedictine Editors, though Savile doubted it. The question depends on the interpretation of a passage near the end of Hom. xxvi., in which St. Chrysostom speaks of Constantinople, and presently says `here.' This, it has been rightly argued, he might say in the sense of "in the place I am speaking of,' while he was not likely to say, `in Constantinople' if he were speaking there.

"For the Translation the Editors are indebted to the Rev. J. Ashworth, M.A., of Brasenose College."

S. Clement, 1848.

C. M. M[arriott.]

This volume of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, embraces both volumes of the original London issue, one of which appeared in 1844, the other in 1848. The author of the latter had, as appears from his statement above, the advantage of using the recension of the Greek text which was prepared by the late Frederick Field, M.A., LL.D., and eminent textual critic whose labors leave nothing to be desired so far as concerns the materials at his command. The translators of the First Epistle did not have this advantage. Hence the present editor has made a diligent comparison throughout their work with Dr. Field's text, and whenever it was necessary has silently conformed the rendering to that text, in a few instances omitting a note which made needless or inappropriate by the change. In both Epistles he has occasionally amended the translation to gain perspicuity and smoothness. The work of the English authors has been performed with great care and fidelity, and is literal almost to a fault, it apparently being their endeavor to reproduce the form as well as the spirit of the original. This has given to their pages a stiffness and constraint not altogether agreeable, yet it is a compensation to the reader to know that he has before him the precise thought of the great pulpit orator of the Greek Church. The American Editor's notes have been enclosed in square brackets and marked with his initial.

The English text of the Epistles has been sedulously conformed to that of the Revised Edition of 1881, except in cases in which the Greek text used by Chrysostom varied from that adopted by recent Editors. All peculiarities of Chrysostom's text have been faithfully preserved.

In these days when expository preaching is so loudly and generally demanded, it cannot but be of use to the rising ministry to see how this service was performed by the most eloquent and effective of the Fathers, John of the Golden-Mouth.

T. W. Chambers.

New York, June, 1889.

Footnotes

[1] Hom. 66. on St. Matt. t. ii. p. 422. ed. Savil.


Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,

On the First Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle, to the Corinthians

Argument.

[1.] As Corinth is now the first city of Greece, so of old it prided itself on many temporal advantages, and more than all the rest, on excess of wealth. And on this account one of the heathen writers entitled the place "the rich [2] ." For it lies on the isthmus of the Peloponnesus, and had great facilities for traffic. The city was also full of numerous orators, and philosophers, and one, [3] I think, of the seven called wise men, was of this city. Now these things we have mentioned, not for ostentation's sake, nor to make, a display of great learning: (for indeed what is there in knowing these things?) but they are of use to us in the argument of the Epistle.

Paul also himself suffered many things in this city; and Christ, too, in this city appears to him and says, (Acts xviii. 10), "Be not silent, but speak; for I have much people in this city:" and he remained there two years. In this city [Acts xix. 16. Corinth put here, by lapse of memory, for Ephesus.] also the devil went out, whom the Jews endeavoring to exorcise, suffered so grievously. In this city did those of the magicians, who repented, collect together their books and burn them, and there appeared to be fifty thousand. (Acts xix. 18. arguriou omitted.) In this city also, in the time of Gallio the Proconsul, Paul was beaten before the judgment seat. [4]

[2.] The devil, therefore, seeing that a great and populous city had laid hold of the truth, a city admired for wealth and wisdom, and the head of Greece; (for Athens and Lacedæmon were then and since in a miserable state, the dominion having long ago fallen away from them;) and seeing that with great readiness they had received the word of God; what doth he? He divides the men. For he knew that even the strongest kingdom of all, divided against itself, shall not stand. He had a vantage ground too, for this device in the wealth, the wisdom of the inhabitants. Hence certain men, having made parties of their own, and having become self-elected made themselves leaders of the people, and some sided with these, and some with those; with one sort, as being rich; with another, as wise and able to teach something out of the common. Who on their part, receiving them, set themselves up forsooth to teach more than the Apostle did: [5]at which he was hinting, when he said, "I was not able to speak unto you as unto spiritual" (ch. iii. 1.); evidently not his inability, but their infirmity, was the cause of their not having been abundantly instructed. And this, (ch. iv. 8.) "Ye are become rich without us," is the remark of one pointing that way. And this was no small matter, but of all things most pernicious; that the Church should be torn asunder.

And another sin, too, besides these, was openly committed there: namely, a person who had had intercourse with his step-mother not only escaped rebuke, but was even a leader of the multitude, and gave occasion to his followers to be conceited. Wherefore he saith, (ch. 5. 2.) "And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned." And after this again, certain of those who as they pretended were of the more perfect sort, and who for gluttony's sake used to eat of things offered unto idols, and sit at meat in the temples, were bringing all to ruin. Others again, having contentions and strifes about money, committed unto the heathen courts (tois exothen sikadteriois) all matters of that kind. Many persons also wearing long hair used to go about among them; whom he ordereth to be shorn. There was another fault besides, no trifling one; their eating in the churches apart by themselves, and giving no share to the needy.

And again, they were erring in another point, being puffed up with the gifts; and hence jealous of one another; which was also the chief cause of the distraction of the Church. The doctrine of the Resurrection, too, was lame (echoleue) among them: for some of them had no strong belief that there is any resurrection of bodies, having still on them the disease of Grecian foolishness. For indeed all these things were the progeny of the madness which belongs to Heathen Philosophy, and she was the mother of all mischief. Hence, likewise, they had become divided; in this respect also having learned of the philosophers. For these latter were no less at mutual variance, always, through love of rule and vain glory contradicting one another's opinions, and bent upon making some new discovery in addition to all that was before. And the cause of this was, their having begun to trust themselves to reasonings.

[3.] They had written accordingly to him by the hand of Fortunatus and Stephanas and Achaicus, by whom also he himself writes; and this he has indicated in the end of the Epistle: not however upon all these subjects, but about marriage and virginity; wherefore also he said, (ch. vii. 1.) "Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote" &c. And he proceeds to give injunctions, both on the points about which they had written, and those about which they had not written; having learnt with accuracy all their failings. Timothy, too, he sends with the letters, knowing that letters indeed have great force, yet that not a little would be added to them by the presence of the disciple also.

Now whereas those who had divided the Church among themselves, from a feeling of shame lest they should seem to have done so for ambition's sake, contrived cloaks for what had happened, their teaching (forsooth) more perfect doctrines, and being wiser than all others; Paul sets himself first against the disease itself, plucking up the root of the evils, and its offshoot, the spirit of separation. And he uses great boldness of speech: for these were his own disciples, more than all others. Wherefore he saith (ch. ix. 2.) "If to others I be not an Apostle, yet at least I am unto you; for the seal of my apostleship are ye." Moreover they were in a weaker condition (to say the least of it) than the others. Wherefore he saith, (ch. iii. 1, 2. oude for oute). "For I have not spoken unto you as unto spiritual; for hitherto ye were not able, neither yet even now are ye able." (This he saith, that they might not suppose that he speaks thus in regard of the time past alone.)

However, it was utterly improbable that all should have been corrupted; rather there were some among them who were very holy. And this he signified [6] in the middle of the Epistle, where he says, (ch. iv. 3, 6.) "To me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you:" and adds, "these things I have in a figure transferred unto myself and Apollos."

Since then from arrogance all these evils were springing, and from men's thinking that they knew something out of the common, this he purgeth away first of all, and in beginning saith,

Footnotes

[2] Homer, Il. ii. 570; Thucyd. i. 13; Strabo, viii. 20. [3] Periander; but vid. Plutarch. in Solon. tom. i. p. 185. ed. Bryan. [4] This is said of Sosthenes, Acts xviii. 17. But the context makes it probable that St. Paul was beaten also. [Hardly.] [5] St. Irenæus, Adv. Hær. iii. v. 1, points out this as a main topic of heretical teaching. "These most futile of Sophisters affirm that the Apostles taught feignedly, after the capacity of the hearers, and gave answer after the prejudices of those who enquired of them, discoursing with the blind blindly according to their blindness, with the feeble according to their feebleness, and with the erring according to their error." [6] It appears by the subsequent commentary on these verses, that S. Chrysostom understood the Apostle to be alluding in them to persons among the Corinthians, who had suffered from unjust censure and party spirit. See Hom. ii. . 1; xi. near the end; and the opening of Hom. xii.


Homily I.

1 Cor. i. 1-3

Paul, called to be an Apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, even them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be Saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord and ours: Grace unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

[1.] See how immediately, from the very beginning, he casts down their pride, and dashes to the ground all their fond imagination, in that he speaks of himself as "called." For what I have learnt, saith he, I discovered not myself, nor acquired by my own wisdom, but while I was persecuting and laying waste the Church I was called. Now here of Him that calleth is everything: of him that is called, nothing, (so to speak,) but only to obey.

"Of Jesus Christ." Your teacher is Christ; and do you register the names of men, as patrons of your doctrine?

"Through the will of God." For it was God who willed that you should be saved in this way. We ourselves have wrought no good thing, but by the will of God we have attained to this salvation; and because it seemed good to him, we were called, not because we were worthy.

"And Sosthenes our brother." Another instance of his modesty; he puts in the same rank with himself one inferior to Apollos; for great was the interval between Paul and Sosthenes. Now if where the interval was so wide he stations with himself one far beneath him, what can they have to say who despise their equals?

"Unto the Church of God." Not "of this or of that man," but of God.

"Which is at Corinth." Seest thou how at each word he puts down their swelling pride; training their thoughts in every way for heaven? He calls it, too, the Church "of God;" shewing that it ought to be united. For if it be "of God," it is united, and it is one, not in Corinth only, but also in all the world: for the Church's name (ekklesia: properly an assembly) is not a name of separation, but of unity and concord.

"To the sanctified in Christ Jesus." Again the name of Jesus; the names of men he findeth no place for. But what is Sanctification? The Laver, the Purification. For he reminds them of their own uncleanness, from which he had freed them; and so persuades them to lowliness of mind; for not by their own good deeds, but by the loving-kindness of God, had they been sanctified.

"Called to be Saints." For even this, to be saved by faith, is not saith he, of yourselves; for ye did not first draw near, but were called; so that not even this small matter is yours altogether. However, though you had drawn near, accountable as you are for innumerable wickednesses, not even so would the grace be yours, but God's. Hence also, writing to the Ephesians, he said, (Eph. ii. 8) "By grace have ye been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves;" not even the faith is yours altogether; for ye were not first with your belief, but obeyed a call.

"With all who call upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Not "of this or that man," but "the Name of the Lord."

[2.] "In every place, both theirs and ours." For although the letter be written to the Corinthians only, yet he makes mention of all the faithful that are in all the earth; showing that the Church throughout the world must be one, however separate in divers places; and much more, that in Corinth. And though the place separate, the Lord binds them together, being common to all. Wherefore also uniting them he adds, "both theirs and ours." And this is far more powerful [to unite], than the other [to separate]. For as men in one place, having many and contrary masters, become distracted, and their one place helps them not to be of one mind, their masters giving orders at variance with each other, and drawing each their own way, according to what Christ says, (St. Matt. vi. 24) "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon;" so those in different places, if they have not different lords but one only, are not by the places injured in respect of unanimity, the One Lord binding them together. "I say not then, (so he speaks,) that with Corinthians only, you being Corinthians ought to be of one mind, but with all that are in the whole world, inasmuch as you have a common Master." This is also why he hath a second time added "our;" for since he had said, "the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord," lest he should appear to the inconsiderate to be making a distinction, he subjoins again, "both our Lord and theirs."

[3.] That my meaning may be clearer, I will read it according to its sense thus: "Paul and Sosthenes to the Church of God which is in Corinth and to all who call upon the Name of Him who is both our Lord and theirs in every place, whether in Rome or wheresoever else they may be: grace unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Or again thus; which I also believe to be rather more correct: "Paul and Sosthenes to those that are at Corinth, who have been sanctified, called to be Saints, together with all who call upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ in place, both theirs and ours;" that is to say, "grace unto you, and peace unto you, who are at Corinth, who have been sanctified and called;" not to you alone, but "with all who in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and theirs."

Now if our peace be of grace, why hast thou high thoughts? Why art Thou so puffed up, being saved by grace? And if thou hast peace with God, why wish to assign thyself to others? since this is what separation comes to. For what if you be at "peace" with this man, and with the other even find "grace?" My prayer is that both these may be yours from God; both from Him I say, and towards Him. For neither do they abide (menei, Savile in marg.) secure except they enjoy the influence from above; nor unless God be their object will they aught avail you: for it profiteth us nothing, though we be peaceful towards all men, if we be at war with God; even as it is no harm to us, although by all men we are held as enemies, if with God we are at peace. And again it is no gain to us, if all men approve, and the Lord be offended; neither is there any danger, though all shun and hate us, if with God we have acceptance and love. For that which is verily grace, and verily peace, cometh of God, since he who finds grace in God's sight, though he suffer ten thousand horrors, feareth no one; I say not only, no man, but not even the devil himself; but he that hath offended God suspects all men, though he seem to be in security. For human nature is unstable, and not friends only and brethren, but fathers also, before now, have been altogether changed and often for a little thing he whom they begat, the branch of their planting, hath been to them, more than all foes, an object of persecution. Children, too, have cast off their fathers. Thus, if ye will mark it, David was in favor with God, Absalom was in favor with men. What was the end of each, and which of them gained most honor, ye know. Abraham was in favor with God, Pharaoh with men; for to gratify him they gave up the just man's wife. (See St. Chrys. on Gen. xii. 17.) Which then of the two was the more illustrious, and the happy man? every one knows. And why speak I of righteous men; The Israelites were in favor with God, but they were hated by men, the Egyptians; but nevertheless they prevailed against their haters and vanquished them, with how great triumph, is well known to you all.

For this, therefore, let all of us labor earnestly; whether one be a slave, let him pray for this, that he may find grace with God rather than with his master; or a wife, let her seek grace from God her Saviour rather than from her husband; or a soldier, in preference to his king and commander let him seek that favor which cometh from above. For thus among men also wilt thou be an object of love.

[4.] But how shall a man find grace with God? How else, except by lowliness of mind? "For God, "saith one, (St. Jas. iv. 6.) "resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble; and, (Ps. li. 17. tetapeinomenen.) the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit, and a heart that is brought low God will not despise." For if with men humility is so lovely, much more with God. Thus both they of the Gentiles found grace and the Jews no other way fell from grace; (Rom. x. 13.) "for they were not subject unto the righteousness of God." The lowly man of whom I am speaking, is pleasing and delightful to all men, and dwells in continual peace, and hath in him no ground for contentions. For though you insult him, though you abuse him, whatsoever you say, he will be silent and will bear it meekly, and will have so great peace towards all men as one cannot even describe. Yea, and with God also. For the commandments of God are to be at peace with men: and thus our whole life is made prosperous, through peace one with another. For no man can injure God: His nature is imperishable, and above all suffering. Nothing makes the Christian so admirable as lowliness of mind. Hear, for instance, Abraham saying, (Gen. xviii. 27.) "But I am but dust and ashes;" and again, God [saying] of Moses, that (Numb. xii. 3.) "he was the meekest of all men." For nothing was ever more humble than he; who, being leader of so great a people, and having overwhelmed in the sea the king and the host of all the Egyptians, as if they had been flies; and having wrought so many wonders both in Egypt and by the Red Sea and in the wilderness, and received such high testimony, yet felt exactly as if he had been an ordinary person, and as a son-in-law was humbler than his father-in-law, (Exodus xviii. 24) and took advice from him, and was not indignant, nor did he say, "What is this? After such and so great achievements, art thou come to us with thy counsel?" This is what most people feel; though a man bring the best advice, despising it, because of the lowliness of the person. But not so did he: rather through lowliness of mind he wrought all things well. Hence also he despised the courts of kings, (Heb. xi. 24-26.) since he was lowly indeed: for the sound mind and the high spirit are the fruit of humility. For of how great nobleness and magnanimity, thinkest thou, was it a token, to despise the kingly palace and table? since kings among the Egyptians are honored as gods, and enjoy wealth and treasures inexhaustible. But nevertheless, letting go all these and throwing away the very sceptres of Egypt, he hastened to join himself unto captives, and men worn down with toil, whose strength was spent in the clay and the making of bricks, men whom his own slaves abhorred, (for, saith he (ebdelussonto, Sept. Ex. i. 2.) "The Egyptians abhorred them;") unto these he ran and preferred them before their masters. From whence it is plain, that whoso is lowly, the same is high and great of soul. For pride cometh from an ordinary mind and an ignoble spirit, but moderation, from greatness of mind and a lofty soul.

[5.] And if you please, let us try each by examples. For tell me, what was there ever more exalted than Abraham? And yet it was he that said, "I am but dust and ashes;" it was he who said, (Gen. xiii. 8) "Let there be no strife between me and thee." But this man, so humble, (Gen. xiv. 21-24.) despised ("Persian," i.e. perhaps, "of Elam.") Persian spoils, and regarded not Barbaric trophies; and this he did of much highmindedness, and of a spirit nobly nurtured. For he is indeed exalted who is truly humble; (not the flatterer nor the dissembler;) for true greatness is one thing, and arrogance another. And this is plain from hence; if one man esteem clay to be clay, and despise it, and another admire the clay as gold, and account it a great thing; which, I ask, is the man of exalted mind? Is it not he who refuses to admire the clay? And which, abject and mean? Is it not he who admires it, and set much store by it? Just so do thou esteem of this case also; that he who calls himself but dust and ashes is exalted, although he say it out of humility; but that he who does not consider himself dust and ashes, but treats himself lovingly and has high thoughts, this man for his part must be counted mean, esteeming little things to be great. Whence it is clear that out of great loftiness of thought the patriarch spoke that saying, "I am but dust and ashes;" from loftiness of thought, not from arrogance.

For as in bodies it is one thing to be healthy and plump, (sphrigonta, firm and elastic.) and another thing to be swoln, although both indicate a full habit of flesh, (but in this case of unsound, in that of healthful flesh;) so also here: it is one thing to be arrogant, which is, as it were, to be swoln, and another thing to be high-souled, which is to be in a healthy state. And again, one man is tall from the stature of his person; another, being short, by adding buskins [7] becomes taller; now tell me, which of the two should we call tall and large? Is it not quite plain, him whose height is from himself? For the other has it as something not his own; and stepping upon things low in themselves, turns out a tall person. Such is the case with many men who mount themselves up on wealth and glory; which is not exaltation, for he is exalted who wants none of these things, but despises them, and has his greatness from himself. Let us therefore become humble that we may become exalted; (St. Luke xiv. 11) "For he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." Now the self-willed man is not such as this; rather he is of all characters the most ordinary. For the bubble, too, is inflated, but the inflation is not sound; wherefore we call these persons "puffed up." Whereas the sober-minded man has no high thoughts, not even in high fortunes, knowing his own low estate; but the vulgar even in his trifling concerns indulges a proud fancy.

[6.] Let us then acquire that height which comes by humility. Let us look into the nature of human things, that we may kindle with the longing desire of the things to come; for in no other way is it possible to become humble, except by the love of what is divine and the contempt of what is present. For just as a man on the point of obtaining a kingdom, if instead of that purple robe one offer him some trivial compliment, will count it to be nothing; so shall we also laugh to scorn all things present, if we desire that other sort of honor. Do ye not see the children, when in their play they make a band of soldiers, and heralds precede them and lictors, and a boy marches in the midst in the general's place, how childish it all is? Just such are all human affairs; yea and more worthless than these: to-day they are, and to-morrow they are not. Let us therefore be above these things; and let us not only not desire them, but even be ashamed if any one hold them forth to us. For thus, casting out the love of these things, we shall possess that other love which is divine, and shall enjoy immortal glory. Which may God grant us all to obtain, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; with whom be to the Father, together with the holy and good Spirit, the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[7] embadas, a leathern shoe coming half way up the leg, with high heels of cork; used especially by tragic actors to elevate their size. Æschylus, says Horace, improving tragedy, "docuit magnumque loqui, nitique cothurno." A. P. 280.


Homily II.

1 Cor. i. 4, 5

I thank my God always concerning you, for the Grace of God which was given you in Jesus Christ; that in every thing you were enriched in him.

[1.] That which he exhorts others to do, saying, "(Phil. iv. 6.) Let your requests with thanksgiving be made known unto God," the same also he used to do himself: teaching us to begin always from these words, and before all things to give thanks unto God. For nothing is so acceptable to God as that men should be thankful, both for themselves and for others: wherefore also he prefaces almost every Epistle with this. But the occasion for his doing so is even more urgent here than in the other Epistles. For he that gives thanks, does so, both as being well off, and as in acknowledgment of a favor: now a favor is not a debt nor a requital nor a payment: which indeed every where is important to be said, but much more in the case of the Corinthians who were gaping after the dividers of the Church.

[2.] "Unto my God." Out of great affection he seizes on that which is common, and makes it his own; as the prophets also from time to time use to say, (Ps. xliii. 4; lxii. 1.) "O God, my God;" and by way of encouragement he incites them to use the same language also themselves. For such expressions belong to one who is retiring from all secular things, and moving towards Him whom he calls on with so much earnestness: since he alone can truly say this, who from things of this life is ever mounting upwards unto God, and always preferring Him to all, and giving thanks continually, not [only] for the grace already given, [8] but whatever blessing hath been since at any time bestowed, for this also he offereth unto Him the same praise. Wherefore he saith not merely, "I give thanks," but "at all times, concerning you;" instructing them to be thankful both always, and to no one else save God only.

[3.] "For the grace of God." Seest thou how from every quarter he draws topics for correcting them? For where "grace" is, "works" are not; where "works," it is no more "grace." If therefore it be "grace," why are ye high-minded? Whence is it that ye are puffed up?

"Which is given you." And by whom was it given? By me, or by another Apostle? Not at all, but "by Jesus Christ." For the expression, "In Jesus Christ," signifies this. Observe how in divers places he uses the word en, "in," instead of di hou, "through means of whom;" therefore its sense is no less. [9]

"That in every thing ye were enriched." Again, by whom? By Him, is the reply. And not merely "ye were enriched," but "in every thing." Since then it is first of all, "riches" then, "riches of God," next, "in every thing," and lastly, "through the Only-Begotten," reflect on the ineffable treasure!

Ver. 5. "In all utterance, and all knowledge." "Word" ["or utterance,"] not such as the heathen, but that of God. For there is knowledge without "word," and there is knowledge with "word." For so there are many who possess knowledge, but have not the power of speech; as those who are uneducated and unable to exhibit clearly what they have in their mind. Ye, saith he, are not such as these, but competent both to understand and to speak.

Ver. 6. "Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you." Under the color of praises and thanksgiving he touches them sharply. "For not by heathen philosophy," saith he, "neither by heathen discipline, but "the grace of God," and by the "riches," and the "knowledge," and the "word" given by Him, were you enabled to learn the doctrines of the truth, and to be confirmed unto the testimony of the Lord; that is, unto the Gospel. For ye had the benefit of many signs, many wonders, unspeakable grace, to make you receive the Gospel. If therefore ye were established by signs and grace, why do ye waver?" Now these are the words of one both reproving, and at the same time prepossessing them in his favor.

[4.] Ver. 7. "So that ye come behind in no gift." A great question here arises. They who had been "enriched in all utterance," so as in no respect to "come behind in any gift," are they carnal? For if they were such at the beginning, much more now. How then does he call them "carnal?" For, saith he, (1 Cor. iii. 1.) "I was not able to speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal." What must we say then? That having in the beginning believed, and obtained all gifts, (for indeed they sought them earnestly,) they became remiss afterwards. Or, if not so, that not unto all are either these things said or those; but the one to such as were amenable to his censures, the other to such as were adorned with his praises. For as to the fact that they still had gifts; (1 Cor. xiv. 26, 29.) "Each one," saith he, "hath a psalm, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation; let all things be done unto edifying." And, "Let the prophets speak two or three." Or we may state it somewhat differently; that as it is usual with us to call the greater part the whole, so also he hath spoken in this place. Withal, I think he hints at his own proceedings; for he too had shewn forth signs; even as also he saith in the second Epistle to them, (2 Cor. xii. 12, 13.) "Truly the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience:" and again, "For what is there wherein you were inferior to other churches?"

Or, as I was saying, he both reminds them of his own miracles and speaks thus with an eye to those who were still approved. For many holy men were there who had "set themselves to minister unto the saints," and had become "the first fruits of Achaia;" as he declareth (ch. xvi. 15.) towards the end.

[5.] In any case, although the praises be not very close to the truth, still however they are inserted by way of precaution, (oikonomikos) preparing the way beforehand for his discourse. For whoever at the very outset speaks things unpleasant, excludes his words from a hearing among the weaker: since if the hearers be his equals in degree they feel angry; if vastly inferior they will be vexed. To avoid this, he begins with what seem to be praises. I say, seem; for not even did this praise belong to them, but to the grace of God. For that they had remission of sins, and were justified, this was of the Gift from above. Wherefore also he dwells upon these points, which shew the loving-kindness of God, in order that he may the more fully purge out their malady.

[6.] "Waiting for the revelation (apokalupsin.) of our Lord Jesus Christ." "Why make ye much ado," saith he, "why are ye troubled that Christ is not come? Nay, he is come; and the Day is henceforth at the doors." And consider his wisdom; how withdrawing them from human considerations he terrifies them by mention of the fearful judgment-seat, and thus implying that not only the beginnings must be good, but the end also. For with all these gifts, and with all else that is good, we must be mindful of that Day: and there is need of many labors to be able to come unto the end. "Revelation" is his word; implying that although He be not seen, yet He is, and is present even now, and then shall appear. Therefore there is need of patience: for to this end did ye receive the wonders, that ye may remain firm.

[7.] Ver. 8. "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be unreprovable." Here he seems to court them, but the saying is free from all flattery; for he knows also how to press them home; as when he saith, (1 Cor. iv. 18, 21.) "Now some are puffed up as though I would not come to you:" and again, "What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?" And, (2 Cor. xiii. 3.) "Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me." But he is also covertly accusing them: for, to say, "He shall confirm," and the word "unreprovable" marks them out as still wavering, and liable to reproof.

But do thou consider how he always fasteneth them as with nails to the Name of Christ. And not any man nor teacher, but continually the Desired One Himself is remembered by him: setting himself, as it were to arouse those who were heavy-headed after some debauch. For no where in any other Epistle doth the Name of Christ occur so continually. But here it is, many times in a few verses; and by means of it he weaves together, one may say, the whole of the proem. Look at it from the beginning. "Paul called [to be] an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have been sanctified in Jesus Christ, who call upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, grace [be] unto you and peace from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God for the grace which hath been given you by Jesus Christ, even as the testimony of Christ hath been confirmed in you, waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall confirm you unreprovable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye have been called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. And I beseech you by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Seest thou the constant repetition of the Name of Christ? From whence it is plain even to the most unobservant, that not by chance nor unwittingly he doeth this, but in order that by incessant application [10] of that glorious Name he may foment [11] their inflammation, and purge out the corruption of the disease.

[8.] Ver. 9. "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son." Wonderful! How great a thing saith he here! How vast in the magnitude of the gift which he declares! Into the fellowship of the Only-Begotten have ye been called, and do ye addict yourselves unto men? What can be worse than this wretchedness? And how have ye been called? By the Father. For since "through Him," and "in Him," were phrases which he was constantly employing in regard of the Son, lest men might suppose that he so mentioneth Him as being less, he ascribeth the same to the Father. For not by this one and that one, saith he, but "by the Father" have ye been called; by Him also have ye been "enriched." Again, "ye have been called;" ye did not yourselves approach. But what means, "into the fellowship of His Son?" Hear him declaring this very thing more clearly elsewhere. (2 Tim. ii. 12.) If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we die with Him, we shall also live with Him. Then, because it was a great thing which He had said, he adds an argument fraught with unanswerable conviction; for, saith he, "God is faithful," i.e. "true." Now if "true," what things He hath promised He will also perform. And He hath promised that He will make us partakers of His only-begotten Son; for to this end also did He call us. For (Rom. xi. 29.) "His gifts, and the calling of God," are without repentance.

These things, by a kind of divine art he inserts thus early, lest after the vehemence of the reproofs they might fall into despair. For assuredly God's part will ensue, if we be not quite impatient of His rein. (apheniasomen) As the Jews, being called, would not receive the blessings; but this was no longer of Him that called, but of their lack of sense. For He indeed was willing to give, but they, by refusing to receive, cast themselves away. For, had He called to a painful and toilsome undertaking, not even in that case were they pardonable in making excuse; however, they would have been able to say that so it was: but if the call be unto cleansing, (Comp. i. 4-7.) and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, and grace, and a free gift, and the good things in store, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; and it be God that calls, and calls by Himself; what pardon can they deserve, who come not running to Him? Let no one therefore accuse God; for unbelief cometh not of Him that calleth, but of those who start away (apopedontas) from Him.

[9.] But some man will say, "He ought to bring men in, even against their will." Away with this. He doth not use violence, nor compel; [12] for who that bids to honors, and crowns, and banquets, and festivals, drags people, unwilling and bound? No one. For this is the part of one inflicting an insult. Unto hell He sends men against their will, but unto the kingdom He calls willing minds. To the fire He brings men bound and bewailing themselves: to the endless state of blessings not so. Else it is a reproach to the very blessings themselves, if their nature be not such as that men should run to them of their own accord and with many thanks.

"Whence it is then," say you, "that all men do not choose them?" From their own infirmity. "And wherefore doth He not cut off their infirmity?" And how tell me--in what way--ought He to cut it off? Hath He not made a world that teacheth His loving-kindness and His power? For (Ps. xix. 1.) "the heavens," saith one, "declare the glory of God." Hath He not also sent prophets? Hath He not both called and honored us? Hath He not done wonders? Hath He not given a law both written and natural? Hath He not sent His Son? Hath he not commissioned Apostles? Hath He not wrought sins? Hath He not threatened hell? Hath He not promised the kingdom? Doth He not every day make His sun to rise? Are not the things which He hath enjoined so simple and easy, that many transcend His commandments in the greatness of their self-denial? [13]"What was there to do unto the vineyard and I have not done it?" (Is. v. 4.)

[10.] "And why," say you, "did He not make knowledge and virtue natural to us?" Who speaketh thus? The Greek or the Christian? Both of them, indeed, but not about the same things: for the one raises his objection with a view to knowledge, the other with a view to conduct. First, then, we will reply to him who is on our side; for I do not so much regard those without, as our own members.

What then saith the Christian? "It were meet to have implanted in us the knowledge itself of virtue." He hath implanted it; for if he had not done so, whence should we have known what things are to be done, what left undone? Whence are the laws and the tribunals? But "God should have imparted not [merely] knowledge, but also the very doing of it [virtue]." For what then wouldest thou have to be rewarded, if the whole were of God? For tell me, doth God punish in the same manner thee and the Greek upon committing sin [14] ? Surely not. For up to a certain point thou hast confidence, viz. that which ariseth from the true knowledge. What then, if any one should now say that on the score of knowledge thou and the Greek will be accounted of like desert? Would it not disgust thee? I think so, indeed. For thou wouldest say that the Greek, having of his own wherewith to attain knowledge, was not willing. If then the latter also should say that God ought to have implanted knowledge in us naturally, wilt thou not laugh him to scorn, and say to him, "But why didst thou not seek for it? why wast thou not in earnest even as I?" And thou wilt stand firm with much confidence, and say that it was extreme folly to blame God for not implanting knowledge by nature. And this thou wilt say, because thou hast obtained what appertains to knowledge. So also hadst thou performed what appertains to practice, thou wouldest not have raised these questions: but thou art tired of virtuous practice, therefore thou shelterest thyself with these inconsiderate words. But how could it be at all right to cause that by necessity one should become good? Then shall we next have the brute beasts contending with us about virtue, seeing that some of them are more temperate than ourselves.

But thou sayest, "I had rather have been good by necessity, and so forfeited all rewards, than evil by deliberate choice, to be punished and suffer vengeance." But it is impossible that one should ever be good by necessity. If therefore thou knowest not what ought to be done, shew it, and then we will tell you what is right to say. But if thou knowest that uncleanness is wicked, wherefore dost thou not fly from the evil thing?

"I cannot," thou sayest. But others who have done greater things than this will plead against thee, and will more than prevail to stop thy mouth. For thou, perhaps, though living with a wife, art not chaste; but another even without a wife keeps his chastity inviolate. Now what excuse hast thou for not keeping the rule, while another even leaps beyond the lines [15] that have been drawn to mark it?

But thou sayest "I am not of this sort in my bodily frame, or my turn of mind." That is for want, not of power, but of will. For thus I prove that all have a certain aptness towards virtue: That which a man cannot do, neither will he be able to do though necessity be laid upon him; but, if, necessity being laid upon him, he is able, he that leaveth it undone, leaveth it undone out of choice. The kind of thing I mean is this: to fly up and be borne towards heaven, having a heavy body, is even simply impossible. What then, if a king should command one to do this, and threaten death, saying, "Those men who do not fly, I decree that they lose their heads, or be burnt, or some other such punishment:" would any one obey him? Surely not. For nature is not capable of it. But if in the case of chastity this same thing were done, and he were to lay down laws that the unclean should be punished, be burnt, be scourged, should suffer the extremity of torture, would not many obey the law? "No" thou wilt say: "for there is appointed, even now, a law forbidding to commit adultery [16] and all do not obey it." Not because the fear looses its power, but because the greater part expect to be unobserved. So that if when they were on the point of committing an unclean action the legislator and the judge came before them, the fear would be strong enough to cast out the lust. Nay, were I to apply another kind of force inferior to this; were I to take the man and remove him from the beloved person, and shut him up close in chains, he will be able to bear it, without suffering any great harm. Let us not say then that such an one is by nature evil: for if a man were by nature good, he could never at any time become evil; and if he were by nature evil, he could never be good. But now we see that changes take place rapidly, and that men quickly shift from this side to the other, and from that fall back again into this. And these things we may see not in the Scriptures only, for instance, that publicans have become apostles; and disciples, traitors; and harlots, chaste; and robbers, men of good repute; and magicians have worshipped; and ungodly men passed over unto godliness, both in the New Testament and in the Old; but even every day a man may see many such things occurring. Now if things were natural, they could not change. For so we, being by nature susceptible, could never by any exertions become void of feeling. For that which is whatever it is by nature, can never fall away from such its natural condition. No one, for example, ever changed from sleeping to not sleeping: no one from a state of corruption unto incorruption: no one from hunger to the perpetual absence of that sensation. Wherefore neither are these things matters of accusation, nor do we reproach ourselves for them; nor ever did any one, meaning to blame another, say to him, "O thou, corruptible and subject to passion:" but either adultery or fornication, or something of that kind, we always lay to the charge of those who are responsible; and we bring them before judges, who blame and punish, and in the contrary cases award honors.

[11.] Since then both from our conduct towards one another, and from others' conduct to us when judged, and from the things about which we have written laws, and from the things wherein we condemn ourselves, though there be no one to accuse us; and from the instances of our becoming worse through indolence, and better through fear; and from the cases wherein we see others doing well and arriving at the height of self-command, (philosophias) it is quite clear that we also have it in our power to do well: why do we, the most part, deceive ourselves in vain with heartless pretexts and excuses, bringing not only no pardon, but even punishment intolerable? When we ought to keep before our eyes that fearful day, and to give heed to virtue; and after a little labor, obtain the incorruptible crowns? For these words will be no defence to us; rather our fellow-servants, and those who have practised the contrary virtues, will condemn all who continue in sin: the cruel man will be condemned by the merciful; the evil, by the good; the fierce, by the gentle; the grudging, by the courteous; the vain-glorious, by the self-denying; the indolent, by the serious; the intemperate, by the sober-minded. Thus will God pass judgment upon us, and will set in their place both companies; on one bestowing praise, on the other punishment. But God forbid that any of those present should be among the punished and dishonored, but rather among those who are crowned and the winners of the kingdom. Which may God grant us all to obtain through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; with Whom unto the Father and the Holy Ghost be glory, power, honor, now and ever, and unto everlasting ages. Amen.

Footnotes

[8] This seems to mean the grace given in Baptism once for all. [9] [This is true, but modern criticism prefers the literal sense of the preposition; in Jesus Christ, i.e., in your fellowship with him. C.] [10] The image here seems to be taken from the vulgar use, in medicine, of a charm or amulet. [11] [Dr. Field's text reads epantlon.] [12] Yet in St. Luke xiv. 23. it is, "compel them to come in." But our Lord is there speaking of the kingdom of heaven, S. Chrysostom here, of heaven itself. [A better answer is that the words denote not physical violence or literal compulsion but intense moral earnestness.] [13] [te periousia tes philosophias. Lit. "by the excess of philosophy." The term philosophy came to be used by the early Christian writers to denote a contemplative, self-denying life. The reference in the text is to the so-called "counsels of perfection," such as voluntary poverty, voluntary celibacy, etc., which as they exceed what is enjoined in the Gospel were supposed to establish a peculiar merit and secure a higher degree of blessedness. This two-fold standard of moral excellence may be traced back as far as the middle of the second century. See Pastor Hermae Simil. v. 3. C.] [14] The meaning seems to be, "Whatever other sins you commit, you have not the sin of unbelief to answer for; and would, I suppose, think it hard, if cæteris paribus you were counted as guilty as an unbeliever. Now this your instinctive judgment confutes any hope you may have that nature and circumstances may excuse you in any other sin." [15] Ta skammata. The image is borrowed from the gymnastic exercise of leaping. [16] From the time of Constantine to that of Justinian it was a capital offence. Gibbon, e. 44. note 197.


Homily III.

1 Cor. i. 10

Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak of the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

What I have continually been saying, that we must frame our rebukes gently and gradually, this Paul doth here also; in that, being about to enter upon a subject full of many dangers and enough to tear up the Church from her foundations he uses very mild language. His word is that he "beseeches" them, and beseeches them "through Christ;" as though not even he were sufficient alone to make this supplication, and to prevail.

But what is this, "I beseech you through Christ?" "I take Christ to fight on my side, and to aid me, His injured and insulted Name." An awful way of speaking indeed! lest they should prove hard and shameless: for sin makes men restless. Wherefore if at once (an men eutheos epiplexes Savil. an me Ben.) you sharply rebuke you make a man fierce and impudent: but if you put him to shame, you bow down his neck, you check his confidence, you make him hang down his head. Which object being Paul's also, he is content for a while to beseech them through the Name of Christ. And what, of all things, is the object of his request?

"That ye may all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions [schisms] among you." The emphatic force of the word "schism," I mean the name itself, was a sufficient accusation. For it was not that they had become many parts, each entire within itself, but rather the One [Body which originally existed] had perished. For had they [17] been entire Churches, there might be many of them; but if they were divisions, then that first One was gone. For that which is entire within itself not only does not become many by division into many parts, but even the original One is lost. Such is the nature of divisions.

[2.] In the next place, because he had sharply dealt with them by using the word "schism," he again softens and soothes them, saying, "That ye may be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." That is; since he had said, "That ye may all speak the same thing;" "do not suppose," he adds, "that I said concord should be only in words; I seek for that harmony which is of the mind." But since there is such a thing as agreement in words, and that hearty, not however on all subjects, therefore he added this, "That ye may be perfected together." For he that is united in one thing, but in another dissents, is no longer "perfected," nor fitted in to complete accordance. There is also such a thing as harmony of opinions, where there is not yet harmony of sentiment; for instance, when having the same faith we are not joined together in love: for thus, in opinions we are one, (for we think the same things,) but in sentiment not so. And such was the case at that time; this person choosing one [leader], and that, another. For this reason he saith it is necessary to agree both in "mind" and in "judgment." For it was not from any difference in faith that the schisms arose, but from the division of their judgment through human contentiousness.

[3.] But seeing that whoso is blamed is unabashed so long as he hath no witnesses, observe how, not permitting them to deny the fact, he adduces some to bear witness.

Ver. 11. "For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them which are of the household of Chloe." Neither did he say this at the very beginning, but first he brought forward his charge; as one who put confidence in his informants. Because, had it not been so, he would not have found fault: for Paul was not a person to believe lightly. Neither then did he immediately say, "it hath been signified," lest he might seem to blame on their authority: neither does he omit all mention of them, lest he should seem to speak only from himself. And again, he styles them "brethren;" for although the fault be plain, there is nothing against calling people brethren still. Consider also his prudence in not speaking of any distinct person, but of the entire family; so as not to make them hostile towards the informer: for in this way he both protects him, and fearlessly opens the accusation. For he had an eye to the benefit not of the one side only, but of the other also. Wherefore he saith not, "It hath been declared to me by certain," but he indicates also the household, lest they might suppose that he was inventing.

[4.] What was "declared? "That there are contentions among you." Thus, when he is rebuking them, he saith, "That there be no divisions among you;" but when he is reporting the statements of others, he doth it more gently; saying, "For it hath been declared unto me...that there are contentions among you; in order that he might not bring trouble upon the informants.

Next he declares also the kind of contention.

Ver. 12. "That each one of you saith, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas." "I say, contentions," saith he, "I mean, not about private matters, but of the more grievous sort." "That each one of you saith;" for the corruption pervaded not a part, but the whole of the Church. And yet they were not speaking about himself, nor about Peter, nor about Apollos; but he signifies that if these were not to be leaned on, much less others. For that they had not spoken about them, he saith further on: "And these things I have transferred in a figure unto myself and Apollos, that ye may learn in us not to go beyond the things which are written." For if it were not right for them to call themselves by the name of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas, much less of any others. If under the Teacher and the first of the Apostles, and one that had instructed so much people, it were not right to enroll themselves, much less under those who were nothing. By way of hyperbole then, seeking to withdraw them from their disease, he sets down these names. Besides, he makes his argument less severe, not mentioning by name the rude dividers of the Church, but concealing them, as behind a sort of masks, with the names of the Apostles.

"I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas." Not esteeming himself before Peter hath he set his name last, but preferring Peter to himself, and that greatly. He arranged his statement in the way of climax, (kata auxesin) that he might not be supposed to do this for envy; or, from jealousy, to be detracting from the honor of others. Wherefore also he put his own name first. For he who puts himself foremost to be rejected, doth so not for love of honor, but for extreme contempt of this sort of reputation. He puts himself, you see, in the way of the whole attack, and then mentions Apollos, and then Cephas. Not therefore to magnify himself did he do this, but in speaking of wrong things he administers the requisite correction in his own person first.

[5.] But that those who addicted themselves to this or that man were in error, is evident. And rightly he rebukes them, saying, "Ye do not well in that ye say, `I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas.'" But why did he add, "And I of Christ?" For although these who addicted themselves to men were in error, not surely (oude pou Bened. ou depou Savil.) those who dedicated themselves unto Christ. But this was not his charge, that they called themselves by the Name of Christ, but that they did not all call themselves by that Name alone. And I think that he added this of himself, wishing to make the accusation more grievous, and to point out that by this rule Christ must be considered as belonging to one party only: although they were not so using the Name themselves. For that this was what he hinted at he declared in the sequel, saying,

Ver. 13. "Is Christ divided." What he saith comes to this: "Ye have cut in pieces Christ, and distributed His body." Here is anger! here is chiding! here are words full of indignation! For whenever instead of arguing he interrogates only, his doing so implies a confessed absurdity.

But some say that he glanced at something else, in saying, "Christ is divided:" as if he had said, "He hath distributed to men and parted the Church, and taken one share Himself, giving them the other." Then in what follows, he labors to overthrow this absurdity, saying, "Was Paul crucified for you, or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?" Observe his Christ-loving mind; how thenceforth he brings the whole matter to a point in his own name, shewing, and more than shewing, that this honor belongs to no one. And that no one might think it was envy which moved him to say these things, therefore he is constantly putting himself forward. Observe, too, his considerate way, in that he saith not, "Did Paul make the world? did Paul from nothing produce you into being?" But only those things which belonged as choice treasures to the faithful, and were regarded with great solicitude--those he specifies, the Cross, and Baptism, and the blessings following on these. For the loving-kindness of God towards men is shewn by the creation of the world also: in nothing, however, so much as by the (tes sunkatabaseos) condescension through the Cross. And he said not, "did Paul die for you?" but, "was Paul crucified?" setting down also the kind of death.

"Or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?" Again, he saith not, "did Paul baptize you?" For he did baptize many: but this was not the question, by whom they had been baptized, but, into whose name they had been baptized! For since this also was a cause of schisms, their being called after the name of those who baptized them, he corrects this error likewise saying, "Were ye baptized into the name of Paul?" "Tell me not," saith he, "who baptized, but into whose name. For not he that baptizeth, but he who is invoked in the Baptism, is the subject of enquiry. For this is He who forgives our sins [18] ."

And at this point he stays the discourse, and does not pursue the subject any further. For he saith not, "Did Paul declare to you the good things to come? Did Paul promise you the kingdom of heaven?" Why, then, I ask, doth he not add these questions also? Because it is not all as one, to promise a kingdom and to be crucified. For the former neither had danger nor brought shame; but the latter, all these. Moreover, he proves the former from the latter: for having said, (Rom. viii. 32.) "He that spared not His own Son," he adds, "How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" And again, (Rom. v. 10.) "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled unto God by the death of His Son, much more bring reconciled, we shall be saved." This was one reason for his not adding what I just mentioned: and also because the one they had not as yet, but of the other they had already made trial. The one were in promise; the other had already come to pass.

[6.] Ver. 14. "I thank God that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius." "Why are you elate at having baptized, when I for my part even give thanks that I have not done so!" Thus saying, by a kind of divine art (oikonomikos) he does away with their swelling pride upon this point; not with the efficacy of the baptism, (God forbid,) but with the folly of those who were puffed up at having been baptizers: first, by showing that the Gift is not theirs; and, secondly, by thanking God therefore. For Baptism truly is a great thing: but its greatness is not the work of the person baptizing, but of Him who is invoked in the Baptism: since to baptize is nothing as regards man's labor, but is much less than preaching the Gospel. Yea, again I say, great indeed is Baptism, and without baptism it is impossible to obtain the kingdom. Still a man of no singular excellence is able to baptize, but to preach the Gospel there is need of great labor.

Ver. 15. He states also the reason, why he giveth thanks that he had baptized no one. What then is this reason? "Lest anyone should say that ye were baptized into my own name." Why, did he mean that they said this in those other cases? Not at all; but, "I fear," saith he, "lest the disease should proceed even to that. For if, when insignificant persons and of little worth baptize, a heresy ariseth, had I, the first announcer of Baptism, baptized many, it was likely that they forming a party, would not only call themselves by my name, but also ascribe the Baptism to me." For if from the inferiors so great an evil arose, from those of higher order it would perhaps have gone on to something far more grievous.

Ver. 16. Then, having abashed those who were unsound in this respect and subjoining, "I baptized also the house of Stephanas," he again drags down their pride, saying besides, "I know not whether I baptized any other." For by this he signifies that neither did he seek much to enjoy the honor accruing hereby from the multitude, nor did he set about this work for glory's sake.

Ver. 17. And not by these only, but also by the next words, he greatly represses their pride, saying, "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel:" for the more laborious part, and that which needed much toil and a soul of iron, and that on which all depended, was this. And therefore it was that Paul had it put into his hand.

And why, not being sent to baptize, did he baptize? Not in contention with Him that sent him, but in this instance laboring beyond his task. For he saith not, "I was forbidden," but, "I was not sent for this, but for that which was of the greatest necessity." For preaching the Gospel is a work perhaps for one or two; but baptizing, for everyone endowed with the priesthood. For a man being instructed and convinced, to take and baptize him is what any one whatever might do: for the rest, it is all effected by the will of the person drawing near, and the grace of God. But when unbelievers are to be instructed, there must be great labor, great wisdom. And at that time there was danger also annexed. In the former case the whole thing is done, and he is convinced, who is on the point of initiation: and it is no great thing when a man is convinced, to baptize him. But in the later case the labor is great, to change the deliberate will, to alter the turn of mind, and to tear up error by the roots, and to plant the truth in its place.

Not that he speaks out all this, neither doth he argue in so many words that Baptism has no labor, but that preaching has. For he knows how always to subdue his tone, whereas in the comparison with heathen wisdom he is very earnest, the subject enabling him to use more vehemency of language.

Not therefore in opposition to Him that sent him did he baptize; but, as in the case of the widows [19] , though the apostles had said, (Acts vi. 2.) "it is not fit that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables," he discharged the office (Acts xii. 25. ten diakonian) of a deacon, not in opposition to them, but as something beyond his task: so also here. For even now, we commit this matter to the simpler sort of presbyters, but the word of doctrine unto the wiser: for there is the labor and the sweat. Wherefore he saith himself, (1 Tim. v. 17.) "Let the Elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and in teaching." For as to teach the wrestlers in the games is the part of a spirited and skilful trainer, but to place the crown on the conquerors head may be that of one who cannot even wrestle, (although it be the crown which adds splendor to the conqueror,) so also in Baptism. It is impossible to be saved without it, yet it is no great thing which the baptizer doth, finding the will ready prepared.

[7.] "Not in wisdom of words, lest the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect."

Having brought down the swelling pride of those who were arrogant because of their baptizing, he changes his ground afterwards to meet those who boasted about heathen wisdom, and against them he puts on his armor with more vehemency. For to those who were puffed up with baptizing he said, "I give thanks that I baptized no one;" and, "for Christ sent me not to baptize." He speaks neither vehemently nor argumentatively, but, having just hinted his meaning in a few words, passeth on quickly. But here at the very outset he gives a severe blow, saying, "Lest the Cross of Christ be made void." Why then pride thyself on a thing which ought to make thee hide thy face? Since, if this wisdom is at war with the Cross and fights with the Gospel, it is not meet to boast about it, but to retire with shame. For this was the cause why the Apostles were not wise; not through any weakness of the Gift, but lest the Gospel preached suffer harm. The sort of people therefore above mentioned were not those employed in advocating the Word: rather they were among its defamers. The unlearned men were the establishers of it. This was able to check vain glory, this to repress arrogance, this to enforce moderation.

"But if it was `not by wisdom of speech,' why did they send Apollos who was eloquent?" It was not, he replies, through confidence in his power of speech, but because he was (Acts xviii. 24, 29) "mighty in the Scriptures," and "confuted the Jews." And besides the point in question was that the leaders and first disseminators of the word were not eloquent; since these were the very persons to require some great power, for the expulsion of error in the first instance; and then, namely at the very outset, was the abundant strength needed. Now He who could do without educated persons at first, if afterwards some being eloquent were admitted by Him, He did so not because He wanted them, but because He would make no distinctions. For as He needed not wise men to effect whatever He would, so neither, if any were afterwards found such, did He reject them on that account.

[8.] But prove to me that Peter and Paul were eloquent. Thou canst not: for they were "unlearned and ignorant men!" [20]As therefore Christ, when He was sending out His disciples into the world, having shewn unto them His power in Palestine first, and said, (St. Luke xxii. 35. (hupodematos, rec. text hupodematon.) "When I sent you forth without purse and wallet and shoe, lacked ye any thing?" permitted them from that time forward to possess both a wallet and a purse; so also He hath done here: for the point was the manifestation of Christ's power, not the rejection of persons from the Faith on account of their Gentile wisdom, if they were drawing nigh. When the Greeks then charge the disciples with being uneducated, let us be even more forward in the charge than they. Nor let anyone say, "Paul was wise;" but while we exalt those among them who were great in wisdom and admired for their excellency of speech, let us allow that all on our side were uneducated; for it will be no slight overthrow which they will sustain from us in that respect also: and so the victory will be brilliant indeed.

I have said these things, because I once heard a Christian disputing in a ridiculous manner with a Greek, and both parties in their mutual fray ruining themselves. For what things the Christian ought to have said, these the Greek asserted; and what things it was natural to expect the Greek would say, these the Christian pleaded for himself. As thus: the dispute being about Paul and Plato, the Greek endeavored to show that Paul was unlearned and ignorant; but the Christian, from simplicity, was anxious to prove that Paul was more eloquent than Plato. And so the victory was on the side of the Greek, this argument being allowed to prevail. For if Paul was a more considerable person than Plato, many probably would object that it was not by grace, but by excellency of speech that he prevailed; so that the Christian's assertion made for the Greek. And what the Greek said made for the Christian's; for if Paul was uneducated and yet overcame Plato, the victory, as I was saying, was brilliant; the disciples of the latter, in a body, having been attracted by the former, unlearned as he was, and convinced, and brought over to his side. From whence it is plain that the Gospel was a result not of human wisdom, but of the grace of God.

Wherefore, lest we fall into the same error, and be laughed to scorn, arguing thus with Greeks whenever we have a controversy with them; let us charge the Apostles with want of learning; for this same charge is praise. And when they say that the Apostles were rude, let us follow up the remark and say that they were also untaught, and unlettered, and poor, and vile, and stupid, and obscure. It is not a slander on the Apostles to say so, but it is even a glory that, being such, they should have outshone the whole world. For these untrained, and rude, and illiterate men, as completely vanquished the wise, and powerful, and the tyrants, and those who flourished in wealth and glory and all outward good things, as though they had not been men at all: from whence it is manifest that great is the power of the Cross; and that these things were done by no human strength. For the results do not keep the course of nature, rather what was done was above all nature. Now when any thing takes place above nature, and exceedingly above it, on the side of rectitude and utility; it is quite plain that these things are done by some Divine power and cooperation. And observe; the fisherman, the tentmaker, the publican, the ignorant, the unlettered, coming from the far distant country of Palestine, and having beaten off their own ground the philosophers, the masters of oratory, the skillful debaters, alone prevailed against them in a short space of time; in the midst of many perils; the opposition of peoples and kings, the striving of nature herself, length of time, the vehement resistance of inveterate custom, demons in arms, the devil in battle array and stirring up all, kings, rulers, peoples, nations, cities, barbarians, Greeks, philosophers, orators, sophists, historians, laws, tribunals, divers kinds of punishments, deaths innumerable and of all sorts. But nevertheless all these were confuted and gave way when the fisherman spake; just like the light dust which cannot bear the rush of violent winds. Now what I say is, let us learn thus to dispute with the Greeks; that we be not like beasts and cattle, but prepared concerning "the hope which is in us." (1 St. Pet. iii. 15.) And let us pause for a while to work out this topic, no unimportant one; and let us say to them, How did the weak overcome the strong; the twelve, the world? Not by using the same armor, but in nakedness contending with men in arms.

For say, if twelve men, unskilled in matters of war, were to leap into an immense and armed host of soldiers, themselves not only unarmed but of weak frame also; and to receive no harm from them, nor yet be wounded, though assailed with ten thousand weapons; if while the darts were striking them, with bare naked body they overthrew all their foes using no weapons but striking with the hand, and in conclusion killed some, and others took captive and led away, themselves receiving not so much as a wound; would anyone have ever said that the thing was of man? And yet the trophy of the Apostles is much more wonderful than that. For a naked man's escaping a wound is not so wonderful by far as that the ordinary and unlettered person--that a fisherman--should overcome such a degree of talent: (deinotetos) and neither for fewness, nor for poverty, nor for dangers, nor for prepossession of habit, nor for so great austerity of the precepts enjoined, nor for the daily deaths, nor for the multitude of those who were deceived, nor for the great reputation of the deceivers be turned from his purpose.

[9.] Let this, I say, be our way of overpowering them, and of conducting our warfare against them; and let us astound them by our way of life rather than by words. For this is the main battle, this is the unanswerable argument, the argument from conduct. For though we give ten thousand precepts of philosophy in words, if we do not exhibit a life better than theirs, the gain is nothing. For it is not what is said that draws their attention, but their enquiry is, what we do; and they say, "Do thou first obey thine own words, and then admonish others. But if while thou sayest, infinite are the blessings in the world to come, thou seem thyself nailed down to this world, just as if no such things existed, thy works to me are more credible than thy words. For when I see thee seizing other men's goods, weeping immoderately over the departed, doing ill in many other things, how shall I believe thee that there is a resurrection?" And what if men utter not this in words? they think it and turn it often in their minds. And this is what stays the unbelievers from becoming Christians.

Let us win them therefore by our life. Many, even among the untaught, have in that way astounded the minds of philosophers, as having exhibited in themselves also that philosophy which lies in deeds, and uttered a voice clearer than a trumpet by their mode of life and self-denial. For this is stronger than the tongue. But when I say, "one ought not to bear malice," and then do all manner of evils to the Greek, how shall I be able by words to win him, while by my deeds I am frightening him away? Let us catch them then by our mode of life; and by these souls let us build up the Church, and of these let us amass our wealth. There is nothing to weigh against a soul, not even the whole world. So that although thou give countless treasure unto the poor, thou wilt do no such work as he who converteth one soul. (Jer. xv. 19.) "For he that taketh forth the precious from the vile shall be as my mouth:" so He speaks. A great good it is, I grant, to have pity on the poor; but it is nothing equal to the withdrawing them from error. For he that doth this resembles Paul and Peter: we being permitted to take up their Gospel, not with perils such as theirs;--with endurance of famines and pestilences, and all other evils, (for the present is a season of peace;)--but so as to display that diligence which cometh of zeal. For even while we sit at home we may practice this kind of fishery. Who hath a friend or relation or inmate of his house, these things let him say, these do; and he shall be like Peter and Paul. And why do I say Peter and Paul? He shall be the mouth of Christ. For He saith, "He that taketh forth the precious from the vile shall be as My mouth." And though thou persuade not to-day, to-morrow thou shalt persuade. And though thou never persuade, thou shalt have thine own reward in full. And though thou persuade not all, a few out of many persuade all men; but still they discoursed with all, and for all they have their reward. For not according to the result of the things that are well done, but according to the intention of the doers, is God wont to assign the crowns; though thou pay down but two farthings, He receiveth them; and what He did in the case of the widow, the same will He do also in the case of those who teach. Do not thou then, because thou canst not save the world, despise the few; nor through longing after great things, withdraw thyself from the lesser. If thou canst not an hundred, take thou charge of ten; if thou canst not ten, despise not even five; if thou canst not five, do not overlook one; and if thou canst not one, neither so despair, nor keep back what may be done by thee. Seest thou not how, in matters of trade, they who are so employed make their profit not only of gold but of silver also? For if we do not slight the little things, we shall keep hold also of the great. But if we despise the small, neither shall we easily lay hand upon the other. Thus individuals become rich, gathering both small things and great. And so let us act; that in all things enriched, we may obtain the kingdom of heaven; through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom and with Whom unto the Father together with the Holy Spirit be glory, power, honor, now and henceforth and for evermore. Amen.

Footnotes

[17] i.e. the bodies formed by separation. [18] This seems to allude to the words of the ancient Oriental Creed, as preserved by S. Cyril of Jerusalem, "I believe in one Baptism of Repentance, for the Remission of Sins;" (see Bp. Bull, Jud. Eccl. Cath. c. vi. . 4. &c.) into which Creed, in all probability, the people of Antioch had been baptized. [19] Perhaps the allusion is to such places as Acts 11. 30; 24. 17; 1 Cor. 16. 4; &c. [20] agrammatoi kai idiotai. Acts iv. 13: there spoken of St. Peter and St. John, and by St. Chrysostom here quoted from memory as of St. Peter and St. Paul.


Homily IV.

1 Cor. i. 18-20

For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but to us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent will I reject. Where is the Wise? Where is the Scribe? Where is the Disputer of the World?

To the sick and gasping even wholesome meats are unpleasant, friends and relations burdensome; who are often times not even recognized, but are rather accounted intruders. Much like this often is the case of those who are perishing in their souls. For the things which tend to salvation they know not; and those who are careful about them they consider to be troublesome. Now this ensues not from the nature of the thing, but from their disease. And just what the insane do, hating those who take care of them, and besides reviling them, the same is the case with unbelievers also. But as in the case of the former, they who are insulted then more than ever compassionate them, and weep, taking this as the worst symptom of the disease in its intense form, when they know not their best friends; so also in the case of the Gentiles let us act; yea more than for our wives let us wail over them, because they know not the common salvation. For not so dearly ought a man to love his wife as we should love all men, and draw them over unto salvation; be a man a Gentile, or be he what he may. For these then let us weep; for "the word of the Cross is to them foolishness," being itself Wisdom and Power. For, saith he, "the word of the Cross to them that perish is foolishness."

For since it was likely that they, the Cross being derided by the Greeks, would resist and contend by aid of that wisdom, which came (forsooth) of themselves, as being disturbed by the expression of the Greeks; Paul comforting them saith, think it not strange and unaccountable, which is taking place. This is the nature of the thing, that its power is not recognized by them that perish. For they are beside themselves, and behave as madmen; and so they rail and are disgusted at the medicines which bring health.

[2.] But what sayest thou, O man? Christ became a slave for thee, "having taken the form of a slave," (Phil. ii. 7.) and was crucified, and rose again. And when thou oughtest for this reason to adore Him risen and admire His loving kindness; because what neither father, nor friend, nor son, did for thee, all this the Lord wrought for thee, the enemy and offender--when, I say, thou oughtest to admire Him for these things, callest thou that foolishness, which is full of so great wisdom? Well, it is nothing wonderful; for it is a mark of them that perish not to recognize the things which lead to salvation. Be not troubled, therefore, for it is no strange nor unaccountable event, that things truly great are mocked at by those who are beside themselves. Now such as are in this mind you cannot convince by human wisdom. Nay, if you want so to convince them, you do but the contrary. For the things which transcend reasoning require faith alone. Thus, should we set about convincing men by reasonings, how God became man, and entered into the Virgin's womb, and not commit the matter unto faith, they will but deride the more. Therefore they who inquire by reasonings, it is they who perish.

And why speak I of God? for in regard of created things, should we do this, great derision will ensue. For suppose a man, wishing to make out all things by reasoning; and let him try by thy discourse to convince himself how we see the light; and do thou try to convince him by reasoning. Nay, thou canst not: for if thou sayest that it suffices to see by opening the eyes, thou hast not expressed the manner, but the fact. For "why see we not," one will say, "by our hearing, and with our eyes hear? And why hear we not with the nostril, and with the hearing smell?" If then, he being in doubt about these things, and we unable to give the explanation of them, he is to begin laughing, shall not we rather laugh him to scorn? "For since both have their origin from one brain, since the two members are near neighbors to each other, why can they not do the same work?" Now we shall not be able to state the cause nor the method of the unspeakable and curious operation; and should we make the attempt, we should be laughed to scorn. Wherefore, leaving this unto God's power and boundless wisdom, let us be silent.

Just so with regard to the things of God; should we desire to explain them by the wisdom which is from without, great derision will ensue, not from their infirmity, but from the folly of men. For the great things of all no language can explain.

[3.] Now observe: when I say, "He was crucified;" the Greek saith, "And how can this be reasonable? Himself He helped not when undergoing crucifixion and sore trial at the moment of the Cross: how then after these things did He rise again and help others? For if He had been able, before death was the proper time." (For this the Jews actually said.) (St. Matt. xxvii. 41, 42.) "But He who helped not Himself, how helped he others? There is no reason in it," saith he. True, O man, for indeed it is above reason; and unspeakable is the power of the Cross. For that being actually in the midst of horrors, He should have shewn Himself above all horrors; and being in the enemy's hold should have overcome; this cometh of Infinite Power. For as in the case of the Three Children, their not entering the furnace would not have been so astonishing, as that having entered in they trampled upon the fire;--and in the case of Jonah, it was a greater thing by far, after he had been swallowed by the fish, to suffer no harm from the monster, than if he had not been swallowed at all;--so also in regard of Christ; His not dying would not have been so inconceivable, as that having died He should loose the bands of death. Say not then, "why did He not help Himself on the Cross?" for He was hastening on to close conflict with death himself. (See Hooker, E. P. v. 48. 9.) He descended not from the Cross, not because He could not, but because He would not. For Him Whom the tyranny of death restrained not, how could the nails of the Cross restrain?

[4.] But these things, though known to us, are not so as yet to the unbelievers. Wherefore he said that "the word of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but to us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent will I reject." Nothing from himself which might give offence, does he advance up to this point; but first he comes to the testimony of the Scripture, and then furnished with boldness from thence, adopts more vehement words, and saith,

Ver. 20, 21. "Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? Where is the wise? Where the Scribe? Where the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe." Having said, "It is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise," He subjoins demonstration from facts, saying, "Where is the wise? where the Scribe?" at the same time glancing at both Gentiles and Jews. For what sort of philosopher, which among those who have studied logic, which of those knowing in Jewish matters, hath saved us and made known the truth? Not one. It was the fisherman's work, the whole of it.

Having then drawn the conclusion which he had in view, and brought down their pride, and said, "Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" he states also the reason why these things were so done. "For seeing that in the wisdom of God," saith he, "the world through its wisdom knew not God," the Cross appeared. Now what means, "in the wisdom of God?" The wisdom apparent in those works whereby it was His will to make Himself known. For to this end did he frame them, and frame them such as they are, that by a sort of proportion, (analogos) from the things which are seen admiration of the Maker might be learned. Is the heaven great, and the earth boundless? Wonder then at Him who made them. For this heaven, great as it is, not only was made by Him, but made with ease; and that boundless earth, too, was brought into being even as if it had been nothing. Wherefore of the former He saith, (Ps. cii. 25. ton cheiron. LXX.) "The works of Thy fingers are the heavens," and concerning the earth, (Is. xl. 23. LXX.) "Who hath made the earth as it were nothing." Since then by this wisdom the world was unwilling to discover God, He employed what seemed to be foolishness, i.e. the Gospel, to persuade men; not by reasoning, but by faith. It remains that where God's wisdom is, there is no longer need of man's. For before, to infer that He who made the world such and so great, must in all reason be a God possessed of a certain uncontrollable, unspeakable power; and by these means to apprehend Him;--this was the part of human wisdom. But now we need no more reasonings, but faith alone. For to believe on Him that was crucified and buried, and to be fully persuaded that this Person Himself both rose again and sat down on high; this needeth not wisdom, nor reasonings, but faith. For the Apostles themselves came in not by wisdom, but by faith, and surpassed the heathen wise men in wisdom and loftiness, and that so much the more, as to raise disputings is less than to receive by faith the things of God. For this transcends all human understanding.

But how did He "destroy wisdom?" Being made known to us by Paul and others like him, He shewed it to be unprofitable. For towards receiving the evangelical proclamation, neither is the wise profited at all by wisdom, nor the unlearned injured at all by ignorance. But if one may speak somewhat even wonderful, ignorance rather than wisdom is a condition suitable for that impression, and more easily dealt with. For the shepherd and the rustic will more quickly receive this, once for all both repressing all doubting thoughts and delivering himself to the Lord. In this way then He destroyed wisdom. For since she first cast herself down, she is ever after useful for nothing. Thus when she ought to have displayed her proper powers, and by the works to have seen the Lord, she would not. Wherefore though she were now willing to introduce herself, she is not able. For the matter is not of that kind; this way of knowing God being far greater than the other. You see then, faith and simplicity are needed, and this we should seek every where, and prefer it before the wisdom which is from without. For "God," saith he, "hath made wisdom foolish."

But what is, "He hath made foolish?" He hath shewn it foolish in regard of receiving the faith. For since they prided themselves on it, He lost no time in exposing it. For what sort of wisdom is it, when it cannot discover the chief of things that are good? He caused her therefore to appear foolish, after she had first convicted herself. For if when discoveries might have been made by reasoning, she proved nothing, now when things proceed on a larger scale, how will she be able to accomplish aught? now when there is need of faith alone, and not of acuteness? You see then, God hath shewn her to be foolish.

It was His good pleasure, too, by the foolishness of the Gospel to save; foolishness, I say, not real, but appearing to be such. For that which is more wonderful yet is His having prevailed by bringing in, not another such wisdom more excellent than the first, but what seemed to be foolishness. He cast out Plato for example, not by means of another philosopher of more skill, but by an unlearned fisherman. For thus the defeat became greater, and the victory more splendid.

[5.] Ver. 22-24. Next, to shew the power of the Cross, he saith, "For Jews ask for signs and Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumbling-block, and unto Greeks foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God, and the Wisdom of God."

Vast is the import of the things here spoken! For he means to say how by contraries God hath overcome, and how the Gospel is not of man. What he saith is something of this sort. When, saith he, we say unto the Jews, Believe; they answer, Raise the dead, Heal the demoniacs, Shew unto us signs. But instead thereof what say we? That He was crucified, and died, who is preached. And this is enough, not only to fail in drawing over the unwilling, but even to drive away those even who are willing. Nevertheless, it drives not away, but attracts and holds fast and overcomes.

Again; the Greeks demand of us a rhetorical style, and the acuteness of sophistry. But preach we to these also the Cross: and that which, in the case of the Jews seemed to be weakness, this in the case of the Greeks is foolishness. Wherefore, when we not only fail in producing what they demand, but also produce the very opposites of their demand; (for the Cross has not merely no appearance of being a sign sought out by reasoning, but even the very annihilation of a sign;--is not merely deemed no proof of power, but a conviction of weakness;--not merely no display of wisdom, but a suggestion of foolishness;)--when therefore they who seek for signs and wisdom not only receive not the things which they ask, but even hear the contrary to what they desire, and then by means of contraries are persuaded;--how is not the power of Him that is preached unspeakable? As if to some one tempest-tost and longing for a haven, you were to shew not a haven but another wilder portion of the sea, and so could make him follow with thankfulness? Or as if a physician could attract to himself the man that was wounded and in need of remedies, by promising to cure him not with drugs, but with burning of him again! For this is a result of great power indeed. So also the Apostles prevailed, not simply without a sign, but even by a thing which seemed contrary to all the known signs. Which thing also Christ did in the case of the blind man. For when He would heal him, He took away the blindness by a thing that increased it: i.e. He put on clay. (St. John ix. 6.) As then by means of clay He healed the blind man, so also by means of the Cross He brought the world to Himself. That certainly was adding an offence, not taking an offence away. So did He also in creation, working out things by their contraries. With sand, for instance, He walled in the sea, having made the weak a bridle to the strong. He placed the earth upon water, having taken order that the heavy and the dense should be borne on the soft and fluid. By means of the prophets again with a small piece of wood He raised up iron from the bottom. (2 Kings vi. 5-7.) In like manner also with the Cross He hath drawn the world to Himself. For as the water beareth up the earth, so also the Cross beareth up the world. You see now, it is proof of great power and wisdom, to convince by means of the things which tell directly against us. Thus the Cross seems to be matter of offence; and yet far from offending, it even attracts.

[6.] Ver. 25. All these things, therefore, Paul bearing in mind, and being struck with astonishment, said that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men;" in relation to the Cross, speaking of a folly and weakness, not real but apparent. For he is answering with respect unto the other party's opinion. For that which philosophers were not able by means of reasoning to accomplish, this, what seemed to be foolishness did excellently well. Which then is the wiser, he that persuadeth the many, or he that persuadeth few, or rather no one? He who persuadeth concerning the greatest points, or about matters which are nothing? (meden onton Reg. ms. me deonton Bened.) What great labors did Plato endure, and his followers, discoursing to us about a line, and an angle, and a point, and about numbers even and odd, and equal unto one another and unequal, and such-like spiderwebs; (for indeed those webs are not more useless to man's life than were these subjects;) and without doing good to any one great or small by their means, so he made an end of his life. How greatly did he labor, endeavoring to show that the soul was immortal! and even as he came he went away, having spoken nothing with certainty, nor persuaded any hearer. But the Cross wrought persuasion by means of unlearned men; yea it persuaded even the whole world: and not about common things, but in discourse of God, and the godliness which is according to truth, and the evangelical way of life, and the judgment of the things to come. And of all men it made philosophers: the very rustics, the utterly unlearned. Behold how "the foolishness of God is wiser than men," and "the weakness stronger?" How "stronger?" Because it overran the whole world, and took all by main force, and while men were endeavoring by ten thousands to extinguish the name of the Crucified, the contrary came to pass: that flourished and increased more and more, but they perished and wasted away; and the living at war with the dead, had no power. So that when the Greek calls me foolish, he shows himself above measure foolish: since I who am esteemed by him a fool, evidently appear wiser than the wise. When he calls me weak, then he shows himself to be weaker. For the noble things which publicans and fishermen were able to effect by the grace of God, these, philosophers, and rhetoricians, and tyrants, and in short the whole world, running ten thousand ways here and there, could not even form a notion of. For what did not the Cross introduce? The doctrine concerning the Immortality of the Soul; that concerning the Resurrection of the Body; that concerning the contempt of things present; that concerning the desire of things future. Yea, angels it hath made of men, and all, every where, practice self-denial, (philosophousi) and show forth all kinds of fortitude.

[7.] But among them also, it will be said, many have been found contemners of death. Tell me who? was it he who drank the hemlock? But if thou wilt, I can bring forward ten thousand such from within the Church. For had it been lawful when prosecution befel them to drink hemlock and depart, all had become more famous than he. And besides, he drank when he was not at liberty to drink or not to drink; but willing or against his will he must have undergone it: no effect surely of fortitude, but of necessity, and nothing more. For even robbers and man-slayers, having fallen under the condemnation of their judges, have suffered things more grievous. But with us it is all quite the contrary. For not against their will did the martyrs endure, but of their will, and being at liberty not to suffer; shewing forth fortitude harder than all adamant. This then you see is no great wonder, that he whom I was mentioning drank hemlock; it being no longer in his power not to drink, and also when he had arrived at a very great age. For when he despised life he stated himself to be seventy years old; if this can be called despising. For I for my part could not affirm it: nor, what is more, can anyone else. But show me some one enduring firm in torments for godliness' sake, as I shew thee ten thousand every where in the world. Who, while his nails were tearing out, nobly endured? Who, while his body joints were wrenching (anaskaptomenon) asunder? Who, while his body was cut in pieces, (tou somatos kata meros porthoumenou; tes kephales;) member by member? or his head? Who, while his bones were forced out by levers? (anamochleuomenon) Who, while placed without intermission upon frying-pans? Who, when thrown into a caldron? Show me these instances. For to die by hemlock is all as one with a man's continuing in a state of sleep. Nay even sweeter than sleep is this sort of death, if report say true. But if certain [of them] did endure torments, yet of these, too, the praise is gone to nothing. For on some disgraceful occasion they perished; some for revealing mysteries; some for aspiring to dominion; others detected in the foulest crimes; others again rashly, and fruitlessly, and foolishly, there being no reason for it, made away with themselves. But not so with us. Wherefore of the deeds of those nothing is said; but these flourish and daily increase. Which Paul having in mind said, "The weakness of God is stronger than all men."

[8.] For that the Gospel is divine, even from hence is evident; namely, whence could it have occurred to twelve ignorant men to attempt such great things? who sojourned in marshes, in rivers, in deserts; who never at any time perhaps had entered into a city nor into a forum;--whence did it occur, to set themselves in array against the whole world? For that they were timid and unmanly, he shews who wrote of them, not apologizing, nor enduring to throw their failings into the shade: which indeed of itself is a very great token of the truth. What then doth he say about them? That when Christ was apprehended, after ten thousand wonders, they fled; and he who remained, being the leader of the rest, denied. Whence was it then that they who when Christ was alive endured not the attack of the Jews; now that He was dead and buried, and as ye say, had not risen again, nor had any talk with them, nor infused courage into them--whence did they set themselves in array against so great a world? Would they not have said among themselves, "what meaneth this? Himself He was not able to save, and will He protect us? Himself He defended not when alive, and will He stretch out the hand unto us now that he is dead? Himself, when alive, subdued not even one nation; and are we to convince the whole world by uttering His Name?" How, I ask, could all this be reasonable, I will not say, as something to be done, but even as something to be imagined? From whence it is plain that had they not seen Him after He was risen, and received most ample proof of his power, they would not have ventured so great a cast.

[9.] For suppose they had possessed friends innumerable; would they not presently have made them all enemies, disturbing ancient customs, and removing their father's landmarks? (horia Ms. Reg. ethe Ben.) But as it was, they had them for enemies, all, both their own countrymen and foreigners. For although they had been recommended to veneration by everything external, would not all men have abhorred them, introducing a new polity? But now they were even destitute of everything; and it was likely that even on that account all would hate and scorn them at once. For whom will you name? The Jews? Nay, they had against them an inexpressible hatred on account of the things which had been done unto the Master. The Greeks then? Why, first of all, these had rejected one not inferior to them; and no man knew this so well as the Greeks. For Plato, who wished to strike out a new form of government, or rather a part of government; and that not by changing the customs relating to the gods, but merely by substituting one line of conduct for another; was cast out of Sicily, and went near to lose his life. [21]This however did not ensue: so that he lost his liberty alone. And had not a certain Barbarian been more gentle than the tyrant of Sicily, nothing could have rescued the philosopher from slavery throughout life in a foreign land. And yet it is not all one to innovate in affairs of the kingdom, and in matters of religious worship. For the latter more than any thing else causes disturbance and troubles men. For to say, "let such and such an one marry such a woman, and let the guardians [22] [of the commonwealth] exercise their guardianship so and so," is not enough to cause any great disturbance: and especially when all this is lodged in a book, and no great anxiety on the part of the legislator to carry the proposals into practice. On the other hand, to say, "they be no gods which men worship, but demons; He who was crucified is God;" ye well know how great wrath it kindled, how severely men must have paid for it, what a flame of war it fanned.

For Protagoras, who was one of them, having dared to say, "I know of no gods," not going round the world and proclaiming it, but in a single city, was in the most imminent peril of his life [23] . And Diagoras [24] the Milesian [25] , and Theodorus, who was called Atheist, [26] although they had friends, and that influence which comes from eloquence, and were held in admiration because of their philosophy; yet nevertheless none of these profited them. And the great Socrates, too, he who surpassed in philosophy all among them, for this reason drank hemlock, because in his discourses concerning the gods he was suspected of moving things a little aside. Now if the suspicion alone of innovation brought so great danger on philosophers and wise men, and on those who had attained boundless popularity; and if they were not only unable to do what they wished, but were themselves also driven from life and county; how canst thou choose but be in admiration and astonishment, when thou seest that the fisherman hath produced such an effect upon the world, and accomplished his purposes; hath overcome all both Barbarians and Greeks.

[10.] But they did not, you will say, introduce strange gods as the others did. Well, and in that you are naming the very point most to be wondered at; that the innovation is twofold, both to pull down those which are, and to announce the Crucified. For from whence came it into their minds to proclaim such things? whence, to be confident about their event? Whom of those before them could they perceive to have prospered in any such attempt? Were not all men worshipping demons? Were not all used to make gods of the elements? Was not the difference [but] in the mode of impiety? But nevertheless they attacked all, and overthrew all, and overran in a short time the whole world, like a sort of winged beings; making no account of dangers, of deaths, of the difficulty of the thing, of their own fewness, of the multitude of the opponents, of the authority, the power, the wisdom of those at war with them. For they had an ally greater than all these, the power of Him that had been crucified and was risen again. It would not have been so wondrous, had they chosen to wage war with the world in the literal sense, (polemon aistheton) as this which in fact has taken place. For according to the law of battle they might have stood over against the enemies, and occupying some adverse ground, have arrayed themselves accordingly to meet their foes, and have taken their time for attack and close conflict. But in this case it is not so. For they had no camp of their own, but were mingled with their enemies, and thus overcame them. Even in the midst of their enemies as they went about, they eluded their grasp, (labas Reg. blabas Bened.) and became superior, and achieved a splendid victory; a victory which fulfils the prophecy that saith, "Even in the midst of thine enemies thou shalt have dominion." (Ps. cx. 2.) For this it was, which was full of all astonishment, that their enemies having them in their power, and casting them into prison and chains not only did not vanquish them, but themselves also eventually had to bow down to them: the scourgers to the scourged, the binders in chains to those who were bound, the persecutors to the fugitives. All these things then we could say unto the Greeks, yea much more than these; for the truth has enough and greatly to spare. (polle tes aletheias he periousia.) And if ye will follow the argument, we will teach you the whole method of fighting against them. In the meanwhile let us here hold fast two heads; How did the weak overcome the strong? and, From whence came it into their thoughts, being such as they were, to form such plans, unless they enjoyed Divine aid?

[11.] So far then as to what we have to say. But let us shew forth by our actions all excellencies of conduct, and kindle abundantly the fire of virtue. For "ye are lights," saith he, "shining in the midst of the world." (Phil. ii. 15.) And unto each of us God hath committed a greater function than He hath to the sun: greater than heaven, and earth, and sea; by so much greater, as spiritual things be more excellent than things sensible. When then we look unto the solar orb, and admire the beauty, and the body and the brightness of the luminary, let us consider again that greater and better is the light which is in us, as indeed the darkness also is more dreadful unless we take heed. And in fact a deep night oppresses the whole world. This is what we have to dispel and dissolve. It is night not among heretics and among Greeks only, but also in the multitude on our side, in respect of doctrines and of life. For many entirely disbelieve the resurrection; many fortify themselves with their horoscope; (genesin heautois epiteichizousi) many adhere to superstitious observances, and to omens, and auguries, and presages. And some likewise employ amulets and charms. But to these also we will speak afterwards, when we have finished what we have to say to the Greeks.

In the meanwhile hold fast the things which have been said, and be ye fellow-helpers with me in the battle; by your way of life attracting them to us and changing them. For, as I am always saying, He that teaches high morality (peri philosophias) ought first to teach it in his own person, and be such as his hearers cannot do without. Let us therefore become such, and make the Greeks feel kindly towards us. And this will come to pass if we make up our minds not only not to do ill, but also to suffer ill. Do we not see when little children being borne in their father's arms give him that carries them blows on the cheek, how sweetly the father lets the boy have his fill of wrath, and when he sees that he has spent his passion, how his countenance brightens up? In like manner let us also act; and as fathers with children, so let us discourse with the Greeks. For all the Greeks are children. And this, some of their own writers have said, that "that people are children always, and no Greek is an old man." Now children cannot bear to take thought for any thing useful; so also the Greeks would be for ever at play; and they lie on the ground, grovelling in posture and in affections. Moreover, children oftentimes, when we are discoursing about important things, give no heed to anything that is said, but will even be laughing all the time: such also are the Greeks. When we discourse of the Kingdom, they laugh. And as spittle dropping in abundance from an infant's mouth, which oftentimes spoils its meat and drink, such also are the words flowing from the mouth of the Greeks, vain and unclean. Even if thou art giving children their necessary food, they keep on vexing those who furnish it with evil speech, and we must bear with them all the while. (diabastazesthai). Again, children, when they see a robber entering and taking away the furniture, far from resisting, even smile on the designing fellow; but shouldest thou take away the little basket or the rattle (seistra) or any other of their playthings, they take it to heart and fret, tear themselves, and stamp on the floor; just so do the Greeks also: when they behold the devil pilfering all their patrimony, and even the things which support their life, they laugh, and run to him as to a friend: but should any one take away any possession, be it wealth or any childish thing whatsoever of that kind, they cry, they tear themselves. And as children expose their limbs unconsciously and blush not for shame; so the Greeks, wallowing in whoredoms and adulteries, and laying bare the laws of nature, and introducing unlawful intercourses, are not abashed.

Ye have given me vehement applause and acclamation [27] , but with all your applause have a care lest you be among those of whom these things are said. Wherefore I beseech you all to become men: since, so long as we are children, how shall we teach them manliness? How shall we restrain them from childish folly? Let us, therefore, become men; that we may arrive at the measure of the stature which hath been marked out for us by Christ, and may obtain the good things to come: through the grace and loving-kindness, etc. etc.

Footnotes

[21] Plutarch, in Dion. t. v. p. 162. ed. Bryan. "Plato having been introduced to Dionysius, they discoursed in general about human virtue; when Plato maintained that any thing might be credible rather than for tyrants to be truly brave. Then changing the subject, he argued concerning Justice, that the life of the just is blessed, of the unjust miserable. The tyrant was not well pleased with the discourse, understanding it as a reproof: and he was vexed with the bystanders, who mightily approved the man, and were taken with his remarks. At last, in anger and bitterness, he asked him what was his object in coming to Sicily. He said, To look for a good man. By heaven, he replied, it is clear you have not found him. Now Dion's friends thought this had been the end of his anger, and as Plato was anxious to go, they provided him with a passage in a galley, in which Pollis the Spartan was sailing to Greece. But Dionysius secretly besought Pollis, if possible, to kill him at sea, but at any rate to sell him for a slave, for that he would never be the worse for it, but just as happy, in that Justice of his, though he became a slave. Upon which it is said that Pollis took Plato to Ægina and sold him there, the Æginetæ being at war with Athens, and having made a decree, that any Athenian coming there should be sold." [22] phulakes, Plato's word in the Republic for citizens. [23] Cic. de Nat. Deor. i. 23. Protagoras of Abdera, a distinguished Sophist of his time, having opened a certain treatise with these words, "Concerning the Gods, I cannot speak of them either as being or as not being;" the Athenians banished him from Athens and Attica, and burned his books in the Assembly. He flourished about B.C. 444. Clinton, Fasti Hellenici, i. 53. [24] B.C. 466. Clinton, F. H. i. 39. The Scholiast on Aristophanes calls him "a writer of songs, called an Atheist; a bringer in of strange gods. Whereupon the Athenians condemned him, voting a talent of silver to whoever should kill him, and two talents to any one who should bring him alive: and prevailed on the Peloponnesians to join with them." Of Theodorus, Cicero says that he was threatened with death by Lysimachus, but he does not say that it was for his "atheism:" this must have been between B.C. 306-281. Clinton, F.H. i. 174, 184. [25] ho Melios. Schol. in Aristoph. Ran. 323. [26] Cic. de. N. D. i. 23; Tusc. Disp. i. 43. [27] This custom is referred to by St. Chrysostom in many places as also by St. Augustin and others: the earliest mention of it appears to be the censure passed on Paul of Samosata in the synod of Antioch, A.D. 272, for demanding and encouraging such applause. Vid. Euseb. E. H. vii. 30. St. Chrysostom in his 30th Hom. on the Acts says, "When I am applauded in my speaking, for the moment I feel as an infirm human being, (for why should not one confess the truth?)....but when I am come home, and consider that those who have been applauding are no wise profited, but rather by their applause and acclamation have lost what good they might have attained, I......feel as if I had said all to no purpose.....And often I have thought of making a law to forbid all signs of applause, and to enforce listening in silence and with becoming order......Yea, if you please, let us even now pass such a law......Why do you applaud at the very moment that I am making a rule to check that practice? &c." iv. 784. Ed. Savil. Vid. Bingham Antiquit. xiv. 4. 27; Suicer, v. krotos.


Homily V.

1 Cor. i. 26, 27

For behold [28] your calling, brethren, that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called;] but God chose the foolish things of the world, that he might put to shame them that are wise.

He hath said that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men;" he hath shewed that human wisdom is cast out, both by the testimony of the Scriptures and by the issue of events; by the testimony, where he says, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;" by the event, putting his argument in the form of a question, and saying, "Where is the wise? Where the Scribe?" Again; he proved at the same time that the thing is not new, but ancient, as it was presignified and foretold from the beginning. For, "It is written," saith he, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise." Withal he shews that it was neither inexpedient nor unaccountable for things to take this course: (for, "seeing that in the wisdom of God the world," saith he, "knew not God, God was well pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save them which believe:") and that the Cross is a demonstration of ineffable power and wisdom, and that the foolishness of God is far mightier than the wisdom of man. And this again he proves not by means of the teachers, but by means of the disciples themselves. For, "Behold your calling," saith he: that not only teachers of an untrained sort, but disciples also of the like class, were objects of His choice; that He chose "not many wise men" (that is his word) "according to the flesh." And so that of which he is speaking is proved to surpass both in strength and wisdom, in that it convinces both the many and the unwise: it being extremely hard to convince an ignorant person, especially when the discourse is concerning great and necessary things. However, they did work conviction. And of this he calls the Corinthians themselves as witnesses. For, "behold your calling, brethren," saith he: consider; examine: for that doctrines so wise, yea, wiser than all, should be received by ordinary men, testifies the greatest wisdom in the teacher.

[2.] But what means, "according to the flesh?" According to what is in sight; according to the life that now is; according to the discipline of the Gentiles. Then, lest he should seem to be at variance with himself, (for he had convinced both the Proconsul, (Acts xiii. 12.) and the Areopagite, (Acts xvii. 34.) and Apollos; (Acts xviii. 26: through Aquila and Priscilla) and other wise men, too, we have seen coming over to the Gospel;) he said not, No wise man, but, "Not many wise men." For he did not designedly (apokekleromenos) call the ignorant and pass by the wise, but these also he received, yet the others in much larger number. And why? Because the wise man according to the flesh is full of extreme folly; and it is he who especially answers to the term "foolish," when he will not cast away his corrupt doctrine. And as in the case of a physician who might wish to teach certain persons the secrets of his art, those who know a few things, having a bad and perverse mode of practicing the art which they make a point of retaining, would not endure to learn quietly, but they who knew nothing would most readily embrace what was said: even so it was here. The unlearned were more open to conviction, for they were free from the extreme madness of accounting themselves wise. For indeed the excess of folly is in these more than any, these, I say, who commit unto reasoning things which cannot be ascertained except by faith. Thus, suppose the smith by means of the tongs drawing out the red-hot iron; if any one should insist on doing it with his hand, we should vote him guilty of extreme folly: so in like manner the philosophers who insisted on finding out these things for themselves disparaged the faith. And it was owing to this that they found none of the things they sought for.

"Not many mighty, not many noble;" for these also are filled with pride. And nothing is so useless towards an accurate knowledge of God as arrogance, and being nailed down (proselosthai) to wealth: for these dispose a man to admire things present, and make no account of the future; and they stop up the ears through the multitude of cares: but "the foolish things of the world God chose:" which thing is the greatest sign of victory, that they were uneducated by whom He conquers. For the Greeks feel not so much shame when they are defeated by means of the "wise," but are then confounded, when they see the artisan and the sort of person one meets in the market more of a philosopher than themselves. Wherefore also he said himself, "That He might put to shame the wise." And not in this instance alone hath he done this, also in the case of the other advantages of life. For, to proceed, "the weak things of the world He chose that He might put to shame the strong." For not unlearned persons only, but needy also, and contemptible and obscure He called, that He might humble those who were in high places.

V. 28. "And the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to naught the things that are." Now what doth He call things "that are not?" Those persons who are considered to be nothing because of their great insignificance. Thus hath He shown forth His great power, casting down the great by those who seem to be nothing. The same elsewhere he thus expresses, (2 Cor. xii. 9.) "For my strength is made perfect in weakness." For a great power it is, to teach outcasts and such as never applied themselves to any branch of learning, how all at once to discourse wisely on the things which are above the heavens. For suppose a physician, an orator, or any one else: we then most admire him, when he convinces and instructs those completely uneducated. Now, if to instil into an uneducated man the rules of art be a very wonderful thing, much more things which pertain to so high philosophy.

[3.] But not for the wonders sake only, neither to shew His own power, hath He done this, but to check also the arrogant. And therefore he both said before, "That he might confound the wise and the strong, that He might bring to nought the things which are," and here again,

V. 29. "That no flesh should glory in the presence of God." For God doeth all things to this end, to repress vainglory and pride, to pull down boasting." "Do you, too," saith he, "employ yourselves in that work." He doth all, that we may put nothing to our own account; that we may ascribe all unto God. And have ye given yourselves over unto this person or to that? And what pardon will ye obtain?"

For God Himself hath shown that it is not possible we should be saved only by ourselves: and this He did from the beginning. For neither then could men be saved by themselves; but it required their compassing the beauty of the heaven, and the extent of the earth, and the mass of creation besides; if so they might be led by the hand to the great artificer of all the works. And He did this, repressing beforehand the self-conceit which was after to arise. Just as if a master who had given his scholar charge to follow wheresoever he might lead, when he sees him forestalling, and desiring to learn all things of himself, should permit him to go quite astray; and when he hath proved him incompetent to acquire the knowledge, should thereupon at length introduce to him what himself has to teach: so God also commanded in the beginning to trace Him by the idea which the creation gives; but since they would not, He, after showing by the experiment that they are not sufficient for themselves, conducts them again unto Him by another way. He gave for a tablet, the world; but the philosophers studied not in those things, neither were willing to obey Him, nor to approach unto Him by that way which Himself commanded. He introduces another way more evident than the former; one that might bring conviction that man is not of himself alone sufficient unto himself. For then scruples of reasoning might be started, and the Gentile wisdom employed, on their part whom He through the creation was leading by the hand; but now, unless a man become a fool, that is, unless he dismiss all reasoning and all wisdom, and deliver up himself unto the faith, it is impossible to be saved. You see that besides making the way easy, he hath rooted up hereby no trifling disease, namely, in forbidding to boast, and have high thoughts: "that no flesh should glory:" for hence came the sin, that men insisted on being wiser than the laws of God; not willing so to obtain knowledge as He had enacted: and therefore they did not obtain it at all. So also was it from the beginning. He said unto Adam, "Do such a thing, and such another thou must not do." He, as thinking to find out something more, disobeyed; and even what he had, he lost. He spake unto those that came after, "Rest not in the creature; but by means of it contemplate the Creator." They, forsooth, as if making out something wiser than what had been commanded, set in motion windings innumerable. Hence they kept dashing against themselves and one another, and neither found God, nor concerning the creature had any distinct knowledge; nor had any meet and true opinion about it. Wherefore again, with a very high hand, (ek pollou tou periontos) lowering their conceit. He admitted the uneducated first, showing thereby that all men need the wisdom from above. And not only in the matter of knowledge, but also in all other things, both men and all other creatures He hath constituted so as to be in great need of Him; that they might have this also as a most forcible motive of submission and attachment, lest turning away they should perish. For this cause He did not suffer them to be sufficient unto themselves. For if even now many, for all their indigency, despise Him, were the case not so, whither would they not have wandered in haughtiness? So that He stayed them from boasting as they did, not from any grudge to them, but to draw them away from the destruction thence ensuing.

[4.] V. 30 "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."

The expression "of Him," I suppose he uses here, not of our introduction into being, but with reference to the faith: that is, to our having become children of God, "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh." (St. John i. 13) "Think not then, that having taken away our glorying, He left us so: for there is another, a greater glorying, His gift. For ye are the children of Him in whose presence it is not meet to glory, having become so through Christ." And since he has said, "The foolish things of the world He chose, and the base," he signifies that they are nobler than all, having God for their Father. And of this nobility of ours, not this person or that, but Christ is the cause, having made us wise, and righteous, and holy. For so mean the words, "He was made unto us wisdom."

Who then is wiser than we are who have not the wisdom of Plato, but Christ Himself, God having so willed.

But what means, "of God?" Whenever he speaks great things concerning the Only-Begotten, he adds mention of the Father, lest any one should think that the Son is unbegotten. Since therefore he had affirmed His power to be so great, and had referred the whole unto the Son, saying that He had "become wisdom unto us, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption;"--through the Son again referring the whole to the Father, he saith, "of God."

But why said he not, He hath made us wise, but "was made unto us wisdom?" To show the copiousness of the gift. As if he had said, He gave unto us Himself. And observe how he goes on in order. For first He made us wise by delivering from error, and then righteous and holy, by giving us the Spirit; and He hath so delivered us from all our evils as to be "of Him," and this is not meant to express communication of being, (ousioseos) but is spoken concerning the faith. Elsewhere we find him saying, "We were made righteousness in Him;" in these words, "Him who knew no sin He made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him;" (2 Cor. v. 21.) but now he saith, "He hath been made righteousness unto us; so that whosoever will may partake plentifully." For it is not this man or that who hath made us wise, but Christ. "He that glorieth," therefore, "let him glory in Him," not in such or such an one. From Christ have proceeded all things. Wherefore, having said, "Who was made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption," he added, "that, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."

For this cause also he had vehemently inveighed against the wisdom of the Greeks, to teach men this lesson, (touto auto Savile; touto auto Bened.) and no other: that (as indeed is no more than just) they should boast themselves in the Lord. For when of ourselves we seek the things which are above us, nothing is more foolish, nothing weaker than we are. In such case, a tongue well whetted we may have; but stability of doctrine we cannot have. Rather, reasonings, being alone, are like the webs of spider. For unto such a point of madness have some advanced as to say that there is nothing real in the whole of being: yea, they maintain positively that all things are contrary to what appears.

Say not therefore that anything is from thyself, but in all things glory in God. Impute unto no man anything at any time. For if unto Paul nothing ought to be imputed much less unto any others. For, saith he, (ch. iii. 6.) "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." He that hath learnt to make his boast in the Lord, will never be elated, but will be moderate at all times, and thankful under all circumstances. But not such is the mind of the Greeks; they refer all to themselves; wherefore even of men they make gods. In so great shame hath desperate arrogance plunged them. (exetrachelisen)

[5.] It is time then, in what remains, to go forth to battle against these. Recollect where we left our discourse on the former day. We were saying that it was not possible according to human cause and effect that fishermen should get the better of philosophers. But nevertheless it became possible: from whence it is clear that by grace it became so. We were saying that it was not possible for them even to conceive such great exploits: and we shewed that they not only conceived, but brought them to a conclusion with great ease. Let us handle, to-day, the same head of our argument: viz. From whence did it enter their thoughts to expect to overcome the world, unless they had seen Christ after He was risen? What? Were they beside themselves, to reckon upon any such thing inconsiderately and at random? For it goes even beyond all madness, to look, without Divine grace, for success in so great an undertaking. How did they succeed in it, if they were insane and frenzied? But if they were in their sober senses, as indeed the events shewed, how, but on receiving credible pledges from the heavens and enjoying the influence which is from above, did they undertake to go forth to so great wars, and to make their venture against earth and sea, and to strip and stand their ground so nobly, for a change in the customs of the whole world which had been so long time fixed, they being but twelve men?

And, what is more, what made them expect to convince their hearers, by inviting them to heaven and the mansions above? Even had they been brought up in honor, and wealth, and power, and erudition, not even so would it have been at all likely that they should be roused to so burthensome an undertaking. However, there would have been somewhat more of reason in their expectation. But as the case now stands, some of them had been occupied about lakes, some about hides [29] , some about the customs: than which pursuits nothing is more unprofitable towards philosophy, and the persuading men to have high imaginations: and especially when one hath no example to shew. Nay, they had not only no examples to make their success likely, but they had examples against all likelihood of success, and those within their own doors. [30](enaula) For many for attempting innovations had been utterly extinguished, I say not among the Greeks, for all that was nothing, but among the Jews themselves at that very time; who not with twelve men, but with great numbers had applied themselves to the work. Thus both Theudas and Judas, having great bodies of men, perished together with their disciples. And the fear arising from their examples was enough to control these, had they not been strongly persuaded that victory without divine power was out of the question.

Yea, even if they did expect to prevail, with what sort of hopes undertook they such great dangers, except they had an eye to the world to come? But let us suppose that they hoped for no less than victory; what did they expect to gain from the bringing all men unto Him, "who is not risen again," as ye say? For if now, men who believe concerning the kingdom of heaven and blessings unnumbered with reluctance encounter dangers, how could they have undergone so many for nothing, yea rather, for evil? For if the things which were done did not take place, if Christ did not ascend into heaven; surely in their obstinate zeal to invent these things, and convince all the world of them, they were offending God, and must expect ten thousand thunderbolts from on high.

[6.] Or, in another point of view; if they had felt this great zeal while Christ was living, yet on His death they would have let it go out. For He would have seemed to them, had He not risen, as a sort of deceiver and pretender. Know ye not that armies while the general and king is alive, even though they be weak, keep together; but when those in such office have departed, however strong they may be, they are broken up?

Tell me then, what were the enticing arguments whereupon they acted, when about to take hold of the Gospel, and to go forth unto all the world? Was there any kind of impediment wanting to restrain them? If they had been mad, (for I will not cease repeating it,) they could not have succeeded at all; for no one follows the advice of madmen. But if they succeeded as in truth they did succeed, and the event proves, then none so wise as they. Now if none were so wise as they, it is quite plain, they would not lightly have entered upon the preaching. Had they not seen Him after He was risen, what was there sufficient to draw them out unto this war? What which would not have turned them away from it? He said unto them, "After three days I will rise again," and He made promises concerning the kingdom of heaven. He said, they should master the whole world, after they had received the Holy Spirit; and ten thousand other things besides these, surpassing all nature. So that if none of these things had come to pass, although they believed in Him while alive, after His death they would not have believed in Him, unless they had seen Him after He was risen. For they have said, "`After three days,' He said, `I will rise again,' and He hath not arisen. He promised that He would give the Spirit, and He hath not sent Him. How then shall His sayings about the other world find credit with us, when His sayings about this are tried and found wanting?"

And why, if He rose not again, did they preach that He was risen? "Because they loved Him," you will say. But surely, it was likely that they would hate Him afterwards, for deceiving and betraying them; and because, having lifted them up with innumerable hopes, and divorced them from house, and parents, and all things, and set in hostility against them the entire nation of Jews, He had betrayed them after all. And if indeed the thing were of weakness, they might have pardoned it; but now it would be deemed a result of exceeding malice. For He ought to have spoken the truth, and not have promised heaven, being a mortal man, as ye say. So that the very opposite was the likely line for them to take; to proclaim the deception, and declare Him a pretender and imposter. Thus again would they have been rid of all their perils; thus have put an end to the war. Moreover, seeing that the Jews gave money unto the soldiers to say that they stole the body, if the disciples had come forward and said, "We stole Him, He is not risen again," what honor would they not have enjoyed? Thus it was in their power to be honored, nay, crowned. Why then did they for insults and dangers barter away these things, if it was not some Divine power which influenced them, and proved mightier than all these?

[7.] But if we do not yet convince, take this also into consideration; that had this not been so, though they were ever so well disposed, they would not have preached this Gospel in His name, but would have treated Him with abhorrence. For ye know that not even the names of those who deceive us in this sort are we willing to hear. But for what reason preached they also His name? Expecting to gain the mastery through Him? Truly the contrary was natural for them to expect; that even if they had been on the point of prevailing they were ruining themselves by bringing forward the name of a deceiver. But if they wished to throw into the shade former events, their line was to be silent; at any rate, to contend for them earnestly was to excite more and more both of serious hostility and of ridicule. From whence then did it enter their thoughts to invent such things? I say, "invent:" for what they had heard, they had forgotten. But if, when there was no fear, they forgot many things, and some did not even understand, (as also the Evangelist himself saith,) now that so great a danger came upon them, how could it be otherwise than that all should fleet away from them? Why speak I of words? when even their love towards their Master Himself began gradually to fade away, through fear of what was coming: wherewith also He upbraided them. For since, before this, they hung upon him, and were asking continually, "Whither goest Thou," but afterwards on His drawing out His discourse to so great length, and declaring the terrors which at the very time of the Cross, and after the Cross should befal them, they just continued speechless and frozen through fear;--hear how He alleges to them this very point saying, "None of you asketh Me, Whither goest Thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart." (St. John xvi. 5-6.) Now if the expectation that He would die and rise again was such a grief to them, had they failed to see Him after He was risen, how could it be less than annihilation? Yea, they would have been fain to sink into the depths of the earth, what with dejection at being so deceived, and what with dread of the future, feeling themselves sorely straightened.

Again: from whence came their high doctrines? for the higher points, He said, they should hear afterwards. For, saith He, (St. John xvi. 12.) "I have many things to speak unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." So that the things not spoken were higher. And one of the disciples was not even willing to depart with Him into Judea, when he heard of dangers, but said, "Let us also go that we may die with Him," (St. John xi. 16.) taking it hardly [31] because he expected that he should die. Now if that disciple, while he was with Him, expected to die and shrunk back on that account, what must he not have expected afterwards, when parted from Him and the other disciples, and when the exposure of their shameless conduct was so complete?

[8.] Besides, what had they to say when they went forth? For the passion indeed all the world knew: for He had been hanged on high, upon the frame of wood, (ikriou) and in mid-day, and in a chief city, and at a principal feast and that from which it was least permitted that any should be absent. But the resurrection no man saw of those who were without: which was no small impediment to them in working conviction. Again, that He was buried, was the common talk of all: and that His disciples stole His body, the soldiers and all the Jews declared: but that He had risen again, no one of them who were without knew by sight. Upon what ground then did they expect to convince the world? For if, while miracles were taking place, certain soldiers were persuaded to testify the contrary, upon what ground did these expect without miracles to do the work of preachers, and without having a farthing to convince land and sea concerning the resurrection? Again, if through desire of glory they attempted this, so much the rather would they have ascribed doctrines each one to himself, and not to Him that was dead and gone. Will it be said, men would not have believed them? And which of the two was the likelier, being preached, to win their belief? He that was apprehended and crucified, or those who had escaped the hands of the Jews?

[9.] Next, tell me with what view were they to take such a course? They did not immediately, leaving Judæa, go into the Gentile cities, but went up and down within its limit. But how, unless they worked miracles, did they convince? For if such they really wrought, (and work them they did,) it was the result of God's power. If on the other hand they wrought none and prevailed, much more wonderful was the event. Knew they not the Jews--tell me--and their evil practice, and their soul full of grudgings? For they stoned even Moses, (Numb. xiv. 10. comp. Exod. xvii. 4.) after the sea which they had crossed on foot; after the victory, and that marvellous trophy which they raised without blood, by means of his hands, over the Egyptians who had enslaved them; after the manna; after the rocks, and the fountains of rivers which break out thence; after ten thousand miracles in the land of Egypt and the Red Sea and the wilderness. Jeremiah they cast into a pit, and many of the prophets they slew. Hear, for example, what saith Elias, after that fearful famine, and the marvellous rain, and the torch which he brought down from heaven, and the strange holocaust; driven, as he was, to the very extreme edge of their country: "Lord, thy prophets they have killed, thine altars they have digged down, and I am left alone, and they seek my life." (1 Kings xix. 10.) Yet were not those (who were so persecuted) disturbing any of the established rules. Tell me then, what ground had men for attending to these of whom we are speaking? For, on one hand, they were meaner persons than any of the prophets; on the other, they were introducing just such novelties as had caused the Jews to nail even their Master to the Cross.

And in another way, too, it seemed less unaccountable for Christ to utter such things than for them; for He, they might suppose, acted thus to acquire glory for himself; but these they would have hated even the more, as waging war with them in behalf of another.

[10.] But did the laws of the Romans help them? Nay, by these they were more involved in difficulties. For their language was, (St. John xix. 12.) "Whosoever maketh himself a king is not Cæsar's friend." So that this alone was a sufficient impediment to them, that of Him who was accounted an usurper they were first disciples, and afterwards desirous to strengthen His cause. What in the world then set them upon rushing into such great dangers? And by what statements about Him would they be likely to gain credit? that He was crucified? That He was born of a poor Jewish woman who had been betrothed to a Jewish carpenter? That He was of a nation hated by the world? Nay, all these things were enough not only to fail of persuading and attracting the hearers, but also to disgust every one; and especially when affirmed by the tent-maker and the fisherman. Would not the disciples then bear all these things in mind? Timid nature can imagine more than the reality, and such were their natures. Upon what ground then did they hope to succeed? Nay, rather, they had no hope, there being things innumerable to draw them aside, if so be that Christ had not risen. Is it not quite plain even unto most thoughtless that unless they had enjoyed a copious and mighty grace, and had received pledges of the resurrection, they would have been unable, I say not, to do and undertake these things, but even so much as to have them in their minds? For if when there were so great hinderances, in the way of their planning, I say not of their succeeding, they yet both planned and brought to effect and accomplishing things greater than all expectation, every one, I suppose, can see that not by human power but by divine grace they wrought things.

Now these arguments we ought to practice, not by ourselves only, but one with another; and thus also the discovery of what remains will be easier to us.

[11.] And do not, because thou art an artisan, suppose that this sort of exercise is out of your province; for even Paul was a tent-maker.

"Yes," saith some one, "but at that time he was also filled with abundant grace, and out of that he spake all things" Well; but before this grace, he was at the feet of Gamaliel; yea, moreover, and he received the grace, because of this, that he shewed a mind worthy of the grace; and after these things he again put his hand to his craft. Let no one, therefore, of those who have trades be ashamed; but those, who are brought up to nothing and are idle, who employ many attendants, and are served by an immense retinue. For to be supported by continual hard work is a sort of asceticism. (philosophias ?idos comp. Hooker, E. P. V. lxxii. 18.) The souls of such men are clearer, and their minds better strung. For the man who has nothing to do is apter to say many things at random, and do many things at random; and he is busy all day long about nothing, a huge lethargy taking him up entirely. But he that is employed will not lightly entertain in himself any thing useless, in deeds, in words, or in thoughts; for his whole soul is altogether intent upon his laborious way of livelihood. Let us not therefore despise those who support themselves by the labor of their own hands; but let us rather call them happy on this account. For tell me, what thanks are due unto thee, when after having received thy portion from thy father, thou goest on not in any calling, but lavishing away the whole of it at random? Knowest thou not that we shall not all have to render the same account, but those who have enjoyed greater licence here a more exact one; those who were afflicted with labor, or poverty, or any thing else of this kind, one not so severe? And this is plain from Lazarus and the rich man. For as thou, for neglecting the right use of the leisure, art justly accused; so the poor man, who having full employment hath spent his remnant of time upon right objects, great will be the crowns which he shall receive. But dost thou urge that a soldier's duties should at least excuse thee; and dost thou charge them with thy want of leisure? The excuse cannot be founded in reason. For Cornelius was a centurion, yet in no way did the soldier's belt impair his strict rule of life. But thou, when thou art keeping holiday with dancers and players, and making entire waste of thy life upon the stage, never thinkest of excusing thyself from such engagements by the necessity of military service or the fear of rulers: but when it is the Church to which we call you, then occur these endless impediments.

And what wilt thou say in the day, when thou seest the flame, and the rivers of fire, and the chains never to be broken; and shalt hear the gnashing of teeth? Who shall stand up for thee in that day, when thou shalt see him that hath labored with his own hand and hath lived uprightly, enjoying all glory; but thyself, who art now in soft raiment and redolent of perfumes, in incurable woe? What good will thy wealth and superfluity do thee? And the artisan--what harm will his poverty do him?

Therefore that we may not suffer then, let us fear what is said now, and let all our time be spent in employment on things which are really indispensable. For so, having propitiated God in regard of our past sins, and adding good deeds for the future, we shall be able to attain unto the kingdom of heaven: through the favor and loving-kindness, etc., etc.

Footnotes

[28] blepete. He takes it imperatively; see below. So also the Vulgate, Videte. [29] That is, some were fishers in the sea or lake of Tiberias, some, as St. Paul, engaged in making tents out of hides. [30] [Dr. Field prefers the reading, and these recent.] [31] St. Chrys. Hom. 62. on St. John. "All feared the violence of the Jews, but Thomas more than the rest. Wherefore also he said, Let us also &c. Some indeed say that he desired to share our Lord's death: but it is not so: for it is the saying rather of a coward. Yet he was not reproved. For as yet He went on bearing their weakness. Afterwards, however, he (St. Thomas) became stronger than any, and irreproachable: This being the great wonder, that one so weak before the time of the Cross, after the Cross and faith in the Resurrection should be seen more zealous than all. So great is the power of Christ."


Homily VI.

1 Cor. ii. 1, 2

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

Nothing was ever more prepared for combat than the spirit of Paul; or rather, I should say, not his spirit, (for he was not himself the inventor of these things,) but, nothing was ever equal to the grace working within him, which overcometh all things. For sufficient indeed is what had been said before to cast down the pride of the boasters about wisdom; nay, even a part of it had been enough. But to enhance the splendor of the victory, he contends anew for the points which he had been affirming; trampling upon the prostrate foe. Look at it in this way. He had brought forward the prophecy which saith, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise." He had shewn the wisdom of God, in that by means of what seemed to be foolishness, He destroyed the philosophy of the Gentiles; he had shewn that the "foolishness of God is wiser than men;" he had shewn that not only did He teach by untaught persons, but also chose untaught persons to learn of Him. Now he sheweth that both the thing itself which was preached, and the manner of preaching it, were enough to stagger people; and yet did not stagger them. As thus: "not only," saith he, "are the disciples uneducated, but I myself also, who am the preacher."

Therefore he saith, "And I, brethren," (again he useth the word "brethren," to smooth down the harshness of the utterance,) "came not with excellency of speech, declaring unto you the testimony of God." "What then? tell me, hadst thou chosen to come `with excellency,' wouldest thou have been able?" "I, indeed, had I chosen, should not have been able; but Christ, if He had chosen, was able. But He would not, in order that He might render His trophy more brilliant." Wherefore also in a former passage, shewing that it was His work which had been done, His will that the word should be preached in an unlearned manner, he said, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel; not with wisdom of words." But far greater, yea, infinitely greater, than Paul's willing this, is the fact that Christ willed it.

"Not therefore," saith he, "by display of eloquence, neither armed with arguments from without, do I declare the testimony of God." He saith not "the preaching," but "the testimony [32] of God;" which word was itself sufficient to withhold him. For he went about preaching death: and for this reason he added, "for I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." This was the meaning he meant to convey, that he is altogether destitute of the wisdom which is without; as indeed he was saying above, "I came not with excellency of speech:" for that he might have possessed this also is plain; for he whose garments raised the dead and whose shadow expelled diseases, [33] much more was his soul capable of receiving eloquence. For this is a thing which may be taught: but the former transcendeth all art. He then who knows things beyond the reach of art, much more must he have had strength for lesser things. But Christ permitted not; for it was not expedient. Rightly therefore he saith, "For I determined not to know any thing: "for I, too, for my part have just the same will as Christ."

And to me it seems that he speaks to them in a lower tone even than to any others, in order to repress their pride. Thus, the expression, "I determined to know nothing," was spoken in contradistinction to the wisdom which is without. "For I came not weaving syllogisms nor sophisms, nor saying unto you anything else than "Christ was crucified." They indeed have ten thousand things to say, and concerning ten thousand things they speak, winding out long courses of words, framing arguments and syllogisms, compounding sophisms without end. But I came unto you saying no other thing than "Christ was crucified," and all of them I out-stripped: which is a sign such as no words can express of the power of Him whom I preach."

[2.] Ver. 3. "And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling."

This again is another topic: for not only are the believers unlearned persons; not only is he that speaketh unlearned; not only is the manner of the teaching of an unlearned cast throughout; not only was the thing preached of itself enough to stagger people; (for the cross and death were the message brought;) but together with these there were also other hindrances, the dangers, and the plots, and the daily fear, and the being hunted about. For the word "weakness," with him in many places stands for the persecutions: as also elsewhere. "My weakness which I had in my flesh ye did not set at nought:" (Gal. iv. 13, 14.) and again, "If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern my weakness." (2 Cor. xi. 30.) What [weakness]? "The governor under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes, desirous to apprehend me." (2 Cor. v. 32.) And again, "Wherefore I take pleasure in weakness:" (2 Cor. xii. 10.) then, saying in what, he added, "In injuries, in necessities, in distresses." And here he makes the same statement; for having said, "And I was in weakness," etc. he did not stop at this point, but explaining the word "weakness" makes mention of his dangers. He adds again, "and in fear, and in much trembling, I was with you."

"How sayest thou? Did Paul also fear dangers?" He did fear, and dreaded them excessively; for though he was Paul, yet he was a man. But this is no charge against Paul, but infirmity of human nature; and it is to the praise of his fixed purpose of mind that when he even dreaded death and stripes, he did nothing wrong because of this fear. So that they who assert that he feared not stripes, not only do not honor him, but rather abridge greatly his praises. For if he feared not, what endurance or what self-restraint was there in bearing the dangers? I, for my part, on this account admire him; because being in fear, and not simply in "fear," but even in "trembling" at his perils, he so ran as ever to keep his crown; and gave not in for any danger, in his task of purging out [34] the world, and everywhere both by sea and land sowing the Gospel.

[3.] Ver. 4. "And my speech and my preaching was not in persuasive words of wisdom:" that is, had not the wisdom from without. Now if the doctrine preached had nothing subtle, and they that were called were unlearned, and he that preached was of the same description, and thereto was added persecution, and trembling and fear; tell me, how did they overcome without Divine power? And this is why, having said, "My speech and my preaching was not in persuasive words of wisdom," he added, "but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power."

Dost thou perceive how "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness stronger?" They for their part, being unlearned and preaching such a Gospel, in their chains and persecution overcame their persecutors. Whereby? was it not by their furnishing that evidence which is of the Spirit? For this indeed is confessed demonstration. For who, tell me, after he had seen dead men rising to life and devils cast out, could have helped admitting it?

But seeing that there are also deceiving wonders, such as those of sorcerers, he removes this suspicion also. For he said not simply "of power," but first, "of the Spirit," and then, "of power:" signifying that the things done were spiritual.

It is no disparagement, therefore, that the Gospel was not declared by means of wisdom; rather it is a very great ornament. For this, it will be allowed, is the clearest token of its being divine and having its roots from above, out of the heavens. Wherefore he added also,

Ver. 5. "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."

Seest thou how clearly in every way he hath set forth the vast gain of this "ignorance," and the great loss of this "wisdom?" For the latter made void the Cross, but the former proclaimed the power of God: the latter, besides their failing to discover any of those things which they most needed, set them also upon boasting of themselves; the former, besides their receiving the truth, led them also to pride themselves in God. Again, wisdom would have persuaded many to suspect that the doctrine was of man: this clearly demonstrated it to be divine, and to have come down from heaven. Now when demonstration is made by wisdom of words, even the worse oftentimes overcome the better, having more skill in words; and falsehood outstrips the truth. But in this case it is not so: for neither doth the Spirit enter into an unclean soul, nor, having entered in, can it ever be subdued; even though all possible cleverness of speech assail it. For the demonstration by works and signs is far more evident than that by words.

[4.] But some one may say perhaps, "If the Gospel is to prevail and hath no need of words, lest the Cross be made of none effect; for what reason are signs withholden now?" For what reason? Speakest thou in unbelief and not allowing that they were done even in the times of the Apostles, or dost thou truly seek to know? If in unbelief, I will first make my stand against this. I say then, If signs were not done at that time, how did they, chased, and persecuted, and trembling, and in chains, and having become the common enemies of the world, and exposed to all as a mark for ill usage, and with nothing of their own to allure, neither speech, nor show, nor wealth, nor city, nor nation, nor family, nor pursuit (epitedeuma,) nor glory, nor any such like thing; but with all things contrary, ignorance, meanness, poverty, hatred, enmity, and setting themselves against whole commonwealths, and with such a message to declare; how, I say, did they work conviction? For both the precepts brought much labor, and the doctrines many dangers. And they that heard and were to obey, had been brought up in luxury and drunkenness, and in great wickedness. Tell me then, how did they convince? Whence had they their credibility? For, as I have just said, If without signs they wrought conviction, far greater does the wonder appear. Do not then urge the fact that signs are not done now, as a proof that they were not done then. For as then they were usefully wrought; so now are they no longer so wrought.

Nor doth it necessarily follow from discourse being the only instrument of conviction, that now the "preaching" is in "wisdom." For both they who from the beginning sowed the word were unprofessional (idiotai) and unlearned, and spake nothing of themselves; but what things they received from God, these they distributed to the world: and we ourselves at this time introduce no inventions of our own; but the things which from them we have received, we speak unto all. And not even now persuade we by argumentation; but from the Divine Scriptures and from the miracles done at that time we produce the proof of what we say. On the other hand, even they at that time persuaded not by signs alone, but also by discoursing. And the signs and the testimonies out of the Old Scriptures, not the cleverness of the things said, made their words appear more powerful.

[5.] How then, you will say, is it that signs were expedient then, and now inexpedient? Let us suppose a case, (for as yet I am contending against the Greek, and therefore I speak hypothetically of what must certainly come to pass,) let us, I say, suppose a case; and let the unbeliever consent to believe our affirmations, though it be only by way of concession: (kan kata sundromen) for instance, That Christ will come. When then Christ shall come and all the angels with Him, and be manifested as God, and all things made subject unto Him; will not even the Greek believe? It is quite plain that he will also fall down and worship, and confess Him God, though his stubbornness exceed all reckoning. For who, at sight of the heavens opened and Him coming upon the clouds, and all the congregation of the powers above spread around Him, and rivers of fire coming on, and all standing by and trembling, will not fall down before Him, and believe Him God? Tell me, then; shall that adoration and knowledge be accounted unto the Greek for faith? No, on no account. And why not? Because this is not faith. For necessity hath done this, and the evidence of the things seen, and it is not of choice, but by the vastness of the spectacle the powers of the mind are dragged along. It follows that by how much the more evident and overpowering the course of events, by so much is the part of faith abridged. For this reason miracles are not done now.

And that this is the truth, hear what He saith unto Thomas (St. John xx. 29.) "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed." Therefore, in proportion to the evidence wherewith the miracle is set forth is the reward of faith lessened. So that if now also miracles were wrought, the same thing would ensue. For that then we shall no longer know Him by faith, Paul hath shewn, saying, "For now we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor. v. 7. nun not in the received text.) As at that time, although thou believe, it shall not be imputed unto thee, because the thing is so palpable; so also now, supposing that such miracles were done as were formerly. For when we admit things which in no degree and in no way can be made out by reasoning, then it is faith. It is for this that hell is threatened, but is not shewn: for if it were shewn, the same would again ensue.

[6.] Besides if signs be what thou seekest after, even now thou mayest see signs, although not of the same kind; the numberless predictions and on an endless variety of subject: the conversion of the world, the self-denying (philosophian) course of the Barbarians, the change from savage customs, the greater intenseness of piety. "What predictions?" you will say. "For all the things just mentioned were written after the present state of things had begun." When? Where? By whom? Tell me. How many years ago? Will you have fifty, or an hundred? They had not then, a hundred years ago, anything written at all. How then did the world retain the doctrines and all the rest, since memory would not be sufficient? How knew they that Peter was crucified? (aneskolopisthe) How could it have entered the minds of men who came after the events had taken place to foretell, for instance, that the Gospel should be preached in every part of the whole world? that the Jewish institutions should cease, and never return again? And they who gave up their lives for the Gospel, how would they have endured to see the Gospel adulterated? And how would the writers have won credit, miracles having ceased? And how could the writings have penetrated to the region of Barbarians, and of Indians, and unto the very bounds of the ocean, if the relators had not been worthy of credit? The writers, too, who were they? When, how, and why, did they write at all? Was it to gain glory to themselves? Why then inscribed they the books with other men's names? "Why, from a wish to recommend the doctrine." As true, or as false? For if you say, they stuck to it, as being false; their joining it at all was out of all likelihood: but if as being truth, there was no need of inventions such as you speak of. And besides, the prophecies are of such a kind, as that even until now time has been unable to force aside the predicted course of things: (hos me dunasthai biazesthai chrono ta eiremena) for the destruction indeed of Jerusalem took place many years ago; but there are also other predictions which extend along from that time until His coming; which examine as you please: for instance, this, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world: (St. Matt. xxviii. 20.) and, "Upon this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it:" (St. Matt. xvi. 18.) and, "This Gospel shall be preached unto all nations:" (St. Matt. xxiv. 14.) and that which the woman which was an harlot did: [35]and many others more than these. Whence then the truth of this prediction if indeed it were a forgery? How did "the gates of hell" not "prevail" against "the Church?" How is Christ always "with us?" For had He not been "with us," the Church would not have been victorious. How was the Gospel spread abroad in every part of the world? They also who have spoken against us are enough to testify the antiquity of the books; I mean, such as Celsus [36] and he of Batanea [37] , who came after him. For they, I suppose, were not speaking against books composed after their time.

[7] And besides, there is the whole world which with one consent hath received the Gospel. Now there could not have been so great agreement from one end of the earth to the other, unless it had been the Grace of the Spirit; but the authors of the forgery would have been quickly found out. Neither could so great excellencies have originated from inventions and falsehoods. Dost thou not see the whole world coming in; error extinguished; the austere wisdom (philosuphian) of the old monks shining brighter than the sun; the choirs of the virgins; the piety among Barbarians; all men serving under one yoke? For neither by us alone were these things foretold, but also from the beginning, by the Prophets. For you will not, I trow, cavil at their predictions also: for the books are with their enemies, and through the zeal of certain Greeks they have been transferred into the Greek tongue. Many things then do these also foretell concerning these matters, shewing that it was God who should come among us.

[8] Why then do not all believe now? Because things have degenerated: and for this we are to blame. (For from hence the discourse is addressed unto us also.) For surely not even then did they trust to signs alone, but by the mode of life also many of the converts were attracted. For, "Let your light so shine before men," saith He, "that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (St. Matt. v. 16.) And, "They were all of one heart and one soul, neither said any man that aught of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common; and distribution was made unto every man, according as he had need;" (Acts iv. 32, 35.) and they lived an angelic life. And if the same were done now, we should convert the whole world, even without miracles. But in the meanwhile, let those who will be saved attend to the Scriptures; for they shall find there both these noble doings, and those which are greater than these. For it may be added that the Teachers themselves surpassed the deeds of the others; living in hunger, in thirst, and nakedness. But we are desirous of enjoying great luxury, and rest, and ease; not so they: they cried aloud, "Even unto the present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place. (1 Cor. iv. 11.) And some ran from Jerusalem unto Illyricum, (Rom. xv. 19.) and another unto the country of the Indians, and another unto that of the Moors, and this to one part of the world, that to another. Whereas we have not the courage to depart even out of our own country; but seek for luxurious living and splendid houses and all other superfluities. For which of us ever was famished for the word of God's sake? Which ever abode in a wilderness? Which ever set out on a distant peregrination? Which of our teachers lived by the labor of his hands to assist others? Which endured death daily? Hence it is that they also who are with us have become slothful. For suppose that one saw soldiers and generals struggling with hunger, and thirst, and death, and with all dreadful things, and bearing cold and dangers and all like lions, and so prospering; then afterwards, relaxing that strictness, and becoming enervated, and fond of wealth, and addicted to business and bargains, and then overcome by their enemies, it were extreme folly to seek for the cause of all this. Now let us reason thus in our own case and that of our ancestors; for we too have become weaker than all, and are nailed down unto this present life.

And if one be found having a vestige of the ancient wisdom, leaving the cities and the market-places, and the society of the world, and the ordering of others, he betakes himself to the mountains: and if one ask the reason of that retirement, he invents a plea which cannot meet with allowance. For, saith he, "lest I perish too, and the edge of my goodness be taken off, I start aside." Now how much better were it for thee to become less keen, and to gain others, than abiding on high to neglect thy perishing brethren?

When, however, the one sort are careless about virtue, and those who do regard it withdraw themselves far from our ranks, how are we to subdue our enemies? For even if miracles were wrought now, who would be persuaded? Or who of those without would give heed unto us, our iniquity being thus prevalent? For so it is, that our upright living seems unto the many the more trustworthy argument of the two: miracles admitting of a bad construction on the part of obstinate bad men: whereas a pure life will have abundant power to stop the mouth of the devil himself.

[9.] These things I say, both to governors and governed; and, before all others, unto myself; to the end that the way of life shown forth in us may be truly admirable, that taking our appropriate stations, we may look down on all things present; may despise wealth, and not despise hell; overlook glory, and not overlook salvation; endure toil and labor here, lest we fall into punishment there. Thus let us wage war with the Greeks; thus let us take them captive with a captivity better than liberty.

But while we say these things without intermission, over and over, they occur very seldom. Howbeit, be they done or not, it is right to remind you of them continually. For if some are engaged in deceiving by their fair speech, so much more is it the duty of those who allure back unto the truth, not to grow weary of speaking what is profitable. Again: if the deceivers make use of so many contrivances--spending as they do money, and applying arguments, and undergoing dangers, and making a parade of their patronage--much more should we, who are winning men from deceit, endure both dangers and deaths, and all things; that we may both gain ourselves and others, and become to our enemies irresistible, and so obtain the promised blessings, through the grace and loving-kindness, etc.

Footnotes

[32] to marturion, the martyrdom, or testimony by death: see 1 Tim. ii. 6. [33] Here again what is written of St. Peter is taken as if written of St. Paul: see Acts xix. 12; v. 5. [34] ekkathairon: there seems to be an allusion to the classical fable about Hercules, who is represented as "purging the world" of monsters and oppressors; Soph. Trach. 1078. ed. Musgrave. [35] Vid. St. Matt. xxvi. 13. and comp. St. Luke vii. 37. which two texts St. Chrys. apparently considers as relating to the same person: but in his commentary on St. Matthew xxvi. 6. he distinctly says they were not the same. The Fathers are divided on this point. Tertullian (de Pudic. 11.) and, St. Augustin (de Consensu Evangelist ii. 79.) consider them as the same, St. Augustin adding , that she was led to repeat the action with circumstances that shewed her increased perfection: Ambrosiaster (in loc.) leaves the matter doubtful. [36] Celsus, the Epicurean philosopher, against whom Origen wrote about A.D. 170. [37] Porphyry; so called also by St. Jerome, in the Preface to his Commentary on Galatians where the Editor's conjecture is, that the name was that of Porphyry's residence or birth, but that it was also a term of reproach, alluding to the fat bulls of Basan, Ps. xxii. 12. He is commonly called a Tyrian, but they suppose that Batanea, which is in Syria, was a colony of Tyre.


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