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.


Homily VII.

1 Cor. ii. 6, 7

Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect, yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, which are coming to naught; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which God fore-ordained before the worlds unto our glory.

Darkness seems to be more suitable than light to those that are diseased in their eyesight: wherefore they betake themselves by preference to some room that is thoroughly shaded over. This also is the case with the wisdom which is spiritual. As the wisdom which is of God seemed to be foolishness unto those without: so their own wisdom, being foolishness indeed, was accounted by them wisdom. The result has been just as if a man having skill in navigation were to promise that without a ship or sails he would pass over a boundless tract of sea, and then endeavor by reasonings to prove that the thing is possible; but some other person, ignorant of it all, committing himself to a ship and a steersman and sailors, were thus to sail in safety. For the seeming ignorance of this man is wiser than the wisdom of the other. For excellent is the art of managing a ship; but when it makes too great professions it is a kind of folly. And so is every art which is not contented with its own proper limits. Just so the wisdom which is without [were wisdom indeed [38] ] if it had had the benefit of the spirit. But since it trusted all to itself and supposed that it wanted none of that help, it became foolishness, although it seemed to be wisdom. Wherefore having first exposed it by the facts, then and not till then he calls it foolishness; and having first called the wisdom of God folly, according to their reckoning, then and not till then he shews it to be wisdom. (For after our proofs, not before, we are best able to abash the gainsayers.)

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His words then are, "Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect:" for when I, accounted foolish and a preacher of follies, get the better of the wise, I overcome wisdom, not by foolishness but by a more perfect wisdom; a wisdom, too, so ample and so much greater, that the other appears foolishness. Wherefore having before called it by a name such as they named it at that time, and having both proved his victory from the facts, and shewn the extreme foolishness of the other side: he thenceforth bestows upon it its right name, saying, "Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect." "Wisdom" is the name he gives to the Gospel, to the method of salvation, the being saved by the Cross. "The perfect," are those who believe. For indeed they are "perfect," who know all human things to be utterly helpless, and who overlook them from the conviction that by such they are profited nothing: such were the true believers.

"But not a wisdom of this world." For where is the use of the wisdom which is without, terminating here and proceeding no further, and not even here able to profit its possessors?

Now by the "rulers of the world," here, he means not certain demons, as some suspect [39] , but those in authority, those in power, those who esteem the thing worth contending about, philosophers, rhetoricians and writers of speeches (logographous). For these were the dominant sort and often became leaders of the people.

"Rulers of the world" he calls them, because beyond the present world their dominion extends not. Wherefore, he adds further, "which are coming to nought;" disparaging it both on its own account, and from those who wield it. For having shewn that it is false, that it is foolish, that it can discover nothing, that it is weak, he shews moreover that it is but of short duration.

[2.] "But we speak God's wisdom in a mystery." What mystery? For surely Christ saith, (St. Matt. x. 27. ekousate rec. text akouete.) "What ye have heard in the ear, proclaim upon the housetops." How then does he call it "a mystery?" Because that neither angel nor archangel, nor any other created power knew of it before it actually took place. Wherefore he saith, (Ephes. iii. 10) "That now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God." And this hath God done in honor to us, so that they not without us should hear the mysteries. For we, too, ourselves, whomsoever we make our friends, use to speak of this as a sure proof of friendship towards them, that we tell our secrets to no one in preference to them. Let those hear who expose to shame [40] the secrets of the Gospel, and unto all indiscriminately display the "pearls" and the doctrine, and who cast "the holy things" unto "dogs," and "swine," and useless reasonings. For the Mystery wants no argumentation; but just what it is, that only is to be declared. Since it will not be a mystery, divine and whole in all its parts, when thou addest any thing to it of thyself also.

And in another sense, too, a mystery is so called; because we do not behold the things which we see, but some things we see and others we believe. For such is the nature of our Mysteries. I, for instance, feel differently upon these subjects from an unbeliever. I hear, "Christ was crucified;" and forthwith I admire His loving-kindness unto men: the other hears, and esteems it weakness. I hear, "He became a servant;" and I wonder at his care for us: the other hears, and counts it dishonor. I hear, "He died;" and am astonished at His might, that being in death He was not holden, but even broke the bands of death: the other hears, and surmises it to be helplessness. He hearing of the resurrection, saith, the thing is a legend; I, aware of the facts which demonstrate it, fall down and worship the dispensation of God. He hearing of a laver, counts it merely as water: but I behold not simply the thing which is seen, but the purification of the soul which is by the Spirit. He considers only that my body hath been washed; but I have believed that the soul also hath become both pure and holy; and I count it the sepulchre, the resurrection, the sanctification, the righteousness, the redemption, the adoption, the inheritance, the kingdom of heaven, the plenary effusion (choregian) of the Spirit. For not by the sight do I judge of the things that appear, but by the eyes of the mind. I hear of the "Body of Christ:" in one sense I understand the expression, in another sense the unbeliever.

And just as children, looking on their books, know not the meaning of the letters, neither know what they see; yea more, if even a grown man be unskilful in letters, the same thing will befall him; but the skilful will find much meaning stored up in the letters, even complete lives and histories: and an epistle in the hands of one that is unskilful will be accounted but paper and ink; but he that knows how to read will both hear a voice, and hold converse with the absent, and will reply whatsoever he chooses by means of writing: so it is also in regard of the Mystery. Unbelievers albeit they hear, seem not to hear: but the faithful, having the skill which is by the Spirit, behold the meaning of the things stored therein. For instance, it is this very thing that Paul signified, when he said that even now the word preached is hidden: for "unto them that perish," he saith, "it is hidden." (2 Cor. iv. 3.)

In another point of view, the word indicates also the Gospel's being contrary to all expectation. By no other name is Scripture wont to call what happens beyond all hope and above all thought of men. Wherefore also in another place, "My mystery is for Me [41] ," and for Mine. And Paul again, (2 Cor. xv. 51.) "Behold, I shew you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed."

[3.] And though it be everywhere preached, still is it a mystery; for as we have been commanded, "what things we have heard in the ear, to speak upon the house tops," so have we been also charged, "not to give the holy things unto dogs nor yet to cast our pearls before swine." (St. Matt. vii. 9.) For some are carnal and do not understand: others have a veil upon their hearts and do not see: wherefore that is above all things a mystery, which everywhere is preached, but is not known of those who have not a right mind; and is revealed not by wisdom but by the Holy Ghost, so far as is possible for us to receive it. And for this cause a man would not err, who in this respect also should entitle it a mystery, the utterance whereof is forbidden. (aporrheton) For not even unto us, the faithful, hath been committed entire certainty and exactness. Wherefore Paul also said, (ch. xiii. 9.) "We know in part, and we prophesy in part: for now we see in a mirror darkly; but then face to face."

[4.] For this cause he saith, "We speak wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God fore-ordained before the worlds unto our glory. Hidden:" that is, that no one of the powers above hath learnt it before us; neither do the many know it now.

"Which he fore-ordained unto our glory" and yet, elsewhere he saith, "unto his own glory," for he considereth our salvation to be His own glory: even as also He calleth it His own riches, (vid. Ephes. iii. 8.) though He be Himself rich in good and need nothing in order that He may be rich.

"Fore-ordained," he saith, pointing out the care had of us. For so those are accounted most both to honor and to love us, whosoever shall have laid themselves out to do us good from the very beginning: which indeed is what fathers do in the case of children. For although they give not their goods until afterwards, yet at first and from the beginning they had predetermined this. And this is what Paul is earnest to point out now; that God always loved us even from the beginning and when as yet we were not. For unless He had loved us, He would not have fore-ordained our riches. Consider not then the enmity which hath come between; for more ancient than that was the friendship.

As to the words, "before the worlds," (pro ton aionon) they mean eternal. For in another place also He saith thus, "Who is before the worlds." The Son also, if you mark it, will be found to be eternal in the same sense. For concerning Him he saith, (Heb. i. 2.) "By Him He made the worlds;" which is equivalent to subsistence before the worlds; for it is plain that the maker is before the things which are made.

[5.] Ver. 8. "Which none of the rulers of this world knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory."

Now if they knew not, how said He unto them, (St. John vii. 28.) "Ye both know Me, and ye know whence I am?" Indeed, concerning Pilate the Scripture saith, he knew not. (vid. St. John xix. 9.) It is likely also that neither did Herod know. These, one might say, are called rulers of this world: but if a man were to say that this is spoken concerning the Jews also and the Priests, he would not err. For to these also He saith, (St. John viii. 19.) "Ye know neither Me nor My Father." How then saith He a little before, "Ye both know Me, and ye know whence I am?" However, the manner of this way of knowledge and of that hath already been declared in the Gospel; (Hom. 49. on St. John,) and, not to be continually handling the same topic, thither do we refer our readers.

What then? was their sin in the matter of the Cross forgiven them? For He surely did say, "Forgive them." (Luke xxiii. 34.) If they repented, it was forgiven. For even he who set countless assailants on Stephen and persecuted the Church, even Paul, became the champion of the Church. Just so then, those others also who chose to repent, had forgiveness: and this indeed Paul himself meant, when he exclaims, (Rom. xi. 11, 1, 2.). "I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid." "I say then, hath God cast away His people whom He foreknew? God forbid." Then, to shew that their repentance was not precluded, he brought forward as a decisive proof his own conversion, saying, "For I also am an Israelite."

As to the words, "They knew not;" they seem to me to be said here not concerning Christ's Person, but only concerning the dispensation hidden in that event: (peri autes tou pragmatos tes oikonomias) as if he had said, what meant "the death," and the "Cross," they knew not. For in that passage also He said not, "They know not Me," but, "They know not what they do;" that is, the dispensation which is being accomplished, and the mystery, they are ignorant of. For they knew not that the Cross is to shine forth so brightly; that it is made the salvation of the world, and the reconciliation of God unto men; that their city should be taken; and that they should suffer the extreme of wretchedness.

By the name of "wisdom," he calls both Christ, and the Cross and the Gospel. Opportunely also he called Him, "The Lord of glory." For seeing that the Cross is counted a matter of ignominy, he signifies that the Cross was great glory: but that there was need of great wisdom in order not only to know God but also to learn this dispensation of God: and the wisdom which was without turned out an obstacle, not to the former only, but to the latter also.

[6.] Ver. 9. "But as it is written, Things which eye saw not and ear heard not, and which entered not into the heart of man, whatsoever things God prepared for them that love Him."

Where are these words written? Why, it is said to have been "written," then also, when it is set down, not in words, but in actual events, as in the historical books [42] ; or when the same meaning is expressed, but not in the very same words, as in this place: for the words, "They to whom it was not told about Him shall see, and they who have not heard shall understand," (Is. lii. 15; Sept. Comp. Rom. xv. 21; Is. lxiv. 4.) are the same with "the things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard." Either then this is his meaning, or probably it was actually written in some books, and the copies have perished. For indeed many books were destroyed, and few were preserved entire even in the first captivity. And this is plain, in those which remain to us. [43]For the Apostle saith (Acts iii. 24.) "From Samuel and the Prophets which follow after they have all spoken concerning Him:" and these their words are not entirely extant. Paul, however, as being learned in the law and speaking by the Spirit, would of course know all with accuracy. And why speak I of the captivity? Even before the captivity many books had disappeared; the Jews having rushed headlong to the last degree of impiety: and this is plain from the end of the fourth book of Kings, (2 Kings xxii. 8; 2 Chron. xxxiv. 14.) for the book of Deuteronomy could hardly be found, having been buried somewhere in a dunghill [44] .

And besides, there are in many places double prophecies, easy to be apprehended by the wiser sort; from which we may find out many of the things which are obscure.

[7.] What then, hath "eye not seen what God prepared?" No. For who among men saw the things which were about to be dispensed? Neither then hath "the ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man." How is this? For if the Prophets spoke of it, how saith he, "Ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man?" It did not enter; for not of himself alone is he speaking, but of the whole human race. What then? The Prophets, did not they hear? Yes, they heard; but the prophetic ear was not the ear "of man:" for not as men heard they, but as Prophets. Wherefore he said, (Is. l. 4. Sept.) "He hath added unto me an ear to hear," meaning by "addition" that which was from the Spirit. From whence it was plain that before hearing it had not entered into the heart of man. For after the gift of the Spirit the heart of the Prophets was not the heart of man, but a spiritual heart; as also he saith himself, "We have the mind of Christ" (v. 16.) as if he would say, "Before we had the blessing of the Spirit and learnt the things which no man can speak, no one of us nor yet of the Prophets conceived them in his mind. How should we? since not even angels know them. For what need is there to speak," saith he, "concerning `the rulers of this world,' seeing that no man knew them, nor yet the powers above?"

What kind of things then are these? That by what is esteemed to be the foolishness of preaching He shall overcome the world, and the nations shall be brought in, and there shall be reconciliation of God with men, and so great blessings shall come upon us! How then have we "known? Unto us," he saith, "God hath revealed them by His Spirit;" not by the wisdom which is without; for this like some dishonored handmaid hath not been permitted to enter in, and stoop down and look into (see St. John xx. 5.) the mysteries pertaining to the Lord. Seest thou how great is the difference between this wisdom and that? The things which angels knew not, these are what she hath taught us: but she that is without, hath done the contrary. Not only hath she failed to instruct, but she hindered and obstructed, and after the event sought to obscure His doings, making the Cross of none effect. Not then simply by our receiving the knowledge, does he describe the honor vouchsafed to us, nor by our receiving it with angels, but, what is more, by His Spirit conveying it to us.

[7.] Then to show its greatness, he saith, If the Spirit which knoweth the secret things of God had not revealed them, we should not have learned them. Such an object of care was this whole subject to God, as to be among His secrets. Wherefore we needed also that Teacher who knoweth these things perfectly; for "the Spirit," (v. 10, 11, 12.) saith he, "searcheth all things, even the deep things of God." For the word "to search" is here indicative not of ignorance, but of accurate knowledge: it is the very same mode of speaking which he used even of God, saying, "He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit." (Rom. viii. 27.) Then having spoken with exactness concerning the knowledge of the Spirit, and having pointed out that it is as fully equal to God's knowledge, as the knowledge of a man itself to itself; and also, that we have learned all things from it and necessarily from it; he added, "which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." Seest thou to what point he exalted us because of the Teacher's dignity? For so much are we wiser than they as there is difference between Plato and the Holy Spirit; they having for masters the heathen rhetoricians but we, the Holy Spirit.

[8.] But what is this, "comparing spiritual things with spiritual?" When a thing is spiritual and of dubious meaning, we adduce testimonies from the things which are spiritual. For instance, I say, Christ rose again--was born of a Virgin; I adduce testimonies and types and demonstrations; the abode of Jonah in the whale and his deliverance afterwards; the child-bearing of the barren, Sarah, Rebecca, and the rest; the springing up of the trees which took place in paradise (Gen. ii. 5.) when there had been no seeds sown, no rains sent down, no furrow drawn along. For the things to come were fashioned out and figured forth, as in shadow, by the former things, that these which are now might be believed when they came in. And again we shew, how of the earth was man, and how of man alone the woman; and this without any intercourse whatever; how the earth itself of nothing, the power of the Great Artificer being every where sufficient for all things. Thus "with spiritual things" do I "compare spiritual," and in no instance have I need of the Wisdom which is without--neither its reasonings nor its embellishments. For such persons do but agitate the weak understanding and confuse it; and are not able to demonstrate clearly any one of the things which they affirm, but even have the contrary effect. They rather disturb the mind and fill it with darkness and much perplexity. Wherefore he saith, "with spiritual things comparing spiritual." [45]Seest thou how superfluous he sheweth it to be? and not only superfluous, but even hostile and injurious: for this is meant by the expressions, "lest the Cross of Christ be made of none effect," and, "that our (`your faith,' rec. text) faith should not stand in the wisdom of men." And he points out here, that it is impossible for those who confidently entrust every thing to it, to learn any useful thing: for

[9.] Ver. 14. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit."

It is necessary then to lay it aside first. "What then," some man will say; "is the wisdom from without stigmatized? And yet it is the work of God." How is this clear? since He made it not, but it was an invention of thine. For in this place he calls by the term "wisdom" curious research and superfluous elegance of words. But should any one say that he means the human understanding; even in this sense the fault is thine. For thou bringest a bad name upon it, who makest a bad use of it; who to the injury and thwarting of God demandest from it things which indeed it never had. Since then thou boastest therein and fightest with God, He hath exposed its weakness. For strength of body also is an excellent thing, but when Cain used it not as he ought, God disabled him and made him tremble (Gen. iv. 12, 14. Sept. "sighing and trembling," rec. ver. "fugitive and vagabond.") Wine also is a good thing; but because the Jews indulged in it immoderately, God prohibited the priests entirely from the use of the fruit. [46]And since thou also hast abused wisdom unto the rejecting of God, and hast demanded of it more than it can do of its own strength; in order to withdraw thee from human hope, he hath shewed thee its weakness.

For (to proceed) he is "a natural man," who attributes every thing to reasonings of the mind and considers not that he needs help from above; which is a mark of sheer folly. For God bestowed it that it might learn and receive help from Him, not that it should consider itself sufficient unto itself. For eyes are beautiful and useful, but should they choose to see without light, their beauty profits them nothing; nor yet their natural force, but even doth harm. So if you mark it, any soul also, if it choose to see without the Spirit, becomes even an impediment unto itself.

"How then, before this," it will be said, "did she see all things of herself?" Never at any time did she this of herself but she had creation for a book set before her in open view. But when men having left off to walk in the way which God commanded them, and by the beauty of visible objects to know the Great Artificer, had entrusted to disputations the leading-staff of knowledge; they became weak and sank in a sea of ungodliness; for they presently brought in that which was the abyss of all evil, asserting that nothing was produced from things which were not, but from uncreated matter; and from this source they became the parents of ten thousand heresies.

Moreover, in their extreme absurdities they agreed; but in those things wherein they seemed to dream out something wholesome, though it were only as in shadows, they fell out with one another; that on both sides they might be laughed to scorn. For that out of things which are not nothing is produced, nearly all with one accord have asserted and written; and this with great zeal. In these absurdities then they were urged on by the Devil. But in their profitable sayings, wherein they seemed, though it were but darkly, (en ainigmati,) to find some part of what they sought, in these they waged war with one another: for instance, that the soul is immortal; that virtue needs nothing external; and that the being good or the contrary is not of necessity nor of fate.

Dost thou see the craft of the Devil? If any where he saw men speaking any thing corrupt, he made all to be of one mind; but if any where speaking any thing sound, he raised up others against them; so that the absurdities did not fail, being confirmed by the general consent, and the profitable parts died away, being variously understood. Observe how in every respect the soul is unstrung, (atonos) and is not sufficient unto herself. And this fell out as one might expect. For if, being such as she is, she aspire to have need of nothing and withdraw herself from God; suppose her not fallen into that condition, and into what extreme madness would she not have insensibly sunk? If, endowed with a mortal body, she expected greater things from the false promise of the Devil--(for, "Ye shall be," said he, "as gods" Gen. iii. 4.)--to what extent would she not have cast herself away, had she received her body also, from the beginning, immortal. For, even after that, she asserted herself to be unbegotten and of the essence of God, through the corrupt mouth of the Manicheans [47] , and it was this distemperature which gave occasion to her invention of the Grecian gods. On this account, as it seems to me, God made virtue laborious, with a view to bow down the soul and to bring it to moderation. And that thou mayest convince thyself that this is true, (as far as from trifles ones may guess at any thing great,) let us learn it from the Israelites. They, it is well known, when they led not a life of toil but indulged in relaxation, not being able to bear prosperity, fell away into ungodliness. What then did God upon this? He laid upon them a multitude of laws with a view to restrain their licence. And to convince you that these laws contribute not to any virtue, but were given to them as a sort of curb, providing them with an occasion of perpetual labor; hear what saith the prophet concerning them; "I gave them statutes which were not good." Ezek. xx. 25. What means, "not good?" Such as did not much contribute towards virtue. Wherefore he adds also, "and ordinances whereby they shall not live."

[10.] "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit."

For as with these eyes no man could learn the things in the heavens; so neither the soul unaided the things of the Spirit. And why speak I of the things in heaven? It receives not even those in earth, all of them. For beholding afar off a square tower, we think it to be round; but such an opinion is mere deception of the eyes: so also we may be sure, when a man by means of his understanding alone examines the things which are afar off much ridicule will ensue. For not only will he not see them such as indeed they are, but will even account them the contraries of what they are. Wherefore he added, "for they are foolishness unto him." But this comes not of the nature of the things, but of his infirmity, unable as he is to attain to their greatness through the eyes of his soul.

[11.] Next, pursuing his contrast, he states the cause of this, saying, "he knoweth not because they are spiritually discerned:" i.e. the things asserted require faith, and to apprehend them by reasonings is not possible, for their magnitude exceeds by a great deal the meanness of our understanding. Wherefore he saith, "but he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man." For he that has sight, beholds himself all things that appertain to the man that has no sight; but no sightless person discerns what the other is about. So also in the case before us, our own matters and those of unbelievers, all of them we for our part know; but ours, they know not henceforth any more. We know what is the nature of things present, what the dignity of things to come; and what some day shall become of the world when this state of things shall be no more, and what sinners shall suffer, and the righteous shall enjoy. And that things present are nothing worth, we both know, and their meanness we expose; (for to "discern" is also to expose;) (anakrinein, elenchein) and that the things to come are immortal and immoveable. All these things are known to the spiritual man; and what the natural man shall suffer when he is departed into that world; and what the faithful shall enjoy when he hath fulfilled his journey from this: none of which are known to the natural man.

[12.] Wherefore also, subjoining a plain demonstration of what had been affirmed, he saith, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." That is to say, the things which are in the mind of Christ, these we know, even the very things which He willeth and hath revealed. For since he had said, "the Spirit had revealed them;" lest any one should set aside the Son, he subjoins that Christ also shewed us these things. Not meaning this, that all the things which He knoweth, we know; but that all the things which we know are not human so as to be open to suspicion, but of His mind and spiritual.

For the mind which we have about these things we have of Christ; that is, the knowledge which we have concerning the things of the faith is spiritual; so that with reason we are "judged of no man." For it is not possible that a natural man should know divine things. Wherefore also he said, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord?" implying that our own mind which we have about these things, is His mind. And this, "that he may instruct Him," he hath not added without reason, but with reference to what he had just now said, "the spiritual man no one discerneth." For if no man is able to know the mind of God, much less can he teach and correct it. For this is the meaning of, "that he may instruct Him."

Seest thou how from every quarter he repels the wisdom which is without, and shews that the spiritual man knoweth more things and greater? For seeing that those reasons, "That no flesh should glory;" and, "For this cause hath He chosen the foolish things, that He might confound the wise men;" and, "Lest the Cross of Christ should be made void:" seemed not to the unbelievers greatly worthy of credit, nor yet attractive, or necessary, or useful, he finishes by laying down the principal reason; because in this way we most easily see from Whom we may have the means of learning even high things, and things secret, and things which are above us. For reason was absolutely made of none effect by our inability to apprehend through Gentile wisdom the things above us.

You may observe, too, that it was more advantageous to learn in this way from the Spirit. For that is the easiest and clearest of all teaching.

"But we have the mind of Christ." That is, spiritual, divine, that which hath nothing human. For it is not of Plato, nor of Pythagoras, but it is Christ Himself, putting His own things into our mind.

This then, if naught else, let us revere, O beloved, and let our life shine forth as most excellent; since He also Himself maketh this a sure proof of great friendship, viz. the revealing His secrets unto us: where He saith, (St. John xv. 15.) "Henceforth I call you not servants, for all ye are My friends; for all things which I have heard from My Father I have told unto you:" that is, I have had confidence towards you. Now if this by itself is a proof of friendship, namely, to have confidence: when it appears that He has not only confided to us the mysteries conveyed by words, (ta dia rhematon musteria) but also imparted to us the same conveyed by works, (dia ton ergon, i.e. sacramental actions) consider how vast the love of which this is the fruit. This, if nothing else, let us revere; even though we will not make any such great account of hell, yet let it be more fearful than hell to be thankless and ungrateful to such a friend and benefactor. And not as hired servants, but as sons and freemen, let us do all things for the love of our Father; and let us at last cease from adhering to the world that we may put the Greeks also to shame. For even now desiring to put out my strength against them, I shrink from so doing, lest haply, surpass them as we may by our arguments and the truth of what we teach, we bring upon ourselves much derision from the comparison of our way of life; seeing that they indeed, cleaving unto error and having no such conviction, abide by philosophy, but we do just the contrary. However, I will say it. For it may be, it may be that in practising how to contend against them, we shall long as rivals to become better than they in our mode of life also.

[14.] I was saying not long ago, that it would not have entered the Apostles' thoughts to preach what they did preach, had they not enjoyed Divine Grace; and that so far from succeeding, they would not even have devised such a thing. Well then, let us also to-day prosecute the same subject in our discourse; and let us shew that it was a thing impossible so much as to be chosen or thought of by them, if they had not had Christ among them: not because they were arrayed, the weak against the strong, not because few against many, not because poor against rich, not because unlearned against wise, but because the strength of their prejudice, too, was great. For ye know that nothing is so strong with men as the tyranny of ancient custom. So that although they had not been twelve only, and not so contemptible, and such as they really were, but another world as large as this, and with an equivalent number arrayed on their side, or even much greater; even in this case the result would have been hard to achieve. For the other party had custom on their side, but to these their novelty was an obstacle. For nothing so much disturbs the mind, though it be done for some beneficial purpose, as to innovate and introduce strange things, and most of all when this is done in matters relating to divine worship and the glory of God. And how great force there is in this circumstance I will now make plain; first having made the following statement that there was added also another difficulty with regard to the Jews. For in the case of the Greeks, they destroyed both their gods and their doctrines altogether; but not so did they dispute with the Jews, but many of their doctrines they abolished, while the God who had enacted the same they bade them worship. And affirming that men should honor the legislator, they said, "obey not in all respects the law which is of Him;" for instance, in the keeping the Sabbath, or observing circumcision, or offering sacrifices, or doing any other like thing. So that not only was custom an impediment, but also the fact, that when they bade men worship God, they bade them break many of His laws.

[15.] But in the case of the Greeks great was the tyranny of custom. For if it had been a custom of ten years only, I say not of such a length of time, and if it had preoccupied but a few men, I say not the whole world, when these persons made their approaches; even in this case the revolution would have been hard to effect. But now sophists, and orators, and fathers, and grandfathers, and many more ancient than all these, had been preoccupied by the error: the very earth and sea, and mountains and groves, and all nations of Barbarians, and all tribes of the Greeks, and wise men and ignorant, rulers and subjects, women and men, young and old, masters and slaves, artificers and husbandmen, dwellers in cities and in the country; all of them. And those who were instructed would naturally say, "What in the world is this? Have all that dwell in the world been deceived? both sophists and orators, philosophers and historians, the present generation and they who were before this, Pythagoreans, Platonists, generals, consuls, kings, they who in all cities from the beginning were citizens and colonists, both Barbarians and Greeks? And are the twelve fishermen and tent-makers and publicans wiser than all these? Why, who could endure such a statement?" However, they spake not so, nor had it in their mind, but did endure them, and owned that they were wiser than all. Wherefore they overcame even all. And custom was no impediment to this, though accounted invincible when she hath acquired her full swing by course of time.

And that thou mayest learn how great is the strength of custom, it hath oftentimes prevailed over the commands of God. And why do I say, commands? Even over very blessings. For so the Jews when they had manna, required garlic; enjoying liberty they were mindful of their slavery; and they were continually longing for Egypt, because they were accustomed to it. Such a tyrannical thing is custom.

If thou desire to hear of it from the heathens also; it is said that Plato, although well aware that all about the gods was a sort of imposture, condescended to all the feasts and all the rest of it, as being unable to contend with custom; and as having in fact learnt this from his master. For he, too, being suspected of some such innovation, was so far from succeeding in what he desired that he even lost his life; and this, too, after making his defence. And how many men do we see now by prejudice held in idolatry, and having nothing plausible to say, when they are charged with being Greeks, but alleging the fathers, and grandfathers, and great grandfathers. For no other reason did some of the heathens call custom, second nature. But when doctrines are the subject-matter of the custom, it becomes yet more deeply rooted. For a man would change all things more easily than those pertaining to religion. The feeling of shame, too, coupled with custom, was enough to raise an obstacle; and the seeming to learn a new lesson in extreme old age, and that of those who were not so intelligent. And why wonder, should this happen in regard of the soul, seeing that even in the body custom hath great force?

[16.] In the Apostles' case, however, there was yet another obstacle, more powerful than these; it was not merely changing custom so ancient and primitive, but there were perils also under which the change was effected. For they were not simply drawing men from one custom to another, but from a custom, wherein was no fear to an undertaking which held out threats of danger. For the believer must immediately incur confiscation, persecution, exile from his country; must suffer the worst ills, be hated of all men, be a common enemy both to his own people and to strangers. So that even if they had invited men to a customary thing out of novelty, even in this case it would have been a difficult matter. But when it was from a custom to an innovation, and with all these terrors to boot, consider how vast was the obstacle!

And again, another thing, not less than those mentioned, was added to make the change difficult. For besides the custom and the dangers, these precepts were both more burdensome, and those from which they withdrew men were easy and light. For their call was from fornication unto chastity; from love of life unto sundry kinds of death; from drunkenness unto fasting; from laughter unto tears and compunction; from covetousness unto utter indigence; from safety unto dangers: and throughout all they required the strictest circumspection. For, "Filthiness," (Ephes. v. 4.) saith he, "and foolish talking, and jesting, let it not proceed out of your mouth." And these things they spake unto those who knew nothing else than how to be drunken and serve their bellies; who celebrated feasts made up of nothing but of "filthiness" and laughter and all manner of revellings (komodias hapases.) So that not only from the matter pertaining to severity of life were the doctrines burthensome, but also from their being spoken unto men who had been brought up in careless ease, and "filthiness," and "foolish talking," and laughter and revellings. For who among those who had lived in these things, when he heard, (Matt. x. 38.) "If a man take not up his cross and follow Me, he is not worthy of Me;" and, (Ibid. 34) "I came not to send peace but a sword, and to set a man at variance with his father, and the daughter at variance with her mother," would not have felt himself chilled all over (enarkese)? And who, when he heard, "If a man bid not farewell to home and country and possessions, he is not worthy of Me," would not have hesitated, would not have refused? And yet there were men, who not only felt no chill, neither shrunk away when they heard these things, but ran to meet them and rushed upon the hardships, and eagerly caught at the precepts enjoined. Again, to be told, "For every idle word we shall give account;" (Matt. xii. 36.) and, "whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her as soon as seen;" (Matt. v. 28, 25.) and, "whosoever is angry without cause shall fall into hell;"--which of the men of that day would not these things have frightened off? And yet all came running in, and many even leaped over the boundaries of the course. What then was their attraction? Was it not, plainly, the power of Him who was preached? For suppose that the case were not as it is, but just contrary [48] , that this side was the other, and the other this; would it have been easy, let me ask, to hold fast and to drag on those who resisted? We cannot say so. So that in every way that power is proved divine which wrought so excellently. Else how, tell me, did they prevail with the frivolous and the dissolute, urging them toward the severe and rough course of life?

[17.] Well; such was the nature of the precepts. But let us see whether the doctrine was attractive. Nay, in this respect also there was enough to frighten away the unbelievers. For what said the preachers? That we must worship the crucified, and count Him as God, who was born of a Jewish woman. Now who would have been persuaded by these words, unless divine power had led the way? That indeed He had been crucified and buried, all men knew; but that He had risen again and ascended, no one save the Apostles had seen.

But, you will say, they excited them by promises and deceived them by an empty sound of words. Nay, this very topic most particularly shews (even apart from all that has been said) that our doctrines are no deceit. For all its hardships took place here, but its consolations they were to promise after the resurrection. This very thing then, for I repeat it, shews that our Gospel is divine. For why did no one of the believers say, "I close not with this, neither do I endure it? Thou threatenest me with hardships here, and the good things thou promisest after the resurrection. Why, how is it plain that there will be a resurrection? Which of the departed hath returned? Which of those at rest hath risen again? Which of these hath said what shall be after our departure hence?" But none of these things entered into their minds; rather they gave up their very lives for the Crucified. So that this bare fact was more than anything a proof of great power; first, their working conviction at once, touching matters so important, in persons that had never in their lives before heard of any such thing; secondly, that they prevailed on them to take the difficulties upon trial, and to account the blessings as matter of hope. Now if they had been deceivers they would have done the contrary: their good things they would have promised as of this world (enteuthen, so St. John xviii. 36.); the fearful things they would not have mentioned, whether they related to the present life or the future. For so deceivers and flatterers act. Nothing harsh, nor galling, nor burdensome, do they hold out, but altogether the contrary. For this is the nature of deceit.

[18.] But "the folly," it will be said, "of the greater part caused them to believe what they were told." How sayest thou? When they were under Greeks, they were not foolish; but when they came over to us, did their folly then begin? And yet they were not men of another sort nor out of another world, that the Apostles took and persuaded: they were men too who simply held the opinions of the Greeks, but ours they received with the accompaniment of dangers. So that if with better reason they had maintained the former, they would not have swerved from them, now that they had so long time been educated therein; and especially as not without danger was it possible to swerve. But when they came to know from the very nature of the things that all on that side was mockery and delusion, upon this, even under menaces of sundry deaths, they sprang off (apepedesan) from their customary ways, and came over voluntarily unto the new; inasmuch as the latter doctrine was according to nature, but the other contrary to nature.

But "the persons convinced," it is said, "were slaves, and woman, and nurses, and midwives, and eunuchs." Now in the first place, not of these alone doth our Church consist; and this is plain unto all. But be it of these; this is what especially makes the Gospel worthy of admiration; that such doctrines as Plato and his followers could not apprehend, the fishermen had power on a sudden to persuade the most ignorant sort of all to receive. For if they had persuaded wise men only, the result would not have been so wonderful; but in advancing slaves, and nurses, and eunuchs unto such great severity of life as to make them rivals to angels, they offered the greatest proof of their divine inspiration. Again; had they enjoined I know not what trifling matters, it were reasonable perhaps to bring forward the conviction wrought in these persons, to show the trifling nature of the things which were spoken: but if things great, and high, and almost transcending human nature, and requiring high thoughts, were the matter of their lessons of wisdom; the more foolishness thou showest in those who were convinced, by so much the more dost thou shew clearly that they who wrought the conviction were wise and filled with divine grace.

But, you will say, they prevailed on them through the excessive greatness of the promises. But tell me, is not this very thing a wonder to thee, how they persuaded men to expect prizes and recompenses after death? For this, were there nothing else, is to me matter of amazement. But this, too, it will be said, came of folly. Inform me wherein is the folly of these things: that the soul is immortal; that an impartial tribunal will receive us after the present life; that we shall render an account of our deeds and words and thoughts unto God that knoweth all secrets; that we shall see the evil undergoing punishment, and the good with crowns on their heads. Nay, these things are not of folly, but the highest instruction of wisdom. The folly is in the contrary opinions to these.

[19.] Were this then the only thing, the despising of things present, the setting much by virtue, the not seeking rewards here, but advancing far beyond in hopes, and the keeping the soul so intent and faithful as by no present terror to be hindered in respect of the hope of what shall be; tell me, to what high philosophy must this belong? But would you also learn the force of the promises and predictions in themselves, and the truth of those uttered both before and after this present state of things? Behold, I shew you a golden chain, woven cunningly from the beginning! He spake some things to them about Himself, and about the churches, and about the things to come; and as He spake, He wrought mighty works. By the fulfilment therefore of what He said, it is plain that both the wonders wrought were real, and the future and promised things also.

But that my meaning may be yet plainer, let me illustrate it from the actual case. He raised up Lazarus by a single word merely, and shewed him alive. Again, He said, "The gates of Hades shall not prevail against the Church (St. Matt. xvi. 18.) and, "He that forsaketh father or mother, shall receive an hundred-fold in this life, and shall inherit everlasting life." (ib. 19. 29.) The miracle then is one, the raising of Lazarus; but the predictions are two; made evident, the one here, the other in the world to come. Consider now, how they are all proved by one another. For if a man disbelieve the resurrection of Lazarus, from the prophecy uttered about the Church let him learn to believe the miracle. For the word spoken so many years before, came to pass then, and received accomplishment: for "the gates of Hades prevailed not against the Church." You see that He who spake truth in the prophecy, it is clear that he also wrought the miracle: and He who both wrought the miracle and brings to accomplishment the words which He spake, it is clear that He speaks the truth also in the predictions of things yet to come, when He saith, "He who despiseth things present shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life." For the things which have been already done and spoken, He hath given as the surest pledges of those which shall hereafter come to pass.

Of all these things then, and the like to these, collecting them together out of the Gospels, let us tell them, and so stop their mouths. But if any one say, Why then was not error completely extinguished? this may be our answer: Ye yourselves are to blame, who rebel against your own salvation. For God hath so ordered this matter (okonomesen,) that not even a remnant of the old impiety need be left.

[20.] Now, briefly to recount what has been said: What is the natural course of things? That the weak should be overcome by the strong, or the contrary? Those who speak things easy, or things of the harsher sort? those who attract men with dangers, or with security? innovators, or those who strengthen custom? those who lead into a rough, or into a smooth way? those who withdraw men from the institutions of their fathers, or those who lay down no strange laws? those who promise all their good things after our departure from this world, or those who flatter in the present life? the few to overcome the many, or the many the few?

But you, too, saith one, gave promises pertaining to this life. What then have we promised in this life? The forgiveness of sins and the laver of regeneration. Now in the first place, baptism itself hath its chief part in things to come; and Paul exclaims, saying, (Col. iii. 4.) "For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God: when your life shall be manifested, then shall ye also with Him be manifested in glory." But if in this life also it hath advantages, as indeed it hath, this also is more than all a matter of great wonder, that they had power to persuade men who had done innumerable evil deeds, yea such as no one else had done, that they should wash themselves clean of all, and they should give account of none of their offences. So that on this very account it were most of all meet to wonder that they persuaded Barbarians to embrace such a faith as this, and to have good hopes concerning things to come; and having thrown off the former burden of their sins, to apply themselves with the greatest zeal for the time to come to those toils which virtue requires, and not to gape after any object of sense, but rising to a height above all bodily things, to receive gifts purely spiritual: yea, that the Persian, the Sarmatian, the Moor, and the Indian should be acquainted with the purification of the soul, and the power of God, and His unspeakable mercy to men, and the severe discipline of faith, and the visitation of the Holy Spirit, and the resurrection of bodies, and the doctrines of life eternal. For in all these things, and in whatever is more than these, the fishermen, initiating by Baptism divers races of Barbarians, persuaded them (philosophein) to live on high principles.

Of all these things then, having observed them accurately, let us speak unto the Gentiles, and again, let us shew them the evidence of our lives: that by both means we ourselves may be saved and they drawn over by our means unto the glory of God. For unto Him be the glory for ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[38] There seems to be a word or two wanting in the text here, which has been supplied by conjecture in the translation. [But they are found in Codex C. Aretinus]. [39] e.g. Origen, in Lament. iv. 11; in Ezek. Hom. xiii. . 1; Com. in St. Matt. . 125; St. Athanasius on Ps. cviii. (cix. Heb.) v. 15. t. i. 1194. Ed. Bened. The author of the Questions and Answers published with St. Justin Martyr's works agrees with St. Chrysostom; see qu. cviii, clxx. Why may not both be right? [40] ekpompeuontes. vid. Conc. Ant. A.D. 270. ap. E. H. vii. 30. [41] This is the rendering, in some old Greek version, though not in the LXX, of the clause in Isaiah XXIV. 16, which in our authorized version runs, "My leanness, my leanness; woe unto me!" "Mystery" stands for the Chaldee "a secret:" which meaning the Targum of Jonathan gives to the word in this place: as do the Vulgate, and the Syriac according to Walton. The received reading of the LXX may be explained as a paraphrase of this rendering. The words, "and for mine," seem added by St. Chrysostom. [42] Of which, perhaps, He shall be called a Nazarene, St. Matt. ii. 23. is an instance: although that indeed is not said to be "written," but spoken by the Prophets. [43] [Dr. Field prints the original with a capital letter, making it=Paraleipomena, the LXX. name for the books of Chronicles, and refers to II Chron. ix. 29, xii. 5, xiii. 22. C.] [44] Two circumstances in this account appear to be traditional: that the book found was that of Deuteronomy; and that the place where it was found was a dunghill. [45] [Principal Edwards explains the phrase adopting the A.V., as "combining revealed truths so as to form a consistent and well-proportioned system" Com. in lo.] [46] i.e. when they were in course of attendance on the tabernacle. Levit. x. 8, 9. [47] `Manes opposed to each other two diverse and adverse principles, alike eternal and coeternal: and fancied two natures and substances, Good and Bad; in this following elder heretics;" (some of the Gnostics, see S. Aug. above 6, 14, 16, 21, 22)...."Hence they are compelled to affirm that good souls are of the same nature with God." S. Aug. de Hæresibus, . 46. [48] i.e. suppose miracles and the attempt to convert had been the other way, from strictness to ease and pleasure.


Homily VIII.

1 Cor. iii. 1-3

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto Carnal, as unto babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, and not with meat: for ye were not yet able to bear it; nay, not even now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal.

After having overturned the philosophy which is from without, and cast down all its arrogance, he comes unto another argument. For it was likely that they would say, "If we were putting forth the opinions of Plato, or of Pythagoras, or any other of the philosophers, reason were thou shouldest draw out such a long discourse against us. But if we announce the things of the Spirit, for what reason dost thou turn and toss up and down (ano kai kato strepheis) the wisdom which is from without?"

Hear then how he makes his stand against this. "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual." Why, in the first place, says he, though you had been perfect in spiritual things also, not even so ought you to be elated; for what you preach is not your own, nor such as yourselves have found from your own means. But now even these things ye know not as ye ought to know them, but ye are learners, and the last of all. Whether therefore the Gentile wisdom be the occasion of your high imaginations; that hath been proved to be nothing, nay, in regard to spiritual things to be even contrary unto us: or if it be on account of things spiritual, in these, too, ye come short and have your place among the hindmost. Wherefore he saith, "I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual." He said not, "I did not speak," lest the thing might seem to proceed from his grudging them somewhat; but in two ways he brings down their high spirit; first, because they knew not the things that are perfect; next, because their ignorance was owing to themselves: yea, in a third way besides these, by pointing out that "not even now are they able [to bear it]." For as to their want of ability at first, that perhaps arose from the nature of the case. In fact, however, he does not leave them even this excuse. For not through any inability on their part to receive high doctrines, doth he say they received them not, but because they were "carnal." However, in the beginning this was not so blame-worthy; but that after so long a time, they had not yet arrived at the more perfect knowledge, this was a symptom of most utter dulness.

It may be observed, that he brings the same charge against the Hebrews, not however, with so much vehemence. For those, he saith, are such, partly because of tribulation: but these, because of some appetite for wickedness. Now the two things are not the same. He implies too, that in the one case he was intending rebuke, in the other rather stirring them up, when he spake these words of truth. For to these Corinthians he saith, "Neither yet now are ye able;" but unto the others (Heb. vi. 1.) "Wherefore let us cease to speak of the first principles of Christ, and press on unto perfection:" and again, (Ib. v. 9.) "we are persuaded better things concerning you, and things which accompany salvation, though we thus speak."

[2.] And how calleth he those "carnal," who had attained so large a measure of the Spirit; and into whose praises, at the beginning he had entered so much at large? Because they also were carnal, unto whom the Lord saith, (St. Matt. vii. 22, 23.) "Depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity, I know you not;" and yet they both cast out devils, and raised the dead, and uttered prophecies. So that it is possible even for one who wrought miracles to be carnal. For so God wrought by Balaam, and unto Pharaoh He revealed things to come, and unto Nebuchadnezzar; and Caiaphas prophesied, not knowing what he said; yea, and some others cast out devils in His name, though they were (Luke ix. 49.) "not with Him;" since not for the doers' sake are these things done, but for others' sake: nor is it seldom, that those who were positively unworthy have been made instrumental to them. Now why wonder, if in the case of unworthy men these things are done for others' sake, seeing that so it is, even when they are wrought by saints? For Paul saith, (1 Cor. iii. 22.) "All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or life, or death:" and again, (Ephes. iv. 11, 12.) "He gave some Apostles, and some Prophets, and some Pastors and Teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering." For if it were not so, there would have been no security against universal corruption. For it may be that rulers are wicked and polluted, and their subjects good and virtuous; that laymen may live in piety, and priests in wickedness; and there could not have been either baptism, or the body of Christ, or oblation, through such, if in every instance grace required merit. But as it is, God uses to work even by unworthy persons, and in no respect is the grace of baptism damaged by the conduct of the priest: else would the receiver suffer loss. Accordingly, though such things happen rarely, still, it must be owned, they do happen. Now these things I say, lest any one of the bystanders busying himself about the life of the priest, should be offended as concerning the things solemnized (ta teloumena). "For man introduceth nothing into the things which are set before us [49] , but the whole is a work of the power of God, and He it is who initiates (ho mustagogon) you into the mysteries."

[3.] "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal. I fed you with milk, and not with meat. For ye were not able [to bear it.]"

For lest he should seem to have spoken ambitiously (philotimias heneka, to obtain favor) these things which he hath just spoken; "the spiritual man judgeth all things," and, "he himself is judged of no man," and, "we have the mind of Christ;" with a view also to repress their pride: observe what he saith. "Not on this account," saith he, "was I silent, because I was not able to tell you more, but because `ye are carnal: neither yet now are ye able.'"

Why said he not, "ye are not willing," but "ye are not able?" Even because he put the latter for the former. For as to the want of ability, it arises from the want of will. Which to them indeed is a matter of accusation, but to their teacher, of excuse. For if they had been unable by nature, one might perhaps have been forgiven them; but since it was from choice, they were bereft of all excuse. He then speaks of the particular point also which makes them carnal. "For whereas there is among you strife, and jealousy, and division, are ye not carnal and walk as men?" Although he had fornications also and uncleannesses of theirs to speak of, he sets down rather that offence which he had been a good while endeavoring to correct. Now if "jealousy" makes men carnal, it is high time for us to bewail bitterly, and to clothe ourselves with sackcloth and lie in ashes. For who is pure from this passion? Except indeed I am but conjecturing the case of others from myself. If "jealousy" maketh men "carnal," and suffereth them not to be "spiritual," although they prophesy and show forth other wonderful works; now, when not even so much grace is with us, what place shall we find for our own doings; when not in this matter alone, but also in others of greater moment, we are convicted.

[4.] From this place we learn that Christ had good reason for saying, (St. John iii. 20.) "He that doeth evil cometh not to light;" and that unclean life is an obstacle to high doctrines, not suffering the clear-sightedness of the understanding to shew itself. As then it is not in any case possible for a person in error, but living uprightly, to remain in error; so it is not easy for one brought up in iniquity, speedily to look up to the height of the doctrines delivered to us, but he must be clean from all the passions who is to hunt after the truth: for whoso is freed from these shall be freed also from his error and attain unto the truth. For do not, I beseech you, think that abstinence merely from covetousness or fornication may suffice thee for this purpose. Not so. All must concur in him that seeketh the truth. Wherefore saith Peter, (Acts x. 34, 35.) "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to Him:" that is, He calls and attracts him unto the truth. Seest thou not Paul, that he was more vehement than any one in warring and persecuting? yet because he led an irreproachable life, and did these things not through human passion, he was both received, and reached a mark beyond all. But if any one should say, "How doth such a one, a Greek, who is kind, and good, and humane, continue in error?" this would be my answer: He hath some other passion, vainglory, or indolence of mind, or want of carefulness about his own salvation, accounting that all things which concern him are drifted along loosely and at random. [50] Peter calls the man irreproachable in all things one that "worketh righteousness," [and Paul says] "touching the righteousness which is in the law found blameless." Again, "I give thanks to God, whom I serve from my forefathers with a pure conscience," (2 Tim. i. 3.) How then, you will say, were unclean persons considered worthy of the Gospel? Because they wished and longed for it. Thus the one sort, though in error, are attracted by Him, because they are clean from passions; the others, of their own accord approaching, are not thrust back. Many also even from their ancestors have received the true religion.

[5.] Ver. 3. "For whereas there is among you jealousy and strife."

At this point he prepares himself to wrestle with those whose part was obedience: for in what went before he hath been casting down the rulers of the Church, where he said that wisdom of speech is nothing worth. But here he strikes at those in subjection, in the words,

Ver. 4. "For when one saith, I am Paul, and I of Apollos, are ye not carnal?"

And he points out that this, so far from helping them at all or causing them to acquire any thing, had even become an obstacle to their profiting in the greater things. For this it was which brought forth jealousy, and jealousy had made them "carnal;" and the having become "carnal" left them not at liberty to hear truths of the sublimer sort.

Ver. 5. "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos?"

In this way, after producing and proving his facts, he makes his accusation henceforth more openly. Moreover, he employs his own name, doing away all harshness and not suffering them to be angry at what it is said. For if Paul is nothing and murmur not, much less ought they to think themselves ill used. Two ways, you see, he has of soothing them; first by bringing forward his own person, then by not robbing them of all as if they contributed nothing. Rather he allows them some small portion: small though it be, he does allow it. For having said, "Who is Paul, and who Apollos," he adds, "but ministers by whom ye believed." Now this in itself is a great thing, and deserving of great rewards: although in regard of the archetype and the root of all good, it is nothing. (For not he that "ministers" to our blessings, but he that provides and gives them, he is our Benefactor.) And he said not, "Evangelists," but "Ministers," which is more. For they had not merely preached the Gospel, but had also ministered unto us; the one being a matter of word only, while the other hath deed also. And so, if even Christ be a minister only of good things, and not the root Himself and the fountain, (I mean, of course, in that He is a Son,) observe to what an issue this matter is brought. (pou to pragma katagetai. "how deep and high it is made to go.") How then, you will ask, doth he say that He "was made a Minister of Circumcision? (Rom. xv. 8.) He is speaking in that place of His secret dispensation in the Flesh, and not in the same sense which we have now mentioned. For there, by "Minister," he means "Fulfiller," (pleroten, i.e. of types), and not one that of his own store gives out the blessings.

Further, he said not, "Those who guide you into the Faith," but "those by whom ye believed;" again attributing the greater share to themselves, and indicating by this also the subordinate class of ministers (tous diakonous kanteuthen delon). Now if they were ministering to another, how come they to seize the authority for themselves? But I would have you consider how in no wise he lays the blame on them as seizing it for themselves, but on those who endow them with it. For the ground-work of the error lay in the multitude; since, had the one fallen away, the other would have been broken up. Here are two points which he has skilfully provided for: in that first he hath prepared, as by mining (huporuxas,) in the quarter where it was necessary to overthrow the mischief; and next, on their side, in not attracting ill-will, nor yet making them more contentious.

Ver. 5. "Even as Christ (ho Kurios, rec. text.) gave to every man."

For not even this small thing itself was of themselves, but of God, who put it into their hands. For lest they might say, What then? are we not to love those that minister unto us? Yea, saith he; but you should know to what extent. For not even this thing itself is of them, but of God who gave it.

Ver. 6. "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase."

That is, I first cast the word into the ground; but, in order that the seeds might not wither away through temptations, Apollos added his own part. But the whole was of God.

[6.] Ver. 7. "So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase."

Do you observe the manner in which he soothes them, so that they should not be too much irritated, on hearing, "Who is this person," and "Who is that?" "Nay, both are invidious, namely, both the saying, `Who is this person? Who the other,'" and the saying, that "neither he that planteth nor he that watereth is any thing." How then does he soften these expressions? First, By attaching the contempt to his own person, "Who is Paul, and who Apollos?" and next, by referring the whole to God who gave all things. For after he had said, "Such a person planted," and added, "He that planteth is nothing," he subjoined, "but God that giveth the increase." Nor does he stop even here, but applies again another healing clause, in the words.

Ver. 8. "He that planteth and he that watereth, are one."

For by means of this he establishes another point also, viz. that they should not be exalted one against another. His assertion, that they are one, refers to their inability to do any thing without "God that giveth the increase." And thus saying, he permitted not either those who labored much to lift themselves up against those who had contributed less; nor these again to envy the former. In the next place, since this had a tendency to make men more indolent, I mean, all being esteemed as one, whether they have labored much or little; observe how he sets this right, saying, "But each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor." As if he said, "Fear not, because I said, Ye are one; for, compared with the work of God, they are one; howbeit, in regard to labors, they are not so, but "each shall receive his own reward."

Then he smooths it still more, having succeeded in what he wished; and gratifies them, where it is allowed, with liberality.

Ver. 9. For we are God's fellow-workers: "ye are God's husbandry, God's building."

Seest thou how to them also he hath assigned no small work, having before laid it down that the whole is of God? For since he is always persuading them to obey those that have the rule over them, on this account he abstains from making very light of their teachers.

"Ye are God's husbandry."

For because he had said, "I planted," he kept to the metaphor. Now if ye be God's husbandry, it is right that you should be called not from those who cultivate you, but from God. For the field is not called the husbandman's, but the householder's.

"Ye are God's building."

Again, the building is not the workman's, but the master's. Now if ye be a building, ye must not be forced asunder: since this were no building. If ye be a farm, ye must not be divided, but be walled in with a single fence, namely, unanimity.

Ver. 10. "According to the Grace of God which was given unto me, as a wise master-builder I laid a foundation."

In this place he calls himself wise, not exalting himself, but to give them an ensample, and to point out that this is a wise man's part, to lay a foundation. You may observe as one instance of his modest bearing, that in speaking of himself as wise, he allowed not this to stand as though it were something of his own; but first attributing himself entirely unto God, then and not till then calls himself by that name. For, "according to the Grace of God," saith he, "which was given unto me." Thus, at once he signifies both that the whole is of God; and that this most of all is Grace, viz. the not being divided, but resting on One Foundation.

[7.] "Another buildeth thereon; but let each man take heed how he buildeth thereon."

Here, I think, and in what follows, he puts them upon their trial concerning practice, after that he had once for all knit them together and made them one.

Ver. 11. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."

I say, no man can lay it so long as he is a master-builder; but if he lay it, (tithe conj. for tethe. Dounæus ap. Savil. viii. not. p. 261.) he ceases to be a master-builder.

See how even from men's common notions he proves the whole of his proposition. His meaning is this: "I have preached Christ, I have delivered unto you the foundation. Take heed how you build thereon, lest haply it be in vainglory, lest haply so as to draw away the disciples unto men." Let us not then give heed unto the heresies. "For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid." Upon this then let us build, and as a foundation let us cleave to it, as a branch to a vine; and let there be no interval between us and Christ. For if there be any interval, immediately we perish. For the branch by its adherence draws in the fatness, and the building stands because it is cemented together. Since, if it stand apart it perishes, having nothing whereon to support itself. Let us not then merely keep hold of Christ, but let us be cemented to Him, for if we stand apart, we perish. "For they who withdraw themselves far from Thee, shall perish;" (Ps. lxxiii. 27. Sept.) so it is said. Let us cleave then unto Him, and let us cleave by our works. "For he that keepeth my commandments, the same abideth in Me" (John xiv. 21. in substance.) And accordingly, there are many images whereby He brings us into union. Thus, if you mark it, He is "the Head," we are "the body:" can there be any empty interval between the head and body? He is "a Foundation," we "a building:" He "a Vine," we "branches:" He "the Bridegroom," we "the bride:" He "the Shepherd," we "the sheep;" He is "the Way," we "they who walk therein." Again, we are "a temple," He "the Indweller:" He "the First-Begotten," we "the brethren:" He "the Heir," we "the heirs together with Him:" He "the Life," we "the living:" He "the Resurrection," we "those who rise again:" He "the Light," we "the enlightened." All these things indicate unity; and they allow no void interval, not even the smallest. For he that removes but to a little distance will go on till he has become very far distant. For so the body, receiving though it be but a small cut by a sword, perishes: and the building, though there be but a small chink, falls to decay: and the branch, though it be but a little while cut off from the root, becomes useless. So that this trifle is no trifle, but is even almost the whole. Whensoever then we commit some little fault or even negligence, let us not overlook that little; since this, being disregarded, quickly becomes great. So also when a garment hath begun to be torn and is neglected, it is apt to prolong its rent all throughout; and a roof, when a few tiles have fallen, being disregarded, brings down the whole house.

[8.] These things then let us bear in mind, and never slight the small things, lest we fall into those which are great. But if so be that we have slighted them and are come into the abyss of evils, not even when we are come there let us despond, lest we fall into recklessness (karebarian). For to emerge from thence is hard ever after, for one who is not extremely watchful; not because of the distance alone, but of the very position, too, wherein we find ourselves. For sin also is a deep, and is wont to bear down and crush. And just as those who have fallen into a well cannot with ease get out, but will want others to draw them up; so also is he that is come into any depth of sins. To such then we must lower ropes and draw them up. Nay rather, we need not others only, but ourselves also, that we for our part may fasten on ourselves and ascend, I say not so much as we have descended, but much further, if we be willing: for why? God also helpeth: for He willeth not the death of a sinner so much as his conversion. Let no one then despair; let no one have the feeling of the ungodly; for to them properly belongs this kind of sin: "an ungodly man having come into any depth of evils, makes light of it [51] ." So that it is not the multitude of men's sins which causes their despair, but their ungodly mind.

Shouldest thou then have gone all lengths in wickedness, yet say unto thyself, God is loving unto men and he desires our salvation: for "though your sins be as scarlet, I will whiten you as snow," (Is. i. 10. Sept.) saith He; and unto the contrary habit I will change you. Let us not therefore give up in despair; for to fall is not so grievous, as to lie where we have fallen; nor to be wounded so dreadful, as after wounds to refuse healing. "For who shall boast that he has his heart chaste? or who shall say confidently that he is pure from sin?" (Prov. xx. 9. Sept.) These things I say not to make you more negligent, but to prevent your despairing.

Wouldest thou know how good our Master is? The Publican went up full of ten thousand wickednesses, and saying only, "Be merciful unto me," went down justified. (St. Luke xviii. 13, 14.) Yea, God saith by the prophet, "Because of sin for some little season I grieved him, (Is. lvii. 17, 18. Sept.) and I saw that (eidon dti not in Sept.) he was grieved and went sorrowful, and I healed his ways" (iasamen auton, Sept.) What is there equal to this loving-kindness? On condition (hina stugnase. See St. John viii. 56. hina ide ten hemeran) of his "being but sorrowful," so he speaks, "I forgave him his sins." But we do not even this: wherefore we especially provoke God to wrath. (For he, who by little things even is made propitious, when He meets not with so much as these, is of course indignant and exacts of us the last penalty; for this comes of exceeding contempt.) Who is there, for instance, that hath ever become melancholy for his sins? Who hath bemoaned himself? Who hath beaten his breast? Who hath taken anxious thought? Not one, to my thinking. But days without number do men weep for dead servants; for the loss of money: while as to the soul which we are ruining day by day, we give it not a thought. How then wilt thou be able to render God propitious, when thou knowest not even that thou hast sinned?

"Yea," saith some one, "I have sinned." "Yea," is thy word to me with the tongue: say it to me with thy mind, and with the word mourn heavily, that thou mayest have continual cheerfulness. Since, if we did grieve for our sins, if we mourned heavily over our offences, nothing else could give us sorrow, this one pang would expel all kinds of dejection. Here then is another thing also which we should gain by our thorough confession; namely, the not being overwhelmed (baptizesthai) with the pains of the present life, nor puffed up with its splendors. And in this way, again, we should more entirely propitiate God; just as by our present conduct we provoke Him to anger. For tell me, if thou hast a servant, and he, after suffering much evil at the hands of his fellow-servants, takes no account of any one of the rest, but is only anxious not to provoke his master; is he not able by this alone to do away thine anger? But what, if his offenses against thee are no manner of care to him, while on those against his fellow-servants he is full of thought; wilt thou not lay on him the heavier punishment? So also God doeth: when we neglect His wrath, He brings it upon us more heavily; but when we regard it, more gently. Yea, rather, He lays it on us no more at all. He wills that we should exact vengeance of ourselves for our offences, and thenceforth He doth not exact it Himself. For this is why He at all threatens punishment; that by fear He may destroy contempt; and when the threat alone is sufficient to cause fear in us, He doth not suffer us to undergo the actual trial. See, for instance, what He saith unto Jeremiah, (Jer. vii. 17, 18. Sept. transposing the first and second clauses.) "Seest thou not what they do? Their fathers light a fire, their children gather sticks together, their women knead dough." It is to be feared lest the same kind of thing be said also concerning us. "Seest thou not what they do? No one seeketh the things of Christ, but all their own. Their children run into uncleanness, their fathers into covetousness and rapine, their wives so far from keeping back their husbands from the pomps and vanities of life, do rather sharpen their appetites for them." Just take your stand in the market place; question the comers and goers, and not one wilt thou see hastening upon a spiritual errand, but all running after carnal things. How long ere we awake from our surfeiting? How long are we to keep sinking down into deep slumber? Have we not had our fill of evils?

[9.] And yet one might think that even without words experience itself is sufficient to teach you the nothingness of things present, and their utter meanness. At all events, there have been men, who, exercising mere heathen wisdom and knowing nothing of the future, because they had proved the great worthlessness of present things, have left them on this account alone. What pardon then canst thou expect to obtain, grovelling on the ground and not despising the little things and transient for the sake of the great and everlasting: who also hearest God Himself declaring and revealing these things unto thee, and hast such promises from Him? For that things here have no sufficient power to detain a man, those have shewn who even without any promise of things greater have kept away from them. For what wealth did they expect that they came to poverty? There was none. But it was from their knowing full well that such poverty is better than wealth. What sort of life did they hope for that they forsook luxury, and gave themselves up unto severe discipline? Not any. But they had become aware of the very nature of things; and perceived that this of the two is more suitable, both for the strict training of the soul, and for the health of the body.

These things then duly estimating, and revolving with ourselves continually the future blessings, let us withdraw from this present world that we may obtain that other which is to come; through the favor and loving kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost &c., &c.

Footnotes

[49] ta prokeimena, a liturgical word; the Sacred Elements; vid. St. Basil's Liturgy, and St. Chrysostom's. [50] [The version of this sentence follows Dr. Field's text. C.] [51] [This is an exact quotation from the Sept. version of Prov. xviii. 3.]


Homily IX.

1 Cor. iii. 12-15

If any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble; each man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire shall prove each man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he built thereon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire.

This is no small subject of enquiry which we propose, but rather about things which are of the first necessity and which all men enquire about; namely, whether hell fire have any end. For that it hath no end Christ indeed declared when he said, "Their fire shall not be quenched, and their worm shall not die." [Mark viii. 44, 46, 48.]

Well: I know that a chill comes over you (narkate) on hearing these things; but what am I to do? For this is God's own command, continually to sound these things in your ears, where He says, "Charge this people; (Fors. Exod. xix. 10, 20. diamarturai, Sept. here diasteilai,) and ordained as we have been unto the ministry of the word, we must give pain to our hearers, not willingly but on compulsion. Nay rather, if you will, we shall avoid giving you pain. For saith He, (Rom. xiii. 3, in substance.) "if thou do that which is good, fear not:" so that it is possible for you to hear me not only without ill-will, but even with pleasure.

As I said then; that it hath no end, Christ has declared. Paul also saith, in pointing out the eternity of the punishment, that the sinners "shall pay the penalty of destruction, and that for ever" (2 Thess. i. 9.) And again, (1 Cor. vi. 9.) "Be not deceived; neither fornicators. nor adulterers, nor effeminate, shall inherit the kingdom of God." And also unto the Hebrews he saith, (Heb. xii. 14.) "Follow peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord." And Christ also, to those who said, "In thy Name we have done many wonderful works," saith, "Depart from Me, I know you not, ye workers of iniquity" (St. Matt. vii. 22.) And the virgins too who were shut out, entered in no more. And also about those who gave Him no food, He saith, (St. Matt. xxv. 46.) "They shall go away into everlasting punishment."

[2.] And say not unto me, "where is the rule of justice preserved entire, if the punishment hath no end?" Rather, when God doeth any thing, obey His decisions and submit not what is said to human reasonings. But moreover, how can it be any thing else than just for one who hath experienced innumerable blessings from the beginning, and then committed deeds worthy of punishment, and neither by threat nor benefit improved at all, to suffer punishment? For if thou enquire what is absolute justice; it was meet that we should have perished immediately from the beginning, according to the definition of strict justice. Rather not even then according to the rule of justice only; for the result would have had in it kindness too, if we had suffered this also. For when any one insults him that hath done him no wrong, according to the rule of justice he suffers punishment: but when it is his benefactor, who, bound by no previous favor, bestowed innumerable kindnesses, who alone is the Author of his being, who is God, who breathed his soul into him, who gave ten thousand gifts of grace, whose will is to take him up into heaven;--when, I say, such an one, after so great blessings, is met by insult, daily insult, in the conduct of the other party; how can that other be thought worthy of pardon? Dost thou not see how He punished Adam for one single sin?

"Yes," you will say; "but He had given him Paradise and caused him to enjoy much favor." Nay, surely it is not all as one, for a man to sin in the enjoyment of security and ease, and in a state of great affliction. In fact, this is the dreadful circumstance that thy sins are the sins of one not in any Paradise but amid the innumerable evils of this life; that thou art not sobered even by affliction, as though one in prison should still practise his crime. However, unto thee He hath promised things yet greater than Paradise. But neither hath He given them now, least He should unnerve thee in the season of conflicts; nor hath He been silent about them, lest He should quite cast thee down with thy labors. As for Adam, he committed but one sin and brought on himself certain death; whereas we commit ten thousand transgressions daily. Now if he by that one act brought on himself so great an evil and introduced death; what shall not we suffer who continually live in sins, and instead of Paradise, have the expectation of heaven?

The argument is irksome and pains the hearer: were it only by my own feelings, I know this. For indeed my heart is troubled and throbs; and the more I see the account of hell confirmed, the more do I tremble and shrink through fear. But it is necessary to say these things lest we fall into hell. What thou didst receive was not paradise, nor trees and plants, but heaven and the good things in the heavens. Now if he that had received less was condemned, and no consideration exempted him, much more shall we who have sinned more abundantly, and have been called unto greater things, endure the woes without remedy.

Consider, for example, how long a time, but for one single sin, our race abides in death. Five thousand years [52] and more have passed, and death hath not yet been done away, on account of one single sin. And we cannot even say that Adam had heard prophets, that he had seen others punished for sins, and it was meet that he should have been terrified thereby and corrected, were it only by the example. For he was at that time first, and alone; but nevertheless he was punished. But thou canst not have anything of this sort to advance, who after so many examples art become worse; to whom so excellent a Spirit hath been vouch-safed, and yet thou drawest upon thyself not one sin, nor two, nor three, but sins without number! For do not, because the sin is committed in a small moment, calculate that therefore the punishment also must be a matter of a moment. Seest thou not those men, who for a single theft or a single act of adultery, committed in a small moment of time, oftentimes have spent their whole life in prisons, and in mines, struggling with continual hunger and every kind of death? And there was no one to set them at liberty, or to say, "The offence took place in a small moment of time; the punishment too should have its time equivalent to that of the sin."

[3.] But, "They are men," some one will say, "who do these things; as for God, He is loving unto men." Now, first of all, not even men do these things in cruelty, but in humanity. And God Himself, as "He is loving unto men," in the same character doth He punish sins. (Sirac. xvi. 12.) "For as His mercy is great, so also is His reproof." When therefore thou sayest unto me, "God is loving unto men," then thou tellest me of so much the greater reason for punishing: namely, our sinning against such a Being. Hence also Paul said, (Heb. x. 31.) "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Endure I beseech you, the fiery force of the words, for perhaps--perhaps you will have some consolation from hence! Who among men can punish as God has punished? when He caused a deluge and entire destruction of a race so numerous; and again, when, a little while after, He rained fire from above, and utterly destroyed them all? What punishment from men can be like that? Seest thou not that the punishment even in this world is almost eternal? Four thousand years have passed away, and the punishment of the Sodomites abideth at its height. For as His mercy is great, so also is His punishment.

Again: if He had imposed any burdensome or impossible things, one might perhaps have been able to urge difficulty of the laws: but if they be extremely easy, what can we say for our not regarding even these? Suppose thou art unable to fast or to practice virginity; although thou art able if thou wilt, and they who have been able are a condemnation to us. But, however, God hath not used this strictness towards us; neither hath He enjoined these things nor laid them down as laws, but left the choice to be at the discretion of the hearers. Nevertheless, thou art able to be chaste in marriage; and thou art able to abstain from drunkenness. Art thou unable to empty thyself of all thy goods? Nay surely thou art able; and they who have done so prove it. But nevertheless He hath not enjoined this, but hath commanded not to be rapacious, and of our means to assist those who are in want. But if a man say, I cannot even be content with a wife only, he deceiveth himself and reasoneth falsely; and they condemn him who without a wife lives in chastity. But how, tell me, canst thou help using abusive words? canst thou not help cursing? Why, the doing these things is irksome, not the refraining from them. What excuse then have we for not observing precepts so easy and light? We cannot name any at all. That the punishment then is eternal is plain from all that hath been said.

[4.] But since Paul's saying appears to some to tell the other way, come let us bring it forward also and search it out thoroughly. For having said, "If any man's work abide which he hath built thereon, he shall receive a reward; and if any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss," he adds, "but himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire." What shall we say then to this? Let us consider first what is "the Foundation," and what "the gold," and what "the precious stones," and what "the hay," and what the "stubble."

"The Foundation," then, he hath himself plainly signified to be Christ, saying, "For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which," he saith "is Jesus Christ."

Next, the building seems to me to be actions. Although some maintain that this also is spoken concerning teachers and disciples and concerning corrupt heresies: but the reasoning doth not admit it. For if this be it, in what sense, while "the work is destroyed," is the "builder" to be "saved," though it be "through fire?" Of right, the author ought rather of the two to perish; but now it will be found that the severer penalty is assigned to him who hath been built into the work. For if the teacher was the cause of the wickedness, he is worthy to suffer severer punishment: how then shall he be "saved?" If, on the contrary, he was not the cause but the disciples became such through their own perverseness, he is no whit deserving of punishment, no, nor yet of sustaining loss: he, I say, who builded so well. In what sense then doth he say, "he shall suffer loss?"

From this it is plain that the discourse is about actions. For since he means next in course to put out his strength against the man who had committed fornication, he begins high up and long beforehand to lay down the preliminaries. For he knew how while discussing one subject, in the very discourse about that thing to prepare the grounds of another to which he intends to pass on. For so in his rebuke for not awaiting one another at their meals, he laid the grounds of his discourse concerning the mysteries. And also because now he is hastening on towards the fornicator, while speaking about the "Foundation," he adds, "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God? and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man destroy (Phtheire, rec. version, "defile.") the Temple of God, him will God destroy." Now these things, he said, as beginning now to agitate with fears the soul of him that had been unchaste.

[5.] Ver. 12. "If any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble." For after the faith there is need of edification: and therefore he saith elsewhere, "Edify one another with these words." (perhaps 1 Thes. v. 11; iv. 5.) For both the artificer and the learner contribute to the edifying. Wherefore he saith, "But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereon." (1 Cor. iii. 10.) But if faith had been the subject of these sayings, the thing affirmed is not reasonable. For in the faith all ought to be equal, since "there is but one faith;" (Ephes. iv. 5.) but in goodness of life it is not possible that all should be the same. Because the faith is not in one case less, in another more excellent, but the same in all those who truly believe. But in life there is room for some to be more diligent, others more slothful; some stricter, and others more ordinary; that some should have done well in greater things, others in less; that the errors of some should have been more grievous, of others less notable. On this account he saith, "Gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble,--every man's work shall be made manifest:"--his conduct; that is what he speaks of here:--"If any man's work abide which he built thereupon, he shall receive a reward; if any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss." Whereas, if the saying related to disciples and teachers, he ought not to "suffer loss" for disciples refusing to hear. And therefore he saith, "Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor" not according to the result, but according to "the labor." For what if the hearers gave no heed? Wherefore this passage also proves that the saying is about actions.

Now his meaning is this: If any man have an ill life with a right faith, his faith shall not shelter him from punishment, his work being burnt up. The phrase, "shall be burned up," means, "shall not endure the violence of the fire." But just as if a man having golden armor on were to pass through a river of fire, he comes from crossing it all the brighter; but if he were to pass through it with hay, so far from profiting, he destroys himself besides; so also is the case in regard of men's works. For he doth not say this as if he were discoursing of material things being burnt up, but with a view of making their fear more intense, and of shewing how naked of all defence he is who abides in wickedness. Wherefore he said, "He shall suffer loss:" lo, here is one punishment: "but he himself shall be saved, but so as by fire;" lo, again, here is a second. And his meaning is, "He himself shall not perish in the same way as his works, passing into nought, but he shall abide in the fire. [53]

[6.] "He calleth it, however, "Salvation," you will say; why, that is the cause of his adding, "so as by fire:" since we also used to say, "It is preserved in the fire," when we speak of those substances which do not immediately burn up and become ashes. For do not at sound of the word fire imagine that those who are burning pass into annihilation. And though he call such punishment Salvation, be not astonished. For his custom is in things which have an ill sound to use fair expressions, and in good things the contrary. For example, the word "Captivity" seems to be the name of an evil thing, but Paul has applied it in a good sense, when he says, "Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor. x. 5.) And again, to an evil thing he hath applied a good word, saying, "Sin reigned," (Rom. v. 21.) here surely the term "reigning" is rather of auspicious sound. And so here in saying, "he shall be saved," he hath but darkly hinted at the intensity of the penalty: as if he had said, "But himself shall remain forever in punishment." He then makes an inference, saying,

[7.] Ver. 16. "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God?" For since he had discoursed in the section before, concerning those who were dividing the Church, he thenceforward attacks him also who had been guilty of uncleanness; not indeed as yet in plain terms but in a general way; hinting at his corrupt mode of life and enhancing the sin, by the Gift which had been already given to him. Then also he puts all the rest to shame, arguing from these very blessings which they had already: for this is what he is ever doing, either from the future or from the past, whether grievous or encouraging. First, from things future; "For the day shall declare it, because it is revealed by fire." Again, from things already come to pass; "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

Ver. 17. "If any man destroy the Temple of God, him will God destroy." Dost thou mark the sweeping vehemence of his words? However, so long as the person is unknown, what is spoken is not so invidious, all dividing among themselves the fear of rebuke.

"Him will God destroy," that is, will cause him to perish. And this is not the word of one denouncing a curse, but of one that prophesieth.

"For the Temple of God is holy:" but he that hath committed fornication is profane.

Then, in order that he might not seem to spend his earnestness upon that one, in saying, "for the Temple of God is holy," he addeth, "which ye are."

[8.] Ver. 18. "Let no man deceive himself." This also is in reference to that person, as thinking himself to be somewhat and flattering himself on wisdom. But that he might not seem to press on him at great length in a mere digression; he first throws him into a kind of agony and delivers him over unto fear, and then brings back his discourse to the common fault, saying, "If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become (genetai. rec. vers. "be.") wise." And this [54] he doth afterwards with great boldness of speech, as having sufficiently beaten them down [55] , and shaken with that fear the mind not of that unclean person only, but of all the hearers also: so accurately does he measure the reach of what he has to say. For what if a man be rich, what if he be noble; he is viler than all the vile, when made captive by sin. For as if a man were a king and enslaved to barbarians, he is of all men most wretched, so also is it in regard to sin: since sin is a barbarian, and the soul which hath been once taken captive she knoweth not how to spare, but plays the tyrant to the ruin of all those who admit her.

[9.] For nothing is so inconsiderate as sin: nothing so senseless, so utterly foolish and outrageous. All is overturned and confounded and destroyed by it, wheresoever it may alight. Unsightly to behold, disgusting and grievous. And should a painter draw her picture [56] , he would not, methinks, err in fashioning her after this sort. A woman with the form of a beast, savage, breathing flames, hideous, black; such as the heathen poets depict their Scyllas. For with ten thousand hands she lays hold of our thoughts, and comes on unexpected, and tears everything in pieces, like those dogs that bite slily.

But rather, what need of the painter's art, when we should rather bring forward those who are made after sin's likeness?

Whom then will ye that we should portray first? The covetous and rapacious? And what more shameless than those eyes? What more immodest, more like a greedy dog? For no dog keeps his ground with such shameless impudence as he when he is grasping at all men's goods. What more polluted than those hands? What more audacious than that mouth, swallowing all down and not satisfied? Nay, look not on the countenance and the eyes as being a man's. For such looks belong not to the eyes of men. He seeth not men as men; he seeth not the heaven as heaven. He does not even lift up his head unto the Lord; but all is money in his account. The eyes of men are wont to look upon poor persons in affliction, and to be softened; but these of the rapacious man, at sight of the poor, glare like wild beasts'. The eyes of men do not behold other men's goods as if they were their own, but rather their own as others; and they covet not the things given to others, but rather exhaust upon others their own means: but these are not content unless they take all men's property. For it is not a man's eye which they have, but a wild beast's. The eyes of men endure not to see their own body stripped of clothing, (for it is their own, though in person it belong to others,) but these, unless they strip every one and lodge all men's property in their own home, are never cloyed; yea rather they never have enough. Insomuch that one might say that their hands are not wild beasts' only, but even far more savage and cruel than these. For bears and wolves when they are satiated leave off their kind of eating: but these know not any satiety. And yet for this cause God made us hands, to assist others, not to plot against them. And if we were to use them for that purpose, better had they been cut off and we left without them. But thou, if a wild beast rend a sheep, art grieved; but when doing the same unto one of thine own flesh and blood, thinkest thou that thy deed is nothing atrocious? How then canst thou be a man? Seest thou not that we call a thing humane, when it is full of mercy and loving-kindness? But when a man doth any thing cruel or savage, inhuman is the title we give to such a one. You see then that the stamp of man as we portray him is his showing mercy; of a beast the contrary; according to constant saying, "Why, is a man a wild beast, or a dog?" (vid. 2 Kings viii. 13.) For men relieve poverty; they do not aggravate it. Again these men's mouths are the mouths of wild beasts; yea rather these are the fiercer of the two. For the words also, which they utter, emit poison, more than the wild beasts' teeth, working slaughter. And if one were to go through all particulars, one should then see clearly how inhumanity turns those who practise it from men into beasts.

[10.] But were he to search out the mind also of that sort of people, he would no longer call them beasts only, but demons. For first, they are full of great cruelty and of hatred against their "fellow-servant: (St. Matt. xviii. 33.) and neither is love of the kingdom there, nor fear of hell; no reverence for men, no pity, no sympathy: but shamelessness and audacity, and contempt of all things to come. And unto them the words of God concerning punishment seem to be a fable, and His threats mirth. For such is the mind of the covetous man. Since then within they are demons, and without, wild beasts; yea, worse than wild beasts; where are we to place such as they are? For that they are worse even than wild beasts, is plain from this. The beasts are such as they are by nature: but these, endowed by nature with gentleness, forcibly strive against nature to train themselves to that which is savage. The demons too have the plotters among men to help them, to such an extent that if they had no such aid, the greater part of their wiles against us would be done away: but these, when such as they have spitefully entreated are vying with them, still try to be more spiteful then they. Again, the devil wages war with man, not with the demons of his own kind: but he of whom we speak is urgent in all ways to do harm to his own kindred and family, and doth not even reverence nature.

I know that many hate us because of these words; but I feel no hatred towards them; rather I pity and bewail those who are so disposed. Even should they choose to strike, I would gladly endure it, if they would but abstain from this their savage mind. For not I alone, but the prophet also with me, banisheth all such from the family of men saying, (Ps. xlix. 20. Sept. tois anoetois) "Man being in honor hath no understanding, but is like unto the senseless beasts."

Let us then become men at last, and let us look up unto heaven; and that which is according to His image, (Colos. iii. 10.) let us receive and recover: that we may obtain also the blessings to come through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory, power, honor, now and always, and unto everlasting ages. Amen.

Footnotes

[52] According to the reckoning of the LXX, in Gen. 5. which adding 100 years to the five first generations, and also to the seventh, and making some slight difference in the lives of Methuselah and Lamech, brings the date of the flood to A.M. 2242, and that of our Lord's birth to 5500. [53] [Few accept this singular explanation. The common view of the clause is that it means that the man is saved, but as if through the very flames, i.e., with the greatest difficulty. 1 Pet. iv. 18. C.] [54] i.e. "reproving them for their common fault." [55] From this to the end of the sentence is not in Benedictine, but in Savile's margin, evidently from some ms. It seems to complete the connection of the sentences. [But Dr. Field omits it.] [56] Compare G. Herbert, Remains, p. 110. ed. 1824.


Homily X.

1 Cor. iii. 18, 19

Let no man deceive himself. If any man (enhumin omitted.) thinketh that he is wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.

As I said before, having launched out before the proper time into accusation of the fornicator, and having half opened it obscurely in a few words, and made the man's conscience to quail, he hastens again to the battle with heathen wisdom, and to his accusations of those who were puffed up there-with, and who were dividing the Church: in order that having added what remained and completed the whole topic with accuracy, he might thenceforth suffer his tongue to be carried away with vehement impulse against the unclean person, having had but a preliminary skirmishing with him in what he had said before. For this, "Let no man deceive himself," is the expression of one aiming chiefly at him and quelling him beforehand by fear: and the saying about the "stubble," suits best with one hinting at him. And so does the phrase, "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" For these two things are most apt to withdraw us from sin; when we have in mind the punishment appointed for the sin; and when we reckon up the amount of our true dignity. By bringing forward then "the hay" and "the stubble," he terrifies; but by speaking of the dignity of that noble birth which was theirs, he puts them to shame; by the former striving to amend the more insensible kind, by the latter the more considerate.

[2.] "Let no man deceive himself; if any man thinketh that he is wise in this world, let him become a fool."

As he bids one become, as it were, dead unto the world;--and this deadness harms not at all, but rather profits, being made a cause of life:--so also he bids him become foolish unto this world, introducing to us hereby the true wisdom. Now he becomes a fool unto the world, who slights the wisdom from without, and is persuaded that it contributes nothing towards his comprehension of the faith. As then that poverty which is according to God is the cause of wealth, and lowliness, of exaltation, and to despise glory is the cause of glory; so also the becoming a fool maketh a man wiser than all. For all, with us, goes by contraries.

Further: why said he not, "Let him put off wisdom," but, "Let him become a fool?" That he might most exceedingly disparage the heathen instruction. For it was not the same thing to say, "Lay aside thy wisdom," and, "become a fool." And besides, he is also training people not to be ashamed at the want of refinement among us; for he quite laughs to scorn all heathen things. And for the same sort of reason he shrinks not from the names, trusting as he does to the power of the things [which he speaks of].

Wherefore, as the Cross, though counted ignominious, became the author of innumerable blessings, and the foundation and root of glory unspeakable; so also that which was accounted to be foolishness became unto us the cause of wisdom. For as he who hath learned anything ill, unless he put away the whole, and make his soul level and clear, and so offer it to him who is to write on it, will know no wholesome truth for certain; so also in regard of the wisdom from without. Unless thou turn out the whole and sweep thy mind clear, and like one that is ignorant yield up thyself unto the faith, thou wilt know accurately nothing excellent. For so those also who see imperfectly if they will not shut their eyes and commit themselves unto others, but will be trusting their own matters to their own faulty eyesight, they will commit many more mistakes than those who see not.

But how, you will say, are men to put off this wisdom? By not acting on its precepts.

[3.] Then, seeing that he bade men so urgently withdraw themselves from it, he adds the cause, saying, "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." For not only it contributes nothing, but it even hinders. We must then withdraw ourselves from it, as doing harm. Dost thou mark with what a high hand he carries off the spoils of victory, having proved that so far from profiting us at all, it is even an opponent?

And he is not content with his own arguments, but he has also adduced testimony again, saying, "For it is written, (Job v. 13.) He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." By "craftiness," i.e. by their own arms getting the better of them. For seeing that they made use of their wisdom to the doing away of all need of God, by it and no other thing He refuted them, shewing that they were specially in need of God. How and by what method? Because having by it become fools, by it, as was meet, they were taken. For they who supposed that they needed not God, were reduced to so great a strait as to appear inferior to fishermen and unlettered persons; and from that time forth to be unable to do without them. Wherefore he saith, "In their own craftiness" He took them. For the saying "I will destroy their wisdom," was spoken in regard to its introducing nothing useful; but this, "who taketh the wise in their own craftiness, with a view of shewing the power of God."

Next, he declares also the mode in which God took them, adding another testimony:

Ver. 20. "For the Lord," saith he, "knoweth the reasonings of men (Ps. xciv. 11. anthropon Sept.) that they are vain." Now when the Wisdom which is boundless pronounces this edict concerning them, and declares them to be such, what other proof dost thou seek of their extreme folly? For men's judgments, it is true, in many instances fail; but the decree of God is unexceptionable and uncorrupt in every case.

[4.] Thus having set up so splendid a trophy of the judgment from on high, he employs in what follows a certain vehemence of style, turning it against those who were under his ministry, (archomenous) and speaking thus:

Ver. 21. "Wherefore let no man glory in men; for all things are yours." He comes again to the former topic, pointing out that not even for their spiritual things ought they to be highminded, as having nothing of themselves. "Since then the wisdom from without is hurtful, and the spiritual gifts were not given by you, what hast thou wherein to boast?" And in regard to the wisdom from without, "Let no man deceive himself," saith he, because they were conceited about a thing which in truth did more harm than good. But here, inasmuch as the thing spoken of was really advantageous, "Let no man glory." And he orders his speech more gently: "for all things are yours."

Ver. 22. "Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours; and ye are Christ's and Christ is God's." For because he had handled them sharply, he refreshes them again. And as above he had said, (1 Cor. iii. 9.) "We are fellow-workers with God;" and by many other expressions had soothed them: so here too he saith, "All things are yours;" taking down the pride of the teachers, and signifying that so far from bestowing any favor on them, they themselves ought to be grateful to the others. Since for their sake they were made such as they were, yea, moreover, had received grace. But seeing that these also were sure to boast, on this account he cuts out beforehand this disease too, saying, "As God gave to every man," (Supr. vi. 5. 6.) and, "God gave the increase:" to the end that neither the one party might be puffed up as bestowers of good; nor the others, on their hearing a second time, "All things are yours," be again elated. "For, indeed, though it were for your sakes, yet the whole was God's doing." And I wish you to observe how he hath kept on throughout, making suppositions in his own name and that of Peter.

But what is, "or death?" That even though they die, for your sakes they die, encountering dangers for your salvation. Dost thou mark how he again takes down the high spirit of the disciples, and raises the spirit of the teachers? In fact, he talks with them as with children of high birth, who have preceptors, and who are to be heirs of all.

We may say also, in another sense, that both the death of Adam was for our sakes, that we might be corrected; and the death of Christ, that we might be saved.

"And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." In one sense "we are Christ's," and in another sense "Christ is God's," and in a third sense is "the world ours." For we indeed are Christ's, as his work: "Christ is God's," as a genuine Offspring, not as a work: in which sense neither is the world ours. So that though the saying is the same, yet the meaning is different. For "the world is ours," as being a thing made for our sakes: but "Christ is God's," as having Him the Author of his being, in that He is Father. And "we are Christ's," as having been formed by Him. Now "if they are yours," saith he, "why have ye done what is just contrary to this, in calling yourselves after their name, and not after Christ, and God?"

[5.] C. iv. ver. 1. "Let a man so account of us, as of ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." After he had cast down their spirit, mark how again he refreshes it, saying, "as ministers of Christ." Do not thou then, letting go the Master, receive a name from the servants and ministers. "Stewards;" saith he, indicating that we ought not to give these things unto all, but unto whom it is due, and to whom it is fitting we should minister.

Ver. 2. "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful:" that is, that he do not appropriate to himself his master's goods, that he do not as a master lay claim for himself but administer as a steward. For a steward's part is to administer well the things committed to his charge: not to say that his master's things are his own; but, on the contrary, that his own are his master's. Let every one think on these things, both he that hath power in speech and he that possesses wealth, namely, that he hath been entrusted with a master's goods and that they are not his own; let him not keep them with himself, nor set them down to his own account; but let him impute them unto God who gave them all. Wouldest thou see faithful stewards? Hear what saith Peter, "Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man to walk?" (Acts iii. 12.) Unto [57] Cornelius also he saith, "We also are men of like passions with you:" and unto Christ Himself, "Lo, we have left all, and followed Thee." (St. Matt. xix. 27.) And Paul, no less, when he had said, "I labored more abundantly than they all," (1 Cor. xv. 10.) added, "yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." Elsewhere also, setting himself strongly against the same persons, he said, "For what hast thou which thou didst not receive?" (C. iv. 7.) "For thou hast nothing of thine own, neither wealth, nor speech, nor life itself; for this also is surely the Lord's. Wherefore, when necessity calls, do thou lay down this also. But if thou doatest on life, and being ordered to lay it down refusest, thou art no longer a faithful steward."

"And how is it possible, when God calls, to resist?" Well, that is just what I say too: and on this account do I chiefly admire the loving-kindness of God, that the things which He is able, even against thy will, to take from thee, these He willeth not to be paid in (eisenechthenai) by thee unwillingly, that thou mayest have a reward besides. For instance, He can take away life without thy consent; but His will is to do so with thy consent, that thou mayest say with Paul, "I die daily," (1 Cor. xv. 31.) He can take away thy glory without thy consent, and bring thee low: but He will have it from thee with thine own goodwill, that thou mayest have a recompense. He can make thee poor, though unwilling, but He will have thee willingly become such, that He may weave crowns for thee. Seest thou God's mercy to man? Seest thou our own brutish stupidity?

What if thou art come to great dignity, and hast at any time obtained some office of Church government? Be not high-minded. Thou hast not acquired the glory, but God hath put it on thee. As if it were another's, therefore, use it sparingly; neither abusing it nor using it upon unsuitable things, nor puffed up, nor appropriating it unto thyself; but esteem thyself to be poor and inglorious. For never,--hadst thou been entrusted with a king's purple to keep,--never would it have become thee to abuse the robe and spoil it, but with the more exactness to keep it for the giver. Is utterance given thee? Be not puffed up; be not arrogant; for the gracious gift is not thine. Be not grudging about thy Master's good, but distribute them among thy fellow-servants; and neither be thou elated with these things as if they were thine own, nor be sparing as to the distribution of them. Again, if thou hast children, they are God's which thou hast. If such be thy thought, thou wilt both be thankful for having them, and if bereft thou wilt not take it hard. Such was Job when he said, (Job i. 21) "The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away."

For we have all things from Christ. Both existence itself we have through Him, and life, and breath, and light, and air, and earth. And if He were to exclude us from any one of these, we are lost and undone. For (1 S. Pet. ii. 11.) "we are sojourners and pilgrims." And all this about "mine," and "thine," is bare words only, and doth not stand for things. For if thou do but say the house is thine, it is a word without a reality: since the very air, earth, matter, are the Creator's; and so art thou too thyself, who hast framed it; and all other things also. But supposing the use to be thine, even this is uncertain, not on account of death alone, but also before death, because of the instability of things.

[6.] These things then continually picturing to ourselves, let us lead strict lives; and we shall gain two of the greatest advantages. For first, we shall be thankful both when we have and when we are bereaved; and we shall not be enslaved to things which are fleeting by, and things not our own. For whether it be wealth that He taketh, He hath taken but His own; or honor, or glory, or the body, or the life itself: be it that He taketh away thy son, it is not thy son that He hath taken, but His own servant. For thou formedst him not, but He made him. Thou didst but minister to his appearing; the whole was God's own work. Let us give thanks therefore that we have been counted worthy to be His ministers in this matter. But what? Wouldest thou have had him for ever? This again proves thee grudging, and ignorant that it was another's child which thou hadst, and not thine own. As therefore those who part resignedly are but aware that they have what was not theirs; so whoever gives way to grief is in fact counting the King's property his own. For, if we are not our own, how can they be ours? I say, we: for in two ways we are His, both on account of our creation, and also on account of the faith. Wherefore David saith, "My substance is with Thee:" (Ps. xxxix. 7. hupostasis Sept. "hope" rec. vers. of. ver. 6; Ps. cxxxix. 14.) and Paul too, "For in Him we live and move and have our being:" (Acts xvii. 28.) and plying the argument about the faith, he says, (1 Cor. vi. 19, 20.) "Ye are not your own," and "ye were bought with a price." For all things are God's. When then He calls and chooses to take, let us not, like grudging servants, fly from the reckoning, nor purloin our Master's goods. Thy soul is not thine; and how can thy wealth be thine? How is it then that thou spendest on what is unnecessary the things which are not thine? Knowest thou not that for this we are soon to be put on our trial, that is, if we have used them badly? But seeing that they are not our's but our Master's, it were right to expend them upon our fellow-servants. It is worth considering that the omission of this was the charge brought against that rich man: and against those also who had not given food to the Lord. (St. Luke xiv. 21. St. Matt. xxv. 42.)

[7.] Say not then, "I am but spending mine own, and of mine own I live delicately." It is not of thine own, but of other men's. Other men's, I say, because such is thine own choice: for God's will is that those things should be thine, which have been entrusted unto thee on behalf of thy brethren. Now the things which are not thine own become thine, if thou spend them upon others: but if thou spend on thyself unsparingly, thine own things become no longer thine. For since thou usest them cruelly, and sayest, "That my own things should be altogether spent on my own enjoyment is fair:" therefore I call them not thine own. For they are common to thee and thy fellow-servants; just as the sun is common, the air, the earth, and all the rest. For as in the case of the body, each ministration belongs both to the whole body and to each several member; but when it is applied to one single member only, it destroys the proper function of that very member: so also it comes to pass in the case of wealth. And that what I say may be made plainer; the food of the body which is given in common to the members, should it pass into one member, even to that it turns out alien in the end. For when it cannot be digested nor afford nourishment, even to that part, I say, it turns out alien. But if it be made common, both that part and all the rest have it as their own.

So also in regard of wealth. If you enjoy it alone, you too have lost it: for you will not reap its reward. But if you possess it jointly with the rest, then will it be more your own, and then will you reap the benefit of it. Seest thou not that the hands minister, and the mouth softens, and the stomach receives? Doth the stomach say, Since I have received, I ought to keep it all? Then do not thou I pray, in regard to riches, use this language. For it belongs to the receiver to impart. As then it is a vice in the stomach to retain the food and not to distribute it, (for it is injurious to the whole body,) so it is a vice in those that are rich to keep to themselves what they have. For this destroys both themselves and others. Again, the eye receives all the light: but it doth not itself alone retain it, but enlightens the entire body. For it is not its nature to keep it to itself, so long as it is an eye. Again, the nostrils are sensible of perfume; but they do not keep it all to themselves, but transmit it to the brain, and affect the stomach with a sweet savor, and by their means refresh the entire man. The feet alone walk; but they move not away themselves only, but transfer also the whole body. In like manner do thou, whatsoever thou hast been entrusted withal, keep it not to thyself alone, since thou art doing harm to the whole and to thyself more than all.

And not in the case of the limbs only may one see this occuring: for the smith also, if he chose to impart of his craft to no one, ruins both himself and all other crafts. Likewise the cordwainer, the husbandman, the baker, and everyone of those who pursue any necessary calling; if he chose not to communicate to anyone of the results of his art, will ruin not the others only but himself also with them.

And why do I say, "the rich?" For the poor too, if they followed after the wickedness of you who are covetous and rich, would injure you very greatly and soon make you poor; yea rather, they would quite destroy you, were they in your want unwilling to impart of their own: the tiller of the ground, (for instance,) of the labor of his hands; the sailor, of the gain from his voyages; the soldier, of his distinction won in the wars.

Wherefore if nothing else can, yet let this at least put you to shame, and do you imitate their benevolence. Dost thou impart none of thy wealth unto any? Then shouldest thou not receive any thing from another: in which case, the world will be turned upside down. For in every thing to give and receive is the principle of numerous blessings: in seeds, in scholars, in arts. For if any one desire to keep his art to himself, he subverts both himself and the whole course of things. And the husbandman, if he bury and keep the seeds in his house, will bring about a grievous famine. So also the rich man, if he act thus in regard of his wealth, will destroy himself before the poor, heaping up the fire of hell more grievous upon his own head.

[8.] Therefore as teachers, however many scholars they have, impart some of their lore unto each; so let thy possession be, many to whom thou hast done good. And let all say, "such an one he freed from poverty, such an one from dangers. Such an one would have perished, had he not, next to the grace of God, enjoyed thy patronage. This man's disease thou didst cure, another thou didst rid of false accusation, another being a stranger you took in, another being naked you clothed." Wealth inexhaustible and many treasures are not so good as such sayings. They draw all men's gaze more powerfully than your golden vestments, and horses, and slaves. For these make a man appear even odious: (phortikon, a conj. of Saville's for phortika) they cause him to be hated as a common foe; but the former proclaim him as a common father and benefactor. And, what is greatest of all, Favor from God waits on thee in every part of thy proceedings. What I mean is, let one man say, He helped to portion out my daughter: another, And he afforded my son the means of taking his station among men: (eis andras emphanenai) another, He made my calamity to cease: another, He delivered me from dangers. Better than golden crowns are words such as these, that a man should have in his city innumerable persons to proclaim his beneficence. Voices such as these are pleasanter far, and sweeter than the voices of the heralds marching before the archons; to be called saviour, benefactor, defender, (the very names of God;) and not, covetous, proud, insatiate, and mean. Let us not, I beseech you, let us not have a fancy for any of these titles, but the contrary. For if these, spoken on earth, make one so splendid and illustrious; when they are written in heaven, and God proclaims them on the day that shall come, think what renown, what splendor thou shalt enjoy! Which may it be the lot of us all to obtain, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; with Whom unto the Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory, power, honor, now and always and unto everlasting ages. Amen.

Footnotes

[57] These words were addressed by St. Paul and St. Barnabas, to the men of Lystra when they were about to offer sacrifices to them. Acts. xiv. 15. [The words of Peter which Chrysostom seems to have had in mind were "Stand up, I myself also am a man." Acts x. 26.--C.]


Homily XI.

1 Cor. iv. 3, 4

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing against myself, yet am I not hereby justified: but He that judgeth me is the Lord.

Together with all other ills, I know not how, there hath come upon man's nature the disease of restless prying and of unseasonable curiosity, which Christ Himself chastised, saying, (St. Matt. vii. 1.) "Judge not, that ye be not judged." A kind of thing, which hath no pleasure as all other sins have, but only punishment and vengeance. For though we are ourselves full of ten thousand evils, and bearing the "beams" in our own eyes, we become exact inquisitors of the offences of our neighbor which are not at all bigger than "motes." And so this matter at Corinth was falling out. Religious men and dear to God were ridiculed and cast out for their want of learning; while others, brimful of evils innumerable, were classed highly because of their fluent speech. Then like persons sitting in public to try causes, these were the sort of votes they kept rashly passing: "such an one is worthy: such an one is better than such another; this man is inferior to that; that, better than this." And, leaving off to mourn for their own bad ways, they were become judges of others; and in this way again were kindling grievous warfare.

Mark then, how wisely Paul corrects them, doing away with this disease. For since he had said, "Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful," and it seemed as if he were giving them an opening to judge and pry into each man's life, and this was aggravating the party feeling; lest such should be the effect on them, he draws them away from that kind of petty disputation, saying, "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you;" again in his own person carrying on the discourse.

[2.] But what means, "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you or of man's day?" (hemeras) "I judge myself unworthy," saith he, "of being judged by you." And why say I, "by you?" I will add, "by (kai to [tou]) any one else." Howbeit, let no one condemn Paul of arrogance; though he saith that no man is worthy to pass sentence concerning him. For first, he saith these things not for his own sake, but wishing to rescue others from the odium which they had incurred from the Corinthians. And in the next place, he limits not the matter to the Corinthians merely, but himself also he deposes from this right of judging; saying, that to decree such things was a matter beyond his decision. At least he adds, "I judge not mine own self."

But besides what has been said, we must search out the ground upon which these expressions were uttered. For he knew well in many cases how to speak with high spirit: and that, not of pride or arrogance, but of a certain excellent management [oikonomias aristes] seeing that in the present case also he saith this, not as lifting up himself, but as taking down other men's sails, and earnestly seeking to invest the saints with due honor. For in proof that he was one of the very humble, hear what he saith, bringing forward the testimony of his enemies on this point; "His bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account; (2 Cor. x. 10.) and again, "Last of all, as to one born out of due time, He appeared unto me also." (2 Cor. xv. 8.) But notwithstanding, see this lowly man, when the time called on him, to what a pitch he raises the spirit of the disciples, not teaching pride but instilling a wholesome courage. For with these same discoursing he saith, "And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 1 Cor. vi. 2. For as the Christian ought to be far removed from arrogance, so also from flattery and a mean spirit. Thus, if any one says, "I count money as nothing, but all things here are to me as a shadow, and a dream, and child's play;" we are not at all to charge him as arrogant; since in this way we shall have to accuse Solomon himself of arrogance, for speaking austerely (philosophounta) on these things, saying "Vanity of vanities (Eccles. i. 2.) all is vanity." But God forbid that we should call the strict rule of life by the name of arrogance. Wherefore to despise these things is not haughtiness, but greatness of soul; albeit we see kings, and rulers, and potentates, making much of them. But many a poor man, leading a strict life despises them; and we are not therefore to call him arrogant but highminded: just as, on the other hand, if any be extremely addicted to them, we do not call him lowly of heart and moderate, but weak, and poor spirited, and ignoble. For so, should a son despise the pursuits which become his father and affect slavish ways, we should not commend him as lowly of heart, but as base and servile we should reproach him. What we should admire in him would be, his despising those meaner things and making much account of what came to him from his father. For this is arrogance, to think one's self better than one's fellow-servants: but to pass the true sentence on things cometh not of boasting, but of strictness of life.

On this account Paul also, not to exalt himself, but to humble others, and to keep down those who were rising up out of their places, and to persuade them to be modest, said, "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you or of man's day." Observe how he soothes the other party also. For whosoever is told that he looks down on all alike, and deigns not to be judged of any one, will not thenceforth any more feel pain, as though himself were the only one excluded. For if he had said, "Of you," only, and so held his peace; this were enough to gall them as if treated contemptuously. But now, by introducing, "nor yet of man's day," he brought alleviation to the blow; giving them partners in the contempt. Nay, he even softens this point again, saying, "not even do I judge myself." Mark the expression, how entirely free from arrogance: in that not even he himself, he saith, is capable of so great exactness.

[3.] Then because this saying also seemed to be that of one extolling himself greatly, this too he corrects, saying, "Yet am I not hereby justified." What then? Ought we not to judge ourselves and our own misdeeds? Yes surely: there is great need to do this when we sin. But Paul said not this, "For I know nothing," saith he, "against myself." What misdeed then was he to judge, when he "knew nothing against himself?" Yet, saith he, "he was not justified." (1 Cor. vi. 3.) We then who have our conscience filled with ten thousand wounds, and are conscious to ourselves of nothing good, but quite the contrary; what can we say?

And how could it be, if he knew nothing against himself that he was not justified? Because it was possible for him to have committed certain sins, not however, knowing that they were sins. From this make thine estimate how great shall be the strictness of the future judgment. It is not, you see, as considering himself unblameable that he saith it is so unmeet for him to be judged by them, but to stop the mouths of those who were doing so unreasonably. At least in another place, even though men's sins be notorious, he permits not judgment unto others, because the occasion required it. "For why dost thou judge thy brother," saith he, (Rom. xiv. 10.) or, "thou, why dost thou set at nought thy brother?" For thou wert not enjoined, O man, to judge others, but to test thine own doings. Why then dost thou seize upon the office of the Lord? Judgment is His, not thine.

To which effect, he adds, "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come; who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts, and then shall each man have his praise from God." What then? Is it not right that our teachers should do this? It is right in the case of open and confessed sins, and that with fitting opportunity, and even then with pain and inward vexation: not as these were acting at that time, of vain-glory and arrogance. For neither in this instance is he speaking of those sins which all own to be such, but about preferring one before another, and making comparisons of modes of life. For these things He alone knows how to judge with accuracy, who is to judge our secret doings, which of these be worthy of greater and which of less punishment and honor. But we do all this according to what meets our eye. "For if in mine own errors," saith he, "I know nothing clearly, how can I be worthy to pass sentence on other men? And how shall I who know not my own case with accuracy, be able to judge the state of others?" Now if Paul felt this, much more we. For (to proceed) he spake these things, not to exhibit himself as faultless, but to shew that even should there be among them some such person, free from transgression, not even he would be worthy to judge the lives of others: and that if he, though conscious to himself of nothing declare himself guilty, much more they who have ten thousand sins to be conscious of in themselves.

[4.] Having thus, you see, stopped the mouths of those who pass such sentences, he travails next with strong feeling ready to break out and come upon the unclean person. And like as when a storm is coming on, some clouds fraught with darkness run before it; afterwards, when the crash of the thunders ariseth and works the whole heavens into one black cloud, then all at once the rain bursts down upon the earth: so also did it then happen. For though he might in deep indignation have dealt with the fornicator, he doth not so; but with fearful words he first represses the swelling pride of the man, since in truth, what had occurred was a twofold sin, fornication, and, that which is worse than fornication, the not grieving over the sin committed. For not so much does he bewail the sin, as him that committed it and did not as yet repent. Thus, "I shall bewail many of those," saith he, not simply "who have sinned heretofore," but he adds, "who have not repented of the uncleanness and impurity which they wrought." (2 Cor. xii. 21.) For he who after sinning hath practised repentance, is a worthy object not of grief but of gratulations, having passed over into the choir of the righteous. For, (Is. xliii. 26.) "declare thou thine iniquities first, that thou mayest be justified:" but if after sinning one is void of shame, he is not so much to be pitied for falling as for lying where he is fallen.

Now if it be a grievous fault not to repent after sins; to be puffed up because of sins, what sort of punishment doth it deserve? For if he who is elate for his good deeds is unclean, what pardon shall he meet with who has that feeling with regard to his sins?

Since then the fornicator was of this sort, and had rendered his mind so headstrong and unyielding through his sin, he of course begins by casting down his pride. And he neither puts the charge first, for fear of making him hardened, as singled out for accusation before the rest; nor yet later, lest he should suppose that what related to him was but incidental. But, having first excited great alarm in him by his plain speaking towards others, then, and not till then, he goes on to him, in the course of his rebuke to others giving the man's wilfulness a share beforehand.

For these same words, viz. "I know nothing against myself, yet am I not hereby justified," and this, "He that judgeth me is the Lord, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts," glance not lightly both upon that person, and upon such as act in concert with him and despise the saints. "For what," saith he, "if any outwardly appear to be virtuous and admirable persons? He, the Judge, is not a discerner of externals only, but also brings to light all secrets."

[5.] On two accounts you see, or rather on three, correct judgement belongs not to us. One, because, though we be conscious to ourselves of nothing, still we need one to reprove our sins with strictness. Another, because the most part of the things which are done escape us and are concealed. And for a third besides these, because many things which are done by others seem to us indeed fair, but they come not of a right mind. Why say ye then, that no sin hath been committed by this or that person? That such an one is better than such another? Seeing that this we are not to pronounce, not even concerning him who knows nothing against himself. For He who discerns secrets, He it is who with certainty judges. Behold, for example; I for my part know nothing against myself: yet neither so am I justified, that is, I am not quit of accounts to be given, nor of charges to be answered. For he doth not say this, "I rank not among the righteous;" but "I am not pure from sin." For elsewhere he saith also, (Rom. vi. 7, dedikaiotai, toutestin apellaktai.) "He that hath died is justified from sin," that is, "is liberated."

Again, many things we do, good indeed, but not of a right mind. For so we commend many, not from a wish to render them conspicuous, but to wound others by means of them. And the thing done indeed is right for the well-doer is praised; but the intention is corrupt: for it is done of a satanical purpose. For this one hath often done, not rejoicing with his brother, but desiring to wound the other party.

Again, a man hath committed a great error; some other person, wishing to supplant him, says that he hath done nothing, and comforts him forsooth in his error by recurring to the common frailty of nature. But oftentimes he doth this from no mind to sympathize, but to make him more easy in his faults.

Again, a man rebukes oftentimes not so much to reprove and admonish, as publicly to (ekpompeusai kai ektragodesai) display and exaggerate his neighbor's sin. Our counsels however themselves men do not know; but, (Rom. viii. 27.) "He that searcheth the hearts," knows them perfectly; and He will bring all such things into view at that time. Wherefore he saith, "Who will bring to light the secret things of darkness and make manifest the counsels of the hearts."

[6.] Seeing then that not even where we "know nothing against ourselves," can we be clean from accusations, and where we do any thing good, but do it not of a right mind, we are liable to punishment; consider how vastly men are deceived in their judgments. For all these matters are not be come at by men, but by the unsleeping Eye alone: and though we may deceive men, our sophistry will never avail against Him. Say not then, darkness is around me and walls; who seeth me? For He who by Himself formed our hearts, Himself knoweth all things. (Ps. cxxxix. 12.) "For darkness is no darkness with Him." And yet he who is committing sin, well saith, "Darkness is around me and walls;" for were there not a darkness in his mind he would not have cast out the fear of God and acted as he pleased. For unless the ruling principle be first darkened, the entrance of sin without fear is a thing impossible. Say not then, who seeth me? For there is that (Heb. iv. 12.) "pierceth even unto soul and spirit, joints and marrow;" but thou seest not thyself nor canst thou pierce the cloud; but as if thou hadst a wall on all sides surrounding thee, thou art without power to look up unto the heaven.

For whatsoever sin thou wilt, first let us examine, and thou shalt see that so it is engendered. For as robbers and they who dig through walls when they desire to carry off any valuable thing, put out the candle and then do their work; so also doth men's perverse reasoning in the case of those who are committing sin. Since in us also surely there is a light, the light of reason, ever burning. But if the spirit of wickedness coming eagerly on with its strong blast quench that flame, it straightway darkens the soul and prevails against it, and despoils it straightway of all that is laid up therein. For when by unclean desire the soul is made captive, even as a cloud and mist the eyes of the body, so that desire intercepts the foresight of the mind, and suffers it to see nothing at any distance, either precipice, or hell, or fear; but thenceforth, having that deceit as a tyrant over him, he comes to be easily vanquished by sin; and there is raised up before his eyes as it were a wall without windows, which suffers not the ray of righteousness to shine in upon the mind, the absurd conceits of lust enclosing it as with a rampart on all sides. And from that time forward the unchaste woman is everywhere meeting him: standing present before his eyes, before his mind, before his thoughts. And as the blind, although they stand at high noon beneath the very central point of the heaven, receive not the light, their eyes being fast closed up; just so these also, though ten thousand doctrines of salvation sound in their ears from all quarters, having their soul preoccupied with this passion stop their ears against such discourses. And they know it well who have made the trial. But God forbid that you should know it from actual experience.

[7.] And not only this sin hath these effects, but every misplaced affection as well. For let us transfer, if you please, the argument from the unchaste woman unto money, and we shall see here also thick and unbroken darkness. For in the former case, inasmuch as the beloved object is one and shut up in one place, the feeling is not so violent; but in the case of money which sheweth itself every where, in silversmiths' shops, in taverns, in foundries for gold, in the houses of the wealthy, the passion blows a vehement gale. For when servants swaggering in the market place, horses with golden trappings, men decked with costly garments, are seen with desire by him who has that distemper, the darkness becomes intense which envelopes him. And why speak of houses and silversmiths' shops? for my part I think that such persons, though it be but in a picture and image that they see the wealth, are convulsed, and grow wild, and rave. So that from all quarters the darkness gathers around them. And if they chance to behold a portraiture of a King, they admire not the beauty of the precious stones, nor yet the gold, nor the purple robe, but they pine away. And as the wretched lover before mentioned, though he see but the image of the woman beloved, cleaveth unto the lifeless thing; so this man also, beholding a lifeless image of wealth, is more strongly affected in the same way, as being holden of a more tyrannical passion. And he must henceforth either abide at home, or if he venture into the Forum, return home with innumerable hurts. For many are the objects which grieve his eyes. And just as the former seeth nothing else save the woman, even so the latter hastens by poor persons, and all things else, that he may not obtain so much as a slight alleviation. But upon the wealthy he steadily fixeth his eyes; by the sight of them introducing the fire into his own soul mightily and vehemently. For it is a fire that miserably devours the person that falls into it; and if no hell were threatened nor yet punishment, this condition were itself punishment; to be continually tormented and never able to find an end to the malady.

[8.] Well: these things alone might suffice to recommend our fleeing from this distemper. But there is no greater evil than inconsideration which causes men to be rivetted unto things that bring sorrow of heart and no advantage. Wherefore I exhort that you cut off the passion at its beginning: for just as a fever on its first attack, does not violently burn up the patients with thirst, but on its increase and the heightening of its fire causes from that time incurable thirst; and though one should let them fill themselves full of drink, it puts not out the furnace but makes it burn fiercer: so also it happens in regard to this passion; unless when it first invadeth our soul we stop it and shut the doors; having got in, from that time it makes the disease of those who have admitted it incurable. For so both good things and bad, the longer they abide in us, the more powerful they become.

And in all other things too, any one may see that this cometh to pass. For so a plant but lately set in the ground is easily pulled up; but no more so when rooted for a long time; it then requires great strength in the lever. And a building newly put together is easily thrown down by those who push against it; but once well fixed, it gives great trouble to those who attempt to pull it down. And a wild beast that hath made his accustomed haunt in certain places for a long time is with difficulty driven away.

Those therefore who are not yet possessed by the passion in question, I exhort not to be taken captive. For it is more easy to guard against falling into it, than having fallen to get away.

[9.] But unto those who are seized by it and broken down, if they will consent to put themselves into the hands of the Word of healing, I promise large hope of salvation, by the Grace of God. For if they will consider those who have suffered and fallen into that distemper and have recovered, they will have good hopes respecting the removal of the disease. Who then ever fell into this disease, and was easily rid of it? That well-known Zacchæus. For who could be more fond of money than a publican? But all at once he became a man of strict life, (Philosophos) and put out all that blaze. Matthew in like manner: for he too was a publican, living in continual rapine. But he likewise all at once stripped himself of the mischief, and quenched his thirst, and followed after spiritual gain. Considering therefore these, and the like to them, despair not even thou. For if thou wilt, quickly thou shalt be able to recover. And if you please, according to the rule of physicians, we will prescribe accurately what thou shouldest do.

It is necessary then, before all other things, to be right in this, that we never despond, nor despair of our salvation. Next, we must look not only upon the examples of those who have done well, but also upon the sufferings of those who have persisted in sin. For as we have considered Zacchæus, and Matthew, even so ought we also to take account of Judas, and Gehazi, and Ahar, [perhaps Achan, Josh. vii.] and Ahab, and Ananias, and Sapphira, in order that by the one, we may cast out all despair, and by the other cut off all indolence; and that the soul become not reckless of the remedies suggested. And let us teach them of themselves to say what the Jews said on that day, approaching unto Peter, (Acts ii. 37, cf. xvi. 30.) "What must we do to be saved?" And let them hear what they must do.

[10.] What then must we do? We must know how worthless the things in question are, and that wealth is a run-away slave, and heartless, and encompasseth its possessors with ills innumerable. And such words, like charms, let us sound in their ears continually. And as physicians soothe their patients when they ask for cold water, by saying that they will give it, making excuses about the spring, and the vessel, and the fit time, and many more such, (for should they refuse at once, they make them wild with phrensy,) so let us also act towards the lovers of money. When they say we desire to be rich, let us not say immediately that wealth is an evil thing; but let us assent, and say that we also desire it; but in due time; yea, true wealth; yea, that which hath undying pleasure: yea, that which is gathered for thyself, and not for others, and those often our enemies. And let us produce the lessons of true wisdom, and say, we forbid not riches, but ill-gotten riches. For it is lawful to be rich, but without covetousness, without rapine and violence, and an ill report from all men. With these arguments let us first smooth them down, and not as yet discourse of hell. For the sick man endures not yet such sayings. Wherefore let us go to this world for all our arguments upon these matters; and say, "Why is it thy choice to be rich through covetousness? That the gold and the silver may be laid up for others, but for thee, curses and accusations innumerable? That he whom you have defrauded may be stung by want of the very necessaries of life, and bewail himself, and draw down upon thee the censure of thousands; and may go at fall of evening about the market place, encountering every one in the alleys, and in utter perplexity, and not knowing what to trust to even for that one night? For how is he to sleep after all, with pangs of the belly, restless famine besetting him, and that often while it is freezing, and the rain coming down on him? And while thou, having washed, returnest home from the bath, in a glow with soft raiment, merry of heart and rejoicing, and hastening unto a banquet prepared and costly: he, driven every where about the market place by cold and hunger, takes his round, stooping low and stretching out his hands; nor hath he even spirit without trembling to make his suit for his necessary food to one so full fed and so bent on taking his ease; nay, often he has to retire with insult. When therefore thou hast returned home, when thou liest down on thy couch, when the lights round thine house shine bright, when the table is prepared and plentiful, at that time call to rememberance that poor miserable man wandering about, like the dogs in the alleys, in darkness and in mire; except indeed when, as is often the case, he has to depart thence, not unto house, nor wife, nor bed, but unto a pallet of straw; even as we see the dogs baying all through the night. And thou, if thou seest but a little drop falling from the roof, throwest the whole house into confusion, calling thy slaves and disturbing every thing: while he, laid in rags, and straw, and dirt, has to bear all the cold.

What wild beast would not be softened by these things? Who is there so savage and inhuman that these things should not make him mild? and yet there are some who are arrived at such a pitch of cruelty as even to say that they deserve what they suffer. Yea, when they ought to pity, and weep, and help to alleviate men's calamities, they on the contrary visit them with savage and inhuman censures. Of these I should be glad to ask, Tell me, why do they deserve what they suffer? Is it because they would be fed and not starve?

No, you will reply; but because they would be fed in idleness. And thou, dost not thou wanton in idleness? What say I? Art thou not oft-times toiling in an occupation more grievous than any idleness, grasping, and oppressing, and coveting? Better were it if thou too wert idle after this sort; for it is better to be idle in this way, than to be covetous. But now thou even tramplest on the calamities of others, not only idling, not only pursuing an occupation worse than idleness, but also maligning those who spend their days in misery.

And let us farther narrate to them the disasters of others; the untimely bereavements, the dwellers in prison, those who are torn to pieces before tribunals, those who are trembling for life; the unlooked for widowhood of women; the sudden reverse of the rich: and with this let us soften their minds. For by our narrations concerning others, we shall induce them by all means to fear these evils in their own case too. For when they hear that the son of such an one who was a covetous and grasping man, or (e tou deinos instead of en; tou deinos) the wife of such an one who did many tyrannical actions, after the death of her husband endured afflictions without end; the injured persons setting upon the wife and the children, and a general war being raised from all quarters against his house; although a man be the most senseless of beings, yet expecting himself also to suffer the same, and fearing for his own lest they undergo the same fate, he will become more moderate. Now we find life full of many such histories, and we shall not be at a loss for correctives of this kind.

But when we speak these things, let us not speak them as giving advice or counsel, lest our discourse become too irksome: but as in the order of the narrative and by association with something else, let us proceed in each case unto that kind of conversation, and let us be constantly putting them upon stories of the kind, permitting them to speak of no subject except these which follow: How such an one's splendid and famous mansion fell down; How it is so entirely desolate that all things that were in it have come into the hands of others; How many trials have taken place daily about this same property, what a stir; How many of that man's relations (oiketai, probably oikeioi) have died either beggars, or inhabitants of a prison.

All these things let us speak as in pity for the deceased, and as depreciating things present; in order that by fear and by pity we may soften the cruel mind. And when we see men shrinking into themselves at these narrations, then and not till then let us introduce to their notice also the doctrine of hell, not as terrifying these, but in compassion for others. And let us say, But why speak of things present? For far, indeed, will our concern be from ending with these; a yet more grievous punishment will await all such persons: even a river of fire, and a poisonous worm, and darkness interminable, and undying tortures. If with such addresses we succeed in throwing a spell over them, we shall correct both ourselves and them, and quickly get the better of our infirmity.

And on that day we shall have God to praise us: as also Paul saith, "And then shall each man have praise from God." For that which cometh from men, is both fleeting, and sometimes it proceeds from no good intentions. But that which cometh from God both abideth continually, and shines out clearly. For when He who knew all things before their creation, and who is free from all passion, gives praise, then also the demonstration of our virtue is even unquestionable.

Knowing these things therefore, let us act so as to be praised of God, and to acquire the greatest blessings; which God grant us all to obtain, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory, power, honor, now and always, and unto all the ages of eternity. Amen.


Homily XII.

1 Cor. iv. 6

Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not to think of men above that which is written. [58]

So long as there was need of expressions as harsh as these, he refrained from drawing up the curtain, and went on arguing as if he were himself the person to whom they were addressed; in order that the dignity of the persons censured tending to counteract the censurers, no room might be left for flying out in wrath at the charges. But when the time came for a gentler process, then he strips it off, and removes the mask, and shows the persons concealed by the appellation of Paul and Apollos. And on this account he said, "These things, brethren, I have transferred in a figure unto myself and Apollos."

And as in the case of the sick, when the child being out of health kicks and turns away from the food offered by the physicians, the attendants call the father or the tutor, and bid them take the food from the physician's hands and bring it, so that out of fear towards them he may take it and be quiet: so also Paul, intending to censure them about certain other persons, of whom some, he thought, were injured, others honored above measure, did not set down the persons themselves, but conducted the argument in his own name and that of Apollos, in order that reverencing these they might receive his mode of cure. But that once received, he presently makes known in whose behalf he was so expressing himself.

Now this was not hypocrisy, but condescension (sunkatabasis) and tact (oikonomia). For if he had said openly, "As for you, the men whom ye are judging are saints, and worthy of all admiration;" they might have taken it ill and (kan apepedesan) started back. But now in saying, "But to me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you:" and again, "Who is Paul, and who is Apollos?" he rendered his speech easy of reception.

This, if you mark it, is the reason why he says here, "These things have I transferred in a figure unto myself for your sakes, that in us ye may learn not to be wise above what is written," signifying that if he had applied his argument in their persons, they would not have learnt all that they needed to learn, nor would have admitted the correction, being vexed at what was said. But as it was, revering Paul, they bore the rebuke well.

[2.] But what is the meaning of, "not to be wise above what is written?" It is written, (St. Matt. vii. 3.) "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brothers's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" and "Judge not, that ye be not judged." For if we are one and are mutually bound together, it behooveth us not to rise up against one another. For "he that humbleth himself shall be exalted," saith he. And (St. Matt. xx. 26, 27; St. Mark x. 43; not verbatim.) "He that will be first of all, let him be the servant of all." These are the things which "are written."

"That no one of you be puffed up for one against another." Again, having dismissed the teachers, he rebukes the disciples. For it was they who caused the former to be elated.

And besides, the leaders would not quietly receive that kind of speech because of their desire of outward glory: for they were even blinded with that passion. Whereas the disciples, as not reaping themselves the fruits of the glory, but procuring it for others, would both endure the chiding with more temper, and had it more in their power than the leading men to destroy the disease.

It seems then, that this also is a symptom of being "puffed up," to be elated on another's account, even though a man have no such feeling in regard of what is his own. For as he who is proud of another's wealth, is so out of arrogance; so also in the case of another's glory.

And he hath well called it "being puffed up." For when one particular member rises up over the rest, it is nothing else but inflammation and disease; since in no other way doth one member become higher than another, except when a swelling takes place. (So in English "proud flesh.") And so in the body of the Church also; whoever is inflamed and puffed up, he must be the diseased one; for he is swollen above the proportion of the rest. For this [disproportion] is what we mean by "swelling." And so comes it to pass in the body, when some spurious and evil humor gathers, instead of the wonted nourishment. So also arrogance is born; notions to which we have no right coming over us. And mark with what literal propriety he saith, be not "puffed up:" for that which is puffed up hath a certain tumor of spirit, from being filled with corrupt humor.

These things, however, he saith, not to preclude all soothing, but such soothing as leads to harm. "Wouldest thou wait upon this or that person? I forbid thee not: but do it not to the injury of another." For not that we might array ourselves one against another were teachers given us, but that we might all be mutually united. For so the general to this end is set over the host, that of those who are separate he may make one body. But if he is to break up the army, he stands in the place of an enemy rather than of a general.

[3.] Ver. 7. "For who maketh thee to differ? For what hast thou which thou didst not receive?"

From this point, dismissing the governed, he turns to the governors. What he saith comes to this: From whence is evident that thou art worthy of being praised? Why, hath any judgment taken place? any inquiry proceeded? any essay? any severe testing? Nay, thou canst not say it: and if men give their votes, their judgment is not upright. But let us suppose that thou really art worthy of praise and hast indeed the gracious gift, and that the judgment of men is not corrupt: yet not even in this case were it right to be high-minded; for thou hast nothing of thyself but from God didst receive it. Why then dost thou pretend to have that which thou hast not? Thou wilt say, "thou hast it:" and others have it with thee: well then, thou hast it upon receiving it: not merely this thing or that, but all things whatsoever thou hast.

For not to thee belong these excellencies, but to the grace of God. Whether you name faith, it came of His calling; or whether it be the forgiveness of sins which you speak of, or spiritual gifts, or the word of teaching, or the miracles; thou didst receive all from thence. Now what hast thou, tell me, which thou hast not received, but hast rather achieved of thine own self? Thou hast nothing to say. Well: thou hast received; and does that make thee high-minded? Nay, it ought to make thee shrink back into thyself. For it is not thine, what hath been given, but the giver's. What if thou didst receive it? thou receivedst it of him. And if thou receivedst of him, it was not thine which thou receivedst: and if thou didst but receive what was not thine own, why art thou exalted as if thou hadst something of thine own? Wherefore he added also, "Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

[4.] Thus having, you see, made good his argument by concession, [59] (kata sundromen.) he indicates that they have their deficiencies; and those not a few: and saith, "In the first place, though ye had received all things, it were not meet to glory, for nothing is your own; but as the case really stands there are many things of which ye are destitute." And in the beginning he did but hint at this, saying, "I could not speak unto you as unto spiritual:" and, "I determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." But here he doth it in a way to abash them, saying,

Ver. 8. "Already ye are filled, already ye are rich:" that is, ye want nothing henceforth; ye are become perfect; ye have attained the very summit; ye stand, as ye think, in need of no one, either among Apostles or teachers.

"Already ye are filled." And well saith he "already;" pointing out, from the time, the incredibility of their statements and their unreasonable notion of themselves. It was therefore in mockery that he said to them, "So quickly have ye come to the end;" which thing was impossible in the time: for all the more perfect things wait long in futurity: but to be "full" with a little betokens a feeble soul; and from a little to imagine one's self "rich," a sick and miserable one. For piety is an insatiable thing; and it argues a childish mind to imagine from just the beginnings that you have obtained the whole: and for men who are not yet even in the prelude of a matter, to be high-minded as if they had laid hold of the end.

Then also by means of what followeth he puts them yet more out of countenance; for having said, "Already ye are full," he added, "ye are become rich, ye have reigned without us: yea and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you." Full of great austerity is the speech: which is why it comes last, being introduced by him after that abundance of reproof. For then is our admonition respected and easily received, when after our accusations we introduce our humiliating expressions, (ta eutreptika remata.) For this were enough to repress even the shameless soul and strike it more sharply than direct accusation, and correct the bitterness and hardened feeling likely to arise from the charge brought. It being certain that this more than anything else is the admirable quality of those arguments which appeal to our sense of shame, that they possess two contrary advantages. On the one hand, one cuts deeper than by open invective: on the other hand, it causes the person reprimanded to bear that severer stab with more entire patience.

[5.] "Ye have reigned without us." Herein there is great force, as concerns both the teachers and the disciples: and their ignorance, too, of themselves (to asuneideton.) is pointed out, and their great inconsideration. For what he saith is this: "In labors indeed," saith he, "all things are common both to us and to you, but in the rewards and the crowns ye are first. Not that I say this in vexation:" wherefore he added also, "I would indeed that ye did reign:" then, lest there should seem to be some irony, he added, "that we also might reign with you;" for, saith he, we also should be in possession (epituchoimen, ms. Reg., epituchomen Edd.) of these blessings. Dost thou see how he shews in himself all at once his severity and his care over them and his self-denying mind? Dost thou see how he takes down their pride?

Ver. 9. "For I think that God hath set forth us the Apostles last of all, as men doomed to death."

There is great depth of meaning and severity implied again in his saying, "us:" and not even with this was he satisfied, but added also his dignity, hitting them vehemently: "us the Apostles;" who are enduring such innumerable ills; who are sowing the word of Godliness; who are leading you unto this severe rule of life. These "He hath set forth last, as doomed to death," that is, as condemned. For since he had said, "That we also might reign with you," and by that expression had relaxed his vehemency in order not to dispirit them; he takes it up again with greater gravity, and saith, "For I think that God hath set forth us the Apostles last, as men doomed to death." "For according to what I see," saith he, "and from what ye say, the most abject of all men and emphatically the condemned, are we who are put forward for continual suffering. But ye have already a kingdom and honors and great rewards in your fancy." And wishing to carry out their reasoning to still greater absurdity, and to exhibit it as incredible in the highest degree, he said not merely, "We are `last,'" but, "God made us last;" nor was he satisfied with saying, "last," but he added also, "doomed to death:" to the end that even one quite void of understanding might feel the statement to be quite incredible, and his words to be the words of one vexed and vehemently abashing them.

Observe too the good sense of Paul. The topics by which, when it is the proper time, he exalts and shews himself honorable and makes himself great; by these he now puts them to shame, calling himself "condemned." Of so great consequence is it to do all things at the befitting season. By "doomed to death," in this place he means "condemned," and deserving of ten thousand deaths.

[6.] "For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men."

What means, "We are become a spectacle unto the world?" "Not in a single corner nor yet in a small part of the world suffer we these things," saith he; "but every where and before all." But what means, "unto angels?" It is possible to "become a spectacle unto men," but not so unto angels, when the things done are ordinary. But our wrestlings are such as to be worthy even of angelic contemplation. Behold from the things by which he vilifies himself, how again he shows himself great; and from the things about which they are proud, how he displays their meanness. For since to be fools was accounted a meaner thing than to appear wise; to be weak, than to be made strong; and unhonored, than glorious and distinguished; and that he is about to cast on them the one set of epithets, while he himself accepted the other; he signifies that the latter are better than the former; if at least because of them he turned the throng I say not of men only, but also of the very angels unto the contemplation of themselves. For not with men only is our wrestling but also with incorporeal powers. Therefore also a mighty theatre is set (mega theatron kathetai.)

Ver. 10. "We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ."

Again, this also he spake in a way to abash them; implying that it is impossible for these contraries to agree, neither can things so distant from one another concur. "For how can it be," saith he, "that you should be wise, but we fools in the things relating to Christ?" That is: the one sort beaten and despised and dishonored and esteemed as nothing; the others enjoying honor and looked up to by many as a wise and prudent kind of people; it gives him occasion to speak thus: as if he had said, "How can it be that they who preach such things should be looked upon as practically engaged in their contraries?"

"We are weak, but ye are strong." That is, we are driven about and persecuted; but ye enjoy security and are much waited upon; howbeit the nature of the Gospel endureth it not.

"We are despised, but ye are honorable." Here he setteth himself against the noble and those who plumed themselves upon external advantages.

"Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place; and we toil, working with our own hands." That is, "It is not an old story that I am telling but just what the very time present bears me witness of: that of human things we take no account nor yet of any outward pomp; but we look unto God only." Which thing we too have need to practice in every place. For not only are angels looking on, but even more than they He that presides over the spectacle.

[7.] Let us not then desire any others to applaud us. For this is to insult Him; hastening by Him, as if insufficient to admire us, we make the best of our way to our fellow servants. For just as they who contend in a small theatre seek a large one, as if this were insufficient for their display; so also do they, who contending in the sight of God afterwards seek the applause of men; giving up the greater praise and eager for the less, they draw upon themselves severe punishment. What but this hath turned every thing upside down? this puts the whole world into confusion, that we do all things with an eye to men, and even for our good things, we esteem it nothing to have God as an admirer, but seek the approbation which cometh from our fellow-servants: and for the contrary things again, despising Him we fear men. And yet surely they shall stand with us before that tribunal, doing us no good. But God whom we despise now shall Himself pass the sentence upon us.

But yet, though we know these things, we still gape after men, which is the first of sins. Thus were a man looking on no one would choose to commit fornication; but even though he be ten thousand times on fire with that plague, the tyranny of the passion is conquered by his reverence for men. But in God's sight men not only commit adultery and fornication; but other things also much more dreadful many have dared and still dare to do. This then alone, is it not enough to bring down from above ten thousand thunderbolts? Adulteries, did I say, and fornications? Nay, things even far less than these we fear to do before men: but in God's sight we fear no longer. From hence, in fact, all the world's evils have originated; because in things really bad we reverence not God but men.

On this account, you see, both things which are truly good, not accounted such by the generality, become objects of our aversion, we not investigating the nature of the things, but having respect unto the opinion of the many: and again, in the case of evil things, acting on this same principle. Certain things therefore not really good, but seeming fair unto the many, we pursue, as goods, through the same habit. So that on either side we go to destruction.

[8.] Perhaps many may find this remark somewhat obscure. Wherefore we must express it more clearly. When we commit uncleanness, (for we must begin from the instances alleged,) we fear men more than God. When therefore we have thus subjected ourselves unto them and made them lords over us; there are many other things also which seem unto these our lords to be evil, not being such; these also we flee for our part in like manner. For instance; To live in poverty, many account disgraceful: and we flee poverty, not because it is disgraceful nor because we are so persuaded, but because our masters count it disgraceful; and we fear them. Again, to be unhonored and contemptible, and void of all authority seems likewise unto the most part a matter of great shame and vileness. This again we flee; not condemning the thing itself, but because of the sentence of our masters.

Again on the contrary side also we undergo the same mischief. As wealth is counted a good thing, and pride, and pomp, and to be conspicuous. Accordingly this again we pursue, not either in this case from considering the nature of the things as good, but persuaded by the opinion of our masters. For the people is our master and the great mob (ho polus ochlos); a savage master and a severe tyrant: not so much as a command being needed in order to make us listen to him; it is enough that we just know what he wills, and without a command we submit: so great good will do we bear towards him. Again, God threatening and admonishing day by day is not heard; but the common people, full of disorder, made up of all manner of dregs, has no occasion for one word of command; enough for it only to signify with what it is well pleased, and in all things we obey immediately.

[9.] "But how," says some one, "is a man to flee from these masters?" By getting a mind greater than their's; by looking into the nature of things; by condemning the voice of the multitude; before all, by training himself in things really disgraceful to fear not men, but the unsleeping Eye; and again, in all good things, to seek the crowns which come from Him. For thus neither in other sort of things shall we be able to tolerate them. For whoso when he doeth right judges them unworthy to know his good deeds, and contents himself with the suffrage of God; neither will he take account of them in matters of the contrary sort.

"And how can this be?" you will say. Consider what man is, what God; whom thou desertest, and unto whom thou fliest for refuge; and thou wilt soon be right altogether. Man lieth under the same sin as thyself, and the same condemnation, and the same punishment. "Man is like to vanity," (Ps. cxliv. 4. LXX,) and hath not correct judgment, and needs the correction from above. "Man is dust and ashes," and if he bestow praise, he will often bestow it at random, or out of favor, or ill will. And if he calumniate and accuse, this again will he do out of the same kind of purpose. But God doeth not so: rather irreprovable in His sentence, and pure His judgment. Wherefore we must always flee to Him for refuge; and not for these reasons alone, but because He both made, and more than all spares thee, and loves thee better than thou dost thyself.

Why then, neglecting to have so admirable (thaumaston) an approver, betake we ourselves unto man, who is nothing, all rashness, all at random? Doth he call thee wicked and polluted when thou art not so? So much the more do thou pity him, and weep because he is corrupt; and despise his opinion, because the eyes of his understanding are darkened. For even the Apostles were thus evil reported of; and they laughed to scorn their calumniators. But doth he call thee good and kind? If such indeed thou art, yet be not at all puffed up by the opinion: but if thou art not such, despise it the more, and esteem the thing to be mockery.

Wouldest thou know the judgments of the greater part of men, how corrupt they are, how useless, and worthy of ridicule; some of them coming only from raving and distracted persons, others from children at the breast? Hear what hath been from the beginning. I will tell thee of judgments, not of the people only, but also of those who passed for the wisest, of those who were legislators from the earliest period. For who would be counted wiser among the multitude than the person considered worthy of legislating for cities and peoples? But yet to these wise men fornication seems to be nothing evil nor worthy of punishment. At least, no one of the heathen laws makes its penal or brings men to trial on account of it. And should any one bring another into court for things of that kind, the multitude laughs it to scorn, and the judge will not suffer it. Dice-playing, again, is exempt from all their punishments: nor did any one among them ever incur penalty for it. Drunkenness and gluttony, so far from being a crime, are considered by many even as a fine thing. And in military carousals it is a point of great emulation; and they who most of all need a sober mind and a strong body, these are most of all given over to the tyranny of drunkenness; both utterly weakening the body and darkening the soul. Yet of the lawgivers not one hath punished this fault. What can be worse than this madness?

Is then the good word of men so disposed an object of desire to thee, and dost thou not hide thyself in the earth? For even though all such admired thee, oughtest thou not to feel ashamed and cover thy face, at being applauded by men of such corrupt judgment?

Again, blasphemy by legislators in general is accounted nothing terrible. At any rate, no one for having blasphemed God was ever brought to trial and punishment. But if a man steal another's garment, or cut his purse, his sides are flayed, and he is often given over unto death: while he that blasphemeth God hath nothing laid to his charge by the heathen legislators. And if a man seduce a female servant when he hath a wife, it seems nothing to the heathen laws nor to men in general.

[10.] Wilt thou hear besides of some things of another class which shew their folly? For as they punish not these things, so there are others which they enforce by law. What then are these? They collect crowds to fill theatres, and there they introduce choirs of harlots and prostituted children, yea such as trample on nature herself; and they make the whole people sit on high, and so they captivate their city; so they crown these mighty kings whom they are perpetually admiring for their trophies and victories. And yet, what can be more insipid than this honor? what more undelightful than this delight? From among these then seekest thou judges to applaud thy deeds? And is it in company with dancers, and effeminate, and buffoons, and harlots, that thou art fain to enjoy the sound of compliment? answer me.

How can these things be other than proofs of extreme infatuation? For I should like to ask them, is it or is it not, a dreadful thing to subvert the laws of nature, and introduce unlawful intercourse? They will surely [60] say, it is dreadful: at any rate, they make a show of inflicting a penalty on that crime. Why then dost thou bring on the stage those abused wretches; and not only bring them in, but honor them also with honors innumerable, and gifts not to be told? In other places thou punishest those who dare such things; but here even as on common benefactors of the city, thou spendest money upon them and supportest them at the public expense.

"However," thou wilt say, "they are (atimoi) infamous [61] ." Why then train them up? (paidotribeis) Why choose the infamous to pay honor to kings withal? And why ruin our (ektrachelizeis, Plutarch, peri paidon agoges, c. 17.) cities [62] ? Or why spend so much upon these persons? Since if they be infamous expulsion is properest for the infamous. For why didst thou render them infamous? in praise or in condemnation? Of course in condemnation. Is the next thing to be, that although as after condemnation you make them infamous, yet as if they were honorable you run to see them, and admire and praise and applaud? Why need I speak of the sort of charm [63] which is found in the horse races? or in the contests of the wild beasts? For those places too being full of all senseless excitement train the populace to acquire a merciless and savage and inhuman kind of temper, and practise them in seeing men torn in pieces, and blood flowing, and the ferocity of wild beasts confounding all things. Now all these our wise lawgivers from the beginning introduced, being so many plagues! and our cities applaud and admire.

[11.] But, if thou wilt, dismissing these things which clearly and confessedly are abominable, but seemed (ouk edoxen. perhaps "were not decreed.") not [so] to the heathen legislators, let us proceed to their grave precepts; and thou shalt see these too corrupted through the opinion of the multitude. Thus marriage is accounted an honorable thing (Heb. xiii. 4) both by us and by those without: and it is honorable. But when marriages are solemnized, such ridiculous things [64] take place as ye shall hear of immediately: because the most part, possessed and beguiled by custom, are not even aware of their absurdity, but need others to teach them. For dancing, and cymbals, and flutes, and shameful words, and songs, and drunkenness, and revellings, and all the Devil's great heap (polus ho tou diabolou phorutos) of garbage is then introduced.

I know indeed that I shall appear ridiculous in finding fault with these things; and shall incur the charge of great folly with the generality, as disturbing the ancient laws: for, as I said before, great is the deceptive power of custom. But nevertheless, I will not cease repeating these things: for there is, there is surely a chance, that although not all, yet some few will receive our saying and will choose to be laughed to scorn with us, rather than we laugh with them such a laughter as deserves tears and overflowing punishment and vengeance.

For how can it be other than worthy of the utmost condemnation that a damsel who hath spent her life entirely at home and been schooled in modesty from earliest childhood, should be compelled on a sudden to cast off all shame, and from the very commencement of her marriage be instructed in imprudence; and find herself put forward in the midst of wanton and rude men, and unchaste, and effeminate? What evil will not be implanted in the bride from that day forth? Immodesty, petulance, insolence, the love of vain glory: since they will naturally go on and desire to have all their days such as these. Hence our women become expensive and profuse; hence are they void of modesty, hence proceed their unnumbered evils.

And tell me not of the custom: for if it be an evil thing, let it not be done even once: but if good, let it be done constantly. For tell me, is not committing fornication evil? Shall we then allow just once this to be done? By no means. Why? Because though it be done only once, it is evil all the same. So also that the bride be entertained in this way, if it be evil, let it not be done even once; but if it be not evil, let it even be done always.

"What then," saith one, "dost thou find fault with marriage? tell me." That be far from me. I am not so senseless: but the things which are so unworthily appended to marriage, the painting the face, the coloring the eyebrows, and all the other niceness of that kind. For indeed from that day she will receive many lovers even before her destined consort.

"But many will admire the woman for her beauty." And what of that? Even if discreet, she will hardly avoid evil suspicion; but if careless, she will be quickly overtaken, having got that very day a starting point in dissolute behavior.

Yet though the evils are so great, the omission of these proceedings is called an insult, by certain who are no better than brute beasts, and they are indignant that the woman is not exhibited to a multitude, that she is not set forth as a stage spectacle, common to all beholders: whereas most assuredly they should rather count it insult when these things do take place; and a laughing stock, and a farce. For even now I know that men will condemn me of much folly and make me a laughing stock: but the derision I can bear when any gain accrues from it. For I should indeed be worthy of derision, if while I was exhorting to contempt of the opinion of the many, I myself, of all men, were subdued by that feeling.

Behold then what follows from all this. Not in the day only but also in the evening, they provide on purpose men that have well drunk, besotted, and inflamed with luxurious fare, to look upon the beauty of the damsel's countenance; nor yet in the house only but even through the market-place do they lead her in pomp to make an exhibition; conducting her with torches late in the evening so as that she may be seen of all: by their doings recommending nothing else than that henceforth she put off all modesty. And they do not even stop here; but with shameful words do they conduct her. And this with the multitude is a law. And runaway slaves and convicts, thousands of them and of desperate character, go on with impunity uttering whatever they please, both against her and against him who is going to take her to his home. Nor is there any thing solemn, but all base and full of indecency. Will it not be a fine lesson in chastity for the bride to see and hear such things? [Savile reads this sentence with a question.] And there is a sort of diabolical rivalry among these profligates to outdo one another in their zealous use of reproaches and foul words, whereby they put the whole company out of countenance, and those go away victorious who have found the largest store of railings and the greatest indecencies to throw at their neighbors.

Now I know that I am a troublesome, sort of person and disagreeable, and morose, as though I were curtailing life of some of its pleasure. Why, this is the very cause of my mourning that things so displeasing are esteemed a sort of pleasure. For how, I ask, can it be other than displeasing to be insulted and reviled? to be reproached by all, together with your bride? If any one in the market place speak ill of thy wife, thou makest ado without end and countest life not worth living: and can it be that disgracing thyself with thy future consort in the presence of the whole city, thou art pleased and lookest gay on the matter? Why, what strange madness is this!

"But," saith one, "the thing is customary." Nay, for this very reason we ought most to bewail it, because the devil hath hedged in the thing with custom. In fact, since marriage is a solemn thing and that which recruits our race and the cause of numerous blessings; that evil one, inwardly pining and knowing that it was ordained as a barrier against uncleanness, by a new device introduces into it all kinds of uncleanness. At any rate, in such assemblages many virgins have been even corrupted. And if not so in every case, it is because for the time the devil is content with those words and those songs, so flagitious; with making a show of the bride openly, and leading the bridegroom in triumph through the market-place.

Moreover, because all this takes place in the evening, that not even the darkness may be a veil to these evils, many torches are brought in, suffering not the disgraceful scene to be concealed. For what means the vast throng, and what the wassail, and what the pipes? Most clearly to prevent even those who are in their houses and plunged [baptizomenoi] in deep sleep from remaining ignorant of these proceedings; that being wakened by the pipe and leaning to look out of the lattices, they may be witnesses of the comedy such as it is.

What can one say of the songs themselves, crammed as they are with all uncleanness, introducing monstrous amours, and unlawful connections, and subversions of houses, and tragic scenes without end; and making continual mention of the titles of "friend and lover," "mistress and beloved?" And, what is still more grievous, that young women are present at these things, having divested themselves of all modesty; in honor of the bride, rather I should say to insult her, exposing even their own salvation [65] , and in the midst of wanton young men acting a shameless part with their disorderly songs, with their foul words, with their devilish harmony. Tell me then: dost thou still enquire, "Whence come adulteries? Whence fornications? Whence violations of marriage?"

[12.] "But they are not noble nor decent women," you will say, "who do these things." Why then laugh me to scorn for this remonstrance, having been thyself aware of this law, before I said any thing. I say, if the proceedings are right, allow those well-born women also to enact them. For what if these others live in poverty? Are not they also virgins? ought not they also to be careful of chastity? But now here is a virgin dancing in a public theatre of licentious youths; and, I ask, seems she not unto thee more dishonored than a harlot?

But if you say, "Female servants do these things;" neither so do I acquit thee of my charge: for neither to these ought such things to have been permitted. For hence all these evils have their origin, that of our household we make no account. But it is enough in the way of contempt to say, "He is a slave," and, "They are handmaids." And yet, day after day we hear, (Gal. iii. 28.) "In Christ Jesus there is neither bond nor free." Again, were it a horse or an ass, thou dost not overlook it but takest all pains not to have it of an inferior kind; and thy slaves who have souls like thine own dost thou neglect? And why do I say slaves, when I might say sons and daughters? What then must follow? It cannot be but grief (lupen, qu. lumen, "mischief.") must immediately enter in, when all these are going to ruin. And often also very great losses must ensue, valuable golden ornaments being lost in the crowd and the confusion.

[13.] Then after the marriage if perchance a child is born, in this case again we shall see the same folly and many practices [sumbola] full of absurdity. For when the time is come for giving the infant a name, caring not to call it after the saints as the ancients at first did, they light lamps and give them names, and name the child after that one which continues burning the longest; from thence conjecturing that he will live a long time. After all, should there be many instances of the child's untimely death, (and there are many,) great laughter on the devil's part will ensue, at his having made sport of them as if they were silly children. What shall we say about the amulets and the bells which are hung upon the hand, and the scarlet woof, and the other things full of such extreme folly; when they ought to invest the child with nothing else save the protection of the Cross [66] . But now that is despised which hath converted the whole world and given the sore wound to the devil and overthrown all his power: while the thread, and the woof, and the other amulets of that kind are entrusted with the child's safety.

May I mention another thing yet more ridiculous than this? Only let no one tax us with speaking out of season, should our argument proceed with that instance also. For he that would cleanse an ulcer will not hesitate first to pollute his own hands. What then is this so very ridiculous custom? It is counted indeed as nothing; (and this is why I grieve;) but it is the beginning of folly and madness in the extreme. The women in the bath, nurses and waiting-maids, take up mud and smearing it with the finger make a mark on the child's forehead; and if one ask, What means the mud, and the clay? the answer is, "It turneth away an evil eye, witchcraft and envy [67] ." Astonishing! what power in the mud! what might in the clay! what mighty force is this which it has? It averts all the host of the devil. Tell me, can ye help hiding yourselves for shame? Will ye never come to understand the snares of the devil, how from earliest life he gradually brings in the several evils which he hath devised? For if the mud hath this effect, why dost thou not thyself also do the same to thine own forehead, when thou art a man and thy character is formed; and thou art likelier than the child to have such as envy thee? Why dost thou not as well bemire the whole body? I say, if on the forehead its virtue be so great, why not anoint thyself all over with mud? All this is mirth and stage-play to Satan, not mockery only but hell-fire being the consummation to which these deceived ones are tending.

[14.] Now that among Greeks such things should be done is no wonder: but among the worshippers of the Cross, (ton stauron proskunousi) and partakers in unspeakable mysteries, and professors of such high morality, (tosauta philosophousin) that such unseemliness should prevail, this is especially to be deplored again and again. God hath honored thee with spiritual anointing; and dost thou defile thy child with mud? God hath honored thee, and dost thou dishonor thyself? And when thou shouldest inscribe on his forehead the Cross which affords invincible security; dost thou forego this, and cast thyself into the madness of Satan?

If any look on these things as trifles, let them know that they are the source of great evils; and that not even unto Paul did it seem right to overlook the lesser things. For, tell me, what can be less than a man's covering his head? Yet observe how great a matter he makes of this and with how great earnestness he forbids it; saying, among many things, "He dishonoreth his head." (1 Cor. xi. 4.) Now if he that covers himself "dishonoreth his head"; he that besmears his child with mud, how can it be less than making it abominable? For how, I want to know, can he bring it to the hands of the priest? How canst thou require that on that forehead the seal [68] should be placed by the hand of the presbyter, where thou hast been smearing the mud? Nay, my brethren, do not these things, but from earliest life encompass them with spiritual armor and instruct them to seal the forehead with the hand (te cheiri paideute sphragizein to metopon): and before they are able to do this with their own hand [69] , do you imprint upon them the Cross.

Why should one speak of the other satanical observances in the case of travail-pangs and childbirths, which the midwives introduce with a mischief on their own heads? Of the outcries which take place at each person's death, and when he is carried to his burial; the irrational wailings, the folly enacted at the funerals; the zeal about men's monuments; the importunate and ridiculous swarm of the mourning women [70] ; the observances of days; the days, I mean, of entrance into the world and of departure?

[15.] Are these then, I beseech you, the persons whose good opinion thou followest after? And what can it be but the extreme of folly to seek earnestly the praise of men, so corrupt in their ideas, men whose conduct is all at random? when we ought always to resort to the unsleeping Eye, and look to His sentence in all that we do and speak? For these, even if they approve, will have no power to profit us. But He, should He accept our doings, will both here make us glorious, and in the future day will impart to us of the unspeakable good things: which may it be the lot of us all to obtain, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; with Whom to the Father and the Holy Spirit be glory, power, honor, now and always, and unto everlasting ages. Amen.

Footnotes

[58] [The true text of this clause is well given in the Revised Version, "not to go beyond the things which are written."] [59] [That is, conceding that they had the gifts which they claimed. C.] [60] (pantes Savile; pantos Bened.) [Dr. Field adopts the former reading. C.] [61] Bingham (b. xvi. c. 4. . 10.) proves that actors and the like were debarred from the Sacraments, except they renounced their calling, from very early times: from S. Cyprian, Ep. 61, who says, "I think it inconsistent with the majesty of God and the discipline of the Gospel, to allow the chastity and glory of the Church to be defiled with so base contagion:" from Tertullian; de Spectac. 4; de Cor. Mil. 13; and from the Apostolical Constitutions, viii. 32. [62] Gibbon, c. 31. from Ammianus, relates, that on occasion of a scarcity, when all strangers were expelled from Rome, an exception was made in favor of the actors, singers, dancers, &c. [63] manganeias. Compare S. Augustin's account in the Confessions of the way in which some persons were bewitched by the gladiatorial shows; of which his friend Alypius in his youth was a remarkable instance. b. vi. . 13. [64] S. Chrys. on Gen. Hom. 48. near the end, speaking of Rebekah's veiling herself at sight of Isaac; "See the noble breeding of the maiden.......and observe here, I pray you, how there is no place here for these superfluous and useless things; for a diabolical procession, for cymbals and flutes and dances, and those revels, the device of Satan, and invectives full of all indecency; but all wisdom, all gravity, all thoughtfulness.......Let Rebekah be the pattern of our wives, let our husbands emulate Isaac; be it their endeavor thus to bring home their brides." Then complaining, nearly as in the text, of the Fescennine verses, as they were called, and other bad customs, relics of heathenism, "Rather," says he, "should the maiden be trained in all modesty from the beginning, and priests called, and prayers and blessings be used to rivet fast the concord of their common habitation, that so both the bridegroom's love may increase, and the damsel's purity of soul be heightened. So by all ways shall the deeds of virtue enter into that house, and all the acts of the devil be far off and they shall pass their life with joy, God's Providence bringing them together." So again Hom. 56. of the marriage of Jacob and Leah: in which place he complains especially of the introduction of people from the stage and orchestra at wedding feasts. See both places in Bingham, xxii. iv. 8: as also the 53d Canon of Laodicea: "It is wrong for Christians attending marriages to practice theatrical gestures or dances, but to take their part soberly in the morning or evening meal, as becometh Christians." [65] tes heauton proteinousai soterias. The Benedictine translates as if it were tas heauton: which is here followed. [The true reading as given by Field is ten heauton propinousai soterian. C.] [66] Compare St. Chrys. on Coloss. Hom. viii. near the end. [67] So on Col. ubi supra. "What is all this folly? Here we have ashes, and soot, and salt, and the silly old woman again brought into play. Truly it is a mockery and a shame. `Nay,' says she, `an evil eye has caught hold of the child!' How long will you go on with these diabolical fancies?" &c. [68] i.e. the sign of the cross in baptism, made with consecrated balm or ointment, and called sphragis in the Apostolical Constitutions, iii. 17; vid. Bingham xi. 9. 6. St. Chrysostom, it may be remarked, takes for granted, 1. that infants would be brought to baptism; 2. that they would be brought to the priest. [69] Compare the well-known passages in Tertullian and St. Cyprian: the first, "At all our goings out and comings in, &c. we trace upon the forehead the sign of the cross;" de Cor. Mil. 3.: the other, "Arm your foreheads with all boldness, that the sign of the cross may be safe." Ep. 50: both in Bingham ubi supra. [70] About this custom, of hiring heathen women as mourners, he speaks very strongly elsewhere; Hom. 32. in Matt., Hom. 4. in Heb., both which are quoted in Bingham, xxxiii. 18.


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