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 XIII.

1 Cor. iv. 10

"We are fools for Christ's sake:" (For it is necessary from this point to resume our discourse:) "but ye are wise in Christ: we are weak, but ye are strong: ye have glory, but we have dishonor."

Having filled his speech with much severity which conveys a sharper blow than any direct charge and having said, "Ye have reigned without us;" and "God hath set forth us last, as men doomed to death" he shows by what comes next how they are "doomed to death;" saying, We are fools, and weak, and despised, and hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place, and toil, working with our own hands:" which were very signs of genuine teachers and apostles. Whereas the others prided themselves on the things which are contrary to these, on wisdom, glory, wealth, consideration.

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Desiring therefore to take down their self-conceit and to point out that in respect of these things, so far from taking credit to themselves, they ought rather to be ashamed; he first of all mocks them, saying, "Ye have reigned without us." As if he had said, "My sentence is that the present is not a time of honor nor of glory, which kind of things you enjoy, but of persecution and insult, such as we are suffering. If however it be not so; if this rather be the time of remuneration: then as far as I see," (but this he saith in irony,) "ye, the disciples, for your part have become no less than kings: but we the teachers and apostles, and before all entitled to receive the reward, not only have fallen very far behind you, but even, as persons doomed to death, that is, condemned convicts, spend our lives entirely in dishonors, and dangers, and hunger: yea insulted as fools, and driven about, and enduring all intolerable things."

Now these things he said that he might hereby cause them also to consider, that they should zealously seek the condition of the Apostles; their dangers and their indignities, not their honors and glories. For these, not the other, are what the Gospel requires. But to this effect he speaks not directly, not to shew himself disagreeable to them: rather in a way characteristic of himself he takes in hand this rebuke. For if he had introduced his address in a direct manner, he would have spoken thus; "Ye err, and are beguiled, and have swerved far from the apostolical mode of instruction. For every apostle and minister of Christ ought to be esteemed a fool, ought to live in affliction and dishonor; which indeed is our state: whereas you are in the contrary case."

But thus might his expressions have offended them yet more, as containing but praises of the Apostles; and might have made them fiercer, censured as they were for indolence and vainglory and luxuriousness. Wherefore he conducts not his statement in this way, but in another, more striking but less offensive; and this is why he proceeds with his address as follows, saying ironically, "But ye are strong and honorable;" since, if he had not used irony, he would have spoken to this effect; "It is not possible that one man should be esteemed foolish, and another wise; one strong, and another weak; the Gospel requiring both the one and the other. For if it were in the nature of things that one should be this, and another that, perchance there might be some reason in what you say. But now it is not permitted, either to be counted wise, or honorable, or to be free from dangers. If otherwise, it follows of necessity that you are preferred before us in the sight of God; you the disciples before us the teachers, and that after our endless hardships." If this be too bad for anyone to say, it remains for you to make our condition your object.

[2.] And "let no one," saith he, "think that I speak only of the past:"

Ver. 11. "Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst and are naked." Seest thou that all the life of Christians must be such as this; and not merely a day or two? For though the wrestler who is victorious in a single contest only, be crowned, he is not crowned again if he suffer a fall.

"And hunger;" against the luxurious. "And are buffeted;" against those who are puffed up. "And have no certain dwelling-place;" for we are driven about. "And are naked;" against the rich.

Ver. 12. "And labor;" now against the false apostles who endure neither toil nor peril, while they themselves receive the fruits. "But not so are we," saith he: "but together with our perils from without, we also strain ourselves to the utmost with perpetual labor. And what is still more, no one can say that we fret at these things, for the contrary is our requital to them that so deal with us: this, I say, is the main point, not our suffering evil, for that is common to all, but our suffering without despondency or vexation. But we so far from desponding are full of exultation. And a sure proof of this is our requiting with the contrary those who do us wrong."

Now as to the fact that so they did, hear what follows.

[Ver. 12, 13.] "Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat; we are made as the filth of the world." This is the meaning of "fools for Christ's sake." For whoso suffers wrong and avenges not himself nor is vexed, is reckoned a fool by the heathen; and dishonored and weak. And in order that he might not render his speech too unpalatable by referring the sufferings he was speaking of to their city, what saith he? "We are made the filth," not, "of your city," but, "of the world." And again, "the off-scouring of all men;" not of you alone, but of all. As then when he is discoursing of the providential care of Christ, letting pass the earth, the heaven, the whole creation, the Cross is what he brings forward; so also when he desires to attract them to himself hurrying by all his miracles, he speaks of his sufferings on their account. So also it is our method when we be injured by any and despised, whatsoever we have endured for them, to bring the same forward.

"The offscouring of all men, even until now." This is a vigorous blow which he gave at the end, "of all men;" "not of the persecutors only," saith he, "but of those also for whom we suffer these things: Oh greatly am I obliged to them." It is the expression of one seriously concerned; not in pain himself, but desiring to make them feel, (plexai) that he who hath innumerable complaints to make should even salute them. And therefore did Christ command us to bear insults meekly that we might both exercise ourselves in a high strain of virtue, and put the other party to the more shame. For that effect one produces not so well by reproach as by silence.

Ver. 14. [3.] Then since he saw that the blow could not well be borne, he speedily heals it; saying, "I write not these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children." "For not as abashing you," saith he, "do I speak these things." The very thing which by his words he had done, this he says he had not done: rather he allows that he had done it, not however with an evil and spiteful mind. Why, this mode of soothing is the very best, if we should say what we have to say and add the apology from our motive. For not to speak was impossible, since they would have remained uncorrected: on the other hand, after he had spoken, to leave the wound untended, were hard. Wherefore along with his severity he apologizes: for this so far from destroying the effect of the knife, rather makes it sink deeper in, while it moderates the full pain of the wound. Since when a man is told that not in reproach but in love are these things said, he the more readily receives correction.

However, even here also is great severity, and a strong appeal to their sense of shame, (entrope) in that he said not, "As a master" nor yet "as an apostle," nor yet "as having you for my disciples;" (which had well suited his claims on them;) but, "as my beloved children I admonish you." And not simply, children; but, "longed after." "Forgive me," saith he. "If anything disagreeable has been said, it all proceeds of love." And he said not, "I rebuke," but "I admonish." Now, who would not bear with a father in grief, and in the act of giving good advice? Wherefore he did not say this before, but after he had given the blow.

"What then?" some might say; "Do not other teachers spare us?" "I say not so, but, they carry not their forbearance so far." This however he spake not out at once, but by their professions and titles gave indication of it; "Tutor" and "Father" being the terms which he employs.

Ver. 15. [4.] "For though," saith he, "ye have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers." He is not here setting forth his dignity, but the exceeding greatness of his love. Thus neither did he wound the other teachers: since he adds the clause, "in Christ:" but rather soothed them, designating not as parasites but as tutors those among them who were zealous and patient of labor: and also manifested his own anxious care of them. On this account he said not, "Yet not many masters," but, "not many fathers." So little was it his object to set down any name of dignity, or to argue that of him they had received the greater benefit: but granting to the others the great pains they had taken for the Corinthians, (for that is the force of the word Tutor,) the superiority in love he reserves for his own portion: for that again is the force of the word Father.

And he saith not merely, No one loves you so much; a statement which admitted not of being called in question; but he also brings forward a real fact. What then is this? "For in Christ Jesus I begat you through the Gospel. In Christ Jesus." Not unto myself do I impute this. Again, he strikes at those who gave their own names to their teaching. For "ye," saith he, "are the seal of mine Apostleship." And again, "I planted:" and in this place, "I begat." He said not, "I preached the word," but, "I begat;" using the words of natural relationship. (tois tes phuseos onomasi) For his one care at the moment was, to shew forth the love which he had for them. "For they indeed received you from me, and led you on; but that you are believers at all came to pass through me." Thus, because he had said, "as children;" lest you should suppose that the expression was flattery he produces also the matter of fact.

Ver. 16. [5.] "I beseech you, be ye imitators of me, as I also am of Christ." (kathos kago Christou, omitted in our version: the Vulgate has it, see c. xi. 1.) Astonishing! How great is our teacher's boldness of speech! How highly finished the image, when he can even exhort others hereunto! Not that in self-exaltation he doth so, but implying that virtue is an easy thing. As if he had said, "Tell me not, `I am not able to imitate thee. Thou art a Teacher, and a great one.' For the difference between me and you is not so great as between Christ and me: and yet I have imitated Him."

On the other hand, writing to the Ephesians, he interposes no mention of himself, but leads them all straight to the one point, "Be ye imitators of God," is his word. (Ephes. v. 1.) But in this place, since his discourse was addressed to weak persons, he puts himself in by the way.

And besides, too, he signifies that it is possible even thus to imitate Christ. For he who copies the perfect impression of the seal, copies the original model.

Let us see then in what way he followed Christ: for this imitation needs not time and art, but a steady purpose alone. Thus if we go into the study of a painter, we shall not be able to copy the portrait, though we see it ten thousand times. But to copy him we are enabled by hearing alone. Will ye then that we bring the tablet before you and sketch out for you Paul's manner of life? Well, let it be produced, that picture far brighter than all the images of Emperors: for its material is not boards glued together, nor canvass stretched out; but the material is the work of God: being as it is a soul and a body: a soul, the work of God, not of men; and a body again in like wise.

Did you utter applause here? Nay, not here is the time for plaudits; but in what follows: for applauding, I say, and for imitating too: for so far we have but the material which is common to all without exception: inasmuch as soul differs not from soul in regard of its being a soul: but the purpose of heart shews the difference. For as one body differs not from another in so far as it is a body, but Paul's body is like every one's else, only dangers make one body more brilliant than another: just so is it in the case of the soul also.

[6.] Suppose then our tablet to be the soul of Paul: this tablet was lately lying covered with soot, full of spider's webs; (for nothing can be worse than blasphemy;) but when He came who transformeth all things, and saw that not through indolence or sluggishness were his lines so drawn but through inexperience and his not having the tints (ta anthe) of true piety: (for zeal indeed he had, but the colors were not there; for he had not "the zeal according to knowledge:") He gives him the tint of the truth, that is, grace: and in a moment he exhibited the imperial image. For having got the colors and learnt what he was ignorant of, he waited no time, but forthwith appeared a most excellent artist. And first he shews the head of the king, preaching Christ; then also the remainder of the body; the body of a perfect Christian life. Now painters we know shut themselves up and execute all their works with great nicety and in quiet; not opening the doors to any one: but this man, setting forth his tablet in the view of the world, in the midst of universal opposition, clamor, disturbance, did under such circumstances work out this Royal Image, and was not hindered. And therefore he said, "We are made a spectacle unto the world;" in the midst of earth, and sea, and the heaven, and the whole habitable globe, and the world both material and intellectual, he was drawing that portrait of his.

Would you like to see the other parts also thereof from the head downwards? Or will ye that from below we carry our description upwards? Contemplate then a statue of gold or rather of something more costly than gold, and such as might stand in heaven; not fixed with lead nor placed in one spot, but hurrying from Jerusalem even unto Illyricum, (Rom. xv. 19.) and setting forth into Spain, and borne as it were on wings over every part of the world. For what could be more "beautiful" than these "feet" which visited the whole earth under the sun? This same "beauty" the prophet also from of old proclaimeth, saying, (Is. lii. 7.) "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace!" Hast thou seen how fair are the feet? Wilt thou see the bosom too? Come, let me shew thee this also, and thou shalt behold it far more splendid than these beautiful, yea even than the bosom itself of the ancient lawgiver. For Moses indeed carried tablets of stone: but this man within him had Christ Himself: it was the very image of the King which he bore.

For this cause he was more awful than the Mercy Seat [71] and the Cherubim. For no such voice went out from them as from hence; but from them it talked with men chiefly about things of sense, from the tongue of Paul on the other hand about the things above the heavens. Again, from the Mercy Seat it spake oracles to the Jews alone; but from hence to the whole world: and there it was by things without life; but here by a soul instinct with virtue.

This Mercy Seat was brighter even than heaven, not shining forth with variety of stars nor with rays from the sun, but the very Sun of righteousness was there, and from hence He sent forth His rays. Again, from time to time in this our heaven, any cloud coursing over at times makes it gloomy; but that bosom never had any such storm sweeping across it. Or rather there did sweep over it many storms and oft: but the light they darkened not; rather in the midst of the temptation and dangers the light shone out. Wherefore also he himself when bound with his chain kept exclaiming, (2 Tim. ii. 9.) "The word of God is not bound." Thus continually by means of that tongue was It sending forth its rays. And no fear, no danger made that bosom gloomy. Perhaps the bosom seems to outdo the feet; however, both they as feet are beautiful, and this as a bosom.

Wilt thou see also the belly with its proper beauty? Hear what he saith about it, (ch. viii. 13.) "If meat make my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth: (Rom. xiv. 21.) It is good neither to eat flesh nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak: (ch. vi. 13.) Meats for the belly and the belly for meats." What can be more beautiful in its kind than this belly thus instructed to be quiet, and taught all temperance, and knowing how both to hunger and be famished, and also to suffer thirst? For as a well-trained horse with a golden bridle, so also did this walk with measured paces, having vanquished the necessity of nature. For it was Christ walking in it. Now this being so temperate, it is quite plain that the whole body of vice besides was done away.

Wouldst thou see the hands too? those which he now hath? Or wouldest thou rather behold first their former wickedness? (Acts viii. 3.) "Entering (this very man) into the houses, he haled," of late, "men and women," with the hands not of man, but of some fierce wild beast. But as soon as he had received the colors of the Truth and the spiritual experience, no longer were these the hands of a man, but spiritual; day by day being bound with chains. And they never struck any one, but they were stricken times without number. Once even a viper (Acts xxviii. 3, 5.) reverenced those hands: for they were the hands of a human being no longer; and therefore it did not even fasten on them.

And wilt thou see also the back, resembling as it does the other members? Hear what he saith about this also. (2 Cor. xi. 24, 25.) "Five times I received of the Jews forty stripes save one; thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep."

[7.] But lest we too should fall into an interminable deep, and be carried away far and wide, going over each of his members severally; come let us quit the body and look at another sort of beauty, that, namely, which proceeds from his garments; to which even devils shewed reverence; and therefore both they made off, and diseases took flight. And wheresoever Paul happened to shew himself, they all retired and got out of the way, as if the champion of the whole world had appeared. And as they who have been often wounded in war, should they see but some part of the armor of him that wounded them feel a shuddering; much in the same way the devils also, at sight of "handkerchiefs" only were astonied. Where be now the rich, and they that have high thoughts about wealth? Where they who count over their own titles and their costly robes? With these things if they compare themselves, it will be clay in their sight and dirt, all they have of their own. And why speak I of garments and golden ornaments? Why, if one would grant me the whole world in possession, the mere nail of Paul I should esteem more powerful than all that dominion: his poverty than all luxury: his dishonor, than all glory: his nakedness than all riches: no security would I compare with the buffeting of that sacred head: no diadem, with the stones to which he was a mark. This crown let us long for, beloved: and if persecution be not now, let us mean while prepare ourselves. For neither was he of whom we speak glorious by persecutions alone: for he said also, (1 Cor. ix. 27. hupopiezo rec. text, hupopiazo) "I keep under my body;" now in this one may attain excellence without persecutions. And he exhorted not to (Rom. iii. 14.) "make provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof." And again, (1 Tim. vi. 8.) "Having food and covering, let us be therewith content." For to these purposes we have no need of persecutions. And the wealthy too he sought to moderate, saying, (Ibid. 9.) "They that desire to be rich fall into temptation."

If therefore we also thus exercise ourselves, when we enter into the contest we shall be crowned: and though there be no persecution before us, we shall receive for these things many rewards. But if we pamper the body and live the life of a swine, even in peace we shall often sin and bear shame.

Seest thou not with whom we wrestle? With the incorporeal powers. How then, being ourselves flesh, are we to get the better of these? For if wrestling with men one have need to be temperate in diet, much more with evil spirits. But when together with fulness of flesh we are also bound down to wealth, whence are we to overcome our antagonists? For wealth is a chain, a grievous chain, to those who know not how to use it; a tyrant savage and inhuman, imposing all his commands by way of outrage on those who serve him. Howbeit, if we will, this bitter tyranny we shall depose from its throne, and make it yield to us, instead of commanding. How then shall this be? By distributing our wealth unto all. For so long as it stands against us, each single handed, like any robber in a wilderness it works all its bad ends: but when we bring it forth among others, it will master us no more, holden as it will be in chains, on all sides, by all men.

[8.] And these things I say, not because riches are a sin: the sin is in not distributing them to the poor, and in the wrong use of them. For God made nothing evil but all things very good; so that riches too are good; i.e. if they do not master their owners; if the wants of our neighbors be done away by them. For neither is that light good which instead of dissipating darkness rather makes it intense: nor should I call that wealth, which instead of doing away poverty rather increases it. For the rich man seeks not to take from others but to help others: but he that seeks to receive from others is no longer rich, but is emphatically poor. So that it is not riches that are an evil, but the needy mind which turns wealth into poverty. These are more wretched than those who ask alms in the narrow streets, carrying a wallet and mutilated in body. I say, clothed in rags as they are, not so miserable as those in silks and shining garments. Those who strut in the market-place are more to be pitied than those who haunt the crossings of the streets, and enter into the courts, and cry from their cellars, and ask charity. For these for their part do utter praises to God, and speak words of mercy and a strict morality. And therefore we pity them, and stretch out the hand, and never find fault with them. But those who are rich to bad purpose; cruelty and inhumanity, ravening and satanical lust, are in the words they belch out. And therefore by all are they detested and laughed to scorn. Do but consider; which of the two among all men is reckoned disgraceful, to beg of the rich or the poor. Every one, I suppose, sees it at once:--of the poor. Now this, if you mark it, is what the rich do; for they durst not apply to those who are richer than themselves: whereas those who beg do so of the wealthy: for one beggar asks not alms of another, but of a rich man; but the rich man tears the poor in pieces.

Again tell me, which is the more dignified, to receive from those who are willing and are obliged to you, or when men are unwilling, to compel and tease them? Clearly not to trouble those who are unwilling. But this also the rich do: for the poor receive from willing hands, and such as are obliged to them; but the rich from persons unwilling and repugnant, which is an indication of greater poverty. For if no one would like so much as to go to a meal, unless the inviter were to feel obliged to the guest, how can it be honorable to take one's share of any property by compulsion? Do we not on this account get out of the way of dogs and fly from their baying, because by their much besetting they fairly force us off? This also our rich men do.

"But, that fear should accompany the gift, is more dignified." Nay, this is of all most disgraceful. For he who moves heaven and earth about his gains, who can be so laughed to scorn as he? For even unto dogs, not seldom, through fear, we throw whatever we had hold of. Which I ask again, is more disgraceful? that one clothed with rags should beg, or one who wears silk? Thus when a rich man pays court to old and poor persons, so as to get possession of their property, and this when there are children, what pardon can he deserve?

Further: If you will, let us examine the very words; what the rich beggars say, and what the poor. What then saith the poor man? "That he who giveth alms will never have to give by measure (metriasei perhaps corrupt: conj. peinasei, "will never hunger); that he is giving of what is God's: that God is loving unto men, and recompenses more abundantly; all which are words of high morality, and exhortation, and counsel. For he recommends thee to look unto the Lord, and he takes away thy fear of the poverty to come. And one may perceive much instruction in the words of those who ask alms: but of what kind are those of the rich? Why, of swine, and dogs, and wolves, and all other wild beasts. For some of them discourse perpetually on banquets, and dishes, and delicacies, and wine of all sorts, and ointments, and vestures, and all the rest of that extravagance. And others about the interest of money and loans. And making out accounts and increasing the mass of debts to an intolerable amount, as if it had begun in the time of men's fathers or grandfathers, one they rob of his house, another of his field, and another of his slave, and of all that he has. Why should one speak of their wills, which are written in blood instead of ink? For either by surrounding them with some intolerable danger, or else bewitching them with some paltry promises, whomsoever they may see in possession of some small property, those they persuade to pass by all their relations, and that oftentimes when perishing through poverty, and instead of them to enter their own names. Is there any madness and ferocity of wild beasts of any sort which these things do not throw into the shade?

[8.] Wherefore I beseech you, all such wealth as this let us flee, disgraceful as it is and in deaths abundant; and let us obtain that which is spiritual, and let us seek after the treasures in the heavens. For whoso possess these, they are the rich, they are the wealthy, both here and there enjoying things; even all things. Since whoso will be poor, according to the word of God, has all men's houses opened to him. For unto him that for God's sake has ceased to possess any thing, every one will contribute of his own. But whoso will hold a little with injustice, shutteth the doors of all against him. To the end, then, that we may attain both to the good things here and to those which are there, let us choose the wealth which cannot be removed, that immortal abundance: which may God grant us all to obtain, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, &c.

Footnotes

[71] That is, probably, "of our Lord's Human Nature:" according to Theodoret on Rom. iii. 25. "The true Mercy Seat is the Lord Christ. The name suits Him as man, not as God: for as God, He Himself gives oracles from the Mercy Seat." And Theophylact on the same place: "It meant certainly the Human Nature, which was the Sheath of the Deity, covering It over." See Suicer on the word hilasterion. [This note is based upon a false reading, which has been corrected according to Field. C.]


Homily XIV.

1 Cor. iv. 17

For this cause have I sent unto you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, who shall put you in remembrance of my ways which be in Christ Jesus. [72]

Consider here also, I entreat, the noble soul, the soul more glowing and keener than fire: how he was indeed especially desirous to be present himself with the Corinthians, thus distempered and broken into parties. For he knew well what a help to the disciples his presence was and what a mischief his absence. And the former he declared in the Epistle to the Philippians, saying, (Phil. ii. 12. kai[] om. in rec. text.) "Not as in my presence only, but also now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." The latter he signifies in this Epistle, saying, (ver. 18.) "Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming to you; but I will come." He was urgent, it seems, and desirous to be present himself. But as this was not possible for a time, he corrects them by the promise of his appearance; and not this only, but also by the sending of his disciple. "For this," he saith, "I have sent unto you Timothy." "For this cause:" how is that? "Because I care for you as for children, and as having begotten you." And the message is accompanied with a recommendation of his person: "Who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord." Now this he said, both to shew his love of him, and to prepare them to look on him with respect. And not simply "faithful," but, "in the Lord;" that is, in the things pertaining to the Lord. Now if in worldly things it is high praise for a man to be faithful, much more in things spiritual.

If then he was his "beloved child," consider how great was Paul's love, in choosing to be separated from him for the Corinthian's sake, And if "faithful" also, he will be unexceptionable in his ministering to their affairs.

"Who shall put you in remembrance." He said not, "shall teach," lest they should take it ill, as being used to learn from himself. Wherefore also towards the end he saith, (1 Cor. xvi. 10, 11.) "For he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do. Let no man therefore despise him." For there was no envy among the Apostles, but they had an eye unto one thing, the edification of the Church. And if he that was employed was their inferior, they did as it were support (sunekrotoun) him with all earnestness. Wherefore neither was he contented with saying, "He shall put you in remembrance;" but purposing to cut out their envy more completely,--for Timothy was young,--with this view, I say, he adds, "my ways;" not "his," but "mine;" that is, his methods, (tas oikonomias.) his dangers, his customs, his laws, his ordinances, his Apostolical Canons, and all the rest. For since he had said, "We are naked, and are buffered, and have no certain dwelling place: all these things," saith he, "he will remind you of;" and also of the laws of Christ; for destroying all heresies. Then, carrying his argument higher, he adds, "which be in Christ;" ascribing all, as was his wont, unto the Lord, and on that ground establishing the credibility of what is to follow. Wherefore he subjoins, "Even as I teach every where in every church." "Nothing new have I spoken unto you: of these my proceedings all the other Churches are cognizant as well as you." Further: he calls them "ways in Christ," to shew that they have in them nothing human, and that with the aid from that source he doth all things well.

[2.] And having said these things and so soothed them, and being just about to enter on his charge against the unclean person, he again utters words full of anger; not that in himself he felt so but in order to correct them: and giving over the fornicator, he directs his discourse to the rest, as not deeming him worthy even of words from himself; just as we act in regard to our servants when they have given us great offence.

Next, after that he had said, "I send Timothy, lest they should thereupon take things too easily, mark what he saith:

Ver. 18. "Now some are puffed up, as though I were not coming unto you." For there he glances both at them and at certain others, casting down their highmindedness: since the love of preeminence is in fault, when men abuse the absence of their teacher for their own self-will. For when he addresses himself unto the people, observe how he does it by way of appeal to their sense of shame; when unto the originators of the mischief, his manner is more vehement. Thus unto the former he saith, "We are the offscouring of all:" and soothing them he saith, "Not to shame you I write these things;" but to the latter, "Now as though I were not coming to you, some are puffed up;" shewing that their self-will argued a childish turn of mind. For so boys in the absence of their master wax more negligent.

This then is one thing here indicated; and another is that his presence was sufficient for their correction. For as the presence of a lion makes all living creatures shrink away, so also does that of Paul the corrupters of the Church.

Ver. 19. And therefore he goes on, "But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will." Now to say this only would seem to be mere threatening. But to promise himself and demand from them the requisite proof by actions also; this was a course for a truly high spirit. Accordingly he added this too, saying,

"And I will know, not the word of them which are puffed up, but the power." For not from any excellencies of their own but from their teacher's absence, this self-will arose. Which again itself was a mark of a scornful mind towards him. And this is why, having said, "I have sent Timothy," he did not at once add, "I will come;" but waited until he had brought his charge against them of being "puffed up:" after that he saith, "I will come." Since, had he put it before the charge, it would rather have been an apology for himself as not having been deficient, instead of a threat; nor even so (houtos so the King's ms. outos the rec. text.) would the statement have been convincing. But as it is, placing it after the accusation, he rendered himself such as they would both believe and fear.

Mark also how solid and secure he makes his ground: for he saith not simply, "I will come:" but, "If the Lord will:" and he appoints no set time. For since he might perhaps be tardy in coming, by that uncertainty he would fain keep them anxiously engaged. And, lest they should hereupon fall back again, he added, "shortly,"

[3.] "And I will know, not the word of them that are puffed up, but the power." He said not, "I will know not the wisdom, nor the signs," but what? "not the word:" by the term he employs at the same time depressing the one and exalting the other. And for a while he is setting himself against the generality of them who were countenancing the fornicator. For if he were speaking of him, he would not say, "the power;" but, "the works," the corrupt works which he did.

Now why seekest thou not after "the word?" "Not because I am wanting in word but because all our doings are `in power.'" As therefore in war success is not for those who talk much but those who effect much; so also in this case, not speakers, but doers have the victory. "Thou," saith he, "art proud of this fine speaking. Well, if it were a contest and a time for orators, thou mightest reasonably be elated thereat: but if of Apostles preaching truth, and by signs confirming the same, why art thou puffed up for a thing superfluous and unreal, and to the present purpose utterly inefficient? For what could a display of words avail towards raising the dead, or expelling evil spirits, or working any other such deed of wonder? But these are what we want now, and by these our cause stands." Whereupon also he adds,

Ver. 20. "For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power." By signs, saith he, not by fine speaking, we have prevailed: and that our teaching is divine and really announces the Kingdom of Heaven we give the greater proof, namely, our signs which we work by the power of the Spirit. If those who are now puffed up desire to be some great ones; as soon as I am come, let them shew whether they have any such power. And let me not find them sheltering themselves behind a pomp of words: for that kind of art is nothing to us.

[4.] Ver. 21. "What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of meekness?"

There is much both of terror and of gentleness in this saying. For to say, "I will know," was the language of one as yet withholding himself: but to say, "What will ye? Must I come unto you with a rod?" are the words of one thenceforth ascending the teacher's seat, and from thence holding discourses with them and taking upon him all his authority.

What means, "with a rod?" With punishment, with vengeance: that is, I will destroy; I will strike with blindness: the kind of thing which Peter did in the case of Sapphira, and himself in the case of Elymas the sorcerer. For henceforth he no longer speaks as bringing himself into a close comparison with the other teachers, but with authority. And in the second Epistle too he appears to say the same, when he writes, "Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me."

"Shall I come with a rod, or in love?" What then? to come with a rod, was it not an instance of love? Of love it was surely [73] . But because through his great love he shrinks back in punishing, therefore he so expresses himself.

Further; when he spoke about punishment, he said not, "in a spirit of meekness," but, [simply,] "with a rod:" and yet of that too the Spirit was author. For there is a spirit of meekness, and a spirit of severity. He doth not, however, choose so to call it, but from its milder aspect (apo ton chrestoteron.) And for a like reason also, God, although avenging Himself, has it often affirmed of Him that He is "gracious and long-suffering, and rich in mercy and pity:" but that He is apt to punish, once perhaps or twice, and sparingly, and that upon some urgent cause.

[5.] Consider then the wisdom of Paul; holding the authority in his own hands, he leaves both his and that in the power of others, saying, "What will ye?" "The matter is at your disposal."

For we too have depending on us both sides of the alternative; both falling into hell, and obtaining the kingdom: since God hath so willed it. For, "behold," saith he, "fire and water: whichever way thou wilt, thou mayest stretch forth thine hand" (Ecclus. xv. 16.) And, "If ye be willing, and will hearken unto me, ye shall eat the good of the land; (Is. i. 19,) but if ye be not willing, the sword shall devour you."

But perhaps one will say, "I am willing; (and no one is so void of understanding as not to be willing;) but to will is not sufficient for me." Nay, but it is sufficient, if thou be duly willing, and do the deeds of one that is willing. But as it is, thou art not greatly willing.

And let us try this in other things, if it seem good. For tell me, he that would marry a wife, is he content with wishing? By no means; but he looks out for women to advance his suit, and request friends to keep watch with him, and gets together money. Again, the merchant is not content with sitting at home and wishing, but he first hires a vessel, then selects sailors and rowers, then takes up money on interest, and is inquisitive about a market and the price of merchandise. Is it not then strange for men to shew themselves so much in earnest about earthly things, but that when they are to make a venture for heaven, they should be content with wishing only? rather I should say, not even in this do they shew themselves properly in earnest. For he that wills a thing as he ought, puts also his hand unto the means which lead to the object of his desire. Thus, when hunger compels thee to take nourishment, thou waitest not for the viands to come unto thee of their own accord, but omittest nothing to gather victuals together. So in thirst, and cold and all other such things, thou art industrious and duly prepared to take care of the body. Now do this in respect of God's kingdom also, and surely thou shalt obtain it.

For to this end God made thee a free agent, that thou mightest not afterwards accuse God, as though some necessity had bound thee: but thou, in regard of those very things wherein thou hast been honored, dost murmur.

For in fact I have often heard people say, "But why did He then make my goodness depend on me?" Nay, but how was He to bring thee, slumbering and sleeping, and in love with all iniquity, and living delicately, and pampering thyself; how was He to bring thee up to heaven? If He had, thou wouldest not have abstained from vice. For if now, even in the face of threatening, thou dost not turn aside from thy wickedness; had he added no less than heaven as the end of thy race, when wouldest thou have ceased waxing more careless and worse by far? (cheiron pollo. pollon Bened.)

Neither again wilt thou be able to allege, He hath shewed me indeed what things were good but gave no help, for abundant also is His promise to thee of aid.

[6.] "But," say you, "Virtue is burdensome and distasteful; while with vice great pleasure is blended; and the one is wide and broad, but the other strait and narrow."

Tell me then, are they respectively such throughout, or only from the beginning? For in fact what thou here sayest, thou sayest, not intending it, in behalf of virtue; so potent a thing is truth. For suppose there were two roads, the one leading to a furnace, and the other to a Paradise; and that the one unto the furnace were broad, the other unto Paradise, narrow; which road wouldest thou take in preference? For although you may now gainsay for contradiction's sake, yet things which are plainly allowed on all hands, however shameless, you will not be able to gainsay. Now that that way is rather to be chosen which hath its beginning difficult but not its end, I will endeavor to teach you from what is quite obvious. And, if you please, let us first take in hand the arts. For these have their beginning full of toil, but the end gainful. "But," say you, "no one applies himself to an art without some one to compel him; for," you add, "so long as the boy is his own master, he will choose rather to take his ease at first, and in the end to endure the evil, how great soever, than to live hardly at the outset, and afterwards reap the fruit of those labors." Well then, to make such a choice comes of a mind left to itself, (orphanikes dianoias) and of childish idleness: but the contrary choice, of sense and manliness. And so it is with us: were we not children in mind, we should not be like the child aforesaid, forsaken (orphano) as he is and thoughtless, but like him that hath a father. We must cast out then our own childish mind, and not find fault with the things themselves; and we must set a charioteer over our conscience, who will not allow us to indulge our appetite, but make us run and strive mightily. For what else but absurdity is it to inure our children with pains at first unto pursuits which have laborious beginnings, but their end good and pleasant; while we ourselves in spiritual things take just the contrary turn?

And yet even in those earthly things it is not quite plain that the end will be good and pleasant: since before now untimely death, or poverty, or false accusation, or reverse of fortune, or other such things, of which there are many, have caused men after their long toil to be deprived of all its fruits. What is more, those who have such pursuits, though they succeed, it is no great gain which they will reap. For with the present life all those things are dissolved. But here, not for such fruitless and perishable things is our race, neither have we fears about the end; but greater and more secure is our hope after our departure hence. What pardon then can there be, what excuse for those who will not strip themselves for the evils to be endured for virtue's sake?

And do they yet ask, "Wherefore is the way narrow?" Why, thou dost not deem it right that any fornicator or lewd or drunken (kai ton methuonton inserted from the King's ms.) person should enter into the courts of earthly kings; and claimest thou for men to be let into heaven itself with licentiousness, and luxury, and drunkenness, and covetousness, and all manner of iniquity? And how can these things be pardonable?

[7.] "Nay," you reply, "I say not that, but why has not virtue a "broad way?" In good truth if we be willing, its way is very easy. For whether is easier, tell me; to dig through a wall and take other men's goods and so be cast into prison; or to be content with what you have and freed from all fear? I have not however said all. For whether is easier, tell me; to steal all men's goods and revel in few of them for a short time, and then to be racked and scourged eternally; or having lived in righteous poverty for a short time, to live ever after in delights? (For let us not enquire as yet which is the more profitable, but for the present, which is the more easy.) Whether again is it pleasanter, to see a good dream and to be punished in reality; or after having had a disagreeable dream to be really in enjoyment? Of course the latter. Tell me then, In what sense dost thou call virtue harsh? I grant, it is harsh, tried by comparison with our carelessness. However, that it is really easy and smooth, hear what Christ saith, (St. Matt. xi. 30.) "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." But if thou perceivest not the lightness, plainly it is for want of courageous zeal; since where that is, even heavy things are light; and by the same rule where it is not, even light things are heavy. For tell me, what could be sweeter and more easily obtained than the banquet of manna? Yet the Jews were discontented, though enjoying such delightful fare. What more bitter than hunger and all the other hardships which Paul endured? Yet he leaped up, and rejoiced, and said, (Col. i. 24.) "Now I rejoice in my sufferings." What then is the cause? The difference of the mind. If then you frame this as it ought to be, you will see the easiness of virtue.

"What then," say you, "does she only become such through the mind of those who pursue her?" She is such, not from their mind alone, but by nature as well. Which I thus prove: If the one had been throughout a thing painful, the other throughout of the contrary sort, then with some plausibility might some fallen persons have said that the latter was easier than the former. But if they have their beginnings, the one in hardship, the other in pleasure, but their respective ends again just opposite to these; and if those ends be both infinite, in the one the pleasure, in the other the burthen; tell me, which is the more easy to choose?

"Why then do many not choose that which is easy?" Because some disbelieve; and others, who believe, have their judgment corrupt, and would prefer pleasure for a season to that which is everlasting. "Is not this then easy?" Not so: but this cometh of a sick soul. And as the reason why persons in a fever long after cool drink is not upon calculation that the momentary luxury is pleasanter than being burned up from beginning to end, but because they cannot restrain their inordinate desire; so also these. Since if one brought them to their punishment at the very moment of their pleasure, assuredly they never would have chosen it. Thus you see in what sense vice is not an easy thing.

[8.] But if you will, let us try this same point over again by an example in the proper subject matter. Tell me, for instance, which is pleasanter and easier? (only let us not take again the desire of the many for our rule in the matter; since one ought to decide, not by the sick, but by the whole; just as you might show me ten thousand men in a fever, seeking things unwholesome upon choice to suffer for it afterwards; but I should not allow such choice;) which, I repeat, brings more ease, tell me; to desire much wealth, or to be above that desire? For I, for my part, think the latter. If thou disbelieve it, let the argument be brought to the facts themselves.

Let us then suppose one man desiring much, another nothing. Which now is the better state, tell me, and which the more respectable? However, let that pass. For this is agreed upon, that the latter is a finer character than the former. And we are making no enquiry about this at present, but which lives the easier and pleasanter life? Well then: the lover of money will not enjoy even what he has: for that which he loves he cannot choose to spend; but would gladly even carve (katakopseie) himself out, and part with his flesh rather than with his gold. But he that despises wealth, gains this the while, that he enjoys what he has quietly and with great security, and that he values himself more than it. Which then is the pleasanter; to enjoy what one has with freedom, or to live under a master, namely wealth, and not dare to touch a single thing even of one's own? Why, it seemeth to me to be much the same as if any two men, having wives and loving them exceedingly, were not upon the same terms with them; but the one were allowed the presence and intercourse of his wife, the other not even permitted to come near his.

There is another thing which I wish to mention, indicating the pleasure of the one and the discomfort of the other. He that is greedy of gain will never be stayed in that desire, not only because it is impossible, for him to obtain all men's goods, but also because whatever he may have compassed, he counts himself to have nothing. But the despiser of riches will deem it all superfluous, and will not have to punish his soul with endless desires. I say, punish; for nothing so completely answers the definition of punishment as desire deprived of gratification; a thing too which especially marks his perverse mind. Look at it in this way. He that lusts after riches and hath increased his store, he is the sort of person to feel as if he had nothing. I ask then, what more complicated than this disease? And the strange thing is not this only, but that although having, he thinks he has not the very things which are in his hold, and as though he had them not he bewails himself. If he even get all men's goods, his pain is but greater. And should he gain an hundred talents, he is vexed that he hath not received a thousand: and if he received a thousand; he is stung to the quick that it is not ten thousand: and if he receive ten thousand, he utterly bemoans himself (katakoptetai) because it is not ten times as much. And the acquisition of more to him becomes so much more poverty; for the more he receives so much the more he desires. So then, the more he receives, the more he becomes poor: since whoso desires more, is more truly poor. When then he hath an hundred talents, is he not very poor? [74] for he desires a thousand. When he hath got a thousand, then he becomes yet poorer. For it is no longer a thousand as before, but ten thousand that he professes himself to want. Now if you say that to wish and not to obtain is pleasure, you seem to me to be very ignorant of the nature of pleasure.

[9.] To shew that this sort of thing is not pleasure but punishment, take another case, and so let us search it out. When we are thirsty, do we not therefore feel pleasure in drinking because we quench our thirst; and is it not therefore a pleasure to drink because it relieves us from a great torment, the desire, I mean, of drinking? Every one, I suppose, can tell. But were we always to remain in such a state of desire, we should be as badly off as the rich man in the parable of Lazarus for the matter of punishment; for his punishment was just this that vehemently desiring one little drop, he obtained it not. And this very thing all covetous persons seem to me continually to suffer, and to resemble him where he begs that he may obtain that drop, and obtains it not. For their soul is more on fire than his.

Well indeed hath one [75] said, that all lovers of money are in a sort of dropsy; for as they, bearing much water in their bodies, are the more burnt up: so also the covetous, bearing about with them great wealth, are greedy of more. The reason is that neither do the one keep the water in the parts of the body where it should be, nor the other their desire in the limits of becoming thought.

Let us then flee this strange and craving (xenen kai kenen: a play on the sound of the words,) disease; let us flee the root of all evils; let us flee that which is present hell; for it is a hell, the desire of these things. Only just lay open the soul of each, of him who despises wealth and of him who does not so; and you will see that the one is like the distracted, choosing neither to hear nor see any thing: the other, like a harbor free from waves: and he is the friend of all, as the other is the enemy. For whether one take any thing of his, it gives him no annoyance; or if whether, on the contrary, one give him aught, it puffs him not up; but there is a certain freedom about him with entire security. The one is forced to flatter and feign before all; the other, to no man.

If now to be fond of money is to be both poor and timid and a dissembler and a hypocrite and to be full of fears and great penal anguish and chastisement: while he that despises wealth has all the contrary enjoyments: is it not quite plain that virtue is the more pleasant?

Now we might have gone through all the other evils also whereby it is shewn that there is no vice which hath pleasure in it, had we not spoken before so much at large.

Wherefore knowing these things, let us choose virtue; to the end that we may both enjoy such pleasure as is here, and may attain unto the blessings which are to come, through the grace and loving-kindness, &c. &c.

Footnotes

[72] Iesou om. in rec. text, [but retained it Rev. Vers.] [73] St. Augustin, cont. Parmen, iii. 3. "Are we to suppose that "the rod" at all excludes "love," because he has given this turn to his sentence, `Shall I come unto you with a rod,' or `in love?' Nay, the following clause, `And in a spirit of meekness,' hints what was passing in his mind--that the rod also has in it love. But love in severity is one thing, love in meekness another thing. The love is the same, but it works diversely in divers cases." [74] Savile reads this interrogatively, [as does also Dr. Field. C.] [75] Crescit indulgens sibi dirus Hydrops, Nec sitim pellit, nisi causa morbi Fugerit venis, et aquosus albo corpore languor. Hor. Carm. ii. 2.


Homily XV.

1 Cor. v. 1, 2

It is actually reported that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not even named among the Gentiles, that one of you hath his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and did not rather mourn, that he that had done this deed might be taken away from among you.

When he was discoursing about their divisions, he did not indeed at once address them vehemently, but more gently at first; and afterwards, he ended in accusation, saying thus, (c. 1. xi.) "For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them which are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you." But in this place, not so; but he lays about him immediately and makes the reproach of the accusation as general as possible. For he said not, "Why did such an one commit fornication?" but, "It is reported that there is fornication among you;" that they might as persons altogether aloof from his charge take it easily; but might be filled with such anxiety as was natural when the whole body was wounded, and the Church had incurred reproach. "For no one," saith he, "will state it thus, `such an one hath committed fornication,' but, `in the Church of Corinthians that sin hath been committed.'"

And he said not, "Fornication is perpetrated," but, "Is reported,--such as is not even named among the Gentiles." For so continually he makes the Gentiles a topic of reproach to the believers. Thus writing to the Thessalonians, he said, (1 Thess. iv. 4, 5, kai time om. ta loipa inserted.) "Let every one possess himself of his own vessel in sanctification, not in the passion of lust, even as the rest of the Gentiles." And to the Colossians and Ephesians, (Ephes. iv. 17. cf. Col. iii. 6, 7.) "That you should no longer walk, as the other Gentiles walk." Now if their committing the same sins was unpardonable, when they even outdid the Gentiles, what place can we find for them? tell me: "inasmuch as among the Gentiles," so he speaks, "not only they dare no such thing, but they do not even give it a name. Do you see to what point he aggravated his charge? For when they are convicted of inventing such modes of uncleanness as the unbelievers, so far from venturing on them, do not even know of, the sin must be exceeding great, beyond all words. And the clause, "among you," is spoken also emphatically; that is, "Among you, the faithful, who have been favored with so high mysteries, the partakers of secrets, the guests invited to heaven." Dost thou mark with what indignant feeling his works overflow? with what anger against all? For had it not been for the great wrath of which he was full, had he not been setting himself against them all, he would have spoken thus: "Having heard that such and such a person hath committed fornication, I charge you to punish him." But as it is he doth not so; he rather challenges all at once. And indeed, if they had written first, this is what he probably would have said. Since however so far from writing, they had even thrown the fault into the shade, on this account he orders his discourse more vehemently.

[2.] "That one of you should have his father's wife." Wherefore said he not, "That he should abuse his father's wife?" The extreme foulness of the deed caused him to shrink. He hurries by it accordingly, with a sort of scrupulousness as though it had been explicitly mentioned before. And hereby again he aggravates the charge, implying that such things are ventured on among them as even to speak plainly of was intolerable for Paul. Wherefore also, as he goes on, he uses the same mode of speech, saying, "Him who hath so done this thing:" and is again ashamed and blushes to speak out; which also we are wont to do in regard of matters extremely disgraceful. And he said not, "his step-mother," but, "his father's wife;" so as to strike much more severely. For when the mere terms are sufficient to convey the charge, he proceeds with them simply, adding nothing.

And "tell me not," saith he, "that the fornicator is but one: the charge hath become common to all." Wherefore at once he added, "and ye are puffed up:" he said not, "with the sin;" for this would imply want of all reason: but with the doctrine you have heard from that person [76] . This however he set not down himself, but left it undetermined, that he might inflict a heavier blow.

And mark the good sense of Paul. Having first overthrown the wisdom from without, and signified that it is nothing by itself although no sin were associated with it; then and not till then he discourses about the sin also. For if by way of comparison with the fornicator who perhaps was some wise one, he had maintained the greatness of his own spiritual gift; he had done no great thing: but even when unattended with sin to take down the heathen wisdom and demonstrate it to be nothing, this was indicating its extreme worthlessness indeed. Wherefore first, as I said, having made the comparison, he afterwards mentions the man's sin also.

And with him indeed he condescends not to debate, and thereby signifies the exceeding greatness of his dishonor. But to the others he saith, "You ought to weep and wail, and cover your faces, but now ye do the contrary." And this is the force of the next clause, "And ye are puffed up, and did not rather mourn."

"And why are we to weep?" some might say. Because the reproach hath made its way even unto the whole body of your Church. "And what good are we to get by our weeping?" "That such an one should be taken away from you." Not even here doth he mention his name; rather, I should say, not any where; which in all monstrous things is our usual way.

And he said not, "Ye have not rather cast him out," but, as in the case of any disease or pestilence, "there is need of mourning," saith he, "and of intense supplication, `that he may be taken away.' And you should have used prayer for this, and left nothing undone that he should be cut off."

Nor yet doth he accuse them for not having given him information, but for not having mourned so that the man should be taken away; implying that even without their Teacher this ought to have been done, because of the notoriety of the offence.

[3.] Ver. 3. "For I verily being absent in body, but present in spirit."

Mark his energy. He suffers them not even to wait for his presence, nor to receive him first and then pass the sentence of binding: but as if on the point of expelling some contagion before that it have spread itself into the rest of the body, he hastens to restrain it. And therefore he subjoins the clause, "I have judged already, as though I were present." These things moreover he said, not only to urge them unto the declaration of their sentence and to give them no opportunity of contriving something else, but also to frighten them, as one who knew what was to be done and determined there. For this is the meaning of being "present in spirit:" as Elisha was present with Gehazi, and said, "Went not my heart with thee? (2 Kings v. 26.) Wonderful! How great is the power of the gift, in that it makes all to be together and as one; and qualifies them to know the things which are far off. "I have judged already as though I were present."

He permits them not to have any other device. "Now I have uttered my decision as if I were present: let there be no delays and puttings off: for nothing else must be done."

Then lest he should be thought too authoritative and his speech sound rather self-willed, mark how he makes them also partners in the sentence. For having said, "I have judged," he adds, "concerning him that hath so wrought this thing, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, ye being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan.

Now what means, "In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ?" "According to God;" "not possessed with any human prejudice."

Some, however, read thus, "Him that hath so wrought this thing in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," and putting a stop there or a break, then subjoin what follows, saying, "When you are gathered together and my spirit to deliver such an one unto Satan:" and they assert that the sense of this reading is as follows, "Him that hath done this thing in the Name of Christ," saith St. Paul, "deliver ye unto Satan;" that is, "him that hath done insult unto the Name of Christ, him that, after he had become a believer and was called after that appellation, hath dared to do such things, deliver ye unto Satan." But to me the former exposition (ekdosis. It seems to mean "enunciation.") appears the truer.

What then is this? "When ye are gathered together in the Name of the Lord." That is; His Name, in whose behalf ye have met, collecting you together.

"And my spirit." Again he sets himself at their head in order that when they should pass sentence, they might no otherwise cut off the offender than as if he were present; and that no one might dare to judge him pardonable, knowing that Paul would be aware of the proceedings.

[4.] Then making it yet more awful, he saith, "with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ;" that is, either that Christ is able to give you such grace as that you should have power to deliver him to the devil; or that He is Himself together with you passing that sentence against him.

And he said not, "Give up" such an one to Satan, but "deliver;" opening unto him the doors of repentance, and delivering up such an one as it were to a schoolmaster. And again it is, "such an one:" he no where can endure to make mention of his name.

"For the destruction of the flesh." As was done in the case of the blessed Job, but not upon the same ground. For in that case it was for brighter crowns, but here for loosing of sins; that he might scourge him with a grievous sore or some other disease. True it is that elsewhere he saith, "Of the Lord are we judged, (1 Cor. xi. 32.) when we suffer these things." But here, desirous of making them feel it more severely, he "delivereth up unto Satan." And so this too which God had determined ensued, that the man's flesh was chastised. For because inordinate eating and carnal luxuriousness are the parents of desires, it is the flesh which he chastises.

"That the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus;" that is the soul. Not as though this were saved alone, but because it was a settled point that if that were saved, without all controversy the body too would partake in its salvation. For as it became mortal because of the soul's sinning: so if this do righteousness, that also on the other hand shall enjoy great glory.

But some maintain, that "the Spirit" is the Gracious Gift which is extinguished when we sin. "In order then that this may not happen," saith he, "let him be punished; that thereby becoming better, he may draw down to himself God's grace, and be found having it safe in that day." So that all comes as from one exercising a nurse's or a physician's office, not merely scourging nor punishing rashly and at random. For the gain is greater than the punishment: one being but for a season, the other everlasting.

And he said not simply, "That the spirit may be saved," but "in that day." Well and seasonably doth he remind them of that day in order that both they might more readily apply themselves to the cure, and that the person censured might the rather receive his words, not as it were of anger, but as the forethought of an anxious father. For this cause also he said, "unto the destruction of the flesh:" proceeding to lay down regulations for the devil and not suffering him to go a step too far. As in the instance of Job, God said, (Job ii. 6.) "But touch not his life."

[5.] Then, having ended his sentence, and spoken it in brief without dwelling on it, he brings in again a rebuke, directing himself against them;

Ver. 6. "Your glorying is not good:" signifying that it was they up to the present time who had hindered him from repenting, by taking pride in him. Next he shews that he is taking this step in order to spare not that person only, but also those to whom he writes. To which effect he adds,

"Know ye not, that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?" "For," saith he, "though the offence be his, yet if neglected it hath power to waste the rest of the body of the Church also. For when the first transgressor escapes punishment, speedily will others also commit the same faults."

In these words he indicates moreover that their struggle and their danger is for the whole Church, not for any one person. For which purpose he needeth also the similitude of the leaven. For "as that," saith he, "though it be but little, transforms unto its own nature the whole lump; so also this man, if he be let go unpunished and this sin turn out unavenged, will corrupt likewise all the rest."

Ver. 7. "Purge out the old leaven," that is, this evil one. Not that he speaketh concerning this one only; rather he glances at others with him. For, "the old leaven" is not fornication only, but also sin of every kind. And he said not, "purge," but "purge out;" "cleanse with accuracy so that there be not so much as a remnant nor a shadow of that sort." In saying then, "purge out," he signifies that there was still iniquity among them. But in saying, "that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened," he affirms and declares that not over very many was the wickedness prevailing. But though he saith, "as ye are unleavened," he means it not as a fact that all were clean, but as to what sort of people you ought to be.

[6.] "For our Passover also hath been sacrificed for us, even Christ; wherefore let us keep the feast: not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." So also Christ called His doctrine Leaven. And further he himself dwells upon the metaphor, reminding them of an ancient history, and of the Passover and unleavened bread, and of their blessings both then and now, and their punishments and their plagues.

It is festival, therefore, the whole time in which we live. For though he said, "Let us keep the feast," not with a view to the presence of the Passover or of Pentecost did he say it; but as pointing out that the whole of time is a festival unto Christians, because of the excellency of the good things which have been given. For what hath not come to pass that is good? The Son of God was made man for thee; He freed thee from death; and called thee to a kingdom. Thou therefore who hast obtained and art still obtaining such things, how can it be less than thy duty to "keep the feast" all thy life? Let no one then be downcast about poverty, and disease, and craft of enemies. For it is a festival, even the whole of our time. Wherefore saith Paul, (Philip. iv. 4.) "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice." Upon the festival days no one puts on filthy garments. Neither then let us do so. For a marriage hath been made, a spiritual marriage. For, "the kingdom of Heaven," saith He, "is likened unto a certain king which would make (St. Matt. xxii. 1. ethelese poiesai, rec. text epoiese.) a marriage feast for his son." Now where it is a king making a marriage, and a marriage for his son, what can be greater than this feast? Let no one then enter in clad in rags. Not about garments is our discourse but about unclean actions. For if where all wore bright apparel one alone, being found at the marriage in filthy garments, was cast out with dishonor, consider how great strictness and purity the entrance into that marriage feast requires.

[7.] However, not on this account only does he remind them of the "unleavened bread," but also to point out the affinity of the Old Testament with the New; and to point out also that it was impossible, after the "unleavened bread," again to enter into Egypt; but if any one chose to return, he would suffer the same things as did they. For those things were a shadow of these; however obstinate the Jew may be. Wherefore shouldest thou enquire of him, he will speak, no great thing, rather it is great which he will speak of, but nothing like what we speak of: because he knows not the truth. For he for his part will say, "the Egyptians who detained us were so changed by the Almighty that they themselves urged and drave us out, who before held us forcibly; they did not suffer us so much as to leaven our dough." But if a man asketh me, he shall hear not of Egypt nor of Pharaoh; but of our deliverance from the deceit of demons and the darkness of the devil: not of Moses but of the Son of God; not of a Red Sea but of a Baptism overflowing with ten thousand blessings, where the "old man" is drowned.

Again, shouldest thou ask the Jew why he expels all leaven from all his borders; here he will even be silent and will not so much as state any reason. And this is because, although some indeed of the circumstances were both types of things to come, and also due to things then happening; yet others were not so, that the Jews might not deal deceitfully; that they might not abide in the shadow. For tell me, what is the meaning of the Lamb's being a "Male," and "Unblemished," and a "year old," and of, "a bone shall not be broken?" and what means the command to call the neighbors also, (Exod. xii. 4.) and that it should be eaten "standing" and "in the evening;" or the fortifying the house with blood? He will have nothing else to say but over and over all about Egypt. But I can tell you the meaning both of the Blood, and of the Evening, and the Eating all together, and of the rule that all should be standing.

[8.] But first let us explain why the leaven is cast out of all their borders. What then is the hidden meaning? The believer must be freed from all iniquity. For as among them he perishes with whomsoever is found old leaven, so also with us wheresoever is found iniquity: since of course the punishment being so great in that which is a shadow, in our case it cannot choose but be much greater. For if they so carefully clear their houses of leaven [77] , and pry into mouse-holes; much more ought we to search through the soul so as to cast out every unclean thought.

This however was done by them of late [78] ; but now no longer. For every where there is leaven, where a Jew is found. For it is in the midst of cities that the feast of unleavened bread is kept: a thing which is now rather a game at play than a law. For since the Truth is come, the Types have no longer any place.

So that by means of this example also he mightily drives the fornicator out of the Church. For, saith he, so far from his presence profiting, he even doth harm, injuring the common estate of the body. For one knows not whence is the evil savor while the corrupt part is concealed, and so one imputes it to the whole. Wherefore he urges upon them strongly to "purge out the leaven, that ye may be," saith he, "a new lump, even as ye are unleavened."

"For our Passover hath been sacrificed for us even Christ." He said not, hath died, but more in point to the subject in hand, "hath been sacrificed." Seek not then unleavened bread of this kind, since neither hast thou a lamb of the same kind. Seek not leaven of this description, seeing that thine unleavened bread is not such as this.

[9.] Thus, in the case of material leaven, the unleavened might become leavened, but never the reverse; whereas here there is a chance of the direct contrary occuring. This however he has not plainly declared: and observe his good sense. In the former Epistle he gives the fornicator no hope of return, but orders that his whole life should be spent in repentance, lest he should make him less energetic through the promise. For he said not, "Deliver him up to Satan," that having repented he might be commended again unto the Church. But what saith he? "That he may be saved in the last day." For he conducts him on unto that time in order to make him full of anxiety. And what favors he intended him after the repentance, he reveals not, imitating his own Master. For as God saith, (Jonah iii. 4. lxx: rec. text, "forty days.") "Yet three days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown," and added not, "but if she repent she shall be saved:" so also he did not say here, "But if he repent worthily, we will `confirm our love towards him.'" (2 Cor. ii. 8.). But he waits for him to do the work that so he may then receive the favor. For if he had said this at the beginning he might have set him free from the fear. Wherefore he not only does not so, but by the instance of leaven allows him not even a hope of return, but reserves him unto that day: "Purge out (so he says) the old leaven;" and, "let us not keep the feast with old leaven." But as soon as he had repented, he brought him in again with all earnestness.

[10.] But why does he call it "old?" Either because our former life was of this sort, or because that which is old is "ready to vanish away," (Heb. viii. 13.) and is unsavory and foul; which is the nature of sin. For He neither simply finds fault with the old, nor simply praises the new, but with reference to the subject matter. And thus elsewhere He saith, (Ecclus. ix. 15.) "New wine is as a new friend: but if it become old, then with pleasure shalt thou drink it:" in the case of friendship bestowing his praise rather upon the old than the new. And again, "The Ancient of days sat," (Dan. vii. 9.) here again, taking the term "ancient" as among those laudatory expressions which confer highest glory. Elsewhere the Scripture takes the term "old" in the sense of blame; for seeing that the things are of various aspect as being composed of many parts, it uses the same words both in a good and an evil import, not according to the same shade of meaning. Of which you may see an instance in the blame cast elsewhere on the old: (Ps. xvii. 46. ap. LXX.) "They waxed old, and they halted from their paths." And again, (Ps. vi. 7. ap. LXX.) "I have become old in the midst of all mine enemies." And again, (Dan. xiii. 52. Hist. Susan.) "O thou that art become old in evil days." So also the "Leaven" is often taken for the kingdom of Heaven, although here found fault with. But in that place it is used with one aspect, and in this with another.

[11.] But I have a strong conviction that the saying about the leaven refers also to the priests who suffer a vast deal of the old leaven to be within, not purging out from their borders, that is, out of the Church, the covetous, the extortioners, and whatsoever would exclude from the kingdom of Heaven. For surely covetousness is an "old leaven;" and whenever it lights and into whatsoever house it enters, makes it unclean: and though you may gain but little by your injustice, it leavens the whole of your substance. Wherefore not seldom the dishonest gain being little, hath cast out the stock honestly laid up however abundant. For nothing is more rotten than covetousness. You may fasten up that man's closet with key, and door, and bolt: you do all in vain, whilst you shut up within covetousness, the worst of robbers, and able to carry off all.

"But what," say you, "if there are many covetous who do not experience this?" In the first place, they will experience it, though their experience come not immediately. And should they now escape, then do thou fear it the more: for they are reserved for greater punishment. Add to this, that in the event of themselves escaping, yet those who inherit their wealth will have the same to endure. "But how can this be just," you will say? It is quite just. For he that has succeeded to an inheritance; full of injustice, though he have committed no rapine himself, detains nevertheless the property of others; and is perfectly aware of this; and it is fair he should suffer for it. For if this or that person had robbed and you received a thing, and then the owner came and demanded it back; would it avail you in defence to say that you had not seized it? By no means. For what would be your plea when accused! tell me. That it was another who seized it? Well: but you are keeping possession. That it was he who robbed? But you are enjoying it. Why these rules even the laws of the heathen recognise, which acquitting those who have seized and stolen, bid you demand satisfaction from those persons in whose possession you happen to find your things all laid up.

If then you know who are the injured, restore and do what Zacchæus did, with much increase. But if you know not, I offer you another way yet; I do not preclude you from the remedy. Distribute all these things to the poor: and thus you will mitigate the evil.

But if some have transmitted these things even to children and descendants, still in retribution they have suffered other disasters.

[12.] And why speak I of things in this present life? In that day at any rate will none of these things be said, when both appear naked, both the spoiled and the spoilers. Or rather not alike naked. Of riches indeed both will be equally stripped; but the one will be full of the charges to which they gave occasion. What then shall we do on that day, when before the dread tribunal he that hath been evil entreated and lost his all is brought forward into the midst, and you have no one to speak a word for you? What will you say to the Judge? Now indeed you may be able even to corrupt the judgment, being but of men; but in that court and at that time, it will be no longer so: no, nor yet now will you be able. For even at this moment that tribunal is present: since God both seeth our doings and is near unto the injured, though not invoked: it being certain that whoever suffers wrong, however in himself unworthy to obtain any redress, yet nevertheless seeing that what is done pleases not God, he hath most assuredly one to avenge him.

"How then," you will say, "is such an one well off, who is wicked?" Nay, it will not be so unto the end. Hear what saith the Prophet; (Ps. xxxvii. 1, 2.) "Fret not thyself because of the evil doers, because as grass they shall quickly wither away." For where, tell me, where is he who wrought rapine, after his departure hence? Where are his bright hopes! Where his august name? Are they not all passed and gone? Is it not a dream and a shadow, all that was his? And this you must expect in the case of every such person, both in his own person while living, and in that of him who shall come after him. But not such is the state of the saints, nor will it be possible for you to say the same things in their case also, that it is shadow and a dream and a tale, what belongs to them.

[13.] And if you please, he who spake these things, the tent-maker, the Cilician, the man whose very parentage is unknown, let him be the example we produce. You will say, "How is it possible to become such as he was?" Do you then thoroughly desire it? Are you thoroughly anxious to become such? "Yes," you will say. Well then, go the same way as he went and they that were with him. Now what way went he? One saith, (2 Cor. xi. 27.) "In hunger, and thirst, and nakedness." Another, (Acts iii. 6.) "Silver and gold I have none." Thus they "had nothing and yet possessed all things." (2 Cor. vi. 10.) What can be nobler than this saying? what more blessed or more abundant in riches? Others indeed pride themselves on the contrary things, saying, "I have this or that number of talents of gold, and acres of land without end, and houses, and slaves;" but this man on his being naked of all things; and he shrinks not from poverty, (which is the feeling of the unwise,) nor hides his face, but he even wears it as an ornament.

Where now be the rich men, they who count up their interest simple and compound, they who take from all men and are never satisfied? Have ye heard the voice of Peter, that voice which sets forth poverty as the mother of wealth? That voice which has nothing, yet is wealthier than those who wear diadems? For this is that voice, which having nothing, raised the dead, and set upright the lame, and drove away devils, and bestowed such gracious gifts, as those who are clad in the purple robe and lead the mighty and terrible legions never were able to bestow. This is the voice of those who are now removed into heaven, of those who have attained unto that height.

[14.] Thus it is possible that he who hath nothing may possess all men's goods. Thus may he who possesses nothing acquire the goods of all: whereas, were we to get all men's goods, we are bereft of all. Perhaps this saying seems to be a paradox; but it is not. "But," you will say, "how does he who hath nothing possess all men's goods? Doth he not have much more who hath what belongs to all?" By no means: but the contrary. For he who hath nothing commands all, even as they did. And throughout the world all houses were open to them, and they who offered them took their coming as a favor, and they came to them as to friends and kindred. For so they came to the woman who was a seller of purple, (Acts xvi. 14.) and she like a servant set before them what she had. And to the keeper of the prison; and he opened to them all his house. And to innumerable others. Thus they had all things and had nothing: for (Acts iv. 32.) "they said that none of the things which they possessed was their own;" therefore all things were theirs. For he that considers all things to be common, will not only use his own, but also the things of others as if they belonged to him. But he that parts things off and sets himself as master over his own only, will not be master even of these. And this is plain from an example. He who possesses nothing at all, neither house, nor table, nor garment to spare, but for God's sake is bereft of all, uses the things which are in common as his own; and he shall receive from all whatsoever he may desire, and thus he that hath nothing possesses the things of all. But he that hath some things, will not be master even of these. For first, no one will give to him that hath possessions; and, secondly, his property shall belong to robbers and thieves and informers and changing events and be any body's rather than his. Paul, for instance, went up and down throughout all the world, carrying nothing with him, though he went neither unto friends nor kindred. Nay, at first he was a common enemy to all: but nevertheless he had all men's goods after he had made good his entrance. But Ananias and Sapphira, hastening to gain a little more than their own, lost all together with life itself. Withdraw then from thine own, that thou mayest use others' goods as thine own.

[15.] But I must stop: I know not how I have been carried into such a transport in speaking such words as these unto men who think it a great thing to impart but ever so little of their own. Wherefore let these my words have been spoken to the perfect. But to the more imperfect, this is what we may say, Give of what you have unto the needy. Increase your substance. For, saith He, (Prov. xix. 17.) "He that giveth unto the poor, lendeth unto God." But if you are in a hurry and wait not for the time of recompense, think of those who lend money to men: for not even these desire to get their interest immediately; but they are anxious that the principal should remain a good long while in the hands of the borrower, provided only the repayment be secure and they have no mistrust of the borrower. Let this be done then in the present case also. Leave them with God that He may pay thee thy wages manifold. Seek not to have the whole here; for if you recover it all here, how will you receive it back there? And it is on this account that God stores them up there, inasmuch as this present life is full of decay. But He gives even here also; for, "Seek ye," saith He, "the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you." (St. Matt. vi. 33.) Well then, let us look towards the kingdom, and not be in a hurry for the repayment of the whole, lest we diminish our recompense. But let us wait for the fit season. For the interest in these cases is not of that kind, but is such as is meet to be given to God. This then having collected together in great abundance, so let us depart hence, that we may obtain both the present and the future blessings; 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, henceforth, and for evermore. Amen.

Footnotes

[76] S. Aug. cont. Parm. iii. 5. gives their "glorying" a different turn; saying, (with especial reference to v. 6.) "To glory, not for their own sins, but over other men's sins, as in comparison with their own innocence, may seem but `a little leaven;' while to boast even of one's iniquities is much leaven: however, this also `leaveneth the whole lump.'" [Perhaps the phrase refers merely to their general elation at their good estate, notwithstanding their toleration of so great an offence. C.] [77] Lightfoot, Works, i. 953. "`Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses.' The Jews to meet this command that was so exceeding strict, and to make sure for its observance soon enough, `did on the fourteenth day, while yet there was some light, make search for leaven by the light of a candle.' (Talm. in Pesachim. no. 1.) Thus is the Tradition; in which by the light of the fourteenth day their glossaries tell us that we must understand the `thirteenth day at even, when it began to be duskish and candle-light.' The rubric of the Passover in the Hebrew and Spanish tongues renders it, `At the entrance of the fourteenth day of the month Nisan, they searched for leaven in all the places where they were wont to use leaven, even in holes and crannies; and that not by light of the sun and moon, or torch, but by the light of a wax candle,'...because it is the fittest for searching holes and corners, and because the Scripture speaketh of searching Jerusalem with candles." See Zeph. i. 12. [78] i.e. (as it should seem) it has now become impossible for the Jews to keep this command, since they and their false doctrine are (spiritually) that very leaven, which is to be put away. Compare St. Matt. xvi. 6.


Homily XVI.

1 Cor. v. 9-11

I wrote unto you in my epistle to have no company with fornicators: yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous and extortioners, or with idolaters, for then must ye needs go out of the world: but now I write unto you not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a drunkard, or a reviler, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

For since he had said, "Ye have not rather mourned, that such an one should be taken away;" and, "Purge out the old leaven;" and it was likely that they would surmise it to be their duty to avoid all fornicators: for if he that has sinned imparts some of his own mischief to those who have not sinned, much more is it meet to keep one's self away from those without: (for if one ought not to spare a friend on account of such mischief arising from him, much less any others;) and under this impression, it was probable that they would separate themselves from the fornicators among the Greeks also, and the matter thus turning out impossible, they would have taken it more to heart: he used this mode of correction, saying, "I wrote unto you to have no company with fornicators, yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world:" using the word "altogether," as if it were an acknowledged thing. For that they might not think that he charged not this upon them as being rather imperfect, and should attempt to do it under the erroneous impression that they were perfect, he shews that this were even impossible to be done, though they wished it ever so much. For it would be necessary to seek another world. Wherefore he added, "For ye must needs then go out of the world." Seest thou that he is no hard master, and that in his legislation he constantly regards not only what may be done, but also what may be easily done. For how is it possible, says he, for a man having care of a house and children, and engaged in the affairs of the city, or who is an artisan or a soldier, (the greater part of mankind being Greeks,) to avoid the unclean who are to be found every where? For by "the fornicators of the world," he means those who are among the Greeks. "But now I write unto you, If any brother" be of this kind, "with such an one no not to eat." Here also he glances at others who were living in wickedness.

But how can one "that is a brother" be an idolater? As was the case once in regard to the Samaritans who chose piety but by halves. And besides he is laying down his ground beforehand for the discourse concerning things offered in sacrifice to idols, which after this he intends to handle.

"Or covetous." For with these also he enters into conflict. Wherefore he said also, "Why not rather take wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? Nay, ye yourselves do wrong and defraud."

"Or a drunkard." For this also he lays to their charge further on; as when he says, "One is hungry and another is drunken:" and, "meats for the belly and the belly for meats."

"Or a reviler, or an extortioner:" for these too he had rebuked before.

[2.] Next he adds also the reason why he forbids them not to mix with heathens of that character, implying that it is not only impossible, but also superfluous.

Ver. 12, "For what have I to do with judging them that are without?" Calling the Christians and the Greeks, "those within" and "those without," as also he says elsewhere, (1 Tim. iii. 7.) "He must also have a good report of them that are without." And in the Epistle to the Thessalonians he speaks the same language, saying, (2 Thess. iii. 14.) "Have no intercourse with him to the end that he may be put to shame." And, "Count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." Here, however, he does not add the reason. Why? Because in the other case he wished to soothe them, but in this, not so. For the fault in this case and in that was not the same, but in the Thessalonians it was less. For there he is reproving indolence; but here fornication and other most grievous sins. And if any one wished to go over to the Greeks, he hinders not him from eating with such persons; this too for the same reason. So also do we act; for our children and our brethren we leave nothing undone, but of strangers we do not make much account. How then? Did not Paul care for them that were without as well? Yes, he cared for them; but it was not till after they received the Gospel and he had made them subject to the doctrine of Christ, that he laid down laws for them. But so long as they despised, it was superfluous to speak the precepts of Christ to those who knew not Christ Himself.

"Do not ye judge them that are within, whereas them that are without, God judgeth?" For since he had said, "What have I to do with judging those without;" lest any one should think that these were left unpunished, there is another tribunal which he sets over them, and that a fearful one. And this he said, both to terrify those, and to console these; intimating also that this punishment which is for a season snatches them away from that which is undying and perpetual: which also he has plainly declared elsewhere, saying, (1 Cor. xi. 32.) "But now being judged, we are chastened, that we should not be condemned with the world."

[3.] "Put away from among yourselves the wicked person." He used an expression found in the Old Testament, (Deut. xvii. 7.) partly hinting that they too will be very great gainers, in being freed as it were from some grievous plague; and partly to shew that this kind of thing is no innovation, but even from the beginning it seemed good to the legislator that such as these should be cut off. But in that instance it was done with more severity, in this with more gentleness. On which account one might reasonably question, why in that case he conceded that the sinner should be severely punished and stoned, but in the present instance not so; rather he leads him to repentance. Why then were the lines drawn in the former instance one way and in the latter another? For these two causes: one, because these were led into a greater trial and needed greater long-suffering; the other and truer one, because these by their impunity were more easily to be corrected, coming as they might to repentance; but the others were likely to go on to greater wickedness. For if when they saw the first undergoing punishment they persisted in the same things, had none at all been punished, much more would this have been their feeling. For which reason in that dispensation death is immediately inflicted upon the adulterer and the manslayer; but in this, if through repentance they are absolved, they have escaped the punishment. However, both here one may see some instances of heavier punishment, and in the Old Testament some less severe, in order that it may be signified in every way that the covenants are akin to each other, and of one and the same lawgiver: and you may see the punishment following immediately both in that covenant and in this, and in both often after a long interval. Nay, and oftentimes not even after a long interval, repentance alone being taken as satisfaction by the Almighty. Thus in the Old Testament, David, who had committed adultery and murder, was saved by means of repentance; and in the New, Ananias, who withdrew but a small portion of the price of the land, perished together with his wife. Now if these instances are more frequent in the Old Testament, and those of the contrary kind in the New, the difference of the persons produces the difference in the treatment adopted in such matters.

[4.] C. vi. ver. 1. "Dare any one of you, having a matter against his brother, (ton adelphon, rec. text thon heteron.) go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?"

Here also he again makes his complaint upon acknowledged grounds; for in that other place he says, "It is actually reported that there is fornication among you." And in this place, "Dare any one of you?" From the very first outset giving signs of his anger, and implying that the thing spoken of comes of a daring and lawless spirit.

Now wherefore did he bring in by the way that discourse about covetousness and about the duty of not going to law without the Church? In fulfilment of his own rule. For it is a custom with him to set to right things as they fall in his way; just as when speaking about the tables which they used in common, he launched out into the discourse about the mysteries. So here, you see, since he had made mention of covetous brethren, burning with anxiety to correct those in sin, he brooks not exactly to observe order; but he again corrects the sin which had been introduced out of the regular course, and so returns to the former subject.

Let us hear then what he also says about this. "Dare any of you, having a matter, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?" For a while, he employs those personal terms to expose, discredit, and blame their proceedings: nor does he quite from the beginning subvert the custom of seeking judgment before the believers: but when he had stricken them down by many words, then he even takes away entirely all going to law. "For in the first place," says he, "if one must go to law it were wrong to do so before the unrighteous. But you ought not to go to law at all." This however he adds afterwards. For the present he thoroughly sifts the former subject, namely, that they should not submit matters to external arbitration. "For," says he, "how can it be otherwise than absurd that one who is at variance (mikropsuchouta) with his friend should take his enemy to be a reconciler between them? And how can you avoid feeling shame and blushing when a Greek sits to judge a Christian? And if about private matters it is not right to go to law before Greeks, how shall we submit to their decisions about other things of greater importance?"

Observe, moreover, how he speaks. He says not, "Before the unbelievers," but, "Before the unrighteous;" using the expression of which he had most particular need for the matter before him, in order to deter and keep them away. For see that his discourse was about going to law, and those who are engaged in suits seek for nothing so much as that the judges should feel great interest about what is just; he takes this as a ground of dissuasion, all but saying, "Where are you going? What are you doing, O man, bringing on yourself the contrary to what you wish, and in order to obtain justice committing yourself to unjust men?" And because it would have been intolerable to be told at once not to go to law, he did not immediately add this, but only changed the judges, bringing the party engaged in the trial from without into the Church.

[5.] Then, since it seemed easily open to contempt, I mean our being judged by those who were within, and especially at that time, (for they were not perhaps competent to comprehend a point, nor were they such as the heathen judges, well skilled in laws and rhetoric, inasmuch as the greater part of them were uneducated men,) mark how he makes them worthy of credit, first calling them "Saints."

But seeing that this bore witness to purity of life, and not to accuracy in hearing a case, observe how he orderly handles this part also, saying thus, "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" How then canst thou who art in thy day to judge them, endure to be judged by them now? They will not indeed judge, taking their seat in person and demanding account, yet they shall condemn. This at least he plainly said; "And if the world is judged in you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" He says not "by you," but "in you:" just as when He said, (St. Matt. xii. 42.) "The queen of the south shall rise up and condemn this generation:" and, "The men of Nineveh shall arise and condemn this generation." For when beholding the same sun and sharing all the same things, we shall be found believers but they unbelievers, they will not be able to take refuge in ignorance. For we shall accuse them, simply by the things which we have done. And many such ways of judgment one will find there.

Then, that no one should think he speaks about other persons, mark how he generalizes his speech. "And if the world is judged in you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?"

The thing is a disgrace to you, he says, and an unspeakable reproach. For since it was likely that they would be out of countenance at being judged by those that were within; "nay," saith he, "on the contrary, the disgrace is when you are judged by those without: for those are the very small controversies, not these."

Ver. 3. "Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more, things which pertain to this life?"

Some say that here the priests are hinted at, but away with this. His speech is about demons. For had he been speaking about corrupt priests, he would have meant them above when he said, "the world is judged in you:" (for the Scripture is wont to call evil men also "The world:") and he would not have said the same thing twice, nor would he, as if he was saying something of greater consequence, have put it down afterwards. But he speaks concerning those angels about whom Christ saith, "Depart ye into the fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels." (St. Matt. xxv. 41.) And Paul, "his angels fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness." (2 Cor. xi. 15.) For when the very incorporeal powers shall be found inferior to us who are clothed with flesh, they shall suffer heavier punishment.

But if some should still contend that he speaks of priests, "What sort of priests?" let us ask. Those whose walk in life has been worldly, of course. In what sense then does he say, "We shall judge angels, much more things that relate to this life?" He mentions the angels, in contradistinction to "things relating to this life": likely enough; for they are removed from the need of these things, because of the superior excellence of their nature.

[6.] Ver. 4. "If then ye have to judge things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are of no account in the Church." [79]

Wishing to instruct us as forcibly as possible that they ought not to commit themselves to those without, whatsoever the matter may be; having raised what seemed to be an objection, he answers it in the first instance. For what he says is something like this: Perhaps some one will say, "No one among you is wise, nor competent to pass sentence; all are contemptible." Now what follows? "Even though none be wise," says he, "I bid you entrust things to those who are of least weight."

Ver. 5. "But this I say to move you to shame." These are the words of one exposing their objection as being an idle pretext: and therefore he adds, "Is it so that there is not a wise man among you, no not even one?" Is the scarcity, says he, so great? so great the want of sensible persons among you? And what he subjoins strikes even still harder. For having said, "Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one?" he adds, "who shall be able to judge in the case of his brother." For when brother goes to law with brother, there is never any need of understanding and talent in the person who is mediating in the cause, the feeling and relationship contributing greatly to the settlement of such a quarrel.

"But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers." Do you observe with what effect he disparaged the judges at first by calling them unrighteous; whereas here, to move shame, he calls them Unbelievers? For surely it is extremely disgraceful if the priest could not be the author of reconciliation even among brethren, but recourse must be had to those without. So that when he said, "those who are of no account," his chief meaning was not (ou touto eipe proegoumenos ) that the Church's outcasts should be appointed as judges, but to find fault with them. For that it was proper to make reference to those who were able to decide, he has shewn by saying, "Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one?" And with great impressiveness he stops their mouths, and says, "Even though there were not a single wise man, the hearing ought to have been left to you who are unwise rather than that those without should judge." For what else can it be than absurd, that whereas on a quarrel arising in a house we call in no one from without and feel ashamed if news get abroad among strangers of what is going on within doors; where the Church is, the treasure of the unutterable Mysteries, there all things should be published without?

Ver. 6. "But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers."

The charge is twofold; both that he "goeth to law," and "before the unbelievers." For if even the thing by itself, To go to law with a brother, be a fault, to do it also before aliens, what pardon does it admit of?

[7.] Ver. 7. "Nay, already it is altogether a defect in you, that ye have lawsuits one with another."

Do you see for what place he reserved this point? And how he has cleared the discussion of it in good time? For "I talk not yet," saith he, "which injures, or which is injured." Thus far, the act itself of going to law brings each party under his censure, and in that respect one is not at all better than another. But whether one go to law justly or unjustly, that is quite another subject. Say not then, "which did the wrong?" For on this ground I at once condemn thee, even for the act of going to law.

Now if being unable to bear a wrong-doer be a fault, what accusation can come up to the actual wrong? "Why not rather take wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?"

Ver. 8. "Nay, ye yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren."

Again, it is a twofold crime, perhaps even threefold or fourfold. One, not to know how to bear being wronged. Another, actually to do wrong. A third, to commit the settlement of these matters even unto the unjust. And yet a fourth, that it should be so done to a brother. For men's offences are not judged by the same rule, when they are committed against any chance person, and towards one's own member. For it must be a greater degree of recklessness to venture upon that. In the other case, the nature of the thing is alone trampled on; but in this, the quality of the person also.

[8.] Having thus, you see, abashed them from arguments on general principles, and before that, from the rewards proposed [80] ; he shuts up the exhortation with a threat, making his speech more peremptory, and saying thus, (ver. 9.) "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, (ver. 10.) nor covetous, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." What sayest thou? When discoursing about covetous persons, have you brought in upon us so vast a crowd of lawless men? "Yes," says he, "but in doing this, I am not confusing my discourse, but going on in regular order." For as when discoursing about the unclean he made mention of all together; so again, on mentioning the covetous he brings forward all, thus making his rebukes familiar to those who have such things on their conscience. For the continual mention of the punishment laid up for others makes the reproof easy to be received, when it comes into conflict with our own sins. And so in the present instance he utters his threat, not at all as being conscious of their doing such things, nor as calling them to account, a thing which has special force to hold the hearer and keep him from starting off; namely, the discourse having no respect unto him, but being spoken indefinitely and so wounding his conscience secretly.

"Be not deceived." Here he glances at certain who maintain (what indeed most men assert now) that God being good and kind to man, takes not vengeance upon our misdeeds: "Let us not then be afraid." For never will he exact justice of any one for any thing. And it is on account of these that he says, "Be not deceived." For it belongs to the extreme of error and delusion, after depending on good to meet with the contrary; and to surmise such things about God as even in man no one would think of. Wherefore saith the Prophet in His person, (Ps. xlix. LXX. 1. Heb. ver. 21.) [81] "Thou hast conceived iniquity, that I shall be like unto thee: I will reprove thee and set before thy face thine iniquities." And Paul here, "Be not deceived; neither fornicators," (he puts first the one that was already condemned,) "nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor drunkards, nor revilers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Many have attacked this place as extremely severe, since he places the drunkard and the reviler with the adulterer and the abominable and the abuser of himself with mankind. And yet the offenses are not equal: how then is the award of punishment the same? What shall we say then? First, that drunkenness is no small thing nor reviling, seeing that Christ Himself delivered over to hell him that called his brother Fool. And often that sin has brought forth death. Again, the Jewish people too committed the greatest of their sins through drunkenness. In the next place, it is not of punishment that he is so far discoursing, but of exclusion from the kingdom. Now from the kingdom both one and the other are equally thrust out; but whether in hell they will find any difference, it belongs not to this present occasion to enquire. For that subject is not before us just now.

[9.] Ver. 11. "And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified."

In a way to abash them exceedingly, he adds this: as if he said, "Consider from what evils God delivered us; how great an experiment and demonstration of loving-kindness He afforded us! He did not limit His redemption to mere deliverance, but greatly extended the benefit: for He also made thee clean. Was this then all? Nay: but He also "sanctified." Nor even is this all: He also "justified." Yet even bare deliverance from our sins were a great gift: but now He also filled thee with countless blessing. And this He hath done, "In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ;" not in this name or in that: yea also, "In the Spirit of our God."

Knowing therefore these things, beloved, and bearing in mind the greatness of the blessing which hath been wrought, let us both continue to live soberly, being pure from all things that have been enumerated; and let us avoid the tribunals which are in the forums of the Gentiles; and the noble birth which God hath freely given us, the same let us preserve to the end. For think how full of shame it is that a Greek should take his seat and deal out justice to thee.

But you will say, what if he that is within judge contrary to the law? Why should he? tell me. For I would know by what kind of laws the Greek administers justice, and by what the Christian? Is it not quite plain that the laws of men are the rule of the Greek, but those of God, of the Christian? Surely then with the latter there is greater chance of justice, seeing that these laws are even sent from heaven. For in regard to those without, besides what has been said, there are many other things also to suspect; talent in speakers and corruption in magistrates and many other things which are the ruin of justice. But with us, nothing of this sort.

"What then," you will say, "if the adversary be one in high place? Well, for this reason more than all one ought to go to law in Christian courts: for in the courts without he will get the better of you at all events. "But what if he acquiesce not, but both despise those within and forcibly drag the course without?" Better were it to submit willingly to what you are likely to endure by compulsion, and not go to law, that thou mayest have also a reward. For, (St. Matt. v. 40.) "If any one will go to law with thee, and take away thy coat, thou shalt let him have thy cloak also:" and, (v. 25.) "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art with him in the way." And why need I speak of our rules? For even the pleaders in the heathen courts very often tell us this, saying, "it were better to make up matters out of court." But, O wealth, or rather, O the absurd love of wealth! It subverts all things and casts them down; and all things are to the many an idle tale and fables because of money! Now that those who give trouble to courts of laws should be worldly men is no marvel: but that many of those who have bid farewell to the world should do the very same, this is a thing from which all pardon is cut off. For if you choose to see how far you should keep from this sort of need, I mean that of the tribunals, by rule of the Scripture, and to learn for whom the laws are appointed, hear what Paul saith; (1 Tim. i. 9.) "For a righteous man law is not made, but for the lawless, and unruly." And if he saith these things about the Mosaic Law, much more about the laws of the heathen.

[10.] Now then, if you commit injustice, it is plain that you cannot be righteous: but if you are injured and bear it, (for this is a special mark of a righteous man,) you have no need of the laws which are without. "How then," say you, "shall I be able to bear it when injured?" And yet Christ hath commanded something even more than this. For not only hath he commanded you when injured to bear it, but even to give abundantly more to the wrong-doer; and in your zeal for suffering ill to surpass his eagerness for doing it. For he said not, "to him that will sue thee at law, and take away thy coat, give thy coat," but, "together with that give also thy cloak." But I bid you overcome him, saith He, by suffering, not by doing, evil: for this is the certain and splendid victory. Wherefore also Paul goes on to say, "Now then it is altogether a defect in (hettema rec. vers. "a fault.") you that ye have lawsuits one with another." And, "Wherefore do ye not rather take wrong?" For that the injured person overcomes, rather than he who cannot endure being injured, this I will make evident to you. He that cannot endure injury, though he force the other into court and gain the verdict, yet is he then most of all defeated. For that which he would not, he hath suffered; in that the adversary hath compelled him both to feel pain and to go to law. For what is it to the point that you have prevailed? and what, that you have recovered all the money? You have in the meanwhile borne what you did not desire, having been compelled to decide the matter by law. But if you endure the injustice, you overcome; deprived indeed of the money, but not at all of the victory which is annexed to such self-command. For the other had no power to oblige you to do what you did not like.

And to shew that this is true; tell me, which conquered at the dunghill? Which was defeated? Job who was stripped of all, or the devil who stripped him of all? Evidently the devil who stripped him of all. Whom do we admire for the victory, the devil that smote, or Job that was smitten? Clearly, Job. And yet he could not retain his perishing wealth nor save his children. Why speak I of riches and children? He could not insure to himself bodily health. Yet nevertheless this is the conqueror, he that lost all that he had. His riches indeed he could not keep; but his piety he kept with all strictness. "But his children when perishing he could not help." And what then? Since what happened both made them more glorious, and besides in this way he protected himself against the despiteful usage. Now had he not have suffered ill and been wronged of the devil, he would not have gained that signal victory. Had it been an evil thing to suffer wrong, God would not have enjoined it upon us: for God enjoineth not evil things. What, know ye not that He is the God of Glory? that it could not be His will to encompass us with shame and ridicule and loss, but to introduce (proxenesai) us to the contrary of these? Therefore He commands us to suffer wrong, and doth all to withdraw us from worldly things, and to convince us what is glory, and what shame; what loss, and what gain.

"But it is hard to suffer wrong and be spitefully entreated." Nay, O man, it is not, it is not hard. How long will thy heart be fluttering about things present? For God, you may be sure, would not have commanded this, had it been hard. Just consider. The wrong-doer goes his way with the money, but with an evil conscience besides: the receiver of the wrong, defrauded indeed of some money, but enriched with confidence towards God; an acquisition more valuable than countless treasures.

[11.] Knowing these things, therefore, let us of our free choice go on strict principles, and not be like the unwise, who think that they are then not wronged, when their suffering wrong is the result of a trial. But, quite on the contrary, that is the greatest harm; and so in every case when we exercise self-restraint in these matters, not willingly, but after being worsted in that other quarter. For it is no advantage that a man defeated in a trial endures it; for it becomes thenceforth a matter of necessity. What then is the splendid victory? When thou lookest down on it: when thou refusest to go to law.

"How say you? have I been stripped of every thing," saith one, "and do you bid me keep silent? Have I been shamefully used, and do you exhort me to bear it meekly? And how shall I be able?" Nay, but it is most easy if thou wilt look up unto heaven; if thou wilt behold the beauty that is in sight; and whither God hath promised to receive thee, if thou bear wrong nobly. Do this then; and looking up unto the heaven, think that thou art made like unto Him that sitteth there upon the Cherubim. For He also was injured and He bore it; He was reproached and avenged not Himself; and was beaten, yet He asserted not His cause. Nay, He made return, in the contrary kind, to those who did such things, even in benefits without number; and He commanded us to be imitators of Him. Consider that thou camest naked out of thy mother's womb, and that naked both thou and he that hath done thee wrong shall depart; rather, he for his part, with innumerable wounds, breeding worms. Consider that things present are but for a season; count over the tombs of thine ancestors; acquaint thyself accurately with past events; and thou shalt see that the wrong-doer hath made thee stronger. For his own passion he hath aggravated, his covetousness I mean; but yours, he hath alleviated, taking away the food of the wild beast. And besides all this, he hath set you free from cares, agony, envy, informers, trouble, worry, perpetual fear; and the foul mass of evils he hath heaped upon his own head.

"What then," saith one, "if I have to struggle with hunger?" Thou endurest this with Paul, who saith, (1 Cor. iv. 10.) "Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked." But he did it, you will say, "for God's sake:" do thou it also for God's sake. For when thou abstainest from avenging, thou dost so for God's sake.

"But he that wronged me, takes his pleasure with the wealthy." Nay, rather with the devil. But be you crowned with Paul.

Therefore fear not hunger, for (Prov. x. 3.) "the Lord will not kill with hunger the souls of the righteous." And again, another saith, (Ps. lv. 23.) "Cast upon the Lord thy care, and He will nourish thee." For if the sparrows of the field are nourished by Him, how shall He not nourish thee? Now let us not be of little faith nor of little soul, O my beloved! For He who hath promised the kingdom of heaven and such great blessings, how shall He not give things present? Let us not covet superfluous things, but let us keep to a sufficiency, and we shall always be rich. Let shelter be what we seek and food, and we shall obtain all things; both these, and such as are far greater.

But if you are still grieving and bowing down, I should like to shew you the soul of the wrongdoer after his victory, how it is become ashes. For truly sin is that kind of thing: while one commits it, it affords a certain pleasure; but when it is finished, then the trifling pleasure is gone, one knows not how, and in its place comes dejection. And this is our feeling when we do hurt to any: afterwards, at any rate, we condemn ourselves. So also when we over-reach we have pleasure; but afterwards we are stung by conscience. Seest thou in any one's possession some poor man's home? Weep not for him that is spoiled, but for the spoiler: for he has not inflicted, but sustained an evil. For he robbed the other of things present; but himself he cast out of the blessings which cannot be uttered. For if he who giveth not to the poor shall go away into hell; what shall he suffer who takes the goods of the poor?

"Yet," saith one, "where is the gain, if I suffer ill?" Indeed, the gain is great. For not of the punishment of him that hath done thee harm doth God frame a compensation for thee: since that would be no great thing. For what great good is it, if I suffer ill and he suffer ill? And yet I know of many, who consider this the greatest comfort, and who think they have got all back again, when they see those who had insulted them undergoing punishment. But God doth not limit His recompense to this.

Wouldest thou then desire to know in earnest how great are the blessings which await thee? He openeth for thee the whole heaven; He maketh thee a fellow-citizen with the Saints; He fits thee to bear a part in their choir: from sins He absolveth; with righteousness He crowneth. For if such as forgive offenders shall obtain forgiveness, those who not only forgive but who also give largely to boot, what blessing shall they not inherit?

Therefore, bear it not with a poor spirit, but even pray for him that injured thee. It is for thyself that thou dost this. Hath he taken thy money? Well: he took thy sins too: which was the case with Naaman and Gehazi. How much wealth wouldest thou not give to have thine iniquities forgiven thee? This, believe me, is the case now. For if thou endure nobly and curse not, thou hast bound on thee a glorious crown. It is not my word, but thou hast heard Christ speaking, "Pray for those that despitefully use you." And consider the reward how great! "That ye may be like your Father which is in the heavens." So then you have been deprived of nothing, yea, you have been a gainer: you have received no wrongs, rather you have been crowned; in that you are become better disciplined in soul; are made like to God; are set free from the care of money; are made possessor of the kingdom of heaven.

All these things therefore taking into account, let us restrain ourselves in injuries, beloved, in order that we may both be freed from the tumult of this present life, and cast out all unprofitable sadness of spirit, and may obtain the joy 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, henceforth, and for ever and ever. Amen.

Footnotes

[79] [Most of the modern critics and the Rev. Version make this a question, but Principal Edwards agrees with Chrysostom in considering it a precept. C.] [80] i.e. in the clause, Do ye not know that the Saints shall judge the world? ver. 2. [81] tas anomias sou not in rec. text.


Homily XVII.

1 Cor. vi. 12

"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought into the power of any.

Here he glances at the gluttons. For since he intends to assail the fornicator again, and fornication arises from luxuriousness and want of moderation, he strongly chastises this passion. It cannot be that he speaks thus with regard to things forbidden, such not being "lawful:" but of things which seem to be indifferent. To illustrate my meaning: "It is lawful," he says, "to eat and to drink; but it is not expedient with excess." And so that marvellous and unexpected turn of his, which he is often wont to adopt; (Cf. Rom. xii. 21; 1 Cor. vii. 23.) bringing his argument clear round to its contrary, this he manages to introduce here also; and he signifies that to do what is in one's power not only is not expedient, but even is not a part of power, but of slavery.

And first, he dissuades them on the ground of the inexpediency of the thing, saying, "they are not expedient:" in the next place, on that of its contrariety to itself, saying, "I will not be brought under the power of any." This is his meaning: "You are at liberty to eat," says he; "well then, remain in liberty, and take heed that you do not become a slave to this appetite: for he who uses it properly, he is master of it; but he that exceeds the proper measure is no longer its master but its slave, since gluttony reigns paramount within him." Do you perceive how, where the man thought he had authority Paul points out that he is under authority? For this is his custom, as I was saying before, to give all objections a turn the contrary way. It is just this which he has done here. For mark; each of them was saying, "I have power to live luxuriously." He replies, "In doing so, thou art not so much acting as one who had power over a thing, but rather as being thyself subject to some such power. For thou hast not power even over thine own belly, so long as thou art dissolute, but it hath power over thee." And the same we may say both of riches and of other things.

Ver. 13. "Meats for the belly." By "the belly" here he means not the stomach, but the stomach's voraciousness. As when he says, (Philip. iii. 19.) "Whose God is their belly:" not speaking about that part of the body, but about greediness. To prove that so it is, hear what follows: "And the belly for meats; but the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord." And yet "the belly" also is of "the body." But he puts down two pairs of things, "meats" and gluttony, (which he terms "the belly;") "Christ," and "the body."

What then is the meaning of, "Meats for the belly?" "Meats," he says, are on good terms with gluttony, and it with them. It cannot therefore lead us unto Christ, but drags towards these. For it is a strong and brutal passion, and makes us slaves, and puts us upon ministering to the belly. Why then art thou excited and gaping after food, O man? For the end of that service is this, and nothing further shall be seen of it: but as one was waiting on some mistress, it abides keeping up this slavery, and advances no further, and has no other employment but this same fruitless one. And the two are connected together and destroyed together; "the belly" with "the meats," and "the meats" with "the belly;" winding out a sort of interminable course; just as from a corrupt body worms may be produced, and again by worms the body consumed; or as it were a wave swoln high and breaking, and having no further effect. But these things he says not concerning food and the body, but it is the passion of greediness and excess in eatables which he is censuring: and what follows shews it. For he proceeds:

"But God shall bring to nought both it and them:" speaking not of the stomach, but of immoderate desire: not of food but of high feeding. For with the former he is not angry, but even lays down rules about them, saying, (1 Tim. vi. 8.) "Having food and covering we shall be therewith content." However, thus he stigmatizes the whole thing; its amendment (after advice given) being left by him to prayer.

But some say that the words are a prophecy, declaring the state which shall be in the life to come, and that there is no eating or drinking there. Now if that which is moderate shall have an end, much more ought we to abstain from excess.

Then lest any one should suppose that the body is the object of his censure, and suspect that from a part he is blaming the whole, and say that the nature of the body was the cause of gluttony or of fornication, hear what follows. "I blame not," he says, "the nature of the body, but the immoderate license of the mind." And therefore he subjoins, "Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord;" for it was not formed for this purpose, to live riotously and commit fornication, as neither was the belly to be greedy; but that it might follow Christ as a Head, and that the Lord might be set over the body. Let us be overcome with shame, let us be horror-struck, that after we have been counted worthy of such great honor as to become members of Him that sitteth on high, we defile ourselves with so great evils.

[2.] Having now sufficiently condemned the glutton, he uses also the hope of things to come to divert us from this wickedness: saying,

Ver. 14. And God both raised up the Lord, and will raise up us also through His power.

Do you perceive again his Apostolical wisdom? For he is always establishing the credibility of the Resurrection from Christ, and especially now. For if our body be a member of Christ, and Christ be risen, the body also shall surely follow the Head.

"Through his power." For since he had asserted a thing disbelieved and not to be apprehended by reasonings, he hath left entirely to His incomprehensible power the circumstances of Christ's own Resurrection, producing this too as no small demonstration against them. And concerning the Resurrection of Christ he did not insert this: for he did not say, "And God shall also raise up the Lord;"--for the thing was past and gone;--but how? "And God both raised up the Lord;" nor was there need of any proof. But concerning our resurrection, since it has not yet come to pass, he spoke not thus, but how? "And will raise up us also through His power:" by the reliance to be placed on the power of the Worker, he stops the mouths of the gainsayers.

Further: if he ascribe unto the Father the Resurrection of Christ, let not this at all disturb thee. For not as though Christ were powerless, hath he put this down, for He it is Himself who saith, (S. John ii. 19.) "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up:" and again, (S. John x. 18.) "I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again." And Luke also in the Acts says, (c. i. 3.) "To whom also He shewed Himself alive." Wherefore then does Paul so speak? Because both the acts of the Son are imputed unto the Father, and the Father's unto the Son. For He saith, (S. John v. 19.) "Whatsoever things He doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner."

And very opportunely he here made mention of the Resurrection, keeping down by those hopes the tyranny of gluttonous desire; and all but saying, Thou hast eaten, hast drunk to excess: and what is the result? Nothing, save only destruction. Thou hast been conjoined unto Christ; and what is the result? A great and marvellous thing: the future Resurrection, that glorious one, and transcending all utterance!

[3.] Let no one therefore go on disbelieving the Resurrection: but if a man disbelieve, let him think how many things He made from nothing, and admit it as a proof also of the other. For the things which are already past are stranger by far, and fraught with overpowering wonder. Just consider. He took earth and mixed it, and made man; earth which existed not before this. How then did the earth become man? And how was it produced from nothing? And, how, all the things that were made from it? the endless sorts of irrational creatures; of seeds; of plants; no pangs of travail having preceded in the one case, no rains having come down upon the others; no tillage seen, no oxen, no plough, nor any thing else contributing to their production? Why, for this cause the lifeless and senseless thing was made to put forth in the beginning so many kinds of plants and irrational creatures, in order that from the very first He might instruct thee in the doctrine of Resurrection. For this is more inexplicable than the Resurrection. For it is not the same thing to rekindle an extinguished lamp, and to shew fire that has never yet appeared. It is not the same thing to raise up again a house which has fallen down, and to produce one which has never at all had an existence. For in the former case, if nothing else, yet the material was given to work with: but in the latter, not even the substance appeared. Wherefore He made first that which seemed to be the more difficult, to the end that hereby thou mightest admit that which is the more easy; more difficult, I say, not to God, but as far as our reasonings can follow the subject. For with God nothing is difficult: but as the painter who has made one likeness will make ten thousand with ease, so also with God it is easy to make worlds without number and end. Rather, as it is easy for you to conceive a city and worlds without bound, so unto God is it easy to make them; or rather again it is easier by far. For thou consumest time, brief though it be, in thy conception; but God not even this, but as much as stones are heavier than any of the lightest things, yea even than our minds; so much is our mind surpassed by the rapidity of God's work of creation.

Do you marvel at His power on the earth? Think again how the heaven was made, not yet being; how the innumerable stars, how the sun, how the moon; and all these things not yet being. Again, tell me how after they were made they stood fast, and upon what? What foundation have they? and what the earth? What comes next to the earth? and again, what after that which came next to the earth? Do you see into what an eddy the eye of your mind is plunged, unless you quickly take refuge in faith and the incomprehensible power of the Maker?

But if you choose from human things also to make conjecture, you will be able by degrees to find wings for your understanding. "What kind of human things?" may be asked. Do you not see the potters, how they fashion the vase which had been broken in pieces and become shapeless? Those who fuse the ore from the mine, how the earth in their hands turns out (ten gen chrusion apophainousi) gold, or silver, or copper? Others again who work in glass, how they transform the sand into one compact and transparent substance? Shall I speak of the dressers of leather, the dyers of purple vestments; how they make that which had received their tint shew as one thing, when it had been another? Shall I speak of the generation of our own race? Doth not a small seed, at first without form and impress, enter into the womb which receives it? Whence then the so intricate formation of the living creature? What is the wheat? Is it not cast a naked seed into the earth? After it has been cast there, doth it not decay? Whence is the ear, the beard, the stalk, and all the other parts? Doth not often a little grain of a fig fall into the ground, and produce both root, and branches, and fruit? And dost thou hereupon admit each of these and make no curious enquiries, and of God alone dost thou demand account, in His work of changing the fashion of our body? And how can such things be pardonable?

These things and such like we say to the Greeks. For to those who are obedient to the Scriptures, I have no occasion to speak at all.

I say, if you intend to pry curiously into all His doings, what shall God have more than men? And yet even of men there are many about whom we do not so enquire. Much more then ought we to abstain from impertinent inquiry about the wisdom of God, and from demanding accounts of it: in the first place, because He is trustworthy who affirmeth: in the second place, because the matter admits not investigation by reasonings. For God is not so abjectly poor as to work such things only as can be apprehended by the weakness of thy reasonings. And if thou comprehendest not the work of an artisan, much less of God, the best of artificers. Disbelieve not then the Resurrection, for very far will ye be from the hope of that which is to come.

But what is the wise argument of the gain-sayers; rather, I should say, their exceeding senseless one? "Why how, when the body is mixed up with the earth and is become earth, and this again is removed elsewhere, how," say they, "shall it rise again?" To thee this seems impossible, but not to the unsleeping Eye. For unto that all things are clear. And thou in that confusion seest no distinction of parts; but He knows them all. Since also the heart of thy neighbor thou knowest not, nor the things in it; but He knoweth all. If then, because of thy not knowing how God raiseth men up, thou believest not that He doth raise them, wilt thou disbelieve that He knoweth also what is in thy mind? for neither is that obvious to view. And yet in the body it is visible matter, though it be dissolved: but those thoughts are invisible. Shall He then who knoweth with all certainty the invisible things, not see the things which be visible, and easily distinguish the scattered parts of the body? I suppose this is plain to every one.

Do not then disbelieve the Resurrection; for this is a doctrine of the Devil. This is what the Devil is earnest for, not only that the Resurrection may be disbelieved, but good works also may be done away with. For the man who does not expect that he shall rise again and give an account of the things which he has done, will not quickly apply himself to virtue; will in turn come to disbelieve the Resurrection entirely: for both these are established by each other; vice by unbelief, and unbelief by vice. For the conscience filled with many wickednesses, fearing and trembling for the recompense to come and not willing to provide itself with comfort by changing to what is most excellent, is fain to repose in unbelief. Thus when thou deniest resurrection and judgment, the other for his part will say, "Then shall I also not have to render account of my bold deeds."

[4.] But why saith Christ? (St. Matt. xxii. 29.) "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God." For God would not have wrought so many things, had He intended not to raise us up again, but to dissolve and blot us out in annihilation. He would not have spread out this heaven, He would not have stretched the earth beneath, He would not have made all the rest of the universe only for this short life. But if all these are for the present, what will He not do for that which is to come? If, on the contrary, there is to be no future life, we are in this respect of far meaner account than the things which have been made for our sakes. For both the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the rivers, are more lasting than we are: and some even of the brutes; since the raven, and the race of elephants, and many other creatures, have a longer enjoyment of the present life. To us, moreover, life is both short and toilsome, but not to them. Theirs is both long, and freer from grief and cares.

"What then? tell me: hath he made the slaves better than the masters?" Do not, I beseech thee, do not reason thus, O man, nor be so poverty-stricken in mind, nor be ignorant of the riches of God, having such a Master. For even from the beginning God desired to make thee immortal, but thou wert not willing. Since the things also of that time were dark hints of immortality: the converse with God; the absence of uneasiness from life; the freedom from grief, and cares, and toils, and other things which belong to a temporary existence. For Adam had no need either of a garment or a shelter, or any other provision of this sort; but rather was like to the Angels; and many of the things to come he foreknew, and was filled with great wisdom. Even what God did in secret, he knew, I mean with regard to the woman: wherefore also he said, "This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh." (Gen. ii. 23.) Labor came into being afterwards: so did sweat, so did shame, and cowardice, and want of confidence. But on that day there was no grief, nor pain, nor lamentation. But he abode not in that dignity.

What then, saith one, am I to do? must I perish on his account? I reply, first, It is not on his account: for neither hast thou remained without sin: though it be not the same sin, at least there is some other which thou hast committed. And again, you have not been injured by his punishment, but rather have been a gainer. For if you had been to remain altogether mortal, perchance what is said would have had some reason in it. But now thou art immortal, and if thou wilt, thou mayest shine brighter than the sun itself.

[5.] "But," says one, "had I not received a mortal body, I had not sinned." Tell me then, had he a mortal body when he sinned? Surely not: for if it had been mortal before, it would not have undergone death as a punishment afterwards. And that a mortal body is no hindrance to virtue, but that it keeps men in order and is of the greatest service, is plain from what follows. If the expectation of immortality alone so lifted up Adam; had he been even immortal in reality, to what a pitch of arrogance would he not have proceeded? And as things are, after sinning you may do away with your sins, the body being abject, falling away, and subject to dissolution: for these thoughts are sufficient to sober a man. But if you had sinned in an immortal body, your sins were likely to have been more lasting.

Mortality then is not the cause of sin: accuse it not: but the wicked will is the root of all the mischief. For why was not Abel at all the worse for his body? Why are the devils not at all the better for being incorporeal? Wilt thou hear why the body's becoming mortal, so far from hurting, has been positively useful? Mark how much thou gainest thereby, if thou art sober. It drags thee back and pulls thee off from wickedness, by griefs and pains and labors and other such things. "But it tempts men to uncleanness," perhaps you will say. Not the body, but incontinence, doth this. For all these things which I was mentioning certainly do belong to the body: on which account it is impossible that a man who has entered into this life should escape disease and pain and lowness of spirits: but that he commit no uncleanness is possible. Thus it appears that if the affections of vice were part of the nature of the body they would be universal: since all things natural are so; but to commit fornication is not so. Pain indeed cometh of nature: but to commit fornication proceeds from deliberate purpose.

Blame not the body then; let not the Devil take away thine honor, which God hath given thee. For if we choose, the body is an excellent bridle to curb the wanton sallies of the soul, to pull down haughtiness, to repress arrogance, to minister to us in the greatest achievements of virtue. For tell me not of those who have lost their senses; since we often see horses, after they have thrown out their drivers, dashing with their reins over the precipices, and yet we do not blame the rein. For it is not the breaking of that which caused it all, but the driver not holding them in was the ruin of every thing. Just so do thou reason in this case. If thou seest a young person living in orphanhood and doing innumerable evil things, blame not the body, but the charioteer who is dragged on, I mean, the man's faculty of reasoning. For as the reins give no trouble to the charioteer, but the charioteer is the cruise of all the mischief through his not holding them properly: (and therefore do they often exact a penalty of him, entangling themselves with him, and dragging him on, and compelling him to partake in their own mishap:) so is it also in the case before us. "I," say the reins, "made bloody the horse's mouth as long as you held me: but since you threw me away, I require satisfaction for your contempt, and I entwine myself about you, and drag you along, so as not to incur the same usage again." Let no one then blame the reins, but himself and his own corrupt mind. For over us too is a charioteer, even reason: and the reins are the body, connecting the horses with the charioteer; if then these be in good condition, you will suffer no harm: but if you let them go, you have annihilated and ruined every thing. Let us be temperate then, and lay all blame not on the body, but on the evil mind. For this is the Devil's special work, to make foolish men accuse the body and God and their neighbor, rather than their own perverted minds; lest, having discovered the cause, they get free from the root of the evils.

But do ye, being aware of his design, direct your wrath against him: and having set the charioteer upon the car, bend the eye of your minds towards God. For in all other instances he that appoints the games contributes nothing, but only awaits the end. But in this case, He is all in all, who appointed the contest, even God. Him therefore let us render propitious, and surely we shall obtain the blessings in store; through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be glory, power, honor, now, henceforth, and for evermore. Amen.


Homily XVIII.

1 Cor. vi. 15

"Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot? God forbid.

Having passed on from the fornicator to the covetous person, he comes back to the former from the latter, no longer henceforth discoursing with him but with the others who had not committed fornication. And in the act of securing them lest they fall into the same sins, he assails him again. For he that has committed sin, though you direct your words to another, is stung even in that way; his conscience being thoroughly awakened and scourging him.

Now the fear of punishment indeed was enough to keep them in chastity. But seeing that he does not wish by fear alone to set these matters right, he uses both threatenings and reasons.

Now upon that other occasion, having stated the sin, and prescribed the punishment, and pointed out the harm which intercourse with the fornicator brought upon all, he left off, and passed to the subject of covetousness: and having threatened the covetous and all the rest whom he mentioned with expulsion from the kingdom, he so concluded his discourse. But here he takes in hand the work of admonition in a yet more terrific manner. For as he that only punishes a sin and does nothing to point out its most extreme lawlessness, produces no such great effect by his chastisement: so again, he who only abashes and fails to terrify by his mode of punishing, does not very keenly hit men of hardened minds. Wherefore Paul does both: here he abashes, saying, "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" there again he terrifies, saying, "Know ye not that the covetous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?"

And in regard to the fornicator, he again uses this order of discourse. For having terrified him by what he had said before; first cutting him off and delivering him to Satan, and then reminding him of that day which is coming; he abashes him again by saying, "Know ye not that your bodies are members of Christ?" thenceforth speaking as to children of noble birth. For whereas he had said, "Now the body is for the Lord," he indicates it more plainly now. And in another place as well he does this same thing, saying, (xii. 27.) "Now ye are the body of Christ, and severally members thereof." And the same figure he often employs, not with the same aim, but at one time to shew His love, and at another to increase their fear. But here he has employed it to startle and fill them with alarm. "Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them members of a harlot? God forbid." Nothing can be apter to strike horror than this expression. He said not, "Shall I take the members of Christ, and join them on to a harlot?" but what? "make them members of a harlot;" which surely would strike more keenly.

Then he makes out how the fornicator becomes this, saying thus, "Know ye not that he that is joined unto a harlot is one body?" How is this evident? "For the twain, saith He, shall become one."

Ver. 17. "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."

For the conjunction suffers the two no longer to be two, but makes them both one.

[2.] Now mark again, how he proceeds by means of the bare terms, conducting his accusation in the names of the harlot and of Christ.

Ver. 18. "Flee fornication."

He said not, "abstain from fornication," but "Flee:" that is, with all zeal make to yourselves deliverance from that evil. "Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." This is less than what went before; but since he had to speak of fornicators, he amplifies that guilt by topics drawn from all quarters, from greater things and smaller alike, making the charge heinous. And, in fact, that former topic was addressed to the more religious, but this to the weaker sort. For this also is characteristic of the wisdom of Paul, not only to allege the great things wherewith to abash men, but the lesser also, and the consideration of what is disgraceful and unseemly.

"What then," say you, "does not the murderer stain his hand? What, of the covetous person and the extortioner?" I suppose it is plain to every one. But since it was not possible to mention anything worse than the fornicator, he amplifies the crime in another way, by saying that in the fornicator the entire body becomes defiled. For it is as polluted as if it had fallen into a vessel of filth, and been immersed in defilement. And this too is our way. For from covetousness and extortion no one would make haste to go into a bath, but as if nothing had happened returns to his house. Whereas from intercourse with a harlot, as having become altogether unclean, he goes to a bath. To such a degree does the conscience retain from this sin a kind of sense of unusual shame. Both however are bad, both covetousness and fornication; and both cast into hell. But as Paul doeth every thing with good management, so by whatever topics he had he magnified the sin of fornication.

[3.] Ver. 19. "Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?" He did not merely say, "of the Spirit," but, "which is in you;" which was the part of one who also was soothing. And again, explaining himself still further, he added, "which ye have from God." He mentioned Him that gave also, both exalting the hearer and putting him in fear, both by the magnitude of the deposit, and by the munificence of Him that made it.

"And ye are not your own." This is not only to abash, but even to force men towards virtue. "For why," says he; "doest thou what thou wilt? thou art not thine own master." But these things he said, not to take away free-will. For so in saying, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are expedient," he does not take away our liberty. And here again, writing, "Ye are not your own;" he makes no infringement upon freedom of choice, but he leads away from vice and indicates the guardian care of the Lord. And therefore he added, "For ye were bought with a price."

"But if I am not my own, upon what ground do you demand of me duties to be done? And why do you go on to say again, "Glorify God therefore in your body and in your spirit, which are God's?" What then is the meaning of, "ye are not your own?" And what does he wish to prove thereby? To settle them in a state of security against sin, and against following the improper desires of the mind. For indeed we have many improper wishes: but we must repress them, for we can. And if we could not, exhortation would be in vain. Mark, accordingly, how he secures his ground. For having said, "Ye are not your own," he adds not, "But are under compulsion;" but, "Ye were bought with a price." Why sayest thou this? Surely on another ground, one might say perhaps, you should have persuaded men, pointing out that we have a Master. But this is common to the Greeks also together with us: whereas the expression, "Ye were bought with a price," belongs to us peculiarly. For he reminds us of the greatness of the benefit and of the mode of our salvation, signifying that when we were alienated, we were "bought:" and not simply "bought," but, "with a price."

"Glorify then, take up and bear, [82] God in your body, and in your spirit." [83]Now these things he says, that we may not only flee fornication in the body, but also in the spirit of our mind abstain from every wicked thought, and from driving away grace.

"Which are God's." For as he had said "your," he added therefore, "which are God's:" continually reminding us that all things belong to the Lord, both body and soul and spirit: For some say, that the words "in the spirit" mean the gracious Gift; for if That be in us, God is glorified. And this will be, if we have a clean heart.

But He has spoken of these things as God's, not only because He brought them into being, but also because, when they were alienated, He won them again a second time, paying as the price, the blood of the Son. Mark how He brought the whole to completion in Christ, how He raised us up into heaven. "Ye are members of Christ," saith he, "ye are a temple of the Spirit." Become not then "members of a harlot:" for it is not your body which is insulted; since it is not your body at all, but Christ's. And these things he spake, both to make manifest His loving-kindness in that our body is His, and to withdraw us from all evil license. For if the body be another's, "you have no authority," says he, "to insult another's body; and especially when it is the Lord's; nor yet to pollute a temple of the Spirit." For if any one who invades a private house and makes his way revelling into it, must answer for it most severely; think what dreadful things he shall endure who makes a temple of the King a robber's lurking place.

Considering these things therefore, reverence thou Him that dwelleth within. For the Paraclete is He. Thrill before Him that is enfolded and cleaves unto thee; for Christ is He. Hast thou indeed made thyself members of Christ? Think thus, and continue chaste; whose members they were, and Whose they have become. Erewhile they were members of an harlot, and Christ hath made them members of His own Body. Thou hast therefore henceforth no authority over them. Serve Him that hath set thee free.

For supposing you had a daughter, and in extreme madness had let her out to a procurer for hire, and made her live a harlot's life, and then a king's son were to pass by, and free her from that slavery, and join her in marriage to himself; you could have no power thenceforth to bring her into the brothel. For you gave her up once for all, and sold her. Such as this is our case also. We let out our own flesh for hire unto the Devil, that grievous procurer: Christ saw and set it free, and withdrew it from that evil tyranny; it is not then ours any more but His who delivered it. If you be willing to use it as a King's bride, there is none to hinder; but if you bring it where it was before, you will suffer just what they ought who are guilty of such outrages. Wherefore you should rather adorn instead of disgracing it. For you have no authority over the flesh in the wicked lusts, but in those things alone which God may enjoin. Let the thought enter your mind at least from what great outrage God hath delivered it. For in truth never did any harlot expose herself so shamefully as our nature before this. For robberies, murders, and every wicked thought entered in and lay with the soul, and for a small and vulgar hire, the present pleasure. For the soul, being mixed up with all wicked devices and deeds, reaped this reward and no other.

However, in the time before this, bad though it were to be such as these, it was not so bad: but after heaven, after the King's courts, after partaking of the tremendous Mysteries, again to be contaminated, what pardon shall this have? Or, dost thou not think that the covetous too, and all those whom he recounted before, have the Devil to lie with them? And dost thou not judge that the women who beautify themselves for pollution have intercourse with him? Why, who shall gainsay this word? But if any be contentious, let him uncover the soul of the women who behave in this unseemly manner, and he will surely see that the wicked demon closely entwined with them. For it is hard, brethren, it is hard, perchance even impossible, when the body is thus beautified, for the soul to be beautified at the same time: but one must needs be neglected, while the other is cared for. For nature does not allow these to take place together.

[4.] Wherefore he saith, "He that is joined to a harlot is one body; but he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit." For such an one becomes thenceforth Spirit, although a body envelope him. For when nothing corporeal nor gross nor earthly is around him, the body doth but merely envelope him; since the whole government of him is in the soul and the Spirit. In this way God is glorified. Wherefore both in the Prayer we are commanded to say, "Hallowed be Thy Name:" and Christ saith also, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

So do the heavens also glorify Him, uttering no voice, but by the view of them attracting wonder and referring the glory unto the Great Artificer. So let us glorify Him also, or rather more than they. For we can if we will. For not so much do the heaven nor day nor night glorify God, as a holy soul. For as one that gazeth upon the beauty of the heaven, saith, "Glory be to Thee, O God! How fair a work hast thou formed!" so too when beholding virtue in any man: nay, and much more so in the latter instance. For from these works of creation all do not glorify God; but many even assert that the things which exist are self-moving: and others impute to demons the workmanship of the world and providence; and these indeed greatly and unpardonably err: but in regard to the virtue of man, no one shall have power to hold these shameless opinions, but shall assuredly glorify God when he seeth him that serveth Him living in goodness. For who shall help being astonished when one being a man, and partaking of our common nature, and living among other men, like adamant yields not at all to the swarm of passions? When being in the midst of fire and iron and wild beasts, he is even harder than adamant and vanquishes all for the Word of godliness' sake? when he is injured, and blesses; when he is evil reported of, and praises; when he is despitefully used, and prays for those who injure him; when he is plotted against, and does good to those that fight with him and lay snares for him? For these things, and such as these, will glorify God far more than the heaven. For the Greeks when they behold the heavens feel no awe; but when they see a holy man exhibiting a severe course of life with all strictness, they shrink away and condemn themselves. Since when he that partakes of the same nature as themselves is so much above them, a great deal more so than the heaven is above the earth, even against their inclination they think that it is a Divine power which works these things. Wherefore He saith, "And glorify your Father which is in heaven."

[5.] Wilt thou learn also from another place how by the life of His servants God is glorified, and how by miracles? Nebuchadnezzar once threw the Three Children into the furnace. Then when he saw that the fire had not prevailed over them, he saith, (Dan. iii. 28. LXX. ek tes kaminou added.) "Blessed be God, who hath sent His Angel, and delivered his servants out of the furnace, because they trusted in Him and have changed the word of the king." "How sayest thou? Hast thou been despised, and dost thou admire those who have spit upon you?" "Yes," saith he, "and for this very reason, that I was despised." And of the marvel he gives this reason. So that not because of the miracle alone was glory given to God at that time, but also because of the purpose of those who have been thrown in. Now if any one would examine this point and the other, as they are in themselves, this will appear not less than that: for to persuade souls to brave a furnace is not less in respect of the wonder than to deliver from a furnace. For how can it be otherwise than astonishing for the Emperor of the world, with so many arms around him, and legions, and generals, and viceroys, and consuls, and land and sea subject to his sway, to be despised by captive children; for the bound to overcome the binder and conquer all that army? Neither was there any power in the king and his company to do what they would, no, not even with the furnaces for an ally. But they who were naked, and slaves, and strangers, and few, (for what number could be more contemptible than three?) being in chains, vanquished an innumerable army. For already now was death despised, since Christ was henceforth about to sojourn in the world. And as when the sun is on the point of rising, even before his rays appear the light of the day groweth bright; so also when then the Sun of Righteousness was about to come, death henceforth began to withdraw himself. What could be more splendid than that theatre? What more conspicuous than that victory? What more signal than those new trophies of theirs?

The same thing is done in our time also. Even now is there a king of the Babylonish furnace, even now he kindles a flame fiercer than that. There is even now such an image, and one who giveth command to admire it. At his side are satraps and soldiers and bewitching music. And many gaze in admiration upon this image, so varied, so great. For somewhat of the same kind of thing as that image is covetousness, which doth not despise even iron [84] , but unlike as the materials are whereof it is composed, it giveth command to admire all, both brass and iron, and things much more ordinary than they.

But as these things are, so also even now are there some who are emulous of these children: who say, "thy gods we serve not, and thine images we worship not;" but both the furnace of poverty we endure and all other distress, for the sake of God's laws." And the wealthy for their part, even as those at that time, oftentimes, worship this image too and are burnt. But those who possess nothing despite even this, and although in poverty, are more in the dew [85] than those who live in affluence. Even as at that time they who cast into the fire were burnt up; but those in the midst of it found themselves in dew as it were rain. Then also that tyrant was more burnt up with the flame, his wrath kindling him violently, than those children. As to them, the fire had no power even to touch the ends of their hair: but more fiercely than that fire did wrath burn up his mind. For consider what a thing it was that with so many to look on, he should be scorned by captive children. And it was a sign that his taking their city also had not been through his own might, but by reason of the sin of the multitude among them. Since if he had not the power to overcome these men in chains, and that when they were cast into a furnace, how could he have overcome the Jews in regular warfare, had they been all such as these? From which it is plain that the sins of the multitude betrayed the city.

[6.] But mark also the children's freedom from vain-glory. For they did not leap into the furnace, but they kept beforehand the commandment of Christ where he says, (St. Matt. xxvi. 41.) "Pray that ye enter not into temptation." Neither did they shrink when they were brought to it; but stood in the midst nobly, neither contending without a summons, nor yet when summoned playing the coward: but ready for everything, and noble, and full of all boldness of speech.

But let us hear also what they say, that from this also we may learn their [86] lofty spirit. (Dan. iii. 17.) "There is a God in heaven able to deliver us:" they take no care for themselves, but even when about to be burned the glory of God is all their thought. For what they say comes to this, "Lest perchance if we are burnt thou shouldest charge God with weakness, we now declare unto thee accurately our whole doctrine. "There is a God in heaven," not such as this image here on earth, this lifeless and mute thing, but able to snatch even from the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Condemn him not then of weakness for permitting us to fall into it. So powerful is He that after our fall, He is able to snatch us out again out of the flame. "But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Observe that they by a special dispensation are ignorant of the future: for if they had foreknown, there would have been nothing wonderful in their doing what they did. For what marvel is it if when they had a guarantee for safety, they defied all terrors? Then God indeed would have been glorified in that He was able to deliver from the furnace: but they would not have been wondered at, inasmuch as they would not have cast themselves into any dangers. For this cause He suffered them to be ignorant of the future that He might glorify them the more. And as they cautioned (espsalixonto) the king that he was not to condemn God of weakness though they might be burnt, so God accomplished both purposes; the shewing forth His own power and the causing the zeal of the children to appear more conspicuous.

From whence then arose their doubting and their not feeling confident that they should at all events be preserved? Because they esteemed themselves assuredly too mean, and unworthy of such a benefit. And to prove that I say not this upon conjecture; when they fell into the furnace, they bewailed themselves after this sort, saying, (Song of the three Children vv. 6, 10.) "We have sinned, we have done iniquity, we cannot open our mouth." And therefore they said, "But if not." But if they did not plainly say this, namely, "God is able to deliver us; but if he deliver us not, for our sin's sake He will not deliver us;" wonder not at it. For they would have seemed to the barbarians to be sheltering the weakness of God under the pretext of their own sins. Wherefore His power only is what they speak of: the reason they allege not. And besides, they were well disciplined not to be over-curious about the judgments of God.

With these words then, they entered into the fire; and they neither cast insult upon the king, nor overturned the statue [87] . For such should the courageous man be, temperate and mild; and that especially in dangers; that he may not seem to go forth to such contests in wrath and vain-glory; but with fortitude and self-possession. For whoso deals insolently undergoes the suspicion of those faults: but he that endures, and is forced into the struggle, and goes through the trial with meekness, is not only admired as brave, but his self-possession also and consideration cause him to be no less extolled. And this is what they did at that time; shewing forth all fortitude and gentleness, and doing nothing for reward nor for recompense or return."`Though He be not willing `so it stands' to deliver us, we will not serve thy gods:' for we have already our recompense in that we are counted worthy to be kept from all impiety, and for that end to give our bodies to be burned."

We then also having already our recompense, (for indeed we have it in that we have been vouchsafed the full knowledge of Him, vouch-safed to be made members of Christ,) let us take care that we make them not members of an harlot. For with this most tremendous saying we must conclude our discourse, in order that having the fear of the threat in full efficacy, we may remain purer than gold, this fear helping to make us so. For so shall we be able, delivered from all fornication, to see Christ. Whom God grant us all to behold with boldness at that day, through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ; to Whom be the glory, for evermore. Amen.

Footnotes

[82] arateom. in rec. text, portate Vulg.: so St. Ignatius was called Theophorus. [83] [The last clause, and in your spirit, which are God's, not being found in the uncials, is omitted by all the modern Editors. C.] [84] St. Chrysostom evidently considers the image which Nebuchadnezzar set up as intended to represent the image which he had seen in his dream. [85] Mallon eisi en droso. Alluding to the words in LXX, epoiese to meson tes kaminou hos tneuma drosou diasurizon. v. 26. [86] ms. Reg. philotheon, "devout." Bened. philosophon. [87] This may be a covert allusion to the outrage on the statues of Theodosius, which had brought Antioch into so great trouble in the second year of S. Chrysostom's ministry there.


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