The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople,
On the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the CorinthiansThe 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 XXIX.1 Cor. xii. 1, 2
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that when ye were Gentiles, ye were led away unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might be led.
This whole place is very obscure: but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur but now no longer take place. And why do they not happen now? Why look now, the cause too of the obscurity hath produced us again another question: namely, why did they then happen, and now do so no more?
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And this was not the only thing to disturb them, but there were also in the place many soothsayers, inasmuch as the city was more than usually addicted to Grecian customs, and this with the rest was tending to offence and disturbance among them. This is the reason why he begins by first stating the difference between soothsaying and prophecy. For this cause also they received discerning of spirits, so as to discern and know which is he that speaketh by a pure spirit, and which by an impure.
For because it was not possible to supply the evidence of the things uttered from within themselves at the moment; (for prophecy supplies the proof of its own truth not at the time when it is spoken, but at the time of the event;) and it was not easy to distinguish the true prophesier from the pretender; (for the devil himself, accursed as he is, had entered into them that prophesied, [See 1 Kings xxii. 23.] bringing in false prophets, as if forsooth they also could foretell things to come;) and further, men were easily deceived, because the things spoken could not for the present be brought to trial, ere yet the events had come to pass concerning which the prophecy was; (for it was the end that proved the false prophet and the true:)--in order that the hearers might not be deceived before the end, he gives them a sign which even before the event served to indicate the one and the other. And hence taking his order and beginning, he thus goes on also to the discourse concerning the gifts and corrects the contentiousness that arose from hence likewise. For the present however he begins the discourse concerning the soothsayers, thus saying,
[2.] "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant;" calling the signs "spiritual," because they are the works of the Spirit alone, human effort contributing nothing to the working such wonders. And intending to discourse concerning them, first, as I said, he lays down the difference between soothsaying and prophecy, thus saying,
"Ye know that when ye were Gentiles, ye were led away  unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might be led." Now what he means is this: "In the idol-temples," saith he, "if any were at any time possessed by an unclean spirit and began to divine, even as one dragged away, so was he drawn by that spirit in chains: knowing nothing of the things which he utters. For this is peculiar to the soothsayer, to be beside himself, to be under compulsion, to be pushed, to be dragged, to be haled as a madman. But the prophet not so, but with sober mind and composed temper and knowing what he is saying, he uttereth all things. Therefore even before the event do thou from this distinguish the soothsayer and the prophet. And consider how he frees his discourse of all suspicion; calling themselves to witness who had made trial of the matter. As if he had said, "that I lie not nor rashly traduce the religion of the Gentiles, feigning like an enemy, do ye yourselves bear me witness: knowing as ye do, when ye were Gentiles, how ye were pulled and dragged away then."
But if any should say that these too are suspected as believers, come, even from them that are without will I make this manifest to you. Hear, for example, Plato saying thus: (Apol. Soc. c. 7.) "Even as they who deliver oracles and the soothsayers say many and excellent things, but know nothing of what they utter." Hear again another, a poet, giving the same intimation. For whereas by certain mystical rites and witchcrafts a certain person had imprisoned a demon in a man, and the man divined, and in his divination was thrown down and torn, and was unable to endure the violence of the demon, but was on the point of perishing in that convulsion; he saith to the persons who were practicing such mystical arts, 
Loose me, I pray you:
The mighty God no longer mortal flesh
Unbind my wreaths, and bathe my feet in drops
From the pure stream; erase these mystic lines, 
And let me go.
For these and such like things, (for one might mention many more,) point out to us both of these facts which follow; the compulsion which holds down the demons and makes them slaves; and the violence to which they submit who have once given themselves up to them, so as to swerve even from their natural reason. And the Pythoness too  : (for I am compelled now to bring forward and expose another disgraceful custom of theirs, which it were well to pass by, because it is unseemly for us to mention such things; but that you may more clearly know their shame it is necessary to mention it, that hence at least ye may come to know the madness and exceeding mockery of those that make use of the soothsayers:) this same Pythoness then is said, being a female, to sit at times upon the tripod of Apollo astride, and thus the evil spirit ascending from beneath and entering the lower part of her body, fills the woman with madness, and she with dishevelled hair begins to play the bacchanal and to foam at the mouth, and thus being in a frenzy to utter the words of her madness. I know that you are ashamed and blush when you hear these things: but they glory both in the disgrace and in the madness which I have described. These then and all such things. Paul was bringing forward when he said, "Ye know that when ye were Gentiles, ye were led away unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might be led."
And because he was discoursing with those who knew well, he states not all things with exact care, not wishing to be troublesome to them, but having reminded them only and brought all into their recollection, he soon quits the point, hastening to the subject before him.
But what is, "unto those dumb idols?" These soothsayers used to be led and dragged unto them.
But if they be themselves dumb, how did they give responses to others? And wherefore did the demon lead them to the images? As men taken in war, and in chains, and rendering at the same time his deceit plausible. Thus, to keep men from the notion that it was just a dumb stone, they were earnest to rivet the people to the idols that their own style and title might be inscribed upon them. But our rites are not such. He did not however state ours, I mean the prophesyings. For it was well known to them all, and prophecy was exercised among them, as was meet for their condition, with understanding and with entire freedom. Therefore, you see, they had power either to speak or to refrain from speaking. For they were not bound by necessity, but were honored with a privilege. For this cause Jonah fled; (Jonah i. 3.) for this cause Ezekiel delayed; (Ezek. iii. 15.) for this cause Jeremiah excused himself. (Jer. i. 6.) And God thrusts them not on by compulsion, but advising, exhorting, threatening; not darkening their mind; for to cause distraction and madness and great darkness, is the proper work of a demon: but it is God's work to illuminate and with consideration to teach things needful.
[3.] This then is the first difference between a soothsayer and a prophet; but a second and a different one is that which he next states, saying,
Ver. 3. "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking in the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed:" and then another: "and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but in the Holy Ghost."
"When thou seest," saith he, "any one not uttering His name, or anathematizing Him, he is a soothsayer. Again, when thou seest another speaking all things with His Name, understand that he is spiritual." "What then," say you, "must we say concerning the Catechumens? For if, no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost, what must we say of them who name indeed His Name, but are destitute of His Spirit  ? But his discourse at this time was not concerning these for there were not at that time Catechumens, but concerning believers and unbelievers. What then, doth no demon call upon God's Name? Did not the demoniacs say, "We know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God? (Mark i. 24.) Did they not say to Paul, "these men are the servants of the Most High God? (Acts xvi. 17.) They did, but upon scourging, upon compulsion; never of their own will and without being scourged.
But here it is proper to enquire, both why the demon uttered these things and why Paul rebuked him. In imitation of his Teacher; for so Christ did also rebuke: since it was not his will to have testimony from them. And wherefore did the devil also practise this? Intending to confound the order of things, and to seize upon the dignity of the Apostles, and to persuade many to pay attention to them  : which had it happened, they would easily have made themselves appear from hence worthy of credit, and have brought in their own designs. That these things then might not be, and the deceit might not have a beginning, he stops their mouths even when speaking the truth, so that in their falsehoods men should not at all give heed unto them, but stop their ears altogether against the things said by them.
[4.] Having therefore made manifest the soothsayers and the prophets both by the first sign and also by the second, he next discourses of the wonders; not passing without reason to this topic, but so as to remove the dissension which had thence arisen, and to persuade both those that had the less portion not to grieve and those who had the greater not to be elated. Wherefore also he thus began.
Ver. 4. "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit."
And first he attends on him that had the lesser gift, and was grieved on this account. "For wherefore," saith he, "art thou dejected? because thou hast not received as much as another? Still, consider that it is a free gift and not a debt, and thou wilt be able to soothe thy pain." For this cause he spake thus in the very beginning: "but there are diversities of gifts." And he said not "of signs," nor "of wonders," but of "gifts," by the name of free gifts prevailing on them not only not to grieve but even to be thankful. "And withal consider this also," saith he, "that even if thou art made inferior in the measure of what is given; in that it hath been vouchsafed thee to receive from the same source as the other who hath received more, thou hast equal honor. For certainly thou canst not say that the Spirit bestowed the gift on him, but an angel on thee: since the Spirit bestowed it both on thee and him. Wherefore he added, "but the same Spirit." So that even if there be a difference in the gift, yet is there no difference in the Giver. For from the same Fountain ye are drawing, both thou and he.
Ver. 5. "And there are diversities of ministrations, but the same Lord."
Thus, enriching the consolation, he adds mention of the Son also, and of the Father. And again, he calls these gifts by another name, designing by this also an increase of consolation. Wherefore also he thus said: "there are diversities of ministrations, but the same Lord." For he that hears of "a gift," and hath received a less share, perhaps might grieve; but when we speak of "a ministration," the case is different. For the thing implies labor and sweat. "Why grievest thou then," saith he, "if he hath bidden another labor more, sparing thee?"
Ver. 6. "And there are diversities of workings, but the same God who worketh all things in all."
Ver. 7. "But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal."
"And what," saith one, "is a working?" and what "a gift?" and what "a ministration?" They are mere differences of names, since the things are the same. For what "a gift" is, that is "a ministration," that he calls "an operation" also. Thus fulfil thy ministry; (2 Tim. iv. 5. ministry.) and, "I magnify my ministration:" (Rom. xi. 13. office.) and writing to Timothy, he says, "Therefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee. (2 Tim. i. 6.) And again, writing to the Galatians, he said, "for he that wrought in Peter to the Apostleship, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles. (Gal. ii. 8.) Seest thou that he implies that there is no difference in the gifts of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost? Not confounding  the Persons, God forbid! but declaring the equal honor of the Essence. For that which the Spirit bestows, this he saith that God also works; this, that the Son likewise ordains and grants. Yet surely if the one were inferior to the other, or the other to it, he would not have thus set it down nor would this have been his way of consoling the person who was vexed.
[5.] Now after this, he comforts him also in another kind of way; by the consideration that the measure vouchsafed is profitable to him, even though it be not so large. For having said, that it is "the same Spirit," and "the same Lord," and "the same God," and having thereby recovered him, he brings in again another consolation, thus saying, "but to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal." For lest one should say, "what if there be the same Lord, the same Spirit, the same God? yet I have received less:" he saith, that thus it was profitable.
But he calls miracles a "manifestation of the Spirit," with evident reason. For to me who am a believer, he that hath the Spirit is manifest from his having been baptized: but to the unbeliever this will in no wise be manifest, except from the miracles: so that hence also again there is no small consolation. For though there be a difference of gifts, yet the evidence is one: since whether thou hast much or little, thou art equally manifest. So that if thou desirest to show this, that thou hast the Spirit, thou hast a sufficient demonstration.
Wherefore, now that both the Giver is one and the thing given a pure favor, and the manifestation takes place thereby, and this is more profitable for thee; grieve not as if despised. For not to dishonor thee hath God done it, nor to declare thee inferior to another, but to spare thee and with a view to thy welfare. To receive more than one has ability to bear, this rather is unprofitable, and injurious, and a fit cause of dejection.
Ver. 8. "For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;"
Ver. 9. "To another, faith in the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing in the one Spirit."
Seest thou how he every where makes this addition, saying, "through the same Spirit, and according to the same Spirit?" For he knew that the comfort from thence was great.
Ver. 10. "To another working of miracles; to another prophecies; to another discernings of spirits; to another divers kind of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues."
Thus, since they boasted themselves in this, therefore he placed it last, and added,
Ver. 11. "But all these worketh one and the same Spirit."
The universal medicine in which his consolation consists is that out of the same root, out of the same treasures, out of the same streams, they all receive. And accordingly, from time to time dwelling on this expression, he levels the apparent inequality, and consoles them. And above indeed he points out both the Spirit, and the Son, and the Father, as supplying the gifts, but here he was content to make the Spirit, that even hence again thou mayest understand their dignity to be the same.
But what is "the word of wisdom?" That which Paul had, which John had, the son of thunder.
And what is "the word of knowledge?" That which most of the faithful had, possessing indeed knowledge, but not thereupon able to teach nor easily to convey to another what they knew.
"And to another, faith:" not meaning by this faith the faith of doctrines, but the faith of miracles; concerning which Christ saith, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say to this mountain, Remove, and it shall remove." (S. Matt. xvii. 20.) And the Apostles too concerning this besought Him, saying, "Increase our faith:" (S. Luke xvii. 5.) for this is the mother of the miracles. But to possess the power of working miracles and gifts of healing, is not the same thing: for he that had a gift of healing used only to do cures: but he that possessed powers for working miracles used to punish also. For a miracle is not the healing only, but the punishing also: even as Paul inflicted blindness: as Peter slew.
"To another prophecies; and to another discernings of spirits." What is, "discernings of spirits?" the knowing who is spiritual, and who is not: who is a prophet, and who a deceiver: as he said to the Thessalonians, "despise not prophesyings:" (1 Thess. v. 20, 21.) but proving  all things, hold fast that which is good." For great was at that time the rush  of the false prophets, the devil striving underhand to substitute falsehood for the truth. "To another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues." For one person knew what he spake himself, but was unable to interpret to another; while another had acquired both these or the other of the two. Now this seemed to be a great gift because both the Apostles received it first, and the most among the Corinthians had obtained it. But the word of teaching not so. Wherefore that he places first, but this last: for this was on account of that, and so indeed were all the rest; both prophecies, and working of miracles, and divers kinds of tongues, and interpretation of tongues. For none is equal to this. Wherefore also he said, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and in teaching." (1 Tim. v. 17.) And to Timothy he wrote, saying, "Give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to teaching; neglect not the gift that is in thee." (1 Tim. iv. 13, 14.) Seest thou how he calls it also a gift?
[6.] Next, the comfort which he before gave, when he said, "the same Spirit," this also he here sets before us, saying, "But all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will." And he not only gives consolation but also stops the mouth of the gainsayer, saying here, "dividing to each one severally even as he will." For it was necessary to bind  up also, not to heal only, as he doth also in the Epistle to the Romans, when he saith, "But who art thou that repliest against God? (Rom. ix. 20.) So likewise here, "dividing to each one severally as he will."
And that which was of the Father, this he signifieth to be of the Spirit also. For as concerning the Father, he saith, "but it is the same God who worketh all things in all;" so also concerning the Spirit, "but all these things worketh one and the same Spirit." But,  it will be said, "He doth it, actuated by God." Nay, he no where said this, but thou feignest it. For when he saith, "who actuateth  all things in all," he saith this concerning men: thou wilt hardly say that among those men he numbers also the Spirit, though thou shouldst be ever so manifold in thy doting and madness. For because he had said "through the Spirit," that thou mightest not suppose this word, "through," to denote inferiority or the being actuated, he adds, that "the Spirit worketh," not "is worked,"  and worketh "as he will," not as he is bidden. For as concerning the Father, the Son saith that "He raiseth up the dead and quickeneth;" in like manner also, concerning Himself, that "He quickeneth whom He will:" (S. John v. 21.) thus also of the Spirit, in another place, that He doeth all things with authority and that there is nothing that hinders Him; (for the expression, "bloweth where it listeth" [S. John iii. 8,] though it be spoken of the wind is apt to establish this;) but here, that "He worketh all things as He will." And from another place to learn that He is not one of the things actuated, but of those that actuate. "For who knoweth," says he, "the things of a man, but the spirit of the man? even so the things of God none knoweth save the Spirit of God." (1 Cor. ii. 11.) Now that "the spirit of a man," i.e., the soul, requires not to be actuated that it may know the things of itself, is, I suppose, evident to every one. Therefore neither doth the Holy Ghost, that he may "know the things of God." For his meaning is like this, "the secret things of God" are known to the Holy Spirit as to the soul of man the secret things of herself." But if this be not actuated for that end, much less would That which knoweth the depths of God and needs no actuation for that knowledge, require any actuating Power in order to the giving gifts to the Apostles.
But besides these things, that also, which I before spake of, I will mention again now. What then is this? That if the Spirit were inferior and of another substance, there would have been no avail in his consolation, nor in our hearing the words, "of the same Spirit." For he who hath received from the king, I grant, may find it a very soothing circumstance, that he himself gave to him; but if it be from the slave, he is then rather vexed, when one reproaches him with it. So that even hence is it evident, that the Holy Spirit is not of the substance of the servant, but of the King.
[7.] Wherefore as he comforted them, when he said, that "there are diversities of ministrations, but the same Lord; and diversities of operations, but the same God;" so also when he said above, "there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit;" and after this again when he said, "But all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."
"Let us not, I pray you, be at a loss," saith he; "neither let us grieve, saying, `Why have I received this and not received that?' neither let us demand an account of the Holy Spirit. For if thou knowest that he vouchsafed it from providential care, consider that from the same care he hath given also the measure of it, and be content and rejoice in what thou hast received: but murmur not at what thou hast not received; yea, rather confess God's favor that thou hast not received things beyond thy power."
[5.] And if in spiritual things one ought not to be over-curious, much more in temporal things; but to be quiet and not nicely enquire why one is rich and another poor. For, first of all, not every single rich man is rich from God, but many even of unrighteousness, and rapine, and avarice. For he that forbade to be rich, how can he have granted that which he forbade to receive?
But that I may, far above what the case requires, stop the mouths of those who concerning these things gainsay us, come, let us carry our discourse higher up, to the time when riches used to be given by God; and answer me. Wherefore was Abraham rich whereas Jacob wanted even bread? Were not both the one and the other righteous? Doth He not say concerning the three alike, "I am the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob?" (Exod. iii. 6.) Wherefore then was the one a rich man, and the other a hired servant? Or rather, why was Esau rich, who was unrighteous and a murderer of his brother, while Jacob was in bondage for so long a time? Wherefore again did Isaac live in ease all his time, but Jacob in toils and miseries? For which cause also he said, "Few and evil are my days." (Gen. xlvii. 9.)
Wherefore did David, who was both a prophet and a king, himself also live all his time in toils? whereas Solomon his son spent forty years in security above all men, in the enjoyment of profound peace, glory, and honor, and going through every kind of deliciousness? What again could be the reason, that among the prophets also one was afflicted more, and another less? Because so it was expedient for each. Wherefore upon each our remark must be, "Thy judgments are a great deep." (Ps. xxxvi. 6.) For if those great and wonderful men were not alike exercised by God, but one by poverty, and another by riches; one by ease, and another by trouble; much more ought we now to bear these things in mind.
[8.] But besides this, it becomes one to consider also that many of the things which happen do not take place according to His mind, but arise from our wickedness. Say not then, "Why is one man rich who is wicked, and another poor who is righteous?" For first of all, one may give an account of these things also, and say that neither doth the righteous receive any harm from his poverty, nay, even a greater addition of honor; and that the bad man in his riches possesseth but a store of punishment on his future road, unless he be changed: and, even before punishment, often-times his riches become to him the cause of many evils, and lead him into ten thousand pitfalls. But God permits it, at the same to signify the free choice of the will, and also to teach all others not to be mad nor rave after money.
"How is it then, when a man being wicked is rich, and suffers nothing dreadful?" say you. "Since if being good he hath wealth, he hath it justly: but if bad, what shall we say?" That even therein he is to be pitied. For wealth added to wickedness aggravates the mischief. But is he a good man, and poor? Yet is he nothing injured. Is he then a bad man, and poor? This is he so justly and by desert, or rather even with advantage to himself. "But such an one," say you, "received his riches from his ancestors and lavishes it upon harlots and parasites, and suffers no evil." What sayest thou? Doth he commit whoredom, and sayest thou, "he suffers no evils?" Is he drunken, and thinkest thou that he is in luxury? Doth he spend for no good, and judgest thou that he is to be envied? Nay what can be worse than this wealth which destroys the very soul? But thou, if the body were distorted and maimed, wouldest say that his was a case for great lamentation; and seest thou his whole soul mutilated, yet countest him even happy? "But he doth not perceive it," say you. Well then, for this very reason again is he to be pitied, as all frantic persons are. For he that knows he is sick will of course both seek the physician and submit to remedies; but he that is ignorant of it will have no chance at all of deliverance. Dost thou call such an one happy, tell me?
But it is no marvel: for the more part are ignorant of the true love of wisdom. Therefore do we suffer the extremest penalty, being chastised and not even withdrawing ourselves from the punishment. For this cause are angers, dejections, and continual tumults; because when God hath shown us a life without sorrow, the life of virtue, we leave this and mark out another way, the way of riches and money, full of infinite evils. And we do the same, as if one, not knowing how to discern the beauty of men's bodies but attributing the whole to the clothes and the ornaments worn, when he saw a handsome woman and possessed of natural beauty, should pass quickly by her, but when he beheld one ugly, ill-shaped, and deformed, but clothed in beautiful garments, should take her for his wife. Now also in some such way are the multitude affected about virtue and vice. They admit the one that is deformed by nature on account of her external ornaments, but turn away from her that is fair and lovely, on account of her unadorned beauty, for which cause they ought especially to choose her.
[9.] Therefore am I ashamed that among the foolish heathen there are those that practise this philosophy, if not in deeds, yet so far at least as judgment goes; and who know the perishable nature of things present: whereas amongst us some do not even understand these things, but have their very judgment corrupted: and this while the Scripture is ever and anon sounding in our ears, and saying, "In his sight the vile person is contemned, but he honoreth them that fear the Lord: (Ps. xv. 4.) the fear of the Lord excelleth every thing  ; fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole of man: (Eccles. xii. 13;) be not thou envious of evil men; (Ps. xlix. 16;) all flesh is grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass;" (Is. xl. 7.) For these and such-like things though we hear every day, we are yet nailed to earth. And as ignorant children, who learn their letters continuously, if they be examined concerning their order when they are disarranged, naming one instead of another, make much laughter: so also ye, when here we recount them in order, follow us in a manner; but when we ask you out of doors and in no set order, what we ought to place first and what next among things, and which after which; not knowing how to answer, ye become ridiculous. Is it not a matter of great laughter, tell me, that they who expect immortality and the good "things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man," should strive about things which linger here and count them enviable? For if thou hast need yet to learn these things that riches are no great thing, that things present are a shadow and a dream, that like smoke they are dissolved and fly away: stand for the present without the sanctuary: abide in the vestibule: since thou art not yet worthy of the entrance to the palace-courts on high. For if thou knowest not to discern their nature which is unstable and continually passing away, when wilt thou be able to despise them?
But if thou say thou knowest, cease curiously to inquire and busy thyself, what can be the reason why such an one is rich and such an one poor: for thou doest the same when thou askest these questions, as if thou didst go round and enquire, why one is fair and another black, or one hook-nosed and another flat-nosed. For as these things make no difference to us, whether it be thus or thus; so neither poverty nor riches, and much less than they. But the whole depends upon the way in which we use them. Whether thou art poor, thou mayest live cheerfully denying thyself; or rich, thou art most miserable of all men if thou fliest from virtue. For these are what really concern us, the things of virtue. And if these things be not added, the rest are useless. For this cause also are those continual questions, because the most think that indifferent things are of importance to them, but of the important things they make no account: since that which is of importance to us is virtue and love of wisdom.
Because then ye stand I know not where, at some far distance from her, therefore is there confusion of thoughts, therefore the many waves, therefore the tempest. For when men have fallen from heavenly glory and the love of heaven, they desire present glory and become slaves and captives. "And how is it that we desire this," say you? From the not greatly desiring that. And this very thing, whence happens it? From negligence. And whence the negligence? From contempt. And whence the contempt? From folly and cleaving to things present and unwillingness to investigate accurately the nature of things. And whence again doth this latter arise? From the neither giving heed to the reading of the Scripture nor conversing with holy men, and from following the assemblies of the wicked.
That this therefore may not always be so, and lest wave after wave receiving us should carry us out into the deep of miseries and altogether drown and destroy us; while there is time, let us bear up and standing upon the rock, I mean of the divine doctrines and words, let us look down upon the surge of this present life. For thus shall we both ourselves escape the same, and having drawn up others who are making shipwreck, we shall obtain the blessings which are to come, through the grace and mercy, &c.
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.
After soothing them from the considerations that the thing given was of free favor; that they received all from "one and the self-same Spirit;" that it was given "to profit withal," that even by the lesser gifts a manifestation was made; and withal having also stopped their mouth from the duty of yielding to the authority of the Spirit: ("for all these," saith he, "worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will;" wherefore it is not right to be over-curious:) he proceeds now to soothe them in like manner from another common example, and betakes himself to nature itself, as was his use to do.
For when he was discoursing about the hair of men and women, after all the rest he drew matter thence also to correct them, saying, "Doth not even nature itself teach you that if a man have long hair, it is a dishonor to him? but if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her?" (1 Cor. xi. 14, 15.) And when he spake concerning the idol-sacrifices, forbidding to touch them, he drew an argument from the examples also of them that are without, both making mention of the Olympic games, where he saith, "they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize:" (1 Cor. ix. 24.) and confirming these views from shepherds and soldiers and husbandmen. Wherefore he brings forward here also a common example by which he presses on and fights hard to prove that no one was really put in a worse condition: a thing which was marvellous and surprising to be able to show, and calculated to refresh the weaker sort, I mean, the example of the body. For nothing so consoles the person of small spirit and inferior gifts, or so persuades him not to grieve, as the being convinced that he is not left with less than his share. Wherefore also Paul making out this point, thus expresses himself: "for as the body is one and hath many members."
Seest thou his exact consideration? He is pointing out the same thing to be both one and many. Wherefore also he adds, pressing the point more vigorously, "and all the members of the one body, being many, are one body." He said not, "being many, are of one body," but "the one body itself is many:" and those many members are this one thing. If therefore the one is many, and the many are one, where is the difference? where the superiority? where the disadvantage? For all, saith he, are one: and not simply one, but being strictly considered in respect of that even which is principal, i.e., their being a body, they are found all to be one: but when considered as to their particular natures, then the difference comes out, and the difference is in all alike. For none of them by itself can make a body, but each is alike deficient in the making a body, and there is need of a coming together since when the many become one, then and not till then is there one body. Wherefore also covertly intimating this very thing, he said, "And all the members of the one body, being many, are one body." And he said not, "the superior and the inferior," but "being many," which is common to all.
And how is it possible that they should be one? When throwing out the difference of the members, thou considerest the body. For the same thing which the eye is, this also is the foot in regard of its being a member and constituting a body. For there is no difference in this respect. Nor canst thou say that one of the members makes a body of itself, but another does not. For they are all equal in this, for the very reason that they are all one body.
But having said this and having shown it clearly from the common judgment of all, he added, "so also is Christ." And when he should have said, "so also is the Church," for this was the natural consequent he doth not say it but instead of it places the name of Christ, carrying the discourse up on high and appealing more and more to the hearer's reverence. But his meaning is this: "So also is the body of Christ, which is the Church." For as the body and the head  are one man, so he said that the Church and Christ are one. Wherefore also he placed Christ instead of the Church, giving that name to His body. "As then," saith he, "our body is one thing though it be composed of many: so also in the Church we all are one thing. For though the Church be composed of many members, yet these many form one body."
[2.] Thus having, you see, recovered and raised up by this common example him who thought himself depreciated, again he leaves the topic of common experience, and comes to another, a spiritual one, bringing greater consolation and indicative of great equality of honor. What then is this?
Ver. 13. "For in one Spirit, saith he, were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free."
Now his meaning is this: that which established us to become one body and regenerated us, is one Spirit: for not in one Spirit was one baptized, and another another. And not only is that which hath baptized us one, but also that unto which  He baptized us, i.e., for which  He baptized us, is one. For we were baptized not that so many several bodies might be formed, but that we might all preserve one with another the perfect nature of one body: i.e., that we might all be one body, into the same were we baptized.
So that both He who formed it is one, and that into which He formed it is one. And he said not, "that we might all come to be of the same body;" but, "that we might all be one body." For he ever strives to use the more expressive phrases. And well said he, "we all," adding also himself. "For not even I, the Apostle, have any more than thou in this respect," saith he. "For thou art the body even as I, and I even as thou, and we have all the same Head and have passed through  the same birth-pains. Wherefore we are also the same body." "And why speak I," saith he, "of the Jews? since even the Gentiles who were so far off from us, He hath brought into the entireness of one body." Wherefore having said, "we all," he stopped not here, but added, "whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free." Now if, having before been so far off, we were united and have become one, much more after that we have become one, we can have no right to grieve and be dejected. Yea, the difference, in fact, hath no place. For if to Greeks and Jews, to bond and free, He hath vouchsafed the same blessings, how can it be that after so vouchsafing He divides them, now that He hath bestowed a greater perfection of unity by the supply of His gifts?
"And were all made to drink of one Spirit."
Ver. 14. "For the body is not one member, but many."
i.e., We are come to the same initiation, we enjoy the same Table. And why said he not, "we are nourished by the same body and drink the same blood?" Because by saying "Spirit," he declared them both, as well the flesh as the blood. For through both are we "made to drink of the Spirit."
But to me he appears now to speak of that visitation of the Spirit which takes place in us after Baptism and before the Mysteries. And he said, "We were made to drink," because this metaphorical speech suited him extremely well for his proposed subject: as if he had said respecting plants and a garden, that by the same fountain all the trees are watered, or by the same water; so also here, "we all drank the same Spirit, we enjoyed the same grace," saith he.
If now one Spirit both formed us and gathered us all together into one body; for this is the meaning of, "we were baptized into one body:" and vouchsafed us one table, and gave us all the same watering, (for this is the meaning of, "we were made to drink into one Spirit  ,") and united persons so widely separated; and if many things then become a body when they are made one: why, I pray, art thou continually tossing to and from their difference? But if thou sayest, "Because there are many members and diverse," know that this very thing is the wonder and the peculiar excellency of the body, when the things which are many and diverse make one. But if they were not many, it were not so wonderful and incredible that they should be one body; nay, rather they would not be a body at all.
[3.] This however he states last; but for the present he goes to the members themselves, saying thus:
Ver. 15. "If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?"
Ver. 16. "And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?"
For if the one being made inferior and the other superior, doth not allow their being of the body, the whole is done away. Do not say therefore, "I am not the body, because I am inferior." For the foot also hath the inferior post, yet is it of the body: for the being or not being part of the body, is not from the one lying in this place and the other in that; (which is what constitutes difference of place;) but from the being conjoined or separated. For the being or not being a body, arises from the having been made one or not. But do thou, I pray, mark his considerate way, how he applies their words to our members. For as he said above, "These things have I in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos," (1 Cor. iv. 6.) just so likewise here, to make his argument free from invidiousness and acceptable, he introduces the members speaking: that when they shall hear nature answering them, being thus convicted by experience herself and by the general voice, they may have nothing further to oppose. "For say, if you will," saith he, "this very thing, murmur as you please, you cannot be out of the body. For as the law of nature, so much more doth the power of grace guard all things and preserve them entire." And see how he kept to the rule of having nothing superfluous; not working out his argument on all the members, but on two only and these the extremes; having specified both the most honorable of all, the eye, and the meanest of all, the feet. And he doth not make the foot to discourse with the eye, but with the hand which is mounted a little above it; and the ear with the eyes. For because we are wont to envy not those who are very far above us, but those who are a little higher, therefore he also conducts his comparison thus.
Ver. 17. "If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?"
Thus, because, having fallen upon the difference of the members, and having mentioned feet, and hands, and eyes, and ears, he led them to the consideration of their own inferiority and superiority: see how again he consoles them, intimating that so it was expedient: and that their being many and diverse, this especially causeth them to be a body. But if they all were some one, they would not be a body. Wherefore, he saith, "If they were all one member, where were the body?" This however, he mentions not till afterwards; but here he points out also something more; that besides the impossibility of any one being a body, it even takes away the being of the rest.
"For if the whole were hearing, where were the smelling," saith he.
[4.] Then because after all they were yet disturbed: that which he had done above, the same he doth also now. For as there he first alleged the expediency to comfort them and afterwards stopped their mouths, vehemently saying, "But all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one man severally even as He will:" so also here having stated reasons for which he showed that it was profitable that all should so be, he refers the whole again to the counsel of God, saying,
Ver. 18. "But now God hath set the members each one of them in the body, even as it pleased Him."
Even as he said of the Spirit, "as He will," so also here, "as it pleased Him." Now do not thou seek further into the cause, why it is thus and why not thus. For though we have ten thousand reasons to give, we shall not be so able to show them that it is well done, as when we say, that as the best Artificer pleased, so it came to pass. For as it is expedient, so He wills it. Now if in this body of ours we do not curiously enquire about the members, much more in the Church. And see his thoughtfulness in that he doth not state the difference which arises from their nature nor that from their operation, but that from their local situation. For "now," saith he, "God hath set the members each one of them in the body even as it pleased Him." And he said well, "each one," pointing out that the use extends to all. For thou canst not say, "This He hath Himself placed but not that: but every one according to His will, so it is situated." So that to the foot also it is profitable that it should be so stationed, and not to the head only: and if it should invert the order and leaving its own place, should go to another, though it might seem to have bettered its condition, it would be the undoing and ruin of the whole. For it both falls from its own, and reaches not the other station.
[5.] Ver. 19. "And if they were all one member, where were the body?" Ver. 20. "But now are they many members, but one body."
Thus having silenced them sufficiently by God's own arrangement, again he states reasons. And he neither doth this always nor that, but alternates and varies his discourse. Since on the one hand, he who merely silences, confounds the hearer, and he, on the contrary, who accustoms him to demand reasons for all things, injures him in the matter of faith; for this cause then Paul is continually practising both the one and the other, that they may both believe and may not be confounded; and after silencing them, he again gives a reason likewise. And mark his earnestness in the combat and the completeness of his victory. For from what things they supposed themselves unequal in honor because in them there was great diversity, even from these things he shows that for this very reason they are equal in honor. How, I will tell you.
"If all were one member," saith he, "where were the body?"
Now what he means is, If there were not among you great diversity, ye could not be a body; and not being a body, ye could not be one; and not being one, ye could not be equal in honor. Whence it follows again that if ye were all equal in honor, ye were not a body; and not being a body, ye were not one; and not being one, how could ye be equal in honor? As it is, however, because ye are not all endowed with some one gift, therefore are ye a body; and being a body, ye are all one, and differ nothing from one another in this that ye are a body. So that this very difference is that which chiefly causeth your equality in honor. And accordingly he adds, "But now they are many members, yet one body."
[6.] These things then let us also consider and cast out all envy, and neither grudge against them that have greater gifts nor despise them that possess the lesser. For thus had God willed: let us then not oppose ourselves. But if thou art still disturbed, consider that thy work is oft-times such as thy brother is unable to perform. So that even if thou art inferior, yet in this thou hast the advantage: and though he be greater, he is worse off in this respect; and so equality takes place. For in the body even the little members seem to contribute no little, but the great ones themselves are often injured by them, I mean by their removal. Thus what in the body is more insignificant than the hair? Yet if thou shouldest remove this, insignificant as it is, from the eyebrows and the eyelids, thou hast destroyed all the grace of the countenance, and the eye will no longer appear equally beautiful. And yet the loss is of a trifle; but notwithstanding even thus all the comeliness is destroyed. And not the comeliness only, but much also of the use of the eyes. The reason is that every one of our members hath both a working of its own and one which is common; and likewise there is in us a beauty which is peculiar and another which is common. And these kinds of beauty appear indeed to be divided, but they are perfectly bound together, and when one is destroyed, the other perishes also along with it. To explain myself: let there be bright eyes, and a smiling cheek, and a red lip, and straight nose, and open brow; nevertheless, if thou mar but the slightest of these, thou hast marred the common beauty of all; all is full of dejection; all will appear foul to look on, which before was so beautiful: thus if thou shouldest crush only the tip of the nose thou hast brought great deformity upon all: and yet it is the maiming of but a single member. And likewise in the hand, if thou shouldest take away the nail from one finger, thou wouldest see the same result. If now thou wouldest see the same taking place in respect of their function  also, take away one finger, and thou wilt see the rest less active and no longer performing their part equally.
Since then the loss of a member is a common deformity, and its safety beauty to all, let us not be lifted up nor trample on our neighbors. For through that small member even the great one is fair and beautiful, and by the eyelids, slight as they are, is the eye adorned. So that he who wars with his brother wars with himself: for the injury done reaches not only unto that one, but himself also shall undergo no small loss.
[7.] That this then may not be, let us care for our neighbors as for ourselves, and let us transfer this image of the body now also to the Church, and be careful for all as for our own members. For in the Church there are members many and diverse: and some are more honorable and some more deficient. For example, there are choirs of virgins, there are assemblies of widows, there are fraternities  of those who shine in holy wedlock  ; in short, many are the degrees of virtue. And in almsgiving again in like manner. For some empty themselves of all their goods: others care for a competency alone and seek nothing more than necessaries; others give of their superfluity: nevertheless, all these adorn one another; and if the greater should set at nought the less, he would in the greatest degree injure himself. Thus, suppose a virgin to deal scornfully with a married woman, she hath cut off no small part of her reward; and he again that emptied himself of all should he upbraid him that hath not done so, hath emptied himself of much of the fruit of his labors. And why speak I of virgins, and widows, and men without possessions? What is meaner than those who beg? and yet even these fulfill a most important office in the Church, clinging to the doors of the sanctuary  and supplying one of its greatest ornaments: and without these there could be no perfecting the fulness of the Church. Which thing, as it seems, the Apostles also observing made a law from the beginning, as in regard to all other things, so also that there should be widows: and so great care did they use about the matter as also to set over them seven deacons. For as bishops and presbyters and deacons and virgins and continent persons, enter into my enumeration, where I am reckoning up the members of the Church, so also do widows. Yea, and it is no mean office which they fill. For thou indeed comest here when thou wilt: but these both day and night sing psalms and attend: not for alms only doing this; since if that were their object, they might walk in the market place and beg in the alleys: but there is in them piety also in no small degree. At least, behold in what a furnace of poverty they are; yet never shalt thou hear a blasphemous word from them nor an impatient one, after the manner of many rich men's wives. Yet some of them often lie down to their rest in hunger, and others continue constantly frozen by the cold; nevertheless, they pass their time in thanksgiving and giving glory. Though you give but a penny, they give thanks and implore ten thousand blessings on the giver; and if thou give nothing they do not complain, but even so they bless, and think themselves happy to enjoy their daily food.
"Yes," it is replied, "since whether they will or no, they must bear it." Why, tell me? Wherefore hast thou uttered this bitter expression? Are there not shameful arts which bring gain to the aged, both men and women? Had they not power to support themselves by those means in great abundance, provided they had chosen to cast off all care of upright living? Seest thou not how many persons of that age, by becoming pimps and panders and by other such ministrations, both live, and live in luxury  ? Not so these, but they choose rather to perish of hunger than to dishonor their own life and betray their salvation; and they sit throughout the whole day, preparing a medicine of salvation for thee.
For no physician stretching out the hand to apply the knife, works so effectually to cut out the corruption from our wounds, as doth a poor man stretching out his right hand and receiving alms, to take away the scars which the wounds have left. And what is truly wonderful, they perform this excellent chirurgery without pain and anguish: and we who are set over the people and give you so much wholesome advice, do not more truly discourse than he doth, who sits before the doors of the church, by his silence and his countenance. For we too sound these things in your ears every day, saying, "Be not high-minded, O man; human nature is a thing that soon declines and is ready to fall away; our youth hastens on to old age, our beauty to deformity, our strength to weakness, our honor to contempt, our health falls away to sickness, our glory to meanness, our riches to poverty; our concerns are like a violent current that never will stand still, but keeps hastening down the steep."
The same advice do they also give and more than this, by their appearance and by their experience itself too, which is a yet plainer kind of advice. How many, for instance, of those who now sit without, were in the bloom of youth and did great things? How many of these loathsome looking persons surpassed many, both in vigor of body and in beauty of countenance? Nay, disbelieve it not nor deride. For surely, life is full of ten thousand such examples. For if from mean and humble persons many have oftentimes become kings, what marvel is it if from being great and glorious, some have been made humble and mean? Since the former is much the more extraordinary: but the latter, of perpetual occurrence. So that one ought not to be incredulous that any of them ever flourished in arts, and arms, and abundance of wealth, but rather to pity them with great compassion and to fear for ourselves, lest we too should sometime suffer the same things. For we too are men and are subject to this speedy change.
[8.] But perchance some one of the thoughtless, and of those who are accustomed to scoff, will object to what hath been said, and will altogether deride us, saying, "How long wilt thou not cease continually introducing poor men and beggars in thy discourses, and prophesying to us of misfortunes, and denouncing poverty to come, and desiring to make us beggars?" Not from a desire to make beggars of you, O man, do I say these things, but hastening to open unto you the riches of heaven. Since he too, who to the healthy man makes mention of the sick and relates their anguish, saith it not to make him diseased, but to preserve him in health, by the fear of their calamities cutting off his remissness. Poverty seems to you to be a fearful thing and to be dreaded, even to the mere name of it. Yea, and therefore are we poor, because we are afraid of poverty; though we have ten thousand talents. For not he who hath nothing is poor, but he who shudders at poverty. Since in men's calamities also it is not those who suffer great evils whom we lament and account wretched, but those who know not how to bear them, even though they be small. Whereas he that knows how to bear them is, as all know, worthy of praises and crowns. And to prove that this is so, whom do we applaud in the games? Those who are much beaten and do not vex themselves, but hold their head on high; or those who fly after the first strokes? Are not those even crowned by us as manly and noble; while we laugh at these as unmanly and cowards? So then let us do in the affairs of life. Him that bears all easily let us crown, as we do that noble champion  ; but weep over him that shrinks and trembles at his dangers, and who before he receives the blow is dead with fear. For so in the games; if any before he raised his hands, at the mere sight of his adversary extending his right hand, should fly, though he receive no wound, he will be laughed to scorn as feeble and effeminate and unversed in such struggles. Now this is like what happens to these who fear poverty, and cannot so much as endure the expectation of it.
Evidently then it is not we that make you wretched, but ye yourselves. For how can it be that the devil should not hence-forth make sport of thee, seeing thee even before the stroke afraid and trembling at the menace? Or rather, when thou dost but esteem this a threat, he will have no need so much as to strike thee any more, but leaving thee to keep thy wealth, by the expectation of its being taken away he will render thee softer than any wax. And because it is our nature (so to speak,) not to consider the objects of our dread so fearful after suffering, as before and while yet untried: therefore to prevent thee from acquiring even this virtue, he detains thee in the very height of fear; by the fear of poverty, before all experience of it, melting thee down as wax in the fire. Yea, and such a man is softer than any wax and lives a life more wretched than Cain himself. For the things which he hath in excess, he is in fear: for those which he hath not, in grief; and again, concerning what he hath he trembles, keeping his wealth within as a wilful runaway slave, and beset by I know not what various and unaccountable passions. For unaccountable desire, and manifold fear and anxiety, and trembling on every side, agitate them. And they are like a vessel driven by contrary winds from every quarter, and enduring many heavy seas. And how much better for such a man to depart than to be enduring a continual storm? Since for Cain also it were more tolerable to have died than to be for ever trembling  .
Lest we then for our part suffer these things, let us laugh to scorn the device of the devil, let us burst his cords asunder, let us sever the point of his terrible spear and fortify every approach. For if thou laugh at money, he hath not where to strike, he hath not where he may lay hold. Then hast thou rooted up the root of evils; and when the root is no more, neither will any evil fruit grow.
[9.] Well: these things we are always saying and never leave off saying them: but whether our sayings do any good, the day will declare, even that day which is revealed by fire, which trieth every man's work, (1 Cor. iii. 13.) which showeth what lamps are bright and what are not so. Then shall he who hath oil, and he who hath it not, be manifest. But may none then be found destitute of the comfort; rather may all, bringing in with them abundance of mercy, and having their lamps bright, enter in together with the Bridegroom.
Since nothing is more fearful and full of anguish than that voice which they who departed without abundant almsgiving shall then hear the Bridegroom, "I know you not." (S. Matt. xxv. 12.) But may we never hear this voice, but rather that most pleasant and desirable one, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (S. Matt. xxv. 34.) For thus shall we live the happy life, and enjoy all the good things which even pass man's understanding: unto which may we all attain, through the grace and mercy, &c.
And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee: or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
Having checked the envy of those in lower rank, and having taken off the dejection which it was likely that they would feel from greater gifts having been vouchsafed to others, he humbles also the pride of these latter who had received the greater gifts. He had done the same indeed in his discourse also with the former. For the statement that it was a gift and not an achievement was intended to declare this. But now he doth it again even more vehemently, dwelling on the same image. For from the body in what follows, and from the unity thence arising, he proceeds to the actual comparison of the members, a thing on which they were especially seeking to be instructed. Since there was not so much power to console them in the circumstance of their being all one body, as in the conviction that in the very things wherewith they were endowed, they were not left greatly behind. And he saith, "The eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee: or again the head to the feet, I have no need of you."
For though the gift be less, yet is it necessary: and as when the one is absent, many functions are impeded, so also without the other there is a maim in the fulness of the Church. And he said not, "will not say," but "cannot say." So that even though it wish it, though it should actually say so, it is out of the question nor is the thing consistent with nature. For this cause having taken the two extremes, he makes trial of his argument in them, first in respect of the hand and the eye, and secondly, in respect of the head and feet, adding force to the example.
For what is meaner than the foot? Or what more honorable and more necessary than the head? For this, the head, more than any thing, is the man. Nevertheless, it is not of itself sufficient nor could it alone perform all things; since if this were so, our feet would be a superfluous addition.
[2.] And neither did he stop here, but seeks also another amplification, a kind of thing which he is always doing, contending not only to be on equal terms but even advancing beyond. Wherefore also he adds, saying,
Ver. 22. "Nay, much rather those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble are necessary:
Ver. 23. "And those parts of the body which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness."
In every clause adding the term "body," and thereby both consoling the one and checking the other. "For I affirm not this only,  " saith he, "that the greater have need of the less, but that they have also much need. Since if there be any thing weak in us, if any thing dishonorable, this is both necessary and enjoys greater honor." And he well said, "which seem," and, "which we think;" pointing out that the judgment arises not from the nature of the things, but from the opinion of the many. For nothing in us is dishonorable, seeing it is God's work. Thus what in us is esteemed less honorable than our genital members? Nevertheless, they enjoy greater honor. And the very poor, even if they have the rest of the body naked, cannot endure to exhibit those members naked. Yet surely this is not the condition of things dishonorable; but it was natural for them to be despised rather than the rest. For so in a house the servant who is dishonored, so far from enjoying greater attention, hath not even an equal share vouchsafed him. By the same rule likewise, if this member were dishonorable, instead of having greater privileges it ought not even to enjoy the same: whereas now it hath more honor for its portion: and this too the wisdom of God hath effected. For to some parts by their nature He hath given not to need it: but to others, not having granted it by their nature, He hath compelled us to yield it. Yet are they not therefore dishonorable. Since the animals too by their nature have a sufficiency, and need neither clothing nor shoes nor a roof, the greater part of them: yet not on this account is our body less honorable than they, because it needs all these things.
Yea rather, were one to consider accurately, these parts in question are even by nature itself both honorable and necessary. Which in truth Paul himself imitated, giving his judgment  in their favor not from our care and from their enjoying greater honor, but from the very nature of the things.
Wherefore when he calls them "weak" and "less honorable," he uses the expression, "which seem:" but when he calls them "necessary," he no longer adds "which seem," but himself gives his judgment, saying, "they are necessary;" and very properly. For they are useful to procreation of children and the succession of our race. Wherefore also the Roman legislators punish them that mutilate these members and make men eunuchs, as persons who do injury to our common stock and affront nature herself.
But woe to the dissolute who bring reproach on the handy-works of God. For as many are wont to curse wine on account of the drunken, and womankind on account of the unchaste; so also they account these members base because of those who use them not as they ought. But improperly. For the sin is not allotted to the thing as a portion of its nature, but the transgression is produced by the will of him that ventures on it.
But some suppose that the expressions, "the feeble members," and "less honorable," and "necessary," and "which enjoy more abundant honor," are used by Paul of eyes and feet, and that he speaks of the eye as "more feeble," and "necessary," because though deficient in strength, they have the advantage in utility: but of the feet as the "less honorable:" for these also receive from us great consideration.
[3.] Next, not to work out yet another amplification, he says,
Ver. 24. "But our comely parts have no need:"
That is, lest any should say, "Why what kind of speech is this, to despise the honorable and pay court to the less honored?" "we do not this in contempt," saith he, "but because they `have no need.'" And see how large a measure of praise he thus sets down in brief, and so hastens on: a thing most conveniently and usefully done. And neither is he content with this, but adds also the cause, saying, "But God tempered the body together, giving more abundant honor unto that part which lacked:"
Ver. 25. "That there should be no schism in the body."
Now if He tempered it together, He did not suffer that which is more uncomely to appear. For that which is mingled becomes one thing, and it doth not appear what it was before: since otherwise we could not say that it was tempered. And see how he continually hastens by the defects, saying, "that which lacked." He said not, "to that which is dishonorable," "to that which is unseemly," but, "to that which lacked, ("that which lacked;" how? by nature,) giving more abundant honor." And wherefore? "That there should be no schism in the body." Thus because, though they enjoyed an endless store of consolation, they nevertheless indulged grief as if they had received less than others, he signifies that they were rather honored. For his phrase is, "Giving more abundant honor to that which lacked."
Next he also adds the reason, showing that with a view to their profit he both caused it to lack and more abundantly honored it. And what is the reason? "That there should be no schism," saith he, "in the body." (And he said not, "in the members," but, "in the body.") For there would indeed be a great and unfair advantage, if some members were cared for both by nature and by our forethought, others not even by either one of these. Then would they be cut off from one another, from inability to endure the connection. And when these were cut off, there would be harm done also to the rest. Seest thou how he points out, that of necessity "greater honor" is given to "that which lacketh?" "For had not this been so, the injury would have become common to all," saith he. And the reason is, that unless these received great consideration on our part, they would have been rudely treated, as not having the help of nature: and this rude treatment would have been their ruin: their ruin would have divided the body; and the body having been divided, the other members also would have perished, which are far greater than these.
Seest thou that the care of these latter is connected with making provision for those? For they have not their being so much in their own nature, as in their being one, by virtue of the body  . Wherefore if the body perish, they profit nothing by such health as they have severally. But if the eye remain or the nose, preserving its proper function, yet when the bond of union is broken there will be no use for them ever after; whereas, suppose this remaining, and those injured, they both support themselves through it and speedily return to health.
But perhaps some one may say, "this indeed in the body hath reason, that `that which lacketh hath received more abundant honor,' but among men how may this be made out?" Why, among men most especially thou mayest see this taking place. For so they who came at the eleventh hour first received their hire; and the sheep that had wandered induced the shepherd to leave behind the ninety and nine and run after it, and when it was found, he bore and did not drive it; and the prodigal son obtained more honor than he who was approved; and the thief was crowned and proclaimed before the Apostles. And in the case of the talents also thou mayest see this happen: in that to him that received the five talents, and to him that received two, were vouchsafed the same rewards; yea, by the very circumstance that he received the two, he was the more favored with great providential care. Since had he been entrusted with the five, with his want of ability he would have fallen from the whole: but having received the two and fulfilled his own duty, he was thought worthy of the same with him that had gained the five, having so far the advantage, as with less labor to obtain the same crown. And yet he too was a man as well as the one that traded with the five. Nevertheless, his Master doth not in any wise call him to a strict account, nor compel him to do the same with his fellow-servant, nor doth he say, "Why canst thou not gain the five?" (though he might justly have said so,) but assigned him likewise his crown.
[4.] Knowing these things therefore, ye that are greater, trample not on the less, lest, instead of them, ye injure yourselves. For when they are cut off, the whole body is destroyed. Since, what else is a body than the existence of many members? As also Paul himself saith, that "the body is not one member, but many." If therefore this be the essence of a body, let us take care that the many continue many. Since, unless this be entirely preserved, the stroke is in the vital parts; which is the reason also why the Apostle doth not require this only, their not being separated, but also their being closely united. For instance, having said, "that there be no schism in the body," he was not content with this, but added, "that the members should have the same care one for another." Adding this other cause also of the less enjoying more honor. For not only lest they should be separated one from another hath God so contrived it, but also that there may be abundant love and concord. For if each man's being depends on his neighbor's safety, tell me not of the less and the more: in this case there is no more and less. While the body continues you may see the difference too, but when it perishes, no longer. And perish it will, unless the lesser parts also continue.
If now even the greater members will perish when the less are broken off, these ought to care in like manner for the less, and so as for themselves, inasmuch as in the safety of these the greater likewise remain. So then, shouldst thou say ten thousand times, "such member is dishonored and inferior," still if thou provide not for it in like manner as for thyself, if thou neglect it as inferior, the injury will pass on to thyself. Wherefore he said not only, that "the members should care one for another," but he added, "that they should have the same care one for another," i.e., in like manner the small should enjoy the same providential care with great.
Say not then, that such is an ordinary person, but consider he is a member of that body which holds together the whole: and as the eye, so also doth he cause the body to be a body. For where the body is builded up, there none hath anything more than his neighbor: since neither does this make a body, there being one part greater and another less, but their being many and diverse. For even as thou, because thou art greater, didst help to make up the body, so also he, because he is less. So that his comparative deficiency, when the body is to be builded up, turns out of equal value with thee unto this noble contribution  : yea, he avails as much as thyself. And it is evident from hence. Let there be no member greater or less, nor more and less honorable: but let all be eye or all head: will not the body perish? Every one sees it. Again, if all be inferior, the same thing will happen. So that in this respect also the less are proved equal. Yea, and if one must say something more, the purpose of the less being less is that the body may remain. So that for thy sake he is less, in order that thou mayest continue to be great. And here is the cause of his demanding the same care from all. And having said, "that the members may have the same care one for another," he explains "the same thing" again, by saying,
[5.] Ver. 26. "And whether one member suffereth all the members suffer with it; or one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it."
"Yea, with no other view," saith he, "did He make the care He requires common, establishing unity in so great diversity, but that of all events there might be complete communion. Because, if our care for our neighbor be the common safety, it follows also that our glory and our sadness must be common." Three things therefore he here demands: the not being divided but united in perfection: the having like care for another: and the considering all that happens common. And as above he saith, "He hath given more abundant honor to that part which lacked," because it needeth it; signifying that the very inferiority was become an introduction to greater honor; so here he equalizes them in respect of the care also which takes place mutually among them. For "therefore did he cause them to partake of greater honor," saith he, "that they might not meet with less care." And not from hence only, but also by all that befalls them, good and painful, are the members bound to one another. Thus often when a thorn is fixed in the heel, the whole body feels it and cares for it: both the back is bent and the belly and thighs are contracted, and the hands coming forth as guards and servants draw out what was so fixed, and the head stoops over it, and the eyes observe it with much care. So that even if the foot hath inferiority from its inability to ascend, yet by its bringing down the head it hath an equality, and is favored with the same honor; and especially whenever the feet are the cause of the head's coming down, not by favor but by their claim on it. And thus, if by being the more honorable it hath an advantage; yet in that, being so it owes such honor and care to the lesser and likewise equal sympathy: by this it indicates great equality. Since what is meaner than the heel? what more honorable than the head? Yet this member reaches to that, and moves them all together with itself. Again if anything is the matter with the eyes, all complain and all are idle: and neither do the feet walk nor the hands work, nor doth the stomach enjoy its accustomed food; and yet the affection is of the eyes. Why dost thou cause the stomach to pine? why keep thy feet still? why bind thy hands? Because they are tied to the feet, and in an unspeakable manner the whole body suffers. For if it shared not in the suffering, it would not endure to partake of the care. Wherefore having said, "that the members may have the same care one for another," he added, "whether one member suffereth, all the members suffer with it; or one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." "And how do they rejoice with it?" say you. The head is crowned, and the whole man is honored. The mouth speaks, and the eyes laugh and are delighted. Yet the credit belongs not to the beauty of the eyes, but to the tongue. Again if the eyes appear beautiful, the whole woman is embellished: as indeed these also, when a straight nose and upright neck and other members are praised, rejoice and appear cheerful: and again they shed tears in great abundance over their griefs and misfortunes, though themselves continue uninjured.
[6.] Let us all then, considering these things, imitate the love of these members; let us not in any wise do the contrary, trampling on the miseries of our neighbor and envying his good things. For this is the part of madmen and persons beside themselves. Just as he that digs out his own eye hath displayed a very great proof of senselessness; and he that devours his own hand exhibits a clear evidence of downright madness.
Now if this be the case with regard to the members, so likewise, when it happeneth among the brethren, it fastens on us the reputation of folly and brings on no common mischief. For as long as he shines, thy comeliness also is apparent and the whole body is beautified. For not at all doth he confine the beauty to himself alone, but permits thee also to glory. But if thou extinguish him, thou bringest a common darkness upon the whole body, and the misfortune thou causest is common to all the members: as indeed if thou preservest him in brightness, thou preservest the bloom of the entire body. For no man saith, "the eye is beautiful:" but what? "such a woman is beautiful." And if it also be praised, it comes after the common encomium. So likewise it happens in the Church. I mean, if there be any celebrated persons, the community reaps the good report of it. For the enemies are not apt to divide the praises, but connect them together. And if any be brilliant in speech, they do not praise him alone but likewise the whole Church. For they do not say only, "such a one is a wonderful man," but what? "the Christians have a wonderful teacher:" and so they make the possession common.
[7.] And now let me ask, do heathens bind together, and dost thou divide and war with thine own body, and withstand thine own members? Knowest thou not that this overturns all? For even a "kingdom," saith he, "divided against itself shall not stand." (S. Matt. xii. 25.)
But nothing so divides and separates as envy and jealousy, that grievous disease, and exempt from all pardon, and in some respect worse than "the root of all evils." (1 Tim. vi. 12.) For the covetous is then pleased when himself hath received: but the envious is then pleased, when another hath failed to receive, not when himself hath received. For he thinks the misfortunes of others a benefit to himself, rather than prosperity; going about a common enemy of mankind, and smiting the members of Christ, than which what can be more akin to madness? A demon is envious, but of men, not of any demon: but thou being a man enviest men, and withstandest what is of thine own tribe and family, which not even a demon doth. And what pardon shalt thou obtain, what excuse? trembling and turning pale at sight of a brother in prosperity, when thou oughtest to crown thyself and to rejoice and exult.
If indeed thou wishest to emulate him, I forbid not that: emulate, but with a view to be like him who is approved: not in order to depress him but that thou mayest reach the same lofty point, that thou mayest display the same excellence. This is wholesome rivalry, imitation without contention: not to grieve at the good things of others but to be vexed at our own evils: the contrary to which is the result of envy. For neglecting its own evils, it pines away at the good fortune of other men. And thus the poor is not so vexed by his own poverty as by the plenty of his neighbor; than which what can be more grievous? Yea, in this respect the envious, as I before said, is worse than the covetous; the one rejoicing at some acquisition of his own, while the other finds his delight in some one else failing to receive.
Wherefore I beseech you, leaving this evil way, to change to a proper emulation, (for it is a violent thing, this kind of zeal, and hotter than any fire,) and to win thereby mighty blessings. Thus also Paul used to guide those of Jewish origin unto the faith, saying, "If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and may save some of them." (Rom. xi. 14.) For he whose emulation is like what Paul wished for doth not pine when he sees the other in reputation, but when he sees himself left behind: the envious not so, but at the sight of another's prosperity. And he is a kind of drone, injuring other men's labors; and himself never anxious to rise, but weeping when he sees another rising, and doing every thing to throw him down. To what then might one compare this passion? It seems to me to be like as if a sluggish ass and heavy with abundance of flesh, being yoked with a winged courser, should neither himself be willing to rise, and should attempt to drag the other down by the weight of his carcase. For so this man takes no thought nor anxiety to be himself rid of this deep slumber, but doth every thing to supplant and throw down him that is flying towards heaven, becoming an exact emulator of the devil: since he too, seeing man in paradise, sought not to change his own condition, but to cast him out of paradise. And again, seeing him seated in heaven and the rest hastening thither, he holds to the same plan, supplanting them who are hastening thither and hereby heaping up the furnace more abundantly for himself. For in every instance this happens: both he that is envied, if he be vigilant, becoming more eminent; and he that is envious, accumulating to himself more evils. Thus also Joseph became eminent, thus Aaron the priest: the conspiracy of the envious caused God once and again to give His suffrage for him, and was the occasion of the rod's budding. Thus Jacob attained his abundant wealth and all those other blessings. Thus the envious pierce themselves through with ten thousand evils. Knowing as we do all these things, let us flee such emulation. For wherefore, tell me, enviest thou? Because thy brother hath received spiritual grace? And from whom did he receive it? answer me. Was it not from God? Clearly then He is the object of the enmity to Which thou art committing thyself, He the bestower of the gift. Seest thou which way the evil is tending, and with what sort of a point it is crowning the heap of thy sins; and how deep the pit of vengeance which it is digging for thee?
Let us flee it, then, beloved, and neither envy others, nor fail to pray for our enviers and do all we can to extinguish their passion: neither let us feel as the unthinking do who being minded to exact punishment of them, do all in their power to light up their flame. But let not us do so; rather let us weep for them and lament. For they are the injured persons, having continual worm gnawing through their heart, and collecting a fountain of poison more bitter than any gall. Come now, let us beseech the merciful God, both to change their state of feeling and that we may never fall into that disease: since heaven is indeed inaccessible to him that hath this wasting sore, and before heaven too, even this present life is not worth living in. For not so thoroughly are timber and wool wont to be eaten through by moth and worm abiding therein, as doth the fever of envy devour the very bones of the envious and destroy all self-command in their soul.
In order then that we may deliver both ourselves and others from these innumerable woes, let us expel from within us this evil fever, this that is more grievous than any gangrene: that having regained spiritual strength, we may both finish the present course and obtain the future crowns; unto which may we all attain, by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
Now ye are the body of Christ and severally members thereof.
For lest any should say, "What is the example of the body to us? since the body is a slave to nature but our good deeds are of choice;" he applies it to our own concerns; and to signify that we ought to have the same concord of design as they have from nature, he saith, "Now ye are the body of Christ." But if our body ought not to be divided, much less the body of Christ, and so much less as grace is more powerful than nature.
But what is the expression, "severally?" "So far at least as appertaineth to you; and so far as naturally a part should be built up from you." For because he had said, "the body," whereas the whole body was not the Corinthian Church, but the Church in every part of the world, therefore he said, "severally:" i.e., the Church amongst you is a part of the Church existing every where and of the body which is made up of all the Churches: so that not only with yourselves alone, but also with the whole Church throughout the world, ye ought to be at peace, if at least ye be members of the whole body.
[2.] Ver. 28. "And God hath set some in the Church: first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues."
Thus what I spake of before, this also he now doth. Because they thought highly of themselves in respect of the tongues he sets it last every where. For the terms, "first" and "secondly," are not used by him here at random, but in order by enumeration to point out the more honorable and the inferior. Wherefore also he set the apostles first who had all the gifts in themselves. And he said not, "God hath set certain in the Church, apostles" simply, "or prophets," but he employs "first, second," and "third," signifying that same thing which I told you of.
"Secondly, prophets." For they used to prophesy, as the daughters of Philip, as Agabus, as these very persons among the Corinthians, of whom he saith, "Let the prophets speak, two or three." (c. xiv. 29.) And writing also to Timothy, he said, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy." (1 Tim. iv. 14.) And they were much more many that prophesied. And if Christ saith, "The Law and the Prophets prophesied until John," (S. Matt. xi. 13.) He saith it of those prophets who before proclaimed His coming.
"Thirdly, teachers." For he that prophesieth speaks all things from the Spirit; but he that teacheth sometimes discourses also out of his own mind. Wherefore also he said, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and in teaching:" (1 Tim. v. 17.) whereas he that speaks all things by the Spirit doth not labor. This accordingly is the reason why he set him after the prophet, because the one is wholly a gift but the other is also man's labor. For he speaks many things of his own mind, agreeing however with the sacred Scriptures.
[3.] "Then miracles, then gifts of healings." Seest thou how he again divides the healings from the power, which also he did before. For the power is more than the healing: since he that hath power both punishes and heals, but he that hath the gift of healings doeth cures only. And observe how excellent the order he made use of, when he set the prophecy before the miracles and the healings. For above when he said, "To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge," he spake, not setting them in order, but indifferently. Here, on the other hand, he sets a first and a second rank. Wherefore then doth he set prophecy first? Because even in the old covenant the matter has this order. For example, when Isaiah was discoursing with the Jews, and exhibiting a demonstration of the power of God, and bringing forward the evidence of the worthlessness of the demons, he stated this also as the greater evidence of his divinity, his foretelling things to come. (Is. xli. 22, 23.) And Christ Himself after working so many signs saith that this was no small sign of His divinity: and continually adds, "But these things have I told you, that when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am He." (S. John xiii. 19; xiv. 29; xvi. 4.)
"Well then; the gifts of healing are justly inferior to prophecy. But why likewise to teaching?" Because it is not the same thing to declare the word of preaching and sow piety in the hearts of the hearers, as it is to work miracles: since these are done merely for the sake of that. When therefore any one teaches both by word and life, he is greater than all. For those he calls emphatically teachers, who both teach by deeds and instruct in word. For instance: this made the Apostles themselves to become Apostles. And those gifts certain others also, of no great worth, received in the beginning, as they who said, "Lord, did we not prophesy by Thy Name, and do mighty works?" and after this were told, "I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." (S. Matt. vii. 22.) But this twofold mode of teaching, I mean that by deeds and by words, no bad man would ever undertake. As to his setting the prophets first marvel not at it. For he is not speaking of prophets simply, but of those who by prophecy do also teach and say every thing to the common benefit: which in proceeding he makes more clear to us.
"Helps, governments." What is, "helps?" To support the weak. Is this then a gift, tell me? In the first place, this too is of the Gift of God, aptness for a patron's office  ; the dispensing spiritual things; besides which he calls many even of our own good deeds, "gifts;" not meaning us to lose heart, but showing that in every case we need God's help, and preparing them to be thankful, and thereby making them more forward and stirring up their minds.
"Divers kind of tongues." Seest thou where he hath set this gift, and how he every where assigns it the last rank?
[4.] Further, since again by this catalogue he had pointed out a great difference, and stirred up the afore-mentioned distemper of those that had lesser gifts, he darts upon them in what follows with great vehemence, because he had already given them those many proofs of their not being left much inferior. What I mean is; because it was likely that on hearing these things they would say, "And why were we not all made Apostles?"--whereas above he had made use of a more soothing tone of discourse, proving at length the necessity of this result, even from the image of the body; for "the body," saith he, "is not one member;" and again, "but if all were one member, where were the body?" and from the fact that they were given for use; for to each one is given "the manifestation of the Spirit," saith he, "to profit withal:" and from all being watered from the same Spirit: and from what is bestowed being a free gift and not a debt; "for there are," saith he, "diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit:" and from the manifestation of the Spirit being made alike through all; for "to each one," saith he, "is given the manifestation through the Spirit:" and from the fact that these things were shaped according to the pleasure of the Spirit and of God; "for all these," saith he, "worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as he will:" and, "God hath set the members each one of them in the body, even as it pleased Him:" and from the inferior members also being necessary; "for those which seem," saith he, "to be more feeble are necessary:" from their being alike necessary, in that they "from the greater too needing the less: "for the head," saith he, "cannot say to the feet, I have no need of you:" from these latter enjoying even more honor; for "to that which lacketh," saith he, "He hath given more abundant honor:" from the care of them being common and equal; for "for all the members have the same care one for another:" and from there being one honor and one grief of them all; for "whether," saith he, "one member suffereth, all the members suffer with it; or one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it:"--whereas, I say, he had above exhorted them by these topics, here and henceforth he uses language so as to bear them down and rebuke them. For, as I said, it behoves us neither always to exhort people nor always to silence them. Therefore also Paul himself, because he at length exhorted them, doth henceforth vehemently attack them, saying,
Ver. 29. "Are all apostles? are all prophets? have all gifts of healing?"
And he doth not stop at the first and the second gift, but proceeds to the last, either meaning this that all cannot be all things, (even as he there saith, "if all were one member, where were the body?") or establishing some other point also along with these, which may tell in the way of consolation again. What then is this? His signifying that even the lesser gifts are contended for equally with the greater, from the circumstance that not even these were given absolutely to all? For "why," saith he, "dost thou grieve that thou hast not gifts of healing? consider that what thou hast, even though it be less, is oftentimes not possessed by him that hath the greater." Wherefore he saith,
Ver. 30. "Do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?"
For even as the great gifts God hath not vouchsafed all to all men, but to some this, and to others that, so also did He in respect of the less, not proposing these either to all. And this He did, procuring thereby abundant harmony and love, that each one standing in need of the other might be brought close to his brother. This economy He established also in the arts, this also in the elements, this also in the plants, and in our members, and absolutely in all things.
[5.] Then he subjoins further the most powerful consolation, and sufficient to recover them and quiet their vexed souls. And what is this?
Ver. 31. "Desire earnestly," saith he, "the better gifts. And a still more excellent way show I unto you."
Now by saying this, he gently hinted that they were the cause of their own receiving the lesser gifts, and had it in their power, if they would, to receive the greater. For when he saith, "desire earnestly," he demands from them all diligence and desire for spiritual things. And he said not, the greater gifts, but "the better," i.e., the more useful, those which would profit. And what he means is this: "continue to desire gifts; and I point out to you a fountain of gifts." For neither did he say, "a gift," but "a way," that he might the more extol that which he intends to mention. As if he said, It is not one, or two, or three gifts that I point out to you, but one way which leadeth to all these  : and not merely a way, but both "a more excellent way" and one that is open in common to all. For not as the gifts are vouchsafed, to some these, to others those, but not all to all; so also in this case: but it is an universal gift. Wherefore also he invites all to it. "Desire earnestly," saith he, "the better gifts and yet show I unto you a more excellent way;" meaning love towards our neighbor.
Then intending to proceed to the discourse concerning it and the encomium of this virtue, he first lowereth these by comparison with it, intimating that they are nothing without it; very considerately. For if he had at once discoursed of love, and having said, "I show unto you a way," had added, "but this is love," and had not conducted his discourse by way of comparison; some might possibly have scoffed at what was said, not understanding clearly the force of the thing spoken of but still gaping after these. Wherefore he doth not at once unfold it, but first excites the hearer by the promise, and saith, "I show unto you a more excellent way," and so having led him to desire it, he doth not even thus straightway proceed to it, but augmenting still further and extending their desire, he discourses first of these very things, and shows that without it they are nothing; reducing them to the greatest necessity of loving one another; seeing also that from neglect of it sprang that which caused all their evils. So that in this respect also it might justly appear great, if the gifts not only brought them not together, but divided them even when united: but this, when many were so divided, would reunite them by virtue of its own and make them one body. This however he doth not say at once, but what they chiefly longed for, that he sets down; as that the thing was a gift and a most excellent way to all the gifts. So that, even if thou wilt not love thy brother on the score of friendship, yet for the sake of obtaining a better sign and an abundant gift, cherish love.
[6.] And see whence he first begins; from that which was marvellous in their eyes and great, the gift of tongues. And in bringing forward that gift, he mentions it not just in the degree they had it in, but far more. For he did not say, "if I speak with tongues," but,
Chap. xiii. ver. 1. "If I speak with the tongues of men,--"
What is, "of men?" Of all nations in every part of the world. And neither was he content with this amplification, but he likewise uses another much greater, adding the words, "and of angels,--and have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal."
Dost thou see to what point he first exalted the gift, and to what afterwards he lowered and cast it down? For neither did he simply say, "I am nothing," but, "I am become sounding brass," a thing senseless and inanimate. But how "sounding brass?" Emitting a sound indeed, but at random and in vain, and for no good end. Since besides my profiting nothing, I am counted by most men as one giving impertinent trouble, an annoying and wearisome kind of person. Seest thou how one void of love is like to things inanimate and senseless?
Now he here speaks of the "tongues of angels," not investing angels with a body, but what he means is this: "should I even so speak as angels are wont to discourse unto each other, without this I am nothing, nay rather a burden and an annoyance." Thus (to mention one other example) where he saith, "To Him every knee shall bow, of things in heaven and things on earth, and things under the earth," (Philip. ii. 10.) he doth not say these things as if he attributed to angels knees and bones, far from it, but it is their intense adoration which he intends to shadow out by the fashion amongst us: so also here he calls it "a tongue" not meaning an instrument of flesh, but intending to indicate their converse with each other by the manner which is known amongst us.
[7.] Then, in order that his discourse may be acceptable, he stops not at the gift of tongues, but proceeds also to the remaining gifts; and having depreciated all in the absence of love, he then depicts her image. And because he preferred to conduct his argument by amplification, he begins from the less and ascends to the greater. For whereas, when he indicated their order, he placed the gift of tongues last, this he now numbers first; by degrees, as I said, ascending to the greater gifts. Thus having spoken of tongues, he proceeds immediately to prophecy; and saith;
Ver. 2. "And if I have the gift of prophecy."
And this gift again with an excellency. For as in that case he mentioned not tongues, but the tongues of all mankind, and as he proceeded, those of angels, and then signified that the gift was nothing without love: so also here he mentions not prophecy alone but the very highest prophecy: in having said, "If I have prophecy," he added, "and know all mysteries and all knowledge;" expressing this gift also with intensity.
Then after this also he proceeds to the other gifts. And again, that he might not seem to weary them, naming each one of the gifts, he sets down the mother and fountain of all, and this again with an excellency, thus saying, "And if I have all faith." Neither was he content with this, but even that which Christ spake of as greatest, this also he added, saying, "so as to remove mountains and have not love, I am nothing." And consider how again here also he lowers the dignity of the tongues. For whereas in regard of prophecy he signifies the great advantage arising from it, "the understanding mysteries, and having all knowledge;" and in regard of faith, no trifling work, even "the removing mountains;" in respect of tongues, on the other hand, having named the gift itself only, he quits it.
But do thou, I pray, consider this also, how in brief he comprehended all gifts when he named prophecy and faith: for miracles are either in words or deeds. And how doth Christ say, that the least degree of faith is the being able to remove a mountain? For as though he were speaking something very small, did He express Himself when He said, "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say to this mountain, Remove, and it shall remove;" (S. Matt. xvii. 20.) whereas Paul saith that this is "all faith." What then must one say? Since this was a great thing, the removing a mountain, therefore also he mentioned it, not as though "all faith" were only able to do this, but since this seemed to be great to the grosser sort because of the bulk of the outward mass, from this also he extols his subject. And what he saith is this:
"If I have all faith, and can remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."
[8.] Ver. 3. "And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profiteth me nothing."
Wonderful amplification! For even these things too he states with another addition: in that he said not, "if I give to the poor the half of my goods," or "two or three parts," but, "though I give all my goods." And he said not, "give," but, "distribute in morsels  ," so that to the expense may be added the administering also with all care.
But not even yet have I pointed out the whole of the excellency, until I bring forward the testimonies of Christ which were spoken concerning almsgiving and death. What then are His testimonies? To the rich man He saith, "If thou wouldest be perfect, sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and come, follow me." (S. Matt. xix. 21.) And discoursing likewise of love to one's neighbor, He saith, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man may lay down his life for his friends." (S. John xiv. 13.) Whence it is evident, that even before God this is greatest of all. But, "I declare," said Paul, "that even if we should lay down life for God's sake, and not merely lay it down, but so as even to be burned, (for this is the meaning of, "if I give my body to be burned,") we shall have no great advantage if we love not our neighbor." Well then, the saying that the gifts are of no great profit without charity is no marvel: since our gifts are a secondary consideration to our way of life. At any rate, many have displayed gifts, and yet on becoming vicious have been punished: as those who "prophesied in His name, and cast out many demons, and wrought many mighty works;" as Judas the traitor: while others, exhibiting as believers a pure life, have needed nothing else in order to their salvation. Wherefore, that the gifts should, as I said, require this, is no marvel: but that an exact life even should avail nothing without it, this is what brings the intensity of expression strongly out and causes great perplexity: especially too when Christ appears to adjudge His great rewards to both these, I mean to the giving up our possessions, and to the perils of martyrdom. For both to the rich man He saith, as I before observed, "If thou wilt be perfect, sell thy goods, and give to the poor, and come, follow me:" and discoursing with the disciples, of martyrdom He saith, "Whosoever shall lose his life for My sake, shall find it;" and, "Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father which is in heaven." For great indeed is the labor of this achievement, and well nigh surpassing nature itself, and this is well known to such as have had these crowns vouchsafed to them. For no language can set it before us: so noble a soul doth the deed belong to and so exceedingly wonderful is it.
[9.] But nevertheless, this so wonderful thing Paul said was of no great profit without love, even though it have the giving up of one's goods joined with it. Wherefore then hath he thus spoken? This will I now endeavor to explain, first having enquired of this, How is it possible that one who gives all his goods to feed the poor can be wanting in love? I grant, indeed, he that is ready to be burned and hath the gifts, may perhaps possibly not have love: but he who not only gives his goods, but even distributes them in morsels; how hath not he love? What then are we to say? Either that he supposed an unreal case as real; which kind of thing he is ever wont to do, when he intends to set before us something in excess; as when writing to the Galatians he saith, "If we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that ye receive let him be accursed." (Gal. i. 8.) And yet neither was himself nor an angel about to do so; but to signify that he meant to carry the matter as far as possible, he set down even that which could never by any means happen. And again, when he writes to the Romans, and saith, "Neither angels, nor principalities, nor powers, shall be able to separate us from the love of God;" for neither was this about to be done by any angels: but here too he supposes a thing which was not; as indeed also in what comes next, saying, "nor any other creature," whereas there is no other creature, for he had comprehended the whole creation, having spoken of all things both above and below. Nevertheless here also he mentions that which was not, by way of hypothesis, so as to show his exceeding desire. Now the same thing he doth here also, saying, "If a man give all, and have not love, it profits him nothing."
Either then we may say this, or that his meaning is for those who give to be also joined closely to those who retire, and not merely to give without sympathy, but in pity and condescension, bowing down and grieving with the needy. For therefore also hath almsgiving been enacted by God: since God might have nourished the poor as well without this, but that he might bind us together unto charity and that we might be thoroughly fervent toward each other, he commanded them to be nourished by us. Therefore one saith in another place also; "a good word is better than a gift;" (Ecclus. xviii. 16, 17.) and, "behold, a word is beyond a good gift." (Ecclus. xviii. 16, 17.) And He Himself saith, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." (S. Matt. ix. 30; Hos. vi. 6.) For since it is usual, both for men to love those who are benefited by them, and for those who receive benefits to be more kindly affected towards their benefactors; he made this law, constituting it a bond of friendship.
[10.] But the point proposed for enquiry above is, How, after Christ had said that both these belong to perfection, Paul affirms, that these without charity are imperfect? Not contradicting Him, God forbid: but harmonizing with Him, and that exactly. For so in the case of the rich man, He said, not merely, "sell thy goods, and give to the poor," but He added, "and come, follow Me." Now not even the following Him proves any man a disciple of Christ so completely as the loving one another. For, "by this shall all men know," saith He, "that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." (S. John xiii. 35.) And also when He saith, "Whosoever loseth his life for My sake, shall find it;" (S. Matt. x. 39, 35.) and, "whosoever shall confess Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father which is in heaven;" He means not this, that it is not necessary to have love, but He declares the reward which is laid up for these labors. Since that along with martyrdom He requires also this, is what He elsewhere strongly intimates, thus saying, "Ye shall indeed drink of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with;" (S. Matt. xx. 23.) i.e., ye shall be martyrs, ye shall be slain for My sake; "but to sit on My right hand, and on My left, (not as though any sit on the right hand and the left, but meaning the highest precedency and honor) "is not Mine to give," saith He, "but to those for whom it is prepared." Then signifying for whom it is prepared, He calls them and saith, "whosoever among you will be chief, let him be servant to you all;" (S. Matt. xx. 26.) setting forth humility and love. And the love which He requires is intense; wherefore He stopped not even at this, but added, "even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many;" pointing out that we ought so to love as even to be slain for our beloved. For this above all is to love Him. Wherefore also He saith to Peter, "If thou lovest Me, feed My sheep." (S. John xxi. 16.)
[11.] And that ye may learn how great a work of virtue it is, let us sketch it out in word, since in deeds we see it no where appearing; and let us consider, if it were every where in abundance, how great benefits would ensue: how there were no need then of laws, or tribunals or punishments, or avenging, or any other such things since if all loved and were beloved, no man would injure another. Yea, murders, and strifes, and wars, and divisions, and rapines, and frauds, and all evils would be removed, and vice be unknown even in name. Miracles, however, would not have effected this; they rather puff up such as are not on their guard, unto vain-glory and folly.
Again: what is indeed the marvellous part of love; all the other good things have their evils yoked with them: as he that gives up his possessions is oftentimes puffed up on this account: the eloquent is affected with a wild passion for glory; the humble-minded, on this very ground, not seldom thinks highly of himself in his conscience. But love is free from every such mischief. For none could ever be lifted up against the person whom he loves. And do not, I pray, suppose one person only loving but all alike; and then wilt thou see its virtue. Or rather, if thou wilt, first suppose one single person beloved, and one loving; loving, however, as it is meet to love. Why, he will so live on earth as if it were heaven, every where enjoying a calm and weaving for himself innumerable crowns. For both from envy, and wrath, and jealousy, and pride, and vain-glory, and evil concupiscence, and every profane love, and every distemper, such a man will keep his own soul pure. Yea, even as no one would do himself an injury so neither would this man his neighbors. And being such, he shall stand with Gabriel himself, even while he walks on earth.
Such then is he that hath love. But he that works miracles and hath perfect knowledge, without this, though he raises ten thousand from the dead, will not be much profited, broken off as he is from all and not enduring to mix himself up with any of his fellow-servants. For no other cause than this did Christ say that the sign of perfect love towards Him is the loving one's neighbors. For, "if thou lovest Me," saith He, "O Peter, more than these, feed My sheep." (S. John xxi. 15.) Dost thou see how hence also He again covertly intimates, in what case this is greater than martyrdom? For if any one had a beloved child in whose behalf he would even give up his life, and some one were to love the father, but pay no regard whatever to the son, he would greatly incense the father; nor would he feel the love for himself, because of the overlooking his son. Now if this ensue in the case of father and son, much more in the case of God and men: since surely God is more loving than any parents.
Wherefore, having said, "The first and great commandment is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," he added, "and the second--(He leaves it not in silence, but sets it down also)--is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." And see how with nearly the same excellency He demands also this. For as concerning God, He saith, "with all thy heart:" so concerning thy neighbor, "as thyself," which is tantamount to, "with all thy heart."
Yea, and if this were duly observed, there would be neither slave nor free, neither ruler nor ruled, neither rich nor poor, neither small nor great; nor would any devil then ever have been known: I say not, Satan only, but whatever other such spirit there be, nay, rather were there a hundred or ten thousand such, they would have no power, while love existed. For sooner would grass endure the application of fire than the devil the flame of love. She is stronger than any wall, she is firmer than any adamant; or if thou canst name any material stronger than this the firmness of love transcends them all. Her, neither wealth nor poverty overcometh: nay, rather there would be no poverty, no unbounded wealth, if there were love, but the good parts only from each estate. For from the one we should reap its abundance, and from the other its freedom from care: and should neither have to undergo the anxieties of riches, nor the dread of poverty.
[12.] And why do I mention the advantages arising from it? Yea, rather consider how great a blessing it is of itself to exercise love; what cheerfulness it produces, in how great grace it establishes the soul; a thing which above all is a choice quality of it. For the other parts of virtue have each their troubles yoked with them; as fasting, temperance, watching, have envy, concupiscence, and contempt. But love along with the gain hath great pleasure, too, and no trouble, and like an industrious bee, gathering the sweets from every flower, deposits them in the soul of him who loveth. Though any one be a slave, it renders slavery sweeter that liberty. For he who loveth rejoices not so much in commanding, as in being commanded, although to command is sweet: but love changes the nature of things and presents herself with all blessings in her hands, gentler than any mother, wealthier than any queen, and makes difficulties light and easy, causing our virtues to be facile, but vice very bitter to us. As thus: to expend seems grievous, yet love makes it pleasant: to receive other men's goods, pleasant, but love suffers it not to appear pleasant, but frames our minds to avoid it as an evil. Again, to speak evil seems to be pleasant to all; but love, while she makes this out to be bitter, causeth speaking well to be pleasant; for nothing is so sweet to us as to be praising one whom we love. Again, anger hath a kind of pleasure; but in this case no longer, rather all its sinews are taken away. Though he that is beloved should grieve him who loves him, anger no where shows itself; but tears and exhortations, and supplications; so far is love from being exasperated: and should she behold one in error, she mourns and is in pain; yet even this pain itself brings pleasure. For the very tears and the grief of love, are sweeter than any mirth and joy. For instance: they that laugh are not so refreshed as they that weep for their friends. And if thou doubt it, stop their tears; and they repine at it not otherwise than as persons intolerably ill-used. "But there is," said one, "an unbecoming pleasure in love.  " Avaunt, and hold thy peace, whoever thou art. For nothing is so pure from such pleasure as genuine love.
For tell me not of this ordinary sort, the vulgar and low-minded, and a disease rather than love, but of this which Paul seeks after, which considers the profit of them that are loved; and thou shalt see that no fathers are so affectionate as persons of this stamp. And even as they who love money cannot endure to spend money, but would with more pleasure be in straits than see their wealth diminishing: so too, he that is kindly affected towards any one, would choose to suffer ten thousand evils than see his beloved one injured.
[13.] "How then," saith one, "did the Egyptian woman who loved Joseph wish to injure him?" Because she loved with this diabolical love. Joseph however not with this, but with that which Paul requires. Consider then how great a love his words were tokens of, and the action which she was speaking of. "Insult me and make me an adulteress, and wrong my husband, and overthrow all my house, and cast thyself out from thy confidence towards God:" which were expressions of one who so far from loving him did not even love herself. But because he truly loved, he sought to avert her from all these. And to convince you that it was in anxiety for her, learn the nature of it from his advice. For he not only thrust her away, but also introduced an exhortation capable of quenching every flame: namely "if on my account, my master," saith he, "knoweth not any thing which is in his house." He at once reminds her of her husband that he might put her to shame. And he said not, "thy husband," but "my master," which was more apt to restrain her and induce her to consider who she was, and of whom she was enamored,--a mistress, of a slave. "For if he be lord, then art thou mistress. Be ashamed then of familiarity with a servant, and consider whose wife thou art, and with whom thou wouldst be connected, and towards whom thou art becoming thankless and inconsiderate, and that I repay him greater good-will." And see how he extols his benefits. For since that barbarous and abandoned woman could entertain no lofty sentiment, he shames her from human considerations, saying, "He knoweth nothing through me," i.e., "he is a great benefactor to me, and I cannot strike my patron in a vital part. He hath made me a second lord of his house, and no one  hath been kept back from me, but thee." Here he endeavors to raise her mind, that so at any rate he might persuade her to be ashamed, and might signify the greatness of her honor. Nor did he stop even here, but likewise added a name sufficient to restrain her, saying, "Because thou art his wife; and how shall I do this wickedness? But what sayest thou? That thy husband is not present, nor knoweth that he is wronged? But God will behold it." She however profited nothing by his advice, but still sought to attract him. For desiring to satiate her own frenzy, not through love of Joseph, she did these things; and this is evident from what she did afterwards. As that she institutes a trial, and brings in accusation, and bears false witness, and exposes to a wild beast him that had done no wrong, and casts him into a prison; or rather for her part, she even slew him, in such a manner did she arm the judge against him. What then? Was then Joseph too such as she was? Nay, altogether the contrary, for he neither contradicted nor accused the woman. "Yes," it may be said: "for he would have been disbelieved." And yet he was greatly beloved; and this is evident not only from the beginning but also from the end. For had not his barbarian master loved him greatly, he would even have slain him in his silence, making no defence: being as he was an Egyptian and a ruler, and wronged in his marriage-bed as he supposed, and by a servant, and a servant to whom he had been so great a benefactor. But all these things gave way to his regard for him, and the grace which God poured down upon him. And together with this grace and love, he had also other no small proofs, had he been minded to justify himself; the garments themselves. For if it were she to whom violence was done, her own vest should have been torn, her face lacerated, instead of her retaining his garments. But "he heard," saith she, "that I lifted up my voice, and left his garments, and went out." And wherefore then didst thou take them from him? since unto one suffering violence, the one thing desirable is to be rid of the intruder.
But not from hence alone, but also from the subsequent events, shall I be able to point out his good-will and his love. Yea even when he fell into a necessity of mentioning the cause of his imprisonment, and his remaining there, he did not even then declare the whole course of the story. But what saith he? "I too have done nothing: but indeed I was stolen out of the land of the Hebrews;" and he no where mentioned the adulteress nor doth he plume himself on the matter, which would have been any one's feeling, if not for vain-glory, yet so as not to appear to have been cast into that cell for an evil cause. For if men in the act of doing wrong by no means abstain even so from blaming the same things, although to do so brings reproach; of what admiration is not he worthy, because, pure as he was he did not mention the woman's passion nor make a show of her sin; nor when he ascended the throne and became ruler of all Egypt, remember the wrong done by the woman nor exact any punishment?
Seest thou how he cared for her? but her's was not love, but madness. For it was not Joseph that she loved, but she sought to fulfil her own lust. And the very words too, if one would examine them accurately, were accompanied with wrath and great blood-thirstiness. For what saith she? "Thou hast brought in a Hebrew servant to mock us:" upbraiding her husband for the kindness; and she exhibited the garments, having become herself more savage than any wild beast: but not so he. And why speak I of his good-will to her, when he was such, we know, towards his brethren who would slay him; and never said one harsh thing of them, either within doors or without?
[14.] Therefore Paul saith, that the love which we are speaking of is the mother of all good things, and prefers it to miracles and all other gifts. For as where there are vests and sandals of gold, we require also some other garments whereby to distinguish the king: but if we see the purple and the diadem, we require not to see any other sign of his royalty: just so here likewise, when the diadem of love is upon our head, it is enough to point out the genuine disciple of Christ, not to ourselves only, but also to the unbelievers. For, "by this," saith He, "shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." (S. John xiii. 35.) So that this sign is greater surely than all signs, in that the disciple is recognised by it. For though any should work ten thousand signs, but be at strife one with another, they will be a scorn to the unbelievers. Just as if they do no sign, but love one another exactly, they will continue both reverenced and inviolable by all men. Since Paul himself we admire on this account, not for the dead whom he raised, nor for the lepers whom he cleansed, but because he said, "who is weak, and I am not weak? who is made to stumble, and I burn not?" (2 Cor. xi. 29.) For shouldest thou have ten thousand miracles to compare with this, thou wilt have nothing equal to it to say. Since Paul also himself said, that a great reward was laid up for him, not because he wrought miracles, but because "to the weak he became as weak. For what is my reward?" saith he. "That, when I preach the Gospel, I may make the Gospel without charge." (1 Cor. ix. 18.) And when he puts himself before the Apostles, he saith not, "I have wrought miracles more abundant than they," but, "I have labored more abundantly than they." (1 Cor. xv. 10.) And even by famine was he willing to perish for the salvation of the disciples. "For it were better for me to die," saith he, "than that any man should make my glorying void:" (1 Cor. ix. 15.) not because he was glorying, but that he might not seem to reproach them. For he no where is wont to glory in his own achievements, when the season doth not call to it; but even if he be compelled so to do he calleth himself "a fool." But if he ever glory it is "in infirmities," in wrongs, in greatly sympathizing with those who are injured: even as here also he saith, "who is weak, and I am not weak?" These words are greater even than perils. Wherefore also he sets them last, amplifying his discourse.
Of what then must we be worthy compared with him, who neither contemn wealth for our own sake, nor give up the superfluities of our goods? But not so Paul; rather both soul and body did he use to give up, that they who stoned and beat him with rods, might obtain the kingdom. "For thus," saith he, "hath Christ taught me to love;" who left behind Him the new commandment concerning love, which also Himself fulfilled in deed. For being Lord of all, and of that Blessed Nature; from men, whom He created out of nothing and on whom He had bestowed innumerable benefits, from these, insulting and spitting on Him, He turned not away, but even became man for their sakes, and conversed with harlots and publicans, and healed the demoniacs, and promised heaven. And after all these things they apprehended and beat him with rods, bound, scourged, mocked, and at last crucified Him. And not even so did He turn away, but even when He was on high upon the cross, He saith, "Father, forgive them their sin." But the thief who before this reviled Him, He translated into very paradise; and made the persecutor Paul, an Apostle; and gave up His own disciples, who were His intimates and wholly devoted to Him, unto death for the Jews' sake who crucified Him.
Recollecting therefore in our minds all these things, both those of God and of men, let us emulate these high deeds, and possess ourselves of the love which is above all gifts, that we may obtain both the present and the future blessings: the which may we all obtain, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, with the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, honor, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.
Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.
Thus, whereas he had showed, that both faith and knowledge and prophecy and tongues and gifts and healing and a perfect life and martyrdom, if love be absent, are no great advantage; of necessity he next makes an outline of its matchless beauty, adorning its image with the parts of virtue as with a sort of colors, and putting together all its members with exactness. But do not thou hastily pass by, beloved, the things spoken, but examine each one of them with much care, that thou mayest know both the treasure which is in the thing and the art of the painter. Consider, for example, from what point he at once began, and what he set first, as the cause of all its excellence. And what is this? Long-suffering. This is the root of all self-denial. Wherefore also a certain wise man said, "A man that is long-suffering  is of great understanding; but he that is hasty of spirit is mightily foolish  ."
And comparing it too with a strong city, he said that it is more secure than that. For it is both an invincible weapon and a sort of impregnable tower, easily beating off all annoyances. And as a spark falling into the deep doth it no injury, but is itself easily quenched: so upon a long-suffering soul whatever unexpected thing falls, this indeed speedily vanishes, but the soul it disturbs not: for of a truth there is nothing so impenetrable as long-suffering. You may talk of armies, money, horses, walls, arms, or any thing else whatsoever; you will name nothing like long-suffering. For he that is encompassed with those, oftentimes, being overcome by anger, is upset like a worthless child, and fills all with confusion and tempest: but this man, settled as it were in a harbor, enjoys a profound calm. Though thou surround him with loss, thou hast not moved the rock; though thou bring insult upon him, thou hast not shaken the tower: and though thou bruise him with stripes, thou hast not wounded the adamant.
Yea, and therefore is he called long-suffering, because he hath a kind of long and great soul. For that which is long is also called great. But this excellence is born of love, both to them who possess and to them who enjoy it contributing no small advantage. For tell me not of those abandoned wretches, who, doing evil and suffering none, become worse: since here, not from his long-suffering, but from those who abuse it, this result arises. Tell me not therefore of these, but of those gentler persons, who gain great benefit therefrom. For when, having done ill, they suffer none, admiring the meekness of the sufferer, they reap thereby a very great lesson of self command.
But Paul doth not stop here, but adds also the other high achievements of love, saying, "is kind." For since there are some who practise their long-suffering with a view not to their own self-denial, but to the punishment of those who have provoked them, to make them burst with wrath; he saith that neither hath charity this defect. Wherefore also he added, "is kind." For not at all with a view to light up the fire, in those who are inflamed by anger, do they deal more gently  with them, but in order to appease and extinguish it: and not only by enduring nobly, but also by soothing and comforting, do they cure the sore and heal the wound of passion.
"Envieth not." For it is possible for one to be both long-suffering and envious, and thereby that excellency is spoiled. But love avoids this also.
"Vaunteth not itself;" i.e., is not rash  . For it renders him who loves both considerate, and grave, and steadfast. In truth, one mark of those who love unlawfully is a defect in this point. Whereas he to whom this love is known, is of all men the most entirely freed from these evils. For when there is no anger within, both rashness and insolence are clean taken away. Love, like some excellent husbandman, taking her seat inwardly in the soul and not suffering any of these thorns to spring up.
"Is not puffed up." For so we see many who think highly of themselves on the score of these very excellencies; for example, on not being envious, nor grudging, nor mean-spirited, nor rash: these evils being incidental not to wealth and poverty only, but even to things naturally good. But love perfectly purges out all. And consider: he that is long-suffering is not of course also kind. But if he be not kind, the thing becomes a vice, and he is in danger of falling into malice. Therefore she supplies a medicine, I mean kindness, and preserves the virtue pure. Again, the kind person often becomes over-complaisant; but this also she corrects. For "love," saith he, "vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up:" the kind and long-suffering is often ostentatious; but she takes away this vice also.
And see how he adorns her not only from what she hath, but also from what she hath not. For he saith that she both brings in virtue, and extirpates vice, nay rather she suffers it not to spring up at all  . Thus he said not, "She envieth, indeed, but overcometh envy;" nor, "is arrogant, but chastiseth that passion;" but, "envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up;" which truly is most to be admired, that even without toil she accomplishes her good things, and without war and battle-array her trophy is set up: she not permitting him that possesseth her to toil and so to attain the crown, but without labor conveying to him her prize. For where there is not passion to contend against sober reason, what labor can there be?
[2.] "Doth not behave itself unseemly.  " "Nay, why," saith he, "do I say, she `is not puffed up,' when she is so far from that feeling, that in suffering the most shameful things for him whom she loves, she doth not even count the thing an unseemliness?" Again, he did not say, "she suffereth unseemliness but beareth the shame nobly," but, "she doth not even entertain any sense at all of the shame." For if the lovers of money endure all manner of reproaches for the sake of that sordid traffic of theirs, and far from hiding their faces, do even exult in it: much more he that hath this praiseworthy love will refuse nothing whatsoever for the safety's sake of those whom he loves: nay, nor will any thing that he can suffer shame him.
And that we may not fetch our example from any thing base, let us examine this same statement in its application to Christ, and then we shall see the force of what hath been said. For our Lord Jesus Christ was both spit upon and beaten with rods by pitiful slaves; and not only did He not count it an unseemliness, but He even exulted and called the thing glory; and bringing in a robber and murderer with Himself before the rest into paradise, and discoursing with a harlot, and this when the standers-by all accused Him, He counted not the thing to be disgraceful, but both allowed her to kiss His feet, and to bedew His body with her tears, and to wipe them away with her hair, and this amid a company of spectators who were foes and enemies; "for love doeth nothing unseemly."
Therefore also fathers, though they be the first of philosophers and orators, are not ashamed to lisp with their children; and none of those who see them find fault with them, but the thing is esteemed so good and right as to be even worthy of prayer. And again, should they become vicious, the parents keep on correcting, caring for them, abridging the reproaches they incur, and are not ashamed. For love "doth nothing unseemly," but as it were with certain golden wings covereth up all the offences of the beloved.
Thus also Jonathan loved David; and hearing his father say, (1 Sam. xx. 30.) "Thou son of damsels that have run away from their homes  , thou womanly bred,  " he was not ashamed, though the words be full of great reproach. For what he means is this: "Thou son of mean harlots who are mad after men, who run after the passers-by, thou unnerved and effeminate wretch, who hast nothing of a man, but livest to the shame of thyself and the mother who bare thee." What then? Did he grieve at these things, and hide his face, and turn away from his beloved? Nay, quite the contrary; he displayed his fondness as an ornament. And yet the one was at that time a king, and a king's son, even Jonathan; the other a fugitive and a wanderer, I mean, David. But not even thus was he ashamed of his friendship. "For love doth not behave itself unseemly. Yea, this is its wonderful quality that not only it suffers not the injured to grieve and feel galled, but even disposes him to rejoice. Accordingly, he too, of whom we are speaking, after all these things, just as though he had a crown put on him, went away and fell on David's neck. For love knows not what sort of thing shame may be. Therefore it glories in those things for which another hides his face. Since the shame is, not to know how to love; not, when thou lovest, to incur danger and endure all for the beloved.
But when I say, "all," do not suppose I mean things injurious also; for example, assisting a youth in a love affair, or whatsoever hurtful thing any one may beseech another to do for him. For such a person doth not love, and this I showed you lately from the Egyptian woman: since in truth he only is the lover who seeks what is profitable to the beloved: so that if any pursue not this, even what is right and good, though he make ten thousand professions of love, he is more hostile than any enemies.
So also Rebecca aforetime, because she exceedingly clung to her son, both perpetrated a theft, and was not ashamed of detection, neither was she afraid, though the risk was no common one; but even when her son raised scruples  to her, "upon me be thy curse, my son," she said. Dost thou see even in a woman the soul of the Apostle  how, even as Paul chose, (if one may compare a small thing with a great,) to be anathema for the Jews' sake, (Rom. ix. 3.) so also she, that her son might be blessed, chose to be no less than accursed. And the good things she gave up to him, for she was not, it seems, to be blessed with him, but the evils she was prepared to endure herself alone: nevertheless, she rejoiced, and hasted, and this where so great a danger lay before her, and she was grieved at the delay of the business: for she feared lest Esau might anticipate them and render her wisdom vain. Wherefore also she cuts short the conversation and urges on the young man, and just permitting him to answer what had been said, states a reason sufficient to persuade him. For she said not, "thou sayest these things without reason, and in vain thou fearest, thy father having grown old and being deprived of clearness of sight:" but what? "upon me be thy curse, my son. Only do thou not mar the plot, nor lose the object of our chase, nor give up the treasure."
And this very Jacob, served he not for wages with his kinsmen twice seven years? Was he not together with the bondage subject to mockery in respect of that trick? What then? Did he feel the mockery? Did he count it behaving himself unseemly, that being a freeman, and free born, and well brought up, he endured slaves' treatment among his own kinsmen: a thing which is wont to be most vexing, when one receives opprobrious treatment from one's friends? In no wise. And the cause was his love, which made the time, though long, appear short. "For they were," saith he, (Gen. xxix. 20.) "in his sight as a few days." So far was he from being galled and blushing for this his bondage. Justly then said the blessed Paul, "Love doth not behave itself unseemly."
[3.] 1. "Seeketh not its own, is not provoked."
Thus having said, "doth not behave itself unseemly," he showeth also the temper of mind, on account of which she doth not behave herself unseemly.And what is that temper? That she "seeketh not her own." For the beloved she esteems to be all, and then only "behaveth herself unseemly," when she cannot free him from such unseemliness; so that if it be possible by her own unseemliness to benefit her beloved, she doth not so much as count the thing unseemliness; for the other party thereafter is yourself, when you love  : since this is friendship, that the lover and the beloved should no longer be two persons divided, but in a manner one single person; a thing which no how takes place except from love. Seek not therefore thine own, that thou mayest find thine own. For he that seeks his own, finds not his own. Wherefore also Paul said, "Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbor's good." (1 Cor. x. 24.) For your own profit lies in the profit of your neighbor, and his in yours. As therefore one that had his own gold buried in the house of his neighbor, should he refuse to go and there seek and dig it up, will never seek it; so likewise here, he that will not seek his own profit in the advantage of his neighbor, will not attain unto the crowns due to this: God Himself having therefore so disposed of it, in order that we should be mutually bound together: and even as one awakening a slumbering child to follow his brother, when he is of himself unwilling, places in the brother's hand that which he desires and longs for, that through desire of obtaining it he may pursue after him that holds it, and accordingly so it takes place: thus also here, each man's own profit hath he given to his neighbor, that hence we may run after one another, and not be torn asunder.
And if thou wilt, see this also in our case who address you. For my profit depends on thee, and thy advantage on me. Thus, on the one hand it profits thee to be taught the things that please God, but with this have I been entrusted, that thou mightest receive it from me, and therefore mightest be compelled to run unto me; and on the other hand it profits me that thou shouldest be made better: for the reward which I shall receive for this will be great; but this again lieth in thee; and therefore am I compelled to follow after thee that thou mayest be better, and that I may receive my profit from thee. Wherefore also Paul saith, "For what is my hope? are not even ye?" And again, "My hope, and my joy, and the crown of my rejoicing." (1 Thess. ii. 19.) So that the joy of Paul was the disciples, and his joy they had. Therefore he even wept when he saw them perishing.
Again their profit depended on Paul: wherefore he said, "For the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. (Acts xxviii. 20.) And again, "These things I endure for the elect's sakes that they may obtain eternal life. (2 Tim. ii. 10.) And this one may see in worldly things. "For the wife," saith he, "hath not power over her own body, nor yet the husband; but the wife over the husband's, and the husband over the wife's." (1 Cor. vii. 4.) So likewise we, when we wish to bind any together, do this. We leave neither of them in his own power, but extending a chain between them, we cause the one to be holden of the other, and the other of the one. Wilt thou also see this in the case of governors? He that judges sits not in judgment for himself, but seeking the profit of his neighbor. The governed on the other hand, seek the profit of the governor by their attendance, by their ministry, by all the other things. Soldiers take up their arms for us, for on our account they peril themselves. We for them are in straits; for from us are their supplies.
But if thou sayest, "each one doth this seeking his own," this also say I, but I add, that by the good of another one's own is won. Thus both the soldier, unless he fight for them that support him, hath none that ministers to him for this end: and this same on the other hand, unless he nourish the soldier, hath none to arm himself in his behalf.
[4.] Seest thou love, how it is everywhere extended and manages all things? But be not weary, until thou have thoroughly acquainted thyself with this golden chain. For having said, "seeketh not her own," he mentions again the good things produced by this. And what are these?
"Is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.  " See love again not only subduing vice, but not even suffering it to arise at all. For he said not, "though provoked, she overcomes," but, "is not provoked." And he said not, "worketh no evil," but, "not even thinketh;" i.e., so far from contriving any evil, she doth not even suspect it of the beloved. How then could she work any, or how be provoked? who doth not even endure to admit an evil surmise; whence is the fountain of wrath.
Ver. 6. "Rejoiceth not in unrighteousness:" i.e., doth not feel pleasure over those that suffer ill: and not this only, but also, what is much greater, "rejoiceth with the truth." "She feels pleasure," saith he, "with them that are well spoken of," as Paul saith, "Rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep with them that weep." (Rom. xii. 15.)
Hence, she "envieth not," hence she "is not puffed up:" since in fact she accounts the good things  of others her own.
Seest thou how by degrees love makes her nursling an angel? For when he is void of anger, and pure from envy, and free from every tyrannical passion, consider that even from the nature of man he is delivered from henceforth, and hath arrived at the very serenity of angels.
Nevertheless, he is not content with these, but hath something even more than these to say: according to his plan of stating the stronger points later. Wherefore he saith, "beareth all things." From her long-suffering, from her goodness; whether they be burdensome, or grievous, or insults, or stripes, or death, or whatsoever else. And this again one may perceive from the case of blessed David. For what could be more intolerable than to see a son rising up against him, and aiming at the usurpation, and thirsting for a father's blood? Yet this did that blessed one endure, nor even so could he bear to throw out one bitter expression against the parricide; but even when he left all the rest to his captains, gave a strong injunction respecting his safety. For strong was the foundation of his love. Wherefore also it "beareth all things."
Now its power the Apostle here intimates, but its goodness, by what follows. For, "it hopeth all things," saith he, "believeth all things, endureth all things." What is, "hopeth all things?" It doth not despair," saith he, "of the beloved, but even though he be worthless, it continues to correct, to provide, to care for him."
"Believeth all things." "For it doth not merely hope," saith he, "but also believeth from its great affection." And even if these good things should not turn out according to its hope, but the other person should prove yet more intolerable, it bears even these. For, saith he, it "endureth all things."
[5.] Ver. 8. "Love never faileth."
Seest thou when he put the crown on the arch, and what of all things is peculiar to this gift? For what is, "faileth not?" it is not severed, is not dissolved by endurance. For it puts up with everything: since happen what will, he that loves never can hate. This then is the greatest of its excellencies.
Such a person was Paul. Wherefore also he said, "If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh;" (Rom. xi. 14.) and he continued hoping. And to Timothy he gave a charge, saying, "And the Lord's servant must not strive, but be gentle towards all....in meekness correcting those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure may give them the knowledge of the truth.  " (2 Tim. ii. 24, 25.)
"What then," saith one, "if they be enemies and heathens, must one hate them?" One must hate, not them but their doctrine: not the man, but the wicked conduct, the corrupt mind. For the man is God's work, but the deceit is the devil's work. Do thou not therefore confound the things of God and the things of the devil. Since the Jews were both blasphemers, and persecutors, and injurious, and spake ten thousand evil things of Christ. Did Paul then hate them, he who of all men most loved Christ? In no wise, but he both loved them, and did everything for their sakes: and at one time he saith, "My heart's desire and my supplication to God is for them that they may be saved:" (Rom. x. 1; ix. 3.) and at another, "I could wish that myself were anathema from Christ for their sakes." Thus also Ezekiel seeing them slain saith, "Alas, O Lord, dost Thou blot out the remnant of Israel?" (Ezek. ix. 8.) And Moses, "If Thou wilt forgive their sin, forgive." (Exod. xxxii. 32.)
Why then saith David, "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee, and against Thine enemies did I not pine away? I hate them with perfect hatred." (Ps. cxxxix. 21, 22.)
Now, in the first place, not all things spoken in the Psalms by David, are spoken in the person of David. For it is he himself who saith, "I have dwelt in the tents of Kedar;" (Ps. cxx. 5.) and, "By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept:" (cxxxvii. 1.) yet he neither saw Babylon, nor the tents of Kedar.
But besides this, we require now a completer self-command. Wherefore also when the disciples besought that fire might come down, even as in the case of Elias, "Ye know not," saith Christ, "what manner of spirit ye are of. (Luke ix. 55.) For at that time not the ungodliness only, but also the ungodly themselves, they were commanded to hate, in order that their friendship might not prove an occasion of transgression unto them. Therefore he severed their connections, both by blood and marriage, and on every side he fenced them off.
But now because he hath brought us to a more entire self-command and set us on high above that mischief, he bids us rather admit and soothe them. For we get no harm from them, but they get good by us. What then doth he say? we must not hate, but pity. Since if thou shalt hate, how wilt thou easily convert him that is in error? how wilt thou pray for the unbeliever? for that one ought to pray, hear what Paul saith: "I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayer, intercessions, thanksgivings be made for all men." (1 Tim. ii. 1.) But that all were not then believers, is, I suppose, evident unto every one. And again, "for kings and all that are in high place." But that these were ungodly and transgressors, this also is equally manifest. Further, mentioning also the reason for the prayer, he adds, "for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who willeth that all men should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth." Therefore, if he find a Gentile wife consorting with a believer, he dissolves not the marriage. Yet what is more closely joined than a man to his wife? "For they two shall be one flesh," (Gen. ii. 24.) and great in that instance is the charm, and ardent the desire. But if we are to hate ungodly and lawless men, we shall go on to hate also sinners; and thus in regular process thou wilt be broken off from the most even of thy brethren, or rather from all: for there is not one, no, not one, without sin. For if it be our duty to hate the enemies of God, one must not hate the ungodly only, but also sinners: and thus we shall be worse than wild beasts, shunning all, and puffed up with pride; even as that Pharisee. But not thus did Paul command us, but how? "Admonish the disorderly, encourage the faint-hearted, support the weak, be long suffering toward all." (1 Thess. v. 14.)
[6.] What then doth he mean when he saith, "If any obeyeth not our word by this epistle, note that man, that ye have no company with him?" (2 Thess. iii. 14.) In the first place, he saith this of brethren, however not even so without limitation, but this too with gentleness. For do not thou cut off what follows, but subjoin also the next clause: how, having said, "keep no company," he added, "yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." Seest thou how he bade us hate the deed that is evil, and not the man? For indeed it is the work of the devil to tear us asunder from one another, and he hath ever used great diligence to take away love that he may cut off the way of correction, and may retain him in error and thee in enmity, and thus block up the way of his salvation. For when both the physician hates the sick man and flies from him, and the sick man turns away from the physician, when will the distempered person be restored, seeing that neither the one will call in the other's aid, nor will the other go to him?
But wherefore, tell me, dost thou at all turn away from him and avoid him? Because he is ungodly? Truly for this cause oughtest thou to welcome and attend him, that thou mayest raise him up in his sickness. But if he be incurably sick, still thou hast been bidden to do thy part. Since Judas also was incurably diseased, yet God left not off attending upon him. Wherefore, neither do thou grow weary. For even if after much labor thou fail to deliver him from his ungodliness, yet shalt thou receive the deliverer's reward, and wilt cause him to wonder at thy gentleness, and so all this praise will pass on to God. For though thou shouldest work wonders, and raise the dead, and whatsoever work thou doest, the Heathen will never wonder at thee so much, as when they see thee displaying a meek, gentle, mild disposition. And this is no small achievement: since many will even be entirely delivered from their evil way; there being nothing that hath such power to allure men as love. For in respect of the former they will rather be jealous of thee, I mean the signs and wonders; but for this they will both admire and love thee: and if they love, they will also lay hold of the truth in due course. If however he become not all at once a believer, wonder not nor hurry on, neither do thou require all things at once, but suffer him for the present to praise, and love, and unto this in due course he will come.
[7.] And that thou mayest clearly know how great a thing this is, hear how even Paul, going before an unbelieving judge, made his defence. "I think myself happy," saith he, "That I am to make my defence before thee." (Acts xxvi. 2.) And these things he said, not to flatter him, far from it; but wishing to gain him by his gentleness. And he did in part gain him, and he that was till then considered to be condemned took captive his judge, and the victory is confessed by the person himself who was made captive, with a loud voice in the presence of all, saying, "With but little persuasion thou wouldst fain make me a Christian." (Acts xxvi. 28, 29.) What then saith Paul? He spread his net the wider, and saith, "I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except these bonds." What sayest thou, O Paul? "except these bonds?" And what confidence remains for thee, if thou art ashamed of these things, and fliest from them, and this before so great a multitude? Dost thou not every where in thy Epistles boast of this matter, and call thyself a prisoner? Dost thou not every where carry about this chain in our sight as a diadem? What then hath happened now that thou deprecatest these bonds? "I myself deprecate them not," saith he, "nor am I ashamed of them, but I condescend to their weakness. For they are not yet able to receive my glorying; and I have learned from my Lord not to put `a piece of undressed cloth upon an old garment:' (S. Matt. ix. 16.) therefore did I thus speak. For, in fact, unto this time they have heard ill reports of our doctrine, and abhor the cross. If therefore I should add also bonds, their hatred becometh greater; I removed these, therefore, that the other might be made acceptable. So it is, that to them it seems disgraceful to be bound, because they have not as yet tasted of the Glory which is with us. One must therefore condescend: and when they shall have learned of the true life, then will they know the beauty also of this iron, and the lustre which comes of these bonds." Furthermore, discoursing with others, he even calls the thing a free gift, saying, "It hath been granted in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer in His behalf." (Philip. i. 29.) But for the time then present, it was a great thing for the hearers not to be ashamed of the cross: for which cause he goes on gradually. Thus, neither doth any one introducing a person to a palace, before that he beholds the vestibule, compel him, yet standing without, to survey what is within: since in that way it will not even seem admirable, unless one enter in and so acquaint one's self with all.
So then let us also deal with the heathen sort: with condecension, with love. For love is a great teacher, and able both to withdraw men from error, and to reform the character, and to lead them by the hand unto self-denial, and out of stones to make men.
[8.] And if thou wouldest learn her power, bring me a man timid and fearful of every sound, and trembling at shadows; or passionate, and harsh, and a wild beast rather than a man; or wanton and licentious; or wholly given to wickedness; and deliver him into the hands of love, and introduce him into this school; and thou wilt speedily see that cowardly and timid creature made brave and magnanimous, and venturing upon all things cheerfully. And what is wonderful, not from any change in nature do these things result, but in the coward soul itself love manifests her peculiar power; and it is much the same as if one should cause a leaden sword, not turned into steel but continuing in the nature of lead, to do the work of steel. As thus: Jacob was a "plain man  , (Gen. xxv. 27.) dwelling in a house  , and unpracticed in toils and dangers, living a kind of remiss and easy life, and like a virgin in her chamber, so also he was compelled for the most part to sit within doors and keep the house; withdrawn from the forum and all tumults of the forum, and from all such matters, and even continuing in ease and quietness. What then? After that the torch of love had set him on fire, see how it made this plain and home-keeping man strong to endure and fond of toil. And of this hear not what I say, but what the patriarch himself saith: how finding fault with his kinsman, his words are, "These twenty years am I with thee." (Gen. xxxi. 36.) And how wert thou these twenty years? (For this also he adds,) "Consumed by the heat in the day time, and with the frost by night, and sleep departed from mine eyes." Thus speaks that "plain man, keeping at home," and living that easy life.
Again, that he was timid is evident, in that, expecting to see Esau, he was dead with fear. But see again, how this timid man became bolder than a lion under the influence of love. For putting himself forward like some champion before the rest, he was ready to be first in receiving that savage and slaughter-breathing brother as he supposed him to be, and with his own body to purchase the safety of his wives: and him whom he feared and shuddered at, he desired to behold himself foremost in the array. For this fear was not so strong as his affection for his wives. Seest thou how, being timid, he became suddenly adventurous, not by changing his character, but being invigorated by love? For that after this also he was timid, is evident by his changing from place to place.
But let no man consider what has been said to be a charge against that righteous man: since being timid is no reproach, for this is a man's nature; but the doing any thing unseemly for timidity's sake. For it is possible for one that is timid by nature to become courageous through piety. What did Moses? Did he not, through fear of a single Egyptian, fly, and go away into banishment? Nevertheless, this fugitive who could not endure the menace of a single man, after that he tasted of the honey of love, nobly and without compulsion from any man, was forward to perish together with them whom he loved. "For if thou wilt forgive their sin," saith he, "forgive; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of Thy book which thou hast written. (Exod. xxxii. 32.)
[9.] Moreover, that love makes also the fierce moderate, and the wanton chaste, we have no longer need of any examples: this being evident to all men. Though a man be more savage than any wild beast, no sheep so gentle as he is rendered by love. Thus, what could be more savage and frantic than Saul? But when his daughter let his enemy go, he uttered not against her even a bitter word. And he that unsparingly put to the sword all the priests for David's sake, seeing that his daughter had sent him away from the house, was not indignant with her even as far as words; and this when so great a fraud had been contrived against him: because he was restrained by the stronger bridle of love.
Now as moderation, so chastity, is an ordinary effect of love. If a man love his own wife as he ought to love, even though he be never so much inclined to wantoness, he will not endure to look upon another woman, on account of his affection for her. "For love," (Cant. viii. 5.) saith one, "is strong as death." So that from no other source doth wanton behavior arise than from want of love.
Since then love is the Artificer of all virtue, let us with all exactness implant her in our own souls, that she may produce for us many blessings, and that we may have her fruit continually abounding, the fruit which is ever fresh and never decays. For thus shall we obtain no less than eternal blessings: which may we all obtain, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father, and also the Holy Ghost, be glory, power, and honor, now and for ever, and world without end. Amen.
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